I hope the recent flooding in July left you and your family/friends relatival unharmed.
Thank you for the update.
Ah, I should mention that I don't think of it as a bad thing. I think the combination of him being the Vampyre slayer and talking like a neckbeard is just hilarious. I'll have to see how bad his ramblings will get.
That was really sweet.
I really really like the main character. Her personality is exactly my type of person I like to play. Plus she is strong (actually strong and capable and sound in mind) too and her hairstyle is both pretty and practical. I always give these type of hairstyle to my characters in RPGs.
I think the alchmist knew that these two people were lonely and brought them together because of it.
Another thing that stuck out to me was the scene with the bandits at the waterfall. Normally when a character like Urbriel reacts like that I want to yeet them into the sun. It's mostly (japanese) otome MCs "McPure'n Sweet" who do that and it comes off always as the cheesiest most ungrateful, naive, ignorant drivel that makes me want to snatch them up and throw them off a cliff (looking at you, time/isekai traveller MC-chan, who ends up in times of war). It's like the don't live in reality and never really were part of human society. Like do they not watch any news and how did they manage to get through their history lessons in school? But in this case it makes perfect sense for someone like Ubriel and it was properly set up and resolved.
Edit: Oh and it was cool to see that the Ubriel/Ysra were just a part of the mystery, not the sole savior. Makes it more realistic for them to experience their small town bliss, in comparison to being the "hero" who solves all the the mysteries.
First of: The art is gorgeous and the idea is lovely. The love interests' design is fantastic.
Secondly: Congrats on immediately getting your project funded. That's amazing. If the stretch-goal characters can't be reached, maybe consider turning them into paid dlc routes and write as well as release them after the game's initial release? Makes people want to go back to the game.
Thirdly a bit of criticism of mine: After playing the demo it feels like it was made and designed by US Americans, due to it feeling like what Americans imagine as quaint little "fairy-tale" villages look like including the people. It's this weird mismatching design of taking Japanese looking cities, German/French (Rothenburg ob der Tauber as blueprint for the village design + picture of Eltz Castle hangs in the inn) timber-framed old towns and US American (Pennsylvania Dutch, who aren't Dutch, but were German settlers) looking farms right outside the village.
I assume you are trying to make it appear like this place is somewhere on a different earth, even the "city" has no name, but my brain has trouble computing it because those different designs just stand out so much against each other instead of blurring into each other. Having the mayor talk and look like some stereotypical farmer from South America ("Heidi-ho!") next to a "French" guy, who looks like a prince character out of some high fantasy novel and who constantly blurbs out many French words or phrases randomly, is a bit over the place. Same goes for the heroine's office clothes and suddenly everyone in the village wears these "village" clothes, which are a bit frilly ornamented fantasy like. It's like the city and it's modernity is not even on the same planet as the village and the villagers. It's such a big contrast between the designs. The only thing that reminded me that these people live on the same planet was when Skyler's phone (smartphone?) rang. Maybe having to traverse through this special forest on the small path is like an invisible portal to reach a special place? Is that why the major insisted for the heroine to go ahead when his vehicle conveniently stopped working?
The writing can be a bit sugary. When visiting the forest for the first time it makes it appear as if the heroine never really left the city. Maybe visiting the local park, but no school trips into the nature or with her family.
Then the villagers are all described as these very happy, totally satisfied by life, no worries at all people, only because they live in a rural area with timber-frame houses and nature. "Everyone, absolutely everyone, wears a peaceful smile on their face". Not even Stardew Valley did that. They are still people who want to have internet connection (and probably even have it) and use modern textiles, materials and gadgets. Or maybe my portal theory is correct???? (⊙.⊙(☉̃ₒ☉)⊙.⊙)
Lastly, I really don't mean to offend with my criticism that I have for the demo. I was constantly wondering whether I should post it or not, erasing sentences or rephrasing them. It just genuinely stood out to me to the point were I typed this out. I really hope this project turns out to be a success.
I just finished it. It's really great. The artstyle, lore and world-building suits each other perfectly. All the characters, their design and the story feel like a mix between WW1/2 European/middle eastern history and Jugendstil. Which makes sense because Jugenstil was around WW1. Including the tid-bit, that is very important, about the refugees of a lost nation and their forceful resettlement hits home with me and I'm so glad that you mentioned it in a game about nations trying to eat each other.
I must say whenever an otome game pops up it's very rare that I find every of the LIs appealing or interesting. This here goes beyond "oh he looks nice I guess". They all have interesting and solid personalities. The dialogue flows naturally. Oh and all that lovely hair.... *cough*. Visually everyone of the LI is gorgeous and totally my type. You are really good at drawing expressions which also aid the characterization of a characters. They just really fit each of them. The amount of different sprites you've drawn for each scene is pretty impressive.
I'm very happy with the dialogue options we get presented with. Makes it hard to pick one, because they often all have their merit.
And sorry about blabbing about the LIs, but again... it's pretty rare for me to find an otome like visual novel were every male LI suits my taste. I like long hair and preferably no beard or even a beard stubble. Hah... You even gave them a banging personality and didn't turn them into idiots with no agency or goals.
Thank you for the lovely comment! It was written more as a deconstruction of otome and playing with its common tropes :D
Makes sense. There was this disturbing lull of getting you to lower your guard and just completely give yourself up and/or trust this attractive being. DotD also was a good game with a theme and a moral. Having 3 very different LIs broadened the lens and aspects of the overall theme.
And yeah we were! It's so nice to hear you read Days of the Divine too! It's still on our list to re-release in the new enging and I'll upload it here once we finish that.
Ohh, that sounds great. Right now the only way to download DotD is through your Lemmasoft forum thread. If you post it on itch.io and give it the appropriate tags I think many more newcomers to this type of genre or format will be able to find it.
So good. The art is really lovely and those short stories "with a morale" always had a good impact on me. Took me 3 times to get to the "true" end. It was very satisfying.
Tho it's not really an otome-ish, I guess?
Edit: AHHHH, it's you guys! I remember playing and absolutely loving Days of the Divine. Now I know why the art-style felt so familiar.
I don't agree. While yes, an otome can include multiple genders as the protagonist, but the moment there is not female MC available to choose from and no male LIs available then that doesn't classify as otome. Even the Otomejam is very clear on what an otome is
But suit yourself.
Most of the sci-fi out there is of the Star Wars/Star Trek variety, where the technology doesn't make sense and most of the aliens are just colorful humans.
Yeah. I guess the tech feels just so antiquated after a time. And the colourful humans definitely are the bog standard of sci-fi. It's like the Asari from Mass Effect. They are basically like space elves. If you aren't into women then you absolutely don't get the supposed "allure" of them, because everyone is supposedly into them. Meanwhile I'm just like: "What... my female heterosexual brain does not compute."
Then there's space magic AKA biotic. It's blue. I love Mass effect, but you can smell the formula.
and often lacks logical world-building
Yeah, hence why I recommend treating it like technology. It's rules won't be as solid as hard science. But maybe you can put some numbers on it. I remember reading a novel where barrier magic was a subtype of magical study by itself. Mages basically had to do mathematical calculations to erect a barrier and do some geometry. It's cost energy to create one and it has to be sustained.
Oh and I found this on the wiki from r/indiedev:
Twitter and Tumblr seem to be one of the main-hubs for VN news. If you could post your updates there then that could draw some attention. It will be small or barely non-existent. If another dev or dev team, with some followers, share your post then that's a different story. Then there are blogs that specialize on this type of content like VNs/romance or sci-fi. Problem is, the only Tumblr blogs I know of, who act as a content-sharer, are deep in Covid-wasteland and are barely active because of that.
Sadly I'm not part of any Sci-fi or gaming group/forum. I think you'd have much more success with getting people to try out your demo on the right discord channels. Again, I'm only part of 3 channels and one of them is from another small dev, who's parody fan game got pulled down by itch.io. ...
As for writing something else to build up some foundation, that's a good idea. Problem is: Does it even interest you? Do you even like to write high fantasy or will it snuff out any interest in continue writing?
If you want to go the last route, remember that "magitech" is a thing. It's basically your bog-standard medieval or baroque setting with magic that is more handled like technology (powering street lights, ect.). The main protagonist can be a detective, a disgruntled soldier of war or some heiress of one of the biggest "powerstone-thingy" provider, who gets involuntarily involved in all kinds of political power-struggle... for example like succession game the princes and princesses play for the throne.
Lastly maybe sleuth around other indie VN devs that have much more experience when it comes to selling and marketing games. The Lemmasoft/ren'py discord server seems to be a good start for that. They even have an introduction section to introduce your idea game:
No, you are wrong. Otome is universally known for having a female main character and male love interest. And you even cherry picked the Wikipedia quote:
"An otome game (乙女ゲーム, otome gēmu, literally "maiden game"), is a story-based video game that is targeted towards women. Generally one of the goals, besides the main plot goal, is to develop a romantic relationship primarily between the female player character and one of several traditionally male characters. This genre is most established in Japan, and is mostly made up of visual novels and simulation games; particularly dating sims and life simulation games."
Physical rewards are kind worthless for me and they put an unnecessary strain on the devs, who don't develop game as their main employment. It's costly, time-consuming and puts a mental strain on the devs who need to get all the items shipped out. If it's a developer team, that does video game developing as their main job, then that might be a little bit different. I also don't expect a game made by a single dev, who is also in a bind of hiring artists, to be put out in half a year.
Personally I'm not a patreon kind of person, due to my financial situation. I don't like to have many monthly payments to pay. But that's just me and I know devs who have some small success with their Patreon. And I also know that there are consumers/player who like Patreon. Tho I'm not going to lie. Sex sells. The majority of these devs are very focused on romance and erotic/sensual content, then combine that with a genre people just really like (high fantasy/farming sim).
They often come with a long established fan-base and are supplying a big-ish enough crowd with content they wouldn't get otherwise. Unfortunately realistic sc-fi combined with slow psychological horror and realistic art style is something a very small minority of female VN/Otome players thirst for.
I'd say you'd be having much much more success with the female video game player crowd or women, who like to watch TV series like the Expanse or read Sci-fi books. *cough* MEEEEEEE. I love Sci-fi. I grew up with playing city-builder, 90s adventure, RPGs, hack and slash RPGs, shooters like Unreal, strategy games. I love some good sci-fi games. There is such a big crowd of female Mass Effect fans out there, I bet they would love this! Anyway back to the target groups:
VNs are very resource and player friendly due to how they are "played". We read them and we just need to click some buttons. It's idiot safe for people who don't play video games and their PCs/Macs/whatever can easily handle a Ren'py game that doesn't come with 3D animations. Ren'py games can run on a potato. So the target demographic is definitely not just some VN/Otome players, who scrunch up their nose at everything that doesn't either look like anime or tumblr
special snowflake red nose reindeer art style. That is important to remeber when approaching the book reader/movie lover crowd.
All of that doesn't mean you won't be able to finance your project via Patreon. I guess it depends on the scope of the game and how fast you want to put it out. And more importantly who do you market it for? Shoot for the female video game players, Sci-fi movie and book lovers.
I'm not trying to fool you with how important the target demographic is. I play Seven Kingdoms: The Princess Problem. It's a visual novel/otome/rpg hybrid/stat management/historical political drama. The hardcore userbase is just like me who grew up with video games and played nearly every Bioware title. The game is still in development, but people love it either way.
Then I'm part of multiple otome/female oriented visual novel groups. Whenever I post a project that looks stereotypical otome like in it's structure and has anime art-style, it gets a ton of likes. When I post something more "complicated" or intricate in terms of plot that doesn't necessarily come with anime artstyle, it gets barely 2 likes.
I wanna cry.
Anyway, Sylvertany made some good points when it comes to rewards or updates that may suit your expertise:
"You can write about what lead to developing Azimuth Gap, the inspiration, the difficulties, the research. You may not be able to write about progress on the script, but you can perhaps take a look at different aspects of the sci-fi setting you built and expand on them.
Authors who run a tumblr blog usually get asks about different scenarios or simple questions about the characters, how would they act, what do they think. You could think about accepting asks like this somehow on Patreon and answering them parts publicly and in parts just for patrons."
It's very polished and whole for just a "demo". And yeah, this is your playground.
If you end up being unsatisfied with it, you can still revisit or remaster the finished project. Even if it means that you will do it years after it's full release. Either way, I think us players are going to like it.
Good for you for sticking to your guns. Makes perfect sense that it goes bad-ish when you play your character as fickle and super paranoid as possible towards the only people that can truly aid them.
I should note that it's not like the skip function doesn't work, but skipping over a longer period may, just may, be the cause.
Skipping for a short amount of time, then stopping, then skipping again seems to work? Although I'm not sure. It's kinda tricky, because we get no feedback like an error message. The game doesn't even seem to freeze when the save function borks out and the game becomes unresponsive to any user input. Task manager says the game is still running correctly.
This game has been very lovely so far. I'm very interested in what the Council has planned for the MC. It seems very suspicious how the late Oracle managed to end up on the human world, being lethally wounded on top of that, only for a Council affiliate to show up and whisk the MC away. The mini-encounters that have skill check are kinda fun. They seem to be random?
For the engine itself, I have been encountering a weird bug. Sometimes when I try to save the game the game becomes unresponsive to any user input. Saving has previously worked just fine, but it suddenly stopped working and then occasionally started to work again.
If I q.save, then I can't click continue or anything else. Q.save doesn't work in that case. If I try to make a regular save in the save menu then it won't work and I can't do anything except to press alt+F4 and then restart the game.
Maybe the game refuses to save once a certain save limit has been reached. I play on the PC, btw. I also checked my firewall/anti-virus if it blocks anything. I suspect skipping too much can cause these issues, since I haven't encountered and save/load issues when playing through the game the first time.
Lastly, I hope the secret LIs going to be 1 of the teachers or Dex or another secret dude.
Edit: I noticed that the common room in the Autumn wing has the "control" skill label, when we actually raise our "Logic" skill there. As far as looking through all the available activities/rooms in the demo, there is no room that let's you train "logic" just by purely looking at the labels. Maybe this is a mistake?
Makes sense that the wedding won't happen right now, considering that we still have covid. On the bright side that leaves you two more time for planning and sorting through your finances. Married couples get a tax break, right?
I hope you'll find a nice place to live and as long as you can call your mother I don't think it should be that bad. I hope she is fine too.