luigivampa

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You don't even understand how happy I am to see that you're still working on this! I've been following the development of this project ever since you started and you've truly created something beautiful, rich, and exciting over these years. I can't wait to see it pay off. 
 

blueperiod

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Ah, thanks for the kind words! The game is undergoing a bit of a mini-hiatus right now, but I'll get back to working on it pretty soon.
 
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Zevia

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Hi there. I just finished my LP of the January build of Linus over at my thread here: http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?/topic/25194-zevias-lets-play/

Here's the review I wrote up:

Review for Linus

Linus does not have a publicly available demo as of the time of this writing, and it came with some notes from the creator before I got started. Most important among them:

- The battles for this version weren't worked on too much, due to my battle coordinator being extremely busy for the last few months. This means that in the latter battles, there are some presentation issues (like new party members having odd face-sets, or enemies having the wrong icon in the turn order display). All of this will be fixed eventually.

- For now, I'm using Fire Emblem edits, and my lack of digital artistic ability shows in how badly some of them are edited. Eventually we'll have custom portraits.

- All of the music is placeholder, as my composer is still working on creating an original soundtrack for the game
The game is also intended to be more visual novel than RPG, which is something I haven't really delved too much into. I start to feel a little exhausted pressing enter to progress dialogue through cutscenes if I'm not given the occasional break to "play a game," as it were, so visual novels are not exactly my forte.

Anyway, the battles are pretty minimal and since it's clear there's a lot of work expected to be done on them still, I will go ahead and leave the commentary for them out of the review.

It's too bad the music is all placeholder as well, as I actually really liked it - even if it's placeholder, it certainly fits all the scenes extremely well. I'm looking forward to seeing what the original compositions do to change the mood and/or atmosphere of the game.

There's not exactly a whole lot of exploration to do, either - at least in the sense that it doesn't reward you with unique items or present you with puzzles to solve or anything. For the most part, exploration is just to admire the maps or perhaps find a few "odds and ends" NPCs to talk to to learn a little bit more about the story or the characters.

So... A lot of the things I would normally talk about in a review are not the point of Linus. This means I pretty much only have two major categories to go on: art and story.

Thankfully, these categories do not disappoint. Even if there's Fire Emblem edits currently acting as placeholders (a series I have not actually played, so I can't tell the difference, anyway) for busts and portraits, the whole game has an amazing level of custom design. It looks like every single map is parallaxed, and the amount of detail put into all the scenes is pretty impressive. It doesn't look like maps made with an RM engine - it looks like professional, studio-drawn maps you would've seen from something like Chrono Trigger.

There's a lot of extra sprite animations, too, which are always neat to see. I thought the "stab a dude through the throat" and "impale a dude from behind" ones were particularly good. Any time you see two sprites combined into a single spriteset and come off successfully done, it's a treat. Simpler things like Rousseau holding up the letter to read are cool, though.

The game has an extremely washed-out, hazy feel to its presentation, but it matches up with the gritty atmosphere quite well. There's a lot of grey-scale tinting, and the game is pretty perpetually played with a black ring around the borders of the screen, on top of the fog overlay. Since the majority of the demo takes place in the forest, too, there are a lot of earth tones - greens, browns, and reds - that lend to the raw nature of the artwork and setting.

In short, the game feels "gloomy" a lot of the time. This is actually a style I personally enjoy, too, so it was easier for me to get on board. I commented towards the end of my LP that "I would love if the story goes as dark as it's suggesting it's about to," because I was concerned that it would pull its punches and sort of "Hollywood" things up a bit. So, imagine my surprise when it really is as dark as it sets itself up to be. It's rare I play games that approach stories with this level of seriousness, without ever deviating to make fourth-wall-breaking jokes or provide some kind of comic relief, and it's actually extremely refreshing to see a story that takes itself so seriously.

Eugene, Vinz, and Andre are three scouts for the Summerland military, led by General Bastoche and ultimately serving the King Uriah. They are waging a losing and pretty one-sided war with the Greylanders, whose empress has demanded both Bastoche and Uriah's heads with promises of clemency and peace in return. The game opens following a particularly devastating battle, where the main characters begin to realize that this war is futile, and there is only one possible outcome if they stick by their military - death for all, without a noble cause to sacrifice themselves for. This is not a heroic last stand, it's an absolute slaughter.

So the three scouts make plans to desert. Along the way, there is a lot of political intrigue, double-crossing, backstabbing (sometimes literally), and a general sense that you never really know who you can trust and who's on whose side. While some of the surprises are foreshadowed strongly enough that you'll see them coming, it never feels cheap or Shyamalanian.

I don't want to talk too much more about the actual story, because, you know... Spoilers. But it's honestly extremely well-written. I think it helps that the game is presented as a visual novel, too - some of the subtleties of the plot and the characterization are things you wouldn't be able to get away with using the shorter cutscenes of a typical RPG. You really need these longer conversations and more detailed minutiae to truly take in everything the story has to offer. Not being distracted by crazy boss fights, min/maxing with your equipment, or inventory management, is also pretty key to making sure you're focused on the story at hand.

I don't think this story would work as a typical RPG, and perhaps that's the best evidence that the game's developers really know what they're doing. They made a deliberate choice to make a visual novel and they're using that format to great effect. It's not just a lot of cutscenes, it's a lot of important cutscenes to learn about the characters, the setting, the circumstances... Everything.

I'm still not sure that visual novels, as a genre, are really a thing I will end up getting much into - but I have to say, as an initial foray into the format, I'm pretty impressed. Linus has one of the best stories I've seen in a game so far - not just an RM game, but in any game - and it's a shame I don't get to see this caliber of plot more often.

With the whole team working on it, I'm extremely curious to see what the fully fleshed out battle system, custom music, custom busts and character portraits, and all the replacements for the various placeholders or "things that need to be taken care of later" will end up being. I think this is a game whose completion I will look forward to more than most games I get my hands on.
 

blueperiod

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Sup all.


Just dropping by to announce that the demo will be available for download in the next couple of days-- perhaps tomorrow if I can finish fixing bugs. The demo will act as a teaser and will feature the first 90 minutes of the game. I won't say too much about it except that it features three characters, a forest, and a lot of rain. I was planning on releasing a much longer demo, but I figured I should release something after so long-- after all, the last time LINUS was playable was in 2011. That's like three years. Anyway, I'm super excited about the upcoming release and I am looking forward to having you guys play what I've been working on.


-bp
 
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Maximus32

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Looks wonderful! I love the logo for the game as well. I will definitely play this demo when it's released.
 

blueperiod

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Finally, a new playable version of LINUS has been released. While it's not the demo that I've envisioned releasing all these years, it's something that I'm really proud of.

LINK: http://www.mediafire.com/download/r326fb3sf0b74fr/Linus_Prologue_Demo.rar

The development of this game has been a journey. It's undergone revisions, suffered through losses of data, complete reboots, and well, a lot of stuff has happened since the release of the first demo in 2010 (!!!). I've always loved this story and not a day goes by that I wish I could work on LINUS every day, but alas, this demo is what I've managed to complete in the past two years of on-and-off-again work.

I feel a bit weird starting this demo off with the 'LINUS' title screen, seeing as it has nothing to do with our main character at all. Instead, it focuses on three conscripts who are desperately trying to survive an invasion by a much more powerful army. The storyline of the prologue is meant to introduce very important themes that will run through the veins of the story as well as set up quite a few things that will feature in later chapters of the game-- for instance, the kingdom of Aternelle and the ruin that it's reduced to will form one of the main plot-threads of Linus' story. The characters you'll meet in this prologue might seem insignificant in the greater scheme of things, but several of them will go on to play major roles in the story.

As far as the content of the demo goes, it will feature a bit of exploration, a sidequest or two, some battles (which were programmed by Max Mcgee), and hours and hours of effort put into making the game look beautiful. I spent quite a long time on the aesthetics of the game, and I hope the hybrid of the visuals and music resonate with people.

The demo is now available for everyone to play. Please let me know what you guys think.

Thanks!
 

StrawberrySmiles

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I haven't finished the demo yet, but I wanted to remark that your dialogue is very well written. It was like reading a fantasy novel from someone who's been in the business for awhile. I could read it for hours. I also felt like I could learn a thing or two, but I always forget what I learn. :p


Anyway, the writing is splendid~
 

blueperiod

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Aw, thanks Mel! I've read some of your stuff and I personally think you're a way better writer than I am, so that's high praise coming from you :p . I'm looking forward to seeing what you thought of the rest of it!
 

Myst88

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Man I remember playing an old demo of this well over a year ago. Your mappings improved so much and it was pretty awesome to begin with. I love your writing style as well, it's like reading a professional novel.
 

RobbieLA

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Aha, another demo! Was looking forward to this very much, I'll make sure to play through it and give you some feedback. 
 

♥SOURCE♥

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Awesome. I really enjoyed it, the characters are interesting and the writing is great. I remember playing the previous demo a few years back, when I first started using the program, and I'm really happy to see you're still kicking. It's a beautiful story.

I really wanted the professor to succeed...
The visuals are very nice and the battles felt well-balanced. I felt like I was taking part in a movie. Congratulations on your demo, playing it was a moving experience.
 

RobbieLA

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God damn, man. Those were some of the most engaging hours I've ever spent playing an RM game. The art, music, writing, it all fit in just where it should have. I'm really liking how directly you tell different parts of the story, and god damn do I want to play more. 

Quick edit, I thought I'd also remind you how well your dialogue was written. Loved it.
 
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Stridah

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Question i am getting an error when opening game is this because i do not have vx installed?
 

Stridah

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Question i am getting an error when opening game is this because i do not have vx installed?
 

blueperiod

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I'm 100% sure that's what's causing the issue. To play VX games you need to download the VX RTP.
 

Ikari

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Hah, this game brings back memories. Playtesting it really fired up my inspiration and motivation.

Anyways, looks pretty good, once again. I'll give it a go sometime this week.

(Now hurry and playtest my demo like I asked you to 2-3 months ago on RMN. Jk. It's VVBlastFurYVV by the way, if you remember me.)
 

Bob el Magician

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Beautiful game, looking foward for it completion.
 
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JayDee15

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I hope it's not a spam if I write here, after being absent for so long (I have not been on this website for a long time). Hola again, BluePeriod (not sure if you remember me, but it's okay). I just finished your Demo yesterday night, and I have to say that I was very impressed by the new direction you took as opposed to the older versions. The tone is much more gritty than before, that's for sure; and I noticed that this version of LINUS is more much politically oriented--and it is done well! And the flow was great, too. I really want to give it a full review, but I am not sure if it is the right place to do so. And if you prefer me writing it in another forum, then I shall do so subsequently. Just let me know. :)

Glad to see you're still into your story. Keep it up. Maybe I should take an example from you and start working on LOA (now called Songs of Aldor) again, when I have more time. I also hope to be more active in the forum, as in the past--but there is no guarantee. I do know I'll keep an eye on LINUS for sure.  BD
 

A-Moonless-Night

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Long time no see, Blueperiod! I'm looking forward to playing the demo. :) I'll give you my feedback when I'm done.
 

blueperiod

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I hope it's not a spam if I write here, after being absent for so long (I have not been on this website for a long time). Hola again, BluePeriod (not sure if you remember me, but it's okay). I just finished your Demo yesterday night, and I have to say that I was very impressed by the new direction you took as opposed to the older versions. The tone is much more gritty than before, that's for sure; and I noticed that this version of LINUS is more much politically oriented--and it is done well! And the flow was great, too. I really want to give it a full review, but I am not sure if it is the right place to do so. And if you prefer me writing it in another forum, then I shall do so subsequently. Just let me know. :)

Glad to see you're still into your story. Keep it up. Maybe I should take an example from you and start working on LOA (now called Songs of Aldor) again, when I have more time. I also hope to be more active in the forum, as in the past--but there is no guarantee. I do know I'll keep an eye on LINUS for sure.  BD
Hey JayDee! Of course I remember you bud! Seeing you here makes me reminisce about the old VX.net days :( . Thanks for giving the demo a try and I'm relieved that you enjoyed it. You're one of the project's first supporters and I've been looking forward to seeing your thoughts on it. As far as a possible review goes, I'd love to see a more in-depth catalog of your thoughts if you're willing to share.Also, please, please keep working on Aldor and please please let us know how it's all going. I haven't heard anything about it in ages, it seems like. I'd also be extremely willing to test out the game for you if you want. :p

Long time no see, Blueperiod! I'm looking forward to playing the demo. :) I'll give you my feedback when I'm done.

Yo, moonless! Thanks so much for helping me out with the grammar and for pointing out all of those bugs. I'm sorry I never got to send you that link for the updated demo for further testing, as I was looking forward to seeing what you could find with your fine-tooth comb (I had some bandwidth issues so I couldn't upload another version at the time). I'm super eager to hear what you think of the demo though.   :)
 
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