What Silver Shows (Introduction and Test Request)

Discussion in 'Games In Development' started by KanaX, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. KanaX

    KanaX Just being a mouse Veteran

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    What Silver Shows
     ​
    "It's all a matter of perception. But that does not change the fact that we are all seeing the same thing"



    [​IMG]
     


    [​IMG]
    Jack is an adult already. In his adulthood he is obliged to accept some harsh truths about the world and his place in it.
    However, while in his mind he is strict pragmatist, his heart desires more thrills than his bleak world can offer. He feels
    that he is unique, even if he knows that nothing in his ordinary life proves it. He is in a constant inner struggle with his
    need to excel, his lack of determination to do so, and his self-loathing for seeing his young life being wasted away on
    frivolities.
     



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    One day, in his desperate attempt to become something more than himself he voluntarily places himself in an unorthodox,
    perilous situation. While he escapes seemingly unscathed, when he beckons at his reflection in the mirror to become the
    person he used to be, he discovers that he can enter a mirrored version of his own world, with almost no barriers and no
    residents. While he enjoys his new secret in any way possible, he soon discovers that the parallel world starts to change
    a little by little.
     
     


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    When Jack is eventually trapped in a completely alien location he just drifts without any sense of direction and purpose.
    He says to himself "I need to find an exit" and "I need to survive". But is that what he really wants?
    He will meet cryptic figures and will spend some time with some of them. A number of them will make him question some
    of his beliefs. Trying to protect his ego he has made what is supposes that is a cold, pragmatical, pessimistic profile for
    himself. But he has forgotten some important aspects of him that start to resurface.
     

    [​IMG]
     ​
    [​IMG]
     ​
    We can all see what a mirror can show us. But behind the glass, the layer of silver may hide some secrets.
    Is anyone really capable of comprehending what the silver shows?
     

    Features

    • 322 maps (to date) with half of them being parallax.
    • 4 to 5 hours of gameplay (to date).
    • Puzzle-based gameplay.
    • Over 7 (to date) possible endings depending on variable actions, affection or hostility towards other characters.
    • Many hidden extras that allow even more endings, secrets and easter eggs (yet to be implemented).
    • Customized Event Menu.

    Current Point

    • About 65% of the game done.

    Cons

    • First project (It is really apparent especially in the first maps of the game).
    • Not completely RTP free. Many of the usual tilesets and sprites you have seen over and over will be present.
    • Long introduction.
    • Slow story progression in the first 1.5 hours of the game.
    • English is not the first language. The text may have some grammatical errors or some phrases that are technically correct but sound awkward to native English speakers.
    • No battle system (while the is a QTE system for some action scenes, the classic battle system is not featured)
    • May or may not require some sound volume tweaking.

    Request

    • A person or two from the community to do thorough alpha testing that will be monitored by me, since I think there are some delicate issues with the game and is still not ready for mass testing. I suggest that you are genuinely interested in the project because it's size and potential bugs or inelegant gameplay may be tedious.
    • Consultation for enhancing the project.
    • Personal opinions.

    Feel free to ask for additional info.

    EDIT: I provide a demo with a walkthrough, so you can see if you are interested.

    EDIT 13/2/2015: Changed the demo area. The playable segment is the intro and the first main area. Since those were the first maps, they may not be as visually pleasing as the latter in the game. Implemented hinting system to guide the player to the right direction.

             WARNING! Gore, harsh themes, sexual themes, with references to child/spousal abuse and adultery.

    If you try the demo out please give me feedback, be it negative or positive. It helps me greatly.

     ​
    Thank you very much for your time!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2015
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  2. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Good luck with this, it looks interesting.

    It does occur to me that you might get more response if you put something in the Recruitment thread.
     
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  3. KanaX

    KanaX Just being a mouse Veteran

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    I realized that I might be asking too much for a project with no demo. I will upload one shortly, containing an area I feel confident about.
     
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  4. KanaX

    KanaX Just being a mouse Veteran

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    Also I think that the Recruitment Thread is for projects that will be worked on by multiple people. I plan to work on the whole project alone. I just need some people to give it a try.
     
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  5. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I found that I did have a bit of spare time, so tried this.

    First of all, I think it is very difficult to come to any sort of objective judgement when playing a section from later in the game.  Mechanics have not been learned, I have no idea what I'm doing or why I'm doing it.  If there are problems I do not know if that is because I'm in the middle or because there's a flaw/bug/odd design choice.  In terms of showcasing what you've done, I'm not sure that this is the best way, and in terms of testing and giving feedback, I'm not sure that the following is going to be at all helpful.

    Second, I am not a huge fan of games where I have to do endless backtracking trying to find obscure solutions to puzzles.  Your map layout (a point I come to in the main text) did not help me.  The following were notes made while I was playing.

    Nice atmospheric title screen and music.

    I am assuming that the item menu is not available because this demo is in the middle of the game.  Otherwise I don’t understand the design choice.  I do have concerns with the use of S, D and Q keys.  This works with an English language qwerty keyboard, but what if the player is using e.g. a French keyboard or one with non Latin letters?  Does your tutorial at the beginning use a ‘Show picture’ command of where the keys are so that everyone can relate the keys to their own keyboard?  Is this information available to the player to check, or do they have to write it down and hope they don’t lose the info if they don’t play the game for a while?  I found myself constantly hitting 'esc' to access the save menu.  I never remembered the first time that it was Q.  I suspect that this deeply ingrained habit will be found in most players and could become a point of irritation.

    When I go down to the window, I was actually facing up towards the table to check whether there was anything on it and I got transported anyway.  Perhaps a conditional checking that the player is facing down (else, nothing) because otherwise it is not obvious that the player is leaving by the window, it might be via the table.

    Maybe the tinting for the screen when we’re getting the panorama is a little too dark.  It was a bit difficult working out what things were.  Also the long pauses between camera movements left me wondering a couple of times whether things had frozen or what.  Again, this pacing issue might be because the demo is in the middle of everything.  Perhaps if I’d been there from the beginning I wouldn’t notice it.  Several places the tinting made it difficult to see what was going on.

    Going right from where the sprite starts, there is a large inpassable area to the left of the gargoyle.   Going left from where the sprite starts, I can walk on to the Gargoyle from the right, and there is another large inpassable area to the left of and also just above the gargoyle.

     Long pause after I check the body of the guy who jumped.  Again I started wondering if the game had frozen.  To get that orb, the player has to do something that is counter intuitive, i.e. walk on the 'wrong tiles' - wrong because of the slope and verticality.  I have actually had to delete notes about passability errors on the roof because I assumed (particularly after the areas around the gargoyles) that that is what was happening.  Has the player already learned to walk on 'wrong' tiles?  If not, again a possible area of frustration.  If you want the player to do something that countless other rpgmaker games have taught them does not happen, you need to teach them.  I can't tell if you have or not.

    It took me a very long time to work out what I needed to do on that ladder.  This is the sort of thing which inevitably happens when a demo drops the player into the middle of the game.  The mechanics are assumed to have been learned at an earlier stage, and of course they haven’t been. 

    You map layout is not logical.  I don’t know if this is deliberate, to disorientate the player, or accidental.  For example, when I go left off screen after going up the ladder, I emerge on to the next map facing up on a vertical bit of roof.  It obviously doesn’t connect.  The transitions after climbing Victor are even worse.  After the bit with the sound of breaking glass, when I go back to the screen with the 4 gargoyles I enter in the normal way, then there is a flash and I’m over by Victor.  I have no idea what that was about.  I haven’t got a rope, I wander around and at that point I give up and use the walkthrough.  At the moment, everything is counter intuitive.  I hope this is a consequence of not starting at the beginning.

    As the bit about 3 liars, is a clue how does the player remember it?  I’m asking because I cannot know (because I can’t access the menu) if there’s a journal or similar which records these random hints.

    I wander around the area after the stained glass window.  Not at all sure what I'm supposed to be doing.  It seems to me that without following the walkthrough in detail many players will struggle - unless this is again the consequence of being dropped into the middle.  Impossible for me to judge.

    I've done 45 minutes of walking around, and I don't think I'm going to learn anything that will add something useful to these notes, so I've stopped.   There's very little text, and I only spotted a couple of typos.  These are

    On the explanation of the keys to use to access things

    “to make it and tad…” (a)

    Next screen

    “transport you in a parallel”  (transport you to a parallel)

    To sum up - good atmosphere, although the screen is a bit too dark.  You need to think how this will look for players who don't have very good monitors.  

    Impossible to judge the story.  I have no idea what it is, or if there is one.  (Yes, I know there is from the opening post, but I mean from within the game itself.)

    Impossible to judge how well you've taught the player what needs doing.

    Impossible to know if the bizarre map connections on the roof are typical and if they are, whether the disorientation is intended or not.  

    Very difficult to know if the things I've written down were solely the consequence of starting in the middle or not.  For the purposes of getting detailed feedback, I don't think plucking a section out from the middle is helpful.  I think you are going to have to provide the opening, not a selection.
     
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  6. KanaX

    KanaX Just being a mouse Veteran

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    1. It's true that I have a show picture command early in the game for the buttons.

    2. The reason I didn't make a demo of the first section of the game is because it's really long and does not represent the main gameplay.

    3. "When I go down to the window, I was actually facing up towards the table to check whether there was anything on it and I got transported anyway." Thank you for noticing. Just because I knew that there wasn't anything on the desk doesn't mean the the player does. I will fix it.

    4."Maybe the tinting for the screen when we’re getting the panorama is a little too dark." It's an issue with the parallax map. It's way too dark on it's own. The rest of the game is not like that. I will keep it in mind.

    5. Found the issue with the "impassable areas" The gargoyles are part of the parallax. So I had to make them impassable. but apparently I forgot to make the areas on the right and left passable (and have one passable tile that shouldn't be there. The cons on working with parallax I suppose.

    6."Long pause" Oh boy, I have those a lot.

    7."Wrong Tiles?" I do not understand.

    8. I have been told that the maps are a little disorienting. I am thinking of implementing a map system.

    9. Although the (specific) hint is pretty simple (Three of the four lie, one will help you) I have planned a notes system. It's mostly hints again, though. I don't want the game to be "I instruct you to do this".

    10. You are right, if that small part of the demo is really that obnoxious you don't have to play the rest.

    11. There is a story. It is largely untouched in the demo though. That's why I chose this area. It has it's own unique substory that can be learned through books on the bookselves.

    12. As I stated before, I don't want the game to tell you exactly what you are supposed to be doing. Both story-wise and gameplay. I'm really against that practice. I want the player to wander around and try to find what he missed. If that makes the game inherently a bit more confusing then I don't want to change that. What I fear though, is if it reaches the point of frustrating the player so I will consider a possible counter for that.

    13. If you thing you can handle it, I can send you the whole game so far (since you hypothesize that it might have to do with the alienating nature of the in-the-middle demo).

    Thank you very much for your feedback!
     
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  7. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    It's extremely difficult for me to judge that from playing this snippet.  Also, do remember that puzzle games are not my first choice, and therefore I'm not the best guinea pig for assessing frustration levels.  I certainly would not use the word "obnoxious", that is far, far too strong and I think you're being unfair to yourself if you think that.  It was more a question of time.  45 minutes of game play represents a lot more of my time than just that because of stopping to write notes.

    Hints are fine, and I was able to work it out from the hint.  My query was more about whether there is any sort of recording system of them.  If, for example, the player has to leave the game for a while (RL has its demands) would they be able to remember it when they came back?  That sort of thing.

    As for the "wrong tile" thing, that is very difficult to describe.  But playing loads of rpgmaker games has 'taught' me what sorts of terrain/tiles are passable and what sorts are not.  The part of the roof where the sprite comes out looks like a terrace of some sort - an effect of the lighting and the phenomenon that people see what they 'expect' to see.  That impression is reinforced by the bit of gable end you have at the ends of that section of roof which are clearly slanted in a different way.  The parts of the roof going up also look slanted, and therefore my rpg instincts are that they will not be passable.  When I found that I could walk on them, I wrote a note about passability errors.  It did not occur to me that this was intentional.  It was only when I was getting nowhere that I went up and found the transition.  Once I had found one, that 'taught' me that all sorts of bits of roof might be walkable.    So my query was whether the player had been 'taught' this earlier in a simple example so that they would know later on to walk on seemingly impossible surfaces.

    I don't want my feedback to sound more negative than in fact it is.  As I kept stressing, it was more because it was in the middle that i couldn't judge what was going on.  I am most certainly not saying that it was bad, or rubbish or anything like that.  Simply that because it was the middle there were all sorts of things that I didn't know, and hadn't learned.
     
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  8. KanaX

    KanaX Just being a mouse Veteran

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    As for the wrong tiles problem I don't plan on doing something about it. I understand that the game will be mostly presented to the rpg community, but I don't want the rpg community to dictate how the game works. I will admit that there might be a need for a hint system. If I get more complaints about the issue I will do my best to fix it.
     
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  9. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    As I said, if the player has learnt early on that you should try and walk everywhere, then it's not a problem.  The general point I'm actually making was a query about (because I cannot judge) how you handle the learning curve of the game's mechanics.  To you, as the dev, they are obvious, but they might not be to a player.
     
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  10. KanaX

    KanaX Just being a mouse Veteran

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    Yes I made a note of that from the window problem. :)
     
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  11. lemongreen

    lemongreen Veteran Veteran

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    I was asked to look over this by the creator. Just a few things before sharing my thoughts; I'm playing this on a mid-quality laptop and still got quite a few slowdowns in the game play (or what seemed like slow downs; otherwise the game has way too many long pauses)

    [SIZE=10.5pt]First of all, there are some points where the included walkthrough is more confusing than helpful; I've already brought up one of these with the creator.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt] 
    The maps are all fairly nice, but as a whole they get to be confusing. This first starts out when on the roof and it suddenly makes a twist (I think after climbing the gargoyle)  that just seems completely unnatural for a building. 

    That and the house maps are very dark; I personally found the little girl's room almost impossibly dark when going through the distorted versions (and it's already very dark normal)

     
    The shattered mirror was another extremely confusing one; I finally caved and opened the project myself to see exactly what I was missing only to find out the exit was all the way at the bottom. This would've been nice information to have in the walkthrough rather than have it skip to locking the mother's door back up (especially since the exit isn't visible) [/SIZE]
     
    Oh, the sign by the father's room says sorter when it probably means "shorter". Also, when examining the dollhouse the Dining room description says the table is set for three, but there are four places in the picture and four family members in the house. I think somebody isn't getting counted... (There's probably more, but I stopped caring after a while)
     
    As ksjp17 said earlier, there's a lot of long waits (which is why I started thinking they were just slowdowns and the problem was actually caused by my laptop and not due to a problem in the eventing itself) This was very prevalent in the movie shown close to the beginning; it slows so much it's hard to tell if it's my computer causing it to slowdown or it's supposed to be that slow. 

    There was also a pretty bad amount of slow down when I had to hide in the little girl's room; to the point that the counter was down to the wire not because I was slow but because the game wouldn't let me move (and I was worried it hadn't logged my button press in time) This is an example of faked scare tactics used in horror games that just more annoy me than make me want to continue playing. (That and the flash of the little girl's face before the scene, but that's for a different reason...) 
     
    Something I really don't understand is in the walkthrough it tells you to go into the room after the torches are lit and then right after admits there's nothing important about the room it was just necessary to trigger an event; in that case why isn't the event triggered while walking into the four torch room (or after the torches are lit)? That' would make more sense than sending players into a room they don't even need to go into yet simply to trigger a switch (or event) 
     
    That and I  also don't understand the importance of the cut scene talking with the guy in the father's room; maybe it's explained more later (or earlier), but it just feels forced. Why is Jack so beat up about this guy not feeling important? (and being all dramatic about not wanting to be like him; that wasn't at all what was brought up) It just felt out of place; more so since you have to walk all the way back to the father's room just to have the conversation in the first place and there's no indication that this is supposed to happen. 
     
    I stopped playing after that, mostly because I didn't have my headphones and because avoiding and timed actions aren't my forte (especially when they have a high chance of ending in instant death) I will say that I absolutely despise the idea of only using sound to judge how close an enemy is to  you (sound, especially in a game, is notoriously deceptive and not everyone can actually play with the sound on full time)
     

    All and all, I'd have to agree with ksjp17; the game might be interesting, but being thrown into the middle of it just makes it a complicated mess. It's hard to tell what's actually a problem or is just due to starting further in.
     
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  12. KanaX

    KanaX Just being a mouse Veteran

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    I will focus primarily on that because it goes beyond simple sloppy design that can be fixed. How was it exactly that the game was slown down at that point? Was it lag? The objects around? Did I pause the character at some point? Should I make the counter larger? I really want to avoid those "faked scare tactics" you mentioned. I don't want the game to be about that. Also, would you mind telling me about the issue with the little girl?

    The walkthrough told the player to go into the room, because I figured that the player would naturally go into it (since the torches were lit). The reason to go into the room is because it is the next objective to pass through that room to go to the panic room (as it is referenced in the books). There is importance in the conversation with the character (that's why I made it mandatory, should I perhaps have him appear earlier, so there will be no backtracking?) Also the intensity of Jack is controlled by the choices that the player is given. Still I will consider toning down Jack in the option that you chose.

    Fixed the issue with the shattered mirror where some areas were passable and others were not.

    Thank you for the feedback. I cannot come in contact with many people interested in the project and every bit helps.
     
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  13. lemongreen

    lemongreen Veteran Veteran

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    I'm not exactly an expert on what causes lag, but it could be for any number of reasons; though I did notice playing through the scene again that it worked much faster if I didn't turn the flashlight on first (which I did the first time through do to the roof maps being just slightly hard to see on) My guess is it has something to do with the number of parallel process events and possibly Khas Lighting Effects (because first walking into most of the rooms seems to take a bit of a FPS hit)

    As for the little girl, that's a personal issue due to my epilepsy; there's not really an easy fix. (it's not so much the image as the sudden flashing to black afterwards; it makes my head hurt, but it's not anything serious) 

    Well, if that is the next section where the player is supposed to go there's a ton of backtracking before actually getting to it, then (unless that's just for the demo's sake) since after lighting the torches you go back for that conversation, then past the mother's room again and then the whole avoidance section in the bathroom that I didn't really finish. (among whatever came after that) It's just the fact that in the demo it might as well just be telling the player that all that weird puzzle solving wasn't really for anything because they unlocked pretty much an empty room they can't do anything in and have to go back through the house again to continue. 

    And as for the conversation, I only chose that option because the wording in the walkthrough made it sound mandatory to do so (the exact wording is "DON'T agree with him." Only two options technically seem like they wouldn't, but that's dependant on whether the person takes silence as a disagreement) The whole scene just seems a bit out of place since the guy doesn't seem related to the area and there hasn't been any prior explanations as to why it's important. (or at least not in the section shown)
     
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  14. KanaX

    KanaX Just being a mouse Veteran

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    I will update the walkthrough to say "The "You are right" option leads to a game over"

    But I really want to insist on the "faked scare tactics", since it is an issue of the whole mentality of the game. If it is inadequate then I must rebuilt all the atmosphere  from scratch. Besides the inconvenience of the lag and the personal issue with the first-person jumpscare, could you clarify what you found to be a poor choice from my part?
     
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