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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:38 am 
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Location: Slovakia, Kosice
Projects: My Teacher; Songs of Araiah; Something new; Possible Cross Bomber?
Very, VERY good visual novel.
I really liked it
though Ending 6 was "WTF"
Too bad you never existed ;_;

but apart from that it was good and also genuine scary!
really nice work with music as well as graphics~

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:18 pm 
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Completed: Metropolitan Blues, The Loyal Kinsman, Daemonophilia, The Dreaming, The Thirteenth Year, Adrift, Bionic Heart 2, Secrets of the Wolf, The Photographer
Projects: The Pilgrim's Path, Elspeth's Garden, Secret Adventure Game!
Organization: Tall Tales Productions
Twitter: @TallTalesVN
As a few people mentioned this, the art style: Intentional! I asked LVUER to do this game with me for two reasons, and the bigger was that I wanted the art and the plot to clash. Badly. I wanted them to clash the way Higurashi no Naku Koro ni does it... and you haven't seen the artwork that LVUER will create for the scary stuff...

Finding the music was like... "hey, how did they know what kind of stuff I need before I wrote the scenes?" Very creepy. Glad you all seemed to like it; for my next game, however, I'd like to have an original soundtrack again.

Me, I'm very satisfied with the overall mood of the game; it's pretty much what I had been hoping to achieve. There's still a few odds and ends to do, a part of it being a thorough clean-up of the character artwork interaction, and I hope that all of you who played the game now (in "almost done" state) will do so again once we're all set.

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Scriptwriter and producer of Metropolitan Blues
Creator of The Loyal Kinsman

Scriptwriter and director of Daemonophilia
Scriptwriter and director of The Dreaming

Scriptwriter of Zenith Chronicles
Scriptwriter and director of The Thirteenth Year

Scriptwriter and director of Romance is Dead
Scriptwriter and producer of Adrift

More about me in my blog
"Adrift - Like Ever17, but without the Deus Ex Machina" - HigurashiKira



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:30 pm 
Taleweaver wrote:
As a few people mentioned this, the art style: Intentional! I asked LVUER to do this game with me for two reasons, and the bigger was that I wanted the art and the plot to clash. Badly. I wanted them to clash the way Higurashi no Naku Koro ni does it... and you haven't seen the artwork that LVUER will create for the scary stuff...


This was a massively bad idea and it really hurts the game, just like Higurashi's terrible art hurts that game.

Also hunting for the true end is mindwrenching. There is no sense of achievement when you finally get the secret combination right, just frustration. Is there a reason to make it so hard?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:44 pm 
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Completed: Metropolitan Blues, The Loyal Kinsman, Daemonophilia, The Dreaming, The Thirteenth Year, Adrift, Bionic Heart 2, Secrets of the Wolf, The Photographer
Projects: The Pilgrim's Path, Elspeth's Garden, Secret Adventure Game!
Organization: Tall Tales Productions
Twitter: @TallTalesVN
Guest wrote:
Taleweaver wrote:
As a few people mentioned this, the art style: Intentional! I asked LVUER to do this game with me for two reasons, and the bigger was that I wanted the art and the plot to clash. Badly. I wanted them to clash the way Higurashi no Naku Koro ni does it... and you haven't seen the artwork that LVUER will create for the scary stuff...


This was a massively bad idea and it really hurts the game, just like Higurashi's terrible art hurts that game.

Well, too bad you didn't like it. However, if you didn't like the art of Higurashi either, this stylistic device is probably not for you.

Guest wrote:
Also hunting for the true end is mindwrenching. There is no sense of achievement when you finally get the secret combination right, just frustration. Is there a reason to make it so hard?

Yes... because the combination isn't "secret". As soon as you find out how the system works (i.e. which choice means what in the context of the plot), you can navigate through the game without relying on trial and error too much.

I believe the harder the puzzle, the greater the sense of achievement once you solve it. Apparently, our opinions on this point differ as much as our preference in game art.

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Scriptwriter and producer of Metropolitan Blues
Creator of The Loyal Kinsman

Scriptwriter and director of Daemonophilia
Scriptwriter and director of The Dreaming

Scriptwriter of Zenith Chronicles
Scriptwriter and director of The Thirteenth Year

Scriptwriter and director of Romance is Dead
Scriptwriter and producer of Adrift

More about me in my blog
"Adrift - Like Ever17, but without the Deus Ex Machina" - HigurashiKira



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:49 pm 
Wooh~! That was fun. I like it. It's well-written and the music is fittingly creepy. I found the art to already be quite nice despite being unfinished :o Speaking of which, I immediately thought of Higurashi when Julius first appeared. Funny how that works. It's a good thing though, I guess.

Now all that's left is unlocking ending 6...

I found a few typos, if you haven't fixed them already:
However, I can't seen to concentrate on my work.
I can only speculate what the problem wirh Julius could be.
With a little new-found motivation, I start writing the except my colleague asked me about.
It looks as though I am supposed to changed that.
...that doesn't sound very convining.
Prozac wasn't meant to described (prescribed? idk) in cases of burnout syndrome
And thus, it is my medical opinion that he is psychically incapable of caring for a child.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:15 am 
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Organization: Primum Soft
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Well, decided to comment on The Dreaming before going to sleep.

Congratulations with the music! Excellent choices there. Now I'm pumping some slow orchestral pieces in order to get the aforementioned sleep. :P

Despite the typos, placeholders mentioned at the opening post and other etceteras, the story is well-written, the dialogue is surprisingly fluent too. I loved the overall weirdness too. Having not played Higurashi, being the stubborn dinosaur I am, stuck in the Silent Hill 1 - Silent Hill 2 era, being a relic who appreciates Loom and adores Myst... Yeah, I quite liked the ambience and how the crazy things unfold.

My main gripe was the character art, which was somewhat too cute and nice for the overall mood and style of the VN... but since you said it's intentional I can live with it.

Got the BADDO ENDO and the Normal Ending. Gotta hunt the others.

All in all, nice!

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:22 pm 
Loved Higurashi, but don't think it was the right choice here. Two different animals. I think the art itself is nice and cute, though.

There are a lot of typos and odd word choices, but this isn't the final version, so eh.

I'm not sure I understand how to go about finding the true ending. I understand that knowing how the choices work in the context of the plot makes it obvious and everything, but you don't actually leave very many clues as to what the plot is (it could be anything), so there's no known context to work inside, and the choices are vague at best anyway. In particular, I have no idea what any of the conversation with the white lady is supposed to change, and it's especially frustrating as there's four (or so?) options in a row, three answers each, all completely ambiguous.

Like the game, think various parts of it are rather nicely made, but unfortunately won't be ending hunting because that kind of setup (where you never actually feel yourself getting closer, but rather just hunting down various corridors to dead ends) is just too frustrating.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:33 am 
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confession: the first time through, i chose the picture option (and saw the ponytail) and never found out who jane was, so i thought that the twist ending was that julius would be transgender

assorted thoughts:
Different Guest wrote:
In particular, I have no idea what any of the conversation with the white lady is supposed to change, and it's especially frustrating as there's four (or so?) options in a row, three answers each, all completely ambiguous.

The white lady choices are by far the worst part of the game. It would be a little less frustrating if Gabrielle's "I don't get it!!! D:" would change a little depending on what you choose, maybe.

I don't think that it's that hard to figure out what the plot's about, but finding the path to the True Ending is really annoying. Still haven't made it.
argh, timed choices! what?! timed choices whose only correct answer is to wait the timer out?

I liked the art before the shadows, then I thought that Julius's sprite was really jarring, but lately I don't think it's that bad.

do you accept help request PMs? i'm getting confused on something about the first 2/3 choices.

So far I got endings 2, 4, 3, 5, 1 in that order.

edit: oh, the music is really nice, and overall i liked the game.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:50 am 
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I don't get it. Endings 1-4 are easy, but I have no idea how to get 5 or 6.

First couple of choices: all seem to lead to clues. I can't tell which clues are relevant. Finishing with confrontation leads to the most danger (which is good, right?) while finishing with psychoanalysis leads to the most information. I guess the scenic route is better than the direct route?
White lady: seems like a pass/fail test. Is it possible to get this wrong without losing immediately? (I tend to aim for the "make you understand" angle, but the other angles don't seem to make a difference if I don't die outright.)
Other choices: They seem obvious, but I suppose I could have gotten one of them wrong. Information is good and danger is good, right?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:39 pm 
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Completed: Metropolitan Blues, The Loyal Kinsman, Daemonophilia, The Dreaming, The Thirteenth Year, Adrift, Bionic Heart 2, Secrets of the Wolf, The Photographer
Projects: The Pilgrim's Path, Elspeth's Garden, Secret Adventure Game!
Organization: Tall Tales Productions
Twitter: @TallTalesVN
Heh. The White Woman part. Yup, I thought that this would be a part people found difficult. Even though the difficulty of surviving the encounter changes depending on what you did before.

First of all, if you died a lot during the White Woman part, you're probably on a good way to Ending 6. Her conversation includes ONE decision point that is absolutely essential for Ending 6, and that decision point is a pretty obvious one as it sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb in comparison to the two other options. Unfortunately, that decision will ALSO put you one step closer to a Game Over - so you have to "steer" into another direction during a few of her other conversation options. It is possible to get it "wrong" without immediately dying... wrong being missing the right choice for Ending 6. However, consciously avoiding that choice can make achieving Ending 5 easier.

If you want Ending 6, remember that you need to find out the truth behind Julius's hallucinations, and you won't get it without as much "outside help" as possible. Even if that help is... unpleasant. And you might want to draw your own conclusions from what you're hearing... and stand by them.

Wintermoon and Dusty: if you want a Walkthrough, PM me.

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Scriptwriter and producer of Metropolitan Blues
Creator of The Loyal Kinsman

Scriptwriter and director of Daemonophilia
Scriptwriter and director of The Dreaming

Scriptwriter of Zenith Chronicles
Scriptwriter and director of The Thirteenth Year

Scriptwriter and director of Romance is Dead
Scriptwriter and producer of Adrift

More about me in my blog
"Adrift - Like Ever17, but without the Deus Ex Machina" - HigurashiKira



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:44 pm 
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My obligatory critique, based on endings 1-5: the hunt for ending 6 is the fatal flaw in what would otherwise be a solid story. All creative works are by their nature open to interpretation, but here, you are punishing readers who have a different interpretation from your own. I have seen all of the clues, I have my own conclusions about what is going on, yet I can't confront Julius with my conclusions or otherwise act on them because Gabrielle somehow doesn't reach the same conclusions as I. I can't tell if my conclusions are wrong or incomplete or if I just need to guide Gabrielle to better clues so she can draw the same conclusions.
The white woman is particular pernicious in this respect. She doesn't say anything, she just reflects my own thoughts back at me without even confirming if they are correct or not, yet somehow she is supposed to be the key to this whole thing. WTF?


Blah. I give up. Please send me the walkthrough so I test my conclusions against the true ending.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:19 pm 
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Completed: [Phase Shift]
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I personally enjoyed reading through and playing this game. The atmosphere and the music was very well thought out and I found the story very interesting. My nit-picky side however couldn't quite get into the character art even though that's well done in itself. I guess it's because I feel that the style of the character sprites didn't quite fit the serious tone of the story. Still that didn't quite detract from the gameplay as one might expect.

Thumbs up for this one.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:21 pm 
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Location: Germany
Completed: Metropolitan Blues, The Loyal Kinsman, Daemonophilia, The Dreaming, The Thirteenth Year, Adrift, Bionic Heart 2, Secrets of the Wolf, The Photographer
Projects: The Pilgrim's Path, Elspeth's Garden, Secret Adventure Game!
Organization: Tall Tales Productions
Twitter: @TallTalesVN
Wintermoon wrote:
The white woman is particular pernicious in this respect. She doesn't say anything, she just reflects my own thoughts back at me without even confirming if they are correct or not, yet somehow she is supposed to be the key to this whole thing. WTF?

No, she is not "the key" to the entire story. I'll send you the walkthrough and you'll see what I mean.

_________________
Scriptwriter and producer of Metropolitan Blues
Creator of The Loyal Kinsman

Scriptwriter and director of Daemonophilia
Scriptwriter and director of The Dreaming

Scriptwriter of Zenith Chronicles
Scriptwriter and director of The Thirteenth Year

Scriptwriter and director of Romance is Dead
Scriptwriter and producer of Adrift

More about me in my blog
"Adrift - Like Ever17, but without the Deus Ex Machina" - HigurashiKira



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:35 pm 
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So. I finally managed to get all endings for this. A couple of comments:

* The writing is really excellent, probably the best I've seen here so far. Oh well, I noticed two typos. Not a problem.
* The scenario is great too, I especially love the early branching that can give you very different facets, and the epilogue.
* The music is also a winner, it fits perfectly and is in itself very good. I really credit the music for setting this game's mood first and foremost, and I wish there were more people trying music more off the beaten path. The sound effects are... okay, I guess.

Now, for the not so good.

* The art... well. The style doesn't fit. And the mismatch does not work for me as an effect at all, and the mood is there in spite of the art, not because of it (mostly, as said above, due to the music). Not much more to say apart from that I think that yes, it's good on its own, yes, you get used to it, but it would still have been better with another style. Apart from that, there are a couple of things that are not a matter of taste, even disregarding that the backgrounds will change (because they obviously clash in terms of look and perspective); for example, some sprites are drawn in completely different perspectives. Compare Danny and Julius.
* The game is ridiculously hard. No, seriously. I think the whole binary tree has exactly ONE path that gets you the true end, and the choices are not obvious at all. I really do believe you're trying to be too clever here, what is apparent to you may not be so to most other people. Yes, it makes some sense, but only in hindsight, really. I only managed to beat it by setting the game into developer mode and tracing the variables, and even THAT does not help much without the hints you dropped in this thread and finally decompiling part of the game logic. I think it does say a lot about your writing that I even bothered with that, but it also says a lot about how hard it is. Not to mention that not getting the true end is totally not trivial, reading it is fundamental to getting the most out of the game, as you surely are aware. You're pretty much locking out a large part of the audience (as evidenced in this thread) for the sake of making some kind of statement.... not a good idea IMO. This leads us nicely to....
* Spoiler territory.
The twist. I saw this one coming from so far away it isn't even funny. I groaned at the thought of a NO GABRIELLE YOU ARE THE HALLUCINATIONS ending about five minutes in, and bam, there it is. To the game's credit, it really leads up its twist well, and in itself the ending is as well-executed as the rest of the writing, but no work exists in a vacuum, and this type of twist is so common that you always expect it. In fact, I think the game would have fared much better with a deliberate anti-twist. This is not at all helped by the fact that the ending is so aggravating to get.

*
Back to the branching, timed choices you have to wait out without any indication that this is the case is really just nasty. So is having choices with no feedback that are extremely important. And DOUBLY so is blocking rollback on those and only those choices.

* Using mixed-mode NVL and ADV is fine, but you really should consider clearing the NVL buffer after showing ADV text. It's pretty confusing to see old text again, with no hint that ADV text came in between. Now this could easily be another stylistic choice, but if so, it's not a good one. Also, the NVL text ran off the bottom off the screen in a couple of instances. There's a chance that it's due to the way I ran the game (on OS X with Ren'Py 6.9.3), if so, disregard that.
* Seeing how close to completion this is, I really wonder why you would release it nearly, but not quite, finished. It's not like you seem to be open to general suggestions regarding the concept at this point.
* Minor miscellany: The UI is stock. This in itself is okay, but you should at least consider using a different background for main menu screens. Also, I don't really like how easy it is to skip the credits by mistake, in a game where you're going to skip a whole lot due to the number of tries a certain ending will take to get. And there is no "the" Creative Commons License, there are several to choose from; to make sense, you have to specify which one.

But all in all, really quite an excellent piece that could have been among the best OELVNs ever (and to be honest, probably still is). However, somehow this only makes the above flaws all the more disappointing (especially considering some are by design). It's great, but could easily have been much better still.

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Last edited by delta on Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:50 pm 
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Taleweaver wrote:
No, she is not "the key" to the entire story.

I disagree. Julius's guilt is the key to the entire story.


The true ending was pretty much what I expected, which leaves me more confused than ever about the significance of the choices in getting there.
I already knew that Jane's accident was at the root of Julius's problem from the first time I played through, where I chose conversation -> therapy. I didn't know about Gabrielle's true nature, although it's obvious in retrospect. I'm somewhat surprised that the obvious inconsistencies in Julius's story are never addressed.


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