The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

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Carassaurat
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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#241 Post by Carassaurat » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:42 pm

Anarchy wrote:
Carassaurat wrote:Balancing Act (⌐■_■)
So the final structure should look like this:

superficial choices -> main storyline reworked to include Mr. Coworker -> more superficial choices -> interesting time travel storyline where the superficial choices pay off -> branching into different endings
I don't agree with you there. Yes, that would have solved all of Balancing Act's problem, but it would also remove much of its strength; I very much like how you need multiple playthroughs to get the full story, and how the choices aren't always simply about which route you want to take, but from which perspective you want to see something (it doesn't go all the way there, but we can agree that the Mr. Coworker thing is good). I don't mind a set story — I enjoy a kinetic novel as much as a visual novel — but I think that if you decide to use choices, you need to do something more with than have a cosmetic difference later on. Though those cosmetic differences are done very neatly in Act and I certainly wouldn't want to see them gone, they're hardly the best thing about it. They work well in combination; wishing away the law enforcement is basically the decision to die just a few moments later, but how you do is determined by a seemingly superficial choice you made earlier, the confidence/style/appeal one.
Instead, I wonder what would happen if it would split into two branches about halfway through, one in which Garrett is being targeted by Mr. Coworker (in various ways depending on the previous choices) and one branch which includes the time travel (again with various endings). If it could be telegraphed that it consists of essentially two branches, everyone would at least notice both; now there are so many ways to end it that not everyone gets to see every ending. Of course, then you still have the problem that you might play them in a sub-optimal order...

It's a difficult one, this!

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#242 Post by Anarchy » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:52 pm

Carassaurat wrote:
Anarchy wrote:
Carassaurat wrote:Balancing Act (⌐■_■)
So the final structure should look like this:

superficial choices -> main storyline reworked to include Mr. Coworker -> more superficial choices -> interesting time travel storyline where the superficial choices pay off -> branching into different endings
I don't agree with you there. Yes, that would have solved all of Balancing Act's problem, but it would also remove much of its strength; I very much like how you need multiple playthroughs to get the full story, and how the choices aren't always simply about which route you want to take, but from which perspective you want to see something (it doesn't go all the way there, but we can agree that the Mr. Coworker thing is good). I don't mind a set story — I enjoy a kinetic novel as much as a visual novel — but I think that if you decide to use choices, you need to do something more with than have a cosmetic difference later on. Though those cosmetic differences are done very neatly in Act and I certainly wouldn't want to see them gone, they're hardly the best thing about it. They work well in combination; wishing away the law enforcement is basically the decision to die just a few moments later, but how you do is determined by a seemingly superficial choice you made earlier, the confidence/style/appeal one.
Instead, I wonder what would happen if it would split into two branches about halfway through, one in which Garrett is being targeted by Mr. Coworker (in various ways depending on the previous choices) and one branch which includes the time travel (again with various endings). If it could be telegraphed that it consists of essentially two branches, everyone would at least notice both; now there are so many ways to end it that not everyone gets to see every ending. Of course, then you still have the problem that you might play them in a sub-optimal order...

It's a difficult one, this!
That's an interesting idea... Hmm, you know what. I think I have an idea on how to at least ensure that the reader gets the Mr. Coworker route before the time-travelling route.

You set a single If...Else... condition on the "go back in time" choice. If the reader's seen the Mr. Coworker route, then you go straight into the time travelling route. Else, if by chance the reader HASN'T seen that route, the protagonist disappears, and then we have a short scene from the spirit's perspective. Garrett has just traveled back in time... and then Mr. Coworker appears. They have a short exchange that should be appropriately mystifying to readers who haven't seen the time-travelling route, but should make complete sense in hindsight once you've played that route. It should also be tantalizing, not confusing, so that the reader is enticed to play the Mr. Coworker route to find out more.

See, though, the other reason I want the time-travelling to be a mandatory part of the main storyline is something that I think Auro brought up in her review. The existence of Mr. Coworker doesn't make sense if you don't choose the time-travelling part, unless you cop out and explain it away as yet ANOTHER random coworker - though the capitalization of Mr. Coworker tells me that yes, that it is most definitely Older Garrett. So yeah, big plot hole right there.

I don't think that it takes away from the story's strength to have the important bits be linear. I did like that confidence/style/appeal choice and how it affected how you died - the thing is, I think that that kind of choice could definitely be combined into the main storyline. You just don't have Garrett die - you have him ALMOST die, and then live to do a time-travelly bit, which might be different depending on what situation you just escaped from, whether it be rabid fans or Mr. Coworker.

Like I said, I don't mind that the choices don't impact the actual storyline, but from what perspective you see that storyline, and that the choices I make are reflected in the narrative in a way that feels significant. My choices haven't actually changed the important parts of the story - but it makes the act of choosing feel significant, like I'm truly in control of the character and the story.

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#243 Post by Carassaurat » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:57 pm

Anarchy wrote:
Carassaurat wrote:Balancing Act (⌐■_■)
I'm not a big fan of showing something other than from Garrett's perspective; that's... inelegant, and maybe jarring. Maybe we'll just have to agree to disagree. Another option would be to have one branch in which Garrett is murdered by Mr. Coworker; and another in which Garrett travels back in time, everything leads up to the Mr. Coworker ending, but it would end before that actually happens. So in one branch you're left with the question of "what just happened?" and in the other with "what's going to happen?" — they'd be equally question-asking and equally question-answering, whereas now one asks the questions and the other answers them and stands on its own. As for the time continuity, the Spirit does explain that there are multiple realities or something to that effect, and that she's not sure how it all works either. It's a cop out, perhaps, but considering how inherently silly time travel is in the first place, I don't think it absolutely needs logic.

But we're completely mangling half of what Balancing Act is trying to be just to get Mr. Coworker into the spotlight :lol: . I mean, it has 9 or so endings at least? In a way, its easy-to-get-an-ending mirrors the nature of the wishes, which are quickly granted but can have the greatest of effects; the subject reflected in the playing. At least a bit.

By the way, another thing I just noticed about this entry that I hadn't before but is worth praising is its use of backgrounds. It seems the author only wrote his or her story after carefully looking at the available resources. OK, everybody and his mom and his mom's dog uses the bedroom pretty well, but few actually bother to make the workplace as significant as it is in Act, and the wrecked cars especially actually have a function in the story! It's a great contrast with Sacrifice, which was probably written without consideration for resources and has to resort to black or white screens half of the time — Balancing Act is never constrained at all, because it's built around them.

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#244 Post by Anarchy » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:22 pm

Carassaurat wrote:
Anarchy wrote:
Carassaurat wrote:Balancing Act (⌐■_■)
I'm not a big fan of showing something other than from Garrett's perspective; that's... inelegant, and maybe jarring.
True, true.
Another option would be to have one branch in which Garrett is murdered by Mr. Coworker; and another in which Garrett travels back in time, everything leads up to the Mr. Coworker ending, but it would end before that actually happens. So in one branch you're left with the question of "what just happened?" and in the other with "what's going to happen?" — they'd be equally question-asking and equally question-answering, whereas now one asks the questions and the other answers them and stands on its own.
Now that would probably work!
But we're completely mangling half of what Balancing Act is trying to be just to get Mr. Coworker into the spotlight :lol: . I mean, it has 9 or so endings at least? In a way, its easy-to-get-an-ending mirrors the nature of the wishes, which are quickly granted but can have the greatest of effects; the subject reflected in the playing. At least a bit.
That is very true as well. Perhaps if other endings could form other "question-answer" pairs like the "Mr Coworker - time travel" ends, it would make the entire experience more... striking? Not every ending, of course, but at least a few of them.

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#245 Post by LieselSolo » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:46 pm

Nostalgia: The Dead Child

I definitely like the concept. I'd never really thought of nostalgia and hope like that before. Sachina's characterization was neat, how one minute she's like a little kid and the next minute she's a sad spirit. However, the narrator's characterization seemed a bit uneven. She seems to have a mature voice most of the time but then the author throws in words like "snoozing" and "ain't" that seem very out of place and inconsistent with the narrator's usual voice. There are also some phrases like, "Nostalgia was born birth-death" that are just plain awkward. This particular phrase is also redundant since the sentence before stated that Nostalgia was sillborn.

I think that's the game's main problem - redundancy. For example, we hear the narrator's theory about nostalgia and hope at the beginning of the game, so when Sachina asks her about it, we don't need to play the entire scene over again. Sometimes phrases get unnecessarily repeated as well, such as "sad expression."

Sometimes it felt weird to have so many characters that didn't have sprites - I had trouble telling the classmates apart, for example - but the contest only supplied one character sprite, so I won't hold that against the author. All in all, it was a well-done entry.

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#246 Post by Daggio » Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:05 am

The lonely spirit

The story is creepy. The narrative, music, and little flashes of red texts did their job perfectly in creating the scary atmosphere, it was a mistake to play this one at night =A=;
the story is narrated in a smooth way, a perfect fit for NVL mode, similar to For stellie but the vocabulary isn't as high level as that one.

The concept for "disaster" is really great. I like how people intrepret the "disaster" for this contest, it varies so much and it's really interesting to read them all. it's interesting that Lila doesn't have control over her power, and how it depends on Lila's emotion is a unique take on the concept.

I like Jin. At first he's just an ordinary guy, nothing special about him, but as the story goes and he knows more about Lila, his character starts to grow. He's a badass! I like the debate between him and Lila's power, he starts to sound like a tough guy, and when he finally confronts it, it's a great idea to fight negative thoughts with positive one, teaches us about positivity.

In a way, this story is similiar with Is she a spirit of disaster?. One is because the spirit doesn't want to cause disaster, two is that the spirit tries to get away from the protagonist, and three because the protagonist helped her overcome the disaster

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#247 Post by LieselSolo » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:11 pm

"Dhumaketu"

It had potential with this futuristic world where robots (or were they actually robots? The game never really explained WHAT they are) have taken over the world and made it a places where no one has ambition, but the problem was that the world was very vague. Are the characters robots or something else? What sort of war ending up with humans being put in zoos? The idea of syntax connections that substitute for conversations was interesting, but the game didn't do enough with it. Plus, if Sarah's used to communicating through those connections, shouldn't she have noticed that she wasn't getting any connection from Ket when she first met her?

I didn't really get any sense of who Sarah was, aside from being a robot (IF they're actually robots) who works in an office and has a mundane life. She uses regular diction most of the time, but then occasionally she launches into purple prose such as "stars sparlkle like retainers in a celestial court" which breaks character in addition to being overwritten. Plus, she talks about her children and her children's children at one point. If they're robots (big if, since the game never explains), how can they reproduce?

While I did like that you could take Ket to different places, the following scenes were way too short. The entire game was too short, in fact. Yes, of course I know about the ten thousand word limit, but it feels like the author chose a subject matter that was too big for the word limit and tried to cram it in by using the bare minimum of information about the world, which just gives a half-baked result. Plus, each "no" decision, no matter where you took Ket, leads to the exact same ending, which feels like cheating. Perhaps it would have been best to get rid of one of the places in favor of developing the story better.

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#248 Post by CheeryMoya » Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:22 am

Falling
I think I know who wrote this, but I won't say anymore. It was a nice read, but... hm.

How well is the story fleshed out? Do you have a clear sense of the setting and characters? How was that accomplished?
The setting is modern day, Matthew is a kid with a terminal disease who's just mad at everything since he's gonna die before everyone else his age. He snaps at his mom, does whatever he wants, is a jerk, etc. He's just so full of angst at one point, then the other time he's... begging. Disaster goes to him, tells him he's going to achieve death sooner than thought, and then gives him some options. All choices lead to somewhere, on a few of them Disaster alludes to knowing your dear old grandpa who we learn nothing else about. He seems extraneous, unless there's more than 6 endings in this entry.

What sticks in your mind? What affects your emotions? Why and how?
... Nothing really memorable here, to be honest. The writing was good, but the content didn't have anything that stuck out to me.

How does the technical presentation (code, music, transition effects, layout, so on) affect your experience of the story? For instance, slow text at dramatic points - effective? annoying?
Oh man, I can talk about this all day. Now, switching from ADV to NVL isn't a bad thing per se, but I don't think the author used it effectively; whenever one mode switched to the other, my eyes had to guess where the text was going to appear. And pushing it all to the side of the screen? IDK how much better it'd look in the center with margins, but pushing it all to the right made the left side of the screen rather empty. There was even an ending or two where the text went off screen! Besides that, there was some narration in the same line as dialogue (eg. I did something. "Dialogue and stuff." I looked at my mom). That confused the hell out of me because the name was shown above so I almost thought the characters were narrating what they were doing. Needless to say, the presentation was a little sloppy, could have been done better.

How well does the author make use of the limitations they were presented with in this competition - the prompt, the limited resources, etc?
They made Disaster very naive, calling heaven the "Nice place" and hell the "Bad place." If she wasn't going to be called cute, then she was going to act like a kid. They weren't too creative with the whole "Spirit of Disaster," and took it at face value.

What similarities and differences do you see between entries?
Disaster knows exactly what her job is and does it routinely, though not as enthusiastically as Ket from Dhumaketu. Ket is more genki while Disaster is more chill, and the extent of Ket's powers are greater than Disaster's. They're both spirits working for some higher force so they have to destroy things.

Hm... I don't know. I liked the style, but the presentation and content were meh. I'd still give this a 7/10 though, it's one of the better ones I've read thus far.

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#249 Post by papillon » Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:45 am

If the text was actually going offscreen you may have been playing a slightly outdated build - this was a game that had a few problems in being adapted for the competition format as opposed to the original format it was submitted in.

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#250 Post by Daggio » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:35 am

live commentary of Meaning, coming up

Meaning

It was dark just now, but suddenly the scene changes to day?

The mom doesn't question the ears and mobile?

yeah, Melissa-chan needs to be more cheerful, tell her that, little girl

yeah, you're gonna die, we're gonna die, so what? that's no reason to be negative, everyone gonna experience that

oh, you fear you're gonna be forgotten? then do something that makes the world remember you, we still know who's colombus and who's napoleon until this day, right?

and you finally believe she's a spirit

and ends with a more positive main character


okay, so.... the story is short, too short to leave any impression. But at least the message was delivered, that life is not just something that just pass by, yeah sure people die, but that's the reason why we must live life to the most, so that we don't regret anything after we die
the drawback is that this story doesn't feel like it follows the prompt. Yeah, there's a spirit fell from the sky but where's the disaster? unless the trip to the Veil is enough to be categorized as disaster

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#251 Post by Daggio » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:09 am

My Entry

okay.... if this story is meant to be enjoyable, it is. It's really funny, comedy about grammatical mistakes. It's not gonna win but it's enjoyable

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#252 Post by Anarchy » Sat Oct 20, 2012 6:34 am

Comparison time!

Every entry has already had quite a few reviews by now, so I thought it'd be a good time to start comparing and contrasting.

I threw up a Google spreadsheet that lists all of the entries, as well as certain qualities that those entries have. I've started us off with basic things like plot summaries, genre, POV, and so on, but there are also things like protagonist age/gender, frequency of typos, "what exactly is the 'spirit'" and "does the protagonist take the spirit back home", just trends and tropes that the entries use. People should feel free to add more qualities/trends/tropes/elements and fill in the blanks! The whole thing is very incomplete because it would be obvious which one is mine otherwise :)

WARNING: Contains minor to major spoilers for all of the entries!

Technical stuff, in case you're not familiar with Google docs:

-To add a comment or note, just right click on whatever you want to comment on or note. (The difference is that you can reply to comments, but not to notes).
-Hover over a box to see comments and notes.
-Click on a comment to reply to it.
-To add a column, click Insert and then Column Right or Left.
-You don't need to sign in or anything to edit stuff - I've made the doc completely open to anybody with the link.
Last edited by Anarchy on Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#253 Post by Coren » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:01 am

Hmm, I think for the sake of this competition, simply generalizing may not be a good idea. Yes, you can say a plot is bad (so on and so forth), but it's better to say how it's bad and so on so the writer can improve. Keeping everything to a chart isn't very helpful. ^^;

But it's still a brilliant idea, Anarchy. :) Thank you!

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#254 Post by Anarchy » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:11 am

Kirroha wrote:Hmm, I think for the sake of this competition, simply generalizing may not be a good idea. Yes, you can say a plot is bad (so on and so forth), but it's better to say how it's bad and so on so the writer can improve. Keeping everything to a chart isn't very helpful. ^^;
Yeah, the chart's not meant to be an in-depth analysis of the entries at all. I just thought that having a chart where we can note general trends and elements might be useful when trying to compare entries, and that it might serve as a springboard for the kind of in-depth discussion you're talking about (if somebody says a plot is bad, for example, perhaps you could comment on it and give a few reasons why you agree or disagree?). It also helps to see if something really stands out - if, for example, all the spirits in the entries were the ghosts of little girls, wouldn't the one entry where she really is just a spirit of disaster be unique? You get a general picture of what the entries tend to do, and which entries have more "original" elements than others. Just thought it might be a fun starting point for comparison, that's all. :3

EDIT: I see my joke summaries have already sparked some discussion Image

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Re: The Spirit Of Disaster (Competition 2012)

#255 Post by junna » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:46 am

Anarchy wrote: EDIT: I see my joke summaries have already sparked some discussion Image
Nah that's just me believing that if anyone who wants to create a comparison of any sort they have to be objective and not subjective/biased so that they can avoid influence on others. Otherwise a list of the reviews+links like you did earlier is a lot better.
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