Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

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DarkClaymore
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Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

#1 Post by DarkClaymore » Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:22 am

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Overview
Length: Short (~5K words)
Genres: Romance, Psychological
Endings: 3

A short game I made for the sake of practicing, to momentarily break from away from the sad reality where I tend to endlessly work on long projects... that never see the light of completion. Was't aiming for anything "grand" or "epic", but overall I think it turned out nice.

Whoever wishes to check it out and give some criticism, advice or just share an opinion - is more than welcome to try :D

Warning: The game is quite minimalistic, therefore it hardly includes graphics. It doesn't include any character art, which is likely to turn off some of you.


Summary
"All rings come in pairs. Whoever bears the ring that resonates with yours - is your other half."

Thrown into a new undesired reality, where he is separated from his heart's choice, Mike now has to find a way to live through the painful days. It's up to him how to treat this enforced new life, what choices to make within it, and ultimately... whatever to accept it or to reject it.


Download
Download Link
- Hosted on Google Drive

For a short game, it has quite the weight... it seems like some of the material I used is pretty heavy.


Credits
Story and Idea by DarkClaymore
Music by Yiruma, Yuki Kajiura, morgantj, onlymeith and Kevin Macleod
Last edited by DarkClaymore on Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

#2 Post by Ophelia » Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:14 am

147 MB for a game with 5k words? I'm quite curious, how did you manage to do that? Especially considering you described it as "minimalistic".

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Re: Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

#3 Post by DarkClaymore » Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:41 am

Ophelia wrote:147 MB for a game with 5k words? I'm quite curious, how did you manage to do that? Especially considering you described it as "minimalistic".
Quite a mystery indeed. I, too, was taken aback by this.
I suppose some of the pics/tracks I used are "high quality", therefore heavy. If I were to notice this BEFORE finishing the game, I would have tried to see if I can do anything about it... but after already making it and running through so many debugging cycles, messing with the material was one thing I wasn't too motivated to do so late into the process.

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Re: Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

#4 Post by Haze » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:19 pm

Ok, this game has a pretty big file size for such a short game. I mean, it took me about half an hour to download!

File size aside, I liked it. About the endings:
Why are all the endings bad?! I mean, it's either die, become emotionless, or forgot about Anya?! No good endings at all...

In the ending where Mike looses his emotions, you did a nice job showing how pointless his life has become with the black and white backrounds. Good contrast there.

Why is there random anime art for the ending with Mike having a kid and naming her Anya?
In the credits, you said you got the images "randomly". If you just searched Google Images and clicked on the first one that looked nice, you should probably check if you were allowed to use those images at all.
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Re: Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

#5 Post by DarkClaymore » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:57 am

Thanks a lot for giving it a shot, despite the scary file size :D
Haze wrote:
Why are all the endings bad?! I mean, it's either die, become emotionless, or forgot about Anya?! No good endings at all...
I personally consider "New Life" to be a "good ending", at least for Mike. If you mean that there's no "perfect ending", then yes, that's right. There's no "Everybody lived happily", for even the happiness Mike found in New Life - is at the expense of abandoning Anya.

Good endings aren't quite my thing. I'm a dark guy like that, for the better or the worse.
Haze wrote:
Why is there random anime art for the ending with Mike having a kid and naming her Anya?
Random...? You mean that it breaks away from the realistic pics used everywhere else?
Haze wrote:In the credits, you said you got the images "randomly". If you just searched Google Images and clicked on the first one that looked nice, you should probably check if you were allowed to use those images at all.
You're absolutely right, I should have done so.

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Re: Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

#6 Post by Haze » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:22 am

Random...? You mean that it breaks away from the realistic pics used everywhere else?
Yeah, that's exactly what I mean. The pictures used in the game made it seem...I don't know...a little more realistic. The pics also added to the dark tone of the game. The anime art for that one ending took away that realistic and dark impression, at least for me.
My first completed visual novel, which is at 1.3, it's final version(woo hoo!): Monster Uses CPU 2
Finally at version 1.0: White Fog
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I make one song every week, all for free download! This weeks song: Synthis- The Mirror(Eliana Remix)[Preview]

You might ask yourself: If I could only save one paragraph of the work I'm writing, which one would I save?
Which one would I let go first?

-from Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing by Elizabeth Losh, Johnathan Alexander, Kevin Cannon, and Zander Cannon

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Re: Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

#7 Post by DarkClaymore » Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:15 am

Found some time to invents into compressing the game further. Managed to bring it down to 60MB. Still quite the weight, but I don't think I can do anything else without hurting quality.

New Download Link

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Re: Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

#8 Post by Ophelia » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:28 am

Thanks for the new link! I played it and I liked it. The idea behind it is very interesting! It made me feel a bit sad. Though next time you should properly credit the art.

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Re: Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

#9 Post by qirien » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:49 am

Interesting piece about marriage and the choice of love... :-) I guess I'm a realist; I liked the "New Life" ending.

I'm always interested in VNs about marriage, since that's what my current project is about, too. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

#10 Post by DarkClaymore » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:07 pm

Thanks for trying it out :D
qirien wrote:I guess I'm a realist; I liked the "New Life" ending.
Indeed, in my head it also worked out as the most realistic feeling conclusion, and one in which I made sure to deliver the best I could think of. Yet, it's very hard for me, to this very day, to decide whatever that was my favorite ending.
qirien wrote:I'm always interested in VNs about marriage, since that's what my current project is about, too. Thanks for sharing!
Not sure it can be labeled as a standard marriage story, considering the circumstances of the characters, but you are welcome :mrgreen:

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Re: Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

#11 Post by dizzcity » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:34 am

Pretty good. I rarely come across VNs that deal with marriage issues, so that interested me, and I liked your setting. It took a while for me to get something other than the Hollow ending, but I enjoyed the protagonist's evolution in the New Life ending. I thought it was quite realistic. Your mix of music and colour choices to evoke the right mood was great, especially in the opening sequence and in the Hollow ending.

It looks like the majority of the filesize comes from the audio files (39.3 MB uncompressed). There are several ways you might be able to reduce this... If you have the right software for it, you might be able to convert the MP3 files into file format like Ogg Vorbis, which (I think) takes up less space. Alternatively, reduce the number of tracks included, or carefully make an estimate of how long an average reader is likely to take in reading the sections where you have music playing, then trim the music file length to be just short enough to cover the time needed (rather than using the full 3-5 min song). Or just cut out one passage from the song and loop it several times, rather than playing the full song.

Several English errors or awkward word choices and grammatical phrasings, which could be improved by getting a proofreader for your next work. Since this was made just for practice, I won't go in-depth for corrections, but I'll just mention some of them for examples and to keep in mind for the future. :)
"We sat down and began our consulting." -> "began our consultation." ("consulting" implies the Grays are the ones doing the work)
"consulter" -> "consultant"

Death ending sequence:
"The sweet dream has come to an end. It didn't last nearly enough." -> "nearly long enough"
"My left arm is pulled" -> "being pulled", or "She pulls my left arm". (conflict between past and present tense)
"mantle which lumps us together" -> "mantle" sounds weird when referring to a name. Perhaps "moniker" or "label" might work instead.
All-in-all, I thought this was a good first project, and managed to cover a decent amount of depth and range about the topic of arranged marriage considering its' length. Good job!
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Re: Marriage Contract [Romance/Psychological]

#12 Post by DarkClaymore » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:50 pm

Glad you enjoyed :D

I actually tried compressing the audio in my second project, but it still ended up being fairly large. Not sure I'll go as far as creating loops any time soon, but I should definitely check out the OGG format and whatever it's really better than downsized MP3.

Your suggestion to use a proofreader is a solid one. Since it's the second time that my incorrect/odd choice of words is pointed out, I should definitely get somebody to properly go through my future stories, preferably even more than a single person. I already did a little research in the forum, and it seems like getting at least one proofreader wouldn't be as big of a challenge as I feared.

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