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Re: System Shock - The Remake

About 2 hours in, and the KS is at nearly 10%.

Also, the player in the video really can't aim. :D

I will say I was a bit discomfited to see that this wonderful game's remake is including Xbox One as a target platform. I already guessed as much when I saw the new inventory screen, whose giant boxes are visible on a TV screen. I know some cross-platform functionality is part of Unity. And I understand that you get more money if you include console gamers.

But part of my excitement for a modern remake of this game is to bring the fun of the original PC version to today's gamers. Much of that would come through improved graphics and the WASD+mouselook control system -- I'm not sure optimizing gameplay for controllers and blowing up the user interface for TVs won't detract from the original gameplay experience.

Ah, well. Backed it anyway. :P

Re: System Shock - The Remake

So, I played the demo up until the point at 7:45 where it crashed. Pre-alpha indeed :ghost:
I've never played the original, so I have no previous opinions. The gui didn't really bother me, and I'd still hate to use it with a controller, the boxes aren't that big.
And pressing the buttons and stuff requires precise aiming.

The game itself is really immersive, I like how the hud is built up by stuff you find and jam into your head. It managed to get me spooked and intrigued at the same time in a few minutes. Will definitely pick this up when it comes out. :)

Technical, there is some work to be done. The aesthetic is great, but there's some odd mishmash of normal and very low rez textures going on. And it insisted on starting on my tiny side-monitor, so I had to window, drag, full-screen, change resolution and FOV. But well, pre-alpha's gonna pre-alpha. :ghost:
Warning: do not ask about physics unless you really want to know about physics.
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Re: System Shock - The Remake

I got System Shock 2 from GoG two weeks ago, and those first hours where amazing. I'm planning to continue playing it after finishing Dead Space (which I should have already).

Regarding this new title, the rendering looks amazing even with that "amateur" look it has, which I suppose fits the original aesthetic well anyway. However, what I have read worries me, particularly that bit about transforming the game from a "horror adventure" to a "horror experience". Removing or lower the adventure part of the game would remove what makes it appealing to me, specially considering what most game developers seem to think horror in game means these days. And when you think that things can't get worst they say that they are borrowing inspiration from BioShock and Dead Space, and you can hang your brain up; you are not going to need it for this ride. Shameful.

Maybe the world doesn't need more first-person shooter horror games. I hope this is not another one of those.

Nonetheless, it seems like something I would like to play.
Last edited by Etsu on Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Playing" is not simply a pastime, it is the primordial basis of imagination and creation. - Hideo Kojima

Re: System Shock - The Remake

I've now played through the demo 1.5 times.

The 0.5 is for when it crashed on me on the second run-through. (Pre-alpha's gonna pre-alpha.)

Overall I'm nearly as impressed as I hoped to be. The "feel" of the place is definitely there. The other part that matters to me I can't really know about yet, and that's how intelligent the overall game seems. The original was definitely a protoshooter, but within that style there was a great deal of opportunity for the player to be clever in exploring the world and overcoming challenges.

The early mechanics are slightly different, but not nearly as frustrating as Dead Space (which I will until my dying breath consider a cheap rip-off of System Shock). The lighting design is very good, although some areas seemed to be DOOM3 dark -- as in, "ha-ha, I made it so you can't see and now I'm having a monster attack you, enjoy reloading!" dark. (Although there was a light switch.)

Nearly all my complaints are about things that are different in the remake demo from what I remember of the original game, which I've played for 22 year, so "memorized" is really not a sufficiently strong word for "why isn't [thing] where it's supposed to be?!"

For example, in the very first room, the Neurosurgery Suite, there's a medipatch where one was in the original game. So that's a proper touch. But after equipping the email reader from the closet, there's no audio message from SHODAN welcoming me to Citadel Station -- and telling me where the major areas are located -- as there once was. That audio not only still exists, but Terri Brosius has returned to do additional audio for the remake... so why was that voicemail excluded?

There are other small annoyances: the UI is barely functional; picking up usable objects causes a character animation to run that lasts several seconds and can't be interrupted (this looks very much like when you collect a new plasmid in BioShock, only more irritating); climbing ladders is painfully slow; climb animations can't be stopped; some of the level geometry is different from the original Medical level (not just blocked off for the demo but inexplicably slightly different); the initial puzzle is not a puzzle in any way, shape, or form; the SV-23 Dartgun that's supposed to be under the first energy recharging station is not there (nor is the dartgun ammo, which was a good initial reward for exploration); the game does not start with the wonderful options page from the original game that allows you four levels of customization each for Combat, Puzzles, Mission (story), and Cyberspace; there are no viewscreens (that can be destroyed) flashing images of Edward Diego; there are no tutorial text callouts showing you where things to click on are located; clickable things (like switches) aren't always obvious; collectible objects like keycards are hard to distinguish from textures; ...and wow, textures are horrifically pixelated when seen up-close. Also, the first level area of the demo had zero audio logs, which was the driver of the main story in the original game -- the absence of these, even in the demo, bothers me a little because of how important they are.

Something else I didn't care for: upon reaching a door, the demo abruptly just ends with no warning. It just stops. And tries to bring up its Kickstarter page in a browser, which is a big no-no for me. (Do not touch my stuff without permission.)

Finally, there was that crash, which I appear not to be the only person to experience. (Very annoying: it covered all of my screen except the task bar, including the Task Manager window that would have let me kill the dead process.)

Some of these things are trivial. Others are absolutely explainable by "it's just a pre-alpha demo." Certain other things... I guess we'll have to see.

On the other hand, leaning is implemented as in the original System Shock. And WASD+mouselook feels great, which even I consider a required change from the original game's mouse-driven movement scheme. And it looks like items in containers (including corpses) are generated at the moment when you click on them, just as in the original game, so that's nice for those of us willing to click and reload for a while until we get teflon-coated bullets. :) (I'm assuming reloading will be as fast in the remake as it was in the original. I really don't want to have to wait 10+ seconds to reload what's presumably a pretty simple world.)

The audio is very good -- it's plausible for the world and positional, as I would demand from a game originally made by Looking Glass. I also noticed the location-triggered game music that's suitably disturbing (another nod to BioShock).

Another nice touch: the planet Saturn is visible outside a window, and if you watch for a bit, you can see that Saturn moves as Citadel Station rotates. In fact, if you look up when you're at that window, you'll see parts of Citadel Station itself. That's a nice feature, presumably inspired by System Shock 2.

On balance, I'm mostly seeing what I hope to see at this point, and the things I don't see I mostly don't expect to see right now. As high as my expectations are, I definitely don't feel bad about backing this Kickstarter.

Re: System Shock - The Remake

I'm feeling increasingly less happy about this project as Nightdive Studios keeps talking about "updating" the gameplay of the original.

The point to a remake -- which is what this was sold as, not a new game in the System Shock universe -- is to retain what defined the original game while modernizing the appearance and controls. But Nightdive are acknowledging now that they want to "improve" the original gameplay: hiring Chris Avellone to change the original writing, maybe even adding RPG conventions (as System Shock 2 had) if a stretch goal is met. How then are today's gamers supposed to understand why the original game was so influential? They won't be playing that game!

At any rate, what I actually came here for was to show a screenshot of their mockup UI, which overlays the world of the game. I think longtime followers of Josh's UI work on Limit Theory will see something rather familiar:
SS1R_01.jpg (84.62 KiB) Viewed 760 times

Re: System Shock - The Remake

Aaaaand... they're funded.

Since my last note, they've already put out a patch for the demo. One change is to use a trilinear filter to reduce the pixelization of the low-res textures. Some people said they liked the pixelly original as a deliberate aesthetic choice; I couldn't see it as anything but "we're using low-res textures to keep the frame rate up for this mostly unoptimized Unity-based demo." I think the trilinear filter helps minimize the low-res textures, but that's me.

Other changes: animations on picking up usable objects (like the pipe wrench) were said to be shortened, but I can't see any change -- agency is still being taken away from the player for far too long. That's a "oooh, look at me!" thing from BioShock that IMO has no place in a Looking Glass game like System Shock that was designed to be player-centric. Also, I noticed this time that I can't stack more than 5 medipatches in the inventory, unlike the original that didn't have "inventory Tetris" (which was introduced in System Shock 2). I'm guessing this is to force players of the remake to have to choose what to lug around through all the backtracking required in SS. Not an improvement, IMO.

But they did increase stair climbing speed. That feels good now. They also added explosion graphics, and the ability to use batteries and explosive grenades. And watching the lighting change on the upper sections of Citadel Station as it rotates out of and back into sunlight -- fantastic. That's a great improvement over the original version because it adds to the sense of presence.

Finally, in a nice touch, the developers are preserving access on Steam to selected prior branches of the demo code. That way players can compare versions. I like this; I hope more developers will do it.

Overall, I'm still not happy with the mechanics changes being imposed on the original game by the Nightdive team. It looks like they don't understand or appreciate the player-centric design ethic of the original System Shock's creators, and that's frustrating. I'm still backing this project because I've decided the best I can do is treat it as a new game, and the faithful remake I'd like to see will never happen after all. But I think there will be much to like about the new version, so I'm holding on to that. :)

Re: System Shock - The Remake

I tried the patch too. The animations are notably shorter now, so it doesn't bother me, to be honest. Melee combat feels better now and you can now actually dodge properly instead of just clicking the attack button. Didn't get to grenades because the game crashed again before I got to them :roll: I think the textures look better now, though they should also up the resolution instead of just filtering them.

They did mention somewhere that, if there's demand for it, they'd add an option to play without the added stuff if those stretchgoals are met, so I'm cautiously optimistic.
In any case, it led to me starting to play the original system shock (well, the enhanced edition), so at least one good thing came from it :ghost:
Currently at the start of floor 2 and impressed so far. :)
Warning: do not ask about physics unless you really want to know about physics.
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Re: System Shock - The Remake

I don't like the idea of shorter animations for item picking and ladder climbing, but I can't test it because the game barely works for me. I have the GoG version and don't have a keyboard so I need to use a controller through Xpadder like with System Shock 2, but I can't because the camera goes crazy apparently due to an awful default configuration from Unity, besides the game keep crashing every few minutes forcing me to reboot my PC. Now, I understand that those are "technical" problems (some of them my problems and not the game's problems) and have very little to do with the game being good or bad, but it's still annoying, particularly because I love the graphics (specially colors and ambient occlusion) and want to try it. I suppose I have to wait to the final version. :cry:
"Playing" is not simply a pastime, it is the primordial basis of imagination and creation. - Hideo Kojima

Re: System Shock - The Remake

Immensely ;)
Spoiler:      SHOW
It was a great way of breaking gaming conventions to create immersion. I went in the elevator with fairly low health and energy, expecting a healing station at the start of the floor because that's how games work right :roll:
Instead I got 1000 mutants. Didn't die (i have combat on easy and puzzles on hard) but used a lot of medipatches.
The contrast of the peaceful elevator music with being attacked by a horde of mutants was kinda hilarious though :ghost:
Warning: do not ask about physics unless you really want to know about physics.
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