RMMV Dragon's Hope (Chapter 1 released!)

Discussion in 'Games In Development' started by Phenax, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Phenax

    Phenax Veteran Veteran

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    About Dragon's Hope


    Dragon's Hope is a game about a young dragon who is trying to save the life of his mother. The game features all kinds of puzzles and challenges, a touching story, a relaxing atmosphere, humorous dialogues and a high quality guidebook for the player.

    You're playing the young dragon, Damian, whose mother gets badly injured by a human dragon slayer. There doesn't seem to be much hope for Damian's mother until his best friend, Theo the raccoon, comes up with an idea and sends Damian off on an epic puzzle-adventure in hopes of saving his mother.

    Dragon's Hope features:

    • A touching story split into four different chapters
    • Dozens of puzzles and other challenges
    • A fancy player's guidebook in PDF format
    • Humorous and cute dialogues
    • A relaxing and beautiful 2D world
    • Immersive music and worldbuilding

    Depending on your puzzling skills and ability to beat the challenges, the game offers 8 to 10 hours of gameplay with many of the puzzles and challenges being repeatable even after the story line has concluded.

    Types of puzzles and challenges:

    • Various quests and minigames
    • Logic and memory puzzles
    • Jump & run races
    • Patrol dodging
    • Quizzes and more!

    The game takes place in a peaceful setting with no combat involved. The player's guidebook that comes for free with the game makes sure to assist players on their adventure in case they wish to seek immediate help.

    Screenshots
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    Play Chapter 1 Now!

    You can download Chapter 1 for free here.

    The first chapter of Dragon's Hope features:

    • Introduction to the story
    • A total of 19 quests and challenges
    • A fancy player's guidebook in PDF format
    • Humorous and cute dialogues
    • A relaxing and beautiful 2D world
    • Immersive music and worldbuilding
    Depending on your puzzling skills and ability to beat the challenges, the game offers about 2 hours of gameplay with some of the puzzles and challenges being repeatable.

    Types of puzzles and challenges:

    • Various quests and minigames
    • Logic and memory puzzles
    • Patrol dodging
    • A quiz and more!
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
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  2. Phenax

    Phenax Veteran Veteran

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    Beta Version 1.1.0 is out, we made quite some additions and fixes:

    - Added a Quest Log that shows the single steps the player has to perform in case he or she rushed through the dialogue and doesn't know what to do or hasn't played for a while. Also this will allow for less linear quests in the following chapters of the game.

    - The game now frequently autosaves into autosave slot 5. The game does this at each map transfer, preventing the player from getting stuck in any puzzles.

    - Added some dialogues.

    - Adjusted some existing dialogues.

    - Visually overhauled the cave ceilings and fixed a problem where the overlay for them wouldn't show up.

    - Fixed the respawn rate of the mushrooms in level 5 of the ice cave.

    - Removed the categories "Weapon", "Armour" and "Key Item" from the items tab as they are not needed for the game.

    - Added some additional movement restrictions for wild animals to stop them from standing in weird places/blocking the player from moving.

    - Fixed that the bunny still shows up in the inventory after releasing it.

    If anyone would be willing to playtest the game and provide feedback that would be highly appreciated!
     
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  3. Phenax

    Phenax Veteran Veteran

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    Alright, so we had to do a lot of work on the tileset for the outside maps of chapter two. Due to this we unfortunately didn't get to work a lot on the maps themselves, here's a sneak peak however:



    It would be awesome to have some people test the Demo.
     
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  4. Alastor01

    Alastor01 Veteran Veteran

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    Your maps are top notch! These tiles, overlays, animations and mapping add lots of liveliness :) And sounds
     
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  5. Neo Soul Gamer

    Neo Soul Gamer Veteran Veteran

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    Hey there @Phenax !

    I just started a YouTube channel where I give First Impressions of people's games and also try to give in-depth feedback on the improvements they can make. I'll be uploading a video of my playthrough shortly. I figured I'd leave you with some early feedback while that video is processing. The following comments are taken directly from the description of the video where I offer a summary, pros and cons, and some suggestions:

    The game's overall presentation is actually pretty good, and the mapping is great. Though, without any battles or leveling up of any kind, I think it's important for games like these to have a great story. Unfortunately, this where the game falls short, in my opinion. I didn't find the story or the characters interesting enough to really want to continue past the first puzzle. I do see a LOT of potential here, though. It's definitely a game that can become very good with a few improvements.

    I think it'd be great to have all the NPC animals talk. By giving them some flavor text, you create a much more immersive world for the player to dig into. The possibilities here are endless.

    You can talk about how many different humans your mother had to fight off while detailing specific battles.
    You can talk about how the animals have been annoyed by the Racoon's experiments.
    You can establish more personality with Damian by having the animals make fun of him, fear him, admire him, etc.
    Instead of having a simple fetch quest for mushrooms, maybe retrieve items from the animals instead, and have them talk about how they owe Damian a favor for having saved them in the past.
    Maybe even take it a step further and have Choice dialogue for Damian so that the player can create their own personality.

    I can go on and on. But my point is, there's a missed opportunity with those animals. They're in the game, so why not use them to your advantage? Hopefully this feedback helps, and I really hope you continue working on this! All the best!

     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
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  6. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I thought I would give the demo a go, but sadly, despite my laptop being well over the minimum requirements for MV, when it got to displaying dialogue, the FPS dropped to 2-3, effectively making it unplayable for me.

    I do, though, have one tiny bit of feedback. The first SE I heard was the default accept metallic ping. I think it can really help to have something different for those SEs that are used a lot - accept, cancel, the usual. That is because the player will hear those hundreds of times in your game, and if they have played a few MV games already, then the number of times they have heard them will already be up in the thousands. SEs are, imo, the most commonly overlooked aspect of a game. You've gone to a huge amount of effort on things like mapping, it would be nice if you just polished this off by finding something else for those regular sounds.
     
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  7. Phenax

    Phenax Veteran Veteran

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    @Neo Soul Gamer We highly appreciate your efforts of making a review in video format. Some of your feedback will lead to direct changes in the game, like the bunny blocking the path (we aren't too sure about the squirrel since the path it's blocking isn't really interesting and the player can see that without going there). We were very hyped to watch your video and actually visually seeing someone play our game, thank you for that.

    Lamentably we were getting increasingly disturbed by the way you did the review as we were watching more and more of it. Yes, the bunny is blocking the path and it needs to be fixed with Yanfly's region restrictions. We are already using region restrictions which could have been noticed by yourself since we have animals that could potentially hardlock the game by walking into the opening cutscene but they are not since there are restrictions. Here's a screenshot of our map exactly the way you experienced it. We completely agree that this needs refining and it was important you pointed it out, however you pointed it our multiple times for no reason.

    We also agree that fetch quests are generally not that exciting. However, the two fetch quests at the start of the game do serve a purpose in our opinion. Also they are quickly done. The purpose of the first fetch quest is for the player to feel more of a connection to the mother. Like you said in the video the player doesn't learn enough about the mother and interact enough with her to really care about saving her and this was an effort to improve on this. We also hope that once we have a proper sprite for the mother (yes, this is a placeholder) and even more importantly a face for her, that this will already help a lot to feel more of a connection to the mother. If it's still not enough then we will have to get very creative.

    The mushrooms the player collects for Theo will later lead to a recipe for a useful potion for the player. With that fetch quest the player learns that he can collect some of the game's fauna and also since he needs to collect 10 of each many players will open the inventory to check how many they got and that way they will notice that there's a quest log. They will not really need a quest log earlier in the game. We disagree with making the game tell the player "hey here's a quest log" or generally "here's how you do x or y". We believe this is immersion-breaking. We want the game to explain itself.

    This was the point where we were getting rather disturbed with your review. It really doesn't take a lot of time to do this fetch quest as there are plenty of mushrooms all across the map and one can pick them up on the side while looking for the achillei. Instead of just doing the quest you were running around randomly on the map lamenting about how much you dislike this quest, not really adding anything new and also not progressing the quest. We have gotten quite some written feedback and none of them complained about the two quick fetch quests. When I play a game and I have to do a fetch quest I'm generally not extremely excited, but it will also not lead to me ragequitting. And despite it's simplicity there's still a bit of sense of achievement. Your comment on how you should be doing this off-screen was, in our opinion, simply inappropriate since this quest really doesn't take that long, you just decided yourself that it does since most of the time you weren't doing anything that would contribute to the completion of the quest.

    Our game is a puzzle-game and it is to be reviewed as such. We are certainly not going to make the first puzzle optional. Remembering 8 to be honest is not /that/ easy when somebody is very tired or just generally isn't that good at short term memory things. But players always have the option to grab a piece of paper or open the editor and cheat. For more challenging puzzles that aren't optional the player can always use the "help" command in the title of the game where he will be lead to a document with all of the solutions or something similar (this isn't done yet). Yes, the crystals are being lit up fairly slowly but this certainly isn't to artificially add playtime, but to give the player a chance to remember the sequence.

    We are grateful you did the review since it does include quite some fair points but after all you quit it right before getting to the meat of the game (the first puzzle-dungeon) which was frustrating to watch. Your finishing point was "...some people just don't like puzzles". Which is why they will not download the game in the first place since it's a puzzle game and it's described and categorised as such. It's pretty much like reviwing a racing game and saying that all of the races should be optional since some people don't enjoy races. We are not gonna create a game that trys to please everyone since that's impossible. We want to have a challenging puzzle game with a story that gives the player additional entertainment and an incentive to play through it. Some people would play a puzzle game that doesn't even have any sort of story simply because they enjoy solving puzzles. This is not to justify a bad story, but to show that what exists is exactly what a specific group of players wants.

    @Kes We're sorry the game wasn't really working for you. Were you playing on Mac or Linux? The menu sound effects are a great point since they do sound quite rtp and it wouldn't take a lot of time to change this. There's a lot of value here comparing time spent and result, thank you.

    We're sorry for the late responses. We were out for some days and didn't have time and access to a computer. This also means that there was no progress on the game. For the next 10 days however I have plenty of time to work on the game and there will be a lot of improvements and new things added to the game. A very productive period of time should be ahead.
     
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  8. Neo Soul Gamer

    Neo Soul Gamer Veteran Veteran

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    Sadly, this is the nature of doing LP videos. I'll apologize for upsetting/disturbing you, as that wasn't my intention. My goal here is to help. Also, these reviews aren't only for the developer whose game is being showcased. They're meant to help other viewers avoid mistakes such as the one I pointed out. The reason why I make the same observation multiple times during a video is because quite often, people are doing other things while watching these kind of videos and may miss certain tips on how to solve issues that arise. Some of these issues can also surface in different ways throughout the game. To me, I was simply making an observation. It wasn't meant as a dig at your game. Again, my apologies if you took it that way. I would hope that the following response to your comments would help you understand that I really am trying to help.

    I won't disagree that the fetch quests serve a purpose. My point is there are much more exciting ways to serve that purpose. Based on the fact that you agree with my sentiments about fetch quests in general, I think it's safe to say that there's something else/more that could be done to maximize that opportunity and captivate the player with some deep interaction between the mother and son. It's important that you create a connection. In my opinion, you didn't do a great job of that. We can agree to disagree here, but I'll explain my stance in detail.

    The reason why I don't believe that this fetch quest provides sufficient interaction is because there really isn't much going on. The interactions are quick and lack detail. It can literally be summed up as:

    Boy: "Are you hurt mom?"
    Mom: "Yes, but I'll be fine."
    Boy: "Can I get you something?"
    Mom: "Water."
    Boy: "Ok. Brb" *gets water, comes back*
    Mom: "You got the water?"
    Boy: "Yeah, here."
    Mom: "Thanks."
    Boy: "Here's a flower too. Got it from Theo."
    Mom: "Thanks. He's smart."
    Boy: "What's with you?"
    Mom: "I feel ill." *goes to sleep*
    Boy: "I can't live without you."
    Mom: "Stay strong, and go see the wolf."

    I'm sorry to say, but that arc of a story lacks depth. If you're going to kill off or gravely injure a character, you should build that character up more. What's "special" about the mother? What about her personality is going to make us "miss" her and empathize deeply with the boy dragon? That's all I'm saying.

    Take The Last of Us, for example. (Spoilers ahead)

    Within the first four minutes... The daughter joked with her father... Gave him a nice watch for his birthday... The father played a little prank to get back her for the joke... They playfully joke again... and the Father carries his daughter upstairs to bed after she falls asleep on the couch. Then we're thrown into a scene where the father is desperately trying to protect his child from danger. All this in under four minutes.

    This is what I'm talking about when I say "create a connection". When the daughter dies, we can feel the main character's loss. It was evident that the daughter provided something because of how they joked, and how far the father was willing to go to protect his daughter.

    You have all the plot points properly laid out. I just don't feel like you're using them to the best of your ability. If you disagree, that's totally fine.

    I can understand what you mean here, as I found the quest log by noticing it after opening the menu. I can't really agree or disagree about tutorials breaking immersion. Everyone has their preferences.

    To be fair... At no point did I "rage quit". I made it very clear that I wasn't motivated to continue playing because the story wasn't captivating. That's just my opinion. As for the fetch-quests... The reason I was wandering around was because I was trying to see if there were any objects that can be observed so I could learn more about the setting of your game, or find elements of character development. For example, you had the bird that flew over to its nest to protect it. That's great! But if you set that precedent, then I'm going to expect more. Sadly, I couldn't find anything else.

    That's totally fair. Though, given the fact that you also advertise the game as "story-driven", I didn't think it was unfair to comment on the game's story. Especially considering that the story obviously took up a huge part of the game to start.

    The reason I made the suggestion of skipping puzzles is because there are a few games that I've come across that tell a great story. Sure, they have some gameplay elements, but I've seen several cases where the developer allows people to actually skip all puzzles/battles/etc. so the player can take in the story. Am I saying that you should do that? Absolutely not. But would it hurt to provide the player that option? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows? It's just an idea. You either like it, or you don't. What I do know, is that it has worked for many games in the past. Why not suggest it to others? Hopefully you understand where I'm coming from here.

    Again, your game is not only described as a puzzle game. It's story-driven as well. If your intention is to ONLY highlight the puzzles, then I can understand where you're coming from. However, if you're passionate about your story and want people to like it, then I feel the point you made with the racing analogy is moot. If you have a game with a good story, people are more likely to play it. And there are a LOT of people who like playing games JUST because of the story. The reason I harped on the story is because I believe you have a fantastic opportunity to actually reach an audience of people who don't like puzzles. If you don't want to do that, that's fine. But if you truly believe that people who hate puzzle games won't even look at your game because it's categorized as a puzzle game... Then you're selling yourself short.

    All the best with the development!

    P.S. If you weren't happy with the video, then let me know if you would like it taken down. I have no problem with taking it down if you believed I portrayed your game in a negative light.
     
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  9. Phenax

    Phenax Veteran Veteran

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    We have been back at working on the game for two weeks now so I feel like the thread deserves an update. We have changed a lot of things to the feedback given by @Neo Soul Gamer and others. Because of this we decided to take down the demo. We basically moved all of the puzzling-content of the demo to a later point in the game and added a whole new puzzling area right on the home map. We deleted the mushroom gathering quest. There is still a reason to gather mushrooms but it's a bit more interesting and not mandatory. Overall the game should have a smoother curve in terms of gameplay difficulty now.

    The new puzzling area consists of a large squirrel tree which the player needs to get access to and then get to the top. We now have 6 new quests that take place on the home map which really makes it feel a lot more alive and meaningful. There are actually things the player can do there now except gathering mushrooms. Two of those quests can be repeated as many times as the player desires. The squirrel tree consists of 10 smaller maps and is about 80% finished. Here are some screenshots of the new stuff:

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    We are hoping to release a new demo in January. This time we are going to going to take our time and only release it once we are 100% confident it's a game that's worthwhile playing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
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  10. Phenax

    Phenax Veteran Veteran

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    I have some good news for the project: Since neither me nor my girlfriend have the talent to make character busts, we decided to hire a commissioned artist. This is somewhat of a big step for us since we are poor students and we need quite some busts, but we feel like it will be worth it. The game deserves it. Here is what we've got so far, it's Theo, work is still in progress though:

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    But wait, there's more! The quest log was technically already in the game but it wasn't adjusted to all the things we changed and added.

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    Also, we finished off the slide puzzle which took a lot of time but we are very proud to have it finished and flawlessly working. We are still looking for a better image (the image is the password and squirrel is kind of a bit obvious).

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    Furthermore I'm working on a player's guidebook which will come as a pdf file with the game. It's supposed to help the player if they happen to be stuck in a puzzle. It's about 50% finished.

    Last but not least I want to show what we are doing with the credits. I had the credits on my to do list, I was staring at them and they were staring back at me. I just didn't have a clear vision of what to do with them. Just showing a list seemed a bit boring. The idea came to my mind last night and I implemented it right away: The credits will be shown by characters walking into the title screen. Oh by the way we now have an actual custom title screen. It's a map we didn't have use for anymore. So the characters walking into the screen represent the persons which we want to give credit to. It looks like this:

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    While the character steps away, another is appearing at a different place so that the process doesn't take ages. There are still some bigger things on the to do list but I'm getting confident that we will have a somewhat polished demo to show in about two weeks.
     
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  11. Phenax

    Phenax Veteran Veteran

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    We now have character busts for the majority of the squirrels. Our artist is doing a great job! Theo is finished aswell.

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    I'd update the thread more, but I'm too busy working on the game itself. Here are some changes since the last update:

    • Added a fifth squirrel from which support can be gained. The player still only needs the support of four squirrels. This way the player has more of a choice. The nut collecting challenge is something some players that are not that good at moving around characters in a video game may get stuck at. The fifth squirrel has a quest for Damian which we really like, I don't want to spoil it, it will be playable in the demo that is coming soon.

    • Completely changed the intro. If you played the old intro then forget it, it's different and in our opinion 10 times better now. We are proud of it. The story stays the same but we got rid of the water collecting and there's a closer connection to Damian's best friend Theo now.

    • We have been working on a bunny-race-track for the second chapter. You race against a bunny. You have to jump across pits, rocks and debuffs. One of the debuffs (it's honey that you run into) slows you down, the other (it's a candle) makes the lights go out for a couple of seconds. The player can still see something but it really makes things harder. Then there's also a power up which is a carrot. The carrot speeds up the player for a few seconds. There is also rubble on the track that slows down the player. If it's just 1 tile the player can avoid it by jumping. Then we also have a moving boulder to make things more interesting. All of the power ups are being spawned in a random fashion. You have a direct opponent which is a bunny. There will be several difficulties for the bunnies. His movement route is custom and random. We will create several different movement routes for each lap. RNG will decide which route he takes. The route for the bunny may involve him falling into a pit, getting stuck at the boulder for a bit or just taking a suboptimal path. The track isn't finished yet. There will probably also be an endurance race which is one very long track instead of a round one with laps.

    • Then there also were a lot of bugfixes and little improvements. Can't remember all of them.

    • Dragon's Hope now has its own page on Steam. You can find the link in my signature.

    • ETA for demo: 2 to 3 weeks
     
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  12. Phenax

    Phenax Veteran Veteran

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    Again, a lot of work has been done! We added 2 more quests.

    The Lost Child: Timmy the child squirrel ran away from his mother Molly because he broke the portrait showing her husband proposing to her. The player can find Timmy far away from the grand squirrel tree. Timmy well not follow the player until the portrait is fixed. The player can now fix the portrait by solving a 20 piece jigsaw puzzle of the portrait. The quest is done and the jigsaw puzzle flawlessly functioning. After completing the quest, Timmy follows the player and he can escort him back to Molly.

    Business is Business: Until now it was so that the player was able to trade his mushrooms for nuts at Freddy the ferret in the lobby of the grand squirrel tree. Now we have added a quest which has to be done to unlock trading with Freddy. Freddy's most recent customer - a brown bunny - hasn't paid his mushroom debt and needs to be brought to Freddy. The bunny can be found stuck inside a tree (it wasn't paying attention and fell off a cliff). So before the bunny can back to the ferret, the player needs to somehow rescue it. If the player has done the quest "Winky's owl problem" then the owl can be asked to rescue the bunny from the tree. A cutscene will appear where the owl flies to the bunny and rescues it. The bunny will immediately flee from the owl and can from then on be found together with the ferret at the campfire inside the grand squirrel tree.

    Our artist did a lot of work, we have quite some stuff to show:

    [​IMG]

    Also a lot more artwork for the squirrels is finished (Molly, Lucky, Slothy, Storage Room Workers...)

    Apart from that there were a ton of other changes. Most importantly, we fixed an annoying issue with lag which was caused by an outdated plugin. Also the nut that appears when finishing the tic tac toe no longer just appears, it falls on the ground, with a shadow appearing first that gets smaller and smaller and the player running in a circle like you'd see in old cartoons. We also made an improvement to the mail room, instead of flat name tags for the personal rooms we now have portrait which the player can look at to see where the mail belongs.

     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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  13. Phenax

    Phenax Veteran Veteran

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    We've created a discord channel for the game which we used to run playtests. It proved to be a very useful and effective way to have people playtest the game. If anyone wants to join, here's the invitation link. Thanks to all of the playtesters we can now announce that Chapter 1 will be available for download on the 23rd of January.

    [​IMG]

    We've also managed to finish the top level of the squirrel tree:


    Apart from playtesting, bug fixing and optimizing the most important change since the last update was the one to the lighting system. We had to remake the lighting of all of the interior maps, we are rather satisfied with the result though:

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Phenax

    Phenax Veteran Veteran

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    This will be the last update before release of chapter 1 on the 23rd. We've gone through all of the dialogue that is in the game right now with a native speaker who played the game. This was necessary because English is not our first language. Various mistakes but also typos were corrected and also things that simply sounded a bit weird.

    Another severe improvement for the game are the 10 different expressions which the main character, Damian, has now.

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    These actually make a huge difference for how the game feels when playing. Here's an example:

    [​IMG]

    Also, the game works on Linux again. Until the release of chapter 1 we will mostly be working on the player's guidebook.
     
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  15. Phenax

    Phenax Veteran Veteran

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    We just released Chapter 1 of Dragon's Hope on itch.io! We're hungry for feedback, it would be awesome if some people could play the game and share their thoughts :) We've put a lot of work into this and are looking forward to giving Chapter 1 some final polish based on the feedback and of course we can't wait to work on Chapter 2 which will connect Chapter 1 with the almost already complete Chapter 3.

    @Kes Would it be possible to rename the title to "Dragon's Hope (Chapter 1 released)"? Since the game is still far from the full release, I believe the thread should stay here. The demo mentioned in the current title hasn't been available for a long time and has completely different content.
     
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  16. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Sure you can alter the title at any time.

    When you click on the Edit button you will see a button called Other options. Click that and it takes you into full editing mode and you will see the edit title option there.
     
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  17. VeryXInh

    VeryXInh Veteran Veteran

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    RMXP
    Since this will be a commercial game, i will give you some honest feedback
    - Logo & Title screen are nice
    - Credit scene is very creative but character appear randomly here & there distracted my eyes (it's also slow, credit should be fast)
    - Found a bug, we can access Menu in Credit scene
    upload_2019-1-25_22-13-45.png
    - Erm, i kinda dislike those floral fonts, perhaps it's only personal favor but i like default font more. Much easy to read
    - Characters' face should be shown in an similar way. Dragon & Racoon's face was fine but then this human has his whole
    portrait put into message box like this =|
    [​IMG]
    - I think you should make quest item standout somehow, like glowing (for example when the dragon search for achilii flower?)
    make the flower glowing so player know where to go, what should he interact with.
    This is how far i could play today =) will play this game some more later when i have time
     
    #17
    Phenax likes this.
  18. Phenax

    Phenax Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Austria
    First Language:
    German
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    @VeryXInh Thank you a lot for playing the game and giving feedback! The issue with being able to open the menu on the title screen has been fixed in the newer version. Since you don't seem to be too far into the game, you might want to consider playing the newer version. We've used the font too much now to be able to judge ourselves but people generally don't seem to be having a problem with it in terms of readability. We have a high res version of the stranger so we could try zooming in a little bit more. It does make a bit sense for him to be different because it's the only human appearance in the game.

    Version 1.1 is already released on itch.io.

    Changelog:


     
    #18

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