A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky

Housekeeping

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A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky is my labor of love.  I'm not a visual artist, so I used Face Maker for the character portraits, the rmvx sprite maker from the company's website, and the battlers/backgrounds/tile sets all came from the program.  However, I have a lot of experience writing, and I've focused most of my energy on character development and storytelling.  I've also been playing guitar for about ten years now, so all of the music is original.  I have very little experience coding, so I just tweaked a few of the formulas--the experience curve is more natural, the encounter rate now has a minimum number of steps so you don't walk three paces and get in a battle again, and the damage/healing skills are percentage based and scale higher than 200 percent.  I think those are the only script adjustments I made, so everything else is stock.  However, I squeezed as much as I could within the bounds of the program, and I'm pretty proud of my event editing.  I've always felt that a good storyline is the key to a good rpg, and if you feel the same way, then this game is for you.

Plot Synopsis/World Overview:

Ivy and Mint are two sisters who live in a house that sits in a crevice of a ravine.  The only other person they've ever met is their father, who takes care of them by climbing the long rope that goes up the impossibly deep ravine and disappears into the sky, returning with food and supplies strapped to his back.  However, their father grows sick and fatigued, and when he dies, Ivy and Mint have to learn how to care for themselves, which means climbing the long rope.  What they find up there is a world they never could have imagined.  As they explore this new world, they'll learn about its history, meet new friends and enemies, have their own relationship tested, and learn about why they lived at the bottom of the very long rope.  A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky is, at its core, a game about the bond between sisters, but it also tackles themes such as the effects and causes of isolation, religion, discrimination, and class warfare.
Characters:

Ivy is the primary protagonist.  She's introverted, withdrawn, and cynical at times.  Though she doesn't always vocalize her thoughts, she's a caring person who loves her sister more than anything.  Ivy has grown up in a very harsh world and she's always had to look after her sister, so she is quite strong despite being only fourteen at the start of the story.


Mint is Ivy's sister (younger by two years).  Unlike Ivy, Mint has an optimistic, outgoing personality, and she sees beauty in every part of the world.  Mint doesn't mind having a fun time or helping people in need, even if this means putting herself in danger.  While Ivy is strong, Mint suffers from a life-long illness that makes her quick to fatigue, so she often has to rely on Ivy to pick up her slack, but she always puts everything into whatever she does.
Screenshots:






















Features:
-Classic but fine-tuned battle system
-Original music
-Character-centric storyline
-60+ hours of gameplay
-Different equipment sets that modify the ways characters play
-A crafting system featuring over 100 pieces of unique equipment
-LOTS of side quests
-Puzzles that spice up dungeon design
-Recruit an odd assortment of townspeople and pass legislation to develop your own village
-Raise a pig to compete in the Pig Arena and win prizes
-New game+ feature that includes multiple bonus endings--a mechanic I blatantly stole from Chrono Trigger

And, finally, here's the game itself:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/14fgl611xhb52ku/A...20the%20Sky.exe

And my rpgmaker.net page:

http://rpgmaker.net/games/5762/

Disclaimer: This game does contain cursing and there is some minor sexually suggestive dialogue.  Religion is critiqued to a degree, but the religion depicted in the game has no direct correlation with any actual religions, though some parallels are inevitable.

While this is my first post on this forum, I've been posting on rpgmakervx.com.  Here's the game's thread on that website: http://www.rpgmakervx.net/index.php?showtopic=59552&st=0

I hope lots of people will play and enjoy the game!
 
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Dalph

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I've always felt that a good storyline is the key to a good rpg, and if you feel the same way, then this game is for you.
My thoughts exactly, storyline always comes before everything.

I will try it, the concept is nice and the storyline interesting enough.
 
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vision_bond

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The plot synopsis sounds really interesting.

Definitely will try your game.

Oh my... 60+ hours of gameplay!

Is this for real? That's unusual on a rpg maker game.

How much time it took you to finish it?

And just a little suggestion on the title.

Maybe, "A long rope to the sky" would work better than the actual title.

It's just my humble opinion, but yours it is quite large, and for some reason when I try to remember it, i keep thinking simply of "A long rope to the sky".

Maybe like that the final consumer will remember it better.

Iet me try your game and I will give you my opinion about it.
 
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Housekeeping

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It took me about a year and a half of consistent work to get a fully playable game, but I've been tinkering with it for another half a year or so to get it more polished.  I'm still taking suggestions, actually, and I'll update the game every month or so (or sooner if a major glitch is spotted).  The title is something I struggled with for a while, but I think I'm happy with the cadence of the current one.  I have faith enough in the consumer to remember it all, even if they don't all like it.

The game time has a lot of variance depending on what you get from it.  The normal story is about 40 hours when you know what you're doing, but when you factor in all the other stuff it can get a lot longer.  My first full play through was about 80 hours, but I made a lot of the dungeons more concise, and my latest one was around 60.
 

vision_bond

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Hello. Here are some of my thoughts on the game.

*I like the contrast between the sisters personalities. It's interesting read their conversations. If all the characters and dialogues are like this. It will be a really good adventure.
*One element of every game that is very notorious, is the mapping.
In this case I don't think that it's bad, the maps are functional and they flow in a natural way, and I didn't find any problems with pasability or any other glitch. But I think that it needs to be improved in the visual aspect. For example, a basic detail that is neglected: the floor on the cave. It is made with a tile that one normally would use as a detail, not for the entire floor.
Another recommendation, if it's a cave, why not use the "Tint screen" option to give it a darker tone. The light inside the cave normally should not be the same as the outside.
*The puzzles in the first cave are, a little repetitive, but functional.
I really disliked the  last puzzle with several doors and signs with riddles. It is not bad by any means, on the contrary. But it is not my type of puzzle. In the end, for me, it was just a matter of trial and error, pushing one switch at a time until I found the exit. Maybe you should take in consideration that not everyone likes those kind of puzzles. One thing that I do consider a mistake, is the arrange of the switches and the doors. It becomes tedious really quick having to go from one room to another, even if you're not like me that just guessed the right one, and put some thought on the answer. If you make a mistake you still have to come back to check the switches again. The essence of the puzzle will have remained the same if the switches were in the same room as the doors. And one more thing. This is just a matter of taste, but I do prefer my puzzle rooms without battles, they are a really annoying distraction.

It was a really fun twist that the spring had a skeleton on it. The way the characters reacted was really funny. Again, good writing.
*You say that the music is original? In that case, good job! I like it. It sets the mood very well.

*The battles are really basic for my taste, but again, it's really subjective.
One thing though. The Chimera is a son of a bi***! It strikes first, uses double attack, stun, poison, and if that's not enough it evades 2 out of 3 attacks! What.the.hell? I really suggest to lower its stats. It is after all only the first boss. I don't want to imagine how difficult the last one is...*I'm writing this as I'm playing the game.

-Good scene when they are climbing the rope, one can feel how long it took them to climb up.

-Really good plot about winged people, their religion, and all that involves the family.
-"Their sacrifice was not in vain" Hahahahaha really good.
So, after an hour of playing, I'm already invested in the story. It's really interesting. The writing is top-notch.

For now I'm done, but I will play more of it tomorrow.
 

Housekeeping

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Glad you're enjoying it so far!  And, man, thanks for all of the notes. 
 

Kaiju Master

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downloaded this game the other night and haven't gotten too far into it but I must say the story is progressing nicely.
 

Marillon

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I downloaded this game about a week ago, and I must say it's really great! The characters and story are interesting and the gameplay is fun.

For a little while I've been stuck on the part where:

You fight Rutger and his guards in that place where god is supposed to be. Everytime I try to fight him, he seems to knock out my party in about four turns.
 

Housekeeping

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I downloaded this game about a week ago, and I must say it's really great! The characters and story are interesting and the gameplay is fun.

For a little while I've been stuck on the part where:

You fight Rutger and his guards in that place where god is supposed to be. Everytime I try to fight him, he seems to knock out my party in about four turns.
First off--glad you're liking it so far!  That's definitely the most challenging fight by that point in the game.  Here's a little advice:

-In the timed area prior to the fight, you can get a new bow and staff that might give you that little edge in your damage/healing capabilities.-Killing one of Rutger's guards will cause him to boost his defense; the other will boost his attack.  These effects only last for three turns, so if you kill the defensive guard, then the offensive guard (or, ideally, both at the same time), then you just have to go on the defensive for three turns.  Then it's just an unbuffed Rutger by himself, which should be manageable.

-Make sure Mint has high spirit gear so she can be a more competent healer.

-Leif's buffs are your friend.

-I haven't personally tried this, but his guards aren't immune to status effects--though they do have "D" class resistance.
Good luck, and I hope you continue enjoying it!
 

WoopAhhh

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I've only played a few minutes of it, but I LOVE the game. It has a good story and keeps me interested. I enjoy the game-play. And I loved the intro. Good job!
 

Shadowfire

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It looks good im gonna give it a go i like long games they are always good so this sounds fun.
 

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I've only played for about 20 minutes ._., and I'm having some trouble.

In the cave, I'm pretty much dead from beating up bats and rats and slime in preparation for the Chimera >> That is killing me. Is there any way to heal besides Mint's skill? I can't really train due to low health or poison, and herbs aren't showing up very frequently.
It's a really nice and seemingly smooth game, and I'd love to continue playing it. c:
 

Housekeeping

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I've only played for about 20 minutes ._., and I'm having some trouble.

In the cave, I'm pretty much dead from beating up bats and rats and slime in preparation for the Chimera >> That is killing me. Is there any way to heal besides Mint's skill? I can't really train due to low health or poison, and herbs aren't showing up very frequently.
It's a really nice and seemingly smooth game, and I'd love to continue playing it. c:
Yep: you can heal by drinking from the spring in the first room and then a spring later in the dungeon before the boss. 
 

banshee337

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Oh, I'm dumb. I didn't even try .-. Thanks!
 

Housekeeping

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Just a quick bump: I've made quite a few updates to this.  There hasn't been anything entirely game-changing, but some of the puzzles have gotten nerfed (including the boulder puzzle), there's a second battle theme that plays after a certain point in the story, and players now have the option to retry boss battles at full health.  There have been a number of minor edits as well.
 

mlogan

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So I had to download and I have to say I'm hooked.  I'm not going to lie - I HATE the save system.  I am mom and that means I get to play in 5-10 minute bursts before finding socks/doing dishes/feeding children/wiping little butts, etc.  There have been several times I've had to abandon a long portion I've made progress on, only to have to redo it because of the save system.  Or in the case of the caves, having sprint all the way back to the entrance just to save was frustrating.  I realize that games do this to make them more challenging, but when my game playing time is so limited, I like to make the most of it - not have to repeat five times the portions I've already been through.  Not that I necessarily expect you to change it because of me, it's just something to think about for all developers - not everyone can sit down for an hour or more at a time to play a game.

Oh, I'm dumb. I didn't even try .-. Thanks!
I didn't get that part either.  I saw this and that's how I knew.  Looking back, I see how it hints at it in the dialogue, but it might be helpful to make it a bit more obvious - like when Mint gave Ivy the tip about running.

So far though, I am hooked!
 

Housekeeping

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Yeah, good point about saving, mlogan.  Unfortunately, I can't change it for this game, as I've built it with save points in mind.  Without getting into TOO much detail, there are things like events that are set to invisible upon entering rooms, so if you were to save in certain rooms, all of a sudden if you load you might see an intangible Mint hanging around.  In future projects, though, I'll definitely aim for allowing saving anywhere. 

Also, at some point, I added a sign by that first save point that explicitly states that you can save on the world map, so the most current version should hopefully clear that up. 

I'm glad you're enjoying it, though!
 

mlogan

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I understand you can't change it this time.  And yes, I did see you can save on the world map.  However, as an example, I spent a good bit of time (20 - 30 min) working my way through the first forest (I get easily lost on big maps) and needed to stop.  I finally got to Richard's and thought "Yay, I can save" but there was no save and, that I could tell, no way to get to the main map.  So now I'm going to have to try to work back through the forest and see how long it will take to save after that.  And really, I want to play this game through, but if it requires those kinds of time chunks, I don't know that I will be able to.
 

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I understand you can't change it this time.  And yes, I did see you can save on the world map.  However, as an example, I spent a good bit of time (20 - 30 min) working my way through the first forest (I get easily lost on big maps) and needed to stop.  I finally got to Richard's and thought "Yay, I can save" but there was no save and, that I could tell, no way to get to the main map.  So now I'm going to have to try to work back through the forest and see how long it will take to save after that.  And really, I want to play this game through, but if it requires those kinds of time chunks, I don't know that I will be able to.
You're going to kick yourself when you see how close you were to a save point.

Edit: Also, is pausing not an option?  I remember leaving Final Fantasy 2 on over night when my parents made me go to bed.  I hope that doesn't come off as insulting--I just don't want to lose a player!
 
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Housekeeping

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Sorry for the double post, but someone over at rpgmaker.net ran into a game-breaking glitch, so I just wanted to alert anyone who downloaded the previous update.  I've fixed the issue, but you'll have to download the most recent version and move your save file over.  Both the Dropbox and rpgmaker.net links are up to date now.  Sorry for the inconvenience!

 

 

 
 
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