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Matsumori High is like any other high school anywhere. Or is it? Not everything is at it appears, and only you can seek out the truth in this story-centric RPG!


Personal background:
This game technically started back in RPGM-2000. All I really had back then was a nebulous idea about having characters learn skills by visiting various people in the game. Kinda like the master system in Breath of Fire 3 or Breath of Fire 4. I tried to implement it, but I didn't have that integral piece of RPG's called "a story".

I started getting ideas for this game again after my first play-through of Shin Megami Tensai - Persona 4. I even had a completed project that I was mostly happy with. However, I started visiting this site, and thought that the project could use an overhaul. Not a complete start-from-scratch overhaul, but an overhaul all the same. This game is the end result of that overhaul.


Other links of interest:
This game's game-thread on RPG Maker Web.
The second game in the series (it's a prequel to this), Arbiters From Another World. Also has a game-thread on RPG Maker Web.
The third game in the series (it's a sequel to this), Konae's Investigations.

Latest Blog

Download updated!

Thanks to Malandy to the grammar/spelling fixes!

Though, with this update, I will probably not support any further changes, unless I feel inclined to pursue getting VX on my current machine. Which, given the age of my VX games in general, seems fairly slim. I know one of my favorite sayings is "It's never too late for a bug report!", but, it's time I move on to other things like getting MV, maybe.

Posts

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Well I played through the first demo and then went away for a few days, so I was about to type a long comment with feedback, but now I guess I'll have to go and play demo 2. Do you feel that it's ready enough for a review of the demo or should I just give you my input when I'm done?
Marrend
Guardian Gorgon of the Description Thread
17451
If you want to comment on the Chapter 1 content, go of it. Either whatever issues you found were fixed (without being prompted to fix them), or I didn't see them (they are still there). Of course, if you want to play through the Chapter 2 content as well to have a more complete experience, that's fine too.

I'd prefer to have feedback before the project hits it's initial "completed" status, so I can fix what's wrong and keep what's right rather than find out via a review. Ultimately, however, the decision is yours.
I'll play Chapter 2 and condense my note stuffs rather than give you feedback that's out of date then. It'll be a few days though.
Hi, wall-o-text not-quite-review here.

1. You might want to bundle the RTP resources you use with the project for your releases, maybe just the final one. In any case, I didn't have the VX RTP and needed to go grab it. (Also, your instruction manual indicates it's necessary to plop the folder in the VX project files which isn't required)
2. As this is a dialogue-oriented thing, I think I'll be picky and point out misspellings/grammar errors. Ignore them if you want. But to start off, in Chojiro's dialogue he says "The point is, is that" where it should be "The point is that."
3. It's sort of weird to see the sprites inside the tiny doorways. Maybe change the events that prevent entry so that they're same level rather than below hero?
4. The RMVX RTP face graphics look out of place next to the atelier ones used for the protagonists. (Mainly talking about Chojiro, Sataro, and the parents)
5. The poster in Sataro's office depicts a "stren" man
6. If we're going to be really finnicky about commas, the dialogue of those two outdoor students shouldn't have any.
7.The events that repulse the hero from the auditorium, gymnasium, and campus exit push the hero backwards rather than up the path. This brings me to another point... The lack of boundaries on the maps is kind of unsettling. If you're going to have a "walk off the map to change maps" thing going, you'd do well to have the events on all exposed faces rather than just the pathways. It's a better idea to prevent the hero from getting to the edge of the map in the first place though. (If you still just want to have the event only on the path, at least add trees or something on either side so you can't step onto it sideways)
8. Those little one tile staircases can only be used accurately when going up a floor, not up an elevatioion level on the same map. If you look at the auditorium, the floor tile is extends farther south than it should if that stairway would indicate. The result looks like a random staircase on a flat floor. There are special sideways/diagonal stairs (not in RTP) that should be used in that situation.
9. These transitions are really jarring. It's strange to be walking to the right in the interior of a building and finding myself walking left on an outdoor path. If you're trying to avoid mapping the exterior of the buildings, at least make the transitions longer and change the BGM or something to indicate it's not a direction transition, like walking into a classroom. But a better idea would be to just add intermediate maps to make sure the player is always walking the same way out as in.
10. House music has a bit of a "fanfare" feel rather than "domestic." Not a big issue.
11. "First thing's first" shouldn't have an apostrophe. Sorry, I forgot to note down where this was. Might've been Kojiro's line or something.
12. "presence, today?" shouldn't have a comma. Think that's Dad's line.
13. "wasn't enterly expecting this" should be "entirely." Pretty sure that's Dad's as well.
14. Mina says "aught" where I think you mean "ought." "Aught" isn't really a common word, pretty sure you don't mean that.
15. The transition to dream world should be a little more drawn out (maybe a bed, sleepy music in there,) because right now it's weird to walk up a stairwell and discover that Matsumori High's up there.
16. The gameplay of this project needs serious attention. I'll make a sublist with the problems... Keep in mind I hate the DBS so I'll probably be overcritical here.
a. Enemies have too high HP so random encounters last too long. I fought two battles then ran away from the rest because of this.
b. The "burst attack" hardly does more damage than a usual attack.
c. There's nothing to make the game more strategic than "hold down spacebar."
d. Guarding against the bosses is ridiculously effective. You don't even need sodas. I thought this was neat, but it might be best to only hint at it rather than say it straight out.
e. The enemy normal attacks hardly damaged my characters.
17. The dungeons, while not technically mapped incorrectly, are still pretty boring.
18. The wall in the middle of the auditorium is sort of weird. I think you want it to represent a change in elevation but because of the roof chip on top of it, it just looks like a wall.
19. Sleeping to heal is a bit weird when you're already asleep.
20. It's not actually possible to re-fight the bosses, making their dialogue upon re-talking to them a little awkward.
21. In the sky island level, the wall doesn't tile properly when stacked on top. You also might want to consider fading the wall into the sky rather than just having it drop off like that.
22. Most students NPCs don't change their dialogue in day 2.
23. Um, the game freezes after Toshie comes in. I think the cause is a "wait until moved" event that is stalling the game because either Toshi or Goho is stuck on the table/each other.
24. I see you do list Persona 4 as a source of inspiration, and it shows. I haven't played it, and when I started playing at the dream world start (first playthrough, before reading your manual) I was immediately reminded of it. Your story right now has nothing to distinguish the game, nor does the gameplay. So I'd change up the general "premise" or else give one of these other elements a major boost. Sure, your story might take some time to develop, but not everyone will keep playing a game after twenty minutes of nothing too spectacular.
25. The writing/dialogue isn't bad at all, but it's not exactly outstanding. No one but Mitsuya Masako is very distinctive. Toshie and Nari definitely have personalities, but they're not much more than stock characters. Everyone else at this point isn't memorable. If you want this to be a story-driven game, those characters need a major ramping up. Also, I'm hoping this plot revolves around Masako, as her character is really there. Good job with that.

Ha, there's your feedback for you. Let me know when you release the final of this (or extensive demo, or whenever) so I can review it. If I've vanished from around here, you can probably reach me at wombatrpgs.net. Best of luck in your endeavors...!
Marrend
Guardian Gorgon of the Description Thread
17451
Feedback like that deserves a decent response, even if the one who gave the feedback is gone:

1) That whole blat about installation process seems out-of-place. You've already extracted the game, so what's the point of having installation instructions at that point? I was half-expecting someone to call me on that! I'll be getting rid of that part of the manual, since it's a moot point. Not sure about packaging it with the RTP data, though. I like my download sizes small and accessible!

2) That sounds more like one of Mina's lines than Chojiro's. However, I'm looking into it.

3) Same-level entry could work for the doors, but the non-doors I could probably keep as-is. Agreed?

4) I happen to like that face for Chojiro! :( Not quite sure how to handle Mom and Dad, though...

5) Oopsy! Will replace with "stern"!

6) The ones in the upper-right? Okay, I see it.

7) Yeah, I guess that could be weird.

8) I'm not sure how to answer that either. I wanted to make a spiral staircase kind of effect, but.... blah.

9) I happen to enjoy fast screen transitions! :( However, I suppose you have a point.

10) If it ain't broke, don't fix it! :)

11) I'm an idiot. Thanks.

12) If nothing else, I seem to be getting the message that I'm going crazy with the commas.

13) How did spell check miss that!? Thanks!

14) Mina's not a common person, but you're probably right.

15) Chapter 1 should be jarring. However, maybe Chapter 2 and onward I'll have a proper resting sequence?

16a) Too many? I thought it was pretty minimal. I guess I needed more battle tests. :(

16b) I actually calculated out at what point the physical techniques would become "useless" (meaning a normal attack would be just as good, if not better than using a technique). To say the least, Burst Attack had the least usability. While I want techniques to not be as cool as magic, I should definitely be changing this.

16c) Guilty as charged! *gavel pounding SFX*

16d) I keep forgetting that things always take half damage when guarding. It doesn't matter what the source of the damage was. Foiled again!

16e) They are scaled unimaginably low, so that doesn't surprise me in the slightest. I'll play around with the numbers a bit more to find a happier medium.

17) I figured I'd be hit with that complaint. I still have a long way to go before I master that skill.

18) Get rid of the roof chip and fix the staircase! I can do this! I hope...

19) Who said you're asleep? *maniacal laughter*

20) But... you've already passed the trial! How much sense does it make to need to pass it again? Was I not clear enough on that? If so, my only reaction is "Ick! Re-write galore!"

21) If this was XP, I know how I could pull it off. But VX? With just the RTP? Without add-ons? I dunno...

22) That was kind of done on purpose, actually. It might not make sense for the students in the entrance (the upper-right ones), but for everyone else, I can probably get away with it. Or not, evidently. :(

23) This was a bug I might have caught after releasing the demo. Toshie is fine. The criminal event is "Mom", but it's not the "Mom" in the kitchen. I think this bug was fixed in the newest release, but I can't remember. :(

24) This is just backwards. You never played Persona 4, but going to the dream world reminded you of it? Eh? Anyway, I don't think I really want to change the premise, so I have to give consideration to the boosting the game or the gameplay. Since gameplay might go on the wayside (see below), I better flesh out my story more!

25) Goho might be the character that the player controls, but Masako is arguably more important than any other character out there. I had to flesh her out more. Actually, I was debating making her the main character! With her at the helm, I'm not seeing many opportunities for varied gameplay. Actually, I'm seeing more of a visual novel. No, I'm not willing to go the visual novel route, but I think this game could be better with Masako as the main playable character. The reactions from the students should be more interesting. She's arguably a more natural fit for a party leader than Goho. Know what? I'm doing this. I'm making Masako the main character! I'll have to re-write everything to tell the story from her perspective, but I think I can make it work!
1. I've never made a game in VX, I admit, but in 2K and 2K3 it was possible (with a bit of mucking around) to only package the RTP data that the game required so it only added a few MB to the file. It's not a huge issue though, I guess.
3. Yeah, sounds good.
4. Chojiro's face fits, but it just doesn't blend with the rest of the facesets. I'm going to guess you don't want to create a better face in the same style, so maybe just set it so that only major characters get faces in the first place? (as in, recruitable characters). Or just leave it as is.
16. a. It might not be too many for most people, I just have very low DBS tolerance after playing RPGmaker stuff for forever.
16 b. This should be fine as long as Burst Attack is at least usable in the first dungeon or two.
17. If you don't have much experience in game making, don't worry about it. You'll pick it up.
20. Yeah, it doesn't make sense to refight the bosses, but when they're defeated they say something along the lines of "come back and we can do something next time."
21. Leave it then, it's not huge
24. I knew the basic premise of that game, but I am way to cheap to actually purchase games. If you're enjoying making the game, don't change the premise.
25. Combine the best of these. I really liked just observing Masako for the first bit as she's a bit of an enigma. Controlling her from the beginning might lose a bit of the appeal. You could save yourself the bother of rewriting by having the first two chapters from Goho's perspective and then switch after that. (Whether you want to keep switching, I have no idea). And as much as I'm fond of visual novels it's probably the right choice not to try and convert this.
Marrend
Guardian Gorgon of the Description Thread
17451
20) That's how you learn skills, though! Maybe instead of that mess, I can have a class change thing where the new class learn skills at the rate I intended. Yeah, that sounds a bit more doable.

25) I was thinking about the challenges of putting Masako in the spotlight for the entire game. I saw a few particularly wrong/broken things:

a) Bad Breath is a totally broken skill because it causes all status conditions except comatose. The way I'm re-envisioning skills, Masako would get it at an earlier level than she's currently getting it. While I do want to encourage magic use, allowing Bad Breath at essentially the outset of the game is a terrible idea.

b) Masako may be the character I have the most plans for, but I still need to flesh out my other characters.

c) Considering Masako's ungodly intuition, and overall intelligence, she'd be able to figure out what is really going on in the "dream world" by the end of Chapter 4. In the current format, she's finding out about the "dream world" in Chapter 2, so she will be able to figure stuff out in Chapter 5 (the intended final chapter). Also, if Masako was the MC, she'd do the research on the "dream world" alone. If Goho is the MC, I might be able to set up a "date sequence" that shows off Masako's incredible intelligence while the pair attempts to discover the truth behind the "dream world". It would be a mini-game, gosh durn it!
Hi! I m new to this site but I played most of your game and i like it.... its simple but sweet..... Only one problem though when Toshie enters and sit next to protagonist and Mom goes to kitchen game freezes.... Is there any way to fix this problem?
Marrend
Guardian Gorgon of the Description Thread
17451
That bug's still in there? I thought I fixed that! *sigh* Well, there's a few other suggestions I haven't quite followed up on, so after I get those in, and do one more bug-test of the move events in Goho's house just out of curiosity, I'll be re-releasing the game.

Thanks for the feedback, Paris!

*Edit: The move events in Goho's house for Chapter 2 have been corrected. I tweaked a few of Mina's lines too, but the ones I altered were in Chapter 1. I'm still thinking I want to make the maps for the Chapter 2 dungeons larger, but since nobody's seem them yet...
Are you gonna make a third and final chapter or will you end the game at chapter 2?
Marrend
Guardian Gorgon of the Description Thread
17451
Chapter 3 will open up the dating mini-game I'm brainstorming about in my latest blog, as well as introduce two new party members.

You can only woo girls the "normal" world, so Chapter 4 will allow players to switch between the "normal" world and the "dream" world. The bonus for hitting whatever affinity value I consider "max" will not be given until Chapter 5.

Chapter 5 is the intended final chapter of the game. As for the story? That's still under wraps. ;)
Marrend
Guardian Gorgon of the Description Thread
17451
The good news: The new demo, complete up to the end of Chapter 2, is up!
The bad news: Save files are not backwards compatible with any previous version of the game. While there's nothing I can do to stop you from attempting to use old version save files, I would highly recommend that you start from scratch.

The good news: The entire playable roster becomes available in Chapter 2!
The bad news: The gameplay still boils down a combat engine (and a default one at that) with a story to tell. I want to change that in Chapter 3, but I want to see what people think about this version before worrying too much on that front.
Marrend
Guardian Gorgon of the Description Thread
17451
A new demo/beta-ish is up! This version will have the graphical update I mentioned. The dungeon design still seems a little spare in places, but I think there's a bit of improvement from previous versions.
Dude I played this game up to the Wind cavern at it is pretty boring. The dungeons are boring and the mapping is noobish to say the least. If you want to continue working on this I recommend you to remake all the maps, and I mean all.

The story was ok at first, looks ok for an intro to introduce the characters, but when you are in that dream, it doesn't look like one at all. I think you could play with the screen tint or something so that i doesn't look like normal. Also if it isn't a dream, then I don't understand why it isn't dark out :(
Marrend
Guardian Gorgon of the Description Thread
17451
Suggesting that I re-make the maps is fine and dandy, but that gives me no direction on how, or what, to improve. What can make the dungeons more exciting, given their premise? What about the mapping? I'm no expert of mapping by any means, so I'm definitely open on suggestions on improvement on that end.

I'm basing the "dream-world" from personal experience. My dreams don't "look" like dreams. It's more like they "feel" like dreams, which might be harder to pull off in RPGM. Also, I can see as clearly in them as I do when I'm awake. And I can't recall any dream when it's nighttime, or otherwise dark. Though RPG dreams do tend to have some qualities of which you speak.

But then again, are the characters actually dreaming? Perhaps that is something to consider as well?
Downloaded!
This sounds like it gets many mixed reactions.
I don't know, the concept sounds interesting.
I'll try it, and let you know what I think, if you're still interested in feedback. :)
Marrend
Guardian Gorgon of the Description Thread
17451
This sounds like it gets many mixed reactions.

It's hard to look at this game from the outside looking in, but I guess it could seem this way. Perhaps, though, nobody knows what to make of this game?

I'll try it, and let you know what I think, if you're still interested in feedback.

Feedback is necessary for developer (and game) development!
Hey cool, this project finally finished. I guess I'll grab this and see how it's progressed.
Marrend
Guardian Gorgon of the Description Thread
17451
Not stopping you from picking this up, psy.

Why I would want to stop anybody from downloading/playing/hating this game is beyond me.
So...I've played a couple hours into it, and I will review as I said on a comment to your last blog post (did you see that?).

So...Keeping in mind that I'm not really picky, just consider me a normal game player, not someone who knows RPG Maker inside and out.

A. I really like the dialogue. Each character has their own matter of speaking, and your skill as a writer really stands out. On the same token, I find Mitsuya a bit pretentious and irritating, but I gather that's her character.

B: I'm really not a big fan of Japanese names, or for that matter, Japanese words thrown into English conversations randomly. With that said, I really how smooth the dialogue flows. Given time, I'll probably even remember the character's names better!

C: The battles are really oddly balanced. It's hard to describe, but like...
1. Characters level REALLY quickly
2. At the beginning of the three areas I've been to so far, the enemies would tear me apart, but then be almost too easy after a couple rounds.
3. Alongside the quick leveling, making money also takes very little effort. It makes the game very easy to play though...
4. The status effects had a tendency to be very annoying after a while, but I think that's more RPG Maker's doing then your's.

D: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for not making the battles random, and for that matter, easy to avoid. It makes it MUCH easier to grind, and a lot less stressful to play through.

Anyways, those are my thoughts for the time being. I AM hoping that the game will open up a bit more, but I'll have to wait and see as I go on. But I will say that it plays, and feels quite a bit better then what you're saying. Hell, I'd put it ahead of most of the GBA/DS RPGs I've played.
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