Peace of Mind

Discussion in '2014 Indie Game Maker Contest' started by TerminusEst13, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. TerminusEst13

    TerminusEst13 Veteran Veteran

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    [​IMG]

    Hello! This is my first completed RPG Maker game.

    I doubt it'll go very far in the contest, but I had a lot of fun making it, I learned a lot for next time, and I hope you guys enjoy it.

    For the contest I made a game where you play as a white mage, head into an adventurer's mind, stab off phobias, and then argue bosses to death. In more elegant terms, Peace of Mind is an attempt at a story-focused adventure game utilizing game-esque mechanics to further the story, with light action elements to spice things up a bit in between massive text-dumps.

    I'm not really an artist, so I can't really boast any major custom graphics, but hopefully I can make up for it with...um...hm. I have a winning smile?

    Contest entry is here.

    RPG Maker.net link is here.

    Downloads are here.

    Credits are here.

    Story: (Shamefully copy-pasted from the contest entry)

    When a friendly adventurer goes in a cult hideout, he ends up picking up a tome of eldritch lore. As is typical of such things, the vast knowledge contains inside starts to infect his mind and drive him to madness. The problem is that this time, the infection is contagious.
    When he goes back to his home, everyone around him is driven mad, one by one, and the hospital is desperately stumbling over itself to treat it--and making absolutely no headway. The city is quarantined, everywhere is closed up, and people are dropping like flies.
    As the town's resident healer, it's up to you to enter inside the hero's mind, purge out the madness bit by bit, talk some sense into the man, and see if you can get sanity reigning once more.
    Features: (Even more shamefully copy-pasted)

    - 45 minutes of playtime
    - Lots of talking!
    - A (simple) active battle system
    - A few custom graphics made by a dude who isn't an artist
    - Semi-original soundtrack
    - Weaponized discussion system
    - No, seriously, a LOT of talking
    - Surreal environments
    - Not a horror game
    - Horror games are pretty cool though
    - Egregious use of ellipses
    - I think someone says a swear word somewhere
    Screenshots: (My shame is eternal)

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2014
    #1
    Dalph and Indrah like this.
  2. Paladin-Cleric of Awesome

    Paladin-Cleric of Awesome Writer Veteran

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    No one's reviewed this? No one?????

    OMG!

    This is so damned awesome!

    please find my review below. (please excuse that it is not very well written)

    Peace of Mind

    Comments: So I downloaded a whole bunch of games to try out, and this one was the first to download, so I played it first... Man...

    Rating: 5/5

    Story;

    You are a healer who delves into the mind of an ill adventurer in order to stop a terrible plague turning villiagers into mindless (what I assume are) zombies. But this simple story belies what an absolute triumph this game really is, because it is so... It's just...

    I believe anyone who plays this will get something out of it, because everything about it is just wonderfully perfect.

    Graphics;

    RTP Graphics for the WIN, because they were used in such a wonderful way that may everything fit. I admit I was expecting the graphics to detract from the game a little, because they didn't seen to be the right sort to make the story really work, and yet... it really did work.

    Gameplay;

    1. The whole gameplay idea was marvellous, delving into the mind of an ill adventurer, traversing that mind and healing them from the inside out. It was such a wonderfully clever idea and it worked so very well.

    2. A combination of on map battles was fun, and a little heart pounding. But the real winner was NEGOITATING part. It was inspired and awesome and I loved it so much, because I was so very frightened of picking the wrong thing to say, of making things worse, and it was such a heady feeling.

    Final Comments;

    This game hit a spot deep inside me, and I love it, I love it so very, very much. My only quibble is that sometimes the sprite walks in such a way that it looks like she's floating over the walls, but to be honest I hardly noticed save for the fact that I was keeping an eye out for imperfections, but seriously, a bit more polish on that score and this game would be... well... Perfect beyond all perfection.

    Play this game. I kid you not. It is the best!
     
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  3. kartersaint

    kartersaint Ornate Brain Veteran

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    Actually I reviewed it. You can check a comment section of a entry. Then you'll find something. LoL
     
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  4. Paladin-Cleric of Awesome

    Paladin-Cleric of Awesome Writer Veteran

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    I meant reviewed it on here. No one's even commented... which makes me sad, because it's epically good. IMHO
     
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  5. kartersaint

    kartersaint Ornate Brain Veteran

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    Then you mean you didn't count the review on comment section? Only the reviews in here are worth? 

    Classify it more detail. 
     
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  6. Paladin-Cleric of Awesome

    Paladin-Cleric of Awesome Writer Veteran

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    I hadn't been on the comment section on the main game site. I only meant it wasn't getting the love it deserves on this site. Please do not twist my words, I don't want to clutter this thread with out of place chatter to be honest. All reviews count of course, I was simply referring to comments on this site, not on any others. I don't tend to check the indie game contest site often, I look here, and people like me might do the same, so it's nice for there to be comments here as well.

    Where you choose to post reviews is your own choice and certaintly does not make it mean less than mine in any way. and some people might never see my review because they look solely on the indie contest site, so therefore your review would be wonderful for them to see.

    Ii'm not seeing why you've taken offense to be honest, if it was because I said "it's epically good" I was referring to the game, not the place where the review was placed. it deserves all my love and I have given it. Thank you.
     
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  7. kartersaint

    kartersaint Ornate Brain Veteran

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    Then I won't continue my argument, as you said, it's rude to the developer who made this thread. 

    Your promising made me decide this. Hmph. I just mad because you seem to lose the opportunity to check the more objective view of the entries. Not just because about your terms.
     
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  8. Mesonyx

    Mesonyx That Guy Who Made That One Thing Member

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    This. Was. Amazing.

    Check out my full review here!
     
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  9. TerminusEst13

    TerminusEst13 Veteran Veteran

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    Oh geeze, I'm very flattered. Thank you guys so, so much for your kind words. I'm really glad this is going over well, I was super-nervous about how a first-timer work would be received.

    I was originally thinking of a sequel, but after the contest is over I might do a 1.1 update in order to give things some graphical polish, fix up some bugs, and polish the fighting system. Might as well tweak things to clean up its rough spots and enhance it before stepping on ahead, yeah?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2014
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  10. Housekeeping

    Housekeeping Veteran Veteran

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    Hey, I decided to give this one a shot, and I was pleasantly surprised for the most part.  Here's some detailed feedback:

    -The ground situation is great; it gives you a lot of room for characterization since you're literally in someone's mind.

    -That said, I found the adventurer's backstory to be a little stock.  Your take on the existential issues a typical adventurer might face is a nice turn from the norm, but I wish he had a bit more going on in his past than the sadness of losing a loved one and the anger he feels towards the townspeople.  The death of his girlfriend in particular is a really stock device that could have at least been handled in a unique way.

    -I do like his mood swings, though, and I particularly like when he fell in love with the specter.  I like the initial confusion of the entity appearing as you, and I wish that his infatuation with you (rather than just the entity) was explored more (that expectation was dispelled pretty quickly), as it would have been an interesting scenario, since you would be impacting his mind in an unintended way.

    -This also might have set the story on a more interesting course, as the final act hurt the narrative a lot for me.  I didn't mind the entity's oppressive nihilism, but Jadranka's response of the undying hope of humanity is about as standard of a theme in JRPGs as they come.  I felt like this game took a great ground situation and began to ask some important philosophical questions, but it didn't deliver on those by the end.  Again, if Jadranka ended up unintentionally causing the adventurer to become infatuated with her, this would have been a great turn in your narrative, and think about how this would impact her character in interesting (and also existential) ways; that first scene got my mind spinning in all the right ways, but then it got shut down pretty quickly, which sucked.

    -The physical combat didn't mesh with the narrative for me.  I think I wouldn't have minded it, though, if it were handled better, but I think you were probably dealing with the limits of a script.  It suffers a bit from "Lagoon syndrome," i.e. the swordplay almost requires you getting hit.  There wasn't much strategy or intrigue involved here, and it was balanced to be so easy that it wasn't particularly fun.

    -The debate battles were much cooler, though, and I think you probably could have centered the game around this and taken out the physical combat altogether.  I never felt in danger of losing a battle (save for the last one, which seemed intentional), though, so I don't know if I was just making the correct decisions or if the game pretty much forces you to win.  This was still a cool aspect of the gameplay.  I've noticed a lot of others with verbal battles in this competition, so I hope that their abundance doesn't hurt the novelty of it.

    -Sometimes I found your work to be a bit too much tell rather than show.  The debate battles of course required lots of dialogue, which was fine, but other times--such as Jadranka's impressions--could have been conveyed to the player through visuals and atmosphere rather than told to the player.  This is one of the strengths of this medium, so make sure to take advantage of it.  The "love" section, for example, is conveyed really clearly from the atmosphere.

    -Speaking of that, I found that section to be the best in terms of visuals, which I'm sure you'd agree with.  The RTP stuff in the earlier sections didn't work as well for me.  Since you're exploring a mind, this is a game that really requires visuals that break away from the RTP's blocky, tiled nature, and your pixel movement script would have fit right with that.  By the way, sometimes that script clashed with the tiles, either by making small entryways a slight annoyance to navigate or by having your character graphic overlap with walls.

    Overall, this game was definitely stronger than I expected from the screenshots, but the story took some easy ways out both with characterization and plot, and there were some iffy design decisions.  I think for this type of game, the story was everything, so I wish it would have cooked for longer, as Jadanka's likable and your ground situation is compelling.
     
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  11. TerminusEst13

    TerminusEst13 Veteran Veteran

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    I agree, I probably could have done a lot more with parallax mapping in other areas in order to better demonstrate the mind and what emotions they should be--I'm not at all happy with the entire Anger area at all and I think it's the weakest section of the game. Having something a bit more striking and visceral would have likely gone much farther in demonstrating...well, the sheer anger rather than just a fortress. On fire. A firefortress. Firetress?

    And those are some fantastic ideas for exploration in the story. I'd intended for Aeger to be just a stereotypical adventurer to demonstrate that anyone could be in this scenario, but a bland character (even intentionally) is still bland. Even the most stock everyman always has some unique quirks and twists to him--I'll have to flesh him up a bit more.

    Thanks very much for the feedback, I'm very honored to hear from you personally. God of Crawling Eyes was one of my favorite games and what inspired me to try my hand at this.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2014
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  12. Housekeeping

    Housekeeping Veteran Veteran

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    Ooh, a God of Crawling Eyes fan!  I'm flattered!

    Anyway, I think that starting Aeger off as a stock character and then rounding him out through his memories and interactions with Jadranka would be a nice subversion of expectations.  Your writing's definitely a notch above most games produced on this engine, so just make sure that you play to the strengths of the medium and don't take any easy ways out.
     
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  13. Indrah

    Indrah Megane Berserker Veteran

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    Here's my very quick and sketchy take on the game f*ck that, it's NOT SHORT AT ALL. (link for info on why it's so short and all that jazz)

    *warning: LONG play, I finish the game in an hour and a bit. Skip to 1:15 or so for compiled feedback.





    +Writing and narrative is excellent. Even the more complicated parts flow very well.
    +Good characterization despite serious tone and not much “character” time.
    +Good ambience despite lack of any real graphical “custom” resources outside a few backgrounds.
    +Good use of sound, especially in the creepier bits.
    +Overall very engaging and drives the player forward smoothly.
    -Some of the screen tints were out of control and somewhat irritating to the eyes.
    -The melee combat system took you OUT of the experience rather than add to it, especially during the last section. The difficulty is cheap, the hit detection is very erratic and there’s no actual challenge or skill involved.
    -Not being able to save anywhere was a hassle, especially since there was no reason NOT to, and having to backtrack just to save was annoying.
    -(Not really a point but still) Sprites were somewhat ill suited for the serious tone of the game. While not BAD I felt the game deserved BETTER.
    -(Again not a big minus) The dialog choices were not obvious as to their results. I mainly did things at random which worked fine, but I could not guess what options were “correct” most of the time. (I still had no issues messing up so I guess that’s fine)

    To the developer: I liked this game enough to play the whole thing (an hour and 15 mins or so) in one sitting, even when I should have stopped at 30 mins max for the stream. Instead of a commented play, it was just me quietly reading and enjoying the game, forgetting I was supposed to be entertaining. I hope you’re happy, you totally ruined that video XD
    Really now, I enjoyed this game a lot. It came as a surprise, and I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t expecting much and I did not take it seriously at the start with the zombies and the simple presentation. Way to blow my expectations out the window in the best way possible.
    If I had to say why this game felt so RIGHT, even against other “prettier” and better presented games, is that it felt like its core was very solid, like it had a lot of substance over fluff. The polish was a bit wobbly here and there but I couldn’t be arsed to care, I was too engaged in the game, and that’s the best praise I think I can give.

    I could be wrong, but I felt like this was a visual novel with some tacked on elements of gameplay. While the exploration I’m fine with, the melee combat did not fit in, to me, with the rest of the game, and was more frustrating than engaging. Outside of that and minor nitpicks like saving and tints, I don’t think I can whine much.
    If this is your first project: congratulations. It was great for a first time. I found no bugs or weird things/bad design choices which so often riddle first time games, and the worst ban of all: it was NOT boring, it had a good hook, and it KEPT ME PLAYING. I can’t stress enough how RARE that seems to be with early projects.
    I’m definitely looking forward to more games from you! Good luck.
     
    #13
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  14. B.Ultimus

    B.Ultimus Drinker of Coffee Veteran

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    Watching Indrah play this title, I was very impressed.  Two things I've noticed that would destroy most games:

    • RTP Mapping was poor
    • Battles (the outside ones) were repetitive and button mashing with no depth whatsoever.
    WITH THAT SAID, your game still keeps the attention of the player to overlook these faults, and to keep them engaged.  You play on someone's curiosities to delve further, something most games lack. 

    The mapping could stay the way it is, and still be considered a great game (but still highly recommend improving on). 

    I do feel, however, the battles don't work here.  It feels like a different puzzle piece that's trying to be mashed to give it that 'action' element.  It is highly unnecessary. One of two recommendations for this:

    • Turn based combat works perfectly here.  The game had a very Shin Megami Tensei feel, and the mix of dialogue with some turned based combat would of been fine. Example
    • Get rid of combat and go for some puzzles instead.  I think that would also fit well.
    In the end, bravo!  I feel like your title wins "Most engaging", and that is a wonderful feat to achieve.
     
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  15. kartersaint

    kartersaint Ornate Brain Veteran

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    The dev said he's going to make active combat more functional. So he won't include turn-based unless he changed his mind.
     
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  16. TerminusEst13

    TerminusEst13 Veteran Veteran

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    I'm glad to hear you liked it so much! I very, very much appreciate the feedback and the criticism. And, uh, sorry for ruining the stream~

    The more I hear from people, the more I agree that the battle system could have gotten a lot more polish. I'm definitely not a fan of traditional turn-based battles, but I really wanted something to try and slow down the pace of the story a bit rather than just all text all the time. I probably should've gone with something much better than just "Mash A and hope for the best", though. I've been trying my hand at learning Ruby during the downtime, and hopefully I can make things more functional and...well, fun.

    I hadn't considered puzzles before, though, and I think that's a fantastic idea. If I can't do anything with the battle system, that would definitely help slow the pace down just as well--and there's a whole bunch of metaphorical possibilities there that can be done as well.

    Aaahhhh, you guys are too kind to me, I've got so many ideas on how to improve this.

    Once the results are out and the contest is over, I can't wait to get to work again. Thank you so much for your input.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2014
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  17. B.Ultimus

    B.Ultimus Drinker of Coffee Veteran

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    I say, embrace this. You've engaged the audience, so feel free to focus more on that.  The only thing I would suggest (and maybe you have, but it didn't seem like it) is have some consequences happen if you say the wrong thing.  Maybe some information about these figures you're communicating with hidden through out the level, so you know points they're interested in, and others that would just upset them?  I think that could also fit well with the puzzle element

    Keep it up though, very impressed with what you've made thus far.
     
    #17

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