Transistor

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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NecklaceOfShadow
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Transistor

Postby NecklaceOfShadow » Sat May 24, 2014 3:48 am UTC

Transistor, by the same game studio that made Bastion, finally came out on Tuesday.

The sound and visuals are gorgeous. The sound manages to convey a surprising amount of emotion. The whole game's aesthetic reminds me of a cyberpunk 1920s, and that's interesting enough to keep me hooked. The way the narrative is told reminds me a lot of Bastion: narration by one character, with occasional bursts of info from other sources. I'm not that far in the game, though --- I've only received my second achievement on Steam --- so that could totally change.

The combat system is... interesting. I'm wondering what other people think about it.
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Re: Transistor

Postby Zohar » Sat May 24, 2014 9:55 am UTC

I like pretty much everything you've described. It seems very linear though, for now, and I'm not sure how long it is. And the story is a bit more confusing than Bastion.

I enjoy the battle system, it's pretty cool to plan things and see exactly how they're going to play out. I do find it pretty difficult, to the point where I think I'll see what sort of function combos people recommend.
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Re: Transistor

Postby NecklaceOfShadow » Sat May 24, 2014 3:04 pm UTC

After just getting the second achievement last night, I have:

Help() + Crash() // just equipped it, haven't tried it on anything yet
Breach() // which is bloody indispensable; saved my ass in the last boss battle
Spark() + Bounce() // which I absolutely adore
Jaunt() // <3

I used to have a Breach() + Switch() combo, but I found it wasn't doing me much good. I couldn't hurt enemies after they'd been turned, and the allegiance switch is so all that I decided not to bother.

I find the "equip weapons in different ways to learn about the plot" mechanic to be really interesting, though.\

[EDIT] I just got my first passive slot, so Ive put Crash() there. Hooray for damage resistance. And... bloody goddess, Help() is so fucking amazing. No wonder it costs so much.
Significantly less weird than I used to be. Still pretty weird.

οὗτός ἐστιν Ἀγαμέμνων, ἐμὸς
πόσις, νεκρὸς δὲ τῆσδε δεξιᾶς χερός
ἔργον δικαίας τέκτονος. τάδ’ ὧδ’ ἔχει.

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Re: Transistor

Postby Vaniver » Sat May 24, 2014 6:20 pm UTC

My first runthrough took about seven hours. I'm maybe a third of a way through the second runthrough. (Like Bastion, there's a new game plus mode.)

I found the game mostly easy on the first runthrough, even with limiters (although I would generally pick the less harsh of the two limiters when I leveled up). Now that I've got the option for all of them, I typically run with about eight- I'm strongly considering using ten for long enough to get the achievement, and then dropping them all, though. (More experience is nice, but there is a max level, and you can just recurse through the game a third time to get it if you don't get it on the second time.) On the second runthrough, I find myself frequently having to switch out my loadout to deal with the next battle coming up- which means the 'overload functions on unequip' limiter is just lethal.

The art is gorgeous; the music is nice; Cunningham is good as Transistor, but that's sort of a disappointment after him being great as Rucks. I'm not sure how to feel about various plot points; there's a chance they'll change during the recursion, and so I don't want to judge them until I've finished the second runthrough. The coyness of the game is something I'm okay with, but you do have to have some tolerance for ambiguity. For example:

Spoiler:
I think Asher and Grant are married? There are, like, four different hints that point that way, but it's explicitly stated nowhere.


(Also, if they make a game 3, I predict that it will also deal with a city being ruined (or in ruins), with survivors you can count on a single hand.)
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Re: Transistor

Postby NecklaceOfShadow » Sat May 24, 2014 6:38 pm UTC

I haven't had the courage to try playing with limiters yet. I find the game a bit challenging already, and I'm not sure how much harder I want it to be. In part because the description of them is so vague.

What does "User Level Bonus" actually mean? it automagically raises your level when equipped? Is it an xp boost? If it's the former, can you level up by having limiters on, then take them off, and get leveled down?
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Re: Transistor

Postby SlyReaper » Sat May 24, 2014 7:04 pm UTC

Limiters just give you a few % extra exp from battles. I have a couple of the low level ones active - the ones that shields cells and the one that sometimes spawns two cells. Debating with myself whether or not activate the limiter which doubles enemy damage. Seems a bit extreme, but I like a challenge.
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Re: Transistor

Postby firesoul31 » Sat May 24, 2014 8:03 pm UTC

IMO, Jaunt is incredible versitile and useful. Usability on cooldown is such a useful trait, and it has a low use time and planning cost. Modding it with Help and Mask make it very defensively strong, whereas Purge and Breach make it offensively usable. (The most impressive-looking combo I've seen so far is Jaunt-Spark-Cull.)
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Re: Transistor

Postby Koa » Sun May 25, 2014 1:40 am UTC

I found bounce+breach+spark to be the most useful ability for me, at least on the first playthrough. It's essentially a very fast long range projectile that splits on impact into two smaller versions of itself, which home in on targets. It quickly room clears weaker enemies and you don't even have to aim it.

I turned on all of the limiters as I got them. I had some trouble on the bosses but otherwise I don't think the limiters really mean much in terms of challenge until you go into the second playthrough. Right now I'm barely surviving basic fights with my abilities intact. I'm afraid the boss fights are going to wreck me.

I took several screenshots of the game that would look good as wallpapers and stuff. It has some shots of the ending cutscenes, so it's spoiler territory, but here's the album. The various technical issues with this game made it kind of difficult to take screenshots.

I'm at a loss as to what else to say though. It's really good. I got some Kingdom Hearts vibes from some of it, one part felt like a homage to Portal, and the clear roots of Bastion, but otherwise it is its own thing. The details of the story seem vague on purpose. You're kind of emotionally disconnected from the events that are happening to the world because you only ever see the aftermath, but I don't mind that. The game feels complete to me. I would change nothing about it.

Except... well... not using .net framework.

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Re: Transistor

Postby firesoul31 » Sun May 25, 2014 8:54 am UTC

Re: Final Boss
Spoiler:
Fighting another Transistor user is painful, because it's rather difficult to dodge any attacks, and taking damage is inevitable. My brother apparently whittled down his health slowly using Ping-Switch (which apparently works on this boss, although this was without limiters for 1,000 HP), and I beat it with Crash -> Cull-Void-Mask (x2) (against 1,700 HP, a one-shot). Both of these strategies seems somewhat cheap and optimized. How did others beat the boss? Was your strategy similar to regular enemy fights, or completely different?
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Re: Transistor

Postby PeteP » Sun May 25, 2014 8:10 pm UTC

Spoiler:
In the last fights including the boss fight my tactic consisted only of crash void and cull (and sometimes mask) as actives. I had purge and the during cooldown one on crash spamming them also works well against solo man enemies at the end they have trouble reach you and lose extra health because of the dot.
But yeah Cull +purge+mask +crash one-hitted the boss.

Honestly the room full the red spawning thingies and ladies was probably the hardest fight. I lost 2 or 3 abilities there and it doesn't even give experience to clean the room.

Btw Does new game have anything extra from the story perspective?


Oh and I really like the constant narrating from this game and The Bastion. Though more characters to interact with would be nice too.

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Re: Transistor

Postby rmsgrey » Mon May 26, 2014 2:13 am UTC

This one's firmly on my radar, but not one I'm going to pick up without a price drop or some new income. It sounds interesting enough to be worth playing, but flawed enough that it's not a "really, really must buy"

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Re: Transistor

Postby NecklaceOfShadow » Mon May 26, 2014 2:20 am UTC

What flaws in particular are you talking about?
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Re: Transistor

Postby rmsgrey » Mon May 26, 2014 2:30 am UTC

NecklaceOfShadow wrote:What flaws in particular are you talking about?


From what I've been told, the story kinda starts slow, and then gets rushed through, the various character bits are all "tell" and no "show", the game alternates between combat and emptiness, with nothing happening between fights, and the second half of the game just repeats the same enemies with minor variations from the first.

The overall tone I get from people who've played it is one of frustration - there's this game with a lot of promise that does some things very right, but is let down in other areas, and ends up disappointing as a result...

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Re: Transistor

Postby Zcorp » Mon May 26, 2014 2:38 am UTC

The encounter design is bland and repetitive, enemies almost never have attacks or movement that use space or time well.

The story is difficult to approach and abstract, which some people enjoy and others find tedious or off putting.

Turn() is used a a crutch for combat design allowing the players to more easily excuse the poor encounter design, and the company to not have to design good encounters. Playing Fallout 3+ without VATS was a far more interesting and viable option than in Transistor. Turn() is so superior to playing the game in real time that for many players it is to much of a handicap to even try it. Turn() ignores the interesting time and space aspects built into most of the player abilities while also essentially doubling the movement of the player.

The game length was also disappointing.

Art, writing, system design are all stellar though. If Supergiant decides to hire a good encounter designer their games will be top notch at basically everything. This is certainly a game worth playing if your enjoyment is derived from Art, Dialogue or systems but due to some of the other parts being lackluster its not worth a Must Buy Right Now. It will likely hit a sale in steam in the next 6 months or so where you could pick it up from $5-10 instead of 20.

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Re: Transistor

Postby Koa » Mon May 26, 2014 12:49 pm UTC

Well now I can say some things.

You, the player, aren't Red. That's not any more apparent than at the end. I suppose people can be frustrated if they expected to have more agency in the story. I didn't expect a focused narrative and I didn't expect to be able to do combat in real time. The real time combat does have its use, especially with ping and jaunt, but the main appeal is that it's a different system. It brings something new to the table. The game could have easily been a soulless Bastion 2 or some other mediocre indie game. Press a button to hum to the music? Is this really a world where creative ideas like that are shoved aside for conventional regurgitation with mild industrialist iterations? Kill me now.

Turn() is used a a crutch for combat design allowing the players to more easily excuse the poor encounter design

This means nothing to me. Demonstrate how the encounter design is poor within the current system. Or demonstrate how the system would be different in order to accommodate good encounter design, but I feel like you would be describing a different game with a different design motive. It wouldn't even be fair for me to stipulate that you can't reference other existing games.

I feel like the game lacks substance to the experience and for that reason I can't recommend it to everyone. It's a little too much style over substance. I don't think these criticisms get to the heart of that though, if that's indeed the common complaint. The combat is more enjoyable than it ever should have been. I don't want to play it fully in real time because the hybrid system they have not only works and is fun, but it's also different from everything else out there. I liked the repetition because it let me hone in on efficient ability setups. I would face an encounter and squeak by on a less efficient setup, twerk the setup, and then face the encounter again to thrash it. If they were a bigger studio maybe they could have added in more pacing and varying encounters and extended the length, but there's the reason that it's not full price.

I don't want to know the intricate details of the setting. The allusions provided just enough context and foreshadowing for its story. I would describe it as masterfully lean. The lingering questions I had weren't critical yet left me intrigued to learn more. The perfect balance for a small video game with humble beginnings. Also, most of the characters are some form of dead.

I see a lot of creative intent. I see the many ways of how this game could have failed. Yet for me it never did. I wish I had made this game. I would be extremely proud, much unlike if I were the guy who made Flappy Bird or some faceless developer of the latest Final Fantasy. It blurs the edges of 'the product'. I didn't feel like this game was made for me or any particular demographic, and I didn't feel exploited out of my money. It's not some typical dumb pixelart game either that is loosely following a trend. And more, it's not an artistic masterpiece. It's different and it works, and do I ever value that. $20 is the right price, but get it on sale if need be.

I would hate take talk it up beyond what it is but that is how I feel about it.

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Re: Transistor

Postby PeteP » Mon May 26, 2014 12:56 pm UTC

Btw jaunt with spark+purge as upgrades is fun It shoots several small target seeking purges when you jump. The only problem with killing everything by running away is collecting the cells because you are moving a bit fast and they die from a dot. Flood with get and void is kinda fun as a slow moving black hole but not all that effective.

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Re: Transistor

Postby Zcorp » Tue May 27, 2014 3:18 am UTC

Koa wrote:This means nothing to me. Demonstrate how the encounter design is poor within the current system. Or demonstrate how the system would be different in order to accommodate good encounter design, but I feel like you would be describing a different game with a different design motive. It wouldn't even be fair for me to stipulate that you can't reference other existing games.

I don't know what you mean by the last sentence.

Why do I care if it means something to you? Encounter design is largely about using space, time and pacing well. This game did not use space or time well. Its combat pacing was determined with which threat the player wanted to eliminate first, there was no effort to pace any of the encounters, which was a fine choice due to the pacing of the encounter rate and length of the encounters. When doing quick and only somewhat frequent encounters the encounter itself doesn't really need to have its own structured pace.

I don't want to play it fully in real time because the hybrid system they have not only works and is fun, but it's also different from everything else out there.
Except VATS, both of which are easier than a only turn based game (as the down time of recharging your turn basically gives you an extra turn where you can act during the enemy turn) certainly making it more approachable than a TBS but also giving significantly less challenge to the player. However, my criticism was not that turn() was used poorly but that it allows players to easily overlook the poor encounters, or require them to make better ones (which is just something they don't seemingly have as a strength in their studio right now or simply choose not to focus on it with their limitations in scope).

If they were a bigger studio maybe they could have added in more pacing and varying encounters and extended the length, but there's the reason that it's not full price.

I'm not sure why you are a supergiant apologist in this matter, nothing I said should of been threatening. Neither this game or Bastion has much strength in its encounter design, its not something that they do well, it is not something in their scope for the games they are creating. This is not to say their games are bad, it is just to say that if that is what you are looking for this might not be the game for you. Many things they do are better than most or the best in the industry.

I see a lot of creative intent. I see the many ways of how this game could have failed. Yet for me it never did.

Great, as you didn't notice the encounter design it is probably not something that has a significant impact on your enjoyment, which makes this a wonderful game for you.

I wish I had made this game. I would be extremely proud

Who implied the developers should feel otherwise?
They should be especially proud of their simple and elegant yet very powerful skill system, people have tried for years to do a slotted system correctly, since at least FF7. Recent and notable worse attempts include Diablo 3, D&D 4e (and thus all related games, Neverwinter etc) and path of exile (even the Tales series could learn from this system).

I didn't feel like this game was made for me or any particular demographic

All games have to make sacrifices for scope, games can't realistically hit the preferences in experience for all players (even ignoring the conflicting ones). Nor can a small team realistically do all elements of design well, Supergiant does more well than studios significantly bigger than they are. They are quite amazing, but that doesn't mean their games are what everyone is looking for or that they are worth $20 dollars to players that value what their games lack.

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Re: Transistor

Postby ProZac » Tue May 27, 2014 12:55 pm UTC

I find it interesting that you say Supergiant doesn't do encounter design well, and cite Fallout 3 as an example that does do it well. I loved everything about Bastion, including the combat. Combat is what pulled me into the game, everything else is what made me love it. Fallout 3's combat is one of the biggest reasons I quit playing that game a few hours in and never returned to it.

I understand the desire to play Transistor without turn, but that's really not how the game was designed. That's why there's so many things to modify how efficient you are with Turn. That's not to say Transistor's combat is amazing. It's really carried by the variety of loadouts you can use. It also seems to tailor itself well to different playstyles. Someone else mentioned loving Help(), whereas that's one I tend to avoid using.

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Re: Transistor

Postby SlyReaper » Tue May 27, 2014 2:04 pm UTC

Finished my first playthrough. Is it just me or was the final boss fight incredibly easy? I used crash, cull, jaunt, and mask as my actives. Jaunt behind the boss, use crash once, mask and then cull. Didn't quite one-shot him, but it was close.
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Re: Transistor

Postby Zcorp » Tue May 27, 2014 5:21 pm UTC

ProZac wrote:I find it interesting that you say Supergiant doesn't do encounter design well, and cite Fallout 3 as an example that does do it well.

I did not cite Fallout 3 as an example of encounter design done well. I spoke to the VATS system in Fallout 3 and how it is similar to Turn() but also mentioned how Fallout 3 is a game that you can play quite easily without ever using VATS.

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Re: Transistor

Postby Koa » Tue May 27, 2014 6:06 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:Why do I care if it means something to you? Encounter design is largely about using space, time and pacing well. This game did not use space or time well.

I meant that it didn't mean anything to me in the most literal of sense. As to why, well, this is a forum wherein you communicate ideas. If people don't understand you then what is the point. I would like to see a practical demonstration of how the encounter design is poor. As in, for instance, take an encounter that exists in the game, and then describe how it would be different such that it would not be poor. Something of that nature.

It would be trivial for me to declare anything as poor. I could say the gunplay in titanfall (I haven't played it) is poor, but that wouldn't communicate anything other than to say that I personally didn't like the game for unknown reasons. I might say "this gun doesn't control space well," but then, what does that mean? Maybe it's not meant to control space. "I don't like how guns in this game don't control space because it makes for gameplay where people are free to move where they please and it turns the matches to sudden, random, unpredictable moshpits." I would be getting warmer to demonstrating my criticism to convince others that it indeed could have been better. You're presenting it like it is not just a personal thing, so demonstrate it. All I see are relative terms with no frame of reference. "Good design uses space well, this game doesn't use space well." That has no meaning by itself.

I'm ignoring the comparisons to Fallout 3 so far because it seems to be a separate issue from encounter design, but it has the same problem that it has no meaning either. VATS could be used to supplement the real time action, and in Transistor the real time is used to supplement the action in turn time. Apples and oranges though. Turn time lets people overlook poor encounter design? Maybe the encounter design was made for turn time instead of real time, because that was their design motive and they didn't want people to play fully in real time. How, with the current mechanics system, could the encounter design be changed for the better such that you wouldn't define it as poor?

Expectations, the enemy of mankind.

Also, as you should see now, most of my last post wasn't directed at you. I did cringe a bit at "should of" and "supergiant apologist" though, and overall it makes me think that you're talking a lot of nonsense. I hope to be proved wrong.

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Re: Transistor

Postby Zcorp » Tue May 27, 2014 9:24 pm UTC

Koa wrote:I would like to see a practical demonstration of how the encounter design is poor. As in, for instance, take an encounter that exists in the game, and then describe how it would be different such that it would not be poor. Something of that nature.

I gave you reasons for why I thought the encounter design was poor, the enemies movement and attacks do not use space or time well. This is not the only metric to assess quality of encounter design and not all games benefit from using these elements, and different genres should put emphasis on different things. 3rd person action games and this game specifically would of benefited greatly by doing so.

If you want to ignore where I think the encounters could be improved that's on you. Also the point of discussion here is not to teach you game design, it is to talk about this game and its design, I also have no interest in doing so if you can't even read what I write.

Turn time lets people overlook poor encounter design? Maybe the encounter design was made for turn time instead of real time, because that was their design motive and they didn't want people to play fully in real time.

In every encounter (including the one that game suggests you skip) enemies have little opportunity to do much between players turns, especially if that the player has Jaunt or Mask as one of their actives (or even as an upgrade on some other actives). Without these skills the player also has few ways to deal with a variety of encounters, like a group of fetches. The encounters and enemies are not well designed to create variety or interesting challenges for the players either (this is largely due to not using space and time well to allow natural elements of those aspects to create synergy with other enemies that spawn). If the combat was designed to use Turn primarily, all fights are trivialized by having an escape to use while Turn recharges, enemies are not well equipped to chase down and do significant damage or otherwise interact with the player between Turns. The only one close is Stealth Men and their Haircuts, and even these are trivial to deal when focusing on turns with with various skill setups. While this can challenge patience and discipline it gives little to no tactical depth in the encounters.

The encounters and combat are not well designed for a system that is primarily using Turn or Real time. They are also dynamically generated to an extent, which is a great way to save time in scope, but obviously has the downside of often creating encounters that are weak relative to a fully crafted experience. Things like Snapshots really annoying photo don't give the player something to interact with or react to, instead having an enemy that was adept at pursuing the player had an attack animation with little time for the player to react or an projectile that forced the player to react, like Haircut, but on contact decreased the Turn meter it could of made the down time between turns far more interesting. Instead pictures clog up the players screen that do little except block out often unnecessary information and give nothing for the player to do to prevent or directly react to that effect except choose to prioritize them because they find it so annoying.

And again for people who are not looking for rich, thoughtful and challenging encounters this is something you won't notice or care about. Not all players value the same experience nor should any studio focus on pleasing all players (both because some player preferences are conflicting and because it will generally make a game with to large a scope which can result in a large variety of problems). However, I do think that Transistor could of benefited from encounters that provided greater tactical depth. For people whose enjoyment will come from the Art, writing or system design and don't care much about the rest, this is a great experience, for those that desire more tactical challenges in their games this probably isn't worth the purchase price of $20 and waiting for a sale is a reasonable action.

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Re: Transistor

Postby Koa » Wed May 28, 2014 12:49 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:If you want to ignore where I think the encounters could be improved that's on you.

Quite the opposite, I'm desperately trying to find it. I see that you find snapshots to be annoying, which is funny because they represent paparazzi. Anyway, I think there are several interesting elements that inject tactics to encounters.

For instance, one time I had several enemies attacking me and I traded blows with them while running behind cover. I noticed they weren't chasing me and found that they were all huddled around a weed healing back up. I used get+spark+flood to pull them all in, and then lifetap+cull to get some health back. They ran back to the weed to try to get to full life. They were slowed because of the cull as they walked back over the fire trail on the ground because of the flood. They died a horrible death.

Cluckers can disable Turn on the terrain. Fetch (the dogs) outrun you, so you need to manage your downtime. Every non-boss can be turned into an ally temporarily, so you can also get their heals and shields. More enemy types would be nice but there's enough to keep things interesting.

You can get locked into a corner by enemies, but you can always activate Turn to phase out. I suppose you would find that cheap. "Turn() is used a a crutch for combat design allowing the players to more easily excuse the poor encounter design." If so, I think that's shortsighted. It would only seem cheap if you impose conventions to it. This game's use of space is about as concise as it could be.

I don't think further encounter design would benefit this game. Strong design often leads to clear solutions for success. Good design allows for dynamic tactics and emergent gameplay. I think Transistor has good design without fully orchestrated encounters the likes that you would need to impose to call it poor. It's the "mediocre+good" type, as it were. Whereas your only measurement would be "strong+good" versus "poor+bad". That's what I gather, anyway.

The first playthrough is relatively easy, so there's not much need for tactics. Recursive and limiters force you to see and use tactics. Encounter design is always going to be about the challenge. I have played countless thousands of games. I don't think Transistor's gameplay is a paragon of excellence but it has me still intrigued. But to call it poor on any front does it a disservice. At worst it's mediocre. It's at least far more interesting than Bastion in this area.

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Re: Transistor

Postby Zcorp » Wed May 28, 2014 2:06 am UTC

Koa wrote:
Zcorp wrote:If you want to ignore where I think the encounters could be improved that's on you.

Quite the opposite, I'm desperately trying to find it.

You should start by reading what I write then.


I see that you find snapshots to be annoying, which is funny because they represent paparazzi.

How is that funny? There are quite a few ways to represent paparazzi and incorporate annoyance that doesn't involve blinding the player. Which has failed every time any real time game has ever tried it. Sight is the really the only sense the player has to work with, if the sound design is exceptional it can help, but removing or limiting really the only thing the player has consistently failed to provide valuable experiences.

More enemy types would be nice but there's enough to keep things interesting.

For you, which has consistently been the point.

You can get locked into a corner by enemies, but you can always activate Turn to phase out. I suppose you would find that cheap. "Turn() is used a a crutch for combat design allowing the players to more easily excuse the poor encounter design." If so, I think that's shortsighted. It would only seem cheap if you impose conventions to it. This game's use of space is about as concise as it could be.

Don't presume to know what I would think of things when you can't bother to read what I write please.
Why would I find this cheap? what have I said that could possibly lead you to believe that? You don't even need to activate Turn, the game gives you a variety of other skills that would easily solve such a problem.

Do you not understand what I mean by using space and time well? Do you not understand my complaint about Turn was implemented? Please read what people right, if you don't understand what they write ask for clarification.

I don't think further encounter design would benefit this game. Strong design often leads to clear solutions for success. Good design allows for dynamic tactics and emergent gameplay. I think Transistor has good design without fully orchestrated encounters the likes that you would need to impose to call it poor. It's the "mediocre+good" type, as it were. Whereas your only measurement would be "strong+good" versus "poor+bad". That's what I gather, anyway.

Sigh, well good luck to you and your baseless presumptions.

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Re: Transistor

Postby Koa » Wed May 28, 2014 5:09 am UTC

What would I say to my younger self... Well, I do know now that our disagreement extends far beyond Transistor, and thus isn't worth pursuing here.

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Re: Transistor

Postby phlip » Wed May 28, 2014 5:56 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:Please read what people right, if you don't understand what they write ask for clarification.

He did, and he didn't, so he did, but then you didn't.

I recognise most of the words you're saying, but when you put them into sentences, I don't know what you mean. I don't know what "the encounters don't use space or time well" means. Is it a term of art for designers, that I just don't recognise? This is why you're being asked for specific examples... because the phrase "doesn't use space well" isn't conveying any actual information to my thinking parts. I don't have enough of a reference point in game design to know what "using space well" looks like, and what it is that's tangibly different about a game that does or doesn't do this thing well.

And when this is pointed out to you... you can't just repeat "they do not use space or time well" and pretend that's a clarification. When someone doesn't understand what you even mean at the fundamental level, repeating yourself doesn't tend to help.


In other news... I started playing this a couple nights ago... I'm not particularly far in yet, but I'm really enjoying it so far. The art style and music are amazing, just like Bastion's were... the soundtrack has already made its way into my music rotation. The turn-based combat I could see potentially getting tedious down the line, but for now I'm still enjoying it...

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enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
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Re: Transistor

Postby ProZac » Wed May 28, 2014 1:18 pm UTC

Yeah, I have no idea what you're trying to convey about the combat design. All I'm getting out of it is "The combat wasn't designed in a way that appeals to me, therefore it is poorly designed". But I believe the combat did use space and time well... I guess.
phlip wrote:The art style and music are amazing, just like Bastion's were... the soundtrack has already made its way into my music rotation. The turn-based combat I could see potentially getting tedious down the line, but for now I'm still enjoying it...
Yeah, the art style for this game drew me in much faster than Bastion's did, and the soundtrack is just as good. Supergiant was trying to let people know not to listen to the soundtrack before playing through the game because it's heavily tied to story supposedly. As such, I haven't listened to it all yet, but I love what I have heard and can't wait to finish it so it joins my music collection as well. The track that's stood out to me most so far is The Spine. It reminded me exactly of how Build That Wall (Zia's Theme) was used in Bastion. I didn't even realize I was listening to it until part way through and then I didn't want to end that section. I just wanted to listen.

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Re: Transistor

Postby Zcorp » Wed May 28, 2014 7:54 pm UTC

Space and time as a concept for real time games relates to things like projectile speeds, movement speeds, attack animations or recovery, aoe of attacks, duration of effects, etc. The combination of them between various behaviors is what makes combat more dynamic and thus tactical in real time games.

Even Bastion and Transistor use space and time quite differently. Bastion used these elements in Gasfellas (charge up attack), Scumbags (charge and goo shot), Security Turrets (various projectile speeds and homing aspects), Stinkeyes (movement based on players facing), Pincushins (most notable the ones with only directional attacks), the general lack of space in Bastion level design and the list goes on a bit longer.

Transistor places some good space time elements into attack animation or recovery of player actions, but very little is done with enemies to make the real time combat interesting, or even the time in which the player is running around to recharge their Turn(). Most of the time it is just spam your escape till you are behind cover or out of range of enemy aggro. This is largely due to the how enemies and their attacks behave. Pretty much all enemies have very fast projectiles, undodgeable attacks through normal movement (except some you can block with cover) and fast movement. So instead of constant dynamic experience of dodging, baiting, timing your own attacks and prioritizing targets based on the specific combination of the encounter, players are left with attack -> recover -> repeat and there isn't even really attack priorities (except the forced ones through cheerleaders, or sometimes weeds). Attack -> recover -> repeat isn't bad by itself, its just that there isn't much going on during either of those two phases, and their isn't much variety in what the player can do or what is requested of them, mostly due to enemy behavior not using space or time well. Enemies don't track the player particularly well, and when they do there isn't normal movement solutions, their aren't slower projectiles to avoid, even the Cluckers AoE attack is either unavoidable or really easy to dodge (and there are not other elements to make it more interesting in combination), the location you start your Turn is pretty close to irrelevant so where you end your recovery doesn't much matter, there is jsut very little for the player to interact with or consider during these two phases.

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Re: Transistor

Postby thomas0comer » Wed May 28, 2014 9:33 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote: Turn() is used a a crutch for combat design allowing the players to more easily excuse the poor encounter design, and the company to not have to design good encounters. Playing Fallout 3+ without VATS was a far more interesting and viable option than in Transistor. Turn() is so superior to playing the game in real time that for many players it is to much of a handicap to even try it. Turn() ignores the interesting time and space aspects built into most of the player abilities while also essentially doubling the movement of the player.


I have to disagree. Firstly, I thought the encounters were designed well enough, though I certainly wouldn't mind a greater variety of enemies to make things a bit more varied. The encounters, in my opinion, were more designed in terms of the enemies' capabilities and less in terms of the physical space, and I found that interesting. Though the encounters started to feel a bit repetitive at the end when, due to limiters, I couldn't switch my functions around.

Secondly, Turn() is hardly a handicap and more a central mechanic of the game's combat system. I, personally, found it very refreshing to see a game where the enemies don't have glaring pauses in their attack patterns while flashing red with a neon sign saying "attack me now." The time and space aspects of your abilities still fully apply. It's crucial to know the range of your attacks for planning. And in Turn(), the time an ability takes to perform roughly corresponds to its cost. Also, it's very possible to fight out of Turn(), especially with jaunt as an upgrade. Try upgrading Spark or Crash with Jaunt, and using them to keep your distance from enemies. I do get what you mean, though- I'd like it if playing outside of Turn() was slightly more effective, if only so I had incentive to not use Turn() the instant several enemies appear. The choice between fighting at a disadvantage in real-time and fighting in Turn() but then having to run for cover was interesting, but outside the Performance tests, I rarely had enough reason to not use Turn().

As a whole, I thought the game was good, and I liked it. Loved it, even. I personally like the ambiguity in things, so that's one part of Transistor that I really liked- how it left you with questions and didn't compulsively answer them all. I liked the combat a lot, especially with the challenge of limiters. The art, of course, is wonderful. But, I'd have to say it's not quite as good as Bastion.
In Bastion, the narrator fills in the spaces between one fight and another with information about characters and the history of the world. This is especially clear in places like Sawtooth Cauldron, where there are pauses between lines to let you focus on the fights. In Transistor, the narrator was almost filling the same role, but it was more like a constant commentary than an actual narration. With the exposition split between his commentary and the Trace logs, it did feel like the game was telling more than it was showing. The Trace logs helped give an incentive to switch around functions, but there just wasn't enough to go along with them. Bastion's Proving Grounds all helped establish the culture of Caelondia before the calamity, while the various tests in Transistor lacked such character. I had been hoping that the Trace logs, once completed, would allow you to play some sort of test that would show you more about that character, like Bastion's Who Knows Where levels. No such luck, alas. I also felt that the most variety the game's combat showed was in some Test rooms, which might have better been placed in the main game. I didn't mind the length or pacing as much as others seemed to, but I did feel that near the end, there should have been another boss or some sort of climactic encounter. Really, it was a quality game, especially when so much of the market is saturated with shovelware of all kinds. I just wish it stacked up to Bastion better. The parts of Bastion that Transistor used didn't feel as original, and their presence was making me constantly compare the two.
Oh, and one actual complaint about the game- the Access Point interface for equipping Functions is not very well designed. I don't like having to bounce around three menus just to replace one function. I noticed that you could click+drag the functions to your UI on the bottom, which felt much more fluid, so why was that so neglected? I'm looking into the possibility of a mod to fix that up, maybe put the UI panel above the function list or something.

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Re: Transistor

Postby Koa » Fri May 30, 2014 4:00 am UTC

I found myself playing more and more in real time as I got more skilled with the game, and I don't recommend it unless you're approaching the game with a speedrun / highscore mentality (which I also don't recommend). It's mostly button spamming and cheesing enemies. Thankfully it wasn't the ultimate and ideal way to win encounters, but I was doing it about a third of the time (average overall) and it was somewhat lame.

The bosses weren't a problem like I thought they would be, since I've learned how to kill them in seconds with crazy damage output. I agree that the game feels like it's missing at least one boss. I think supergiant were a little too focused with giving their bosses foreshadowing when I would have been fine with one or two bosses that would come out of nowhere just for the action beat.

I was expecting the story would maybe change slightly in recursive. When the credits rolled and it was completely the same experience, the fact that nothing had changed gave it a strange sense of weight. The ending they went with was really the perfect ending. I almost feel like this is a spoiler, but I don't expect many people would try recursive, even though it was a lot more fun from a gameplay perspective. So, at least I can convey that experience in so many words instead of someone reading ITS STUPID NOTHING CHANGES somewhere.

Anyway, I finished it and it's likely in my top 100 favorite games. Which is still very far from the top 10 for those who would call me a supergiant apologist, but noteworthy levels of good. It's great for those who like to explore mechanics and for anyone who likes the general theme, because it nails its theme to a wall and hangs a hat on it.

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Re: Transistor

Postby SirBryghtside » Fri May 30, 2014 10:41 pm UTC

I...

I held off playing this one because I had exams. My last exam finished six and a half hours ago.

I... this is honestly one of the best games I have ever played. The gameplay was perfect - the planning mode is a feature that I absolutely love when it shows up in games, like the Mass Effect series, but this is the first time it's really taken center stage and it was just as perfect as I imagined. The style was oozing out of every pore with that perfect soundtrack and the beautiful cityscapes, the final boss was incredible, and the ending...

That ending.

This is easily in my top ten games of all time. Maybe even my top five. It was everything I wanted this game to be and so, so much more. Like... I don't even know what to say. If you haven't bought this game, it comes with every recommendation possible from me. Just... wow.
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Re: Transistor

Postby kiniget » Sat May 31, 2014 2:26 am UTC

all I can say is that I really enjoyed this game, I even approve of the lack of concrete answers to the major plot questions

most of all though, I really liked the combat system, especially with the Overload mechanic

they actually managed to force you to change up your loadout in a way that felt organic and unforced, and that's no mean feat

also, the fact that you learn more about the story by using the different functions in different ways was a really clever idea
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Re: Transistor

Postby SirBryghtside » Sat May 31, 2014 3:13 am UTC

Yeah, Overload was really nice - it was refreshing to see a game where the penalty for 'death' isn't just wasted time. I honestly felt more motivated to not 'die' than I would have had it just sent me back to the start of a given encounter - especially given that the first thing to go was Jaunt(), which I mixed with Purge() and Spark() to make Red into an awesome ninja who killed opponents by dashing around them from every angle before zipping back into cover. So much fun :D

The other abilities I used were Crash() with Mask() to make the whole ninja thing work by Jaunt()ing behind enemies and backstabbing them, plus a Breach() with Bounce() and Ping() to combo off from that. Never really found a fourth ability that worked with this playstyle, unfortunately. I also loved the Help() passive ability, which gives you a 25% chance of getting an instant 500 damage AoE attack whenever you enter Turn() - felt so awesome to use :D
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Re: Transistor

Postby SlyReaper » Sat May 31, 2014 10:15 am UTC

I found Help() as a passive more of a liability because it only did 500 damage. I was normally able to do a couple of thousand damage with normal attacks during a standard Turn(). Actives were Crash(), Cull(), Mask(), and Jaunt(). Mask was upgraded with Load(), Cull was upgraded with Void(), Jaunt was upgraded with Breach(), and there were a few other upgrades I can't remember. Jaunt behind the enemy, use Crash to stun, use Mask (which, because it had Load as an upgrade, created a fairly powerful explosion with pretty decent damage by itself), then Cull which gets the damage upgrades from having Void as an upgrade, from breaking Mask, and from being a backstab.
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Re: Transistor

Postby kiniget » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:41 am UTC

that loadout is actually how I beat the final boss

one health bar per turn

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Re: Transistor

Postby ProZac » Fri Jun 06, 2014 3:18 pm UTC

I'm not done with the game yet (don't have Cull), but I've been enjoying using Void() with Crash() + Spark() modifying it. Spark adds 2 stacks of Void's debuff and exposes weakness. Void() being cheap leaves a lot of time for planning, which I generally just use for Breach() with Mask() for extra backstab damage. Since setting that up, I don't think I've even really been using my other 2 skill slots. I just use Get() to group things outside of Turn(), and rotate the last one for whatever I need to unlock.

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Re: Transistor

Postby firesoul31 » Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:58 pm UTC

For max turn damage, does anyone know better than
Spoiler:
Mask(Void,Mask)
Void(Crash)
Cull(Cull,Load) 1
Jaunt(Get) ?
Move everyone to the same spot with Jaunt. Open with Mask (650%), then Voidx3, (325% from void, 150%(?) from crash), then Cull (225, 125%, 110%). This should do 6535 damage per enemy (not including Crash, which I don't remember the modifier from), for 32,675 damage.

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Re: Transistor

Postby Zcorp » Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:02 pm UTC

25% of on steam right now for those waiting for a sale.

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Re: Transistor

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:04 pm UTC

Got the game in the Steam Summer Sale, currently in the middle of recursion. My major issues are that aiming outside of Turn() is a bit hit and miss and that the whole experience just feels a bit superficial - it's possible that the ending the second time around changes enough to make things better, but, overall, it's not a game I see myself coming back to...

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Re: Transistor

Postby SirBryghtside » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:42 pm UTC

The only differences between the base game and Recursion are in the gameplay, not the story. Just a heads up.
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