[WIP?] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G)

Ideas and games that are not yet publicly in production. This forum also contains the pre-2012 archives of the Works in Progress forum.
Message
Author
User avatar
Aleema
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 2677
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 2:11 pm
Organization: happyB
Tumblr: happybackwards
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#91 Post by Aleema » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:47 pm

broken_angel wrote:Yay for a long post that's not all about what I did wrong. :lol:
HEY! Got something to say to me, lady!? =P
I'm trying to make up for being too busy to post feedback on Memoirs before you closed the window for it. Just think of it like this: if I didn't mention it, it was good. And I didn't mention a lot of stuff. I'm trying to help, but I understand your brain at this point, so just take what I say in stride. Fix or don't. Your game. Make a game you want to play, above all. :)

Here's stuff I liked to try to counteract a bit: Character customization is bitchin'. The MC's personality is natural and I love it. the ability to walk around is way more interactive than a daily planner. The time system and people's schedule is a great idea! Just needs some polish to be "well executed", but I'm not suggesting you ditch it. Some of my favorite games have character schedules -- like Fallout. It's nice. The PDA is great, really, but I never used it because it was too much of a hassle to access it. Voice acting will be real easy for you, and will add a lot to the characters. All the characters' personalities were real easy to pick up on, and were all different. No one came off as boring or generic. And everything else I didn't mention.

Okay, back to the other stuff, since I don't want to crap on you and leave. xD

- For persistent data, it's really easy. This cookbook page has a good example of it (just minus adding it to the preferences screen.)
- I hard code the image to change, meaning making a variable for every option and checking if it's true (if so: display selected image, if not: show unselected imagebutton). This is just a nitpick but something people take for granted.
- Make your PDA the default menu screen, and bam. There you go. You can also insert their screens into the game menu with this code. The newest Ren'Py's screen language makes this way easier.
- You didn't disable rollback? That's weeeird. I was angry at you and everything. xD I wonder why.
- Placement of the sprites body is something you're going to just ignore? But it's such an easy fix!! You'll never have a kickass game if you're not anal about this stuff. To fix, put all your poses together in one image and then crop to the total width of all of them. Make sure their bodies are aligned. Then re-crop each individual pose with the same margin and there you go. No jumping.
Point taken about the Options buttons needing to be easier to access. I was trying to be as minimal as possible as far as stuff covering up the screen. I guess I did that a little too well...xD;; The problem, though, is that there are various location buttons on all sides of the screen, so it's difficult to find a good place to put them along the sides where they won't clash with the location buttons, and I can't put them with the textbox itself because then it'll look silly when the textbox disappears (and I don't want it to stay up all the time).
I see your point, but it doesn't need to be there for map scene. I mean, you SHOULD make the PDA accessible some other way (please) so they don't need to be there then, but if you can control when that down arrow shows up, you can control when those icons show up, too. But those buttons are the beef of the game, you know? These aren't something you minimalize. They're what you put in the middle of the screen with flashing lights and arrows pointing to them. =P
James' gun thing...Actually, I had in there originally after the "Oh man...what have I gotten myself into? Threatening me with a gun like that... This guy is insane." But I figured it would be bad to turn the player off from him so soon. xP Perhaps I'll take out that pose, too, and save it for later. It is one of the "jokes" later, though, that he always whips out his gun at the worst times.
If you want the gun to be a thing (and I would, if I had a sprite like that) and not set off all our crazy-guy alarms, use it comically. He pulls it out, and the entire library drops to the floor, he realizes his mistake and apologizes. I mean, doesn't he make a joke about shooting computers? Make it a running gag that he doesn't know how to be appropriate with it. But wielding it casually and threatening people is the worst thing he could've done. Ideal romance interests should not be a threat to you like that. If you don't want the gun to be the butt of jokes, then I suggest introducing it in a cool, heroic manner. Someone tries to mug the MC, or something tense where he pulls it out and the MC asks about it, and he mentions he has it for ghosts or whatever the hell he does. That would be sexy. That screams "man is good provider", in that he can protect you, whereas right now, it's the opposite. xD

- Cool about mini-games for studying. Hope it's quick and easy, like the roll of a dice or slot machine or something. That would be fun and addicting. xD
- Please put stats in the status window plz <3 <3 forever thx. Also, if there's a known bug about the status window bugging out, disable it for the tutorial, but I guarantee people are going to click it then, if nothing else but to get it off the window it's covering up.
Conversations as in...?
Exactly.
Oh, you want more? Um, lol. Sorry, I mean ... I get to know Bridget and James pretty well. I guess they're canon, and that's why, but I wanted to have that level of interaction with others, too. There's a cutscene when you meet the characters, but please write more cutscenes. I barely know these people, but if I click them they'll talk to me like old friends. Surely the shy guy will at least be a little more reserved. Your favorite color is green? Neato. If there's levels to their small talk, that would feel better, like I'm getting to know them. Unless this is your base level, and you already plan on working up to deeper things. I would expect more, "hi, come here often?" stuff rather than immediately talking about something like it's shared knowledge. Lessens the importance of a relationship with them, in my eyes. I had NO idea that you could raise your relationship with the people until you mentioned it in the money quest. I mean, I know you will be able to, eventually, because there's hearts next to their portraits and there's sometimes menu choices -- but what raises it besides those? It wasn't clear to me, so I thought that was yet to be implemented. Maybe a sound effect that chimes or something? Dunno.
- As for the building a prototype bit, it's not a mystery! James explicitly says "You'll need to find people who know about engineering and artistic design." And if you talk to other characters, they'll tell you the same thing.
Okay, fair enough, I just don't remember that. This was the first people-finding-quest, so I was naive and eager. Oh. How quick innocence dies. f**k finding people f**k it In the task list, it was something waaaay more general. In fact, most of them were general. "Find scrap metal" -> find someone who will tell you about scrap metal, actual, thx. xD I'm used to skipping that crap a quest-giver says before a quest and just look up the objective. (Thanks, MMORPGs!) Just telling you how a dumb player might perceive it. Cuz I dumb.

For the setting. Ah, okay, so it's just a kinda future. Still. If you look at ten years ago -- cellphones weren't as big a thing as they are now. Just something like that would take the game to that level of cyborg-building. Because that honestly was outta left field for me. "What are you going to do?" "MAKE ROBOT ARMZ, SILLY!" I would suggest making words for "electronic book" more streamlined, like ebook or the good-old-fashioned data pad or bookgram or something, damnit. Media is going to change a LOT in just a few years. You could even go like Fallout (the pip-boy) and make her "PDA" (very modern idea) to something that everyone has. Maybe even government issue. Like it's built right into your eye or something crazy awesome crap like that. Also: not cars! Hover cars! Talking cars! There would be more AI, and maybe even sentient robots. We're honestly advancing that far. Penny Arcade's Automata might be a nice inspiration.
Is there anything in particular that you would suggest to make the tasks "less of a drag"?
Okay, I know what you were going for: getting to know the chars. That's an awesome idea. The problem is that that's your quest like ten times in a row (exaggeration FTW). My problems with the first people-finding quest was that I didn't realize I had to specifically find electronics guy and click the question mark. Originally, I thought the question mark was for game tips only, even though you say "iz very important guyz", but if you're not the quest's objective, it's just game tips. If there was a special button that comes up for these people, it might be more obvious. Like a star or exclamation point or something that's like "THIS IS HIM CLICK ME". That's just a suggestion. I was just going around clicking all the buttons for everyone ... which is tedious, especially if you combine it with having to unfurl the menu every time.

Okay, "less of a drag"... Make the chars stay in one place longer and more reliably, for this part of the game. When gameplay becomes something else, just seeing them around will be freakin' awesome. Right now you're using the feature to make some sort of unnecessary cat-and-mouse game. The game should be thinking: WHO likes electronics? Not "why aren't you at work, nerd guy!?" or "how the f can I get you alone Mari when you're never there alone?" More variety in quests. Not just find person, find person, find person, especially when that is annoying and not the point of the game. The point is the business. If I were casually interested in your game, I would've quit. We can find more interesting ways to get to know characters, but honestly, that could've been done better anyway. Their lines of text were just different to suit the quest. The introductions were the best and most interesting thing about them, and we can have those and do something that isn't people fetching. Or have ONE question that makes you meet everyone, like the money quest. I went to everyone I knew, but at that point, I wanted to strangle a kitten -- two kittens when they blew me off. Or make the interactions with the characters when you meet them actual, engaging scenes. You found Caine! Have a scene were he talks about himself while he builds the arm or whatever. A little more depth would make them the reward. So far, the reward is another quest. Don't forget you're part visual novel. ;)

If you don't hate me at this point, we can talk about it further.

broken_angel
Veteran
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:49 pm
Completed: Memoirs of an Angel (2010)
Projects: Memoirs of an Angel (Remake); W.I.S.H
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#92 Post by broken_angel » Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:37 pm

Haha, don't worry, I don't hate you.
To be honest, I expected as much from you. :lol: That's not a bad thing.

Thanks for the help. C:
I'll try some of those things sometime when I don't have a paper due in half an hour. >.>;

As I said, I plan to add lots and lots of events/cutscenes/whatever you want to call them. There are a few extra ones already, like if you meet Ani on the first day and go to the bar last night, you'll witness a scene with him and James where you get a good idea of what they're relationship is. I just didn't want to cram too many into the week or so time that it should take to finish the demo (though it sounds like it took you a lot longer than a week...so perhaps my theory falls through xP).

And just about everything raises your friendship level. Every time you talk to them, every time you ask them a question. Even each morning when you wake up, if you're wearing what they like, then that will give you extra points. Menu options also add to that, as you can guess. Gifts, once shops and inventories are functional, will significantly add to that as well. Anyway, I did try to add a little notification of some sort when you raised your affection level, but that got reeaalllly annoying so I took it out. I think a chime or something would be even worse.

I'll change the task list to reflect them more specifically, just for you. xP And I'll make it more obvious when you've found the right person (maybe it'll go into an automatic event when you find them; I considered that, actually).
As for changing the people-fetching part...I'll try to think of something. For building the prototype, that can easily be changed to an event in the workshop because, as you mentioned, that's kind of what would be your first instinct. Most of the business plan still has to involve Mari, who does give you a partial break from people-fetching...until it comes time to collect materials. I guess that could be related more to finding the right location than finding the right person.

User avatar
Starzie
Regular
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 3:19 pm
Projects: Tsrynthia - Seals of Fate
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#93 Post by Starzie » Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:52 pm

Downloaded it and have played it up until the networking quest, but then I was checking the PDA and it got ANGRY at me. o_O I've attached the traceback for you. "RuntimeError: maximum recursion depth exceeded while calling a Python object" it says. XP

I'll get back to playing now. I'll share my impressions when I finish. <3

broken_angel
Veteran
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:49 pm
Completed: Memoirs of an Angel (2010)
Projects: Memoirs of an Angel (Remake); W.I.S.H
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#94 Post by broken_angel » Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:54 pm

What the heck...? O.o

I don't know what that even means. xD I've never gotten that error before.

fortaat
Regular
Posts: 183
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 1:16 pm
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#95 Post by fortaat » Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:16 pm

It means you initiated a recursive function, which never ended, resulting in an error.

Code: Select all

def a():
    b = a()
    return b
This function calls itself, without ever reaching the return statement. It produces the following error:

"maximum recursion depth exceeded"

User avatar
Starzie
Regular
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 3:19 pm
Projects: Tsrynthia - Seals of Fate
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#96 Post by Starzie » Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:22 pm

Well, that's crazy. I'll try to recreate it and tell you what exactly I did to produce it. Yay, bugs! But that's what demos are for. Play testing. XD

EDIT: Okidokie, apparently if you mess around in the PDA too long, clicking between the different buttons, it causes this error. Granted when I started the new game I had to press those buttons a whole lot to replicate it, but the first time it was only me going from the stats to the objectives.

EDITEDIT: Ack, my save no worky. T_T Now I have to start over again, lol.

Edit x 3: Okay, so that same error is plaguing me. I had just finished the find people to tell you prices quest, and once more checking my PDA for the objectives crashed it. I'm just gonna post some of my impressions and I'll try tomorrow to actually finish the demo. maybe I'll just not touch the PDA next time. >_>;;;

Despite the bug that kept following me around, it was enjoyable. I like the music in the game, and the world map and how you navigate around is nice. I really like the introductions for the characters. The characters themselves seem fun and interesting. I was really starting to like James until he pulled the gun out. o_O Aleema's suggestion is a good one if you mean it to be a running gag. He's all serious and scary and then he's smiling at the end. I think you may have meant that to be reassuring like he's saying 'nothing personal', but it just came off creepy to me.

Ah, let's see, another thing that made me go "wait, what?" After asking Mari about the business plan, she tells you to ask James about your competition. I've only ever been able to find her after the office closes, and I've never been able to find James outside the office, so I went straight home to sleep and who is waiting at my door? The psychic James with just the report I need. o_O Is that a glitch, or was Mari trying to be clever and tell me she already asked and I just had a dumb moment? I also found a small bug when Mari starts questioning. For some reason, when I rename the company and hit enter, two sort of play throughs in a row it exited the conversation and I had to rename it again. This last time it worked just fine, so I'm not sure what might be causing that.

It's already been stated, but the little toggle menu is tedious. I do like it visually, and I was like "hey, cool!" when I first saw it, but the novelty wore off fast. I suggest integrating it into the little corner date/time thing differently. Perhaps below the date where it's in between that and the time? That way they're always visible.

I also second showing the stats in the little star status screen. It'll save me from messing with the PDA that really doesn't like me... >_>;;; I also second the idea of a cut scene with Caine and that techie guy when they're helping with the arm. It'll make the player appreciate their help more, because right now it's more like you show up, they give you what you need, and you're off again. Also something you might think about adding, when I was looking for an artist, I never would have thought to ask the kid, but I asked him because I had asked everyone else. Maybe when he's introduced, have the teacher scolding him for not working because he was drawing instead. That would clues us into his artistic side.

So, yeah, I enjoyed it. The demo has me really interested in the game, and it'll be fun to see where you're taking the story! I will complete demo, despite the PDA's evil plans to twart me, and if I find anything else weird or confusing, I'll let you know. ^_^
Last edited by Starzie on Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

broken_angel
Veteran
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:49 pm
Completed: Memoirs of an Angel (2010)
Projects: Memoirs of an Angel (Remake); W.I.S.H
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#97 Post by broken_angel » Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:02 pm

So many errors...-.-;
And I'm not sure how to fix them.

Maybe I'll just have to stick my script up in the help forum. >.>

To your edits...

- Haha...yeah, the fact that James is there that night without you having talked to him is a glitch.

- The issue with renaming it...could it be because of the length limit? Did you go with a different name the time that it worked, or was it the same?

- Ooh, that's a good idea to stick the buttons in between the date and time or something.

- Caine does talk about how he likes to draw if you talk to him, but the sayings are randomized and you can only see two per day, you may have not seen those. The implication (in my mind) was that, during his introduction, he was saying that he didn't need to care about science because he didn't need it to be an artist...I just never explicitly stated that. xD;; I'll fix that.

Anyway, I'm glad that you liked it in general. C:

User avatar
Starzie
Regular
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 3:19 pm
Projects: Tsrynthia - Seals of Fate
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#98 Post by Starzie » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:36 pm

The issue with renaming it...could it be because of the length limit? Did you go with a different name the time that it worked, or was it the same?
It was the same all three times. I just changed Psychedelic to the last name I gave the character: Tate Cybernetics.

User avatar
Starling
Regular
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:00 pm
Completed: Rapunzel, Ishara: Bane of the Seas
Organization: Happy Backwards
Location: Osaka
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#99 Post by Starling » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:16 pm

Woo~ Played it all the way through. My first impression upon starting it was WOW so good job with that :D

Now critique part.

I agree a lot of what others have said already, especially about the buttons not being in a drop down menu. I'd love it if they were persay to the right of the text box. (Also agree about not having the sprites jump around, it might look fine, but it looks so much better when they don't do that :D)

Another note is that I actually really don't like the side box that you can activate. Mostly because the button disappears whenever I do want to use it and I go through the game pretty much never clicking it. I love the idea, but ahhhh... it just frustrates me that it disappears I guess xD'''

I didn't mind the search for people thing too much, but I did go through the WHY IS THE ELECTRONICS DUDE NOT AT WORK!? That was def my low point on playing this, literally I went: Wow! Look at this game it's just so spiffy, oooo look at all these characters, okay I have to find them no problem... uh I found him but he won-AH WHY IS HE NEVER THERE, FINALLY, okay more finding people things, I know where they are most of the time now, whew okay not so bad, having a bit of fun now :D

On that line, I could not for the life of me tell Bridget HEY I GOT 50 PHYS POINTS and I couldn't figure out how to up my networking. Other quests overrid both of these things, so that it was impossible for me to talk to anyone about either one of them >:

Now here's the last thing that bothered me... the backgrounds... I hated the drastic difference in quality. This game has AMAZING graphics(the menu and the buttons are just LOVE), AMAZING sprites (I love the blinking so much and the style, the really help make this game) and very detailed, amazing gameplay. And then I go to one place (like my Apartment stairs) and my view of how professional this game is completely destroyed. It distracts me, and maybe that's not a big deal and maybe I just notice it because I'm an artist but I wanted to mention this.

NOW FOR THE GOOD Because there is a lot.

I love the story :D I love the characters. I've already mentioned how much I love a few other things lol, but most of all, I think this game is going to be incredible when it's finished. I'm putting it on my list of games that I think go above and beyond the normal Ren'py standards that are in the works right now. It's amazing what people are doing.

Good luck with fixing things and the errors that have been popping up >: I hate programming errors...
Completed:
Rapunzel -- Fairy Tale Kinetic Novel
(NaNoRenO '11 )
the empty orchestra
(NaNoRenO '14)
Image
(NaNoRenO '15)

broken_angel
Veteran
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:49 pm
Completed: Memoirs of an Angel (2010)
Projects: Memoirs of an Angel (Remake); W.I.S.H
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#100 Post by broken_angel » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:27 pm

Hah...

About the electronics dude, their schedules change on weekends, and he doesn't work on weekends. xD I might change that for the span of the introduction, just so it's easier to find them.

For the second two skill-building tasks - upping your physical and networking skills - there isn't currently a "conclusion" to either of them. As for how to earn networking skill, you do that by doing part-time jobs, which isn't available in the demo. ^^; Those were mostly just there to say "Here is where this would come in."

As for the backgrounds, most of those are just placeholders. They'll definitely be replaced in the final game by nice, pretty backgrounds. The only ones that will stay are the map background, living room, James' office, and gym (since those are the ones that have been completed).

Anyway, thank you for your encouraging comments. C:

User avatar
mysterialize
Veteran
Posts: 210
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:42 am
Projects: The World is Made of Paper
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#101 Post by mysterialize » Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:40 am

Hurray! Demo!

I finished this today, and really enjoyed it. It wasn't without it's problems, but everything I saw wrong was already brought up in the topic by now, so there's really no point in repeating it. For the most part, I was not disappointed. I do strongly encourage putting some variety in tasks in the beginning, though. As just another suggestion for helping it feel less tedious and repetitive, perhaps you can try giving the player more than one goal at once? That way, even when dealing with finding people quests, the player is at least given more control over what they're doing and how they're managing their time. Putting some of them together would also help cut down on prologue time, which did feel a little drawn out.

I feel kind of bad posting without any serious critique, but, again, I don't see much I can say that hasn't already been said. So, for now, I'll just give this demo a thumbs up, and strongly encourage you to continue.

User avatar
Deji
Cheer Idol; Not Great at Secret Identities
Posts: 1592
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:38 pm
Projects: http://bit.ly/2lieZsA
Organization: Sakevisual, Apple Cider, Mystery Parfait
Tumblr: DejiNyucu
Deviantart: DejiNyucu
Location: Chile
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#102 Post by Deji » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:35 pm

Just finished plyaing the demo! (not really, the Digi crashed on me when I was $315 from getting the money I needed, lol)

I had lots of fun playing, loved the sprites (as I already expected) and I really liked the characters C: I know the backgrounds are placeholders, so I won't comment on that.

Sorry for not having more critique than that ^^; I just wanted to say I really had fun and I'm *really* looking forward to play the final version!!
Image
Tumblr | Twitter
Forever busy :')
When drawing something, anything, USE REFERENCES!! Use your Google-fu!
Don't trust your memory, and don't blindly trust what others teach you either.
Research, observation, analysis, experimentation and practice are the key! (:

broken_angel
Veteran
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:49 pm
Completed: Memoirs of an Angel (2010)
Projects: Memoirs of an Angel (Remake); W.I.S.H
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#103 Post by broken_angel » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:24 pm

Thank you both.

And sorry that it died on you, Deji. x__X

In response to your comments about cutting down on prologue time, mysterialize, I actually meant for the starting up part of it to last much longer. In the original game plan, I meant to make starting up the entire point of the game, but then I thought, "That wouldn't be much fun...to go through all that work and then not even be able to run the business." So that's why I turned that part of it into more of an introductory phase and decided to add the business management part (which I haven't actually added yet, but I'll make it eventually). Still, though, I planned for starting up to take at least a season. It's just that without anything else to do, you tend to focus on completing the tasks as soon as possible and end up finishing within a week or so (or slightly more if you don't have enough affection with certain characters to get their investments). I purposely tried to add in barriers to moving on to the next task in order to space it out more (i.e. you can't complete your prototype until you talk to Caine, who you can't meet until Friday; or requiring characters to be alone before they can help you in certain cases, which, as many of you noticed, they rarely are; or you have to wait until that night to receive James' report, forcing you to wait a day before talking to Mari again; and also, of course, the stage of trying to gather money, which would ideally take several days in itself), but all those ended up just frustrating people. xD

So, in conclusion, if I were to do anything, I would actually set up the tasks in such a way that it took more time to complete each one - not by making it difficult to find who you needed to talk to, but by requiring more game time to be devoted to each task, perhaps by adding more elements...or something. I'm not sure. But it's not meant to feel like just a "prologue"; it's supposed to be a substantial part of the game. After all, a business isn't realistically started in a day, a week, or even a month. It usually takes several months or even years of preparation. I did want to condense it, but I think I condensed it too much. xD Either that, or I didn't make it clear enough what the point of all of it was.

User avatar
Aleema
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 2677
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 2:11 pm
Organization: happyB
Tumblr: happybackwards
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#104 Post by Aleema » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:55 pm

If there was more story stuff during that month season, I would have no problem with it. But right now you have just the game part of it. And how to make a game vs. how to make a story are different in execution ... things like realism are often not taken too seriously because they're playing to get away from reality, etc. Also, it's the future, so screw our perceptions of time.

I think the best suggestion is by mysterialize to have the ability to complete multiple tasks at once. In fact, I would go so far as to say it would fix the monotony almost entirely. Stat raising would get me going to the locations that you could raise them, and I'll meet people along the way. Two birds, one stone. It's convenient, but still makes me feel accomplished. You still need more STORY scenes, whatever you do. You can go a full season if there's a plot or something, and you treat the time as a big tutorial. Maybe she interns at another business or something.

Really, 30 game days is about how long some fully complete games are. Especially ones where you fully control every minute of the MC's life. If that one first season takes 3 hours of gameplay ... it's the core of your gameplay. That's it. Not the business sim, it's a walking-around-sim. Which is FINE if you have something ELSE to offer. (Namely: story.) No one has ever appreciated padding or fillers. Not in movies, not in TV shows, not in books, and so not in games, either. It's watering down what you have, trying to fill you up even though you didn't have much to start with. Granted, it's the most insulting when you PAY for it, and seeing as this is freeware, you can ignore me as you like. Seeing as we are both developers, I would like to help a game that has potential, so that we can all learn what makes a game a good game, since most stuff on this forum is story-focused.

Taking the page I cited above, here's their analysis of what you have now:
Continuous Challenge: I'll give this to you. For the most part, finding people was a constant challenge. I'm not sure how I would have felt about the game if so-and-so was always somewhere specific and I could just walk up to them and then move on with the game. I would certainly WANT that if that WASN'T the point of the game (and I sincerely don't want it to be -- I want the business sim!!) However, this ends on the money quest, and was non-existant for raising stats (but you plan to fix those).
Interesting Storyline: Biggest part that lacks is the story here. The characters, while they each have wonderful, unique personalities, are shells of them that we have yet to explore. We have the MC who is bored with her life, and perhaps even lonely. The catalyst to getting her to break off from her mundane life to finally pursue her dreams isn't there. She just wakes up one morning with it. It's hard for people to break from what they've been doing for a while, really. It's security and normality. Shake her up! Remove her from everything she thinks is safe, or give her some sort of motivation that would get someone's butt moving. Just waking up one morning with it is hard to believe by any stretch. If it was the dream, then put more emphasis on it. Furthermore, the reason for making the business is just because we are the MC, and don't we want a business and whatever kind of award you get for that I guess? If she's getting into prosthetics, which is the best thing about this game -- you make it specifically ONE type thing (at least, in the beginning), but I assumed for a narrative reason -- I want to know why. Right now the reason is half-assed: to help people, duh! Does she know people who lost limbs? Does SHE have a prosthetic? (That would be f'ing awesome. Do it.) There's usually a story behind why people want to go into medicine, and if you're (eventually) competing against a doctor, I would want to know why the MC specifically wanted to make robot arms and not just become a doctor. (Maybe she doesn't think she's smart enough? Or her parents were doctors and heard horror stories?) Just ... depth. More depth, please.
Flexibility: Well, there are two ways to study mechanics and science, but if I recall, these were NOT options during their quest. Just the books. So, yeah. There were multiple ways to meet people: at work or out in the town. Sometimes you put restrictions on that (Leo and Bridget only at electronics store -- but not reliably so).
Immediate, useful rewards: No, sorry. Well, completing the tasks leads to eventual story cutscenes, but they are few and far between, so they're not "immediate" and the amount of time it took me to get them was barely worth it sometimes. What can you give me that I would call a reward? Story. Interaction with the characters. A promise that what I did would affect the future a significant amount. The extent of the interaction is briefly before and after quests, which is just to give you another quest.
Combining Fun and Realism: I think the futuristic setting itself is fun, but like I mentioned before, could be played off of way more. There's a strong realism that people don't work on certain days and aren't hanging out in the library constantly -- but it makes it less fun when you have a small, easily missed window in the scope of the game to get to these people to progress with the plot. If we KNEW this about them, we could plan, perhaps, but even you agree that you're supposed to just figure it out as you play. And not just one person, but all eight of characters. It's easy to remember "Ani works out on the weekends" but not "Ani works out every except tuesday from 2-4:30PM and is sometimes in the bar from 8-11pm but sometimes Auki is covering his shift but she likes to leave early blahblahblah," times however many chars you introduce. Again, I like the idea that they move around. Believe it or not! I do. But to pad out the game, I don't. Don't use it for evil. >=[

broken_angel
Veteran
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:49 pm
Completed: Memoirs of an Angel (2010)
Projects: Memoirs of an Angel (Remake); W.I.S.H
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: [WIP] Starlit Dreams (B/GxB/G) - [Demo Now Available!]

#105 Post by broken_angel » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:35 am

Perhaps I didn't make this clear enough in the demo notes, but I meant to...this demo was more of a technical demo than anything. I wanted to make sure that the game set-up was okay before I went any further because I didn't want to finish half the game, release a real demo, and then realize "Ho shit, I need to re-do everything" (or finish the whole game and then realize that, like I did with Memoirs). I didn't even try to flesh out the characters here. There will eventually be events - hundreds of events - that will occur throughout. Some will happen randomly, some will happen depending on your choices (like if you told Caine that you never use what you learned in school, then you'll witness an event when you go to the school where James and his teacher are arguing over his still-dropping grades), some will happen when you raise your friendship with a person to a certain level, some will happen if you fail to raise your friendship to a certain level. Lots and lots of events. Those will make up the story, but since I only did the bare back-bones for the demo - the introduction and work events - since I was focusing more on the game set-up, that's all you got to see.

And the schedules aren't that random or variable at all. They only have two sets of schedules: one for weekdays, one for weekends. If the character works, as most of them do, then they'll generally be stationary at work from open (the exception is Leo, who has class in the mornings, but you work until the time he gets out of class so it doesn't matter in the demo) to close (the exceptions are James, who leaves an hour early to do field work, and Bridget, who, to be fair, gets off work at the same time you do) on weekdays. On weekends, they go to places that relate to their interests (but always in the same order, on the same schedule). If they're really devoted (i.e. James, Cadee, Bridget, and even Leo to an extent...and, of course, Mrs. Lacroeaux), then they'll go to work for a short time even on the weekend and spend the rest of the time doing other things. James, for instance, spends the rest of the day with his family - he goes to the mall with them in the afternoon, to the gym with them in the evening, and then goes to the bar with Ani at night.

I know it may seem like their schedules are random at first, but they're really not. The only characters who are, admittedly, difficult to find (outside of weekends, when everyone is in different places) are Caine because he doesn't have a job, so he doesn't have a default place to be, and Bridget because the only time she's at work is when you're also at work. Their schedules were not designed to slow the player down in progressing through the plot, though they apparently doubled for that purpose. It's not like I said to myself, "Hmm...how can I mix around the characters' positions so that the player never knows where they are?" Honestly, I like the schedules as they are. I put a lot of thought and effort into planning them all out and coordinating them, even if they may seem totally random to you. That said, I think the issue is just that the weekend pops up right in the middle of when you're trying to progress through everything. It would be possible to maybe fill up that weekend with story events (make it unplayable), so that you would then come out on Monday and be able to find everyone easily again.

Now that my defensive retorts are out of the way...
Your points are well taken, and I agree that the idea to make cybernetic prosthetics just seems to come out of nowhere. Originally, I had planned that...
When Leo ran into her on his bike, the damage was more significant. She hit her head on the sidewalk, knocking her out, and she was taken to a nearby clinic. That was originally Keiji's first appearance as an unnamed doctor. Anyway, while she was unconscious, Leo started reading one of his favorite comic books out loud to calm his nerves (he was so freaked out that he stayed with her to make sure she was alright). This led to her dreaming about "the perfect fusion of man and machine" (a thought that came with something about a cybernetically enhanced supervillain), which is how she came up with the idea to make cybernetic parts. Of course, when she woke up suddenly proclaiming that she was going to be the best mad scientist the world had ever seen, she got more than a few strange looks from the other patients (as well as Leo, who thought he must have done some serious damage)...
But then I made Keiji her rival and decided not to unlock him or his clinic until after her business had been started, so somehow, that idea just...evaporated. Looking at it again, though, I may go back to it. xD

It was never meant to be a life-long dream of hers, though. It was just a random idea spurred on by her love of science-fiction, and that's part of her character - she's spontaneous (a bit too much so) and doesn't make plans. She only looks at the surface of her actions and not the deeper consequences, as seen by the fact that she just packed up and moved to a new city on a whim, with no friends, no job, no place to live. Even now, her goal isn't really to go into the field of medicine, to help people, or even to start a business; it's just to do something and feel accomplished, and to have other people acknowledge her accomplishments instead of just writing her off as "weird." A feeling of restlessness has been growing for some time, as seen by her lack of interest in...well...everything she's currently doing, so all she was waiting for was to find the right inspiration (which is the purpose of the dreams). To that end, she could have found the inspiration to be a rock star instead and she would have been just as happy...but then this would be a different game. C: I'm not sure that's the "depth" you were looking for, but I also don't want to make it into something it's not. And yes, I realize that, once again, this just barely comes out in the demo, if anyone picked up on it at all.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users