Spirited Heart

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jack_norton
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Spirited Heart

#1 Post by jack_norton » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:00 am

After some days of testing I believe the game is ready. You can download it from here:
http://www.winterwolves.com/spiritedheart/download.php
this is a sort of "soft release" since the only place I'm announcing this game is actually here! The people that helped me making it will get the game free as usual, for the rest of users there's this coupon code: BIPZ0509T to get the game with 30% discount.

At last, some screenshots:
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Re: Spirited Heart

#2 Post by EwanG » Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:28 am

Congratulations! Looks great!
Working on something... might even be something good :D

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Re: Spirited Heart

#3 Post by monele » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:11 pm

Tried the demo a bit (a bit more than an in-game year) and my conclusion (so far) is that it got me excited about the possibilities but disappointed me in the execution.

What I liked was how you could pick a race and are playing as the girl rather than "raising" one. Older age also makes choices such as "sexy girl" not seem as horrible as in Princess Maker since you're choosing this for yourself and not for someone else :). The dateable characters all look rather unique and interesting and they seem to have quite a few scenes, which is nice.
Graphics are *very* nice : backgrounds look great and character art + costumes is very pleasant to the eye.
I noticed the lack of music outside of events. But I'll say that I prefer no music than bad music for parts that you'll be in for 90% of the game, so maybe it's actually a good choice you made :)

Where I'm disappointed is in the mechanics. It reminds me a lot of Princess Maker 2 in that regard : it seems unfair. Maybe I'm missing the point, as I did with PM2 apparently, but I have a hard time understanding why things fail at times and why they work at others... and more importantly : what I should do to make things go better.
Sometimes work goes really bad, making me lose 2 levels of morale. Ok... sometimes it does this to me two or three times in a row. Which means I lose three weeks gaining absolutely nothing... or even losing stats in opposed attributes. Then I'm forced to rest to get better, losing some more weeks... and then it's the same over and over again.

What I'm saying is that the negatives seem way more overwhelming than the positives. You barely win money (which is utterly destroyed by the taxes anyway) and when you are lucky to gain 2 or 3 points in the main attribute, you'll have lost 10 or more in others.

For reference, I was playing the elf in the noble house, with good starting Concentration and Dexterity and aiming for magic. Sadly, Waitress killed Concentration and it was one of the only jobs that seemed to work out more positively than others.
So... is it just me imagining things and/or randomness being mean to me? :(

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Re: Spirited Heart

#4 Post by EwanG » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:15 pm

monele wrote:What I'm saying is that the negatives seem way more overwhelming than the positives. You barely win money (which is utterly destroyed by the taxes anyway)
You understand the irony in pointing that out this close to April 15th (Tax day here in the US)? :mrgreen:
Working on something... might even be something good :D

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Re: Spirited Heart

#5 Post by PyTom » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:26 pm

EwanG wrote:You understand the irony in pointing that out this close to April 15th (Tax day here in the US)? :mrgreen:
Political snark hidden in spoiler box.
Taxes at 120% a year? This thing is practically an Obama simulator.
(I just had to hand in estimated taxes today.)
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Re: Spirited Heart

#6 Post by jack_norton » Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:05 pm

Well originally the game was easier, but I thought maybe too much :D
I didn't want the player to become "uber" and have 100 in all skills at first attempt. Also note that there isn't a bad endings like in Princess Maker 2 games (you can't die by starvation/etc).
The other skills decline but there's a limit, they shouldn't go down to under 10 or so (don't remember exactly but they shouldn't go down to 0).
Anyway, I can always change it if many people complain, or perhaps add a difficulty level in options screen?
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Re: Spirited Heart

#7 Post by papillon » Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:32 pm

They may not go down to 0, but several of my skills have gone down to 1. :)

I can say that it's not quite as hard as it looks... there are a lot of years for you to raise your skills, and it's not the end of the world if you're really struggling for a while until you can claw your way up to qualifying for a decent-paying job. It's just reqlly frustrating at the beginning when you can't seem to make any headway.

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Re: Spirited Heart

#8 Post by jack_norton » Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:08 pm

Yes, as you said to me by email most games have skill ranges from 0 to 200, in my case I picked 100 max, so to avoid the player reaching 100 too quickly I use the trick that some skills decrease (usually the opposite of the job you're doing like if you work in a farm your charisma goes down).
I'm working on a revised version though right now, you'll earn +2 gold from each job (seems a small difference but isn't) and the other skills will decrease slower. I did some testing and I believe this new version should be less frustrating.
Will upload it within 1-2h max :) thanks for the feedback.
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Re: Spirited Heart

#9 Post by Maruta » Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:49 pm

Ah, at long last, it's released :D!

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Re: Spirited Heart

#10 Post by jack_norton » Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:59 pm

I've just uploaded a new version with the changes above, also you should get better results at work too, even if some days of complete failure there will still be. In general once you reach the skill over 40-50 you shouldn't fail anymore at work (minimum get half-pay).
So far got no more complaint about the difficulty, but still I made it a bit easier in this version.
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Re: Spirited Heart

#11 Post by monele » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:07 pm

Honestly, I realize it's very difficult to tweak such statistical games so take my comments with a pinch of salt :)

Mostly, my problem is that I have a hard time getting the "action -> consequence" link. In other words : why does working sometime yield a regular result, sometimes something awful and sometimes something great? Is it completely random? Is it a secret requirement such as "the more you work at it, the more often you get good results"? or is it based on your current level in the related attribute, which would mean a lot of failing with low stats and more and more frequent successes?

Not knowing this for sure (and not really seeing any persistent results from testing a bit), I have no means to get better. It's rather frustrating :).

The other point was that I was trying to get two attributes to raise and the two jobs that could get me this seemed to have opposite effects, more or less cancelling each other (and I had more luck getting money from the Waitress job which killed my Dexterity I think?).

Finally, the taxes brought me from 300gp to 30gp in a year... which felt rather strange ^^;... The advantage of starting with more money didn't seem very useful :)

COMMENT ABOUT LAST POST :

Oh, so it *is* based on the current attribute value then? All right, I'll have to test the new version :)

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Re: Spirited Heart

#12 Post by PyTom » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:14 pm

I'd also consider dropping the tax rates to something more reasonable... or perhaps eliminate them entirely. Right now, the sane strategy appears to blow all your money as soon as possible. That's the problem with a tax on wealth, rather than a tax on income.
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Re: Spirited Heart

#13 Post by Taleweaver » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:22 pm

PyTom wrote:I'd also consider dropping the tax rates to something more reasonable... or perhaps eliminate them entirely. Right now, the sane strategy appears to blow all your money as soon as possible. That's the problem with a tax on wealth, rather than a tax on income.
Taxes are taxing and full of strange syn-tax. And they're the cause of many heart at-tax.

Really, even within the setting, there should be an income tax rather than a wealth tax. If the whole point of taxes in the game is making the player gain money more slowly, decrease the amount of money from jobs and get rid of taxes altogether.
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Re: Spirited Heart

#14 Post by jack_norton » Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:30 pm

monele wrote: Oh, so it *is* based on the current attribute value then? All right, I'll have to test the new version :)
Yes it's part random (as everything in life) but part attribute-based. For the basic jobs though there was some sort of bug: in my formula I was considering two variables, problem is that only advanced jobs have two, the basic one have only one. So instead of doing var1+var2, was var1+0 (so chances of success were halved!).

About taxes :D
Making an income tax would make probably make it too much complex. Yes is true that right now the best strategy is to use the money as soon as you have it, it's intentional albeit probably unrealistic. I wanted to make the game casual enough to interest even non RPG-anime fans :lol:

Anyway I've already planned a deluxe version asI have 3 more endings possible, sort of "uber ending" that appears only if you max out 3 or more skills, but since I'll have to rework the game I can probably find a better implementation for taxes too!

My idea is to redesign the "statistics" screen and put a sort of expense/income for each month, adding normal expenses like food, housing, etc.
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Re: Spirited Heart

#15 Post by Wintermoon » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:24 pm

I never liked the way Princess Maker penalized a specific attribute when working on a job. It's unrealistic, it's arbitrary, it makes entirely reasonable job combination nonviable, it forces you to use dump stats, and it encourages the kind of mathematical min-maxing that I want to avoid.

If penalties are really necessary, I'd rather see a slight degradation across all stats that aren't used in a particular job. That would be much more balanced and realistic, and it would prevent the use of dump stats to avoid the penalty.

This comment is not specifically directed at Spirited Heart, which I haven't played yet.

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