Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

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Obscura
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Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#1 Post by Obscura » Sun Dec 28, 2014 1:30 pm

Coming Out on Top follows college student Mark Matthews as he busts out of the closet and engages in all manner of adventure, all the while meeting a multitude of hot guys. Whether he does the right thing, wrong thing, stupid thing, or funny thing is up to you. Beard and body hair options available for all the guys. (You must be 18 and over to play.)

"I think Coming Out On Top is one of the best, if not the best game I’ve covered on S.EXE, simply because it’s so robustly made, so replayable, surprising and so full of wit and the art is so tastefully hot." - Cara Ellison, Rock Paper Shotgun

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You can buy it here with a discount code for 14.99.
Last edited by Obscura on Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#2 Post by Katta » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:29 pm

The game is really nice and funny and I loved the CG art.
But the fish route was very disturbing and that was the first I got(((

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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#3 Post by KashyaCharsi » Mon Dec 29, 2014 8:55 pm

I loved even
the fish sex
:D Oh, and I got an almost Brad ending at the first try.
The only problem was that I was a Yes Man wherever I was invited.

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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#4 Post by trooper6 » Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:56 pm

Obscura, I figured I should post this request here rather than in the cookbook forum. Would you post a postmortem where you talk about what you did in the game and looking back what worked well and what you would do differently for your next game? For example, it is interesting to me that you did live composite for your art coding. That seemed to work out well...but maybe you'd only do it using Notepad++ rather than Editra?

Anyhow, I'll post a review after I finish all the routes. I've Finished Brad, Fish, and Alex. I have a few more to go.

But one thing I'll say now: I love that you used Pansy Division on the main menu.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#5 Post by Obscura » Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:04 pm

Trooper6, sure thing.

I think there's a postmortem thread somewhere on LSF. I'd be happy to talk about some of the specific things I did once the hubbub dies down and I get a moment to catch up on some Kickstarter reward fulfillment stuff.

But to answer that specific question about livecomposite, it came in handy because of the way the sprites are configured: a layer for poses, eyebrows, eyes, mouth, clothing, hair and beard. I'm not quite sure how else I would have accomplished this without livecomposite. Initially I had a clone of each sprite to allow them to dissolve into one another (and not have choppy transitions), and a different block of code for each expression. So there would be ian happy1, ian happy2 , ian sad1, ian sad2, etc. etc. and each sprite file ended up being several thousand lines of code long. Trying to change one thing on the sprite became a nightmare. Livecomposite with conditional statements made it much more manageable.

I don't think I've ever used editra, except to try it out a little bit. I liked and bought Sublime because it was very slick, but ultimately I moved to Notepad++ because Sublime wasn't folding my code properly (whether it's a fault of my code or Sublime, I have no idea). I desperately needed to fold the code in order to keep the material organized while I was editing and revising scenes. Notepad was able to fold the code the way I wanted to. It's such a small thing but it really helped me edit.

Both Sublime and Notepad have a macro-ish tool (called snippets on the former and fingertext on the latter). They came in very handy for the expression changes, which all look like some variation of $phil_face("nervous","normal","upset") depending on who it was, what I needed to change, etc.

When setting up fingertext (or snippets), every time I typed the word phil_face (and then tabbed it), the entire code would come up, dollar sign, quotes, parentheses and all, and I could just tab between each of variables and type in whatever I pleased.

The lengthiest part of creating the game for me (after the writing, which was revised a frightening number of times) was determining which expression to use for about 80-90% of each line of dialogue. So things like fingertext sped up the process (though figuring out whether each expression made sense was also still enormously time consuming.)

Wow, okay, that was more than you needed to know. Thanks for checking out the game. Looking forward to whatever feedback you have.

Pansy Division rocks.
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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#6 Post by trooper6 » Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:10 pm

My review will come soon. I just have to grade 6 more final papers tonight and finalize the grades for my last seminar of the Fall then I can finish the game. Though, let's be honest...I shouldn't be playing Coming out on Top, I should be working on a) My tenure book and b) prepping for my classes next semester. But...I only have three more routes to get through...that shouldn't distract me for too long right?

Anyhow, here are some questions about graphics I have considering that is the thing that is coming up on my project soon.

How many separate facial configurations did you find you needed? I imagine (but don't know if this covers it all):
Eyebrows: Neutral, Angry, Sad, One raised eyebrow, Two raised eyebrows. Wait...was each eyebrow separate on a separate layer? Or were both eyebrows on the same layer?
Eyes: Neutral, Sad, Happy, Angry, Scared. Were the Eyebrows and the Eyes on the same layer or separate?
Mouth: Neutral, Sad, Angry, Scared, Surprised, Smile Closed, Smile open...

Wait...now I've confused myself a bit. What did you ask your artist to provide when it comes to layers for your livecomposite?

If you don't have time to answer right now, no problem! Whenever you have time!

:)
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#7 Post by trooper6 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:16 am

So...I have so much school work to do it is a bit crazy. I have class prep, grading, have to work on my book proposal, edit two articles, buy toner, wade through too much email. You know all of that sort of stuff. So did I do those things? No! I finished Coming Out on Top! So here is my review. Even though you didn't have the "Be Honest" tag in your sig, I'll be honest anyway.

First off, the game gets an A/A-. It is a very good game. Very, very good.

Art: So the art is gorgeous. Both the sprites and the CGs. Really gorgeous, and also new and not cliché. I give much love to this game for providing art with character, that is also hot. My nitpick here is that the CGs and the Sprites are a bit disjunct in their aesthetic...I mean, Sprite Ian and CG Ian don't really resemble each other.
UI: It is very good. The narrator text box I think is the weakest part in terms of fitting in with the rest of the aesthetics of the game, but it isn't bad. It is good, just not as really excellent as all the rest. However, in general, the UI is very well done.
Animations: I love the animations in the game, the animations here really show the professionalism and extra touches the game has that makes it a cut above many other games. For example, the ocean animation is really, really cool, and seems like it took a bit of work. Also the fire in the band's van...and the fish. These are all nice touches you rarely see in the general Ren'Py VNs. I enjoyed the panning for the CGs, that direction was very well done. Also all the character animations are awesome and I suppose show what you get when the artist is one of the main creators. I mean I shudder to think how much money I would have to play an artist to produce that sort of detail work. I imagine a lot of creators who commission artists scale down their desires because they don't have unlimited money, but Obscura's work shows that value of an artist willing to do all those little facial moments. And the outfit changes! This is just so good.
Gameplay: This game has lots of neat little gameplay moments that surprise you. My favorite? The Trivia Night! That was the best! I think the game won my heart right then and there.

Writing: The writing is for the most part very, very good. I appreciate that most of the gay characters are just fine being gay. That is refreshing and nice. Not the doom and gloom. The game has great politics and is written by smart people who know a think or two about queer life. I liked how the most homophobic Marine clearly had some serious internalized homophobia going on...which psychologists have shown to often be the case. I like that there were options for safe sex. That is great! The author has a good sense of college life and Oberlin...um...Orlin felt like a real college town. It have a very real feeling about it in general. The game was also funny at points, romantic and touching at points...and I love the experimental and very surprising Fish Endings. Really cool that the author put something Absurdist like that in the game. Big points there. I have some character nitpicks I'll get to below. But I'll give a general writing nitpick/praise here. Nitpick: That is not how tenure works. At least not yet. Faculty don't compete for tenure amongst themselves in that way. You are hired into a tenure track line...you wouldn't have two professors competing for one line in that way. That said, here is the praise: The grad student with the very clearly accurate crazy grad student hair? Perfect. All of the grad student/advisor stuff was hilarious and great. Oh, also the game is wonderfully sex-positive. And not prurient or fetishy or shaming. Just...people have different sexual pleasures and that is cool. I loved that about the game. I also love that the game has a more realistic take on kink than any of the inaccurate pop representations like 50 Shades of Gray.

Characters: The characters are, for the most part very good. I could list them all and talk about how great they are, but 98% of them are just awesome. So...I'll move on to the few things I don't thing work out as well. Jed and Phil. Jed as a character is great and he and everyone around him is great. The problem? Mark. Mark is presented as so...hm...how do you say? A bit shy/akward/anxiety prone...that his jumping into the relationship with Jed...just didn't feel exactly believable. I think if Mark had been a bit more neutral, or had been given more options to be less anxiety prone Jed would have worked perfectly. The second thing I think doesn't work as well is Phil. Phil, once he opens up is really awesome. Just great! But those first two meetings he is really, really negative and off-putting. I pushed through in order to get his relationship, but I wouldn't in real life...if felt artificial for me pursue him after the really negative vibes he was throwing my way. I think if he had been made less negative offered a few cracks behind the shell, that would have made him more successful. Because he was awesome once his shell got opened.

Sound: The Main Menu song? Awesome, it is always good to have Pansy Division anywhere. The sound effects were good. The music I'm of a mixed mind about. It wasn't bad. But the non-diegetic was a bit too abrupt. It tended to come in too loudly and too unsubtly. The diegetic music (the rock show, the fancy music in the fancy restaurants, etc) all worked. But I'd work on slightly more background and subtle for the non-diegetic music.

Misc: Look, this game is excellent and everyone should buy it. I submitted it to the VNs Now Awards...I know they probably won't put it under consideration for awards because they don't do "porn"--since somehow porn is not art...but this is art and it should be put under consideration.

I'm glad this game exists, it is really, really excellent. I bought a copy for my best friend, and he loved it as well. I wish this game all the success in the world.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#8 Post by KashyaCharsi » Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:00 pm

Not like I am a social expert, but yes,
Phil gave an antipathic and even creepy first impression, but it was a good thing he ended up being better than a typical tsundere because he did apologize for his rudeness and thanked me for my help. Though someone rude in the beginning and getting nicer and nicer as he gets to know you does make you feel special, like it's your achievement to tame him. In general, I think it's impressive that all the love interests gradually reveal themselves from stereotypes to deep characters you can easily fall in love with.

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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#9 Post by Obscura » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:00 pm

@Katta - sorry, I missed your comment earlier! Thanks so much for playing! I apologize if the fish route scared you. XD

@Trooper6 - Oh my god! O_O I didn't expect such a thorough review! Thank you so much for playing and taking the time to write it! I appreciate all the feedback. It was very on point and it is incredibly helpful. (And I didn't see this until now...since I actually log-in infrequently and the adult section is in its own corner....I'll probably ask the admins to move this whole thread to the main section.)
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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#10 Post by trooper6 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:08 pm

Obscura!

I'm so glad you appreciated my feedback. You never know if people want feedback...it was easier because generally the feedback was positive but I didn't want to do anything unwelcome.

You know I have been pondering Mark and Jed and programming. And also some other comments in other threads about other things...and also some of my own projects...and I had an idea for future projects.

You know what might have been cool that could have made Mark work with Jed? If there were some sort of personality variable. Mark could start out awkward, but with enough bold choices his personality could shift to become a bit more punk rock. If the punk variable is achieved, then awkward descriptors are dropped from the narrative and punkier descriptors are added. And with the variable, then the relationship with Jed works out in the end. But if you end up pursuing Jed without having the compatible personality it doesn't end up working.

Coding in this way would take more time, clearly, and I don't make this suggestion for this game, but what could be cool about that is that personality choices make in absence of the love interest could still influence that love interest. For example, if Mark made bold punky choices in Brad's thread, that would help him with the Jed line...even though that connections wouldn't be obvious. Additionally, I think shifting the sorts of conversation options and the MC character descriptions based on these personality variables throughout the game would be very cool.

I'm going to have to include something like that in my next game...but I wanted to share the idea with you since pondering Mark/Jed was what had me come up with the idea.

ETA: Now that I think about this, I have something rudimentary like this in my current game...but I think more would be quite fun!
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#11 Post by Katta » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:44 pm

Obscura wrote:@Katta - sorry, I missed your comment earlier! Thanks so much for playing! I apologize if the fish route scared you. XD
Thank you for making the game! It's really awesome, I especially like how the art fits the story and setting.

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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#12 Post by rainbowcascade » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:47 pm

Hey Obscura, I want to congratulate you for releasing this game. I've been waiting for it for 2 years and watching the process of it happening was exciting. I was incredibly impressed at how fast you improved at drawing in one of the old threads. Not to mention that you didn't let Steam's Greenlight "ew no homo" get to you. It's amazing how the first version of COOT has evolved into a drastically better product.

Anyways onto the review:

Art: Backgrounds are gorgeous, the sprites are really well done, and while I usually like Doubleleaf's style, some of the CG scenes were meh-ish for me. Also really liked that college classroom feel with the GUI and menus.

Music: Music fits so well with the college theme of this game. I'll have to say though, I think the way you applied music in the 2nd draft demos work a bit better. There are a couple scenes that have no music playing and it felt odd.

Writing: Writing is the best thing about this game. The characters have real problems, real personalities, and research was well done and applied to the hobbies or professions the characters had. Excellent work.

THE ROUTES

Ian:
I like how Ian the "straight guy" slowly showed his gayness as it went on and how he was struggling with it. The issue however is how absolutely WEIRD it got with him towards the end. The BDSM thing completely threw me off and I was more creeped out than anything. It was really "WTF?!" at how Ian was handling the situation, like damn Ian, can't you just talk to me like a normal human being? I know BDSM can be a really sexy thing but this felt like it was shoehorned in... I don't know man, I wasn't feeling it. BUT! Obviously Ian is the fan favorite so you had to make his route the most action packed I guess? So the Ian fans probably enjoyed this route the most.
Alex: This guy is the one most grounded on realism and ethics so...
yeah the whole sexy forbidden teacher/student thing is notched way down. The sexual tension is high but not much can be done with the guy. So interaction is really limited. I will say that I very much enjoyed Mark and Penny's wild goose chase which led them to the wiry grad students and the fat hamsters. I had a good chuckle but Alex is too much of a strait-laced stick in the mud for my liking.
Brad: I'm really not a fan of dumb football jocks but I know this guy is the 2nd place favorite in the fandom.
The story was really well done for a closeted gay jock and how Mark had to save his failing grades. I'm honestly, not a big fan of this type of character so Brad is really meh for me.
Phil: I really liked this guy.
Definitely the tsundere guy. Yeah he was off-putting at first but if you make the right word choices, he warms up fast. Enjoyed the trivia section, the "no homo" bullying was pretty funny. Phil was my personal 2nd favorite.
Jed: My top favorite. I love rockstar types.
And the asian christian thing, I can totally relate. The rock concert, the jail arrest, the van crash and burn, the surprise that Jed is classical pianist, the big climax where he wins the concert as everyone in the hall turns it into a moshpit. Definitely the most fun route.
Slurpy: I was spoiled so I already saw the ending for this. Couldn't enjoy as much but still, this is great.
sometimes this game had a few glitches but they easily went away so it's no big deal. Great job and I hope you continue to make more games in the future!

Also, I have a question. How are you managing to sell the game since it's clearly an 18+ explicit game? Most vendors would cut you out so you'd have very few options. Are you only using MicroBMT and selling it via your website at the moment? I'm wondering since I'm planning on making my own 18+ romance games and am trying to find video game vendors who are okay with adult content.

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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#13 Post by Rosstin » Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:31 am

I just want to say that this is awesome and I can't wait to play it. Great work!
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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#14 Post by KashyaCharsi » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:02 pm

I am not into BDSM either, but I loved it with Ian, that was my favorite scene in the entire game. It's pretty awkward of him to handle things like that, but it has this romantic secret admirer-mystery in it.

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Re: Coming Out On Top [Gay Male Dating Sim/B+B/VN]

#15 Post by trooper6 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:07 am

Um. I just looked at the FAQ on your site and I have a comment.
Someone critiqued you saying that one isn't allowed to have a beard in the military. And that is *generally* true...but not completely. There are men, most often black men, for whom shaving results in really, really bad razor bumps. Those guys can get a shaving exemption. They generally can't go full on crazy beard, but the sort of stubble that Phil has would be fine. It is one of the reasons I didn't bring up the beard in my feedback, because it actually fits in the realm of plausibility. Were he a non-black guy, it would have been less plausible, since non-black guys don't have the sort of hair texture that causes severe razor bumps as often (though it does happen)...but I totally could see Phil having razor bumps and needing the shaving exemption.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

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