The Third Ingredient

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Alex
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The Third Ingredient

#1 Post by Alex » Sun Jun 13, 2010 4:59 pm

Hi, folks!
Finally, I finished my project - its a short KN based on O.Henry`s novel "The Third Ingredient".

Play time - about 5 minutes
Language - english / russian
Music / sound - yes

So, waiting for your comments...))

http://rapidshare.com/files/414277119/T ... l.zip.html or
http://www.mediafire.com/?ag6q99n4a5xx6hx
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Aleema
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Re: The Third Ingredient

#2 Post by Aleema » Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:04 am

Things I liked:
- I really liked the atmosphere of the game! I really felt transported back in time. The music, sepia tone, the entire interface was really effective. I had to say that your ability to transport me there was my favorite part. :)
- The amount of detail and hard work you put into animating your scenes. I can tell you really worked hard on this!
- I'm very impressed with your point-and-click system. It has a lot of potential for some serious adventurin'! I'm a fan of adventure games, so this was a nice feature. :)

Not so much:
- Did anyone proofread your work? There were some typos and such that I caught, but there was so many words that I wasn't really sure if they were typos at all. My advice is to get an English proofreader. While it's really, really nice to have English to begin with, it may not be good to release it in English until you get some help. :)
- I'm not sure how much of your writing is yours, and how much is Henry's (I'm going to assume most all of it is yours), but the verbose paragraphs at every click was very hard to digest. The use of descriptives for everything confused me more than helped me understand what I should be seeing. For instance:
"The buyer was a capable, cool-eyed, impersonal, young, bald-headed looking man. As he walked along the aisles of his department lie seemed to be sailing on a sea of frangipanni, while white clouds, machine-embroidered, floated around him."
I'm not sure what this would sound like in Russian, but in English, it's almost unreadable. Sure, there's words there, and they make sense, but it's such a chore to do -- and to top it all off, there are a lot of mistakes. And I don't even know if they're mistakes! That's how confused I am!! And what the hell is frangipanni!? In the end, the main problem was telling, not showing. I want to find out that "the buyer" is capable and impersonal, not be told. And so on and so forth. And this was literally a random line I chose to demonstrate my frustration. There are plenty of these throughout.
- When the game first transitioned into the adventure point-and-click, I didn't even know what was going on. Maybe some sort of symbol or advice to start the game would be nice? Out of the entire picture you show for the first adventure, only a small part of the screen was clickable, so I was confused again ...
- With so much effort put into the game, why are the character images such poor quality? They have artifacts around their edges and stuff like that. I'm not referring to how they're drawn, just how they're applied to the game.
- The endings were confusing. They just suddenly ended!
- The hallway was really annoying. Do any of the doors every do anything? Ever? I made a point to knock on every single one, until I got back to my room and the game just ended. What the heck, man? =P

All in all, this seemed like a project just to test your adventure engine, not really about the quality of the story ... I hope you writing something more substantial (and proofed) later. But I do like the mechanics. Good job!

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Re: The Third Ingredient

#3 Post by Alex » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:44 am

Thanks for the tip, Aleema ...))

As for proofreading - yes, noone did it, I just checked the spelling in Word ...)) Could you tell me the typos you found?
And as for " frangipanni" - I have had to Google it myself ...)) In Russian translation it sounds like "cheap perfume" - I think this was the popular perfume.

Now, about the adventure part of the game ...
I thought that to take a story written by not me, photos made not by me, music… (well, you know) - it would not be interesting, and decided to add something on my own - a little bit of interactivity.
In the first scene (with closet), to add some symbols ... hmm, still do not know how this could be. It seemed to me that the last sentence, that she took the stew-pan from the closet, must show the right way to go... but... maybe...
And the corridor situation is next - hallway without a door would look like a strange and append something about neighbors who you could knock to I didn`t dare ...)) As I said the main idea of this corridor scene – is to add some interactivity and nothing more (by the way, you can use “Skip mode” to move faster).
As for the characters ... I have been studying not only Ren`py, but photoshop ...)) And by the way, make some progress while been working over the game, had been receiving worse before ...(( In general, I am not an expert either one of skills necessary for creating games, and this is the best that I can do now.

I'm glad you liked the atmosphere of the game - that means it worth making it ...))

Alex

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Re: The Third Ingredient

#4 Post by Aleema » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:30 pm

Okay, I looked up the original work, and now I see it is just word-for-word from O Henry's work. Sorry about critiquing the writing! His stuff is so hard to read. x_x If it sounds better in Russian, then nevermind me.

As for proofing, I can't say what is a typo or not, as you seemed to copy/paste the writing. It just seemed ... wrong in places. But I guess it is right ..? Reading Shakespeare is easier than this, haha.
In the first scene (with closet), to add some symbols ... hmm, still do not know how this could be. It seemed to me that the last sentence, that she took the stew-pan from the closet, must show the right way to go... but... maybe...
No, the writing is fine, I'm talking about putting up the navigation arrows (but can't use them) to let the player know that they have to click something. When I first played, this was my thought process:
"She took a pan ... ... ... Why is there no more text? *click,click,click* Oh, I have to find it. Where's a closet? Clicking that does nothing, clicking that does nothing ... Do I have to click the door? That did nothing ... whoa! My mouse changed! Oh, okay, I have to click stuff to find the pan. Okay, I clicked the cabinet, but she said it wasn't in there. But ... but I can't click anywhere else!! Oh, I gave to click the other drawers ... But now I've clicked them all!! Oh, I had to click the left one, too." <---- That's why I felt I should tell you that there wasn't a proper transition to the point-and-click aspect. =P

And don't let me discourage you!! This is an excellent little practice game. It is far better than some other games I played, and you have a good grasp on Ren'Py capabilities. That is to be commended! :D

Although I still think that at least one of the doors should have done something ... ;_; That was just cruel.

Maybe frangipanni is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumeria
Last edited by Aleema on Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Third Ingredient

#5 Post by Showsni » Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:49 pm

The word frangipanni makes me think of marzipan for some reason...

Oh, here's why: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frangipane

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Re: The Third Ingredient

#6 Post by Alex » Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:00 pm

Although I still think that at least one of the doors should have done something ... ;_; That was just cruel.
:evil laugh:
Maybe frangipanni is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumeria
Yes - looks like...))

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Re: The Third Ingredient

#7 Post by alberte » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:37 pm

OOh .. I love those arrow keys too move, I gotta play this,

Looking nice, =]
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Frangipanni....

#8 Post by dott.Piergiorgio » Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:21 pm

Sounds like an Italian word, but I never heard it, but for sure, "frangipani" (with one N) refer to a flower, as pointed by Alex, but also the opinion of Showsni is valid, both are reasonable writing mistakes an English-language writer can do in transcribing Italian words (notice, transcribing, not translitterating !) but because we're talking about an respected literary author I'm more oriented toward Alex's opinion, whose is a much simpler oversight, also very common (how many times I have found mispelling of consonants in Italian ship names in english Naval literature !)

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Re: The Third Ingredient

#9 Post by AllegroDiRossi » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:07 am

I think I'm quite fond of this game. It has a simple, straightforward air that I quite like. Kind of like the main character in a way. I was aware of what I would be getting myself into when I saw that it was based on a work by O.Henry. I think you did a good job of bringing his (often difficult for those not used to it) text to life in the form of the visual novel.

I adored your musical choices. Even though I got the best ending the first time around, I was sure to go back and unlock the extra songs.

Ending 1 was a bit strange to obtain. I'm still not quite sure what I did to get it.

I think that the character sprites were very unique and fitting for the project. If there was one sprite I didn't like, it was the gentleman's. He looked too anime-style compared to the female sprites. I might also have liked it more if the man that turns the painter down were animated like the sprites, but I guess that's more nit-picking than an actual desire, since I understand he wasn't a part of the story.

The point-and-click elements were confusing, and traversing the hallway bordered on annoying. Perhaps there might be a way to expedite the process for the hallway scenes? And I agree about there needing to be more information about the point-and-click element. This could be resolved with a simple splash-screen of instructions that precedes the actual event.

Overall, I quite liked it. It's nice to see VN's outside the typical molds of high-school dating sims and such. I would definitely support more works in this style.
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Re: The Third Ingredient

#10 Post by Alex » Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:34 am

Thanks for feedback...))
"his (often difficult for those not used to it) text"
I haven't read O. Henry in original (besides this novel), but comparing the translation and the original, I can say that it is very accurate. And yes - the author describes the characters and events very floridly, using plenty of adjectives and all sorts of unexpected comparisons. But I still really like his ironic style of description, which often turns into a venomous sarcasm. Furthermore, it seems to me that despite the fact that his stories were written about 100 years ago, the situation of them could easily happen at any time (just quite a change of scenery, and the words and deeds leave unchanged).
"Ending 1 was a bit strange to obtain. I'm still not quite sure what I did to get it."
Ending 1 - get water, not acquainted with the artist and get back to the room to cook meat alone.
"If there was one sprite I didn't like, it was the gentleman's. He looked too anime-style compared to the female sprites. I might also have liked it more if the man that turns the painter down were animated like the sprites, but I guess that's more nit-picking than an actual desire, since I understand he wasn't a part of the story."
I experienced firsthand how difficult it is to find a male character sprites ...))
"Perhaps there might be a way to expedite the process for the hallway scenes?"
You can turn on "Skip mode" - it'll make hallway scenes change faster.

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Re: The Third Ingredient

#11 Post by YiuKorochko » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:47 pm

A real goodie for Russkih chitatelyei! Not so much so for English, but having the story there and available in whole is a very nice step I believe.

Very good!
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Re: The Third Ingredient

#12 Post by Alex » Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:36 pm

Well, it's better (?) late then never...

I made slightest corrections to the game:
- Hints added in "adventure" parts of the game,
- False endings now expanded with couple of words...))

For ones, who already downloaded the game, the patch is available here
(just unarchive it in *game_folder*/game, to replace script files for new ones)

Link for updated version is in the first post.

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Re: The Third Ingredient

#13 Post by AnnTenna_ » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:32 pm

I'm not sure what this would sound like in Russian, but in English, it's almost unreadable.
Aleema, In Russian I haven't found out similar problems. :D
Although I still think that at least one of the doors should have done something ... ;_; That was just cruel.
Yes, so it would be more interesting and it is various. :roll:
I experienced firsthand how difficult it is to find a male character sprites ...))
It agree with AllegroDiRossi. It is a little surprised that there was nothing more suitable :lol:

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Re: The Third Ingredient

#14 Post by salis » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:03 pm

When I saw this was based on one of O.Henry’s stories, I looked forward to how you would interoperate his writing. I find his work very entertaining, but his writing can get lengthy and confusing sometimes to those unfamiliar with his style, so I was a bit disappointed at seeing that the writing is entirely his own. However, the theme and style of the game is incredibly well done and fits the story perfectly. It’s a refreshing change to play a time-period based visual novel.

The sepia toned images combined with the music gave off an enjoyable and authentic feeling of those times, and the title screen and menus were equally effective. I know it’s a challenge to find free resources that meld together cohesively, but you’ve done a very good job with what you had. The style of the gentleman with the onion was the only one that stood out, but, other than that, the other images match quite well.

You’ve put a great amount of effort into this, and it shows! The movements and sound effects add personality and detail to the story and were all well placed. What's really impressive is the point-and-click system. I can only imagine the amount of coding required for it, and I applaud you for being able to incorporate it into your visual novel so well. I’m not sure if you fully utilized it, but it definitely has promise.

Now, I have to say, I was confused the moment the game transitioned from a kinetic novel to a “point-and-click” adventure. I agree with Aleema that some sort of instruction should be given to the player, but perhaps immediately after entering the room rather than waiting for “Help Hetty to find a stew-pan - click the mouse on the closet.” to appear. Also, that message only confused me more, since the word “closet” made me think of the ones you walk into, not the cupboards.

Also, the amount of doors that did nothing was a bit odd. If you don’t want the player to explore, I think it might be best not to give them the option to. Perhaps shortening the hall way would work out better, since running up and down it all the time grew tiresome.

The directional menu was very nicely designed and well executed, but besides the arrows, I’m not certain what the “eye” and “teardrop” icon actually do. It might be more effective to explain their purpose in the game.

Overall, I really enjoyed “The Third Ingredient.” It was well done for what it was and I hope you continue to make more visual novels! :D
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Re: The Third Ingredient

#15 Post by Alex » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:07 pm

Thanks, salis. I'm glad you enjoyed it...))
It was rather interesting for me to search for some music and photos of that time.

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