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Does anyone have feedback to give?

  • Fidchell
  • 08/26/2013 03:36 AM
  • 4490 views
Valerie's Letter is the most pain-staking RPG Maker project I've ever done. I've put forth a lot of love and effort into polishing this game to provide an atmospheric, unsettling horror experience while keeping good gameplay in mind. This game was a mess in its early years and I have gone through many different phases to ensure it "feels" and plays right. Total development time is around five years, and in that five years, there has also been clashes here and there with life events that greatly delayed the game.

What am I getting at here? Well, I feel like I'm being ignored. I see a hefty download count, but I am not getting much feedback for the work I've done. Can I say my own game is amazing and remarkable? Well, probably not since that would be very pretentious, but regardless I've tried to accomplish these things and make the game have something special - something that could make it stand out. There are many games that have pretty, decorated pages, but do these pages really enhance the game itself? I don't believe this is something people have to do to gather interest in their game.

I feel like I'm at my wit's end here. I've gone through years and years on the internet being unnoticed despite my efforts and contributions. I hoped making something like this would really bring up some much-needed attention I craved for for a long time now, but with the lack of the slightest peep I feel my efforts go to waste.

I should stop before this gets too long. In the end, here's what I need to say: Somebody, please say something!

Posts

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Gibmaker
I hate RPG Maker because of what it has done to me
9274
Plainly what you need is pewdiepie to make a stink over it.
I don't usually go for horror games. They aren't my bag, baby!
*edit: Whoa, that's a big post. Don't get your hopes up, though. I didn't play your game and this isn't feedback about the game. It's, hopefully, some helpful words about getting more attention.

Well, you should understand that 200 is not a hefty download count. It's actually quite small. Only when it gets to 1000 would I start calling it hefty. The biggest reason is that it's possible that many of your downloads come from users who don't have an account and therefore can't leave feedback. Plus, you can't assume that 200 people played your game. There are a few possibilities like; someone needed to download it more than once, they couldn't open or run the game and deleted it, they never got around to playing it at all(I'm so guilty of this with so many games), or they played for like 10 minutes and quit.

I took a quick browse through your game page, and I see some feedback and positive words. Not a single negative thing, except maybe some guy saying you copied off Silent Hill. That suggests that there is nothing wrong with the game. It does look great, the mapping and sprites all look excellent. Although, there isn't much feedback from someone who finished the game, where they talk about the gameplay or anything. That is unfortunate.

The thing is, you only responded to 2 things. The guy who said you copied, and the person who commented on your title screen. Your lack of response to the people who do take the time to post, seems contradictory to your desire for more feedback. Thank them, answer any questions they might have, engage in conversation about your game. You are simply dropping this game on the internet, in a vast sea of cookie cutters and masterpieces(it's not all cookie cutters), and expecting notoriety. You need to work for it. You need to promote and hype and engage your audience. One guy said he was stuck on a puzzle and you didn't help him. Here is a user that you can say with certainty is playing your game and you don't even seem to care. That reflects VERY negatively on you, man.

This isn't a big part of it, but I've never heard of your username or your game. Or at least, you haven't made any lasting impression on me(can't speak for anyone else, obviously). I don't see you posting in the places that get you noticed by the userbase that has accounts. If you want feedback, those are the people you need to reach. The one's that can actually tell you something. There have been several threads where users take suggestions on games to review. There are sometimes threads where users suggests games to play, maybe even being specific and requesting horror games. All missed opportunities on your part.

There are things you can do to create hype and awareness. The smallest and easiest would be upload a new screenshot from time to time. It puts your game on the front page for a short time. Create a new, meaningful, blog (underlined for importance). Although with a completed game there isn't much to blog about. You could talk about what production was like, maybe post some old screens or sprites for comparison, or if someone does make a good review or your game gets noticed somewhere else - blog about it. Create and upload media for your game, usually a short clip of the gameplay. A teaser. That shows up on the front page for a while and it allows people to get a taste. Screenshots and words can only do so much to draw a player in. Especially in a horror game that relies on atmosphere, you can show that instead of just talking about it. There are also RMN TV and Pic of the Moment sections on the main page, where Kentona features a video and a picture that stays there for so many days(I think it's a week). You can even directly make suggestions to him and I'm sure he'd be happy to show your stuff, cause it looks decent. Same with those 4 spotlight boxes next to the featured game. I don't know if he takes suggestions on that, but that's another way of having your game shown off.

That's just RMN. Where else have you posted this game? If the answer is "nowhere", then you need to get your rear in gear.

What Kentona said is probably the biggest part of it. Not everyone likes horror. It's a very specific genre and you have to be a fan. I hate it. Well, hate is a strong word, but I dislike it. On the flip side, even the crappy cookie cutter games will reach a wider potential audience because there isn't much to dislike about the theme. Fantasy world. I don't know many people who are afraid of a fantasy setting. Although there will be a handful of old fogey's who don't like fantasy setting because it's so overused, but in general, everybody can get into it. Horror is scary and I don't like being scared...

I think I covered everything I wanted to say. Basically, you are being ignored because you aren't loud enough. In fact, I'd say you are downright silent. The internet is a big place and you need to put in the effort required to have your game rise above the sea of mediocre/shitty games. I think it's ok for you to say that your game is good, just don't go too far. Certainly don't use words like amazing and remarkable.

Oh, and making games shouldn't be about the fame it garners. Thinking that based on the amount of work you put in, you should be getting X amount of feedback is a bad idea. You're setting yourself up for disappointment. Besides, most of us have also put in years into making a single game. Most good games require it, unless you don't work or go to school ever.
Link, thanks for taking the time to write this essay for me. I want to cover some things and ask some questions.

I took a quick browse through your game page, and I see some feedback and positive words. Not a single negative thing, except maybe some guy saying you copied off Silent Hill. That suggests that there is nothing wrong with the game.


While it's good that there hasn't been any negative backlash to the game, what matters more to me is the fact that no one has said anything about the game itself.

The thing is, you only responded to 2 things.


To my knowledge, if you reply to someone on the main page of the game, they don't know about it unless they revisit...which is why most of the time I PM'ed these people.

You are simply dropping this game on the internet, in a vast sea of cookie cutters and masterpieces(it's not all cookie cutters), and expecting notoriety. You need to work for it. You need to promote and hype and engage your audience.


I'm not sure how else to "promote and hype" this game, especially on this website, but I did see your suggestions below so I'll consider those!

One guy said he was stuck on a puzzle and you didn't help him.


I did help him through PM, just to make it clear.

Create and upload media for your game, usually a short clip of the gameplay.


I've been wanting to do this, but I can't find a good piece of software that can record RPG Maker games for some reason. Fraps doesn't seem to do the job.

There have been several threads where users take suggestions on games to review. There are sometimes threads where users suggests games to play, maybe even being specific and requesting horror games. All missed opportunities on your part.


Could you please point these out to me? I'd appreciate it. I must've overlooked them somehow...

There are also RMN TV and Pic of the Moment sections on the main page, where Kentona features a video and a picture that stays there for so many days(I think it's a week). You can even directly make suggestions to him and I'm sure he'd be happy to show your stuff, cause it looks decent. Same with those 4 spotlight boxes next to the featured game. I don't know if he takes suggestions on that, but that's another way of having your game shown off.


I was unaware that those were based off of suggestions. I thought they were just...you know...picked out of the barrel.

Where else have you posted this game? If the answer is "nowhere", then you need to get your rear in gear.


This is another problem I've been having. I don't know of any other communities like this one.

Thank you again for the long post. I've taken your suggestions to heart and hopefully I can get the word out there!
I would suggest replying to comments here on the game page. Even if you PM them, or even reply here and PM them to say "Hey, I replied to your comment on my game page. Go check it out". That way, if someone else has trouble at that same puzzle, they can see your reply. But also, it shows that you care and makes you more visible on your own game page. It can only help.

Plus, there is something called "Buzz". Any activity on a game creates buzz and the top 4 show up on the front page under "Buzzing Games". Another way to be seen. It decays over time, and there are certain games that will get tonnnnns of buzz(I'm looking at you Pom). But I once was buzzing for about 6-10 comments in a short period of time. My game page was fairly active at that time, so it might have been enough to push me into the top 4. 6-10 comments alone probably won't achieve that.

If someone does post, and only post, they will not be notified. But, if someone asks a question, they are likely going to check back from time to time to see if you answered. But also, that person might Subscribe to your game. Any activity will notify the subscriber, the Notices at the top bar of the page will flash. 28 subscribers is pretty good.

I use Hyper Cam 2 for screen recording. It's free, there is no watermark or any limits. Oh wait, I think it might stop recording at 1 hour. Good enough for short media and most of my let's plays. Just be careful if you decide to mess with the frame rate of recording. I thought increasing it would give higher quality recording, but it ended up recording super fast. Other than that there isn't much to configure. I know this might be obvious, but do a test record before doing a long recording assuming it will work u.u I've made plenty of useless recordings. And if you do alter settings, do another test. The files it saves are very large, so I pop them into Windows Movie Maker. Sometimes do some small edits if need be, then resave with custom settings to reduce the file size.

Well, I haven't seen many recent threads asking for games to review or play. I'd have to go digging months back and they might not even be open any more. But you can use the search bar in the top right corner of the page. I just put in "game to review" and I can see two topics near the top. Deckiller's is recent, try there.

I don't really follow other sites myself, so I don't have any suggestions. Do a google search for "rpg maker", see what's there. Also, do a google search for some of the games you see here on RMN. You might find that they are hosted on other sites, and you can find them that way.
Since this meets my requirements and I'm looking to play a few more games, I'll add this to my list to review. I'm not a huge fan of horror games, but I'm not going to let that turn me away from a game to review.
I read somewhere even reviews must be approved by a moderator/administrator. It's highly likely someone has tried to post a review which simply wasn't quite up to snuff with the guide-lines.

I think an issue here is that almost everybody on this site is making games themselves so taking on reviewing too may feel a bit stressful. (Aka,designing games while reviewing other games equates to a lot of hard work)

However, I have downloaded your game and if my future review gets the green-light you'll be the first to know!
author=Travio
Since this meets my requirements and I'm looking to play a few more games, I'll add this to my list to review. I'm not a huge fan of horror games, but I'm not going to let that turn me away from a game to review.


author=BrokenH
I read somewhere even reviews must be approved by a moderator/administrator. It's highly likely someone has tried to post a review which simply wasn't quite up to snuff with the guide-lines.

I think an issue here is that almost everybody on this site is making games themselves so taking on reviewing too may feel a bit stressful. (Aka,designing games while reviewing other games equates to a lot of hard work)

However, I have downloaded your game and if my future review gets the green-light you'll be the first to know!


I really appreciate it, guys. Thank you!
For those familiar with the rpgmaker horror scene, Valerie’s letter is in the same spirit as Ib, Mad father, Desert nightmare, and Schuld. Right off the bat there’s some rather impressive things about the presentation. The intro scene has beautiful pixel artwork of the protagonist’s frightened face along with a possible glimpse of a creature behind her. Valerie’s in game sprite is lively too. Valerie kneels when picking up items and she can use an assortment of weapons once she finds them. A nice feature is the “pistol whip” which can be initiated by hitting the shift key. This means even when you’re out of bullets (You fire your gun by pressing the “1” key) you’re not entirely helpless

Silent Hill fans will also be delighted to now you can adjust both the difficulty of enemies and the difficulty of the game’s various puzzles at the beginning of Valerie’s adventure!

The world Valerie finds herself in is large and oppressive. The size ratio of furniture and items compared to the human characters is a bit off. Whether intentional or not, this creates a twisted Alice In Wonderland vibe which in my personal opinion compliments the game’s creepy atmosphere nicely.

Perhaps most incredible is the sprite work that went into the monsters themselves. When introduced to the basic “claw creatures” they are seen ripping a poor lad in half. Later on there is another enemy that hops around because it’s chained to an office chair. It’s rush and bite attacks are still plenty lethal even though it has no immediate use of its’ arms. You’ll also fight possessed maids, ghosts, and giant leeches who seem to want to make your stay a permanent one.

There are only three grievances holding Valerie’s letter back. The first qualm is even on easy mode many of the puzzles are obscure. For example, there’s a clue near the beginning about two of the number sets needed in a combination yet it leaves you to ponder and guess at the third one. Another stumper is a lever puzzle in which you have to pull it left and right so many times. While there is a passage to read next to the mechanism it does not seem helpful in the least bit. (Luckily, this can be remedied simply by the maker of the game possibly including a helpful faq on their page.)

Next up is the dreaded pass-ability issue related to objects. Put bluntly, why can’t I step over plates on the floor or walk behind shelves that I should be able to? Occasionally this makes navigating the house an exercise in unnecessary tedium.

Lastly, I don’t know enough about Valerie herself. Yes, I understand she’s being held in a scary house against her will. I understand the creepy maid Olga and a shadowy male figure orchestrating events in the background are somehow responsible. However, this does not tell me if Valerie was kidnapped or simply adopted by some total sickos who also have an interest in dark occult matters. Due to the other-worldly supernatural elements (including traveling through mirrors), there seems to be more to the story than a simple serial killer/abduction plot. Be that as it may, I’m not going to hit the game too hard for this. If I read the intro correctly, this is one game in a series so my ignorance is not necessarily the fault of the creator. This is what I get for jumping smack dab in the middle of a possible trilogy or two part story arch!

Should you play Valerie’s letter? I think so. While it’s not perfect it has some really nice custom content and it really is a “horror game” in the truest sense of the word. Having Stated that the record, I would look into playing other games in the series first and possibly requesting a faq for some of the more vague puzzles.

Pros

+Awesome custom monsters!
+gory death scenes!
+Moody music that compliments the game nicely.
+Being able to adjust the difficulty of the creatures and the puzzles Silent-hill style.
+Really lavish sprite art for the intro screen.
+The fight with Olga was intense!
+ Having a pistol whip option makes a gun useful even when it’s out of bullets.
+Character sprites have smooth and varied animations.

Cons

-Even on easy mode some of the clues to the puzzles are unhelpful.
-Occasional pass-ability problems. Plates on the floor shouldn’t impede someone’s progress!
-Story is confusing if you have no knowledge of these characters before going into it.
-The furniture and appliance sprites seem rather gigantic when scaled next to their people counterparts. (Though this can be a merit too depending on the way you perceive things)

My score: 3.5

A 3.5 is a game with the potential to be a 4 or even a 5 but just a few little quibbles are holding it back from total greatness. Still highly recommended!

Just for you!
BrokenH, thank you very much. I enjoyed reading your review and agree with all the qualms you've dug up about the game. I definitely plan on getting around to writing a walkthrough of the game in the near future. Thanks again!
So far I like it a lot. The only reason I did not submit this review and give Valerie's letter a "real star rating" is because I haven't finished it yet. However, I think what I wrote is a nice over-view of things I liked and disliked right away. This seems like a quality package so far and I appreciate the custom touches!
Just finished it, writing up my full review now.

All I can say is: holy shit, what the hell did I just play and where can I get more?
author=Travio
Just finished it, writing up my full review now.

All I can say is: holy shit, what the hell did I just play and where can I get more?


That's awesome to read, haha! You could play the other DP games for a similar (inferior) experience if you really want. ^^ And thank you again. I look forward to your full review.
Is there any real benefit to playing on New Game+? Any additional content/items, or is it just a chance to play the game again on a new difficulty?

Edit: And review's been submitted. Enjoy (when it posts).
author=Travio
Is there any real benefit to playing on New Game+? Any additional content/items, or is it just a chance to play the game again on a new difficulty?

Edit: And review's been submitted. Enjoy (when it posts).


In new game plus, you keep your ammo and health items, but if you used the injection on a certain someone, you get a secret code for a certain someone in the Gertrude House (but he'll only appear on a new game plus).
Yeah, I'm really unsure of at what point I could have used the injection. I can only think of two possible encounters (in fact, I think that's all there is).

Also, I came across more than a couple of your test save points (I assume they were tests/earlier attempts at save points) during the game, including the one during the last fight. I ended up resetting the fight cause I figured it might have tripped something it wasn't supposed to.
author=Travio
Yeah, I'm really unsure of at what point I could have used the injection. I can only think of two possible encounters (in fact, I think that's all there is).

Also, I came across more than a couple of your test save points (I assume they were tests/earlier attempts at save points) during the game, including the one during the last fight. I ended up resetting the fight cause I figured it might have tripped something it wasn't supposed to.


Yeah, I always forget to discard those save points. :O
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