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I've been able to get a few people on Youtube to play the game! So, in the spirit of full transparency, I thought that I should link them here - regardless of what their views or opinions may be.

The Gamedawg
Please check out his page!

Full Playlist

I want to give Gamedawg my wholehearted thanks for playing through the ENTIRE game for his viewers. It's really nice when a youtuber gives your game not only a fair shot, but plays through the entirety of the game. I've found that some Youtubers will play the first 15 to 60 minutes of the game and base their critique on that, which is fair considering there are lots of games in the world and, if the game's first hours is kinda meh, why bother with the rest. But Gamedawg doesn't do that! He plays the full game!

I have to admit that I couldn't bring myself to watch all of the videos. Not because of Gamedawg, but because of my own thin skin.

You see, he was able to find a substantial number of embarrassing bugs and crashes which required me to redo large swaths of the game and mechanics, essentially resulting in two major patches over the course of his playthrough. I had two incredible testers, but many of the issues he found were not present for them. It's humbling to release a game and then watch it crash over and over (and over) when someone is playing it - especially for an audience. If you watch the playthrough, you'll see what I mean.

As a result of his playthrough I ultimately got rid of the magic QTE system, which provided the only unique aspect of my battle system. This saddened me. But I could not get it to work right, at all. I also had to get rid of the lockpicking minigame, since both the minigame the QTE system relied on the same scripts and those scripts were somehow incompatible with other parts of my game. So, aside from a largely functional Triple Triad minigame, the full game became increasingly vanilla. But what is better? A cool game that crashes every 30 minutes? Or an okay game that you can actually get through?

Still, many of the comments on the videos were nice and Gamedawg was very complimentary of the writing, which I do believe is its strongest asset. I look forward to following Gamedawg and I will be sure to send him my next game in the series for him to take a look at.

Please check out his page!

It's always a risk sending your game out to Youtubers. Will they like it? Will they not? It's always nice that someone took time to play your game for 30mins-1hour and put it online, but it can go sideways if it turns into a roast session.

And as much as I appreciated RPGtime's efforts playing and giving my game a look, I feel like there were a few unfair criticisms leveled at it. I won't go one by one, but I will take issue with his opinions on my grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary use. Despite noting grammatical mistakes in his comments, I see none. Nor were any pointed out. He also took issue with some of my comma use. However, he's clearly unaware that commas come after introductory adverbs (which I use a lot), introductory clauses, and in conjunction with proper nouns when they are in the middle (or at the end) of sentences. And sometimes I pepper commas in to indicate speech. And when it comes to vocabulary: Some characters speak differently. You'll find Cal to be somewhat stoic, King Agutaq to be pretentious, Gary to be simple and quick with wit, Alyseth to be crude but clearly educated, etc. He clearly didn't enjoy the dialogue or character interactions, so he glommed on to what he thought was the issue. But I thought his critique here could have been more constructive.

I also thought that his criticism of the story to be "intriguing yet cliche" to be confusing. First, he was clear he didn't know what the story was, so how did he know it was cliche? Also, does the story include a teen main protagonist? Involve crystals? Start with the main protagonist with amnesia or waking up in a bed? Not to say that the story doesn't rely on a trope or two. But cliche? Of all the criticisms, I felt this was the most unfair and I would have liked to hear more about this in the video instead of seeing it in the comments.

Overall, I would like to believe that his main criticisms of the game would ease the further he gets into it. Don't know what's going on? Well, I'm trusting the reader to be smart and put together contextual clues (or to have played the prequel). Think the battle system is boring? I'll admit it's the weakest part of the game... But one (real) battle is shown in the video. There is level progression and skill progression. Yes, you were Level 1, had the worst sword in the game, had no skills, and had 2 members of a to-be-6-member party. That first battle is going to be lame. But trust me, it gets marginally better. Don't know where to go and getting lost? Pay attention to the "random" blue text - it's blue for a reason. But getting lost is something common to YouTubers, so I can't blame him too much. You're playing a game, trying to talk, trying to think creatively about your opinions and critiques, doing dramatic readings, and then also playing a game. It's a lot to keep up in the air. I'm just bummed that the first 20 minutes are so lackluster that he (and others) won't be interested in seeing the other 5 hours. I hope that people who stick with it will be pleasantly surprised.

The mapping error he pointed out is a valid critique. And, no, I didn't make an interior map for every little house in the city. The tonal whiplash of some of the "joking" NPCs is also a valid critique, and one that I've heard from others. The newest version has removed most, if not all, of them and I think the game is better for it. The lack of an option menu is somewhat valid, although it's a limitation of VXAce (yeah yeah, I could add a script, but I didn't). But I also think people who generally play MV games have been spoiled by an embarrassment of options. His critique of the music is also valid. I, too, hate it. The battle themes by Auron Silverburgh are bangers - I love those. But I wrote the rest of the music and they're boring, repetitive, and plodding. Despite attention to key, pace, transitioning them in scenes based on different moods, and using instruments representing different characters and environments in an effort to make them at least symbolically interesting, they still suck. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I will also admit that the exposition is a little heavy at the beginning. Especially when read dramatically for the YouTube audience. Having knowledge of At Last Alone: Rescue at Moranthia is perhaps more important than I appreciated. I struggled with the kid-who-dies scene for a long time. Keep it too short and it makes no sense why Cal would care - especially if you're trying to run through the "Call to Adventure" and "Refusal of the Call" (ala Joseph Campbell) in the same scene. Take too long and, well, you get what you have here. Maybe I'll give it a re-write...

I appreciate his kind words about the bust art. (However, he suggests somewhere that they're inconsistent. This is a surprising reaction, considering they're all done by the same artist.) I also appreciate his kind words on the lockpicking minigame. Yes, it did take a long time to get right.

But, overall, I appreciate him taking the time out to give it a download, play my game, and tell his fans what he thought. It's always neat to watch your creation living out in the real world. I look forward to following RPGtime and seeing what he has to say about other games!