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Knowing how many designs I've had to give up on/won't be able to make for the many reasons that can pop up, it's inspiring and heartwarming to see how you've kept the strength to focus on this project for so long. Not to mention everything you've mentioned being able to gain as a result from skills to valuable friends.
I can't say the games description is something I'll enjoy (I prefer a more linear focused 'true story' than branching endings etc-I'm a weirdo who wants the end of a story spoiled for me so I know if I want to read/watch/play it lol, multiple paths breaks that for me). However I sincerely hope you can keep going and enjoy this project even more in the future and yours and everyone's efforts will be paid off at the end :).

Also just a personal opinion, but I've honestly never cared for 8 directional sprites. The thing that's more important for me is *moving* in 8 directions, even if there's only 4 sprite directions, it really helps the feel of navigating the world.

And wow, that is some properly awesome music! Though I severely regret not being able to get some music I commissioned into a project, I had so much fun listening to them as my playlist to keep me inspired while I worked on it. Can be a really nice thing.

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Thanks for the comment Swift! Glad to see  you're still making games though despite all the problems though. I played one of your games back in IGMC (not this year). As for your comment about

I can't say the games description is something I'll enjoy (I prefer a more linear focused 'true story' than branching endings etc

There is definitely a true ending to this game. But the branching paths is a very necessary component of this game's storytelling because of the genre it's in. An "epic" from a literary sense of the word. Most JRPGs and WRPGs don't really fall under this category and I can probably only think of probably two games that felt like a real epic.

You can also think of it this way, Yoko Taro's games have different endings, mostly Automata, but it's still "linear" in a sense of the word. You're just finishing acts of the story in order to grasp the themes of the true ending.

I agree though that I don't really care about 8 directional sprites, but it's still something I'm considering. The problem with 8 directions is how it affects the length of the map and the puzzles because of that extra dimension I suppose? I tried it out and it broke all my puzzles in an instant, it's...very interesting.

And thanks! I'm glad you like the music as well :D

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^^.
Thanks, despite everything my single passion is game design and I love it, just producing the games is rough lol-hopefully I'll eventually get to release something more complete. Regrettably without confidence in writing and being super picky about stories I end up limited to more standalone mechanics focused projects so in addition to everything else it's a bit tricky, but as long as someone can have fun with it I'm happy.

I think for me I've been 'broken/turned off' by so many branching games and incomplete stories that they end up creating a level of fear for me. Like, either I feel I'll be missing out unless I play every single path or there's a pressure to, and then it's a question of when to stop playing, how many paths should I take, do I have to make decisions I don't want to (e.g. some games require a 'bad character' playthrough to reach a 'true ending'), and how do I know it's a true ending? Some games won't tell you.
I don't wish at all for this to sound negative, as possibly my favorite game ever/in years honestly was the recent 'HEARTBEAT' which had requirements for the true end, though it wasn't large scale branching like some.
Another weird struggle for me, is the desire for a happy ending (generally the true ending). There's a difference between a game where you can read/see the ending and go 'awesome I want to reach that', even if there's parts of the story you'll bawl your eyes out at. With multiple paths, you end up needing to wait/hope for someone to have a detailed glossary or walkthrough of how to reach it, and then you're essentially reading the entire story already. Granted in a game you can enjoy the mechanics, and those described on the page sound like they'll be fun to interact with too-unlike the usual VN stuff branching paths are normally found with.
And I'm not trying to pressure you to try and sell the idea or anything-knowing it's a more integral part of the plot already has me appreciating it more. It's more often just a box someone is trying to tick or a target they're trying to reach than being actually passionate about the interweaving stories, leaving some feeling empty and rushed (which is why I've ended up uncomfortable with them), and not necessary or important like how Automata properly used it. I'd always love to see it done well though.
Obviously I know with your passion it'll all play an important part and I'll be super excited for whenever you do get the game to completion, just I'll be hesitant about jumping in unless someone share's a path to the true ending and what's required to reach it. Goodluck working on such a complex story structure :).
(Also sorry for the long write lol, just wanted to try better express what I meant)

Oh true, especially in tilebased games where map puzzles are important, or anything like grid movement where it can break the pace of battle too. Something I'd always be happy to forgive if the gameplay relied on just having 4 directions. It's more where your simply moving through maps that it feels restrictive to not be able to move diagonally.

:)

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Naw man it's ok. I know what you're saying since I hate how most games handle branching narratives. I don't have much, if at all,  common paths in the game. And getting a "Happy Ending" is easy. And each route has a different protagonist (it's why I say it's an epic) so you don't have to worry about making a generally nice character doing a shitty thing that they shouldn't technically do.

So I'm not trying to sell the idea or anything, don't get me wrong haha. But I really hate it when most branching paths is just check boxes and your choices aren't really that significant in the long run I guess? I mean Illusion of Choice can be nice but I kinda want to deal with branching narratives a bit differently.

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Oooh awesome. And now I get more what you mean by epic, different protagonists is a cool way to tell that kind of story-gives you the sort of advantage movies/books get being able to show different events but it feels more game-paced, and you get to follow the events happening in a better fashion instead of being thrown all over the place. Let's you develop a story much larger in 'scope' and digest each characters stake in that story and get invested in them without losing focus.

Well you failed because everything you've mentioned and detailed more has ended up increasing my anticipation haha, obviously that's not a bad thing though :)!! Short of me now being even more invested in waiting for this games release lol.
I totally agree. Illusion of choice can have it's place, like I'd really enjoy playing through a game with a character with different options of what you'd expect them to say with their personality-kind of like how when you try to respond to someone sometimes you think of multiple things you'd like to say. Then even if it just affects the current dialog it feels like some extra engagement and invests you in that exchange some more. And if the mechanics were fun enough to want to play through the game you could get some extra enjoyment seeing the characters bounce different kinds of dialog against eachother in a second run.
But when you get an obviously good choice, obviously bad choice, and a boring choice no one would take, that only affects the next line, that's just like really why? You honestly needed to add that bullet point 'feature' to your game?