Disappointing show...

Life simulation game in a fantasy world: http://www.winterwolves.com/spiritedheart.htm
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Idiotekque
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Disappointing show...

Post by Idiotekque » Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:48 am

I'm really disappointed with Winter Wolves right now. Maybe it was an oversight, and I really hope it is, but let me explain.

If anyone didn't know, an indie game bundle selling site that donates a portion of their proceeds to charity recently hosted Winter Wolves for their own bundle. To encourage more donations, Spirited Heart was added as a "goal", where everyone would receive the game if a certain amount of bundles were bought from this charity benefit.

However, after installing and beginning to play Spirited Heart, I'm really disappointed by what I'm seeing. The game itself isn't top quality, but it's charming and it does well for the type of game it is. I like it. Unfortunately, it is immediately apparent that half of the romance options (which is arguably the core of this game) are blocked, replaced by a prompt that basically says "Click here to buy the full version!", which is $15 on "sale".

First off, this is really sad on the level of that this was incentive to give to charity. Here you are encouraging more people to donate, yet you still can't give out the full version of the game? It's a little funny, because upon installing the game, it is called "Spirited Heart Deluxe Edition". The "Deluxe Edition" isn't even the full version? Secondly, the full version is classified as an "expansion". Expansions add more content to a game, they do not unlock features that are shown and included (but are blocked) in the base game.

It's upsetting to see. The charity was for some really cool organizations (The Rainforest Alliance and later the World Land Trust), yet it feels like the game was with the intention to direct contributors to this site to buy directly from you, making you more money. That's really not very cool, and it doesn't earn peoples' trust.

I'm very sorry if this post seems harsh and accusatory, but it's hard with how it looks. After playing some of the other games I got in the Groupees bundle, I was going to look around the site more to see if there was anything I'd like to buy to support you guys and keep the games coming, but after what I've seen here, I'm probably going to rethink my stance now...

If the wrong version was added to the download page on Groupees, I apologize and understand that it was a simple mistake, but if not... I don't know. I'm sorry for the negativity, and I don't mean to be... mean, but yeah.

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jack1974
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Re: Disappointing show...

Post by jack1974 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:45 am

Let me explain: the game was originally called "Spirited Heart". Then I did a big update around Christmas 2009, which added lots of stuff like Goddess endings, and the dice minigame, and so on. I decided to call it "Deluxe" (but now, I realize it was a mistake!). Then last year I did a DLC/expansion called "Girl's Love", because some people asked to have a "yuri" (girl dating girls) version to the game.
But it has always been a separate thing. So what you got is indeed the full game, it's missing the DLC only. Hope is clear now, I can see how you could be confused though! :)

Idiotekque
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Re: Disappointing show...

Post by Idiotekque » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:13 am

The problem is that it doesn't work like DLC or expansions do. I have the "full" game, yet I constantly come across situations where parts of the game I have are locked. That's not how DLC works...

To explain, I went through quite a bit of the game (one completion so far), and in one case I was purposely trying to find encounters with a male relationship choice (on the farming job). What happened? I almost always could only find random encounters with the female character on the farming job. I can look at my relationship sheet and see that I've unintentionally built up 1.5/5 hearts with her, yet it's a complete waste because that bit of the game is locked. That is not how DLC works. It feels like half of the game is locked, all the while teasing you with 75% functionality of that part of the game.

Also, on my other playthrough, my character build made the "dancer" job a good fit. That was the job I primarily worked on, and the only character you get to know on that job? A female, so I built relationship hearts with her by working that job uselessly as well. I worked up to a higher tiered job, yet there was no relationship partner on that job (it seems there are NO random encounters on higher tiered jobs?), so I was stuck with a character I couldn't pursue a relationship with and ended up finishing the playthrough via other means.

In the Groupees information tab for the game, it said this:
Play with your character for 10 in-game years in which you have to do your best! The full game has 20 normal endings plus 12 special marriage endings, providing hours of gameplay and lots of replayability.
It does NOT say that to get 20 normal endings plus 12 special marriage endings you need to buy extra DLC. It only says that the "full game" has those things. Why would I, or anyone, think that we were getting an incomplete version of the game? I assumed that I would get the full game. Clearly there is no mention of an expansion or DLC. Even further, what is the setup file given through the Groupees bundle called? "SpiritedHeartFull".

Do you see how misleading this all looks? I really don't understand why everything was worded the way it was, and why the DLC wasn't just included to avoid confusion. I'm not trying to be rude, but it really seems like a play to get people to come to the site and spend more money. When Christine Love had her game Analogue: A Hate Story (another visual novel style manga game) in an Indie Royale bundle, it included the base game, the DLC, and the OST. I'm not saying anyone is better than anyone, but why couldn't we have seen the same thing here, rather than getting the bare minimum for Spirited Heart?

In the end, it does not seem at all like a "separate thing". I constantly run into instances where this content is locked from gameplay. The game is simply built to accommodate all 12 relationships, as it should, yet 6 are locked. That's not how DLC works, especially when I get a big advertisement saying "Click here to buy!" when I open up the relationships menu...

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Aleema
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Re: Disappointing show...

Post by Aleema » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:34 am

Hmm, the base game lets you meet the girls? How many scenes to do you see of each of them? Does seem a bit mean to tease you like that.

p.s. Not sure about Christine Love, but Jack's primary income is his games (I believe, correct me if I'm wrong), so it's important to him to have sales. He has so many kitties he needs to feed.

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jack1974
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Re: Disappointing show...

Post by jack1974 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:49 am

Well the groupees information was taken straight from my website though, so that's the problem.
If you find them annoying, you can completely disable the female encounters, in relationship screen is enough to toggle "Female Romances" Off.
You're right though, I should have given them the "old" version I still have (before the DLC was done), which doesn't contain any reference to the female characters, this way there was no confusion. If you prefer I can send you that link - the game is the same but you don't see the females in the relationship screen at all :)

I though to let the base game meet the girls since it's a sort of demo. You can still meet the boys even if you buy only the Girl's love version (you can buy them separately). I thought to let the player get an idea of what those characters looks like. That's how it works on all my other games (and all dating sim I know) for the demos, you usually meet the characters but don't progress in the story so far to have any romance with them.

p.s. the Analogue DLC from what I know was a set of different clothes only, so is a bit different from extra 60k words of texts! :lol:
Aleema wrote: p.s. Not sure about Christine Love, but Jack's primary income is his games (I believe, correct me if I'm wrong), so it's important to him to have sales. He has so many kitties he needs to feed.
Yes and now I just got a new one, and she's really hungry!! :lol:

Idiotekque
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Re: Disappointing show...

Post by Idiotekque » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:50 am

I'm just saying that the way it was carried out is very misleading and it really looks like a play for money amidst a charity benefit. That is really uncool, and I'm not the only one I know who thinks the same. The wording is misleading in itself, saying that the "full game" offers something, and then giving people a setup file that says "full" in the file name. Not to mention there is absolutely no mention of DLC anywhere in that information. All of this becomes apparent after the games are purchased.

It's also a bit silly to bring this up and be told "Do you want an even older, more incomplete version of the game instead?" Really? It is a major tease, and it really frustrates gameplay when you're constantly running into locked sections of the game. It's funny to me that your retrospective solution to everything would have been to give Groupees an even older version of the game. Is it really that horrible to give out the "full game" (as the info calls it) for charity? I don't really get it.

And regardless of what the Analogue DLC was, I'm just trying to offer constructive criticism. Not only was DLC given, but so was the OST (which was a much praised soundtrack). We all grow by looking at our peers and seeing how we can do better. Giving people the bare minimum is not going to attract more fans, it's going to frustrate them. This is the second time I've seen/heard of something like this from Winter Wolves (another case of something being given away through a bundle that ended up basically being a demo; I don't know all the details on that).

I'm sorry for being rude in any way, but raw feedback is the best kind. Take it as you will. I'd advise you to 1. Not make DLC work to simply unlock included features in a game, and 2. To REALLY pay attention to the way you word things next time. Being a tad bit more generous probably wouldn't hurt either, but I won't get into that. We all have to make a living, that doesn't really give us an excuse when we set a precedent during a charity event, though.

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Aleema
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Re: Disappointing show...

Post by Aleema » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:10 am

I do want to throw out that I don't think he was purposefully misleading, since Jack has a distinct twitter message that says it doesn't include Girl's Love, and even admits that you can get it shamelessly for $1 - instead of actually donating what you think the bundle is worth (which I'm sure he believes is worth a little more than that).

DLC pisses people off, all the time. I was perturbed by Dragon Age having a little DLC character always in my camp with a question icon always active until I paid to make him go away. But it happens. It's business. It works, and that's why it's there, but it will inevitably piss some people off.

Sorry for my two cents, I hope everything goes okay for you. I wrote Girl's Love (didn't write the base game, which was released years before), so I can assure you it's not just some juvenile teenage boy cash grab. Not sure how much you donated to the charity, but I'm sure it's going to good use, if that helps. :)
Last edited by Aleema on Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

Idiotekque
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Re: Disappointing show...

Post by Idiotekque » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:27 am

Oh no, I'm not suggesting that the information was purposefully misleading. English is Jack's second language, right? It's just a bit of a reminder to be careful when it comes to that sort of thing. That info clearly needed to be worded differently (as well as the setup file needing a different name).

If it's any consolation, I'm enjoying Always Remember Me right now. I like the more open ended aspect of Spirited Heart more, but ARM is very well put together with some beautiful art.

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jack1974
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Re: Disappointing show...

Post by jack1974 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:29 am

Idiotekque wrote: And regardless of what the Analogue DLC was, I'm just trying to offer constructive criticism. Not only was DLC given, but so was the OST (which was a much praised soundtrack). We all grow by looking at our peers and seeing how we can do better. Giving people the bare minimum is not going to attract more fans, it's going to frustrate them. This is the second time I've seen/heard of something like this from Winter Wolves (another case of something being given away through a bundle that ended up basically being a demo; I don't know all the details on that).
I would be really curious to know the details myself, but the groupee was the first bundle I ever did so I'm pretty sure it wasn't me :lol:
I would have given out a OST if I had one, right now all the games use royalty free tracks that can't be given away separately from the game. However, I'm working on getting custom soundtrack for future games!
Idiotekque wrote: I'm sorry for being rude in any way, but raw feedback is the best kind. Take it as you will. I'd advise you to 1. Not make DLC work to simply unlock included features in a game, and 2. To REALLY pay attention to the way you word things next time. Being a tad bit more generous probably wouldn't hurt either, but I won't get into that. We all have to make a living, that doesn't really give us an excuse when we set a precedent during a charity event, though.
Yes, I like raw feedback but honestly you're the only person who complained like that. I also suppose you're the one that posted that nice message on Groupees chat? :wink:
Anyway, I'm not saying you're wrong, I get what you mean. The Spirited Heart was added to the bundle while was running, so it was NOT planned. Believe me is not easy to do stuff in short time. For example, some people complained there was no Desura keys for it - I submitted the game but they haven't approved it after almost a week! But probably not their fault, is not easy to do things quickly/under pressure if you haven't planned it.
So if I had more time to think I would have understood and submitted the "old version", which as I said it's still the FULL game but doesn't have any advertisement for the Girl's Love expansion/DLC (call it how you want :lol:).

Remember that it was the first bundle I took part and surely I'm not an expert of those things. Next time (if I'll do another, not sure yet) will plan it better!

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