Pros and cons of a game

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DarkWolf
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Pros and cons of a game

Post by DarkWolf » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:31 am

I know some devs appreciate critics/opinions of fans and I know Jack always listens to it's fans so I thought of writing some what I believe are pros and cons of a game, it might help and if not, it can't hurt. Offcourse other fans here are welcome to comment, agree or disagree with my opinion.

I will start with cons as I believe leaving pros for end leaves a better "aftertaste".

Cons:
- I thought some events felt out of place, specifically main quest endings, as in every playtrough you get one of many romantic endings + one of 4 main quest endings witch are unrelated to a romantic endings, I thought that often those wouldn't really fit well together and thought that it would make more sense if those ware a separate ending you can get if you don't get a romance ending. Also break up events, as there is only one break up scene for every romance option and you can trigger them in different time periods sometimes those scenes feel out of place, like how Amber can break up with Lynn before Lynn even confesses her feelings.
- I thought that in adult age things ware moving too fast, witch made me feel that routes in adult age when romance starts ware rushed (At least for yuri routes, I didn't play otome ones)
- Lynn's route, I thought that there are more then one problem with this route in particular. I already talked about this in "the polygamy thread" but I really hated how Lynn treated Amber in her route, it felt like Amber was always secondary to Lynn and like she treated her like a plaything, it never felt like there is even a possibility that Lynn would choose Amber over Lair. Also I thought Lynn's personality changed a lot from previous events in young age, I mean I know 2 years have past in between but still.... She just doesn't seem like Lynn we come to like in young age at all.
- Unavoidable dates with Liar in young age. Even when Liar first time invited Amber to date I thought it was wrong not to have a choice to say no, but there I could still be ok with it as it is only one diner, not that big of a deal, but with the way that date ended I highly doubt that I was the only one who really wanted to say no to a second date. I know that in that event Amber learns some important things about some other characters as well, but was there a different way.
- I thought that CGs ware of a lower quality then rest of the game art. Not sure if it's a different artist or if CGs ware just this artist's week point.
- Can't say I appreciate fan service (images you get after getting all endings of one character), true I know I am probably a minority for this one.
- True crafting was fun at a beginning, after some time it start to feel like a chore, especially if you are trying to make a final quest item. And since only items that are story relevant are final quest item and romance item one per one romance you are getting, for the most part it didn't really feel like it matters what you make so there wasn't much to drive you to play around with crafting system and make different items. And since all other request are random and there is no punishment for refusing and/or failing a request they didn't really help a lot.

Pros:
- I said this multiple times even before a game was released but this game has some really cute characters.
- True I am generally pro yuri I really liked Amber, Cosa & Reed poly triangle and I thought that they ware super sweet when they get into their "who is going to show more affection for who" the 3 way, and when they start competing who loves who more.
- I really liked that there was a possibility for Amber to become
Spoiler:
Vampire with Ruby, rather then for Ruby to become human. Vampires need more Love! :)
- I really liked some personalities of characters in this game, and not only romance option ones but also of those side (friends) characters. Also in general I prefer when there are more characters involved in a story then just protagonist and a romance interest protagonist is presuing, so some interesting friend characters are a nice addition.

I am probably forgetting to mention something, but I can't remember what :mrgreen: . So this is it.

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jack1974
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Re: Pros and cons of a game

Post by jack1974 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:53 am

Thanks for the feedback :) Of course, as you said, some of those considerations are personal tastes. Regarding what I think personally:
- the CGs: they were of same artist (Loren's artist) and I think the quality was good. Perhaps the "problem" was that I used a different colorist (he was always doing only lineart, not coloring). So might be that. For Loren 2 I used another one, so I'm thinking I could try to find a better colorist again.
- the "rushed adult age romances": well the scenes are 5 like young age, so amount of scenes it's the same. I didn't have that feeling, however I think the main issue could have been once again to have "too many romances". I really think that writers to write well without pressure or deadlines, should focus on 4 different love interests max. I think it's better to even make them all bisexuals even if it's not realistic (like Love Bites) but for a writer I imagine it's easier to focus on 4 characters rather than 6 or more. It's something I already said I will do in future games and it's one of the main reasons why games like Loren 2, PS2, Roger Steel, Undead Lily aren't out already :mrgreen:
- the crafting game: well I already said it while coding myself. I even reduced the grind A LOT compared to the original plan :lol: The problem though it's that there's nothing else to do beside crafting. If there was RPG fights like in Atelier games... would have been different. But adding RPG to this game was really not a possibility (I would have need the full new RPG framework and Anima is still working on it). Well at least was useful to test this system well, so in future games will be used :)

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Re: Pros and cons of a game

Post by Troyen » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:58 am

jack1974 wrote:- the crafting game: well I already said it while coding myself. I even reduced the grind A LOT compared to the original plan :lol: The problem though it's that there's nothing else to do beside crafting. If there was RPG fights like in Atelier games... would have been different. But adding RPG to this game was really not a possibility (I would have need the full new RPG framework and Anima is still working on it). Well at least was useful to test this system well, so in future games will be used :)
I haven't played the game yet (I only have time for one play-through, so I'm waiting for the beta to stabilize a little to analyze the crafting pace), but I think DarkWolf's comment was the crafting game didn't feel integrated in the story, not that he wanted other systems to do. It sounds like there are only two items relative to the plot, whereas if there were additional crafting checkpoints (kinda like the monthly quizzes in Magical Diary or the gold requirements to advance QoT), then it would feel more integrated in the game. (Or maybe if you had to craft your own tools or parts so you could build the special rooms in your house - I don't know if this exists already, but it would be an example of a crafting progression system.)

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jack1974
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Re: Pros and cons of a game

Post by jack1974 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:39 am

Ah OK I see what you mean. I didn't want to make too many required checkpoint with crafting stuff, though for the paths you need to craft a special items (except for Lynn) and also to solve the main storyline successfully.
I could easily add some "fixed items to make" at regular intervals for the story. However, what would be the penalty? I thought to make it a bit open so everyone would be able to increase the XP any way they wanted.
I still think the main issue is having a game with crafting as only gameplay element, if you think about it, all the successful ones like Atelier or Recettear had RPG with combat too. Months ago I thought about adding it to this game but would have been too much (also considering my current burned out status lol).

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Re: Pros and cons of a game

Post by P_Tigras » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:09 pm

DarkWolf wrote: Cons:
...
- Lynn's route, I thought that there are more then one problem with this route in particular. I already talked about this in "the polygamy thread" but I really hated how Lynn treated Amber in her route, it felt like Amber was always secondary to Lynn and like she treated her like a plaything, it never felt like there is even a possibility that Lynn would choose Amber over Lair. Also I thought Lynn's personality changed a lot from previous events in young age, I mean I know 2 years have past in between but still.... She just doesn't seem like Lynn we come to like in young age at all.
Lynn is clearly confused and trying to figure out who she is and what she wants. Unfortunately it doesn't come out until scene 8 which doesn't leave a lot of time for it to develop. I know you mentioned that the yuri romances feel rushed, but to me, the Lynn romance is the only one that feels rushed. Cosmina+Reed doesn't feel rushed at all, and the issue with Ruby I think is more that her later scenes could use additional textual development than an issue with their pacing.

In scene 8 first she mentions that she's agreed to marry Lair, and then she admits that she's having second thoughts because she finds herself also interested in Amber. You can give her a kiss that blows her mind if you're willing to be aggressive, but the scene ends with Lynn confused and in a conundrum regardless, and apologetic for making things complicated. My biggest issue with scene 8 aside from the late development of the Lynn romance is that she only admits that she "likes" Amber, but then demands to know if (or assumes that) Amber "loves" her. Usually in these situations, someone would say "I like you, do you like me too?" or "I love you, do you love me too? NOT "I like you, now tell me, do you love me?" I think that more than anything else in that particular scene makes Lynn come across as a little self-centered, but I suspect that was more a matter of less than optimal word choice on the part of the writer, then intent.

In scene 9 Lynn explores her feelings for Lair, allowing him to seduce her in the library. This scene is pretty much what I'd expect from a clueless young girl who is confused and trying to figure out what she wants when the girl hasn't internalized any taboos against sex outside of or before marriage, especially when neither Amber nor Lair have reacted negatively or issued any ultimatums to her. The array of choices available as a response for Amber I think are also quite fitting and suitable.

Scene 10 is a a bit weird. I can understand Lynn also wanting to explore her feelings for Amber to better understand what she wants, but a royal ball is a huge public event and she's publicly snubbing her fiance by not only taking Amber instead as a date, but also going home with Amber afterward. Lair takes it all very casually, and so too does Amber, even if you don't want her to. It's a little surreal how accepting Amber is, assuring an apologetic Lynn that it's fine if Lynn also dances with Lair on "their date", because she understands that Lynn also loves Lair too. It's hard to get on Lynn's case for playing with them both when both of them are so willing to make excuses for Lynn. I'd recommend putting a menu choice in here giving the player the option of making Amber a bit less willing to so docilely share her date.

Then we jump from there to the 4 possible endings, and it's suddenly over.
- I thought that CGs ware of a lower quality then rest of the game art. Not sure if it's a different artist or if CGs ware just this artist's week point.
- Can't say I appreciate fan service (images you get after getting all endings of one character), true I know I am probably a minority for this one.
While I mostly agree with you or at least don't feel strongly enough to disagree, on these two items in particular I disagree. I just looked over the CG's again, and while I'd prefer that they be a higher resolution as both my desktop monitor and my cell phone have display resolutions of 2560x1440, I otherwise disagree that the issue with the CG's is art quality. And what you see as fan service I see as a glimpse into the character's personality that only someone who is intimate with them would get to know and enjoy.

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Re: Pros and cons of a game

Post by SimonStardust » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:42 pm

Just to throw in my two cents: I think the tricky thing about Lynn and Lair is that they were split into two different paths. While trying to get Lair's light+ ending... it doesn't feel like the relationship is going to get anywhere at all just because you always have to be respectful towards Lynn with your choices. Although... Lynn doesn't get to play a huge role in Lair's path anyway. What feels strange when at the same time on Lynn's path you can develop feelings for her. Then suddenly Lair marries Amber without Lynn being mentioned again at all. The other way round I found it stupid when in Lynn's light+ ending they ended up sharing Lynn... and not all three in love with each other, although we got the impressions from Lair's path that he has feelings for Amber, too.
To me it would've made more sense to have one only Lynn ending, one only Lair, one with both and one with none of them.
But I'm talking about things which cannot and shouldn't be changed anymore. xD

Overall the issue with the romance paths I have is not that they feel rushed, but rather not thoroughly thought-out.
Beware! Peerons ahead! xD

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jack1974
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Re: Pros and cons of a game

Post by jack1974 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:48 pm

SimonStardust wrote: Overall the issue with the romance paths I have is not that they feel rushed, but rather not thoroughly thought-out.
I can't speak for Forsaken but I think the main issue is having two love interests that interact with each other. That's why the system/setup of Love Bites it's the best possible: all love interests can be romanced no matter who you play, male/female main characters, same amount of romance by gender, routes are "separated" (there are scenes with many characters and jealousy but all regarding the player, not relationships between the love interests), etc.
It's almost a fool-proof system :mrgreen:

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SimonStardust
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Re: Pros and cons of a game

Post by SimonStardust » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:00 pm

jack1974 wrote: I can't speak for Forsaken but I think the main issue is having two love interests that interact with each other.
I guess that's exactly it. :,D
Beware! Peerons ahead! xD

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Re: Pros and cons of a game

Post by P_Tigras » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:16 pm

I haven't really looked at or considered the Lair romance myself up to this point, but I can certainly see how that would complicate the writing for Lynn. That's a very valid point. I also agree with how you're handling the romances in Love Bites, although I can see value in connecting routes for poly's, it would just need to be handled with a bit more care. For example, I wouldn't have recommended making a Vee centered on Lynn with Amber and Lair on the ends that is entirely separate from the Lair romance track. The Lynn and Lair relationship tracks should have converged, and then the three characters could have worked out (with the player getting a lot of say) whether the final relationship would have been a triad, a vee, or simply a couple with the third person, depending on events, bowing or being forced out.

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Re: Pros and cons of a game

Post by Thee Forsaken One » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:54 pm

SimonStardust wrote:Overall the issue with the romance paths I have is not that they feel rushed, but rather not thoroughly thought-out.
Some comments on the particular routes. I had limited control over the endings and directions of the routes because I was taking over from a previous writer. All of the routes were largely set out (Although I did my best to modify them as best I could) and the CGs were already done.

Originally, the game only had Ruby as the Yuri route. Later on Lynn was added as a Yuri route but (I don't know why) it was also decided that Lynn would be involved with Lair (Or Stan as he used to be called before I changed it). With the CGs already there, I really had no choice but to do my best to fit it in. There is the issue that involving her with Lair does make his route rather weird (Again the endings were determined before I came onto the project) so I just did the best I could.

About Cosmina and Reed, they were always intended as a poly route I know some people (I don't think you've said it), have accused it of being a yuri route that became a poly one. That has never been the case. It was always supposed to be Reed and Cosmina together. Again, like everything else, this was all set out before I joined the project. I really only had influence over the middle of the route and even then there was only so much space to work.

As an aside, I'm personally very against it being possible to get Cosmina without Reed. Cosmina would be unwilling to take Amber without Reed. If Amber said she didn't want Reed then Cosmina would not take Amber. Those are my feelings on the matter but I'm aware other people have other ideas.

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