A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019] [Free]

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A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019] [Free]

#1 Post by Wight » Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:25 pm

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A simple experiment.
Listen, respond, and play.
For the sake of the experiment.


You are invited to partake in an experiment.
If you can agree to be on good behavior, you'll be meeting with Alie in an empty-looking realm. You and Alie will be interacting and learning about each other. Simple as that. You will not be in any danger. You are free to leave at any time and will always be welcome to return.
Keep in mind that this is an experiment, which means this is being observed. Just try to be on reasonably good behavior during your visits, please.

Edit April 17th: If you are using Windows 10, you must have the "Change the size of text, apps, and other items" setting on your computer set to 100%, no more and no less, and then restart your computer to apply this change. I apologize for this inconvenience. I have tried to create a fix, but this seems to be outside my control at the moment.

Available here: https://wight.itch.io/a-transient-experiment

A simple visual novel made in a single month for NaNoRenO 2019. It involves you answering questions, drawing, and a bit of playing around and getting creative. More character-driven rather than story-driven, but you will also play an important role. There are multiple choices to answer questions, but it still plays out in a linear way.
That's right, you're able to draw within this VN! And those drawings will be used within the game and play a part in the story. The way it works is pretty simple and I don't expect anything more than doodles to be made with it, but I would love to see what sort of drawings have been made! You don't have to be good at drawing, what's important is to have fun with it. And if you do, label what the drawing is and what it was for (animal, toy, something to ride on).

Original WIP Thread: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=54108
Last edited by Wight on Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019]

#2 Post by Syrale » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:26 pm

I'm glad I finally checked this out! This was a wonderful, almost therapeutic experience.
The little details you put into the choices were impressive! Especially the boulder, I was really surprised and happy when my solution worked!
The
psychological analysis at the end
threw me for a loop as well.
Why did it have to be so spot on?! At first I was worried I was just the most generic person on earth, but after finding out that different answers result in a different analysis I was deeply impressed.
Excellent work!
ImageArtificial Selection (ongoing) |Imagerei_carnation (ongoing) | ImageRobot Daycare (NaNo19)

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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019]

#3 Post by Wight » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:34 am

Syrale wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:26 pm
I'm glad I finally checked this out! This was a wonderful, almost therapeutic experience.
The little details you put into the choices were impressive! Especially the boulder, I was really surprised and happy when my solution worked!
The
psychological analysis at the end
threw me for a loop as well.
Why did it have to be so spot on?! At first I was worried I was just the most generic person on earth, but after finding out that different answers result in a different analysis I was deeply impressed.
Excellent work!
Thank you very much for playing!
I would've liked to do more scenes with giving the player freedom to choose how to act, like the boulder, but it would've been a lot more work. Maybe in a future project?
About the boulder,
there's certain keywords that will trigger a unique response, but nearly anything will be a success. Similarly, the door will accept any answer to the riddle, because Alie thinks the player is just that amazing -- I had no real answer in mind for it, it was chosen because it seemed basic enough where it could be a lot of things and easy enough to make a guess.

I'm glad you noticed!
I had planned the analysis since the beginning, to give some significance to how the player answered Alie's questions and help make each person's first playthrough a bit more unique and personalized, but the difficulty of it made me rush that part a bit in the end to meet the deadline. I wish I could have expanded on it just a bit more, but I'm glad to know it was still effective for someone.
Thank you! It was a lot of tough work, I'm glad I got to show off my effort and even happier to know I did well.

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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019]

#4 Post by azaraih » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:38 pm

Just finally finished this game and I liked it a lot! It took me a while since I was playing it together with someone else and had to wait for her to have time to play, but I feel like it sort of added to the experience since Alie welcomes you back as if you've been gone a while. So that felt a bit more immersive than if I just played it all straight through. It was also interesting playing it with another person since some of Alie's questions were a bit difficult and for some of them it took some discussion before we could agree on what answer to pick.

I think the minimalist art direction worked really well for the atmosphere/tone of the game. I liked the subtly shifting background images, the font you used for the dialogue, and Alie's design. Everything felt very otherworldly and mysterious!
The framing of it as an experiment added to that too, and the fact that it kind of "remembers" what you did (like not having to save/load, it just picks up where you were). In the very beginning I initially picked "no" to see what would happen and was really suprised it just quit out of the game! And then the Observer remembered what I picked. I feel like things like that really added to the experience.

I did run into a bug with the drawing part, the actual drawing worked great and I really liked doodling with it, but when the finished drawings were supposed to show up in the background, they didn't look right. It only showed the very left edge of my drawings and part of the drawing controls to the left of the drawing canvas (mostly the circle control), kind of like it was moved up and to the left of where the drawing canvas is supposed to be. Not sure if it's maybe related to my screen resolution or something? I was using a computer with resolution 3000 x 2000, with a second screen attached with 1920 x 1080 resolution (in case that helps). If you need any other info to help with fixing this, let me know!

Despite the bug, I really liked
how the drawings were incorporated into the narrative. The stories were so cute and imaginative, I think you definitely captured that naive sense of wonder. It was nice creating a lot of little doodles and having Alie like and appreciate them even though they aren't amazing works of art or anything. By the end of the experiment, I felt very attached to Alie, so the ending was bittersweet, even though I agree it makes sense to end it that way.
Anyway, this was such a great game! I enjoyed it a lot! :]
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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019]

#5 Post by Wight » Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:33 pm

azaraih wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:38 pm
Just finally finished this game and I liked it a lot! It took me a while since I was playing it together with someone else and had to wait for her to have time to play, but I feel like it sort of added to the experience since Alie welcomes you back as if you've been gone a while. So that felt a bit more immersive than if I just played it all straight through. It was also interesting playing it with another person since some of Alie's questions were a bit difficult and for some of them it took some discussion before we could agree on what answer to pick.

I think the minimalist art direction worked really well for the atmosphere/tone of the game. I liked the subtly shifting background images, the font you used for the dialogue, and Alie's design. Everything felt very otherworldly and mysterious!
The framing of it as an experiment added to that too, and the fact that it kind of "remembers" what you did (like not having to save/load, it just picks up where you were). In the very beginning I initially picked "no" to see what would happen and was really suprised it just quit out of the game! And then the Observer remembered what I picked. I feel like things like that really added to the experience.
That's really cool! Alie's questions are rather simple on the surface but there can be a lot to think about, and I believe that getting players to think deeply on them and perhaps even discuss them with others would also count as a success. I know I had some fun presenting those same questions to different people and hearing different thoughts and opinions.

I was concerned that I ended up making it so minimalistic that I risked making it too unappealing, so I'm relieved it's not a total drawback. Part of the reason was that I ended up having to rush the art assets to submit it in time for the deadline, but one major reason was to keep it somewhat consistent with the simplicity of the drawings that players would make.
azaraih wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:38 pm
I did run into a bug with the drawing part, the actual drawing worked great and I really liked doodling with it, but when the finished drawings were supposed to show up in the background, they didn't look right. It only showed the very left edge of my drawings and part of the drawing controls to the left of the drawing canvas (mostly the circle control), kind of like it was moved up and to the left of where the drawing canvas is supposed to be. Not sure if it's maybe related to my screen resolution or something? I was using a computer with resolution 3000 x 2000, with a second screen attached with 1920 x 1080 resolution (in case that helps). If you need any other info to help with fixing this, let me know!
That's very unusual.
The way I have the drawings show up in the game is that I tell the game to take a screenshot but crop a very specific area, which happens as you Submit a drawing, and then the screenshot is saved as an image file. Because it behaves oddly when the resolution is changed or when played in fullscreen mode, I tried to disable those options so that it's always played at a set resolution in Windowed mode. If you somehow managed to change the original resolution, that would cause the problem. However, if you didn't change the game's default resolution... either way, I'll have to investigate this. But I'm quite sure your screen's resolution shouldn't be the issue, it's the game's own resolution that I have found cause that sort of problem.
Fortunately this hasn't come up for others I heard back from, but it's unfortunate it still happened to you. Thank you for reporting this! I have a few ideas that might fix this, but I'll need confirmation about whether you managed to change the game's original resolution somehow, and if so, how you managed to do so.
azaraih wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:38 pm
Despite the bug, I really liked
how the drawings were incorporated into the narrative. The stories were so cute and imaginative, I think you definitely captured that naive sense of wonder. It was nice creating a lot of little doodles and having Alie like and appreciate them even though they aren't amazing works of art or anything. By the end of the experiment, I felt very attached to Alie, so the ending was bittersweet, even though I agree it makes sense to end it that way.
Anyway, this was such a great game! I enjoyed it a lot! :]
That's wonderful to hear!
Alie isn't exactly an amazing writer or artist, but there's still passion and excitement when it came to being creative. I wanted to remind the player of a time like that, where we just happily created things without much concern when we were little. It's tough to return to that mindset, especially as we become more skilled and critical of ourselves, but I wanted to have Alie be encouraging because we still deserve no less recognition for our efforts and creativity, and to remind that something special is still being made. Just as Alie looks up to the player, I'd also hope there are some things the player would look up to in Alie as well.
Thank you very much for playing and sharing your thoughts on it!

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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019]

#6 Post by azaraih » Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:29 pm

Wight wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:33 pm
That's very unusual.
The way I have the drawings show up in the game is that I tell the game to take a screenshot but crop a very specific area, which happens as you Submit a drawing, and then the screenshot is saved as an image file. Because it behaves oddly when the resolution is changed or when played in fullscreen mode, I tried to disable those options so that it's always played at a set resolution in Windowed mode. If you somehow managed to change the original resolution, that would cause the problem. However, if you didn't change the game's default resolution... either way, I'll have to investigate this. But I'm quite sure your screen's resolution shouldn't be the issue, it's the game's own resolution that I have found cause that sort of problem.
Fortunately this hasn't come up for others I heard back from, but it's unfortunate it still happened to you. Thank you for reporting this! I have a few ideas that might fix this, but I'll need confirmation about whether you managed to change the game's original resolution somehow, and if so, how you managed to do so.
I looked into the bug a little more and I figured out what was going on! I didn't intentionally change the resolution, but since you mentioned that I took another look at my display settings. There was a setting that says "Change the size of text, apps, and other items" that was set to 200% by default. I tried switching it to 100% and tried the drawing part again and it worked correctly! I'm guessing that the setting is set that way by default so applications are sized correctly for the screen, since at 100% the game was a bit small. Not sure if there's a way to account for this in the game, but at least there's a way to get around it.
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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019]

#7 Post by Wight » Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:51 pm

azaraih wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:29 pm
I looked into the bug a little more and I figured out what was going on! I didn't intentionally change the resolution, but since you mentioned that I took another look at my display settings. There was a setting that says "Change the size of text, apps, and other items" that was set to 200% by default. I tried switching it to 100% and tried the drawing part again and it worked correctly! I'm guessing that the setting is set that way by default so applications are sized correctly for the screen, since at 100% the game was a bit small. Not sure if there's a way to account for this in the game, but at least there's a way to get around it.
I never knew such a setting exists, but now it makes sense! I'm not too sure if I can make a way to work around it because I don't know if it resizes automatically (unlikely to work around that) or only when launched (that one is possible for me to figure out a fix). Still, now I can put a warning in the meantime for the game's page in case anybody else has a setting like that. Thanks again for the report!

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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019]

#8 Post by azaraih » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:13 pm

Wight wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:51 pm
I never knew such a setting exists, but now it makes sense! I'm not too sure if I can make a way to work around it because I don't know if it resizes automatically (unlikely to work around that) or only when launched (that one is possible for me to figure out a fix). Still, now I can put a warning in the meantime for the game's page in case anybody else has a setting like that. Thanks again for the report!
No problem, I'm glad it was helpful! I think the setting must be new in Windows 10 or something since I don't remember seeing that one before. I did notice that the setting change didn't kick in until I signed out and back in to my computer, so it seems like you wouldn't need to account for adjusting it in the middle of the game so that's good at least. Good luck with figuring out a fix!
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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019]

#9 Post by Wight » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:03 am

Uploaded a new version to try and work around the resizing problem, should "fix" it. Since Windows 10 has become a common operating system these days, I highly suggest getting this version if you haven't already. It's not an issue with every Windows 10 user I've heard back from, but I fear it could end up being common.
Edit: Unfortunately, the fix doesn't seem to work, I'm afraid this has to be adjusted on the player's end. If you are using Windows 10, you must have the "Change the size of text, apps, and other items" setting on your computer set to 100%, no more and no less, and then restart your computer to apply this change. I apologize for this inconvenience.
The drawing feature is a major part of the game, after all, and messing with the resolution messes with the drawing that will show in the game. Anyway, that's another thing I've learned thanks to this gamejam.

With this update, the game should resize itself to its original resolution during certain sections. This way the player shouldn't need to change their computer's setting and reset it just for this game.

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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019]

#10 Post by Zelan » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:07 pm

This game was such a beautiful experience. I got very attached to Alie very quickly, and I was glad when I was able to make Alie happy with my drawings and the answers to my questions (especially the ones about beauty). I felt like we created a bond through our storytelling together, and the end sort of broke my heart a little bit. I was very glad to have the memories folder after it was over.

Awesome job on this game, it was super immersive and definitely my favorite this NaNo. I'm really glad that I saved it for last when I played through this year's NaNo games! :D

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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019]

#11 Post by Wight » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:21 pm

Zelan wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:07 pm
This game was such a beautiful experience. I got very attached to Alie very quickly, and I was glad when I was able to make Alie happy with my drawings and the answers to my questions (especially the ones about beauty). I felt like we created a bond through our storytelling together, and the end sort of broke my heart a little bit. I was very glad to have the memories folder after it was over.

Awesome job on this game, it was super immersive and definitely my favorite this NaNo. I'm really glad that I saved it for last when I played through this year's NaNo games! :D
One of the things that I was worried about was that the time spent with Alie would be too short-lived and not meaningful enough for the player to grow attached by the time it's over. It certainly was a challenge, but I've heard back from enough people about it that I feel more confident that I did manage to pull it off. A short, sweet, sentimental experience is what I wanted to capture and leave the player with - and creating the memories folder to preserve that for its conclusion felt crucial.

Thank you very much for playing! I'm really happy to hear you enjoyed it so much!

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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019]

#12 Post by arty » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:16 am

This looked extremely intriguing in terms of concept and execution so I decided to download and give it a try!

Right away, I really enjoyed the minimalistic art. The animations and expressions were amazing, too. Games like this one show that you don't necessarily need fancy graphics if it doesn't serve the needs of the game. And Alie is a very interesting character whom I found myself getting fond of quickly!

I found the drawing parts especially interesting!
It was so cool to see the room fill up with my drawings! And then the drawing parts during the story that Alie made for me...such a neat idea!
Also it was really relaxing to just draw different things for once - usually I'm someone who always needs a strong idea or inspiration to draw, so just being asked to doodle random things with no pressure for them to look amazing was outright therapeutic I think. I also had to get out of my comfort zone in terms of subject and techniques, which was an interesting experience.

And I'm gonna be honest:
Her story and the hug that followed had me in tears. And then I cried AGAIN when it was time for farwell.
It's also nice that there were breaks in between the visits, that way I could play at my own pace (and type this reply in between haha).

Overall, I'm just super impressed by this game (also from a technical point of view). It was a wholesome experience. I'm glad I decided to play it! I'll also recommend it to others. Just one thing: The game exe's icon is still the default Ren'Py icon. Maybe look into replacing it?

Thank you for making this. Do you have a ko-fi account or something where I could leave a tip? In the meantime, I'll just leave this here:
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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019]

#13 Post by Wight » Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:36 pm

arty wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:16 am
Right away, I really enjoyed the minimalistic art. The animations and expressions were amazing, too. Games like this one show that you don't necessarily need fancy graphics if it doesn't serve the needs of the game. And Alie is a very interesting character whom I found myself getting fond of quickly!
Thank you for enjoying how minimalistic the art is! It really helps me feel better about the decision. It was also a fun challenge to make Alie expressive despite not having a face. It warms my heart that people can still quickly grow fond of something as alien as Alie.
arty wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:16 am
I found the drawing parts especially interesting!
It was so cool to see the room fill up with my drawings! And then the drawing parts during the story that Alie made for me...such a neat idea!
Also it was really relaxing to just draw different things for once - usually I'm someone who always needs a strong idea or inspiration to draw, so just being asked to doodle random things with no pressure for them to look amazing was outright therapeutic I think. I also had to get out of my comfort zone in terms of subject and techniques, which was an interesting experience.
I'm glad you enjoyed the drawing parts. I wanted to get as creative as I could with utilizing that mechanic!
Someone else also described it as therapeutic. That's what I love about doodling, it's a way to draw in a very relaxed and stress-free way which I believe helps a lot in keeping it fun. There's no expected skill level when it comes to drawing for this, so I'm hoping anyone with just a willingness to draw a little can still give this a try and enjoy it.
arty wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:16 am
And I'm gonna be honest:
Her story and the hug that followed had me in tears. And then I cried AGAIN when it was time for farwell.
I'll be honest too, even I cried a little and made myself sad when I was putting those scenes together and experienced it myself. It certainly felt different from reading the raw text from the rough draft. I had some mischievous fun getting my friends to play and managing to make them feel sad too, but then I got sad again and felt guilty when I saw their final drawing. Ehehe.
arty wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:16 am
It's also nice that there were breaks in between the visits, that way I could play at my own pace (and type this reply in between haha).
While it's rather short, I figured some parts such as thinking through the questions and making drawings could take some people quite a bit of time, which is part of the reason I had those breaks set up the way I did.
arty wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:16 am
Overall, I'm just super impressed by this game (also from a technical point of view). It was a wholesome experience. I'm glad I decided to play it! I'll also recommend it to others. Just one thing: The game exe's icon is still the default Ren'Py icon. Maybe look into replacing it?
I'm very glad and grateful that you played it, and even more that you'll even recommend it to others! Thank you so much!
D'oh! It's not the first time I forgot to make that change, the exe icon is one of the things I keep forgetting about for some of my private projects. I'm not sure if I'll make that update for it alone since it's such a teeny-tiny change, but thanks for the heads-up! Lesson learned for next time, at least. Hopefully.
arty wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:16 am
Thank you for making this. Do you have a ko-fi account or something where I could leave a tip? In the meantime, I'll just leave this here:
Image
Oh gosh, thank you so much for this!!! I don't have a ko-fi set up yet since this is only my first step into sharing a project of mine publicly, but I did plan to have something like that ready by the time I release another project. (Hopefully by Halloween, but no promises or guarantee there). For now, I'll appreciate that thought and I'll gladly accept that in the meantime~

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Re: A Transient Experiment [Drawing] [Friendship] [Unreal] [NaNo2019] [Free]

#14 Post by arty » Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:55 am

(whoops messed up formatting the first try...lemme try again....)
Wight wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:36 pm
Thank you for enjoying how minimalistic the art is! It really helps me feel better about the decision. It was also a fun challenge to make Alie expressive despite not having a face. It warms my heart that people can still quickly grow fond of something as alien as Alie.
I guess I'm probably a special case since I'm part of the object head fandom, but from what I saw other people thought the same about Alie. Looks like you just did a really good job there! :D
Wight wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:36 pm
I'm glad you enjoyed the drawing parts. I wanted to get as creative as I could with utilizing that mechanic!
Someone else also described it as therapeutic. That's what I love about doodling, it's a way to draw in a very relaxed and stress-free way which I believe helps a lot in keeping it fun. There's no expected skill level when it comes to drawing for this, so I'm hoping anyone with just a willingness to draw a little can still give this a try and enjoy it.
Exactly that! I was also excited to find that my tablet worked (against my expectation), even though the game didn't seem to support the driver (would have had no pen pressure from what I could tell for example, but since that wasn't a thing anyway, it didn't matter).
Wight wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:36 pm
I'll be honest too, even I cried a little and made myself sad when I was putting those scenes together and experienced it myself. It certainly felt different from reading the raw text from the rough draft. I had some mischievous fun getting my friends to play and managing to make them feel sad too, but then I got sad again and felt guilty when I saw their final drawing. Ehehe.
Aren't those one of the best kinds of stories? :D Imo, creating emotions like these in people with one's art is a sign that you're skilled at what you do.
Wight wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:36 pm
Oh gosh, thank you so much for this!!! I don't have a ko-fi set up yet since this is only my first step into sharing a project of mine publicly, but I did plan to have something like that ready by the time I release another project. (Hopefully by Halloween, but no promises or guarantee there). For now, I'll appreciate that thought and I'll gladly accept that in the meantime~
Ah I see! I followed you on itch, so I hopefully won't miss a new release then. :)

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