BTW #3

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fishcake-kun

BTW #3

#1 Post by fishcake-kun » Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:30 pm

Image

BTW is a free, EVN-Centered (English Visual Novels), non-profit ezine in pdf format. It is published monthly and is maintained by the chatters in #baka-trio on freenode.

BTW volume #3 is now available for download via any of the following links

http://ifile.it/rao62wd
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=VRJ2C13Z
http://www.sendspace.com/file/o870wq

Homepage: http://real-life.animerd2k2.net/readme/channel.htm

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Re: BTW #3

#2 Post by Samu-kun » Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:02 pm

Epic Fist of the North Star doujin inside!

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Re: BTW #3

#3 Post by dizzcity » Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:17 am

So... um. This edition was not what I expected. I had hoped for at least one or two more articles about the practical techniques of how to portray love in a VN (since it is supposed to be aimed at EVN creators, after all). Oh well. Anyway...

- The editorial sounds suspiciously familiar. :)
- Hime's article was a good and insightful read.
- FIA's doujin was hilarious.

Um. That's all I have to say.

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Re: BTW #3

#4 Post by Samu-kun » Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:35 am

It is kinda sad though. This installment just reminds me how lacking we are when it comes to renai games. We just don't have the kind of budget resources to create games with long, involving stories. Each second of extra story development is a pain to deliver, since it involves more backgrounds, sprites, CGs, and music. Admittedly, you can cut corners and release a game with minimal backgrounds or sprites, but that just results in everything feeling avant-garde and that generally isn't what the creator or the audience wants. Making a great romance visual novel seems easy until you actually start making it.

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Re: BTW #3

#5 Post by delta » Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:13 am

Blah blah fail@hosting less disregard that k-s.com may be flaky itself but whatever

http://katawa-shoujo.com/mirrored/btw_july_2009.pdf

Also, rather uninteresting issue apart from the "circlejerk <=> taxation" essay, which is so insane it's amusing.
The rest is left as an exercise for the reader.

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Re: BTW #3

#6 Post by cpl_crud » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:53 am

This was originally intended as a blog post to reply to both the BTW and also to a few of the comments on our blog.

I was pretty much facepalmed into not posting it, but I figured I have a Right of Reply because here in Aus we have no freedom of speech, only the Right of Reply.


Welcome to the internet, where everyone has the wrong opinion.

Now that the glitz and glamour of our first major release has died down, I think everyone outside of the dev team is realising that there is a while to go. The last month or so I've been forcing the other devs to blog about something other than "We're in post!" as a means of keeping you guys entertained, but also a way to keep us from stagnating and such.

Unfortunately, in our attempts to sound interesting and give you an "in depth" view of the development process, we've come off sounding like people trying to be all deep and meaningful. But… you know what, I don't care. Pick this blog post apart, searching for a deeper meaning. Send encouraging comments based on your own interpretation of my comment above about stagnating. Chances are we'll skim over those to get to the troll comments that are bound to follow based on the next couple of paragraphs.

I was reading a webzine last night, as were most of the devs. Apart from speculating that 4LS makes up 90% of the reader base of said webzine, we found it interesting to read an essay that boiled down to someone saying that bigger/better games deserved more criticism than the smaller ones. It basically likened criticism to taxation; rich people earn more and thus pay more tax.

What utter crap. I'm sorry, but that's pretty much the best way I can put this.

I could go on for days about how much writing we've thrown out because it wasn't good enough, how much art we've sent back to be cleaned up, or how many freaking times we tried to get those backgrounds right.

You release what you feel happy with. If you're happy with your crayon-coloured sprites and primary school writing, then best of luck to you. We're not. We wanted to release a polished, professional-looking VN, and I think we've achieved that.

Criticism/critique, however, shouldn't be a factor of how good/bad a game is, but of how much the author can or wants to improve. If you want to stay at the bottom of the barrel forever, then that's cool. If, however, you want to grow, then you need criticism.

One of the main reasons I moved the original forums away from the ones created by the "core team" from 4chan was to eradicate circle-jerking. Just because someone has the highest post count doesn't mean that they are the most capable person around. However this is how many forums work.

Had we not made that first step away from those forums then we would have released a product of a much lower quality. Having a small group of fairly talented people has made us strong. We have all learnt from each other, and we also know how much worth to put in each other's opinions.

One of the problems with the OELVN "community" is that it is limited. You have LSF, which has (in my eyes) fallen partly into that circle-jerking mindset, partly due to a relatively low population. You have 4chan, which is too large to be of any real use. Then you have the indie groups like us that have basically said "neither of these places work as a breeding ground for us" and have splintered off in their own direction. Yes, I will concede that any OELVN will die without interaction with these groups, but that doesn't give them ownership of any project.
Only a low number of devs joined through direct interaction with either 4chan or LSF, though I think it would be fair to say that they were both instrumental in starting things off.

So I guess what I'm saying boils down to this:
You, as the author/artist/musician/editor decide what your product is worth, and how much criticism you're willing to take. If you're strong enough to handle the slings and arrows of the world, publish your work within sight of 4chan. Chances are unless you're really good or really bad they won't notice.
If you want to be molly-coddled into thinking you're a fantastic artist, go to LSF. Sure, you'll get some people that will tear shreds off you, but overall you'll probably feel good enough about yourself to try again.

If you don't like either of those options, then you're pretty much going to have to ostracise yourself from both. Just be prepared for butthurt reactions from people that wish they beat you to the punch.


-Crud

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Re: BTW #3

#7 Post by Samu-kun » Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:18 pm

Well, you do realize that Baka-Trio actually comprises of just a small fraction of Lemmasoft, right? Let them just have fun with their webzine. Besides, it pretty much seems like the majority of the "circlejerking" is caused by Sir Editor-in-Chief, and wasn't even the focus of what the other contributors wrote about for the past two issues. Gradually, I expect the BTW to just become a regular webzine and the controversy to die out as people get tired of it. (If it hasn't pretty much died out already.) If anything, I think the Baka-Trio is a minority opinion in Lemmasoft and doesn't really represent what the majority of the members here think. (Which can be just about anything - there's far from a general consensus on this board.)

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Re: BTW #3

#8 Post by papillon » Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:36 pm

there's far from a general consensus on this board.
Is too!

*ducks*

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Re: BTW #3

#9 Post by Samu-kun » Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:59 pm

Is not!

*runs!*

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Re: BTW #3

#10 Post by papillon » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:26 pm

Who's in your avatar?

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Re: BTW #3

#11 Post by Samu-kun » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:28 pm

Azusa and Yui from K-On. They're the best. =w= (And they keep wrestling control of my avatar from Tsukasa. Sad Tsukasa is sad.)

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Re: BTW #3

#12 Post by PyTom » Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:18 pm

cpl_crud wrote:Now that the glitz and glamour of our first major release has died down,
But it wasn't really a release, was it? It's a demo of a future release. And that's an important distinction.

When I criticize Katawa Shoujo, there's the illusion of accomplishing something. If I point out that I find the inclusion of Lelouche distracting, then there's the chance (however small) that my criticism will be taken and the game will be altered to remove a weak point.

When I criticize Kira Kira or Spirited Hearts, it's for a slightly different reason: to help people decide if the games are worth their hard-earned money.

To me, there's little point in criticizing a free game, unless the author asks for it. The game is out there, and barring major technical problems, once a game is released, it's unlikely to be changed. (There's no fundamental reason for this, but this seems to be the general practice in the years I've spent on the forums.) Criticism without a purpose is just bloviating.

Due to an increasing lack of time, it's been a few years since I really beta-tested a game. But when I did, I know I was reasonably critical when I thought the game deserved it... and when I thought my criticisms were actionable. I suspect that people who are more active on that side of things still beta-test in the same way.

But if there's a lack of pointless criticism on this forum, rather than calling it a "circle-jerk", realize that perhaps our time is valuable.
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Re: BTW #3

#13 Post by lunasspecto » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:24 pm

PyTom wrote:The game is out there, and barring major technical problems, once a game is released, it's unlikely to be changed. (There's no fundamental reason for this, but this seems to be the general practice in the years I've spent on the forums.)
I find that when I abandon/finish a work of art (no matter how trivial - art is art), I often feel a growing dislike for my creation, perhaps because a work of art contains a photograph of the artist's fluctuating attitudes. The artist changes; the finished creation does not change so quickly. Eventually the photograph is so old that any attempt to update it seems useless, so the artist simply takes new photographs. She creates new art.
Samu-kun wrote:Admittedly, you can cut corners and release a game with minimal backgrounds or sprites, but that just results in everything feeling avant-garde and that generally isn't what the creator or the audience wants.
It could also be exactly what the creator wants. I ended up using a minimalistic approach on miniature kinetic novel ("Remembering Amie"). The result isn't exactly everybody's favorite Ren'Py creation, but I liked the way it turned out. I had the pleasure of a high degree of control over the visuals and felt that the simplicity of the symbols I used added something to the story.

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Re: BTW #3

#14 Post by Jake » Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:00 am

PyTom wrote: To me, there's little point in criticizing a free game, unless the author asks for it. The game is out there, and barring major technical problems, once a game is released, it's unlikely to be changed. (There's no fundamental reason for this, but this seems to be the general practice in the years I've spent on the forums.) Criticism without a purpose is just bloviating.
How do I put this? Just no.

Criticism is to help people improve themselves. Sometimes we indirectly help them improve themselves by helping them improve something that they're in the middle of working on, but the fact that their not going to change the things we're criticising doesn't mean that they are aware of all of the shortcomings of their work. It doesn't mean that they are no longer capable of improving, or that they wouldn't benefit from criticism still. None of us are on our deathbeds or making our one final swansong work. And just because someone doesn't specifically ask for critique doesn't mean they won't benefit from it anyway - rather, I would expect a creative community with integrity to only avoid feedback if people specifically asked others not to give critique.

Since I was old enough to realise that I wasn't god's gift to the creative arts and my parents mostly liked my work because they were my parents (so, about 27...), the feedback on anything I've done that I've valued the most has been the constructive criticism. It's great to hear people enjoyed something I made, but ultimately it doesn't help me at all, it just makes me feel temporarily good about myself. I'm happy enough with the way Each Uisge turned out in a lot of ways, particularly considering it was done in about two and a half weeks, and I have no real intention of changing anything now... but I would still love to hear about any new things that people didn't like so much, or feel could be improved - any suggestions for changes or alternative approaches. I'm well aware of several shortcomings, but there's also things that I've heard back from that game that I didn't think of myself, and now I know about them I can be more careful to do those things better in the future.

PyTom wrote: But if there's a lack of pointless criticism on this forum, rather than calling it a "circle-jerk", realize that perhaps our time is valuable.
When you put it like you do, though, it comes across more that we arrogantly presume that we're all at the peak of our creative abilities and cannot improve ourselves any more, which is a rather sad idea for so many reasons. I prefer the notion that everyone here is too lazy to give feedback, but that doesn't seem to be the case - it seems more like most people here are too afraid of offending people to give useful feedback, which means... well, the guys calling it a circlejerk are more or less right.
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Re: BTW #3

#15 Post by Samu-kun » Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:49 am

I dunno... Maybe everyone here's just frustrated at how their own projects never shape up and are in awe whenever somebody actually manages to finish something? Or maybe we just don't have time to critique other people's works because we're always too busy working on our own projects. Besides, you're misinterpreting what Pytom said... It's not due to arrogance that works generally don't get much constructive criticism. I don't feel any obligation to pour love on any project just because it's released on this board, and I doubt many other people do.

In fact, the latest project that I want to actually criticize, the Cute, Light, and Fluffy Project, I've been holding off on mostly because I was involved with the project and it'll be weird if I were to actually criticize it... I mean, it feels too much like criticizing my own project, so I'm kinda at a loss to what I should do... @_@

Also, some of the projects released here simply aren't worth criticizing... I mean, what can we seriously say about a five minute short kinetic novel, aside from the fact that it was "too short" and the story "lacked impact?"

Mmm... Well, looking back at most of the games I've played, this is pretty much what happened.

Angelic Orbs: I wanted to criticize the fact that the story seemed to cut off abruptly at the end, but then Vatina said that she had to cut the game short to make it manageable. Well damn, what exactly am I supposed to say to that, other than the painstakingly obvious advice of "manage your time better?"

The Cute, Light, and Fluffy Project: Ehh... I'm the guy who released the game, wasn't I? Okay, I guess it'd be too weird if I actually talked about the game then...

Moonlit Walks 2.0: Did not want to offend the boss. Okay, so I wussed out and didn't say anything about it. But I only do that for Pytom, and I don't think he'll ever release another game again, so it wouldn't have helped him anyways...

Songs of Araiah: Hey, I actually critiqued this one! Except drakey already knew about its problems. Bah.

Katawa Shoujo: I critiqued this one too, although it was on my blog...

The Fucking Question: I face palmed and am still trying to convince mugen to give up his villainous ways.

Elven Relations: The game is so damned hard that I never actually even finished it. And I told chrono about it.

Magical Boutique: Game glitches. Never could finish. Told Monele about it.

Well, looking back, there were just many random things that happened that kept a real critique from happening. Now Jake, what kept you from critiquing the games you played, hmmm?

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