Awl_ii

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Can't wait! :^D

And yeah...I meant alt-enter. I don't know why I said alt-F4. >_< Though now that I know what THAT button does, it's good you told me before I learned it the hard way! 
 

GIRakaCHEEZER

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GIRaka:

-I really hate in-game tutorials, so I tried to design the battles around teaching skills in each section, e.g. the first section's all about elemental swapping, the second is mainly about squawking, and the third is mainly about stealing.  The idea was that you would need to swap elements so you'd read the elemental shift descriptions from curiosity rather than from a text box telling you to do it.  The first battles can be a bit much, though, since you have so many skills right at the beginning, so, yeah, I probably should have given a quick tutorial to cover that at least.

-I probably should have given Bud an elemental attack property when shifted.  My roommate's girlfriend thought he should be able to do that as well, and, since she's clueless about RPGs, I should have taken that as valuable advice that I wasn't being intuitive.

-Giving squawk a cooldown is a good idea.  I tried to make its high MP cost a limiting factor, and cranking up his MP is a reward for getting the treasures (or you could boost attack as an alternative).  I haven't really explored using cooldowns in an RPG, and it's something that I'd like to play with in the future for sure.

-Percival's little picture story was meant to be drawn crudely, like a child had drawn it, in order to undercut his message about the power of friendship since he's full of ****; the pretentious piano music under it was more of his perception of his tale.  How quickly they fall apart in the final fight should have underscored that, but if that wasn't conveyed well, it wasn't conveyed well.

-You wouldn't know that stealing the coinpurse or the skull would change their behaviors necessarily, but, in the cut scene I just talked about, you can see Scrum stealing Percival's coinpurse and Thulak Khan showing off his skull, so I was hoping that these would act as triggers to the player, and stealing is pretty important elsewhere in the game.  When Scrum's exposed, Percival just makes himself invincible since he's selfish and Thualk Khan abandons Christianity and attacks rather than heals (this is reinforced in the post-battle dialogue if you ever get a chance to see it).  I tried to make that battle function in a storytelling way like that, so I guess the player wouldn't know that their behaviors would change, but I was hoping to make them curious about those items and know that something interesting would happen if you took them.

-I was trying to make the battles pretty fine-tuned, but the difficulty's been one of the complaints I've been getting, so, for my next game, I'm definitely going to design around long-term progression rather than fixed, high-tuned fights.

Anyway, glad you enjoyed it at least more than you hated it.  You're right about the file size: when you export a game from VX Ace, it forces you to include all of the rtp, which is about 200mb because of all of the audio files, mainly.  You can export without the rtp, but the players have to have the rtp installed--most people don't.  It takes a little bit of effort to modify your game so that it only includes what you used from the rtp--not a LOT of effort, but I think a lot of first timers don't realize how to do this.  My "contest games" folder  is looking pretty beefy after downloading over a hundred of these bastards.

Oh, and I'm not sure if you know this, but I actually played and reviewed Tess in my review thread.  You can find the review in the second half of the master list in my second post in that thread.  In short, though, it was one of the better games I played in this contest.  My main complaints centered around the story/characters, but I liked the little puzzle elements mixed into the run and gun formula.
The first area should probably just have really light/breezy fights without even having to "learn" about elementals.  You should probably assume the player knows little to nothing about the combat system so you should give them some real easy fights at first just so they can adapt to the interface or whatnot.

Them falling apart in the final fight would have underscored that, if I could have actually gotten them to fall apart/if they weren't nigh unbeatable.  Also the art prior to the scene was a little "sketchy" too, so it was hard to tell whether or not the look was intentional.

Also I would have been more likely to steal the coinpurse and the skull except that their item descriptions seemed to describe them as pretty useless.  If I were you I would recommend rewriting the descriptions to make the player more curious about stealing them.
And yeah I saw that you played Tess, one of the reasons I decided to try this entry (your plan is working)
 

Alkorri

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Hi there, Housekeeping. I just tried your game. At the time I stopped, I clocked at 3 hrs 12 min according to my save file. 

 

Here are my comments. Many of these will no doubt be familiar to you.

 


General

First of all, good work! I like the custom art style, and I thought all the major characters were drawn well enough with distinct, diverse expressions. (I like how you drew Percival and Scrum in particular). The  only thing I would comment is that in the menu, Crow is almost invisible because of his dark coloring.

 

The sprites look a bit rough in comparison, but I hear you did all this and the music too in just a month? If so, kudos to you then.

 

Characters

Unlike some commenters, I like Mara. She obviously had a painful childhood and I thought the one cutscene we saw was understated and carefully controlled. It didn't beat the player over the head with angst and melodrama. I, for one, enjoyed her cutting personality (I could be biased, I like any female character that isn't some simpering, needy airhead). I also enjoyed those moments when the world-destroying witch showed love and care for Bud.

 

Bud is adorable and definitely my favorite. Not bad for a character that doesn't speak and only shows up in, like, two cutscenes? Each fight made me anxious about Bud's dropping MHP - this last made me wish I could find some mud to restore him. Why couldn't Mara get some more mud to restore him, by the way? I also wish we could have seen more interaction between Bud and Mara, or even Bud with Crow, but what scenes that existed were effective in the limited development time you had.

 

Crow - His jokes come off as a bit crass, but I'm guessing this was your intention to portray him that way. I didn't see the ending (more on that below) but I find myself mistrusting him as he comes off as a manipulator. Still, his skills are super useful, and I'm glad to have him in combat.

 

Percival, Scrum and Thulak Khan - this trio are hilarious, and they play off well together, especially in the final battle. At this point I have to mention that the quirky humor is definitely one of the strong points here. For me, your game comes alive when it doesn't take itself too seriously.

 

I like that you actually wrote something about the main characters in the Menu Status. Some developers neglect to do this.

 

Music

I'm no music expert, at all. I like the exploration music in general, but the battle music feels off to me in the first encounter. (It didn't sound like battle music). I got used to it however.

 

Combat

I like the animation in combat when any of the main character attacks, and I enjoy the variety of skills where each have an important, strategic use. I felt that the learning curve was not too steep in the beginning, and I like how you tried to pace out the difficulty of the battles until mid-game (more below).

 

I like how you used the Dryad to briefly introduce the Element mechanics without breaking immersion too much.

 

This is the first game where I actually enjoyed stealing from enemies, and did it consistently. The only thing I was disappointed by was that you cannot keep what you steal out of combat, without a logical explanation for why they disappear. Pilfer also doesn't mention in the skill description that items stolen are temporary, unlike skills like Life Mud where the temporary effect is mentioned.

 

I like the creativity of the battler designs, and how you managed to draw them so we could distinguish them and their stronger counterparts.

 

It was a pleasure to learn that I could Pilfer the strings from the Puppet battlers for the first time. I know you already discussed this in your other game thread, but were you planning to allow strings to be Pilfered in subsequent rounds when the Puppeteer resurrects his marionettes?

 

I like that there's no time-waisting Game Over, just an immediate return to last.

 

I like that you designed battles to be "puzzles" for players to solve, requiring you to think and use the correct strategies to beat them. This was appealing to me the first hour or so.

 


In early game, I tended to have Mara favor the Earth element because she and Bud could hit enemies with AOE attacks. I usually had Crow use Pilfer, and Squawk on difficult enemies.

 

Later in mid to late game, I had Mara go for Fire and Water so she could cast Meteor Storm or Frozen Prison, but really it all depends on the kind of elemental enemies I face.

 

Not once did I need to have Mara cast Mix Fairy Potion, although I appreciated the option. I usually relied on Crow's Friendly Insult, or get him to steal Fairy Potions. I never used the Phosphorescence spell book (in fact, I thought it useless but heard it's important for the endgame battle)

 

I didn't like how it took two rounds before Mara can get off elemental spells. I rarely found the time for Mara to make any potions because I'm busy using her for DPS.

 


Around mid-game, there were quite a number of battles where I could only win by the skin of my teeth. At most, not counting the endgame, there were only three battles where I was defeated once.

 

By late game however, the difficulty suddenly spiked for me, and I died to Gallows five times before scrapping through.

 

Here is the part where I confess, I did not finish the game, because I could not beat the end bosses. I know you provided tips and hints, but to be frank, I prefer defeating the bosses myself. After multiple tries on two separate days, I decided to stop rather than let my frustration sour my feelings on what is otherwise a commendable game.

 

Part of the frustration stems from the fact that I'm likely equipping the wrong equipment and using the wrong skills at wrong times, which is entirely my fault. You also clearly set out to design a challenging and not very forgiving game. There's nothing wrong with that at all. I'm sure many players welcome the challenge.

 

By the end of the first hour however, I felt that the whole game seemed to be just about moving across the map from chest to always guarded chest. Without cutscenes or something else to break up the tedium, I began to dread the puzzle-like battles. Oh to be sure, the battles themselves are enjoyable! But when they're over and I realize there's only more of that to look forward to...

 

It also dawned on me that I wasn't playing an RPG per se, where you take on the role of a person and can feel a sense of achievement when you level up the character and stats. Because you did away with levels, progress was instead marked by the potential equipment and skills you could gain. Even then I wished there were more items, or better yet, more cutscenes or interaction between the players at least every few chests so it feels like I am achieving something, or making a difference.

 

Favorite moments

  • Cutting puppet strings
  • Percival splattered by mud after attacking Bud.
  • Crow showing up as a person in the mirror.
  • Anywhere with your brand of quirky humor, like Percival's bubble movie of happy moments!
 

Things I would have liked to see

  • I know the daisy is the one characteristic feature for Bud, but I wish he could equip other items too, like different flowers with different skills. Was his 'development' here cut due to time constraints?
  • Something to look forward to other than endless battles.
  • More banter between the main characters.
  • A more forgiving endgame boss encounter (personal opinion, others might disagree)
 

Other Issues

The window sometimes enlarges for no discernible reason, but it doesn't really bother me. Just thought I'd point it out. It only happens some 20% of the time, though:

 

HPC1.jpg


 

 

Not really an issue, I'm just wondering why there is so much empty space. Is there any way to make the drawings bigger? (The drawings and scenes are laugh-out-loud funny and I want to see better!)

HPC2.jpg


 

 

As discussed, I hope you don't mind I point out any typos or other issues. Suggested changes in bold:


Twin Bracers: Worn by a duo of inseperable warriors. (inseparable)

 

Mara - You're supposed to be guarding the Source of All Things, not throwing a welcome party. (This is just a nitpick, as there's nothing really wrong with this sentence. I just felt that in the context of the situation, Mara should have said: You're supposed to be guarding the Source of All Things, not throw a welcome party. As she is referring to an action in the present ("throw a welcome party"), which she is differentiating from an action the Dryad should be doing ("guarding").

 

I enjoyed reading the creative descriptions for the items and skills, but a few things stood out for me. You tend to mix your tenses when most of your skills are written as, for example, Magic Missile - Fires a concussive blast of energy.

 

Again, it's not wrong, but if you want to be consistent:

 

Fireball - Launches searing magma at the enemy.

 

Mix Unicorn Water - Makes a potion that heals all HP.

 

Mix Fairy Potion - Makes a potion that heals all MP.

 

Body Slam - Hurls your bulky body at the enemy.

 

Phosphorescence - Distracts your opponents, causing them to focus their attacks on you for three turns.

 

Life Mud - Brings an ally back to consciousness at the loss of 10 max HP (this effect is not permanent).

 

Pilfer - Utilizes your natural greed to steal an item from an enemy.

 

Squawk - Emits a loud, abrasive caw, irritating the enemy.

 

Friendly Insult - Recovers a 25 percent of an ally's MP.

 

The Crow's Friendly Insult is also the only skill where percentage is spelled out, whereas the other skills use %

 

Nitpick: The first time Mara interacts with Percival, he just says "Just a minute" before looking into the mirror. Clearly he is brushing them off, so why doesn't Mara and Crow have something to say about that?

 

During Mara's conversation with Percival, I noticed two sentences where you repeat the phrase "but as it turns out" one after another. For instance: "As it turns out", he's after the Source. Second sentence: You see, I came across a wounded deer in the Enchanted Forest, but, as it turns out, the deer was actually-- Was that intentional?

 

I enjoyed the cutscene where you see Mara's childhood, but why did it run without player input unlike the rest of the game? I'm a slow reader (I like to absorb details), and once or twice, the text faded too fast for me to read it in time.

 

Crow (either of Thulak Khan or Scrum, I can't remember): This guy's a real wack job. (Wack job isn't wrong at all, just pointing out that most people might think whack job should be the correct term, since it's more well known, at least according to the internet anyways)

 

When Thulak suddenly spouts the phrase 'Jesus Christ' in the endgame, it felt out of place to me in a fantasy-ish game. You were likely just trying to be humorous, and I'm not offended at all, but the line still feels jarring.

 



 

I hope I didn't give you the impression I hated your game. You did a great job, and as mentioned, the strong characters, the solid writing, the humor and strategic battles are pluses for me. Looking forward to trying out your other game next :)

 
 
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Housekeeping

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Thanks so much, Alkorri! 

-Glad you liked Mara!  I think some people might be turned off by her since most of the other characters are pretty comedic, but I like her, personally--she's probably the most like me.  The game's about her and Bud's relationship, more than anything, so I'm glad she worked for you.  Too, yeah, I like giving female characters more depth; I generally like giving every character more depth, though.

-Bud's HP mechanic is integral to the plot, so that's something that has to remain--and the fact that it made you concerned about him probably means it's working at least on some level. 

-Yeah, losing the items isn't explained in game aside from the item descriptions.  There's no actual logic behind losing them; it was just a necessary game mechanic (if you kept them, you could just mix 99 unicorn waters in the first battle, for example).  That's a hard thing to explain away, so I may have stuck myself with a "this is a game, and sometimes nonsensical things happen" approach (like how RPG battles themselves involve waiting for turns, which is insane if you think about it).  Temporary items are marked in the item descriptions, at least.  Pilfer doesn't mention them being temporary since there are a few permanent items that can be stolen (from the mimics).

-Yeah, the Magnifico fight should have had restealable strings, but the script I was using didn't allow items to be restocked, unfortunately.  This is the problem with not having a coder/being able to code.  I don't really know if there's a good option for that enemy other than leaving it like it is or changing the mechanic altogether.

-I had actually thought about putting dialogue after opening chests, but it seemed like wasted space--I could use that time to characterize more, I guess, but it wasn't advancing the plot, and I figured that, in the end, I wanted to keep the cut scenes concise and memorable and use the battles as a way to both act as the fun of the game and also to build empathy for Bud over time.  I can get how the battles could slog, though, since there are so many, even with the treasures providing loot incentives.  I think, design wise, this might be another area where I've painted myself in the corner, but I'll probably leave it like it is for this game--good advice for the future, though.

-Bud was actually meant to not have any equipment slots from the beginning.  He has higher natural stats than everyone else, and a theme of the game was Bud getting weaker as you get stronger.  So, early on, you're reliant on him, but, by the end, he's reliant on you (this is part of why phosphorescence comes in handy in the last fight--and the Gallows fight, actually).

-I don't know why the post-fight window enlarges sometimes; it's something to do with a script, which makes me angry that my scripting knowledge is so miniscule.

-I probably should have drawn those pictures larger.  Since they move, though, if I make them too much bigger, they might go outside of the borders of the bubble.  I probably erred to far on the side of caution.

-Percival actually says "as it so happens" and "as it turns out" in that dialogue you mentioned.  I think I accidentally originally had the same phrase, and then I changed it (or, actually, I might have only spotted it and changed it after the contest version got put up).

-I made that text automatic so the flower icon that comes up when you need to press a button wouldn't appear and break the mood of the scene.  I realize that's probably pointlessly anal, but that was the intent.

-The joke with Thulak Khan is that Percival converts him to Christianity and Thulak Khan is one-hundred percent sincere about it despite being a total pagan only moments ago.  I probably should have used a made-up religion to differentiate their world from ours, but I was already using Christian iconography for shorthand, so I just went with it.

Whew.  I wrote a lot!  Thanks again for giving my game a shot, and I'm glad that you enjoyed it despite your grievances.  I'm definitely addressing many of them with my post-contest update.
 

Alkorri

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My pleasure, Housekeeping!

Oh, I didn't mean to imply I minded Bud eroding his MHP. I thought it was a fun way to raise the stakes in the narrative, giving incentive to the player to finish the quest as it were. So good job there :)

Perhaps Pilfer could have text saying something like: Stolen items are temporary until end of battle, except for special equipment?

-Yeah, the Magnifico fight should have had restealable strings, but the script I was using didn't allow items to be restocked, unfortunately.  This is the problem with not having a coder/being able to code.  I don't really know if there's a good option for that enemy other than leaving it like it is or changing the mechanic altogether.

-I don't know why the post-fight window enlarges sometimes; it's something to do with a script, which makes me angry that my scripting knowledge is so miniscule.
Hee, perhaps you could post about this in the scripting section? I'm sure many people would be glad to help!

-Percival actually says "as it so happens" and "as it turns out" in that dialogue you mentioned.  I think I accidentally originally had the same phrase, and then I changed it (or, actually, I might have only spotted it and changed it after the contest version got put up).
You could be right, who knows? I had to rely on memory because I didn't record the first sentence. Thank you for the reply! I'm glad the feedback helped.
 
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Ylzor

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Just finished this game, here's what I think of it.

I kinda liked it. There are a ton of things that I think are wrong with the game, but I really liked the story and the way it was told. English is not my main language so I'm just going to make a list of things I liked/disliked, it's a lot easier for me:
+ The story and the way it's told, as I said. I'm surprised I felt the way I did at the end. I was pretty much sure you couldn't have time to get attached to characters in such a short game, but I guess I was wrong. I genuinely felt sorry for the girl, and thought the last seconds of the game were cute.

+ The battle animations are really cool.

- Bud losing max hp after every battle. I think I know what you were going for with this, and I know it makes sense story-wise, but I can't agree with this choice. To me, exploring to find chests should feel rewarding. Here you get a weird feeling; you're happy for finding a new piece of gear, and yet your party gets weaker at the same time. In the end I felt like all those battles were useless as I could have finished the game without doing any of those (I opened every chests I think, Bud had 95HP at the end).

I think exploring and finding chests should make the game easier. Here, I'm not even sure if opening all those chests helped me or not. Maybe that's what you went for, but I just can't like this.

- The graphics. It's a game made in a month, so I don't actually care if it looks nice or not. Still, none of the custom graphics look like they belong with the rest.

- Some dialogs may be longer than they need to be. A lot of "..." and different laughs could have been deleted, in my opinion. Not a huge problem though.

+/- The battles. Some were interesting (stealing armor parts and strings, really cool idea), but some were just a waste of time. Switching from fire, water or earth element didn't feel fun, and I sometimes didn't really know what element to use.

+/- Some musics were nice (the theme for the villains), others I really didn't like (the theme for exploring). A matter of taste, I guess!
So yeah, overall I liked it. In case you're wondering, it took me about an hour and a half to finish the game, opening every chests I found.

Now, if you feel like it, I'd love to have your opinion on my game, Save Point. The game's topic can be found here: http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?/topic/29753-save-point/. Don't feel obligated to play it just because I played your game though!

I see you posted your game on rmn as well, tell me if you want me to post my "review" there as well!
 
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Housekeeping

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Hey, thanks for the feedback!  I can see how you'd feel conflicted about Bud's HP mechanic, and I tried to make it more useful to get the chests.  I definitely wouldn't utilize this kind of gameplay mechanic in a longer game, but with a short game like this, I thought it would work well enough.  Making the player feel conflicted about opening chests was a dicey move for sure.

Anyway, don't worry about reposting feedback--the important thing is that I got to read it!  I checked out Save Point last night, so I'll post some feedback in your thread here in a sec. 
 

defunct-user

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Alright, I finally gave this a whirl.  It was pretty cool for as far as I got.  I kept dying on the FIRST battle!

I dig the artwork and how everything is custom (Well, almost everything).  Also those battlers are nice. Those cost a pretty penny nowadays!

The worst part for me was how each battle was so stinkin' difficult!  Shouldn't games be... erm... easy in the beginning? (A fault I am so grievously guilty of, as well) ... I made it to the third battle when I kept getting game overs--Nice tough on that, by the way-- that I just gave up. =/

It was pretty good for what it was. My *only* complaint is the difficulty curve.

I'll use your own system on you: 2/5  :)

Well done otherwise, keep at it and I look forward to seeing what else you'll have to offer us in the future, when time ISN'T an issue!
 

Housekeeping

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Thanks for giving it a shot!  I made the game as brain fodder for RPG vets, but I think that's probably biting me in the ass.  I have a selectable difficulty lined up for the next version, but I'm waiting for the contest to end before I upload it.
 

Housekeeping

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Hey, after watching Indrah suffer on the final boss, I thought it would be smart to go ahead and update this.  It's been something I've been wanting to do for a while, but I haven't because I've been waiting for the contest results.  The contest page still links to the original version, but you can get the latest version at my rmn page:

http://rpgmaker.net/games/6541/

The biggest change I've implemented is a difficulty setting.  I'm a little scared the easy mode might be too easy, but I figured the point was to make it beatable by hopefully everyone, so I'm okay with that.  Here's a full list of changes:

-Added difficulty settings.
-Fixed Scrum's graphics priority.
-Some item/skill names have been modified.
-Corrected a few minor typos.
-Treasures containing tomes are now blue instead of red.
-Slimes are now resistant instead of immune to elements they're naturally superior to.
-Final bosses' HP and attack values have been decreased.
 

kartersaint

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It's great to hear she played 3 hours of your game.

I didn't know the game was that long.. 

So congratulation! anyway.

... okay. You put easy mode in your game, it's a smart choice. Varying difficult is somehow necessary for RPG games. 
 

Housekeeping

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I figured the market for hardcore RPG players is pretty slim.  I wish I would have thought of that before the contest was over, though.
 

Alkorri

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Just make sure to name it something like Normal and Hardcore mode, rather than Easy and Normal. Being gamers, we take pride in at least going for Normal, instead of easy ;)
 

Indrah

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F*ck no, not me. I'll go right for the easiest dificulty, even if it's called "who's a little babbbeh? you are, you shameful little hoor!"

I don't care yo, COME AT ME BRAH, I HAVE NO SHAME.

Edit: Also review notes coming tomorrow when I'm not exhausted.

TL;DR: It's good. But OH DEAR SACRED COWS IN THE SKY THAT FINAL BOSS. So happy it's fixed now.
 
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kartersaint

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I figured the market for hardcore RPG players is pretty slim.  I wish I would have thought of that before the contest was over, though.
Dark... Soul...

series have some argument about this.
 

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Dark souls 2 sold ~1.6 million copies. It might not be on the level of skyrim but its not niche.
 

kartersaint

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I think the only niche one is.. hardcore TURN BASED RPG. 

People are okay with active combat or whatever that kind of action games. But turn-based? 

Just judging from the games like Oneshot or Teardrop Distance... (I excluded Dalruan for some reasons) got numerous votes during the contest, it's quite obvious to tell. 
 

Housekeeping

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Maybe I should have specified: there doesn't seem to be much of a market for hardcore turn-based jrpgs.  I can't think of one that sold well off the top of my head--maybe the Saga games, but it's not like they could hope to touch Final Fantasy sales levels, and even Saga is focused more on long term progression rather than battle-by-battle strategy.  I think most gamers want to play a jrpg for its story and progression mechanics, including me, honestly.  I hope this isn't being read as sour grapes--I'm still happy with how my game turned out!

Edit: or Karter would beat me to the punch, haha.
 
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kartersaint

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Now there are Youtube.

People don't need to use their brain to beat the hard game. Want to know about story? Then just watch some videos that users uploaded in Youtube.

They can see all cut-scenes of the games, all endings with great commentary, stuff like that, without trying the game.

That's why, my biased point, the JRPG can't drag many people in nowadays. And we can't blame Youtube, it's a trend, who can blame trend? It's impossible to change unless someone blows Bazooka to its headquarters. 

Then why the games like Last of Us still have many followers? Those games are not... JRPG.
 
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