Improving Grim Project™

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Improving Grim Project™

Postby giucam » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:35 pm

Ladies and Gentlemen, here I announce the Improving Grim Project™.
We all love Grim Fandango, but we cannot deny it has its little flaws. I would like to get rid of at least some of them.
Beware though: I'm not talking about improving the graphics, since for that there is already the Grim Fandango Deluxe project.

I'm talking instead about the gameplay. Little things like the label at the bottom right corner of this screenshot:
Image
That shows the object Manny is looking at.

Also, I would like to improve the inventory (I already have an idea for that) and the controls.
Now, that's the though part: I tried a point and click implementation but there are certain places where there is no floor on where you can click, so it's not viable.
A Tales of Monkey Island-like thing could be implemented, but is it really more comfortable?

I'm pushing the changes I'm doing in my fork of ResidualVM.

If you have any idea, do not esitate to throw it here!
Last edited by giucam on Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby counting_pine » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:33 pm

(Hi. Long-time listener..)

Regarding point-and-click: is it just an (x, z) coordinate needed? Could that potentially be found by taking the value of the background's depth buffer at the (x, y) position?

Labels are an interesting idea.. Some care may need to be taken with the label names. I can't remember Manny's comment about the object there, but I would probably be inclined to call it a "painting" rather than a poster.
It would be nice to have a sort of sentence line going there. At the moment it looks a little "debuggy" there somehow, but changing the position might help with that.
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Postby giucam » Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:35 pm

counting_pine wrote:Regarding point-and-click: is it just an (x, z) coordinate needed? Could that potentially be found by taking the value of the background's depth buffer at the (x, y) position?

That's how i did it. But if you cannot click where you want manny to go it cannot work. (e.g. in manny's office, where there is the card deck and the books)

counting_pine wrote:Labels are an interesting idea.. Some care may need to be taken with the label names. I can't remember Manny's comment about the object there, but I would probably be inclined to call it a "painting" rather than a poster.

The names of the objects are in the game data, I did not hardcode that "poster". They also are localized (even though scythe isn't localized in italian for some reason).

counting_pine wrote:It would be nice to have a sort of sentence line going there. At the moment it looks a little "debuggy" there somehow, but changing the position might help with that.

I'm not sure about having a sentence system. I fear it may break the immersion a bit.
I have however moved it in the center.

I have created a branch in my fork of ResidualVM where I'm going to push the changes. For now there's the look at label:
https://github.com/giucam/residual/tree/improvinggrim
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Postby giucam » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:19 pm

Meanwhile, i've worked a bit on the inventory:

Image
My first intention was to use images of the objects, but they would need to be done, and using instead directly the models is much more complex.
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Postby counting_pine » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:42 am

I see, so this project's mainly geared towards changing the engine to do more work with existing data.
Is it areas with no valid depth you're taking about?
Maybe those bits could be redrawn or extrapolated?
Or as a backup, can it use nearby walkboxes or something? (That's originally what I thought you'd tried, for some reason.)
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Postby giucam » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:02 pm

I see, so this project's mainly geared towards changing the engine to do more work with existing data.

Not necessarily, but the less work needed the better. :)

Is it areas with no valid depth you're taking about?
Maybe those bits could be redrawn or extrapolated?
Or as a backup, can it use nearby walkboxes or something? (That's originally what I thought you'd tried, for some reason.)

I'm talking about places like this. Since you cannot see Manny's feet you cannot tell him to go back to the center of the office.
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Postby JenniBee » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:31 pm

giucam wrote:I'm talking about places like this. Since you cannot see Manny's feet you cannot tell him to go back to the center of the office.

Couldn't you hack in a special case in instances like that where you just wait for clicks at the bottom of the screen in that set from, for instance, 0,270 to 640,280, and then if there's a click in that region go back to the office set?
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Postby giucam » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:54 am

That may be possible but honestly i'm not so sure anymore a point and click interface, even if feasible, it's the way to go. I read up a bit on the internet on why grim fandango is so good (a thing i experienced but i couldn't explain), and adding an interface like that could jeopardise that. see especially this.
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Postby counting_pine » Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:48 pm

I think it could be argued that controlling Manny with the keyboard/joypad is perhaps an element that sacrifices usability for diegesis..
EDIT: and a mouse interface might actually serve to improve diegesis.

Maybe instead of giving textual overlays, it would be more diegetic to just have a cursor (EDIT: mouse pointer) that subtly highlights over usable objects, or maybe that can cause Manny to turn his head to look at it? (The body too when necessary, so he's not too owl-like, or too reminiscent of the Exorcist..)
I guess that would be a significant step up in complexity from just having an overlay on the screen though.
Last edited by counting_pine on Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby giucam » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:12 pm

mmmh, i'm not sure i understood. do you mean the mouse cursor? that wouldn't be so comfortable if you have your hands on the keyboard to mvoe manny.
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Postby JenniBee » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:44 pm

giucam wrote:That may be possible but honestly i'm not so sure anymore a point and click interface, even if feasible, it's the way to go. I read up a bit on the internet on why grim fandango is so good (a thing i experienced but i couldn't explain), and adding an interface like that could jeopardise that. see especially this.

I don't think you'd lose the feeling of immersion by using the mouse to control Manny. It's already a point-and-click game, in the sense that Manny himself is the cursor (he acts as the thing you move around the screen and use to click objects). And, to be honest, controlling the "Manny cursor" with a keyboard (or even with a joystick, which I've used in the PS2 version of EMI) doesn't work that well. A standard cursor would be much more intuitive for this style of game.

In my opinion, the fact that it's a point-and-click adventure game with a fixed screen 3D engine makes point-and-click control of a traditional cursor with the mouse the optimal choice of user input.
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Postby George22 » Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:50 pm

Showing the labels is very good idea and I would also welcome possibility to highlight all active objects on the screen after pressing a key. About the mouse controls - I would welcome this option too.
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Postby MusicallyInspired » Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:02 am

giucam wrote:mmmh, i'm not sure i understood. do you mean the mouse cursor? that wouldn't be so comfortable if you have your hands on the keyboard to mvoe manny.


It works with Tales of Monkey Island and The Devil's Playhouse nicely.
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Postby Fooruman » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:40 am

This is simply awesome. You've done some amazing work here, and I love seeing this game updated with some of the features it deserves; with a couple tweaks like these, this game can easily go from "one of the best games of all time" to "the best game of all time."

That said, it would be awesome if you could post some binaries (if you have the time). Compiling ResidualVM is a bit of a headache (though worth it for these new features).
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Postby giucam » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:16 am

Well, i use Linux and imho it's easy to compile ResidualVM with every distro. I also have a Windows installation, but, as you said, it's a headache and i don't have the needed tools.

That said, the inventory modifications are not ResidualVM modifications, but game data modifications, so they will just be shipped as a datausr.lab file.
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