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On collecting things, off facial hair

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superpig

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I finished Psychonauts today after roughly a week. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the game; I'm less happy with the implementation (like the frequent crashes, or the lack of Xbox 360 controller support even though it worked fine with the demo, etc), but the overall experience has been positive. The ending was suitably engaging.

However ([grin]) now that I've finished the game itself I've loaded an earlier save and am trying for the elusive task of rank 100. I managed rank 98 by playing through the game normally; the last little bit, I think, will come from collecting Figments from the various minds I have access to. Figments are 2D floating doodle things, pictures of things (that fit the environment) that you can pick up. For every 100 you collect, you advance a rank.

What I'm currently facing (after realising that I had over 100 still to collect from Waterloo World) is a situation where I've got maybe six or seven figments in each world still to collect. In some I've only got 1 (and in a couple I've already gotten all of them). The problem now is finding them and it is, to be honest, a right arse.

A few things combine to make it so irritatingly difficult:

  • The camera can't look up very easily. It seems to do it a bit but is permanently pushing back towards a flat pitch. Particularly in Waterloo World, there are a lot of figments that you need to get up in the air to collect, and so to spot them you have to get up high somewhere and look around - or stop moving and go into first person mode for a quick scan.
  • Figments fade out with distance. In many levels this isn't that big a deal because the levels aren't large enough to make it matter. It's been a bit of an issue in the Dance Party level and also in Waterloo World.
  • Many levels have respawning enemies - censors - that mean you can't explore without having to continually stop and fight. Black Velvetopia is particularly bad for this.
  • There's no clue or hint as to what or where the last figments are.


There are two things I'd do to fix this.

Firstly, on the large figment sheet in the Journal, any figment you've not yet collected is just a big question mark. So in essence it only shows you the ones that you've already got, telling you nothing useful about the ones you still have to collect. I'd change this to display a full manifest of the figments in the current level, indicating for each figment exactly what it looks like, how many you've collected and how many are in the level in total. Sort it so that ones you still need to find appear at the front. The result of this is that you can use the appearance of the figments you're missing as a clue to where you'll find them - if the final missing figment is a bird then you should probably focus on looking in the air, and so on.

Secondly, I'd either introduce a new item or alter the 'Mental Magnet' item to indicate which direction the nearest figment is in, kinda like the arrowhead diviner. This would be perfect for hunting down those last couple of figments in the current level, and the tradeoff is that it's quite expensive in terms of arrowheads.

Tim, Erik, if you're reading, these would have made what is otherwise an excellent game into a super-excellent game for me [smile]

In other news, I've shaved off my beard and mustache. Just for a bit of a change. Also for Slimelight tomorrow. It's been fun getting the reactions of some of my friends - screams, halting stares in mid-sentence, double-takes, etc. I think they'd not realised I had a chin [grin]
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In other news, I've shaved off my beard and mustache. Just for a bit of a change. Also for Slimelight tomorrow. It's been fun getting the reactions of some of my friends - screams, halting stares in mid-sentence, double-takes, etc. I think they'd not realised I had a chin [grin]


heh, I got much the same reaction when I removed mine, took a while for some people to notice.

The best reaction was the mum of this girl whos house I went to lots. I'd been around maybe twice a week for a couple of months before hand, then when I turned up without it and was sitting in this lass's room her mum comes in, starts speaking to her, registers me says 'oh, hello', to which I reply 'hello there' and there is this confused look on her face, she stares of a moment before saying 'oh, so he DOES have a face' heh [grin]

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