[NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

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Greeny
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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#16 Post by Greeny » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:43 am

Looks promising.
While I can see some clear archetypes in the characters, I do hope you don't end up writing them as stereotypes too much.
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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#17 Post by KomiTsuku » Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:46 pm

Greeny wrote:Looks promising.
While I can see some clear archetypes in the characters, I do hope you don't end up writing them as stereotypes too much.
Bonus points if you can name them all to the beat of the Pokerap!

It would be one of my more ludicrous lies if I said that I didn't start out with some pretty strong stereotypes when I first started writing them. However, that was back in 2002, and I like to fool myself that over the years of writing with these characters, I've managed to move away from the original stereotypes. If it does seem too over-the-top or overdone, feel free to smack me. I don't get better if nobody takes my idiocy and slaps me with it like a red salmon.

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#18 Post by KomiTsuku » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:35 am

I'm thinking of canceling episodic releases. Partially because of the current hostile environment, partially because I'm not sure if people would want smaller 25-30k chunks every month to two months over a 150-200k brick that would take 6-8 months.

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#19 Post by Ellume » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:45 pm

KomiTsuku wrote:I'm thinking of canceling episodic releases. Partially because of the current hostile environment, partially because I'm not sure if people would want smaller 25-30k chunks every month to two months over a 150-200k brick that would take 6-8 months.
Hostile environment? This thread seems very supportive imo. Does seem there is a degree of drama going on elsewhere in the forum though.

One advantage I see to doing the 'brick' release is using the skip mode when replaying. If the releases are episodic I am unsure if the skip feature would work well or if a player would have to go through the whole story every time. By unsure I literally mean I don't know how it would work. I know that I've played betas which have updaters, I have enjoyed being apart of those, and the skip feature worked just fine for them as well.

I waited a couple days before making comments on this game, so these are more the impressions I remember rather then the standard post analysis.

First off my feelings about Syl were mixed. While I felt like she would be my favourite, I was more waiting to see a strong silent or perhaps even somewhat bold character that I imagined would be the character for the bodyguard being described by Anton. Instead all I saw was a seemingly shy and timid girl. After getting to know all three girls I still felt like she *would* be my favourite, and that I just had to let her play out her trying to be feminine for awhile before she finds a balance between the two. I totally hope she wears the suit and sunglasses sometimes, I would like to see that ^_^

The game did peek my interest in hearing more about the setting/universe that the story was unfolding in. LIke what is this governmental system? and what is up with this Anton guy and his position? And as interesting as I would find having all the answers upfront in the beginning, I seem to remember there already being a decent dose of Anton recalling information about other characters. So while I think it could be done, and done well by adding in more info upfront, I think it also would make sense to draw things out and balance the current story with the backstory as the game progresses.

In regards to the stereotypes convo, the cast does seem to have notable character types already. So people can click in and relate off the start, but now that they are somewhat established I would say just play with things and let the characters free, it is always fun to see how a stereotype doesn't actually fit the stereotype or in what ways they differ.

All in all I thought it was very well done, enjoyed it greatly, and am looking forward to seeing more. If you want another tester I'm all up for that.

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#20 Post by vasudaprime » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:10 pm

I enjoyed the episode a lot. The interactions between Yomi, Syl, and Name were probably the most interesting part for me. It'c clear that Name has a personality that grates with the others, so I'm interested to see how her story turns out :).

As for whether you should release tis episodically or as a whole... Really, you should decide that, not us :). If you think it'd work best episodically, then release it that way. If you think it works best as a single piece, then again, release it that way. If it works either way, then release it whichever way you're most comfortable. If it doesn't work either way, then you have a problem :P ;).

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#21 Post by KomiTsuku » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:57 pm

Ellume wrote:
KomiTsuku wrote:I'm thinking of canceling episodic releases. Partially because of the current hostile environment, partially because I'm not sure if people would want smaller 25-30k chunks every month to two months over a 150-200k brick that would take 6-8 months.
Hostile environment? This thread seems very supportive imo. Does seem there is a degree of drama going on elsewhere in the forum though.

One advantage I see to doing the 'brick' release is using the skip mode when replaying. If the releases are episodic I am unsure if the skip feature would work well or if a player would have to go through the whole story every time. By unsure I literally mean I don't know how it would work. I know that I've played betas which have updaters, I have enjoyed being apart of those, and the skip feature worked just fine for them as well.

I waited a couple days before making comments on this game, so these are more the impressions I remember rather then the standard post analysis.

First off my feelings about Syl were mixed. While I felt like she would be my favourite, I was more waiting to see a strong silent or perhaps even somewhat bold character that I imagined would be the character for the bodyguard being described by Anton. Instead all I saw was a seemingly shy and timid girl. After getting to know all three girls I still felt like she *would* be my favourite, and that I just had to let her play out her trying to be feminine for awhile before she finds a balance between the two. I totally hope she wears the suit and sunglasses sometimes, I would like to see that ^_^

The game did peek my interest in hearing more about the setting/universe that the story was unfolding in. LIke what is this governmental system? and what is up with this Anton guy and his position? And as interesting as I would find having all the answers upfront in the beginning, I seem to remember there already being a decent dose of Anton recalling information about other characters. So while I think it could be done, and done well by adding in more info upfront, I think it also would make sense to draw things out and balance the current story with the backstory as the game progresses.

In regards to the stereotypes convo, the cast does seem to have notable character types already. So people can click in and relate off the start, but now that they are somewhat established I would say just play with things and let the characters free, it is always fun to see how a stereotype doesn't actually fit the stereotype or in what ways they differ.

All in all I thought it was very well done, enjoyed it greatly, and am looking forward to seeing more. If you want another tester I'm all up for that.
Oh, not here, but I seem to making friends elsewhere. However, I've never been one to let personal matters enter my professional aspects, so I will be keeping at it.

There are a lot of factors that have me wondering how I am going to pull off episodes, a lot of technicalities that myself and my assistant are trying to address. Odds are you might be seeing posts in the help section about persistent files. There have been very few VNs that have done it, most end up not finishing it. I want to see if I can break the norm. But I'm a little leery about it, hence why I want to see how everyone would feel about. Maybe an option to take a few standard openings like Dragon Age 2? Although I would leave certain secret lines in for those who play through the whole game. I've always been a fan of non-standard paths.

Syl has always been a fun character to write. In previous works, she's always blended in very well with the furniture. She's trying to adapt to a world that is needing killers less and less, and failing at it so far. Of course, Anton is always going to need someone with a sharp eye and a pistol to back him up. While you might not see too much of that in Episode One, danger does lurk behind many doors...

I don't want to give too much backstory, otherwise nobody will buy my super special awesome book that will be coming to an Amazon Online near you sometime this year. XD I kid, I kid. While the full, completely edited Katajion's Dream will be released for purchase sometime this year (maybe even a B&N bookstore if this works right), I am still working as much backstory into the plot as I can get away with. Episode One is pretty heavy on it, but I still am trying to keep everything moving along. It is harder than I originally assumed, but I'm hoping it will turn out nicely.

And then you find out that Name is a yondere... okay, maybe not. Curse you, School Days, for putting such thoughts into mah head.

As for another tester... Tempting. Currently, the only testers are me, Figerit (who didn't actually download it), and Toshi (who I played Starcraft with instead of actually testing). It might do us some good to get someone outside IDHAS. >.<
vasudaprime wrote:As for whether you should release tis episodically or as a whole... Really, you should decide that, not us :). If you think it'd work best episodically, then release it that way. If you think it works best as a single piece, then again, release it that way. If it works either way, then release it whichever way you're most comfortable. If it doesn't work either way, then you have a problem :P ;).
In the words of my assistant, Toshi, "Do you want to release a few episodes before procrastination claims it and you break hopes and dreams, or do you want to set a long deadline that you will procrastinate to before you just kill the project?" I think I will stick with episodes, keeps me honest and working. The Dragon Age 2 idea is really starting to sound promising to make this work.

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#22 Post by Ellume » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:04 pm

Just noticed that there is an updater in the renpy cookbook http://www.renpy.org/wiki/renpy/doc/cookbook/Updater

So I guess the updater might be an easy option, but maybe you were already aware. Also something like a mailing list might be nice. People could sign up in order to receive news of progress updates or releases, it is convenient for people that are interested but don't actively check this forum. Or do you already have a IDHAS/Frozen Phoenix mailing list? RSS?

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#23 Post by KomiTsuku » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:25 pm

Ellume wrote:Just noticed that there is an updater in the renpy cookbook http://www.renpy.org/wiki/renpy/doc/cookbook/Updater

So I guess the updater might be an easy option, but maybe you were already aware. Also something like a mailing list might be nice. People could sign up in order to receive news of progress updates or releases, it is convenient for people that are interested but don't actively check this forum. Or do you already have a IDHAS/Frozen Phoenix mailing list? RSS?
Hmmmmm... I could use it for smaller patches, but it doesn't archive the files.

You might we are notorious for never actually having any sort of up mailing list and/or blog ... or site for that matter. Someone was supposed to help me with that, but there were some external problems on that one. A website is another thing I plan on tackling later this week. Considering our prior two novels were major flops and I've always just been a roving editor who only posted my stories on fictionpress, we really never had much need for one. But time are changing, for the better. There will be an update here when that actually gets finished. Having a targeted release date of May 6th.

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#24 Post by Ellume » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:00 pm

I could help you out with setting up a basic site if you want as I have some extra free time this week. It wouldn't be anything overly fancy, but it would be something to get things started. It does sound like you already have things getting worked out in regards to it though.

It would probably be decently easy to modify the updater code to do more, as I mentioned in my email I do have some python experience although it has been awhile. Maybe I will take a look at it myself sometime.

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#25 Post by south desert islander » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:52 am

So I finished this episode 0 with a bit of mix feelings. On one, hand I enjoyed the character developments and it gave a solid experience, yet several elements of the game just did not work well with each other. Namely the story itself and the music, which I will try to explain..

The overall story is good, it's simple enough to follow and not a lot elements come into the mix. The problem is that for most of this game, one question was stuck in my mind " How is this a Sci-fi game?" If I some how got pushed 15 mins into this game's dialogue, then I would have never have guessed this was set in the future with intergalactic politics.

The reason? There is very elements in that point it to Sci-fi in a visual manner(Everything looks like it's set in current day. The images and setting gives off a political atmosphere (quite perfectly, I might add) however, there is no visual that screams to me that it's a sci-fi. If you removed that element, half of my questions that I could raise would be thrown out the window.

I love the visuals you guys set for this. I spent a good deal of time looking over them and appreciated much of it to pro quality. Though for some reason there is one scene where the quality takes a lag spike and returns to its normal flow of visuals. I was not even sure what that was about, but nothing to remove the shine that this game was giving off.

Now the last gripe is just the music. The music itself is not bad, but most of it does not seem to enhance the experience. I'm not quite sure the reasons for the sound selection, but it barely sets a tone for the game. I will say the music is good, it just feels off with the setting of the game.

Overall, I did enjoy this game and hope to see what happens next in the series. Keep up the good work.

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#26 Post by KomiTsuku » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:49 am

south desert islander wrote:So I finished this episode 0 with a bit of mix feelings. On one, hand I enjoyed the character developments and it gave a solid experience, yet several elements of the game just did not work well with each other. Namely the story itself and the music, which I will try to explain..

The overall story is good, it's simple enough to follow and not a lot elements come into the mix. The problem is that for most of this game, one question was stuck in my mind " How is this a Sci-fi game?" If I some how got pushed 15 mins into this game's dialogue, then I would have never have guessed this was set in the future with intergalactic politics.

The reason? There is very elements in that point it to Sci-fi in a visual manner(Everything looks like it's set in current day. The images and setting gives off a political atmosphere (quite perfectly, I might add) however, there is no visual that screams to me that it's a sci-fi. If you removed that element, half of my questions that I could raise would be thrown out the window.

I love the visuals you guys set for this. I spent a good deal of time looking over them and appreciated much of it to pro quality. Though for some reason there is one scene where the quality takes a lag spike and returns to its normal flow of visuals. I was not even sure what that was about, but nothing to remove the shine that this game was giving off.

Now the last gripe is just the music. The music itself is not bad, but most of it does not seem to enhance the experience. I'm not quite sure the reasons for the sound selection, but it barely sets a tone for the game. I will say the music is good, it just feels off with the setting of the game.

Overall, I did enjoy this game and hope to see what happens next in the series. Keep up the good work.
You raise a very, very interesting point. It isn't traditional sci-fi, I will agree. The backstory is that there were some technological dark days for several hundred years between modern day and when this story takes place. Humanity was on the ropes as a mutating virus rampaged, forcing humanity to flee upon abandoned spacecraft when Katajion ships attempted to alter history (that was a VN I wrote claimed by the broken hard drive gods. It involved a lot of theory on the flow of the time/space continuum.). Even years later, when humanity finally started making contact with other fragments and reclaimed Earth, corrupt governments stalled everything. It wasn't really until the last hundred years that humanity finally started making advances again, basing everything off of the glory days before the virus, hence why you see a lot of modern day themes. You might see some of the "traditional" futuristic themes on Saflok, one of the few fragment worlds that never suffered from the dark ages, but most locations either are modern day, their own style, or are very, very utilitarian. Episode One alludes to this past and talks a little more about it. Besides, you are sitting in the middle of a modern day man's office. Anton likes things that remind him of his home.

However, I agree that I could just drop the whole thing and make it solely modern day. The only thing that is much more technologically advanced are the spacecraft and warfighting tools, remnants of the corrupt U.E.C. Most of the series involves the war between the Raltins and the Katajions, so it is starting to feel a little strange writing about the office life, not the star cruisers engaging each other in deep space. It is a bit of a style change for me. But... it might be easier if you do think of this particular story taking place in a modern day environment instead of a future one. There are going to be very few futuristic elements to it, and the two cultures you will be running into take their style from their heritage (modern day America/Katajia and a highly mutated and distorted Japanese society {almost like a group of weeaboo made their own utopia...}/Uterik). I dunno, I'm thinking about it...

I think the one disrupt in visuals is the single CG in the game. We are trying to change it up a little and add some more that, hopefully, blend in with the style a little better.

Music is getting replaced. I have to agree with you that it didn't match the mood quite right.

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#27 Post by Ellume » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:17 pm

KomiTsuku wrote:However, I agree that I could just drop the whole thing and make it solely modern day. The only thing that is much more technologically advanced are the spacecraft and warfighting tools, remnants of the corrupt U.E.C. Most of the series involves the war between the Raltins and the Katajions, so it is starting to feel a little strange writing about the office life, not the star cruisers engaging each other in deep space. It is a bit of a style change for me. But... it might be easier if you do think of this particular story taking place in a modern day environment instead of a future one. There are going to be very few futuristic elements to it, and the two cultures you will be running into take their style from their heritage (modern day America/Katajia and a highly mutated and distorted Japanese society {almost like a group of weeaboo made their own utopia...}/Uterik). I dunno, I'm thinking about it...
Part of what drew me to this was the sci-fi theme. I kinda like the idea how office life is still very much like office life even in the future, and interpersonal relations will always have similar elements regardless of setting. I would suggest just throwing in some obviously advanced tech or refer to it periodically to draw contrast between their society and our own. Makes me think how there was that big Greco-Roman movement during the Renaissance where they tried to build their architecture or even their society generally on what they believed the past was like. Thinking about this story as a scifi made it more enjoyable for me, even if it doesn't have in your face technology themes, I liked hearing about the other planets etc.

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#28 Post by south desert islander » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:16 pm

I think Ellume is right on. I am not asking for the Sci-fi theme to be removed. I like it, just there was not enough for my inner sci-fi fanboy to shut up. You are on the right track. Sci-fi does not always have to be about epic star battles or laser guns. A slice of life like this can fit easily. I don't think dropping that part is ideal since you can add more characters or species with that theme then without it.

A good example is that you could add a few things that is 'out of place' from the real world. A holograph watch, cyborg implants, having anything that does not float that do i.e. (floating chairs, tables, hats). In a story like this, a little dash of techno advancement is enough to make it a good sci-fi story. Heavy sci-fi relies on the setting to make an impact on the story. A light sci-fi (like this one) uses the themes to enhance the story and focuses more on other elements such as the character development. So don't remove the element, just add a bit more of that spice to get a better mixture of your Visual Novel soup. That is just my two cents of course.

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#29 Post by m_evergreen » Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:31 pm

I played it and I was sad to see it come to an end. I hope to play more when it's available. :)

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Re: [NaNoRenO '11] Anton's Vacation {Episode Zero}

#30 Post by KomiTsuku » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:37 pm

Sorry for the delay, I've been (and still am) on vacation right now. Internet connection has been very, very minimal.

You've both given me quite a bit to think about. I'll find someway to add some more sci-fi elements to the game. ^_^

@m_evergreen: I hate disappointing people, so you will get to play more of it soon. ^^

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