Starlit Sky

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Nafai
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#16 Post by Nafai » Sun May 20, 2007 3:03 am

Hm. By any chance have you written a lot of short stories Drake? Because Starlit Sky shows a lot of the elements necessary in making a good one - and really, that's what it is in VN form. An excellent short story :)

What I admired the most was the conciseness and precision of the writing - there are very few wasted words, or elements, or scenes. Everything contributed to the whole, whether it was showcasing character, or giving clues to the over-arching plot.

This also gave the story a sense of "wholeness" by the end of it which is very hard to achieve. Everything ties together, with nary a loose end and clear resolution. You can look back at the prior events and say "Ah, so that's why..." and its why the ending makes sense, and is so powerful. That and the use of the art, at which point I should say that you packed a lot of meaning into those sprites. Like how you did the pacing, or the subtle shifts of expression, or the way the last part of the game was transitioned into.
And as Mr. E mentioned, the two "side trips" on the journey were very well handled, and both played with the player's expectations just right so that while he thinks he knows what's going on at first, the twist and resolution both come about naturally. I do agree though that the Reese resolution seemed to happen a bit too quick. I was expecting a bit of a sit down in which he relates just why he was cursed in the first place, or who did the cursing. (Was half expecting the culprit to be Ana)

Also one thing I was half expecting once the end was revealed - which I'm glad was not the case for Maribel's sake - was that she had taken the potion because she, or a failure on her part, had had something to do with Ana's demise. I guess I'm just too melodramatic :P
In short, I really liked it Drake. Kudos to you and Da Fool on both the creative and technical effort that brought forth this polished story. Well done you guys :)
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#17 Post by monele » Sun May 20, 2007 5:06 am

Nafai wrote:
that she had taken the potion because she, or a failure on her part, had had something to do with Ana's demise.
Assuming all she actually remembers at the end is that Ana's dead, who knows what actually caused death >.>....
EDIT :

Oh, side question : how many words for this by the way? *curious*

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#18 Post by Nobody » Sun May 20, 2007 6:01 am

Nice, if a bit too cliché and predictable for me. Very appropriate music though, and the visuals are quite pretty (Violetta, especially, is really cute).

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#19 Post by mikey » Sun May 20, 2007 6:05 am

Do we have your permission to add this to the Ren'Ai Archive?

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#20 Post by DrakeNavarone » Sun May 20, 2007 11:20 am

Alright, time to go through these comments in earnest...

Enerccio >> I'm glad you think so. After all, you're the one who's been pushing me the last few days before the release to get it done. I know you're not a fan of sad ends, but hopefully you see this one as "sad, maybe, but optimistic". And yeah, don't worry, I'll get back to EV soon.

PyTom >> I'm glad you liked it. And as for making the game longer, for me it's hard to see how. I really like the length it's at now. Everything I needed to do gets done. There could've been more to the Kareena arc, but maybe by then I was just itching to finish so I took some shortcuts, ahahaha.

DaFool >> Maybe I should've mentioned the intent to flip images, but it doesn't really matter. I think they're fine as they are. I'm glad you liked the 'limited animation'. I was just trying to get the most out of the few sprites I had. I'm glad it had a good effect. Glad you liked everything else too, especially the story. And congratulate yourself too. You're part of the effort.

Mr. E >> Maybe I do have a thing for witches, but it's probably more a thing for magic (Oh, and Melissa would kill you for calling her a witch. She's a magician... wait, someone actually read what I had for Araiah? Besides DaFool? Hmm...). I'm glad you think everything is so well constructed, too. But one of my weaknesses is I'm not much for really planning and plotting something out (especially on paper, most of it stays in my head, where it belongs...), so a few things were added in hindsight. But I suppose the most important elements have been with the story since the beginning... And, with the limited resources at my disposal, I'm glad I did manage to prove my 'significance of art' argument, if just by a little. I'm hoping to have moments like that in all my projects, because there are things better told through sights than words.
And I'll agree the Reese/Kareena arc does get resolved rather quickly, but I actually think Violetta's does too in a sense. I could've done a better job for sure, but it's partly intentional. If not the reader, I'd like to at least lure Jack into a false sense of security, thinking magic can solve any problem and quickly, that it really is possible to do anything. Though I will readily admit that the Reese arc resolution is actually the last scene I wrote, so I was probably in a bit of a hurry to finish...
And yet another person eagerly awaiting EV. Well, I only hope you're a little more patient than a certain someone else...

monele >> Oh, wow, tears... That really means something to me. Perhaps one shouldn't take pride in bringing others to tears for fear of being viewed as a sadist, but if my own writing was that emotionally powerful, I can't help but feel a sense of accomplishment. (Oh... the town with the blue guy... yeah, Enerccio pointed that one out to me too. But well, budget production. I made sacrifices at places... but I still like how it turned out.) Oh, and of course a MagBou reference! With Marivel's talent in potion making, how could I not? And for your other question, lint tells me 1980 screens and 19624 words. Just short of 2000/20,000.

Nafai >> Uh, well, I write a lot, but not so many short stories. But I'm glad you think it's got all the elements of a good short story. Conciseness was my aim though, so it means something that you think this story has it. Although it was a personal matter as much as a story-related one. I didn't want this to blow up into a huge story, so I wasn't gonna waste words or make the story needlessly long. I didn't want it to end up like another project of mine that grew way beyond the initial idea... And I'm glad it has wholeness too. I obviously want everything to make sense, for characters to have well understood reasons for doing what they do, and it looks like I hit my mark.
There was a thought at one time during the process, really early, where Ana might have been the witch responsible for Reese's hex, but after looking at it for a while, I didn't like it much. And it would've also made the timing difficult to manage. As the story stands now, Reese was only hexed recently (~ 2 years or so ago), while Ana died way before (~ 7 years ago). I didn't give much thought into what caused Ana's death, or Clementine's, because it wasn't really necessary, but I'll assure you Marivel had no hand in it.
Nobody >> It probably is a little cliché and predictable. But I imagine it's hard for amateur writers to completely rid themselves of these elements. I put in a good effort, but I'll admit it probably wasn't my best. Still, at least you said it was nice. I'm glad you feel the music was appropriate. And I'll confess, I myself am partial to Violetta's design. The other sprites were great and they really grew into their roles for me the more I saw them inserted in the game, but Violetta's was the one that just clicked right from the start. It just fit so perfectly, I had to use those sprites for her.

mikey >> Of course you have my permission. Add away.
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#21 Post by Enerccio » Sun May 20, 2007 12:06 pm

DrakeNavarone wrote: And yet another person eagerly awaiting EV. Well, I only hope you're a little more patient than a certain someone else...
Absolutely no! We need more signatures in petition otherwise it will take 700 days (this is real math). And I need to control your urges to do all other things except work (someone should control me too since I do the same... :D )
DrakeNavarone wrote:(Oh, and Melissa would kill you for calling her a witch. She's a magician... wait, someone actually read what I had for Araiah? Besides DaFool? Hmm...)
No since you won't give it to me... I know that if they will be good I will urge to finish that too but still... :)
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#22 Post by F.I.A » Mon May 21, 2007 3:16 pm

First and foremost, congratulations on your first game. Let's hope it will keep the stone rolling.
I am impressed to say least. It is written so nice that I feel like I am watching one of Gibli Studio's animations. It revolves witches, but it does not make me flinch like watching/reading a Harry Potter. It is not about dragon slaying or beating down a warlock, yet you manage to capture me by showing how Jack and Marvivel try to help others solving their dilemmas(Well, actually, it is Marvivel who does all the job and the thinking... ). In fact, the climax rather amazes me with the fact that Marvivel did "forget" before. This means that the story is nicely planned from the beginning.

Apart from some minor typos, there is not much that I frown at. My only gripe is that this game is a pure kinetic novel. Perhaps I selfishly want some "what-ifs" occassion on Violetta or Kareena(Well, the later does not seem to work since she will not want to drink it) if they took the vial.
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#23 Post by PrettySammy09 » Thu May 24, 2007 6:34 pm

That was absolutely amazing. I loved every second of it. You're truly a talented writer. :3

Every conflict that you came upon and solved was fleshed out and wonderful to watch.
Reese's hex really broke my heart. It wasn't his fault! Poor guy! ;o;
Great job! Amazing! Can't wait to see your next piece~!

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#24 Post by mugenjohncel » Thu May 24, 2007 10:43 pm

- CONTENT NO LONGER RELEVANT -
Last edited by mugenjohncel on Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#25 Post by PrettySammy09 » Thu May 24, 2007 11:04 pm

Ooo! Awesome art Mughen!! I love your style!

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#26 Post by Nafai » Thu May 24, 2007 11:04 pm

*whistles*Wow. Great pic of Marivel there mugen! And a funny comic as well :P
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#27 Post by DrakeNavarone » Fri May 25, 2007 12:54 am

F.I.A >>Thanks, I'm glad you liked it, and now it's time for you to release yours, ain't it? I'm available to wrap up the beta testing whenever you're ready.
True, Marivel is the brains of the group for sure, but Jack isn't entirely helpless. She bounces ideas off of him, and he gets her thinking along the right track. Without Jack, Marivel would probably stick with that memory potion as the one and only solution to a problem, so he does do "some" work as a part of the pair... And as for being a kinetic novel, well, I kept the scope small intentionally, and I wasn't going to stray from the initial plan no matter what. Maybe it would've made an interesting vn if it had choices, but it is what it is now and I like it that way.
PrettySammy09 >> I'm glad you loved it. Every second, too, huh? I'm honored. As for the conflicts, it's nice to hear that, although I myself will admit there was room to improve. But oh well, it's fine as it is, right? Ah, and my next piece... right, back to EV... I can only hope it'll be as good...

mugenjohncel >> Oh, wow, fanart! I've been getting all kinds of pleasant surprises lately... Thanks a lot! The Marivel pic is awesome, and the comic was hilarious. Saved and saved. And man, it means something when you can move someone that much. I'm glad it was an hour well spent for you.
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#28 Post by mrsulu » Fri May 25, 2007 1:58 am

It's good! Sweet, clever, well-realized characters, delicate writing, and well-edited. It's just the right length.

I really appreciate you used a lot of background and the creative semi-animated way you used your sprites. This is a road story and you need a lot of locations for that, and seeing the characters move works.

Background music is great. Do you have a link to the musician?

Tiny notes for when you want to release a 1.1 version:
Easy stuff: I agree with other people that the dude in the blue shirt in the background detracts from the versimilitude of the game---he's real, but everyone else is cartoon. I found him distracting in an otherwise stellar presentation, mostly because I kept wondering if he was getting tired standing so still with the bucket. Also, in your Extended Director's Cut Tiger Dragon Edition, you should Photoshop out the big-ass power cable from the farmhouse in the first scene. It actually led me to believe this wasn't a fantasy world until you started talking about covens. I was very confused for a while until I figured out your story's groove.

Tech stuff: I was using the space bar heavily to skip (I read fast), and I accidentally skipped over the ending sequence. I only knew something was missing because I had this intution that I had jumped over the credits and wanted to know who the musician was. I had to rerun the entire game, and then I suddenly found out there was a really important moment: the stars animation. You need to lock out input or something there---it's a Really Big Deal, it's the kicker on the story, and it was effortless for me to miss.
Great work!

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#29 Post by monele » Fri May 25, 2007 4:51 am

I accidentally skipped over the ending sequence
I suppose that's a very valid reason for using at least a "stop skipping" before important parts... especially if they're made of transitions since Ren'Py will skip thruogh the whole thing at once.

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#30 Post by Enerccio » Fri May 25, 2007 6:48 am

Tat is why I told Darken to use hard pause... but he n ever listen (not even if I want to have eroge lilian route in ev)
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