Carmilla [Philosophy][Science][Shoujo Ai][Vampire][free]

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Qlara
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Carmilla [Philosophy][Science][Shoujo Ai][Vampire][free]

#1 Post by Qlara » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:33 pm

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Carmilla takes a close look at the Age of Enlightenment and encourages to ask whether—alongside all the progress and benefits modern science has brought about—we might have lost something valuable in the process.
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You can download the game for free here: https://visualgothic.itch.io/carmilla
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  • A kinetic visual novel interpretation of the mother of all lesbian vampire stories.
  • length: min 5 hours
CARMILLA

Prologue: Visual Gothic

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Dr. Martin Heselius, a German physician, dedicates himself exclusively to those cases that promise to further his inquiry into the relation between the physical—, the spiritual—, and the divine sphere of existence.
Ada Brunswick edits and translates the doctor's manuscripts.
Under the name Visual Gothic they publish those cases that might benefit a wider public while illuminating the interplay between the rational, the supernatural, and the superstitious.
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The Story

Laura, narrator and heroine of the story, lives an idyllic life with her father in an old castle in Styria. Geographically isolated, she often feels lonely. A carriage accident delivers a mysterious young girl named 'Carmilla' to the castle's doorsteps, putting a sudden end to Laura's solitude.
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The two girls grow close quickly, yet Laura occasionally feels overwhelmed and confused by Carmilla's passionate advances which ignite in her fascination and abhorrence in equal parts. These tense situations, however, do little to tarnish the bond they share.
Nevertheless, life at the castle becomes increasingly overshadowed as Laura starts to experience disquieting nightly visions and strange physical symptoms...
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What is it About?

Carmilla has often been called a 'Lesbian Vampire Story', which is pointing out the obvious and missing its point at the same time. On this superficial level it is also a romance, a tale of bonding between two lonely girls in an isolated environment with a dash of mystery for good merit.

Not far beneath this entertaining level of the story, readers who prefer their text to play the role of teacher or moralist will readily discover a lesson here: Do not allow dogmatic rationalism to replace superstition and blind you to the truth!

However at its center, Carmilla is an exploration of the human condition after the Enlightenment cemented the distinction between mind and matter, the so called mind-body-dualism, with its clear preference for mind over matter. Today, this duality is hardly ever questioned.
The editors appended a collection of Notes that might serve to illustrate how this new paradigm came into being and perhaps assist in carving a path to the real heart of the story.
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Last edited by Qlara on Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Carmilla [Philosophy][Science][Shoujo Ai][Vampire][free]

#2 Post by YaminoOkami » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:39 pm

I just finished this VN. On the positive side, Art is really beautiful and writing is good.
But I really can't believe you are promoting this as GxG/shoujo-ai considering it is one of most negative VNs toward GxG I have read. Putting aside that romance parts felt practically skipped over and just briefly summarized, as well as a whole relationship between Laura and Carmilla for that matter, in the end this is just one of those "Evil lesbian vampire deceiving innocent girl stories."
I fully expected Carmilla to turn Laura into vampire in the end because she really loved her, but by the way story ended, no it seems she was just an evil vampire devising her and wanting to suck her blood. And Laura? She must have at least truly loved Carmilla right? No, she apparently didn't care for her eater, just being deceived by her as she never bother to try to save her when she found out she was a vampire, in fact her reaction was "Oh vampire?! that's so terrifying!". So much about love between them, huh? And seriously shouldn't we be over that "All vampires are evil and they all must be killed / racism toward fictional fantasy races" cliche since like 90's? Then again, we never even got any confirmation about the two of them begin a couple or anything of the kind, 'Lesbian Vampire Story' my a*s.
Sorry if i come off to angry or harsh right now, but I AM so angry right now. I feel deceived into reading one of those old stories that poetry lesbians as evil monsters preying on poor innocent girls while claiming to be a Shoujo-AI VN. Sure, word is full of homophobs and I do believe in free speech for everyone, but actually portraying this as shoujo-AI (Genre that's suppose to be aimed at people positive toward GxG romance), that's just low.

I really don't recommend this VN to anyone who actually likes Shoujo-AI/GxG.

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Re: Carmilla [Philosophy][Science][Shoujo Ai][Vampire][free]

#3 Post by ComputerArt.Club » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:08 pm

I haven't played the game, but I like the colors in the illustrations. I think you posted in my Android marketing thread, are you interested posting this on Google Play?

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Re: Carmilla [Philosophy][Science][Shoujo Ai][Vampire][free]

#4 Post by Dovahkitteh » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:22 am

I gushed over this in its demo phase, and now that I've finished it, time to gush over it again!

Carmilla is definitely the OEVN I've most enjoyed out of the numerous ones I've played. Even though it takes from an existing source material, the art and music and amazing scene programming (and GUI!) are just so gloriously done. Everything combines to create a perfect dark, haunting, lovely Gothic atmosphere that I've only very rarely ever seen before. (The only game that comes close is probably the Japanese VN Messiah.)

The story itself is quite charming, but on its own I don't think I would've found it half as interesting and engaging as I did in this VN format. I'll admit that the prose did start to get a bit much at times--although I'm not sure if you could've cut out much without impacting the story--but my attention was kept by the various awesome visuals.

A few spoilery comments:
-The record scratch in the scene where Laura's describing Carmilla killed me, omg. So unexpected, so good XD
-Your work visually and compositionally is really just stunning. The overlaying of text on portraits, the layering of images and zooming/panning to simulate depth, the carriage ride overlay at the beginning of chapter, the signatures at the end <3 And the SHADOWS! I can't get over the lighting/shadows, they tickle my inner dev as much as my mind from a player's standpoint~
-It was really startling and unnerving when Laura gets the message in her sleep and sees Carmilla in a bloodied dress--your choice of images and sound was perfect, completely caught me off guard
-I really appreciated the encyclopedia/notes, especially the small explanation under "Karnstein" at the end that discusses the split between reason/emotion and the contrast between Laura and Carmilla. It's very interesting to think about the story in light of mind/body dualism, and now that I know more about the context, I'll definitely replay it again at some point to reinterpret passages through this lens.
I really can't say anything negative about this game--there are a few typos and sudden transitions here and there, but considering it's free and quite long, I think that can definitely be forgiven. It would be amazing if you could ever get Carmilla on Steam, since it would bring the game to a lot more people's attention.

I'd absolutely love to see more Gothic works interpreted like this, and if you ever do another project, I'd 100% back it on Kickstarter or wherever if you decided to do crowdfunding! (I don't know if it's possible or if there're legal issues that would come up for crowdfunding even free projects that draw from existing works, though.) But regardless, I really hope to see future games from you if they're anywhere near as awesome as Carmilla. It really touched me to my core. <3
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Re: Carmilla [Philosophy][Science][Shoujo Ai][Vampire][free]

#5 Post by Qlara » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:59 am

Dovahkitteh, I am so happy that you weren't disappointed with the completed work. And you even went so far as to read my notes on Karnstein!
I have another Gothic story in the works, much bigger and with choices, for which I intend to commission the artwork. Unfortunately, I could never handle the (psychological) stress of a kickstarter campaign, so crowdfunding won't happen with any of my games. Thank you once more for such an awesome and detailed review.

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I've toyed with the idea. The apk generated by Ren'Py looks fine but I'm rather intimidated by the whole market system.

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Re: Carmilla [Philosophy][Science][Shoujo Ai][Vampire][free]

#6 Post by philip » Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:10 pm

@Qiara-

Just finished this. I have read hundreds of VNs; some good, some bad, and lots somewhere in between. I found this one to be OUTSTANDING in every regard! The art is marvelous and the story is excellent . . . . this is definitely in MY top ten of the stories that I have read. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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