House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

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Lesleigh63
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House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#1 Post by Lesleigh63 » Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:54 pm

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Synopsis
On his semester break, Reece Tyler visits the house he inherited from the estate of his late uncle (a doll-maker).

Inside, he learns of the doll-making legacy of the Tyler clan, the reason for the longstanding rift between his father and late uncle, and a little about himself.

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Approximately 8,000 words, or around 30mins of gameplay.
Not adult content but not intended for children either (say 15yrs)

Credits

Story: by Lesleigh63
Art: by Lesleigh63 (except for UI background texture "Frost" by Auroraweinhold - Deviantart)
Music:
"Yiourgh (ft. Coblat)" by DoKashiteru
"Chemma Chi (Disturbed)" by DJ Rkod
"Garden of the Forking (ft. Neurowaxx)" by J Lang
"Space Bazooka" by Kirkoid
Made with Ren'Py

Feedback

If you could tell me two things that worked well in the game, and two things that you thought could be improved upon.

Thanks for your time.

Downloads

http://www.mediafire.com/download/se9ke ... .0-win.zip

http://www.mediafire.com/download/7zx3v ... .0-mac.zip

http://www.mediafire.com/download/92da7 ... ux.tar.bz2
Last edited by Lesleigh63 on Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PumpkinGlitters
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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#2 Post by PumpkinGlitters » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:53 pm

I just finished my play through of your game. I have to admit, I played the game unsure of what to expect with the story. How ever, it was funny and tasteful. I like how you eased the player into knowing about the dolls and gave us a story at the start. The art fit well with the feelings of neglect and a long time passed when in the house. The leather wearing doll was personally my favorite, both because of the reactions and the stark, realistic comments he gave to his "creator" at times. The end came a bit abruptly and left me wondering what more would happen when he met with his parents. It does leave to the imagination, however. Still, it drew me in and I enjoyed it.

...I honestly can't think of anything at the moment that could be improved on at the moment though.

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Lesleigh63
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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#3 Post by Lesleigh63 » Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:28 pm

PumpkinGlitters wrote:Still, it drew me in and I enjoyed it.
I'm glad. This is my first game and you're my first player. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#4 Post by ebi-hime » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:00 am

Aaw, this was quite a nice little story.
I was impressed by the sprites for the characters o: I couldn't tell whether they were photographs of real dolls or if you drew them. Did you draw them? Because if you did that's pretty impressive o:
The writing was all pretty decent. However, I think it ended a little too abruptly XD
For some reason I expecting a more dating sim like game, where you can choose which doll to interact with, but it was completely kinetic XD
But the fact you used the default renpy textbox bugged me a little - especially when all the GUI was fully customised XD I was like 'why...?' If it was changed, it could have made the story look a bit fancier. But that's just me XD
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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#5 Post by Maverynthia » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:18 am

They look like image manips of photos, to add teeth and smooth the hair out. I think I've seen these photos on Den of Angels cuz they look REALLY familiar to me. :3

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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#6 Post by Lesleigh63 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:43 pm

ebi-hime wrote:Aaw, this was quite a nice little story.
I was impressed by the sprites for the characters o: I couldn't tell whether they were photographs of real dolls or if you drew them. Did you draw them? Because if you did that's pretty impressive o:
The writing was all pretty decent. However, I think it ended a little too abruptly XD
For some reason I expecting a more dating sim like game, where you can choose which doll to interact with, but it was completely kinetic XD
But the fact you used the default renpy textbox bugged me a little - especially when all the GUI was fully customised XD I was like 'why...?' If it was changed, it could have made the story look a bit fancier. But that's just me XD
I spent a day taking photographs of my own dolls in the positions I wanted and then used that as a reference to paint the sprites (the photos aren't nice enough to use as is - I'm not a very good photographer and aligning the photographs for arm movement etc wouldn't work, whereas if I paint them I can get what I want in the picture).
Ending to abrupt - noted (I always find it hard to end a story) - next VN I'll see if I can get some feedback on the script for the endings.
I didn't try to fancy up the textbox because I though it would clash with the art - next VN will have a customized textbox because I intend to step the art down a little bit (still realism but not the detail level I went for in this one).
Thanks for your time.

Maverynthia wrote:They look like image manips of photos, to add teeth and smooth the hair out. I think I've seen these photos on Den of Angels cuz they look REALLY familiar to me. :3
I had posted the painted images a few months back on deviant art (maybe that's where you saw them). I painted the images to get what I want, but I used photos of my dolls to get the poses and an idea of colouring and shadows etc.
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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#7 Post by Lesleigh63 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:21 pm

- comment no longer relevant -
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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#8 Post by Tatty » Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:35 am

Since you so kindly gave me advice, I'm here to review! Hrmn, and what an interesting tale this was - it made me miss being much younger; I think perhaps anyone who has interacted with dolls and the stories they create can feel a little nostalgia in the story, which I'll list as one of the things that works - as well as the dialogue, which was pretty witty and fun. Things that didn't work - hrmn, that's a good question? I would agree, the ending felt a bit abrupt and I wanted to know 'more'. It's hard to strike the blend between too much exposition, but should you decide to have another novel set in the same 'universe' I'd be glad to read it, too! : D

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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#9 Post by Lesleigh63 » Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:10 am

Howdy Tatty, didn't realise you'd commented before looking at your WIP and other thread.

Thanks very much for taking the time to look at House of Dolls. It was my test project before attempting something larger. I decided to write a story about dolls because I find them intriguing plus I own dolls (lovely to look at plus I figured I could use them in place of my old wooden manikan to work out poses for my art). My next piece won't involve dolls (survival on a prison planet, bxb or alone - need to work on my endings and make sure they are strong).

Thanks again.
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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#10 Post by Tatty » Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:29 am

You're very welcome - I enjoyed it immensely, especially Dylan. I bet it was fun to write, as well; I imagine posing the dolls was a bit challenging, but incredibly entertaining.
A prison planet, hrmn? Sounds awesome! I'll be looking forward to all the endings!
My pleasure. : )

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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#11 Post by OokamiKasumi » Thu Oct 02, 2014 4:53 am

I very much enjoyed your work.
-- The music worked well, and the story was very good. You tied up most of the loose ends. The only thing you didn't tie up was what happened after Reece began living at the house. However, a few lines about how Reece felt about living there with the dolls and some thoughts on how he felt about making dolls in the future would do it.

I do agree that the Renpy textbox doesn't quite match up with the cool GUI graphics. If you don't have one I can Photoshop one for you in the same shape as the GUI design? If you need help with the coding to make it work, I can do that too.

A suggestion? Add "with dissolve" to the end of your "hide" and "show" statements. It will make for smoother transitions.
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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#12 Post by Lesleigh63 » Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:47 am

OokamiKasumi wrote:I very much enjoyed your work.
-- The music worked well, and the story was very good. You tied up most of the loose ends. The only thing you didn't tie up was what happened after Reece began living at the house. However, a few lines about how Reece felt about living there with the dolls and some thoughts on how he felt about making dolls in the future would do it.

I do agree that the Renpy textbox doesn't quite match up with the cool GUI graphics. If you don't have one I can Photoshop one for you in the same shape as the GUI design? If you need help with the coding to make it work, I can do that too.

A suggestion? Add "with dissolve" to the end of your "hide" and "show" statements. It will make for smoother transitions.
I'm glad you enjoyed it and liked the writing :D
I wonder if that's why it feels like it finishes abruptly - it needed the explanation of what happened to Reece afterwards. Thanks for pointing it out - I couldn't see it myself, just felt something wasn't quite right.

Okay you're the second person who felt the default textbox is out of place - time for me to listen. Thanks for the offer, but I'll learn more if I make it myself (PS found your tutorial for customizing the GUI very, very useful - thanks for posting it)

Is fade different to dissolve (i.e. is one smoother than the other?) - although it's possible I had nothing at the points you're referring to.

Wasn't planning to retouch this, but I think I will when I get tired of working on my current project or hit a block.

Thanks for playing the game and taking the time to comment - appreciate it greatly.
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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#13 Post by OokamiKasumi » Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:49 pm

Lesleigh63 wrote:I'm glad you enjoyed it and liked the writing :D
-- I wonder if that's why it feels like it finishes abruptly - it needed the explanation of what happened to Reece afterwards. Thanks for pointing it out - I couldn't see it myself, just felt something wasn't quite right.
I did indeed enjoy your story.
-- It's likely that you were having a problem putting your finger on it because a few lines on what happened with Reece afterwards was all it needed, no more.
Lesleigh63 wrote:Okay you're the second person who felt the default textbox is out of place - time for me to listen. Thanks for the offer, but I'll learn more if I make it myself (PS found your tutorial for customizing the GUI very, very useful - thanks for posting it)
Understood, and I agree that it's best that you figure things out yourself. I'm glad my tutorials are proving helpful!
Lesleigh63 wrote:Is fade different to dissolve, (i.e. is one smoother than the other?)
The 'fade' and 'dissolve' commands do two entirely different things.
-- The 'fade' command actually means: "fade to black." It removes ALL the graphics in a scene by replacing them with a solid black screen. The 'dissolve' command only fades out the one graphic you add 'dissolve' to.
Lesleigh63 wrote:Wasn't planning to retouch this, but I think I will when I get tired of working on my current project or hit a block.
I tell myself the same thing, yet I still do adjustments to even my earliest games. I just don't bother announcing that there's an upgrade unless it's a Significant amount of work, such as a major change in the graphics.
Lesleigh63 wrote:Thanks for playing the game and taking the time to comment - appreciate it greatly.
You're very, very welcome. It was my pleasure. I'm always happy to help if I can.
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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#14 Post by Lehst » Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:34 pm

I have to confess. I was motivated to download and play the game just because I also own a Dream of Doll "Lahoo".
XDDDD

The game was surprisingly great! I wasn't expecting much from freeware that was short in length and made by one person. But I really started to believe in this fictional world and characters.

Honestly I thought the obviously "cut-paste-edited" assets for the game were kind of endearing. I like the mood set by low-budget renai games, if that makes any sense. But it would really be interesting to see some better photography/editing using bjds for the cast. The filter on Dylan's sprite was really nice too.

As for specific things I liked, that would be when Ash first peeked around the corner, without warning. and just watching everything animate from there. I really enjoyed watching them!! And the bg's like for the phone calls was a nice touch.

As for what to improve, that would be not just getting higher quality assets, but the backgrounds seemed a bit off-kilter. I know they are dolls so the perspective would be different than talking to a human at eye-level, but just poses and placement in general gave a sense of "being slapped on" without regard to what the natural perspective would be. Also light sources on one object being different than another (in the same screen) makes things look distorted as well. Everyday, without thinking about it, we, in real life, notice how light affects things. How something appears to be shaped is defined by light and shadow. So it's easy to notice when light sources and perspective are odd and unnatural. I personally think those issues are more important than "low resolution/detailed photos or artwork".

Also, some script errors. Right after Ash falls down the stairs, Reece is talking to Caleb. There is a line that is labeled as Reece being the speaker, but I'm thinking it is supposed to have Caleb's name instead.

"Of course I care, they're my brothers and I can't help them!"

Also, a few lines later in the same scene:
"I didn't like his tone or the snicker of condescension I sensed from him."

should be:
"I didn't like his tone nor the snicker of condescension I sensed from him."

Anyways I really enjoyed this little story!!! I will surely play it again. Good luck with any future projects :)

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Re: House of Dolls [kinetic, drama, sprinkle of BL]

#15 Post by Lesleigh63 » Tue Sep 01, 2015 6:43 am

Hi Lehst

Thanks for giving the game a go (and welcome to the forums).

I'm still trying to get my head around perspective and light placement - so hopefully my backgrounds/art will improve as I go along. (I take terrible photos - really awful, which is why I repainted everything).

I like entertaining the idea of my dolls being alive which is what I tried to go for in the visual novel.

I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks for the feedback.
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