Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

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DarkClaymore
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Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#1 Post by DarkClaymore » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:22 pm

Image
What do you see in this picture?
What story can you construct from it?
What hidden truth would that story unveil about you?


Thematic Apperception Test is a psychological test, used for deconstructing one's personality traits and social views. After being shown a picture as the one above, the subject will have to compose a short story based upon it. Through the flow and themes covered in said story, it is possible to dive further into one's cognition and study him inside out.

Black Nirvana is strongly based on the story I originally crafted in my head, while looking at the very image attached above; one of countless different tales that could be shaped by using the same base. It is a story about facing harsh reality, and deciding whatever to elude it or to endure its claws.

Would you rather stay in the calm, cold darkness? Or would you brave through the blazing land, awaiting beyond the white window?



General Details
Length: Short (~6K words)
Style: NVL
Genres: Psychological, Metaphysical
Endings: 5
File size: ~100MB (Tried to compress as much as possible, but audio is kinda heavy)


Download
Download Link
- Hosted on Google Drive

Mirror Download Link
- MediaFire

Credits
Story & Programming: DarkClaymore
Art & Design: Solipsist
at Trojenmonkey.deviantart.com

Additional resources:
  • Music: ncompetech.com, skyood, skipspace, Semaphore, Matt_Porter, CeeeX, VideoGameManiac, LimeDisciple, TheFabs, Apatheria
  • SFX: nic3-one, jasonelrod
  • Sprites: Tetiel, tokudaya.net
  • Backgrounds: Uncle Mugen
This game was made with Renpy



Screenshots

Warning: The game is rather minimalistic on the art field, both due to the story's theme and the limited ability to produce content. Don't expect to see anything mind-blowing here.

Image
Image
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Last edited by DarkClaymore on Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#2 Post by Fenrir34 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:11 pm

I'd like to play this but can't just yet because of my crappy internet. Still, it looks like a really cool game and I hope to try it out as soon as I can :)

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#3 Post by DarkClaymore » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:39 am

Fenrir34 wrote:I'd like to play this but can't just yet because of my crappy internet. Still, it looks like a really cool game and I hope to try it out as soon as I can :)
I really hope you do, because I doubt anybody else would :P

Guess the game's too unappealing to make people bother with it. I'd really want to get at least some criticism before moving on to the next project, there are always mistakes to learn from.

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#4 Post by NekoNutchi » Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:49 pm

Brief but interesting. I get Saya no Uta vibes.
From the intro i thought it would be a waking-up-from-amnesia sort of story, which is arguably a clichéd plot device to recover lost memories. But the rest did not follow my expectations and managed to make me want to find out what was about to happen. Pretty immersive for just ~10 minutes, although it would have been nice with a more elaborate story.

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#5 Post by Iloveanime21 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:29 pm

I would love to download this but when I clicked on the download link it said,"We are sorry, but you do not have access to Google Spreadsheets. Please contact your domain administrator for access."

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#6 Post by DarkClaymore » Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:44 pm

NekoNutchi wrote:I get Saya no Uta vibes.
Funny that you say that, because I really saw Saya as a work certain similarity to my own style. Obviously I'm not as awesome as Urobuchi, but there were some parts that really made me go "This paragraph here could have easily come from a game of mine".
NekoNutchi wrote: although it would have been nice with a more elaborate story.
Perhaps I should have mentioned somewhere in the thread's intro that I'm currently practicing the skill of "finishing" games. I'm one of those who have problems on that plane, and I'm now trying to fix it by making very small and simple games, slowly increasing both the word count and the overall complexity from project to project.

Though I have to wonder, what ending/s did you get?
I will by no means claim that there's nothing to expand upon in this story, but overall I felt that the content was enough to fill up the small setting frame it was set in.


Iloveanime21 wrote:I would love to download this but when I clicked on the download link it said,"We are sorry, but you do not have access to Google Spreadsheets. Please contact your domain administrator for access."
I uploaded a mirror to MediaFire as well: Download Link
Tell me if it works and whatever you enjoyed the game :wink:

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#7 Post by Ophelia » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:27 pm

I liked it! It was pretty interesting and while I'm not a fan of NVL-style narration, I found it was fitting for the game.

A suggestion: Mayu was described was "fading", or that it was easy to miss her, so I think it would have been better to make her slightly transparent.

I got the first 3 endings and I was confused regarding one choice:
The choice where you can say that you either wish to forget something or can't forget something - was it a mistake or was the outcome to both choices almost the same? Ah, no, wait, now I understand... wishing to forget something doesn't mean you do, right? I'm a bit slow, sorry. :D
What I don't quite understand:
When the protagonist burns his hand, there is a black "stain" at the corner of the window and I'm not exactly sure what it's supposed to mean. I understand that fire leaves black marks, but at the corner of the narration window? I'm not exactly sure what came in contact with the fire there.
Also, I thought that one of the choices was really well done.
I first thought the choice in the sea of fire was a hopeless loop, but it wasn't. I really liked that!
Also:
Was the girl a victim of the fire as well and currently in coma in another room? I don't really think so, but I got the idea after the close up on a door when the protagonist was talking about her.
And I can't say I expected the ending, even though it seems obvious now in hindsight.

I tried to get the remaining 2 endings now, but somehow I can't get them. There is a choice with only one option and I suspect there's something I should be able to do to get a second option, but none of the answer combinations seem to work. Do you have any hints?

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#8 Post by NekoNutchi » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:03 pm

DarkClaymore wrote:
NekoNutchi wrote: although it would have been nice with a more elaborate story.
Perhaps I should have mentioned somewhere in the thread's intro that I'm currently practicing the skill of "finishing" games. I'm one of those who have problems on that plane, and I'm now trying to fix it by making very small and simple games, slowly increasing both the word count and the overall complexity from project to project.

Though I have to wonder, what ending/s did you get?
I will by no means claim that there's nothing to expand upon in this story, but overall I felt that the content was enough to fill up the small setting frame it was set in.
Well, that's understandable. I didn't really mean it as criticism, since you never promised to deliver something longer by stating the word count in the OP. I think played through all the endings, and i guess the conclusion was sufficient but it kind of felt like a metaphor that passed over my head. Thus i still had unanswered questions like "where is this place?", "how did i end up here?" and so on. But that was probably intended though...

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#9 Post by DarkClaymore » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:09 pm

Ophelia wrote:A suggestion: Mayu was described was "fading", or that it was easy to miss her, so I think it would have been better to make her slightly transparent.
I actually really wanted to do this, but the mere thought of having to fully debug (because worrywart) this game AGAIN really drew me away. I played through the game too many times, and I really wanted to finish it so I can move to the next project. Thus, sadly, I didn't include it.
Ophelia wrote:I was confused regarding one choice:
The choice where you can say that you either wish to forget something or can't forget something - was it a mistake or was the outcome to both choices almost the same? Ah, no, wait, now I understand... wishing to forget something doesn't mean you do, right? I'm a bit slow, sorry. :D
After release, it got me thinking that maybe the meaning behind that choice might confuse some. Basically, as I intended it:
Saying "want to forget" means that Vincent keeps believing that he can escape the truth, whereas "can't forget" means that he accepts that escaping won't help him forget. Therefore only the second can lead outside. Hope that makes more sense now :mrgreen:
Ophelia wrote:What I don't quite understand:
When the protagonist burns his hand, there is a black "stain" at the corner of the window and I'm not exactly sure what it's supposed to mean. I understand that fire leaves black marks, but at the corner of the narration window? I'm not exactly sure what came in contact with the fire there.
I meant the window represent Vincent's state, you might even compare that to a "health bar" of sorts if you wish. Notice that when he walks through the flames, the window slowly breaks apart, until completely vanishing in case he dies. Perhaps it wasn't clear/efficient enough because I was forced to do that effect myself (the artist got demotivated near the end), and it didn't really come off as clear as I envisioned. Photoshop skills = none.
Ophelia wrote:Also, I thought that one of the choices was really well done.
I first thought the choice in the sea of fire was a hopeless loop, but it wasn't. I really liked that!
Glad you liked it. :D
During the initial planning, this thing didn't exist. But midway I felt like I really need to include this sort of trick, and seems like the effort paid off.
Ophelia wrote:Also:
Was the girl a victim of the fire as well and currently in coma in another room? I don't really think so, but I got the idea after the close up on a door when the protagonist was talking about her.
I'll let you figure that out through the other endings :wink:


Ophelia wrote:I tried to get the remaining 2 endings now, but somehow I can't get them. There is a choice with only one option and I suspect there's something I should be able to do to get a second option, but none of the answer combinations seem to work. Do you have any hints?
You are in the right direction. I'll give you three hints, try to use as few as possible :P
Hint 1: It IS related to that single choice. I put it there like that for the very purpose of arising suspicion.

Hint 2: There's a hint toward the solution in Ending 3, at the paragraph where Vincent reflects over that choice.

Hint 3: Just go to that choice again, sit down and think. Really, do just that and I'm sure the answer will reveal itself.

NekoNutchi wrote:I think played through all the endings, and i guess the conclusion was sufficient but it kind of felt like a metaphor that passed over my head. Thus i still had unanswered questions like "where is this place?", "how did i end up here?" and so on. But that was probably intended though...
There are 5 in total, though any of the last three should pretty much lay out the concept.
Anyway, I'll try making it a tad clearer:
They didn't wish to face reality, due to their traumas, so they both fell into a self-induced coma. That black world could be treated as their "dream" while sleeping in the coma. Being in that void represents their escapism, they are there only "mentally" and not "physically". The choices they make in there, are related to their mental state and affect their real bodies accordingly. Ex: "getting out" means "waking up from the coma", whereas being "burnt to death" means "the brain stops functioning and death follows.".

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#10 Post by Ophelia » Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:49 pm

Ahh, I see! That was very clever, I didn't even know you could do that

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#11 Post by NekoNutchi » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:14 am

This clears things up a bit for me as well, thank you. Also, i forgot to mention i enjoyed the game. :)

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#12 Post by DarkClaymore » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:09 am

Ophelia wrote:Ahh, I see! That was very clever, I didn't even know you could do that
Heh , I knew it'll catch some off guard. Honestly I have never seen such trick being executed before myself. I just read an article in the cookbook and got the idea from it.

In case you are interested in learning this functionality, you can refer to the article:
NekoNutchi wrote:Also, i forgot to mention i enjoyed the game. :)
And this is the most important part of it all, right? :wink:

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#13 Post by OpenH » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:05 am

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Last edited by OpenH on Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#14 Post by DarkClaymore » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:54 pm

OpenH wrote:
I got Black Nirvana in the first play through, then Hollow Nirvana, followed by Blazing Nirvana, Solitary Nirvana then True Nirvana.
You sly fox! :)
I generally plan my endings in such a way, that the reader would likely get them in their numeric order. Yet you got ending No.3 before getting ending No.2. Kudos, you outwitted my planning :wink:

OpenH wrote:
I was hooked when Vincent first got burned mercilessly for reaching out to the window.
The art and music placement did well to further evoke the scenario.
The entire burning land appearing after he chose to enter made the story more credible for me because the conflict actually increased further. I have to say, the first time he pass through the door to the animated sea, all I could think of when I saw the background image was the scene from Heaven’s Feel with the steel wind.
I actually consider that to be the "hooking" part, which is why I'm rather surprised that you are the first one to bring it up.
I think that the sea of fire was truly inspired by Heavens Feel to one degree or another, both by the writer and the artist :P
OpenH wrote:The art assets made me unconsciously register them as mere placeholder arts because there was a lack of unity between the images. The association that formed it my head after seeing the icon, main menu and game art was that these were generic images, art for sake of art, so I did not pay more attention to them.
I blame the artis- *gets shot*
Initially, it was supposed to have much more custom material. But... some things didn't work out, mainly due to the artist developing a hard case of apathy near the end, and truly many things were left as mere "placeholders".
As for the window effect
I ended up doing it myself because he was too lazy. Probably far from what it could have been, and apparently not clear/noticeable enough. Sorry about that :(



OpenH wrote:I read that you are disciplining yourself to finish projects you started and I hope you are working on your own full-fledged project as well. I personally feel that it is the actual ones, the ones we really want to make, that is where we get to see our true potential of where we stand and how much further we can go. The two moves you pulled here were well played and I can’t imagine what you have in store if you started on the real deal. Good job and all the best!
Thanks, always nice to hear stuff like that :)
I believe it'll take a while before I start writing bigger works. Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to properly work as a team with the artist, and the goal is bringing a VN from start to end with consistent art. Once we master that, we can move on to bigger stuff. 8)

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Re: Black Nirvana [Psychological/Metaphysical] [Short]

#15 Post by Sleipnir56 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:19 pm

Gonna try it out. I love Mystery and Psychological :mrgreen:

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