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Old 11-15-2013, 03:13 PM   #21
BrokenH
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Smile Re: Gutter-delve closet cases

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Originally Posted by TheHonorableRyu View Post
Yup, I understand, and I also hope you don't feel like I'm trying to put you or your game "on trial," so to speak. There are aspects I enjoy, but I'm also offering what I consider to be problem areas for your consideration.


Well, the thing is that all villains don't have to fall into one of the two clichés, as I think you already said you recognize. The VX Ace game "The Master of the Wind" by Volrath and Artbane explores similar themes (the main antagonists are members of a cult that is trying to revive a fallen empire's agenda to destroy all non-human sentient races), and I feel they did a pretty good job of creating a variety of villains, who have conflicts of interests or principles on certain points, and often act as foils to one another. There was element of intrigue in discovering who is misguided or brainwashed, who can be shaken from their precepts, and who is really the one ultimately pulling all the strings. I felt like you were going in this direction by portraying Robby as not being as sadistic as his cronies, but his further characterization was to transform into yet another one-dimensional "sick $#@" villain like all the others.

But anyway, my main point wasn't to complain about vile villains or even one-dimensional villains in and of themselves. It's more specific, and it has more to deal with tone in creative writing or storytelling. Basically I feel that the pure evil villains plus the reveal about the heroes' origins results in melodrama (e.g., see this definition used in the context of creative writing in this article). The protagonists are too obviously victims (and viewed sympathetically despite any faults), the antagonists too obviously villains, and the "bullies victimizing social outcasts" theme exaggerated. Like Disturbed devoting a whole song to how hypocritical and narrow-minded some "bold mofo" is, it's simplistic, it's black and white, it's overshooting the target, and not so very deep, complex, challenging, or intellectually rewarding. Earlier I said that I felt like your game was doing a good job at avoiding melodrama given how controversial the issues you meant to explore, but I feel like further plot developments directed things more in the opposite direction, with just a little to compensate for it (such as Dwayne being a Catholic, and thus it's not that all religious people are stereotypically bad.) But I haven't finished the game yet, so maybe there's more you're doing with this that I haven't seen.


In terms of why people were offended, I think the issue has less to do with "which is morally worse: murder or rape?" and more to do with where does the author/creator stand in relation to the subject matter.

The people who were offended certainly weren't accusing you of promoting rape (and you obviously condemn such actions in your game), but they were concerned about misogyny or perviness. And here I think the factor that causes people to react more strongly is how much your female characters are sexualized. The artwork you did is the most overt and probably the biggest reason why people were offended, but similar sexualization does make it into your game.
*** SPOILERS ***
Sarah/Deidre is raped and Kara is sexually promiscuous. In the manor you can switch the female characters' costumes to "nude," but not the male characters' costumes. Ben manages to feel sexually aroused by seeing Deidre being raped by Robby and his dad (though he feels very guilty about it). Ben's friends discover that Ben has drawn lewd pictures of Kara that he keeps hidden in his bedroom and they ultimately kind of laugh it off has harmless.
*** END SPOILERS ***
So when a supervillain wipes out a population with a heat ray as a plot device in a work, the viewers probably aren't going to think that the work's creator sees people as objects to be wiped out by death rays. The fictional portrayal is remote from the creator's actual attitudes towards people and how they should be viewed. However, suppose that misogyny is the concern about another work, and people see that the main female characters are either raped or sexually objectified, or that it's always the women who get the worst treatment, or that women are portrayed in sexually-compromised ways as if it is not at all demeaning. They're probably more likely to feel like the creator's preoccupations are too palpably overtaking the choice of possible plot devices, and thus more likely to call the creator's own view of women into question.


Sounds good. In the most recent dungeon I was just mindlessly wiping out enemies with what I assume are the "mega weapons," which deal more damage than most of my best spells. Is this version worth downloading for use my current save files with given how far I am in the game, or are there no more random battles left?
The problem is the people judging everything based it entirely "on" the concept art. Art that was created before the story itself was fleshed out. I admit it might have been misleading but it's all I had to show at that time.

Frankly I don't understand our cultural stigmata with sexiness. Today people really get offended over fan-service and if you compare my art to that found in many fighting games it's not really any different. But I guess by today's standards Cammy,Ivy,Taki, and Mai Shiranui are "bad designs" and I find that to be utterly ridiculous.

Personally I think a female character can be sexualized and still be a person. Even if Deidre walks around nude does that suddenly dismiss her as being "human"? By such logic you could argue females trying to be sexy in night clubs or females going to nudist beaches are somehow dehumanized by their own choices.

I'm perplexed by the equation of "Sexy=Object". Despite being raised in a puritanical western society I still do not understand it. Maybe I'm just messed up in the head though.

I will level that including the "nude skin" as a costume choice is kind of "weird" in retrospect but remember, it's the player's choice. That was kind of my point. Luckily, it's not the only option or even necessary.

As for the villains, I mostly agree. Though theoretically one of the protagonists was supposed to be an antagonist. It's just using that particular character as an undercover weapon did not go according to plan.

You have to realize that "the hunters" believe they are "right". They see supernaturals as dangerous and to an extent they are correct. Likewise,the homunculus they create are seen as being "below human". That's why they get treated like combat tools and sex objects.

Sure,my heroes are presented from a sympathetic stand point. But really,most "heroes" are. I know there are hundreds of insightful articles on "making better characters" but I've noticed even writers lauded as professionals don't always follow their own advice. It's a really tough balancing act and when you're trying to build a game around a plot there's even more work to be done!

Concerning Masters Of The Wind, I'm under the assumption Volrath and Co. have been making games for awhile whereas this is my first project. I never claimed to be an expert or a veteran in the field. If I came off that way I'm sincerely sorry! I "do" want to improve in the future and that includes both my writing skills and illustrative ability!

I'm glad you like the new combat system! As much as I was able to tolerate random battles in the past, I understand why that system seems annoying today. I might have to "work it" to make the save-file compatible. Enemy encounters are disabled in the tram car stage so unfortunately that means you missed one event that turned REs off.

However,you are at the end so try going through the mirror at least once. That should eliminate random hostiles. The mirror turns off REs in the new version so when you go back through you should be all good!

Last edited by BrokenH; 11-15-2013 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 11-15-2013, 05:33 PM   #22
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Re: Gutter-delve closet cases

Warning: Unless you’ve beaten my game the below info is spoiler territory. However, if you have beaten my game feel free to read what’s presented and discuss it! Just a collection of my afterthoughts! (With constructive critique taken in stride)
*** SPOILERS ***

Developer afterthoughts

It’s been awhile since the first version of my game released. Since then I’ve gotten better criticism from people not coming after me like rabid werewolves! In retrospect, I realize I did do some things poorly. Being this is my first game I shouldn’t be surprised by that.


The art

Looking back at my concept art I still “like it” but I don’t think it embodies what my game ended up trying to be. Truthfully I do not believe “sexiness” diminishes female characters as potential people but I admit some of my early designs look more like they belong in a beat em up or a really messed up and bizarre fighting game! (There was the idea to make Gutterdelve into an rpg beat em up hybrid but I didn't have the skill to pull it off.)

Deidre’s arch

Deidre’s arch is perhaps the most controversial. Her past has a lot to do with sexual abuse and being brain washed. It was difficult writing her and I wonder if I was mature enough or skilled enough to tell her tale in the first place. Be that as it may, she ended up being one of the most lovable and interesting female protagonists for me personally. I became smitten with her no nonsense attitude and tom-boyish tough-girl responses to the other characters!

Amy interrupted

I feel as if Amy didn’t stick out enough. I realize she is the “voice of normalcy” in the group. She’s more emotionally stable than her brother and is known to take care of her family through taking on various responsibilities. Still, there’s a lot we don’t know about her. She mentioned “training in exotic places” during her acting career but it’s a shame my first game doesn’t go into that in more detail.

Villains who are too one dimensional

Admittedly my villains are flat and static. They don’t really change much throughout the game and we never get to know them as well as the protagonists. Partly this was due to time constraints and doing my project alone. However, I’d like to have “better villains” in the future.

An insightful individual by the alias The_Honorable_Ryu mentioned Robert was a missed opportunity and that is entirely feasible. After all, we see a glimmer of a conscience in Robby at the police station in which he shows genuine regret for what he and his friends have done. However, the high-school chapter rips away any sympathy we might feel for him. I think Rob and Deidre “did” love each other in their own way. It might have been a bit perverse and twisted but affection is still affection.

Costumes (And the lack thereof)

Later in the game I decided to include an option where you could “dress up the characters” in alternate costumes. The “nude sets” I created were thrown in just because I had them. I mean if someone really wanted to see a 16 bit pixel representation of Kara or Deidre running around “naked” that’s their own business, right?

Oh, how wrong I was! I always seem to forget today’s generation is much more sensitive about these things. First of all, it would have been better if I had nude sprites for all the characters. From my perspective that would have meant even more tireless work so I simply did not do it. However, the opposing side will of course jump on the red hot issue of “gender equality” and how including naked sprites of only female characters is “unfair”. Don’t misunderstand me. I realize they have a valid argument if ever there was one. But on my end it wasn’t rooted in a patriarchal conspiracy, attempt at objectification, or some sort of deep rooted misogyny. I was simply “too lazy” to make more naked sprites of Ben, Dwayne, Liam, ANGI, and Amy! Which of course brings me to the point not every female character actually had a nude sprite.

Random encounters

In my day I didn’t mind random encounters. Final fantasy 6? Bring it on, buddy! Alas, times have changed and I have to accept this. Many of my friends playing my game admitted the “random battles” were annoying buggers. This actually lead me to creating a whole new version of the game in which enemies can be seen on screen.

The jab at RMN


One of the mini endings takes a jab at RMN as a collective group. It most certainly is unprofessional of me but I think the point I made is still a good one.

You would have to be there when I first signed on to get the full effect. Yeah, you can read the responses but that alone doesn’t do it justice.

I take issue with people throwing around terms like “objectification” and “misogynistic”. Mostly because the meanings of those words have been stretched in an attempt to make them reputation wreckers and debate enders. Just because I draw sexualized women does not mean I hate them. It does not even mean I objectify them. (How can one objectify a fictional entity that is merely pixels on the screen? I‘m not implying I don‘t love my characters but I accept the reality they exist only inside my mind.)

To go even further with this philosophy, stating my art and ideas support a conspiracy ridden “patriarchy” trying to keep women down is such an absurd and preposterous idea my mind cannot even process it. I’m not saying women do not get mistreated or abused but at least in the liberal laden “western world” things are a lot nicer. Some men are sexist mean spirited Neanderthals but I do not think they’re “organized” like the KKK used to be. (When I use the term “organized” I’m referring to physical militias that are a true threat as opposed to online dens of equity that are all talk but no action!)

Toward the end some people from RMN even accused me of dismissing the fact rape happens to men too just because I did not have a male character who got sexually assaulted in the same manner as Deidre did. In truth I merely wanted each character to face something unique from each other. I definitely was not trying to dismiss the fact sexual abuse is also a possibility for men. To insinuate that just because "man rape" is not present in this one particular story comes off as being over reactionary and immature to me.


Conclusion

I hope to improve in future projects. I admit right now I’m kind of exhausted so a sequel or spin off will not be forthcoming for awhile. I appreciate all the helpful criticism and I’m happy that my present here has not been met with as much “**** & vinegar” as it was when I put up a page at RMN!



*** END SPOILERS ***

Last edited by BrokenH; 11-15-2013 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:00 AM   #23
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Re: Gutter-delve closet cases

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenH View Post
I "do" want to improve in the future and that includes both my writing skills and illustrative ability!
Yah, that's the angle I'm coming from. For example, you said you were going for "deep" with the storyline, so I'm suggesting possibilities for taking things to the next level.


A couple nights ago I finished Gutterdelve and saw the two different ending variants.

*** SPOILERS ***
The reveal that Jehovah's influence "hollows out" people so that they are just a shell of their former selves at gives something of an explanation for why the villains are one-dimensional; at least it makes sense in the context of your story.

That Jehovah was inflicting Ben with extreme guilt so that he would sacrifice himself all along is interesting as a plot device, but I wonder what does it thematically? To me it seems like it might be a bit too self-pitying: once again Ben is the victim, this time on a cosmic level. It's not that his crippling guilt is a form of self-condemnation resulting from not having learned a healthy way to manage the real problems for which he feels the most guilty (his mistreatment of Sarah resulting in her getting raped, and his being turned on by seeing Deidre getting raped by Robby and his dad); instead, all the responsibility is cast upon an external force that represents the demand of law and order. But at least Ben does mature a bit in his outlook at the end, by going through therapy and by learning that his friends love and accept him.

That the party confronts Jehovah (an "astral parasite masquerading as the biblical God") only in the form of Ben's alpha self body was a nice touch: it makes this being seem nebulous and creepy. I kind of felt like his dialog makes him feel like too much of a lightweight, though, especially for an ancient being. Also, the whole Jehovah arc is presented and ends rather quickly, almost afterthought-ish, without a lot of dramatic tension built up.

The message to the player in the ending about not taking their life if they've been struggling with depression was a bit unexpected, but it felt earnest and genuine.

*** END SPOILERS ***

I'll probably have a few more comments about the game later!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenH View Post
I'm perplexed by the equation of "Sexy=Object". Despite being raised in a puritanical western society I still do not understand it. Maybe I'm just messed up in the head though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenH View Post
Personally I think a female character can be sexualized and still be a person. Even if Deidre walks around nude does that suddenly dismiss her as being "human"?

By such logic you could argue females trying to be sexy in night clubs or females going to nudist beaches are somehow dehumanized by their own choices.
When it comes to sexual objectification I don't think it's so much a matter of "sexy=object" as it comes down to agency or volition, a major difference between objects and persons.

If a woman actually decided to deport herself in the same way that you drew your female characters, that's her choice (and if it makes others more likely to sexually objectify her, that's a risk she takes). But when others portray women (real or fictional) in such a way, they're the ones with the agency controlling how women are portrayed while the women portrayed are treated as passive, like clay that shapes and bends to their will.

So to relate this to fictional characters: one of the greatest literary achievements of Shakespeare is that he created so many characters that bear the illusion (one that grows stronger with closer reading) of being real, living persons--autonomous personalities that are separate from Shakespeare, that behave according to their own internal logic, and even have their own ability to define themselves.

Now think about it: do your female characters seem like authentic personalities who chose for themselves the "sexy" appearance and poses you drew them in? What you're calling "sexy" includes hard and exaggeratedly-accentuated nipples, conspicuous nudity, plump buttocks extended towards the viewer, and cameltoe about to burst at the seams. They're such unlikely scenes, and in what contexts would a real woman voluntarily present herself in such a way to any gawker, other than something like pornography, prostitution, or some drunken orgy? The depictions just don't "ring true," and for a lot of people such depictions are going to seem less like representations of believable characters/persons and more like dolls being shaped.

I don't think it requires someone to be "messed up in the head" to not be sensitive to these kinds of things, but I would use the following illustration. If someone works everyday in a kitchen that uses a lot of garlic, they'll become less and less sensitive to the odor of garlic; they'll no longer notice it, but others will notice it. So, in kind, just because fan service has been common in games doesn't make it incredible that others would object to it.
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Old 11-18-2013, 01:56 PM   #24
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Re: Gutter-delve closet cases

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHonorableRyu View Post
Yah, that's the angle I'm coming from. For example, you said you were going for "deep" with the storyline, so I'm suggesting possibilities for taking things to the next level.


A couple nights ago I finished Gutterdelve and saw the two different ending variants.

*** SPOILERS ***
The reveal that Jehovah's influence "hollows out" people so that they are just a shell of their former selves at gives something of an explanation for why the villains are one-dimensional; at least it makes sense in the context of your story.

That Jehovah was inflicting Ben with extreme guilt so that he would sacrifice himself all along is interesting as a plot device, but I wonder what does it thematically? To me it seems like it might be a bit too self-pitying: once again Ben is the victim, this time on a cosmic level. It's not that his crippling guilt is a form of self-condemnation resulting from not having learned a healthy way to manage the real problems for which he feels the most guilty (his mistreatment of Sarah resulting in her getting raped, and his being turned on by seeing Deidre getting raped by Robby and his dad); instead, all the responsibility is cast upon an external force that represents the demand of law and order. But at least Ben does mature a bit in his outlook at the end, by going through therapy and by learning that his friends love and accept him.

That the party confronts Jehovah (an "astral parasite masquerading as the biblical God") only in the form of Ben's alpha self body was a nice touch: it makes this being seem nebulous and creepy. I kind of felt like his dialog makes him feel like too much of a lightweight, though, especially for an ancient being. Also, the whole Jehovah arc is presented and ends rather quickly, almost afterthought-ish, without a lot of dramatic tension built up.

The message to the player in the ending about not taking their life if they've been struggling with depression was a bit unexpected, but it felt earnest and genuine.

*** END SPOILERS ***

I'll probably have a few more comments about the game later!



When it comes to sexual objectification I don't think it's so much a matter of "sexy=object" as it comes down to agency or volition, a major difference between objects and persons.

If a woman actually decided to deport herself in the same way that you drew your female characters, that's her choice (and if it makes others more likely to sexually objectify her, that's a risk she takes). But when others portray women (real or fictional) in such a way, they're the ones with the agency controlling how women are portrayed while the women portrayed are treated as passive, like clay that shapes and bends to their will.

So to relate this to fictional characters: one of the greatest literary achievements of Shakespeare is that he created so many characters that bear the illusion (one that grows stronger with closer reading) of being real, living persons--autonomous personalities that are separate from Shakespeare, that behave according to their own internal logic, and even have their own ability to define themselves.

Now think about it: do your female characters seem like authentic personalities who chose for themselves the "sexy" appearance and poses you drew them in? What you're calling "sexy" includes hard and exaggeratedly-accentuated nipples, conspicuous nudity, plump buttocks extended towards the viewer, and cameltoe about to burst at the seams. They're such unlikely scenes, and in what contexts would a real woman voluntarily present herself in such a way to any gawker, other than something like pornography, prostitution, or some drunken orgy? The depictions just don't "ring true," and for a lot of people such depictions are going to seem less like representations of believable characters/persons and more like dolls being shaped.

I don't think it requires someone to be "messed up in the head" to not be sensitive to these kinds of things, but I would use the following illustration. If someone works everyday in a kitchen that uses a lot of garlic, they'll become less and less sensitive to the odor of garlic; they'll no longer notice it, but others will notice it. So, in kind, just because fan service has been common in games doesn't make it incredible that others would object to it.
I'm glad the story fit together more for you during the end. Even if it wasn't perfect so long as most things made sense I'm happy it all worked out! (More or less. Of course I'm already wishing certain things were done differently. Still the X3 edition is probably the best it's gonna get without a graphic over-haul or a complete rewrite of the original script. lol.)


Your analogy about a chef using garlic is a good one and makes sense.(We do occasionally get desensitized to certain them when exposed to them too often) But you're suggesting I'm forcing an edict upon characters who are not real. But even in reality many "living women" choose to pose nude for magazines or dress in sexy cosplay. I'm not saying they're "right" for doing so. But I'm not implying they're "wrong" for doing so either.

I don't mind if people object to fanservice but I think throwing in words like "misogynistic" goes too far. If I'm a real pimp beating real prostitutes sure, call me a misogynist. But for drawing sexy exaggerated females in sexy positions? No,just no. Really, I shouldn't have to apologize for my heterosexuality. (I'm not insinuating you've done this at all but certain people at RMN were not so kind)

Beyond that, you are saying women would almost never get into these poses unless it was for prostitution or pornography. Yet women ARE sexual just like men are and it's not always for money. The way you word what you did comes off a bit as "slut shaming" though I know that wasn't your intention. (You're a good person Ryu or at least that's the general vibe I get from you) I mean for all you know Amy is posing sexily like that for Liam who is taking pictures of her for their "private collection" or Deidre was dressed like she was at a costume party during her club hopping days. (Which she does mention) The blood? It could be fake! You see a lot of fake blood at Halloween events or cosplay conventions. Additionally, Liam,Ben,and their friends made indie horror films. I'm simply saying it is your choice to use your imagination or simply conclude "This doesn't make sense". Women can have their own agency to be sexual when they want sex. (Or simply want to flaunt what they have)

However, when I do my next game I believe many of your suggestions will help make it better. Even if I have "sexy gurlz" at the very least I'll include more beef cake to even it out. Or I'll go for a more realistic style all together. I also want to explore those suggestions you gave for villains! While I don't 100% believe these villains were "complete garbage" it will be nice to maybe have antagonists who change throughout the story or eventually become protagonists themselves. (I do have a soft spot for characters like Dragoon Kain)

Last edited by BrokenH; 11-18-2013 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:07 AM   #25
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Re: Gutter-delve closet cases

Just a few last comments on this point, my intent not being to assassinate your character or label you a "misogynist" but to try to explain why it might not be that incredible or outlandish that many people would be offended by these depictions of female characters and hence why your reception at RMN wasn't as warm as it could have been.
First, if it really was the case that "Amy is posing sexily like that for Liam who is taking pictures of her for their 'private collection'" then why are we seeing it? Doesn't that seem a bit voyeuristic? And it's not just one female character but a cast of female characters: are we viewing the fruit of a raid upon their boudoirs? A "realistic explanation" for each case is all too convenient and still doesn't explain why the images in effect have been curated such as to present the female characters in a sexual light. It seems more like an expression of your heterosexuality is taking preeminence in how a cast of female characters is portrayed. But many heterosexual men are capable of creating female characters that aren't considered so sexually, e.g., you did this more in your actual game, though moreso with some characters than with others. So people react to this kind of thing, when a person's psychology palpably overtakes how characters (or in this case, a gender) are seen and portrayed in a creative project, and it is likely to predispose people against your game.

Second, FWIW, I have a bachelor's degree in art and have taken three life drawing courses working primarily with nude models and am currently taking a fourth, and to my eye there are some elements in your depictions that strike me as more exaggeratedly or crudely sexual than a lot of 90s fan service in games, where "sexy" things are present but often a bit more stylized or tastefully finessed. (Compare official, professional artwork to some of the "sexy" fan art posted online and you might see what I mean.) It's not merely the poses themselves or the costumes, though they contribute as well, but also how things are drawn and what's being emphasized: for example, hard, dark outlines accentuating hard nipples or cameltoe. So when I brought up pornography or prostitution I was trying to be as realistic I could. "Sexy" tends to be accomplished with much less. And if your depictions of women generated the backlash that it did, it can't be just me.

Third, concerning "slut shaming," would you say that Steven Spielberg was "slut shaming" when he mailed his good friend Drew Barrymore a quilt with a note attached that read "Cover up" after she posed for Playboy? Or when friends and relatives express similar concerns toward their loved ones? And are they belittling or trying to score points against the person herself? Or is it rather more they don't wish for a superabundance of people who neither know them nor care or love them personally to be fantasizing about them sexually? And that's the thing: for many people the problem is not that sex itself is "evil" or "dirty," but rather because it is positive, intimate, and personal (or at least it's more harmonious when approached this way). But when a person's image, designed to arouse, is plastered all over such that complete strangers view it without meaningfully interacting with the very person, the interpersonal element is greatly diminished, which brings us back to the real problem of objectification.

Finally, fan service is fan service. It's gratuitous almost by definition and most purveyors of it aren't known for attempting to provide realistic explanations for it because it's like, who are we kidding. But this brings us back to characters who are behaving less like believable personalities making credible, voluntary choices and more like dolls being posed to satisfy the objectives of the creators and fans. Now in your case, the tone of your actual game was different than the "fan service" stuff you drew; and I think that, given the themes of your game, some attempts to back up the fan service with "realistic" explanations could backfire. For example, making a sexualized drawing of a recent victim of sexual abuse because she supposedly walked around nightclubs posing "sexily" (as if she wasn't already presented in an emphatically sexual light enough) is of questionable taste.
--
Anyway, keep us updated with your ideas for your next game(s)! What you've already described for future storylines sounds good. As for the gameplay, I recently played another game by Craze called "Teenage Costume Squad." Like in Wine & Roses, there's no random battles and a lot of the plot (in this case, just some fun characterization, as he created the game in only 3 days) is revealed during event battles. It's also fun to try out different set ups with the characters' spells and equips to see what works best. I'd give it a try if you're looking for inspiration for a format to wed gameplay to the story.
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:18 PM   #26
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Re: Gutter-delve closet cases

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHonorableRyu View Post
Just a few last comments on this point, my intent not being to assassinate your character or label you a "misogynist" but to try to explain why it might not be that incredible or outlandish that many people would be offended by these depictions of female characters and hence why your reception at RMN wasn't as warm as it could have been.
First, if it really was the case that "Amy is posing sexily like that for Liam who is taking pictures of her for their 'private collection'" then why are we seeing it? Doesn't that seem a bit voyeuristic? And it's not just one female character but a cast of female characters: are we viewing the fruit of a raid upon their boudoirs? A "realistic explanation" for each case is all too convenient and still doesn't explain why the images in effect have been curated such as to present the female characters in a sexual light. It seems more like an expression of your heterosexuality is taking preeminence in how a cast of female characters is portrayed. But many heterosexual men are capable of creating female characters that aren't considered so sexually, e.g., you did this more in your actual game, though moreso with some characters than with others. So people react to this kind of thing, when a person's psychology palpably overtakes how characters (or in this case, a gender) are seen and portrayed in a creative project, and it is likely to predispose people against your game.

Second, FWIW, I have a bachelor's degree in art and have taken three life drawing courses working primarily with nude models and am currently taking a fourth, and to my eye there are some elements in your depictions that strike me as more exaggeratedly or crudely sexual than a lot of 90s fan service in games, where "sexy" things are present but often a bit more stylized or tastefully finessed. (Compare official, professional artwork to some of the "sexy" fan art posted online and you might see what I mean.) It's not merely the poses themselves or the costumes, though they contribute as well, but also how things are drawn and what's being emphasized: for example, hard, dark outlines accentuating hard nipples or cameltoe. So when I brought up pornography or prostitution I was trying to be as realistic I could. "Sexy" tends to be accomplished with much less. And if your depictions of women generated the backlash that it did, it can't be just me.

Third, concerning "slut shaming," would you say that Steven Spielberg was "slut shaming" when he mailed his good friend Drew Barrymore a quilt with a note attached that read "Cover up" after she posed for Playboy? Or when friends and relatives express similar concerns toward their loved ones? And are they belittling or trying to score points against the person herself? Or is it rather more they don't wish for a superabundance of people who neither know them nor care or love them personally to be fantasizing about them sexually? And that's the thing: for many people the problem is not that sex itself is "evil" or "dirty," but rather because it is positive, intimate, and personal (or at least it's more harmonious when approached this way). But when a person's image, designed to arouse, is plastered all over such that complete strangers view it without meaningfully interacting with the very person, the interpersonal element is greatly diminished, which brings us back to the real problem of objectification.

Finally, fan service is fan service. It's gratuitous almost by definition and most purveyors of it aren't known for attempting to provide realistic explanations for it because it's like, who are we kidding. But this brings us back to characters who are behaving less like believable personalities making credible, voluntary choices and more like dolls being posed to satisfy the objectives of the creators and fans. Now in your case, the tone of your actual game was different than the "fan service" stuff you drew; and I think that, given the themes of your game, some attempts to back up the fan service with "realistic" explanations could backfire. For example, making a sexualized drawing of a recent victim of sexual abuse because she supposedly walked around nightclubs posing "sexily" (as if she wasn't already presented in an emphatically sexual light enough) is of questionable taste.
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Anyway, keep us updated with your ideas for your next game(s)! What you've already described for future storylines sounds good. As for the gameplay, I recently played another game by Craze called "Teenage Costume Squad." Like in Wine & Roses, there's no random battles and a lot of the plot (in this case, just some fun characterization, as he created the game in only 3 days) is revealed during event battles. It's also fun to try out different set ups with the characters' spells and equips to see what works best. I'd give it a try if you're looking for inspiration for a format to wed gameplay to the story.
I realize people "react" to these things. But c'mon Ryu, they react too much. Okay,you're allowed to think differently but it's gotten so bad people call out Kojima and George RR Martin for "misogyny" just because of what occasionally is showcased in their designs or their writing. Why is everything now a witch hunt or a moral crusade? I guess it's popular to state "Creators should be held accountable for what they make" but in the realm of fiction that's a more subjective issue.

For example, the guy who killed John Lennon was fan of the book Catcher in the rye. Some folks even believe that book influenced him. But is the book itself "evil" now? Should we demand a punishment for the writer or demand he compensate Lennon's extended family for the rest of his days? Should we ask him to rewrite it for a more "sensitive" audience? (Assuming the author himself still breathes)

You keep using the term "doll" and I suppose it holds credibility. Often times designers create characters to look "awesome" or "sexy" just so they can be made into figurines to pull in additional revenue. By now I think that's more popular in Japan but Todd McFarlane's toy line is roughly the same thing over here.

As for slut shaming it's been my general experience sometimes "real females" want to look "slutty". I don't mean that in a bad way. Nor am I implying "they're asking for it" merely because they're wearing tight shorty shorts and a bikini top. It's just during my own college days I saw plenty of promiscuous fashion choices at the local night club in Minneapolis because the girls there really wanted to get some kind of attention. Truth be told, they were probably doing it mostly to compete with the other females but I'd be lying if I said I didn't notice it too.

The problem with applying morality to these things is not everyone's way of life is the same. Some people are fine with being sexually portrayed in a magazine. Some people are fine with posing naked or walking around naked. Some people are into bdsm and master/Slave relationships. Many people pretend to not be into any of these things at all in the fear they may offend someone else or get judged negatively. To me that's the saddest aspect of political correctness. People literally regress their true selves just to meet the status quo so they can get on that bandwagon of acceptance.

Believe me, I know it's difficult to fight the barrage of negativity. I'm sure you've heard the following....

"You like fan service cuz you're not gettin laid!"

"You should know this art sexually objectifies women!"

"These concept designs come from the fevered mind of a 12 year old."


In other words, if you cut against the grain you're immature,sexist,and don't have the social skills necessary to engage in intimate relationships. Who would truly want to live with those harsh labels? Peer pressure is just another form of social conditioning. Eventually many of us give in and join the witch hunting simply because we don't want to be at the opposite end of the pitch-fork ourselves. Sad but true. (Not saying it is the only reason but I think it is mainly how conformity works overall.)

For the record, my designs still make sense to me. Amy has form fitting gymnastic pants on account she is a gymnast. At one time Deidre liked looking sexy and teasing guys at night clubs because she wanted to get back at all men for what happened to her. Every time they went for her bait it reaffirmed "men are pigs" in her own mind. ANGI has a skintight suit because originally she was supposed to be an assassination android. Sure, I drew them to look sexy too but I don't believe I should have to answer for that anymore than the fan-girls who indulge in yaoi slash fiction or the soccer moms who get lost in kinky romance/smut novels. Is what I do voyeuristic? To an extent. But how is that "just plain wrong"??

It's impressive you have a bachelor arts degree and like Shakespeare but truth be told I'm not creating things by a rigid grading system of academic excellence. While I can admire Shakespeare for example, I never truly enjoyed many of his works. I'm not trying to be like Shakespeare and I would feel as if trying to emulate Craze or Volrath would be more of an insult to them than a tribute. They have their own distinct styles of story-telling and I seriously doubt I could do those styles "justice" by my own hand.

Of course I agree with you 100% on "balance" and "mechanics". When we're talking about boss battles,narrative pacing, and the overall difficulty curb then yes, Wine & Roses and Masters Of The Wind would be excellent sources for inspiration!


Truthfully I don't know if I will make another game though, Ryu. I want to but I feel as if I've created too many enemies in the rpgmaker community. (This started long before my one ending took a slight jab at RMN) Do you know even evil-eagles (a famous rpgmaker spriter) more or less hates my guts? lol. It's difficult to enter the sand box to play when you get nasty glares from the other children.

However,assuming I get inspired later, I will probably recruit you for an advisory role. You seem as if you've been in the trenches awhile and know your stuff when it comes to rpgmaker. It may seem as if I've been "heated" during our debating but underneath that I have nothing but respect for you!

Lastly,I'm going to work on portraying characters using more styles. Not because I'm "ashamed" but rather because a more diverse skill set makes for a better artist.

Last edited by BrokenH; 11-24-2013 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 11-29-2013, 02:03 AM   #27
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Re: Gutter-delve closet cases

Right when I thought I was free of this atrocity it pulled me back in! The latest version corrects the monster glitch in the hospital. In other words, after the boss battle on the roof the monsters no longer still appear in the hospital afterwards. It wasn't really a "game breaker" per se but I still found myself annoyed with it! As always, previous saves should be compatible.

http://www.mediafire.com/download/jz...rdelveX3.2.zip

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Old 11-30-2013, 02:57 AM   #28
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Re: Gutter-delve closet cases

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenH View Post
I realize people "react" to these things. But c'mon Ryu, they react too much. Okay,you're allowed to think differently but it's gotten so bad people call out Kojima and George RR Martin for "misogyny" just because of what occasionally is showcased in their designs or their writing. Why is everything now a witch hunt or a moral crusade? I guess it's popular to state "Creators should be held accountable for what they make" but in the realm of fiction that's a more subjective issue.
Yeah, I think the reaction at RMN is like partly legitimate concerns (why people react to similar things in the first place) mixed with meanspiritness (the outright hostility and personal attacks). You mentioned that a number of people at RMN were more fair-minded, but for those who weren't I don't know if it's general internet surliness and snark, or politics, or if some accomplished scripters and artists have developed an elitist streak from being so used to dealing with crowds thanklessly demanding and taking far more than they contribute, or what.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenH View Post
It's impressive you have a bachelor arts degree and like Shakespeare but truth be told I'm not creating things by a rigid grading system of academic excellence. While I can admire Shakespeare for example, I never truly enjoyed many of his works. I'm not trying to be like Shakespeare and I would feel as if trying to emulate Craze or Volrath would be more of an insult to them than a tribute. They have their own distinct styles of story-telling and I seriously doubt I could do those styles "justice" by my own hand.
Well yeah, I'm not saying your game has to be just like any of the things I mentioned. I brought each of them up for illustrative purposes: Shakespeare for characters that seem as if they were separate persons who are their own "free artists of themselves" (Hegel), in vivid contrast to how gratuitous fan service represents an all-too-obvious design of the artist exerted upon the characters, resulting in behavior that is less person-like and more objectifying; Master of the Wind as an example RPG Maker game that explores similar themes but creates intrigue through different kinds of villains; Craze's short games as an example of how storyline can be embedded into decent event battles instead of a lot of tedious random battles; and my background in art simply to say that I think some aspects of your drawings would rub more people in the wrong way than a lot of 90s fan service in games.

You've got some interesting things that I think work well in your game, especially the Persona-like atmosphere, the mythology, and the alternate dimension and memory viewing as a plot device. So I think it's too bad if the things that work the best have to compete with other things for attention, such as over-the-top fan art, countless random battles that are virtually pointless after you've seen the battle event text once, or some missed opportunities in the plot (e.g., villains that become less interesting and more stereotypical as the plot develops).

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Originally Posted by BrokenH View Post
Truthfully I don't know if I will make another game though, Ryu. I want to but I feel as if I've created too many enemies in the rpgmaker community. (This started long before my one ending took a slight jab at RMN) Do you know even evil-eagles (a famous rpgmaker spriter) more or less hates my guts? lol. It's difficult to enter the sand box to play when you get nasty glares from the other children.
It's definitely your decision. Presentation is everything in making a sale, or so the thought goes, so if you made another game without "racy" fan art at the forefront and with some of the new things you're considering, I wonder if you could get a second chance? I don't know what the long-term memory is like at RMN and I don't know how evileagles got to hating your guts. Attitude also goes a long way. I feel like our discussions here have been calm and polite enough, even though we're covered some controversial subjects, but it sounds like there's been a lot of drama over at RMN. If you reacted defensively to accusatory tones over at RMN it really just adds fuel to the fire and there's no mystery as to how that can create "enemies," but if you handle these things in a less heated way then your enemies may to start see you differently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenH View Post
Right when I thought I was free of this atrocity it pulled me back in! The latest version corrects the monster glitch in the hospital. In other words, after the boss battle on the roof the monsters no longer still appear in the hospital afterwards. It wasn't really a "game breaker" per se but I still found myself annoyed with it! As always, previous saves should be compatible.
Would players recognize this as a glitch, though? I may not be remembering it correctly, but doesn't the hospital become your party's HQ and safe haven like very, very soon after that boss battle?

In my playthrough I encountered two things that I took as minor glitches, none of which was game breaking:
1) In the dungeon where you can encounter most or all of the previous random battles, at least one encounter results in Ben speaking text when he's not in your party.
2) Sometimes it seems like the background music starts on one track and then restarts on another track upon entering a room, such as in the mansion late game.

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Old 11-30-2013, 03:29 AM   #29
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Re: Gutter-delve closet cases

if you want to make more games, make them. Don't worry about the community at one site. You'll always have other release channels at all the other sites out there.
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:30 PM   #30
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Re: Gutter-delve closet cases

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Originally Posted by TheHonorableRyu View Post
Yeah, I think the reaction at RMN is like partly legitimate concerns (why people react to similar things in the first place) mixed with meanspiritness (the outright hostility and personal attacks). You mentioned that a number of people at RMN were more fair-minded, but for those who weren't I don't know if it's general internet surliness and snark, or politics, or if some accomplished scripters and artists have developed an elitist streak from being so used to dealing with crowds thanklessly demanding and taking far more than they contribute, or what.


Well yeah, I'm not saying your game has to be just like any of the things I mentioned. I brought each of them up for illustrative purposes: Shakespeare for characters that seem as if they were separate persons who are their own "free artists of themselves" (Hegel), in vivid contrast to how gratuitous fan service represents an all-too-obvious design of the artist exerted upon the characters, resulting in behavior that is less person-like and more objectifying; Master of the Wind as an example RPG Maker game that explores similar themes but creates intrigue through different kinds of villains; Craze's short games as an example of how storyline can be embedded into decent event battles instead of a lot of tedious random battles; and my background in art simply to say that I think some aspects of your drawings would rub more people in the wrong way than a lot of 90s fan service in games.

You've got some interesting things that I think work well in your game, especially the Persona-like atmosphere, the mythology, and the alternate dimension and memory viewing as a plot device. So I think it's too bad if the things that work the best have to compete with other things for attention, such as over-the-top fan art, countless random battles that are virtually pointless after you've seen the battle event text once, or some missed opportunities in the plot (e.g., villains that become less interesting and more stereotypical as the plot develops).


It's definitely your decision. Presentation is everything in making a sale, or so the thought goes, so if you made another game without "racy" fan art at the forefront and with some of the new things you're considering, I wonder if you could get a second chance? I don't know what the long-term memory is like at RMN and I don't know how evileagles got to hating your guts. Attitude also goes a long way. I feel like our discussions here have been calm and polite enough, even though we're covered some controversial subjects, but it sounds like there's been a lot of drama over at RMN. If you reacted defensively to accusatory tones over at RMN it really just adds fuel to the fire and there's no mystery as to how that can create "enemies," but if you handle these things in a less heated way then your enemies may to start see you differently.


Would players recognize this as a glitch, though? I may not be remembering it correctly, but doesn't the hospital become your party's HQ and safe haven like very, very soon after that boss battle?

In my playthrough I encountered two things that I took as minor glitches, none of which was game breaking:
1) In the dungeon where you can encounter most or all of the previous random battles, at least one encounter results in Ben speaking text when he's not in your party.
2) Sometimes it seems like the background music starts on one track and then restarts on another track upon entering a room, such as in the mansion late game.
I'll check out the glitch dealing with Ben speaking when he's not suppose to be in the party. Glad you caught that!

As for the music transition glitch it's because the mansion map has one native BGM but later in the game it's over-layed with another BGM. I think why it plays the original BGM a split second before handing over the reigns. Can it be fixed as well? Perhaps, I'm not quite as sure with that one though.

"if you want to make more games, make them. Don't worry about the community at one site. You'll always have other release channels at all the other sites out there."

I think eventually I will,Valk! My initial melancholy was over RMN but since then I've met nice people here and also posted my game at Game-jolt.

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Old 12-01-2013, 12:59 AM   #31
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Re: Gutter-delve closet cases

Thanks to hawk eyed Ryu,a few eras should be remedied! First amongst the fixes is a couple of enemy encounters in which Ben talks yet should not be in the party at that time. Now those encounters have different dialogue after certain events happen.

A few other additions were added and they are as follows

1. Music should transition more smoothly in the mansion. ("Should" being the key word!)

2. The television in the family lounge room of the O'Sheely manor now has an important story event but it has to be accessed at the proper time to view it.

3. Tim now has an additional dialogue tree pertaining more to Liam's "past life" as well as Avanguard lore.

You can download it below and I'll also be replacing the link on the first page with this most current version. All saves are compatible!

http://www.mediafire.com/download/g1...rdelveX3.4.zip

Last edited by BrokenH; 12-08-2013 at 02:36 AM.
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