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Messages - mikey

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Tea Lounge / Re: How is everyone?
« on: February 13, 2013, 07:22:45 PM »
As for me, I recently started a blog for my last game - progress on Aurora Fall is pretty much on an everyday basis, but it's always in small pieces so it may take a while until I'm done. I am fortunate that my energy to work on my VN is still there, although I'm pretty sure I will be very exhausted once I am done. But that's kind of the point anyway with one's last VN.

I also check the forum relatively frequently, though I was on vacation last week, so I only saw the messages now. It's great to hear from everyone, and it all just now reminded me of the voice chats - those were good times. Anyway, hoping everyone is doing well, it's nice to have a mini-reunion :)

Completed Visual Novels / Re: Angelic Orbs: Broken Memories
« on: May 10, 2012, 09:00:46 PM »
First, I really wanted to play AO for a long time, and a very "shallow" reason is simply that I love Vatina's art style. I'm sure I have mentioned it before, but it doesn't hurt to say again that I find the art style has a sort of beautiful simplicity to it - maybe it's the light shading, maybe it's the fine lines, but it's one of the styles that doesn't scream "manga, in-your-face!" It's more measured and very melancholic - and it's absolutely no accident I used Vatina's art for the VN that expresses "tranquility".

Second, I really enjoyed the story. I still don't have all the endings (the bad ones, mostly), but I believe I know enough of the story, not least because it all makes sense. And it's interesting, because on several occasions, I was kind of caught off guard with how the story went. On my second full playthrough with Zyra's route, early in, I "gave up" on a sort of instinctive predicting and speculation that often happens when I (or other people, I assume) read a story with an intertwined plot, and just let it all happen. It was really nice, and I think this is why Zyra's route is my hands down favorite. My alter ego "trusted" her, and so I am kind of looking at the whole backstory with the bias on how she perceives it.

I don't really know whether a lengthy pause from VNs has done me so well, or whether it's just that I have gotten good in picking the ones I know I will like *and* play them when I feel like I will enjoy them the most - sometimes even waiting for years. But I thoroughly enjoyed the time, and on many occasions while I played, I stopped and thought about what I was doing - thinking about some alternative lines, imaging the CGs were animated, or just concentrating so much, that I "imagined over" some of blurred backgrounds, replacing them with other images I constructed in my mind.

You could see at least that latter thing as complaining about backgrounds that don't quite go well with the other art (which they don't), but I was so thrilled to have my imagination sparked by a VN, that I actually think that's a good thing. When I pause to think about what I would have said as Kevin, or when I re-imagine BGs to look like drawn CGs, and when I visualize the story like a comic, it's hard for me to know whether explanation-heavy dialogues and/or filtered photos were in fact a "drawback", because who knows - it's been often the case that I have played VNs with no apparent shortcomings, and they left nothing for my mind to do.

And I know that for me, as the creator, I tend to think differently about games which were released years before. Perhaps for the first few months, it's interesting to hear a bit of the negative critique, but after a certain time, the game is less something you'd like to share and discuss anymore, than it is something you just hope will bring some enjoyment to others, and to you it's more a memory than anything else. And it works, at least for me, as a player as well. In other words, I think at this time, it doesn't make any sense to "play with a review in mind" (though arguably that's never a good idea), because almost 3 years after its release there is no benefit to anyone in any critique - which means I didn't even need to supress these "instincts".

It's this confluence of all those factors that made AO:BM have the effect that it did. I loved the time spent with it, and I even found my "home" path, that which I will remember most fondly. It's wonderful.

Completed Visual Novels / Re: 'Of Love and You' Complete
« on: May 10, 2012, 08:34:49 PM »
My first VN that I played in 2012, in fact.

That actually makes me silly happy to hear, so thanks! I'm happy you enjoyed it.

Actually, upon doing some research and writing about AO:BM, I realized today I have played two VNs in January, though none of them was in English (and they don't have English versions), meaning they don't originate from the usual oelvn communities/forums - which is perhaps why they slipped my mind and OLAY "felt" like something I haven't really done for a long time... Anyway, it's a silly thing, but I had to post immediately, to have a clear conscience.  :)

Completed Visual Novels / Re: 'Of Love and You' Complete
« on: April 16, 2012, 04:03:02 PM »
I find that people often like to talk about love without the specificity it actually needs - not because they don't understand that parental "love" is something different to romantic love, or love for your work, or love for a family member - but because it feels more "human" to talk about love as a very general concept, because a lot of people's hopes and beliefs (especially the hope or belief that there is something deep in their existence) can be included in that term - the more general, the more it can potentially include. This goes especially for "true love", where I feel the feelings are distilled and separated from the imperfections / impurities of the humans that are the object of that love and without whom it could not exist - creating a paradox that is nevertheless somehow ignored. Again, in my opinion, because people put their hopes and beliefs in the term "love".

With this in mind, I still can't really decide whether the "couple" in the story is in love, whether they are on their way, or whether it's just friendship. It's not because there is too little information, it's because the situations and especially conversations seem to be so central to the story, that the relationship of the people is almost secondary. It's as if they enjoyed talking to each other, rather than being terribly interested in a definition of what it is they have between them. I guess what I felt from it is that their feelings are not really growing in intensity (at least not from the part of their lives the story portrayed), but just "exist" in their original way.

So while lovers' love grows with time, their "love" appears to stay the same, and because of that, the romantic moments are almost "not romantic", because that heightened sense of awareness of the other person that happens in those situations seems to arrive much slower for them - it always felt romantic only at the very end of the situations, and I feel that - if I had to describe them - they are enjoying one another's personalities and conversations, and the romance between them is resulting from those conversations, rather than from their feelings (to one another).

In any case, I enjoyed it a lot. My first VN that I played in 2012, in fact.

Tea Lounge / Re: Accessibility of VNs in the future
« on: April 01, 2012, 05:44:57 AM »
After reviving my blog ...
Uff, and that after I have painstakingly put together the pages from cached google searches :) I thought it was gone for good. Anyway, it's good to see it back.

As for the let's plays - I guess there will have to be a lossless basic version of the video though, so that it can then be re-coded again and again. You can see a lot of jpg-style artifacts in your youtube video, but SYTYWTMAVN is still a good example of how that can work, because the font is high contrast and readable nicely. I do think this is a good approach for a lot of your other works, not least because they are linear. The 480p version I have is good enough, but it kind of makes me want a bit more crispness, like the way anime is encoded for example. Anyway, I will download them all :)

I'm afraid that for some (not all) of my other vns the font won't survive such compression. But it's something I'll look at in parallel to the screenshot project, the value of having or being able to make videos is really high as you said with reaching a new audience. There is also the problem of multiple paths, but because when making the screenshots I am also making full walkthroughs and unlocks, it will be easier to make the alternative segments that way, because I will have done the segmenting work for the screenshots.

Anyway, do post the links and any new videos on your page!

Tea Lounge / Re: Accessibility of VNs in the future
« on: February 19, 2012, 09:43:37 AM »
So I have released screenshot versions of The Scaglietti and One Million Kisses, and I'm quite happy with the result.

OMK (38 MB) : http://www.mediafire.com/?h2z0k353241jkkz
The Scaglietti (194 MB):  http://www.mediafire.com/?sr3wbz44cc1am7g

I was thinking that these SSV are - as far as the file-aspect is concerned - more in the realm of comic books in their structure - "albums" of pictures much like comic book volumes, maybe in zip format or so. So any comic book reader should be able to make heads and tails of this, in many cases even simple picture viewers should be enough.

Tea Lounge / Re: Accessibility of VNs in the future
« on: February 15, 2012, 01:58:18 PM »
Well, is preservation dependent on the value to others?

I'm asking because over the weekend I am planning on posting another article on my blog, this time about the ambition for not just Aurora Fall, but also the Original 22, and part of the very long post is a part where I briefly touch on this subject (and I do plan on having more or less a separate blog post just about the passage of time and art).

But already in this upcoming post I write that the reactions to my games (from players), especially the positive ones and ones which claimed that what I have done has somehow either changed or influenced them - all of those reactions, that brief acclaim and so on have made me happy as a person, but have not become a source of my self-worth as an artist.

So I argue that artistic purpose is not dependent on people's reactions. In other words, the fact that you don't feel like your works have made any difference, or that with time even the difference they have made is forgotten or obsolete is not relevant for the fact that it has the (moral) right to exist (and preserved) as a work of art.

Anyway, I don’t know what can be changed about your works becoming less and less important to you, and respecting you I don’t know whether I even should try to change your mind about that. I think that they are really nicely displayed on your site now, and can sit there and wait for people who are interested. I definitely do not see an artist or even his fans being obliged to make sure his works are up to date / accessible, but then, often I come across very old games for example, which do not work, and even though it may be just a silly platformer that I’d throw away after a few minutes, I always find it a shame that I don’t have a way of seeing them.

Tea Lounge / Re: Accessibility of VNs in the future
« on: February 14, 2012, 02:26:28 PM »
I am somehow more and more intrigued by the idea of a "screenshot version" of a VN. So after those tests mentioned earlier, I fully transformed one of my games, "The Scaglietti" to sets of screenshots and some pointers telling you which set to look at after which choice. Of course, this increased the file size of the thing - while the orginal version was roughly 8 MB, the screenshot version is 200 MB. In theory I could have gone for JPGs with some loss in quality, but I think that would defeat the purpose.

Now, I do realize that if I made every one of my VNs into such a sreenshot version, the total size of all my games which is now roughly 700 MB would multiply as well, probably leaving me with 5 - 7 GB of data for everything - already taking into account that screenshots for low-color games take up less space, so for example, the entirety of Gakuen Redux would come to around 400 MB (already including a high quality soundtrack), even though the game is several times longer than The Scaglietti and yet it's just twice as much in screenshot file size. So I assume things could balance out at around that 5 - 7 GB mark.

It is quite a lot, but then again, maybe it actually isn't, because even on my first-generation smartphone with 16 GB memory card I am able to comfortably accomodate and view-play all of the games.

And generally, I just think it's a really interesting way of releasing the games in a format that is more permanent than having to re-code and port the games to new engines. Of course, I lose a lot of the advantages of computer programs - the visual effects, transitions, timed events and in the case of Idol/TYPE, a whole gameplay concept. But I wouldn't know how to port that game into other environments anyway. I also lose music and its timing, and I also lose saving and easter eggs (though I can reveal them in pictures).

But still, the fact that I can now go through The Scaglietti on pretty much any platform I can plug a storage medium into (and even if that's not possible like in the iDevices, it's still possible to sync pictures in folders or "Albums"), and even go through the files through my Playstation, or even directly on my TV, or in a comic book reader app a phone, is really great. It's a bit stone-age, but it's the lowest common denominator for every computer, so in terms of compatibility I merely need to think about a picture format and possibly organizing the pictures into identifiable sets (for paths and sequences). And it's not entirely crazy, because a lot of people are recording their "playthroughs" of games and putting them on Youtube, even with "alternatives". Often you can see the entire game being played - and the more linear the game is, the closer you can preserve the feeling one gets when he plays it.

And I'm not saying that this is something that's the best solution (as I said it throws away all the advantages of the VN format), but as today marks exactly 11 years since I started the ATP page which then became ATP Projects, I am looking at the oldest releases (which are 8 years old) and feeling that to make them relevant, sooner or later I will have to put them into a modern format, which I will then have to update again and with the rapid development of new operating systems or just having new versions released, update them again and again. And surely, some of the atmosphere of the original will always go away, with every re-coding, especially when moving to a different screen format or resolution. I would say that even moving to ren'py in general, if your VN has been in a different engine, constitutes a big change in the atmosphere. Also, I estimate that the effort needed to convert my earlier games to renpy would be significantly bigger than to make screenshot versions of them.

I know it's kind of wasteful to do such a thing, but I really do like it, because I know from experience that the oldest files I have that are still "working" are my photos. And they do work, flawlessly. And perhaps music, even though I'd have to convert from a few pre-mp3 exotic formats. Plain text files work, but often the encoding isn't right, or special characters don't display correctly. Hard line breaks were common in the old days, so it's a hassle, though in theory with a bit of search & replace plain text files can be fixed. Formatted text that's not MS Office is also barely usable, and I'd need to hunt down converters, old PDFs don't open properly, so really - it's pretty much only the images that have stood the test of time. Everything else needs to be kept updated and often can't be modernized easily.

The reason I am mentioning it is that when I go through my old files, I almost exclusively open those which I *can* open. And it's interesting to think that one day when I will be holding my Windows 9 palmsized tablet, I will pop in a flash card with my backups and see the Scaglietti.exe file which I never found time to update to the newest renpy version and which now returns an error when I try to run it. Do I try to type "renpy" into my browser and try to see if there is a renpy for Win9? Install that, look for source files which I need to unpack, then match the script to the new script format, copy all the graphics, and so on, until I will be able to play? Or do I just browse through the photos in Album 1, the last photo telling me to now take a look at Album 2, and from that, based on my choice, look at Album 5? Something tells me, the latter I would do, while if I only had the old exe file, it would probably be very frustrating, provided my renpy skills wouldn't have faded by then, at which point the old exe file would pretty much be useless. What I would end up doing would be, just to get a glimpse of the atmosphere, look at the source files, browse the backgrounds and play some music (in the cases when my games have music), and perhaps google a screenshot or two.

And the thing is, I see my future much more like that example where I am left with an obsolete format, than that I continue to upgrade all my games as times and formats change. This is why this whole idea appeals to me so much.

Tea Lounge / Accessibility of VNs in the future
« on: February 12, 2012, 05:33:10 PM »
So recently I have been trying out things to see how I could go about the "accessibility" of the VNs I have created, in terms of making them readable on current and future software systems. It's not really a new topic for me, I have been thinking about it for quite some time now, sort of having it in the back of my head as a project after Auora Fall is released, and basically, I have thought of a few approaches:

1. Convert
The first approach I thought of was to convert the old-system VNs to renpy, and then gradually also convert games with the oldest versions of renpy to some of the later ones. Basically, this approach means to re-code the games every once in a while when their original platform becomes obsolete.

2. Provide an emulated system
This would be an alternative to the "ports", where I would not try to change the game, just to provide an environment where it could be played as it once was.

3. Release source.
The other approach I thought of was just to release all the source files in their original format, not obfuscated - pictures, sprites, music and text, along with documentation of how things are supposed to work, and if applicable, the program source code (e.g. script.rpy), in essence providing a package from which the game or the idea can be recreated. Of course the contributors of original assets would need to agree to the de-obfuscation.

So those were my two / three approaches - either "port" the games (alternatively emulate them), or release their sources. None of these is exactly a 1:1 experience, although the emulation is quite close. But now, I am thinking quite seriously about something else.

The idea was to create screenshots, one by one as if one would play the game. Then for perhaps the main path as the default sequence, and put the screenshots from other paths into separate folders or name them differently, so that any path can be created using an accompanying text document. In essence, make screenshots of everything and annotate them so that any path or experience can be recreated. Include music as an extra, too. And package.

Now, that all felt a bit barbarian to me when it first popped into my head, it's almost like an "analog" way of doing things when we have means of converting and transferring things to other formats, and they are often VNs with choices, so a lot of the point of having multiple choices will go away. But in fact I tried it, making full screenshot galleries from a simple game, and it kind of does convey the atmosphere very well. I will lose a lot of the software-specific elements, such as direct player choices and integration with music, and the actual full "snapshot" of all the screens will produce quite big files (so let's say an originally 10 MB game will translate into 150 MB), but I kind of like the simplicity of it all. I also like the fact that images are so universal, any device or operating system can display them easily.

So anyway, I just thought I'd share this - and ask whether you've also thought about some long-term way of keeping the VNs you care about available and the advantages and drawbacks of different approaches whatever they may be - I guess generally you want to convey the point of your games in as much an authentic way as possible, but also balance that with an approach or format that needs as little adapting and re-coding as possible.

Tea Lounge / Re: The last visual novel
« on: January 01, 2012, 10:14:36 AM »
This has been a long-time coming, but I finally found a good setup for a "blog". Enjoy!

Development Discussion / Re: A new *short* VN from me, possibly...
« on: December 23, 2011, 12:25:17 PM »
I would probably dwell more on the implications of the writing on the plane a bit longer, but that's me I guess. As for the first part, I don't know if this was the aim, but the information about the other boys, their personalities and the routines / games all three played I think served more to invoke the melancholy of the childhood times - in fact I would say that it was more of a memory of a childhood summer than the philosophical / psychological point that came across.

That said, I also had one story that I once destroyed (back then, things were written on paper), and then tried to recapture its spirit by rewriting it. More than anything plot-related I wanted to recapture the atmosphere - sort of an attempt to build again what I felt I lost by destroying the manuscript. So the postscript reminded me of all this - it was my first large text and I derived a lot of inspiration from it in the future. Perhaps even because it was gone and I could not see it again - one then makes it into a symbol of the times when there was no audience to write for, even though with more recent works I was able to shake the doubts that I have changed for the worse, as a writer, and things aren't as pure as they once have been. But that's a different discussion I guess.

One technical detail: it seems to be a long text to overlook especially since I would examine the plane very carefully if I ever got my hands on it - Perhaps it the message could be hidden somehow (like a piece of paper inside the plane's secret compartment (the YF-12A version had, I believe a missile bay).

Community Discussion / Re: Creators' Book
« on: September 08, 2011, 09:16:31 AM »
One of the reasons I was so cautious about suggesting this was that I think that while on the face of it it looks fun and relatively easy, in reality it's quite a tough proposal.

As number473 mentioned, my suggestion was to have one (longer) article about a topic, rather than multiple opinions or takes on the matter. Of course, both approaches have their positives, but I am thinking that we have done a lot of the "one topic - multiple takes" through the now-closed BTW. This doesn't mean that the one long article (i.e. chapter in the book) can't have those multiple opinions or views incorporated - on the contrary, we should strive to bring every possible aspect into the analysis. So while I may elaborate on the various aspects of freeware philosophy regarding artistic freedom, another contributor can - in that same text - insert aspects pertaining to perceived worth of free things. Others can contribute to the chapter by examining the term and what it may refer to - just as an example, a "commercial vs. freeware" definition or categorizing may take into account:

- cost for player: download / play / read for free or pay
- free game, made by people who got paid by the game creator
- free game with some kind of ad support or promotion (e.g. Ronald McDonald's Quest)
- free game, but either pay for subsequent installments or it's intended to showcase the studio in hopes of getting sales on "big" titles
- commercial game, but made by people who didn't receive pay (i.e. hobby makers selling a game once done)
- third-party published ("large" company, single person / independent company that's different to the maker)
- artistic / university projects which are free, but may also act as prestige or making the university visible
- free game, remake is paid, or other platform release is free

Already in this list you can see that it's never a simple discussion "commercial vs. free", even though it is often phrased like this. It is also never truly a discussion of "artistic integrity" vs "selling out", although it is also often portrayed as such.

And this is what I am after when proposing this "book". In article / blog form, I think that varied opinions, even one-sided opinions (if backed by a theory or approach) are fine, and allow people to choose between various approaches, e.g. "identifying" with a certain author, or his general stance and principles, essentially looking for "what fits".

Here, I am proposing something more like an analysis, where we won't really have any final statement (though we can have some findings and cite psychological principles), but convey the real scope of the discussion, so that people can be made aware of the multitude of factors coming into play. Of course to remain sane, you will have to choose some path, but I found that the more you are aware of the complexity of the issue, the more likely you are to discuss it respectfully and understand what is discussed.

Quote from: Hime
Do you have any ideas about our possible schedule? One possible reason not to do this as an event is also that this sounds like a long-term effort to me, rather than a more short-term/temporary "event".
Regarding not having this an event - it's fine with me, although I think that if I would be engaged with this project, I would likely not have time to do an event in addition. Your point is actually very valid, it does make sense not to treat it as an event if it's a longer-term effort stretching beyond the end of 2011. I don't think I can suggest a schedule though, other than just "start and see". I can't really imagine this not going well into 2012, perhaps until spring 2012. It depends on the scale we decide to do.

Quote from: number473
If I may suggest an alternative to the breakdown, another possibility would be to split the book into sections focusing on specific skills/tasks involved in vn creation, i.e. art, writing, programming, story design/concepts, and so on.
As far as the general outline is concerned, what you suggest could probably have its of sub-section called "practical skills", which would be the more practical side of the book. I would really like to focus on the philosophical / psychological aspects, so I would probably not be so active in the "skills" part. It is a potentially large segment of the book, though - in a more abstract way I would say that in "[Design and Expression]" we would talk about "the role of characters in storytelling", whereas in that proposed segment "[Practical skills]" it would be more about "character archetypes, character design, writing styles with pros and cons,..." and so on. Again, I think this is a potentially huge task, collecting everything relevant on the given topics from a practical point of view, so we'd just have to keep that in mind. I have rearranged the proposed segment / chapter list:

[Segment]: Chapter

- [Personal involvement]: Vision / Satisfaction / Self-expression / Sentimental value
- [Design and Expression]: Characters / Plot / Storytelling / Art / Visuals / Music

- [Production & Team]: Commercial / Free / Money / Single person / Team

- [Perception]: Critique / Opinions / Audience
- [Success & Metrics]: Popularity / Word Count / Art quality / Downloads / Acclaim / Fan works

- [Motivation]: Procrastination / Writer's block / Failed projects
- [Practical skills]: art, writing, programming, story design/concepts

Quote from: number473
With regards to crediting this is my proposal (which is based on my own preconceived notions without any additional research):
The names of the overall editors go on the front cover, since they're the ones responsible for the book overall.
Somewhere near the front is a page crediting everyone.
Section headings are followed by the name of the editor and a list of contributors (probably only feasible if the section heading is on a page of its own).
Each chapter has a by line for the person that wrote it.
Any other sources are credited as appropriate and listed in a bibliography.
This sounds good to me. I personally don't really care about the crediting that much (or at least I feel like I don't care), but it's important to me that everyone will feel like their contribution has been credited sufficiently i.e. that people feel comfortable contributing their most thoughtful ideas.

Thank you for playing and the nice comments - and I hope this will explain all the questions:

My goal is always to express the "theme". In Umeda Sky's case this theme was "luck", and in the story this manifests in the last part, when Keiji visits La Turbie and daydreams about his "return" and within those daydreams he also meets Elissa by chance.

At the beginning, Keiji raises his hopes for the vacation, hoping that a special moment which will somehow change him will come, along with admitting an undefined source of worry that is not related to his love life. In his daydreams, he lets Elissa have a similar "problem", something that bothers her about her existence, but that she can't formulate or get a grasp on, hoping to see whether his imagination he would lead him to understand what his worries may be. He deliberately doesn't mirror the same feelings as he has, on Elissa, just the same external effects.

In order for this to work, and make his daydreams "realistic", he overcomes his inhibitions and allows himself to think of the situations romantically. It is not easy, since already people are making "fun" of him by assuming he has a "dream to meet and marry a pretty French girl", but he understands that the only way to change his situation is to be honest with everything - meaning admitting, if only indirectly by the culmination of his daydream at the game's end, that he in fact really did want to meet a nice girl that he would fall in love with, and who would fall in love with him.

His romantic dreams are however only a symbol of honesty, without which he couldn't have continued the story in Monaco. Here, his daydreams continue the story, he lets honest (to the point of being random) thoughts shape Elissa and her worries, specifying everything about her situation more and more, and at the amphitheater in Monaco eventually having to come up with and accept the embarrassingly stereotypical phrase "nothing lasts forever" (similarly to indirectly accepting the phrase that he dreams about a pretty girl). It is nevertheless the destructive realization that nothing she can do or create will last and thus the purpose of anything cannot be defined by time, and the implications of this uptset Keiji so much, he chooses to forget and deny that this is the source of his worry as well.

The key scene is the next day, when he rejects the theory that everything can be disintegrated, because it is making him uncomfortable, refusing to think about any consequences and instead focusing on honesty and his story with Elissa. In his daydreams he takes almost the same approach again, this time thinking about external effects of a situation that he would have "solved". And so, he imagines himself being older - the passed time, his grey hair and calmness he creates by feeling his surroundings - all symbolizing that he has "figured out" what it was that bothered him, that he has identified and eliminated the source of his discomfort.

He finds Elissa, by chance. She has bought a house in La Turbie (this is my implied explanation), because she liked the place. Keiji didn't know it, and as luck would have it, they met, after all those years. In his dreams, Elissa is older, and radiating the same kind of calmness as he is, up to the point where it's an inevitable conclusion (not just an implication, I hope), that they get together, romantically. Their meeting (and thus the beginning of their getting together) is luck, just as Keiji's change in how he daydreams about his situation is based on "luck" (when he assumed he was "lucky" and was able to figure out his problems), implying that even the question of nothing being permanent can be countered by luck - if Elissa is lucky, it's not imposssible the Umeda Sky Building will last for as long as one can imagine time.

And so, the last segment where the player is asked to walk around La Turbie for as long as he feels is right is the materialization of the dream that doesn't need to end and that you yourself need to force to end (the game by exiting, the theory of luck by the assumption of time passing endlessly). I do call the theme "luck" as a whole, but it's partially also about "coincidence", "hope" and "belief" as well, sometimes what I want to express feels as a single thing to me, but there are either more words for it, or it's partially called something else as well.

Community Discussion / Re: Creators' Book
« on: September 06, 2011, 07:14:21 AM »
Actually, I think having a chat / VC would be best, at least to agree on the basics, which we can then build on using the forum or other forms - a chat, or preferrably a skype call or something realtime will be much quicker to discuss everything and take some basic decisions, so that we have the same direction / expectations.

Community Discussion / Creators' Book
« on: August 30, 2011, 07:48:09 PM »
Thanks for the positive response to the book project! I have decided to create a separate topic for it - let me know if I can also officially call it Teacup Event #5 - I don't want to impose. In any case, it makes sense to have a separate topic on it. To introduce the project:

The idea:
Quote from: another topic
In light of the conversation in one of the topics, I had an idea, which could be controversial or even impractical given that everyone has their own views on things, and I am in fact pretty much just thinking aloud, but here it goes - what if, for the next event (Event #5), we don't make a VN, but we write, collaboratively, a philosophical book about art and creating?

The thing is, I have seen pieces of very interesting thoughts here and there, but I've always wanted to have some reference work where the typical subjects like popularity, self-expression, what-is-art, etc would be dealt with. This would give us more space to elaborate on concepts, because it's difficult to hunt down a certain topic on forums and blog posts. I would even suggest this be a wiki-style collaboration, with revisions coming out whenever needed, though the scope of the event would "just" be to create that first version of the "e-book". It would be perfectly OK to rehash points we've made in the past, even copy/paste parts of things we've said (some of the posts here are good candidates, as well as BTW articles), because the point would be that the contributors collect all their relevant views on things into this one book.

As for the content, I would suggest not doing a collection of let's say "techniques for beating procrastination", but instead having something like "what is procrastination and how does it affect your mind", meaning writing even about the practical topics from a higher level. In this case this would be more of a psychological topic, not philosophical, but that's well within the scope, psychological angles are welcome. Therefore this book I am suggesting here now would not be a collection of "tips" or "best practices" or "how to get started", so it would not be for people who are beginning and experimenting and have not found their style yet. It would be for those who have tried creating things, they liked it, want to continue doing it, but are looking for a meaning or explanations why creating makes them feel a certain way to understand things about themselves and why they are happy doing what they do.

Also, from the same topic:

... on any given topic you can find many blog posts or forum posts of various length, and you have to read through a lot of them before you can distill the essence, so to speak. Many articles make similar points, and I believe that every topic can be more or less comprehensively portrayed, so that it combines for example 20 posts and essays on "Art" into one chapter the length of let's say 5 essays. It's still longer than any single essay, but it's structured and presents all the various ways of thinking about the topic, preferably without any significant bias.

I think a good way to approach this would be like you would some university paper, at least from the formal side. Definitions, structure etc. Also, it would be good to have an editor (or two), or even chapter-responsible people. Plus, just collecting interesting views and articles into a pool of resources would be good.

The structure:
So far, there is a chapter list (feel free to edit / shuffle):
[Segment]: Chapter

- [Personal involvement]: Vision / Satisfaction / Self-expression / Sentimental value
- [Design and Expression]: Characters / Plot / Storytelling / Art / Visuals / Music

- [Production & Team]: Commercial / Free / Money / Single person / Team
- [Motivation]: Procrastination / Writer's block / Failed projects

- [Perception]: Critique / Opinions / Audience
- [Success & Metrics]: Popularity / Word Count / Art quality / Downloads / Acclaim / Fan works

We could also agree on the inner structure of the book, meaning whether to each chapter we will have a structure as well, something like (for "Commercial"):
- Definition (what do we mean by commercial, terminology)
- Elements (creating by paying artists, games for sale, profit vs. artistic expression, etc)
- Connections (how does this topic relate to other chapters)

The name:
I guess it's better to give a title later, but if you have ideas as to how we could call the book, you are welcome to share them. "Creators' book" is not a very good name. It doesn't need to be "branded" Teacup, though we could have a random tea-inspired name for it, like "The Darjeeling Tomb" (let's not use that though :) )

The sources:

Although primarily the writing will be original, collecting existing articles and reusing already well formulated ideas is also a good idea and one of the main reasons for the project - so that theories or analyses you've put a lot of effort into don't get buried. You can post links to articles you've written that you think are suitable (or just portions of them).

Also, I would say it's a good idea to simply collect or write down miscellaneous creation-relevant topics or things "you always wanted to say", even if they don't fit into the structure, as new things can develop from them. These can be articles, "proven rules" or just "good points" you've made or come across.

The staff:
So I would say we have an idea what it is we want to do, now I think we can start looking for contributors and editors. I would like to be an editor (for the whole project), therefore I put my name in the list, and also I'd like to be an editor for a segment etc...

Editors: mikey, ?
Segment editors: mikey (Personal Involvement)
Chapter editors: ? (Word Count), ? (Storytelling), etc...

The tools:
Also, I would like to ask whether you have some ideas as to how we should do the collaboration. Via a wiki, or google docs, or some common blog? Can it be done through the forums?

The credits:
This may be a tricky one, how do we credit everyone? Is being a contributor enough, should we credit the person responsible (editor) for the chapter (though the chapter editor can just edit, he doesn't need to actually write that much, just use existing things). Or do we credit or color code each line?

My suggestion would be that we form a "circle of contributors" who will be the main authors and not take individual credit, but be credited as a whole. Then, smaller contributors can be credited individually, for quotes or other contributions.

Anyway, feel free to post your ideas or comments.

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