A perspective on harmonic coherency

Discussion and feedback for Playtonic's debut game, platformer adventure game Yooka-Laylee!
croissant
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A perspective on harmonic coherency

Postby croissant » Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:39 pm

There was a comment made somewhere in response to the latest trailer that brought something to my awareness about elemental integrity and coherency: how all the core units of something relate to one another in the composition of the final product, and our feeling perception in experiencing the product. The author of the comment addressed feeling a notion of emptiness in response to watching the gameplay footage in the trailer, and it made me curious as to why this person was perceiving this, and if there might be any objective cause that is triggering this perception. Perhaps for others, too ?

Although I didn't necessarily have the same perception myself, I think it's important to evaluate the potential of any causes to this perception of emptiness. In my own view, the most optimal state for a video game is when it really immerses you into the experience of it, triggering all of your spirit's taste buds, and leaving you feeling deeply satisfied in every aspect of what is presented. Even if only on element is slightly off, it can easily deter from the integral harmony and balance of the experience as a whole, and thus ruining the potential of something that could feel wholesome and immersive to the deepest level.

From the standing point of a developer or an artist, I think the most important aspect of the whole creation process is being able to tap into the purest essence of what is being crafted, and making sure that every bit and part is done with sheer enjoyment and satisfaction. If you aren't really able to put your heart into what you are doing, the result itself will likely turn out lifeless and dull. Especially when compared to something that feels like it's glowing with sweetness, because it's filled to the brim with the passion of its creators (Dean is an exceptional example here).

I think, in this regard, if anything ever stood out for me, there might have been some visual elements that might have come off as feeling a bit synthetic or perhaps too clean. Nothing major, really. Although, it's interesting to take note of that, because it might also be an example of how a specific element could be perceived as feeling lifeless. Another way to look at it, and perhaps something to contemplate for the creative process, would be comparing it to how someone working with music would argue about the subtleness in quality between analogue and digital sound.

Also, one thing that I found interesting when watching the latest trailer was how switching between 60 FPS and 30 FPS made a significant difference in my own feeling perception of the game. Without claiming that 60 FPS is superior, I would say that I preferred watching the trailer in 30 FPS. Even if it might be entirely subjective, I think it particularly triggered a sort of synthetic feeling to the experience. However, it also made me think that maybe this aspect, too, could be a determinative factor to the balance of everything as a whole...

GeneralWalnut
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Re: A perspective on harmonic coherency

Postby GeneralWalnut » Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:50 pm

I think it comes from a couple things:

1. I think the (I assume) placeholder elements (Power bar UI, tongue grappling hook animation, fart bubble animation) are things that people are picking up on but maybe not sure how to vocalize. They know something seems "off" but can't quite place their finger on why.

2. Technical hiccups. I think stuff they're working on optimizing like the texture pop in and frame rate stuff is giving off a similar effect. Whereas when you are playing a game it is easy to ignore that stuff (for me anyway), normally trailers are very carefully crafted to mask any of those hiccups that may exist in an early build.

I actually appreciate that it isn't shying away from showing that stuff with some "we're working on it" messaging, it's refreshing to feel like we're getting an accurate picture of where the game currently is. But I think being able to recognize that is something that you have to have conditioned yourself for.

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dotEXE
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Re: A perspective on harmonic coherency

Postby dotEXE » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:09 pm

People want to be negative about everything. About as simple as that. Ignoring the fact that the game isn't done, there's certainly nothing empty about any of the videos we've seen. Every shot has foliage, enemies, collectibles, interactables, etc. People think you were literally tripping over things nonstop in Banjo but most of it was one of Notes, Feathers, or Eggs. Look at the very entrance to Mumbo's Mountain. One enemy. One tree. Notes in the distance at the bridge. Empty grass. You could see some things in the distance, but YL certainly wasn't lacking in shots of things in the distance.

People have some silly tinted glasses on.
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GeneralWalnut
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Re: A perspective on harmonic coherency

Postby GeneralWalnut » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:54 pm


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dotEXE
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Re: A perspective on harmonic coherency

Postby dotEXE » Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:16 pm

I bet I'll look back on these trailers fondly while I wait for the release of Yooka-Threelee.
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Taylor
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Re: A perspective on harmonic coherency

Postby Taylor » Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:55 pm

I love what we've seen so far and I agree with dot that some people just want to be negative...

But I also agree that the game obviously needs optimisation if Playtonic want to lose the 'indie' vibe.

We need smooth transitions; animatioms or particle effects for every occurence (e.g. for the fart bubble, or for the suddenly disappearing red/white goal rings).

We also need the objects/textures to stop randomly appearing out of thin air.

If Playtonic can fix that, the game would feel much more whole to me. Without these changes, it will always feel jarring, though will still be playable and fun regardless.
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dotEXE
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Re: A perspective on harmonic coherency

Postby dotEXE » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:59 pm

Removing the pop-in problem will definitely be an important step. I'm wondering how much of this they actually CAN control though, and how much of it is Unity. It would be interesting to see what engine they go with for future games.

A complete tangent, but I also wonder if they've started any brainstorming for future titles... would be eager to hear anything at all. On one hand, most companies have a game "near completion", a game "in development", and a game on the drawing board at any time. On the other, YL needs a 10/10 release to ensure the safety of their future, wouldn't be shocked to hear they're 1000% All Hands On Deck on just this. Anyway I'm rambling, but excited for everything.
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Meinhard1
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Re: A perspective on harmonic coherency

Postby Meinhard1 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:00 pm

What a nicely put post. Thanks for the read.

Interesting what you say about the best art/work being made heartfully. It's obvious Dean is passionate about all things d'art and I would say that the entire art team (environmental and character artists) seem to particularly love their work. And really this is all Platyonic. Whenever we hear from them I get a sense that the team at large is having real fun making 'Yooka' together and share this appreciation for its platfomer heritage (all big DKC/Banjo, Nintendo/Mario fans).

As you go on to say (and other posters here point out), there are numerous small elements of the trailer that appear unfinished or synthetic. There is also a slight glossy/plasticy feel to the game which may or may not be intentional. When I watch the trailer I get contradictory vibes a)
"glowing with sweetness" (something artisanal in quality by impassioned and skillful devs) and b) that emptiness (that what we are seeing is pre-alpha and therefore feels rough or "indie" as someone puts it).

A bit of an aside, but some new parents sometimes describe a sense of "emptiness" as they embrace their newborn child, particularly if something didn't go as wanted (the birth, the child herself). There's this very natural yet counter-intuitive phenomenon where the more we feel pressured to love something, the less open our hearts are to do so.
Fans of anything may have a similar trouble with their own expectations. I have a very personal appreciation of DKC 2 and Banjo Kazooie. These were games that surprised and captivated me as a child (... and really it can be hard to immerse oneself in things the way children so naturally do). In terms of its lineage and its pedigree, this ought to be my favorite game I've played in years.
Yet it's really not fair for us to to hold Yooka-Laylee to these sorts expectations. YET, it's natural and entirely human to do so. WEIRD!

Edit: Relevant to this discussion:

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.ph ... tcount=110


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