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A jam entry

Lost BoyView game page »

A short narrative about mental health.
Submitted by Rhino with 1 day, 19 hours before the deadline

Play narrative

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Results

Ranked 53rd with 4 votes

CriteriaRankVotes
People's Choice Vote#534

Team Members
Rhino

Engine
RPG Maker MV

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Comments

Jam Host

Disqualified - Game stopping bug in storeroom, can't reach book even after pushing chair, also can't leave room.

Developer

Oh... I don't understand this. No one else reported any issues and I tested it thoroughly. It should be impossible but for the judges to have problems, I guess I must be really unlucky. Well, thank you for your time anyway.

Jam Judge

Hi, I was assigned this game. It seemed promising but I got stuck in that room within 5 minutes of starting and had to DQ per the contest rules. Perhaps I was supposed to do something before going into the storeroom, but I hadn't seen anything that indicated that. Pushed the chair to reach the book but nothing happened once I was on the chair and I couldn't leave the room.

Developer

Thanks for commenting ^^

You should be able to enter (and leave) the storeroom at any time until you place the final book back. There are a few optional events that can only be done before the final book, but nothing that affects the storeroom... Did you try to interact with the book once you were on the chair? It wasn't an autorun event, you needed to use the action button to pick up the book as it was for the others.

Not being able to leave the storeroom is the most concerning as it's set to a simple conditional else branch. Can you remember if there was a message "I should put this book back before I leave," despite you not having one, or did nothing happen? 

I know nothing can be done now, but I do have to admit that it was quite depressing to be disqualified so it'd be great if I could figure out what the problem was and make an update :)

Jam Judge

I played again after reading your reply and I think I've figured out the error. When I entered the storeroom, I originally went for the book on top of the cabinet FIRST. Might seem strange since there are others that are easier to get, but it jumped out at me for whatever reason. If you do the other ones first, it works fine. I apologize for not being able to figure that out on my own. 

Developer

From what I can tell, the events still work even if you pick up the book on the cabinet first. (They were made to go in any order, and even two at time though I neglected to mention that so I don't think anyone noticed.) 

But I can understand the confusion why nothing happened having gone for that one first, and I can imagine that having so many games to play and judge, there wouldn't really be a reason to keep trying if you thought the game was broken. So if you'll agree with me I do think the disqualification was an unlucky mistake as I'm quite confident the game runs through to the end, (though I'm sure it does have it's fair share of bugs, none should be gameplay ending.) I am sad to have missed out but I don't think I'd have come near the top marks anyway, so just knowing that I managed to make something that plays in a month is good enough for me! 

Thank you very much for your time and for trying it again. :D

Jam JudgeSubmitted (4 edits)

It has to do with picking up the cheat sheet first, actually. If you pick it up first, it breaks events. And yes, I noticed that you can do two at a time.

Developer

Hi, I followed the order of your events and was still able to leave the room and interact with all of the books. (And recorded it if you'd like to see that.) There's no starting condition for either of these, and they end in an else branch so there shouldn't be a time when they do nothing at all... UNLESS you've viewed the key from your menu sometime during doing the books. So, I have found a game ending bug, and I have to assume that this is what's caused the error since I just can't seem to find another reason for it. I've used the event searcher and only the key, house (comes later), and storeroom events use this "books carrying" variable that can break the interaction. The actual chair and cheat sheet don't reference it at all. I'm sure I followed everything you mentioned on the thread, and Judge DOOM didn't seem to interact with any of the optional events to cause this error so it's really weird and frustrating. I don't know how it's only happening sometimes and that I'm unable to trigger it (I play from the deployed version on here, it's the only file I ever had up for download and I haven't updated it from the contest.) I am about ready to tear my hair out, but I'll keep trying to see if there was some other cause. At the very least, I want to be sure that everyone who'd like to play the game was able to.

Thank you for your time. 

Jam JudgeSubmitted (2 edits)

It is very possible that an item triggers it.  It seems somewhat random whether or not it gets triggered, but I'd have to do a thorough analysis in order to find the exact cause.  (I know that the cheat sheet can be the final point of the process, but I don't know the reason why).

Developer

I'm having trouble understanding it too. I wouldn't expect/ask you to do a thorough analysis, this is my problem to sort out and I feel quite bad that I've been bothering people with it. (Though I still can't trigger the issue, ugh!) The books, door and bookshelf all have basically the same conditional branches, if books carrying is 0, 1 or 2. The items each have their own common events when you view them, and the key one ends up overwriting the variable. If it makes that variable 3 or more it breaks the storeroom and the events in there only + or - variables rather than setting them so it is game over from there. Picking up the cheat sheet though, it's "show text" "show gab window" "play SE" "add item" and then a self switch. I think it's unlikely that Yanfly's Gab Window is messing with the variables, but there's really nothing in that which should cause issue. I did a run through on my editor version whilst checking the variables via the debug menu. The bookshelf works exactly as I want so I don't think it's a mistake in that, and yet the variable is never mentioned outside of that key issue. At this point, I'm feeling very defeated. I know there's a game ending bug in there, and even if it's not the one Judge DOOM encountered, I think it's fair enough to be disqualified. This bug that I can't find or understand, well, it's beaten me. This game wasn't good enough, and as I keep wasting my time searching and failing, it's really making me feel like I'm not good enough either, so I'd like to just nip it in the bud here. Maybe I'll come back to it later, but for now I'd like to forget that I ever tried. I really appreciate that you put the effort in for me though. I'm sorry I wasted your time, but thanks for trying to help anyway. :)

Submitted (2 edits)

While the game isn't perfect it definitely made me feel something and it wasn't boredom.  And I'm sure, it's not just me who thinks so. So congratulations, you delivered your message!

Overall,  the game is well-made, but in my opinion there is things that can be improved:
- Probably it's a good idea to add background music and sounds. Game feels empty soundwise. Also It'll help to set the mood.
- Some SE sounds strange, for example, kitchen sink.
- As already mentioned, it's really easy to skip large part of the game.

Developer

Not perfect is fine by me ^^ I previously got myself into a dark place by strangling my creativity in the pursuit of perfectionism, so I'm quite happy to let some things go. I will try to fix the concerns being brought up in feedback though, so thanks for your comment!!

It was on my list of 'passable errors' to make some of the SE louder as they were easily missed. I was originally going to add music, but my initial playtesters quite liked the minimalism. There are some scenes where I could see music for extra emphasis, but I'm not really sure what I'd put as a general walking around jingle.

The sound of the kitchen sink is the same as the rain, so I guess you have observant ears! By the end of the game I started being stingy with sounds since it was taking a while to find decent ones and I was cautious about bulking up file size. I really want to remove the rtp cat sound, but I couldn't find a decent one for that either. I need to think about what's bugging me enough to I want to invest the extra time in. If I had my perfectionist way, I'd end up redrawing all of the artwork, but I feel quite jaded right now U~U'''''

Submitted(+1)
Yeah, I know what you mean... Perfectionism is a terrifying enemy, the sooner you get rid of it the better. Good luck!
Submitted

Overall I liked the consistent tonality in which it dealt with the mundane, as well as the artwork that went with it.

Thankfully the comments section indicated those first floor events that I indeed missed initially like many other players, so I replayed to check those out.

What is funny is that I actually had just a couple of days ago a similar experience while food shopping (minus the anxiety).

When we were left without knowing how to access our "pocket" (the menu), was that intended to induce a feeling of anxiety of not being able to find the keys?

Developer

Thank you :) (And thanks for taking the time to go back to see what was missed! I'll have to make an update after IGMC to make it harder to accidentally miss...)

Not being able to open the menu with ESC was an oversight. By default RPG Maker MV games can also use X and Numpad 0, and it's mentioned on the game page, but still it was a bad move on my part. I hope it hasn't driven anyone too crazy :S

Submitted(+1)

This is really well done! It's like a completely new game, not something made using rpgmaker. The story is great! Especially the one in convenient store. I can really relate to that.

The details on each events made us really immersed to the story.

After reading the comments, I realized I missed some contents.. I'll come back to that.

Developer

Thanks for looking!! ^^ 

Submitted(+1)

Congratulations on your game. It looks nice, the scenarios are well worked, the story is good and it's informative, too! And yes, you did a good work on transmitting emotions; when I was on the street under the rain, I could clearly perceive Yuu's desperation.

I'd like to provide you with some feedback on things I think can be improved:

  • There are 2 mistakes in the question about the square root of 64. One: I think it said "square route". Two: I think it asked for the square root of "√64". That's redundant; you should use "square root of 64" or simply ask for "√64".
  • In the bathroom scene, is a bit unclear who says what because every message box looks the same and they are too close.
  • The menu key... you should keep Esc working, too. The tip/explanation that appears when talking with the vending machine guy should be shown in the rain scene, too, or at the beginning of the game; you shouldn't rely on an optional event for providing the player with critical information (to me, this is critical because it wasn't obvious what the menu key was; using Esc is intuitive as most games open a menu with that, so you could not explain that one).
  • I see that several people (including myself the first time I played) went directly to the storeroom and missed a lot of the content. I think that's because people may think that the content is unveiled along with the story, so they don't "waste time" going off the road if they already know what they must do. Perhaps you may move the storeroom to another location so the player actually sees the first floor before finding it?

That's it. Other than that, good work!

Developer

Thanks for your feedback!!! It was really insightful. (And oh dear, 'square route' that's embarrassing xD)

The bathroom scene was a pain to event. With the lack of portraits, I tried to make things more interesting by having the textbox bounce around but the coordinates were just guess work and a lot of play testing. I really should have just stuck it to overhead and kept things simple hahaha.

Yeah, the menu key was pretty last minute. I really wanted the menu to have a background filter other than the standard blur. None of the menu filter plugins I found worked with the current version of pixi, so I ended up making a work around by using Yanfly's button common events. Unfortunately, that doesn't have a field for the ESC key, so as a non codey person I was stuck with just disabling it. Note to self; never sacrifice technical stuff for aesthetics...

I've been thinking about how to give the player a better chance to look around before hitting that autorun. My first thought was to give them another choice, but moving it downstairs would certainly at least let people know there's stuff to do there. That stuff is mostly just fluff, but after spending the time it would be nice to know people were seeing it. I still don't know if anyone has actually found that they could view all of the items in the inventory either. Ahh, that's the curse of a dev I suppose! I'm grateful people are giving it a chance anyway. Thanks <3

To reply to your other comment (being economical lol),I don't think it's so much about the speed as much as the actual motion. I didn't feel sick playing your game, but I know from playing a few other entries with scrolling movement that it certainly can cause that, so the same advice, just keep it condensed if you can. ^^

Submitted(+1)

Hiya! I enjoyed my time with this quite a lot. The assets were all quite solid and added to the expiriance without being the focus of it, and the writing was done quite well. I had a lot of difficulty finding the menu to access my keys (I basically just rolled my head over my keyboard 'till it worked) and I also found the minor passability issue mentioned by another person, but it didn't detract from my time with the game. I in particular would like to commend your use of screen flashes and various fonts being displayed across the screen - it really helped communicate tone in a way I hope I can learn from. Also, the animations in the bust images were a great touch I wish I could have implemented in my own game.

I look forward to what you do next,

Lucas Harvey, one half of the team behind The Rosewood Masquerade.

PS: Cats make me feel better too.

Developer

Thanks for your feedback! :D

 I was surprised to realise that a lot of people didn't explore before entering the storeroom, as no one seems to have met the boy by the vending machine on their first play, which had a tip on the menu keys. It's kind of sad since I realised people must have missed out on some of the extra stuff I put in there, including the fact items can be viewed from the difficult-to-open menu. (Out of the 3 default menu keys, I disabled the one everyone uses? Oh boy!) Of course, there are always things that will be missed, but I learnt a valuable lesson to try and promote the things that I'd like people to notice a little bit more. 

Your game was so detailed, I'm sure it must be the same. I regret that I didn't go back to try and discover all of the loose ends before finishing. I'm hoping to write a list of 'hidden gems' (punintentional) with yours on since I hope more people will give it a go. You have my support! <3

If there's anything in particular that you want to know how I achieved, just ask. It was most likely a plugin that I can link you to.

Submitted(+1)

Yeah, getting a hand full of people to run through our game really helped us learn what things needed to get adjusted so that players would try it out or explore the area. As to our philosophy on detail, we used a mindset of "We will fill the game with so many references and secrets, they HAVE to find something." Though admittedly, this meant a lot of content that may never/rarely get seen - never a good fact when you are working on a time crunch. Ups and downs, I suppose.

Submitted(+1)

I just played this and it was really something! For your first game (public at any rate), you did a great job, especially with the time constraints in place. 30 days is not a lot of time! 

Anyways, some spoilers ahead for people who wish to avoid them...

I really enjoyed the custom art work. Upon first glance it seems fairly simplistic, but I sort of feel like that somehow makes the game a bit better and more relatable since having super detailed characters would not really allow the player to project themselves onto the main character of the story. The sprite graphics and colors were interesting and the mild hues seem to play into the overall theme of the game. The music didn't stand out, but I feel like it wasn't supposed to - it blended in well with the scene in which it was present and augmented the atmosphere in a subtle way.

I did not get a chance to find the girl's friendship bracelet unfortunately, as I ended up finding the storeroom first before really exploring. I feel like there is the potential to accidentally halt progress in the game if you get the chair stuck in the corner since it doesn't reset its position if you leave and come back - so if someone messed up, it is basically game over. The only real issues I had with the gameplay itself is that I had no idea how to open my inventory to find my keys. I hit the escape key to try and bring up the menu to no avail, and then I ran around and discovered a passability error (I assume it is anyway) that let me run around in the darkness near the street lamps and it was difficult to find my way back lol (perhaps an unintentional metaphor there...), eventually I just pressed random buttons on my keyboard until I found the right one. A little heads up about how to open that menu would have been cool, though I suppose not knowing how to open the menu could also greatly play into the overall theme of the game - or perhaps I am reading too much into it! :)

On a more personal note, when I was younger I had anxiety, especially about meeting strangers or going to places I was unfamiliar with. As I grew older that went away over time and in spite of being overall an introvert, I have no problems with meeting new people. I wish it happened as fast as it did for Yuu taking his first step with meeting his mother's new boyfriend, as it is a journey that takes far more time, but I understand that the game needed to be wrapped up. You captured the general essence of anxiety induced by social situations fairly well I thought (if maybe a bit more dramatic than I experienced). It feels like this game is a rather personal story for you, so thank you for sharing it. These feelings of anxiety do get better with time until they are nothing more than a bad memory.

Good job and keep up the great work!

Developer

Thank you for taking the time to write such detailed feedback :D

The minimalist style was originally just a time saver, though I did end up developing that into the core of the story hence the lack of music for the majority of the time. I'm glad that it didn't put you off!

Ah, it's a shame about the storeroom. Until you place the final book you're free to walk out again, and if you went downstairs and talked to the guy in front of the vending machine you would have had a prompt on how to use the menu. I disabled the default keys to have the menu run through a common event which was probably a little dumb. Sorry about that!

You shouldn't be able to get the chair stuck in the storeroom, if you push it against a corner it should move back out again. (At least I hope so, I did try to test that area properly.) Oops, being able to run around the street lights was definitely a passibility error though >~< Thanks for spotting that! 

Yeah, I struggled to find a good balance in emotions. Some scenes cut too short and others were 0-60 too quickly, unfortunately I'm not the best writer haha. But I'm really happy that you still felt that you could relate to Yuu in some way! There are definitely pieces that I took from my own experience, but quite a lot of it (including the aesthetics in fact,) were moulded around a friend of mine. Looking at this now that crunch time is over, I sort of feel 'Huh? Is this really the game I wanted to make?', but I'm still glad that it exists...!

Thank you so much for your support and kind words. I really appreciate it! <3

(1 edit) (+1)

Very nice game, it has a nice gameplay at the same time that it is about an important matter such as anxiety, I would not expect a theme like this from RPG maker game, it surprised me very much with the atmosphere and the characters interaction!

Developer(+1)

Thank you for playing, it means a lot! :D