A Short Ghost Story

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Goblin Market
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A Short Ghost Story

#1 Post by Goblin Market » Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:14 pm

Title: The Witch's Scissors
Type: Short Story
Genre: Horror / Ghost Story
Read Time: About 5 to 10 minutes

Does anyone feel like testing out a short VN horror story? I think it's finished, but this is my first time using Ren'Py, so I'd like to make sure I didn't miss anything.

The Witch's Scissors is a ghost story adapted from a Webcomic I made a while ago. I made this version to learn how to use Ren'Py.

Hopefully the story doesn't start too abruptly. For the sake of timing, I wanted to keep the title page a few screens in, but if it's a problem I could move it to the opening menu instead.

I also wonder if the extra stuff at the end was worth including. I can see how it might be too much.

The story can't change at this point, but I'd appreciate any tips on improving the Ren'Py presentation and the way things are coded.

Thanks for looking!
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The.Witchs.Scissors-1.0-all.zip
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arachni42
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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#2 Post by arachni42 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:58 pm

I thought it was very cute. The art is very nice and overall I really enjoyed the presentation. I liked the use of scrolling, "tap" animations, and sound effects. The different angles and divided screens were used to great effect; it was visually interesting. I think the title screen is fine where it is.

The first time I ran into a screen where you need to click a specific place, it threw me off. I wasn't expecting it due to it being unusual in VNs. After a short time I tried clicking on some different places (the word "Click," the mouse cursor, and I thought the box but I must've missed it by a pixel). I eventually hit it, though. I notice looking at it now, it has a hover color but it's barely perceptible -- at least on my screen. It's kind of an interesting presentation idea, but it'll be distracting if it causes confusion.

The other main oddity were some screens where the text box appeared but nothing was in it. Looking at your script, I believe it happened where you put "". If you were aiming for a pause that waits until a mouse click, try renpy's pause but without parameters.

As far as the stuff at the end, it's extraneous, but fine -- because it's easy to tell that it's optional. (If there weren't a menu there, then it might feel tacked on, but I don't have any problem including it given the choice.)

Good luck!
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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#3 Post by Goblin Market » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:29 pm

arachni42 wrote:I thought it was very cute. The art is very nice and overall I really enjoyed the presentation. I liked the use of scrolling, "tap" animations, and sound effects. The different angles and divided screens were used to great effect; it was visually interesting. I think the title screen is fine where it is.

The first time I ran into a screen where you need to click a specific place, it threw me off. I wasn't expecting it due to it being unusual in VNs. After a short time I tried clicking on some different places (the word "Click," the mouse cursor, and I thought the box but I must've missed it by a pixel). I eventually hit it, though. I notice looking at it now, it has a hover color but it's barely perceptible -- at least on my screen. It's kind of an interesting presentation idea, but it'll be distracting if it causes confusion.

The other main oddity were some screens where the text box appeared but nothing was in it. Looking at your script, I believe it happened where you put "". If you were aiming for a pause that waits until a mouse click, try renpy's pause but without parameters.

As far as the stuff at the end, it's extraneous, but fine -- because it's easy to tell that it's optional. (If there weren't a menu there, then it might feel tacked on, but I don't have any problem including it given the choice.)

Good luck!
I really appreciate you taking the time to try out the story and share your advice. You helped a lot.

I'll change those specific-click screens to advance normally with the space-bar to smooth out the presentation. Mostly I wanted to avoid the dialog window popping up and covering the art, though part of it was to give the reader something to do to break up the routine by having them click along with the character. It's not worth any potential confusion though. I hadn't seen it from that perspective, so that's a good call. And now that I know about the renpy pause…

The empty quotes were my inelegant way of doing the no-parameter renpy pause without knowing about the no-parameter renpy pause :) Thanks for pointing that out. I'll definitely fix that too.

Again, thanks so much for your time and the valuable feedback!

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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#4 Post by Puchin » Thu May 16, 2013 6:06 pm

Can I play this on Mac? I really feel like playing it, but...

Does it have jumpscares? I mean... I hate jumpscares. If there's any, I'll pass...

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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#5 Post by Goblin Market » Thu May 16, 2013 7:23 pm

Puchin wrote:Can I play this on Mac? I really feel like playing it, but...

Does it have jumpscares? I mean... I hate jumpscares. If there's any, I'll pass...
It has all the builds but I've only tested it on a Mac.
The story has no jump scares, but
skip the extra/optional bit at the end.

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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#6 Post by fullmontis » Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:47 pm

I really, really enjoyed it.

The presentation is really original and felt like watching a short movie. Really helped setting the mood. I admit my heart skipped a beat when
the witch appeared behind the girl
My only gripe is the lack of music which would have power charged the mood.

One really small thing: I see that you use empty quotes ("") to wait for the click of the reader at the end of an animation. This makes the say window pop up if you let the animation run through completely, which can ruin the flow of the narration. You can avoid this by adding a character "empty" which has no name and has window_background set to None to avoid this from happening, like this:

Code: Select all

init: 
    $ empty = Character(None, window_background=None)
This way you can just use:

Code: Select all

empty ""
After a pause to wait for user input.

Edit: it looks like there is a simpler solution to the problem, as pointed out by arachni42.

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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#7 Post by Goblin Market » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:12 pm

Thanks for the feedback!

Music would be great. I hadn't thought of that. I mainly made this story to see how difficult it would be to learn Ren'Py -- the basics, at least, seem pretty easy, but I know I'm missing a lot of details like that, which need to be pointed out to me at my beginner level. So thanks again!

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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#8 Post by giA » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:37 pm

i loved this. its such an unique way to assemble your VN. your illustrations were awesome and everything was put together really well. it all flowed pretty nicely. the title is fine where it is. in fact i like it that way. adding music to this would only make this better. it would really bring the project full circle. of course, that's been covered already.

the only thing i could say about the title is that, if possible, you should find a way to make that transition into the next clip happen without having to press the space bar. it abruptly stopped the flow of the story without a smooth transition there. not because of its placement, but because...well at least for me, i was confused and sat waiting for it to possibly load brief second. but i realized i just needed to press the space bar.

other than that this is a really fresh new take on using the engine. other people making visual novels should take notes from this! all of the visuals were really engaging and interesting. well done.

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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#9 Post by Goblin Market » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:22 pm

Thanks for the encouragement! Transitions in places like the title screen and other pages that require a space-bar advance were mainly due to my lack of confidence in judging how fast people read. You guys are right about how it seems to introduce a stutter to the reading experience though. I see that now that I've had some time away from it. (Too much time -- now I'll have to figure out Ren'Py all over again to apply what I've learned.)

Luckily, I had the advantage of already having finished artwork for the story. I didn't want to waste any of it, which explains all the pans and zooms. Other than that, I just tried emulating some of the other stories I found here in the forums. So I'm not sure it's all that fresh, but I'll take the compliment :)

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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#10 Post by Mirrowdothack » Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:45 pm

Hello^^
I really enjoyed you little VN. It was very well done and I love the way you told the story (the art, the timing, composition, writing etc.)
It was really cool and I had a lot of fun.

There are two suggestions I would make.
- besides the typing-sound, which is really cool, I kinda missed a quiet pc-noise-sound + hope you know what I mean
- and maybe you can add a sound when the chat partner's message arrives? I don't know if this could annoy the reader when it will appear too often, but this is something that "have to be tested" inorder to know how it will turn out^^
others^^:
- I didn't had trouble with the "click-events", but maybe that's because my VN includes those stuff, too XD
- I liked the extra part: I was like: don't turn around-don't be there-omg XD
My games:
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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#11 Post by Goblin Market » Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:56 pm

I really like your suggestions :) Someday when I get back to this, and I really want to, sound is something I'll need to work on. Most people seem to like music, but maybe that "hum" would be a good way to go too.

But right now my next priority is to check out Y;N because your trailer is great!

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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#12 Post by korova » Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:40 am

I gave your VN a try, and I liked a lot.

It's like reading an animated comic, the graphics and animation are very dynamic and keep the reader's attention. You must have given a lot of work to achieve all those animations !

I felt a little uncomfortable with the abrupt beginning at first, but then I was immerged in the story so I forgot about it. I have the same feelng about music : at the beginning, I thought it lacked, but then it was OK. Silence somehow serves the story better (to create anxiety).

My only problem now is that I would like to see/read more... :wink:

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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#13 Post by Goblin Market » Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:26 pm

Thanks for trying it out. :) I hadn't thought of how it's like a motion comic now. That wasn't my intention, but since the source art was from one of my Webcomics, there's an inevitable connection.

The animations were all pretty simple actually. The tutorial and references explain everything well enough that it's just a matter of filling in the blanks.

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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#14 Post by OokamiKasumi » Fri Aug 28, 2015 3:33 pm

Beautiful art and impressive use of ATL. It gives the whole game the feeling of watching an animated film. The story was short, but water tight. No extraneous details or dangling plot threads at all. Very impressive for a jump from a comic to a VN. I especially enjoyed the option at the end; it gave the player (me) a chance to participate as part of the story. :)

Just to reiterate; you're a brilliant artist -- characters and backgrounds.

I really hope you make more!
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"No amount of great animation will save a bad story." -- John Lasseter of Pixar

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Re: A Short Ghost Story

#15 Post by Goblin Market » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:35 pm

Oh, hey! Thanks for checking it out. I really lucked out getting Alana Yuen to do the illustrations. They make the story.

I've been meaning to get back into Ren'Py for a long time, so this week I set an arbitrary goal to put something new together in time for Halloween. Looking for presentation examples happily led me to your sleek creations. Your blog was a great source of motivation and inspiration!

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