INVESTIGATION SUMMARY TO THIS POINT
Oh, what in the blue blazes is this?
WELCOME! To Let's Play Discworld Noir - the hybrid
Alright, what is Discworld Noir?
Discworld Noir is the third of three Discworld-based adventure games, the first two being imaginatively titled Discworld and Discworld II. All three were developed by Perfect Entertainment, but while the first two follow Rincewind the magician in plots that borrow from a series of Discworld novels and are frequently (and slightly unfavorably) compared to Simon the Sorcerer, the third uses an original character, in an original storyline, and stands by itself to a much greater degree.
It's far and away my favorite of the trilogy.
Because it's very, very well-written and crafted. Pratchett had a big hand in this original story. The pacing is great, there is a mid-game mechanic introduction that feels natural, and really opens the case back up just when you are getting stonewalled everywhere that's really satisfying.
The voice acting is fantastic. It might be a little hammy, but that's kind of the point. This game is an homage and a mockery of noir, which is also just about my favorite genre. I like sci-fi noir (Gemini Rue is so great), and fantasy noir is every bit as good, it turns out.
What's your least favorite thing about the game?
Graphics. 3D stuff doesn't age well. It works well enough, and a lot of work obviously went into them, but Lewton's face looks downright creepy most of the time. Those HUGE EYES!
What's a Discworld?
Boy oh boy are you missing out. Discworld is the brainchild of Sir Terry Pratchett, and it describes, over the course of 40 books and counting, a wonderful, comedy-styled take on fiction and fantasy. It started out as a vehicle to parody a lot of established fantasy tropes, but grew into its own monster. It's fantastically popular, and very, very good. You should read them.
But you don't have to! That's the nice thing about Discworld Noir. Even moreso than the other Discworld games, you don't need ANY Discworld knowledge to enjoy this game.
I think you'll get some extra enjoyment out of the game, seeing places and people that you recognize from other books, but you never get a leg up story-wise, and the game is pretty good about explaining things without having a huge text dump. I guess if you've read the books you can probably figure out that Vimes and the patrician aren't going to die. Spoiler alert you guys they won't die.
What should I know, though? Any background at all?
Alright. We're in Ankh-Morpork. That's a big city. Big enough to support a Private Investigator. There is magic in this setting, but not everybody knows it - mostly just the wizards, and they are in the Unseen University. Witches can also do magic, but they're more wild and natural, and less important in this game.
There are dwarves, who are your standard fantasy dwarf. Trolls are made of stone, and get dumber the hotter they get.
NO SPOILERS. This is a mystery, and I don't want it solved. No talking about things we haven't seen yet, if you know what's going to happen. Speculation is fine.
One nice thing about this being a separate story that doesn't draw on the main canon is that you can talk about anything else discworld, and please do. I've been on a discworld kick recently, so I'm happy to talk particulars of the universe, favorite books, characters, etc. As always, I'll shut it down if it gets crazy off-topic.
Any thread participation?
Weren't you running Guacamelee?
Still am. This is a side-project! As a
NOTE FOR FUTURE LPers. SSLPs are more work than VLPs. Whodathunk?
Recipe makes: One (1) Discworld Noir game playable
Pre-recipe note by author
Ok so, this is kind of a lot to go through. No lie. The main problem with Discworld Noir is that it falls juuuuuust in this little sweet spot of games that were made after it's convenient or easy to get them to play on dosbox (I've never managed that with Discworld Noir, but I've heard it's possible), and before games you can get to play on a current Windows machine with compatibility mode (again, that I've managed).
Now, Discworld Noir is such a great game that I'd claim it's EASILY worth the effort this takes, especially with my awesome step-by-step, this-totally-worked-for-me guide available here. But if you hate adventure games or something YMMV.
Keep in mind though, there are actually a pretty decent number of great games that fall into this category. Off the top of my head, I've managed to get these three working only through this basic recipe:
Amber: Journeys Beyond
Titanic: Adventure out of Time
Noir: A Shadowy Thriller
So you may want to get a whole stable of games you want to play to make this worth your while.
- 1 Discworld Noir iso
(note: against all reason, it appears to be abandonware. Come ON, gog!)
- Access to Windows XP from CD or direct .iso.
(note: If your parents aren't crazy hoarders, try to find a musty old computer store. You KNOW they'll have one)
(double note: I think probably windows 2000 would work too. Windows 98 does not, at least not that I was able to make it)
- VMWare Player
(note: NOT VMWare Player Plus. Unless you want to pay money for no reason!)
- Daemon Tools Lite
(note: Again, not daemon tools. That's either a trial period or for-pay. Lite will work well enough for us, goons!)
1) Install VMWare Player and Daemon Tools Lite
2) Open VMWP, choose "Create a New Virtual Machine"
3) Point it to either your installer disk or .iso location
4) Open daemon tools lite
4.5) Mount the Discworld Noir .iso (click the bottom-left icon, a CD on paper with a green plus, and select the DWN .iso)
4.75) Note what letter drive the .iso is mounted to
5) In VMWP click "Player" in the top-left of the screen, then CD/DVD (Ide) then Settings
4 Again) Select Use Physical Drive, then select whatever letter the DWN .iso is mounted to in daemon tools
6) Now you should be able to install Discworld Noir on VMWP, and play it regularly!
(Note: I understand a common hurdle is that in some downloadable .isos, the DWN CD 1 and 3 are reverse labeled - you'll want
to START mounting DWN3 as the install disk, then move to 2 and to 1. DWN3 is the play-the-game CD)
Note: The game will break if you try to load from the intro screen. You must always watch the intro, but once you start gameplay you can load games like usual.
Regular Play Instructions / recording
You don't have to go through ALL that normally, but it's still more of a hassle than just regular Dosbox. After the initial install, you can just load up VMWP and play DWN straight from it.
Recording is, of course, even MORE fun.
For video recording, I found an old version of FRAPS and dragged and dropped it into VMWP. In installed in in the XP box and am able to run it on there. I likewise am able to drag and drop the finished video files out of the windows XP machine onto my desktop. I've seen some people have trouble setting that up, but it worked out-of-box for me. Sometimes you have to hold the file for a long time against the edge of the VM box before it'll move onto your desktop. Just imagine the edges are made of thick jello!
For audio recording, I downloaded AudioDensityDemo from VB audio, set Output Devices (under Options) to MME, then set the "recording device" to "CABLE Input in both the Windows Sound Mixer and Audacity.
From there, audacity should record what's happening in the VM. I'm sure there's some janky way to get audacity to simultaneously record this and your microphone if you want to do live commentary, but I do post, so I just separately record the video in FRAPS and the audio in Audacity, making sure to have an easy synchronization point (the music instantly changes when you move from a silent place to the world map, so I use that).
Then just save the game audio as a .wav, combine it with the .avi you get from FRAPS in AviSynth, and play it with headphones on in VirtualDub. With headphones on you can record your talkymumbles in audacity (making sure to set the recording devices back to microphone!), overlay that audio track on the game audio in audacity, save that as the new .wav, combine that with the video in avisynth, and use RipBot to save the whole mess as a .mp4.