[BxB/Horror] Water's Edge !demo re-release in Oct/Nov!

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[BxB/Horror] Water's Edge !demo re-release in Oct/Nov!

#1 Post by Niki » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:47 am

DEMO
Windows | Mac | Linux
Playtime: c. 15 minutes

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Summary
After being thrown off the deck of a ship and nearly drowning as a child, Mizutani Nagisa develops an irrational fear of water. When storms afflict the neighborhood he lives in for a full week, his occasional nightmares of the incident plague him every single night -- until one day he finds himself stranded in his school building, which is slowly filling up with water...

He is accompanied by his best friend, Atsushi, and Ishikawa, the mysterious, stoic classmate he had never really noticed...

You play as Nagisa, and are given a choice -- to face your fears, knowing that you may hurt yourself and others in the process; or to accept them as a part of yourself, which may cause you to never to know the truth.

Gameplay
Visual-novel style gameplay with two ways of branching -- menus and deciding where to go via a location map.

Characters

Mizutani Nagisa / 水谷 渚
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Age: 18
Height: 170 cm
A third-year high school student and the protagonist. Nagisa generally keeps to himself as he is afraid of opening up to people. He is uncomfortable with water after nearly drowning in the sea as a child. Depending on the player's choices, Nagisa can choose to face his fears and risk putting himself in danger, or accept himself as he is.

Ishikawa Youichi / 石川 洋一
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Age: 18
Height: 180 cm
Nagisa's classmate, who seems to know an unusual lot about him...

Miki Atsushi / 三木 淳
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Age: 18
Height: 176 cm
Nagisa's best friend since their freshman year. He has an infectiously cheerful personality, but a short temper. Atsushi puts on a brave front, but is frightened easily. He is Takano Ryuuki's senior in the badminton club.

Kanda Souta / 菅田 滝太
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Age: 18
Height: 172 cm
The ever-reliable class president, but can't deal very well with unexpected situations. Is on good terms with Ishikawa.

Takano Ryuuki / 高野 流生
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Age: 16
Height: 168 cm
Atsushi's junior from the badminton team. A half (his mother is German). He is only nice to the people he likes, and is not as innocent as he seems...

Saotome / 早乙女
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The school nurse. She has low tolerance for students who feign illness.

Details
Genre: BL, with horror elements
Rating: PG-13 or NC-16 (depending on where you're from, for non-explicit BL and language)
Endings: c. 5 (with TRUE ENDING)
Resolution: 1280 x 720px

This is going to be a 100% free game. ^^

Progress

Code: Select all

The game contains 826 screens of dialogue.
These screens contain a total of 8,533 words,
for an average of 10.3 words per screen.
The game contains 4 menus.


Sprites: 60% (second poses in progress)
CGs: 20%
Writing: 40%
Coding: 40%
Music: 0% (composing stage)

Staff
Writing, Coding, User Interface - Joey
Writing, Coding, Art - Niki
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Screenshots
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On Feedback
We would like critique on the demo -- particularly the characters, atmosphere and the plot. We know that the demo doesn't really cover much of the story, but from what you have played, does the plot seem to be "going somewhere"? Are you interested in knowing more about the characters (please specify)? Is the story well-paced? If not, how can we improve in all the above areas?

Critique on the art is also appreciated -- does the style fit the genre of the game? Does it clash with the GUI or the backgrounds? We appreciate your comments ^^

We hope to use this thread to obtain constructive feedback so we can improve the game, as well as to report updates in development.
Last edited by Niki on Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#2 Post by broken_angel » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:12 am

I didn't expect to, but I actually liked the demo quite a bit. I don't generally like horror, but the art intrigued me enough to try it, and it was actually a pretty interesting story. It definitely made me want to learn more about the characters, especially the main character, who seems to have an interesting past. Who was the guy who pushed him off the boat? Why would someone even do that to a little kid? What's the "that" incident he keeps referring to (though perhaps I was just being lame and didn't realize he was referring to the boat incident with that)? And why does Atsushi hang out with an outwardly boring guy like him? And how the heck did all that salt water get there?
I was sad when the demo ended. "B-b-but...I wanna see what the scream was about!"

My one concern plot-wise is that, even if it is a horror story, I feel like there should still be practical explanations for strange happenings...unless it's truly a paranormal story. Like maybe the phones are out because the cell towers were struck by lightening or something. If they're just out to create the "atmosphere," then that's no good.

Finally, the art is good, though personally, I would make the sprites a little bigger (right now, it's hard to even see their facial expressions because they're faces are so small compared to their tall bodies). I know you've probably sized them so that a bunch will fit on one screen, but remember that it's okay for them to overlap in situations like that.

Anyway, that's just me being picky. :) Keep up the good work.
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#3 Post by Reikun » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:03 pm

My first thought when I was at the main menu was that the art was very nice and suiting to the genre you delineated (horror).
Second, I really love the blurry image you had in the opening scene. It was a VERY good hook to begin the game with. The only things that bothered me were the parentheses around his thoughts after the blurry image transitions to the underwater scene. I think the parentheses are fine when his name label is shown, but for boxes without the name showing, they might not be needed.

I'll try not to comment on art/sound etc. since you haven't finished those sections, but one of the things I didn't like was the sound effect of the "start" option when you first begin to play xD I know it's a really minor detail, but the little "pop" sound is a bit odd and takes away from the overall mood of the main menu image in my opinion. Maybe something that sounds more gentle/mysterious would be better? It's up to you though.
I would also say you might want to shoot for consistency with using first names/surnames for the dialogue boxes, but it's fine as long as the player knows each character's full name upon meeting (for instance, when Ishikawa says "...Miki," I was like "Who the hell is Miki?!" It would have been fine if I read your synopsis/character info before playing the demo, but then that wouldn't be a totally unbiased review.)
Overall, I like the characters so far. You don't really get to see them "in action" with the demo, but that also leaves a lot of room for character development later on in the game.

Great work so far! I'm really looking forward to updates on your progress and the eventual release!! <3
I love the pun you did with the title, since "Nagisa" means "Water's Edge" xD
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#4 Post by Camille » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:00 pm

FINALLY got time to sit down and play through the demo. Some thoughts:

- The main menu fade is really cool-looking. I do suggest making the hovers a bit more obvious since it's a little hard to see the red blob. I do like the SFX for the main menu, though. The little water drop sound is cute.
- A click-to-continue icon would be really nice since it's hard to tell sometimes whether there's more text or not because of the pauses.
- I think the game would also benefit from an Auto/Auto-forward button.
- Maybe a sans-serif typeface might be better? Because this is a modern-day sort of setting, it's a little strange seeing the serif font, but that's just my opinion and it's not like the current font is terrible or anything, just a thought.
- Having the CG pop up is great when he wakes up is great. /o/ It looks lovely.
- I do think that having Nagisa's name pop up while he's narrating is a little much. I use the parentheses in BCM whenever Shuuki's thinking to himself, but he doesn't actually narrate anything. You can probably have the narration be without parentheses or a namebox since it'll be assumed that Nagisa is narrating. :3 But I think you guys already said you were addressing this, so. XD Just echoing thoughts, I suppose.
- The music cuts off a bit abruptly (at least during the first wake-up scene) just before it starts looping again. Perhaps add a fade to the end of the music file?
- I think there needs to be more of a transition between the school scene and the next wake-up scene. Just something as simple as a quick fade to black to show that time's passing by, since it seems a little abrupt as it is now. Also I think during some of his narration, it'd be good to have a different BG? Just to show the passage of time rather than just showing Nagisa sitting in bed thinking about all the things that've happened that week. There's also one part in that scene where I think his mom talks and the namebox doesn't show up.
- I like the map! :D It looks cool and the music is neat. *__*

The characters are all interesting and I'm excited to see where the story goes from here. The demo was such a tease! >:0 I hope my comments helped at least a little bit. I really enjoyed playing it and I'm looking forward to seeing it finished. :3
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#5 Post by Joey » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:39 am

Thanks everyone for playing the demo and taking time to write valuable feedback! >w<

@broken_angel:
Yes, you got it right, when Nagisa talks about "that incident" he is referring to the flashback at the beginning. I admit we should have made it a little clearer; we'll definitely be tweaking the writing of the demo. xD Regarding the lights flickering, no phone reception etc. there is also a rational explanation (to us, at least) for that, but it'll only be revealed later ;;

Not overlapping the sprites is actually a design choice, ehehe... However for the main characters (Nagisa, Atsushi, Ishikawa) we'll be giving them another set of sprites in different poses so expression changes look more obvious. Thanks for the feedback!

@Reikun:
We've already gotten a few bits of negative feedback about the way we put the narration owo;; So we're changing it -- in the actual game all narration will take place without the namebox and parentheses, which seem to be confusing people xD; But thank you for pointing it out, because we're so desensitized to our own game it's very hard to pick out the little abnormalities in the way we do things orz

The "pop" sound is actually a water drop sound effect. It was the clearest one we could find at the moment >>; Someone else also commented that it sounded a bit unfitting, so we're sourcing for a better one now.

I think we did mention Atsushi's full name somewhere at the beginning (when he first appears?) but only once, and in passing. (NO I DIDN'T I'M SUCH A DOOFUS. I just stuffed it in. /o\) We'll find some way to make this information stick in the player instead. xD It's not so much a consistency problem as the relationship between the characters, since it's a Japanese setting I thought it would be more proper for Ishikawa to address Atsushi by his last name, seeing as they're not exactly close.

The title was actually created after thinking up Nagisa's name; we were really stuck and so we just decided to go with its English meaning xDD Have a cookie for picking up on that! :3


@Camille:
We'll try to intensify the red glow and see what looks good :D Someone else has also suggested a click-to-continue indicator, so we'll put one in in the final game. I'm not too sure how to code in an auto-forward button though, but I'll try >>; Yup, the narration thing has been brought up a lot, and we're going to revamp it xD;;

I chose a serifed font (Apple Garamond, I think) because I couldn't really find an appropriate sans-serif font T_T But I'll look around some more and see what works. Didn't notice the thing about the music, though, so we'll totally look into that ^_^;;

The transition of time thing ("one week later" or whatever I wrote, I can't remember owo;;) has also been brought up, I stuck a transition there already xD We might work on another CG for that part too, since I do agree it might be a little boring/repetitive. Or at least he'd be wearing a different-colored shirt or something. The mother thing was also a goof, we've fixed it~

Glad you liked the map! \o/ But IMO it's a little plain so it'll definitely be seeing some revamps.

Again, THANK YOUUUU EVERYONE WHO PLAYED. Everything you say will be taken into careful consideration and help us make the best game we can ;w;
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#6 Post by Reikun » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:01 pm

Joey wrote:I chose a serifed font (Apple Garamond, I think) because I couldn't really find an appropriate sans-serif font T_T But I'll look around some more and see what works. Didn't notice the thing about the music, though, so we'll totally look into that ^_^;;


I also noticed that the demo used a serif font, but I thought it blended in well with the overall tone/color scheme of the demo as a whole (especially since serif fonts are viewed as more "serious," not to say that sans-serif can't be pulled off as serious). I think it would be fine if you kept the font that's currently in the demo if you can't find a suitable sans-serif font, should you decide to change it.
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#7 Post by PyTom » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:49 am

Joey wrote:I chose a serifed font (Apple Garamond, I think) because I couldn't really find an appropriate sans-serif font


Isn't there a licensing issue here?
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#8 Post by Camille » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:23 am

PyTom wrote:
Joey wrote:I chose a serifed font (Apple Garamond, I think) because I couldn't really find an appropriate sans-serif font


Isn't there a licensing issue here?

Nah, it's a free font.
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#9 Post by Reikun » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:24 am

Camille wrote:
PyTom wrote:
Joey wrote:I chose a serifed font (Apple Garamond, I think) because I couldn't really find an appropriate sans-serif font


Isn't there a licensing issue here?

Nah, it's a free font.

I figured it was also a basic font shipped with iMacs too, and it is available on the internet for free, but according to Wikipedia, it's part of Apple Inc.'s "brand recognition" and is apparently a "hidden"* font on commercial iMacs. Maybe a similar or different free font would be best just to play it safe? (Not that it's likely Apple will come down on a free indie VN for using their font, but you never know these days...)

*For this link to the article about typefaces included with the Mac OSX, the details on Apple Garamond say "see below" where they used to have a section listing where the fonts were located on the computer, but it seems to be edited out...
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#10 Post by Joey » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:49 am

Oh wow, I didn't know anything about that >_<; It came free with my computer, which isn't a Mac by the way. When I first decided to use it I did a Google but I saw that it was on dafont.com and the Wikipedia page for Garamond didn't really state whether it is for free use or not, so I thought it wouldn't be much of a problem. I'm now looking for alternatives, but I can't find anything with the same level of "skinnyness" (?) that Apple Garamond provides. T_T

Am I still allowed to use it in graphics, though? (e.g. the menu, imagebuttons)
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#11 Post by Reikun » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:16 am

I know what you mean when you say you can't find a font as slim as Apple Garamond (because I can't find one either)...
I'm a little curious as to what kind of computer you have since it already had Apple Garamond and is a non-iMac, especially since the font is "hidden" on iMacs (you don't have to tell me if you don't want to though xD)

Some similar(ish) fonts I found:
Alexander - though this one is only italic from the looks of it?
Symbola - this one is wider than Apple Garamond...
Junicode Regular - Probably the closest one out of the three?

I hope these help if you haven't seen them already? ^^;

And sorry (.__.) I don't know if Apple Garamond is 100% okay to use since it's Apple's custom version of the Garamond font. I tried to do some research on it, but I only found a bunch of forum threads from 2002 with people trying to get a hold of the font.
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#12 Post by M.T.D.G. » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:02 am

I played the demo with very pleasure :)
the story it's interesting and well written and the bubble sound really fits the theme and atmosphere.
I felt to play it 'cause I really like the art ^^ and all the -I suppose- main guys are gorgeous :3 I really want to know more about their personalities ^^
You made also good choices of music and backgrounds :)
While playing it I noticed that maybe there is some influence of the yaoi game called "Sweet Pool". Am I wrong? :D
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#13 Post by Joey » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:51 am

Reikun wrote:I'm a little curious as to what kind of computer you have since it already had Apple Garamond and is a non-iMac, especially since the font is "hidden" on iMacs (you don't have to tell me if you don't want to though xD)

I just reformatted my computer and I can't find it anymore O_o But I first saw it in Photoshop and decided to use it; I don't remember downloading it. :< Maybe someone else using my computer did, I don't know... Mysterious xD

Reikun wrote:Some similar(ish) fonts I found:
Alexander - though this one is only italic from the looks of it?
Symbola - this one is wider than Apple Garamond...
Junicode Regular - Probably the closest one out of the three?

I hope these help if you haven't seen them already? ^^;

And sorry (.__.) I don't know if Apple Garamond is 100% okay to use since it's Apple's custom version of the Garamond font. I tried to do some research on it, but I only found a bunch of forum threads from 2002 with people trying to get a hold of the font.

Thanks so much for your help!!! ;A; I think I'm going to go with Junicode if I really have to change it. I've already made a substitution but there appears to be some clipping going on with the tails of letters like "p" and "g"... I might have to reduce the font size :<

derp.png
(narration for this part is already changed; I was testing with an older version of the game)

Ciliegiosa wrote:I played the demo with very pleasure :)
the story it's interesting and well written and the bubble sound really fits the theme and atmosphere.
I felt to play it 'cause I really like the art ^^ and all the -I suppose- main guys are gorgeous :3 I really want to know more about their personalities ^^
You made also good choices of music and backgrounds :)

Thank you for your feedback! We've gotten a few mixed responses on the bubble/water drop sound, so we're actually looking to replace it. :( We're sorry we couldn't include more of the character personalities in the demo, we were more focused on establishing the setting this time round. But in the actual game past where the demo ends there's more interaction with the other charas so look forward to that ^_^ Thanks for playing!

While playing it I noticed that maybe there is some influence of the yaoi game called "Sweet Pool". Am I wrong? :D

Haha you caught us! :> We were partially inspired by sweet pool, yes >w<;;
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#14 Post by M.T.D.G. » Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:40 am

Thank you for your feedback! We've gotten a few mixed responses on the bubble/water drop sound, so we're actually looking to replace it. :( We're sorry we couldn't include more of the character personalities in the demo, we were more focused on establishing the setting this time round. But in the actual game past where the demo ends there's more interaction with the other charas so look forward to that ^_^ Thanks for playing!

While playing it I noticed that maybe there is some influence of the yaoi game called "Sweet Pool". Am I wrong? :D

Haha you caught us! :> We were partially inspired by sweet pool, yes >w<;;


oh, it's ok :) I admire the fact that you pay attention even on small details ^^
I guess I'll have to wait for the full version to see more about the characters. Can't wait :D

XD so I guessed right! This makes me want to play it even more. Sweet Pool it's a beautiful game, and I know you'll do a great job thinking at it ;)
...due to the fact that you posted the topic in this section, there won't be +18 CGs, isn't it? Too bad XP *is a pervy*
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Re: [BxB] [Horror] Water's Edge

#15 Post by Niki » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:53 pm

Hey all, sorry we've been so inactive. The second poses are currently being drafted out now, which is taking me a long time ^^; I work faster on CGs.

But anyway, just wanted to know people's opinions on this kind of relationship:
takano_cg_sketch.png

We never planned to have a 'romance route' for Takano, but I've gone and done some, eh, research and it seems that the 'toshishita-seme' 'younger seme' 'shota seme' (I wouldn't really consider Takano shota though |D) thing does have its fair share of fangirls. We'll see if we can write him a route (since Takano's not really an integral part of the plot), if not it'll just be him being mischievous with Nagisa ^^;
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