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Old 2014-04-11, 16:57   Link #781
Renall
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The main problems with the original project, as I see it:
  • Too Complex & Unfocused: The time system would've been a mess and controlling any sort of coherent narrative without artificially handicapping the player would've meant it didn't meet the desired freedom of it. If you can get anywhere and do anything, up to and including never having Erika meet another human being on the island, how do you account for all that other stuff that's happening? Which means...
  • Not Enough Narrative Coherency: I like what I do to have themes and purposes and a storyline, and there was no way to really guarantee that actually happening. This worked to the detriment of the overall plan, which was to have a fairly standard mystery. Which means...
  • It Was Too Easy: When you have more or less complete investigative freedom it's incredibly trivial to figure out whodunnit. A player could basically ignore finding out the answers but if they bothered seeking them the narrative wasn't complex enough or the setup for things elaborate enough to permit anything truly perplexing. Additionally, this being a bog-standard mystery, everyone would've kinda just reverted to their archetypes, which is a problem because it leads to...
  • Unengaging Characterization: I mean, I like the characters in Umineko, especially the family. I do. But you get 4 episodes to see how they behave in a normal murder-mystery situation already. You can certainly try to flesh out people who are neglected a bit (and I did), but since so many characters would be moving around and doing different stuff it wouldn't always be the case that the player would even interact with them, so a lot of that could end up missed entirely. The whole mystery angle only works in its more simplified form past Legend because of the magic and meta narratives, which is a problem because...
  • No Magic/Meta Narrative: The goal was to be pretty down-to-earth and limit Erika's efforts to the board. That sounds neat and all but Erika as a character is all about meta-knowledge, meta-grudges, and dragging a lot of her out-of-gameboard personality and desire into the gameboard. You can't do that easily when you don't have any of those things. Plus the magic/meta characters are quirky and fun, which can add some levity to the board (think about how much more fun ep4 gets once Kinzo shows up and declares himself a wizard). I could forgive this if it was funny, but...
  • It Wasn't Funny: Self-explanatory really. The whole point of writing Erika into anything is that she's a fun, offbeat, sometimes-villainous wild card who is a ripe ground for comedic sociopathy and witty exchanges. As nothing more than a player avatar, she's as boring as anyone. I tried to bring out the humor but having to account for nearly every possibility made it implausible. I mean, how funny is Erika dicking around for 48 hours not talking to anyone? I thought I could manage it but I don't think anyone really can. It's especially difficult to make puzzles funny unless logic can be twisted a bit, and without magic/meta scenes it's very difficult to do that without violating the suspension of disbelief.
I came up with a number of ways to fix this:
  • An act structure adds coherency and allows for the development of an overall narrative, and allows Erika's personality to stand out by having her direct the player through her own goals with the player helping rather than just saying "OK, here I am" and letting the player do whatever they wanted with her, even if it's something Erika wouldn't probably do.
  • Altering the setting resets things for both Erika and the player. Assumptions based on canon are not necessarily correct, but their relationships to canon still matter so familiarity is not punished by saying "Well it's Rokkenjima but [random thing] has been arbitrarily altered." A new setting means new rules and everyone can go into it understanding that.
  • The characters are stronger in light of both of these things because I'm not constrained to writing them as they have already been written about multiple times. The act structure also channels Erika through dialogue with certain people, allowing both her and they to be better realized.
  • There's now a meta/magic narrative. In fact, at the moment it's basically half the structure of the game design, and lets me do a lot of wacky or experimental or stuff and have offbeat puzzles that would make no sense in a "realistic" context, while still having them relate to the overall story.
  • It's already much, much funnier than it was, and Erika is much more comfortable to write for in this context. There were a few vaguely chuckle-worthy bits in the stuff I'd worked on before and I just wasn't feeling it. I've managed to come up with what I think are a number of much better reversals, insult exchanges, and intentionally comedic descriptions of things. More to the point, they're everywhere rather than just cropping up in rare moments of dialogue or the occasional aside scene.
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Old 2014-04-12, 01:00   Link #782
AuraTwilight
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To give an idea of how much funnier this is, I have Renall on record as saying that this project made him actually like Zepar and Furfur, instead of hating them as useless dregs of filler.
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Old 2014-04-13, 14:14   Link #783
Captain Bluebeard
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Oh, thanks a lot for the info about the new project. This one also looks very interesting (actually it looks more interesting than the previous concept). I hope it works out well. Ganbatte~

Quote:
Originally Posted by AuraTwilight View Post
To give an idea of how much funnier this is, I have Renall on record as saying that this project made him actually like Zepar and Furfur, instead of hating them as useless dregs of filler.
I always thought Zepar and Furfur were a poorly executed good idea. The notion of two characters that act as though they are actors in a play and seem to care little about the plot and the characters' struggles is pretty interesting... but when it comes to implementation it is sorely problematic.

This is interesting though, it makes me curious as to how they may have been used....
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Old 2014-04-17, 10:45   Link #784
Renall
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Wonder no more, then! I've managed to frantically produce the first arcs of the story in an attempt to see how viable it would be conceptually. There's still a lot of game design elements that need fixing (and a typo or two), so I wouldn't take this as definitive evidence of anything. Then again it's 1/4 the length of the thing I already just did so maybe I will have it in me to finish it. Or maybe I won't and everything will remain shrouded in mystery (just tell yourself Gohda did it, that's always the right answer).

Spoilers for pretty much all of Umineko proper, but this has no connection whatsoever to Redaction so it's pretty safe in that respect. And actually, the connection to the rest of Umineko is... well, you'll see.
Spoiler:
As this is actually intended to be a game, the video format is largely unworkable and I wouldn't expect to see more of it in that incarnation. It only happens to work due to the gradual introduction of interactivity. Just kind of an attempt to gauge the viability of the idea. I'd be lying if I didn't say I think it's got a lot more potential than the original idea, and it's more fun to make as well.
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This story is a redacted confession.

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Old 2014-04-18, 13:36   Link #785
battle22
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I'm on 29:06, very interesting so far, haha.

Edit: Finished. I love it and can't wait for more. I laughed everytime Kaneko mentioned her mother and a line of hers. I guess she is the child of Ikkuko and Battler? Oh and, why didn't you change the color of Rosa's hair?

Anyway good stuff, you really should finish this. Now that you have drawn me into it, I won't forgive you if you give up!
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Last edited by battle22; 2014-04-18 at 14:18.
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Old 2014-04-18, 15:36   Link #786
VonDoom
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Veeeery interesting, Renall! Especially loved the interactions between Kaneko and Erika (and the shameless antics of the latter). I wonder when, if and how the meta layer will show up again

Definitely looking forward to a continuation! Don't you dare abandon it. :P Hopefully we'll see more of this fragment's Maria and Ange soon, too.
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Old 2014-04-18, 18:54   Link #787
Renall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by battle22 View Post
Oh and, why didn't you change the color of Rosa's hair?
But I did!
Spoiler:
Quote:
Originally Posted by VonDoom View Post
I wonder when, if and how the meta layer will show up again.
You might've noticed that there's a parallel act structure. They alternate, so the next sequence would be a meta-sequence. It will also be interactive, the first one wasn't because it was basically a story intro. Adventure game logic may not serve you well there... or it may serve you better, depending on what kinds of adventure games you're used to.
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I submit that a murder was committed in 1996.
This murder was a "copycat" crime inspired by our tales of 1986.
This story is a redacted confession.

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Old 2014-04-19, 00:27   Link #788
VonDoom
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Well, since Erika is involved, I can only imagine 'try everything, no matter how absurd' would at least be the most sensible approach according to her. Mileage may vary.

Hmm, I actually hadn't noticed the structure, probably because the Kinzo? encounter was fairly abstract in itself - not that confusion is a bad thing at this point, especially considering the state of our protagonist. Good to hear, though!
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Old 2014-04-30, 13:59   Link #789
GoldenLand
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I finally finished reading the TIPs for Redaction, and I have to say that (as expected) they were very good and that I found them a nice way to end the fanfic.

Spoiler for Redaction TIPS ending spoilers:
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Old 2014-05-04, 02:14   Link #790
Renall
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Well, I don't know about end. There is technically one more gap that needs to be filled (TIP #2 takes place roughly between the Coffee Break and ????, #3 was supposed to cover how the Fragments were actually retrieved and takes place before the genre battle). But I don't know if I'll ever get around to it, so this isn't the worst place to stop either really.

I'm very much engaged with the current project. Messing around with this chapter (affectionately nicknamed Operation Bananarama) has allowed for some real silliness since it's meta... and really, really meta at that. Yet I find myself eager to get back to the other side because I like the dynamic with Erika having a Watson.
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Redaction of the Golden Witch
I submit that a murder was committed in 1996.
This murder was a "copycat" crime inspired by our tales of 1986.
This story is a redacted confession.

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Battler Solves The Logic Error
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Old 2014-05-06, 20:42   Link #791
GoldenLand
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Well, if there might be more, that's great! I'll certainly read it if you do write it.

The Erika thing looks good. Erika's got a lot of potential for fanworks. I've yet to watch the Erika reboot project video, though I'll be sure to comment on it when I do. Been saving it up until after watching the Redaction TIPs.
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Old 2014-06-07, 03:27   Link #792
GoldenLand
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And having read the untitled Erika reboot video so far, I liked it a lot! I hope there'll be more of it.

Spoiler for the video:
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Old 2014-07-17, 02:05   Link #793
linkhyrule5
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Reading through the introductory Erika reboot video, and responses:

A) Gloriously hilarious. "A regular Ushiromiya family reunion" in particular is hilarious.
B) Poor Sakutarou. He must be so sad that Maria rejected him. Oh wait, no he won't, because he's extra-perma-dead now. You monster!
C) Watching Erika horribly embarrass herself like fifty times before she realized that yes, these are actually the Ushiromiya survivors is hilarious.
D) Totally-not-Ikuko/Featherine is a terrible mother. (And I wonder who the father is? Timeline's all wrong for it to be Battler/Touya...
E) "Progeny: Are you well?" Also, searching Hachijou's desk before opening her own luggage. Man, Erika is a terrible roommate (very surprising, I'm sure.)
F) "My parents must have been very upset with me in this Fragment. Can't imagine why."

And moving on to "the next morning" - it strikes me that Maria is actually one of the very few people who could come to the correct conclusion (Erika is a Witch from the past who witnessed scenes from Rokkenjima.) Of course, that would require her to start believing in Beatrice again, but hey! It could happen!

... it's more likely from her than anyone else in the story, anyway :P.

Last edited by linkhyrule5; 2014-07-17 at 03:18.
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Old 2014-07-17, 13:40   Link #794
AuraTwilight
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Quote:
D) Totally-not-Ikuko/Featherine is a terrible mother. (And I wonder who the father is? Timeline's all wrong for it to be Battler/Touya...
Ikuko is an awesome mother.

As for timeline shenanigans, well...this is a Forgery where Maria survives.

Or maybe Kaneko is a homunculus idk.
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Old 2014-07-17, 14:35   Link #795
linkhyrule5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuraTwilight View Post
Ikuko is an awesome mother.

As for timeline shenanigans, well...this is a Forgery where Maria survives.

Or maybe Kaneko is a homunculus idk.
Where does the first hypothesis come in?

And certainly, there's something being implied by Kaneko being "born" on October 6, 1986. I wonder if she's another witch self-insert - a witch born from the mystery of what happened that day.
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