Katawa Shoujo released

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KimiYoriBaka
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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#46 Post by KimiYoriBaka » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:24 am

about hanako's presence in the school: I heard something recently that japan considers physical scarring on hanako's level to be a legally qualified disability (which I also heard only applies to girls, so I don't know how trustworthy the source is...). Since I don't recall any mention that yamaku was supposed to be for physical disabilities, that would qualify her to be a student. I think Misha is more questionable...

anyway, I've only read rin's and hanako's route so far, and I would agree that the writing is not at the same level as the rest of the work. It wasn't so bad that I didn't enjoy reading it, but there is definitely more emphasis on the visuals. Putting aside my complaints on the character designs for yuuko and emi (agh! those random eyelashes!), I was very impressed by the frequent high quality cgs.

that said, I think that after 5 years of slow development, there's a certain attention to detail that should have been spread to all parts of the work. I don't know if it's just me, but it felt like the transitions between scenes were often too abrupt, to the point of cutting off the ends of conversations. In addition, the presentation of the cgs (as in the panning and zooming) didn't really match the flow of the writing. Btw, did anyone else notice the bad end in hanako's route, where they present the last choice with options that are diametrically opposed but jump to the same code? (as in, no difference at all)

still, I have to give this a good rating, not because it's free, but because it's comparable to better works. the fact that taleweaver mentioned kanon in comparison to it is good in and of itself.

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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#47 Post by Taleweaver » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:36 am

Thank you. It's pretty much my sentiment that Katawa Shoujo sets its bar too high for its own good; I knew I couldn't have been alone with that sentiment.
KimiYoriBaka wrote:the fact that taleweaver mentioned kanon in comparison to it is good in and of itself.
In terms of character design, Katawa Shoujo even beats Kanon by miles. I once thought that Kanon was Japanese for "lack of nose". ;)
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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#48 Post by Silvere » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:57 am

KimiYoriBaka wrote:I think Misha is more questionable...
Played the route? I think it's not THAT unreasonable.. I can accept it, at least ^^
Btw, did anyone else notice the bad end in hanako's route, where they present the last choice with options that are diametrically opposed but jump to the same code? (as in, no difference at all)
What do you mean? Her bad end happens because you didn't do that much with her and you held to your principles, the neutral end for holding to your white knight principles and staying good friends with her.
As it happens in the same room with the same intentions - What should be changed? 0.0


Btw., anyone else thinking that many of the choices are bad? Sometimes I didn't know what would happen/why this decision would be important, some choices change something in the game which just is like "wtf? Why!?" and then there´s our "go for it hisao!" choice on which we end on Emi's route for wanting to train a bit harder.. Yep, right. <.<

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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#49 Post by Blane Doyle » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:52 pm

Taleweaver wrote:Katawa Shoujo is certainly not "bad", or a "bad game". I don't think that and I never wrote that. However, I consider its writing very obviously below the standards the game itself sets with its top notch art, music and anime-series-quality animation. To me, it feels like there's a jarring clash between the writing and the other qualities of the game. If Katawa Shoujo were a movie, it would be as though the producers hired a cast of Academy Award winners for the roles, gave it a budget of a few hundred million dollars, made sure they had the best possible camera and SFX team, had John Williams write the score and then gave the whole thing to Uwe Boll to direct.

Many people who are praising this game now have never played a VN before. Just read the threads on 4chan or in the KS blog forum: some even begin with "I never thought I'd ever play one of these games, but..." I realize that quite a few VN fans are also lauding the game. Many of these I had discussions with time and again about what qualities define a VN. And the overwhelmingly stated opinion was "the art". If you judge KS by that standard, of course it's the best thing since sliced bred, being free yet looking like $39.95 on Peach Princess.
AH, alright, that clears things up a tad. Even though I love the game, I do agree with one thing. The execution could have been much better and it is getting a tad more praise than it should for certain elements. If the praise was for, say, how they handled disability (which was honestly VERY well done) then I would disagree. But you are right, the art in the game, and many novels, appears to be held higher than the writing and story at times. Which is rather depressing. Many people I know refuse to play the Higurashi games and only watch the anime because of how the sprites look (which is moot now since there are patches for better one, and they honestly don't tear away the experience that much), and love games like Professor Cherry because of the art and porn (good art and ero do not a good game make I believe you agree).

But for what it is, it could have been much worse, and I respect the game and creators for handling it as they did. (even if, you are correct, it could have been vastly improved) And I can see now you do as well. I know you didn't outright say it was bad, it just seemed that way with how you wrote it and I realize I misread you.

And yes, many people giving it praise are first timers. But many more are also NOT as well, it is more of a mixed bag. It is like... movies. Some people think the ACTORS are the most important part, some people think it is STORY, and other think it is the LOOK, the cinematography.You can have a movie that had awful actors and story, but looks great and people will still love it, and ones with great story and actors that look bad that people will hate, and vice versa. More experienced watchers might put more stock into the story and execution, but some will still think cinematography is the most important bit. While it can also be the other way around. It's all very strange and comes to personal preference in the end.

I also realize the game was made with Ren'Py, I meant made on the forum itself as opposed to someone using the engine off forum. I shouldn't have insinuated that however.

I understand where you are coming from now though. Again, I apologize for jumping the gun a tad, you have very valid points that I misinterpreted as being toward the wrong group and toward the wrong message.

And again for Hanako in general: Japan is... strange. So it is possible they are going for what the Japanese consider a disability. Although, she could have NERVE damage from the fire, and that would indeed require and physical therapist, in addition to a psychologist for her mental trauma. The team did do a great deal of research into Japanese healthcare, and I am... not experienced in the field so don't take my speculation as truth. But it makes sense to me.

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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#50 Post by KimiYoriBaka » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:43 pm

Played the route? I think it's not THAT unreasonable.. I can accept it, at least ^^
I haven't played that route, but from what I've heard, she has at least less qualification than hanako. I don't actually have a problem with any of the characters being there.

as to the endings for hanako, I mean that when I went through her bad (not the friends one, the other one) ending, I got to the last choice, read through it, then went back to see what would happen upon choosing the other option. I don't know if it always happens, but I got the exact same dialogue. I even loaded again to check if I had mis-clicked or something. Considering how different the options on that choice are, I would've expected at least some difference, even if it led to the same ending.

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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#51 Post by Silvere » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:54 pm

KimiYoriBaka wrote: I haven't played that route, but from what I've heard, she has at least less qualification than hanako.
Yep, she indeed has less qualification. Kinda don't really know why she would even go there as there was no reason for that (At least her reasons seemed rather week), but her reasons for staying are more than obvious =D
I got to the last choice, read through it, then went back to see what would happen upon choosing the other option.
The discussion with lilly per phone?
Actually this decisions change the outcomes 0.o

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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#52 Post by Taleweaver » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:03 pm

Silvere wrote:The discussion with lilly per phone?
Actually this decisions change the outcomes 0.o
It's point-based. Only changes the outcome if the one point more or less makes a difference.
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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#53 Post by mikey » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:05 pm

Taleweaver >> I don't agree or disagree with your analysis of the writing, I just can't really judge, it's not a setting and story I would enjoy at this time. But...
Taleweaver wrote:I realize that quite a few VN fans are also lauding the game. Many of these I had discussions with time and again about what qualities define a VN. And the overwhelmingly stated opinion was "the art". If you judge KS by that standard, of course it's the best thing since sliced bred, being free yet looking like $39.95 on Peach Princess.
...I'm sorry but I just can't agree. I don't know if this is just me, but the art... well, I am not impressed by it at all, in fact I would say many of the oelvns I have seen recently have much better art, and by that I mean not just quality, but especially art direction. I found it almost unbelievable in many cases when I saw all the things that made it into the final version. I thought that the demo would not be representative of the final work, but I was wrong, it turns out.

I'll start with the menu and UI, which has a very visible Ren'Py feel to it, and I would expect more customizations in a project with KS's ambitions, than what has been done. It's fine I guess, but it just gives away that air of "defaultness", the Ren'Py DNA can be felt all through the game - not least because the textbox, too, is very plain. But to me, it doesn't feel plain on purpose. It feels plain because no one has felt the need to think about something special - for a game that was so obviously going to be special.

I do have an even bigger issue with the multitude of graphics and drawing styles. I don't know whether people just don't notice, but it's very clear that many artists were working on the project and within single paths, there are differences in style, color palettes and detail of CGs. So much so, that the quantity or even quality of CGs isn't impressive anymore and their inconsistency has the opposite effect where it starts feeling really "amateurish", like when one is leafing through a fanart imageboard or someone's deviantart favorites.

My other gripe is with the backgrounds - not only are they photos, but they have this simplistic filter and isn't this what's always being mocked by very ambitious VN makers? It is obvious that photos weren't a design choice to give it a "tsukihime-ish" style, but simply a resource constraint. However, in a project this significant and ambitious, why would you not go the extra mile? In the days of mugenjohncel's sketchup magic, anything less than that or hand-drawn BGs just won't do if the ambition is to be a reference title for a full-fledged anime-style VN.

The visual composition feels surprisingly rushed, too. To name just once scene, animated rain is falling over the background of a sunny picture (because, I assume, there is no picture of that location in the rain). No umbrella, and the sprite is also "dry". Night pictures are also largely done via a night filter over daylight pictures and it shows when you see the unnatural shadows. But not just that, the fact that sprites appearing over those backgrounds have "daylight" lighting and therefore appear very bright overlayed over the dark backgrounds gives the impression that the art director just couldn't be bothered. And there are many (and I really mean many) other little things like this.

I would therefore even disagree with the comparison with Uwe Boll working with excellent source material, because it feels very much like what actually happened is simply the overwhelming scale of the project proving too much to steer in a unified direction and has also led to massive compromises in areas like backgrounds and art consistency. If there was one thing I was always willing to give to KS without even thinking, it was that they would meet their ambition in "polish" and consistency. And that's why it's so surprising to me that they haven't delivered in this area at all - or let me rephrase that - haven't delivered the kind of polish worthy and appropriate to the scale of the project.

I will also admit that my disappointment came from having too much expectation - but then, KS was never going to be a "sleeper hit" and never downplayed its intended impact or quality, so even though in hindsight I could have seen the signs (many people, multiple artists, collaboration over the Internet), I still think that art direction and direction in general was simply not there to the extent it should have been. I believe the devs made a lot of effort to create harmony between all the different bits and pieces, as well as people and styles, and it may well be the most demanding part of creating KS, but maybe that's the lesson - the scale of the project demands direction, focus and attention to detail that's more than merely equivalent to the art and writing itself, it's apparently orders of magnitude higher.

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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#54 Post by Silvere » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:08 pm

Taleweaver wrote: It's point-based. Only changes the outcome if the one point more or less makes a difference.
Didn't thought that this discussion was working via points to as I never had a bad outcome with Lilly's way.
meh :7

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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#55 Post by Anima » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:26 pm

Putting the question of quality aside, I'm seriously impressed with the publicity KS has.
Katawa Shoujo GameFAQs.png
It will be interesting to see what kind of impact it will have on the EVN community.
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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#56 Post by Fawn » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:28 pm

I think Misha is more questionable...
I remember in Lilly's route it was mentioned that anyone can join the school, it's just tailored to people with disabilities. Maybe it's only mentioned in that route, though. Also, there's been speculation that Misha may actually have ADHD or dyslexia, though, with how she signs I doubt there's really anything wrong with her.

Also, when I mentioned other ero games having long descriptions I'd have to say Kanon does that as well... I meant ero games as an umbrella term for romance games with 18+ content.

I agree with mikey on the art direction- there was a lot of good artists used, but, many of the cgs were sloppily colored compared to the beautiful sprites and the first few cgs from the demo, which was disappointing.
Particularly in Lilly's h-scenes, the art often looked way too different than her sprite and the coloring was very messy... Don't know about the other girls' scenes yet, but I hope they're a bit better.
Still, I'm enjoying the game a lot and I'm happy for what it is. :D

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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#57 Post by Silvere » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:22 pm

Fawn wrote: I remember in Lilly's route it was mentioned that anyone can join the school, it's just tailored to people with disabilities.
Yep, that´s true.
Also, there's been speculation that Misha may actually have ADHD or dyslexia
Played Shizune route?

For guys who wanna know what's "wrong" with her... :
Seemed like she had some problems at her old school, in forums I always read it's also due to her weight(Althought I never saw anything fat-like on any cg ..) and it seemed like her old schoolmates discovered her being a lesbian.
Why exactly she wanted to visit this school: Well, I don´t know. Most likely skipped it as the route was boring as hell. BUT:
Misha confessed to Shizune, got turned down and since then is hanging around her being all happy and crazy to the outside while being torn apart from the inside. So her being that active most likely is due to her "solving" that love-issue. After all, she still has a crush on Shizune.
Meep meep.

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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#58 Post by applegirl » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:22 pm

Ehh...I know 5 years is setting the bar high, but I don't want to knock a VN for taking so long to make. I'm not a VN maker, but I've read a lot of blogs of VN maker who slave over their VN and take seemingly forever to publish. That easily happens for commercial VN, so I can't fault a free VN for doing the same. But yeah, I guess the hype might have hurt this VN is terms of people expecting perfection. I honestly am a huge fan of VN so I'd read the Higurashi VN even with the horrible art and enjoy it. Maybe there were parts that overshined the others (certain routes were better, certain arts were better, etc.) But I don't really take that into consideration when rating a VN, so I guess it depends on the person.

As a reader of VN, all I think about in rating are three things:
1. Did I enjoy it?
2. Did the VN maker work hard in making it?
3. Did it make me think?

Of course enjoying it is most important, but taking into consideration how hard the VN makers worked on making it is huge for me. I don't want to knock someone who slaved over something just because it doesn't look perfect. I know any VN I'd make would stink because I can't draw or write for a VN. So, I rather overlook the flaws that come with making a VN because it is so difficult. If the company was a triple A company with a huge budget, then yeah, I'd complain. But not for a free VN. I guess my issue with complaining about the art is so many people here can't find a good artist. No good artist usually means very few people will pick up the VN and then all that hard work goes to squat. I dunno, I guess I just dislike that...but I guess it's life.

Also, the advertising that the KS devs done baffles me. Seriously, how did they do that? I'd like to see it repeated for the worthy VNs here on the forum because so many are overlooked.

Meh, long post; tl;dr: Making VNs is hard work. Hopefully KS introduces people to more OLEVN :)

EDIT: I think I know why Misha went to the school:
She wanted to be a teacher and learning sign language would be easier if she went to the school and used it each day with Shizune. Plus, she was in love with Shizune so it was kind of a case of her following Shizune. But yeah, no disability.
Ahh, that was a bad route. But I love Lily's route and Hanako's route, so it's okay.

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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#59 Post by Blane Doyle » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:52 pm

I read an interesting theory for Misha once. Someone thought that with all of her CAPSLOCKTALK that maybe she had hearing issues, and might have a new kind of hearing aid, the kind they built into your ear (I cannot remember what they are called, apologies). Since it would be new, and possibly experimental, she would need a nurse or someone to carefully monitor her progress. And it could explain why she knew sign language as well.

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Re: Katawa Shoujo released

#60 Post by qupie » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:16 am

I personally find the notion that Shizune is essentially the one deaf girl in a class that is taught vocally, and has to rely on a fellow student who isn't even all that proficient to be her translator, to be much less believable than Hanako's situation. I don't know about Japan, but in the U.S. even a school without Yamaku's specialty would at the very least have a professional translator for her during classes. But it's fiction, and it's within the realm of plausibility, and even real life doesn't make all that much sense sometimes, so why worry about it?

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