Dreams of the Skies [2011 Anniversary Edition]

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KomiTsuku
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Dreams of the Skies [2011 Anniversary Edition]

#1 Post by KomiTsuku » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:11 pm

Can you believe it? Three years later, IDHAS Studios would entirely redo our pioneer visual novel? I can, but that's because I've been working on the remake for the last three years. :lol: Anyway, not to continue bogging you down with my pointless rambling, here's the new version of Dreams of the Skies. I say new version, but the only real simularities to this one and the original are that it involves a one-winged angel trying to kill another angel. So much has changed...

Plot: Tobias is a 23 year old one winged angel. He’s lived his whole life shunned by the angelic society for being a freak and by human society for being the member of a society that nearly destroyed itself ten years ago in a war that engulfed angelic society. However, all of that is about to change. Following an ancient legend, Tobias is about to regain the wing he never had and claim the heritage that was denied to him. All it will take is one simple thing, murder.

Statistics:

The game contains 1,305 screens of dialogue.
These screens contain a total of 13,835 words,
for an average of 10.6 words per screen.
The game contains 0 menus.

WARNING: THIS IS THE FIRST IDHAS STUDIOS WORK THAT DOES NOT CONTAIN CURSING. THAT’S RIGHT, I MANAGED TO CONTROL MYSELF! HIDE YOUR CHILDREN!

Current version: 5.0

Download links are found on our shiny website... Dreams of the Skies
Edit: And I'm going to include the mediafire DL links here. Somehow you all managed to crash my site a couple of times. I'll be having words with my provider...
All platforms
Windows
Mac (You will be missed, Steve. I hated your OS with an undying passion, but you certainly were a revolutionary.)
Linux

Screenshot:
Image
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[Keeping the original version here as a memorial.]

Hey, folks! Released from the half-insane IDHAS studios, it's our first public kinetic novel. The story is about a one-winged angel on his quest to restore his other wing, set in the Katajion Universe (Like that means anything to any of you, seeing as almost everything Katajion is still on our drawing board.).

Not much to say, seeing as I hope the story will say it all. This is only a slight distraction as we continue to press forward on both finding an artist and completing our much better visual novel, Lost Swords.

Any comments are welcomed. It means that someone looked at my work, something that doesn't often happen. Maybe when I get some art skills...

Windows: http://www.mediafire.com/?ydxymjqzmje
Linux (For those of you with a superior knowledge of computers! ^.^): http://www.mediafire.com/?znyyjgqyl2j
Mac...: http://www.mediafire.com/?zlyy2zkztii
Last edited by KomiTsuku on Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:46 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#2 Post by Midnighticequeen » Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:37 pm

Yes! I'm the first one to respond

I think that the message and story was cute and I liked it. It gave me a happy feeling at the end. I kind of wish it was a little more longer, but you kept a good pace with the story. And I liked the music. I think you did a good job.
I'm glad the two of them got together in some way

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#3 Post by KomiTsuku » Sun Sep 28, 2008 10:59 pm

Midnighticequeen wrote:Yes! I'm the first one to respond

I think that the message and story was cute and I liked it. It gave me a happy feeling at the end. I kind of wish it was a little more longer, but you kept a good pace with the story. And I liked the music. I think you did a good job.
Thank you very much. Yeah, the length was one thing that bugged me too, which is why I am working on a sequel. However, next time, I am trying to get an actual artist on-board.

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#4 Post by DaFool » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:04 am

I liked it, thank you. It's a good concept, familiar, but entertaining. You already got the mood with the writing and music, perhaps a different layout and sparser, more painterly graphics would work better?

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#5 Post by KomiTsuku » Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:20 pm

DaFool wrote:I liked it, thank you. It's a good concept, familiar, but entertaining. You already got the mood with the writing and music, perhaps a different layout and sparser, more painterly graphics would work better?
Agreed. Like I said, I'm not an artist. Thankfully, a friend of mine who is one asked me if she could redo the art. Hopefully, maybe, potentially there should be another version done with better art and an extended story.

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#6 Post by denzil » Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:26 am

This was a beautiful story. I wish I could say more, but I'm pretty bad in talking about those things, so I just leave it this way: I liked it.
Practice makes purrrfect.
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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#7 Post by lightdancer » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:27 am

I just played the game. Congratulations on finishing your first work!
Here's my review for it. Because I liked the game, I've tried my best to point out the things I found great and the things you should work on to make the game even better.
Although I'm a total newbie at game making, I hope it'll help.

The art- ...
Sorry, but the art was the worst of the game. I hope you aren't mad? But just like me,
you're no artist, sorry :wink:. But you said you have one now, so it should be no problem.
Apart from character pictures, I thought that the backgrounds didn't really fit with the drawings of the characters. I know drawing backgrounds is really hard, but the game would look a lot better if you either found good backgrounds or let them be drawn.

The interface- ...
Very simple, but not bad. Maybe change the style (background) of the window too? It would make the game look better. Just black dialogue boxes are so boring...
Because your visual novel is set in a fantasy world, maybe you could even experiment with the font a bit, maybe so that it fits with your story. That may sound harsh, but almost everyone can download renpy and type in some text. Customising your game more would make it look more unique and more beautiful so that it's more enjoyable to play. Because I love your storyline, it's a shame that the interface is so simple.

The Storyline and the Characters (Character Development)- ...
As I said, I love your story. It is simple, develops at a good pace, has fantasy elements in it and actually has meaning. But the story is short, too short. You could have lengthened it, as well as added a bit background story for the characters, so that they become even more interesting and "fully alive". Also, the beginning was a bit abrupt. Maybe introduce the setting a bit better? I would also like you to add more characters to the storyline and the relationship/friendship between Josh and Death could have been explained in more detail. I mean it is obvious that they have "history" together, but we don't learn much about their past. It will also be interesting how the relationship between Death and Life progresses. One point I like about your story is that Death's character develops, as he decides not to kill Life.
I also like the idea of him learning to paint. And while I like the fantasy world you have created, it could have been made a lot livelier with describing a bit more. Like, while searching for Winy/Light, Death could travel around a bit more, help others and explain all the magic that exists in that world (or something like that).

The music-
While I thought the music is beautiful, it didn't always fit. The first song at the beginning of the game (where Josh talks with Death)
radiated danger and while it fits with the story (Death deciding to kill Life), it makes the player feel a bit...uncomfortable (I don't know how to describe it in a better way). A more quiet song would be better for an introduction, but that may be only my personal opinion. I thought the second song was a bit like from the Middle Ages, it fitted very well. The song that you can hear while the two fight is too...diffuse. Maybe you can find a better one?
The sad song after the fighting scene (and also playing during the main menu) is sooo beautiful!

So, that was it. I hope my criticism wasn't too cruel, I really just think that your story has huge potential which you simply have to exploit. Good luck with future games!

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#8 Post by monele » Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:05 pm

Just went through it and I have mixed feelings. Most of them I sadly can't explain in details because I have a hard time analyzing what exactly went well and wrong but I'll at least point out what I know.

First, I'll leave out the interface as it is something I rarely pay attention to unless it does something particularly fancy. I'm talking about buttons and such. At least the color them is not an eye-killer. If you wanted to improve it, though, you'll have to go at it from the graphics side. The title screen is not an eyesore but it's also nothing special. I looked at the title font because it seemed like a font I had never seen before and also I appreciated that it was *readable*. So many people forget contours or use high contrast colors when they put titles on pictures... you did not, and that's good ^^.
Also appreciated is that you made the effort to put a different background in the config screen.

When it comes to graphics during the story, I'll go with lightdancer and say that it's not great. But I want to elaborate : it did support the story and illustrate it. You had multiple expressions for each character which helped show their feelings. I think I remember *some* of them looking slightly out of place at times (one of the things I pay extra attention to ^^;...) but expressions changed often enough that it was not proeminent in the long run.
Now, it all depends on wether you plan to keep drawing and want to improve or if you just did this so you could tell your story and will rely on a seasoned artist from now on. As it is, I'll honestly say this is the kind of art level I wouldn't appreciate outside of a VN, as a standalone work. It might even have scared me off if I was not intent on playing through your game (which I'm glad I still did, see later). So if you plan to improve, I don't have much else to say but "practice". Look at your favorite artists and try to redraw what you see. Then try without the model and see what you missed in-between. Get references, try to learn the body structure. Your girls were a bit too square-shouldered for example. Also, it seems you have potential with expressions, so you might want to make it your strength : keep studying faces and expressions. Oh and eyes. I can't pinpoint it but they have the "manga beginner" look which I think all artists go through :). For this :
http://mayshing.deviantart.com/art/Anim ... -1-1475717
Check out this and the other related pages. Pick your favorite(s) and try reusing them ^_^. Oh and the crying : if you follow manga schemes, you want it to go down to the bottom of the face. And if you want it more realistic than comical, just a few pearly tears on the side of each eye with a build up under them usually works well.

And if you're not looking to improve, well... uh...... disregard this ^^;...

Onto the story : (I'll spoiler tag the whole thing so I can refer to specific parts easily)
Keep in mind that it's only my opinion, biased by my own preferences for how stories should go and such.
Basically, the story for me went from dull to okay/good. The main issue at the beginning is that you start in-vitae and introduce the angel concept right away but... we're left in the dark about basic details for... well... for the whole game actually. Who are these angels? Why are they on Earth? Why are there only a few remaining? And also, maybe, what can they do? These were the questions I was asking myself during a good part of the beginning... and only a few were answered, and not in great details.
I don't suggest dumping the whole exposition right away though! It's usually quite indigest when one does that ^^;. But you might sprinkle it throughout the story. Sometimes, just a simple reference can serve as an explanation. I don't know your background story so I can't give an example :/. I usually fancy exposition through dialogues or narration. Mentioning past events, people, situations. You don't have to give all the details, just enough to let the reader imagine the rest and have a solid enough base to focus on the current story and not on wondering about all this. AND you don't have to explain all the points, but a few of them would be nice. Oh, also, who the hell is Josh? ;) He's incredibly blank as a character, mostly acting as our camera.
I suppose all this could also be solved by making the story longer, but I'm not sure it's entirely necessary. Again, you don't have to spend half-an-hour explaining in detail how Josh and Death came to know each other. A few sentences could be enough.
Same thing with Qrinz who seems like an otherwise well known acquaintance/friend, but we don't know her. Is there something to say about catgirls in themselves, too? Oh well, basically, what I'm saying is that it's clear there is a background to this KN, but we're left totally in the dark about it. I'll guess it's mostly because you know it well and your partners do too, and you ended up skipping explanations. To avoid this and let the unknowing populace enjoy your work, just explain what needs to be explained ^^. Keep it short and to the point since it's not the point of this KN but do include it :).

Okay, enough negatives for today :). There is one point where I stopped going "clickclickclick" and really started paying attention, it's when the fight started out. Just before that, I also payed more attention to the Winy painting scene. But during the fight, what changed is that I actually pictured the pierced shoulder scene quite well. I just had the scene as a CG event in my head, all in cool perspective with action lines ;). It's silly, but I just got into the fight and started picturing things more clearly (eh, I guess I love fights ^^;...). The rolling down the ... underpass/slope? and... well that's pretty much it. The rest was not as "visual".
Aside from the easily visualized fight scenes, I also enjoyed the way the story wrapped up. If there's one thing I was curious about, it's what Death was going to choose. Of course I hope for something not bloody and I'm glad that's what it was ^^. But it was also nice to see Winy convinving him that there were... other ways to fly. Plus he found someone just like him, so yay :). The last "visual" scene would be the throwing of the sword. Basically, these scenes I thought were worthy of a full on CG : painting scene, shoulder pierced, sword throwing. They were the most emotionally charged after all.

To sum up : slow and confusing beginning, good dynamic scene in the middle and finally nice wrapping up.
Global summary : some fixing up to do with the exposition, maybe even some clean up on the best scenes to make them stand out even more, a better set of graphics and you'll have a pretty cool KN in your hands :)


Aaaand finally, since we're all about reviews and stuff in that other thread, I'd appreciate... a review of my review, if you will :) Were parts of it too harsh? too soft? Were parts unhelpful? Did a part really help you? Oh, uh... was it too long? (40 minutes in writing it... I suppose it was ^^;;;...).

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#9 Post by KomiTsuku » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:43 pm

*Whistles* Okay! Gonna try my best to address two people at once!

Art- Yep! I openly admit I'm not an artist. I wanted to try and see how it would look if I tried to do the art. Clearly, I have not developed my skills enough to try again for a while. Not saying I'm never gonna do sprites again, but not until I can get up to a better level. As for the backgrounds, I've got some plans to change things around. At the time, all I had to work with was the photography I had taken when I used to be a reporter. For both the remake and next project, I plan on changing a lot of this around.
I wanted CGs of the fight, painting scene, and tossing the sword. I've got a few sketches of my attempts at this. Sadly, they didn't come to fruition. That MIGHT change in the next release.
Interface- While I think it could use a bit more flare (Different font), I like to keep things simple. Hopefully, it will look a bit better when I polish up certain parts, like the backgrounds for menus.

Story- Tagging everything because I have no clue what might be a spoiler
The biggest problem is that, as mentioned in the readme, is that I turned a Mt. Dew dream directly to a story. Background came basically out of nowhere. Big mistake on my part. So, naturally, I am addressing this in the remake. I'm gonna address Josh/Death history, Josh/Life history, and try to explain the background a bit better. When I was working on it, I did manage to form a really nice background in my mind (Because I managed to merge it with the massive universe from my novel series). I hope I'll be able to correct this major, massive mistake.

As for music, I've got some good ideas to clean up the fight and opening. I found some better songs after I released.

I am gonna extend it. There is a lot I didn't mention, along with some rather... odd characters who didn't make the first cut. <3
Thank you very much for the help. ^.^ I think I've got some good ideas on what I need to fix from both this and the next release (Though I don't think I'm gonna be releasing it on Oct 30th now...).

@monele: It was good.

...
...
:D It wasn't that harsh. Then again, I'm very tough skinned. Overall, it was helpful and I can use most of it. Length makes it useful. The more there is, the more I can use.

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#10 Post by monele » Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:46 am

Gyup, totally missed the readme ^^;... I tend to miss these a lot >.>...
Anyway, glad it helped :) and looking forward to your next works.

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#11 Post by mikey » Sun Oct 26, 2008 4:39 am

I've been meaning to play this game for quite some time now, but as always, I wanted to wait until I'm in the right mindset, and not just click through it on a coffee break. Anyway, I finally played it now.

For me, it was really a great few minutes playing. I think monele mentioned that the story left some things unexplained, or even untouched - as for me, I did notice it, but I didn't feel the need of having to go deeper into those subjects. Who knows, maybe more detail would have enriched the story, but maybe it would have distracted from it. So personally, I didn't feel like I need more information, the story had me focused on the relationship of D and L.

I suppose I could comment on graphics and music, but I'm guessing that would be nothing you don't already know or feel. If you're making a remake, maybe a simple Photoshop filter over the photographs would make it more abstract, which would create better immersion, since it takes place in its own universe. But I didn't mind having to do the abstracting in my head.

As for how the game felt story-wise, I think it was a really nice story, a bit poetic, but maybe that was the purpose, and if it was, it worked well. Actually, it's just about perfect, but what I didn't really understand was:
The names Death and Life. I instinctively tried to put some symbolic meaning into that, and I struggled to make things work, especially when Life was mentioned. It was only when I started to see them as Angel A and Angel B, that I was free from all the associations with those two words and that the story simplified for me. In a way, there was nothing in the story that would constitute the need for Death to be called Death, and Life to be called Life. Having other names (something generally less symbolic) would release the characters from the expectation to have something to do with the symbols they represent.
Either that, or then, if you're planning on re-making it and they do represent life and death, as monele said, going a bit deeper into some topics, and here my suggestion would be to explain a bit more about Life's and Death's roles, to make the reader understand why they have those names, since the story as it is, flows nicely without needing to have thoughts about the meaning of Death's and Life's names.
This said, I managed to change my focus relatively quickly, so the overall effect on me was I hope still as intended - a very nice and sweet story, just right for the mood I was in. Maybe after you release some more background information or stories from that universe, I'll be able to see it in a different light - but what I wanted to say is that it works really nicely even as a standalone work (and the only difficulty I'd see in this case would be the associations with the names, for most readers).

In any case, I had a nice start to my Sunday, so congratulations!

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#12 Post by KomiTsuku » Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:25 pm

mikey wrote: As for how the game felt story-wise, I think it was a really nice story, a bit poetic, but maybe that was the purpose, and if it was, it worked well. Actually, it's just about perfect, but what I didn't really understand was:
The names Death and Life. I instinctively tried to put some symbolic meaning into that, and I struggled to make things work, especially when Life was mentioned. It was only when I started to see them as Angel A and Angel B, that I was free from all the associations with those two words and that the story simplified for me. In a way, there was nothing in the story that would constitute the need for Death to be called Death, and Life to be called Life. Having other names (something generally less symbolic) would release the characters from the expectation to have something to do with the symbols they represent.
Either that, or then, if you're planning on re-making it and they do represent life and death, as monele said, going a bit deeper into some topics, and here my suggestion would be to explain a bit more about Life's and Death's roles, to make the reader understand why they have those names, since the story as it is, flows nicely without needing to have thoughts about the meaning of Death's and Life's names.
*Chuckles* Actually, the first time I wrote out the story the meaning was completely absent, as you noticed. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I might redo it because even though I love to play red herrings and make my readers think a bit too much, it does carry some very heavy meaning that I'm not entirely wanting... well... maybe I like a little...

I don't know. I like the poetic nature it carries, but it is too strong. This is something I'm gonna have to think hard about. Thanks! :D

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#13 Post by KomiTsuku » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:44 pm

WOW! It's been over a year since I first released this... Clearly I need to finish those new sprites so I can FINALLY post the new, extended version! That, and get around to releasing Morterous Theorem...

Well, here's to my first project and the only one to ACTUALLY make it to completion!

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#14 Post by KomiTsuku » Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:32 am

Celebrating the 2 year anniversary of Dreams of the Skies. Where's that new and enhanced version that was supposed to come out last year? Why, you can blame the art team on that one. As bad as the original sprites were, I cannot release the new version with what I was given. If someone was looking to make some money doing some art...

Anyway, here's to the good olde days and the potential for a project in the future.

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Re: Dreams of the Skies

#15 Post by Esphirisa » Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:50 am

The story is simplistic and predictable, but also rather sweet. However, due to it being so short, I didn't get to know enough about the characters and the world they live in to feel sorry, happy, or any kind of strong emotions for them. I love the backgrounds, and the art was okay, but as usual, there can be improvements!

Well, good luck with your sequel! I'm embarrassed to say that I had only recently found this thread... well, I'm glad it got bumped up.

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