[personal profile] got_quiet
This year's Yaoi Jam was a successful one, with a number of complete and polished games and a few interesting demos. Here are a few quick impressions of this year's offerings.

Complete Games

A Small Encounter )

Heartbeats )

Teach Me, Onegai! )

Palace Guard )


First Job )
[personal profile] got_quiet
I read and watch a lot of game dev stuff talking about narrative design and impactful writing. Here's a nice succinct video about good character.

I've noticed that a lot of people think a good character is a character we know everything about, or one where, if we were to be given a question about they're attitude towards a particular thing can point to canon and find a definitive answer. For me a good character is some is someone who is compelling because they feel just as unknowable as any real person might be. They make you wonder about them and want to know more. And this effect can be achieved very quickly. One of my favorite go to examples is an unnamed minor character in Order of Tales.

At the very beginning of the story our hero goes to the stable and acts petulant over having to choose a mount he didn't want. The stable hand is delicate with him but once he's out he lets out his feelings on the matter.

Soon after, the castle falls under a surprise attack. The hero is targeted and...

Bam! Character! It really only takes a couple of moments in which a character makes a choice to tell your audience what sort of character that is. The more difficult and varied the choices, the more depth, but it doesn't require much to establish a foundation from which players can feel like they know who they're dealing with.

Date Night

May. 30th, 2016 12:52 am
[personal profile] got_quiet
Name: Hot Date
Status: Complete
Site: https://georgebatch.itch.io/hot-date
Rating: PG
Pairing: ?/Dog
Description: Speed dating with pugs

Read more... )
Overall: An amusing novelty that makes good use of procgen, but nothing more. Worth a handful of playthroughs, but quit while you're ahead.
[personal profile] got_quiet
Name:Kindness Coins
Status: Complete
Site: https://arden.itch.io/kindness-coins
Rating: Teen
Pairing: F/F

Read more... )

Bear School

Jan. 3rd, 2016 01:33 pm
[identity profile] got-quiet.livejournal.com
Name: Bear School
Status: Demo
Site: http://bear-school.tumblr.com/
Rating: Teen (Full game will be adult?)
Pairing: M/M

Read more... )
[identity profile] got-quiet.livejournal.com

Name: 6.8x10^14 First Dates
Status: Complete (?)
Site: http://lycaontalks.itch.io/6-point-8x10-to-the-14-first-dates
Rating: PG?
Pairing: ?/M, ?/F, ?/Other
Read more... )
[identity profile] got-quiet.livejournal.com

Name: Seven Kingdoms: The Princess Problem
Status: Demo
Site: http://sevenkingdomsgame.com/
Rating: PG -13?
Pairing: M/F, F/F
Read more... )
[identity profile] got-quiet.livejournal.com
Name: TUSKS: The Orc Dating Sim
Status: Demo.
Site: http://mitzialexander.itch.io/orc-dating-sim
Rating: R
Pairing: M/M

Description: "Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim focuses on a newly-formed family of gay orcs who are travelling from the annual orcish assembly to the Highlands of a semi-mythical Scotland! Along the way, the player can begin friendships and relationships with the various members of the group, including a selkie a long way away from home, a gentle-giant orcish warrior, and a polyamorous trio of orc chieftains."

In the demo you join up with a group of orcs that are essentially going the same way you are, have a nice chat with some of them, and then settle down for the first night on the road.

Art: Unusual for this sort of format but I got used to it quickly. The target audience for ORCS is bear lovers, not bishie fans, so the characters are stocky and plump, with stretchmarks, moobs, injuries etc. An effort has clearly been made to create a more realistic and inclusive depiction of what a nomadic people who encounter danger on the regular might look like. The art style itself feels a little sketchy, but like I said, I got over it quickly.

Writing: Very good. There's a strong sense of worldbuilding that doesn't require much in the way of straight exposition, the conversations you can have are interesting, and each of the many characters have strong personalities. Because even in the demo there were a lot of opportunities to step away and get to know the other orcs one on one, the large number of options (8 IIRC) didn't feel like too much, and instead created a lot of replay value.

There's also some interesting themes already popping up within the text, including issues of belonging and identity, and the building of family and community among gays and lesbians. My eyes narrow when games try to make a statement, because the last thing I want out of them is a hamfisted sermon, but the light nature of the text, and the clearheaded, sensitive, and introspective way the topics were addressed worked for me and I felt that they really added value to the story.

Choice: 13 choices made in the demo.

There's a lot of choice in this game. Some of it is simply choosing who to talk to, but the first day at least is focused on conversation, and depending on who you converse with that conversation can go 2 or three choices deep. The choices are also meaningful in the sense that they have a clear effect on the pathing. Most of the time there are 3+ choices at any given juncture. As far as options are concerned, this is one of the better demos I've seen.

Gameplay: There are some very neat things added to this game which makes me eager to see the end product, including some randomization that I suppose you could stick with the buzzword procedural generation. In the beginning you have the option to turn on AI agency, which comes into play once in the demo during a vote to decide on the name of the troupe. And during the first night the leader will choose different orcs to go on patrol, effective limiting your choices of who to talk with at camp, which again adds replay value. I'm not sure how that choice is made, if it's randomized or when, but I really enjoy things being a little different on playthroughs. It makes my least favorite part of renais more bearable.

Overall: I want to see this game made. I want to see it badly enough that I threw a few bucks at the creator's Patreon. The art put me off trying it for a while but I'm glad I decided to check it out. The script is polished and complex, and I want to get to know the characters better.

Plus I want to hang out with the flower chief some more.

[identity profile] got-quiet.livejournal.com
I've been playing through a lot of renai games lately so I'm going to do this to keep track of them.

Name: The Sun Misses The Moon
Status: Demo.
Site: http://gamejolt.com/games/the-sun-misses-the-moon/45012
Rating: ?
Pairing: M/M?

Description: "The Sun Misses The Moon is a LGBT visual novel with elements of college-life, unrequited love and supernatural alternate dimensions. It has been under production for over five months and early versions can be found on Game jolt. The story continues to grow and gather strength in concept each day.

There are currently several characters that make up the spine of the visual novel itself; Sol Kasmay, Lukas Archibald, Marvin Archibald, Turi Sisiro and Shin Kwon. Each of these characters have up to eight unique emotions and their own theme to go with personal situations.

The story is focused around Sol who is a young freshman in college attending with his best and only friend Lukas Archibald. Like most people, Sol has no idea what is in store for him in the near-future. However one thing IS for certain, the protagonist isn't always the center of his/her own story."

Art: Pretty good. Cohesive style, UI is clear, the character designs are cool and the character art is clean and cell shaded. The POV character Sol in particular is a cutie. My only gripe was over Lucas' pose. I wanted to push his hand down the entire game. The backgrounds are photos, slightly blurred, and they're also nice and clean, and for a demo there are quite a few of them. At one point you go from one room on campus to another and this is animated with a series of shots down a stairway. It was a nice touch.

Writing: For a demo there's a lot of it, and it's decent. All of the characters have clear voices and the dialogue feels natural. There were a few spots where the script seemed to jump a little. Either things got rehashed, or a jump wasn't smooth, but those issues were minor and rare. The story as it's revealed in the demo sets up some interesting questions and includes a major cliffhanger, so there's some promise here.

Choice: 1 (ish). This is where most games and I part ways, as I'm in the "more is more" side of choice in VNs. There were technically two places where I had to click something but in one case there was only one choice. In the other case there were two. Since this is a demo it's hard to tell how divergent things will get in the final product, but as it is it is only hitting the minimum required to keep from being a straight up kinetic novel.

Gameplay: There were no additional gameplay elements.

Overall: If a complete game is released I think it would be worth checking out, though a lack of routes in the demo is concerning.

Put your hand down!

Another main character.


Playing games with an emphasis on story.

October 2017

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