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Hello!

First of, thanks GOG and kudos to the dev - great game overall!
I'm just a little confused by the depiction of magnetism in this game. In real life opposite poles attract while same poles reject each other. In this game it is the opposite so I always get a little bit confused by that and often chose the wrong color instinctively. Not a huge deal but I wonder if anyone else is struggling with that.
Post edited June 21, 2014 by Captain_Shiny
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Captain_Shiny: Hello!

First of, thanks GOG and kudos to the dev - great game overall!
I'm just a little confused by the depiction of magnetism in this game. In real life opposite poles attract while same poles reject each other. In this game it is the opposite so I always get a little bit confused by that and often chose the wrong color instinctively. Not a huge deal but I wonder if anyone else is struggling with that.
Yes.
No, I don't find it confusing. I think the game would be a lot more confusing and time consuming to play if you had to pair up opposites because you would have to think twice for every individual step of a puzzle. By having equals attract, the game plays faster because you only need to come up with a solution and execute the plan, no need to convert your abstract thoughts into something that a lot of players would accidentally get wrong even when they know what to do. It would pretty much turn the game into a very long Stroop Test.

I also think the physics engine and many puzzle layouts would not work with actual magnets. There are several puzzles in the game that requires you to stack three magnets on top of each other. This would not really work for the cubes, Well, they could model actual poles on the cubes but that would just be awful to play. Players would have to be extremely precise in their handling of physics objects and they would be at mercy of finicky any crazy physics bugs.

I'm calling "representative realism" on this game. You are playing a character that manipulates magnetic forces with advanced equipment in stressful situations. To make the control scheme capable of delivering this kind of action and focus the gameplay on problem solving rather than mastering a convoluted and finicky physics engine, the visual representations of the magnets are simplified so that you as a player can focus solely on intention, while your character does the actual handling of the magnets. You could always imagine that when you make two equally coloured cubes smash together, your character has actually aligned the north and south poles to make the cubes attract.

THE GAME IS SUPPOSED TO PLAY LIKE YOU'RE A MASTER MANIPULATOR OF MAGNETISM. Compare this to Guitar Hero/Rock Band where your character is a skilled musician who is able to play anything, it is not your job as a player to get into the finer points of playing an instrument but rather just act out the rock star fantasy. An exact opposite of this philosophy would be Surgeon Simulator 2013 in which you are playing a (supposedly) educated surgeon, but the game is not built around delivering the illusion of controlling a skilled avatar but is mostly focused on you as the player manipulating the very fine movements of the avatar's hand (to the point of hilarious absurdity).
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Sufyan: No, I don't find it confusing. I think the game would be a lot more confusing and time consuming to play if you had to pair up opposites because you would have to think twice for every individual step of a puzzle. By having equals attract, the game plays faster because you only need to come up with a solution and execute the plan, no need to convert your abstract thoughts into something that a lot of players would accidentally get wrong even when they know what to do. It would pretty much turn the game into a very long Stroop Test.

I also think the physics engine and many puzzle layouts would not work with actual magnets. There are several puzzles in the game that requires you to stack three magnets on top of each other. This would not really work for the cubes, Well, they could model actual poles on the cubes but that would just be awful to play. Players would have to be extremely precise in their handling of physics objects and they would be at mercy of finicky any crazy physics bugs.

I'm calling "representative realism" on this game. You are playing a character that manipulates magnetic forces with advanced equipment in stressful situations. To make the control scheme capable of delivering this kind of action and focus the gameplay on problem solving rather than mastering a convoluted and finicky physics engine, the visual representations of the magnets are simplified so that you as a player can focus solely on intention, while your character does the actual handling of the magnets. You could always imagine that when you make two equally coloured cubes smash together, your character has actually aligned the north and south poles to make the cubes attract.

THE GAME IS SUPPOSED TO PLAY LIKE YOU'RE A MASTER MANIPULATOR OF MAGNETISM. Compare this to Guitar Hero/Rock Band where your character is a skilled musician who is able to play anything, it is not your job as a player to get into the finer points of playing an instrument but rather just act out the rock star fantasy. An exact opposite of this philosophy would be Surgeon Simulator 2013 in which you are playing a (supposedly) educated surgeon, but the game is not built around delivering the illusion of controlling a skilled avatar but is mostly focused on you as the player manipulating the very fine movements of the avatar's hand (to the point of hilarious absurdity).
Alright, for me it's the absolute opposite. I have to think twice cause I automatically assume that same poles would reject each other so I have to unlearn that while I'm playing it. I'm getting used to it but I still mix it up sometimes. For me it would have been more intuitive if it worked the other way round.

Edit: I see what you mean, though when you say it would break a few puzzles with multiple magnets which you can put together to build a stronger magnet so I guess it was a necessary design choice.
Post edited June 21, 2014 by Captain_Shiny
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Sufyan: [...]
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Captain_Shiny: Alright, for me it's the absolute opposite. I have to think twice cause I automatically assume that same poles would reject each other so I have to unlearn that while I'm playing it. I'm getting used to it but I still mix it up sometimes. For me it would have been more intuitive if it worked like that.
Maybe you're really into magnets or something, because typically the human brain does not seek patterns that way unless you actively condition yourself for it. Are you by chance ambidextrous as well? That is another learned talent unlike most humans who instinctively use their dominant hand.

Imagine a game of 'Mix & Match' where the objective is not to find a pair, but to find two cards with symbols that represent the opposite of each other. Finding a pair is intuitive and in line with how our brains operate by default doing pattern recognition. To actively seek out opposites in a big pile of cards is adding a concious layer of thought... Now you are thinking with magnets!
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Captain_Shiny: Alright, for me it's the absolute opposite. I have to think twice cause I automatically assume that same poles would reject each other so I have to unlearn that while I'm playing it. I'm getting used to it but I still mix it up sometimes. For me it would have been more intuitive if it worked like that.
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Sufyan: Maybe you're really into magnets or something, because typically the human brain does not seek patterns that way unless you actively condition yourself for it. Are you by chance ambidextrous as well? That is another learned talent unlike most humans who instinctively use their dominant hand.

Imagine a game of 'Mix & Match' where the objective is not to find a pair, but to find two cards with symbols that represent the opposite of each other. Finding a pair is intuitive and in line with how our brains operate by default doing pattern recognition. To actively seek out opposites in a big pile of cards is adding a concious layer of thought... Now you are thinking with magnets!
Not really, it's just a case of conflicting knowledge and execution I guess. For me it's a case of "it should do that but it does the opposite" and that sometimes result in confusion when the stuff doesn't work like it should in real live. But as I said it's not such a big deal - since it's a game about Cthulhu I can still suspend my disbelieve and gameplay wise I'm getting used to it as I said. I was just curious if others had the same experience.
It would be nice if you could choose. I guess you'd have to completely rewrite a lot of the code to provide both options though.

I constantly make mistakes because I'm thinking of it like actual magnetism.

It reminds me of my mp3 player. For some reason, the up button goes down and the down button goes up, but only on the main screen. It messes me up constantly.
Post edited June 22, 2014 by hudfreegamer
I just entered in "red-red green-green" mode xD
Gameplay-wise it was confusing the first time I tried to make two objects attract, then had a WTF? moment. Obviously you figure it out right away though.

Realistically however, it is very confusing as I have to assume 'everyone' knows opposites attract, (remember the song?) so building a game around magnetism, you'd think they understand that too. I'm not that far in it though, so maybe there's some bizarre explanation somewhere? Or maybe the devs just overlooked it and by the time they realized, it was too much work to bother re-writing. Still an interesting game concept.


-Um, this game is about Cthulhu? What?
Post edited July 01, 2014 by whatsnottaken
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whatsnottaken: Gameplay-wise it was confusing the first time I tried to make two objects attract, then had a WTF? moment. Obviously you figure it out right away though.

Realistically however, it is very confusing as I have to assume 'everyone' knows opposites attract, (remember the song?) so building a game around magnetism, you'd think they understand that too. I'm not that far in it though, so maybe there's some bizarre explanation somewhere? Or maybe the devs just overlooked it and by the time they realized, it was too much work to bother re-writing. Still an interesting game concept.

-Um, this game is about Cthulhu? What?
It should have become apparent very quickly that this is a logical puzzle game, not a magnetic physics simulator. Several puzzle designs would not work if opposites attract, or rather, equals deflect. This is because the magnets in this game do not have poles. They are "magnetic" only in the sense that objects attract and repel, but their axises do not change because of other magnetic forces. Most puzzle components in the game are even bound by strict tracks, only the boxes are lose objects and their magnetic force is a single point in the middle of the cube unlike a real magnetic object which has a magnetic field centered around two poles.

I very much doubt the game design is the result of ignorance or a mstake. I think it has everything to do with the game being near unplayable if the player were at the mercy of a realistic physics simulation. The puzzles would become unpredictable. Two magnetic objects slaming together is a very fine art where minute differences in friction and distance affects where these objects end up.

Please be careful if you end up playing with rare earth magnets, people!
Yeah, I understand what you mean, and it makes sense in the way the game was built.

But if they were to work as real magnets do, as you say with opposing poles and all, the game would be built around that idea. It wouldn't have been the same puzzles, so the fact it wouldn't work out, or be too confusing as the game currently exists is irrelevant. In any case, it makes sense as far as the game world works as you explain it. And I suppose not calling it magnetism would just be more confusing.
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whatsnottaken: [...] And I suppose not calling it magnetism would just be more confusing.
Now that I think about it, what is occuring in the game is more similar to manipulating gravity than magnetism. The force with which objects attract in this game are gravitational, they are just drawn to eachother in no particular way. If the objects in the game were truly magnetic, the boxes for example would not repel, they would spin around violently and slam together at their opposing poles.

The best I can come up with is that the objects in the game are the so far in science only theorised monopoles and you have the ability to change them from being north or south poles into the opposite. If this is the intention then this thread does indeed have merit in saying that opposites should attract because the game would then be simulating (at least visually) an actual theory. Still, most of the puzzles in this game are centered around gravitational/magnetic forces that somehow operate in narrow corridors, so... screw science, screw logic, this is a purely abstract puzzle game coated with techno-babble and half-baked Lovecraftian horror.
I do find this very distracting. Like, I know it's minor but by God I can't help myself. And there's no reason for it. Either have the opposites attract or DON'T HAVE ANY REFERENCES TO BLOODY MAGNETS AND CALL THIS ENERGY SOMETHING ELSE. Like, anything else, any made-up word would suffice because if it's your made-up stuff, it's your rules, but if you call it magnet, it has to work like a bloody magnet. At the very least call it "reverse magnet" or "anti-magnet" or something like that.
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Captain_Shiny: Hello!

First of, thanks GOG and kudos to the dev - great game overall!
I'm just a little confused by the depiction of magnetism in this game. In real life opposite poles attract while same poles reject each other. In this game it is the opposite so I always get a little bit confused by that and often chose the wrong color instinctively. Not a huge deal but I wonder if anyone else is struggling with that.
Yes, it's really dumb, IMO. It's playing to the stupid player, IMO (monkey see this monkey do this, rather than think about what makes sense), to not have it make sense in this regard. If you're playing with magnets, it's all about the magnetism, and this game is supposed to be that, so you should be thinking about magnetism, but it doesn't let you. Like has been said, why even call it magnetism if it's not really acting like it in the game, just call it energy of some other kind and you'd be fine.