{NEW DEMO} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fantasy]

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Re: {1/2 there} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fant

#106 Post by Dee » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:36 pm

Big announcement, everyone: as you all know, Ana and I have been hard at work for about two months, trying to wrap up the new demo. Turns out, we're almost finished! That's right, you can expect the new demo to be released on the 22th, next Saturday. It's been one hell of a ride making this game, and we are very excited to show you some nifty new stuff!

Content update that will be in the demo includes:
- New save/load screen
- New and improved character art (as you are all aware of)
- Improved script and dialogue
- The Elements showing up more frequently
- Extended content!


Thank you for sticking with us during this whole time and for all the comments and critique you've given us! Without your input, this game wouldn't be turning out the way it is.

Stay tuned!

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Re: {Demo News} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fant

#107 Post by Veniae » Sat Feb 22, 2014 6:15 pm

Code: Select all

Statistics:

The game contains 1,580 dialogue blocks, containing 15,285 words and 80,591
characters, for an average of 9.7 words and 51 characters per block.

The game contains 7 menus, 77 images, and 11 screens.
Coming soon to the Internet near you!

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Re: {Demo News} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fant

#108 Post by Mad Harlequin » Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:42 pm

I've been waiting for this a long time. Hooray! :)
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Re: {Demo News} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fant

#109 Post by Dee » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:04 pm

A small note: due to small programming issues, we won't be able to release the demo today as planned, and we're very sorry :( But! We should have everything ready by tomorrow, so not much harm done, I suppose! Just hang in there a little longer c:

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Re: {Demo News} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fant

#110 Post by Veniae » Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:38 pm

Mushroom Samba Productions is proud to present:

*drumroll*

Elements: The Academy Demo V2.7,
aka
The Still Saturday Somewhere? Version
We apologise for the slight delay and hope the demo will be worth the wait! Once again, it includes:
- revamped sprites!
- improved GUI!
- new content!

So, we'll be honoured if you give it a go. Let us know what you think! (If you encounter any crashes, please include the traceback.) I hope you like what you see and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Once again, the download link (all versions).

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Re: {NEW DEMO} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fanta

#111 Post by Mad Harlequin » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:38 pm

Hello!

I remember enjoying the original demo, so naturally I downloaded the updated version right away.

The script really has improved! I especially liked how certain characters aren't immediately "socially accessible" for Estelle---they might not appear as obvious options, but they show up within another one. That gives the narrative a much more natural feeling.

From a purely mechanical standpoint, the text needs some polishing. Most of the problems I encountered are related to sentence structure or misused punctuation and grammar. There are also a few missing words here and there, but I may discuss them in a separate post.

Misused em dashes:
“It's rather cool and---despite the popular belief that Light is not very effective---useful.”
It makes more sense to place the em dash before "and."
“He opens his mouth to say something---particularly nasty, judging by his expression, when Taffy interrupts him:”
"He opens his mouth to say something---something particularly nasty, judging by his expression-when Taffy interrupts him:"

Sometimes I came across a misused word, too:
“After all, good discipline is a must in the most elitists of high schools, and the Academy is one of them.”

I especially suggest reviewing how commas are used.
I'm suddenly pushed to the front of the desk and, curiously, look up towards the DJ.”
The commas here make the act of looking up at the DJ sound unexpected. (I assume "curiously" was intended to express Estelle's curiosity.)

Subject/verb agreement:
“Some time later, I sit on the parapet of one of the big windows that loom over the inner courtyard, hugging my legs.”
"Of the big windows" is a prepositional phrase. The verb "loom" should connect back to the word "one," so it should be "looms."

In addition, the placement of "hugging my legs" makes this sentence a bit confusing. Is the window hugging Estelle's legs, or is she doing it?

This is my main point. Beware of dangling modifiers and awkwardly constructed sentences! I often understood the ideas behind the text, but found they weren't expressed clearly. Look at this one:
"A ball of pure Light floats next to her head instead of a lamp.”
I know you mean to say she's reading by a ball of light instead of a lamp, but the way this sentence is written suggests that a lamp would be floating by her head if the light ball weren't being used.
“After grabbing a tray, I plop next to him, letting my bag fall on the floor with an irritated huff.”
Is Estelle huffing in irritation, or is it the bag?
“His grin widens and he tips his chair backwards with a smug expression.”
Is Casey using a smug expression to tip the chair?

The second major issue I want to address is this:

Estelle spends a lot of time noticing, spotting, feeling, and proceeding to do things instead of simply describing them happening, or, if she's behind the action, doing them. It's as if she's having an out-of-body experience.
“As I start to recall the last few minutes and my meeting with Ezio, I feel my brows knitting.”
Estelle doesn't need to start to recall anything, or feel her brows knitting as she does. (Possible rewrite: "I recall my meeting with Ezio and knit my brows.")
“My eyes trail to the side and I can feel an embarrassed blush begin to spread through my cheeks.”
(Possible rewrite: "I glance away and blush in embarrassment.")

I also found a few instances of trouble with tenses, as shown here:
“We've reached the cafeteria by now and pause our conversation until we take our seat around our usual table.”
The first part of the sentence is in the simple present perfect tense, but the second half is in the simple present. As a general rule, if the time frame for each action is the same, don't change tenses.
“And that's how my Sophomore year in the Academy begun.”
The year began. If Estelle were speaking in the past perfect tense, her year would have begun.

Misused words:
“A smile grazes his lips, but he plays along, nodding gravely.”
Graze doesn't work here. "To graze"---well, the definition unrelated to herbivores---is to brush against or abrade something in passing.
“You really splashed beer on his face?”
I'm not sure if this is something that bothers me because of our different countries of origin and likely differences in speech patterns, but wouldn't it be "in his face"?

Generally problematic sentences and phrases:
“All of a sudden, the object of our (one-sided) discussion appears behind her back. Shari falls silent and slowly turns around to look at the boy who's standing behind her chair.”
The word "back" isn't needed. Dafydd, who is the subject of the discussion (and not the object), is behind her. Adding "back" is just redundant, and "the boy who's standing behind her" is equally unnecessary because the previous sentence already established that he's behind her. There is at least one other instance of this sort of construction, but I'll only quote one.
“Ezio looks down on me in an annoyingly conceited way as he speaks in a cocky tone.”
You can refine this sentence and still convey the same idea. His cocky tone of voice is implied.

"Ezio sneers at me and says . . ."
“For once, the desire to exert violence on Ezio seems to be subdued.”
I know Estelle has her own way of speaking, but this is needlessly complicated. It's also in the passive voice, which, while it has its uses, can make prose sound stilted. In addition, the sentence holds up Estelle's usual desire to hurt Ezio as if it's a thing to be examined separately from her. It sounds odd.

Put Estelle back in the driver's seat! "For once, I don't want to (insert violent act of your choice here). Maybe it could be: "For once, I don't want to punch Ezio in the face."

Well, I think I've covered all the bases for now, though I haven't touched on every single error I saw. I still have more notes, so don't hesitate to ask me if you'd like more feedback on a specific issue.

I really enjoyed the demo and I'm looking forward to the finished product! Thanks for reading. :D
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."
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Re: {NEW DEMO} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fanta

#112 Post by Dee » Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:08 am

@Mad Harlequin: Wow, thank you so much for such an in-depth review of our script! I'm sure the things you pointed out will help us deliver a much better game in the future ^^ I'll be sure to notify Ana about those issues, and you are welcome to keep sharing your thoughts! Your opinion on the characters and narrative in general would also be very much appreciated :D

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Re: {NEW DEMO} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fanta

#113 Post by Mad Harlequin » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:28 am

Thanks so much, Dee! That means a great deal to me, especially since you and Ana have worked so hard. :)

A few other things to note:
“Of course, he tips it a little too much and a shocked expression blooms on his face, like a stupid, fragile flower as he flourishes his arms and legs in desperation.”
I love how Casey's shocked expression "blooms on his face," but the phrasing for the rest of this sentence is a little wonky. Is the expression "a stupid, fragile flower"? It seems a little overdone to me. "Flourishes" is also not the right verb to use here. He's not trying to attract attention by waving his arms. That's something one might do with a wine bottle. You might also have to break up the description into two sentences for clarity's sake. Don't be afraid to do that, by the way. You seem to be fond of long, one-sentence descriptions broken up by commas. They're not always a problem, but if you're not careful, you'll end up with dangling modifiers and generally awkward sentences.

"Of course, he tips it a little too much and falls backward. He flails his arms and legs in desperation as the shock blooms on his face."

Does Ms. Montgomery go by Ms. or Mrs.? I saw both used in the text.

I believe I remember being able to choose to study with Boris even if the gang never meets him at the beach . . .

General character feedback:

Estelle: She's cheerful and spunky, but her sweetness is never cloying. I like that. :D

Shari: She's an Earth elemental, right? I don't remember if it's ever explicitly mentioned, but she certainly seems grounded in common sense---except until Dafydd shows up. Hee. Estelle and Casey are so lucky to have her as a friend! I hope to to find out more about what makes her tick.

Casey: At last I see a best friend character with some attitude! You seem to have taken the old trope of the "reliable and sweet best friend" and reworked it to suit your needs. I'm so grateful he's not bland. Casey's not defined solely as Estelle and Casey's friend---he's his own person and wants everyone to know it. (By the way, while I wasn't a registered member when you did the new sprites, I shouted "YES! A MOHAWK!" when I saw Casey's new look.)

Boris: You could have gone the usual route and made Boris hot-tempered, considering he's a Fire elemental, but I'm glad you didn't. That's been done to death. And he's not a total wallflower either. That's also been overdone. You've created a character who acts like most shy kids do---around strangers, he's quiet, but around friends, he opens up and enjoys himself. I really appreciate that.

Dafydd: I don't have quite as much to say about Dafydd yet, but he seems like a dependable guy. No wonder Shari is in love! I hope he becomes more complex as the story unfolds, though. What I really want to know right now is how he puts up with Ezio.

Ezio: Ah, this fellow . . . he doesn't appear to be the typical "jerk" character. He's certainly got an ego, but you've taken less time than most might to show that he's got a fun, sweet nature underneath. I eagerly await more verbal jousts between him and Estelle.

Alain: He's another character who benefits from a subtler approach. If he'd tried to hit the audience over the head with his dilemma, Alain would be far less appealing to me. He obviously has secrets to uncover and buttons to push, but I'm very happy he's not melodramatic about them. He's also not completely opposed to conversation, which is refreshing.
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
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Re: {NEW DEMO} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fanta

#114 Post by Veniae » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:05 am

@Mad Harlequin: Hey there! First of all, thanks very much for playing the demo. I'm thrilled you enjoyed it! Secondly, your feedback is going to be immensely helpful! I admit that when we started working on E:TA a couple of years ago, I hadn't had much experience with writing in English (it's not my first language). That's why the game starts off a bit... yeah, wobbly. :D I decided to leave the editing for after I finish the first draft, though. And I'll keep in mind everything you pointed out. (I needed someone to tell me what I'm doing wrong, hah.)
I believe I remember being able to choose to study with Boris even if the gang never meets him at the beach . . .

Oops! Really happy you caught that; I'd totally overlooked it...

General character feedback

Oh man, thank you for the nice comments! Character creation is one of my favourite parts of writing, so it's great to hear you found them nice and interesting. One of the things Dee and I want to accomplish in this project is show characters who, just like real-life people, cannot be summed up in a single trope/character archetype.
Also, yes, Shari is an Earth elemental. And the sass fights between Estelle and Ezio have barely even started... (I have a ridiculous lot of fun writing these. :D)

Once again, thanks a lot for taking the time to play and comment. If you do have any more critique, we would appreciate it!

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Re: {NEW DEMO} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fanta

#115 Post by Dee » Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:43 am

Of note: the CGs in the demo are currently placeholders! Me and Ana need to have the whole script complete so we can decide how many CGs there are actually going to be in the game, since I'll probably do most of the work myself and even then I might need some help with coloring/shading. Therefore, we decided I should not redraw them now, as I'm leaving this stuff for later in the development process. Just so you guys know! ;)

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Re: {NEW DEMO} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fanta

#116 Post by Mad Harlequin » Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:51 am

Sounds like a plan! It's a good idea to figure out exactly how much work you'll need to do before you do it. That way, you won't end up shouting, "Oh, crap! I need to draw more CGs!" or "I drew too many!" later on. :lol:
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Re: {NEW DEMO} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fanta

#117 Post by Dee » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:05 am

@MH: Yep! Since I'm like, the Everything Artist for this game, I need to really organize the stuff I draw and in which order I draw it. It's hard, and nobody understands. *sniffle* (kidding, I have tons of fun making this game - except if it is coding. Gosh darned coding.)

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Re: {NEW DEMO} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fanta

#118 Post by Mad Harlequin » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:39 am

Oh, that reminds me! I never did say just how much I love the menu design for the game, especially when saving and loading files. The shared notebook made me smile. It really solidifies Estelle's, Casey's, and Shari's personalities and the dynamic of their friendship. (Poor Shari. Putting up with those two must be incredibly stressful sometimes! :lol:)
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
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Re: {NEW DEMO} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fanta

#119 Post by EchoLove » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:54 pm

Oh yay god I'm so excited to see that a new demo is out! I didn't expect to see much when I signed in today so this really brightened my day. I'll be downloading tomorrow if I don't have too much work

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Re: {NEW DEMO} Elements: The Academy [GxB|Romcom|Slife|Fanta

#120 Post by Veniae » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:02 am

Hehe, I'm glad. Hope you enjoy it! c:

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