thechineseroom is the name of a development research project I run at the University of Portsmouth, UK. We're interested in first person gaming - particularly, using mods to explore questions about gaming that you can't answer by just analysing commercial releases or theorising about them.

Comment History  (240 - 270 of 272)
chineseroom
chineseroom Aug 15 2008, 7:42am replied:

The custom code was working fine in Ep1, but has caused some problems running in Orange Box. We're working on it, and I'm still hoping we can test next week. More news as soon as...

+2 votes     mod: Antlion Soccer
chineseroom
chineseroom Aug 11 2008, 5:06am replied:

hi, and thanks - if you could do me a favour and let me know exactly where you found the backdoor that'd be really helpful. In terms of the diagrams - it depends on which version of the story you get. There are a few places where he talks about them, but as it's randomised, they may not have got referenced in your version. There's a few of the drawings, etc, which are picked up by only some of the voice-over. The script is here to download if that'll help - otherwise, try giving it another run - you should get a different version of what happened/is happening...

In terms of another level - depends. Trying to finish off Antlion Soccer at the moment and re-do a new version of this, then there is something in the works, but won't know about that until Sept/Oct probably.

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Aug 6 2008, 12:59pm replied:

As long as the bus is on the M5 near Sandford, just before the turn off for the Welcome Break services, that'd fit just perfectly ;)

+2 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Aug 6 2008, 12:57pm replied:

Yeah... see the news about the new version - should hopefully take care of these problems. Thanks for the plot version btw - will get back soon with the original!

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Aug 6 2008, 12:57pm replied:

hiya - you didn't get the same cues because each cue is randomly drawn from a set - so you get a different story each time... we are adjusting the audio levels for the next version though. And, yeah, walk speed is perhaps slightly too slow, but the economics of building the thing, etc, etc.

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Aug 6 2008, 7:50am replied:

Screensaver? No idea - seems to work fine for everyone else- let me know if you're still having this problem!

+1 vote     download: Dear Esther.zip
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 27 2008, 4:48am replied:

hi,

about to go away for a week, but will respond to this properly when I'm back, promise!

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 23 2008, 4:53am replied:

Thanks - I'll pass that on to her. It was recorded using Logic - mix of recorded piano, some remixed choir and strings and quite heavily modified sounds from all over the place. I'd agree - I think the VA and music probably makes this more than any other element.

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 21 2008, 9:13am replied:

Ha! No - just realised it's in the wrong place! Thanks...

+2 votes     mod: Antlion Soccer
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 19 2008, 8:01am replied:

That's very strange - haven't had that before at all - they shoulf be in sounds/island - do you want to msg me if that doesn't work and we'll try and work out what is happening?

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 18 2008, 2:52am replied:

Well, it's about as different to Dear Esther as it could be, but that's half the fun. I think worth digging D3 out for... thanks for looking!

+1 vote     mod: Conscientious Objector
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 18 2008, 2:50am replied:

Thanks - we're going to start on 1.1 hopefully next week and wrap it up by the beginning of August - if you can msg me with some specifics that'd be great (I know exactly where the double-trigger and rocks issue is, but any others would be great). Glad you liked it!

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 18 2008, 2:47am replied:

Sorry - not sure what you mean?

+2 votes     mod: Antlion Soccer
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 17 2008, 6:38am replied:

No, that's it. It ends with the music finishing and voice telling you to 'come back'. We played around with credits, etc, but in the end, just liked the idea of the player having to decide when the moment to return to the main menu was... nothing else seemed to work or capture the moment of the end really. Language is always going to be a problem - it is fairly dense in places, but I'm glad you enjoyed it anyway. And if you're projecting things onto the walls... well, that's a pretty good sign for me... :)

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 15 2008, 5:54pm replied:

I don't really know if it's a hypernarrative - it doesn't really conform to the idea of an interactive narrative as you can't actually affect the story structure in any real way - but it is interactive... and the randomisation complicates things too. I've been working with the idea of 'environmental storytelling', or something, but it's an interesting one. I'd be really interested in any other suggestions!

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 15 2008, 5:52pm replied:

We are hopefully going to hit some of those texture problems and snag a few holes in a second run through the environments - will post up a new version hopefully during August

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 13 2008, 4:38am replied:

Thanks for the comments - the response has been amazing. Tweaking voice volume is on the snag list for 1.1 along with some trigger repositioning, leak repair and sorting out some of the less impressive displacements.

There is more, but it's pretty different: check out the Doom3 mod Conscientious Objector, and look out for the forthcoming deathmatch Source mod Antlion Soccer. We've also started kicking the ball around on a new story-driven SP mod called BlackOut - more on that soon (including possible recruitment!)

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 12 2008, 5:52pm replied:

Thanks for all the comments - seemed a shame not to, really!

+2 votes     download: Dear Esther - Soundtrack
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 7 2008, 2:42pm replied:

Quite a few people have said they'd like this to be extended, which is thrown me a bit - I'd assumed it was probably pushing the limits of how long people would stay engaged with something this abstract. Really happy to be proved totally wrong on that one. Next time...

+1 vote     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 6 2008, 12:56pm replied:

There is a play called Dear Esther - totally different thing - only found out about it after we'd released and I was looking on Google! I think the actual title came from a line in a Faith No More song, of all places...

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 3 2008, 5:11pm replied:

Fair point, but we weren't aiming for a fun, fast experience - there's plenty of them out there. the idea was whether we could use the engine to do something completely different & that's not going to be to everyone's tastes... We did also chew over building a 'remix' version that took the basic environment and did something basically along the lines of a straight SP shooter, but in the end it felt like a bit of a cop out. If I ever get time, maybe one day...

+1 vote     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jul 3 2008, 5:09pm replied:

hi - thanks for the feedback. Part of the idea of this was to deliberately leave things unanswered, kind of step away from the normal drive for everything to add up neatly and leave the player wondering what really happened. That's always going to be pretty risky (although the number of commercial fps' out there that try and tie everything up neatly and managed to screw it up is interesting in itself) - there's also the fact that the fragments of text are randomly selected from a set for each trigger, so you get a slightly different version each time to you play...
The writing on the cliffs - yeah, it is difficult to make some of it out. The writing came later so the cliffs weren't exactly optimised for it. I'm not so worried about that though - again, I like the ambiguity. Maybe if we did it again, a little tweaking...

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jun 30 2008, 2:35am says:

BTW - if anyone is looking and has come across texturing issues like this, pls drop me a line - it's not in the code so it looks like it might be a SteamAppID issue... cheers

+2 votes     media: Antlion Soccer - dev images
chineseroom
chineseroom Jun 30 2008, 2:23am replied:

hi - can you be more specific about where that is so I can fix it? Thanks

-1 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jun 30 2008, 2:21am replied:

Cheers for that- it was a bit of rush job in the end (what isn't) as our original modeller got a really well-deserved job! Will try and fix the coastline rocks in the next version - particularly in the final level it's really very messy. We did originally have quite a bit more story and sub-plots but they came out because it was getting v. confusing for people - hard to really block them in so they didn't leak out into the main stream. As the text is mostly randomised for each run-through, it kind of limited us. Although I do agree and what could go in for the next iteration would be more 'visual' symbols and hints to suggest at other subjects. It's a pretty abstract thing as it is...

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jun 30 2008, 2:17am replied:

Just found out the dev site version won't work anyway, as the account has been crashed by too many downloads - please keep sending any found bugs through from the MDB site version, and thanks for all the comments - they're really useful

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jun 30 2008, 2:13am replied:

I hope so - there's some snagging to do... just not a lot of time to do it in...

+1 vote     download: Dear Esther.zip
chineseroom
chineseroom Jun 30 2008, 2:06am replied:

The dev site version has now been pointed at the ModDB download - hopefully this will cut out the file corruption problems there- apologies to everyone who picked up the knackered version!

0 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jun 28 2008, 3:24am replied:

If I had a penny for everytime I thought I'd cleared that kill trigger by the hut I'd be a rich man... back to the drawing board. Glad you enjoyed it though!

-1 votes     mod: Dear Esther
chineseroom
chineseroom Jun 28 2008, 3:23am replied:

We haven't hit this problem in testing on about 7-8 machines, so not sure why that's happened, but will look into it

-1 votes     mod: Dear Esther
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