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A member registered May 03, 2018 · View creator page →

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My prior posts were terrible. Lack of communication can do that to just about anyone.

I'd greatly appreciate that when you get some time to throw me an email.

I really hate doing these kinds of posts in public. Unfortunately it seems that's often the only way I get to 'poke' you about stuff.

This poke was not meant to discourage you or harm you in any way. Intention and results often differ in life.

It is difficult for me to walk on eggshells, especially in public posts.  I'll stick to emails with you from now on.

Good luck to you Melanie.

You're a wizard, Yal! :)
Fantastic work!  Love to see what fantastic projects come out of these public (free) releases!

Hiya Melanie.  Congrats on the new game release!  :)
If you wanna chat, you know how to reach me.

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Great to hear!   Took longer than anticipated but will check out the game again!

EDIT:  Ok so played the first stage and 'Castle'.  Only one type of attack, no throws, holds, grappling.  Simplistic pixel-style retro graphics which are fine (UnderTale famously has a similar style).  The combat doesn't have much variety.  Mooks and 'Boss' enemies just charge at you and spam attack since there aren't many other options.  Movement is kinda janky at times (yay moonwalking!) but works fine even on a craptop keyboard.  Recommended to use a controller if the controller works (or perhaps using remapping software like antimicro).

If this came out in the NES days?  It would be awesome as an NES launch title.  However, it would be blown out of the water by something like River City Ransom or even the original Double Dragon game ported from arcades.

As an early/demo type of thing it works though.  If you want you can keep improving upon it until you have something worthy of crowdfunding and then go from there. If you get NESMaker or something and make an NES  port you may get more enthusiasts who wanna play it on an NES (including James Rolfe).

Good luck!  The 'success' stuff I said earlier was NOT sarcasm since I genuinely wanted you to succeed and improve!  Nobody creates Mozart or Picasso on their first outing :)

You can also check the tags as any game with NSFW content is required to clearly disclose it as such in the tags and on the game page itself.  Also you won't be able to even view the NSFW games or game pages without being logged in.

I'm two weeks late.  Oof >_>
Here's a suggestion for movement and attack and stuff.
WASD or EDSF for movement
You can use R, T, G, V, or B for attacks/items/etc.
Much easier to reach those keys using EDSF, but if you want to use WASD you can still do it if you reach a bit.
Again, key rebinding is possible (I've seen it done even with web games) so it may help significantly to make that an option.
I mentioned French keyboards because they are AZERTY and often have difficulty with hard-coded keybinds like in your game.

We as a PC gaming culture made experimental inroads on default keybinds like arrow keys to move and other kinds of weird stuff back in the 1980s and 1990s and early 2000s.  We're now in the 23rd year past when we would experiment with default keybinds.  Just sayin it is really odd to see this in newly-released games.

I read your 'essay' here and on Discord; you're amazing with how much you can type out in such a short time.  Please be sure to make time for yourself to avoid the burnout ;)
Please don't ever feel the need to immediately respond to myself or anyone else.  Priority should be IRL over everything else and focus on family first.  After that, anything else can come as it does.  I've sent you some additional info via Discord and I feel I'll just join your email mailing list (so to speak) with email contact from now on since you said that's easier for ya.  Whatever works :)
I hope the website stuff works out well for you once it is finished.  Spaghetti will help ya with any feedback/concerns as you like so feel free to poke em with updates :)
As for making games, do what you can in the time you have, leave the rest for another time.  Focus on yourself first because I feel I can safely say neither anyone here nor any of your fans on Discord/elsewhere want to see you burned out because you're working too hard and balancing IRL.  Please please feel free to take care of yourself.  Healthy body leads to a healthy mind and being more productive overall :)
You've done many amazing games so people can enjoy them (and replay them) while we eagerly await the next release.  There aren't that many demanding standards for non-paid and freeware games in general, so take your time.

What kind of absolute goofball thinks 'WADX' is an acceptable movement scheme?  The standard for the past 20+ years of PC gaming is either WASD or EDSF; the latter being not as common but much more amenable to those with smaller hands.  That said, if you're extra-kind you'll account for French and non-US keyboards by allowing for easily-accessed key rebinding of anything to any other key.

Hopefully the ReddiTrash don't give you too much salt over this.  Fix it and enjoy your success.

Melanie, if I may call you that, feel free to always enjoy and appreciate the ones who throw you some kindness.  You deserve it with all the fantastic talent you possess, especially in the creation of wonderful music and visual novels :)

The webdev work is a gift, it has been already covered so 'but thou must' and no excuses!  :)
I wish I was as popular as you are getting as many messages and having trouble keeping up.  I run a Discord server but it isn't exactly poppin off as often as I'd like even after 5+ years of being online.

I suppose my only advice I can offer is to let people know that you cannot keep up with every message or respond to every person.  Perhaps you could do a 'Q&A' response post for those who support you via donations or ko-fi or otherwise.  One of the things about being a celebrity (even on the internet) is that you do what you can within a reasonable timeframe.  Burnout can happen and often has happened to content creators on YT and other parts of the net.

I remember back when JaidenAnimations (yes, the real one) on YT was just starting out and barely getting 5k views on a video (closer to 500) and I'm like 'this girl is GOOD and she's gonna be amazing I hope someday' and not only was I right but she's getting 20+ million views a video plus several million subs plus merchandise plus events plus all the other stuff.  She connected with other creators (per my suggestion so long ago that 'networking is important') and from there she really took off doing collabs and other bits (again, stuff I suggested as part of networking with others).  She used to be super duper shy but I'm really happy for her.  Many celebrities end up becoming hostile/arrogant or think they are better than others but Jaiden is one of the few I can point to and go 'yeah she's legit' and be happy for her success.  I sadly don't have the emails we used to exchange that long ago; wish I'd kept them but I ditched an old gmail account because reasons.  Use other email that's far more secure :)

What I do personally is keep several emails.  I have my Google email only for Google Play stuff on my phone and nothing else.  I have two Protonmail accounts, one for strictly IRL and one for strictly online-only accounts that don't have any of my payment or other IRL info.  I use virtual credit cards linked to my bank account with most online storefronts to maintain both some level of privacy and a bit of pseudo-anonymity.  The email service 'Tutanoga' is also a great alternative, but I like Protonmail since they also do ProtonVPN and ProtonDrive and other stuff all in the same account, effectively an open-source secure alternative to the Google ecosystem.

So uh TLDR I suppose:  read as many messages as you can, respond to those who financially support you and your work (within reason, maybe limit to first 100 people by date/time when message is sent), maybe ask Spaghetti to set up a contact form on your upcoming website so you can receive emails easier.  I know you aren't much of a fan of Discord and instant-messaging, but doing a once-monthly Q&A live voice thing with special Discord roles on your server with your supporters would be a nice gesture.  Let them ask you questions and you answer to the best of your ability, etc.

So it is up to you but I feel you already far exceed me in both talent and capability.  If there's anything else you may need, please don't hesitate to poke me.  I am not always 'online' on Discord because reasons, so just leave me a message as if you were writing an email :)

Physical Therapy can help a great deal for getting back into the swing of things, but providers vary greatly in their (in)ability to help their patients.  Check reviews and see if you can get a free session or two (or if insurance covers it).

I did a shout to your page here so that others are aware of your fundraising and may offer to help out with both fundraising and showing some love for your other projects.

Do your best to get yourself some assistance with getting a website up.  Keeping track of stuff via your scattered posts (or email, lol) is kinda taxing for the younger crowd, ya know :)

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Quick impressions
-not a typical visual novel UI; I'm used to forward/back/etc buttons at the bottom so it takes some getting used to
-no keyboard hotkeys that i'm aware of...
-Cherise is adorable and a treasure; I'm usually not a fan of people in that line of work, tryin to avoid any spoilers; let's just say Cherise changed my mind a bit :)
-it would be interesting if the Carnival area had a daytime image/mode in addition to the existing nighttime one
-noticed a few spelling/grammar errors here and there that may have slipped through; this is a demo so no biggie

Overall really fantastic cute story.  The stuff with Cherise was unexpected but very wonderful to see :)

Takes about ~30 mins to complete with a decently-fast reading speed.

Many greetings and much love from the FreshGaming Discord community!  I'll be sure to shout out this one and your other Crystal Game Works games as well!


Great to hear you are feeling better.  Cast off the shackles of the cast! :)

The system seems even more broken than what's here in the USA.  O_O
Thanks for the info; I'm sure you aren't the only one who's encountered this issue so hopefully the info also helps others.

Melanie, I know you don't check Discord but since I am (primarily) on Linux Mint v20 now, I can use that platform to test out the Linux builds of your games.  Will keep you updated with results later :)

It may help to ask friends/family specifically about those 'rules' about making money; I believe it may be similar to how it is here in the USA regarding a monthly income limit before benefits get cut off.  Generally they do allow for 'expenses' deducting from income aka food, utilities, transportation, Steam fees, etc.

Putting something like 'donation of X or more gets you a free Steam key' on your works may be worthwhile to consider doing.  If not Steam, then an key may suffice.

As always, tyvm again for the kind and prompt responses.  I realize responding on itch is probably better than trying to get a hold of you on Discord.

That said, the videos are different as you stated; they were just so similar at first that it felt like they were identical without you noting down those differences in the reply.

I'm happy to hear your health is (slowly) improving a bit with physical activity.  At least in the USA there are ways to get free rides to Doctor appts and medical services so if you need something like that it may be worth looking into for your area/country.

For crediting, it may help to put a note in the description/comment when possible stating that the vocalist requests not to be credited or that you are required by the ToS of the site you use to take credit for certain tracks.  I understand it is a big ask on top of everything else but it might help.

I do have a potential answer for those asking not to be credited btw.  I believe it has something to do with unionized workers doing non-union work and thus they can't (legally) put their name on it or get credited for such work if it isn't union-approved work and payment.  Many actors may not get enough union-approved work so they do this 'off the record' work and thus can't obtain credit.  At the least I can only speak of how it is with certain professional actors and voice actors in the USA.  Not sure how other countries do it.

Ok so not sure if it is just on my end, but both vidoes seem identical.  What's supposed to be the difference between them?
They are two seperate URLs but maybe something happened on the YT side that had the same video uploaded twice?

Also curious who has been doing the vocals.  Are they AI-generated?  Are they using your voice or another person's voice?

I see the 'music by' credit but it may be a good idea to specify 'vocals: (name)' as well even if it is the same just to make sure there's no confusion in the future.

I'll agree with the other commentors in that the music and videos are really fantastic.  Please be certain you are taking care of your health first; I'd personally want to avoid having you sit for lengthy periods of time without physical activity.  Simple walking around and other movements can help a great deal to speed up healing :)

For those reading the convo here and wondering which free web hosting was one I'd recommend, it is this:

#notsponsored btw just saying it seems pretty good and I know many who use it without major issues; for a free web host it sure beats Geocities back in the day ^_^

As far as your other challenges, I wish you well and hope things work out.  My DMs are open if you ever decide to want to leave a message.
I appreciate the opportunity to help as many indie game devs as I can; more awesome indie games means a lot more choice in avoiding the big-budget garbage spewed by hostile hateful major game publishers that typically abuse their workers/employees.  I feel the indie gaming market may be the best way to go forward as far as supporting awesome games going forward.

I get what you mean about social media stuff.  I also despise it personally but I see it as a tool just like anything else.  Just post something and encourage people who want updates to follow you.  Right now, if anyone wants updates they have to follow you on itch and hope that you update things.  If you had a central website of some sort then that might make it easier (promote your itch and not have to play by the rules of 'regular' social media.

It is the delicate balance of using social media as a platform to get the word out and hopefully make some money versus having social media end up using you as another user to sell advertising space via metrics and data.

It is a crutch though, just thought I'd throw it out there as a potential way for people to consider for marketing/promo purposes.
You make niche games so I'd say it may end up being that you get someone IRL you know (maybe family) to help you with the marketing stuff.

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"If you were in the USA you'd open carry and they'd stay the HECK away from you!"


EDIT:  This is a joke, please don't ruin the comments with a debate plz thx; laugh at the joke haha haha :)

Marketing is key and word of mouth is often what works best.
You'll get downloads and views if someone notices your game among the absolute pile of games coming out.  I'm a gamer and even I get completely overwhelmed at the small handful of indie projects/studios that I support, so imagine a non-enthusiast or casual person just following a content creator.

Too many games and not enough time to play them, even the AMAZING ones.  I've ended up having to severely limit what I would play and just only stick to the genres/types I know I'd like.  It sucks :(

In the NES days, it was always a mystery as to how the game would look or play or be like.  We only had the cartridge artwork to go by, maybe a black & white manual if we were lucky (sadly Nintendo the morons sued to prevent them from making copies of manuals anymore so very few are still around now; they actually tried to sue to prevent rentals altogether but lost that fight thankfully).  Weirdly enough they'd later make a deal with BlockBuster (USA) to do a promotion for Judge Dredd (on Sega Genesis/MegaDrive) and Donkey Kong Country for some 'pro gamer' tournament or other in the 90s.  I was a dummy and tried the DKC one even though I didn't own a SNES.  Just loved the game =D

That's the way it works though; people will be hesitant to do visual novels if they aren't already into them (and/or horror games) because trying something new means LESS time on other stuff.

Some suggestions if you happen to read this:

-GAME TRAILER = give me 30 seconds or less why to play YOUR game instead of others; no excuses; show us the best stuff and leave us more to want to download it for more!

-Promo = make meaningful connections with content creators that regularly make videos (e-mail ain't gonna cut it dear, sry to say) via Discord or YT business mail contact or otherwise.  Subject line is the key or they will throw it in the trash with the 1000+ other indie devs doing the same thing.  'Horror Indie Game (PC) come get scared!' might be something that catches their eye (or not).  Individualize the actual email as in you know what kind of creator they are and that takes time/effort; hanging on their discord and looking through posts/videos can also give you a shorter easier way to digest the type of creator they are.  Aim for ones that like the games you make (aka visual novels and/or horror games).

-Followup = you're kinda horrible at this but it is understandable; follow up on conversations and messages if you message someone and they respond cause being 'ghosted' for 2+ weeks (or months) feels like you don't care about their response; e-mail is terrible for this so use that fancy Discord you got :P

Matrix also works although Discord is more popular at the moment; use both!  Get a Twitter and use that **exclusively** only to tweet about you and your games and NOTHING else (srsly dont get caught up in the stupid people there).  Get a FB and do the same.  If you are unable or unwilling to do this then you will find yourself wondering why you still get no attention.

Attention is earned, not given.  Use this time with your one-armed firepower to do the best you possibly can now that you're forced against your will to take a break and stop gamedev for a bit.  Use it for other endeavors although be sure to take frequent hydration and other breaks (5 mins every hour is recommended at a minimum).  Set a timer if you forget.  You have a phone, don't you? :P

Awesome :)

Windows Defender is garbage.  You should strongly consider using a better/alternate security product like MalwareBytes AntiMalware and similar software.

As always love your awesome work and updating!  Take care of yourself first and be sure to keep a textpad (digital or physical) handy for jotting down ideas as you get them.  What I like to do for creativity is just sit and listen to some music for a half hour or so and then go from there.  You've already made some awesome music so consider just listening to it with your eyes closed for a bit and see if it doesn't give you some ideas.

Really love this stuff.
The organization sounds really amazing ;)

Put this up as donationware, crowdfund for a more polished/longer version please as this reminds me a lot of 'Doom & Destiny' style deconstruction of RPGs but better :)

Dunkey literally hasn't mentioned this game (or anything else) other than Donkey Kong games/history for the past week+ so dunno what you're talking about.

Speaking of socials, hit me up on Discord (check my itch profile) and get yourself networked for some video editing work.  I know multiple indie devs and a few content creators who might be hiring for work, but I need to know if you're available as well as other details before I ping them about it.

Your kind words to 'Melanie' are appreciated :)

Adding to Steam costs $100+ USD per game; unless 'Melanie' gets a lot of donations that is doubtful to happen.  If they want to start up a crowdfunding thing or something to make it happen then it is a possibility but according to them this has always been a passion project first rather than something to make a lot of money.

I know adding on Steam is a big thing for many and it is good for visibility, but that $100+ USD barrier is quite a bit.  I suppose that's what itch is for ;)

That's the curse of Windows OS.  If you use something like Linux Mint and are willing to self-learn (or have someone help teach you) it could improve your (writing/artwork) productivity significantly IMHO.  As long as you don't need to use it for playing Windows-only games you should be good.  WINE runs most stuff (what Steam Proton Linux-comaptibility for Steam Gaming is based off of) and most of the rest have free and open-source alternatives.

"I'm typing this now, but typing on my phone is a total nightmare"
-Insert giant wall of text


I hope your net gets fixed up; sometimes you can head to a local library and use their internet (if you have a laptop) or their computers themselves to do stuff.  Just be sure to manually logout of all of your accounts when you are done.

It may be the season to strongly consider getting even a used older laptop; they often give out free ones at certain spots if you know where to look.  I got mine from there many ages ago when I was a fresh (broke) college student :)

Thank you for the response!  If you are able/willing to upload the source code to a github, that will allow people to 'fork' it and still attribute you very easily.  Any SFX that isn't under the same license or is under something different can be placed in a separate download on a file hosting service (provided that you're permitted to do so) otherwise note down that it isn't included and which files are missing so the community can replace them in their own builds.

Build instructions are often vital but also left out of public source code posts so having that would also help :)

I'm glad that you are keeping the older versions up; it really helps for historical purposes to see how much things have changed/improved over time.  Please mark the old versions as 'obsolete' or 'outdated' or some other indication in the name on the itch download page so we know about it.

I can help with testing the download thing once it is live to make sure it works in the desktop application.  :)

Work on what you can and focus on that, the rest will follow.

Consider having it either as a super-secret unlockable thing (100% the rest of the game to unlock it) or as a paid-only DLC (require payment to keep the kids from getting it etc).
That said, unlockable might be better but up to you.

I know you aren't on Discord much but if you were I could do a bit more to help promote your games and offer advice on things I've dealt with in regards to IRL stuff and ways to work around the lemons :P

If you want to flex writing muscles, consider dropping a few drafts on writing-websites and cross-promoting it on your itch pages here.  The easiest way would be to have a central website for all your stuff and links and so on so that you wouldn't need to worry about including a Patreon link everywhere.  It isn't easy to find :P

Poke me on Discord if you want info on setting up free websites that won't plaster ads all over your page.  Something basic will work for now.

Awesome work on this and kudos to you and the entire team!  :)

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Considered writing a novel?  You definitely have a knack for the verbose!
Often it is the creator who is harshest on themselves and noticing things that others would completely gloss over.  As an example, animators will pick apart and notice 'bad' things and mistakes and freeze-frame something that would only appear in the show for a fraction of a second just to highlight a single mistake or two.

If you keep going at it like that you're gonna fizzle and burn yourself out hard one of these days.  Be proud of what you've done and be thankful it isn't like a competition thing for prizes :P

You have a good talent set and should strongly consider commissioning yourself publicly for some paid work if your current schedule permits it.

Appreciate the devlog postings.  Enjoy the accomplishment for you and the entire team!  Awesome work :)

Addendum:  Had a comment on the game page here.  While I'm happy you used an open-source font, I don't believe it works well for legibility.  Becomes difficult to tell the difference between letters/numbers like so:  l I 1 o O 0 and so on.  I would recommend something like the 'Liberation' font family such as Liberation Sans or Liberation Serif.  There's many others but it is a minor nitpick of mine, that's all.

Just to clarify: you say these are 'abandonware' so what license are these released under?  Is it still 'All Rights Reserved' or is there a more permissive license available?
Asking because some of these might do well to be ported to other platforms (like Linux-based ones) if permissible.

Nothing available to install via the desktop application (on Windows), so please fix this!