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 Post subject: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:41 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:22 pm
Posts: 7
Hi y'all!

I'm new to this forum, having just picked up Ren'Py this past weekend for the Ludum Dare 48 hour game jam. I'm pretty new to the visual novel genre(s) as well -- though I did make one game last year that's generally like a visual novel, in flash (Hummingbird Mind). I'm a fan of Christine Love's work but otherwise it's all very new to me!

So I made this short game this weekend using Ren'Py and the Dating Sim Engine framework, and I'd love to hear any feedback you'd like to share. I'm excited about this format and I look forward to learning more about it & playing your games!

Last Tuesday
A short visual novel about waking up in a world without people, and deciding what to do with yourself in an empty city. It's like a supernatural short story.

Word count: 2,520
Endings: 3
Credits: Words+Music by Jake Elliott, backgrounds are Creative Commons images from Flickr (see credits.txt)
Download: Windows | Mac | Linux

Image Image

thanks!
jake


Last edited by Jake Elliott on Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:22 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:20 am
Posts: 629
Completed: Finding A Murderer, Memory Loss, Crime Investigation, Stay away from the graveyard, Last Day at School, Lonesome, Email, Hired Gun, Dusk, Hired Gun 2, Man-at-arms, Hired Gun 3, The Phantom Caller, Street Girl, Free love, The Story of Isabel Claudia
Downloading...
will play it when I get home.

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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:36 pm 
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Posts: 137
Just one advice - It would be a good idea to edit a summary into the original post. Many people will skip on it because they don't know what it's about.


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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:22 pm
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Oh thanks Samidarenina, done!


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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 2:11 pm
Posts: 2565
Location: USA
Organization: Happy Backwards
This is way cooler with the synopsis now. I'll download tonight and post a review. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:08 pm
Posts: 6
Location: UK
Just downloaded and played your game- and I really liked it!

I've written what was supposed to be a review, but... well, it's the first review I've written for a VN before, so it ended up more stream-of-conciousness than constructive criticism! Aleema's review will probably be more helpful, but here're my thoughts anyway! :D

I think you created a great atmosphere through a conjunction of your writing, backgrounds and music. The empty city felt a little bit intimidating, but not necessarily scary. I liked that; it's probably how I'd feel if the same thing happened to me, so it really helped in drawing me into the story. The visual novel I'm in the middle of writing now has the protagonist in a similar situation to yours- so that made it all the more interesting!

It's probably because you wrote this in just 48 hours, but narration is straight and to the point, for the most part. That's definitely not a bad thing, though; sure, we didn't necessarily get to know much about our protagonist or anything, but it feels more like we were defining his (I dunno why I was convinced it was a he) wants, needs and personality through the actions he (or she!) takes. I think I've figured out what was going on- but I also reckon I'm embarrassingly wrong so I'll wait till other people post what they think happened before I put my theory out there!

Overall, like I said, I thought it was very good- especially considering the short time frame. This kind of psychological-supernatural story is right up my street, though, so I'm pretty biased! It was quite short, and I felt like it would've been nice if one or two of the paths was longer (I was egging my character on to try and break into the movie theatre with a lorry or something instead of just looking for a key!), but I'm sure that was probably because of time constraints.


I'll look forward to your next release~


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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:02 am 
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Posts: 629
Completed: Finding A Murderer, Memory Loss, Crime Investigation, Stay away from the graveyard, Last Day at School, Lonesome, Email, Hired Gun, Dusk, Hired Gun 2, Man-at-arms, Hired Gun 3, The Phantom Caller, Street Girl, Free love, The Story of Isabel Claudia
I liked the game.
But I didn't get the meaning of the story.

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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:00 pm 
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Notes while playing (stream of consciousness):
- The transition from "I'm alone" realization to the planner is ... lacking. I suppose I have no grasp whatsoever on the narrator's personality, but he seems to take this in HUGE stride. There was zero emotional reaction from, and it's just matter of fact "oh, I'm alone, time to practice my Spanish."
- Which, by the way, is kinda hilarious. That and cleaning some random person's house. He's doing it just because why not. Here would be a case where he should be LOOTING, not cleaning. But those people sure aren't going to want to be bothered with all that dust (nevermind the breaking and entering).
- When I got the key from the movie theatre and it didn't work on any door, I thought "AH HA!" because you mentioned the pump thingy in the park being padlocked. I thought you designed some awesome puzzle solving. But I went back to the park and nothing happened. Maybe the park was just not salvageable by that point.
- I finished the game with what I assume is a bad ending, since I "never wake up." Maybe I should've taken a box of Cheerios with me from the grocery story instead of starving. xD I feel like this is a game with a lot of complexity and more to see, especially if gameplay is on a short timer like this. I feel like this is a challenge I need to figure out, and that the choices I made during dreaming were very important. Maybe more important than what I did each day (picking the most emotional responses to the questions seems to be wrong, and I suppose that does fit in with his ... seemingly disabled personality).
- Playing it again, going to different places more often ... Answered differently on the dream questions ... wound up in the cafeteria! Got a different end. Woot. Time to peek at your code. Sorrrryyyy, hehe.
- Ooh, I see that going to different locations secretly raised stats. Wow, did not even expect that.
Grocery Store, Park, Movie Theater - Curiosity
Library, Newspaper, Spanish - Memory
Radio, Cleaning, TV - Empathy
That makes a lot of sense! Now I see why you had them clean a house, to keep in touch with their humanity. Though it's still very odd and it would be looting (at least begin as such), but I'm also not sure ... if this is even reality for logic to be necessary. I'm assuming it's just all a dream, since that's what it feels like, though you could easily say no, it's some government induced coma experiment or whatever, since you're the author, but the ending lines do more explicitly say "dream." Which makes the behavior make a lot more sense, since that's how I act in a dream. "Oh, everyone in the world has disappeared. I need to go to the movie theater." That's dream sense.
But the question remains, what do these stats do?
- Looking at your Dreams ... oooh, the choices gave you bonuses to your stats! So by choosing the most emotional responses (but by being mostly curious in my planning), I got a bad ending since my stats were wishy washy.
- Oh, lol, I'm stupid. I said before that I got a bad ending because I said "I never wake up" but I think I misread it and it's still "I HOPE I never wake up" for every ending. Which leads me to believe ... that maybe it wasn't all just a dream, and that everyone really did disappear, and that this "dream" that he's having is him escaping (maybe dying?) from that world. Maybe it's radiation poisoning or something. Haha. I like that it's really open ended that I could just hypothesize forever.

Okay. After dissecting your game and see that it is a lot more complicated that I first believed, I have to commend you on this. I think it actually has the perfect atmosphere and the narrator is just creepily not there enough to lend itself to being either a dream, that he's traumatized, sick from whatever killed everyone else, or that he's just mentally challenged. I prefer the dream explanation since that's how I would act in a dream, and wake up later and go "I practiced Spanish???" but it made perfect sense while asleep. Anyway. Non spoiler review:


I like exploring the "what if"s of the world, and how quickly our human society is swallowed up by mother nature after we're gone. This game had me very curious and I'm glad I downloaded it. I love psychological adventures, and I feel this one had me thinking. Good job. :)

edit: What's your theory, chimeric? You can say it now since my's embarrassingly cliche!
edit 2: You made the music?? It's perfect!

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How to Customize the Textbox | How to Customize Game Menus | Icon art by Mocha07734


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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:22 pm
Posts: 7
Hey thanks so much all for the feedback -- I'm really grateful that you spent so much time & thought with it! It's especially helpful for me to hear about your thought process as you went through the game, since I think y'all having more experience with this form gives us a different set of expectations. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:41 am 
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Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 2:26 pm
Posts: 52
I just downloaded and played the game. And I must say, this was a very good piece of work. keep it up :D
By the way, is there any other ending other than the one with the cafeteria and 'I hope this dream never ends' and the one with the foreign country and, again, the saying of 'I hope this never ends'?

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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:11 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:21 pm
Posts: 91
Location: Philippines
Played it. It's really good. The Writing, background and music (which is a little creepy) are all well-done. :)
Great job!

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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:59 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:59 pm
Posts: 36
This is awesome and relatively simple code!! I learned a lot from this game, THANKS A BUNCH!! Also may I ask permission to experiment and play around with your code and see if I can change things and whether or not I can succeed at modifying your codes? It's purely for the sake of learning, I swear!

*) EDIT:

I kind of make use of your work as example of my problem which I posted here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=10990 I hope you don't mind..?


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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:22 pm
Posts: 7
fathskie wrote:
Also may I ask permission to experiment and play around with your code and see if I can change things and whether or not I can succeed at modifying your codes? It's purely for the sake of learning, I swear!


I pretty much just modified the Dating Sim Engine framework example code, which you might also find helpful to look at if you haven't already. But yeah please feel free to use my code for anything that helps you out!


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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:08 pm
Posts: 6
Location: UK
Haha, actually Aleema you and I have exactly the same theory!

The thing that cemented it for me was the fact that the park still isn't swampy/the library is still fine/the supermarket food isn't rotting on the last day- they only change if you go there yourself. As well as that, each activity felt quite disjointed- nothing carried from one even to the next. That might have been due to the coding, but to me it makes more sense to assume the protagonist was dreaming all along!


I'm afraid I only just noticed you made the music yourself, Jake, too... It is perfect. Really sets the mood. I didn't open up the code or anything, but I'm not surprised I got the
curiosity
ending first- it's me to a T xD


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 Post subject: Re: Last Tuesday
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:13 pm
Posts: 96
Location: Romania
Completed: Summer Found Me, Signed X, Trapped
Projects: Poison Sweet, CryptoHaven
I wake up one morning, and everyone is gone. If it wasn't such a terrifying thought, I could almost say I want that to happen to me just to see what I would do. This is why when I read about this game, I immediately wanted to play it.

Now, my thoughts...
The whole game I had this feeling it wasn't all real. The choices were something out of a dream. If I were in that situation (after I have fully realized it and got over the sadness/anger/confusion, something the character just skips entirely) I would raid the nearest store, eat all the junk food I could before it spoiled, drive someone's car (I can't drive!), go through my neighbors' stuff, probably break expensive things (because I can!), go on the internet to see if it still works, watch movies I have on my computer, listen to my music at full volume at night and slowly go insane.
This is just what I would do, so someone else might do other things, but I really think most people would just break doors and not fish for keys, or go to a newspaper stand so read a newspaper, not try to read a wet one off the ground. Besides, a pond doesn't turn into a swamp in a week. This is why I'm pretty sure it was all some sort of dream or hallucination, or maybe the guy wasn't mentally stable in the first place? Or maybe... ah, but I could sit here all day and think up reasons.

I got three endings and I guess that's all of them. I was too lazy to look at the code... -_-;
I don't think there was much of a difference between them, but I always think big, so don't mind me. For the size of this game, it was fine.

Anyway, this little VN made me think and I would love to see this idea be made into a bigger game, with more possibilities, maybe mysteries to solve. You could try to figure out what happened, start going crazy, or go on a joy ride around the city. Even if in the end you never find out what happened, it would still be an interesting game to play IMO. But I digress...again...
The music was creepy and fitting and I liked the backgrounds too. It was an interesting game and I'm glad I played it.

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