outcry312

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Hey everyone! Throughout the whole contest I completely forgot there was a forum or anything. Upon discovering, I thought I'd share my game here, since I see other games out and about doing the same. This is my IGMC Entry, and I'm looking for feedback as well as more people to play the game! I've been working on an extended version of the game, and the contest entry is now referred to as:

Blog_Act_1.png


Playtime tends to be between an hour and two hours. It's a puzzle exploration game where the player is given complete freedom to explore the memory and solve the mystery. You play as Amelia, who has finally discovered her attribute: memory. This means she can use memory in whatever possible way she can think of. There are many attributes however, preventing one person from being too powerful. With the help of Lead Therapist Evelyn Catarina and her assistant Mr. Pharell, Amelia will discover what sorts of things she can do with this ability. Evelyn brings in a patient who's problems lie in his memory. Enter his memory and solve the mystery! At the same time, Evelyn has an even bigger goal: find clues through the patient's memory on a multi-country conspiracy!

Screenshot_3.png


So the gameplay of this game. You'll be entering the patient's memory to help them. In the "Mystery Room" you'll see crystal representations of clues, green for the main and blue for the side-plot, the conspiracy. The conspiracy is the overall Perspective story, while the main clues are for the mystery at hand. Entering the door, you'll find the memory map, the setting of the entire memory but empty. Your objective is to find each stage of the memory, explore the time-limited stage for clues, and deduce from what you see, where and when you should go next. You can freely roam the memory while it plays around you and without you. You can only be in one place at one time.

Screenshot_9.png


Where do I go? Who do I follow?!

You can find clues however you like! Follow this one suspicious person through the whole stage, stay in one room throughout another. Roam around aimlessly and happen across something luckily. In the end, it's up to you how you find the clues and in what order. Your experience becomes pretty different and your own, as you will discover plot points at your own pace and your interpretation will no doubt be different if you had a different perspective. I had a friend play this one stage, it was the second stage he went to. He ran to a certain location where he saw something very... confusing and surprising. Something, because of his experience thus far, he had no idea about. And he was intrigued! He wanted to find out more! Unfortunately, I was only half way done with the level at the time :p .

I don't want to spoil anymore, so play for yourself! I am a brutally honest person and like saying stuff like this, don't ask me why, but the intro can be a bit confusing in it's tutorial scene, the weakest part of my game unfortunately. So to help you with an issue that's been pointed out: you have to interact with clues with the action button before they disappear. Just so you know ;) .

As I said before, I'm working on an extended version on this game which adds more things to this concept, you can check it out on my gamepage below. Also, check out my first and only review so far, in which i got 4.5/5 starshttp://rpgmaker.net/games/6402/reviews/2963/. It's a good review that points out the issues that come with this concept, issues that I will be addressing in the extended edition, like difficulty.

Update: The ending of this game. I'll tell you right now that there is a cliffhanger. This story, however, is about the one memory. This game DOES end, with the memory completely concluded, but there IS a to be continued at the end. I'm sorry for anyone who feels this takes away from the ending, but I feel the game does conclude enough, but leaves enough to be continued from. You'll see when you play, but this Act 1 has a beginning, middle, and an end. At least, I feel it does. Sorry if anybody believes otherwise, I understand why this could take away from it and only hope to explain my intent. I made sure to end the memory mystery before having that TBC, this is a complete story within an overall arc. I understand if some people don't like that, but I hope you believe me and understand my intent. Ok, sorry for that, I felt I had to clarify: enjoy the game for what's here, as this is a complete experience. I did not plan anything after the final scene, I ended it there for a reason. Alright, that's it then, enjoy the game!

Download Version 1.4(the contest entry version)

There are RTP and Non-RTP downloads over on the rpgmaker.net site: http://rpgmaker.net/games/6402/

Try out my game! Tell me what you think! It was a great success and I'm excitedly working on extending the story and gameplay. Once you've played the game, check out the blog on that same gamepage where I talk about new features coming in Act 2.
 
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EternalShadow

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Is this based off The Last Express?

I'll give this a go! I enjoyed The Last Express, though some things did get a bit obscure...
 

outcry312

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The Last Express? Never heard of it O_O. Reading up on it now... Ok, that sucks that it wasn't a commercial success, sounds like a concept I would enjoy too. Sorry, I wasn't inspired by it or anything when making this, but the concept of time is a bit similar. Interesting. I might try the game out if I ever can have the time. But yeah, no, it isn't based off The Last Express. Anyway, thanks for giving my game try!
 

Cinnamon

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Copy & Past review from that other topic: :)

Perspective

Very interesting premise, which is why I decided to download the game. First of all I can walk on top of a building/rack in the first memory on the left. Also some sentences are phrased quite strangely, seemingly ending halfway. I think it's an attempt at making the dialogue seem more "spoken"? e.g. "I wouldn't doubt pretty much anything can be an attribute." should be "I wouldn't doubt THAT..." or "I wouldn't doubt it. Pretty much...". Maybe technically it's correct (English isn't my first language) but it sounds strange.

The gameplay's a bit odd. In the tutorial level I could clearly see right away where the item was dropped but wasn't able to interact with the clue. I had to restart 2 times so I could interact with the clue the second it drops. Weird. I mean, I see where it is, why do I need to interact with it the moment it drops?

Way too much text in the beginning. Just random info and names and conspiracy theories being thrown at me before the gameplay even begins.

When finding a collectible you might want to specify what it is, otherwise it's just random text popping up instead of something exciting. Ah, it's just lore. Okay.

3.5/5

First game I actually finished from this contest. I would've given it a higher score but it's obviously just a "part one" of a bigger story which takes away from the ending and makes the lore, etc. less interesting. However, the gameplay was unique, fun, perfectly balanced. Could've been more polished but this is definitely my favorite entry so far, and I don't even like detective games. The memory mechanism is just so unique though, I love it.

Another suggestion: I wasn't sure how many memories I could find so after getting 4 I kept running around for a while before realizing I needed to go back into those 4 memories for the other clues. Unfortunately I didn't figure out who came back for Emily and considering it's a "part 1" I didn't really care as I knew the story would be open-ended. But still, great game.
 

outcry312

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The intro scenes were my weakest area, that first clue was hard to understand for most. Basically each clue has to disappear just in case the player is running around aimlessly, happens across it, doesn't even know what it's about, and grabs it. The tutorial memory was a bit... off, I understand. The phrase you pointed out is correct, and I prefer writing in that way, but there is plenty of phrasing in those intro scenes that need touching up otherwise.

Thanks for playing, you've pointed out some issues with the narrative pretty new for me to consider. I'll take into account the number of stages thing. I don't want the player to know how many until they've found them all. So, I'll definitely let the player know after all four are found.

The one thing I have to disagree with you in is a bit tricky to explain... I do plan on extending the game, I planned on there being a larger story from the beginning and didn't want to stop. But I knew this game had to conclude. You're right, it shouldn't be just a part or whatever. But in the way I look at it, it is a complete story from beginning to end. The game's conclusion scenes do have a bit more weight then you think: Mr Anglow's memory's story is concluded. The loose end you left with Emily stays that way. The story is pretty concluded as it is, except for the one cliffhanger at the end. It's meant to say there IS more, but with a different plot arc, not Anglow's arc. Basically, I'm sorry you saw this as a part of a whole story... but I feel the ending was more so the ending of the memory and thus still important. The ending, in my opinion, successfully conveys this: "Mr. Anglow's memory mystery has been solved, and Amelia understands the ability she has over memory! But, the conspiracy mystery continues! To be continued!". Information for the story in the beginning is very necessary, in terms of attributes: you need to understand that part, I was afraid people wouldn't so... this I will think about, definitely.

I hope to help you understand my intent with the ending. I feel I concluded this in a way that's necessary for the next acts, but still had enough of a conclusion in that Mr. Anglow's memory is complete. But, I am DEFINITELY taking this criticism into account, thank you. I guess all I can do is make this extended edition good so that the conspiracy plot arc will catch your interest, as it becomes more prominent later.

Glad you enjoyed it overall though!
 
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Cinnamon

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Fair enough, but what could you do with the tutorial memory is remove the sparkly/circle hint effect and still allow interaction. I was walking around try to interact with where the item dropped then realized I had to do it in the 0.5 seconds right after it drops. That is the first clue you're referring to, right? It was very easy to understand, I just couldn't grab it, haha.

On the other hand, on two occasions I happened to run into a room just at the right time to grab the clue on accident without knowing what was going on. This didn't take away from my overall experience as I replayed the memory later to get more information, but maybe it's a nice idea to add a timer that checks how long a certain scene has been within your screen and then show a clue? Instead of just a switch going on at a certain point (assuming that's how you did it). ^_^

As for the story: it's not just the conclusion. There's a lot of lore and random names that would make sense in a bigger game but wasn't really relevant to the story in this 1 hour, therefore wasn't all that interesting to me. I mean it was relevant in some way to the story, but if you took it out it wouldn't really change anything. At the core it was a fairly simple story,

crazy chick with control powers takes the girl hostage, frames someone else and has the maid help her
just surrounded by a lot of jargon and information. Made it seem more complicated than it really was.

Oh, as for my favorite part... That was with the plans in the room. Somehow I ended up doing that in the proper order.

First I heard about the maid having the plans and losing it, then I followed the maid to where she plants it, then I waited in the room for the other maid to find them.
That was really awesome. Made it feel like a reversed Groundhog Day.

You also have some spelling errors here and there (hes instead of he's) and wrong punctuation, but that can be expected for a game with this amount of dialogue being made in one month.

Question:

who was the guest that got the girl out of the crypt?
 
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outcry312

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Alright, that makes a lot of sense. I guess the main lore crystals I found valuable were the information on Lusi and it's mansions, since you are there, and the attributes and their spirits and stuff(to understand Amelia's power and the conspiracy twist at the end). Otherwise, I now see what you mean and agree. Too late now to change that... but yes, that makes sense about the lore.

So do you think the story in the level was weak? I mean, once you have it figured out, it seems simple. Some people say it's their favorite and the strongest point as it's intriguing and pulling and therefore deduction becomes pretty fun. However, is the overall writing bad?  Cause that would make me sad, as I hope to focus on the game writing profession rather then game design :p (I know it's just one opinion, but still). I see your favorite part was a success though, that's awesome how you figured it out that way, hah.

So in the end, while I try to write while thinking about the overall story, I should remember what the player knows as well, not just what I know about my world. The lore will be valuable in the long run, but not in the short-term. It may not have been valuable to this game, but in the extended edition it probably will :) .

Wow, valuable feedback. I'll be refining act 1 as I work on the next act, this will no doubt help. Thanks!

http://rpgmaker.net/games/6402/Walkthrough/
 
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Cinnamon

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Actually, your writing is really good otherwise a game like this wouldn't work. I just think it would benefit from being a longer game and giving the lore to the player at a slower face. In hindsight I might've missed some important details because my brain failed to filter what was relevant and what wasn't. I once watched an Extra Credits video on that (they're a famous Youtube channel on making games). I forgot the exact term for it but if you throw a lot of information at the player at once they start to zone out and will stop caring. Sunken Spire kind of suffers from this as well, especially when you reach the village and suddenly you get huge chunks of background story about vampires and kingdoms. FFXIII is also a great example on how not to give the player story information, haha.

Again, though, your game is really amazing and I can definitely see it being a commercial success if polished and extended. You might want to wait with releasing the full game until you get the contest results and a potential distribution request from Degica. That is, after all, why they're hosting the contest: looking for potential products. Will be looking forward to seeing more of this! ^_^
 
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outcry312

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Well, thank you! I don't think I can finish the extended version before the end of the contest anyway, so that's good. I just don't want to stop working on it in the meantime. I'm in the planning phase of act 2's four levels. And there are three acts after that so... yeah! Very valuable feedback, thanks. A good boost of confidence too, which deserves another thank you :) . It takes a bit of discussion for me to understand some people's point of view and stuff. But anyway, I'll be looking forward to more of this as well!!! ;P
 

Housekeeping

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I thought I'd give this a go since this was one of the few games Cinnamon seemed to actually like, haha.  Here were my thoughts:

-First off, this idea's great.  Exploring memories is a dynamite way to provide a lot of interesting character development, and the mystery genre spin on this was smart. 

-I enjoyed being able to explore each section of time.  This dynamic worked well for me, especially when I would find where someone went in one scene and then know I would have to follow up on them in another.  The world definitely felt alive.

-While the mechanics really worked for me, the story didn't.  The first thing that really needs some work is the main character.  She really has no identifiable traits.  I understand that this is about solving a mystery, but you seem to have a number of sequels in mind, so, if you want people to maintain interest in your series, you need a main character that's interesting, unique, and evolves over the course of the story.  Exploring a memory should MEAN something to her.  Since you're working with memory exploration and mystery, I think this lends to having some mysterious factors with the protagonist and her own memories.  Maybe there are things about her own past she can't remember, yet she can see others memories with perfect clarity, and each little episode could unlock clues to her own memory.  I'm not saying that's THE way to spin it, but that might be a way that you could connect the episodes, build intrigue with your character, and charge the scenes.

-This might also give you a chance to change the introduction.  Exploring Pharell's memory is worthless in terms of story--it doesn't convey anything other than the basics of the gameplay.  Make it do double duty: use the opening scene to make the player interested in your character.

-There's also a huge info dump that just isn't necessary.  You don't have to explain how everyone in the world has attributes and all that.  Just let it occur naturally in the dialogue.  If a player says they have the attribute to control things, there's a subtext there--what's an attribute?  Does everyone have one?  This information will be revealed just by living in the world with the characters--you don't have to outright define things at any point.

-That also brings me to lore--just don't bother.  Lore's not interesting for the bulk of players.  Like what I was saying in my previous bullet point, this is the kind of thing that should just be a natural part of the world, so don't bother explaining it to the player; they'll pick it up as they play.  Making it optional is better than forcing it down their throats, but, even then, INFORMATION is a crappy prize for seeking out collectibles.  Imagine if your prize for finishing a math test is a history book. 

-Your dialogue in general needs to be more interesting.  Even when the characters are just enjoying the party, they should be talking about things that are interesting.  Craft all the dialogue carefully.  Yes, it's not odd for people to talk about how it's cool outside and it's nice to hang out on the patio, but it's certainly not engaging to read.  Make each little conversation a treat for the player.  Use them to characterize, keep subtext in mind, have them joke, have relationships be tested, have subplots--don't just make this world feel lived in; make it inhabited with people who are legitimately engaging.

-Your music was pretty great, but, man, I hated that woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo BGS that played while "outside" of a memory.  It definitely sets an appropriate atmosphere, but when reading through information dumps, that sound was pretty grating.

-There were some passability issues (nothing too serious), but the mapping was pretty strong.

-Sometimes waiting characters need to be a bit more animated--the mind control lady when waiting in the basement, for example, just stared at a wall.  Some pacing would have been great there, and, if you really want to go crazy, maybe some foot tapping and other such gestures.

Overall, I think I liked the concept of this a lot more than the execution.  The basic mechanics are cool and I think the order of events is fine, but the dialogue and characterization need an overhaul, and those are absolutely crucial for such a story-forward game like this.
 

outcry312

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Thanks for playing Housekeeping. I think I can definitely say now that, in the month's time I spent working on this game, I ended up focusing a bit more on the design, unconsciously. I didn't know I was doing it, but less went into the writing it seems. Quite odd to me because, well... I'm more interested in the writing then the design and mechanics but clearly, judging from this project, I crank out successful designs a lot faster then good writing. Well, some of the dialogues I felt were good, like the conversation between the couple as they investigate some books in the lounge, or the cooks closing the kitchen for the night, talking about the missing girl and the female cook saying she can "feel" Emily is still alive, noting that she has the attribute of Intuition. Otherwise, there were times where I should definitely work on dialogue and make still characters do something. I like the foot-tapping thing, and I feel I could do that with my minimal artistic skills but we'll see :p .

I've pretty much felt that, without a time limit this time around, I can go back to act 1 and refocus the narrative, taking a lot of your advice into account. With the writing improved in act 1, I can move on to Act 2's new mechanics and continued storyline. I admit, I was in a sensitive mood when first reading your feedback so I waited before answering back, so now I can say: thanks for the good, constructive criticism! I have to disagree though, I feel the execution of the concept was successful, not in terms of story perhaps, but the design was pretty much successful in my eyes. I'll still be working on it, but I'm definitely going to work my butt off on the writing.

Also, I don't plan on making a "sequel", just this extended edition. Once all 5 acts are done, my character will go on to do more. You see, this world I'm setting Perspective in is the setting for some other concepts and ideas I have. Games that I'll make in the future(not all my games of course :p ) will take place in this same world, connected with others but with different designs. Perspective just so happens to be a spin-off from my main games but turned into my first public release and pretty much a solid game concept, thus I have to count it as my "main game" for now. You know, this gameplay would come back in some sort of sequel perhaps, but I don't know how yet. I'd need to get some other planned game ideas out first before that, we'll see.

Anyway, I agree with pretty much everything. Hopefully, even though I go back to college in a month, I'll have more time to really nail the narrative and stuff. So yeah, thanks for the help!
 

Housekeeping

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Cool--glad you're taking the feedback to heart.  I actually think that the design was successful, so I'm sorry if it came off that I didn't.  My main gripe was about the writing, which is really what can make your game pop.  The design, though, is something that I thought was really cool.
 

outcry312

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Ah, thanks for clearing that up Housekeeping. I indeed hope to make this game pop, so I'll be doing a rewrite of sorts for act 1 before going too far in act 2. Obviously not completely dictated by your feedback as I planned on doing so earlier, but there will be a even more noticeable change now to the level then I originally planned. I'll be playing your game too soon, by the way.
 

Housekeeping

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Sweet!  Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
 

kartersaint

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The game needs a brain. Then penetrating people's mind reminds me another game that named "Peace of Mind". Hm... well. Let's see how it different. 

Edit: I tried it. And I realised there's no check point after the intro cut scene. It'd be better making auto-save...
 
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outcry312

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Yeah, the player isn't able to save until after the quick tutorial. I'll be adding a spot to save in a future version for sure.
 

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