Detective Butler EP1 [Murder Mystery] [KN] (Completed)

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Kinjo
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Detective Butler EP1 [Murder Mystery] [KN] (Completed)

#1 Post by Kinjo » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:03 am

[Since the game has now been completed, you may find the full version here]

Greetings, Lemmasoft!

I've lurked around this site for a while, so I'm not too new here, and I'm also not too new to making visual novels. However, before this point they were all fangames...
So here, I present to you my first "real" visual novel:

Image

(More information on the current development website)

The basic premise is as follows:
In 1962, a popular cruise ship went out of business after the accidental deaths of two of its passengers. Ever since, the ship has been rumored to be haunted by ghosts, becoming an attraction for tourists interested in the occult.

50 years later, the ship has been revived by the owner's grandson, and will set sail on its maiden voyage. The CEO of a wealthy company takes the executive board members on board, as well as his son Gilligan, to celebrate their company's success.

There, Gilligan happens to meet a young man by the name of Butler. As the two of them delve deeper into the ship's past, another incident occurs on board... and it seems only Detective Butler will be able to solve it.
FEATURES:
-Several hours of gameplay (almost half of the full game!)
-Glorious 800x600 Resolution
-Journal system (similar to Umineko's Tips)
-2/9 Butler Hints (extra side stories)
-Blinking sprites! (can be turned on/off)
-Three styles of textboxes
-A small minigame in the last chapter of the demo (and a few more after the demo)
-And last but not least, a murder mystery for you all to theorize about until the full game is released!
Last edited by Kinjo on Sun Aug 11, 2013 2:30 am, edited 24 times in total.

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Re: The Misadventures of Detective Butler [Murder Mystery] [

#2 Post by azureXtwilight » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:13 am

Ah, detective games. My favorite. Your art really looks nice, so I'm downloading the demo now~ Will comment again once I am done :)
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Re: The Misadventures of Detective Butler [Murder Mystery] [

#3 Post by Gear » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:50 am

Count me in as well. I love a good mystery/adventure/suspense title. I'll give you a review after I'm done playing it. Looks great from here, though!
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Re: The Misadventures of Detective Butler [Murder Mystery] [

#4 Post by Kinjo » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:59 am

Updated the demo just a bit. Fixed a few typos and changed a few sprites around (I keep playing with the character designs), nothing major worth re-downloading, but I think it's necessary.
Speaking of that, I reduced the file size as well. Should be much faster to download now, I didn't even think about it before until someone pointed it out to me.

A couple more things I should probably mention, just for reference. This demo contains roughly 10,000 words.
The full game will contain 40,000 to 50,000 words or so, spread across 10 chapters, a prologue, and epilogue.

So the demo is essentially just an introduction to the characters and setting of the story. Maybe that's a bit too much time dedicated to exposition, but who knows.

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Re: The Misadventures of Detective Butler [Murder Mystery] [

#5 Post by Arowana » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:57 am

I love classic detective mysteries, so you have me hooked from the start! Coincidentally, I’m also making a mystery game that starts on a cruise ship, so I was instantly drawn towards the story. :lol:

Characters
I love your character designs – everyone has such a distinct look! I’m really impressed you put together such a large and varied cast! It kind of reminds me of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, actually, both in terms of sprite art and cast size.

The titular Detective Butler was hilarious. Though his attitude rubbed me the wrong way at first, I grew quite fond of his quirkiness over the course of the demo. I think he will make a great iconic detective for the series. :D The MC, Gilligan, intrigues me – he obviously has some issues he’s not revealing quite yet. I don’t quite understand his constant negativity (his dad seems like a likable guy so far – I don’t get the impression he’s as strict as Gilligan says), but I’m guessing more light will be shed on his backstory later on.

I don’t have much of a read on the supporting characters yet. Can’t wait until I get to uncover all their dark secrets haha.

Visuals
Cool animation on the title screen. I assume the ship image is just a placeholder?

I like the sleek notebook-style textbox, though the margins around the name text are a bit small.

The huge car/door backgrounds look a bit jarring when they are placed behind sprites. If you can’t find other photos, maybe you could use side sprites for those scenes instead?

The frequent transitions and background changes (e.g. the city streets, skyscraper, clouds) during Gilligan’s thoughts were a bit distracting to me. Perhaps you could just leave the sprites/current background up instead?

Music
I find the music quite catchy, though some tracks (e.g. the choral-sounding piece) seemed a bit too epic for the more mundane conversations. Also, the music cuts off quite abruptly when it stops – is it possible to fade it out more gradually?

Other
Is there rollback? The readme file says that H/left goes back one page. However, those keys don’t seem to do anything when I try them.

I don’t think the repetition of the company’s miracle story in both chapters is necessary – you could probably make the first reference vaguer, or shorten the second one.
I assume the info about the ship will be important for solving the mystery? I thought the exposition during the tour was a bit heavy since it came all at once – maybe Gilligan could explore the ship after he gets the “mystery challenge” from Butler and gather info then? Then he’d be able to record any pertinent info in his notepad as well.
All-in-all, I thought the demo premise and characters were very intriguing and look forward to seeing the final version! Good luck with everything! :D
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Re: The Misadventures of Detective Butler [Murder Mystery] [

#6 Post by Kinjo » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:42 pm

Arowana wrote:I love classic detective mysteries, so you have me hooked from the start! Coincidentally, I’m also making a mystery game that starts on a cruise ship, so I was instantly drawn towards the story. :lol:
Ahahaha, now that's an interesting coincidence! I've taken a look at your site and your game seems quite promising, so I'll be following your site and looking forward to your demo!
Characters
I love your character designs – everyone has such a distinct look! I’m really impressed you put together such a large and varied cast! It kind of reminds me of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, actually, both in terms of sprite art and cast size.

The titular Detective Butler was hilarious. Though his attitude rubbed me the wrong way at first, I grew quite fond of his quirkiness over the course of the demo. I think he will make a great iconic detective for the series. :D The MC, Gilligan, intrigues me – he obviously has some issues he’s not revealing quite yet. I don’t quite understand his constant negativity (his dad seems like a likable guy so far – I don’t get the impression he’s as strict as Gilligan says), but I’m guessing more light will be shed on his backstory later on.

I don’t have much of a read on the supporting characters yet. Can’t wait until I get to uncover all their dark secrets haha.
Thanks. This game was pretty much inspired straight from Umineko, so I'm glad it gave you that feeling.
I'm also glad that Butler turned out to be a likeable character. And yes, more light will be shed on everyone else later on. No need to rush things, I think.
Visuals
Cool animation on the title screen. I assume the ship image is just a placeholder?

I like the sleek notebook-style textbox, though the margins around the name text are a bit small.

The huge car/door backgrounds look a bit jarring when they are placed behind sprites. If you can’t find other photos, maybe you could use side sprites for those scenes instead?

The frequent transitions and background changes (e.g. the city streets, skyscraper, clouds) during Gilligan’s thoughts were a bit distracting to me. Perhaps you could just leave the sprites/current background up instead?
Quite so, the ship's just a placeholder.
We were thinking about changing the textbox to make it look nicer. I'm not sure if we will, but I'll probably change the name box around anyway.
Yes, lots of people have told me about the car background looking weird, ahahaha... Not sure how I'll get around that but it'll be changed.
I see, well I was thinking it'd get boring to just have the same background, but maybe multiple ones are too distracting.
Music
I find the music quite catchy, though some tracks (e.g. the choral-sounding piece) seemed a bit too epic for the more mundane conversations. Also, the music cuts off quite abruptly when it stops – is it possible to fade it out more gradually?
Yeah, I admit some tracks don't really fit. We'll just have to compose more music that DOES fit! But anyway, as for the fade-outs, some intentionally stopped abruptly while others slowly faded out. I coded a system where the bgm would fade out gradually, so I can always extend it to make the fade-out time longer, if that was the problem.
Other
Is there rollback? The readme file says that H/left goes back one page. However, those keys don’t seem to do anything when I try them.

I don’t think the repetition of the company’s miracle story in both chapters is necessary – you could probably make the first reference vaguer, or shorten the second one.
I assume the info about the ship will be important for solving the mystery? I thought the exposition during the tour was a bit heavy since it came all at once – maybe Gilligan could explore the ship after he gets the “mystery challenge” from Butler and gather info then? Then he’d be able to record any pertinent info in his notepad as well.
I've been working on the backlog feature for a while. I'm just as confused as you are as to why the left arrow isn't working, but I've made some progress in the right-click menu. All I need to do is figure out how to get the text to appear and it should be working, but that's proving harder than I thought in ONScripter.
I might be too repetitive sometimes. I think it comes with trying to imitate Umineko's writing~ But I guess I can change it if necessary.
Well, I thought it'd be nice for the reader to know about the general locations of things on the ship before anything else. Your idea is good, but I think timing-wise it'd be best just to get it out of the way in the start. Again, Umineko had quite a boring intro, but after all that was out of the way it could get right into the more interesting things. The mystery immediately picks up after Chapter 2 -- conveniently the end of the demo (lol), although the real reason for doing that is because the Journal feature (similar to Umineko's Tips) isn't finished. So that was why I chose to dump all that info right at the beginning.
All-in-all, I thought the demo premise and characters were very intriguing and look forward to seeing the final version! Good luck with everything! :D
Thanks again for the feedback, it's always helpful! I hope you enjoy the full version!

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Re: The Misadventures of Detective Butler [Murder Mystery] [

#7 Post by Arowana » Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:12 am

Ahahaha, now that's an interesting coincidence! I've taken a look at your site and your game seems quite promising, so I'll be following your site and looking forward to your demo!
Thanks, I'm glad to hear that you're interested! Us mystery game developers should stick together! :wink:
Yes, lots of people have told me about the car background looking weird, ahahaha... Not sure how I'll get around that but it'll be changed.
I see, well I was thinking it'd get boring to just have the same background, but maybe multiple ones are too distracting.
Yeah, I'm not sure what background you could use for the car interior that would be on the right scale for the sprite. My first thought is to use side sprites or overlay panels instead (I've seen the latter used for driving scenes in Kansei, which is coincidentally yet another mystery game). Alternatively, you could do a CG of Gilligan and his father in the car, though it would be more work.

I personally don't mind seeing the same background for a couple screens. I think my main issue with the multiple changing backgrounds is that I wasn't sure how they related to Gilligan's thoughts, since they didn't seem to be of specific scenes or flashbacks. So they may have been a bit disorienting to me haha.
But anyway, as for the fade-outs, some intentionally stopped abruptly while others slowly faded out. I coded a system where the bgm would fade out gradually, so I can always extend it to make the fade-out time longer, if that was the problem.
Hmm, I think the parts where I noticed the music cutting off was when it would switch from one track to another. If those cuts weren't supposed to be deliberately abrupt, then perhaps a longer fadeout time would be good after all.
I might be too repetitive sometimes. I think it comes with trying to imitate Umineko's writing~ But I guess I can change it if necessary.
Well, I thought it'd be nice for the reader to know about the general locations of things on the ship before anything else. Your idea is good, but I think timing-wise it'd be best just to get it out of the way in the start. Again, Umineko had quite a boring intro, but after all that was out of the way it could get right into the more interesting things. The mystery immediately picks up after Chapter 2 -- conveniently the end of the demo (lol), although the real reason for doing that is because the Journal feature (similar to Umineko's Tips) isn't finished. So that was why I chose to dump all that info right at the beginning.
Ooh, I see. I certainly get an Umineko feel from it, so I see what you are going for. I do feel like the most interesting part came right before the demo ended, and I kind of wish it had come a bit earlier in order to spice up the more mundane intro and motivate the info dumping. However, I see that you haven't added the prologue yet, so I'm assuming that will act as a hook (like the scene with Kinzo at the start of Umineko) to drive the story through all the beginning exposition. :)
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Re: The Misadventures of Detective Butler [Murder Mystery] [

#8 Post by Kinjo » Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:39 am

Arowana wrote:Ooh, I see. I certainly get an Umineko feel from it, so I see what you are going for. I do feel like the most interesting part came right before the demo ended, and I kind of wish it had come a bit earlier in order to spice up the more mundane intro and motivate the info dumping. However, I see that you haven't added the prologue yet, so I'm assuming that will act as a hook (like the scene with Kinzo at the start of Umineko) to drive the story through all the beginning exposition. :)
That's correct. The prologue is one of those "In Medias Res" things, so hopefully that'll hook enough people to read chapters 1 and 2. I didn't include the prologue for a few reasons, one of them being that it really isn't relevant until Chapter 3, which of course isn't in the demo.

The other reason being that we didn't quite have all the resources done for it at the time. However, our artist (chocojax) is making very nice progress with the sprites and CGs relevant to the demo. Once we get all those done (and as many bug fixes and changes as possible) I'll go ahead and release the "fixed" beta demo, with everything from the Prologue to Chapter 2.

Also, a fun fact: Butler's character was inspired by a real person.

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Re: The Misadventures of Detective Butler [Murder Mystery] [

#9 Post by chocojax » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:02 pm

Well, just gonna bump this topic up a little bit with a few updates. >v> /

So far, I've finished another sprite which will appear in the prologue, and she looks a lot nicer than everyone else, lol.
Image

And, finished a few CGs that will appear in the next version of the demo.
Image Image

Just a sprite, a few more expressions, and one CG to go for the next demo. P:

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Re: The Misadventures of Detective Butler [Murder Mystery] [

#10 Post by FragmentedBergyo » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:02 pm

Played it, liked it so far.
The writing is a bit rough around the edges so far, but it seems to be building up into an interesting mystery.
I hope you manage to fix all the coding issues you've been having. It doesn't really hurt the demo because it's so short, but it does feel a bit unprofessional (but to be fair, we aren't professionals so it's fine.).
Special props to the sprites. It may be a thing of taste, but I simply adore the shading. Which program do you use?
Music was also lovely. It may have been a bit unfitting for some scenes, but even in those scenes, the individual tracks were quite good imho.

Oh and if I remember correctly, Butler's shirt seems to be drawn wrongly. He looks like he's wearing a female shirt.
Reference images: Female and male
Notice how the side that the buttons are and go through are switched in the intersection for both genders?
Maybe you did it intentionally for some reason, but I thought it'd be a good idea to mention it.

Good luck with the game. It's a bit rough around the edges, but that can't be helped, considering it's just a demo at this point.

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Re: The Misadventures of Detective Butler [Murder Mystery] [

#11 Post by Kinjo » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:35 am

FragmentedBergyo wrote:Played it, liked it so far.
The writing is a bit rough around the edges so far, but it seems to be building up into an interesting mystery.
I hope you manage to fix all the coding issues you've been having. It doesn't really hurt the demo because it's so short, but it does feel a bit unprofessional (but to be fair, we aren't professionals so it's fine.).
Special props to the sprites. It may be a thing of taste, but I simply adore the shading. Which program do you use?
Music was also lovely. It may have been a bit unfitting for some scenes, but even in those scenes, the individual tracks were quite good imho.

[stuff the artist has to take care of]

Good luck with the game. It's a bit rough around the edges, but that can't be helped, considering it's just a demo at this point.
Thanks for reading and commenting. The coding issues are pretty much fixed (took some nice effort to fix them, but worth it). We mostly just wanted to get something out there, even if it wasn't completely ready. Just waiting on some more sprites before publishing the fixed demo, which should be soon.

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Re: The Misadventures of Detective Butler [Murder Mystery] [

#12 Post by FragmentedBergyo » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:10 am

Sounds great, looking forward to it. :D

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Re: The Misadventures of Detective Butler [Murder Mystery] [

#13 Post by Kinjo » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:24 am

Hello, it's been a while!

Finally completed work the new demo, check the first post for details. Took long enough, but I'd say it's worth it.
There's much more content than in the beta demo (if you read the beta, please re-read the old chapters!).

I hope you all have fun speculating on the mystery I present to you at the end of the demo.~

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Re: Detective Butler EP1 [Murder Mystery] [KN] (New Demo 9/1

#14 Post by Arowana » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:16 pm

Yay, I've been looking forward to your updates! :) Downloading now and will leave comments once I finish playing!
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Re: Detective Butler EP1 [Murder Mystery] [KN] (New Demo 9/1

#15 Post by Kinjo » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:20 pm

Arowana wrote:Yay, I've been looking forward to your updates! :) Downloading now and will leave comments once I finish playing!
Awesome!

Also, to those who haven't noticed, I've started linking patches underneath the main download.
It'd be a pain for me to reupload 200 MB every time I had to fix a bug (and a pain for you to download it) so from time to time I'll add new patches to the list, from which you can download less buggy versions.

(I suppose this is still technically a beta test phase, but I don't think glitches are too bad this time around.)

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