Set the Setting: Results! We received 5 fantastic projects for this contest. Choosing a winner was one tough job! The judges give big hand of applause to all five of you, both because you rose to the challenge of making a game in a specific setting and also because you've provided us with wonderful entertainment. First, prizes... Since so much effort has been put into your projects and us judges took so much time to come to a decision, each of you will receive a set of tiles from me: the modern day tile that's up for sale at the store. If you've already bought the tileset, I will provide you with a copy of the first modern add-on (shopping themed) as soon as it's available. Besides the tiles, the winner's project will also be featured in the official blog (prepare for major boost in downloads, winner!). Aaaaand, onto the Judging ... Lunarea's Scores: Spoiler The Secret Life of Jhannad: Scoring: Story: 3/10 I think I understood a little of what was going on, but there was just too much information thrown at me all at once. It read more like a history lesson than anything else. I can see some potential to the story, but I never got a chance to truly enjoy it. Gameplay: 2/10 I had to stop playing inside the cave (map 12) because I was out of ways to heal, on my last 2 health and I was cornered by the bat. Looking at the code, I guess the bat was supposed to stop moving to give me a chance to get away, but the movement is applied to the wrong event. Style: 4/10 RTP and Character generator faces clashed. I was also a bit put off by seeing a smiley face of a character when they're talking about something painful or upsetting. The mapping was very simple and could have used some work. Continuity: 5/10 I didn't find any glaring mistakes or anything completely inappropriate. Other: 3/10 It felt a bit rushed and unpolished. I think it would have been much more enjoyable if the story took time to develop. Total: 17/50 Thoughts while playing: - The music playing at the title screen is awesome.- I really like the concept of giving stones attention so they'll flourish. Very spiritual. - At first glance, the scorpions seemed clever, since they appear from further away. But they never stop chasing me, which is not so fun. - First boss kept charging, then missing the attack, so I never took damage. I guess I got lucky. - Escaped the bat, only to have it attack again. And, there goes the game-over screen. - Final thought: This could be a very lovely project if you take a bit more time to polish it. Keep at it, Velex! There were a lot of great ideas. You just need to experiment a bit on how to implement them best. In Search of Dragons: Scoring: Story: 9/10 Left me wanting to keep playing! There were a few grammar issues, but they were relatively minor. Sometimes phrasing was a little awkward, too. But the interactions between the characters were genuine and fun to read. Gameplay: 8/10 Two words: Black Hole. I loved the idea of herb gathering and I appreciated the many small features (party camp, gab window, configurations of the battle system). I got lost at the spider cave, after the party is reunited. I just couldn't seem to find where to go after that. I also didn't like the jumping spiders because they took forever to kill as a regular monster. Other than that, it was very fun to play through! Style: 7/10 Mapping was visually impressive and there were areas with a lot of detail! However, because the outside areas were so detailed, the inside felt a little bare in some places. There was a lot of fun exploration, but a clear path from A to B wasn't always apparent or quick to take. This made me want to backtrack less. Continuity: 10/10 It feels like it's a part of the larger world, and there is an obvious effort made to integrate it into the universe. Effort: 8/10 Very polished! It must have taken a lot of time and work to get it to this state and it shows. I definitely want to play the complete game. Total: 42/50 Thoughts while playing: Spoiler - "Little Hunting Village" is a bit hard to read when the screen pans.- Cute faces! Cute sprites! Cute village! - Slightly awkward phrasing in parts, but definitely different character voices. Love the emotions in faces. - Arrows = great idea that I'm so going to steal :lol: - Owen is so cute! Though I think Owen is a girl. A girly girl who's only pretending to be a guy so she can be taken seriously. I bet her name is Gwen, too. Mwahaha. My powers of deduction are awesome. - Herb picking is awesome! I sure hope there will be other field skills available later. - Gab window = fun! - Damon and Owen banter is great. They better start making out by the end of the game. >;D - I like the names of the herbs. For some reason, they almost sound like names of some of our staff (coincidence?) - Oh, ick! Spiders -_- - Black Hole ... AAAAAAAAAAA! So awesome! - I'm so lost in this spider cave ... I wish I had a map... - Well, couldn't find my way out, I guess I'll stop playing for now. Really amazing job, Indrah!!! Valera: Scoring: Story: 8/10 Very exciting introduction, left me wanting to find out more about the plot. Writing and dialogue were very good, and I enjoyed the characterization. Gameplay: 7/10 I enjoyed the battle system and the features. The tutorials ran a little too long, however, which affected immersion. Style: 8/10 Good mapping, great path and map layouts. Continuity: 9/10 It felt like it fit into the Arum universe, without being forced. Effort: 7/10 A lot of care was put into making the maps look great and having the cutscenes flow smoothly. It feels a bit like the project was perhaps too large for a 1-month long contest. I would enjoy seeing a more polished and finished project sometime down the line. Incomplete: -5 Total: 34/50 Thoughts while playing: Spoiler - Very exciting intro!- Way too much dry text explaining the battle system. Maybe it would have been better to include a battle primer of some sort instead, so the player can read it from the inventory. - I like the quick movement speed. - Ooh, a plot twist very early on. I can't wait to see what happens with Charlotte. - Aww, too bad the demo ends so early on. - Maps in editor look pretty good. Unexpected Incidents: Scoring: Story: 6/10 I commend you for trying to go with a comedy. Humor is hard to pull off sometimes. I did get a chuckle out of a couple of scenes, but quite a few felt over the top. There was some language issues, too. Gameplay: 5/10 Solid effort, especially with the encounter bar. There were some fun abilities and skills in battle. Style: 2/10 This is the weakest aspect of the game. The mapping wasn't great and the locations felt underdeveloped. Continuity: 5/10 There were some efforts to integrate the Arum universe. World map was a nice touch. However, some of the plot felt a bit off. The prophecy of ultimate evil, for instance, is something to be careful with - unless it's purely local legend. Effort: 6/10 I was a bit curious about how the events would continue after the game ended. There's potential there, but you need to make sure that you spend more time polishing the features and the events. Total: 24/50 Thoughts while playing: Spoiler - Dialogue is a bit awkward. Thy/thine is you/yours, so the message where Bob tells Nelly he will smite him should say "with mine sword".- The idea on having a jump on the enemy is fun, but I would appreciate another reminder. Maybe a sound before the bar comes up, or an exclamation point on the character? - Mapping could really use some work. - Very funny! I like Bob-the-homicidal-maniac was fun to see. - Wassabelle is an awesome name. - Bro judge Nigel is funny. - Aw, over alredy? I hope there's more adventures soon. The Alchemist's Son: Scoring: Story: 5/10 By itself, the story had potential! It seems like it would be a cute game to follow along. However, it felt a bit underwhelming and the characters weren't as memorable as I'd want them to be. Finding a strong narrative voice and strong characterization takes a lot of practice, but it's worth the work. Gameplay: 5/10 I liked the concept of alchemy and I would love to see it expanded. I think it may have been a bit too much of a feature for a short demo, however. There were a couple small bugs, but nothing that detracted from the game as a whole. Style: 6/10 I appreciated the use of some non-RTP resources, though I think parts of it made the game appear a bit darker than the setting implied. There was a mishmash of faces (generator, VX RTP, Ace RTP), which seemed a bit awkward. There were some very clever details and a couple mapping errors. Continuity: 5/10 I think I found a couple of references to Arum and Arum-inspired projects in a store (Briland reference?), but the story could have fit into any other world. With herbs and other natural resources, there's a lot of room to include more history and geography to make the project fit Arum more closely. Effort: 7/10 There are a lot of great ideas in the project, but the implementation is a bit underwhelming. I think if you were given more time, the project could grow into something much more elaborate and more fun to play. I hope you'll refine it and keep adding to it over time. Total: 28/50 Spoiler - The introduction looks unusual. It's cute, but a bit unusual!- I really like Leo's face graphic. Too bad the rest of the faces aren't from the generator. - Music is okay, but now it just suddenly stopped. - Very pretty and natural mapping in the town. - It's a bit odd that some NPCs talk, and others don't. Maybe at least add a balloon with ... if they don't want to talk. - Hrm, there's a potted tree on the wall in one of the apartments. - Love the little horses peeking through the windows! - Aww, over sooner than I thought it would be. Archeia's Scores: Spoiler The Secret Life of Jhannad by Velex - 20/50In Search of Dragons by Indrah - 41/50 Valera by Deckiller - 36/50 Unexpected Incidents by JMSoup - 16/50 The Alchemist's Son by mlogan - 10/50 The Alchemist's Son: Story - The plot is really simple, you're some teenager kid that has all the problems a teenager has and some strong gov't whatever stole the master book that can turn anything into gold. And it's your job to retrieve it. The dialogue, for what little it has, is average on the most part and some felt forced. I feel like I'm watching some teenage show, which I guess is the author's intent. 5/10 Gameplay - The gameplay is obviously unbalanced and untested. You die in 2 hits, you don't get any items until way later and you just avoid battles. There's one mandatory battle that you will lose no matter what for being underlevelled or unless you grind. Which is bad. You also don't get fully healed in any of the cutscenes or fully heal in any other way. Overall, the maker obviously didn't have the time to fix the battles. It's also a massive Fetch Quest, at least the Quest Journal is pretty updated and doesn't leave you lost. 2/10 Style - The mapping is open and boring. I wish he tried to make it more compact. I can see what he's trying to do with the setting, but he needs to do more work. There's also some passability issues and most of all, random doodads that are displayed out of nowhere, breaking the immersion of the game. If I'm translating his setting correctly, it feels like a backwater town in America/Similar to Australia's type of town layout. I will give him props for getting the right graphics, he just needs to improve his mapping. There is no music on towns or in any of the cutscenes except for one groan sound effect after being punched. Only the battles and intro have music. Hell, even the battle music doesn't fit the random encounters since it sounded something for a boss battle instead. The pacing of the game could also use some work! There's so many bugs here and there like repeating scenes or invisible event blocks getting in the way. This game really needs polish. 3/10 Continuity- I thought so far, continuity wise, the game is doing well in terms of setting, just needs more work on establishing the look of the nation/whatever. His alchemy is also very traditional as well, so I guess that's a bit of a plus. 5/10 Fluff - Sigh, I just don't know what to feel about that some old man is carrying a book about a forbidden alchemy technique with him and got it easily stolen from him too. I hope that the book is at least ENCRYPTED, like any alchemist should or I'll bang my head on the table. How did the guys even know about the Master Book? Should he even be saying that all around? It's a forbidden alchemy act since it's going to destroy economy. Wouldn't that send him to execution? etc.etc.etc. [/alchemy nerd] 0/10 Overall Points: 15/50 Final Points: 10/50 because it feels really incomplete Unexpected Incidents Spoiler Story - The plot is really simple, you're a scammer of a shopkeeper that prevented a knight from achieving his goal of defeating the ultimate evil. Because of this you were sued and another witch because of a prophecy. The judgement apparently is that, you will defeat the ultimate evil instead of the knight and the witch got renamed to Wasabelle and became a Magic Woman. So both of you team up to beat this terrible evil so you can resume to daily life and the witch can have her name back. Overall, it's a very joke game but I thought it was written pretty well. SADLY, this does not fit Arum at all. 5/10 Gameplay - The gameplay was surprisingly well balanced in my opinion. The cast have an interesting variety of skills, some being from YF's but it was used well. I thought the bonuses the game had was pretty well thought out. This guy actually knows what he's doing. Unfortunately, the enemies could use some work! They barely have patterns and there isn't much variety at all. Sure there's a few gimmicks like rats trying to pile on you, but overall, the game's encounters could really use some work. Another good thing about this game is that it shows that the character's interactions or rampant narcissism actually help him get stronger. It gives the character's a flair. The only major beef I have with this game is that the battles are way too frequent and the battle advantage is a pain more than a feature. 5/10 Style - This is where the game goes downhill. The setting isn't that interesting at all due to the maker's lack of mapping skills. He didn't really work on the town layouts that much or explained where the magic came from and so forth. It's just overall very lacking. This game really needs polish on this aspect and probably shouldn't be in Arum at all. 3/10 Continuity- This joke game doesn't fit ARUM at all. I could accept the setting if he polishes it, but the plot itself doesn't. Isn't ARUM a well established world? If it was a comedy game it could work, like maybe make it a dark satire or something. I don't know it just doesn't work. 0/10 Fluff - Actually I thought this game was decent and had its fun moments. I can give him props for that at least. 3/10 Overall Points: 16/50 Final Points: 16/50 because I thought the game was pretty "complete" in an aspect. So I didn't deduct any. The Secret Life of Jihanaad Spoiler Story - I will be honest, I didn't enjoy the game's plot because I didn't understand what was really going on. It felt like it should've been a novel than a game and that it was rushed? Too much expository. I wish the maker took time to slowly break it down for you, the pacing was just too off. 2/10 Gameplay - The gameplay is really unbalanced. I die so fast, there's this mandatory boss battle in a tent that I went into without warning and that event killed me because I barely had any items and health. The scorpions was a nice touch but after a while, it gets tiring. The gameplay was just tedious battle wise because of survivability. Overall, I just didn't enjoy this game's gameplay at all. 2/10 Style - The mapping is mostly empty spaces and boring. I think the maker could've focused on cliffage and making his maps compact and be more...linear. It would've helped the pacing a lot as well. The music presentation needs work as well. I think the atmosphere of the game is just off. It definitely needs polish 2/10 Continuity- I believe this game was the closest to Arum continuity from what Sevith told me because he managed to link in the nations and the explanation of the rift magic. But from what I thought so far, it was pretty base standard and there isn't anything that stand out so much that it could break the continuity. And it seems to fit in well enough. 10/10 Fluff - If I recall correctly, this game is the only complete one out of the bunch. So here's a plus from me. 5/10 Overall Points: 20/50 Final Points: 20/50 Valera Spoiler Story - The intro was actually a great hook and the chibiness of the game didn't affect me at all. But there were some parts that irked me like the dream, but the character interaction was great! The plot seems to have something going on but was cut short because of time limitations. What a shame. 8/10 Gameplay - The gameplay was actually well balanced and thought out. The characters are unique from each other enough to enable different combos and the stealing while attacking is a nice touch. Definitely didn't get bored with the battles. The Puzzles were also a great touch and not that hard to get. It definitely makes sure you're constantly doing something that isn't just about fighting. 8/10 Style - The mapping is good and it's the RTP standard fare but the use of sprite animations were nicely done and not lazy! It's very consistent and no parts were off. 10/10 Continuity- I believe this game fits so well in Arum and the politics revolving around the plot was great from what I've seen. 10/10 Fluff - I enjoyed it and was disappointed that it was cut off really short. 5/10 Overall Points: 41/50 Final Points: 36/50 (-5 for incomplete) In Search for Dragons Spoiler Story - The story for In Search for Dragons is actually pretty simplistic. Even the plot twist felt something you can see from a mile away. But it doesn't deter from the quality of the game at all. The characters are likeable and very personable, they don't stay as your stereotypes and have moments that makes them feel human, such as the time with Owen and Meriel after the whole ordeal in the caves. I can't wait to see how it ends! 8/10 Gameplay - The gameplay was actually well thought out. The character skills are unique enough from each other and some have gimmicks (Daemon) that makes you want to use their fullest potential. Even though there aren't any puzzles at all, it focuses highly on exploration and gathering for items was fun by itself. The battles can get tiring after a while because of the lack of variation of what they do (mostly in the spider caves) but it was still fun. The backtracking can get tedious specially when you're halfway through the forest and going back to give a kid her frog and all those sorts of things. But the game does reward you for backtracking and you can learn more about the characters and their background this way. Overall, the game really rewards you for exploring. 8/10 Style - The mapping is excellent and the little neat gimmicks like the arrows to represent items you can take instead of chests. The graphics were well used and there aren't any custom poses, but their movement can be called "realistic" enough. Even the jumping parts were cute. The audio was actually well chosen! Despite that they're not my type of music, Indrah uses them just right and serves their purpose as a background feel. 10/10 Continuity- I believe this game fits so well in Arum. 10/10 Fluff - Even though I had to take a break because of getting tired of the battles, it was a nice, sweet, little game. 5/10 Overall Points: 41/50 Final Points: 41/50 Final Scores: The Secret Life of Jhannad by Velex - 18.5/50 In Search of Dragons by Indrah - 41.5/50 Valera by Deckiller - 35/50 Unexpected Incidents by JMSoup - 20/50 The Alchemist's Son by mlogan - 19/50 Drumroll, please ... In second place, we have ... Valera! And the winner is ... In Search of Dragons! Congratulations, Indrah! And congratulations to all participants. Please send me a pm to collect your prize(s).