Fading Hearts Parallel

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Counter Arts
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Fading Hearts Parallel

#1 Post by Counter Arts » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:50 am

Hey! Something from me is done for once!

Take a look at http://www.sakurariver.ca to download it and give me feedback.

EDIT: Also! Mention which endings you got! Theoretically they should give me an indication of which experiences you guys have.

EDIT 2: We will be taking down Version 1 of Fading Hearts Parallel shortly. If you still want it, get it now. Version 2 will be coming out in a few months.
Last edited by Counter Arts on Sun May 03, 2009 1:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#2 Post by F.I.A » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:15 pm

I got myself the second and third ending, and after exhausted myself in an attempt to get the first ending, I decide to post this.
The whole story is somewhat surreal. Particularly...

- Why would a girl talk about her problem with her boyfriend to a complete stranger who she knew just a moments ago? Or an otaku that wanders into woods for no reason?

- The ambiguous flashbacks. They might be from the other games you are working, but the problem is that since they come in a large array with zero connection, it brings headache instead of curiosity.

- The actual nature of the visual novel. With an otaku who keeps reminding the reader of his profession and interest, down to more serious matters of hospitalized, assaults and monsters, I am not sure if you meant this as a slice-of-life comedy or mystery.

- Unless this is intentional, but given the large interactive between Alex and Tracy, I think this maid deserves a character sprite.
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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#3 Post by DrakeNavarone » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:23 pm

I gave this a whirl, having some interest in your flagship Fading Hearts game, and unfortunately I came away rather disappointed. It feels like it's just part of a whole, which it is... but it doesn't do well as a stand-alone. It feels so incomplete, like so many things are missing, that it makes it rather difficult to really enjoy. Without the background or even interest in the characters and their plights, I don't see how many people could get through more than two or three playthroughs, which certainly doesn't suit the demands such a "fate changing" game has for the player. I just worry that most will become bored and disenchanted before getting close to exhausting their options and learning things they might need to know to keep interest.

That said, it hasn't detracted any of my interest in the main story. It just wasn't the greatest lead-in. Hopefully this piece will work better as a compliment to the main story than a stand-alone effort.
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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#4 Post by Hime » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:32 pm

It's kind of confusing as FIA and Drake pointed out, but I have to say the graphics are really nice and when you think of it as a little extra game it's fine... ^^ But even after a hour or so of playing, I've only got ends 1-4 and 6. There are too many choices that don't seem to matter enough to really be in there, and this kills a lot of interest in the endings as you feel you're just trying out your luck. Even though it's supposed to be a game in which you can "change fate", the amount of irrelevant choices doesn't help it...

Claire and Meta-Rina are both really cute nonetheless and with a little improvement with the choice system this game could be really enjoyable. :) Perhaps less vague hints, too?
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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#5 Post by Counter Arts » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:53 pm

Alright thanks for the fast comments so far.

This is designed to be complimentary to the main game and there is content that is unique in this side story that is not in the main story. In terms of a stand alone product, I'm experimenting what can and can't be done in a stand-alone product.

I was experimenting if this kind of design of storyline could work without including "dating sim" stat-based elements. I'm also testing how difficult certain endings can be.

I'm probably going to make a new version taking out some of the choices that don't have that much of an effect. Can you guys tell me which choices didn't feel like they were having much of an effect?

Getting ending #1 is pretty much hitting all the critical choices. I did design the difficultly of that ending to be brute force resistant. Reflecting back, I really should have added another ending in that accounts specifically for if you managed to almost use that "technique."

Now I can see that I may have to give more hints for an ending in Fading Hearts. I'm also starting to understand why those point-and-click adventure games are sometimes too hard.
F.I.A wrote:
The whole story is somewhat surreal. Particularly...

- Why would a girl talk about her problem with her boyfriend to a complete stranger who she knew just a moments ago? Or an otaku that wanders into woods for no reason?
There is a reason for this but now I believe I spread the hints too thinly.
- The ambiguous flashbacks. They might be from the other games you are working, but the problem is that since they come in a large array with zero connection, it brings headache instead of curiosity.
Now this is something I really should have spread thinner over the branches.
- The actual nature of the visual novel. With an otaku who keeps reminding the reader of his profession and interest, down to more serious matters of hospitalized, assaults and monsters, I am not sure if you meant this as a slice-of-life comedy or mystery.
They are supposed to co-exist. In the main game there are dangerous areas and safe areas. This side story was suppose to explain that the forest is a dangerous place especially at night while not actually showing it.
- Unless this is intentional, but given the large interactive between Alex and Tracy, I think this maid deserves a character sprite.
Originally she was supposed to be just a side character. As I started to write more her role grew. I'll make an update that will including her character sprites when the artwork is done.
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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#6 Post by Guest » Fri May 01, 2009 10:58 am

Counter Arts wrote: I'm probably going to make a new version taking out some of the choices that don't have that much of an effect.
So should I wait for the new version or not? Thanks.

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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#7 Post by Counter Arts » Fri May 01, 2009 12:33 pm

I'm kinda waiting for a little more feedback about which choices felt like they didn't make a difference. I am going to remove one pointless ending though and going to be replacing it with another one.

If you have the bandwidth and are experienced in visual novels then yes. Otherwise wait about 5 days for a new release.

EDIT: The new version will be released in the next few months. The old one will be taken down shortly.
Last edited by Counter Arts on Sun May 03, 2009 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#8 Post by Hime » Fri May 01, 2009 12:56 pm

Well, myself I felt like there could have been only 2 choices at the beginning... The middle one just looked somewhat unneccessary to me, the kind of choice that makes you think "and what effect does this have on things?". :S

The same applies to the ones near the ending. When you have an ending coming soon it might be better to make the player feel that his/her choices are critical instead of confusing the player with... 8 choices in total, was it? (4, and one leads to new 4.) Especially when most lead to the same ending anyway.

A good rule would be that only contain choices that have meaningful differences and don't result in the same thing, which usually means 2-3 choices per menu.
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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#9 Post by Counter Arts » Fri May 01, 2009 2:33 pm

Alright... so people want to take "trial-and-error" approach more then? Okay.

The reason why there was so many choices near the end was basically a test to see if you figured out what kinds of things Alex did before and if you knew the technique. It was also to prevent guessing. I wanted to see if people would actually try to be active in thinking of what it was.

Maybe I should do the whole red text thing. I could also put some sort of message to indicate that this set of choices are not meant to be brute forced.
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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#10 Post by Hime » Fri May 01, 2009 2:52 pm

-sigh- ...I didn't try to achieve the endings my "trial and error". I really tried to think, and changed the focus on each playthrough. But to be honest, those choices that didn't seem to have any effect just ended up frustrating, so I took the "save, load, try another" approach after the first couple of endings.

Of course you can make a game practically impossible to solve without a thousand playthroughs or buttonsmashing, but most people just get tired of it at some point. If you want to make a game like that then make sure there's something to keep the player's interest up. In this game I didn't find much despite the fact that I usually try to search for all endings.

Of course you can just consider me, FIA and drakey dumb, but blaming it on players doesn't really make us think otherwise... I'm far from a thoughtless player and I'd appreciate it if you didn't imply that I am one, it's kind of offensive. :/
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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#11 Post by Counter Arts » Fri May 01, 2009 3:51 pm

Sorry if I came off like that. This was my first shot at trying something like this out.

Solving that last one did require knowledge outside of the VN buried somewhere in the internet. I know now that if I am going to put in something that requires something like that... it has to be optional like one of those Final Fantasy extra bosses.

A lot of people were expected to not get ending #1 even if they tried hard. Now I know that I can't do something like that in the main pathway.

So once again... I apologize if I came off like that. I didn't mean to be offensive. Even people who try to think about it very hard wouldn't find it easy.

I'm really sorry if I offended you. I didn't give you the means to actually solve it.

So only for some super-super-secret ending will I require some extra-VN knowledge.
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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#12 Post by DaFool » Mon May 04, 2009 12:52 am

I got endings 2, 4, and 6.

Now I'm trying to find the right way to phrase this...

I know this particular VN itself is non-commercial, but since it ties in to the [commercial] main game, it has to work harder to give it justice. Because the writing is not convincing, which I think is the weakest element. (Ironically, I didn't mind it too much in that demo back before the character art was replaced with the most recent polished version).

There's too much self-referencing here... about being an otaku, playing VNs. There's nothing wrong with a little pandering to the demographic, but it can get too far. Example, Shangri-la episode 4 practically killed that hopeful anime for me pricely because of the Akihabara segments. Keep the pandering understated, or better yet, not at all. For now, you have to build your world, and the sort of stuff that's presented so far feels better for an expansion disc to an existing property -- not as a prequel to it.

If it were a standalone free game, I'd say "screw everyone else's opinions, this is the game I've made to see fit, and I won't change it."
But since you probably want people to be convinced to try the main arc, then yeah some revision is in order.

Too many choices didn't bother me much (perhaps because I've seen worse, especially in IF which isn't my cup of tea). But the thing is if you're supposed to port over the saved state of this game to the main story arc, it seems to be doing a rush job of it. I think it'd be better if you spend more time fleshing out the main game, and create a kickass prologue instead as a demo... or alternately create a free sidestory but release that when the main game is done or afterwards... that way you will be in the best position to present all your characters in the best light.

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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#13 Post by Counter Arts » Mon May 04, 2009 10:57 am

I think a big issue was not spelling out Alex's secret. The amount of referencing of otaku culture was actually an important plot point. It wasn't just there for the fans.

Did anyone figure out Alex's secret and why it is connected to his otaku hobbies? You can pm me your guesses.
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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#14 Post by OhGreat » Wed May 06, 2009 10:47 pm

^_^ You're doing a great job!

Can't wait to see it kill the market!!!

It's just like Clannad/some other shitty VN. Keep it up!!

Ganbare ^______^!!!!

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Re: Fading Hearts Parallel

#15 Post by Internet Expert » Wed May 06, 2009 10:54 pm

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