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AI Sin

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A member registered Sep 27, 2016 · View creator page →

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Just to be certain, would art for another game that I've released for public usage be prohibited or does that only apply to non-public?

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Similar question here. I'm assuming that reincarnation should count as rebirth or resurrection since I'm going to be making a demo project based on that.
In my case, the question would be more akin to "Does swampman count as resurrection?" (Basically swampman is, if a person dies and another person with the exact same features (including memory and personality and form) is created/born at the exact same time, does that person count as the same person?)
Edit: Also see Plueschkatze's question below.

I won't wish anyone good luck because I only wish people good luck if I don't like them or I don't want them to succeed. (See: Break a Leg for actors).

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So I think I gave some suggestions for the last IGMC (the less official one), but I'll repeat a few here:

  • Uploads: Make plenty of backups, upload early, use butler if you can (so that you only have to upload updated files), and have multiple uploads: Contest Entry, Beta Entry, Dev Entry, First Entry.
    • Your Contest Entry is what you are submitting. This is fully tested, has no major bugs, and you know the player can get to the end.
    • Beta Entry is basically your 'testing' version. People can play it, but it might not be fully tested yet. Once it is fully tested, you can replace the Contest Entry with this. (Note: You might make a new upload for each Contest Entry so that you have a "last working version"). (Note: If you are approaching the deadline, you should usually make a new upload (you can preload as needed) of your previous Contest Entry upload because if you overwrite, you could potentially end up with a situation where the contest ends and you end up with a broken project that you now can't fix).
    • Dev Entry is basically your 'nightly build' version. This is basically just for yourself, but people can play it. It might be extremely buggy, you might be testing all your new mechanics, additions, etc.
    • First Entry is your first contest entry. Don't touch this once it is made. This is your last resort. If your beta entry was pushed to your contest entry and you discover some major bugs, this is your emergency "At least I have something I can submit".
    • If you are using butler, pre-upload your game. All your assets can go up first as it is easier to remove unneeded assets than to add them. This way, when you are hitting that time crunch, you are only uploading say 5mb instead of 500mb.
  • Time: Plan out your time. This has to do with Time/Project Management.  Prioritize KEY elements of your game and then add additional elements as time allows (but make sure you plan things out so that you can expand easily). I'd check out the Eisenhower Matrix if you aren't used to time management.
    • Make your project complete at about the halfway mark of the contest (compared to your start time). This gives you time to test your project, upload a working version, and thus at least have a finished entry. You can expand if you have extra time. 
    • Use any time you can. Even a few minutes here and there can make a difference. Keep a notepad on your to jot down any ideas that pop up, do some pseudocode, etc. I often hear people saying that they didn't have enough time, but often people don't use all the time they have. You'd be surprised what even a few seconds can add up to. When you shower, when you are taking care of your needs, such as eating, when you are walking to a location (if safe), etc. are all examples of times where you might be able to think and plan things out. (Unless you have some issue that actually stops you from thinking during these times, consider using such downtimes).
    • Project Management can help a lot, but if you don't know how to do it already, don't try to learn the more complicated methods now. There are some simpler methods though, such as tracking. For those that don't know project management, here are some questions to ask: "Who will do what tasks of the project?" "When will each person be doing each task?" "How does the time look? Are multiple people doing nothing for a certain amount of time? Is one person doing 10 tasks at once?" "Which tasks depend on another task to be finished and are there any workarounds to work on these tasks early?" "Where are our potential bottlenecks?"
    • Remember to overestimate the time needed instead of underestimating the time needed. If you plan to use 3 weeks to do a task and end up only needing 2, great!  If you plan to use 3 weeks and end up using 4, you might not complete the project on time.
  • Find a source of motivation that will keep you going when you start to lose steam. If you don't lose steam, great, but if you start losing steam, have that source of motivation to help push through. It can be multiple sources. This can also be a source of positivity for if you start feeling depressed or burnt out.
  • Pace yourself. This has a bit to do with time and planning, but pace yourself at a manageable rate. This can be different for everyone, but you don't want to burn out if you can avoid it.
  • Breaks: Every hour or two, take a 15 minute break from the computer. Every 3 hours, let your mind just wander and relax. The exact time might differ from person to person, but let your body (eyes, wrists, etc.) rest and let your mind rest. In fact, you should let your eyes rest whenever you don't need to be looking at your screen(s).
  • Warm ups. Do some dynamic stretches/warm ups before you start working on your computer if you can. This can help with wrist fatigue.
  • Save often, backup often. If you have a cloud service (such as itch.io, google drive, etc.), use it at least once a week to backup your game. Every day, try to make a backup onto your computer, an external, or a flash drive. Every 30-60 minutes, save. Every time you finish something important, complex, tedious, or w/e, save! This way, you minimize work/progress loss if something goes wrong.  If you can, save multiple iterations of your game so that you can go back to a previous iteration as needed.
  • Don't upload every version of your game. I've seen this. Someone exports their game to their development folder (don't do this, export to a separate folder, not inside the project's folder/subfolders). Then the next time they export, it exports their game, with that previous version, into their development folder. Suddenly, you have a 50 GB upload that is actually only 400mb of content because there are like 60+ iterations of the game in the upload. And then they wonder why their project is taking hours to upload... (dev: "itch servers are really bad today, it is taking me 23 hours to upload my game!" /me looks at upload the next day me: "I wonder why...")
    • Note: I say subfolders because exporting your project to your faces folder does not help with filesize.
    • Note: If you upload every version of your game in your project, expect the judges to grab a random version of the game. They have no reason not to and believe me, if they should decide to do so, they will probably somehow manage to pick the worst version.
  • Test your game after it is uploaded. That means download the game and test to make sure the downloaded version works.
  • I recommend writing out a project proposal/game design document. Like pseudocode for programmers, this can help with organizing your thoughts. This doesn't necessarily have to be physical, but physical can make it easier to work on than a mental document.
  • Keep a healthy schedule. Don't start sleep depriving yourself, malnourishing yourself, etc. for this project. You want to remain healthy as a healthy body and mind will be more efficient in the long run. 
  • If you need to crunch at the end, it usually means you didn't plan well enough or your project was larger than you could handle. For this reason, I heavily stress planning. Aim big where you can, but also know what you can handle. It is okay to aim a bit larger than you feel you can manage, but also know what you can cut out if time becomes an issue. For this reason, I suggest what I mentioned before: Plan for a finished project at the halfway mark, THEN upgrade your project from there. This way, you already have a foundation to work from and you can aim for the stars with the time you have left.
  • Test your game. If you can, have friends play and give you their thoughts. You know your game very well, so your experience with your game can differ greatly from someone else. What might seem obvious to you might seem completely obscure to someone else. Unless you have multiple selves, you generally won't do well testing your own game. Even if you do have multiple selves, it is still worth having an outside perspective since testing takes time. Time that you can be using to fine tune things.
  • Take my advice with a grain of salt. I have never won an IGMC. In seriousness, note that every person/project/team is different and while these general advice may be a good starting point, your specific needs may mean that these advice won't apply to you or may not apply as is.
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I'll be up to play a few games this round, maybe do some testing, but I (probably) won't be making anything this round. Unfortunately, busy this year. (If I do make an entry, it would be a participation entry rather than a serious entry).  If I make an entry, I'll be doing a stream of how I do the design document, a bit of the project management, etc. In my "IGMC 2022 entry in 4 days" series. (We all know by now that my entries are all done in like 4 days (excluding additions later on)).

(I do have an idea of a project that I could use that wouldn't take very long to make, but it would be a bit violent and probably not a good game to have people playing right now (basically, it is about a reincarnator trying to stop reincarnating)).

If anyone wants me to stream their game, let me know which game it is. I'll be happy to break your game on stream! (I think only a few games last round got through without me finding any easily noticeable bugs).


VictiVolunteers.

Congrats to the winners, not really surprised at the top 3 though. 

I plan to move my games to unity or godot as those are much better for my style of game. I'd be able to spend less time trying to figure out how to manipulate the engine into doing something and focus more on making the other game elements.

Instead of a bunch of workarounds, I'll be able to implements what I want more directly (For example, Nol's potions are supposed to actually be much more flexible and allow the player to customize them to a much greater degree. This wasn't possible for the base engine without hardcoding each variation and the engine only allows up to 999 variations assuming every slot is used (there is also the fact that she can use the potions directly as well). Just the healing potion alone would have been more than the limit (HP 1, HP 2, ... HP 9999 would be 9999 potions alone). Tulu was supposed to be able to buy custom skills that allowed you to mess with them with points for each skill with effects learned from enemies. Nara was supposed to be able to fill her toys with potions in each slot so that the player could customize how she played. With the limitations of the game engine, these just weren't realistically possible.

Another benefit of Unity is that it will be much easier to apply certain effects and make them obvious. For example, instead of having to set up complicated formulas to figure out damage based on relative states for each attack, I could just have that as part of the attack system. It would also make having the different sides a lot more fluid.

Definitely plan to expand the game as well. Currently, my game has too much cut out (mostly stuff that was too complicated to do within the engine without some serious workarounds, which would end up just being relatively unintuitive for the player - even more so than my game already is).

I want to show off that Nol's real goal is to research and she sells potions she makes (either directly herself or through hired shopkeepers). I want to show off exactly how the world was made (in the post game) as a collaboration between the girls and Nara Torr (Goddess) for the purpose of messing around and training Nara (they basically made an actual world with real people, but then decided to treat the game as a VR RPG, which is why Nara (young) is basically using it as a farming sim and actually the only one that really considers in the world's citizens as she is the only one that just wants to go home and do normal girl things instead of being some crazy training junkie). I want to show off how Tulu's goal is just to not be bored, so she does all sorts of antics just to stave off her boredom.

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Thanks for playing, I'll be making a lot of changes when I switch to Unity. I definitely skipped too much of the introduction period. As i mentioned in other comments, the intro period was supposed to be much longer. There was actually supposed to be a lot of other content like Nara building a farm, Tulu trying to copy Nol's potion generation ability and learning how to craft items instead, and Nol messing around in her shop before sealing the entrances.

Just as clarification, none of the Ultimates are actually random (once you figure out their activation requirement, you can reliably activate them). If you used the Ultimate, it secretly adds a tutorial to your inventory. 
(Nara charges her ult by using her switch effect, which you can do out of battle, which is why you have to wait when she changes cubes in battle as otherwise the player could just ult without preparation in battle, Nol requires 44 of each attack item, Voyd requires using tentacle void skills as either Voyd or Nol, and Tulu requires autoreviving in battle (4 turns after she dies, which is long, but her ult kills anything in the game) (which is what concentrated antidote is for, it lets you kill her with two of them)). (A trick is to sacrifice Nara, switch Nol to the void side and have Nol craft items while Tulu charges her ult). 
The game gives you little hints about their ults, though the biggest ones are after you use the ult at least once (it gives a major hint) and the long battle tutorial, which mentions that Tulu auto-revives, Nol is about preparation, Nara can switch between weapons, and Voyd is about tentacles.)

The return to field is a bug in the game engine because common events can only work in field view (auto/parallel/manual) or battle view. The only way to fix it is to use a plugin or use a script in a way like a plugin.

Looks like I messed up that event. Wonder why it didn't seem to trigger twice when I tested it.

You did make me realize a few issues. The ores, spices, etc. only show the quantity when you actually go to sell them. This was due to them being key items instead of common items (which I had reserved for craftables). I also didn't explain that every skill has some sort of use as I figured players would either go the lazy route of autoattacking (which makes Nara useless) or come up with their own playstyle. Again, part of this was due to cutting out the intro due to the the time limitation.

Basically, cutting down what is supposed to be a 20 (main story)-40+ (extra content) hour game into something doable in less than an hour meant cutting out and condensing a lot of content. I might have overdone it a bit. Definitely something I intend to fix later on.

Side note: The house is actually the version upgrader for if your save is from a previous version. Talking to the pile of wood will fix your game to be the same version as the game.

I did 3 against her, but honestly, it might have been easier to just not revive the fallen characters and stuck with the tank. I don't think I failed against her though. It was just abnormally difficult.

Thanks for playing the game. If you have any questions, I covered some things on my streams, but anything that you might want to do, let me know. If it is simple, I can probably just type it up. If it is more complicated, while I am sick right now and taking a break as a result, I expect that I'll be streaming again in September, so I can go over more complicated stuff then.

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My version tips was a bit more geared for contests/jams since this is a jam that I'm posting this for, but you definitely made it more clear for how to do it properly beyond contests.

(Note, the 'you's I use below here are generic and not directed at anyone in particular).

So some further emphasis on things that I think are especially important:

Testing is a very important thing that usually gets skipped or gets a lot less attention than it really needs. People like me who usually become more aware of bugs over time instead of less aware are rare (though things like time and hardware still limit my ability to test. That and bugs are only one aspect of testing). You can call people like me exceptions, really. For most people, you need a variety of testers that can test various problems. You might have your primary testers that will do the preliminary testing, but once they are done, you might want to hire a new tester because someone coming in with a fresh perspective might be able to see bugs that someone too familiar with the product might miss. Beyond just testing for bugs though, you also want people that can test for issues unrelated to bugs. Balance, pacing, and other elements of UX are all important to test for. One thing I highly recommend is that whenever you think you have a stable build, have someone test from the start to the end. A lot of companies rely on level specific testing. This is fine for most things, but sometimes a bug can occur because of something that happens between stages/levels. Maybe the item you picked up from 10 hours ago ends up triggering an event it isn't supposed to in a later stage, for example.

And yes, testing your changes and any possible side effects your changes might have is extremely important. If you don't have time to do a full test, at least do that much!

Yes, project management is extremely important, especially as a project grows. Good project management can really make or break a game project, especially when deadlines are involved! Time management is, in some senses, a small part of project management. I focused on time because a lot of people seem to have issues with that, but project management is very important. Definitely saw a lot of projects where project management could have made a huge difference to the resulting project. 

One tip I have related to project management for jams is to set two goals: One goal is your minimum level. Plan your project to meet that level. This is going to be based on what you are almost certain you can do. Next is your expansion goal. If you have remaining time, what do you want to do? Now, Look at what is common between both versions and these are what you want to work on first, if possible. For example, if battles aren't necessary for you to finish your game (fighters and arcade shooters are examples of when you need battles), you might want a complicated battle system, but are willing to settle for a less complicated system if necessary for time reasons. In that case, you might want to not work on the battle system until later (so you don't have to redo balancing later on). Then, once you've reached the point where you have to work on your battle system to continue, you can look at how much time you have left and set your goals for the battle system there.

This sort of management can be especially important if you are still learning the engine. As you work on your game, you might understand the engine better and this can make the harder parts of the project easier. Think of it like you might want to learn how to kneed clay before you make a bowl. You might want to make a ceramic bowl before you make a ceramic ocarina. Building off easier steps makes it easier for most people to do harder steps. Exceptions apply, but don't plan on being an exception unless you already know you are one. Even if you are an exception, you still might want to start off with the easier tasks because it is motivating to get more stuff done. 

Believe it or not, motivation, morale, and rest are extremely important and are things that I believe should be a vital part of project management.

To go further on attacking your critics, not only will you potentially anger reviewers, let's players, critics, etc., but you might also end up with a bad reputation from other developers, publishers, and even players. It can go further than that as well, so definitely never attack your critics. 

This is really more a rule than a guideline. Let me put it this way, I know people who won't buy certain things because the creator was shown to be very disrespectful/discriminatory to certain groups of people. You also don't want to later on end up not hired because you pissed off some recruiter's brother and that brother told the recruiter all about the incident. Or just as bad, your supervisor goes on youtube and sees you blasting off personal attacks on someone. Even if unlikely, don't think it can't be traced back to you just because you don't use your real name. These are all possible outcomes that are just not worth it over a comment you don't like and caused you to lose your cool.

Also, be aware that a simple difference in perspective can anger someone. Like, I tend to say phrases like 'you want', 'you don't want', 'you should', and 'you need', but there are people that will grow angry with such word choice. For those people, I have to be extra careful that say "I recommend'. Even if I mean the same thing with both word choices, the other party might not see it that way. Even a casual phrase like, "You are beautiful", can be considered sexual harassment (people have lost their jobs due to saying someone was beautiful. One woman adamantly demanded a guy to be fired for basically saying she looked nice).

Basically, this advice goes beyond just reviews, but in interactions with others in general.

I definitely want to, but I'm also not very popular, hahaha. I average 2 viewers a stream. Though I do get some people that watch my VODs later (since they can't watch live due to times). I do offer debugging though and that includes potentially streaming the debugging if the dev wants/allows, but I rarely get such requests anymore.

Let us just say close to 10% of the ratings so far are from me. There were some games I didn't play though for various reasons.

I love games, so I want games to reach their potential. I am hoping though that everyone can share their own little bits of advice on issues that they might see.

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Repetition: When is it too much?

Repetition is a commonly used tactic in rpg games in order to extend playtime or to hammer in a point. So when does that become too much? A simple answer is when the player gets sick of it, or really, just before that point.

If you have constant battles and all the battles end up the same, the player will start to tire of battles, especially if they don’t have a goal to push them through that tedium. If you have repeating scenes (see endless eight as an example), it can easily become tedious for the player to keep seeing the same scenes over and over again. Even replayability can suffer if the player feels like they are just repeating the same thing.

Now, some players will have more patience with repetition while others will have less. Your goal is to focus on your target audience though. Will your target audience be okay with the amount of repetition? In most cases, you want to err on the side of less repetition. In other cases, you should have a specific reason for wanting more repetition.

Increasing playtime is a bad reason to increase repetition in and of itself. A player is more likely to enjoy less repetition and shorter gameplay than a longer gameplay that feels like a slog.

Healing. Why to have a source of free healing, why to skip it.

So a very common issue is healing. Healing plays a very important role in RPGs where resources matter and there are reasons to provide it and reasons to skip it.

So first, let us take Demon Souls as an example. Demon Souls did a very fine job at balancing their game for the most part. That said, you’ll notice that they have frequent healing points, but they balance this by making it so that using the healing also resets the enemies. This acts as a sort of balancing factor, which is often a reason why a developer might not want healing - it can be hard to balance. By making it so that certain things reset (and other things don’t) when you heal, this allows a more specific level of balance that is, to some extent, controlled by the player as well as the developer.

Now, some things to note:

Healing methods: There are generally several methods that this is done. Healing at checkpoints, healing at town, healing after battle, and constant regeneration are four common methods. Each has their own advantage. Knowing you will heal after battle can make fights easier to balance and also allow players to feel confident in fighting, which can help reduce the feeling of slog. Simply knowing that a healing point exist can make a player play very differently. Healing by action can add to strategy.

Healing HP: This can be extremely important as this allows your player to grind as needed (especially if there is an element of randomness). This also acts as a safety net if your player makes a mistake. This is why having a free healing (or some safe way outside of battle to pay for healing) is important.

Healing MP: This is a very important consideration if you have a mage type in your playable characters. Mages are often very weak in RPGs, especially in RPGs made by newer developers. Why? MP. Many games have a poor balance with mages and MP. Sometimes the spells cost so much MP that you can’t reach the next healing point before running out of MP, forcing your mage to spend long periods of time fighting with physical attacks, which can be simply annoying and tedious. Sometimes, the spells themselves are just too weak and aren’t really useful, so you end up having to spend more MP anyway. Now, this can be easily solved with MP Regeneration of some form. If your player has confidence that they can keep casting spells with some form of recovery option, they are more likely to feel less restricted with using magic.

Now, why might you not want the player to heal or have free healing? Specific cases, such as a roguelike. You might want the player to die every so often. You might have a game based on the player pushing as far as they can as a challenge run. There are other cases, of course.

Repeating events/Lack of sanitation

Now, some devs know I played a lot of games with my name as \V[1]. This caused some issues/weirdness in some games, especially when some long string was stored into variable 1. While not something most RPGM devs would have to deal with, string sanitation is something that plugin makers might want to consider and something RPGM devs might want to consider in if using a plugin that allows free input. Those that know me know I’ve done crazy names like “\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n” or “kid, really now. Where are your parents?\nWhat? They let a kid like you wander around?\nWhat irresponsible parents.\nI’m going to go talk to them.” and such then walked around changing chunks of the story.

Now, another common issue is repeating events. Events that repeat when they shouldn’t and lock the player into an infinite loop, events that repeat when triggered even though they shouldn’t repeat because no switch keeps them from repeating, events that repeat whenever you re-enter a map because they don’t have some method of saving the event state. These are common issues to look out for and there are various techniques for having these not reactivate.

Movement speed: The effects on the player when you use various movement speeds

Now, there are benefits to reducing the player’s movement speed, but in many cases, it feels more frustrating for the player to have to move at a slower speed, especially a noticeably slow speed. This means when you slow down a player’s speed, you need to do so with a very specific purpose in mind.

Conversely, there are benefits to speeding up the player’s movement speed, but this can make the player feel rushed.

One thing to note is that these effects can be compounded by map design and size. A large, windy map can make slow speed even more painful. A tiny, straightforward map can make high speed feel even more fast paced.

Now, what this means is that you want your player’s speed to be based on several factors including map size and how natural the speed feels. This is a balancing act in many cases and goes a bit into the next topic.

Realism vs Comfort. When is too much realism bad?

So we all know that many developers and some players are always touting realism. They want the game to be super realistic. Gravity has to be perfect, we want a food system, injuries to individual body parts that have realistic effects!

Okay, let us stop there and examine the issues on the development side. It costs time and potentially money to develop all these systems. Having all of these in a game can also actually limit what the developer is able to do. Maybe you want to add in a system for fighting enemies with weapons. Okay, that is fine, but can a real person actually hold that 200 kg sword? Now, assuming you find someone who can hold that sword, could they actually swing it freely? Obviously no normal person could do so, so now with realism in mind, you need to further consider sword designs. Or you could scrap it and say you don’t need realism there. But see the potential contradiction there?

Looking from the player side, is it really that fun for the player to keep having to find food to eat, exercise in the game to maintain their weight, feel fatigue from adventuring, potentially collapse from built up fatigue over several days, etc.? To a certain extent, it can be, but it goes back to the developer to make this fun and that does take some work.

So there are two things to consider with realism: Budget and audience interest. Even someone who says they want realism might not actually want realism. They want things to be realistic and want a certain level of realism, but once it goes beyond a certain point, they start finding it less fun. This will differ from person to person, but it is something to consider when deciding on how much realism to have.

For the developer, it is a balancing act. You want your world to be realistic (for example, don’t have a monster that is immune to bullets in a cutscene, but takes bullet damage just fine in battle as that will be immersion breaking), but realism can and often should be dialed back when it comes to player enjoyment.

Basically, you want the player to feel comfortable when playing your game and have fun. If adding realism doesn’t add to that or even detracts from that, consider whether or not it is really worth adding.

Taking Criticism to heart. How to respond to criticism.

(Note, I fail at this still, so take what I say here with a grain of salt. Hopefully someone else has some good tips on this subject.)

So one thing all developers should love is criticism. Good or bad, it means someone is willing to give you feedback. Positive feedback tells you what people enjoyed. Negative feedback tells you what people didn’t like or what people think you could improve on. These are both important.

Look at your feedback from a neutral perspective. What is the feedback telling you about your game? How can you implement it? Should you implement it? Would implementation work with your vision of your game? Would the implementation improve the game beyond your vision? These are all just some questions to consider.

Now, one thing I fail at is responding to criticism. Sometimes it is something that I think most devs would agree with - when the criticism is unwarranted and revolves around acting in a way that essentially purposefully breaks the game. (For example, if a bug only happens if you edit a map outside of the game, then that criticism may not be valid (although it could still be)).

Other times, it can be somewhat hard to convey what you want to your reviewers. You might agree with their suggestions and have a hard time to say it. You might disagree with their feedback, but still find it valuable. That can be especially hard to respond to.

One thing I’m trying to do is to say something to show that I did understand their feedback, but to say why I might use it or not use it. This may not be the ideal thing to do, but it is something that is definitely hard to do well.

One thing to definitely not do though (and I can’t say I follow this well enough) is attack those leaving feedback you disagree with. You might disagree with their review, but definitely do not attack them personally. I’ve definitely seen this happen where some dev or another goes out of their way to attack those they don’t agree with. I’ve even seen devs make attacks on things like a person’s appearance, gender, etc. That is definitely crossing the line in any situation, so I don’t know why some devs think it is okay to do so just because they aren’t happy with someone’s review. (Plus, in some places, this may be illegal depending on how it happens).

Even for troll feedback, if you feel like you might end up attacking the person, it might be better to just ignore the feedback instead of responding.

Saves: Why to keep saves plentiful vs limited.

For most cases, it is better to keep saves plentiful. Let your player save anywhere that isn’t a sealed location or point of no return. Do NOT let your player accidentally lock themselves out of progression by saving in a point where they can’t go back.

This is very important because, let us say I enter an area that I can’t leave. You need to be a minimum of level 50 to survive even the weakest encounters, but I am only level 30. If I am able to save and do so, now I can’t leave, can’t load a save to escape, and am not strong enough to progress any further, so now I have to restart from the beginning. Many players will just quit at that point.

Outside of that sort of thing though, you want the player to save often because you never know if maybe the player can only play for 5 minutes at a time. Even if you have to figure out some way to explain it, still let the player save anyways.

Now, there are times when you might want limited saves. For example, maybe you want the player to feel like they are in a stressful environment and can only save so many times. Take horror games as an example. Many horror games limit your ability to save and part of the reason is to add stress to the player.

You might also have a very specific lore reason to limit the saves of the player. Whatever you are doing though, make sure that when you limit the player’s ability to save, to do it very cautiously. Only limit the save ability if you have a specific reason in mind.

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So I noticed that a lot of games have the same issues. For the reason, I’m going to post a series of tips and common issues. Now, these are just from what I’ve seen and there is no ‘one size fits all’, so consider these just advice to consider, not strict rules. (Also feel free to provide your own advice for issues you see)!

 

Backups and Iterations of Your Game

So my tip here is going to be fairly basic.

When you have a time limit, upload your first working version. With itch, you can use butler, which allows you to first dump all the files you might POSSIBLY need into your project with that first version. This way, future updates will only need to upload additional files and modifications. It is much easier to delete files from your project than it is to upload them.

I upload 3 versions of the game: Archive (This is the very first working version and every major stable version), Stable (This is the current stable version without any major bugs), and Unstable (This is my hourly/nightly upload that is my most up to date version. This is usually unstable because it hasn’t been tested fully for bugs).

If you are working in a team, you might have a fourth version for your development team.

In addition to the uploads, I have 1 current version, 1 or more previous versions of the game (in case something seriously breaks in my current version, I can go back to a known working version), and potentially an off-computer and off-site backup. The off-site backup, I’ll probably backup once a week or once a month. The off-computer backup probably once a day or once a week.

 Basically, in regards to jams, have at least three branches that you upload as you work on your project.

Archive: This is your backup/last resort. This is your first working game or the pieces leading up to that if you don't finish on time. This ensures you have something to show if issues crop up. You can also make a second archive that is your last stable branch (so one 'stable' version before your current stable version).

Unstable: This is your incrementally updated version. This is may or may not work, but it shows your latest progress. Upload this every x hours or upload it before the date changes.

Stable: This is your latest good version that you know works properly. You can always replace this with the unstable version later if the unstable version proves to work fine, but otherwise, this is your entry.

When you are actually working in the industry, you will likely be doing something similar to this anyway, so you might as well get used to it.

Playtesting:

So one advice I have for developers is to set aside some time for playtesting, especially with a deadline. If you have a dedicated playtester, you can get away with a shorter playtesting period, but otherwise, set aside at least 1/5th of your development time for playtesting, with a minimum playtest time set aside of of how long it will take to play through your game three times. The reason is because you want time to fix your game if you find problems. If you happen to reach a point where you feel that you’ve playtested enough, create a backup and upload it. This way, you have something to show if things go wrong later. After you do that, you can try adding to the game and then playtesting. Again, set aside enough time to playtest.

Generally those too closely involved in the creation of something are either too critical or not critical enough.

When playtesting something you've worked on, there are a few things to consider, including:

  • Having worked on the project, you are:
    • Better informed about your project than others. What seems obvious to you might not be obvious to others.
    • More used to the project than others. What might seem obvious to others might not stand out to you.
    • More prone to ignoring mistakes, errors, etc..
    • Able to work around mechanics and puzzles more easily due to knowing the intended solutions.
    • Have a hard time seeing alternative solutions due to already knowing an intended solution.
  • For effective testing, you want to:
    • Be able to step back from the game. No longer see the game as 'your' game, but as 'some stranger's" game.
    • See the project from the perspective of a player: 
      • With no preconceptions.
      • With preconceptions from similar games.
      • That has just beaten the game.
      • That has spend a long time away from the game.
      • Doing a new run/from a previous game of a series.
    • Be able to consider playstyles different from your own/what you expect.
    • Really want to try to break the game. Look for ways that you can break the game.
    • Try the consider how the game might behave under different conditions. If you have a really powerful rig and a cheap rig, you can do a test on both rigs. If you have just a powerful rig, you can use emulators or other methods to simulate a weaker or different rig. (Like Windows 10 and Windows 7 and Windows XP might all handle the same game differently and have different bugs). One very common issue is the game behaving differently at different FPS values. So like a game might be fine at 30, 60, 120, 144, then break at 146 and higher. A game might also be fine at 300,144,120,60,30, then completely break at 28.
      • Test the game's deployed version. One way to do this is to upload to itch.io as a developer branch (mark it for your system) and use the Itch App. This will allow you to use a mode that should somewhat isolate the game so that you can test it. The benefit of this is that you are testing it in a way that lets you see how the final product will react because the game can act differently under different environments (test vs deployed vs actual environment).
    • Ignore your own personal feelings, but also consider in feelings. 
      • Example of why to consider in feelings: How is a scene supposed to make you feel? How does it actually make you feel? If your MC's father dying is supposed to be a sad scene, but you feel happy about it because the father was a jerk, then the scene isn't working as intended, as an example. 
      • You don't want your personal emotions to cloud your judgement. (Having emotions affect your judgement is normal.)
  • For effective fixing of issues, you need to:
    • Understand how bugs and issues happen. The better you understand the problems (and solutions), the faster and more thoroughly you can fix problems.
    • Be able to understand what problems your fixes might cause and avoid those problems.
    • Be able to prioritize what is important and what can wait.
      • There is a development side to this choice: Budget, Time, etc. can affect that side of the decision.
      • You also want to consider in the user/player side of this choice: What issues are the players going to see? What will a player be willing to deal with and what will a player find frustrating to the point of quitting?
      • Balance what the players will want with what makes sense from a developer standpoint.
        • For example, players see new UI as being most important, then sound, then a few minor graphical errors.  Your budget provides enough to fix one UI issue, or two sound issues and one minor graphical error. Your time left allows you to fix two issues. Which do you choose? You could fix just the UI, which the players want most, or Sound and sound or sound and some graphic error. 
          • This is actually more complicated than just that as what will the players find most annoying. When they just started, what will make them quit before giving the game a chance vs what will make them quit over a longer period of time? Which is more important to prioritize? There are many more factors to consider and you also have the issue that you can't spend a lot of time making that decision because that is spending time and possibly money.

That isn't an exhaustive list, but those are some things to consider. I put some of the ones that are harder to do in italics.

Time Management: How you can use seconds of downtime to work on your game.

Okay, so some might know that when I was working on the project, I had a full time job, unexpected overtime, was working on 5 novella for a contest at the same time (technically 6. The rules did change for the contest though so now I have to change them to full novels), my game, several classes, taking care of family, and some confidential things. I also ended up starting about halfway into the jam.

Sounds like a lot? It was! So how did I deal with it? Scheduling and planning. First, I planned what I would have done on x dates. This way, I knew when to cut things short. Basically a part of project management is managing your time and budget and believe me, time is important.

Now, the next thing I did was pretty simple: I used all the time I had. You might think: Of course, that is just what everyone does. Well, I mean I used all the time I had. I went to the bathroom? On my way there and back, I’d be arranging the levels in my head, balancing numbers, adding to the story, etc. I had a break? I’d be working on my games and stories during those times, even while eating. Stop light? I’d also be working a bit there, though not so much that it was unsafe (don’t do this if you can’t pay attention to your surroundings while doing so). Even walking from my car to my door, unlocking my door, etc. I’d be watching my surroundings for danger while working on any little thing I could.

Do note though: Life and Safety first. It is better to fail the project than to lose your life since if you lose your life, you are failing the project anyway.

In my case though, I do have some advantages. I can be doing multiple tasks and several of them can be just automatic, so I can be thinking about my projects while I’m doing tasks. I also lack most emotions of my own (most of my emotions are emulated by copying others), so if something happens, like a friend dies, I can turn off my emotions and keep working. Even without these though, simply taking advantage of even seconds of downtime can help you do more with your projects.

There are other tricks that I can’t talk about that I used, but these aren’t tricks that would help most people. In fact, these tricks would slow down most people.

Typos, layering, and passability.

Typos are very common. One trick that I do recommend is that people try to have their scripts as an external file first. Use an editor with spellcheck/grammar check options (You can also run your json files through a spellchecker/grammar checker if you know how).

Another trick is to read out loud when you playtest or re-read your text. Hiring an editor or such is an option for some as well, but not for everyone.

Layering and Passability are very common issues.

For this, there are some fairly simple testss. Create a custom map for each tileset that uses one tileset you know has full passability. Now, every other square, you put one of each tile, then walk around each tile while trying to enter those tiles. This will let you test individual tiles for passability and layering issues, this way, you know how each tile’s passability and layering works for the next step. (And you can fix any obvious issues before the next step).

For the next step, have each map, but set your speed to maximum. Now, try to test every wall and floor tile. The max speed will let you test at a much faster pace.

Alternatively, if you remember the passability rules, you can visually test this. Just remember one important rule: The TOP layer is what determines passability. So if you have the floor layer, layer 1, layer 2 both passable, but layer 3 is impassable, only layer 3 matters. (Also remember that invisible tiles also have passability rules if they are the top layer!).

Also Alternatively, you can just test each unique wall/floor combination if you don’t have much time. This is what the previous step is for. If you know what to look for, you can test obvious issues for a faster, more focused test.

A very common passability issue is ceiling tiles. Ceiling tiles are passable from the bottom (and with each other), so if you forget to add a wall, you can walk right up into the ceiling tile.

Volume Control.

Yes, I had this issue in mine as well.

Okay, one thing to note: The base RTP’s SE volume is roughly double that of other sound volumes. This is easy enough to solve by automatically halving the SE volume as a base level and then doing fine adjustments.

More difficult will be other volumes as it can be hard to tell when one music is louder than another. This, unfortunately, I don’t have much I can suggest except have a program running that shows you how loud things are and try to keep all the sounds within a certain range of loudness by testing each sound.

Points of no return

This should be a pretty short tip: Warn players when they are going into a point of no return and have the save BEFORE the point of no return, not after.

Also, turn off autosaves for sections where you cannot leave at will or cannot return. This way, your player doesn’t suddenly end up locked and have to start a new game. Players are more likely to give up on your game than to redo everything, especially with longer games.

Pigeonholing the Player

So, for most cases, you want to avoid forcing the player to play a specific way. There are exceptions, such as puzzles and linear story elements, but when you give the player options, make sure the player actually can use all the options (even if some might not be as effective, make sure they all can work). Players tend to not like it when, say, I’m playing a mage class for 90% of the game, then an enemy is suddenly immune to the mage class and I have to play some very specific class that I might not like to beat that enemy.

Players also tend to not like pointless choices. A few pointless choices is fine, but they should provide some sort of value to the player for picking them. A one line difference isn’t really anything of value. Players want their choices to matter.

Colorblindness and Deafness accessibility

Very common issue, but simplest thing to do if you are on Windows 10 is to turn on color filters. Turn on the monochrome (black and white) filter and see if you can see with that filter on. The more clearly you can see, the better. This isn’t a perfect way to do it, but it will at least give you a basic level.

Other things to do are avoid single colors, clashing colors, and low contrast colors when the player needs to be able to see something. Using pure red may cause problems with players that can’t tell red vs green, for example. You might instead introduce additional colors or use a chart to see what is a more compatible color for colorblind players. (Note that there are different forms of colorblindness).

Take me, for example. I can technically see the colors most of the time (I’m not technically colorblind, it is a different issue), but I can’t identify the colors. (I am sometime monochromatic colorblind, but that only lasts for a few minutes each year or so). As part of this, if there isn’t enough of a difference in coloration (not enough contrast), I can’t really see an object even if I know it should be there because mentally, I’m mapping each color to a reference. For example, apple are red, so I’m matching colors to the last apple I’ve seen to identify a color as red. This means anything similar also gets matched as red.

Similarly, deafness exists and deaf players exist. Sound puzzles are a huge issue for deaf players and it is recommended that you add in some sort of visual component for such players.

Brightness/Contrast/Gamma

So one thing for devs to remember is that not everyone has the same screen. What might be bright on your screen might be dark on another screen. This is why some games have images that are designed to be visible at the expected range of values. It is highly recommended that you have these settings if you have images that might be hard to see and to allow these settings to go fairly high/low as some players might have cheaper screens that may not display as well.

Now, if you can’t add in such an option to your game, it is best to err on the side of caution. Keep your visuals high enough contrast that a bit of excessive brightness/contrast won’t make important visuals invisible.

For the most part, don’t have complete darkness. You want the player to be able to see the area and you can do this while still maintaining the mood. There are exceptions, but do consider how a player who has never played the game before and is going in blind might feel. This goes with accessibility.

Now, if you are worried that a player might mess with your settings and make an area too bright and cheese the game, there are things you can do, although I’m not going to go into them here.

Tilesets and logically matching

This is going to be short, but basically, don’t put spaceship parts in a fantasy setting unless intentional and it makes sense within the story. Otherwise, you will get very confused players that feel something is out of place. This goes with any sort of mismatch that might occur, such as using a tree sprite and calling it a waterfall.

(To be continued in replies due to char limit)

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You can look at about the 20 minute mark for when I do it with the timer item (press to cancel), and about 2:39 is when I use it for the crafting system (press to continue). You can get a bit of an idea of how you can set it up for your extras images viewer, though if that doesn't help, I could probably show a more specific use case.

Also, great party game. Take a shot of hot peppers every time I say umm.

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A bug can be anything that deviates from the expected result, such as an attack that is stated to one shot a boss and doesn't.

I'd also consider the image positioning a sort of bug since it is immersion breaking.

The up arrow shows up in the first part of the game, but nothing tells the player that they can't select it or why. (In other places, it looks like the up arrow would at least tell you what is wrong). I'd consider that a bug since it should at least give you some sort of feedback, like you searched for a path, but couldn't find any or such.

Not sure if the broken drum (or the trash pile) would count as a bug that you can walk on it, but it does look weird.

Clarity (Wording) I wouldn't count as a bug, nor would I consider battle balancing. I'd consider them things to fix though. Typos I'd consider a minor bug (they aren't usually that important unless your game is story heavy).

As an aside, I'd actually recommend you check out my recent tips stream to see how I had escape sequences. It is a bit more work (if you mess up enough, you could end up with an infinite loop), but it can definitely help with your post-game stuff.

Honestly, I should have made keywords noticeable instead of relying on the player to figure it out. I definitely didn't expect people to ignore the tutorials. I should also have slowed down the pacing of the game a lot (though it couldn't really be helped with the weird limitations of the jam and how my game worked).

Definitely wish I had started earlier instead of basically halfway into the jam. Jam happened at a really bad time since there was another contest I joined at the same time and some IRL stuff delayed me by a week. My artist wasn't available for the last bit of the jam, so there was some stuff that I had to drop that would have made certain things more obvious.

I do wish I had implemented the alternative way of doing crafting that I was considering and figured out a way to deal with the issues resulting from not using plugins (ie, skill/item screen returns to field after every item use. Couldn't figure out a way to get around that without using a plugin.) Also wish I had just given up on changing the battleback when I knew that it was absurdly difficult without plugins even in previous versions of the engine.

I definitely put a bit too much focus on the secret elements of the game that most people didn't encounter because they skipped those elements instead of venturing out and trying things.

Didn't have any bugs, eh?

I guess I don't mind breakingtesting your next version later on. I am willing to go a bit further than most in testing because I am a debugger/game tester by nature and enjoy that kind of work. I normally don't go this far for free, but I said I'd do it and I try to stick with what I say as much as I can.

And yes, there was an insane amount of grinding involved. As a tip: If you find it too much, your players are almost certain to as well.

Remember also to balance the game so that players of all types can enjoy playing. Players tend to dislike being pigeon holed into a specific set of actions and prefer to be allowed to play how they want. My own game might have taken that a step too far and gave too many options, so believe me when I say it requires a balance.

There is an area that you might have missed that does allow you to easily farm for money. It is really close to the shopkeeper before the hydra, but it becomes temporarily unavailable once you kill the hydra. It reappears after you beat the star. It is kind of hidden, but is meant as a place to collect Tulu's skills if you missed them or as a way to quickly level or gain items to sell.

There was definitely a lot of things to notice and it did end up a bit harder because of the weird time limits (like I said elsewhere, if you speedrun the game and skip everything optional and ignore the story, you can potentially beat the game in maybe 15 minutes, but I also had the issue where if you took your time, it could take well over an hour, so I tweaked the game a bit. Unfortunately, that did also mean players had less reason to explore.

Originally, the plan was for the player to start off with Nara farming and setting up a way to use energy to farm, but having some trouble with the experiment because it was too inefficient for anyone other than Nol, then after a bit of farming, Tulu would show up and approach Nol. This would have made the player start with some crops already to sell. There were other things that were scrapped as well for the sake of the time limitation of 20~60 minutes.

While I still want the light potion to be used everywhere (it actually has another purpose), I do intend to make it a bit more obvious. Part of the problem was that I didn't want to use plugins or to use scripts in a manner like plugins. This will be fixed once I change to Unity/Godot so that even if the player doesn't use the light potion, there will be lights to guide the player towards their destination.

So finished the game and the mirror witch seems a bit too hard with instant kills and being able to attack again before the revived character can be properly healed (or simply doing so much damage that the revived character just dies again). This was with having the ghost bear and level cap and the best gear money can buy.

One of my viewers just absolutely hates the suspense sound when you enter the blacksmith/witch rooms. I kind of have to agree that the sound would probably be better for the bloody room or for the special enemies like ann_ or the killer. Right now, it is like Link's fairy. "Hey, Listen!"

I know who the final boss is! It's that [censored] fairy!

The -25% damage seems basically mandatory for the mirror witch fight.

The witch's cleanse/buff was pretty annoying to deal with.

Do we get another ending or is it really just "world resets again"?

Okay, so did some more grinding, maxed out my levels...

You have two skills that are glitched. One skill is supposed to give you +25% Recovery. Instead, it gives you -75%. For some reason, Thunder combo does the opposite and makes the recovery skill heal much more? (Not sure why as it should be working properly).

The blue tunic is basically useless as it only affects Mage main class at high levels (minimum of 100 MP) and only 1 per turn.

Regeneration is honestly very annoying when the enemy can spam it. It makes Mage very much useless as even at max level, you can't do enough damage with mage and even if thunder 2 worked properly, you only can use thunder 2 3 times (and the recovery decrease of 20% wouldn't really do all that much..

I ended up having to focus on poison, but that is basically relying on luck.

Game just ends pretty abruptly.

Another issue is that you have a lot of grinding required in the game to even get those poison skills. Gold gain is very slow and limited even with the merchant class.

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Definitely a lot of issues here. 

Progression isn't very clear, lots of bugs, including one that locks the game and one that just didn't make much sense. You didn't save event information, so events end up really glitchy.

Long cutscenes that can't be skipped makes the game not really fun to replay.

The cutscenes bugged out on me (unless that was intended) and popped out some sort of error my first time running the game.

Story was pretty obvious (game didn't really bother to hide it).

I feel like a lot of the game overs just end up being kind of annoying. Instead, respawn the player and reset the room's danger events.

Also, there is clearly supposed to be an order to the some events, but you can break sequence. The fire area wasn't very clear that it was a path.

Also, the true ending seems to assume you've beaten the other endings first.

Thanks for playing.

Yeah, I should have made it clearer that you were supposed to use the Light Potion in the caves. I figured that the signs telling you to bring a light and the conversation about light stones and stones being long lasting potions would be enough for some players, but looks like nobody noticed. Also looks like nobody actually checked their inventory despite a sign telling people to do so. I might make it so that checking your inventory is mandatory in the future.

Prices are definitely a little on the expensive side, but the items you are supposed to buy at first are a bit cheaper. The shop is mainly meant to have you check your inventory for sellable items (also acts as a way for the player to see their inventory) or, in the case of salves, act as a comparison. I'm actually surprised at how many people sold items, but managed to miss the Light Potion and Enemy Repel Potion. I know I made them sellable, so players were expected to at least look at them.

It mentions at the start that Nol is dragging Nara along for training purposes and Nara mentions that she'll be fainting a lot. There is actually a bit of a trick to Nara where she is both the hardest to kill and does the most damage (short of Ults, but Ults are basically instant kills (2 bosses are immune to/resist most Ults)). There is a second trick where Nara can start each battle with an Ult (Nol can too, technically, but Nol's Ult isn't recommended except against the final boss as it is resource intensive and long).

Looks like you did kill the boss just before the buffs ran out, but didn't use the star in your inventory after.

I'm surprised you noticed the Tentacles skill, but didn't switch Nol over to the void side or use them more against the void enemies.

Wait, did you walk back to town instead of teleporting?

Could just be some issue due to the high movement speed combined with the fact that I'm running the game at 165 fps (RPGM does some weird things past 60 fps, iirc). Weird that action button worked then.

Kind of broken. Passability issues all over, layering issues as well.

If you try to climb back up, you end up outside the map.

Basically every enemy after the slime can be skipped. I ended up finishing the game with some weird person I never met talking about deer and then about how she was some important person and how we saved her from wolves. Never happened, we walked through the wolves. Didn't want to bother them since they seemed so happy together.

You can softlock at the slime depending on where you beat the slime. There are two spots that softlock. You want to add an extra page there so that the slime can disappear first.

Battles felt very unbalanced and I couldn't really see any way to heal aside from leveling.

You have one two person bed in the house, but three people? And one person is sick? 

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The tavern entrance issue shouldn't matter where the exit is. The solution is simple, add a turn up before the move forward. Or better yet, make it so that you need to be facing up to trigger the event (so that the player doesn't accidentally trigger it).

For your farming system, use a common event and variables/switches to call the common event in a way that allows you to manipulate each plot's variables individually. That way, you edit one common event and it affects all the plots at the same time.  This is easier with a script call as script calls are a bit more flexible.

You can do choices as a script call instead:

Example script call 1 (initialize the choices)

//Load Variable with choices (in-game variable)
 
$gameVariables.setValue(101,
[
"Lily Weed", "Rabbit Seed", "Star Bloom",
"Kingsglaive", "Meadow Flower", "Toadstool",
"Vine Grass", "Cinnamon Blade", "Tragic Hero",
"Queens Seat", "Pig Feed", "Glow Bell",
"Lotus Bloom", "Nightshade", 
"Spider Lily", "Cleric Bane",
"Cancel"
]);

Script Call 2

// Set Message Choices. (101 = array variable, 0 = default choice
 
//-1 = disallow cancel.
$gameMessage.setChoices($gameVariables.value(101), 0, -1);
$gameMessage.setChoiceBackground(0);
$gameMessage.setChoicePositionType(2);
// Record Outcome in Variable (102 in this case).
$gameMessage.setChoiceCallback(n => {
$gameVariables.setValue(102, n);
});

This way you get a choice menu you can scroll through like this (notice the arrows showing that there are more options to pick):

Once you've selected the option, you can then load that value from the choice variable into the plot's variable.  There are also potentially ways to show how many of a seed exist and to disable options if you don't have enough seeds or even potentially dynamically create entries based on your inventory seeds.

There are other ways to do this, such as changing the function so that it shows the options side by side when there are more than 8 options and having it scroll sideways instead of vertically, but that would require a bit of editing to do. (I've also showed another way to do it in my tips and tricks dev stream (August 17th's stream))

Path finding is honestly very easy if you know what you are trying to do. If player is facing up, you know the player is below. If you have members, you assume all possible member positions are taken and adjust the script accordingly. What you should do though is load the player's x,y values (easier than getting the event's x,y values in this case) and directional facing. Using that, you can figure out both the player's position and the event position. Then based on that, you can have several move paths that move the event to a set location and then it is a simple move path from there (or you can teleport once off-screen).

Or, if you have to teleport, do a fade out, teleport, then fade in. (A no wait flash can also work, just be careful with timing).

Like I said, I liked the ideas. A lot of potentially great features that you could use to make a farming sim or alchemy sim. You just need to be careful with your story so it doesn't feel out of place. I can't tell if you meant Dragon or Dragoon (two different things) and other problems with the story exist. 

One thing you could do is to actually set a pacing so that the player is going about their daily lives and then one day, you hear a crash on your way back to the house. This way, you've set up what is 'normal' (this is more of a horror/tragedy story technique, but it can work in other situations as well). You can also slowly feed your player information this way. For example, you might go and visit your father's grave (with or without your mother) one day a month to keep it clean and on the second day, it happens to be that day.

There, the player could learn at least a little of what happened with your father. Once you assist the ally and discover the truth about them, you might not help them right away, but instead have the ally leave. You might then later see the ally collapsed on the road again and out of compassion, maybe hide them in the alchemy area (to avoid discovery by the mother) and care for them in secret, sneaking food off and such. Just until they recover. 

Then, while taking care of them, maybe discover some information that makes your character want to help them beyond recovery. This would then give your character a solid reason for wanting to help. Maybe the mother could notice and observe in secret (could show a shadow moving in a window one day to show the player if desired) and possibly even soften her heart when she learns that not all of the group are bad. This would drive character development for the mother.

Now, this would be a lot of work, setting it up so that the characters act differently each day (I mean the NPCs) or at least having a reasonable explanation of why they might always be the same. As an example, you might have a 5 day week and 4 week months (20 days). Each week, you might have 1 day where one of the shopkeepers will be home resting instead.  (Since this would take time though, you might skip it and just have a routine that makes sense to repeat).

Instead of having a long main questline where you leave into the open world, you can have little side quests from various NPCs, some might even repeat every x days (for example, maybe a shopkeeper tasks you with making supplies to sell because they are running low just before their restock day. They might not sell that item until they restock and ask you to provide you with a few to sell to others (not back to you)). This would make it have a more sim feel.

Speaking of quests, you have a lot of default/plugin tutorial quests that you don't want in the actual game.

Interesting idea.

The door doesn't give you a choice after prompting you about skipping, it just does so.

Could have used visuals for the selection menu. The second choice of who to eliminate is messed up and shows horizontally.

The computer terminal should definitely not have you input right away.

The cow collection was a bit annoying because you don't just touch the cows, you have to interact with them. This isn't clear from the dialogue.

The game basically tells me to spread my relationships evenly while focusing on whoever is eliminated that week because they'll vote on the winner, but I found that it might be better to just focus on 2-3 of them. The important part is getting the power to eliminate (and power to rescue if possible). First week, get rid of your lowest relationships. This is your throwaway. The top 3 relationships, you want to work on them. Second week, work on your top 2 (or top 3) relationships and eliminate them. If one of them gets the power to rescue, switch to the third choice (or, do a second throwaway and take the risk of that throwaway being picked). You want them to be around the 60-70 range. Third week is fairly easy. Bump up the top two and ignore the third unless one of your choices gets the power to rescue. If that happens, use your influence to do the stronger relationship boost. You want your allies to be in the 60-80 range. Last week, keep the person with the lowest relationship and focus boosting the other. Since you'll be getting the last power to eliminate, if there is a tie, you win.

If you cancel the relationship menu, it picks the relationship loss option instead of just cancelling. I think I almost failed because of this and another issue. (I still got 1st place, but only because I got the power of elimination every week).

Why does it look like you can eliminate yourself? (I didn't dare test it though).

I wish the game was a bit clearer about the fact that whoever you pick at the end is not the one that is auto eliminated. It says it, but it isn't clear at first because of how the game works until that point. Also, add confirmation dialogues please. I almost failed because of this.

Influence is honestly fairly useless here because you need to sacrifice relationship to gain influence. I didn't try to see if I could go negative though.

You can cheese a lot of the minigames. Wasn't a big fan of the spike traps area though.

Not a huge fan of the memory puzzle. You can record it, but some of the icons flash almost at the same time.

It felt like one of cannons misfired at some point.

I wasn't ever able to get the power to rescue. The minigames for that one...

Lots of passability issues all over. One field can't be grown. You can break the game by going to the church right away and harvesting 99 herbs. 

The ally sprite in the train station is glitched and you can walk through it and can't interact? It also disappears if you leave, so the game stops there.

Needs better planting menu (at least make it so that the player can see how many seeds they have or use a plugin to have a better menu for planting).

Certain crops are broken, especially on certain tiles. Like bottom right Al something plant (last plant) is broken. The middle plot is broken if you plant Lily Weed since it stops at 99%.

The tavern area you can enter from the side and it looks odd because you move away from the tavern and still enter?

Your mom just teleports everywhere?

The ally joins you when it shouldn't.

The conversation about hating the ally then having him join you anyways seems odd.

You can just teleport to a higher level by walking through the tile?

Lots of other errors.

Lots of great ideas, but implementation is a bit questionable.

Yet another game that is unbeatable. You can't get 500 of a key item because without plugins, the game caps at 99 of an item.

Looked nice, great tutorial tiles... but you forgot to reenable menus.

I guess interesting jam entry. A bit weird that you lose the light at the end? (Also, your worm lives a long time without food...)

Not sure what the timer was for since it doesn't look like you can escape even with spamming buttons.

The birds can be a bit hard to see in the grass.

Bee line of sight is a bit weird as they seem to only see directly in front of them (so you can stand right next to them just fine). Would have been nice to know a bit more, especially since it is hard to see what is a wall and what is floor there.

You don't drown in the pond, apparently. I'm now imagining a bunch of kids testing this and throwing a bunch of earthworms in a pond...  The puzzle there wasn't really hard, just required some trying since there is a fish that you can't really see.

Extremely short.

Lots of translation and wording issues. Skills in the wrong language... Text in the wrong language, choices in the wrong language...

The language select should have been before the title screen, not after. Or part of the title screen.

Would have been nice to have more information about each character before choosing them.

Some characters have both specials and magic, but only use one.

MP Drain doesn't work.

Using the inn effectively freezes the game because you disappear and never reappear.

Inn animation is a bit off.

You can open the menu before selecting your party.

Menu button is glitchy, it sometimes takes several tries to close the menu.

If you select a character in your party, it pushes the selection screen down.

Slash uses both MP and PT(?) TP(?), but doesn't mention this.

You can basically get a wipe really easily if you end up picking Ryuu, Wilmur, Hibari, and Midia because an enemy poisons and you only have 5 antidotes. Even with the red/white mages, they can't regenerate MP, so you can end up dying due to poison (poison can leave you at 1 hp in the field map, the mushrooms can poison your entire team, and then you can end up dying to a forced encounter).

There is no healing in the first area, so you kind of have to rush the boss fairly early. 

Breaks at the end. You named a file wrong so it breaks there. The judges have been willing to rename files, so no idea if they did that or not.

Lots of incorrect spelling to the point where I don't know if it is on purpose or not.

The boss can negate one or possibly two of the ults you can get, so really only one of the ults is even worth getting.

The 40 cost heal is a bit painful at the start of the game.

I left the sandwich, but can't give it to the first boss?

Guard seems kind of useless if you don't have one of the speed rings since it takes too long? (Not sure if it actually increases your defense though).

I feel like I cheesed the warlock fight since I just killed him and ignored the adds and he seemed weak to the shotgun.

I don't think I ever saw the counter magic work.

Final Boss wasn't affected by wires?

Shocking rays seems pretty weak, although it does have a low cost.

City background/Parallax seems a bit too realistic and looks a bit out of place. Also, you know who has it, so wouldn't their base be a pretty obvious location?

You don't use the star crown?

After the Final Boss, the room is fine. Also, if the Final Boss managed to sneak into the room unnoticed and without damaging anything, wouldn't it be risky to leave the crown there?

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Some interesting things, but definitely buggy.

I had the UI just glitch out multiple times.

The last two? bosses basically require you to use a specific bomb.

The game tells you to click on the screen. Doesn't tell you that you have to click on one side or another. Needs a dividing barrier and a confirmation option. Also, give us a save menu before the selection so we can go back and select the other option.

The keyboard controlled option honestly felt like the weaker option, but the mouse controlled option is sort of buggy. The ship doesn't automatically connect to the mouse and if you move the mouse off the window, the ship stops tracking completely. This can be extremely frustrating.

For the mouse controls, instead of having a loose mouse, you could instead have it so that the game pauses with instructions until you connect the ship with the mouse. Or autoconnect it and have it at the mouse position from the start. Also, when using mouse controls, you want the mouse to be captured in the window during fights at least so that the player doesn't end up clicking outside the screen and end up switching windows mid-fight.

Projectiles honestly move a bit too fast for this sort of game. With danmaku games, there are enough bullets and usually some clear indicator of where the bullets will come from (either the boss or some obvious guns). Here, it wasn't so clear and the bullets were sometimes offset. This makes hits feel cheap sometimes.

Blitz does not work completely correctly as it only lasts 15 frames (1/4th of a second), but it has a slight delay before it activates. That means you can trigger it, get hit, then the animation displays and it activates.

Try to avoid same color projectiles as the background. Green on Green, Green on Red, Red on Red, Red on Green. These are some bad projectile colors. What would be better would be multiple colors or a different color outline. This makes projectiles visible so that it doesn't feel cheap when you miss or get hit. For the final boss, instead of solid circles that may be invisible to colorblind people, add in an outline, some shading/coloration, and maybe have each circle be three colors that spin instead of one.

Add a replay option to get a higher score for the missing bonus points.

Show us what enemy we would fight when we select an area. Think of how Rockman does it with showing you the enemy itself instead of the area.

You have two invisible planets.

HP indicator would be nice. See Touhou.

Honestly, some of the controls are pretty bad. You have to press a button that isn't in a good position to activate some effect. UI for example. Not close to ZXC or the arrow keys or WASD.

While Rockman makes it so that each boss has a special or two that kind of counters them, in general, you want all specials to be viable unless you are going to show us what enemy we are fighting so we can better know what to expect (which is sort of how Rockman handles it).

I can definitely feel the hatred for your players. I'm just imagining you shouting at some player: My name is Screenfaulty. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Guard doesn't sound all that great when you start, but it is one of the few choices that really allow you to start the game with gear - something you don't find out unless you try to return after entering floor 2.

Really fast default scroll speed for the initial text instead of a slower speed with an option for the player to skip. There is a fast forward option already.

The cabinet in the wall looks a bit weird. (So does the clock, but at least that one doesn't look as weird.

0 cost ring is actually pretty nice.

You just lift up and put out the fires.

The entrance is not intuitive. You have to hit it at least twice with your player for it to work, this means if you hit it once and try to action button it, nothing happens. You have to hit it a second time.

The boulders move so slowly. The chest there is bugged and locks the game if opened.

The boulders don't move as expected. They get stuck.

Chest just flutters a bit after you activate it. Then you have a chest that flies off?

Super annoying invisible wall maze with no real clues. Not fun. This isn't even intuitive like most invisible wall mazes since usually those have some sort of clue or at least the branches are at stopping points or there is some sort of clue.

Poison with no antidote drops or antidote skill?

Really annoying teleportation maze that doesn't make it easy to navigate. (Even Natsume's Yamabuki Gym at least gave you solid references so you had an idea of where you were and was nowhere near as annoying.) No real references so you can't really tell where you are. Add some icons and some way for the player to look around to find reference points.

Once you go past floor 1, you cannot return to town. Floor 4, you can't even return to floor 3.

You can walk off the map on floor 4. Floor 4 is stupidly slow movement for no reason.

Floor 5's boss is just unfair. Stunlock.

And this is on the new version.