That information is confidential. ^^;



Star Stealing Prince Review

I still think you should have left this as a comment (or as a PM to the author) rather than a review, really. Because, probably this is just me, but I think a more proper review should be something that reviews the whole game experience, and not just part of it.

At the risk of going a bit more off topic, because I think this is an important point...

The reason why "partial" reviews are actually pretty relevant, is actually for situations just like this. When people quit, for for whatever reason. A bad (negative) review tells the people who are thinking of downloading the game, what it was honestly like for the individuals who played it, AS IT IS NOW... not as it may be some day if the person actually gets around to fixing it. So part of it is honesty with the people thinking of downloading. It's that the players are able to tell people what the experience was for them personally, as the game is, in the moment.

Second thing is this... The content of the review itself. It IS important, and not just for the maker of that game.

Even if the person had quit because they personally found it too frustrating, if it was my game, I'd want to know that. Because if enough people say it, there's probably something to it. Even if one person says it, I'd want to know their reasons, and the more specifically the better, because then I can judge for myself whether what they're saying is true or not. But more than being important to just me, other game creators can also learn from the mistakes discussed in reviews. They can learn what not to do, or maybe whether something they were considering doing, really wouldn't be a good idea. You can learn quite a bit from other people's mistakes... but not if they're hidden in a private inbox! It's not that I'm saying we should want to shame the authors... but isn't the idea of the site for people who want to do this, to have a place to learn how?

Now, if it was something like, "your bushes are disproportionate to your chracters." Okay... that's just a comment. That kind of thing, I can see wanting people to just write to the maker of the game and letting them know, unless they want to put it as part of the broader review. But if there's a reason the person quit prematurely, I wouldn't care if it was out of pure boredom, I'd sure as heck want to know it! That's valueable info right there. And again, it matters if it's not just one person, but many... and the rating system, here, allows us to see that general score, so that we can tell if we did really well, or if we totally went wrong or whatever. And if we actually fix those problems, we'll probably end up with more positive than negative reviews, in the end, anyway.

I can totally understand people who like the game not liking to hear anything negative about it. It's also pounded into our heads from the cradle that it's the height of rudeness and obnoxiousness to point out flaws in someone else's work, while the world teaches us "anything goes"/"it's all good." But that's death to the creative process.

Like I said... the good reviews are pretty much the least helpful/important. At least the "I love this game!" kind of good reviews. It's the bad reviews that are often going to imrpove what you do, the most, so long as the person doesn't just go, "this is stupid!" and leave it at that. If they give you examples of what happened, what they didn't like, why they left... all of that info is GOLD to someone who wants to perfect what they do. Whereas, "Awesome!!" is not particularly useful.

That's why I think it makes perfect sense to ask reviewers to give reasons and examples for why they think or say what they do in their reviews, because otherwise they really would be pointless. But beyond that, the negative reviews are something I sure as heck wouldn't want to get rid of. I'd want people to tell me if something in a game I made was bad enough to make them quit. (Or even seriously frustrate them.) And I like to learn from the negativecomments I see on other reviews.

A shift in thinking about bad reviews really helps.

There will always be someone who is just having a bad day, who will write nonsense just to vent, and if what someone is saying is not plausible, not true or what not, you simply pass over that. Don't let their bad day ruin yours. But the rest of those bad reviews are very important to those who are not taking the reviews section like it's a personal "likes" or "dislikes" meter for themselves, but rather as a powerful tool to improve a project they are serious and passionate about.

Edit: We should also try to pass over obnoxious overtones without getting bent out of shape, because not only does answering them fuel unnecessary verbal fights, but there are also people in this world who simply talk a certain way and honestly don't mean anything genuinely obnoxious by it. (Yes... I would know all about that...)

Star Stealing Prince Review

Okay... in an attempt to civilly addres at least some of the problems with my review, let me try to explain what happened, and the nature of my review and it's apparent "lacks" by a little story example that I think should pretty much clear up the whole thing, hopefully without crushing too many people's feelings.

Suppose I go to amazon.com and buy a $40 toaster. (Just put aside the fact that the example uses something that costs money... that is not relevant here.) The toaster gets to my house, I unpack it, put it in it's place, and the next morning I wake up, and go to have my breakfast. I plug the toaster in, I put the bread into it, put it down... and nothing happens. Okay... maybe it's a temporary problem. Try again. Nothing. Try a few more times. Nothing.

All right. I go to amazon.com. Go to the toaster's page. Go to the review section. Give it one star. Tell the story of what happened. The toaster I got of this model from this company didn't work when it arrived. Yes, I'm upset. After all, it was $40. But I try to stick to the fact that it didn't work, instead of resorting to calling the company names, and alleging they're frauds, which is usually not the case.

Then what?

Comment section:
"Okay... you told us it didn't work, but why the heck didn't you review anyting else about it?!"

Me: "Uh... because it didn't work. I mean... What can I say? It's.... shiny? I could turn it sideways and use it for a mirror maybe? But, it didn't work, so... what can I really say?"

"You are SO full of it... I got this toaster and it worked just fine. Best toaster I ever had!"

Me: "Well... I'm really happy that you're happy but the fact is... mine was DOA."

"That's not a fact. Everyone else's works just fine."

Me: "But mine is the same model, and it doesn't. That IS a fact."

"This is SO unfair to the manufacturer! There are 547 POSITIVE reivews on this toaster, and only you and a couple of other negative idiots rated it one star!"

Me: "Well, the one I got was defective. I mean, if it had worked great, I probably would have said that, right? But I can't know how it worked, if mine didn't work. And I think it's important for people to know how many people this happened to. If it was only a few people, great! Then only a few people will give it one star, and the truth will come out in the ratings."

"HAHAHAH! What a moron! You seriously don't even know how to make TOAST?!! WTH LOOSER?!!!"

Me: "Uh... actually, I'm about as good as the next person at making toast, but... if the toaster didn't work, it didn't work. That's kind of the toaster's fault. Not every malfunction is a user malfunction."

"This is so stupid... It worked for ME!!"

Me: "I'm happy that it did. However, mine was broken."

Okay... I'm hoping that at this point, everybody can see where this is going.

If you go to review soemthing, you're right... it should give whatever information you have to give. But if the product (in this case game) did not work for you, then you have no/limited knowledge of those other aspects, don't you? Chances are you saw little or nothing of it, so... how can you review those things that you didn't see, or didn't fully see? Seeing 3 or 4 areas of a game does not give me information enough to review the entire game's graphics or music. That's why I left those things out. Out of fairness. You don't judge the parts you did not fully experience. (At least I wouldn't.)

So why review it if you didn't see the whole game?! ... right? Remember the toaster! You get something, it's defective, you bet your bologna you rate it. And what does it get? 0 stars, right? Or as close to that as possible. Cause how can you give it more than that, if the product in question did not work for you? You've got no idea how it was, because yours was defective! (Are we on the same page yet?)

You also cannot review it based on someone else's experiences. Only your own. So if it didn't work for you, it didn't work for you. That's what you've got to put. "I tried this. It did not work! My experience was that this was (nigh)impossible!" I couldn't have put, "players 1-9,000 played this game that I found impossible and they say it's great, so, based on their experience, my experience was 5-stars!" But that's not how reviews work. A review relates YOUR experience. If it worked for all those other people, lovely! If it did not work for 10, then those 10 people are not being any less honest or right in saying it didn't work for them. It didn't. Hate to break it to you, but the personal bliss in your experience did not get those other people any farther in theirs.

It's also not right to assume a person is a moron or "doesn't know how to play games" just because their experience was different from yours. It pretty much goes without saying that if even one person was able to see the entire game, it was not LITERALLY impossible. But I didn't say it was LITERALLY impossible, now, did I? No... I believe I said something about it being not playable for ALL PLAYERS, because my experience proved that it was not playable for ALL PLAYERS. (The word "all" does actually mean "all" ... as in literally everyone.)

Finally, while some people may not agree, I beleive the ability of an average, even a non-gamer... to pick it up and play it, does matter, if the expectation of the player, given how it's presented, is that it will be playable by everyone. In the way Super Mario was playable, even if you never beat that blasted valley fortress! This qualm has to do with the content being able to be accessed to begin with. Not whether or not the person could, for example, perform the hardest quests or unlock all the secrets. It's a judgment about whether anyone could enjoy the basic gameplay. That seems to me to be a pretty major point. I tried leveling up. I tried going back and talking to everybody. I tried searching nearly every tile I saw. I tried different strategies in battle. The bosses were, in my personal experience, still nigh impossible. (I say nigh, because again, obviously, if they were literally so, then no one could have beaten it.)

And the person who said I wasn't personally attacking the author was correct. I wasn't. I simply meant that people in general need to learn to be a whole lot more open to other people's experiences, criticisms and input, and not just when it's positive, because it's important (vital actually) for acheiving your full potential as whatever kind of creator/producer you happen to be. If you believe your work is always perfect, or even always close enough to it that you cannot admit problems (or will only selectively do so), then you can't fix those problems. So you don't progress as what you are. There was no malicious, hidden attack intended. I also added that I hold myself up to the same standards for that very reason, so it's not just that I'm going around picking on everyone else for some kind of sick fun, either. That doesn't mean I'm perfect, but that I don't believe in double standards... a set for myself and a set for everybody else, even if I myself must often admit something I've done is also "sub par".

But look... One person posts a negative review. Says they personally had a bad experience with the game, and even tries to explain what happened, and gives the reason for their low rating, even if some may not agree. And what is the response?

1) You suck at reviewing, because you don't agree that it's good.
2) You suck at playing games, because your experience differs from mine.
3) Why the -beep- did the mods allow this dissenting viewpoint?! Unsightly! Get it off!
4) Misc. other personal attacks upon the reviewer.

So... why did I feel the need to make that comment about being able to take in criticism?

The review might not have been as elegantly given as some may have liked (and others might have not detected the hint of sarcasm at the point where I said if you like the pretty game over screen, and what not, go for it), but a review is a review. The reviewer only has their personal experience to relate. They do not have yours. As long as it relates a real experience that someone actually had, as they gave a reasonable effort to play the game with an open mind, how is that not legitimate?

Star Stealing Prince Review

Don't dumb down the rating of a game just because you find it hard. It's not how you rate a game.

How do you suppose the profesional game companies "rate" the games they put out, during production?

For them, the dollar is the bottom line, and that means everyone, including absolute morons, must be able to play the game, without a lot of effort. (Sad but true.)

Returning to first person shooters, for example, this is what has pretty much killed any serious competition in that field. Back in the Halo 1 days, the pros actually had to have SKILL... not luck... to get kills. And the guns actually worked! But eventually, the game companies figured out that people wouldn't have any fun if they had ZERO skill, but were always dying to people who actually had some. So the guns started working worse and worse, and gradually it became almost completely about luck. Why? So that EVERYONE could do it! But the players who had the skill knew something was up when teams they had never even heard of were coming out of nowhere and mopping the floor with the long-time #1 pros at money-paying torunaments, on completely BS wins that everybody knew were BS wins. (This little tidbit from one of the great unknowns who the top pros used to play with to prepare for those tournaments, and who himself could have easily joined them.) The play control became crap because the companies finally acknowledged that if they want to sell games, then everybody has got to be able to play them.

Moral of the story: outside of niche markets, it's pretty standard to design games in such a way that everyone... even the WORST players... can have a chance at playing and even winning. (Bad as that may be.)

Yeah, the Japanese are notoriously crazy with the required skill level of all kinds of games (I recall laughing quite hard at a video of one of their absurd one-hit-you're-dead space shooters). And I'm not saying there isn't a place for games that do require crazy skill or make crazy demands on the players. But then, the maker should actually warn the player that this is one of those... not market it like it's a commonplace title of that genre.

If this were, for instance, a PUZZLE-type RPG, I wouldn't have bothered. If you go into the game knowing, in that case for instance, that you're expected to be a literal genius in order to play, then you expect the frustration that ensues (like spending four or five hours on one puzzle in certain old-school PC horror games). But that's a genre where that kind of effort is expected, up front. To most people, an standard RPG just isn't expected to be all that difficult.

But seriously... people can get as personally hurt about the review as they want. But what is a review, again? Oh yeah! It's a piece of writing the describes the user's personal experience with it, and what they thought of it, and why! (Not what everybody else thought of it.) Which is what I did do.

And I backed up what I said with the account of the in-game experience that led me to that conclusion (not just saying things for no factual reason.) I, random player, ended up in boss fight after boss fight, which became immediately never ending circles of curing and being reduced to near death state. Those are FACTS, not feelings, not fanciful fabrications. Which is why I bothered presenting them.

When it comes to art (of any kind) I don't deal in sentimental garbage. I just tell it like it is. If you're emotionally attached to the game, that's your thing.

And a person's brain doesn't melt if they step away from the controller for a while. These are not the Olympics (physical abilities you can loose by inactivity). They're video games.

Star Stealing Prince Review

Your long re-enactment of the battles lacks a pretty crucial element. Status effects. Use them. It's not an "insane/ridiculous amount of effort," it's clicking the arrow keys and the enter key a couple of times.

Actually, I didn't overlook that. (See #1, which pretty much sums up that you have about one round to figure out how not to die, as best as possible.)

If the game is balanced, you should not have to deal with enemies/bosses that can take you out in two hits, precisely for the reason that the player can easily (not just if they mess up more than the average player) end up in a never-ending cycle situation, where in order to live you have to heal yourself, but then the boss cuts you back to near dead again, but the only way to prevent that is to use status effecting things... but the only way to do that is basically to risk getting completely wiped out next round. It simply should not be that close.

Also, when even the ordinary monsters are that difficult, it's already out of balance.

I'm not just picking on this game because it was difficult. I played another RPG maker RPG that was frankly, very difficult, both fight-wise and puzzle-wise,and frankly I loved it, with the exception of a few points. But the monsters were usually only exceptionally bad in special areas, and while the bosses were difficult, I don't recall them being nigh impossible. If you were careful, and used strategy, it was doable. But you got multiple rounds into the fight, at least, before messing up would get you killed. This was over the top, even for "difficult".

Incidentally, I didn't exactly quit the first time a boss crushed me like an ant, either. I was willing to put in a reasonable amount of effort to overcome the obstacles I met, but if the same thing keeps happening, even after stopping to gain a few levels before moving on (which didn't make any difference for the next area)... then there seems to be a greater problem.

Re: Oblic "not my genre"

Actually RPGs were one of the few genre's I've ever been willing to play. I haven't actually played (done more than tried the play control on) a FPS since about the Quake II days (does anyone even remember that game?). I'd wager my problem is actually that I like RPGs too much. To the point that I was so disgusted by what the age of eye-candy did to them (when it got to the point that we were supposed to be so awed by the lack of female clothing that we were supposed to fail to notice the lack of originality and substance... something that only got harder to do as time went on), I actually quit playing them, for the most part. Which would be why I was here looking for indie games. When originality dies in the indie field, it's time to take up table tennis or knitting.

But I am years into the development of a novel heavily inspired by my love of RPGs, to give you some idea where I stand on that matter.

But I will say this... I think the worst thing that can happen to an artist of any kind (writer, game maker, graphic artist, etc.) is that they come to the point where the only words they can or would accept, are those of praise. At the point where any of us refuses to hear what may be wrong with our works, we stop growing, there, as whatever kind of artist we are. If you aren't even willing to entertain the idea that you might have made a mistake soemwhere, there's no way you're going to learn from whatever you messed up, and if you can't learn from your mistakes, then you can never advance.

Just so everyone knows, I don't give criticism like this to be a jerk. I give it because if it were me, and someone could come to me with a criticism that did turn out to be true about what I'd done, then that would be a piece of information I would need to know in order to fix that work, and hopefully not make the same mistakes again. A lot of people just hear hatred or cruelty, whenever someone disagrees with or finds fault with their work... but it isn't about being nasty. On the contrary, it's about giving honest feedback on an experience that I (random player) had, that may expose something that is fundamentally wrong with the work. In other words, it's about giving the only kind of feedback that will actually matter. "Great job" feels good on the ego, but as a creative person, I've found that it's pretty worhtless if you honestly want to get better at what you're passionate about. I've also heard people say I'm my own worst critic... but it's funny how they don't complain too loudly when the quality of my work actually improves because of that "harsh" judgment. In reality, what I strive for is CLEAR judgment. "Harsh" judgment and clear judgment are two different things. One is about seeing mistakes where they don't exist. The other is about seeing them where they do exist... seeing reality... so that you can make corrections accordingly. That's the kind of judgement the world is now in dire need of.

Returning to the game, I suppose you could say lots of people probably played this game with the walkthroughs and had no problem at all with it, but like I said... you shouldn't have to essentially cheat in order to get through it. (Wasn't there an article on this very topic on one of the various RPG Maker blogs?) It should be simple enough that the majority can get through it without wanting to pull their hair out. If there's some knowledge that is vital, it shouldn't be hidden away somewhere where most players aren't even going to look. Keep in mind a lot of people don't want to waste time visiting all the "training rooms" in that first town. Right or wrong, they just don't. Why not? Well, the assumption is, whatever's out there, shouldn't be too difficult to figure out on your own. And as that article pointed out, they shouldn't really be mistaken in that assumption. What you need to know that is actually vital to play the game, really should be pretty obvious.

So yeah... that's a pretty major problem, as far as I can see.

Star Stealing Prince

Just tried it today. Got as far as the bird, the second time (with additional party members) and got absolutely slaughtered. Whatever was supposedly done to it by that spell wasn't nearly enough to save my bacon, no matter what I did. (Including stat changing items, and finding better armor beforehand.) So it kind of ended there, for me, quite prematurely.

I guess you could call it the "way-too-hard ending." ^^;

Can I use game music in my game


But seriously, it's surprising how many people are using illegally ripped stuff, when there is actually a lot of original material coming out specifically FOR rpg maker, that doesn't cost all that much, on the official RPG Maker site. (And if you know where to look, you can even get some pretty good things legitimately for free, for commercial use, that are 100% original creations of their authors.)

I mean, really... why steal, if you can be legit? Granted it's been harder, but also a lot more rewarding. As a matter of policy, I simply will not use anything unless I can be as sure as humanly possible that the author has made something 100% original, and that they have given permission for commercial use, if I want to use it commercially.

Of course, it helps if you can learn to make your own materials, too. And there are tutorials for that, out there, incidentally. (And cheap graphics tablets that work in a pinch, but don't cost a small fortune... unless perhaps you have literally no money at all. ~_~,) Music is a bit harder, of course... but so far my music budget is $0, and I've got software that allows me to make music for commercial use, without an instrument... which, admittedly, will probably take a while to learn... but hey, education doesn't end when you graduate, right?

If you could invent one thing....

A law that says we get to keep the blasted money we earn, and spend it ourselves (or at least give it to whomever we know that needs it), and not, say, have it stolen from us to give to some looser to study garbage like cow gas, or so that some hypocritical politician can badmouth rich people while greasing the palms of all his rich friends with taxpayer money, or himself taking multi-million dollar vacations with the whole family in brand new designer clothing... instead of paying for the roads, like what it's meant for.

I think this invention would pretty much cut the need for welfare in half, or more, and improve the quality of life for almost all of us, drastically. Especially if we could actually afford to help those we know who are in need, instead of just driving them to the welfare office because we're on the verge of going there ourselves.

If I got a #2, it would be a zoning law that says, if it's hooked up to electric and sewer, and you want to live in it, you can live in it, on any piece of land in the country that you've paid for, as long as it's not an eyesore, even if it IS only 92 square feet big. (Hooray for tiny houses! ^o^ )

What are you thinking about right now?

I am thinking that there is noooo way I want to make another game with my current programmer... and that I really, really should be writing right now... but how to break it to my programmer that there may not be a shining future for us, together...

VX Ace giveaway #6 Article/Tutorial Raffle

^___^ I must stick aruond, then.

(Being broke makes buying things so much more difficult! ^^;)

VX Ace giveaway #6 Article/Tutorial Raffle


Oh the huge manatee!! ^0^

... so... are you guys ever going to offer vx ace as a prize again for anything else? >,>

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