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The game turned out to be terrifyingly ... stressful ! :)
The most relaxing (or frustrating) part was when I got permanently stuck in a small clearing amongst some conifer trees, where neither my swipes & fireballs nor the enemies' attacks could reach each other. Screenshot below.
In the end, my unexpected invincibility (or my irresistibly sweet scent) attracted an increasingly huge crowd of enemies to gather in the area -- doubtlessly all braying (or so I imagine) for my deliciously witchy blood.
This is the shortest but most atmospheric walking simulator I'd ever played, & I enjoyed the peaceful night-time walk around the small cemetery. The rising mist, flames & rustling foliage effects were very good, although the audio is somewhat soft.
I understand that this is a prototype for a past academic exercise, but there is potential for this cemetery walking simulator to be expanded into a longer & fuller-fledged experience -- such as by enlarging the cemetery, including non-generic inscriptions unique to each tombstone, some props of uneven shapes & heights (eg. statues), flying bats or a resident cat that roams around the cemetery, as well as incorporating more interactive elements such as objects that can be picked up & examined (eg. flowers, coins, stones, mementos, fallen fruits, etc).
As for the flashlight, it would be good to provide an onscreen instruction indicating that it can be toggled on & off with the F keypress, because this is not obvious. If not for the game's web description mentioning the existence of the flashlight (but without saying how to activate it), I would have overlooked that there's even a flashlight function.
For greater user interactivity, the flashlight can perhaps be designed as a dynamo type that could be recharged on demand by scrolling down the mousewheel (with corresponding sound effects), instead of letting it run down & recharge on its own.
One issue that can use some improvement is how the tombstones' incised inscriptions ("RIP") totally disappear & the stone becomes flat, when illuminated directly or indirectly with the flashlight.
Another issue is that mouse seems unusually sensitive (for a Unity game), such that even the slightest movement makes the view shift excessively, so it is quite hard to look around in the usual manner without a sense of vertigo.
A poetically poignant take on a certain type of tragedy that happens way too frequently in real life. When mankind keeps repeating the same "mistake" again & again, can this really be excused, dismissed & buried as a "mistake" ?
As such, I think this is the least "weird" (to borrow your description) of your games, because much of the male protagonist's actions is very representative of what many men did throughout the history of humankind.
Margaret Atwood described in 'Writing the Male Character' (1982) how a male friend explained to her that men are "afraid women will laugh at them, undercut their world view" [INSERT: or say no to their advances & violations] -- while female students at a poetry seminar summarized it thus: "Women feel threatened by men [because] they're afraid of being killed".
I first played ONE CHANCE 2-3 years ago, but it seems that the version I tried had a bug which prevented the best possible outcome.
However, in this version, undertaking the exact same course of actions does lead to what seems to be the best possible outcome (of having at least 2 humans surviving beyond 6 days).
Another bug common to both versions is how the child may sometimes appear twice in the same scene, as if she suddenly has an identical twin.
By the way, the version hosted at your game website does not seem to work. It merely launches with a blank white screen, with music playing in the background.
I hadn't expected to engage in turn-based combat in an Awkward Silence game. And neither did I expect to slaughter a helpless being in the name of mercy.
But after roaming to the edge of the world & refusing to believe in false finalities, I -- who am Red & perhaps also Mariana -- apparently did succeed in my mission of ending the world. Or at least one of them.
Well done for this humorous mod/ sequel, including the unexpected but wacky "exception" screen.
Not sure if this is a bug, but I would've thought it more courteous for the said "exception" screen to show up (& bow 3 times, as well as sing a ditty by way of apology) immediately after NIL crashes me out, instead of appearing belatedly at the next game launch.
Tantalizingly, SPACE's character -- for the sake of Aphrodite, I'm going to assume she had played too much paintball without proper protection -- shows slightly more skin at a strategic spot. Unfortunately for us all, the game is even shorter than her dress. Thou shalt not maketh a game that ends within 5:55 minutes !
Thanks for the game experience. The various scenarios are frustratingly realistic (& familiar), although I'm impressed that $3.71 can get you 3 burgers from a fast-food joint in Montreal.
I notice that all possible game scenarios seem to lead to the player surviving to see another day. Providing 1 or 2 less optimistic outcomes would perhaps more strongly drive home (so to speak) the harsh reality of homelessness.
Furthermore, it might be worthwhile to provide the option to play as a female (instead of male) protagonist. Besides being more vulnerable to physical harm & exploitation, homeless girls & women also face additional difficulties & burdens that help organizations & members of the public tend to overlook.
Thanks for the lyrical peek into such lives of quiet desperation distinguished only by differing shades of grey -- & perhaps occasionally punctuated by the narcotically-induced colours of "Hotel Texas" where one is welcomed to visit but not stay forever.
It would have been better if the graphics were larger though. When the game is rendered fullscreen on a 1366 x 768 laptop monitor, it is impossible to read the text without strategically zooming in, but doing so also makes parts of the visible area go off-screen.
@ Enno -- My integrated GPU is Intel HD Graphics (ie. the 1st generation, older than your GPU), which doesn't work properly with the game. Luckily, I have a discrete AMD GPU that I could switch to in order for the game to render properly. But the GPU switching must be done before launching the game, because switching the GPU during gameplay has no effect.
That being said, like you, this game is the first & only one to date that my integrated Intel HD Graphics GPU (enabled by default) has problems with. Perhaps it's because unlike other Unity games that I'd played, the only 'Graphics Quality' options provided in the Unity settings panel upon first launch of this game are restricted to: Good, Beautiful, & Fantastic -- with no lower options such as: Fastest (which I prefer), Fast, & Simple.
Maybe the game developer @Fi Silva can consider making lower graphics quality options available, especially for players without a higher-end gaming GPU to switch to.
At first, I thought the game is about the hikikomori phenomenon, but it turns out otherwise.
As someone who is (unwillingly) stuck inside a small room every day, the banal horror implied by the line "X is home, so I can't leave the room." cuts very close.
Ultimately, I'm glad for the game's protagonist that his X is not a cruel monster disguised as a self-serving human.
The game's message is good to bear in mind, for poverty-induced neglect &/or social isolation is very real indeed, even if most people are blissfully oblivious to it.
@ trota68, @ hippietrashcan
Older-generation Intel HD Graphics GPUs don't seem to support the game fully.
If your system has dual GPUs, instead of using the integrated Intel GPU, switch to the higher-end discrete GPU (updated with the latest possible driver) before launching the game. Switching the GPU during the gameplay itself has no effect.
See also my comment regarding the log file (which you can analyze): https://itch.io/post/277920
@ Enno -- Older-generation Intel HD Graphics GPU doesn't appear to support the shader effects required by the game. This could be why there is no ambient light (except for the "glowing" ocean) in the game.
You can take a look at this \Bright Light_Data\output_log.txt file in the game folder, & see if contains any of the following lines:
- D3D shader create error for vertex shader
- D3D shader create error for pixel shader
- ERROR: Shader Shader is not supported on this GPU (none of subshaders/fallbacks are suitable)"
- WARNING: Shader Unsupported: 'Hidden/BilateralBlur' - Setting to default shader
The game world is relatively small, yet I spent 3 hours immersed in this poetically captivating experience, whereby I simply walked around repeatedly & stared at everything for long minutes.
My only disappointment is that the game doesn't seem to allow me to get over to the opposite island with the houses near the headland, because I'm curious to check if that is the spot marked X on the wooden chest map.
I first played AMONG THORNS in early 2017, & remember it fondly to this date (1 year later).
The game's fascinating dystopian urbanscape is strongly reminiscent of Hong Kong's Kowloon Walled City (demolished in the early 1990s) & its scaled-down replica located inside Japan's Kawasaki Warehouse gaming arcade.
And like many others, I certainly wish the game were longer.
Hi Jordan, the artwork is fetching & evocative for something that you describe as "isn't perfect" & having "problems" in the PDF's foreword. If I must look for "problems", it's that I would like to see more. But I suppose that is my problem, as opposed to any issue with the drawings.
Even though the numeral grid is a mystery, I can see numerous options in your Well(spring) of Words. It's a varied mix, but there's definitely ART, AWE, FAITH, FINE, FAIR, SUN, QUIET, POSSIBLE, MEANING, BEST, ...
Thus as you strive on to fulfil your promise, I leave you with the following verse (one of my favourite) to greet the dawning of your year.
We grow accustomed to the Dark —
When Light is put away —
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Good bye —
A Moment - We uncertain step
For newness of the night —
Then — fit our Vision to the Dark —
And meet the Road - erect —
And so of larger — Darknesses —
Those Evenings of the Brain —
When not a Moon disclose a sign —
Or Star — come out — within —
The Bravest — grope a little —
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead —
But as they learn to see —
Either the Darkness alters —
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight —
And Life steps almost straight.
— Emily Dickinson, 1862
That's one compelling "story-in-a-storygame" supported by a beguiling soundscape.
Or is it just a straightforward "sad secret love" story ? Curious questions arose in my mind after I researched the Japanese supernatural allusions in the game ...
Is the schoolgirl protagonist an Oni (おに) worshipper ? Or could she instead be an Oni disguised as a schoolgirl, thus her/its habit of walking the rural lanes after sunset ?
The latter possibility imparts to the game an unexpected (& intriguing) dimension that leaves me feeling half-glad that the boy didn't look out of the window -- but also half-disappointed that he didn't look out of the window, because I'm now curious know what this somewhat unusual Oni really wanted, & also who it was before it became an Oni.
The game is simple, yet has a high degree of repeated playability. Although the title & synopsis describe this as a "short experience", I spent quite some time on the gameplay in a deeply introspective state of mind — particularly during the first & final stages when creating & contemplating my "pièce de résistance" — as well as enjoying the offbeat humour during the walkthrough "in between".
The low-fi background music complements the mood very well. May I know its title ?
Last but not least, the gameplay experience reminds me of art therapy workshops, such as those conducted in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, whereby child survivors wordlessly conveyed & tried to resolve their trauma via a successive series of (analogue) drawings done over a span of several months. As such, I can imagine how it might be possible to effectively deploy 'Art Art' for similar purposes to benefit those who have access to computers.
Innovative & even humorous use of RenPy's Back/Foward mechanics. I literally laughed out loud, when NIL locked me in one of the "moments" or mocked me for planning to reset. I enjoy watching the mesmerizing couple-twirling sequences as well.
Usually for RenPy games, when seeking alternate branches & endings, I would fast-forward & never go backwards during subsequent gameplay. Not so for 'Her Tears were My Light' -- I read through every screen (again) & sometimes went backwards to reread the previous screens, even during subsequent rounds.
Thanks for the memorable & poignant game experience !
The game seems to require Java Runtime Environment. There is no Java RE installed on my system, but I do have portable Java RE (jPortable) which can easily run JAR files, but not Java executables.
As such, does the Windows package consist of a Java EXE or a JAR file ? If the former, can a JAR version be included for download ? Thanks !
Hi Jordan, thanks for sharing your compositions. I didn't expect to chance upon such good songwriting & singing on itch.io. What serendipity !
I found the 4 songs both poignant & meaningful. They are certainly bear repeated listening, even in 100 years' time.
Yes, the "empty room" home-made recordings are not 100% perfect (... actually, only 1 song has occasional "noise" defects, the other 3 are fine just as they are). But I am hard-pressed to consider them "messy" in any way.
Thanks for the thoughtful lyrics booklet as well. A suggestion (for future releases) would be to make the background darker. Maybe my vision is really bad (... more or less legally-blind, if extremely high-index spectacles hadn't been invented) -- I find light grey text on medium-light grey background extremely difficult to read.
There's really no need to package the entire RTP Gamemaker resource ("data") files (>200 MB) for users who don't have RTP installed. Hades Log definitely does not require all the stock resource files found in RTP Gamemaker. Based on the final compressed filesize (~28 MB exe) consisting of only the game script & essential resource files, you don't even have to upload 2 different builds.
Just import only the resources actually used by the game into the game's project folder, make sure Game.ini doesn't have that "RPGCXACE" reference, & don't tick "Include RTP Data" during game compilation ("Compress Game Data"). In doing so, you aren't "messing around" with the game files, but only sieving out the necessary ones for the benefit of end users, as well as yourself in terms of uploading time & bandwidth. For instance, do you think Hades Log requires hundreds of redundant RTP "data" files such as monster/ battlefield sprites or scream/ wolf/ quake audio files ?
You don't have to take my word for it. You can check out some RTP Gamemaker user references collated here on how to compile a more lightweight RTP game for distribution. And here is a list of absolutely essential Hades Log game files as required on a system without RTP installed (& assuming no Korean fonttype installed either).
If manually sieving out the essential game resource files is too tedious, you can examine this pared-down Hades Log game file & test-play it on a machine without any RTP installed: HadesLog.exe (28 MB self-extracting EXE, expiry: 50 days after last download, VirusTotal report: 0/68 detections). I'd played through the entire game several times using this downsized game package, so it definitely works even though I don't have RTP Gamemaker on my system.
Note: I had also re-saved the game's \Readme.txt with UTF-8 encoding after replacing the garbage characters with their Hangul equivalents sourced from the Korean version (나를 읽어라.txt). It doesn't affect the game, it only makes the TXT file more readable (ie. as opposed to having lots of garbage characters). Cheers !
v2016.12.02 Changelog: "Changed mp3 BGMs to oggs! Now the music should play correctly."
1) I think you accidentally overlooked the MP3 file in \Audio\SE\.
- Non-OGG files in \Audio\SE\: question.mp3, cancel4.wav, cursor8.wav, decide2.wav
Basically, what I did was convert all non-OGG audio files (in \Audio\BGM\ & \Audio\SE\) to OGG (constant 128 kbps), so as to achieve smaller filesize & maximum system compatibility.
2) Gameplay Inventory Question
May I check what is the purpose of the 'Key Items' section under ESC > Items menu ? This 'Key Items' section always remains empty no matter how times I play through the entire game (all endings): Screenshots
Thanks, I'd downloaded the game again from here (itch.io). GameJolt is out because it always gives me a blank page no matter which browser I try.
Thanks also for reducing the filesize of the updated game package. My internet speed is slow (< 100 KB/s download on a good "solo user" day).
I recently downloaded the game from your Ludum Dare 33 webpage, but haven't played it yet. The title is 'Anxiety: Last Night' (not 'Lost Night' as stated here on itch.io), but the game synopsis & screenshots appear to be the same.
Also, the download available at Ludum Dare was 69.38 ZIP (Win, no bitness indicated), while the itch.io package is 59 MB RAR (Win x64).
May I know if the itch.io version here is an updated one (eg. new scenes &/or bug fixes), or just an archive repack with a slightly different title screen ? Or would the x64 build play smoother on a x64 system ? Thanks !
I found that the game has 3 endings, or 3.5 endings (... depending on how one regards the very wacky Bonus Room).
Looking forward to a sequel to Hades Log in the near future ! :)
For those interested in the cultural background, here's a recent news article about the societal issues discussed within the game: South Korea's Testing Fixation (The Atlantic - 17 Nov 2016).
1) BACKGROUND MUSIC ISSUE: SOLVED
I noticed that in RTP Gamemaker's \Audio\BGM\ folder, the standard resource files are all OGG, in contrast to the game's music files which are all MP3. So I converted the MP3 files to OGG. And now I can hear the game's background music.
I subsequently researched this issue on the internet, & it appears that RTP Gamemaker tends to have problems with MP3 playback during the game for either the game designer &/or the end player. To be on the safe side, it's best to supply OGG (smaller filesize) or WAV (larger filesize), which RTP can natively decode without having to rely on external codecs.
- From gamemaker.info: "If you want to play other files, like mp3 files, you should select the option to use the media player. [...] Preferably don't use mp3 files in your games. [...] Also, not all machines support them. So your game might not run on all machines."
- From rpgmakerweb.com: "the problem might've been the user having set another decoder than default in windows environment to deal with the .mp3 format"
For info, the default MP3 player installed on my system is Winamp (using Nullsoft MPEG Audio Decoder in_mp3.DLL codec). Perhaps RTP Gamemaker or the configuration selected during game compilation does not recognize Winamp's MP3 codec, which is why I couldn't hear the MP3 music during gameplay.
2) 溟 vs 冥: ETYMOLOGY
Thanks for the explanation. If 溟 is preferred, a more effective background reasoning would be take 溟 as a metaphor for the so-called Haenggi Pond of Korean mythology. Since this pond is supposed to be the portal leading to the Underworld entrance, 溟 would thus be the 界 (boundary, realm) that separates the Living World from the Afterlife. Info about Haenggi Pond: Ref 1, Ref 2. However, 溟 (sea, drizzle) itself lacks connotations of brightness, which I think the game is trying to convey.
Personally though, I think 冥 (Hades/ Underworld, dark) works better as the game's title because of the juxtaposition with the suffix 明 (bright, light, to understand). The unexpected & oxymoronic contrast arouses curiosity. And users who played the game would get to see the light, ie. realize that what this 明 is about -- the Afterlife within the game is not that dark, & the reapers aren't grim at all.
For comparison, there is an animated short film (5 mins) with a similar oxymoronic title 'The Life of Death' (2012). It features the reaper/ death's messenger as well, but in another context & setting.
1) Still no music here (Win 7 x64) during the gameplay, other than menu-triggered sound effects. The music mp3 files in the game's folder play fine in an external player though.
2) I managed to reach an alternate ending that concludes with "ED2. Empty" on a black screen, followed by the game credits. But I'm guessing there should be more alternate endings, so I shall try again.
3) Upon reaching this screen with the Hanja ("Kanji") characters, I suddenly "see the light" regarding the homonymic & visual puns in the game's name, which also brings to mind the bright memory baek & the shiny points of light used in the game mechanics, whilst simultaneously foreshadowing the dark theme of the game. I think this is great !
On a curious note though, isn't the Hanja character for Hades/ Underworld 冥, instead of 溟 (sea, to drizzle) as shown on the game's screen ? Although both characters are written & pronounced as 명 (myeung) in Korean Hangul, their meanings are totally different.
Now for the game "review" proper ... First of all, thanks for the game's English translation & bringing the game to a wider audience.
The black-&-white artwork helps convey the game mood effectively, while the surreally-cheerful conversations of the 2 reaper-helpers provide an ironic counterpoint: Existence is ultimately comic-tragic perhaps ...
Before trying the game, I had no idea what it was about. But playing the game (various times, albeit for troubleshooting reasons) gave me a poignant sense of déjà vu.
Very coincidentally, during the past few months at my location, there have been a spate of incidents exactly related to the game's themes. The 2 most recent incidents occurred 2 days ago & 1 month ago respectively.
Also, I don't know if the game does offer multiple endings, but since it always plays & ends the same way for me, it does feel that nothing I or the Reaper-protagonist do would make any difference at all.
1) The 24 Nov 2016 upload (Hades Log_with RTP.exe, 217 MB) works, but not because the extracted folder contains RTP.exe (there is none). As mentioned, RPGMaker VX RTP (RTP.exe alone or the installed package) is not required to play the game, as long as \Game.ini does not contain the line "RTP=RPGVXAce".
2) The 217 MB upload works because it contains the graphics & audio files needed by the game. However, the upload also contains lots of redundant files not used by the game. If you wish to make the game folder much smaller (48 MB uncompressed, ~26 MB compressed), I've provided a list of the essential files here. I discovered that these files are absolutely essential by running the game numerous times without the required graphics & audio files, & then sequentially checking what files the game complains as missing.
3) Some Issues:
a) Asian font is not rendered properly in the game's titlebar & gameplay's text. The game's Asian font is displayed as "???" or a random string of symbols (eg. -#$_%) or rubbish characters (screenshots). My OS localization is English, but my Windows Font folder contains various Unicode font-types that can render Kanji & non-Kanji Asian fonts. For instance, I can type, save & display the Kanji character 明 (myeung) in my system with no problems.
As such, the problem might be due to the game translation script or file not being compiled/ saved with UTF-8 encoding. For instance, I noticed that the \Read Me.txt file contains rubbish characters as well, but re-saving the file with UTF-8 encoding on my side does not help. The encoding was not preserved on your side.
b) I can hear the various sound effects (eg. resulting from to menu action), but is there music in the game ? There are stretches of silent black screen lasting a few seconds each throughout the game. I'm guessing these silences could be music instead, since the game needs at least 5 audio files (music type, not sound effects) in the \Audio\BGM\ folder. Or maybe the "baek" memory-recall scenes have music as well ?
c) Although the game is tagged "Multiple Endings" on this page, the game always progresses the exact same way & ends with a black screen showing "ED1. Nil" (screenshot), regardless of which in-game option I choose. Is there more than one ending ? If yes, I can't seem to get to the other endings.
d) The game is also tagged "Point & Click" here. But the mouse click doesn't work in the game. I have to use the arrows, ENTER & ESC keys on the keyboard.
The 19 Nov 2016 upload of Hades Log can't be played, despite having followed the instructions (ie. install the 2 supplied NanumBarunpen.ttf fonts).
Launch Error 1: "RPGVXAce RTP is required to run this game"
which I resolved by removing the line "RTP=RPGVXAce" from \Game.ini.
Launch Error 2: "Unable to find VL Gothic font"
which I resolved by downloading & installing VL-Gothic-Regular.ttf.
Screenshots for the above 2 errors.
The aforementioned is then followed by a runtime error after clicking 'New Game' at the opening screen: "Unable to find file: Graphics/Tilesets/Inside_A1" (animated GIF screenshot).
The last error results in a dead end, since there is no \Graphics/Tilesets/Inside_A1\ subfolder within the game folder. Oddly enough though, there is a password-protected \MEW.zip (containing mew.png) at the root of the game folder.
Could you upload a working version ? I look forward to playing the game, hopefully without having to install anything else or keep jumping through the various hoops of Hades. Thanks !
Tested on: Win 7 x64