Naah, I checked with Maisy, I'm definitely right ;)
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So, I'm in the UK, and I go to purchase a game. I'm asked to confirm my home address for EU VAT purposes, which I do.
I'm then told, "Sorry, we can't accept your purchase at this time due to the updated 2015 VAT regulations. Your billing address does not match your purchase location (DE)."
First point, you're putting far too much faith in geolocation. It's not an accurate thing and in this case is wildly wrong by hundreds of km. I'm nowhere *near* Germany.
Secondly, why should it even matter? Are people not allowed to make purchases while away from home on holiday or business?
Backgrounds wise... while I can see the attraction in having hand drawn backgrounds that match the style of the artwork, I'm also inclined to think it would probably be a mistake to go down that route. Not because it would look terrible, not at all - but because it would take so much work (and time and budget) to create the sheer number of backgrounds that will be needed to portray the world our characters live in. And.. we have such human feeling characters, who live in what's pretty much the real world. Why not take advantage of the fact it exists (and that you more or less live in the same neighborhood as them)? Focus resources on unique signature pieces like Jayda's exhibition artwork, or additional sprite variations - and relish the opportunity and flexibility that you have in more-or-less living where the characters live.
Would the story work nicely if they could visit a particular location that doesn't already have a background, but they'll only visit it once? No problem! A photo may take mere moments out of your day to take a snap which will set the scene perfectly.
All that said, I do also favour lightly filtering the images, as Katawa Shoujo did; I think it takes the edge off the character/background contrast nicely. While Who Framed Roger Rabbit? in particular was amazing, that was all about toon characters in our real world; our darlings are very real characters in a real world, so I don't think we need so much contrast in style between the two.
And I should say that I'm really happy to have found LoveSick Darlings at this relatively early stage in its development; I completely agree about how much better a tale is when characters exist and interact with each other, and continue to do so even if the protagonist is pursuing a particular character's "route" (which I think has really let some of the "big name" visual novels down, too). And so I'm delighted to be able to help out behind the scenes doing time-consuming things like hunting down stray typos, which will allow Dimitri all the more time to truly develop the story and its characters. Meaning that in the end, we all hopefully get to read a better story, sooner (because let's be honest, it can't arrive soon enough).
The characters are adorable.
The artwork's adorable.
The story's - you guessed it - adorable.
On top of that, it's been well written on a technical level - apostrophes are where they should be, no odd mistakes with tenses, and it all reads pleasantly and naturally.
It's a very sweet and heart-warming few hours in the lives of two genuine-feeling girls, the sort of girls you might meet anywhere... like, well... on a random train journey!
Honestly, the only real flaw is that it is pretty short (in fairness, the novel's page does mention it's a short read); that said even that is understandable when it's a solo creator dipping her feet into the waters of crafting visual novels, and I'd like to heartily encourage her to write more.
Quick question though, is there a good way to send you notes other than posting long rambling comments here?
Darned if I can see a way to send a direct message here, and it doesn't look like your twitter accepts DMs either!
Okay, so, to start with - the presentation is stellar. The artwork's lovely, animations give the sprites life, camera work is great, the music's wonderful... there's a lot to like here.
The worldbuilding's also wonderfully done; you've brewed up an interesting world here!
However, the writing could definitely use being run past a native English speaker or two for proofreading, as there are quite a lot of minor issues; not enough to make it unreadable, but they definitely detract given the quality of the other aspects of the visual novel!
* Capitalisation can be a little random seeming; take arabica/Arabica and robusta/Robusta. For the most part, the text seems to treat them as ordinary nouns (thus lower case when not at the start of a sentence), but then the Arabica and Robusta song is mentioned, and in the song's lyrics, they're capitalised in the first verse, and then not capitalised in the last. For what it's worth, it seems commoner to refer to them as Arabica and Robusta, so I'd suggest standardising on that all the way through
* Inconsistent tenses - "I sigh a breathe of relief after this was all over." 'sigh' is present tense, but 'was' is past tense, and you don't want to mix the two in a sentence. You also have breathe (a verb) where you want breath (a noun) here. As the story's generally told in the present tense, a better sentence here would be something like "I sigh a breath of relief as we finish the work."
* "City Of Victoria" and "Coffee Capital Of The World" - while not strictly wrong, convention is to not capitalise words like 'of' and 'the' (eg "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" or "United States of America"), so those would be better as "City of Victoria" and "Coffee Capital of the World".
* "Victoria became the rulers of the Eastern Seas" - there's only one Victoria, so the "ruler" not "rulers"!
* "stomache" repeatedly - it's "stomach" :)
Hopefully you get the idea - it's mostly minor things, but they feel surprising when everything else is so polished!
Yep, I skimmed over both, and noticed the Steam one lets you hide things with spoiler blocks too, so things like the identity of the 'green route' remain hidden unless you specifically mouseover - neatly done!
Basically, a VN this good deserved an equally good walkthrough, and you delivered in style - if you were to equate it to a hand of cards, it's probably like being dealt all kings ;)