RMMZ Amarok's Howl

Beregon

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This game has been created over about two weeks (from 16th of October to the 31th of October) for the Spooktober Spooktacular Game Jam and the Kill the Cutie event.

Synopsis:


A number of students from Johan Winter's Academy in Alaska have decided to spend the winter break on the university campus instead of returning home for the holidays. Christmas is at hand and the remaining students and faculty members are making preparations for the celebration.

You play as Alistair Morgan, the Resident Advisor to the other students and an heir to a sizeable fortune. He has a strained relationship with his father, who disapproves of his choice to study at a less prestigious school far away instead of following the family tradition. Alistair hopes to simply spend some time with his girlfriend, Natalia, as well as his friends instead of suffering another Christmas celebration with his demanding family. And as everyone joins in the celebrations, he does too. Unfortunaly, it won't be as simple as he hopes. And as everything goes wrong at once, it will be up to him to rescue his friends, while monsters stalk the hallways.

The game features monsters patrolling the different areas of the school, triggering a chase if they spot the player. Monsters have a different detection radius depending on whether the player character is currently running, walking or standing as well as depending on the direction the monster is facing. There is also a cold weather system, which triggers a game over if Alistair spends too long outside in the freezing cold. The positions of the different characters you need to rescue are also random, adding some replayability. If you trigger a Game Over, you can press Enter to skip the long Game Over animation.

Images:

Campus.pngDormsChase.pngChase2.pngTitleScreen1.pngPrologue.png


Download Link:

RPGmaker.net Page: Amarok's Howl
 
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Beregon

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@Rubescen

Thanks for playing my game! Really appreciate it, even though you skipped most of the parts you got to :D I'm posting it here, since the thread is apparently only for posting reviews.

In addition for Spooktober, this was also created for the Kill the Cutie event on RMN. Hence the intro, where it starts as a wholesome story where a few rich kids decide to help out a poor fellow student who's there on scholarship, before it turns into a horror movie. I agree the intro might be a bit too long (I was gonna include an option to skip it, but ran out of time), though I've played games with much longer ones. Horror games in particular tend to be more slow-paced. Tbh, it takes about 3 and a half minutes to get through the intro all the way to the Christmas Party, where you first gain control, so I don't think it's THAT bad for a game.

As for the maps... well, what you saw was a dorm room and a cafeteria (plus the tunnel, I agree that one looks unfinished). It's obviously using only RTP, so it won't look very pretty. The maps are also a bit larger than they normally would be, because you need space to sneak past monsters and run away from them. But yeah, mapping is definitely the weakest part. They are designed to be more functional than pretty. You don't see much of them anyway, since there's barely any light inside the buildings.

I focused a lot on sound design, making sure the footstep sounds weren't annoying and matched the surface your character was walking on, there was wind howling, chase music etc. Probably not great, but I'd appreciate your input on that part.

I think the main issue here is that the format of the game doesn't lend itself well to these "12 minutes" quick looks, atleast if you don't care about reviewing story. I was a bit disappointed you skipped through the visual novel part. Learning about these myths is supposed to be a draw of the game, especially since they aren't well known by the general public. I figured that knowing the one that's relevant to the game would be something that would help the player get invested, especially since it's not long.

As for the battlescreen, tbh. I think it looks better this way, especially since you also have a chance to fight back and escape without taking damage. Also, they have a headmaster, because it's supposed to be a private school with some history (though that I agree that title is mostly used on secondary education level or college-prep schools in the USA). I guess I should have just had Dean, but I was worried people would just think his first name is Dean. :D And both President Winter and Chancellor Winter seemed too silly. I originally had President, but changed it.

You also skipped all the tutorials. After he wakes up in the Doctor's Office, he also gets a short tutorial and a book that you can read for a longer one, if you want. The game has a cold meter (meaning, if you spend too long outside in the blizzard, you get a game over) and an element of randomization, in addition to patrolling enemies with different detection rates based on the player's movement and chases. You get access to (almost) the whole map after Alistair wakes up in the Doctor's Office, so it's not linear afterwards.

Maybe if you are up for revisiting this game in another video, you could start those 12 minutes again from the point you left off? Meaning, after Alistair woke up in the doctors office. That's where the true gameplay starts and I'd appreciate some feedback on it, especially since no one else reviewed my game yet. People seem mostly focused on the ones that were submitted first. I had only 2 weeks to make the game and not that much time to work on it, so it's probably pretty rough, but any feedback helps. You made a lot of good points about the other games, but when it came to mine, you mostly kept skipping the story to get to gameplay, then ended the video before you actually got to it, which was disappointing. So, there wasn't much for me to take out of it, except that maybe the intro is too long.

Anyway, thank you for the video!

Btw. you misspelled my forum name in your video description. Also, did you notice the dog in the cafeteria?
 

Rubescen

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Hey, yes. I'll definitely consider giving it a longer look once I get through the rest of the entries. I had played a lot in a row when I got to yours, so I think I had hit some burn out and the text was a bit much. So may have been harsher than it deserves. Although, I still would say breaking up the long conversations with a bit of action would help. So for example after the initial conversation between the two friends, give player control to walk around the dorm, and then head down to the tunnel, where they encounter the janitor and talk some more. Maybe add a few things of interest to see in that period, or set up the basic concepts for the later gameplay.

Some of it is just me too, I really dislike long introductions. I almost never played Persona 4 because the intro was like an hour long, and it was only because so many people emphasized how great it was that I ever bothered.

I am actually interested in learning more about the Inuit mythology, so I really do plan on going back and watching that at some point.

And yes, I saw the dog appearing sporadically on the table!

In the meantime I'll fix your name on the other post, sorry about that!
 

Rubescen

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I spent some more time checking it out and made even more video, so you can see how poorly I play:

But tl;dw I definitely enjoyed the gameplay a lot more once I read the tutorial! I also revisited the opening story, and still find it a bit too plodding, but there is a lot of cool myth in it at least.

Good work!
 

Beregon

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I spent some more time checking it out and made even more video, so you can see how poorly I play:

But tl;dw I definitely enjoyed the gameplay a lot more once I read the tutorial! I also revisited the opening story, and still find it a bit too plodding, but there is a lot of cool myth in it at least.

Good work!
Thanks a lot for taking a second look at it, almost an hour long video is much more than I expected, thanks a lot!

There actually is a hint system for where the missing people are. If you talk to Natalia, she will tell you in which building (Gym, Dorms, Cafeteria, Main Building, Library, Storehouses) every person is (presented as merely her assumptions, but they are always 100% correct). She will only tell you about the people you haven't rescued already. You can also ask Doctor Carter about them, she will tell you to ask Natalia.

As for the monsters, you are mainly supposed to run from them in the opposite direction as soon as they spot you. You can also run them around rooms, they give up pretty soon. Once the question mark icon appears above them, switch to walking, so they won't detect you again. They also patrol randomly between set locations on the map. Their detection is supposed to be more about their sense of smell and hearing. Walls should definitely affect that, but given how much time it took for me to implement this version, I thought having walls affect that too would be a bit too ambitious for a 2 weeks long project.

I agree about most everything you said. The Dorms 1F with its giant carpet is actually basically an unfinished map, I just ended up throwing a carpet and a bunch of sofas and other things there to make it seem like a huge foyer/reception hall. The reason it's as big as it is was to make the size consistent with the higher floors. There were probably better ways to go about it, but that's how it ended up.

As for the story/dialogue, I actually made all the cutscenes on the last day as I was running out of time, so it most likely shows :D

Edit: Oh, and the doctor is supposed to be very unemotional, hilariously calm person, but I don't think I had the time to convey that well. As I said, the dialogue is pretty much a first draft.

Also, if you want to know more about the plot and how it relates to the intro, well, most of it is mainly to give the player the idea of what exactly they are facing, but as for the rest:

This is pretty much a story-within-a-story kinda thing. It's a prelude to a loose adaptation of one of the legends about Amarok, which happens in the outro, with the characters from the game as participants. It's not a deep story by any means, it's pretty much just a few legends woven together.
 
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Beregon

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@Jennavieve Hi, thanks a lot for your review! Glad that you've enjoyed a lot of it!

Now, to respond:

There actually is a good chunk of the story left after you find everyone. There's another, much shorter gameplay sequence afterwards (with a slightly different mechanic) and a fairly long outro. I agree that the dialogues with each rescued person both outside and inside the doctor's office after they are rescued are a bit brief, but there's more story to be had after you complete this task.

I agree that the maps might be a bit too large, honestly, when I tested it, I had "Always Dash" on the entire time and just used shift to sneak if I needed to. I tried to make it better by including a hint system with Natalia, where if you talk to her she tells you the locations of all the people you still need to rescue, so that you know which buildings you still need to search.

Btw. all the possible spawn locations are in isolated rooms/locations that the monsters don't normally visit (at most, they peek inside, but the NPCs are hiding behind the corner/furniture etc.). Now, that doesn't mean much for the dorms, since the monster there only patrols the hallway, but it eliminates a lot of the spaces at the Gym and Main Building.

The part after you wake up in the doctor's office and before you rescue everyone is the one I made first and thus, a lot of the texts there are basically first draft/placeholders and I didn't really have much time to flesh them out. This is probably why it feels a bit disjointed from the rest, as that part was mostly gameplay-focused. Plus, I tried to keep the ones outside the doctor's office brief, since it didn't make much sense to me that they would have a long chat when they were still in danger from wandering monsters. The ones in the Doctor's Office are basically that short because the time ran out.

By the monsters "outside" being impossible to outrun, do you mean just the two that are patroling on the snowy "Campus" map? If so, I'm not really sure why they would be significantly harder to avoid than the ones inside buildings. I always thought they were easier. For one, there are only two of them on a very large map, two, you don't have limited visibility outside (except for the screen tint), so you can spot them from a mile away and worst case scenario, there's a lot of doors and exits on the map you can use to get away from them. They can't follow you to a different map, so you can just run inside a building for safety. The two on the northern side of the Gym are a bit hard to spot if you don't know they are there already, but there should be plenty of time to get to the nearest door before they catch up. You don't even really have to spend much time ouside anyway, since you can just tranverse significant parts of the map through buildings. Plus, you can save anywhere and there's autosave on every map transition. Though I agree that it's harder to get them to give up the chase on the open space outside, walls of lockers, bookshelves and desks help a lot :)

The intro is too long, I agree. Honestly, I just really wanted to include the story of Sedna and the other parts of Inuit mythology, since it's pretty obscure and relevant to the game. The intro was supposed to be interactive, so that you can wander around the campus at day and get a feel for it before the rescue part and get the lore at your own pace by talking to NPCs/reading books etc, but it took me too long to implement the monster detection system and I didn't have much time to do that part justice as I originally envisioned it. So I ended up including the most necessary bits in one intro part with a break in the middle and the pacing suffered a bit. I wanted to include the Sedna legend, since the monsters that are supposed to be chasing you are from that legends (well, not an accurate representation because RTP, but close enough).

As for combining the two legends, I actually found a few versions where they are combined into one, though I agree that the "bird husband" part could have been left out as it doesn't really have much relevance. I actually made most of the dialogues and cutscenes during the last day of the Game Jam and it certainly shows in places. Tbh, the dog part and the bird part were originally supposed to be told as two separate legends like most of the versions, but again, lack of time made me switch to a combined version (even though the ending is really the only thing needed from the second one). I was probably a bit too ambitious, the fact that I've learned about the Jam almost a week after it already began didn't help much either.

Anyway, thanks a lot for the review! Hope you decide to finish the game someday (assuming you haven't already done so). If you are missing a few people and just want to see the ending, you can just tell me who you are missing and I can tell you the exact place where they can spawn. Each person has only a few possible locations and they are always in a particular building, the only thing that changes is the room/floor they are in.
 

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