Review criticisms

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What can we do to improve on the original Oni?
from the mouths of the critics



Story

The strange thing is that her character still remains a very empty one. Most of her interactions with the game's other characters are extremely understated and reveal little about what people want to know about her. Part of this appears to be an effort to create a bigger mystery around what Konoko exactly is.


Before anyone speaks up in defense of the way things are, let me just throw one word out there: Casey. Someone we were already kinda considering adding (back) into the story. Perhaps a side story with him might allow us to flesh out Konoko's human side a little more. It's a tricky thing to contemplate, but I don't think that it shouldn't be brought up just because it's tricky. --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

I can't comment on this much. Adding in BGI without screwing up the story is tricky enough as it is. Gumby
This is the kind of thing that is very long-term (not something we'd aim to get into the next release of the AE, or even the one after that, etc.). As such, we need to allow this concept time to gel in our minds, and see if it's possible, or even a good idea. I think it will help to have a space to brainstorm in when we have a few minutes here and there. I recommend taking over AE_talk:Casey for that purpose. Anyone who has any thoughts on this idea that are more than a few words may want to just put them on that page so we can have plenty of room to discuss it. --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)

Gameplay

Game Design

Using stealth, you can sneak up on guards but I found this feature was far too underused.


Of course, this feature is only as "underused" as the player underuses it, but the point I took away from this was that it is rarely useful/smart to use stealth. It's too easy to be spotted with the way the enemy walks and turns around from time to time, and the benefit seems pretty negligible to taking someone out stealthily, so I think that's why we don't take the time to sneak around more often. It seems to me that fixing this might require moving some obstacles around in levels, and editing patrol paths, and possibly finding some way to make stealth a rewarding approach that can be used in place of charging in every time. --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

Agreed. One thing at a time though, I can't do all the scripting here. -_- Gumby
Well, this, like Casey, might be a very long-term goal. We could put it way down on our list of priorities. For now, I'm just fishing for ideas, e.g., How can we make stealth rewarding to the player? One idea is to make stealth kills/KOs not alert any nearby AI, so there's a clear advantage to doing things that way when possible. I might have some more details to add later, possibly to a new page where this can be discussed in more depth. --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008

(CET)

I apologize for intervening into this discussion, but I should react on some things.
  • First, stealth IS rewarding right now. Any back throw (considering my throw modification) deals 50 dmg minimal(Comguy's, 75 maximal(Muro's/Konoko's). Average health of enemies is around 60, so this is sort of stealth kill. After all, how do you think I play this game when I play for story? Yes, by stealth, giving unspotted backbreakers (+ Sledgehammer if enemy survives first assault) whenever it is possible.
  • Second, I think that kinda opposite of idea presented here, we need AIs to be more aware of surroundings. Remember my demo, where AI2 reacted on dead body, running close to it and examining it? That is what I mean. I have read it in numerous reviews - "Another minus points goes for stupid AI, which, apart from being excellent in combat, totally lacks other "intelligence". For example, it happily steps on dead body of his comrade player killed two seconds ago, ignoring him completely." Now this would not only look good, but it could be used as tactics how to pass some area unspotted. Kill right guy in right place, hide. Wait till comrades come near him. They will run near him to check. Now quickly use that second path you wanted to use, which was patrolled by those AI's who now check dead body.
  • Third,yes, moving dead bodies would be nice feature, but engine appearently does not support it.--Loser 22:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)


That's not to say that Oni doesn't boast an impressive level here and there, such as an intense airport mission, but the overall scheme is disappointing. Most of the levels feature locked doors that are opened using computer terminals to bypass security. Later in the game, the pattern changes to having to use multiple computer terminals to open a locked door.


Another reviewer coins a term for this: "samey". He laments that a game with so much action could feel repetitive. --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

I'd like some more things like with Warehouse (have to save an AI who can open the doors, etc...if your AI dies, you are SOL and lose...like in Loser's mod) Gumby
Never got to play that (I assume it's still PC-only???). But it's true that "protect" missions are usually thrown into a game to vary the action a bit. Frankly, I've never been a big fan of protect missions, but that's usually because they're so hard. If we adjust the difficulty juuuust right, this might work out well. Although I'm not sure Warehouse is the best place to use this idea; Konoko's got to go in on her own because it's a sensitive, covert mission. But still, having an ally in some level who can do something you can't is one good idea for offering more variety. Let's keep brainstorming for more other ways to make things less "samey". I suggest we think about the airport level -- I agree with the reviewer on its being more intense. Why is it more intense? What makes it better than some other levels? --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)
My two cents:
  • 1. - Reviewer was probably influenced by demo. Yes, only my opinion. In times of demo Oni was still in hype phase, so when final product came and all reviewers competed who will drag it down more and make it look more dull, there was still some idea that "airport was good".
  • 2. - Then for some exact stuff, Airport is storm type of mission. Almost no locked doors, lots of enemies, lots of gadgets (hypos, forcefields, guns), quite linear. Like a roller coaster. That makes it different from other "door puzzle" levels.
  • 3. - Good old Warehouse mod was exactly extrapolation of reviewers opinion - it need more ideas, I stuffed some of them into Warehouse. Like jumping puzzles, finding key item, usage of other characters.
  • 4. - Another ideas are in my head already, just I lack of time to work on them. Includes:
-stealing mad bomber's bomb and setting it to blast some doors/wall (usage of env_show/env_hide, PAR3 and trigvolumes)
-having a mission where you control a team and you have to accomplish task. There isn't Konoko in team (maybe Casey?). You can switch from one member to another, others are controlled by AI2 and follow you unless you order them to wait or unless they are in some zone where they ought to do some action. For example second level:
First part is played as Konoko, until "this is a wild goose chase" scene. Short after she is captured and held as hostage. Remember that Shinnie is linked to her, so Griffin sees that.
Player then gets into control of squad of three TCTFs. He must manage to get with at least two of them to key positions, so one(or two if all three are alive) are to distract/keep busy enemy forces, and one "goes from other side" and frees Konoko. Being free, Konoko becames "part" of team, altogether they all defeat enemy forces (all TCTFs can die now without it being game over) and want to get out.
If some TCTFs are alive, they secure escape path. Otherwise it does not matter. Konoko goes for deactivation of deadly brain. Deactivation is done only in two waves of console shutting. Then deadly brain jams consoles which surround him and starts countdown to Xiox explosion (remember - he went nuts).
You have to shut him down by turning off his power supply. That means you have to have some gun (let there be some gun somewhere on ground wich can be reachable when you load this savepoint). You run from Deadly brain room, head into "engines of evil" hall, there you have to shoot some cables to cause blackout. If you try to shoot Deadly brain directly, it does nothing to him.
-maybe more --Loser 22:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)


There’s some promise shown early on with disabling the Deadly Brain even though it’s a modified jumping puzzle but it’s not found anywhere else. More innovation would have been welcomed.


Well, the Deadly Brain "puzzle" is found one more time... but I don't think that invalidates the point he/she is making. --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

I don't like gimmicky things like this, but to each his own. Gumby
For one thing, I am not even sure I consider the Deadly Brain a jumping puzzle (does anyone actually jump while fighting the one in Ch. 2? I sure don't.). But maybe it would make sense to require more agility from the player than simply timing their runs from console to console.
But Gumby, you brought up another point -- I think you're saying that you aren't crazy about boss fights where there's some gimmick to beating them, right? Arguably, that might not be the direction we want to take Oni in. Currently, none of the boss fights are particularly gimmick-based (Mutant Muro is close, but doesn't really count IMO). Then again, that kind of boss fight can make things more interesting and force the player to use their wits more. What do you other guys feel on the matter? --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)


[...] the building structures may be nice, but aside from a few of your standard "jump" obstacles there is very little to actually interact with.


*cough* *cough* Movable chairs would be a nice start. Remind me again, someone, why we haven't been able to do that? Is it bad collision detection? --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET) Moveable furniture feature is in engine but it is incomplete and bugged, thus useless.


Despite the wonderfully crafted training tutorial stage for players to get accustomed to the complex controls, the minute the actual in-game mission started, I still found myself ill-prepared and dying and restarting quite frequently.



The only thing I didn't like was the lack of a section in the training camp where one could actually spar with foes outside the game. A lot of the best moves just happen, but an experienced user can pull off miraculous combinations. Presently, there's no safe place to practice these, and I hope Bungie provides one.


There's nothing wrong with a learning curve, of course. But wouldn't we all, as newbies, have welcomed a return to the training level, to practice moves that you had newly obtained? This is more practical, story-wise, if the room is indeed in virtual space, as there is some indication. --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

There are a few spots in the game where there is an empty level slot...but remember there is a point in the game where you can't go back to the nice training room. :)
Yes, you're quite right. Even if the room is virtual, if it relies on the TCTF computers or on Shinatama in some way, it won't be accessible after Chapter 6. That's... pretty early on, considering a number of moves are yet to be unlocked at that point. If, however, Konoko can access this room on her own (how?) she can use it between any levels we want. --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)


Though the game is linear, there's more than one way to achieve an objective. Honestly, that's half the fun, plotting plan B, C, D, etc. after plan A falls flat on its face.


This statement actually feels overly generous to me. Are there really multiple paths to each goal? Certainly in some places, but I don't feel that Oni is consistent in this; surely with such large levels, we can find some way to make things a bit more non-linear? --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

More scripting :( Gumby
I'm not so sure about that, Gumby. Remember geyser's efforts to reveal hidden doors in the Warehouse? Allowing alternate paths in a level is sometimes all that's needed to make the game non-linear. Of course, that might require some touch-up of the scripting to prevent the level from being broken by the player following a newly-made path, but that shouldn't involve major effort. --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)


Allied characters are few and far between, and also very stupid; at no point do you really feel as part of a 'team' in a coordinated attack. This is a shame, as it could have been a real boost to gameplay at some points.


This sounds like, not a criticism of the AI's general intelligence, but of the fact that in situations like the attack on TCTF HQ, your allies can't even follow you to other floors. This seems like a scripting flaw to me, not an AI2 problem. Also, look at gmsly's approach to using teams (see 1:40 and 1:50) and tell me that's not exactly what the reviewer would have loved to see. --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

Indeed, we can add more characters to the levels. I need to play gmsly's script sometime, but it looks good. Gumby

Technical Stuff

There's no way to re-configure the controls, at least not without editing a non-documented file.


I know we have third-party tools for doing this, and the startup dialog box (that's currently broken for both OS X and Windows), but doesn't it seem like there should be some way to make this part of the interface? --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

No matter what geyser says, I cannot find any key binding dialog box. However, someone (me? :<) could write up a utility called up at start (either through a .bat or the Daodan) to edit the keys. Gumby
Is it feasible to hack the WMDDs or whatever, to add a new screen where keys are set? The Daodan can monitor what's actually done on that screen, so as to write the appropriate changes to key_config.txt (this leaves the Mac out, of course :-( ). That way we could present an actual Oni-like, in-game screen for changing these settings. You already added the Options button to the mid-game Main Menu, so that's what made me wonder if this was possible. --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)
Hacking WMDDs = complicated. I would just have a win32 dialog pop up, simple as that. Gumby


Oni automatically saves your game at certain points of a mission, but there's no way to save your progress whenever you want to.


It seems that since the level scripting is based around the current, fixed savepoints, we can't just give the player the ability to save anytime, anywhere. We can add more savepoints, though, which is sort of on the long-term To-Do list already. Any other ideas on this subject? --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

My view is that if you can't beat an SP, change your strategy. :) Indeed, we can't change the SP system. Gumby
Maybe only a couple additional SPs are needed. I vote for another one in Ch. 3, for instance. What do others feel on the subject? --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)


There are frequent points in the game where Konoko's survival depends on how quickly she can flee. Say you just defeated an opponent strapped with C4 hooked to a three-second timer. As he's dropping, he activates the self-destruct. You'd think Konoko would want to get out of there in a hurry. But instead of adding a single "dash" button to the controls to speed up Konoko's default run, it is a double-tap forward affair which, in the most inopportune times, can result in some kind of sluggish ambling followed by a speedy death.


I know we are going to turn off Konoko's auto-dash hack in future AE releases, right? I do feel that's a good idea, but it will also reintroduce the above problem. So, what about a "dash" key? Is that possible? A separate key from the normal run key, or else using a modifier in conjunction with that key? --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

For PC - maybe (though I don't like the idea), for Mac - doubt it, unless you can do something like the Daodan DLL. --Gumby
What don't you like about it? Saying that an idea is a bad one *is* a valid response to any of these points, after all, but I want to know why you feel that way. --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)
You either like the autodash or you don't. I don't see why you would want both. I _suppose_ we could replace walk anims with dash anims. Hey, now there is an idea. Gumby


The game itself exhibits many “clipping” problems in which characters can pass through walls, hang off ledges and pass through solid objects in such a way that one is jarringly reminded that you are playing a computer game. It is very common to enter a room, look back and find the foot or head of your just-vanquished foe sticking through the wall or protruding through the closed door; in several places in the game you can even fight an opponent through the closed door they are guarding, while being totally immune to gunfire.


I know Loser already has done some experimentation with making characters actually *hit* walls, which should prevent most, if not all, of the "clipping" problems (I consider this to be a collision problem, not a clipping problem, but I guess it depends how you define "clipping"). I guess I just need to know what Loser's current feelings are on what we can actually do for this problem. Is the system he worked on going to be practical? I know he had concerns about it being too hard on the engine. --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)


I’ve heard several arguments from fans of the game and Oni team members that keeping a constant distance between the POV and Konoko is essential for aiming range weapons and timing your attacks, and to a certain extent I buy this logic – if, that is, I had never played Rune or FAKK2.


This is sure to be a controversial point, as I think most of us are fine with the JelloCam, but I've put it here anyway for discussion, not because I necessarily agree with it. I need to go back and play Rune and FAKK2 before I form an opinion, myself (can't remember how the cameras worked). --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

Can't comment. Never played em. Would be complicated to change the cam though. --Gumby
I included this even though I can only see it being changed if we had the source. I still think it might be useful to evaluate this point, though, even if we currently can't do anything about it. I can't say whether I even want to do anything about it until I have revisited those games, though. --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)


Violating one of the ten commandments of game design, Bungie for some reason decided to not include the option of skipping cutscenes. We wouldn't have had a problem if we were forced to watch a cutscene the first time, but, thanks to the autosave issue, you may be forced to watch the same cut scene over and over again.


We already have a solution to this, courtesy of Gumby, although it is not yet part of the AE. This quote can be considered a reminder that it should be, though. --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

Yep. Gumby

Gun Combat

Weapons mysteriously disappear as time passes if left on the ground.
Fixed - http://gumby.oni2.net/AE/release/nofade.zip
The only limitation is that you should avoid spawning more than 64 weapons. OTA should still be ok, as it cleans up the weapons after every round. If you do spawn too many, the first ones get deleted any any new ones have no physics context (they float in midair...)
Gumby 14 December 2008 (CET)


[...] you can't put the largest cannons in down in your shorts just as you can with smaller weapons.


I can only imagine the reviewer was thinking of the WMC when he wrote this. Of course, all other weapons can be holstered. But maybe this reviewer should be right. I know we've already discussed making rifles unholsterable; so what's the current feeling on making that change in the AE? --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)


The enemies have some killer aim, and can get off many more shots before the player is able to get a few well-aimed shots off. This is of course resolved by closing distance with the enemy but in my experience it is just as safe to dodge weapon based attacks by dashing towards the enemy. Other equipment like the force field belt, and an overdose of hypos provide the extra boost to accomplish this sort of thing without taking a scratch.


I think this is a very valid point about a flaw in the gameplay's balance. To this end, Gumby has experimented with the AI's accuracy setting, which inexplicably is set to 1 (basically, "god-like") in the ONCCs even though a wide range of accuracy is possible. We've found that a setting of 3 (that right, Gumby?) seems to give the AI realistic human-like accuracy. Anyone else have any thoughts on this subject? And let's get that movie up here, Gumby, where you adjust the skill setting in realtime. --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

Yes, three is a good amount. Gumby


[...] the Mercury Bow, a scopeless pseudo-sniper rifle


"Scopeless", eh? Well, now, I believe we might be able to do something about that ;-) --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

Sniper script = meh, but works. Gumby
What don't you like about it? I'm curious to know. --Iritscen 16:07, 10 December 2008 (CET)

Melee Combat

The lack of a good off-the-floor attack in Konoko’s moves vocabulary is a surprising omission, considering how often she gets knocked down.


If I could get the engine to see them differently (i gotta look at the anim types), I would like to include a kick anim like the striker's down kick getup (but without the getup) and a kick getup like Konoko currently has. Gumby

I have tried to include such a move, idea was shot down by Gumby himself and Iritscen as too spammy (and yes, it WAS spammy). And with forced pauses it looks weird ( why I can kick only each 3 seconds if nothing holds me? ). Maybe it needs some flashy animation to extend recovery time ?--Loser 13:33, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
[Y]our opponents and Konoko fall flat on their backs much too easily; in fact it is often tough to land a good combo because your opponent is already stretched out flat after the second blow.


So, I'm wondering what would happen if we seriously reduced the frequency of knockdowns. Wouldn't it make for a faster-paced fight, and thus a more exciting one? Longer combos, and less times where you relax while your opponent takes his time getting to his feet? I'm particularly curious to hear other opinions on this one. Does Oni, in fact, over-use knockdowns? --Iritscen 01:25, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, this might make group fights painful, if they could continuously lay into you. It is easily changeable though. Gumby 02:24, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Graphics & Sound

Animation

When you send an enemy down to the ground, they tend to drop as if they've suffered a concussion. They don't squirm at all, they just lay there for a few seconds and then they pop back to their feet, ready for round two.


I think the reviewer was seeing the combination of (a) some unusually long "idle times" (or "nap times", as I call them) for some characters such as Tankers, and (b) the fact that fallen animations are actually kind of weak -- characters just kind of gently float to the ground sometimes, and immediately stop moving when touching said ground, which is not how it works in real life -- and (c) as the reviewer says, the enemies don't move from the time they fall to the time they get up. Honestly, I don't see a problem with (c) as long as (a) and (b) can be addressed. --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

What I got out of this quote was that the AI was completely unchanged from beat down 1 to beat down 2. If you were to be beaten, tossed, punch, kicked, etc. you would fall on the ground and get up, but when you were up for the second time you would show signs that you were beaten up, you would act like you were in pain. So this is probaly a job for animators as well as character modders. Otaku-kun


If you throw someone while they are near a wall or a railing, they magically float down to the floor rather than smash against the wall or topple over the edge.


Graphics

In puzzling fashion, the dialogue is presented using close-up portraits of the characters that are speaking. The lack of animation in these cut-scenes is quite distracting and really takes away from the overall experience of the game.


Under "Graphics" and not "Animation" because by "animation" I think the reviewer wants facial expressions to change, or at least for the mouths on the characters to move, and this can be accomplished by animated textures more easily than 3D animation... which is not to say that it's necessarily practical to do with texture animation either... thoughts? --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)


Bungie has managed to create situations that are absolutely devoid of dramatic camera angles and detailed settings, and the mission scripting is pretty skimpy too. Story sequences are restricted to real-time cut scenes involving poorly animated character models conversing with out of place portraits representing each character's voice at the top of the screen.


A lack of "dramatic camera angles" probably refers to the fact that there are few close-ups in the cutscenes; this is probably due to the non-animated faces, which Bungie wanted to avoid drawing attention to. See above quote. --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)


The levels are very large at times too, but not always terribly well designed, with some rather shoddy texture work in areas. Japanese minimalism may be popular, but untextured areas don't really achieve this!


Obviously there are no truly untextured areas in the game. Let's face it, actual, real-life warehouses look boring too, that's not the fault of Oni's texture artists. I just want to say that I think one factor that led a lot of reviewers to complain about texturing was actually the poor lighting system Oni uses. I think that the lack of real depth in some areas of the levels probably subliminally made them feel like the walls were too bare, when really they just weren't properly lit. I've pointed the terrible lighting out in the past, such as in these two pictures. Of course, fixing this would require source. I still want to get you guys' thoughts on the matter. --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)


[...] a general emptiness of detail which would leave even a Bauhaus architect screaming for a potted plant or a water cooler to break up the monotony.


My feeling is that modern computers should be able to handle our adding some interior decoration to some levels. But -- let's just say we added a water cooler for the sake of discussion -- how would Oni handle collision with it? Is this going to be a problem? --Iritscen 16:46, 9 December 2008 (CET)

If it were baked in, we just place a collision box around it. If it were movable furniture, it would be buggy. Collisions are broken.Gumby


The levels look decent but aren't particularly memorable (with the exception of the eerie dream level). There are a lot of futuristic offices and complexes, but not many are particularly distinct.


Could be considered a game design issue rather than a graphics issue... or not an issue at all, since Oni takes place in realistic settings, thus one should not expect fantastical levels (dream level aside). In what ways could we make the offices and such more distinct, or are they distinct enough already? --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

We could put posters up easily :P That is about it that I can think of right now. Gumby


Originally slated for release in the fourth quarter of 1999, the textures seem kind of bland and boring by today's standards. Even a year ago the graphics of Oni would be considered a bit outdated when compared to the likes of Quake III: Arena and Unreal Tournament. 32-bit color depth is supported, but Oni doesn't appear to take full advantage of the increased color palette.


This *is* true, isn't it, about Oni not being in 32-bit color? --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

It ranges from 32bit to less+alpha. Close enough. The problem is the crappy textures. Gumby


Apparently, in the future, there is a company with a monopoly on the security terminal market, because all throughout the game, you will come across the same exact terminal several dozen times per level, the only thing differentiating the terminals is an abstract shape displayed on the monitor.


Sound

Footsteps [...] sound identical regardless of who makes them or where they come from.


Actually, there are different sounds for different floor materials, right? Even if so, this point is still partially valid. --Iritscen 04:36, 9 December 2008 (CET)

I can't recall. Gumby