Impressions of the impressions

(The ModDB download link is now working. I suspect you may have to register, but you totally should anyway.)

Already, approaching 300 people have downloaded Post Script Episode 1.  That’s staggering.  It’s been available for eight hours, and that’s been overnight in the UK and partially overnight for most places in the US.  I couldn’t be happier with how many people are playing already.  And I couldn’t be happier with the feedback.

There have only been seven votes so far, but Post Script currently has a user rating of 8.3 out of 10 on ModDB.  ModDB’s users are famously, ferociously honest (Dear Esther has “only” managed a 9, and that’s one of the finest “gaming” experiences there is), so that’s a great early result – though obviously there’s plenty of time for that to nosedive.  But what’s thrilled me most is how helpful and sensible the response has been, even from people who hated it.

I’ve had, y’know, actual feedback.  People getting in touch to say they really wanted to like it, but couldn’t, and for these reasons.  A few people have said they didn’t like the lack of both traditional gameplay and hand-holding, and that’s fine, because Post Script probably isn’t being made for them.  But others have pointed out bugs, glitches, level design issues and all sorts that make me want to bang my head on the table, because they’re such glaringly obvious problems that I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on them.  Such is the nature of creative work. Spend long enough on it, and the whole thing becomes a blur of shapes and colours.

This is actually why I was so nervous as I clicked the upload button last night.  What if it’s shit?  I’ve played through the episode so many times – probably 30 or so in full, and countless more in early testing. To me, it just isn’t that interesting any more.  I know the story, so there’s none of that intrigue anyway.  But the world has lost some of its intrigue, some of its magic.  I was terrified this was just because it was a rubbish concept, but no – from early feedback, it seems people are really interested in it.  People (generally) love the writing, which is fantastic.  People (generally) find it to be really atmospheric, which is wonderful.  These are the two things I was really aiming for, and will continue to aim for in coming episodes.  If people dig those aspects, I can deal with (and hopefully fix) criticisms of the level design and art pass.

Thanks to everyone who’s downloaded and played so far.  Thanks to all those who intend to.  Thanks to Kotaku for being the first site to post impressions, however short (and I totally dig “Fallout, only without the mutants. The Road, only without the annoying whiney kid. I Am Legend, without the vampires”).  And thanks to everyone for the wonderful and helpful feedback.  I now actually believe that, with a little more care and attention, this mod can end up being a serious contender.


11 Responses to “Impressions of the impressions”

  1. I installed it last night but I haven’t had time to play it yet. I’ll hassle you with my impressions via Twitter when I get home and have a chance to play it.

    Did you do any play testing with other people at all, just watching them play while you took notes?

  2. It was tested by five people in total, though due to only living with one of them, I only actually saw one person play it. Everyone else gave detailed feedback, though, and pretty much every problem was addressed. But ultimately, things are always going to slip through the net.

  3. I absolutely love how you handled the suggested change to that last puzzle (trying to keep it spoiler-free here). It was also great to be able to just play through it reading the text properly and taking in the story, without trying to break it (although I confess, I did try and climb that hill again. I failed: result!). Looking forward to Episode 2 now.

  4. Hey there, I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this first episode. It was a little short, and I would have liked more places to explore, but I think you nailed the atmosphere, and especially the writing. Starting it off the way you did was perfect; as soon as those first three words appeared on screen, I was instantly hooked. I’m looking forward to future episodes 🙂

  5. I’m a little confused by the game. Were there meant to be any puzzles in the first episode, because I didn’t find any aside from climbing the fence.

    I have some advice though. The sewer doors are impossible to see, maybe that’s what you were going for, that’s OK. The hallway with the misplaced tile had me trying to move the tile back to it’s location for a good 10 minutes, then I realized it doesn’t even matter. I would take out little things like that in the future – they just confuse the player (have you listened to the HL2 or Portal dev tracks, I think that exact concept is mentioned in there somewhere) Also, your areas are really huge and sparse, maybe tone them down a bit. And the farm house is weirdly shaped, I think you could have gotten away with a much smaller footprint for the same effect.

    Right now, I don’t understand the story or why no one is around.

    And for bugs: I played vanilla at first then with Dev Commentary a second time. The first time there was no music and most of the graffiti was missing. I’m not sure if it loaded bad, or if these assets were only in the dev commentary – or do more assets load the more times you play the game?

    It’s all very confusing. I want to really enjoy this, and hope the future episodes give me what I’m after. Keep it up, I’ll keep following and continue offering as much advice as I can. I love this genre and hope you can really tear it open!

  6. Oh, and another thing. You might have some weird shaped hit boxes on things. I got stuck on lots of little objects (wooden planks, and those… rocks?) when I should have been able to just walk right over them. Also, in the brick fence area I was getting stuck here and there in the fence. Not sure if that’s a problem with source or not, but figured I’d mention it.

  7. hey lewis, thought id leave some feedback since u are my apprentice :-).

    alittle short but hey its a self released mod who can complain. Its left me abit confused about whats happend but i guess future episodes may shed more light (or ive missed afew key points lol). all round the only bug i found was when changing the res the main screen switched back to default HL2 screen outside the station.

    I will be playing it again and exploring every inch but for now im glad uve got back to modding and cant wait for the next chapter.

  8. i will tell you that i really liked it. i did find the geometry of the levels to be a bit simplistic and some of the lighting is a bit too dark for my liking but i definitly loved the atmosphere of it. you’ve got quite an interesting idea here that i think more people should look at the exploration aspect of game design in the way have embraced.

    a little experimentation in the level design could do alot of good for this project. i know you’re only one man and can only accomplish so much on your own. even with the flaws i still admire your ability to let the atmosphere do alot of the work. i can’t wait for more installments to come.

    ps: a flashlight would’ve been great for the sewers.

  9. All right I finally had a chance to play it. Very haunting and atmospheric Lewis, so mission accomplished on that front. The puzzles were quite simple and straight-forward, which is the way I like that sort of thing.

    I’m wondering though, is there a purpose to the gas cans and the fire in the marsh? I assumed they had something to do with getting over the fence into the sewers, but in the end I just stacked some boxes and jumped over it. It felt a bit like cheating… I dunno 🙂

    The level design was a bit boxy, but the texture use was solid. The sound design was excellent. The ending was creepy and the writing was good. Eight out of ten! 😛

  10. Thanks to Gaming Daily I was told to install this mod. I’ve done a review of it (Ish) on my blog, and it should be up on Monday at 10GMT.

    I’ll be brief here as its nearly 2 o’clock, but mostly I enjoyed it. It’s an interesting concept, and the story is intruiging. I did feel cheated though. It isn’t very large, and I was sure I’d missed a lot (Then again, I did only a few playthroughs). Great writing, and a great style, though it does seem very sparse. But, I do look forward to new episodes. Keep it up

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: