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I think the costs of tilesets is pretty subjective, my game uses entirely custom assets drawn from scratch and each tileset took me maybe 2 hours to put together tops. That said I am using an 8bit style, but then I know what my time and budget constraints are so I am working within those limitations.

Thats something I dont see a lot of devs taking into account, or when they do they end up just using the RTP because its easier. Your original art doesnt have to be "good", it just has to be unique eye catching. Suits: A Business RPG is not a good looking game imo, but it sold well because it stands out on Steam compared to other games in its genre, it has a strong creative voice that demands attention. People seem to equate that when people say you need original art that you need it to be good art but I dont think thats the case. Hylics I think has good art, but its certainly not to most peoples tastes, that said it appealed to people outside of the RPG Maker community so much that is sold well enough to fund a much more impressive looking and ambitious sequel.

Knowing sales trends is one thing, and @bgillisp is right, chasing them is largely a waste of time. BUT knowing a niche and dedicated audience and targeting them directly with a product, THATS key.
 

Henryetha

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Your original art doesnt have to be "good", it just has to be unique eye catching. Suits: A Business RPG is not a good looking game imo,
I took a look at its steam page and must disagree.
Pretty sure everything has carefully chosen to fit the theme. Example: the picture with the unreasonable big clock on the wall. Awareness of the current time has become very central and takes most of the room.
Or the workers(?) all looking the same. This turns them rather into objects than individual beings.
The arts apparently have been used to let the player immerse into the game's world.
So yes, the art is unique and not very pleasing to look at, but as carefully thought through and completing the game as a whole, it is far away from being "bad".

But well, I didn't play the game and might be wrong and the art is misleading.
 

Studio Blue

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Just a heads up! At the developer's request, we will be critiquing this game next week and posting our thoughts on it, where it works, and where it could stand to be improved.

We'll post a link to our thread, where the review will appear.

We haven't looked at the store page yet (the developer gave us a key), but after we post the review, we'll look at the store page and add any additional comments about the game's marketing here.

Hopefully, it all will help! :)
 
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I took a look at its steam page and must disagree.
Pretty sure everything has carefully chosen to fit the theme. Example: the picture with the unreasonable big clock on the wall. Awareness of the current time has become very central and takes most of the room.
Or the workers(?) all looking the same. This turns them rather into objects than individual beings.
The arts apparently have been used to let the player immerse into the game's world.
So yes, the art is unique and not very pleasing to look at, but as carefully thought through and completing the game as a whole, it is far away from being "bad".

But well, I didn't play the game and might be wrong and the art is misleading.

Oh, I agree that Suits visuals were well thought out, theres no debating that, the aesthetic was chosen to look the way it does for a reason, but much like Space Funeral (or games in the "trash game" genre), its not designed to be aesthetically pleasing, its designed to be jarring in order to stand out from the pack and convey a mood/tone. I do think the drawing and pixel art is bad on a technical level, but thats entirely the point of the aesthetic in the first place.

Its a pretty good little RPG for those who havent played it too, well worth checking out.
 

miani

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One big problem for me when I'm playing (or trying to) RPG Maker's games is the 4:3 proportion. I just can't play something stretched or centralized on my monitor.

Another point is the game play time,there're people out there who loves to play long games, but I don't think it's commercially a good idea do make long games. Simple because 1. You'll spend a lot more time. 2. Most people don't have time to play a long game. I think it's commercially better to make short games with "new game +" elements to fullfil the need of "playing more".

I made a quick logo just to give you some inspiration. My general advice is:
1. Pick a nice font with distinct design but readable.
2. If you use more than one font make sure the second one is very simple.
3. Try to not put so many things in it (glows, strokes, etc).

Ps: If you want that I make one new logo for you (with more time), feel free to PM me. (I don't mind making it for free).

Ps2: Thanks for everyone who answered this thread, I learned a lot from it.
 

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HawkZombie

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I WAS SUMMONED....like 2 weeks ago :o

Sorry I didn't get a chance to look at this sooner. I skimmed most of the posts, and don't really have anything to add to the whole how to advertise element of things. However, if you would like me to stream your game, or do one of my review videos, let me know! I'm perfectly OK with buying a copy as well.
 

Labyrinthine

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I WAS SUMMONED....like 2 weeks ago :o

Sorry I didn't get a chance to look at this sooner. I skimmed most of the posts, and don't really have anything to add to the whole how to advertise element of things. However, if you would like me to stream your game, or do one of my review videos, let me know! I'm perfectly OK with buying a copy as well.
That would be really nice :) Thanks! I'll definitely send you a free key via PM, though.
 

Studio Blue

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Here is our critique/review of Labyronia Elements!

We want to restate that we only played about an hour of this game, but stand by our criticisms. We fully believe that the opening segments of a game are vital in order to draw the player in, and keep them engaged. Although we recognize that the issues we mention in our critique may be fixed over the course of the game, we feel that they need to be addressed out of the starting gate.

Thanks to @Labyrinthine for the chance to critique his game. We wish him the best in this and future projects!
 

Ksi

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Um, yes, I prefer the Arabian pic since I made the damn thing and it's almost pure RTP with edits that work to show everything the player needs to know about the area inside the image, unlike your image which doesn't look even mapped properly (you're using a roof tile and adding shadows under it making it look like there's walls missing, thus looking badly mapped for anyone who has had any experience with any RPG Maker ever) and leaves people wondering if the mapping for the project is as bad as that the whole way through.

At least with the Arabian map you can see the competency of the mapper because it's got a simple style that explains without being told by NPCs in-game exactly what everything is and gives the player knowledge about how they're going to be interacting with the environment - there's the alleyways of course, and houses to go in, but also roof-walking involved. Oh, and it looks good.

Again, you're missing the point entirely which is that people like eye-candy and you should be showing off the best your game has to offer in order to jack up the sales. People who sell millions of copies of their game either have a huge following already and/or show screenshots that are interesting, cool, pretty or a mix of all three. Even big name companies employ this tactic in order to get more sales because they know it works, so why won't you? You're obviously not doing as well as someone like Square Enix or Nintendo, so you should be trying to do the least you can to up the game positivity in the eyes of your audience and if that means changing a few non-essentials like getting some prettier facesets or showing off the prettiest/most interesting maps you have in the project, then why wouldn't you?

And don't start complaining about spoilers or **** like that: people who buy a game and go to play it aren't going to remember the screenshots they saw and where they fit in if they're immersed in the game (and if they're not immersed, you have bigger issues than possible spoilers). They're not going to remember that you showed an image of you fighting a goddess who was integral to the story (after all, they had no context to the characters and battle and whatnot before they went in so it's not a spoiler. Only after they reach that point and look at the page again do they go "Oh **** that was the fight with the goddess oh wow, yeah, that was cool, she was a ***** lol!")

Even if you do give something away, it doesn't necessarily wreck the experience anyway. There's a ton of blind LPers of games like FF7 even now-days and they're all shocked by Aeris's death despite knowing that it's coming (that it happens so soon into the game, that she dies the way she does, that Cloud is the one who almost kills her, the reactions of the characters in the game itself, the whole scene with her sinking under the water and the holy materia falling away whilst her theme is playing - all of it culminates into something you couldn't see coming and are still affected by even if you know that at some point Aeris dies).

So don't worry about showing off some things that might be cool but a little spoilery. People won't know it's a spoiler until they get to that point in the game and experience it for themselves and it doesn't ruin their experience at all (unless you actually tell them it's a spoiler in which case, that's you being an idiot.) Just show cool **** so people can get hype. And no, boring mazes and 'roofs' are not interesting, nor cool.

But whatever, you obviously just want to drum up sales instead of getting actual feedback. I'm not gonna buy your games because frankly, this tactic is so see-through it's not funny.
 

Labyrinthine

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What do you mean by "tactic?" The reason I suddenly search marketing advice is the fact that I can't even afford to buy food on my table, and it would be nice to sell a few copies of my game to get some money for living. If that's the tactic you meant then sure, I've got no troubles admitting that, although I fail to see what's wrong with it.

I just read @Dankovsky 's earliest post from the first page and realized he's likely right. Can't sell too much these days doing traditional RPG Maker games. I should probably be glad my games sell at least something, taking account Steam gets a lot of new games daily, and the number keeps on growing exponentially. I may not even get paid every month, but I'm sure many of today's developers with games resembling this are on the same boat.

(edit: removed rest to avoid further repetition)
 
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Ksi

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Then maybe take the advice people are giving you? I watched that LP video. There's like a billion better images you could have taken in just that first hour alone that would drum up sales a bit more than what you currently have. Like, you need to figure out what looks good and interesting and what doesn't. For example, not even 5 minutes into the game there's the big door into the throne room. An image of the main character facing that a few steps back would look much better than battle #1 or weird 'roof' thing. It's recognisable, shows off the non-RTP graphics you have on hand and is an interesting area that makes the player go "Oh, I wanna explore/see that!". And there's a lot of these images you could use instead of the bland meh stuff you have instead.
 

Studio Blue

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I watched that LP video.

Are you talking about our LP video? If not, can you link the LP to us? We're curious as to what other LPers might have to say about this game.
 

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Yeah, you're probably right. I removed and added some pictures on the Steam page now.
 
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I watched the LP video - one thing that might help with the beginning of the game is to turn those crystal balls in the corridor with the big statue into direct teleports to the four worlds, and add Dark Ones next to each one to tell you which portal is which. I'd then add instructions at the end of the Goddess' speech telling the hero to go to the portals in the corridor.
 

Studio Blue

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I watched the LP video - one thing that might help with the beginning of the game is to turn those crystal balls in the corridor with the big statue into direct teleports to the four worlds, and add Dark Ones next to each one to tell you which portal is which. I'd then add instructions at the end of the Goddess' speech telling the hero to go to the portals in the corridor.

That was our exact thoughts! The game would get significantly easier to navigate with that system in place. :)
 

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I mentioned this on your post but wanted to move it here as the status update was getting too long. One approach that is used to sell a franchise is to try to make and market other products of the same line to the audience. So for instance, if your players like your games due to your stories, maybe write a couple short books for them to buy on their kindle if they wish?

Now granted, the kindle or print market is really flooded too. I wrote a textbook that I published in January of 2017. To date I've sold 74 copies, 60 to the college I wrote the book for, and 14...I have no idea who bought those. Maybe someone was looking to see if they could adopt it to their class? Now, that was with no marketing, as I only wrote it because that one college needed it, and I was already teaching the class that is using it. But still, it isn't a great market either, but, you can maybe mention it on your steam page that you wrote a book that tells more on this if you are interested? And you can mention it in the end of your book that you made a game based on this world. Companies used to do this all the time in their manuals, the last couple pages were order forms for other games they made. I still got my wizardry 5 - 7 manual which has an order form for Jagged Alliance in the back of it actually.

Basically, it can work. Just don't go into it expecting to get rich off of it. Also you'll probably have to self publish as well.

On the plus side, all it costs you is time. Books are just text. Sure, you can add illustrations and fancy cover art, but I've seen some kindle books with nothing more than the book title in a clear readable font too. And if you can draw you can do the cover art yourself too.
 

Labyrinthine

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I'm not expecting to get rich, but I just like this idea of yours. And I'm sure "Labyrinthine 2" will like it even more. Actually, she told me at one point she would rather just write a story about Labyronia instead of creating a game. So, whether we earn money with the book or not, it's certainly something my sister would really enjoy. She actually wrote and imagined the five elemental planets which are quite imaginative with all the weird details, and she also invented most of the characters from Labyronia Elements. Well, I take the honor of molding the features and stories of these characters to fit to the elemental planets they live in (based on stuff such as horoscopes), but anyways.
Labyrinthine 2 also wrote the best parts of the dialogue, at least in my opinion. I asked her whether she'd like to convert her game project Solthan (LE spin-off) in a book format, or write some other Labyronia story. Whatever's the case, this would seem to be a great way to expand the series universe into another format! Thanks again for the idea, @bgillisp!

@Storyteller-Hero
Uhm... Unfortunately this would break certain ideas important to the lore. The sealed gates to the worlds must be in the Fountains of Fortune. Lorewise, it's simply the only place to put them. I think I should've ditched the Labyrinths from the Fountains, though. Currently, most of the players choose the world of Fire first, because it's easiest to reach, despite the fact all the four worlds are accessible once the player has three Ashes. Open structure would've been better in the Fountains, instead of making it labyrinthine.

Another way close to your suggestion would've been placing the Fountains right on to the main hall of the castle. However, I wanted them to be in the same place the original singular fountain was in the first game, so I put them there. At least, the place is standing right next to the Tower, so getting there is not a big hassle, especially if you look at the in-game map on the Labyronia Map (press A on the world map). It shows the world and pinpoints three locations: Albion, Fountains of Fortune and Mysteria Tower. At this stage, those are the places where the Guardians dwell. Of course, the player might forget to look at the map... but then it's his mistake. Actually I've got some other things to say about the Guardians and question whether the start is actually that confusing after all! I'll be back at the issue.

Anyways, the following is just more general stuff I want to say about this game after all the LP:s, opinions and such. It's not directed to any one individual or account, even though I refer to some things that has been said about the game in that LP.

Oh yeah, about the Fountains of Fortune pillars first. The pillars at the seals of each fountain reveal the world the player's about to enter. For example, the pillars at the entrance to the Fire world fountain have got burning flames on their tops. The Air world pillars, on the other hand, has tornado's. And so forth.

I want to mention one more thing about the start. In the LP, the critics didn't speak with every Dark One NPC. (correct me if I remember wrong). At least one of them at the goddess statue gives essential directions to the player, talking about the Guardians, their Ashes and what should be done with them, and some of them sell healing items in the city South from the Tower. This makes enemies easier. Shade skill you get from the training weapon makes Guardians a lot easier, even if you're low level. They barely ever hit you when blinded. Of course, it might be a good idea to gain at least 1 or 2 levels from normal enemies before encountering any of the Guardians. They are mini bosses after all. Better gear can also be found from some areas you're able to enter. Finding it makes the starting areas instantly easier.

Now, even more about getting confused at the start: If you speak with Areatha after the info dump cutscene, she states the mission at hand and the overall mission in just one sentence:

"Destroy the Guardians of our enemy to break those blasted seals! Then, pick your worlds in any order you want, and find me the shards from the Pendant!"

At this point, it should be obvious all the player needs to do or remember is to destroy Blazing Guardians to break the seals. Once the player enters the Fountains, it becomes clear what the seals are, since there's one blocking every world entrance. If you touch the seal, it also notes: "It's a seal of the Blazing King. Sprinkle 3 Guardian Ashes on the seal to open it." In short, the directive should be as clear as something like this now:

Kill Guardian x 3. Go fountain seal. (Don't be afraid. This one is not in the game...)

Not that hard, after all. Oh, I forgot to mention- even the Guardian Ash item's description in the Key Items makes things clear as it says: "Sprinkle 3 Ashes on the Seal of the Blazing King to open it."
So, despite the info dump briefing, the immediate objective should be clear since everyone and everything keeps on talking about it. The info is almost spammed, since it can be found from such many locations. Of course, this doesn't change the fact I should've given the player less info in that briefing, to avoid confusion while the cutscene was playing. Divide it in smaller chunks. Still agreeing with this point. However, it shouldn't confuse the player's immediate way to go, unless the player doesn't pay attention at all what Areatha and everyone/ everything else is saying to him after the briefing.

I mean, if you feel confused after the cutscene and don't know what to do next, wouldn't the most obvious solution be talking to Areatha again first and then everyone else in the castle to see if they can help? I would do that, at least, instead of just running out of the castle and desperately trying to handle the load of info I just heard and thinking what part of it should I pay attention to?

At any rate, the NPC thing is nothing new. Listening to NPC:s is not necessarily required, unless they're a part of some quest moving the story, but it makes the immediate quest at hand and other stuff clearer. Since the game does not contain an actual quest journal, the NPC:s are often the player's best way to find info about what to do next, if he feels he's not quite certain of the next destination. It's not absolutely required, though. Some players might want to take the hard way. All in all, and even though the game has got a few "useless" NPC:s, many of them actually possess valuable info at times. They're not there just for decoration.

More so, the most important non-playable characters in the four worlds usually directly tell the player where to go next. As said, it's nothing we hadn't seen before, since almost all the old school JRPG:s back in the day lacked "goal post" quest journals (read: Hand Holding journals), which I, personally, have never been a fan of. Even true classics such as Final Fantasy VII lacked a quest journal completely despite having an open world map and sidequests. The player actually didn't get too much info especially for those sidequests, but was forced to figure out stuff by himself.
Just think about the tedious, yet fun Chocobo breeding thing. The only way the player could find out he needs a certain kind of nut to breed the wanted, rare chocobo, was to talk to some NPC. It didn't memorize any gained info into any journal. You just had to remember it. Almost all games back then were like that, and I think it was awesome! Required more thinking and attention from the player. Without thinking and attention, the game might feel like the player is just going through the moves, almost blindly. It's like the question marks in WoW map on the quest points. The player does not search these places by following the directions someone gave him, but insteads runs past and through the mountains, rivers and all kinds of obstacles, mainly looking at his map instead of the screen to reach the next question mark. As much as I loved WoW back in the day, I'm now starting to understand why some people still prefer the vanilla WoW questing system. You really had to find your ways with the aid of the quest givers back then. There were no question marks to pinpoint the spot immediately when you got the quest. You had to read the text, and orienteer based on the advice given. In other words, you had to pay attention to what the NPC:s were saying. These days, people just skip the quest texts and start to just follow the goal mark. What's the point of having text and directions within, at all, if it's easier to find the place just by following the map. What a stupid idea, which was unfortunately transferred to many other games and almost ruined adventure games. Thank god for stuff like Breath of the Wild.

Not sure why I started clarifying stuff again and writing long paragraphs about this game and everything. I really wasn't like this when my previous games were published. For one, I never answered a single negative or not-so-positive review of my oldest Steam games, even if they would've contained downright lies about the content.

Somehow, this game is different for me. I can't help defending it. Call me a passionate fool, and you're very likely right. I really think it's just this one game making me react like this. My first projects were different, and so will be the last one. I don't care about what anyone says about those games, as long as I'm satisfied to them. I might clarify some real issues or lies with a few words, but that's it.

By the way, people who have not yet released on Steam. Did you know Steam encourages the developer never to answer a negative review, unless the answer clarify's something blatantly wrong in the review. I might've taken this to a next level with this game, but I'm mainly trying to clarify stuff. Of course, it doesn't change the fact the LP:rs also had several good points in their critique. I learned some valuable things from it. However, it also contained baseless speculation of how the game "is gonna be" like the claim it's full of tight corridors and Labyrinths. This point was made invalid already earlier with the examples of the Air world and other areas, so I'm not gonna say anything else about it anymore. But I have the right to clarify stuff, so that people won't get a completely wrong image about how the game plays.

Maybe I'm like this now 'cause I got this idea like 20 years ago. It really feels like something I'm satisfied of, and if I see there's something to clarify to offer players a more accurate image of the game and its design decisions, I will clarify it. Sorry if I sound like a noob doing this and trust me, I've been in this business for a long enough time, in one way or another. I know all about taking critique. It's really just this one game I feel overly passionate about. Of course, if the preview/ review/ critique/ whatever is on spot, then I'll just directly say it, as I've been doing. Like with the facts the early enemies should have less hit points and power, and there should be less Labyrinths in the starting map and none in the Fountains. Those are at least some things I could've done better, and I've got no troubles admitting it. However, with paying enough attention, even these problems are not as big as they could be, IMO. The enemies at the start are too hard? Use Shade to blind them. You could escape if you encounter more than 1 enemy at the start, and if you encounter only one, just blind it if it uses physical attacks and it goes down very fast. Defeat just a few of these and you gain level. Gain another, and they're suddenly no problem at all. There are also some gear in the areas on the small section of the world map the player can enter, making the start even easier.

The balancing is not bad throughout the entire game. Actually, I would say it's rarely, if ever, bad. The reasoning follows.
Usually, the start of every world is pretty hard, because the player has barely any equipment. However, it turns easier very fast in each world once the player gets the hang of it. Spamming attack is never the best way to engage enemies, unless you're already high level enough (which happens fast for normal enemies). At the start and especially if you're alone, it would be better just to run if there's more than one enemy and you're level 1. I wanted to make the very start like a test: if the player quits the game after dying once or twice, then he's probably not up to the task. Some later bosses are sure to wreck you and take your skills to their limits. Some areas might frustrate you, and if you give up after one try, you'll never gain the skill to survive these areas. So, you could say I'm making the player a favor. At least he knows right at the beginning the game is not easy, and might guess it will have a lot of hard parts upcoming. Then he would either quit or carry on, depending on whether he got interested from the start. After all, the starting sections did hook some players, so it divides the audience at least to some extent.

Then there are players who are just so good they don't die once in the beginning. These are usually seasoned old school RPG players, who've conquered a lot of hard turn-based games in the past. They usually get farther no matter what, and if the start won't make them interested about the game, there's always a possibility their first elemental world will.

As for the random battles, they are limited to the world maps. The enemies in actual areas are visible and can be avoided. Most of the game play happens in these various areas such as cities, deserts or dungeons. Even when the player travels one of the world maps, there are usually roads. Random enemies never appear on these roads, just like one of the Dark One's in Albion say.
Every world has got roads to ease the player's progress on the world maps (even though there might be some roadless sections too). Of course, in the Air world none of this matters, since you can just fly over everything on its world map(s), and random encounters don't occur if you use a "vehicle" such as flying gryphon.

Now, I really should learn to sleep. These text walls have begun to manifest just lately, since I haven't been able to sleep too well for some reason in the past weeks. I think I'm suffering true insomnia, so excuse me for another book-sized answer, containing a lot of repetition and out of subject babbling, but I hope at least some of it.......................................................................
well, clarified something. If not, then... well. I think it's just not your cup of... coffee!!! I need coffee now, so excuse me... if someone still has any interest answering something to this bloated subject after all that's already been said from multiple fronts and multiple times, I'm probably still awake and read it! If I still got something to say after that, I refuse to use more than 10 words to say it. This must've been my new record on how long and draining text it's possible to conjure.

Actually, I think I'll keep the 10 word rule in any thread for a while now, because my fingers are hurting. I also think my mind is partly sleeping, even though my body is awake. I think I'll just go see whether I can induce a lucid dreaming state. It's the only thing that beats game making.
 
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bgillisp

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It at least can't hurt. I myself have a few book ideas to expand my game world some, and also have a couple spin-off games planned too. One of the games takes place at the same time as the main game, but in a different location even, and one of the book ideas is for one to expand on a story or event mentioned in the lore of my game in much more detail (show how it all happened, etc). Sure, my players will know how it ends, but they might still be interested to see how it all came together like that.
 

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Out of curiousity, we returned to this thread to see how things are going. Seeing that our LP is being alluded to, if not mentioned without our names, we felt the need to reply.

In the LP, the critics didn't speak with every Dark One NPC. (correct me if I remember wrong). At least one of them at the goddess statue gives essential directions to the player....

One thing you have to understand as a developer is that players are lazy, so you can't rest on yoru laurels in development. All your essential information must be presented in required scenes, not optional conversations. That is just good game design.

I mean, if you feel confused after the cutscene and don't know what to do next, wouldn't the most obvious solution be talking to Areatha again first and then everyone else in the castle to see if they can help? I would do that, at least, instead of just running out of the castle and desperately trying to handle the load of info I just heard and thinking what part of it should I pay attention to?

Not at all. The most obvious solution is to stop playing the game because it ceased to be entertaining. Your expectations of your players is completely unrealistic.

Since the game does not contain an actual quest journal, the NPC:s are often the player's best way to find info about what to do next, if he feels he's not quite certain of the next destination.

This game needs a Quest Journal. Badly. You can disagree all you want, but there are more than enough things that a tracking list is needed.

It's not absolutely required, though.

If a conversation with an NPC is needed for plot and direction clarity, it absolutely is required.

Some players might want to take the hard way. All in all, and even though the game has got a few "useless" NPC:s, many of them actually possess valuable info at times. They're not there just for decoration.

The majority of Dark Ones around Areatha say the same thing. That's the very definition of decoration. And since it's in the opening parts of the game, the precedent is set that most NPCs are window-dressing.

....almost all the old school JRPG:s back in the day lacked "goal post" quest journals (read: Hand Holding journals), which I, personally, have never been a fan of. Even true classics such as Final Fantasy VII lacked a quest journal completely despite having an open world map and sidequests. The player actually didn't get too much info especially for those sidequests, but was forced to figure out stuff by himself.

Things evolve. Game design changes and adapts to the times. Where we're at in this time period is that quest journals (an essential list), map markers (not essential, but helpful), and other "hand holds" (to a myriad of extents) are considered good game design practices. You can dislike it, but you can't refute it.

Just think about the tedious, yet fun Chocobo breeding thing. The only way the player could find out he needs a certain kind of nut to breed the wanted, rare chocobo, was to talk to some NPC. It didn't memorize any gained info into any journal. You just had to remember it. Almost all games back then were like that, and I think it was awesome! Required more thinking and attention from the player.

Incorrect. Final Fantasy VII required a Bradygame Strategy Guide to get through the harder parts, like Chocobo Breeding and getting the Knights of the Round Materia. You may have figured it out on your own, and good for you, but I can bet 9 out of 10 players needed help.

Without thinking and attention, the game might feel like the player is just going through the moves, almost blindly. It's like the question marks in WoW map on the quest points. The player does not search these places by following the directions someone gave him, but insteads runs past and through the mountains, rivers and all kinds of obstacles, mainly looking at his map instead of the screen to reach the next question mark.

There is a massive philosophical difference between the way quests are supposed to work in an MMORPG and the way they work in a single-player game. In an MMO, you have to give precise directions to every single thing, because you are dealing with a real-time situation involving hundreds of thousands of players. In a single-player game, the player can pause and think about it.

Games like Ocarina of Time were well designed and didn't need map markers to point out where to go next, but still could have benefited from a quest list/journal to keep track of everything. In our opinion, Labyronia Elements is not as well designed as Ocarina of Time, and therefore needs a quest journal even more.

Players don't always play games non-stop. Some (like us) leave a game an come back three months later. We need something to keep track of and remind us of what we're doing.

Lastly, if you're adverse to using quest journals, map markers, compasses, etc, because you want your players to think, you are shrinking your player base and killing your sales. If you're willing to accept that, then so be it.

Not sure why I started clarifying stuff again and writing long paragraphs about this game and everything. I really wasn't like this when my previous games were published. For one, I never answered a single negative or not-so-positive review of my oldest Steam games, even if they would've contained downright lies about the content.

We don't know you from anyone else, but it appears you are dead set on defending this game instead of fixing its fundamental issues. If that's the case, you should probably move on to your next project instead of burning your time and energy on this one. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying "I did my best on this game and it is what it is... time to move on." But constantly justifying and clarifying things is only going to breed negative press and ill will.

Somehow, this game is different for me. I can't help defending it. Call me a passionate fool, and you're very likely right. I really think it's just this one game making me react like this. My first projects were different, and so will be the last one. I don't care about what anyone says about those games, as long as I'm satisfied to them. I might clarify some real issues or lies with a few words, but that's it.

Again, we don't know you from Adam, but our friendly advice is to let this game go and move on.

However, it also contained baseless speculation of how the game "is gonna be" like the claim it's full of tight corridors and Labyrinths. This point was made invalid already earlier with the examples of the Air world and other areas, so I'm not gonna say anything else about it anymore. But I have the right to clarify stuff, so that people won't get a completely wrong image about how the game plays.

Here's where you are making a mistake as a developer: You are stating that we are incorrect in assuming X and Y about your game based on the first 45 to 60 minutes. We may not be factually correct, but the logical train of thought from viewing those opening moments of your game to assuming the rest of that game is similar is anything but baseless. Players make logical leaps. You have to cater your game's opening segment to that.

Let me put it as plainly as possible: What the player first sees when they start your game will color their assumption of how the rest of the game is going to be. Citing the beginning of "Uncharted 3" with Nathan Drake climbing and leaping across the derailed train. That sets the tone for the rest of the game. You set this tone for Labyronia Elements: This is a game with a convoluted plotline, five very different worlds, and lots of tight-corridor mazes.

Now, that may not be true at all... but that's the tone you set. You may disagree with us, but that's still what's happening.

Maybe I'm like this now 'cause I got this idea like 20 years ago. It really feels like something I'm satisfied of, and if I see there's something to clarify to offer players a more accurate image of the game and its design decisions, I will clarify it.

You're not clarifying, you're defending. Every step of this and the LP thread, you've defended your game. That's a sure sign it's time to move on to another project.

The balancing is not bad throughout the entire game. Actually, I would say it's rarely, if ever, bad. The reasoning follows.

The balancing is bad in the beginning, and that's a death knell.

Usually, the start of every world is pretty hard, because the player has barely any equipment.

This is bad game design. Even Dark Souls gives you the equipment you need, so if you die it's a lack of skill.

After all, the starting sections did hook some players, so it divides the audience at least to some extent.

We can't speak for others, but your starting sections did not hook us. But we've already spun our wheels on this one.

Then there are players who are just so good they don't die once in the beginning. These are usually seasoned old school RPG players, who've conquered a lot of hard turn-based games in the past. They usually get farther no matter what, and if the start won't make them interested about the game, there's always a possibility their first elemental world will.

What metrics do you have to support this claim?

Actually, I think I'll keep the 10 word rule in any thread for a while now, because my fingers are hurting. I also think my mind is partly sleeping, even though my body is awake. I think I'll just go see whether I can induce a lucid dreaming state. It's the only thing that beats game making.

On a final note, we continued playing this game a few more hours and got to the Fire World. We can safely say that this game is not for us and stand by our original critique. Our final piece of advice for you, and we mean this with every good intention, is to let this game go. Learn from your mistakes and start something new. You will drive yourself insane trying to answer every bad review and clarify every point. That is energy better spent developing your next game.

We know we come across as harsh in this post, and apologize if any of it seems like an attack. We have nothing but respect for a person who has put time and resources into a game, but feel that you aren't learning the most important lesson: when to move on.

We really wish you and your sister the best in your next and future projects.

Peace!
 

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