Interesting, looking forward to it :) this game has been great, and it's been fun to follow the development.
Are you planning on pivoting to developing your next game when you're done with this?
Interesting, looking forward to it :) this game has been great, and it's been fun to follow the development.
Are you planning on pivoting to developing your next game when you're done with this?
Nice guide :)
It might be worth mentioning that another benefit of using git is that multiple people can collaborate at changing the same file, however handling the resulting merge conflicts might be more bothersome than it's worth if you're not experienced with git.
Thanks for the build, looks like a good start :) Good atmosphere, nice sprites, nice sound design.
I saw in your previous post that you're already working on polishing the story, so some of my feedback might be outdated. But anyway, I have some personal opinions / suggestions about how I think you could further improve and polish the story. (Contains spoilers)
I [Verb] [Thing]
The text leans very heavily on sentences beginning with "I [verb]". Generally I'd suggest tweaking the writing more towards the 'show don't tell' paradigm. The current writing style reads a bit monotone. For example, let's look at an excerpt from the game:
"I reloaded my gun to my last clip. turned the safety on and
I put it away in my holder.
I took my belt off and carefully wrapped it around the injury on my right leg.
I grabbed my shirt collar with my teeth and braced myself for another world of hurt.
I tightened the belt quickly!
In just three text boxes, the character has described what he did in the form of "I did, I took, I put" etc 5 times.
Proofreading and redundancy.
The text could be polished quite a bit. There are some subtle errors that most word-processing programs won't pick up, such as "Felt the excreting pain" which should be "felt the excruciating pain".
Quite often, the sentences are overly verbose. For example:
"It was so bright that I closed my eyes shut as tightly as I could and used my hands as extra shields to my eyes!"
Which could be changed to:
"It was so bright that I closed my eyes as tightly as I could and used my hands as extra shields."
There's an overuse of exclamation marks in my opinion, and all-caps text. In some sentences it makes sense, such as "I need to put the tourniquet on for my wounds!" (Which also happens to be an example of an overly verbose sentence, 'for my wounds' is redundant.) On the other hand, the sentence "I tightened the belt quickly!" does not need an exclamation mark. And the sentence "MMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!" feels out of place.
When Jack is bleeding out - taking out the bullet OUT would kill him. If he's bleeding out, you need to keep as much blood in him as possible. It's literally the first thing you learn about bleeding wounds in first-aid emergency training. I think this error is large enough to be considered a plot hole. It really doesn't make sense at all.
Sidenote, you can't put a tourniquet on a stomach. A shirt wrapped around a stomach is not a tourniquet.
Also, during the bleeding out scene CG, the moon is weird. The dark side of the moon cant be darker than the sky, unless space itself is literally glowing, or there is some scifi/magic shenanigans going on.
Sorry for the overly long feedback. I hope you find some of it useful.
Go to the bull tribe, up the mountain. (Near where you mine iron) Press the path on the far right, and try to go through the blizzard. After a couple attempts left/right, you'll reach the new area. Although it's pretty empty so far.
Its a shame itch.io doesnt have private messaging as far as I can see, spamming my feedback in the comment sections feels wrong :). But you can't really respond to the google feedback form. I don't know if FA or discord or something is a better forum for discussion-style feedback.
The game certainly has the foundations for developing into an interesting edgemeplease style game. If you want to lean even more in that direction I have some suggestions:
- Make the premise more clear. Describe that the game is a 'follow along' style game in the description. It might also be good to describe / make more clear in-game (Such as having the dom actually explain when the user asks in the beginning). Although this could be improved with UI changes rather than text descriptions.
- Put the activities on timers. I'm guessing you've seen the edgemeplease .com website & its timers. Having the game auto-progress would be good, currently you need to interrupt your activities to progress the textboxes. Id suggest adding game-speed preferences like edgemeplease in your preference menu.
- tweak the instructions. You might have already done this in 1.1? I dont know. For example, It's unclear what '12 edges' mean. 'Quick strokes' or similar would be simpler to understand.
- Tweak the numbers. 100s of ball-slaps is a -lot-.
'Story / interaction' suggestion:
- The ways a dom can interact through a webcam is very limited. You could add more variety by having the dom have other subs already at his place, and involving them in the instructions. For example, imagine the dom has a pup, and you have to succeed in his challenge for the pup to be unlocked, so you have to cooperate. Or the pup is doing the same challenge, and you're competing, and only the 'winner' gets rewarded.
Why limit the story to simulate a webcam-site? Is it so the user can pretend to be part of the story more easily?
Currently it's a bit difficult to understand how the dom can manipulate the gag / how he can use the glove over an online connection.
I feel like keeping to a webcam-experience only will be a very difficult limit for you to work around. Id suggest you scrap that limitation. If you don't want to scrap the webcam-idea, you could use other workarounds like sci-fi style VR, or magic as an explanation for how things happen I guess.
A randomly generated story is also difficult to work around, if you don't introduce more game mechanics / goals to guide the player.
Some feedback that came to mind after playing through the 9.x update:
The changes all around the map after defeating Grant x are great. Too many games leave you with a weird disconnect after clearing a major milestone, or hides it behind excuses such as "Now that 'big bad' is gone, people will finally return to the village in X months.". However you populated many parts of the map with more characters instantly after defeating him. This works great as a reward, and makes the world feel more alive and fun to explore. Good choice!
I still believe the pacing of the game needs some more attention. The game is still bottlenecked in several places by grinding blocks. Due to the fighting mechanic design, it's not possible to beat difficult enemies with skill, it's a pure numbers game. You need good enough gear, skills and items(food) to progress. I was hoping that the hard-mode would make the grinding situation better, but unfortunately it didn't do much. While you make more resources, you also have to spend more time per each battle, not to mention you have to pay more attention each battle to remember their weaknesses. Many times it's possible to get through difficult enemies by spamming food items, but then you'll still be stuck at the enemies right afterwards, and each food item takes ~2 battles of grinding. Currently these grinding instances feel like an intentional bottleneck to pad out the playtime. I solved this by cheating & just adding some resources to my character. I wanted to progress, but I was unwilling to spend 1hour grinding the same enemies. One aspect to maybe analyze is that the item synergies create an unfortunate power bump. Instead of becoming more powerful progressively, you need to afford both new items. Because it's just one new item, you're often weaker, or the same strength as with just one new item, due to losing the item synergy.
Despite the grinding, it's still a great game. I don't regret buying it. :) Looking forward to the next update (Which might be the end of the story?)
Hi, Im having a great time with the game, and I believe I'm about half way through it. Here's some of the things I think could be improved :) I've bolded the suggestions that I would personally prioritize.
----Card Game suggestions----
Running the latest version as of today - bought and downloaded earlier today. Worth mentioning that my game was running out of a save from the demo, which I played about a month ago.
Hey, I noticed you wrote that you were interested in constructive criticism in the end-notes, so I jotted down some thoughts about the text. (See pastebin link). I scribbled my feedback pretty quickly, so there's some misspellings and such, but I hope you understand the intent behind my feedback.
Good luck with the continuation of the story. :)
not the guy you replied to, but I didn't press the button when I got over 85%. Mostly because I wasn't looking for anything in the first place - I think it could be made more clear, if your intention is to have buttons that are enabled on certain achievement thresholds.
Your making me wonder whether trying to find all secrets of this game or decompiling it and reading the renpy files takes the most effort. I really don't wanna try decompiling though, sorta ruins my own enjoyment? Same reason I don't wanna read whatever story inspired this one to spoil myself. Guess Ima have to wait for the wiki for some secrets. :)
I get the feeling you really enjoy hinting at stuff & watching people whirr around like blind ants looking for crumbs :P
Thank you for the thought out reply :)
That last bit sounds especially like the Ruthless route character. The point of the hotel isn't perfection. It's about humanity. Humanity is full of imperfection. Allowing people to work fairly easy jobs to help travellers who are themselves lost gives them meaning. Automation would only serve to remove that sense of belonging.
Yes, you make a good argument, and I agree. 'Fixing' the kobolts problem is not reasonable / goes against the narrative of the Saint MC & hotel purpose. But I still think my fundamental argument is still valid, even if my example was bad. Let me try a better example. Why doesn't the main character create artifacts to protect the exploration team? Utility, search-aid, and defense / offense? Why doesnt the mc create tools to spy on / try to one-up Argos?(before his true nature is revealed.) This type of artifact creation would be reasonable for a kind main character, as it's motivated by wanting to protect them, and doesn't go against the purpose of the 'hotel'.
>why doesnt the mc make artifacts to protect the Asterion / the guests?
Asterion outright says if you try to sign a contract like that, the ink will just spill off of it. You could have the main character test to make sure Asterion isn't lying, but that goes against the major point of this which is to trust Asterion implicitly since no one up to that point has.I don't remember the exact phrasing Asterion said, but I believe that it was something like that 'contracts that goes against the purpose of the realm (tormenting asterion) would rot like milk'? You are correct that it probably wouldn't work to make contracts that outright protect the minotaur, and I don't think the main character should ignore Asterions observations and try anyway. But the guests shouldnt have the same problem? If so, there should be no problem creating contracts that doesn't protect Asterion, only guests. And it's aknowledged several times in-game that the contracts are pretty exploitable. There's a contract that prevents Asterion from embarassing himself with nudity in front of the guests. (A contract im guessing uses a loophole to phrase it like a punishment, 'Asterion isnt allowed to have sex with guests', or something like that). Why doesn't the main character attempt to create / talk to asterion about an artifact to help protect the guests?
After playing through the VN I have several opinions/feedback, so I figured Id just vomit them out in one long post. Overall the game is great. Spoiler warning.
Asterion's personality is great and the choices and reaction almost always feel realistic and thought out. Great. Kota and dickbird feel slightly less deep, but it's reasonable since Asterion is the main focus. Maybe you'll be able to tackle this with the character routes you implemented in 0.5?
Generally one of the main features of great storytelling is suspense, creating a problem, and making the reader want to find the solution. The story does this well several times, such as when we wait for the inevitable meeting between Asterion and 'Storm', when bluedragon will meet reddragon, when luke will finally be castrated, when 'argos' comes clean about his real intentions, what's the weird crystal stuff in the basement? Some answers&lore&background is given through exploring the wild. I personally prefer when it's tied into the story instead of having to navigate through menus. I think it works great when finding artifacts triggers ingame-scenes. (throwing away dagger, sunglasses, etc)
I personally thought the 'kiss' scene in the later chapters where you get a closeup image of his kissy-lips was a bit weird visually. Although in general people do tend to look pretty awkward right before kissing I guess.
The image representing the game on Itch - a front-look at Asterion feels a little misrepresentative. It's not clear that he has a pronounced snout. It would be a real shame if people didn't click into this great VN just because the cover image. 'Storm' (oscar?)'s face looks a lot better, the profile view makes his face look less goofy. I'm not much of an artist but I did a mockup to try and show what I mean.
I did a playthrough where I tried to choose everything as if it was the real me who was the main character, and it was a bit difficult. I felt like I was pushed too hard on being either a saint, or a sadist, sometimes lacking the middle ground I felt would represent me best.
I also did some ruthless runs. They were written well, but I hate them. In a sorta good way. "Thanks, I hate it." I agree that the existence of ruthless routes makes the choices of actually being good feel way more meaningful, and Im glad that the ruthless routes exist. I am surprised that the ruthless routes only seem to be directed towards greed/sadist players. I'd expect there to be a horny route, but I also understand and am sort of glad that there's no extreme 'noncon sex' route. (that Ive found?)
The scene where Asterion gets to try the internet bothered me as an irl tech-guy. It feels like I'd really wanna order a VR headset and take him around the world on google earth. (If his face shape could handle VR glasses.)
It feels like the contracts are very unexplored. If I was given the power to create magical contracts & magic items, I'd try the fuck out of that. Instead, the main character only sometimes gives himself food? There's the 'no go valley or die >:(' band, but other than that, there isnt much artefact creating going on. This is probably the biggest 'choice problem' I have in the story to be honest. Could I create contracts that can discern truth? (Something like, "this contract will break when an untruth is written on the attached papers). Are digital contracts valid & indestructible? How does that work? Would it make the physical harddrive indestructible & the file undeletable? Would it remain so if duplicated? If so, could you mass-email spam an undeletable contract file and clog up servers? What are the limits of the rules of the contracts? How big? How generic? How abstract? Can contracts create other contracts? Can you create loops & recursion? Could you make turing compete contracts? Can you make golem servants? Why not make a contract/magic item which automatically delivers the food to the correct table, instead of trying to teach kobolds to use software? It also makes more thematic sense that contract research would result in magical contracts instead of buying and integrating software. If you really wanna help the kobolts learn software, why not create a contract/magic item which helps them do the right thing, instead of having them bother the chef?
If the main character is concerned about security (which he says he is when he considers getting wolfy), why doesnt he make a contract that prohibits violence? It feels like the answer to that question is "Because the hotel doesnt allow the creation of contracts which stray from the purpose...", but it's only assumed to be so, and there should be plenty of workarounds/loopholes/exploits to reach the approximate desired effect. The main character doesnt actually try.
The newly introduced characters are a bit too early for me to give opinion on. We've got unlucky boar food guy, elephant money guy, demon lawyer (best smile), and a wolf. Maybe Boar guy and luke are a bit close thematically - both of their main problems seem to center around them being unable to live a fulfilling life with relationships due to charm shenanigans, however that seems to be more or less a reoccurring theme for many mythic beings.
end of spam
Ugh, I played through a couple of ruthless endings (I think Ive got 3 out of 4?). The writing is good, but I felt horrible doing it. :(
Why doesn't P & storm come to the hotel in the scenario where the main character survives?
You might have already found solutions for this problem now, but I'd like to mention that you can create a copy of the keystone file and keep it in several places. My previous workplace had it checked into git & on two separate USB drives. :)
Sounds like maybe your app is generated with the same package name, but a different signing key? That would cause a conflict which triggers an error when attempting to install. It's a safety feature to prevent malicious apps from 'overwriting' legitimate apps.
If you try to summon a companion into a room, sometimes there's no interactable objects, causing you to get softlocked - at least as far as i can tell. Your cursor is the portrait of the companion you selected, but you cant go back / click anything.
In my playthrough, I got Cyril back when he'd completely transformed into a rat. And then I offered the satyr, and the rat-cyril was removed & replaced with the human cyril. I dont think you're supposed to be allowed to trade him back when he's already transformed & in your party. :P
Hi, I just played the game & I think its great. :) The 'memories' section and the tips are great for getting an overview of how much of the game is discovered.
Already sorta been suggested, but Im having difficulties with discoverability of actions though. I'd love if there was a cheat-toggle in the settings which reveals the ??????s to the actions that work. Currently its taking quite a bit of effort to open the action/type, wait for the error result, re-open the prompt, try again, re-open, try again etc...
Good job, the format of several bite-size stories with some limited choices works well.
There's some minor stretching issues on the selection screen for me, might be an issue with the andrid browser?
I also see there's a drawing of the unicorn on this page, but it doesnt show ingame for me. Also an andrid bug, or is it not in-game?
I actually prefer the 'current design' in your comparison - but the current design doesn't quite look like the version you just posted - here's a side-by-side comparison:
The reference face you posted has more defined canine curves, defined cheekbones, and a narrower face. with a defined pointier muzzle.
Personally I'd prefer if you kept the existing design, but unsquished his face & tweaked the muzzle line.
Here's an example comparison of what I mean - The left image is your posted design, the top right is an ingame CG, the bottom right is a mockup with the same expression which is more similar to what I think it should look like, to match the reference design better.
Hmm you're right, my face change does make it more human-ish, probably a bit too much. I still think there's something slightly odd going on with the face, as if he's tilting his head a little, but his snout isnt tilted with his head.
Maybe something like this? I tried keeping puma-like proportions while still trying to make all his head-parts have the same rotation.
The symmetrical anchor marked in pink (his upper shoulders) is by far the most obvious outlier, and the only one I'd suggest is an 'error', the rest could very well be stylistic choice.
Another thing I just noticed is that his hair tuft goes over what we see as his left eye, making me see it as an eyebrow. It makes the face look a little more asymmetrical than it is...
Worth noticing that Im only reacting to this facial asymmetry on this 'sorta sad' expression - the smiling/laughing face looks great. Im just nitpicking this specific one because it's used a lot.
Hi, I'm liking the story so far. :) I noticed you wrote about Alen & Jymsar sprites needing more attention. I don't know if you're already done with that / how much you're changing them, but I figured I could make a suggestion of some minor edits for Jymsar:
Basically, in the current art his shoulders are a bit asymmetrical, and the nose&eyes are rotated different ways, making his head feel slightly warped. And finally, the left cheek is more pointed and forward than his right cheek.
Sorry for the unsolicited comment - the art is great already, better than what I can draw. :) Feel free to disregard my comment if you disagree, it's just my subjective opinion.