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Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Sun May 17, 2015 6:39 pm
by Kuroonehalf
Image Image Image

Synopsis: Shu and his childhood friend Inami take a trip to the beach in the look for something on a sunny summer day.

Themes: Slice-of-life, comedy, romance

Length: ~ 60 minutes.

Staff:
Illustration, BGs, Writing, Coding, UI, SFX:
Kuroonehalf
Logo, additional UI:
Vick

Download:
Here

About: My first visual novel!
It was initially meant to be a Nanoreno project, but because I was in charge of every role except for background music it ended up being a lot more work than I expected to reach some sort of personal baseline level of quality.
Lots of firsts here - my first time doing proper full backgrounds (handmade!), my first time writing characters and a story/script, first time doing a lot of engine stuff, doing SFX, etc.
A large portion of those 2 and a half months were spent just learning the ropes on a bunch of stuff and doing trial-and-error.

In the end I had a lot of fun making it. I particularly enjoyed having full control over the story. How everything could be exactly how I wanted and I could explore the tropes and ideas I wanted without compromise. I definitely want to do this again.

I hope folks get some enjoyment out of it. Let me know if you liked it.~

If you find any problems with the game please PM me as soon as possible so I can fix it!

ps: Make sure you check the Extras menu after you've completed the story!

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Mon May 18, 2015 1:52 pm
by MegaElla
OMG, I'm your fan, Is it really your first work? You should give me some tips because I'm gonna faint if I have to look in internet again how to code a renpy game.

Enough of that, now for the game, I really liked it and since it's your first work I understand the lack of character animations although the backgrounds were worth it. Also the fact that it didn't have choices it's the worst part of the gameplay. Everything else I loved it and do I hear sequel? SEQUEL!
Maybe it can be in Inami's tennis tournament

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Mon May 18, 2015 5:02 pm
by Kuroonehalf
MegaElla wrote:...
Yep, my very first visual novel /writing work. I had toyed around with the engine before once but never did much. I had to learn the vast majority of stuff during the making of this, which the renpy IRC folks can attest to cause I was in there trying to solve problems almost every day, and that's what inflated the time taken so much. I am extremely picky about visual novel engines, so I just had to make it behave exactly how I wanted, down to the smallest thing. And apart from a tiny feature or two (that renpy doesn't have available out of the box and you have to jump through some hoops and do some dark magic to get working), I managed to get it. :3

It being linear is a totally intentional decision. I personally just am not a fan of visual novels as choose-your-own-adventure games. I think that they work much better as set stories, where the protagonist is his own character and not just an avatar for the player. Both because I like protagonists with personality and because the story that you make up is never going to be better than the one that was carefully crafted by the experienced writer (not claiming to be one, at least not yet, just saying :p). Plus I like storytelling as a passive experience, where I can just sit back and absorb a good story.
Granted, I do think choices are justified to introduce character route branching and in other special scenarios, but I didn't want to bite more than I could chew with my first work (even though I ended up doing just that by taking up every role, haha).

Is lack of animations weird? From my experience it's still fairly rare, even in top budget visual novel works. Whether I do them eventually or not depends on how my workflow progresses and if it becomes a feasible option. Though even with the possibility of having animated sprites, there's something special about static ones where there's no deformation of the art and everything looks super polished all the time.

Regarding a sequel, it's a possibility, but as of right now it's not very likely. For a couple of reasons:
- I'd have to undo their relationship in order to support other heroines, which I really don't want to do cause they're so lovely. ;u;
- Even if I continued a ShuxInami story, their relationship is already a bit advanced and I'm not sure I could pump enough new content into it to be interesting enough.
But if I were to do it, I'd definitely go with the second option.

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Mon May 18, 2015 7:47 pm
by philip
Just downloaded this and went through it. The art is nice, the story is too! Thoroughly enjoyed it - hope you will do more!

philip

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Mon May 18, 2015 10:33 pm
by Kuroonehalf
philip wrote:...
Hey philip, thanks for the nice comment! Glad that it was of some entertainment.

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Tue May 19, 2015 1:16 pm
by MegaElla
Kuroonehalf wrote: It being linear is a totally intentional decision. I personally just am not a fan of visual novels as choose-your-own-Is lack of animations weird? From my experience it's still fairly rare, even in top budget visual novel works. Whether I do them eventually or not depends on how my workflow progresses and if it becomes a feasible option. Though even with the possibility of having animated sprites, there's something special about static ones where there's no deformation of the art and everything looks super polished all the time.
Sorry! I ment sprite characters, I'm not native english speaker and I tend to get confused with words. Well, great game!

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:03 am
by ebi-hime
Oh, this is a nice VN! The art and BGs are absolutely gorgeous, and the GUI looks so polished and pro, too! Visually it's really stunning o:
I liked the story a lot too. While I guess there isn't that much 'story', and it's all SoL, it was well done SoL that was nice and relaxing.
I also like how there are hints of a romantic attraction between the MC and Inami, but it never becomes actually romance? It makes the whole thing feel kind of... wistful, maybe, and unfinished. Unfinished in a good way, since I think the story was meant to invoke a sense of lazy summer days slowly passing you by? And I liked the ending a lot. I liked the feeling of peering into a brief moment in two characters' lives, and nothing spectacular happens, it's just an average day, and then it ends. I like slow and quiet stories like this.
The music was a little bit too repetative though, it was tiring hearing the same song so many times haha XD And maybe Inami's sprite during the evening scenes looked a tad too orange?
But overall I enjoyed it, it was a nice and relaxing story n_n

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:51 am
by Kuroonehalf
ebi-hime wrote:Oh, this is a nice VN! The art and BGs are absolutely gorgeous, and the GUI looks so polished and pro, too! Visually it's really stunning o:
I liked the story a lot too. While I guess there isn't that much 'story', and it's all SoL, it was well done SoL that was nice and relaxing.
I also like how there are hints of a romantic attraction between the MC and Inami, but it never becomes actually romance? It makes the whole thing feel kind of... wistful, maybe, and unfinished. Unfinished in a good way, since I think the story was meant to invoke a sense of lazy summer days slowly passing you by? And I liked the ending a lot. I liked the feeling of peering into a brief moment in two characters' lives, and nothing spectacular happens, it's just an average day, and then it ends. I like slow and quiet stories like this.
The music was a little bit too repetative though, it was tiring hearing the same song so many times haha XD And maybe Inami's sprite during the evening scenes looked a tad too orange?
But overall I enjoyed it, it was a nice and relaxing story n_n
Thank you for playing it!
The romance not going too far was 100% intended. A lot of things I willingly took a subtractive/subtle approach to because I feel it has deeper impact this way. For example, you never get to know how Shu hurt himself. It's something that tinges various scenes but whose origin story is never revealed. I did that because the injury in itself is not what's interesting, it's how Inami treats it that makes it special.
Another example is they never directly proclaim their affection toward each other. No hugs, no kisses, no "I love you"s. But you don't need that to be able to tell that those two are total lovebirds. I find that it's much sweeter like this, especially for the snapshot type of story that this is. I also find that it's kind of lazy to just outright say what the characters are feeling, instead of showing it through their actions.
And yeah, the music hurts me too. ;u; But I don't know how to compose so I had my hands tied there. I had to resort to using free-to-use music. And I was further restricted by the fact that the music had to loop. This was about as good as there is for the moods I was trying to achieve, unfortunately.
Good news is I'm in talks with a musician friend to make some proper quality tunes for the following projects.

And yep, I'll also have to tweak the sunset shading parameters (it was done in-engine).

ps: If you thought the UI looked good, look forward to the next project! The friend who helped me with the logo, Vick, will be taking up the visual design of the UI next time. This is great both because he's a lot better at design than me so it'll likely look much nicer and cohesive, and because it'll free me a chunk of time to make other things better.

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:38 am
by Lesleigh63
I thought this worked really well for your first visual novel.

You have lovely art.

First time writing - you certainly have a good feel for it. Your sentence structure is crisp and clean. Not sure why you went with Japanese names, I didn't feel the setting was particularly related to Japan. I enjoyed reading about a day in the life of these two - they're a sweet couple and the understated sexual tension is cute too.

Nice looking GUI.

Looked at the extras - I like seeing other people's process development. That line-art of them at the bus-stop was really nice.

Good luck in writing the next one.

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:10 am
by Kuroonehalf
Thank you very much for playing! And thank you for the feedback. :3

Regarding the names, yeah, that's a bit of a personal conundrum. Maybe it's because English is not my first language, or because I'm too familiar with Japanese culture by now, but I just felt like English names felt kind of awkward. In my mind Japanese ones sounded better for some reason. Maybe the ideal solution would be to go for made up names (although Inami was made up).

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 2:57 am
by TsukiShima
Hey there, I gave this visual novel a try and I thought I could leave a feedback.

First of all, I really love the GUIs and arts in this game, and it's amazing that is fully made by you and Vick! This VN looked very professional because of that. I love the movements of Inami's sprite too. It's amazing that she just the little movement make me understand her actual actions. The background music was nice too, so kudos to that!

However, I felt the text was too long and without a sprite or CG to accompany half of the dialogue bore me. I like reading the story but I felt like I am only staring at the background while listening to the music. I feel bad, but I skipped some parts, and I am still able to understand the story.

Overall, it was good and can be better with improvements. I look forward for your other games!

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:12 pm
by wayward
I think you did a good job. Your UI looks really good.

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 4:05 pm
by Kuroonehalf
wayward wrote:I think you did a good job. Your UI looks really good.
Thank you! Sadly it still has a lot of problems, but they should be fixed in the next game, and the UI should be a lot more cohesive in general.

And update! I made a 3 part series of retrospective posts looking back on the development of Cuttlebone! They go over how I went about starting the VN, writing, optimizing development systems, advice, and so on. You can read them here:
#01 - Preface, Writing
#02 - Pipelines
#03 - Advice & The Future

ps: Is there perhaps a section in Lemmasoft where I should make a thread for these?

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:49 am
by Krel
Hey Kuroonehalf, I'm really impressed that this is your first visual novel, and that you did most of it yourself! The UI and the art is very impressive.

My one criticism:
In the writing, there is very little conflict, which makes the story less exciting, and creates less emotion toward the characters. Inami's flaws are mentioned, but don't really a play a role in the story, wish I was hoping would come up.

Oh and you put in one past tense line: "After swimming around for a while longer we dried up and packed out backpacks, then headed back over the boardwalk." :P
I also read your retrospective posts, cause I'm interested to learn from the lessons of other creators. I found your thought process very interesting, and your lessons valuable.

All in all, great job, I enjoyed Cuttlebone. :)

Re: Cuttlebone [Linear][Slice-of-life][BxG]

Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:16 pm
by Kuroonehalf
Krelsin wrote:...
Thank you very much!
Yeah, there isn't much in the way of conflict aside from their personal struggles. Partially because I wanted to portray an idyllic setting, and also because of scope constraints. I felt a snapshot type of story would work best, and it was just an idea that really interested me, so I went with that. The downside is virtually no plot progression.