tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

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jack_norton
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#31 Post by jack_norton » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:32 am

Hehe well, doesn't matter if you didn't buy the game as your "breakdown" of game problems was very useful anyway. And I agree, as I posted before in this thread one of the mistakes was to have the artists draw things too small, so they would look bad on the screen zoomed in. In practice I thought "quantity over quality" but I doesn't look like it worked at all :)
In the next comic-style games I'm going to try (beside the amazon game I've also found a good comic manga artist to do Bionic Heart 2) I definitely don't want the art to look all zoomed in like in the first two episodes of Vera Blanc!
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#32 Post by LondonIvy » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:28 am

I've actually bought the Iphone version of the game, so I can give my thoughts:

The art is a lot better than I thought after seeing it in the game itself. I'm going to be honest, the advertising picture (or whatever it's called) of Vera in her lingerie with the big strong man taking down the werewolf was not representative of the game at all. Sure, maybe she can still be in her lingerie, but have her at least looking useful. That's what turned me off the most and made me almost not buy it. I'm glad I went ahead and bought the game, anyway (1.99 is a steal for a product of this quality) because it's an enjoyable experience. I actually thought the art was pretty good and not as rough as I judged it to be from the advert picture. Actually, I hate to say it, but that advert may be the reason why many people skimmed over your game rather than the game content itself. The advert is rougher than a lot of art in the game when it should be the complete opposite.

Also, I'm really enjoying how Vera's "mind reading" ability affects the gameplay. It's really an interesting mechanic. Story-wise, I would think that having the ability to read minds would affect Vera's character more (it's almost a side-note) but otherwise I love the mechanic. Vera's also a decently likable heroine from what I've played so far.

There was one thing I didn't understand from the prologue.
At one point there is a bomb set up in a train car. I had Vera disarm it. Later, the news reports said that the damage from the bomb affected only one train cart. One question: if Vera disarmed the bomb, then how did the bomb cause any damage? I figured this might have just been a slight oversight or that perhaps I was missing something and I was still able to enjoy the game. Also, the part where Vera disarms the bomb and then cries because of stress was sort of contrary to her character. I'm not the type to say MC's can't cry and be stressed, but it felt sort of silly, random and out-of-place in context. I guess the point was to show she's vulnerable and young (which is fine) but it didn't work there, especially when she fell into the lead male's arms.
Bottom line? It's a good game that is overlooked because of the unfortunate advert pic. Otherwise, the content in the game is very appealing to casual gamers. I pulled the game out and played it before my classes and on bus rides personally and it did a great job keeping me entertained.

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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#33 Post by jack_norton » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:12 am

/rushes to change the pic on his site

Hmm to be honest, I haven't thought about it! But I'll change the promo picture indeed, doesn't cost much to try :) I also think on the iPhone it looks better because the screen size is smaller. I had the mistake to just use a "stadard res" when I asked the artist to make the title screen, instead I should have asked to draw it at much higher resolution since indeed the main menu picture is *very* important to promote your game (I think at my various main menu pictures like Flower Shop, Planet Stronghold, and others and indeed they're all much better looking).

Thanks again to you and everyone else who took the time to reply, you've really helped me open my eyes. Sometimes I think I'm a good game designer but then I realize I still make such basic mistakes as a bad main menu image! :oops:
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#34 Post by LondonIvy » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:06 am

That's the thing. You're an awesome game designer. We all make silly mistakes. Not all of us can make great full-length games, though. At least, that's my two cents. :D Changing the promo pic will definitely help draw people to the game. Like I said, after I actually played it, the content is good.

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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#35 Post by jack_norton » Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:19 am

Yes, that's what everyone said. The problem in this case was getting people to try the game at all, because after they played it, everyone was more than satisfied by it :)
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#36 Post by Elze » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:33 am

I've bought a couple of your games but I avoided Vera Blanc too. I wasn't interested in more after viewing the cover illustration.

There are tons of games out there with great art, but not a lot of games have anime art. The genre that supports anime art is VN. So when I'm looking to buy a VN, I'm thinking of a game with pretty anime illustrations and story choices. The thing that attracts me to VNs is the idea of living a fantasy where I'm actually the main character of an anime and I get to decide the ending. I'm sure many others feel the same way, regardless of where they hail from. VNs and anime seem to come together synonymously. Don't get me wrong. I do love comic art too, although I'd say I'm more of a Skottie Young fan than a Marvel fan. I also like my realistic rpgs like Assassin's Creed. But the bottomline is when I think of playing a VN, I'm looking forward to seeing anime art. I can get non-anime games anywhere, anytime, of wonderful quality. It's not hard to walk into a store to get a professional non-anime casual game for a low price. & let's not forget the rpgs and platform games released by the big companies for ps3, xbox and wii. On the other hand, there aren't a lot of english games available that boost anime art. That's the catch for most english speaking people who purchase VNs, especially so since most of us aren't fluent in Japanese.

Of course, there will always be people who are "sick of seeing anime in VNs" and it may be more innovative to experiment with different styles. But ultimately, if we're thinking in terms of consumers' demands and retail numbers, I'd say sticking to anime art is the right way to go for VNs. If you're moving away from VNs and delving into other casual games, then that's a separate issue.
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#37 Post by El Presidente » Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:41 pm

Ok, first time I visited your site I looked over the games but never even considered trying the VB demos. Next time I was in search for a game not for myself but as a gift since I like supporting independent game developers when possible. This time I was actually looking for some kind of detective game, anything in the field from CSI/puzzle inspired to classic Lucasart adventure games. I naturally downloaded both VB demos.

Tried the first one and liked the graphics + the fact that you can die. But somehow I just didn't connect with the game. Didn't really expect to either since it is not really my style of game anyway, but still there was something missing. The word guessing minigame was a nice touch and the mind reading an interesting idea, but nothing that makes a game on its own. The other minigames felt a bit like a patch-on work and not as well integrated with the rest of the game as i remember it. Seeing the cutscenes gave me a feeling of having too much information, I almost wanted to close my eyes. In a mystery/detective game I want to have to figure things out myself, not get spoilers and have information that my character doesn't.

Ended up not buying. I actually enjoyed playing the demo, it just didn't give me a feeling of wanting more of it. Never tried the VB2 demo.

Btw I agree that the web page picture is not very representative as people said before, but apart from that I dislike it for different reasons. First of all it should not show the werewolf, removes some of the mystery feeling at the same time it is described as a mystery game. I think the sales pitch could be improved as well: "Will you be able to stop the werewolf?" eh..

Btw2 (OT feedback) The reason I first found your site was that I was looking for Linux compatible games.

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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#38 Post by jack_norton » Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:21 am

Thanks for the feedback. BTW I've changed the promo pics now :)
But yes, probably there's also something else missing - I've played some detective/mystery games and they're all casual games using point'n'click. So it's also that, in such games there should be much more user interaction than what you normally have in a VN.
As I said if I ever make a third episode of VB, will do it as adventure game, with less texts and more user interaction.
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#39 Post by jack_norton » Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:11 am

Reviving this very old thread, because today had a real enlightenment. Sent the newsletter promoting as affiliate a RPG game made by a friend. It is a 3d game, with no manga art (comic art). It's not same kind of game as Vera Blanc of course, but I know from him that did very well in general public.
So the fact that it didn't do well in my huge newsletter (usually when I promote an affiliate game that has manga art I usually get very good results) reinforces my original assumption that one of the biggest factors (along with others of course) of Vera poor sales was indeed the art.
Well, good to know - no more "non manga" games :D
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#40 Post by Fawn » Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:50 pm

From what I've seen from Vera Blanc, the story is interesting, the art is okay but the gameplay just looks kind of boring. It's almost like the grey area between a visual novel and an adventure game.

It'd probably be more popular if you made it more like a traditional point-and-click adventure game (such as the old Monkey Island games) and advertise it to people who like adventure games (which is a bigger audience than the one for VNs right now, as far as I know.

Also, well... you should possibly try to get a better colorist. The lines are okay, but the colors are pretty drab. Brighter colors like this: http://www.comicbookbin.com/artman2/upl ... review.jpg may make it more appealing.

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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#41 Post by jack_norton » Sat Oct 08, 2011 2:56 am

Yes, what you say are also other good reasons why the game wasn't successful. An adventure game would probably do much better :)
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#42 Post by Wright1000 » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:14 am

As for me, I didn't buy the games because I found lots of bugs in the demos.
But I liked the story and artwork, but the bugs were really a bother.
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#43 Post by jack_norton » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:40 am

Maybe you played an old version? I don't think I have "lots of bugs" in demo!
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#44 Post by Wright1000 » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:49 am

I didn't mean to offend you by telling about the bugs.
Actually, it's like I think most the choices doesn't make any difference.
Here are a few examples:
In the first choice, if I choose to ignore the kids and don't talk to them, later when I meet them, they act as if I have already met them.
Well, not exactly bugs, but I don't know the proper word for this kind of errors.
In Vera Blanc 1, if I choose to defuse the bomb, and later watch the news, the news should say that a blast was prevented. Instead, it says that a blast took place which destroyed Vera and Brandon's cab.
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Re: tell me why you didn't buy Vera Blanc :)

#45 Post by jack_norton » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:50 am

Ah ok I see, yes probably not bugs but... plot discrepancies ? don't know the right word either :D
And don't worry I wasn't offended.
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