That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim] (Hiatus)

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That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim] (Hiatus)

#1 Post by CheeryMoya » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:51 am

Disclaimers: Contains harsh language, perverted or crude humor, subjects that may be controversial in nature, and suggestive themes.
As the writer, I'd suggest this game to people only above the age of 16 or who are mature.

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Demo here!

Elise Greene is a young and aspiring pâtissièrie, as well as the daughter of a family who owns a bakery renown in Panadería (a fictional town in Southern California) for the quality of their baked goods. She's going to inherit the family business in a couple of years since she's the oldest and only child in this generation of the family, and all is well until her parents start thinking about selling the bakery. When Elise and friends find out, they resolve to fight back and show her parents that small businesses can still stay afloat even in the toughest of economic times.
That's not all that happens during the year though. Within this small town lay many secrets, and most don't stay so because of the notorious grapevine of gossip that weaves its way in nearly all social circles. Drama outside of the bakery's going to go down, and like it or not, Elise could get more involved in any of them...


This is largely a character-based game, and the plot focus depends on which character you pursue.


The Boys


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The Girls


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~~~

Screenshots

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Once again, you can download the demo here!
Windows
Mac
Linux
Source

We'd appreciate if you could put your feedback on the baking portion in the Demo thread.

Credits

Writing: CheeryMoya, Funnyguts
Programming: CheeryMoya, Funnyguts
Character Concepts: Ryurieri
Art: Reikun
GUI: Reikun
Music: retribute

Special thanks to kaleidofish, leon, Omnificent, 9:19, and the people I bother on Skype for their support >_>

Questions
Preferably, answer these after you play the demo. Thank you for all the feedback so far! We've got a good idea of what to do next, so no need to fill out all the questions. Go for it if you want anyway :3

    1. Who is your favorite character and why?
    2. What is your favorite line or scene? How's the humor?
    3. Were there any parts of the game that bugged you? How can we improve it?
    4. How long do you think you could play the baking sim section before you get bored? What would help you be willing to play that portion longer?
    5. Do the baking and visual novel portions transition smoothly from one mode to another?
    6. Was Info/Profile screen helpful (deciding during a choice menu, understanding the characters, etc.)? How often did you check it?
    7. How could the baking sim be more fun/visually attractive?
    8. Rate us on a scale of 1 to 10 on how all the elements come together. Does it feel like a cohesive game?

Updates

July 3, 2012: Ahhhhh the demo's finally out >_> I hope everyone enjoys it, we promised the demo out originally in March, but hahaha... No worries!
July 4, 2012: The new version of the demo fixes errors in saving and loading, so now you can pick up the game anytime without worry of the event system exploding on you! Very many thanks to Funnyguts for finding the problem and fixing it <3
July 22, 2012: Working on those BGs, some of the team has shifted some energy into developing a few smaller games. Script's still coming along.
September 3, 2012: The $100 thank you gift should be done in two weeks or so as long as things keep running smoothly!
Last edited by CheeryMoya on Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#2 Post by sapiboonggames » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:16 am

This looks so interesting! Downloading the demo and will answer the questions once I have finished it!
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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#3 Post by Veniae » Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:05 am

/squee Demo!

I've been looking forward to this! Downloading right now. Will post impressions + critique (if any) once I'm done.

Cheers!

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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#4 Post by gekiganwing » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:01 am

Thank you for the demo. I remember reading about this game in an earlier thread, and I wasn't sure if it was still a work in progress.

CheeryMoya wrote:I'd suggest this game to people only above the age of 16 or who are mature.


From what I read in an earlier thread and in the demo, it looks like nearly your characters have graduated from high school. I'm not entirely sure what their ages are, but they seem to be either employed or looking for work. As such, they have age-appropriate concerns.

CheeryMoya wrote:
Questions
Preferably, answer these after you play the demo.

    1. Who is your favorite character and why?
    2. What is your favorite line or scene? How's the humor?
    3. Were there any parts of the game that bugged you? How can we improve it?
    4. How long do you think you could play the baking sim section before you get bored? What would help you be willing to play that portion longer?
    5. Do the baking and visual novel portions transition smoothly from one mode to another?
    6. Was Info/Profile screen helpful (deciding during a choice menu, understanding the characters, etc.)? How often did you check it?
    7. How could the baking sim be more fun/visually attractive?
    8. Rate us on a scale of 1 to 10 on how all the elements come together. Does it feel like a cohesive game?


1. I wanted to know more about Terry. Her outfit reminded me of EGL fashion. Is this style something she likes? Furthermore, she mentioned visiting family in Japan, but did not provide any details.

2. I liked the going-to-sleep scenes. They didn't need to exist, but they seemed very believable.

3. I'll have to experiment with the demo more, but I wasn't sure why some attempts to bake products resulted in partial failures. Is it random? Or are the game mechanics trying to make baking into a learning process? (In other words, the characters have to successfully bake 12 products before they can handle 15?)

Also, I wanted to know more about finances. There was a report on daily earnings or losses, but I didn't know how much money the bakery started out having.

What do the star ratings for food mean? Do they represent the demand for the food, how difficult it is to make, or something else?

Should a diverse number of products be made each day?

Every now and then, some products do not sell. I'm not sure if there is a reason for this. Is it random?

4. The simulation so far seems a little bit easy. And I'm not sure if it has any connection to the characters' relationships. Right now it's decent (and not overly complex), which is acceptable for freeware. If you want your game to be simple and relaxing, then you can keep the gameplay as-is.

5. The transitions seem fine.

6. The character intros were decent, as were the gossip sections. As long as they still optional, they're fine.

7. If you want to refine your gameplay... then I'd recommend making sure there are goals to achieve, and perhaps also multiple ways to achieve them. For example, one goal might be "earn $1000 per week." Also, help us understand why food items do and don't sell.

Let us know if the baking simulation gameplay affects relationships. I assume that if the bakery goes bankrupt, that's a Bad Ending. By talking with people and choosing appropriate answers, that presumably improves Elise's relationships. Anything else?

I was thinking about the notion of "create something, intimacy increases." Then I remembered the blacksmith system in Thousand Arms. (It's a lengthy game, so if you're not familiar with it, read some FAQs about how its gameplay works.) If the characters if your game routinely baked products together, that would be a meaningful way to help them become closer. But that would probably require major gameplay changes...

8. If a "10" is a very cohesive game, and "1" is incoherent gameplay roulette, then I'd give Cookie Crumbles a "7" right now. Since the characters' goal is to keep the bakery open, it makes sense that they're trying to make money by selling their products.

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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#5 Post by leon » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:23 am

Congrats on the Demo release. The gameplay elements are impressive (it's what I'm most interested in, actually). I just downloaded and only played a little bit. I'll post more once I finish it.

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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#6 Post by CheeryMoya » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:49 pm

sapiboonggames wrote:This looks so interesting! Downloading the demo and will answer the questions once I have finished it!
Veniae wrote:/squee Demo!

I've been looking forward to this! Downloading right now. Will post impressions + critique (if any) once I'm done.

Cheers!
Thank you q-q We're only like... two months late on getting you guys the demo? :'D There's a reason why the group is called "TwinTurtle Games"... Slow and steady y'all! Ahahahahaha... ;A; And Veniae, I will try out the new demo for Elements, just been busy with... not playing other VN demos >_> Will you forgive me

BTW, important for the demo! Whatever you do, don't try using the save/load functions. We tried our best to stamp it out, but an error occurs when you try to load from a save file. We'll try to diagnose the problem in a future update. This is what happens when you have a hybrid game <_<

gekiganwing wrote:Thank you for the demo. I remember reading about this game in an earlier thread, and I wasn't sure if it was still a work in progress.
Hey gekigan, thanks for trying out the demo :3 Ah yeah, I decided to keep low until I could show my face in this board >_> *goes to abandon old thread completely*

gekiganwing wrote:
CheeryMoya wrote:I'd suggest this game to people only above the age of 16 or who are mature.


From what I read in an earlier thread and in the demo, it looks like nearly your characters have graduated from high school. I'm not entirely sure what their ages are, but they seem to be either employed or looking for work. As such, they have age-appropriate concerns.
Yup, all but two characters are about ready to finish their 4 years in university and preparing to get ready to study for their specific majors. None have full-time jobs (save Elise, she's her own boss now!), so they're working part-time or interning. Age group is from 16 to 25-ish, so make of it what you will.

gekiganwing wrote:1. I wanted to know more about Terry. Her outfit reminded me of EGL fashion. Is this style something she likes? Furthermore, she mentioned visiting family in Japan, but did not provide any details.
I hope I didn't leave out Terry too much >_> Compared to Renee, she doesn't get enough screentime. Yes, Terry dresses in Lolita fashion, specifically Sweet Lolita (that was the intent), because she likes it and she can damn it. Luckily summer '12 hasn't been hot as hell (yet) so she's not burning up in that dress.
Sorry if it feels like I left a lot of details out since the demo isn't quite the beginning of the game. Terry's parents moved to America when she was young because of jobs, but they fly back to Japan to see uncles and aunts and the like. I'll put in more details in the update if it'd make things easier to understand, even if this is a minor thing.

gekiganwing wrote:2. I liked the going-to-sleep scenes. They didn't need to exist, but they seemed very believable.
Haha, those were the scenes Funnyguts wrote >_> Without them, the transition from one day to another seemed rough, so she added them in.

gekiganwing wrote:3. I'll have to experiment with the demo more, but I wasn't sure why some attempts to bake products resulted in partial failures. Is it random? Or are the game mechanics trying to make baking into a learning process? (In other words, the characters have to successfully bake 12 products before they can handle 15?)

Also, I wanted to know more about finances. There was a report on daily earnings or losses, but I didn't know how much money the bakery started out having.

What do the star ratings for food mean? Do they represent the demand for the food, how difficult it is to make, or something else?

Should a diverse number of products be made each day?

Every now and then, some products do not sell. I'm not sure if there is a reason for this. Is it random?
If you dive into the code and can actually understand what's going on, there's a random number generator driving the system. The difficulty may be a bit off since we need you guys to give us feedback on what happens too much or what doesn't happen enough, so leave your comments on the baking portion in the Demo thread.
I don't believe Gutsy set a starting amount of funds at the beginning, though it should be an easy thing to add in. The stars in the cookbook represent how popular that item is, and customers are more likely to buy the popular items. We're planning on looking into being able to change the popularity of a good if you try hard enough (keep making it, even if no one buys it at first!).
For the rest of this stuff, I'll let Gutsy talk >_> Ren'Py is easy they said, anyone can program they said.

gekiganwing wrote:4. The simulation so far seems a little bit easy. And I'm not sure if it has any connection to the characters' relationships. Right now it's decent (and not overly complex), which is acceptable for freeware. If you want your game to be simple and relaxing, then you can keep the gameplay as-is.
The only relationship that will affect the baking portion (aside from unlocking recipes) is Alfonse, though later on we'll add in the fatigue factor to the VN portion. Depending on what you do during your break or on the weekends might tire Elise out more, and that'll affect her performance in the baking sim. You already see this when you bake a lot of goods.

gekiganwing wrote:5. The transitions seem fine.

6. The character intros were decent, as were the gossip sections. As long as they still optional, they're fine.
Thanks, usually I have trouble with transitions (or think I do), so this is good to know :3 Also, I learned from my NaNo game that people like the option to skip intros after reading it once >_>

gekiganwing wrote:7. If you want to refine your gameplay... then I'd recommend making sure there are goals to achieve, and perhaps also multiple ways to achieve them. For example, one goal might be "earn $1000 per week." Also, help us understand why food items do and don't sell.

Let us know if the baking simulation gameplay affects relationships. I assume that if the bakery goes bankrupt, that's a Bad Ending. By talking with people and choosing appropriate answers, that presumably improves Elise's relationships. Anything else?

I was thinking about the notion of "create something, intimacy increases." Then I remembered the blacksmith system in Thousand Arms. (It's a lengthy game, so if you're not familiar with it, read some FAQs about how its gameplay works.) If the characters if your game routinely baked products together, that would be a meaningful way to help them become closer. But that would probably require major gameplay changes...
We'll add in goals in the full game, and I'll leave the rest of that stuff to the actual programmer >_>
And yup, the VN portion plays like a regular VN, with answers affecting relationships and all. I know I didn't code those in the demo yet, but the next update shall have it! We're also trying to figure out a way to give items to the characters as gifts to make them like Elise more, but none of them besides her know how to bake.

gekiganwing wrote:8. If a "10" is a very cohesive game, and "1" is incoherent gameplay roulette, then I'd give Cookie Crumbles a "7" right now. Since the characters' goal is to keep the bakery open, it makes sense that they're trying to make money by selling their products.
Ah, a 7. I guess that's above average, and we'll try to shoot for at least an 8. Thank you again for your feedback, it helps a lot :D

leon wrote:Congrats on the Demo release. The gameplay elements are impressive (it's what I'm most interested in, actually). I just downloaded and only played a little bit. I'll post more once I finish it.
I'm hoping that you could help Gutsy figure out what's up with the errors that are still there if you can @_@ Thanks~

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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#7 Post by Veniae » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:05 pm

Ahahaha, no worries, play it when you have time. Just lemme know what you think, 'kay? ^^ I'd really appreciate it~

Though I feel I should mention that the Elements demo might not be particularly up-to-date... /hint

Ahem, anyway, I think it's fine you released it a bit late - I have the feeling that it will totally be worth the wait! 8D

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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#8 Post by Funnyguts » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:31 pm

Crossposting from the demo thread, here's the updated builds hopefully without errors.

Windows
Mac
Linux
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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#9 Post by MaiMai » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:34 pm

I tried the demo out yesterday; very nice! You're off to a good start and I hope you can add more appropriate music as progress goes on. I really love the idea of a baking sim (I just love food)

Just being nit-picky here; while I find the GUI nice and neat, perhaps the rainbow gradient in the text box isn't completely necessary? It doesn't obstruct the text, but it was just my first thought.
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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#10 Post by kialaa » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:49 pm

I enjoyed the demo and I love how you don't lose every single recipe you've earned in the game. Anyway there was only one problem in the new demo that bothered me when ever you have to throw something away from a baking incident. The items you had to throw away that time always pop up after that time and it's not really anything, but I just found it really confusing. Oh yeah that happened in story mode I haven't tried the free play yet so I don't know if it happens there.
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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#11 Post by MusicaFate » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:16 pm

:D Finally! Congrats Moya :3 I'll play the demo when I get home <3
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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#12 Post by CheeryMoya » Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:17 pm

@Veniae: I hope it's worth it >_> We pulled all-nighters the last 3 days or so trying to get everything together. Not very good for an insomniac like me >_>

@MaiMai: Glad you liked the demo! retribute wasn't able to compose all that we needed, but I'll keep poking him to get to it. As for the textbox, here's what happened:
[7/1/2012 4:18:43 PM | Edited 4:18:49 PM] Reikun: My gradient tool keeps defaulting to the rainbow gradient.... xD
[7/1/2012 4:19:06 PM] CheeryMoya: :C
[7/1/2012 4:19:09 PM] Colleen: Just color everything rainbows
[7/1/2012 4:19:22 PM] Colleen: Tybalt now has rainbow fur
[7/1/2012 4:19:41 PM] CheeryMoya: Yes
[7/1/2012 4:19:42 PM] *** Reikun sent rainbowtextbox.PNG ***
[7/1/2012 4:19:51 PM] Reikun: It looks kinda cool actually....
[7/1/2012 4:20:47 PM] CheeryMoya: Ooh
[7/1/2012 4:20:52 PM] CheeryMoya: I like it too O:
[7/1/2012 4:20:58 PM] CheeryMoya: Can we keep itttt??????
[7/1/2012 4:21:19 PM] Colleen: Oh man I do kinda like it
[7/1/2012 4:23:00 PM] Reikun: Let's keep it xD
[7/1/2012 4:23:50 PM] Colleen: Sure~
[7/1/2012 4:24:31 PM] CheeryMoya: Yayyyyyyyy
We liked the effect it had, but if it bothers enough people we'll consider changing it.

@kialaa: Good to see that the response is positive so far :3 I can't answer for bugs in the baking portion, but it's not a traditional/simple VN so there will be minor problems like that for now. Give Gutsy a short break and she'll figure out what's up eventually >_>

@MusicaFate: Thanks O: Hope you enjoy~

Edit: Aiya, I forgot the most important question of all! >_> Does anyone know a font that supports pinyin tone marks (ǎ, á, à, etc.)? Preferably one that looks like SF Cartoonist Hand, AKA the font that we're using. This is because Joshua speaks a lot of gratuitous Chinese, and instead of having the Chinese characters and non-speakers not having a clue as to how to pronounce them in the first place, you can at least try with the pinyin. I'll turn to making a custom font if need be, but just wondering if any of you knew of one.

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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#13 Post by Arowana » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:17 pm

Ooh, congrats on the demo release! I’ve actually been lurking following your project for a while, so I’m quite excited to see this!

1. Who is your favorite character and why?
The cat! His design is super adorable! Haha, more seriously…out of the guys, Joshua is the most interesting to me so far. His jokes and weird stories amuse me and
I appreciate that he seems to be a family guy.
Also, I’m keeping an eye on Alfonse
because I’m waiting for him to go yandere on everyone. :D

Out of the girls…hmm, maybe Renee? She’s the only one I’ve really talked to so far. Will you be able to spend your break with any of your girl friends in the future?

2. What is your favorite line or scene? How's the humor?
I liked Joshua’s dumb pickup lines and crazy story. :D

I also giggled when Aaron said Elise should have named her cat Mittens, because I remembered someone else saying it was a stupid name. Nice callback.

Also Elise’s line at the very beginning “And I guess I’m psychic…yeah, I dunno” cracked me up for some reason. It just seemed so random haha, but I guess it was a justification for the Info screen. Hmm, her being “pseudo-psychic” could be an interesting plot point if you’re planning to explore it more.

3. Were there any parts of the game that bugged you? How can we improve it?
Being introduced to each person by picking them off a menu felt a bit strange. Personally, I’d prefer to first meet everybody in an actual scene. Like them banding together to save the bakery with Elise, or going about some typical hijinks at the bakery at the very beginning?

The italics parts indicating Elise had learned new recipes seemed a bit out-of-place when written in third person. I preferred it when they were written from Elise’s POV.

I’m a bit confused on how the fatigue system works. So the more things I bake, the more tired I get, which makes me more likely to screw up baking other stuff? Do different desserts have different difficulty levels, or is it just how many things I bake that makes me more tried? Perhaps a Fatigue/HP bar under Elise’s profile in the Info section would be useful?

About the rainbow gradient on the textbox, because it was mentioned above. I don't think it's necessarily bothersome, but maybe it seems strange because it doesn't match with the rest of the theme you've got going on? Perhaps the pink-yellow gradient that appears on the Info page would fit in more? Else you really could turn the rest of the theme rainbow. :lol:

One more minor thing. I often turn up the text speed very high I can get it all to display at once. However, there are some parts where one person is talking and it immediately skips to the person who is interrupting them. Such as the scene where Joshua goes “It’s almost on the lever of hipster irony” and Xavier immediately interrupts him by saying “Don’t.” Are you using {w} with some time set?

4. How long do you think you could play the baking sim section before you get bored? What would help you be willing to play that portion longer?
Heh, I kinda ended up just choosing random things during baking sim. ^^; Perhaps if there were more repercussions for doing bad, or rewards for doing well, I’d be more invested in it.

Like if the bakery accumulated a certain threshold of debt, Elise’s parents would take it away or guys would stop coming. Or if I did especially well, the other characters would compliment me? Or perhaps if there were specific monetary goals associated with new recipes, equipment, or skills (e.g. every $1000, you can hire another employee/buy someone a gift)? Just throwing out random ideas now. :)

5. Do the baking and visual novel portions transition smoothly from one mode to another?
I think the scene changes are okay as is, but if you wanted, a simple little cartoon or animation of Elise baking (perhaps accompanied by a short musical jingle) could make for a cute transition!

Story-wise, I really like the idea of a bakery setting, but it does seem detached from most of the characters at the moment. Only Alfonse actually works at the bakery, so I’m not even sure why the other characters are always hanging out there. Maybe adding a scene at the beginning where they all band together to save the bakery would demonstrate why this place is so important to them? Or is that going to be revealed later on?

6. Was Info/Profile screen helpful (deciding during a choice menu, understanding the characters, etc.)? How often did you check it?
The quotes are quite cute! (I like Santos’s weird thoughts haha) I’ve only just realized the quotes change during the game, so I’ll be paying more attention to them in the future. I think the Info will also be useful for checking relationship stats later on. Do the sprite expressions change depending how good my relationship is? :D

A minor visual thing – perhaps the label words (“Name,” “Blood Type,” etc.) could be bolded or colored a little differently, just so they stand out from the rest of the text? “Current Thoughts” and “Relationship Status” may even merit their own standout box, since they will be continuously updated during the game.

7. How could the baking sim be more fun/visually attractive?
It would be really cool if the right page (with the scribbled writing) would change depending on which dessert was selected on the left! A picture of the baked good, short description, cost/sell price, and star rating could all be placed there as well, which would free up some extra room for the “To Be Baked” list.

On that note, there’s not much space for the list of things “To Be Baked,” so I keep on having to scroll down. It would be nice to give the list more room, either by extending it further down or splitting it into 2 columns.

Maybe quantities of items (e.g. x3) could be justified to the right so they all line up? I also think it might make more sense to have the +/- buttons next to each item quantity, perhaps only showing up when you hover/click over the number for that item.

A running total cost of my current batch (and the bakery’s current budget) could be a nice feature to add. I can see myself wanting to check that in the future.

Perhaps “Clear List” and “Done” could be given bigger buttons, or placed further apart from each other? Maybe it’s just me, but I have clicked “Clear” when I wanted to hit “Done” and was sad haha.

I appreciate that the recipes I got on previous playthroughs are still there. :D Could I save my previous Lists as well? Also, is it possible to alter/overwrite old “Lists”? I’m not quite sure how.

A minor visual thing, but the new recipes, which are spaced more closely together and further to the left, look a bit odd compared to the old recipes.

8. Rate us on a scale of 1 to 10 on how all the elements come together. Does it feel like a cohesive game?
Heh, I never know how to do rating things. ^^; I’ll just say I enjoyed the demo and think it’s shaping up well! Good work so far! Hopefully I don’t seem too nitpicky and you definitely don’t have to listen to any of my random suggestions – I just figure since it’s a demo, you’d want all the feedback you can get. ^^; Best of luck with finishing the game!
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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#14 Post by cuttlefish » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:48 am

Hi. Kind of new here. I've played some VNs from the forums but didn't make an account until now. I hope my comments will be helpful in improving this game.

General comments
Played on a Mac.
Clicking on Help does nothing.

Santos
Maybe the fact that he helped convince Elise's parents not to sell the bakery should be mentioned in the recap and not suddenly in his 1st event.

Al 3rd event
Tybalt's limbs are spelled limps.

Aaron's 4th or so event
Elise brings up Aaron's issue of matching names-faces when it isn't clear this is his problem when you take the path to not comment on it.

Xavier 1st event
Maybe Xavier should smirk when Elise cuts off Josh? I guess he might not care at the moment.

Xavier 2nd event
"The Stranger" (missing left quote)
Al's face should probably change to neutral after the Metamorphosis comment passes.

Xavier's thoughts
"Damn it Terry, at least LET me apologize to you"

Terry "1st" event
Her face doesn't change after you're not interested in hearing Josh's story.

Josh 2nd event (passed on story)
Elise cut her palm???? How? And then you still learn Focaccia?


• 1. Who is your favorite character and why?

Xavier (most realistic to me) and Al ('cause he's your lackey and realistic). Everyone else is okay, though, except (see question 3).

• 2. What is your favorite line or scene? How's the humor?

Favorite scene: When Xavier is exasperated when tutoring Al.

About the humor: I could do without the sick jokes (though there was only one so far), but otherwise humor elements seem fine. Though I'm not sure why everyone has a problem with the name Tybalt save Terry and Al.


• 3. Were there any parts of the game that bugged you? How can we improve it?

Elise's character bugged me in general.
1) In the beginning, the insert that tells you most people call her kindhearted and open just set me up for disappointment. Not only does this description not reflect in any of the recaps or following scenes, I found Elise to be more of a jerk than the people she calls jerks. In my opinion, that tidbit in the beginning should be removed and she should just prove her character through her actions (or the actions you choose for her). Other lines involving "people call me/say I'm like" would also be better off removed. Or, if you want to keep those lines, you could put a disclaimer in the beginning about how those people who described her as anything good don't really know her.
2) Elise doesn't seem the type to spend hours on end online, yet she regularly talks about trolls/trolling. This "troll business" is mostly brought up when Josh is in the scene, but it doesn't seem like Elise or even Terry would have bought into the usage of the word for "real life" conversations.
3) How could Elise talk about being "so bored" during some breaks when she has to think about how to run her bakery well?
As she is, I'm with Santos regarding Elise - definitely someone not to associate with. She is the most unbelievable character for me, and I cannot sympathize with her.

Speaking of believable, I don't buy into the bakery labor being so tough (Elise is always drained at the end of the day). Not that I really bake, but if it's something the workers and Elise have been doing for a while, I think they'd have figured out methods to make the process more efficient and enjoyable. For example, they might have a small mixer for dough, batter, or just for combining wet/dry ingredients. They could cycle in their duties, or just specialize in making certain items. AND why is Elise wearing nail polish in a bakery (mentioned in Santos event) where you might mix/shape things with your hands!? Why would you run in the kitchen (Aaron's 3rd event) when the kitchen should be pretty small (small business)?


Regarding graphics, the rainbow textbox is a bit distracting when backgrounds and characters are in the scene. You could keep the rainbow textbox for black scenes, but switch to a plain textbox (same textbox but without rainbow effect) for character background scenes.

• 4. How long do you think you could play the baking sim section before you get bored? What would help you be willing to play that portion longer?

I think the baking sim's current part in the game is okay. Free Play is a little silly (I quit after reaching day 12). Unless there are achievements when reaching a certain profit level or different things you could do besides choosing what to bake, there's no point in playing Free Play mode.

• 5. Do the baking and visual novel portions transition smoothly from one mode to another?

When dealing with everyone but Al, the transitions are smooth. With Al, it seems like he should appear affected in some way when he reports to you because his events were triggered.

Al 2nd event
He reports the day's earnings even though it's his day off?

Al 4th event
Artificial smile could be different (use the other smile)?
Sad day at the counter (i.e. the sad theme continues playing) but Al doesn't look any different.


• 6. Was the Info/Profile screen helpful (deciding during a choice menu, understanding the characters, etc.)? How often did you check it?

The Info box doesn't show its use so far in the demo. I only checked it for fun (first run through, forgot about it; later run through, often checked after changes that happen during and after events). It seems like it would only be a preview of others' paths who you aren't playing through for the moment.

It does help you learn about a character, especially Terry and Josh. Will there be choices in the full game so you can talk to Terry more?

• 7. How could the baking sim be more fun/visually attractive?

If the scribbles on the right page looked like text, although you can't read it it should look better. Also, when Elise writes in new recipes, maybe it'd be better if she tried to line them up with the "old" recipes' margin?

I could imagine the baking sim as very fun if you could actually interact with your workers and customers. At least having a way to use your profit would be good. For example, have an upgrade shop for workers and Al. You could increase there stats so they perform their job more efficiently/easily. Just an idea.

• 8. Rate us on a scale of 1 to 10 on how all the elements come together. Does it feel like a cohesive game?

I know it's a work in progress, but I feel like the game's a 5-6 right now (with 10 best, 1 worst). There are lots of things to improve, but once smoothed out, I think the completed game would be very fun to play.

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Veniae
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Re: That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles [GxB, BakeSim, Slife]

#15 Post by Veniae » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:28 am

Note: I'm sorry if what I say overlaps with the previous comments, I haven't read them. xD
Note 2: Jus' putting everything in a giant spoiler to avoid accidentally spoiling something!

Some general impressions:
On art:
It's so clean and nice and pleasing to the eye! I really like the character designs. They are simple, but everyone's different and in general very nice to look at. The backgrounds are also nice and set a pleasant atmosphere (I couldn't help but think the only think I missed was the smell of freshly-baked bread! xD) The kitten drawings were absolutely adorable, too!

I feel the only thing that may be improved in the art is adding some highlights to the hairs for some extra shininess! *o*

Oh, and it might just be me, but Santos's blush looks somewhat uneven on his cheeks?

One last thing: is there going to be a bedroom BG? Because as it is, there are too many black screen parts.

On writing:
For the most part it's natural and flows well, there were a lot of things that made me smile. To be nit-picky though, here's what I noticed:
- I'm not sure you need the line about Elise's character ("A lot of people say…"). It's better to leave the player to form their own opinion
- The transition from the intro to the actual game start seems a bit forced – people don't usually have such internal monologues first thing in the morning; maybe a brief pause and change of music to establish the change of scene would work better?
- "If I think that the list I made was pretty good…" Get rid of the 'pretty'
- You don't need to describe the facial expression of the character when we have a sprite showing it; lines like "Renee cracks a smirk at me" are a bit redundant
- "The alarm suddenly stops going off." This sounds off, I think it'll work if you only say, "The alarm suddenly stops."
- "Today Santos is sitting and chatting with Aaron. He's actually grinning at a few jokes Aaron makes and laughing too; for some reason, this surprises me." The bold part sounds weird – how is Elise supposed to know he's laughing at a few jokes? It'll maybe be more natural to say something along the lines of: "When I approach them, Aaron says something which makes Santos laugh; for some reason, this surprises me."
- "Tybs starts to yawn and fall asleep…" Falling asleep isn't something you can start doing, I think "(…) and falls asleep" would sound better

Also a few things worth mentioning for how funny they are:
- The 'Info' button is quite nifty, me likes!
- When I saw that the cat's name, I went "... Isn't Tybalt a male name? xD" *10 minutes later* "Ooooh, I get it. *laughs*"
- Ahahaha, two turtles, I loved that
- The line "comatose vegetable" is simply brilliant xD
- I like how after a whole week of choosing to pester Santos, Elise comments on how she doesn't understand why she keeps doing that

On the GUI and programming:
- The textbox is lovely, but I think making the font a bit bigger wouldn't hurt
- It will be a good idea to have a sound effect for the 'Done' button, because everything else makes a sound when you click it, and when you click Done, you start to wonder why nothing is happening
- When you approach Santos (the second or third time, I'm not sure ._.), Elise starts saying something, but it flashes only briefly on the screen, making it almost impossible to read; I think that happens with Renee too during their gossip

On music:
The music at the start doesn't work, methinks - it sets a rather dramatic/tragic mood and you don't need that! Plus, it's distracting. The other track is nice, though.

Have you thought about Main Menu music? I think it'll be cool!

On the characters:
I must admit that I only played once so far and - being the masochist I apparently am - I chose Santos's 'path'. I guess I'm into people who can't stand me, heh.

I think the characters are pretty interesting and realistic. What I will advice you, though, is to rely a bit less on the Info menu and the things that the player is told about the characters in the beginning and show us a bit more why and how someone is this and that. What I'm trying to say is that (at least in the demo), the interactions are a bit too brief and you don't really get a taste, so to speak, of the characters' personalities.

That said, isn't Alfonse a a sweetheart! *U*

And now, on to the questions!

1. Who is your favorite character and why?
Santos. Because he was the only one I chose to interact with on my first play-through, and because I'm a sucker for that archetype, even if his personality was left somewhat sketchy.

2. What is your favorite line or scene? How's the humor?
I think it's when Elise discusses her cat's name with Santos and Aaron. "It would be best if I withheld further comments on this matter" (not verbatim) just killed me.

3. Were there any parts of the game that bugged you? How can we improve it?
It would be nice if you expanded on the conversations a bit, and I think you're telling the player too much instead of showing them. (eg how is Santos a jerk, how is Aaron socially inept?)

4. How long do you think you could play the baking sim section before you get bored? What would help you be willing to play that portion longer?
I think it was nice! It didn't bore me in the demo, and I doubt it'll bore me in the actual game! Probably giving us a bit more feedback while we're choosing what to bake will be nice.

Also, I demand prizes in the form of freshly-baked goods delivered to my door. Tee-hee.

5. Do the baking and visual novel portions transition smoothly from one mode to another?
I think so, yes, but I'd like to see a bigger accent on the VN part. Because there's so much room for awesomeness there. ^^

6. Was Info/Profile screen helpful (deciding during a choice menu, understanding the characters, etc.)? How often did you check it?
Yes. It was helpful and amusing. The Current Thoughts were gold.

I checked it a couple of times... But I just realised I didn't use it during choices. -_-'

7. How could the baking sim be more fun/visually attractive?
Maybe if there are pictures of all the goods when you hover over them? Also, as I said, delivery of sweets IRL. /shot

8. Rate us on a scale of 1 to 10 on how all the elements come together. Does it feel like a cohesive game?[/list]
Er, I'd give it 7.5-8, because I enjoyed it! There are some things that need touching up, but on the whole I was right: it really was worth the wait.


Okay, I hope that helped! Ask me if I've failed to make something clear!

Good job so far and I'm looking forward to more! <3

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