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Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 11:21 pm
by hanako
The dance?

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 11:34 pm
by Franka
wendymarlowe wrote:Or I suspend someone, assuming that will fix the problem, but then it doesn't and suddenly time has run out and I get a "mission failed" when if I had known their actions were bad enough to expel them for it, I could have done that in the first place.
Let me tell you about my experience with suspension: It only works when done to the girls who come out and say "That's right, punish me!" when given detention. Otherwise, you're just postponing the problem.

Cases won't stay open if you've taken the correct action, so if somebody returns from suspension, and the case is still open, you need to act immediately.

Other than that, you're thinking the wrong way. You want there to be rules and guidelines, there isn't. There's only, what's bad for the school's image and what's not. Who'll snap and cause a scene, who won't. It doesn't matter what they did, it only matters if it comes to light or results in more problems.

You need to identify who's too defiant to stop causing trouble. Those are the ones to expel. If they don't respond to harassment or detention, and you don't lose karma(!), expel them. Remember that sometimes they were made to look bad by the real culprit, often the supposed victim, and you were just played. That's usually the case if you succeeded in your Harass/Detention roll, but lost karma.

Witchcraft is tricky. If there's also a diary talking about how everybody should die and go to hell, the problem is not so much the witchcraft.

Detention is the ultimate punishment (except for that special case above) that will be effective. IF you've got the right culprit! If that doesn't close the case, it's either you've got the wrong person, or you'll need to expel them. It may also simply remove them from the suspect list. That means you still haven't found the mastermind. Of course, sometimes punishment is not the answer, we can all just get along is.

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 11:44 pm
by hanako
wendymarlowe wrote:Generalized honest feedback here: I'd really like to see more of a guideline for what the school rules are, exactly. I'll frequently get to a point where I know someone did X, but I have no idea how bad X is. Occasionally I figure it's nothing ("Oh, they're just learning about witchcraft - hooray for tolerance and religious freedom, I guess?") and BAM I get penalized for not throwing them out of school. Or I suspend someone, assuming that will fix the problem, but then it doesn't and suddenly time has run out and I get a "mission failed" when if I had known their actions were bad enough to expel them for it, I could have done that in the first place. Or there's one main culprit and multiple girls who enabled her - do the enablers get punished, or are they done with just an interrogation? There's no "school rules" to reference, so I end up having to guess a lot.
Hmm. I see what you're saying, but I'm not sure how best to address that. The problem is that it's not really 'school rules' that are an issue, because your job in the student council is not to enforce the school rules, but to avoid scandal, by whatever means necessary.

So it's not that witchcraft is against school rules, it's that it's scandalous. Your job is not to punish the girls, but to prevent them from doing things that might make the school look bad. (It is a horrible fascist regime, yes it is!)

In most situations, if the case folder is still there, the problem is not resolved. So, like, if you investigate a secret society and discover that it's harmless, which is a possible option, the case immediately closes. Problem solved, no scandal there.

If a case is still open, then either

a) It's a red herring - it looks scandalous but isn't
b) It's waiting for a specific date (like with the performances and special events)
c) There is still a potential scandal

So if the case is still open, unless you're certain that A or B apply, you need to do something more. But it doesn't matter how much you 'should' punish people, only whether it works to close the case. In cases where lots of people are a bit guilty, quite often you CAN punish the lot of them if you feel like it, but the only important part is finding the source of a potential scandal and stomping that out.

Does this make sense? Is there a better way I can explain it in-game?
ETA: the little tips on the weekly calendar screens are helpful, but they're doled out awfully slowly - could they be accessible in a "hints and tips" file or something?
I'd be happy to put them in a hints and tips file, and by release the game will probably ship with something like that, but the problem is that 90% of players will never read it. Players these days hate reading directions. You give them directions to read, they'll skim it fast, say "Blah blah blah", click through it, go on, and remember exactly nothing of what they've just seen. (I watch LPs. I see this a lot.) So I need to prioritise feedback in ways that are more likely to sink in. With the regular calendar hints, I'm borrowing a trick off Bioware (sticking tips in loading screens).

Are there any particular hints on the calendar screens that are -so- important that you think they need to be absolutely prioritised and given out for certain at the beginning, instead of randomly? Or hints that should be delivered in character dialog instead?

I can't exactly see it from the player side, that's why we have test periods! :)


Also, a semi-spoilery note on suspension - Along with the case Franka noted, suspension should also work in cases where a successful detention would close the case. People who will break in detention will usually also break if suspended. Detention is usually a better choice because you can often get karma from it, whereas suspension is a 1-point rep loss. The good side to using suspension is that it doesn't require a minion and doesn't require a skill roll, so if you really need to crack someone who has too high an Intimidation score to Detain them, it's a possibility.Darned if I know how to explain all that in an easy-to-understand manner in-game though.

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:17 am
by wendymarlowe
Speaking as a writer ;) I think the best way to explain the scandal/rules thing would be a conversation with Mallory. Maybe when she comes to you being angsty about her role on the student council? It would give her a chance to ask something in the "Aren't we supposed to be enforcing the rulebook?" vein and Elsa can say the rulebook doesn't matter. Alternatively, what's-her-name the administrator could lay down the law with Elsa near the beginning, specifically calling her naive for thinking her job is to enforce a code of conduct (as compared to just keeping girls in line).

I don't know, I guess . . . I definitely wouldn't take the "totalitarian regime" tack unless specifically told I was supposed to. It's a bit too far out from the way I remember student council :-P

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:29 am
by hanako
Another question - should I make the game default to the lower difficulty level and make people choose to move it up to the more hardcore setting for a challenge? Have people tried playing with both settings and seeing the difference?

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:32 am
by wendymarlowe
hanako wrote:Another question - should I make the game default to the lower difficulty level and make people choose to move it up to the more hardcore setting for a challenge? Have people tried playing with both settings and seeing the difference?
That would be my preference, honestly. I've been playing it on the lower difficulty so I can actually see the latter half of the game :-P

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:54 am
by Franka
There's quite a difference. The first time I succeeded (with 9 reputation left), I played on normal. After that, I went to loaded dice, and it shows. I'd have to say the lower difficulty is better to start out with, because the game is hard enough when you're learning as it is. On the other hand, finding the traitor seems a lot simpler on normal difficulty, but that's just my experience (how do you roll a 1 five times in a row anyway? Yeah, ok, happened too during my D&D days).

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 2:30 am
by wendymarlowe
hanako wrote:Are there any particular hints on the calendar screens that are -so- important that you think they need to be absolutely prioritised and given out for certain at the beginning, instead of randomly? Or hints that should be delivered in character dialog instead?
The one about "too close to call" displaying either success or failure results was helpful - I had assumed that whatever results I got weren't quite accurate, but there are definitely times it's clear I did get the "success" result and thus don't have to expend more energy.

That the traitor will get more lemons from the supply closet

That the stress bar also affects how many missions they can take

That the left side of the action icons are for what I need and the right side is for what the opponent rolls

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:15 am
by FantasyFan
Question - in my last playthrough I uncovered the traitor. Is the traitor the same person every time, or is she randomly generated?

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:08 am
by wendymarlowe
FantasyFan wrote:Question - in my last playthrough I uncovered the traitor. Is the traitor the same person every time, or is she randomly generated?
Random. Although sometimes she seems way more obvious than others!

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:16 am
by FantasyFan
Ah good, that makes it more interesting.

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:56 am
by Franka
wendymarlowe wrote:That the left side of the action icons are for what I need and the right side is for what the opponent rolls
This, very much. Also, sometimes it's left vs right, sometimes it's top left vs top right, then bottom left vs bottom right, and SOMETIMES it's both lefts added vs both rights added together. Confusing.

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:44 pm
by hanako
(That actually -is- mentioned in the tutorial already! :) But nobody can take in all the information up front...)

I want to get critical information to players but there's a lot of useful tips and I'm not sure whether any of them is THE ONE that needs to be set to come first, really.

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 2:16 pm
by Franka
I'm assuming this is something you're aware of.
Image

Re: Black Closet - Alpha Testing / Discount Copies

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 2:35 pm
by Franka
hanako wrote:(That actually -is- mentioned in the tutorial already! :) But nobody can take in all the information up front...)

I want to get critical information to players but there's a lot of useful tips and I'm not sure whether any of them is THE ONE that needs to be set to come first, really.
I like useful information to be something discovered along the way. I don't necessarily need that compiled anywhere, or to be fed that right away.

Things like loyalty increases stress limits, item tips, possible benefits and consequences of different actions aren't essential for me to be prioritized info.

Finding the traitor is important, but is given plenty of attention in the game. It's good to be strongly reminded how to spot the traitor though.

Needing to complete plot cases to avoid game overs in general is good to be told clearly, but it's pretty well hinted at, even after the traitor is found.

Stacking minions and how that works can be a little unclear (I know it's covered in the intro), and you might think that you'll need more than one minion when there's more than one stat in the test.

For myself, the only really confusing thing was exactly how actions worked when there was more than one stat involved, what stats were compared to what, and when they were added together and checked for separately. Maybe I failed my Observation check, but that took me a few cases to understand.