First Impression Feetback

Alot of your post should really be hidden under spoiler. Also I think using a guide in an exploration game to tell you where keys are is a total game ruiner for me. Also the fact that you call it "grinding" means you play alot of mainstream games where enemies are just mobs meant for you to fight and get further. The game is not grinding you, you as a player are put in a situation and can use whatever way you can to get past, whether combat, stealth, fooling dumb undead. Also you just beat on the easiest enemies in the game, not human npcs but undead that do not parry or block.

I as a veteran always start a new game from level one on each patch update, between patches I play arena and finish the campaign about 2-3 times so I don't burn out. The game is not supposed to be a breeze at the start, you died, when you die in this game you start at the beginning or at a checkpoint. Keeping your "gear" (honestly this phrase and grinding makes me think of mmos and I feel you may be trying to compare how other games handle progress) would completely ruin the atmosphere of the beginning. You are meant to be vulnerable but more careful till you are properly geared up or unless you are confident in your skills, starting "safe" is not the way I want to play this game. Have you noticed everyone has said they see your point that yes it would be less frustrating and probably easier but no one has agreed with you on this point. The aim isnt to finish the game, they are building an experience, you dont need to explore everywhere, The maps also have different routes that lead to the same place, and when even more dynamic npcs come in we will see the game change on each playthrough. On a playthrough maybe you find a looter in a room, on another maybe you find his body somewhere killed by an undead.


@Anthony Obilor:
You shouldn't assume to much from vocabulary people are using. And yes I call a grind a grind if it is and feels like a grind ... (For your personal information: I hate the Hack'n Slay Genre and average mmorpgs because of their transparent focus on grinding aka doing the same stuff over and over again to stretch out the (so called) experience ... Love Diablo I thanks to it atmospheric sound and environment though ...)

(My personal) Definition of bad grinding:
If I have to do repetetive stuff over and over again against my will for no game experience enhancing reason ... ... It's grinding.
(My personal) Definition of good grinding:
If I do things over and over again because I want to do it (but doesn't have to) ... It's good grinding. And yes I still call it grinding ... Gothic I is one of my favorite games because of it's learning- and progression-curve but if I break it down you are constantly grinding but in an atmospheric and dangerous environment that let you forget the game mechanics.

And it's again the fun-fact: What would change if you keep your equipment?
I would have had much more fun and would play the game in two days instead of putting it aside after every two deaths due to frustration ...
The veterans who are so opposed against keeping their equipment and love the experience of starting bare naked in the first level having to grind decent equipment could simply "Start a new character from the beginning" when they die ...
What is different for them? In case of doubt the developers could simply make another menu-option like with the checkpoint. So theoretically you could design you own difficulty-scale without having to change any balance in the game ... Beginners can choose to start with keeping their stuff while bored veteran would be able to play the way they have played until yet ...
(On a side note: Mount & Blade does exactly that ... You can reduce damage to you and your companion by setting it to easy ... That's the way I began and as soon as i was good enough I set it to normal and experienced that game the way the developers intended it to be ...)

Please tell me ... "Where is the difference?"

Everybody would have the experience of playing "The Game of Doors" for atleast once with every new character, while nobody stops the veterans from "not playing save" ... Nobody would take any option away from you ...

Are you just afraid that a lot of new players came here expecting that the game gets easier and easier? Because you know ... NOW that I have beaten the game once I don't mind starting over again and I bet most other players wouldn't mind that as well ...

Why put a wall to scare new players of and than make level 2 and 3 so easy that even I as a beginner could just run through it with only two encounters that nearly killed me?

And I know it's alpha and there are only 3 levels out but seriously ... Form the current point of the game ... At the latest after you reached the forge in level 2 you are equiped like an lower class knight or a decent man at arms. while your enemys are zombie-peasants armed with bed-pans ... That's not a challenge yet ...

And by the way ... Did I miss something ... where were the mazes and traps that some people mentioned ...? Did I miss something?

Another point: Routes and Static Levels
The more I think about it, the more I don't see that many different routes. The levels are laid out very logical and if you actually look at the maps (or play it over and over again) you can easily break it down in two or three possible routes if at all ... Random events in future updates would be a breath of fresh air ...


Edit: Another Idea
The devs could change the appearance of the checkpoint- and potential keep-equipment option in the menus to something like "Chicken Mode (keep your equipment)" or something similar to just taunt the player that they are playing the cheap, simple and poormans way ...

I bet that thanks to simple psychology this would motivate players to play through the intended hard way ... (I know it would work with me and I wouldn't stop playing until I've beaten the game in the not-chicken mode atleast once ...) ...
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That was all? The way people talked about traps and puzzles I thought the whole 3rd level would be some kind of trap-dungeon ... I really expected more I guess and I'm actually frightened about future levels now ... ... ...:eek:
That was all? The way people talked about traps and puzzles I thought the whole 3rd level would be some kind of trap-dungeon ... I really expected more I guess and I'm actually frightened about future levels now ... ... ...:eek:
Did you completed the whole puzzle area ?
With lots of doors to unlock and pits and fire and all ?

You complained about keys being tiny pixel and about lack of game hints. Here's one : you can zoom using mouse wheel ;)


Project Lead
K.I.R.G by comparing this to other games I think you're kinda missing the point. It has nothing to do with grinding or levelling or gear or whatever. It's more of a realistic simulation that tries to be immersive and as distant from "gamey" as we can possibly make it. You pick it up and have a go because it's fun and compelling, not because you want to satisfy some artificial reward addicition. You die or succeed, both are fine, then you quit and you play again some other day.

The game has a strong survival element, though nothing to do with "survival games". If you treat the game as if you were really in the situation it puts you in then staying alive is very easy. If you behave like an idiot and run around waving a stick in everyone's face then you die, as you should. What you choose to do matters, you're not guaranteed to win no matter the circumstances or the supidity of your actions.

The undead are not hostile. You are not an instant hero who's sole aim in life is to kill everything in sight. Progression is real and meaningful, it's not a near endless treadmill of increasing numbers to match increasing numbers in enemies while sustaining a delusional belief that you're getting "more powerful". The dynamics of the game actually change.

I could probably write a whole book about this so I'll just stop here. Hopefully it gives you some insight about the game's philosophy, we don't care in the slightest about how other games work, we have our own ideas about what the experience should be, carrying baggage from other games into it can be quite detrimental.

What's with "The Game of Doors" btw? You're tricking who into what and why? I didn't get this.
@Madoc he is calling luring undead into rooms and locking them in, "the game of doors". It is a newbie tactic, i did it when i first started as iItried to avoid combo till i am as good as i currently am. I call it tactics, he calls it game of doors.


Project Lead
@Madoc he is calling luring undead into rooms and locking them in, "the game of doors". It is a newbie tactic, i did it when i first started as iItried to avoid combo till i am as good as i currently am. I call it tactics, he calls it game of doors.
Ok, guess I don't see the problem then. Certainly doesn't seem necessary, it's very easy to just walk around almost everyone without causing any trouble in the first place.


Finally took the time to read through your feedback, very interesting read. While I don't agree with some of your suggestions, the format you chose nicely describes the game experience from a new user's point of view. Your experience reinforces even more my belief that this game needs a proper tutorial. This could be done simply through messages on top of the screen (similar to the arena tips), prompted by in-game player actions (player clicks on door ->popup message explaining how doors work), etc. Add an option to turn off tutorial messages and voila.


But the point is that you actually can compare (any) games with eachother. There might not be a single game like Exanima but it borrows a lot of things from all kinds of titles. And there are reasons why some other games did things like they do (for example the Souls-Games with keeping the equipment).

And I really appreciate that Exanima goes the extra mile to be as realistic as possible, although I have a more or less bigger problem with the world realism. It's just about semantivs here but I don't think that you can achieve any realistic video game simulation ... Because ... if this game would truly be "realistic" it would deinstall itself and never let you play again because in reality you have no second choice when you die ...

So striving for total "realism" is not possible. I would more call it striving for believability and the greatest possible immersion.

And one problem I see is that the more realistic/believable/immersive you get with your game, the more simple things will through you out of it. Which leads to the "Game of Doors".

Which is basically the nearly fool proove tactic to avoid any fight until you get the first armour. I am nearly dead and one of the zombies will kill me? Run to the next door and shut them in his face. If you go away for some time he'll even have forgotten you ..

This is a total immersion-killer for me (especially when everything else is so incredibly realistic). Why can I trick the enemys so simple? The doors as they are now feel extremly gamey ... Which is the thing this project trys to avoid ...

I would get it if the doors could be closed to one side with lock bars for example. But doors in their current state are impregnable for the enemys. It baffles me ...

As soon as a player realises this it totally annuls getting your basic fighting equipment:

Let's say you made it near the end of the first level and you're now equipped with an armour that soaks any kind of permanent damage by any bed-pan. From this point on you have an mostly easy time to survive any enemy the game throughs at you in its current state. But you can of course still die so it stays exciting .... Or you can fall into one of those trap-doors for example ...

And then you die ... And you have to start all over again by getting equipment, avoiding enemys you've avoided before and there is little to nothing that makes this experience exciting ... So my personal opinion is: Make an option to keep equipment and don 't force the players to go through that again ...

Alternativly If there would be random stuff and enemys who a capable of not being simply tricked that really force you to adapt your tactics every time I would still be annoyed but atleast in an exciting way ...

Alternativly if you fear that this would remove the meaning of death:
Let the character keep his equipment after he died but give him 1d6 permanent damage per death. So even if he has really good equipment he still have to be very very carefully and if he behaves like an idiot and dies other and other again his livebar gets so low that at some point he will be forced to give up his character or die a hit-death in the depths of the dungeon ...

Alternative Question: What happens if you die when you actually died from not-permanent-damage?
The Zombies are to stupid to open doors (no, I never let it go) so I guess they might be to stupid to finish you of? So technically you would keep all the permanent damage but should awake some time later? Just asking from the realism-perspective?

So to wrap that up:
I don't buy the experience/realism-argument respective the equipment in the current state of the project. Not when there are these gamey doors that scream "Hello I'm a game-mechanic" and there is actually very linear level design in any of the three levels thanks to the placement of doors & keys. I mean ... In every of the three levels you have one more or less obvious way to go and find the key, while the right door is closed ... If you break the level design down there isn't even much choice where to go ... So if you die you have to go to some degrees the same ways over and over again ...
So think about it ... I don't see how the game would really loose anything if you make it optional to keep the equip. You could even taunt players by calling it "Activating stupid peasant"-mode to make clear that this is not the way the game is intended xD ...

And in terms of other feedback:
It seems that you haven't read through this thread so far so some advice for later updates: There should be way more tips and hints for the player. Especially when they die.
Make sure that you explain (in the arena and the main game) that you can loot things by double-clicking. Because if you start the arena you haven't got any clue about the game and if you start the main game you do everything with one click first: Pick up the torch = one click ... Opening your first door = holding the mouse pressed ... I personally didn't know that you can loot stuff until I accidentally clicked on a zombie corps because you didn't do anything with double clicks to that point ...

@StrikerJG1 :
Very funny ... of course I use the mouse wheel. But that doesn't help much if the camera still feels like it's miles away and I have to search a tiny grey pixel on grey stone that is so small that it's even hard to pick up ...

@-Tim- :
I think there is definitely a lot to improove in terms of simple communication with the player and glad that you found it interesting to read.


Can't win them all. He wants loot to be highlighted with little text pop ups and a mini map, he wants levers and doors to open and close on a click. Basically everything that makes this game unique is something he wants homogenized. Not every person will be a viable market for this game. And the fact that this guy keeps playing but has so much negative to say is a hypocrisy in it's self. The real complaints and suggestions for this game tend to be, where is thrusting and I want more arena, or multiplayer. All things that will be there eventually, I'm chalking this guy up with people that want the follow behind camera. He doesn't want to think Meta, he doesn't want to think outside the box. I bet hes never grabbed a stool mid combat and caused a zombie to trip on it.


Project Lead
Since when can mindless undead operate door latches? I've certainly never seen this, anywhere. Of course there will be NPCs that can operate doors, but early on these were the only encounters and opening doors, like countless other little things, hasn't been added yet. Doors are doors, there's no "mechanic" there, whatever that's supposed to mean, it's just a door.

Magically conjuring equipment from an alternate reality on a new character is something that will never, ever happen. Even if there was some tiny shred of logic to it, it would be game breaking. Getting different equipment on each playthrough is obviously part of the experience. You're also quite clearly not supposed to be well geared early in the game, you're in a bad situation, not on some kind of slay everything mission.

There's only one locked door in the entire game that you need to get past to progress. One. If you're doing the same part of the game again and again then you're obviously doing something wrong. If you don't have good equipment and you don't want to die then why do you attack everyone for no reason?

A tutorial has been discussed many times. We have every intention of adding one but we have different priorities right now. Once again, this is still in development. The quickstart guide tells you everything you need to know. And btw, the first time you kill someone in arena a message appears telling you to double click bodies to loot them. It is there, you chose to ignore it. For now we're also adding various "tips" on loading screens.

Edit: It's also totally incorrect that NPCs forget about you, they quite simply do not. They will remember if you were friendly or an ********, if you attack one they will definitely not just ignore you next time you see them and if not they will gradually trust you more and more.
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@Greenbrog :
Dude ... I really have to calm down because there is nothing that makes me more angry than some cognitive disordered assholes who don't want to understand what I'm writing about and than starting putting words in my mouth I never fucking said anywhere!
Serious ... You should check if you have some kind of depression/cognitive disorder or something else going on ... ( At the bottom of this article is a list. If you realise that your behaviour accord to most of those go see some phsychological help: )

Wow I'm fucking pissed ... you totally missed the point of the FEEEEEDBAAACK-thread ...

But let us break that down for you and potentially other monkeys in the hardcore-crowd who want to deliberately misunderstand me ( This is by the way NOT against the people who gave their polite and respectful opinions in this thread! ):

1. Highlighted little text pop ups?
WHERE did I say that? YOU assume that I want that. I just noted that the keys are to hard to see and there could be easy ways to fix it. They could react stronger to you torch or light in general which would bring them out a little bit more. With the current light engine this can be easily fixed.

2. Wait ... A mini map with highligted stuff?
Are you kidding me? WHERE did I say that?
I HATE minimaps because they take you out of everything. I hate text-pop-ups over characters. The only thing you do is following some flowing texts instead of actually looking at the beautiful environment ... Who wants that? 30 years of graphical evolution and people are looking at flying texts and minimaps ... That's stupid ...

3. Opening/Closing doors with one click:
WHERE did I say that? STOP assuming shit about me ...
I never said anything about the door behaviour. Because guess what ... Opening and closing the doors by dragging is great ... You need a little bit to get used to it but it's fine ...

4. He wants levers to ...
NO ... Did you read ANYTHING instead of assuming a collection of prejudice against whiny newby-players?
I want fucking lock bars which would make the game even HARDER because you really would have to think about how, where and what doors you use ...
You know ... Like THAT kind of thing here:

THIS is a lock bar if you haven't seen anything like that before ... This thing works from one side and that's ALL I'm complaining about. This would make the game realistic and explain why zombies can't go through doors ... magic Baldur's Gate II AI-Blocking doors DON'T ...

5. Everything that makes the game unique I want to homogenize:
Which is why I praise the combat, I praise the weapon and armour design and I said absolutly NOTHING critical about the damage- and rgeneration-system.

The thing I am arguing about is the stupid immersion-breaking door-system that makes the game stupid ... It was stupid in Baldur's Gate II and it is stupid here ... Enemys shouldn't be stoped by technically open doors ... At least not when you have an uber-realistic system in nearly every other area ...

6. You're a hypocrite because you keep playing:
On repeat: Did you READ ANYTHING I posted in this thread? ANYTHING?
All the things I praised and like? Oh wait you are a cognitive disordered hardcore-idiot I assume ... so of course you only read the negative stuff ... I have to assume that atleast, because I'm a hypocrit right? Right????

7. You never meta bla ...
Dude ... you know NOTHING Jon Snow ... The first thing I started using where ladders, and other stuff to try to trap the enemys ... That was my FIRST approach after I realised that I have to kill enemys with improvised not well working weapons ... And guess what ... It wasn't a reliable tactic in the beginning ...
I also blocked the doors with long planks before I realised that enemys are to stupid to open them. But I'm not thinking out of the box RIGHT?????

Seriously ... check your perception of things and stop assuming and labeling when you have NO FUCKING CLUE ...


That are a lot of interesting things to hear about. The fact is I've died over and over again in the first level and as soon as I had the equipment is was really easy to go through level 2 and 3 in one long evening without dieing (there were only two battles that got me down on 1/4 of my health bar, but no permanent damage so that was fine ...).

I still don't get why the Zombies wouldn't try to attack the door. Especially when they are mad at me? And they still use weapons ... So they have some kind of intelligence ... Especially when they can recognise you ...

My personal experience was that one of them actually didn't attack me, I went in the room, took some stuff and went out just to get attacked by her in the back ... And that was the point where I gave up on any meaningful interaction with these guys ...

Because let's be real here ... One mistake and you die ... And there is a bunch of passive-aggressive zombies that might kill me ... Why should I try to build up any trust to those guys? Those guys are walking time-bombs ... And that's something I would be more intrigued to test if I wouldn't loose everything when I die ... because one thing you enforce with the current system is to make any exploration/experimentation so dangerous that the player will think twice if it's worth to do ... well ... anything ... So why not just trap all enemys and or bash their head in as soon as you have weapon ... There is no visible benefit in it ...

And that's stuff you could improve with a better communication ... it would be actually really interesting if the zombies (who are former test-objects of some experiemnts I assume) would start to greet you or make from the beginning clear that you can somehow interact with them ...

And that there was an inventory-advice in the arena baffles me. Was it any other time after the first battle there too? Or only in the first game you ever start in the arena?

And by the way:
It might be that NPCs do not forget about my behaviour, but if you have a situation where you lock them out and go away they start taking their normal routes again ... Only if you put some distance between yourself and the door. And then they patrol arround and as long as you stay far away from them they didn't attacked me again ... Although I bashed their head shortly thereafter so don't know ...


Didn't once call someone a name. Wasn't disrespectful either, I've tried to reason. Hell, he wants to argue with the game designer even. The guy is making 500 word rants of the same thing over and over. It would seem nothing "we" (the not him) say anymore matters, he's going to just keep going. The point is so far removed, reading from the beginning I can't find it anymore.

@K.L.R.G. Why don't you make a short summery of you point/s? Lets try to wrap this up and have it become constructive. Because it's gotten to the point that the Devs (Madoc) is taking time to respond and it seems he doesn't agree with you. I'll admit while I didn't name call, I did write to attempt ruffle feathers; I apologize. Reductio ad absurdum.


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