The Censor [Dystopian/SF - English, German]

Finished games are posted here, once they've been tested and are ready for wide release.
Message
Author
User avatar
saguaro
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 555
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:17 am
Completed: Locked-In, Sunrise, The Censor
Projects: ?
Organization: Lucky Special Games
Tumblr: saguarofoo
itch: saguarofoo
Location: USA
Contact:

The Censor [Dystopian/SF - English, German]

#1 Post by saguaro » Fri Jun 05, 2015 7:17 am

The Censor is a dystopian visual novel. After years spent assimilating into the System, CJ489775 is visited by a ghost from her past. She must decide whether to support the System or those who live Outside.
  • 12,000 words, 5 endings
  • Full soundtrack by Li’l Magic
  • Virtual social network with additional backstory
  • Available in English and German
  • Unarchived, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA
Download from itch.io (Windows, Mac, Linux)

As some of you may (?) remember, this was originally a NaNoReno 2013 project. I'm happy to finally release. I did a lot of testing these last few days, but something always slips through. If you notice any bugs, please report them here.
Last edited by saguaro on Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Donmai
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1712
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:45 am
Completed: Toire No Hanako, Li'l Red [NaNoRenO 2013], The One in LOVE [NaNoRenO 2014], Running Blade [NaNoRenO 2016], The Other Question
Projects: Slumberland
Location: Brazil
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#2 Post by Donmai » Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:12 am

Oh my God... I mean... oh my goddess! Congratulations, and thank you very much.
Image
No, sorry! You must be mistaking me for someone else.
TOIRE NO HANAKO (A Story About Fear)

User avatar
tiya_nofurita
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 523
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:23 pm
Completed: Tour de Pharmacy, Tour de Paseban
Projects: ERASER, Last Rx
Organization: VN Project Indonesia
Deviantart: SECONDARY-TARGET
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#3 Post by tiya_nofurita » Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:17 pm

The system looks interesting. Congratulations on your release :D
Completed project :
ERASER [before :
PROJECT]


Image

Image
PROJECT-ERASER



"All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous" (Paracelsus, The Father of Toxicology)

"Let us learn to DREAM, then we may perhaps find the truth" (August Kekule, the benzene structure inventor)

User avatar
philip
Veteran
Posts: 450
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:44 pm
Location: southeastern PA
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#4 Post by philip » Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:47 pm

@saguaro-

Couldn't wait to download when you posted and said that it was DONE! So of course I then put everything aside and played through - a couple of times - got two of the five endings, so will be returning to find the others. (but I gotta quit for a bit and do some real world stuff)

The story is really good; the artwork is fine; I enjoyed it very much. I took a look at the "Scenes", found a couple that I had missed. One or more of them had an exception; next time I visit this, I will capture some tracebacks and send them to you.

philip
"One who has never made a mistake has never attempted anything!"
-
and
-
"Finish what you start"

User avatar
saguaro
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 555
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:17 am
Completed: Locked-In, Sunrise, The Censor
Projects: ?
Organization: Lucky Special Games
Tumblr: saguarofoo
itch: saguarofoo
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#5 Post by saguaro » Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:22 pm

Thanks all, I appreciate that.

Philip, thanks for playing! I am not surprised a few of the replay scenes slipped past me. Any tracebacks are happily received.

User avatar
Laniessa
Veteran
Posts: 251
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:10 am
Completed: CDC, Cerulean, WBW, Helena's Flowers
Projects: Chomp Chomp, WaV
Tumblr: adirosa
Deviantart: adirosa
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#6 Post by Laniessa » Sat Jun 06, 2015 6:28 pm

Wow, finished this yesterday and it was great! I loved the interface and just the overall immersion of it. I haven't played to get all endings yet, but I must do soon! The choices all felt really significant and important, and honestly, like the choices were judging me, if that makes any sense?

Just a quick note - the speed of the menus and whatnot felt far too slow. The typing of the title on the title screen was... really slow? It was to the extent that I just pressed start without looking at the full title. I guess it doesn't really matter if that was the aesthetic you were looking for, but I felt I should have mentioned it. The boxes - 'are you sure you want to quit?' etc, fall down quite slowly as well. I'm a completionist so I prefer it when the game doesn't really stop hinder me too much when I replay and such.

Of course, that's just my experience! I loved the story, the art, the music, the interface and the cohesive feel to it though.

Taranee
Regular
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:46 am
Location: Finland
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#7 Post by Taranee » Sun Jun 07, 2015 7:04 am

Visually, The Censor is one of the most beautiful visual novels I've seen. I also enjoyed the dystopian world a lot. It was unique, subtle and didn't feel preachy. The only flaw was that I didn't find many of the characters likable. Eff was plain and
the sister
was an a**hole. However, I liked the main character and the Mother. I don't know if it was your intention, but also felt like I didn't know enough good things about the Outside to sympathize with them at all.

When I used fast-forward during my second playthrough, the line
"I'm not sure what that means. I try to read between the lines, but fail, just as I did with the soothe screen. Did they change things because of me? Or is something else happening?"
got stuck on the screen, covering any other text that appeared in the same spot.

User avatar
SapphireDragon
Newbie
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:02 am
Deviantart: snowhummingbird
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#8 Post by SapphireDragon » Sun Jun 07, 2015 7:23 pm

I'm having so much fun playing this! xD So far I've gotten two endings and am about to go back to see if I can get the others. xD

I love the art, the overall feeling of the VN, and the characters are quite interesting! I can't say about the music or anything, since my speakers are on the fritz, but I have loved everything so far! xD

Like Taranee I had a time when words along the bottom had gotten stuck on the screen. (I just restarted the playthrough and it was fine. xD ) With what happened with mine: CJ was commenting to herself about an alert, and I clicked on the blinking message icon before I let her thoughts disappear. Her thoughts about the alert stayed up instead of disappearing, even after I exited the terminal.

Past that everything has been working like a charm! :D I'm having a lot of fun with it!

User avatar
Carassaurat
Veteran
Posts: 250
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:06 pm
Location: the Netherlands
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#9 Post by Carassaurat » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:03 am

Yes, I remember! Back when you released the demo, I thought the the idea of government observation was a bit quaint and that the future threats were in Anonymous and Internet anarchy. Then Edward Snowden burst onto the scene and I realised your vision might have more to it than I was initially willing to admit. Yes, it's been that long ago.

For what it's worth, I think this is by far the most impressive thing anyone has ever done in RenPy. It's great that you've left all the assets and code open. I'm marveling at all of it, and I'm sure it'll serve as a great resource.

I'd like to play it again before writing down my thoughts on the story, but I thought I'd report some of the issues I'd found as soon as possible; the last one seem like something that really needs to be fixed:
In Maize's profile, she's classified as an "Inlitrator" instead of "Infiltrator"
"Partnership" is misspelled as "Partership", I think several times.
"Propaganda" is misspelled as "Propoganda", also several times.
"Telenovela" is sometimes spelled as "Telenovella"
Line 507, the sentence "I mean, yeah, they encourage us build relationships" needs a "to"

Eff's "..." in line 1913, after "It's time to pop the bubble, Eff." had (ironically!) a wrong text bubble for me. The right end didn't line up with the middle part.

In the Voiceconvo menu, you can ask about the population problem, but the problem is only mentioned in the "Why bother?" option, so it doesn't make sense you can ask about it before having picked that option.

I think the endings list is incorrect:
In the menu (new_screens.rpy), 1 is Deletion, 2 Survivor, 3 Snitch, 4 Traitor and 5 Protected. But the persistent endings are handed out in the script (censor.rpy) file as 1 Deletion, 2 Traitor, 3 Survivor, 4 Snitch and 5 Protected. Thus I had unlocked an endings that I'd never seen, and one that I had seen was still censored.

User avatar
saguaro
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 555
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:17 am
Completed: Locked-In, Sunrise, The Censor
Projects: ?
Organization: Lucky Special Games
Tumblr: saguarofoo
itch: saguarofoo
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#10 Post by saguaro » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:08 am

Laniessa wrote:Wow, finished this yesterday and it was great! I loved the interface and just the overall immersion of it. I haven't played to get all endings yet, but I must do soon! The choices all felt really significant and important, and honestly, like the choices were judging me, if that makes any sense?

Just a quick note - the speed of the menus and whatnot felt far too slow. The typing of the title on the title screen was... really slow? It was to the extent that I just pressed start without looking at the full title. I guess it doesn't really matter if that was the aesthetic you were looking for, but I felt I should have mentioned it. The boxes - 'are you sure you want to quit?' etc, fall down quite slowly as well. I'm a completionist so I prefer it when the game doesn't really stop hinder me too much when I replay and such.

Of course, that's just my experience! I loved the story, the art, the music, the interface and the cohesive feel to it though.
Thank you for playing, and the kind words. I think one of Locked-In's biggest weaknesses is the choice feels arbitrary, so I'm glad the choices in this game have a sense of weight.

I think I agree with you about the menu & typing speed. I will look at this for the next update.
Taranee wrote:Visually, The Censor is one of the most beautiful visual novels I've seen. I also enjoyed the dystopian world a lot. It was unique, subtle and didn't feel preachy. The only flaw was that I didn't find many of the characters likable. Eff was plain and
the sister
was an a**hole. However, I liked the main character and the Mother. I don't know if it was your intention, but also felt like I didn't know enough good things about the Outside to sympathize with them at all.

When I used fast-forward during my second playthrough, the line
"I'm not sure what that means. I try to read between the lines, but fail, just as I did with the soothe screen. Did they change things because of me? Or is something else happening?"
got stuck on the screen, covering any other text that appeared in the same spot.
I'm glad the world works, I feel like dystopian stories tend to be rather heavy-handed, so I wanted to take a different approach.
In retrospect I agree with you about Eff being plain, I think AS Eff she's supposed to be unremarkable because she needs to blend in, but I had an opportunity when she's outed as Maize to show a more interesting personality and I never did that.
Thank you for that error, I thought I fixed that one but I know how to resolve it for the next update.
SapphireDragon wrote:I'm having so much fun playing this! xD So far I've gotten two endings and am about to go back to see if I can get the others. xD

I love the art, the overall feeling of the VN, and the characters are quite interesting! I can't say about the music or anything, since my speakers are on the fritz, but I have loved everything so far! xD

Like Taranee I had a time when words along the bottom had gotten stuck on the screen. (I just restarted the playthrough and it was fine. xD ) With what happened with mine: CJ was commenting to herself about an alert, and I clicked on the blinking message icon before I let her thoughts disappear. Her thoughts about the alert stayed up instead of disappearing, even after I exited the terminal.

Past that everything has been working like a charm! :D I'm having a lot of fun with it!
Thanks, I'm glad it's fun to play. I am never sure with these things if people will get tired of reading or if they will be engaged throughout, so it's good to hear you found it interesting. And thank you for that bug report.
Carassaurat wrote:Yes, I remember! Back when you released the demo, I thought the the idea of government observation was a bit quaint and that the future threats were in Anonymous and Internet anarchy. Then Edward Snowden burst onto the scene and I realised your vision might have more to it than I was initially willing to admit. Yes, it's been that long ago.

For what it's worth, I think this is by far the most impressive thing anyone has ever done in RenPy. It's great that you've left all the assets and code open. I'm marveling at all of it, and I'm sure it'll serve as a great resource.
Thank you for the compliment. I certainly hope people find the source useful. The code is a lot messier/more unreadable than I'd like, I had a lot of gameplay ideas that didn't pan out and ended up getting scrapped, so there're a lot of inefficiencies where I cut things out and cobbled others together. The legacy of a multi-year project I'm afraid. But I hope anyone with questions feels free to ask.

And thank you VERY MUCH for that error report.

User avatar
Hoosha
Regular
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:45 am
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#11 Post by Hoosha » Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:51 pm

Fi na lly!!!! I've been waiting foreverrrr for this

User avatar
saguaro
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 555
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:17 am
Completed: Locked-In, Sunrise, The Censor
Projects: ?
Organization: Lucky Special Games
Tumblr: saguarofoo
itch: saguarofoo
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#12 Post by saguaro » Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:30 pm

Hoosha wrote:Fi na lly!!!! I've been waiting foreverrrr for this
Me too! haha aaaaaaaaaaah deadlines are so important

Anyway, Version 1.1 is up. I remembered to run spellcheck this time which is fortunate because apparently I am a horrible speller. I corrected all the above noted errors, fixed the scene gallery for good this time (promise), sped up the typing/deleting speed on the titles. Hopefully that is everything, but as always, if you get a traceback and report it, I greatly appreciate it.

cometgears
Newbie
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:33 am
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#13 Post by cometgears » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:42 pm

This was really impressive. I played it through twice and got two different endings... and then I was going to do other things but instead I repeated it a few more times until I got all the endings.

I'm still a little confused about the RootPro part of the game. Does your censoring have an effect, or is it just for additional story? Regardless, I was surprised how much I liked reading the messages. I usually get bored of those kinds of things pretty easily, or just skim them to be completionist, but even with the hard-to-remember names it added to the worldbuilding/foreshadowing.
Random notes: I'm really curious what was happening in Agri. JE, argh. Poor gadfly was so sad when I censored their story. And now I ship outerlimt and SG874248/Sky.
I really liked how the game looked. The dark colors, movement of the window panels, the monitor with the mother eye.

I agree somewhat with the comment above about the characters. Actually, I suppose it's more that I wish I had known more about why there was the Outside and the System, and what was being censored. But I think there was still enough to give CJ/the player direction. Stay in the sketchy but comfortable place where you have no control and aren't trusted, or...?

I got one traceback during my playthrough.

User avatar
Carassaurat
Veteran
Posts: 250
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:06 pm
Location: the Netherlands
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#14 Post by Carassaurat » Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:34 pm

saguaro wrote:Anyway, Version 1.1 is up. I remembered to run spellcheck this time which is fortunate because apparently I am a horrible speller.
Yes, it's just too bad that "gusty" is not only a misspelling of "gutsy", but also a real word that a spellchecker doesn't flag as wrong ;-)

Two other minor 'issues':
RK815281 is the only one that has a comma after "Censor" in his RootPro profile.

The happy elevator music that starts playing after you've censured traceurfacer and have a breach, keeps playing in the next scene. It wasn't entirely appropriate for the serious dialogue with mother. I think this only happens the first time.
My thoughts on the actual VN:
I replayed the demo because I thought I'd remembered real vomiting instead of just threatening with it. That's... not the only thing that's changed. I think your writing has really improved since the demo! The released version is much more concise, elegant and subtle. For me, the lack of any concise history or backstory for both the System and the Outside is what makes it work; the both of them are so vague that your eventual choices end up being determined not always so much by an ideological position as by the way the characters present them and themselves to you. If anything, I think you could have trimmed it a bit further. For example, the whole explanation on deletion might be on the extraneous side; the sentence "I guarantee this infiltrator won't be punished with menial labor" says enough, doesn't it?

For me, the heavy characterisation is both the strength and the weakness of this piece. I think they're overall good, although Eff is perhaps rather on the boring side of things. Jay is just deliciously despicable; there's no moustache twirling involved, but the insinuations behind him just make him entirely detestable. Mother is remarkably subtle as a contrast to Jennifer, whom I am imagining chewing the scenery behind the screen. A bit over the top, maybe, but if she weren't unreasonable, the System as an option would be at a disadvantage with all the talk we've had of people disappearing. I like how it doesn't go into ideology, almost not at all (unlike the demo), because it shifts the struggle to a conflict between mother figures and whom CJ can and should trust. It's not a philosophical piece about abstract concepts, it's a very human one about relationships.
At the same time, that sometimes clashes with expectations. Censorship is a hot political topic. The VN starts by detailing the political situation that CJ is in, and what ideas are behind that. RootPro and the obligation to censor things conjure up images of a Lucas Pope game. But it's not, and it's not primarily about those things. That's why I think that The Censor's major weakness is that it doesn't feel very focused. Locked-In, while not perfect, was thematically as sharp as a razor; all of it was about how Jacqueline alienated the people close to her and finally needed to reach out. With The Censor, I'd have a harder time describing one central theme in a sentence like that. The central theme certainly isn't censorship anyway, so that's a bit confusing. It's a richer piece, but more diluted.

About the choices: I'm not sure they always work. It is possible, for example, not to ever see Eff in person. Why anyone would, I'm not sure, but it really messes up the flow of the story, since she ends up fulfilling a rather important role later on. Some of the other choices are a lot of fun. Personally I kept flip-flopping all the time between the System and the Outside because both factions are made up of jerks and the actions of the characters had me change my reactions to others all the time. It's so easy to bring down the system when they set you up with Jay; it's so easy to support the system when Jennifer is so unpleasant. Perhaps because of my lack of conviction, I ended up in a situation where I could load a save before the last conversations and get four out of five endings by choosing differently there. I don't know if that was supposed to be possible, but I think it's a tad on the cheap side when you're having me make decisions quite consistently and seemingly relevantly for the entire thing, only for all options to be open in the end.

Li'l magic deserves compliments too. The super theme is great, and it works really well with the sirens. I thought they were part of the score until I found the music files. It's an awesome moment when the music starts. I suppose 'cinematic' is the wrong word, but there is a kind of tension that is really uncommon for a visual novel.

User avatar
ludeshka
Veteran
Posts: 277
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:24 am
Completed: Hierofanía / Next Door Taker/Rhyme or Reason /Hierofanía 2
Projects: Hierofanía 3 (I swear it's the last one)
Tumblr: sillyraccoonknight
Deviantart: ludeshka
itch: ludeshka
Contact:

Re: The Censor [Dystopian/SF]

#15 Post by ludeshka » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:27 pm

I found this very interesting.

I don't want to be part of the system...but the outside is horrible....but Mother is kind to me...yes, but she's in league with the very bad no good oppressors, she's manipulating me....aaaargh, this is claustrophobic and it's making me paranoid! XD

I liked Locked-In more, perhaps because I felt I knew who Jacqueline was (a boss bitch) and what she wanted (to be respected by all these fools, dammit! this "sickness" is but a temporary setback!) while being Cj is very confusing. Like, she wants to... stay alive. That's good, I guess? I want to say something about how CJ rejects her roots, and the very interface she works in is called ROOTPRO, and that, that means something, right?

All in all your game is beautiful, elegant. The sound does wonders. The soothing wall creeped me the hell out. I nodded sadly at the screen when it called me
a snitch and a traitor
because yes, I was, yes, I was.
Oh, and the telenovella they made her watch? Pfeh!. The love story I would read in a heartbeat is that of
SR8/Outer_limit
I hope I remember their names right.

Your games are something rare and wonderful. Please make more. :)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users