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Old 01-15-2018, 01:03 AM   #41
Gondolin
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Originally Posted by kirant View Post
Did you go in blind? The games is absolutely fascinating if you do. It's amazing how far you can truly push the Ren'py engine.
Spoilering for the sake of those who don't know anything:

Spoiler: show
All I knew going in was the phrase 'Just Monika' and the existence of the Psychological Horror tag on the Steam page, as well as a general 'the game is weird.'

So for most of the first act, we were generally suspicious of everything. The poem minigames took a while to complete as a result of gradually darker words popping up to be selected, and a roll of the die which led to Natsuki being chosen as the one to try and 'pursue.' The themes of depression and other internal pain made themselves pretty evident, and we were expecting something to go down with Sayori, bracing ourselves for the suicide the first time we went to her room. The CG for the actual suicide has done a great job not leaving my mind too.
Once we got kicked out of the game and back to the menu to start act two though, it was absolutely gripping. The cosmic-classroom with endless Monika conversation was brilliant for not only bringing her character to life, but also for what you had to do to proceed.

While some things didn't 'get' me as much as was probably intended- the logged-in user's name showing up, for example (I am quite familiar with system calls), going back and looking at everything that Salvato did is just jaw-dropping. The percent chances to trigger certain game glitches, all the messing done with the menus, the character files & all the hidden information inside of them (especially anything related to project Libitina- well-done ARGs are really something else), the excellent reliance on knowledge of the medium to completely destroy your expectations, and things like detecting if streaming software is open for Monika to 4th-wall break even harder- to name a small few.

Going on even further and reading Salvato's AMA on the DDLC subreddit enhanced the overall experience even more. The thought he put into the game really shows, and I think he's done a great service to VNs as a result. It might not be the most unique idea, but the execution it needed was all there.


My only regret is that fun though it was to cooperatively play and having a dew drinks, I really do wish I had played it the first time just by myself at my computer. Would've been better for introspection, which I think is intended to some degree.
In the end, it was just a great experience that rightly deserves the praise.
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Old 01-15-2018, 05:54 AM   #42
kirant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gondolin View Post
Spoiler: show
All I knew going in was the phrase 'Just Monika' and the existence of the Psychological Horror tag on the Steam page, as well as a general 'the game is weird.'

So for most of the first act, we were generally suspicious of everything. The poem minigames took a while to complete as a result of gradually darker words popping up to be selected, and a roll of the die which led to Natsuki being chosen as the one to try and 'pursue.' The themes of depression and other internal pain made themselves pretty evident, and we were expecting something to go down with Sayori, bracing ourselves for the suicide the first time we went to her room. The CG for the actual suicide has done a great job not leaving my mind too.

Did the minigame have the words change? I never really noticed and kind of attributed it to hinting at the darker sides of the characters (ex - the bittersweet ones tie to Sayori, the dark ones to Yuri)

Once we got kicked out of the game and back to the menu to start act two though, it was absolutely gripping. The cosmic-classroom with endless Monika conversation was brilliant for not only bringing her character to life, but also for what you had to do to proceed.

I loved both parts too...the I got spoiled on the latter (I was a baby and decided to look up if there were any jumpscares beforehand because I hate jumpscares) but it still worked quite well. I was always very impressed by how much dialogue was written for Monika. The biggest selling point I think was that there is even a line of dialogue that doesn't appear in game (purely there reprimanding you for looking through the code for all her speech pieces)

While some things didn't 'get' me as much as was probably intended- the logged-in user's name showing up, for example (I am quite familiar with system calls), going back and looking at everything that Salvato did is just jaw-dropping. The percent chances to trigger certain game glitches, all the messing done with the menus, the character files & all the hidden information inside of them (especially anything related to project Libitina- well-done ARGs are really something else), the excellent reliance on knowledge of the medium to completely destroy your expectations, and things like detecting if streaming software is open for Monika to 4th-wall break even harder- to name a small few.

I think the logged-in one is pretty interesting because I wasn't aware Ren'py was capable of executing that. That and an obs check are pretty much the most fascinating aspects in my mind because they add so much to the immersion of the feel of the metafictional layer. I agree though, if you're aware with how the pieces operate, you're probably aware with how they got it.

Honestly, the part which 'got me' was almost accidental. I saw the .chr files and decided to play with them to see if there was anything inside...something along the lines of "hey, stop looking at me!" (turns out, Firefox can figure out how to open them pretty much right away). I opened Monika's and, to a bit of shock, I was faced with a flaming wheel. It was really unnerving. Opening up Natsuki's next was almost pure nightmare fuel.

Incidentally, a copy of Monika now sits on my desktop. I'm hoping she's part of an Easter egg in the future.


Going on even further and reading Salvato's AMA on the DDLC subreddit enhanced the overall experience even more. The thought he put into the game really shows, and I think he's done a great service to VNs as a result. It might not be the most unique idea, but the execution it needed was all there.

I'm a pretty big fan of the way he put it together. Every level seems to have been done exactly to his vision (especially since he objected to even looking at Undertale to avoid any influences from it). I've been very much of the same mindset as him when it comes to the love/hate relationship of "cute girls doing cute things"...so I'm also really bias when it comes to liking hi work.

I find it amusing that the only thing I'm following on Twitter is Monika. I built a profile so long ago and all I've done with it is follow some guy (probably Salvato?) who has been RPing a yandere for years.
Responses in bold to hide spoilers.
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Last edited by kirant; 01-15-2018 at 05:57 AM.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:44 AM   #43
Gondolin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirant View Post
Responses in bold to hide spoilers.
Looks like I can't do a quote response in an ideal way, so:

Spoiler: show
1) I'm fairly certain they did, at first being more positive or neutral sounding rather than negative/dark, but then balancing out a bit more and edging towards the negative/dark later. Of course, the words it presents are random every time you hit a page (probably excluding duplicates, but there were a ton of options anyway), so probability may have given me a skewed experience. Which if it did, is coincidentally awesome for adding to the atmosphere.
Actually, looking at a list of the words attributed to each character, I think probability just took me for a ride after all.


2) And it's amazing how long the classroom scene will go before looping. Some great stuff in there.


3) I've never used a game engine for anything, so my initial thoughts were just that it's a big library, and therefore executing whatever is no problem since it's all wrapped up in your own main files anyway, but after looking into it a little bit it seems as though it's more robust than that. Instead of calling ren'py functions inside of your starting program, you just define blocks or lines of pure python code which it executes as normal.
Still unexpected in a VN though. Nobody would bat an eye at some installer defaulting in your login name for some field that needs filling, but the realm of visual novels is pretty different.

A copy of Monika- not a bad idea to keep around. I think one of my favorite things which I've seen in the community which has sprung up around the game is someone who wrote a letter to Monika just in a normal text file and put it with her .chr in the characters folder. Neat idea.

4) The twitter account is amazing, especially with the fact that it was open and tweeting during development. Brings even more life to Monika.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:54 AM   #44
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Really gotta get back to Persona 4 Golden.
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