Builders' Mind

Finished games are posted here, once they've been tested and are ready for wide release.
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DaFool
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Builders' Mind

#1 Post by DaFool » Sat Sep 15, 2007 11:23 pm


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Re: Builders' Mind

#2 Post by Ivlivs » Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:12 am

This was intended to be an OVA? It was actually pretty good in this form. The music was the best part, in my opinion.

Way to sneak a post-apocalyptic setting on me. Such themes are not my cup of tea, but I'm not blasting your work just for having it.

You definitely get points for an attention-grabbing storyline. I got ending 3/3.
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Re: Builders' Mind

#3 Post by Ivlivs » Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:24 am

I'm not sure how to describe the feeling I got from this. It actually pushed my buttons. It made me almost want to respond with a work of my own.
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Re: Builders' Mind

#4 Post by monele » Sun Sep 16, 2007 5:40 am

Got ending 1/3 after messing up one time. I'm not sure I've understood the underlying meaning of the choices ^^;.

I like most of the music except mh... one I recognized... is this one you pushed forth for MB at some point?... or at least posted on the forums? (it has the "whoo"s and a tropical sound).
Your character graphics are definitely neat. The girls are extremely cute and the older men have charisma, which is rare in bishoujo games :).
I also liked the backgrounds. Half-realistic and half-abstract... very original and well thought.

As for the story, it was rather surprising...
I didn't expect this kind of setting at all coming from you (eh, you're now associated to medfan and loligoths XD...) and none of the topics either, but it's quite interesting. There were a few things that appealed to me such as the pre-current civilization... the engineer god... and things I'm forgetting ^^;.


I appreciated the hints after the no-ending, too. Makes further playthroughs a lot less frustrating since you don't have to guess what went wrong and maybe mess up again. Yet, it's not a total give away since you have to find out what are the main paths.

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Re: Builders' Mind

#5 Post by Anvil Factory » Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:50 pm

I got a game over the first time (maybe more than once) before achieving the first, possibly screwing up again, the third, screwing up again, and then the second ending.

That was really interesting. I actually kind of want to read about Bert. XD You know, Mayumi's quest for a man would make a funny uh...yes...erogame.

Anyway, I really liked the style. The word "abstract" comes to mind even though it involves technology and the like. What impressed me the most visually were the backgrounds, which really suit the title. Equations and lines... shifting gears, which was incredibly cool. I wonder though if there should be more equations though, to the point that it'd look like a bunch of numbers and letters. :wink:

How long did it take to finish this project? Did dividing everything up into scenes help? :)

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Re: Builders' Mind

#6 Post by DaFool » Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:27 pm

one I recognized... is this one you pushed forth for MB at some point?...

Yup. Incidentally, I also pushed it for some other project. It was the favorite track of my old folks, heh, so yeah, tastes are different... :wink:

This was intended to be an OVA?

How long did it take to finish this project? Did dividing everything up into scenes help?


I only got started on the Animax scriptwriting competition 2-3 weeks before the deadline of May 31. So I coded it directly into Ren'Py first, since it was dialogue-heavy and I needed an engine to pace things. Dividing it into scenes was only natural and was the intention from the start. The way any good film balances scenes is to switch back and forth among different characters and situations, not revealing much in each scene until it all falls together, so that was my approach. It also made for an easier copy-paste into the standard screenplay format which screenwriters use for submissions. The music was composed for my defunct project Hardcastle and Cromwell (started this January), so I just grabbed that. Character art and BGs were made in two weekends, last week until yesterday.

I actually kind of want to read about Bert. XD You know, Mayumi's quest for a man would make a funny uh...yes...erogame.

Yeah, I could write more about their backstories. That is a consideration in case I ever decided to make a sidestory / sequel.

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Re: Builders' Mind

#7 Post by papillon » Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:13 pm

practically zero comments yet - ending 3 first play - also at some point there's an 'eek' where there should be an 'eke' I think. I'll need more digesting time before I have much more to say. :)

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Re: Builders' Mind

#8 Post by gekiganwing » Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:11 pm

This was fascinating. Builders' Mind brought up lots of questions, such as...

* Where do the roaming peoples live? How easily can they get to the island?

* Exactly how did the Builders get young people from various races together on the small island?

* In the post-apocalyptic future, how easy is it to purchase a Total Entertainment System? :)

* How much knowledge of space travel still exists?


If you want to devise a follow-up, then focus on Mayumi. This is a fascinating character who goes through emotional extremes in just a few scenes.
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Re: Builders' Mind

#9 Post by Mr. E » Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:36 pm

Ah well... After much loafing around and general putting-things-off-for-tomorrow I am finally reviewing Builder's mind, an interesting little game that has a very unique style and story. :P
First the story, and I must admit that it's a very interesting one. The pacing, which I nitpicked in The Nettestadt Troll, is much better here. You reveal some things before they happen and create quite a nice tension and suspense, showing the box and what happens to it long before Mayumi appears. And changing the focus back and forth from Hiraya's life, which are the light segments of the story and the most easy to relate to, with the other more serious segments of the story ( although even these serious segments have some comic relief here and there, and Hiraya's story ends up catching all the other story threads into hers ). The plot is very nicely planned and orchestrated, with an interesting group of characters to back it up.
The characters are a strong point of the game, although here I'd like to add my routine nitpick somewhere around here ( a bit sooner than usual, yes... :? But it's not very big really... ) The character designs are very good and truly original, with a variety not found in most games, or even animes. The personalities are also quite good, and can find their real-life conterparts without much difficulty. They're also very charismatic, we root for Mayumi's courage, we feel sorry for Paulo and Rohit, and their plight, and we can feel the conflict between Hiraya's father and Phineas and Ashley (by the way, extra points for the Bert character, he is one of the most complex personalities of the whole group, aiding a civilization while at the same time doubting it's validity... Very interesting ). The only point where I think needs some work would be the dialogues. They're a bit hi-and-miss, with a few good ones ( The discussion between Bert, Phineas and Ashely stands out ) and a few that are somewhat awkward, feeling a bit too formal or analitical ( Mayumi revealing her relationship to Hiraya ). It's nothing that disrupts the flow of the game, but it's a point to think about (there's always the possibility that in the future speech patterns are different :P ). Paulo and Rohit's lines are also good, feeling very natural.
But the style of the game wins the prize this time. As I was reviewing Black Pencil a few days ago, I thought how it had a specific style that crept throught the whole game, something quite rare in any media. BM is the proof that games like those can still be created and recognized. From the sketchy backgrounds filled with equations to the cogwheel animations to the themes of the game, it all gathered together to create a very unique impression, and this is one game that I won't forget so easily.
I have gotten all four endings ( if you include ending 0 ) and found all except for ending 3 touched with a tinge of melancholy, a certain coldness that is born out of repetition and the mechanical qualities of our own lives. My favourites are 1 and 2, because of the mixed and complex feelings they convey, although I must admit that enbding 3 is the happiest by far. The branching was ok, and I never had any difficulty with it ( although I still can't understand the purpose of the final choice, between listening to ahsley and collecting your thoughts for a while. )
So, in the end, I liked it a lot! :D It was a pleasant surprise that I wan't expecting ( I'm checking the game progress threads a bit less than I should lately... :? ) and was much apreciatted. It has a very interesting and unique style that will only enrich our current gallery of OELVNs.

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Re: Builders' Mind

#10 Post by Ignosco » Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:45 am

Apologies for taking a while to comment and for using dot points - (too much RL stuff going on at the moment)

Positives:
Excellent and very diverse character art + facial expressions
Intriguing story, which was well paced and effectively presented from several perspectives
Highly effective backgrounds
On the whole, a very original OELVN

General observations:
I found it difficult to get the bad ending - it took me a few replays after finishing all the good endings to reach it (and on my first playthrough I deliberately aimed for the bad ending, but couldn't reach it)... I'm probably the only person that tries to finish all the bad ending(s) before aiming for a good one :oops:.
Using different size 'sprite boxes' for each character was interesting... I didn't really notice it too much when I was playing, but if it allows for you to draw a wide variety of characters effectively, then it's worth using :).

Overall, I really enjoyed this :D
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Re: Builders' Mind

#11 Post by Vatina » Sat Sep 29, 2007 6:39 am

I just played this yesterday, got all the endings. I really liked the style in this game, especially the moving backgrounds which I felt were very original.
The story was nice too with good characters. Feels like a lot could have happened, especially with characters like the nomad and Ashley.

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Re: Builders' Mind

#12 Post by Blue Lemma » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:20 pm

I played this the other day ^^
Now I want a Hiraya! Or a mail-order Mayumi :P

The style is very unique! The backgrounds, though strange, worked out quite well. The mini-animations helped to give them a certain charm. Considering this and The Nettestadt Troll, you have no shortage of creativity 8) The music worked well, and the story was easy to get into. My main criticism would be that the story was a bit short. After I made it around the bad ending, I was expecting a little more than there was waiting for me.

Overall, great game :D


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Re: Builders' Mind

#13 Post by mikey » Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:32 pm

At long last, I found the time and the mood to play this and I must say this was one of the most unorthodox VNs I've ever played. Obviously, the presentation will strike first with all its style - which after a while gets into the blood and aids your imagination (a departure from the usual goal of a imagination-killing detailed background) and one that definitely worked for me - this time. Because I tried twice or more times to play this game before and I just stopped after a few screens, realizing I was not in the mood/condition to accept the BGs - so I waited patiently and today I was ready.

The game however kept on throwing unconventional things at me - the whole story being written from a distanced narrator, intertwining two storylines and making the choices the more difficult, even though I simply followed the rule that I chose the choice whichever I felt the character would choose him-/herself. I believe this worked better for me, than trying to shape the story myself at all costs.

The music (that I found a bit repetitive after a while I must admit) and additional graphical features were, I felt, just completing the experience - not driving it. But this is of course good - because the most interesting (and important) thing about this game is its story. I will say that I feel several of the subjects were merely touched upon and that one could probably add infinitely more detail into its structure, much like those fractal images, but in fact this is not bemoaning the shortness, it's acknowledging the potential.

Anyway, back to the topic - I am so often missing a sort of philosophic content in your typical Japanese VN - for some reason they either have a habit of leaving the answers to others or simply use philosophical questions for atmosphere. I'm not saying that BM provides definitive answers, but it does have clarity and was, at least for me, really good to read. It also throws in the occasional social aspect, which gives the logic a certain softness (a human factor). It was nice to read it and think about it along the way - which is probably also an explanation why it took me so long playing it to the end, and why the music started to feel samey.

As for the storyline as such, the backdrop against which this is placed, it's a bit too much sci-fi for my blood, but the absence of a typical alternative world backgrounds (and having these abstract ones) means I can imagine a more moderate version of this, close to the present-day reality, which is more comfortable for me. In any case, I almost think this game would not lose its impact in a more conventional scenario - but this is not my decision, only my preference.

Games like this, realistically, won't have a huge crowd following them, and I guess no one will have Ashley as their avatar either. But so what. This game made me work for the experience, and I appreciate this. For once, I don't feel like in a strip bar, where a game wants to tease you, show you everything and lure you into coming back over and over again. Instead, this is a more considered approach, without the need to impress or perform. And there should always be a place for these games - not in the spotlight, but a place nevertheless.

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Re: Builders' Mind

#14 Post by Sethaniel » Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:12 pm

I tried to follow your link and got a 404 not found error.

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Re: Builders' Mind

#15 Post by Blue Lemma » Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:55 pm

If you're looking for the game, it can be found here:
http://www.renai.us/game/bmind.shtml

DaFool's site was on VisualNews which seems to be down for the next... who knows :?
Will it be reborn somewhere else?
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