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So Introversion (Uplink, Darwinia, Defcon, Prison Architect) released a new game last week - anyone taken a look?

 

 

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Inspired by Gone Home and Dear Esther, Scanner Sombre is a cave exploration experience. With stunning visuals and a terrifying theme, it is the 6th major video game released by Introversion Software 

 

http://store.steampowered.com/app/475190/Scanner_Sombre/

 

(E: I searched in Discussion but didn't see anything relevant - apologies if it's old news)

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I meant to start a thread for it but didn't get around to it. 

 

Bought this basically on a whim on release day and I really enjoyed it. 

 

You have to like walking simulators. They make no secret of the fact that that's what it is - as in the quote above, they namedrop Dear Esther and Gone Home as inspiration. 

 

It's not very long (I finished it in one sitting of about three hours). Some people might think the price is a bit steep for such a short game. Not sure it'll have much replay value, although there is a New Game Plus mode with at least one nice little additional touch near the start. (I didn't play NG+ for very long so I don't know if the rest of it has anything interesting). 

 

It's beautiful-looking but there's a performance cost. The game retains every LIDAR point you scan, so the further you go, the harder the engine has to work. By the end, the frame rate was pretty rough on my (admittedly five-year-old but relatively beefy) PC. I think it could have done with some more LOD optimisation, probably. I'm not a programmer though so please don't assume I know what I'm talking about. ;)

 

On the whole I would recommend, especially while it's still on the introductory sale. With the caveat that it is very linear and as I said, you would have to like that sort of game. 

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I really like walking simulators (or narrative discovery or whatever...walking simulator isn't a derogatory term right, it's used affectionately now?) and like that they are 'easy' and linear. I don't get much time for games, and things like DOOM or Deus Ex are just sitting there un-played because I can't really get into them, for practical reasons. It's nice having a genre of game where I can feel a sense of completion, even though there was no real skill involved.

 

In fact, I love it when there's no alternative ending or branching, because I don't have time to try loads of things out repeatedly, though I guess sometimes I would like some sort of vague challenge.

 

I absolutely loved Virginia because it told a story well, while leaving a lot to interpretation, and felt fresh for a few reasons. But that said, the exploration of environments really wasn't there, and there was so little freedom that occasionally you wondered if it would have been better just removing the 'movement' and just letting you pan around and nothing more. I don't know, maybe this tenuous interaction helps keep you engaged, if you just watched a fullscreen walkthrough on youtube of the game, you might not engage quite so closely with the characters.

 

I don't know what the point of this post is. Procrastination I guess. Maybe I just want a mechanic where the walking is hard, maybe something where there's a bit more orienteering to the 'walking' process. Some sort of evolution. Maybe this is mapping, then the next phase of story has more reward. I'm not sure if that's what they've tried to do with Scanner Sombre? 
 

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I recently played through Ethan Carter and really enjoyed it. It had just the right amount of exploration, I never felt lost or like I was being funneled down a corridor either so maybe check that out if you haven't played it. It actually gave me a new appreciation for the genre, made me view them as a good delivery mechanism for short stories that would otherwise feel stretched thin in a bigger, more mechanically complex game. The whole non-game 'walking simulator' tag feels like it's missing the point of what these games can deliver.

 

So having finished that, I'm currently playing through What Remains of Edith Finch and it's absolutely wonderful. Such incredibly creative storytelling and worthy of the praise it has received.

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Good to hear, I'm a walking simulators fan but I've not played one for a while after Dear Esther made me want to claw mine and at least 34 other people's eyes out in sheer boredom even before you take into account its approach to savepoints.

 

Anyone done Ethan Carter in VR?

 

Also on the most "Actual adventure" side of walking sims I really enjoyed Oxenfree recently, but that's hardly a hot take.

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I just recently played Gone Home and reaaally enjoyed that. I thought it was great. I liked Ethan Carter as well, but not quite as much. Dear Esther was too depressing, I stopped playing that after perhaps 20 minutes. So I guess I just lean towards walking simulators that are a bit "cozier" so to speak, even though even that is a bit of a stretch to say about Gone Home.

 

Really want to play Edith Finch, enjoyed Oxenfree as well (although I wouldn't put that in the same category at all to be honest).

 

At the moment I'm playing the point-and-click adventure Kathy Rain, a nice little detective story. It's amazing so far!

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19 hours ago, cowfields said:

I really like walking simulators (or narrative discovery or whatever...walking simulator isn't a derogatory term right, it's used affectionately now?) and like that they are 'easy' and linear. I don't get much time for games, and things like DOOM or Deus Ex are just sitting there un-played because I can't really get into them, for practical reasons. It's nice having a genre of game where I can feel a sense of completion, even though there was no real skill involved.

 

In fact, I love it when there's no alternative ending or branching, because I don't have time to try loads of things out repeatedly, though I guess sometimes I would like some sort of vague challenge.

 

I absolutely loved Virginia because it told a story well, while leaving a lot to interpretation, and felt fresh for a few reasons. But that said, the exploration of environments really wasn't there, and there was so little freedom that occasionally you wondered if it would have been better just removing the 'movement' and just letting you pan around and nothing more. I don't know, maybe this tenuous interaction helps keep you engaged, if you just watched a fullscreen walkthrough on youtube of the game, you might not engage quite so closely with the characters.

 

I don't know what the point of this post is. Procrastination I guess. Maybe I just want a mechanic where the walking is hard, maybe something where there's a bit more orienteering to the 'walking' process. Some sort of evolution. Maybe this is mapping, then the next phase of story has more reward. I'm not sure if that's what they've tried to do with Scanner Sombre? 
 

 

Kholat might be worth a look then. Not as horror as it looks and navigation is a key active part of the gameplay.

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I've played Oxenfree. It was great, but I agree with Illyria - it feels more like a lite point and click than a walking sim. That said I don't know why I've decided that walking sims are first person. Maybe it's just that their hook is the sense of immersive exploration, looking around you etc.

 

Some good recommendations here though, thanks all.

I have to say that while I'm a little bit fatigued by 'branching' I do think Life is Strange got it right in that you can pretty much take things as it comes and not worry about which path you took. I do think that it was crass at the end of each episode saying "YOU DID NOT TO SAVE THE PERSON" as that toyed with your emotions in a way to make you feel like you failed, the social stats about what other people did broke the 4th wall a bit. It'd be fine at the end credits, but there we go.

 

My point is branching is in theory supposed to be a way of making a game have replay value and create a discussion point, but it usually just makes me feel disappointed with my playthrough if I felt like there was an eventuality I would have preferred, but had no idea that was something to aim for. I also think that fundamentally, it can weaken story telling as well. 

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2 hours ago, Gizamaluke said:

Oxenfree is great. Edith Finch is the new pack leader though.

 

I've just finished watching the credits roll on Edith Finch. I'm bowled over by how good it was. Definitely a new favourite of mine.

 

I didn't like Oxenfree as much as I was expecting. I found I wanted a lot of the characters to just shut the fuck up at times when they'd starting talking for the sake of talking with nothing really interesting to say. It was overwritten to an annoying degree.

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I enjoy walking simulators a lot, particularly those with an unsettling undertone, such as The Park, Firewatch, Everybody's Gone To Rapture.   I really enjoyed Dear Esther as it goes, and the final section was absolutely gorgeous to look at.  Ethan Carter was brilliant, and I loved Gone Home also.  I have Kholat which again is just gorgeous, but the lack of a map and my terrible sense of direction meant I had to give up with it for the time being.  

 

I have been looking at buying Homesick, but looks like I will need to add Edith Finch to the list along with Scanner Sombre.

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Kholat is easily one of the worst games I have ever played. Don't you dare mention it in the same breath as Gone Home, Firewatch and Ethan Carter!

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Online crossplay is now available on certain titles between GOG and Steam.. what those titles are is anyone's guess, as no list was provided that I could find.

 

 

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It looks like Valve has finally done it, they've finally changed trading to the point Secret Santa has been taken out back and shot.

 

As far as I can see there's no way to put a game into your inventory so you can send it to a third-party to trade anomalously. Hopefully enough say fuck you Valve so this is changed.

 

Also want to buy a few copies of games to give away at a later date, which people in here have done, not any more.

 

Quote

Today we’re announcing changes to gifts on Steam. The gifting process has had a bunch of friction in it for a while, and we want to make it easier for you to share the games you love with friends. Steam Gifting will now be a system of direct exchange from gift buyer to gift receiver, and we will be retiring the Gift to E-mail and Gift to Inventory options. Here's a quick breakdown of benefits from the new system:
 

Scheduling Gifts Is Even More Straightforward

Go ahead and buy a gift months in advance and have it delivered to a friend on time, every time.
 

Declined Gifts Resolve The Way They Should

In the old system, a declined gift would sneak back into the giver's inventory and remain on their bill. Now, if a recipient already has the title, or just doesn't want it, they can click decline and the purchase is refunded directly to the gift giver.
 

Safe Cross-Country Gifting

No more worrying if a Gift to E-mail or Gift to Inventory is going to work for a friend, gifts sent through the new system will always work on the receiver's account. When there is a large difference in pricing between countries, gifting won't be available and you'll know before purchase.

These changes are now available. Please let us know if you see any issues or have any feedback.

Note: Pre-existing gifts will be unaffected by this change.

 

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I doubt they'll reverse the changes, as looking at them the new ones successfully shaft sites like G2A who abuse the old system.

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Yeah, it gets those that would gift cross region, which also means some of those poorer regions who don't have their own store have been shafted as well.

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Rocket League free to play weekend on Steam.  Also The Division is free to play as well.


Got RL downloading now (three hours thanks to my shite connection).

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On 2017-5-4 at 10:04, JPR said:

It looks like Valve has finally done it, they've finally changed trading to the point Secret Santa has been taken out back and shot.

 

As far as I can see there's no way to put a game into your inventory so you can send it to a third-party to trade anomalously. Hopefully enough say fuck you Valve so this is changed.

 

Also want to buy a few copies of games to give away at a later date, which people in here have done, not any more.

 

 

I expect killing secret santa programs would be viewed as acceptable collateral if it takes resellers out of the equation.

 

Still a shame, any idea where the best location to voice concerns is?

 

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A heads up, the current 'Very Positive' Humble Bundle is worth it for Stephen's Sausage Roll. It's the first time the game's been on sale from it's usual £20~ price point and it's one of the best (and most challenging) puzzle games I've played.

 

It won't be for everyone, but if you love challenging puzzle games that don't hold your hand then it's something special.

 

 

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2 hours ago, strawdonkey said:

I expect killing secret santa programs would be viewed as acceptable collateral if it takes resellers out of the equation.

 

Still a shame, any idea where the best location to voice concerns is?

 

 

Suggestions / Ideas is probably the best place but deaf and ears are words that come to mind.

 

This seems to be the final attempt to kill cross-border trading, that large price difference looks to be 10-15%.

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On 5/4/2017 at 10:04, JPR said:

It looks like Valve has finally done it, they've finally changed trading to the point Secret Santa has been taken out back and shot.

 

Secret Santa would still be possible. You just let everyone know the account they're buying for, and get them to set the date for the gift to arrive.

 

The downsides would be when the gift is received you'll know who the present was from, and if you needed to be friends with them to gift it might be obvious in advance (although you could just get everyone in the pool to friend each other to obfuscate it.)

 

The Not-so-secret Santa.

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Yeah, does defeat the point a bit.

 

I guess you could also paypal the money and list of games to me and then I buy and gift. But I could imagine sending games to someone is one thing but money is different. Still plenty of time left to see how things play out, hopefully we'll be able to salvage something.

 

Still could be worse we could be in Vietnam who seem to have been really shafted by this, they now have to pay US prices for SEA region locked games whilst their neighbours get the same game for much cheaper.

 

Be interesting to see what publishers do with prices in the poorer regions now, they've been hiking the prices recently, NieR saw price rises up to 100% in Asia a few hours after release. There seems to be no protectionist reason to charge those prices now that they can't trade them. 

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On 2017-5-3 at 10:09, Dudley said:

Anyone done Ethan Carter in VR?

 

I attempted it when it came out, but I thought the VR implementation was pretty terrible to be honest. The opening tunnel is still there for instance, on rails, which feels pretty horrible. After that you control direction by looking, or using the pad, and I just remember it being really jarring, and not at all immersive as a result.

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On 03/05/2017 at 12:16, cowfields said:

I've played Oxenfree. It was great, but I agree with Illyria - it feels more like a lite point and click than a walking sim. That said I don't know why I've decided that walking sims are first person. Maybe it's just that their hook is the sense of immersive exploration, looking around you etc.

 

Thing is, Oxenfree is entirely free of both pointing and clicking.  It's just walking and interacting, so it really is just that's it's 2.5D.

 

I'll accept it's a genre blur certainly, but it scratches the same itch Gone Home and (Especially) Life is Strange did.

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On 06/05/2017 at 11:22, Blu3Flame said:

A heads up, the current 'Very Positive' Humble Bundle is worth it for Stephen's Sausage Roll. It's the first time the game's been on sale from it's usual £20~ price point and it's one of the best (and most challenging) puzzle games I've played.

 

It won't be for everyone, but if you love challenging puzzle games that don't hold your hand then it's something special.

 

 

 

Its also got Hacknet which I've been enjoying immensly. Hard to imaging so much atmosphere and tensions from a terminal based game but I love it.

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This looks really nice.

 

Quote

 

Steam page — Humble Store
Released: May 5
Developer: Rain Games
Publisher: Rain Games
Price: $20/£15 (15% off for launch) 

World to the West is an action adventure game that looks like it plays similar to things like the top-down Zelda games. You can play as four different characters each with unique abilities, and the Steam page emphasizes that exploration and discovering secrets is a big part of the game, so it's a good thing its art style is so charming. World to the West was also created by Rain Games, which is the same developer that made the wonderful Teslagrad back in 2013. 

 

 

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The Steam Store: Our Philosophy and Next Steps

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Whenever we announce a change to the Steam Store, we're always really interested to read the discussions that follow. Obviously we see a wide range of opinions on how good a job the Store is doing, but increasingly we're seeing that people have very different ideas of what its job even is - and what it should be.

That's understandable. One of the reasons it's so hard to make a good store - one of the reasons we've been working on it for years, and one of the reasons we think we still have years of work left to do - is that it has so many jobs. It has to serve so many players whose tastes and interests are not only different, but sometimes complete opposites.

So we thought it would be useful to define what we believe success would be for the Steam Store. That way, everyone would understand what we're trying to do, and discussions could focus on what we're trying to do separately from whether or not we're doing it well enough. This distinction also helped us realize we should be collaborating more directly with the community around improving the Steam Store.

This blog post aims to start that process by being the first in a set of three that explains our thinking around the Steam Store, and our plans for how we'll improve it with Steam Direct. We're going to talk about Store's goals, and how it executes them. In the second post, we'll cover some ways the Store is being exploited, and some changes we're making to address that. Finally, in the third we'll talk about the Steam Direct publishing fee, and some features that we'll be releasing in the coming weeks.

-

So what would a successful Steam Store look like? To answer that, we need to look at all the different kinds of people who use it.

More after the clickity click. 

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