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Postscriptum: Fated Epistle ~ Express Update (X1.2)


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@Matt_

Spoiler

First of all huge thanks for investing your time in reviewing the game. Also, why are you worrying about the fact  that your thoughts may be more negative than positive? Its the negative aspects of any work that need critique the most, not the positive ones! (aside from expanding or improving upon things). The very same fact that you went through the process of reviewing the game speaks of your interest in it, so please do not be afraid of a full blown analysis coming off as "negative".

 

With that out of way, I'll begin by giving you the heads up regarding the thoughts behind PS' design , story and progression decisions, so you can better understand what its aims regarding storytelling are. Let's begin with a boring intro, to clarify our position in regards to the mother's death issue. Also, forgive me for not quoting each point individually, cause I'm on (a relatively archaic) mobile and that's gonna take ages to do.

 

In general, PS' story aims to be relatively realistic in a world where fire breathing, metamorphosis-driven, sentient, empathetic creatures exist. Now, within the (at first glance) confinement of a realism oriented narrative we are going for an attempt at letting the writing flow naturally without compromising realism, while simultaneously holding up many events transpiring in PS to inspiration based on historical accuracy - without sacrificing the liberties of , you know, fiction.

 

Now, over here in the shack that is the studios of PS, where things smell bad a priori and people forget to wash themselves thanks to vulgar and barbaric team traditions (combined with unhealthy habits) we hold this particular thesis on writing: Writing a story is neither a work of a " science of writing" nor an anything-goes super smash bros melee match (with items on). That means that we are not actively aiming to tug emotional heartstrings or to "lead" the reader  through this concept of emotional identification with what is written. However, we also think that leaving emotions out of it is dishonest, sterile and empty of meaning, and makes the text  just an informal essay that tries to mimic a science paper (which a fictional story is not). In finding the right balance, we're shooting for a flirtatious coexistence of compromises.

 

All this is related to the events of the third episode, especially in relation to MCs psychology and his mother's role. Those have a specific reason for appearing as is. Let's examine the internal part first:

 

To better understand the MCs inner strife with his external environment (his internal is a total mess anyway, - not that Artemisia is any better though) you have to imagine that he is an incredibly weak man, without any inherent positive traits, but with a buttload of negative ones. Ive heard people expressing the opinion that he is a good guy, which, believe me, is false. Aside from that, he is the worst human being that can exist in regards to abilities and competence.

 

Now, he is not a man who wants to carry on the wishes of his mother, because that would mean 1) taking responsibility of others, 2) having the strength to carry his own weight first, 3) not being a sufferer of a myriad of internal and external problems. The loss of his mother was already a given for him, when he first left his home, and is the main reason he is being tormented throughout his life (guilt not fought against because of "sloth" and tendency for inaction).
A "second loss" would mean devastation.

 

And this is where the realistic and historical-anthropological part comes in. What, you thought that his mother's death would be the realistic outcome? Far from it.
To better understand what I'm talking about, we need to clarify some things regarding the perception of the world in western "Avropia" and "Etlantia" and eastern (or at least southeastern) "Avropia" (which is the base of the "michinian" background of the MC in-lore). The MC comes from a place where people perceive the world in a theocentric (not theocratic) way, as opposed to the homocentric (yet bureaucratic) West. Which means that the way of "michinian" life is centered around the afterlife, not its secular interpretation of lack thereof. In PS, Artemisia is stuck on the eastern side of things, because of its ancient and relatively unbroken cultural link to Michina. This excludes almost all people in positions of power, as well as important figures, though. In any case, it is a quintessential characteristic of plain everyday Artemisians.

 

Thus, the Courier, bearing the characteristics of a man that rediscovers his faith-based view as opposed to the increasingly rationalistic adaptations most of the others around him assume, places his last bet on that very faith. In the end he is "rewarded" along with his mother for that faith, and his persistence in actually doing something. In the context of such lore, a "death" outcome would be outside these definitions.

 

Besides, had the MC approached this from a rational angle (and since he is someone with a lot of psychological problems) his rationalizations of reality wouldn't really help him too much. Besides, enormous odds are against him: Two entire organizations and half a gang, with almost infinite resources, with persons in absolute positions of power, with a readily trained army and an arsenal of weapons and supplies - all these against him - he would have succumbed far earlier than that "mother" point. He almost needs to adopt this kind of move forward and faith-based approach to even exist in the first place.

 

What I'm trying to say is that given both the historic-anthropological context, the internal state of the MC and the direction of that event, it would be an "emotional scam" to present his mother's death solely as a way to forward the story in a "better 'writing/presentation' way" or as a means to lead the player by ways of emotional handholding.

 

Now onto the external part. Sometimes in the world of videogames, and especially in PS, the role of the true deus ex machina (from a player-gameworld perspective) is being assumed by the player. It is, in this case, the actions of the player (among other explanations) that had her saved. The player, by enabling the MC to move forward, indirectly fuels the role provided to Elea, allowing the latter to urge the Inspector to fly to Michina , since she had instinctively grasped what was about to transpire (yes, instinctively). They got the location down thanks to a monk and the rest is history. Forcing Elea to give up her motivation and keen intuition for the sake of presenting another "useful for progression or character development " death would not only be unrealistic, given aforementioned context, but also disrespectful to the autonomy of the characters in PS. ( they do have a relative autonomy from... the authors, I'm being told).

 

Onto the "death serves as opportunity for character development" trope, no, for the writers of PS who live in jars half-naked and are also illiterate, this is not the case, since it is considered "bad writing". It even deviates from the Standard PS Inspiration Procedure ™ which includes lots of shower thoughts, running out of toilet paper (and scribbling notes on it), competing with the dog for best treats and burying your conscience in the trash along with badly cooked food and an incessant love of Passive Voice. It Is as if the characters really need deaths and whatnot to find determination in their life: that is usually not the case in reality  - we also believe this to be lazy writing. (Not that ours isn't, mind you). Such events do sometimes serve as a catalyst for a change in character direction, however, we had felt that such an "adoption" would have been dishonest and forced in this case anyway.

 

Aside from that, usual depictions of "darkness" and correlations of "leaving family behind", especially in the "death" sense, that function as a semi-explanation for true independence or adulthood or "deletion" of one's past, comprise nothing but a naked-from-meaning basis of "adult" themes that are far less "adult" than they seem..

 

Another thing regarding the death of the mother - there's too much fascination with character death in fiction lately, so much that it is starting to get more ridiculous than Superman 64 gameplay. It doesn't even feel forced anymore - we're  just playing death prediction games , gambling who's gonna be the next goner. In fact, I'd make a " reality" (cough cough) show after that: Who's gonna be.... the """Next Goner"""? (Capitalize on that one Xenoic, please. Youll make money and will subsequently be happy! Wowzies!)

 

Now, regarding Delibird, you can see its stats, where you'd last saved!
(Although Delibird really feels hurt because of your.... stance on its merit). Just fire up PS and check its totally-not-broken stat distrib, etc.

 

In PS we don't reward the player. Really. We never do. Those players...They're spending valuable time on exploring and doing other things instead of actually doing their damn Courier job! And when they do, of course they don't get rewarded. The reward of witnessing the Boss' face is enough to provide satisfaction. Bad jokes aside, we treat our players as adults (we're expecting our audience to at least be 23+, preferably older than that) who have played a lot of games in their life - as a result the normal "give em a treat" approach would be tiring to them (and isn't to our liking as well). We kind of expect everyone to be treating games in a more cynical kind of way by default. Unless... we've actually grown... too old ourselves? :o

 

Now onto other reasons. The MC is a tormented man waltzing in in a tormented place. Aside from the place not being able to offer any reward, you have to account for the MCs perception of things, which can be summarized as "what's the point in this" " I should never have come here" " oh, I got a potion, who cares"  " I want to lay down on the pavement ". Even when ya do get a reward, the MC might remark on it but doesn't ever really feel rewarded for it. Now from a story reward perspective , the rewards are already there, but also aren't. The reward you mainly get is that you keep playing the game despite it being designed to discourage people from playing it due to a myriad of reasons, including artificial difficulty, bad design, forced battles (hello jrpgs) needless backtracking partly justified by in-setting conditions that go against real game design, crappy music,etc etc. Oh, there's also lengthy cutscenes, 30minute intros, badly worded vernacular, a game start that forces boredom and urges the player to drop the game, you get the point.   (It is also designed to not be easily streamable/ Youtube'd) The game is made in order to detract from your enjoyment in a lot of instances (those not deliberate are reworkable and should change of course), since this is really how the MC sees his environment. PS is about building the determination to share empathy with the MC and the people around him, extrapolated and crystallized into the the attitude of never giving up and moving forward, no matter what obstacle appears in your path, or how incompetent you consider yourself, or how bad things are. (And that includes a badly made game)

 

Also, the freaking city is under attack man. By people who are  cultists (apparently - certainly not copy-pasted from a particular historical event, no!) Wouldn't you expect an enemy to cut off the supply lines first? Even more so in a city that barely has any? (Even more of a reason to "enlighten" the medics). Also, I know this is not any kind of proper justification design-wise. But, you know, its PS, which sounds like BS (for good reason).

 

Also, since you've mentioned science, I need to clarify that we're talking about in game science, not IRL. Else, a simple presentation of classic sokal/bricmont positions regarding ontology and  epistemology would have been enough to explain everything in a real scientific manner. Also this forced situation does serve a reason, aside from your also forced and deliberate suffering. To see more on the matter of science in RPGs, check out Chris Avellone's comments on science in the Fallout series.

 

Also, the story is uninteresting, so there is no reason to reward the player with an interesting bit of story for things the player is supposed to be doing anyway. ;) Besides... uh.. You are doing your job. What else do you want?

 

In games, a lot of people prefer showing rather than telling approaches. While PS has a buttload of telling, the showing part is really hidden in plain sight in the top layer of the story. You can look there if you want to gain satisfaction from those more interesting parts of it. Wait am I contradicting myself? Didn't I just state that the story is uninteresting?  OBJECTION.MP3. Hide your loved ones cause a certain someone from Discord really adores discrepancies and contradictions (and fallacies!) and is always readying the inquisitor's torture machines, just in case.

 

Yet, don't expect anything from this game. Its meanings aren't deep, there's no thought behind it, Its writing is nothing to write home about and its story is being presented in such a convoluted way, that no real satisfaction can be gained from it unless one really strives to derive satisfaction even from those unpleasant things in life. Come at it as you would with real life, with absolutely no expectations.

 

With all that being said I agree with all your points as a player myself. And as an "insert things in the game because you're our slave" obedient puppet-pupper, I especially and wholeheartedly agree with the ending part. The episode was supposed to end at the scene with Red or at the scene with the bridge.

 

But PS' ultimate meaning is hope and that needs to be expressed even at the end of this particular ep, if not to dodge presenting a picture of discouragement - at least to avoid causing harm to a younger audience, inevitably tied to this franchise. And, yes, we are willing to compromise for such a reason alone. We've done that before. Were I the one pulling the shots, I'd have ended it there. Sadly, my hand is forced and this is a strict in-house policy I'm obeying. Were this not a fangame, but the original Mother 4 spiritual successor we had in mind instead, (but this time with a real science and society) things would have been different, since that game would have been released under a strict 18+ rating. I apologize on the behalf of the team, but there's not much we can do on this matter.

 

Aside from the ending thing which really should have been ep3s conclusion, I'd really love to re-hear your thoughts on the other points now that I've explained a portion of  the (admittedly crappy) ideas behind BS.

 

Thanks a lot for reading all this. If you wish to keep playing the game, I'd advise you to keep in mind two facts: this game has no meaning , and nobody has created this game.
Just like
The real world
Right?

 

Lots of kisses

 

Edited by AenaonDusky
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Welcome to the world of Postscriptum.   Follow the steps of the protagonist, a melancholic young adult stricken by unemployment and paralyzed by a chronic care-free and lethargi

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I just finished episode 3 and WOW. I may be a bit biased because the story hits real close to home for me (maybe a little too close haha), but this game was absolutely beautiful. It is hands down one of the best Pokemon games out there! 

Just a quick side note, I'm not sure if this was intended or not, but thought I would report it anyways. My focus sash disappeared after I beat Tyson. 

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I like how different this game is, and I really like the emphasis on the MC's personal development... but certain sections of episode 3 felt really tedious to me... but thanks so much for making the game! And thanks for all the files you left behind for the tinkerers :)

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10 hours ago, Marmalade said:

I just finished episode 3 and WOW. I may be a bit biased because the story hits real close to home for me (maybe a little too close haha), but this game was absolutely beautiful. It is hands down one of the best Pokemon games out there! 

Just a quick side note, I'm not sure if this was intended or not, but thought I would report it anyways. My focus sash disappeared after I beat Tyson. 

Focus Sash is one time use. Chances are you used it against Tyson, otherwise Deliby gets one-shot by the Flygon. The Focus Sash exists JUST to give the player a chance to win an otherwise unwinnable fight (unless you can tolerate grinding Deliby up to level 45 or so, the Focus Sash is there so you can beat it as early as say, level 35 instead), though it can always be saved for later if you choose not to use it then.

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20 hours ago, AenaonDusky said:

@Matt_

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First of all huge thanks for investing your time in reviewing the game. Also, why are you worrying about the fact  that your thoughts may be more negative than positive? Its the negative aspects of any work that need critique the most, not the positive ones! (aside from expanding or improving upon things). The very same fact that you went through the process of reviewing the game speaks of your interest in it, so please do not be afraid of a full blown analysis coming off as "negative".

 

With that out of way, I'll begin by giving you the heads up regarding the thoughts behind PS' design , story and progression decisions, so you can better understand what its aims regarding storytelling are. Let's begin with a boring intro, to clarify our position in regards to the mother's death issue. Also, forgive me for not quoting each point individually, cause I'm on (a relatively archaic) mobile and that's gonna take ages to do.

 

In general, PS' story aims to be relatively realistic in a world where fire breathing, metamorphosis-driven, sentient, empathetic creatures exist. Now, within the (at first glance) confinement of a realism oriented narrative we are going for an attempt at letting the writing flow naturally without compromising realism, while simultaneously holding up many events transpiring in PS to inspiration based on historical accuracy - without sacrificing the liberties of , you know, fiction.

 

Now, over here in the shack that is the studios of PS, where things smell bad a priori and people forget to wash themselves thanks to vulgar and barbaric team traditions (combined with unhealthy habits) we hold this particular thesis on writing: Writing a story is neither a work of a " science of writing" nor an anything-goes super smash bros melee match (with items on). That means that we are not actively aiming to tug emotional heartstrings or to "lead" the reader  through this concept of emotional identification with what is written. However, we also think that leaving emotions out of it is dishonest, sterile and empty of meaning, and makes the text  just an informal essay that tries to mimic a science paper (which a fictional story is not). In finding the right balance, we're shooting for a flirtatious coexistence of compromises.

 

All this is related to the events of the third episode, especially in relation to MCs psychology and his mother's role. Those have a specific reason for appearing as is. Let's examine the internal part first:

 

To better understand the MCs inner strife with his external environment (his internal is a total mess anyway, - not that Artemisia is any better though) you have to imagine that he is an incredibly weak man, without any inherent positive traits, but with a buttload of negative ones. Ive heard people expressing the opinion that he is a good guy, which, believe me, is false. Aside from that, he is the worst human being that can exist in regards to abilities and competence.

 

Now, he is not a man who wants to carry on the wishes of his mother, because that would mean 1) taking responsibility of others, 2) having the strength to carry his own weight first, 3) not being a sufferer of a myriad of internal and external problems. The loss of his mother was already a given for him, when he first left his home, and is the main reason he is being tormented throughout his life (guilt not fought against because of "sloth" and tendency for inaction).
A "second loss" would mean devastation.

 

And this is where the realistic and historical-anthropological part comes in. What, you thought that his mother's death would be the realistic outcome? Far from it.
To better understand what I'm talking about, we need to clarify some things regarding the perception of the world in western "Avropia" and "Etlantia" and eastern (or at least southeastern) "Avropia" (which is the base of the "michinian" background of the MC in-lore). The MC comes from a place where people perceive the world in a theocentric (not theocratic) way, as opposed to the homocentric (yet bureaucratic) West. Which means that the way of "michinian" life is centered around the afterlife, not its secular interpretation of lack thereof. In PS, Artemisia is stuck on the eastern side of things, because of its ancient and relatively unbroken cultural link to Michina. This excludes almost all people in positions of power, as well as important figures, though. In any case, it is a quintessential characteristic of plain everyday Artemisians.

 

Thus, the Courier, bearing the characteristics of a man that rediscovers his faith-based view as opposed to the increasingly rationalistic adaptations most of the others around him assume, places his last bet on that very faith. In the end he is "rewarded" along with his mother for that faith, and his persistence in actually doing something. In the context of such lore, a "death" outcome would be outside these definitions.

 

Besides, had the MC approached this from a rational angle (and since he is someone with a lot of psychological problems) his rationalizations of reality wouldn't really help him too much. Besides, enormous odds are against him: Two entire organizations and half a gang, with almost infinite resources, with persons in absolute positions of power, with a readily trained army and an arsenal of weapons and supplies - all these against him - he would have succumbed far earlier than that "mother" point. He almost needs to adopt this kind of move forward and faith-based approach to even exist in the first place.

 

What I'm trying to say is that given both the historic-anthropological context, the internal state of the MC and the direction of that event, it would be an "emotional scam" to present his mother's death solely as a way to forward the story in a "better 'writing/presentation' way" or as a means to lead the player by ways of emotional handholding.

 

Now onto the external part. Sometimes in the world of videogames, and especially in PS, the role of the true deus ex machina (from a player-gameworld perspective) is being assumed by the player. It is, in this case, the actions of the player (among other explanations) that had her saved. The player, by enabling the MC to move forward, indirectly fuels the role provided to Elea, allowing the latter to urge the Inspector to fly to Michina , since she had instinctively grasped what was about to transpire (yes, instinctively). They got the location down thanks to a monk and the rest is history. Forcing Elea to give up her motivation and keen intuition for the sake of presenting another "useful for progression or character development " death would not only be unrealistic, given aforementioned context, but also disrespectful to the autonomy of the characters in PS. ( they do have a relative autonomy from... the authors, I'm being told).

 

Onto the "death serves as opportunity for character development" trope, no, for the writers of PS who live in jars half-naked and are also illiterate, this is not the case, since it is considered "bad writing". It even deviates from the Standard PS Inspiration Procedure ™ which includes lots of shower thoughts, running out of toilet paper (and scribbling notes on it), competing with the dog for best treats and burying your conscience in the trash along with badly cooked food and an incessant love of Passive Voice. It Is as if the characters really need deaths and whatnot to find determination in their life: that is usually not the case in reality  - we also believe this to be lazy writing. (Not that ours isn't, mind you). Such events do sometimes serve as a catalyst for a change in character direction, however, we had felt that such an "adoption" would have been dishonest and forced in this case anyway.

 

Aside from that, usual depictions of "darkness" and correlations of "leaving family behind", especially in the "death" sense, that function as a semi-explanation for true independence or adulthood or "deletion" of one's past, comprise nothing but a naked-from-meaning basis of "adult" themes that are far less "adult" than they seem..

 

Another thing regarding the death of the mother - there's too much fascination with character death in fiction lately, so much that it is starting to get more ridiculous than Superman 64 gameplay. It doesn't even feel forced anymore - we're  just playing death prediction games , gambling who's gonna be the next goner. In fact, I'd make a " reality" (cough cough) show after that: Who's gonna be.... the """Next Goner"""? (Capitalize on that one Xenoic, please. Youll make money and will subsequently be happy! Wowzies!)

 

Now, regarding Delibird, you can see its stats, where you'd last saved!
(Although Delibird really feels hurt because of your.... stance on its merit). Just fire up PS and check its totally-not-broken stat distrib, etc.

 

In PS we don't reward the player. Really. We never do. Those players...They're spending valuable time on exploring and doing other things instead of actually doing their damn Courier job! And when they do, of course they don't get rewarded. The reward of witnessing the Boss' face is enough to provide satisfaction. Bad jokes aside, we treat our players as adults (we're expecting our audience to at least be 23+, preferably older than that) who have played a lot of games in their life - as a result the normal "give em a treat" approach would be tiring to them (and isn't to our liking as well). We kind of expect everyone to be treating games in a more cynical kind of way by default. Unless... we've actually grown... too old ourselves? :o

 

Now onto other reasons. The MC is a tormented man waltzing in in a tormented place. Aside from the place not being able to offer any reward, you have to account for the MCs perception of things, which can be summarized as "what's the point in this" " I should never have come here" " oh, I got a potion, who cares"  " I want to lay down on the pavement ". Even when ya do get a reward, the MC might remark on it but doesn't ever really feel rewarded for it. Now from a story reward perspective , the rewards are already there, but also aren't. The reward you mainly get is that you keep playing the game despite it being designed to discourage people from playing it due to a myriad of reasons, including artificial difficulty, bad design, forced battles (hello jrpgs) needless backtracking partly justified by in-setting conditions that go against real game design, crappy music,etc etc. Oh, there's also lengthy cutscenes, 30minute intros, badly worded vernacular, a game start that forces boredom and urges the player to drop the game, you get the point.   (It is also designed to not be easily streamable/ Youtube'd) The game is made in order to detract from your enjoyment in a lot of instances (those not deliberate are reworkable and should change of course), since this is really how the MC sees his environment. PS is about building the determination to share empathy with the MC and the people around him, extrapolated and crystallized into the the attitude of never giving up and moving forward, no matter what obstacle appears in your path, or how incompetent you consider yourself, or how bad things are. (And that includes a badly made game)

 

Also, the freaking city is under attack man. By people who are  cultists (apparently - certainly not copy-pasted from a particular historical event, no!) Wouldn't you expect an enemy to cut off the supply lines first? Even more so in a city that barely has any? (Even more of a reason to "enlighten" the medics). Also, I know this is not any kind of proper justification design-wise. But, you know, its PS, which sounds like BS (for good reason).

 

Also, since you've mentioned science, I need to clarify that we're talking about in game science, not IRL. Else, a simple presentation of classic sokal/bricmont positions regarding ontology and  epistemology would have been enough to explain everything in a real scientific manner. Also this forced situation does serve a reason, aside from your also forced and deliberate suffering. To see more on the matter of science in RPGs, check out Chris Avellone's comments on science in the Fallout series.

 

Also, the story is uninteresting, so there is no reason to reward the player with an interesting bit of story for things the player is supposed to be doing anyway. ;) Besides... uh.. You are doing your job. What else do you want?

 

In games, a lot of people prefer showing rather than telling approaches. While PS has a buttload of telling, the showing part is really hidden in plain sight in the top layer of the story. You can look there if you want to gain satisfaction from those more interesting parts of it. Wait am I contradicting myself? Didn't I just state that the story is uninteresting?  OBJECTION.MP3. Hide your loved ones cause a certain someone from Discord really adores discrepancies and contradictions (and fallacies!) and is always readying the inquisitor's torture machines, just in case.

 

Yet, don't expect anything from this game. Its meanings aren't deep, there's no thought behind it, Its writing is nothing to write home about and its story is being presented in such a convoluted way, that no real satisfaction can be gained from it unless one really strives to derive satisfaction even from those unpleasant things in life. Come at it as you would with real life, with absolutely no expectations.

 

With all that being said I agree with all your points as a player myself. And as an "insert things in the game because you're our slave" obedient puppet-pupper, I especially and wholeheartedly agree with the ending part. The episode was supposed to end at the scene with Red or at the scene with the bridge.

 

But PS' ultimate meaning is hope and that needs to be expressed even at the end of this particular ep, if not to dodge presenting a picture of discouragement - at least to avoid causing harm to a younger audience, inevitably tied to this franchise. And, yes, we are willing to compromise for such a reason alone. We've done that before. Were I the one pulling the shots, I'd have ended it there. Sadly, my hand is forced and this is a strict in-house policy I'm obeying. Were this not a fangame, but the original Mother 4 spiritual successor we had in mind instead, (but this time with a real science and society) things would have been different, since that game would have been released under a strict 18+ rating. I apologize on the behalf of the team, but there's not much we can do on this matter.

 

Aside from the ending thing which really should have been ep3s conclusion, I'd really love to re-hear your thoughts on the other points now that I've explained a portion of  the (admittedly crappy) ideas behind BS.

 

Thanks a lot for reading all this. If you wish to keep playing the game, I'd advise you to keep in mind two facts: this game has no meaning , and nobody has created this game.
Just like
The real world
Right?

 

Lots of kisses

 

Spoiler

Regarding the MC's weakness, I definitely feel that he is a pathetic human, but as a player, I don't feel like a weak messenger with no abilities. Honestly, I feel fairly superior as a player, which is a direct offspring of the Pokemon game mechanics. When playing a Pokemon game, the player always feels that they are stronger than everyone else, and even if they know that they aren't at a given time, the player knows that they will be stronger when they actually have to fight the said stronger opponent. This is a nearly inescapable satisfaction ingrained in Pokemon's game play, which is one of the reasons I was so curious about PS, because it strove to go against this self-satisfying feeling of superiority. And honestly, I am not really feeling like a weakling. I feel the emotional weakness of the MC, but as a player, I still feel stronger than everyone else. The MC is supposed to be an average battler, with no real talent, but is realistic terms, he is probably somewhat of a prodigy to have reached the level of destroying uber level pokemon with a Delibird. Anyway, I do feel like the game would be difficult to play if the MC was at the same level as some random grunt, but I think the game should do more to remind you just how weak you are in comparison to the important, strong people.

 

I definitely see where you are coming from with the mother's survival. Honestly, I think the mother's survival is really well written and thought out, when you explain it in full. I don't remember if the importance of religion had been emphasized in regard to the MC's homeland, and if it had, that may have been part of the reason I didn't appreciate it as much. The only thing I have to say about that is to better express what you told me about his reliance on faith, since personally I didn't really catch that as a player. Although, maybe more other people noticed and I just wasn't paying enough attention. 

 

I am started to get really interested in and curious of this game. Even if you say that there isn't much thinking behind the story and game, I can tell the amount of control the designers and story-writers have over the players reactions and feelings. It isn't something that is created through stringing random ideas together. This is why I really want to see where this game goes, because from what you have said, it seems like PS is designed in a way that I have always wanted to see in a game, primarily due to curiosity. PS is turning game design theory and techniques over on their heads and creating a level of immersion and empathy that I haven't seen done before. I am very curious and excited to see how basically reversing game design to make the game less enjoyable in order to connect with the MC's POV and represent real life will pan out, so I wish you the best of luck in your continued development. Personally, I plan to continue struggling through painfully pointless battles along with the MC to see where it leads us.  

 

Edited by Matt_
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10 hours ago, Matt_ said:
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Regarding the MC's weakness, I definitely feel that he is a pathetic human, but as a player, I don't feel like a weak messenger with no abilities. Honestly, I feel fairly superior as a player, which is a direct offspring of the Pokemon game mechanics. When playing a Pokemon game, the player always feels that they are stronger than everyone else, and even if they know that they aren't at a given time, the player knows that they will be stronger when they actually have to fight the said stronger opponent. This is a nearly inescapable satisfaction ingrained in Pokemon's game play, which is one of the reasons I was so curious about PS, because it strove to go against this self-satisfying feeling of superiority. And honestly, I am not really feeling like a weakling. I feel the emotional weakness of the MC, but as a player, I still feel stronger than everyone else. The MC is supposed to be an average battler, with no real talent, but is realistic terms, he is probably somewhat of a prodigy to have reached the level of destroying uber level pokemon with a Delibird. Anyway, I do feel like the game would be difficult to play if the MC was at the same level as some random grunt, but I think the game should do more to remind you just how weak you are in comparison to the important, strong people.

 

I definitely see where you are coming from with the mother's survival. Honestly, I think the mother's survival is really well written and thought out, when you explain it in full. I don't remember if the importance of religion had been emphasized in regard to the MC's homeland, and if it had, that may have been part of the reason I didn't appreciate it as much. The only thing I have to say about that is to better express what you told me about his reliance on faith, since personally I didn't really catch that as a player. Although, maybe more other people noticed and I just wasn't paying enough attention. 

 

I am started to get really interested in and curious of this game. Even if you say that there isn't much thinking behind the story and game, I can tell the amount of control the designers and story-writers have over the players reactions and feelings. It isn't something that is created through stringing random ideas together. This is why I really want to see where this game goes, because from what you have said, it seems like PS is designed in a way that I have always wanted to see in a game, primarily due to curiosity. PS is turning game design theory and techniques over on their heads and creating a level of immersion and empathy that I haven't seen done before. I am very curious and excited to see how basically reversing game design to make the game less enjoyable in order to connect with the MC's POV and represent real life will pan out, so I wish you the best of luck in your continued development. Personally, I plan to continue struggling through painfully pointless battles along with the MC to see where it leads us.  

 

Spoiler

Oh, I see what you mean. This is actually an inherent problem in almost all games, especially in Pokemon where no Battle AI can be difficult enough to make the player feel inferior. Only competitive matches can do that. I will tell you this though: there was this idea of implementing real-time important matches with real people inside PS, without this being actually known by first time players. Once a player had completed the third episode, they would have the option to register as a real-time in game enemy. Suffice to say, this would take a huge amount of time and work (and actually knowing how to programm), and RMXP limitations certainly don't help. This would have been PS' idea of multiplayer. It would also require a huge player base to cover for anything concurrent, and would cause a fair amount of problems as well. In practice it really is ridiculous.
 
Now, beyond this, I think that being a strong battler isn't really that much of a problem. This is starting to become a survival skill (much like everything the MC does) and at times when survival is a priority (especially on a place where it is the same for everybody else) one can't really help it but become stronger. Aside from giving up, that is.

 

 You might definitely feel you are a superior battler, and this is partly inescapable, but I'm sure you have already seen many events where that skill alone didn't help. Specific events such as the "surrounded by legendaries" one, attacks on you rather than your Pokemon, revives just to combat your threat etc etc exist for the purpose of counterbalancing this - to the extent this is possible. Also, those not very good at competitive do find the game hard (and I'm not talking about those artificially hard places).

 

We had assumed that PS had made clear that pokemon battling, while being used as a way to further survival, is not really something that makes you safe or "humanly" strong. Also aside from Tyson, no other trainer can really face more than one enemy. Sylvia can work around this by utilizing strategy but she lacks the raw power to pull it off.

 

 PS assumes that whenever there is an one on one battle, enemies can just attack you while you're in battle with someone else. That's why , hypothetically, the MC tries to to avoid this (though it is not easy to implement in normal pokemon gameplay). Also the Freedom guys are not that good at field operations, so they're still guarding  corners individually. Imagine employing a stalling tactic against an enemy while a random third-party scizor just appears behind your back and .. well. You get the point. I'd say that battles in PS have an anime-style flavor when the concepts of bonds etc are in play. Delibird is synchronized with the MC, it becomes a reflection of him. That's why it tries to save you only when the MC is really invested in moving forward, or having a purpose.

 

What you have pinpointed here is also the reason why the MCs enemies, employ other tactics to defeat him! They do know that in battling terms, he is probably going to crush them. Their threat has two main purposes: 1) psychologically break him down 2) kill him without initiating a battle. They had kidnapped his mother out of sheer fear. We do not want this to be glaringly obvious to the player so as not to shatter the illusion of self-perception, suffering and capability.

 

You will actually witness a related event in the next ep, where normal northern citizens will be absolutely weak in comparison with the MC. And the MC will realize that! I wonder where that one will lead him...

 

On the matter of MCs faith: there's two main approaches players have utilized to tackle this:

- those in similar situations or familiarization with the MC understand his way of thinking and can identify with his stance, irrespective of faith or not
- those who play the game without an emotional connection are either very, very, very suspicious of these references in the game, or actually take some time to understand the anthropological context which does require research into history and society, or familiarization with the field. Lore in this game chronologically ranges from antiquity to our age, and you can gather a lot from the first three EPs alone.

 

Also, this matter is indeed difficult to catch, for everyone. It is ingrained in the culture of both the MC and Artemisia, that is why the MC does not notice it, and why the player doesn't get much info, subsequently. There are particularities on the matter of the "legacy" of the MC and Artemisia that are instilled on their everyday life - this doesn't make the MC or artemisians religious individuals though. You'll see. Some of those characteristics are ingrained in society without that society needing to manifest as religious per se. A similar concept exists in modern society - efficiency, overemphasis on individual strength, income earning and work-ethic - where these remnants of past, mostly 16th century religiosity, are ingrained in Northern "Avropian" and "Etlantian" society.

 

Back to Artemisia, one example of the Michinian link, can be found in  the idea of Genos. In the ruins of Old Artemisia, there is an inscription in old Saxon. The conquerors were obviously speaking Spanish, the "softer" version of Latin the old Artemisians used to be familiar with. Nobility was in all likelihood able to speak Greek, Latin and native tongue. Those are all hints for the kind of identity Artemisia had borrowed from the Eastern Roman Empire. (See: pre ethno-state medieval eastern roman identity and demarcation based on religion rather than nationality, the concept of meritocracy as in "nobility not bound by blood", emphasis on imperial conduct - the title of king in  heraldry)

 

All of this is spoilery as far as details on lore are concerned. Due to your interest in the game, I cannot leave those unanswered. But don't worry cause all of these can be found in the current release already. There is a new channel on discord specifically for " discoveries" like that.


Also, PS doesn't follow the "leave it  up to interpretation" thing. There are  real answers, answers you'll get depending on how you approach the game.

 

But do not be led astray by my words, this game has no meaning and depth, as I have already told you. Wait...

 

If you still think that difficulty can be implemented in a more satisfying way while having all of the aforementioned in mind, please tell us! The same goes with the matter of presentation of faith and religiosity, though that one might prove harder to do. Remember that this game would practically not exist were it not for it's players and their feedback on it.

 

Well, next ep won't have this much battling as you can imagine. Its gonna be a bit different in other areas as well, hopefully, so no need to ready yourself for more in-game torture :P Please keep in mind that as the MCs self-image and perception change, so do both his environment and even challenges.

 

Also, you said something about the writers inevitably having some sort of control over the readers. That is where PS says no. PS is built from the bottom up, from a relative autonomy of the characters themselves - it is as if they are the ones writing the story! We're treating them as real people who move everything forward. This falls under the concept of "empathetic" writing we utilize, something on which I will be forced (it never ends,) to write an article someday.

 

Thank you very much for your kind words and your interest in the game. That being said, next ep will take quite a lot of time to release.

 

Don't forget though, avoid having  high expectations for this game. You will be disappointed.

@Marmalade

Spoiler

Thank you very much! Next ep is gonna be a bit uh....quirky? Stay with us ;)

@Dante52

Spoiler

You're welcome for the tinkering. Please bear in mind that we're worse than amateurs and many things are done in... well... awuful ways.

 

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1 hour ago, World3 said:

You know, I would love to work on this project. I have zero talent outside of math and making music, but I can try, I guess. If you need music I can do that. Anyway, I’d love to help, if I can

Hired and don't worry about talents , we don't have any either lol

 

Regarding music, we'd like to keep current music just a bit sucky, however some very crappy chord problems etc defo need corrections. I can give you the midis so you don't have to do extra work , and you're also free to compose new tracks remixes you name it. We want the start of the game to have mediocre music, after that we do need better compositions. Major problem is orchestration with PS. I'll tell you the specifics when I'm back. I barely have any access to the internet atm.

 

On maths... Can you implement that script-wise? We do have some ideas. I'll update you on this later.

 

15 minutes ago, Pietro said:

Can someone tell me where is the guy about the journey to johto?

He is located in Western Artemisia, inside a green-roof house without a door, near the city entrance/exit.

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1 hour ago, AenaonDusky said:

Hired and don't worry about talents , we don't have any either lol

 

Regarding music, we'd like to keep current music just a bit sucky, however some very crappy chord problems etc defo need corrections. I can give you the midis so you don't have to do extra work , and you're also free to compose new tracks remixes you name it. We want the start of the game to have mediocre music, after that we do need better compositions. Major problem is orchestration with PS. I'll tell you the specifics when I'm back. I barely have any access to the internet atm.

 

On maths... Can you implement that script-wise? We do have some ideas. I'll update you on this later.

Thank you!

However by maths I mean like high school level algebra and geometry. I’m taking precalc now and I seem to be good at it but I don’t know nothin’ about scripts.

 

unless you mean script as in the story not script as in the program, in which case you got the right man

 

 

also I’m working on numerous music projects right now, so perhaps you can use some?

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19 hours ago, World3 said:

Thank you!

However by maths I mean like high school level algebra and geometry. I’m taking precalc now and I seem to be good at it but I don’t know nothin’ about scripts.

 

unless you mean script as in the story not script as in the program, in which case you got the right man

 

 

also I’m working on numerous music projects right now, so perhaps you can use some?

"Precalc? What is this?"

- The Courier

 

I'll get back to you regarding music and the such when I'm literally back. There's also something that has to do with PS' presentation, (not necessarily the 'script' you're referring to).

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I'm currently stuck trying to figure out where to go to deliver the second package (the stinky one). Any tips would be appreciated, I have the directional sense of a toddler. Anyway. I figured I'd take the time to talk a little bit about what I like and what I dislike so far.

 

Things I like:

 

Spoiler

 

-The idea of a courier is an interesting concept. It builds upon the lore and offers something cool and different to the franchise.

 

-The MC's overworld sprite. It looks nice and clean.

 

-The graphics in general are very good.

 

-That little animation when MC saved Deliby was a small detail I appreciated.

 

-I tend to be pretty critical of fakemon, but I do quite like Deliby's design.

 

-The music is good. Extra props because it's mostly original.

 

-The sound design is good. That little jingle every time I save is infectious. Also, the background noise when I first entered the Thirsty Bidoof was fantastic, really immersed me in the moment.

 

-Really, everything about the Thirsty Bidoof. Cool design, cool place.

 

-Some of the humor. Particularly the humor that involved battle mechanics. I laughed out loud at the Caterpie with a life orb joke. Also that Pidgey with the nickname (Flapblaster or whatever)  was pretty good too. Another visual gag I liked was in the courier place, you see all these young couriers struggling to work out, and then at the end this old lady is zooming up and down the lane.

 

-I like it when the MC engages in back and forth conversations with the NPCs. Such as the scene with the boy looking for a Pokemon in the sewer. 

 

-A lot of the flavor text is really good. One of my favorites was when I talked to an old man and he said, "I feel so tired." or something along those lines. Simple, effective, evocative. 

 

-The screen when you blackout is really good. 

 

 

Things I dislike:


 

Spoiler

 

-The title. It's too wordy without really saying much. You could probably just call it Fated Epistle and be done, but even that strikes me as borderline purple prose.

 

-Some of the dialogue will throw in high level words out of nowhere. At the beginning someone uses the word eleemosynary. This is problematic because I'm no longer focusing on the sentence and what is being said, but that one specific word. It pull me out of the moment. If the rest of the dialogue was at the high of a level it would be fine, but it's not. 

 

-No female character. This is actually very important to me, and being able to play my gender is one of the reasons I fell in love with Pokemon. I hope this gets added down the line.

 

-The opening flashback. It could've been cut and next to nothing would be lost. MC showing up late to his job interview more than shows that he's a screw up. If his mother is alive, you can easily reference her through other means -- a phone call or an email, sort of like Earthbound. If she's dead/missing, just have MC mention her. It slowed down the pacing and what it added isn't worth what was lost.

 

-Much of the humor. It destroys the more serious atmosphere you're trying to establish when I'm constantly being bombarded by jokes. Which isn't to say don't try and be funny, but when the main character faints from stress and anxiety and everyone else is cracking jokes about it, a lot of the tension in the scenario just vanishes.

 

-The MC. I don't like him very much. I like the concept of a middle aged dude struggling just to hold down a job. The problem? His flaw makes it impossible for him as a character to drive the plot. Why is it important for for the character to drive the plot? Because it feels less contrived. Why are contrivances bad? Because fiction is an illusion, and if the player is to remain immersed they're suspension of disbelief needs to be intact. But because of MC's flaw, he can't drive the plot. He would never get the job in the scenario as described, so you, the writers, have to create a plot scenario that forces him to get it anyway. Example, MC shows up late to the interview of a fairly respectable job. Gets the job anyway because of plot shenanigans. MC shows up late to the boat leaving for Artemisia (?), ends up where he needed to go anyway because of the captain. 

 

Also, why does this flaw exist at all if it doesn't ever lead to consequences that affect the main plot. That's whole point of a fatal flaw. Not only that, but often times MC's personality will be contorted for the sake of the player, leading to a jarring dissonance. This is at its most noticeable when he gets Deliby for the first time and engages in a bunch of battles. He then reacts to the battles like the people are crazy. This makes no sense. He grew up in Kalos (or at least visited Kalos), he should know how battling works! It only makes sense if you think of it not as a character moment for the MC, but as a wink at the player, like, "teehee, the concept of battles is pretty ridiculous amirite?'. It happens AGAIN when MC asks about the league. Why are you asking these questions that you should already know, dude? 

 

He also has a generic nice guy shtick that doesn't really line up well with his fatal flaw. It got to the point where every time he opened his mouth my butt clenched a little in preparation for bland dialogue or an unfunny reaction to the 'crazies' of Artemisia (at one point he says, "wow, this place really does suck," and I thought to myself, 'no shit.'). Long story short, I find him dull and contrived, and I also dislike constantly forcing MC into straight man roles. Which is unfortunate, because I like the IDEA of him. The execution, however, is severely lacking. 

 

-The villains. They're rather cartoonish. One guy actually throws trash at the MC. He throws TRASH at him. I cannot take any of them seriously. I wouldn't mind them being so one dimensional if I found them threatening (Maleficent is one of my all time favorite villains, and she's as one note as it gets), but the game works very hard to make sure that never happens. There's nothing clever or insidious or anything about them. They're just bullies, every single one of them. Worse, they're bullies without any sort of gravitas. They're just a joke.

 

-The lack of a map is frustrating when you are dumb like me. I retain hope that there is one, however, and I just haven't found it yet. 

 

-Something about the way the city is structured feels off. I don't know how to describe it. I think my problem is it feels wider than taller, and cities tend to have a lot of verticality. It's not cramped enough. I remember there being this crowd of people near a stall, but all of the stalls were so spread out I could navigate around them with ease.

 

-The world building in general feels off. It seems less like an urban city in America (this is near Unova, right?), and more like a poor, rural town in Africa. One person says the mayor sends them food, like a chieftain hunting for his tribe. Grocery stores still exist in poverty stricken areas. So much seems exaggerated and overemphasized, which I attribute more to the writing than anything. It's like getting hit over the head with a blunt hammer.

 

-Another example is the approach to healthcare. It seems like it just doesn't exist. The problem with healthcare in America isn't that it doesn't exist, it's that it's prohibitively expensive, and when people without healthcare are forced to use healthcare facilities, they get saddled with massive bills that puts them deeper in the debt hole. If you wanted to nail the issues with healthcare in America (which would be a fascinating and complex topic to attempt to cover, albeit a very difficult one for a Pokemon game), Pokecenters still exist, but everything takes forever and it costs a ton of money.

 

-Next I'll talk about the abandoned university. This will be a critique of that sidequest in general. I don't really like it, either. Although I might be a little salty because I stumbled across a Zubat and couldn't catch it. First, I had to run all the way back to the courier hall just to register the quest. This annoyed me so much that I was going to continue the main quest instead, before douchebag 3000 called me and told me to come back. It's a tedious extra step that wasn't needed. Then, you walk in, and there's this sign with a Greek phrase, followed by 'you think it's from Homer's Illiad'. How does MC know this? Why does it even need to be stated? If I'm curious I'll look it up myself, and if I already know it I'll get the reference, please don't insult my intelligence as a player. It's not a character moment either, unless this is something else MC just knows from thinking about it, so it feels more like indulgence on the part of the writer. 

 

The actual gameplay of the quest is very simple and dull. The difficulty never ramps up, it's just random (the levels of Pokemon in the area vary wildly), and it doesn't even end with a boss fight of any kind. There also wasn't any sort task I need to complete to progress, I could just walk straight through, with the only thing to prolong my stay being the diaries.

 

Ugh, the diaries. This is like audio logs in first person horror. Lazy and contrived. And it was even more frustrating because you had a more interesting way to tell the story sitting right there! You had creepy history guy and his obsessive need to record people in his weird batcave. This is still somewhat of a contrivance, but it's at least rooted in an established character trait. It was all there, just wasted. The contents of the diaries weren't even all that interesting. Some sort of weird pissing contest between all of the different majors. Nothing about how the college system is broken, how students put themselves in a hellhole of debt, many leave unable to find a job in oversaturated markets, how athletes destroy their bodies and risk concussions in the name of scholarships. None of that, just random tidbits and then the university closes down because mayor evil and poor people aren't allowed to attend anymore because everyone hates poor people. It's reductionist and ultimately disappointing.

 

-So far the philosophical bits have felt forced and tacked on. When MC engaged in a random discussion with that tavern regular, I thought to myself,'da fuq'? That whole dialogue sequence was borderline surreal with how wordy, detached from the plot or characters, and unnecessary it was. And then MC is like, 'I didn't go to college, I just know these things because I can think!' The same guy that doesn't even know how battles work in a society built around the concept. Okay. 

My problem with forcing philosophy into narrative is that it destroys naturalistic dialogue. When you make it about philosophical ideas, characters stop being characters with individual goals and motivations and instead become mouthpieces for the writer to make some sort of point. No nuance, no subtly. Which is fine if that's the major focus, but this is an adventure coming of age story. When the philosophical pieces don't fit, they feel jarring and out of place and, again, threaten my suspension of disbelief. 


 

 

I... think that's everything? Despite my gripes, I'm enjoying myself. It's trying to be different and I'll always applaud that, even if I feel the execution is suboptimal. I just wish I wasn't so directionally challenged. Best of luck.

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2 hours ago, when the music stops said:

I'm currently stuck trying to figure out where to go to deliver the second package (the stinky one). Any tips would be appreciated, I have the directional sense of a toddler. Anyway. I figured I'd take the time to talk a little bit about what I like and what I dislike so far.

 

Things I like:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

-The idea of a courier is an interesting concept. It builds upon the lore and offers something cool and different to the franchise.

 

-The MC's overworld sprite. It looks nice and clean.

 

-The graphics in general are very good.

 

-That little animation when MC saved Deliby was a small detail I appreciated.

 

-I tend to be pretty critical of fakemon, but I do quite like Deliby's design.

 

-The music is good. Extra props because it's mostly original.

 

-The sound design is good. That little jingle every time I save is infectious. Also, the background noise when I first entered the Thirsty Bidoof was fantastic, really immersed me in the moment.

 

-Really, everything about the Thirsty Bidoof. Cool design, cool place.

 

-Some of the humor. Particularly the humor that involved battle mechanics. I laughed out loud at the Caterpie with a life orb joke. Also that Pidgey with the nickname (Flapblaster or whatever)  was pretty good too. Another visual gag I liked was in the courier place, you see all these young couriers struggling to work out, and then at the end this old lady is zooming up and down the lane.

 

-I like it when the MC engages in back and forth conversations with the NPCs. Such as the scene with the boy looking for a Pokemon in the sewer. 

 

-A lot of the flavor text is really good. One of my favorites was when I talked to an old man and he said, "I feel so tired." or something along those lines. Simple, effective, evocative. 

 

-The screen when you blackout is really good. 

 

 

Things I dislike:


 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

-The title. It's too wordy without really saying much. You could probably just call it Fated Epistle and be done, but even that strikes me as borderline purple prose.

 

-Some of the dialogue will throw in high level words out of nowhere. At the beginning someone uses the word eleemosynary. This is problematic because I'm no longer focusing on the sentence and what is being said, but that one specific word. It pull me out of the moment. If the rest of the dialogue was at the high of a level it would be fine, but it's not. 

 

-No female character. This is actually very important to me, and being able to play my gender is one of the reasons I fell in love with Pokemon. I hope this gets added down the line.

 

-The opening flashback. It could've been cut and next to nothing would be lost. MC showing up late to his job interview more than shows that he's a screw up. If his mother is alive, you can easily reference her through other means -- a phone call or an email, sort of like Earthbound. If she's dead/missing, just have MC mention her. It slowed down the pacing and what it added isn't worth what was lost.

 

-Much of the humor. It destroys the more serious atmosphere you're trying to establish when I'm constantly being bombarded by jokes. Which isn't to say don't try and be funny, but when the main character faints from stress and anxiety and everyone else is cracking jokes about it, a lot of the tension in the scenario just vanishes.

 

-The MC. I don't like him very much. I like the concept of a middle aged dude struggling just to hold down a job. The problem? His flaw makes it impossible for him as a character to drive the plot. Why is it important for for the character to drive the plot? Because it feels less contrived. Why are contrivances bad? Because fiction is an illusion, and if the player is to remain immersed they're suspension of disbelief needs to be intact. But because of MC's flaw, he can't drive the plot. He would never get the job in the scenario as described, so you, the writers, have to create a plot scenario that forces him to get it anyway. Example, MC shows up late to the interview of a fairly respectable job. Gets the job anyway because of plot shenanigans. MC shows up late to the boat leaving for Artemisia (?), ends up where he needed to go anyway because of the captain. 

 

Also, why does this flaw exist at all if it doesn't ever lead to consequences that affect the main plot. That's whole point of a fatal flaw. Not only that, but often times MC's personality will be contorted for the sake of the player, leading to a jarring dissonance. This is at its most noticeable when he gets Deliby for the first time and engages in a bunch of battles. He then reacts to the battles like the people are crazy. This makes no sense. He grew up in Kalos (or at least visited Kalos), he should know how battling works! It only makes sense if you think of it not as a character moment for the MC, but as a wink at the player, like, "teehee, the concept of battles is pretty ridiculous amirite?'. It happens AGAIN when MC asks about the league. Why are you asking these questions that you should already know, dude? 

 

He also has a generic nice guy shtick that doesn't really line up well with his fatal flaw. It got to the point where every time he opened his mouth my butt clenched a little in preparation for bland dialogue or an unfunny reaction to the 'crazies' of Artemisia (at one point he says, "wow, this place really does suck," and I thought to myself, 'no shit.'). Long story short, I find him dull and contrived, and I also dislike constantly forcing MC into straight man roles. Which is unfortunate, because I like the IDEA of him. The execution, however, is severely lacking. 

 

-The villains. They're rather cartoonish. One guy actually throws trash at the MC. He throws TRASH at him. I cannot take any of them seriously. I wouldn't mind them being so one dimensional if I found them threatening (Maleficent is one of my all time favorite villains, and she's as one note as it gets), but the game works very hard to make sure that never happens. There's nothing clever or insidious or anything about them. They're just bullies, every single one of them. Worse, they're bullies without any sort of gravitas. They're just a joke.

 

-The lack of a map is frustrating when you are dumb like me. I retain hope that there is one, however, and I just haven't found it yet. 

 

-Something about the way the city is structured feels off. I don't know how to describe it. I think my problem is it feels wider than taller, and cities tend to have a lot of verticality. It's not cramped enough. I remember there being this crowd of people near a stall, but all of the stalls were so spread out I could navigate around them with ease.

 

-The world building in general feels off. It seems less like an urban city in America (this is near Unova, right?), and more like a poor, rural town in Africa. One person says the mayor sends them food, like a chieftain hunting for his tribe. Grocery stores still exist in poverty stricken areas. So much seems exaggerated and overemphasized, which I attribute more to the writing than anything. It's like getting hit over the head with a blunt hammer.

 

-Another example is the approach to healthcare. It seems like it just doesn't exist. The problem with healthcare in America isn't that it doesn't exist, it's that it's prohibitively expensive, and when people without healthcare are forced to use healthcare facilities, they get saddled with massive bills that puts them deeper in the debt hole. If you wanted to nail the issues with healthcare in America (which would be a fascinating and complex topic to attempt to cover, albeit a very difficult one for a Pokemon game), Pokecenters still exist, but everything takes forever and it costs a ton of money.

 

-Next I'll talk about the abandoned university. This will be a critique of that sidequest in general. I don't really like it, either. Although I might be a little salty because I stumbled across a Zubat and couldn't catch it. First, I had to run all the way back to the courier hall just to register the quest. This annoyed me so much that I was going to continue the main quest instead, before douchebag 3000 called me and told me to come back. It's a tedious extra step that wasn't needed. Then, you walk in, and there's this sign with a Greek phrase, followed by 'you think it's from Homer's Illiad'. How does MC know this? Why does it even need to be stated? If I'm curious I'll look it up myself, and if I already know it I'll get the reference, please don't insult my intelligence as a player. It's not a character moment either, unless this is something else MC just knows from thinking about it, so it feels more like indulgence on the part of the writer. 

 

The actual gameplay of the quest is very simple and dull. The difficulty never ramps up, it's just random (the levels of Pokemon in the area vary wildly), and it doesn't even end with a boss fight of any kind. There also wasn't any sort task I need to complete to progress, I could just walk straight through, with the only thing to prolong my stay being the diaries.

 

Ugh, the diaries. This is like audio logs in first person horror. Lazy and contrived. And it was even more frustrating because you had a more interesting way to tell the story sitting right there! You had creepy history guy and his obsessive need to record people in his weird batcave. This is still somewhat of a contrivance, but it's at least rooted in an established character trait. It was all there, just wasted. The contents of the diaries weren't even all that interesting. Some sort of weird pissing contest between all of the different majors. Nothing about how the college system is broken, how students put themselves in a hellhole of debt, many leave unable to find a job in oversaturated markets, how athletes destroy their bodies and risk concussions in the name of scholarships. None of that, just random tidbits and then the university closes down because mayor evil and poor people aren't allowed to attend anymore because everyone hates poor people. It's reductionist and ultimately disappointing.

 

-So far the philosophical bits have felt forced and tacked on. When MC engaged in a random discussion with that tavern regular, I thought to myself,'da fuq'? That whole dialogue sequence was borderline surreal with how wordy, detached from the plot or characters, and unnecessary it was. And then MC is like, 'I didn't go to college, I just know these things because I can think!' The same guy that doesn't even know how battles work in a society built around the concept. Okay. 

My problem with forcing philosophy into narrative is that it destroys naturalistic dialogue. When you make it about philosophical ideas, characters stop being characters with individual goals and motivations and instead become mouthpieces for the writer to make some sort of point. No nuance, no subtly. Which is fine if that's the major focus, but this is an adventure coming of age story. When the philosophical pieces don't fit, they feel jarring and out of place and, again, threaten my suspension of disbelief. 

 

 

 

 

I... think that's everything? Despite my gripes, I'm enjoying myself. It's trying to be different and I'll always applaud that, even if I feel the execution is suboptimal. I just wish I wasn't so directionally challenged. Best of luck.

There are two prerequisites to progress at that stage: the university mission (which you must have already completed) and the talking sequence, which requires of you to 1) talk to a guy in the southeastern-most corner, wears green 2) to another guy sitting alone south of the worker residences, 3) to a cop north of those same residences, 4) to a guy inside the first enterable apartment to the west of that cop.  I am unable to upload a pic showcasing this atm, however I'm sure there is a post here with a picture of all these locations.

 

Now onto your really enjoyable critique:

Spoiler

Forgive me for being rude, but I take it you have sort of formal training on areas related to fiction, based on your usage of specific to such fields terminology.

 

All your points are fair - however I would urge you to finish the game first, and we can go over each one after you're done with it (both positives and negatives). For now, bear in mind that the game has a sort of... uhh.. idiosyncratic design direction. I really don't want to spoil the details - I'm sure you'll find some things even more 'peculiar' than they might already seem, and that would lessen the 'fun' of the experience.

 

Just bear three things in mind:

- this game is not a serious game, neither does it have any depth

- this game was created by half-naked people that live in jars and barrels and rarely take baths

-forget your formal training (at least in this case)

 

I'm really interested in hearing back from you after you're finished with the game!

 

Edited by AenaonDusky
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9 hours ago, when the music stops said:

Thanks for the advice.

 

I don't think you're being rude at all. I'll finish it and get back to you. I don't think I can just forget my training though, haha.N

We are the ones who should be thanking you.

 

Oh, one more thing:

Spoiler

Don't forget your promise to the kid. Also, this game will, in all likelihood, really annoy you! Especially if you cannot forget your training :P

 

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Excuse me for intervening, but we would really appreciate discussion of such matters being kept to a minimum.
Please understand that it is not the discussion of such topics per se that is the problem - (although these subjects can easily escalate into a flaming war) - there is also the matter of relevancy to both the thread and the game.

We would like to avoid seeing the topic getting derailed (especially if a back-and-forth between two people begins! lol)


Thank you in advance for your understanding.
 

ICSW's edit: this is in response to a now hidden post, but I've kept this post up because it applies to not just this specific situation but situations like this in general. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey, I am kinda stuck on the "Save us Mister" quest. Isnt it supposed to be about the little kid who found a diglett and his grandmother? Because whenever I check their house, its as if nothing has happened and they still greet me the same way.

 

EDIT: Im dumb I figured it out lol

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  • 1 month later...

Hello, maybe the answer is obvious and I just can't figure it out, but whats the answer to the Gate for Old Artemisia in the Southwest corner?

I don't really get the clue or the hint for Michinian., which just reminds me of Michigan, which I think is a US state? 

There's no other way out, so I'm kind of stuck. 

 

EDIT: Nevermind, random google translate saves the day!

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/3/2018 at 10:39 PM, ReginaDracones said:

Hello, maybe the answer is obvious and I just can't figure it out, but whats the answer to the Gate for Old Artemisia in the Southwest corner?

I don't really get the clue or the hint for Michinian., which just reminds me of Michigan, which I think is a US state? 

There's no other way out, so I'm kind of stuck. 

 

EDIT: Nevermind, random google translate saves the day!

Really sorry for replying super-late. This is a "puzzle" that needs out-of-game knowledge (the worst kind of puzzle). There's an in-game reason for this. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Also Michina:
https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Michina_Town
Anime-wise this one is Michina Town in Sinnoh (well if you consider one particular event pokemon as canon, then that town also exists in the games' canon). The inspiration is pretty obvious to all that have watched the movie. The name is based on
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycenae

 

In PS, Michina is the name of a region.


Now, there's an update:

Hello everyone, Episode 3 has been updated to version 3.2.0.  3.3.0, 3.4.0 saving while game is sped up is now disabled. (in order to avoid possible savefile corruption) Instant text speed option available (not recommended)
Which means that the game has entered "silver" stage, that is, most of the work feature-wise has been completed, major bugs and errors fixed and corrected, and all the right changes have taken place.
It's (almost) a proper game episode now 😛

Two of the most important update changes are:
1) Addition of Name Textboxes (thanks Mr. Gela!) and
2)Significant reduction of in-game vernacular usage.
The former helps in avoiding confusion when characters talk, and the latter has tremendously impacted in-game phrasing.
While the latter has been purposefully used as a design tool to make the experience more confusing and harder on those that did not have the patience to push forward, its impact had been more on the "really annoying in a bad way" than "quite annoying but in a good way" side. Vernacular can still be encountered with less frequency and in toned down form.

A few other changes:
 

Spoiler

- NPC sprite corrections
- Tileset fixes and adjustments
- Interior map size reduction
- Dialogue adjustment (refinement, clarity)
- Speedup button is now inactive during title and loading screen
- Minor NPC additions
- Victory theme playing normally after defeating Municipals
- Reduced lag in and in-between maps
- Sfx horrible volume (especially in early cutscenes) fixed
- Removed version check due to essentials engine incompatibility with HTTPS
- Added second gen battle and victory music when fighting and winning against chuck respectively
- Map Names show properly in save_screen (changed from dev names to in-game names)
- Outdoor maps refined

 

Sorry for being away for so long, things have been crazy busy. We have started working on the next episode, which will be out in like, a quadrillion years.
 

Edited by AenaonDusky
v3.4.0
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  • 4 weeks later...
 

I've got three questions:

 

So I found a few barrels that talked to me. The first one was in the port section in the upper left corner of the map, the second was in SW near the fountain. The second one said I would have to find the next hiding place. I've been running around clicking on every trashcan, barrel, etc that I can find, but I can't find the next step, if there is one.

 

There was a "sad Pidgey" on Route 0. Is there anything I can do with that, or is it just supposed to stay depressed and stare at a tree?

 

The Diglett that the little kid was looking for, is that available before or after you leave the city?

Edited by Constantine
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On 9/5/2018 at 6:03 PM, Constantine said:
  Reveal hidden contents

I've got three questions:

 

So I found a few barrels that talked to me. The first one was in the port section in the upper left corner of the map, the second was in SW near the fountain. The second one said I would have to find the next hiding place. I've been running around clicking on every trashcan, barrel, etc that I can find, but I can't find the next step, if there is one.

 

There was a "sad Pidgey" on Route 0. Is there anything I can do with that, or is it just supposed to stay depressed and stare at a tree?

 

The Diglett that the little kid was looking for, is that available before or after you leave the city?

Spoiler

Why such questions in the first place? Why bother with all that? Your job as a Courier certainly does not include barrel-seeking and bird-watching (ha...ha). You should be more interested in actually doing your job!
Aside from that, the answers are:
  

Spoiler

1. Of course there isn't (Also this stuff is pretty inconsistent throughout the game, rewards cannot be found for such things, but other opportunities might present themselves later on)
2. Unfortunately, that Pidgey will have to remain in a contemplating state for now.
3. After. Hope you don't forget your promise.

 

~~~~ also for those wondering: PS is kinda entering a slow development phase, please understand. It will take quite a while until next ep. is out *Cough cough

Edited by AenaonDusky
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On 9/7/2018 at 8:33 AM, Lucreto said:

Just wanna say that I started the game today and met a hiker at the Squatter's cafe that was speaking DAMN GREEK?? Definitely unexpected, cracked me up!

Warning! Thematic spoilers incoming!

Spoiler

Oh yes, seeing as Artemisia's people have a relatively strong link to certain past events that took place in a region based off of Greece (without downplaying their unique identity that is also the result of their geographical location and the "melting pot" idiosyncrasy of the States where that region officially belongs to) we decided to include a lot of these references. As with everything in PS, this is not entirely made up - there's at least one town inspired by Greece in the anime (with the town's name appearing as an OT id in an in-game Pokemon event in DPP, which gives us enough of a leeway to take our...liberties to the next level). As mentioned in an above post, that town is called Michina. In PS, Michina is an entire region, not just that one town. Michina is where the main character is supposedly from.
 

You might be able to spot many such cultural references. A strange reference that also serves as an in-game obstacle of sorts is the Artemisian vernacular which was created with a distinct pattern in mind. It's a sort of a made-up vernacular that is based on some sort of realism. Due to Artemisia's strange and complex historic and cultural identity:


- Phrasal verbs are rarely used, showing the lack of French/Old Norse/Anglo-Norman influence on the Old English language, which due to certain events in the game had already had a presence in the region.

http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~cpercy/courses/6361lamont.html

Artemisia's English remained untouched by the "European" branch of the English language.
(That is, until "modern" English speakers arrived. The continent was now a modern English-speaking one and, subsequently, the region's linguistic profile shifted towards modern English - but things don't always change that easily, do they?).


- Present Perfect/Present Perfect Continuous and Past Simple/Past Continuous are used interchangeably and in a confusing manner as well. We did this to emphasize the "Michinian" flavor. Usually, Greek-native speakers who speak English as a second language make more grammatical (syntactic) errors than lexical ones. (On the other hand, native English speakers make more lexical than grammatical mistakes, E.g. the whole "their" and "they're" problem we're having.) These "Michinian" errors usually appear because: there is a lack of a distinct Simple Present in Greek ("I am doing and "I do" both imply a sort of continuity of action that is non-contextual) and Past Simple is ubiquitous as well. (In this case, an Artemisian would say "I destroyed X" rather than "I have destroyed X" no matter the context or time specified. Of course this isn't always the case)
 

- People are using many Greek-derived words (although most technical, scientific and philosophical terminology already has plenty of Greek in it, including everyday words). In real life Academia (particularly American Academia) usage of such words is frequently seen as an example of "scholarly" vocabulary (at least when not ridiculed in particular contexts, or tied to religious studies). In the case of Artemisia, these words sound natural and normal, and not "high-level" or obscure or, in some cases, "pretentious". For instance, someone in Unova might feel that the word "encephalitis" is a pain in the ass to spell, and has no etymological context in order to at least make out what it means (providing this is the first time they've ever heard of this term). An Artemisian would not have any problems with that.
 

The main character is usually unable to notice these, already being relatively familiar with the language (oh, and based on player feedback, a lot of native-Greek speakers rarely notice these during gameplay as well! So, it's kinda "accurate" I guess?)

Also according to feedback, this is what the Artemisian Anglo-sphere Vernacular Bother-o-meter has to say about native-English speakers playing the game: Americans are bothered a bit, Britons are bothered quite a bit and Aussies aren't bothered by anything. What does it all mean?

 

So keep an eye out for not-so-subtleties  and please leave your review and thoughts when you're finished with the game. Thank you for playing!

 



 

 

1 hour ago, Urusius said:

There is no Pokemon avalability list? Because I know that you will only find a little number of them so I wouldn't want to miss one of them

Don't worry about missing anything. Any 'mon made unavailable due to X circumstance can be encountered again. Same goes for any future episodes.

Spoiler

For now there's a particular in-game event which makes previous areas inaccessible. However, you can still find the ones you have missed in the newer areas. No problem.


Thank you for playing!

Edited by AenaonDusky
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Oof, that's a relief! Well played Aenaon 🙂 I'm really enjoying the game so far, keep up the good work (even if I'm always lost because I forget where the dialogues told me to go lol)

 

Is it possible someday to put a an app that tell you on the map where to go when you're doing the story?

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