WHOA!! You're the maker of Homeward and you're on here?! Dude I loved your VN so much it's the reason I reinstalled Ren'py, I didn't even know it was made with Ren'py until I finished my first play through. I thought it was a professional Visual Novel from Japan just translated into English. You're a legend to me! So now you have a number one fan.Samu-kun wrote:Thanks for your comments.
Well, honestly, I think the art's pretty dated now. Homeward's more than a year old now, and I drew those sprites maybe four years ago. English visual novels weren't so developed four years ago, but today, people's standards have increased. But I think it's nice to at least look at Homeward from a historical perspective, I guess. Kinda like watching a older movie from the late 1990's and seeing what the industry was like back then.
There's still a lot of ways the characters of Homeward could grow, and I don't think the story's finished yet. But alas, that's something to save for another time.
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I just registered since i stumbled upon your story-renpy on another forum and tried it...
i must say, since i'm more into active playing rpg, that your story was an absolute amazing pleasant change for watching and playing through the storyline...
i lack a bit of active interfering, since i found only one storychanging big decision to make
since i hope, i have seen everything in this game, i must ask for my own curiosity:
what happend to Sora after the story ending in the most parts? since i saw her only in her own story end...
also i was curios to see and explore your definition of homeward,
since i interpreted that your definition of "a warmth you can return to" woukld go into another direction: a frinedship above all obstacles....
maybe if you want and find the mood to read my following points and got the nerv to answer these, i would be really happy....
for me this was the perfect interpretation of a good friend and as i played through the story, i suggest that all, Nonomi, Haruka and in some ways even Sora were his friends after all...
so i wonder, why each end of the story focusses only on a person only, implying that he losses contact to all his other friends again (is this story playing in a time before internet and medial communication???)....
i mean, when he stays with Nonomi, Haruka got totally rejected and thrown out of his life and
also i was really depressed in Haruka's storyline that Kenji had to completedly break up his friendship with Nonomi, since they swore at her bed in the hospital to stay friend forever (maybe my interpretation)...
and since both of them moved to Philadelphia, why can't they reurn to Japan afterwards for seeing their old firends
not even speaking of Sora, since i wonder why you have to leave out Sora for all endings of the storyline since she was once part of the big friendcicle...
even in Nonomi's afterstory, Riku tells her when she leaves that they will meet again...(i hope that wasn't supposed to be the meeting on her weeding day?!? only...)
why do these two siblings have to care for each other in such an intimately way? yes i understand that the have become real close and all, but starting with sex???
o.k., maybe in other cultures, it could be this way, maybe in my old fashioned mind this wouldn't happen, but i imagined that Riku will be there for her till the end of his life and helping her (not in sexual ways)....
in some countries, i guess there is no law against sexual intercourse between siblings and in most countries of europe, only vaginal intercourse is forbidden, so there would have been some room for devellopment...
but my imagination for these arc was like they become real close friends (maybe with exploring and helping in exploring the bodies of eachother, but no intercourse...)
Riku cares for his sister, helps her in every way he can and since she becomes more and more openly for other people, she devellops her own, positive personality with Riku's help....
since they both want to keep their current life as "a happy family (if you count two people like this)", i thought that maybe in this arc, Sora would have helped Riku in convinceing his father to let Riku and her stay...
maybe even the suicding act in the river could have taken a different turn, if they both have made a move towards their father in preventing their suicide (or similar)....
they could have convinced their father with the suicuide threat to change his meaning of things, or alternatively an other relatve or friend would have been there to keep an eye over them...
since i'm not completely sure about all ages of the people, maybe Riku was old enough to decide on his own where to live and cares about his sister while his father is on his business trips???
my poststory end would be, that the four friends would have stayed together as friends till the end, since the only warmth they all have known was their connection and time, they spent together...
maybe for the love of this story genre, i would have made Riku fall in love with Nonomi or let the player choose, which girl he likes more,
but definitly they all would have stayed freinds, since this was the beginning intro of the story and it only comes to this scene if you follow the Nonomi story....
i had no intention to criticize you for anything of your great story
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In terms of what happened to Sora after the Haruka ending, it can be presumed that Sora had rough teenage years, but she managed to pull through and ended up a normal woman. She and Riku kept in touch and sometimes saw each other every few years. In her adult years, she probably ended up raising a family of her own and assuming a life of normalcy. Sora and Riku probably got closer once they both became adults and Riku could visit Japan more often.
In Haruka's arc, the only possible conclusion was that Nonami had to cut off all contact with Riku. Nonami's love for Riku will always be a romantic one and she wouldn't be happy being just friends. Being friends with Riku while he was going out with Haruka would not be an option for Nonami, so the best thing she could do for him was to disappear so he could be happy with Haruka.
Homeward takes place in the modern world with worldwide communications and Internet. However, I do not believe advances in technology have made third culture kids much more integrated than before. Facebook is not very strong in Japan, so international social networking is still not feasible. Nonami and Haruka may have made facebook accounts just to keep track of Riku after he left, but they probably lost track of him. For ordinary people like Riku and co, services like Twitter would be less useful as well. Finally, Internet contact serves as a reminder of sadness, so most international friends do not use it aside for professional purposes.
As for why Sora didn't help Riku stay in Japan more, Sora is just a teenager like Riku. They both have trauma because of their family problems and unstable childhoods, so neither Sora or Riku were in any position to make sane decisions in a high stress environment. People make weird decisions when they're young and in under a lot of stress, and that's essentially the story of the second half of Homeward. Still, Riku, Sora, Nonami, and Haruka are good enough people to make it out of Riku's sudden departure all in one piece, and it can be assumed that they all became productive and satisfied adults.
i mean home not as a certain place or a certasin person you can come back to, but the sensation all people feeling, as if their world just started to spin in their own direction (not what is called love ),
like Ryku mentioned in the Nonomi arc, when he remembers/dreams the scene where he is an old man sitting under the certain trees in the parc (i got the impression, it wasn't for Nonomi but the moments they spent together which was what he really wants to keep as his most treasured memory for his entire life)...
also i clearly understand, why Nonomi had to break up all bonds with Ryku in the Haruka arc (even though i would never have to like it since she was and is his only real friend from the beginning)...
and the "continuation" for Sora seems clear assuming her words about her hated life with her mother, even if i got the feeling that the time with her brother could have changed her attitude and view of the things she has to go threw...(it sadens me to see a person's personality getting broken into peaces again after such a happy period with relief and freedom for her opened heart, for regaining her bored caved personality back)
i imagined that in the Nonomi arc Haruka would refer to her words for beeing always friends with Ryku and by his side for his support,
so maybe my imagination would have been that she stayed in contact with Ryku while he was gone and prepared the reunion at the parc (while holding the strings in the back),
like she guids Nonomi into the parc on this certain day and remebers of all the funny and remarkable days they spent together as friends...
for her personallity, i guess it could fit that she would stay Nonomi's friend and also will be by Ryku's side for the time he's back to Japan...
maybe she could even be able to guide Sora back to her friends, when Ryku came to his "warmth home" (for me home is not a place or a certain person,
but the feeling of all the remarkable memories they shared in their short period together, where he had his friends and all the things he had missed while moving through the world....)
but maybe i'm just nostalgic and always aiming for the perfect happy ending and
your interpretation and intention of the story was more realistic with the decission for his personal realm and his happiness....
but considering his different points of view during the different arcs, i must reassure that i got the feeling it wasn't the love for a certain person he made his favourite memory but his time with friends he can rely on,
his childhood friend Nonomi, who still remebered him from before he left her and had a strong bond in his childish memories and
also shoolfriend Haruka, who accepted him like what he was and opened him all support and friendliness, a person can imagine from a new friend and
also his sister Sora, whom he can't really remember, but he could possible save from a lonely, sadend life he had to go through his past years....
You are owning me a whole night full of sleep.
I literally "swallod" this game in 6-7 hours straight (lost track of time. At point of writting this it's 8:20am in germany and I briefly finnished the game with all extras).
First I have to say is that I only had played Katawa Shojo before and a Rip-Off of a VN wich cost me about 3 bucks with less then an hour playtime (worst spend money ever).
I was positively surprised about this VN.
I have to say that you really caught me off guard several times and my heart was exploding like at least 5 times per arc.
While I didn't move much or far away in my lifetime (I am still in the same city and moved only like 2times) I could really connect with Riku as my few friends had changed very often because they were moving to other countrys / cities and felt alone most of the times in my life. It was a hard time for me where I didn't get along well with my parents but enughfrom me.
I simply want to say thank you.
At the moment a lot of other shit happened in my life but as cheesy as it sounds the theme of Houseward made me rethink a lot while I was playing it.
It may be only a burst of blind actionism but somehow I feel like I can carry on with my studys (I'm a student at a university) and my own plans for a VN (Which I am planning for more then half a year) with fresh motivation.
As for the game I will start with the arcs how I completed them:
But as it was allready like about 6 o'clock in the morning I continued with Nonami...
Rikus father getting violent, the nightmares (especially the one with Sora and Haruka locking up the room)... Nanomi leaving Riku behind... Haruka loosing it and slapping Nanomi...
The end a littlebit of a luckluster. Maybe it would've been totally worth to make a crucial decisionpoint to let the last minute miracle happen (of course it shouldn't be obvious).
I understand you maybe didn't do such a ending because you didn't want to go against your theme but here It would've been somehow fitting. Struggle and overcome and have it at least one time in your life... Problems will come... different problems.
Haruka or Nonami 3 years later... Nobody can tell if they will live ever happily after as life, you pointed out in your story, hast other plans for everyone.
The length is perfect and the story does not have to hide behind VNs like Katawa Shojo (in fact, Homeward has its superior moments storywise).
If I had to recommend somebody free VNs who is new to this I would definitely name Homeward.
It really touched as I know to good that life can simply be so unfairyet so rewarding...
Homeward touched me... even more then Katawa Shoujo did.
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just wanted to stop by and thank you for making this amazing novel. I stumbled upon it while looking for some quality free novels to read and though I was a bit skeptical just from the premise, the piano ost had me sold from the beginning and the story just finished the job.
The soundtrack reminded me a bit of Katawa Shoujo, which is a plus in my books, I'm a sucker for good emotional piano music.
I've got just one small jab at the game, which are faces of Nonami's and Haruka's sprites. It seemed that they were kinda copy-pasted from each other. I guess it could be because they had pretty much the same eye shape. With the anime character having similar faces, the eyes and hair make the most difference, but maybe it's just me.
Secondly some of their expressions, especially the default ones looked a bit... lifeless is one way to put it I suppose. This I think it might've been caused by the specific shape/size/proportions of the eyes. Sora looked fine to me, but those two's expressions kept bugging me. Just my two cents, it certainly didn't detract from the feels the game provided.
Aside from those it also gave me a huge post-ending depression which isn't going away, cause I still have Nonami's route to finish. Saved it for last since I kinda figured it could be considered 'canon' for the game.
I also had a few questions concerning the characters and endings, but I got pretty much all of them answered reading through the thread so no need to repeat them.
Once again thanks for making the game and good luck with your current project, I might check it out later.
Homeward is the first VN I ever played and completed, since I'm generally more into other more action-oriented games. How I ended up playing Homeward is kind of a story within a story, but to keep things short it's sufficient to say that I randomly ran into Sunrider Academy, got intrigued and decided to check out other titles from LIS.
So, having completed Nonami's arc so far, I can only say that it doesn't matter if Homeward's art may seem dated by now, because the game is still entirely enjoyable thanks to a good story, a nice soundtrack and the fact that the whole experience was incredibly moving. Guess I have experienced a varied range of emotions when playing games in the past, but (as another user mentioned in a preceding comment) this was actually the first piece of fictional story that's really made me cry. For some reason I was already moved by the reunion of the protagonist with Nonami early in the story, so all the feels of going through Nonami's arc pretty much overwhelmed me... Sounds embarrassing to a certain extent, but now I get a little bit of teary-eyed by merely listening to the game's main theme... If this is the kind of reaction the game was intended to elicit, then that result was successfully achieved.
I intend to play Haruka and Sora's arcs at some point, to see how these differ from Nonami's arc, but that will have to wait until I feel a little less emotional.
To wrap it up, thanks for this game! And now, it's time to resume my Sunrider Academy playthrough!