Songs of Araiah

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Enerccio
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Songs of Araiah

#1 Post by Enerccio » Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:32 am

Jason runs away from his home in search of an elusive mansion beyond the forest at the base of a mountain. He seeks its sole resident, a lady believed able to grant any wish. However, she isn't one to deal out favors for free. Is Jason willing to pay the price, even if it's eternal servitude? And what secrets and histories does the mysterious lady possess?

Bishojo Games proudly presents Songs of Araiah...
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First and foremost, we would like to thank DaFool for his aide and participation in this project, even if he was kept predominately in the dark about... well, everything regarding Araiah... You are an essential part of this effort, and it wouldn't have been possible without your assistance. Thanks again, DaFool!

We'd also like to thank anyone who has been following and anticipating this project. We've been making a lot of fanfare about it lately as we neared release, and some of you out there (you know who) have reciprocated with equal enthusiasm. Out of these, I think FIA deserves special mention, since he never doubted an '08 release even when one of our own teammates did. Thanks for keeping an eye on our efforts, FIA, and everyone else!

Also to thank, the judges of Lemmasoft's very own Screenshot Contest, for selecting our entry as the winner. It really was an enormous boost of motivation to have people appreciate and be able to appreciate our (at the time) unfinished effort. Without that, we might not have been able to wrap things up as early as we are now, so thanks to all the judges too!

Finally, thanks to all of you who download and play this game. We hope you enjoy it. It's been a long road, and we hope our efforts are rewarded with satisfied readers!

Team BG, 2008

Preview
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vqxn_N6OvGo

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Download
Windows: http://storage.bishojo.tk/full/araiah-1.01.zip
Linux: http://storage.bishojo.tk/full/araiah-1 ... 86.tar.bz2
Mac: http://storage.bishojo.tk/full/araiah-1.01-mac.zip


Site is dead and will stay dead forever, but some dragon was bugging me to edit this post and give you mirrors:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/272 ... h-1.01.zip
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/272 ... 01-mac.zip
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/272 ... 86.tar.bz2
Last edited by Enerccio on Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Songs of Araiah promo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CalchucuoDU

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#2 Post by Guest » Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:48 am

Hmm... (Eyes are still glue to the textbox) Downloading... Will be back..

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#3 Post by F.I.A » Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:00 am

:Ignoring the "supposedly" handsome guy's post so he can be the first.:

First and foremost, congratulations on managing the '08 release.( And no need to thank me, just doing the favor.)

The good:
- As expected from yvanc, the graphic quality is top-notch. I especially take a liking to the animated flipping book and the window screen itself. The opening also adds appeal to it.
- And without doubt, a nice story indeed. It managed to make me go through it on one sit. Just what I expected from DrakeNavarone and Enerccio.
- All about Melissa. Her sprites, her attitude, etc...
- The detailed information in how the magic is done. I actually found myself concentrating that red dot.
- Similar to Starlit Sky, I like how you handled the ending scene to show Melissa's success, drake.
- I managed to spot four easter eggs. "Marble Phantasm", "E. Nerccio", "Tom Py" and "mushrooms".


The bad:
- Not a big deal, but I think it would have done the game more just if the game menu has been customized as well. But as I stated it is not a big deal, since I have only visited the game menu twice.
- For a quick learner, Jason is certainly slow at one thing - figuring this out. It is stark obvious that Melissa could not use magic if she had not checked on the her father's stuff( That included his diary for her).
- When Jason attempted to leave, a few images flashed through, and I managed to make out Denz on the gallows among them. That sort of spoiled me with what to come, so I suggest removing that image and just keep the hanged one( That way, it won't be as obvious who is being hanged).


My own curiosities:
- The last two images found in the gallery are not used in any part of the game. Are they meant for scenes which were removed during production?
- Will Jason and Melissa ever attempt to leave the mansion again? Because from what I know, a family of a heretic will not certainly be treated well.


That said, a beautiful game. Those two hours are well-spent.
Last edited by F.I.A on Mon Dec 29, 2008 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Songs of Araiah

#4 Post by mikey » Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:51 pm

I just finished it, what can I say...

It's a bit of a pity for the custom menu (at least a non-default color scheme), it's a pity for some of the CGs (especially the village) that aren't drawn with the textbox in mind - it covers everything and leaves only the sky - and it's a pity for the non-custom music, it seems that Kevin McLeod (or what the name is, sorry) does all music for all games...

But it doesn't matter, because the game is just so sweet and loveable. I started reading and halfway through I realized this was actually *Drake's style*, remembering how things unfolded in Starlit Sky, it's just got that handwriting in it. Melissa even wears glasses! The story is also ideally paced, not too slow, not too fast, and it reads so effortlessly, it's just a joy.

The story itself, I love the reasonable approach to everything, and I completely bought everything, how it all works and that. This is the kind of magic I can be friends with. And background, political, religious sides, the game doesn't really force them, but it did leave me with the impression that it makes good sense and has logic. And the ending, apart from resolving the romantic side, it doesn't really conclude anything greater either, but on the other hand it doesn't feel deliberately open (which is one feature I really dislike about stories), it just doesn't seem to care to explain some things or tie loose ends - and I think that's just the way it's supposed to be.

The graphics, so detailed and uncommonly rich and numerous for these kinds of VNs, they are achingly pretty, I don't know what more there is to say. It may well be the best-looking oelvn to date, but really, it only matters that the graphics fit so nicely to the whole experience, that they make such an excellent job of conveying the atmosphere.

And honestly, it doesn't matter that the game has no choices, because I wouldn't want any other ending than the one it already has. I guess I expected many things, but not quite this - from the screenshots it looked like predominantly a showcase of artwork, but actually, the writing directed everything, rather than the other way around. And that's the true reason why I liked it all.

So all I can say is... congratulations, this is a beautiful game.

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#5 Post by Midnighticequeen » Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:38 am

Yes! I can't wait to play this game! :D

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#6 Post by sake-bento » Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:35 am

I WILL play this game. It might take a big because my holiday work schedule has me out late. But I'm very happy to see it out.

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#7 Post by Hime » Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:10 am

I just finished this game, and I have to say I adored it! The execution is very professional and supports the atmosphere excellently, too bad the music wasn't exclusive to the game. Pieces that had been used in other games bothered me at first as I wondered where else I had heard them before. ^^;

However, this was one of those game that left me wanting for more in a good way - the game itself wasn't too short, it just was so good that I couldn't believe it was over. :) The characters were lovable too, especially Melissa. She has got a little tsun vibe to her, yet she isn't the least bit clicheic, unrealistic or annoying, which is admirable.
And I feel so sorry for Denz... He's one of the very few "male friend" characters that I've actually liked.


Songs of Araiah was a romantic, brilliantly executed game that was worth spending that couple of hours on.
I'll be looking forward to Bishoujo Games' next game! ^^
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Re: Songs of Araiah

#8 Post by PyTom » Thu Jan 01, 2009 4:46 pm

Just finished Araiah. I took a while to play it, so that I could dedicates an uninterrupted block of time to do it. I have to say, I liked this game. I daresay that the in-game production values rival anything I've seen, and that apart from the length, match any commercial game.

There are two minor technical criticisms that I have of it:

The opening credits seems unnecessary, especially in addition to the presplash movie and the closing credits. With white text on a black screen, it seems underproduced... and with the horribly slow text and inability to skip it, also kinda broken.

The second one is rather minor, but I think the game would look a bit better if the logos were removed from the game menu background.

I'd hope for a second version that addresses these. I'm going to be adding this to the rotation of featured games on the website, but I'm worried that some people might not give the game a proper chance after the opening.

Overall, though, a really excellent piece, and one I will be adding as a featured game shortly.
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Re: Songs of Araiah

#9 Post by Samu-kun » Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:07 pm

And I just finished too.

Initial thoughts -
The art is quite well made. I liked the portraits where Melissa's smiling and blushing the most. Also, the one where she's glowing is pretty funny too. =w=
However, I thought Melissa's face was kind of distorted on the portrait where she's looking worried and holding her hands together. Nothing big though.
The CGs are in general good - but it kind of came as a surprise when the protagonist's facial features were so clearly visible in the CG where they're dancing at the end. Kind of jerked me loose because I was so fully immersed in the game in the first person perspective and then all of a sudden the perspective switched to the third person with a white haired guy in there. This wasn't a problem for the other scenes, because I wasn't as into the game as I was then. XD Also, I too caught Denz's face during the very brief CG flashes at the beginning and that kind of spoiled me. Also, I could see those two CGs in the gallery. You might want to change it so that they do not become unlocked until the dream sequence.

As for the plot itself, what's there is good, but I was actually pretty surprised when the credits came, because I was positive I played only one third of the game. I was in disbelief it was already over and half expected an extra "after story" button to get unlocked in the main menu after finishing the game. There are still a lot of loose ends left in the plot.
-we don't know for certain if Melissa ever learns to use magic
-we don't know if they ever leave the mansion to fight against Hanasia
-we don't know why the purges occur (spiral nemesis, I presume...) or if peace and justice is ever restored to the land
I just felt like there was a lot of build up here for something bigger, but the story ended up being just a cute renai story about a 17 year old boy and a tsun-tsun magician.

But the renai parts were all excellent. I loved the cooking segments and how Melissa tried to help Jason learn magic by putting the extra magic books in the library.

The one thing that's in there that I can criticize is that the narrative sometimes lacks transitions between scenes. The plot has a tendency to jump from location to location unexpectedly without much narrative. (Especially how Jason somehow goes from being in the library one moment to suddenly returning the sword to the attic in another) This isn't really a huge problem though.

Overall though, I thought this was great. If anything, I'm mostly just trying to rope you into making a sequel (or a trilogy) by saying all this. =w=

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#10 Post by Enerccio » Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:37 am

Patch 1.01 released:

Code: Select all

-Fixed slow text at the beginning, the text is now skippable
-Removed spoilerish cg
-CG from that scene no longer unlocked in gallery (you need to remove your persistent save though)
-Fixed some typos (thanks FIA)

Download patch:
All 3 OSes: http://storage.bishojo.tk/patches/araiah.rpyc
(put it in game folder inside araiah folder, overwrite old file)

Download full games:
Windows: http://storage.bishojo.tk/full/araiah-1.01.zip
Linux: http://storage.bishojo.tk/full/araiah-1 ... 86.tar.bz2
Mac: http://storage.bishojo.tk/full/araiah-1.01-mac.zip
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Songs of Araiah promo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CalchucuoDU

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#11 Post by sake-bento » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:52 pm

Finally finished! Thank you all for such a wonderful game. I enjoyed the story thoroughly. It was hard for me to stop playing because every hint of more plot made me curious as to what was going to happen (or what had happened). The artwork and music were beautiful as well. I liked the names of the authors of the books. XD

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#12 Post by Nicol Armarfi » Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:12 pm

I haven't completed the VN yet, but there are two things that stuck out to me within the first few minutes (I'm only about ten minutes in):

1) While the music is composed well and suits the VN perfectly, the actual quality of the audio in some of the tracks is rather bad. I'm a bit biased towards the audio quality as I am a composer myself, I admit, though I don't think audio at this quality would fly with professional quality games.
2) You've gone through the trouble of making beautifully designed backgrounds, character art and even made a fitting text box image (possibly the best I've seen from LSF yet), but the menus lack any form of customization. It's not necessary but I find the default ren'py menus don't suit the game at all, especially with the redesigned text box.

Well, that's it. I'll edit the post if anything else jumps out at me, but I don't imagine it will. Great job :).
Last edited by Nicol Armarfi on Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#13 Post by mikey » Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:49 am

Nicol Armarfi wrote:You've gone through the trouble of making beautifully designed backgrounds, character art and even made a fitting text box image (possibly the best I've seen from LSF yet), but the menus lack any form of customization. It's not necessary but I find the default ren'py menus don't suit the game at all, especially with the redesigned text box.
There are often many reasons why to leave the standard menu interface, but to be honest I'm struggling to think of a reason here - the game has been in development for a long time, one more month wouldn't be so terrible, and all it would take would be fitting new buttons much like The Fucking Question had it, and it would have made all the difference.

Well, I just hope this was some conscious design decision, rather than a rush to get the game released in 2008. :?

There is another way of seeing it, of course - as for me this is the let's call it (in the spirit of awards lingo) "most recommendable VN of 2008", meaning I wouldn't hesitate to suggest this a non-VN-playing friend - and as this would be one of his first experiences with VNs, I don't think he'd really be bothered by the menu, which is in fact quite nice if you don't have it burned on your retina from playing so many renpy games... Still...

sake-bento wrote:I liked the names of the authors of the books. XD
Dr. Akena Varone, that was brilliant ^_^

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#14 Post by Deji » Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:31 am

I played this last night and I really enoyed it :D
The story was lovely, interesting and funny (though I'd love to have an epilogue or follow-up longer story to see what happened afterwards). I'd liked to see longer pauses between certain scenes, though.
The music was nice, but I have to agree with Nicol there about the quality. There were parts that were without musi or where the music stopped that bothered me as well... but that's probably me nitpicking.
I'd have loved a tack with subtle sang lyrics for MElissa's song as well... that'd been awesome ;o;


Art wise, it was nice. Bgs were nice, though sometimes the images conflicted with what was written (At least in my mind). I could recognize more than one style on Melissa's sprite and that bothered me a bit (again, I'm one of those people who has to watch modern movies twice: one to apprecieate the movie visually and the second to actually enjoy the story, so don't bother with me much).
I'd have loved to see more CGs for certain scenes too that were only described in text.

Great work and thanks for sharing :3
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Re: Songs of Araiah

#15 Post by delta » Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:08 pm

Quite nicely done. In general, this shines where it's actually at (the characters and their relationship), so it certainly works as a whole.

The writing is very good, with clever dialogue and descriptions that make the characters come alive, and they have interesting and somewhat complex motivations and personalities (even though I couldn't help but think of Zero no Tsukaima. A lot.). In general, I just feel that it is a bit too much in love with its own universe - much of the detail on magic and politics, while self-consistent and interesting, just ultimately doesn't have much impact on what the story is actually about (if you really like your universe so much, do more with it, it seems worth it). Also, due to much information and thus slow development early on, the ending feels really fast, almost rushed, and it could have benefited from more of an epilogue as well, it seems cut short. The plot twists were well thought out, but I have to say that I indeed saw the first one coming from a mile away.

Graphics and direction-wise there's not much to say which isn't apparent from screenshots already. Very solid, the sprites are especially good. The event CG has a different feel to it sometimes though, and the backgrounds are of variable quality (especially the hallway one belies its 3DCG origins a bit too much in my opinion). Most of them are good, though. Slight nitpicks would be that the some of the sprites don't seem to line up properly, leading to shifting from side to side in some situations. Same for the hallway background, where the light and dark versions don't match up, which is jarring when you dissolve between them. Effects are used sparsely but they add to the game where it counts. Only thing I found really subpar is the parts that zoom in on sprites, you really should have used a higher resolution graphic here, considering how long it is on screen.

Music is good but not original, but it's used effectively and does its job well - only thing to say here is that some tracks could have done with a softer transition and some fadeouts, and the lack of vocals to what is described as a vocal song, even though explainable and very understandable, ultimately detracts.

The mostly stock UI is really a shame, it makes the elaborate textbox seem almost overdone when viewed as a whole. And the doubled opening is really not necessary, with the video not really taking enough advantage of the medium when compared to what can be (and is) done ingame here, so it seems a bit gratuitous.

All in all, good bordering on very good, 8/10 would read again, but lacks just a small amount of polish across the board to be truly excellent.
The rest is left as an exercise for the reader.

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