Songs of Araiah

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#16 Post by Ramidel » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:01 am

Want moar!

Seriously, I was like, "what? This is the end?" We need more! Now that they're just starting their relationship, they need to study magic and do something!

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#17 Post by monele » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:03 am

In a nutshell : I really enjoyed it :). Closing on the "loved it" but I'm yet undecided... need to let it sink in first ^_^. More details in the spoilies :
The video intro was a surprise (especially when it first zoomed in, woah! XD) but it's also where I first spotted a few things to nitpick on >.>... The camera movements in the mansion sequence felt a bit... jagged. But I'm most sad about the very red and very dense star particles ^^;... it just looks strange along with the pure yellow text. All in all, it looks slightly less polished than the game itself, while it's usually the other way around in most games, so it was surprising ^^;

Here I'll praise the game interface, with it's CTC thingie and the frame. All very nice too look at for the 2 hours and a half I spent on this. The backgrounds were also very nice, as were the sprites. I could nitpick on a few BGs, but it'd feel silly.
Only one thing that bothered me with some sprites : some were celshaded with a clear-cut separation, while others had that smoothed out look to them. Didn't look bad, but slightly incoherent.

I had a strange sound glitch at "You're right. I shouldn't (...)" (Melissa), when music starts. For some reason, I got clics and screeches for a few seconds. And I got them everytime I rolled back.

When does the story take place? The strange mix between religious-medieval, magic and yet electric appliances threw me off :). It's *not* a complaint, I'm just curious wether something was decided or if it's just an arbitrary setting.

Oh, one nitpick on the library BG : doesn't look big enough! :) I can see the walls that Jason can't! ;) I expected one of these endless tunnels of shelves, fading into the dark.

The fighting (sword) part might have benefited from some sounds and a slightly smoother transition. It could have rivaled some Fate Stay Night this way and enhanced the coolness ^_^

Arh, another graphics nitpick : the magic book CG looked really subpar compared to all the others :/... What happened?

Another setting/story question : it's said the body can't change, hence you can't get stronger. How can Melissa learn how to cook better then? There has to be a part of dexterity when it comes to cutting food, right? Very light nitpick as it's clearly part of suspension of disbelief, which I gladly activated :3

Apparently, there's no way to skip the beginning of the game except through CTRL. Intentional, I'm sure, but why this choice? I almost thought it was unskippable as I clicked like a mad man ^^;

Mmmmmm... what else? Well the overall story : I really liked Melissa and could have fallen in love myself. She's just too cute when she snaps at each and every jab x3...
I really liked how the magic was explained, especially the tri-point thingie allowing customization :D... ...... maybe I'll try breaking the dot someday >.>...
The whole thing seemed to last for weeks or months, and yet it was only seven days?? Woah! I don't know what to think about this : I want to say seven days is way too short for what actually happened..... and yet at no point did you cheat your way through, so I actually read through these seven days and actually felt they lasted months... so ... uh... bravo!
I liked the end, though I felt there might have been room for just slightly more epilogue. Also, was Melissa *in the bed* at the end?? "next to me" was confusing and the sprite even more.

Oh, I also have to say that I laughed many times and heartily at that. Most often it was because of Melissa's short temper... other times because of how Jason put himself in threatening situations. I also had teary eyes during his nightmare. Some more drama and it would have pushed me over the edge ^^;.

And speaking of edges... Melissa sitting on the balcony is now my new wallpaper :3
All in all, great job guys! Can't wait to see what you do next :) (I'd love to see what you can do with a non-KN actually :3)

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#18 Post by monele » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:55 am

Reacting to comments :

I also felt some scene jumps were way too fast. People tend to either have it right in text, or right in visuals, but rarely both. Maybe it's something that should be discussed in a more technical way? Cinemanarrative techniques for VNs :D

Also agreed about the default config interface. A bit of a let down after seeing everything else.
I'm part of the lucky ones who didn't recognize who was being hanged during the flash. Phew! ^^;... But it might have deserved a different CG with a *ahem* cut off head (you know what I mean!) if so many people caught it.

Also forgot to say I wished for a way more orchestral tune for the dancing scene. C'mon, it's the climax!

As for the journal reveal, I probably missed something but my thought was "oh, so that's how Melissa learned magic"... Yeaaah, naive till the end ^^;

I'm also curious about the extra CGs. At first I was all "WHA? What did I miss?" and I was about to go back into it (heck, I did! XD) until I realized it was a KN ^^;;;... *shakes fist*

Story question : did Melissa actually put the magic books in the library?... what with her reaction when he actually does magic? ^^; It seems somewhat contradictory.

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#19 Post by Midnighticequeen » Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:48 am

I'm so glad I played this game, I was waiting for a while and I can see how it won the screenshot competition last year. I liked the BG for the most part as well as the sprites you made for Melissa, I'm glad she changed body positions as well as facial expressions, instead of the usually facial change.

The game was longer than I thought and I'm sort of glad for the lack of menu options. The story was awesome as it was and I didn't feel the need to choose my own destiny while playing. The only problem I had with the story was the ending, it seemed a little unfinished. It almost felt like a cheat since all the other problems that they were talking about was never addressed, and we have no idea what happened in the outside word. I don't know if Melissa learned enough magic to restore the world to the way it was, or if she didn't, it almost feels like a cheat to me. Will you be making a part two of the game?

Some of the music that you put in the game started messing up in the beginning of the game though. So while the music was fine the quality wasn't that good.

I loved this game though and it was well worth the wait. Thank you for giving me something to remember.

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#20 Post by Jake » Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:08 am

Midnighticequeen wrote: The only problem I had with the story was the ending, it seemed a little unfinished. It almost felt like a cheat since all the other problems that they were talking about was never addressed, and we have no idea what happened in the outside word.
This doesn't bother me too much, because the story proper has nothing to do with these elements anyway. I agree that the detail put into the world suggests that there should be more of a story there, but realistically I would agree with delta more than anything; it would almost be better to not go on and on about external events so much rather than expand the story to cover more of them. A brief epilogue might have been a good idea, I guess, just to establish for certain a couple of loose-end-tyings that aren't really any better off left open.

If I had a real complaint with Songs of Araiah, though it would simply be that I've read it before under a different name. I've mentioned this briefly to Drake already, who suggested I was just reading too much into it, but here's the expansion:
Essentially, the way I see it, it's Starlit Sky with different character names.
Superficially, the set-up is almost identical: young man leaves home early in the morning, finds magic-using woman who appears to hold the answers and be a more mature, more developed figure, they bond, young man discovers that magic-using woman is in fact hiding some deep-seated flaw that he helps overcome.
Fundamentally, both stories have the same theme - to quote an aphorism, "take the long short-cut". Quick-fix answers - Melissa's pre-fab magic, Marivel's memory potion - only keep you happy in the short term, and you're better off in the long run working to overcome your problems in a more thorough manner with real effort put in. This is gone back to multiple times in Starlit Sky, with Marivel offering the potion to everyone she met who had a problem, only to find a better, more-permanent solution with a bit more effort; in Araiah, it's expressed via Melissa's cooking (she can't make anything work when she manipulates magic to cook, but can produce edible meals when she sits down and makes an effort to learn properly) and more-thoroughly with her magic; she'd been relying on the quick-fix pre-fab spells so much she obviously hadn't made any real effort to research how to perform magic herself, which was a source of insecurity. To an extent, it's also the case with Jason's situation; he ran away in the first place looking for a quick-fix answer, which makes him miserable until he puts some effort in to learn things properly for himself.

Unfortunately, I think the theme was really given a better treatment in Starlit Sky; it was a little heavy-handed, but it was something the reader could more-readily take away with them, rather than something that apparently didn't even really consciously occur to Drake, since he claimed I was reading too much into it. Also, Starlit Sky gives the protagonist a better treatment, since his quick-fix/proper-resolution is actually the point of the tale. Also he has a telescope. But really, I doubt it's a coincidence that Drake wrote Araiah, then discarded it and went off to write Starlit Sky, which is like a leaner, meaner version of the same tale. It's just that, in a way, it almost seems a shame for people to have been spending so much time working on this pre-hash of an existing story when they could have been putting their creative energies into something more original.
That's not to say I didn't like Araiah - far from it. It's nicely-written (the odd grammar mistake aside) and the characterisation is pretty nice, and it's got a fairly satisfying arc to it. The graphics are generally pretty nice, and I really liked the attention to detail in moving the characters around the frame to show them moving closer to the protagonist, and so on (although it would have been nicer to have a higher-res sprite for such purposes).

It's been said already, but the intro movie confused me a little. When I first saw it, I was impressed, thinking someone had gone to the effort of laying it all out in Ren'Py transitions and particle factories and so on - which is eminently possible... so it was something of a disappointment to find that it was all pre-rendered. And while many of the backgrounds are really nicely done, there are a couple which stand out as not being quite so good... unfortunately, one of these is the mansion's hallway, which you see all the time, while the best examples - such as the bridge from Marshall - barely get a look-in.

Anyway, all in all, well done to the team, and congratulations on putting out a pretty nice VN!
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Re: Songs of Araiah

#21 Post by DrakeNavarone » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:51 pm

I have to first and foremost thank everyone who has played the game and enjoyed it. The reception has been surprisingly and abundantly positive, and it makes me feel like I didn't as terrible a job as I've been exaggerating I have. But something to be even more thankful for, is everyone bringing up and pointing out flaws that I myself noticed and complained about. It's proof I'm not just being overcritical of myself... and it makes for excellent ammo to use against Enerccio in the future, heh heh heh...

The flaw I'm most glad was brought up is what delta said about being too much in love with its own world. Which, at the time, was absolutely true. I built a world far too big for my plot and characters, and failed to pick up on it until too late, with some 2/3 of the story already written. And that was when I gave up on it, with no real intention of looking back. At least until two good friends convinced me otherwise some time later. But, for a number of reasons and not all of them noble, we never did go back and correct the flaws in the first half of the story. And we made and found more as we went along too... not bothering to correct those either... I'll admit we all put forth a good effort with this project, but I can say honestly from my end of the work, it wasn't really my best effort. I'd like to think I grew up since then (the first half written nearly 2 years ago) and I'd like to think I can do a lot better if I push harder. But all the same, I'm proud of this piece regardless of those flaws, and am glad everyone has enjoyed it despite them too.

Now in regards towards some of the executive decisions, this is where I get to have my fun. The double opening, the actual OP video itself, etc, etc., I've voiced my own disappointments concerning them with those responsible... In fact I remember complaining for quite a looooooong while, adamantly, about that awful 2nd intro, but someone wouldn't hear a word of it. Well, The Boss is The Boss, so what can I do? Where lack of customization is concerned however, a lot of that blame can be placed on me. In order to release on time, cuts had to be made, a lot of work didn't make it in the final version, and of course anything cosmetic or extraneous was the first to get the hatchet. A necessary evil, but one I surprisingly had little difficulty committing. We had resolved to finish in '08, and we did. Finishing on time is as much a point of pride for me as simply finishing, so I am really glad we got it done before the year's end, even if some sacrifices were made. And being able to start a new year with a blank slate and infinite possibilities is a really refreshing feeling I haven't had in some time.
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Re: Songs of Araiah

#22 Post by yvanc » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:12 am

aheheheheheh, cool

nice job ^_^

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#23 Post by Nafai » Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:26 am

Wow you guys made it! Will download it and let you guys know what I think ^_^

And, lest I forget: Congratulations :D

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#24 Post by skythnir » Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:01 pm

I believe you used MIDI or MP3 from TAM's MF.

Sorry if you did this already, but did you ask her a permission before you use it?
I believe she requires to ask and get her permission before you can use her stuff.
I also think she requires the users to credit her.

Forgive me if I asked something wrong, I don't visit this site often.

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#25 Post by Enerccio » Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:12 pm

a) they are credited (right in the OP and credits as well)
It was my good will to do so.
b) read this:
Horrible google says:
各種ソフトウェア,各種動画などでのご利用(配信・配布) And software, and videos available in various (distributed delivery)
(ゲーム,プロモーションビデオ,YouTube等のサイト,ラジオドラマCDなど) (Games, promotional videos, YouTube and other sites, CD and radio play)
・無償配布,無料会員のコンテンツの場合 Free, if the content of Free
Image is technically ONLINE!
Songs of Araiah promo:

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#26 Post by skythnir » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:07 am

okay, I checked it.
it says notify her when it's used for a Share-ware or product (Non-free) game.
so I guess there are no need to notify her.

btw, you made a nice game. great job.


Re: Songs of Araiah

#27 Post by Nya-chan » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:25 am

Finished it, yay.

Liked it really much, though the end was, indeed, pretty fast, with a very short aftertaste.

As for monele's mentioned cooking dexterity - nah, it's all about "how" ^^

theoretically, if the body stays "exactly" as in the freezing time, you shouldn't be able to memorize anything new, since your brain would stay same as well! Nah, biology nitpicking~

The intro was nice (yay for OP movies), but really, it didn't have much connection with the actual story itself. The effect on fonts was rather weird for me, also 0.o

The story felt normal, Melissa was a nice lonely girl, so hurray for
And I agree, I didn't really want to know more about the World itself other than the character's background, when there is so great lovestory in the air. It would feel just too forced, I suppose.

And grats to releasing in 2008. You did a great job! (b^^)b

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#28 Post by Jake » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:06 pm

Adding to RAA, since apparently nobody else was willing to brave the admin pages to do it. :3
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Re: Songs of Araiah

#29 Post by Samu-kun » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:12 pm

In my defense, I actually uploaded the zip version of V1.0 to the archives... Then V1.1 got released and I lost all motivation to do it again. ^_^

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Re: Songs of Araiah

#30 Post by chronoluminaire » Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:58 pm

Just played this. Overall, I like it.

Good points:
The overall graphical style - especially the custom text frame, the opening movie, the extensive event CGs.
The system of magic: I do like it when stories go into detail on how magic works in their world.
Melissa's character: classic semi-evil tsundere (and living in a house with the main character, no less :))
Most of the character art was excellent.
The music was nice enough and did its job well.
The easter eggs: author names (I got most of them but feel foolish for missing Dr Akena Varone), and the things he thinks to occupy his thoughts (fire magic to cross a river, yay!)

Bad points:
Some of the graphics don't match what's being described - in particular the library, attic, and basement
have visible walls and don't look that big.
Being a KN (no choices).
The way Melissa's sprite jumps left and right for expression changes - a little autocropping should have fixed that.
The story did finish a little abruptly: I love the ren'ai and recognise that that's what it's all about, but it does seem like the characters should be able to
work towards leaving the house now.
Occasional graphics were covered too much by the text box (only really the scene in the village).
The way the political situation was described felt quite anti-church preachy for the first half or so.
Occasional grammar or spelling mistakes.

Other things:
I can echo these two comments of monele's:
monele wrote:
I probably missed something but my thought was "oh, so that's how Melissa learned magic"... Yeaaah, naive till the end ^^;

Story question : did Melissa actually put the magic books in the library?... what with her reaction when he actually does magic? ^^; It seems somewhat contradictory.
But overall, I'm impressed - nice job, team!
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