Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

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Applegate
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Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#1 Post by Applegate » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:39 pm

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After what seems to be ages, I'm finally ready to release 'Reaching Out' to the world! It was originally made as a 'test' to see how NVList works and whether it'd be enjoyable to work with, but soon it became a project just as ambitious (if not more) than my previous two projects.

I think that all VNs deserve a certain degree of serious approach, where the author is always intent on doing more than just entertain people. You have to tell a story. Just simulating real life isn't enough, after all. I think a VN is just like a regular book in that respect, except enhanced by audio and visuals to assist the reader.

'Reaching Out' is a story about bullying, but also about growing up. It's a story about maturing and coming to terms with who you are, but also about changing yourself.

Because it's made with NVList, and probably an older version of it, there may be some bugs or incompatibilities with people's systems. Please report to me if that is the case and I'll see what I can do about it!

It's about 4,800 words. Its sprites were released in the public domain a while ago, but I ask you don't use anything of the rest of it.

Sprites were done by 'Anna'.
CGs were done by 'Anna'.
Music was done by 'Marc Tabula'.
Writing was done by 'Applegate'.
Coding was done by 'Applegate'.
And the NVList engine was made by 'anonl'.

Image

You can download it from its project page here.

Have fun!
Last edited by Applegate on Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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specialtantei
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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#2 Post by specialtantei » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:45 pm

Yay, it's finally finished! I'm going to read it and state my opinion. I've been waiting for it for a long time so I'm really excited about how it might have turned out.
Congrats on releasing it!
*downloads game and starts playing*

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#3 Post by Anna » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:55 pm

Whoo, finally! Congrats, Applegate :D! It was fun working with you.

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#4 Post by marc » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:34 pm

Congratulations on the release! It was great teaming up with you again. I look forward to playing this.

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#5 Post by specialtantei » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:02 pm

Finished playing, so here are my thoughts on it:
I liked the story's idea and character development Rody had. Cecile and Jack gave me this cold feeling all the time and even though Cecile was being bullied I couldn't feel for her. I also believe it was too short. I understand you were working with a different engine than RenPy and you were doing this VN to learn, but I think a bigger time lapse and events would have given room to more character development for Cecile and Jack who kinda lack it. The writing was enjoyable, somewhat stiff and repetitive at certain points but enjoyable anyway.
As for the art, Anna's a great artist, and I loved both the CGs and sprites. I would have welcomed a bigger music variety though, even if it were royalty music.
That's all :). Looking forward to your next projects!

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#6 Post by Applegate » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:20 am

I'm happy you found it enjoyable, specialtantei!
I would have welcomed a bigger music variety though, even if it were royalty music.
Actually, I intentionally asked marc to use one specific motif in the songs, because I wanted to try an experiment where different variations of the same song could achieve different things. It's a bit of a shame it hasn't worked out for you, then.

Could you give examples of where the writing was stiff and repetitive? I'm always eager to learn and knowing where flaws lie is one part of self-improvement.

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#7 Post by fioricca » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:49 am

I played this last night! This was wonderful. The dialogue flows naturally, and it's short and sweet, without any wasted scenes. I like how the names are inspired by Wild Arms. 8D The only nitpick I have is the presentation; there were a number of times in which different backgrounds were shown across the same scene/conversation. I know it's supposed to show that Jack and Rody are walking through different parts of the school, but it feels odd somehow. The scene when Rody was running to the library was the same; I would have just skipped right to the library instead of presenting the other backgrounds one by one. It was a pretty odd experience. But that's just one small nitpick from me. :D

Overall, though, this was fun to play! Congratulations on finishing it! *_*

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#8 Post by Applegate » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:47 am

The dialogue flows naturally, and it's short and sweet, without any wasted scenes.
That's good to hear. A few others said it was 'hammy'. Do you agree that it is, and it was a natural flow despite that? I'm rather curious!
The only nitpick I have is the presentation; there were a number of times in which different backgrounds were shown across the same scene/conversation. I know it's supposed to show that Jack and Rody are walking through different parts of the school, but it feels odd somehow. The scene when Rody was running to the library was the same; I would have just skipped right to the library instead of presenting the other backgrounds one by one. It was a pretty odd experience.
This VN was one where I did everything different. The sounds only had one motif which changed depending on the mood, and I tried to simulate movement by swapping backgrounds. I probably won't do that same trick again if it feels that odd, but Rody and Jack walking as they talk is something I find difficult to express without blatantly having one of them (or the narrator) state it.

In any case, thanks for reading; I'm glad you enjoyed it, and doubly glad you took the time to let me know what you liked and what you disliked. :-)

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#9 Post by TsukiShima » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:02 am

Finally I had time to play this KN. I must say it's wonderful, the art by Anna were simple yet fitting, even goes well with the filtered background. The story was pretty fine yet good, easy for me to understand. I like the smooth of the dialogue as well, very enjoyable actually! I can imagine their voice and the way they talk just by reading them, and able to recognize their personalities right away.

While I like Cecile and Rody, I gotta say Jack was my favorite. His personality was a charm to me, even being late to the scene. I liked him very much that I was saddened with the little role he played. I wished the story continued so we can see how the three interact, but I guess that is a good thing, since you got the audience to ask for more.

Good luck! I'm looking forward for your future installment!

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#10 Post by CheeryMoya » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:43 pm

Having played your previous stories, I raised my expectations for this game. I'm not sure if that's why the ending fell flat for me, but Reaching Out just doesn't have that same impact as Nice Day or OLAY. You did say you were trying to experiment with more dialogue and less narration so I'll give you that.

I think what this story lacked was characterization, as in the characters felt 1 dimensional. Cecile, the center of attention, was simply "the girl who gets bullied." Jack was that one guy you hang out with. Rody was the narrator, and also an occasional bully. There really wasn't much more to them than that.
Cecile felt helpless as a result of all the bullying, and the reason why the girls bully her is because she likes to daydream at school. It may be because I've also experienced bullying but... she never wants to get back at them somehow? Get revenge of sorts? I know that people who experience helplessness may not want to resort to violence, but I don't think Cecile ever tried to run away/spend her time elsewhere so the girls wouldn't harass her. My main beef is that you treated Cecile almost as an object: "here is a cute girl and she is suffering. It is your job to save her because she can't help herself, and you are inexplicably drawn to her because she is weak and you want to protect her." Is this moe or objectification? I have no idea where the line is drawn, but the amount of times her "cute smile" is mentioned while referring to her just... leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Meanwhile, Jack was Jack. He knows that Rody bullies Chubby Tommy but doesn't do much about it. Other than that, he's just there? His role isn't big enough, even as the friend character.
And Rody. Where do I begin? In the story he did acknowledge that he was a bully after all and a hypocrite for getting mad at Cecile even when he said he wouldn't, and thereafter he does a 180 to become a defender of justice. It's not impossible, but... how? He apologizes to Thomas but we never see that particular scene, so we never see Rody's transformation from a bully to a good samaritan. If you wrote that scene I would have believed in his turn for the better, but it was only mentioned in passing.
If I want to go meta with your works, I'd say that Dewi from OLAY is by far your deepest and most interesting character. She represents a more abstract idea than anything, while the characters here seem to want to be fleshed out in the conventional way. They aren't however, and are exactly what they appear to be at face value.

BTW, I just have to point out that most kids nowadays don't use words like "cross" when they're mad. The story flows well, but they don't sound like teenagers. Maybe it's a European thing? IDK.

As for the ending, it felt like you wanted to get the story finished as soon as possible and didn't give it much thought.
Rody and friends go to lunch and all is well? Rody wants to get closer to Cecile? That's cool but... come on. Cecile has been bullied for a while now and that has to leave deep emotional scars. There is nothing you can do that will convince me that magically stopping any future harassment also magically heals crippling lack of self-esteem or what-have-you as well. It doesn't work that way! Bullying leaves marks on victims and you seemed to skim over that part of the subject completely.
Sorry, it's just a very personal and touchy subject for me. If you ever do extend the script, try to delve into that side of things.

Art was pleasant on the eyes, kudos to Anna for that. However, I felt like there was so much empty space since the resolution was so big and the sprites were comparatively small. There's usually only one sprite on the screen and so much space between two sprites when there's finally a scene like that. I'm not sure if you can change screen sizes for NVList, but it's just something to note. Music was also nice, but it was so quiet! I had to turn up the volume on my computer just to hear it faintly so I can't tell you if the song experiment was good or not.

Overall, it wasn't a bad read but the story could be expanded on greatly. I'll keep an eye out for that Android port.

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#11 Post by Anna » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:38 am

CheeryMoya wrote:Art was pleasant on the eyes, kudos to Anna for that. However, I felt like there was so much empty space since the resolution was so big and the sprites were comparatively small.
Haha, that's my bad actually. I have this odd tendency to draw sprites knees-up instead of from their waist or something, so they come out looking small in such resolutions. I think I'll stick to waist-up or something from now on, it should help :3

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#12 Post by EwanG » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:42 pm

Applegate wrote:This VN was one where I did everything different. The sounds only had one motif which changed depending on the mood, and I tried to simulate movement by swapping backgrounds. I probably won't do that same trick again if it feels that odd, but Rody and Jack walking as they talk is something I find difficult to express without blatantly having one of them (or the narrator) state it.
One thought here would be to make the backgrounds wider, so that you could have a more leisurely pan of a background, and then even have a "transition" between areas.

Of course if you aren't doing this a lot in a game, having someone "think" that they are going from one place to another, and then pick the conversation up there is an option as well.

Not saying either is a complete solution, but might be "good enough" to make it less of an issue.
Working on something... might even be something good :D

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#13 Post by nancie » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:11 am

I downloaded this the day it was released but due to computer issues I was not able to play it until last night. I have followed this little title since you posted the wip. I wanted to start by saying I am normally drawn to longer story lines, but the works I have read by you were meaningful and did not fail to produce emotion. I have to agree with CheeryMoya in that going into this title I had that same expectation. I did enjoy the story and the characters, but I felt that this one was not as "deep" as you meant it to be. I think bullying is a touchy subject for most people, and it is truly easier to look the other way when you see something uncomfortable even if it is happening to someone close to you. Kudos for tackling such a tough subject. I love that you did it from the point of view from someone that others viewed as a bully. As for the writing its self, I thought the story did flow fairly well, The grammar sounded a bit more educated than most teenagers I know, but that's not a bad thing. I found some of the uses of contractions a bit odd but I understood it just fine.
I did find one typo:
"Well, you take to yourself a lot. A mobile's pretty reliant on talking to others..." take should be talk?
The presentation was done well I liked the way you simulated movement by swapping backgrounds, so I guess that is just a matter of personal preference.

Overall I enjoyed the story and look forward to your next work.

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#14 Post by ShoujoGirl23 » Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:27 pm

I downloaded the game and attempted to play it, but every time I open the game I recieve this error message:

javax.media.openingl.GLException:Thread[AWT-EventQueue-0,6,main]glGetError()returned the following error codes after a call to glClear (<int> 0x4100): Unknown glGetError() return value: (12860x506),

Please advise how I may fix it. Thank you.

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Re: Reaching Out [slice-of-life]

#15 Post by AxemRed » Mon Dec 24, 2012 3:23 am

Error 0x506 is GL_INVALID_FRAMEBUFFER_OPERATION, try adding the following line to the end of save/prefs.ini:

Code: Select all

graphics.fbo=false

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