Fatal Hearts (GxB/G, now free)

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Jake
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Re: Fatal Hearts

#61 Post by Jake » Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:04 pm

BellosTheMighty wrote:I find 9 and a more satisfying path to 11.


So, semi-random question - I haven't been keeping tabs on which number endings I've unlocked, I'm just remembering broadly how I got there. So while it undoubtedly all means something to Papillon, I'm curious - is there any way to determine which number endings you've seen, and/or match them up to epilogue scripts/pictures, short of describing the ones I've seen and hoping someone will fill me in? ;-)
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Re: Fatal Hearts

#62 Post by papillon » Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:37 pm

In retrospect I suppose it would have been a good idea to add ending numbers to the relevant images in the gallery along with the artist-names. I thought the branching-path display was a neat little idea to help give you some idea of which path to look on for graphics you hadn't found yet, but I didn't consider the problem of trying to discuss which paths you have and haven't seen, when it's more complicated than just being able to say "X's Good Ending".

I had hoped that people would use the 'names' for the endings, which are more easily associated with what happened without actually being spoilers...


Of course, you can always say what gaps you have in your gallery, and someone might be able to give you suggestions from that!

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Re: Fatal Hearts

#63 Post by Jake » Sun Oct 28, 2007 10:10 pm

papillon wrote:Of course, you can always say what gaps you have in your gallery, and someone might be able to give you suggestions from that!


It was more a question of being kind of curious what other people mean when they say things like BellosTheMighty was saying up there...
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Re: Fatal Hearts

#64 Post by papillon » Sun Oct 28, 2007 10:15 pm

*nod* I think the names would be slightly more helpful.

If I translated that to "He found 'Pyre' and a better path to 'New Order'" then that will probably make sense to you if you've seen those endings, without giving too much away if you haven't?

for that matter, the full list of ending titles, spoilered just in case:
drowning

blood rejection

held in trust

foretold

runaways

sacrifice

pyrrhus

hopeful future

pyre

fresh start

new order

childhood

judas kiss

crossfire

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Re: Fatal Hearts

#65 Post by BellosTheMighty » Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:23 am

...And that's it, all finished. Collected missed endings amongst the other three paths, then ran through the Top path from the start, making a point of building trust with both Randy and Lucy. Not very hard, once you know what you're doing. Of this last collection of endings and outcomes, most were pretty good. Having seen pretty much all of the plot now, I can venture the opinion that it's pretty damn good- as noted before, the many different paths complement each other nicely, so that they all contribute to the overall story. The continuity, however, is not perfect.

One notable problem is that things tend to drop out of the plot without warning. The cellphones are a prominent example- we never find out exactly what was up with them. Another one is Elizabeth, who Papillon tries to develop as a character but who ultimately turns out being little more then a plot device with a pulse. Some of the endings are abrupt, too- the game generally closes up and goes to epilogue after the main conflict is resolved. Most of the time, that's no problem, but a few of the endings- most prominently "Judas Kiss"- demand a bit more. Others just come out of nowhere. "Sacrifice" and "Childhood" are the most egregious offenders- the former just blokes the heroine for no real reason, Whereas the latter is thematically justifiable but massively anticlimactic. And "Fresh start", though consistent with at least Lucy's character, seems thrown in just because it could be.

On the subject of coming out of nowhere, I have to say Katie is another problem. I liked that revelation at first because it revitalized the story- after several playthroughs- by upending the entire basis of it. But in retrospect, that's not necessarily a good thing. For one, by giving the player four major paths, and putting a plot twist of that magnitude along only one of them, you're naturally making each of the other three plotlines sub-optimal. You can work that to your artistic advantage in several ways. The standard is to anoint the path with the twist the "true ending". Another might be to do something like put an equally major but entirely different rug-pull along the other paths, thus ensuring that the hero NEVER knows entirely what's going on. But Papillon didn't really do either, and so it sticks there laughing at the thirteen other variants of Christina for having no clue what the truth is. And it leaves the player wondering how Christina got involved in this anyway- just blind chance?

(It also makes the bad guys look like putzes- they're so convinced that Lucy is the one they're searching for, and then when Bastian tells them no, they kill people to work a major divination with black magic and STILL get the wrong girl...)


I've registered a lot of complaints about the plot, but that's not at all to say I didn't like it- it's just that I frequently find the bad more productive to discuss then the good. Simple ego-stroking is for seducers and fanboys. ^_^ In fact the plot is very well organized- each path plays up a different aspect of the story, yet at the same time they all fit together (with the exception noted above). There are decision points that do nothing or little of significance, but help contribute to the definition of Christina's character. Some people don't like this- they want a more streamlined tale- but I prefer to be made to consider what kind of a person this is that I'm guiding. It's not perfect, but I'm well satisfied.

The puzzles are a bit of a mixed bag. Most are enjoyable, though I stand firm on my complaints against research puzzles and clues that you have to reload to find again. However, a few are embarrassingly easy, especially near the beginning, and a few others suffer from finicky controls- especially the car chase and the cooking puzzle. Some seem integrated with the story via paper clips- cleaning house, for example, is a fun puzzle but completely irrelevant. Ditto playing Joust with Lucy. The cooking puzzle is not as misplaced as I first thought, but it's tedious and obnoxious. (Also- I've cooked dried pasta, dudette. Many times. It's not that hard. It's actually quite easy. ^_^ )

The graphics are generally good, but as noted previously not all of them fit together just right. Dan River's work is excellent but a little "off"- It has more of a Superhero-comic vibe then the animesque style the other artists were shooting for, and so it doesn't really gel with the others- look at ending 14, "Crossfire", and compare with the similar ending 13, "Judas Kiss", and you'll see exactly what I mean. Yuna Kamizuki's paintings clash even more severely- though gorgeously human and emotive, stylistically they seem to be from an entirely different game. But being as so many would-be VN tycoons have trouble finding ONE good artist, I suppose it can't really be helped.

(Though with that in mind we might, as a community, want to try and develop techniques to get different artists on the same page artistically- maybe ask them all to draw in a style reminiscent of some popular anime or somesuch?)

One other problem that I haven't mentioned is some bugs. There's nothing major- they're rare and the worst that happens is a game crash, but they can get annoying. In particular, the music tends to get screwed up randomly when playing on fast skip- and even after reloading the game, you'll be playing the rest of that particular save in silence. The game also will occasionally freeze when loading a savegame, and will have to be killed from the Task Manager- fortunately this is a random occurence, rather then a corrupted save.

So in short, a fun and enjoyable effort that shows the author to have a lot of potential as a designer. I'd give it a very high B+. Looking forward to Hanako Games' next work. ^_^
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Re: Fatal Hearts

#66 Post by victorita9 » Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:29 am

i have a question. How would you get past the dream catcher puzzle.

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Re: Fatal Hearts

#67 Post by Jake » Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:26 am

victorita9 wrote:i have a question. How would you get past the dream catcher puzzle.


If you mean the one with the hooks, then the answer is really
head generally toward the target, look ahead the next few steps you plan to make and check - given that the hooks go out in a fixed sequence - whether you're going to get caught on any of them. Don't be afraid to make minor backtracks or detours to get out of the way of individual hooks.

I also found it immensely helpful to write the steps I'd successfully taken down, so when I made a mistake I could get back to the same place trivially. So if you get really really stuck, I can send you the ones I took.
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Re: Fatal Hearts

#68 Post by Guest » Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:30 am

I need help!!! I'm stuck on the rune puzzle and i have no idea about the order, plz help!!! :cry:

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Re: Fatal Hearts

#69 Post by papillon » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:45 am

Elizabeth was originally intended to have a branch of her own and then dropped for budget and time. There's a lot of Elizabeth-Marta and Elizabeth-Jeremy things that were talked about but didn't end up fitting into the plot as written - there was just no appropriate time to show this information.

There are plenty of clues about what the cellphones really are, and at least you should have gotten the impression that they're not quite phones, not good, and that Jeremy was behind them. It wouldn't have made sense, though, even on his branch, for him to sit down and say "Look! Here are the evil mind-control telephone bait devices I used to attract sacrifices with, and here's how they work!" On Tim's branch, he knows the phones are bad, but he can't do anything about them - if you saw the nature-vs-technology threads that were playing, you can guess that the wolves' chances of unraveling complicated technomagic are about nil. They operate pretty much on instinct, not intellect.

Feel free to write what you think should have happened after "Judas Kiss"! I'd like to see how people want the story to develop...

"Sacrifice" seems like a pretty fair death to me. Lucy tells you not to go there because you'll get killed. You go there, you get killed. (With the insinuating suggestion that Lucy might have intentionally sent you there to die, depending on whether you've played enough paths yet to have a strong opinion of Lucy and guess that her parents aren't necessarily right about her.)

EVERY path *is* supposed to have a major revelation at the Chapter 3 / Chapter 4 break, but you may no longer feel that they're major revelations once you've played through the game. In Jeremy and Lucy's paths, that chapter point is where you first find out that the people you're with are working for a vampire and they're about to drag you off and give you to him! Wasn't this at least a little startling the FIRST time you played one of those paths? :) And on Tim's path, the Ch3/Ch4 break drops the "Sebastien Killed Kirsten" bombshell.

But did he really? And is Katie really Kirsten? What evidence do you have? Katie looks like Kirsten. Christina has Kirsten's memories. And, for that matter, Tim's path states that the vampire has declared other girls in the past to be Kirsten as well!

Of course, Eric could be lying. Or wrong. He is only telling you things that have been passed down in his family legends - legends the rest of his family doesn't even bother believing in anymore, which is why he's here alone.

But then, if Eric is right, Bastian's not going to TELL you that, is he?

Does anyone actually know the truth and not have a good incentive to lie? Is anything verifiable?

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Re: Fatal Hearts

#70 Post by papillon » Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:06 am

Oh yes, and if you think that guy's art's too comic book now, you should have seen the first draft which was tossed out.... :) I did have a set of style references that I handed out to people, but when you're in a hurry and you can't pay a fortune...

Well, compared to anyone else on this board, I did spend a fortune getting this game made. Compared to what normal artists would charge for what was done, though, I paid peanuts. And it's still going to be a long time before I can even recoup the costs of what this game took to produce, much less profit. The chances of there being another VN out of me are probably slim. Unless, of course, everyone promotes this game everywhere they possibly can and gets it to sell enough copies that I can finance another one. :) (It's not selling BADLY at the moment - it is selling copies at a decent rate so far. But it cost a lot to make.)

But obviously, I have to finish the ice skating game and the cute knight sequel before I can even think of doing another adventure.

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Re: Fatal Hearts

#71 Post by Jake » Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:40 am

papillon wrote:The chances of there being another VN out of me are probably slim.
...
But obviously, I have to finish the ice skating game and the cute knight sequel before I can even think of doing another adventure.


Boo! :P

papillon wrote:And it's still going to be a long time before I can even recoup the costs of what this game took to produce, much less profit.


Just out of curiosity - if you even don't mind giving out such information - do you have any idea what kind of volume you'd need to shift to break even? I mean, the impression one gets from various media is "'casual games' = money hand over fist, everything else = losing your house", I'm just kind of curious how this pans out. I'd not have placed something like Fatal Hearts into the 'casual gaming' bracket, after all.
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Re: Fatal Hearts

#72 Post by papillon » Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:09 am

Well, it's not so much that as - I run a pretty small website. I do not have vast amounts of traffic. No matter how good a game is, if it's only on MY website, there's a limit to how much it can sell and how fast, you know?

Fatal Hearts is selling nearly as well as Cute Knight did in its first week, and much better than Summer Schoolgirls did. (which is as it should be, FH *is* much better than Summer Schoolgirls :) )

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Re: Fatal Hearts

#73 Post by BellosTheMighty » Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:07 pm

papillon wrote:
EVERY path *is* supposed to have a major revelation at the Chapter 3 / Chapter 4 break, but you may no longer feel that they're major revelations once you've played through the game. In Jeremy and Lucy's paths, that chapter point is where you first find out that the people you're with are working for a vampire and they're about to drag you off and give you to him! Wasn't this at least a little startling the FIRST time you played one of those paths? :) And on Tim's path, the Ch3/Ch4 break drops the "Sebastien Killed Kirsten" bombshell.



Differences of scale. How Kirsten died is ultimately not very important, because the salient point- consistent across all paths- is that she died and Bastien regretted it. The fact that Jeremy and Lucy's parents are working with the bad guys is important, but again, it shows up consistently along all paths, and is obvious when you look for it. But the entire story is predicated on the idea that Christina is Kirsten reincarnated- change that, and the whole story changes.


To others, on the puzzles-

The dreamcatcher puzzle is pretty simple- you make a dreamcatcher.
Go around the circle in at least seven segments, making sure that the thread lies clear of the hoop itself, so that you don't misclick while trying to do the next part. Then, once you've gone around the hoop once, continue going by tying the thread to the center of each thread in the previous level. Keep going until the puzzle solves- aesthetics doesn't seem to matter that much.


By the by, don't try to actually use these in real life, or people in the know will laugh at you. I understand that a dreamcatcher is suppossed to keep toddlers from having bad dreams- it's basically the Native American equivalent of a night light. ^_^

On the "rune puzzle"- there are several. Assuming you mean the one with the safe,
look up the "Seventh Book of Moses", as the hints suggest, then cross-reference with a list of common alchemical symbols. That will give you the first ten symbols, leaving only two possible combinations.


On promoting the game- there's enough puzzling in here that you could legitimately class it as an "Adventure Game", and that fandom is traditionally kinda starved for content. I reccommend hunting down some good websites and reviewers of adventure games and giving out some review copies. Indy gaming sites are another possibility- I know a lot of them had good things to say about Cute Knight, so play up your rep. (But you knew that, right? ^_^ )
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Re: Fatal Hearts

#74 Post by papillon » Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:13 pm

Well, if he's an evil murdering asshole looking for another girl to abuse instead of a tragic figure that lost his true love, it does sort of change the whole story, and makes the 'kill everybody' endings obviously the true endings. :)

And those things are already being done... (full reviews take longer)

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Re: Fatal Hearts

#75 Post by Mr. E » Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:53 pm

*sigh* Busy, busy... Haven't logged on for what feels like decades. Didn't even realize that Fatal Hearts full version was already out until just a while ago...
I had the pleasure of beta-testing the game (and I only hope my comment were actually helpful. :? ) and I liked it a lot. I'll write a full review when I have time, although unfortunately that may only be in the midst of November... :cry:
Umm, I can only add that the game would be especially interesting for people that like adventure games and dramatic/tragic plots, although there are a few good endings as well (8, a hope for the future, is very hard to get, but a definite favourite! :D ) I'm also interested in seeing what has changed from the full version and what hasn't (I'll check that out... When I have enough money... And enough time... :shock: )

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