I'll Face Myself

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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Blizdi » Dim Juil 08, 2018 11:39 pm

I like tiag's style of trial so I'm rooting for him but I also love Ferdie's technical ability so I'm rooting for him too.

Too much of a dilemma :tigre:
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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Blizdi » Jeu Juil 12, 2018 12:51 am

Oh it's back, I hope the downtime didn't affect the judging too much and you already completed both.


(also sorry about Triple Post, but I did wait more than 48 hours for each post so I'd think it was okay)
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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Tiagofvarela » Jeu Juil 12, 2018 12:53 am

Well, I am purposefully refraining from posting in anticipation, so a triple post does not surprise me.
After this downtime, however, I feel compelled to post lest everything break once more.
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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Enthalpy » Jeu Juil 12, 2018 4:37 am

I finished Ferdie's case tonight, and I made it through the first couple of cross-examinations of Tiagofvarela's. I'm liking a lot what I've seen so far!
[D]isordered speech is not so much injury to the lips that give it forth, as to the disproportion and incoherence of things in themselves, so negligently expressed. ~ Ben Jonson

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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Blizdi » Jeu Juil 12, 2018 5:19 pm

O boy 60-65% done baby
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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Blizdi » Dim Juil 15, 2018 2:41 am

I wonder how hard Ferdie's case is if it took you over 9 days to finish tho...
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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Enthalpy » Dim Juil 15, 2018 8:42 pm

It was more that it took me a while to get started! I keep thinking life will calm down for me, but it hasn't yet. Finished Tiag's as well. I'll start writing the reviews tomorrow.
[D]isordered speech is not so much injury to the lips that give it forth, as to the disproportion and incoherence of things in themselves, so negligently expressed. ~ Ben Jonson

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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Enthalpy » Mar Juil 17, 2018 3:06 am

First, notes on review format. I'll start off with a brief statement of the premise, then a discussion of the three "special" judging criteria. The first two require little discussion, while the third gives me things to talk about. The bulk of the review will be the much more "amorphous" quality criteria, which gives me a chance to talk about whatever I feel best represents the case!

Spoiler : Review: Turnabout Bakeshop :
This case is outside Ferdielance's usual norms, and for multiple reasons. For one, there are no pigeon references that I can find. For those who don't know, when I collaborated with Ferdielance on Phantasmagoria of Betrayal, the prologue, which was originally supposed to be one of four randomly generated episodes, ballooned into a single path with a pigeon surgery minigame.

The setting is unusually down-to-earth as well: Winfred Kitaki has been shot at his bakery, Wocky is accused of the murder, and Apollo and Trucy need to defend him. A summary like that sells the game short, but I have to highlight that this game is unorthodoxly orthodox. As for why, well...

Self-Assessment
My first weakness is trial segments, and my strength is investigations.
My second weakness is traditional CEs, and my strength is gimmick puzzles.
My third weaknesss is writing stories where there is someone who deliberately kills, and my strength is coming up with accidental deaths that look like murder, or cases where nobody even really dies. This gets predictable.
My fourth weakness is maintaining a single plot thread within a single genre with reasonably consistent tone. My strength is genre-breaking.


I don't need to add much here. I've collaborated with Ferdielance on Phantasmagoria of Betrayal, helped him test All the Brooks and Soldiers, played through one of his Endless Nights games, and played through an Escape the Room game or two. This pattern fits perfectly well, and there was definitely some self-reflection in here. Check!

Directness of Practice
Again, all the marks are checked. It's a trial-only case, most of the time is traditional CEs, there is a single plot thread that sticks to the AA genre... It's difficult to evaluate whether this is a case where someone deliberately kills, as the case isn't finished, but all signs point to an actual murder.

Degree of Improvement
The overall structure resembles a traditional cross-examination based case. All the big ideas are more or less there and work together. That in itself is huge progress from where Ferdie was before the competition! That said, there is still some progress to be made.

As I've talked about at length, the normal Takumi structure has blocks of eyewitnesses. What we have is something different. The first three cross-examinations form a block of a different sort altogether. Saying more on this would spoil what I think is one of the best moments of the case. You only see the structure on hindsight, but when the realization hits, (and hit it will) it offers a sudden burst of clarity, much like the canonical cross-examinations at their best. Truly well done, here!

Ferdie is still fighting his tendency towards gimmicks, but seems to be doing quite a lot better! One "cross-examination" is actually a counter cross examination. For those who aren't familiar, a counter cross examination has you object to the cross-examination performed by the prosecution, usually of a defense witness. See Turnabout Executioner for an example. After clarifying the rules, the counter cross examination is rather simple, which made it feel gimmicky as gameplay. Yes, the counter-CE is justified in-universe, but the gimmick feel remains here. Might I suggest having a more substantial conflict between Klavier and Apollo here, perhaps with some evidence presents? My intuition says that would raise the tension and engage the player just enough to break the gimmick effect.

My instinct says that the feeling Ferdie had that he didn't quite nail the cross-examinations (mentioned when he submitted the entry) is due to not having the reliance on eyewitnesses that characterizes Takumi cases or the reliance on possibility battles that characterize Yamazaki cases. When I ask what characterizes this case, I don't have as clear of an answer. The first three CEs are their own block, as the fourth CE is a block of its own. That said, I think CE structure and organization are good things to experiment with.

I also have to commend Ferdie for realizing that he overdid the physical evidence, and for the beautiful segue from the last CE that was in the version he gave me to Apollo unraveling the case. This unravel-the-case segment, due to being so late in the game, could have used more testing, but when it's polished, I think this segment has the potential to carry the feel of the "evidence clusters" from the canon games.

Miscellaneous
Although I understand why this entry got the level of testing it did before I received it, testing would definitely have benefited the case. There were multiple minor errors that were easy to make, but also unnecessarily obscured some of the puzzles. This ranged from misleading cross-examination hints, a diagram that was difficult to interpret, and a contradictory statement being misworded in a way that made it hard to even interpret. I enjoyed the case, but these mistakes put a damper on it. I've pointed them out to Ferdielance, and I'm hoping this will be fixed in the main release.

Ferdie's comedy remains top notch. The introduction was hilarious, and what seemed like a joke in the early parts of the case became plot-relevant towards the end in a way that made it much funnier than it was the first time! (Hint: He's kind of oblivious.)

Also, Wocky is most definitely telling the truth about seeing the killer.


If anybody has specific questions, I'll add those as supplements to the review.
[D]isordered speech is not so much injury to the lips that give it forth, as to the disproportion and incoherence of things in themselves, so negligently expressed. ~ Ben Jonson

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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Blizdi » Mar Juil 17, 2018 4:59 am

Oh boy that review reminds me of Ferdie to a T. Time to see how Tiag's matches up in comparison
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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Enthalpy » Ven Juil 20, 2018 2:56 am

Spoiler : Review: Tricky Turnabout :
A man goes to the library to study mathematics. He promptly gets arrested for murdering a man in the library. Ah, too relatable. There's no investigation segment here, just a brief prologue before the trial. And what a trial it is. Our mathematician defends himself from the nefarious Prosecutor Beth - a man without qualification, an airheaded(?) idol detective, the usual lying witnesses, and the anger of the entire court as the defendant insults them without even trying.

This has Tiag's fingerprints all over it.

Self-Assessment

Ah. I have precisely the unfinished project for this competition. Think I last touched it in 2016.
In fact, not only is it an unfinished project, it showcases a more important weakness of mine: Writing a mystery. The reason I never finished it was because I realised I had no mystery halfway through. I still have no idea how the crime was committed, yet I have like three or four cross-examinations figured out. What a mess.


Unfinished projects certainly count, and I'm glad this competition inspired you to finish it!

Much like Ferdie, Tiagofvarela has done some great stuff in the past, but has tended towards gimmicky mysteries, so that counts as well!

Directness of Practice

The case is more of a mystery, and there is an answer to how the crime was committed, so I can give it that! The solution is also more "proper mystery" as well, so again, points there.

Degree of Improvement

The case starts out strong! The case against the defendant is clear by the end of the first testimony, and the contradiction in testimony two is excellently done. I'd spoil it if I talked about it beyond saying that has a great blend of subtlety and elegance. I think it would benefit from a more explicit description of events in the press conversation we need before we can present the contradiction, but I really liked this!

Things get weirder around cross-examination 2. There's some dialogue between the defense and the prosecution regarding a piece of evidence the defendant was found with and another piece the defendant wasn't found with. The conversation switches from discussing one piece to the other with no transition, and the prosecutor seems to contradict his previous account to the court in this discussion. (He previously explained how the defendant could have destroyed the evidence that wasn't found on him, but now he feels the need to explain it in a different way?) And this argument presumes a point the witness should be able to testify to, but the witness never clearly speaks on it. This leaves me disoriented before the cross-examination even starts.

The cross-examination itself leaves me confused. I don't have a clear memory of the first contradiction in the second CE, but I know I didn't find the contradiction as intended. The game either gave it to me for free, or I stumbled across it, trying to present something else. This is a real contradiction, but it's a point that would never have occurred to me. To be fair, there is a hint in the press conversation, but it's so easy to miss. The other contradiction is solid, but is obfuscated by how hard it is to construct a timeline from the witness's testimony.

The next cross-examination didn't do the case any favors, either. Without going into much detail, the process of getting through it was convoluted as-is, and the problem is compounded by difficult individual steps, and a witness who has multiple, inconsistent versions of the same testimony, all of which are unclear.

To Tiagofvarela's credit, he told me that he ran out of time to edit these sections and knew they would be rough.

The next segments didn't play well for me at the time, but looking back, they were fine themselves. The problem was a cascade effect. I was so confused during the previous cross-examinations that the puzzles that require me to recall the previous cross-examinations only confuse me further, which worsen the problem for the remaining cross-examinations.

The confusion spiral keeps growing as the case progresses. We go through multiple case-changing revelations, but the case doesn't take the time to give a clear theory from the defense, or even the prosecution! While I could keep going, I believe that would be counterproductive. Once the confusion spiral grows in for me, the case becomes very difficult for me to play.

Final Product

Tiagofvarela's usual high points shine as brightly as ever. The character's banter is great, and our defendant in particular is hilarious. I also have to give credit to the effort that went into various side-paths that the player may not ever seen.

Sadly, that wasn't enough for me this time. I can tell that the first cross-examinations were written without knowing the "big picture" of what happened. The feel I get, between the difficult contradictions and the complicated ways to progress through contradictions, is that Tiag's approach to "writing a mystery" is centered on increasing the difficulty at the expense of making sure that each step of the reasoning hangs together and that each step draws the player to putting the mystery together.

I recommend an opposite approach. Simplify, simplify, simplify! Instead of trying to learn cross-examinations on a case with as many logical moving points as this, try it on a simpler case. Two or three witnesses. Keep the crime itself limited to a single place and time. Make the individual cross-examinations less elaborate. Worry about making the facts clear rather than complicated.


Spoiler : Results :
The win goes to Ferdielance for this competition. Congratulations to both our entrants!

As this has not been a usual competition, there are no hosting rights to be awarded. Congratulations again on submitting these cases, and send me a message if you want me to clarify anything.
[D]isordered speech is not so much injury to the lips that give it forth, as to the disproportion and incoherence of things in themselves, so negligently expressed. ~ Ben Jonson

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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Ferdielance » Ven Juil 20, 2018 4:19 am

Thanks to Enth for hosting the comp, and to Tiagofvarela for testing!

Progress on finishing Turnabout Bakeshop is pretty solid, even if work stalled it for the last few days, and I hope to have more ready for testing soon.
"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Southern Corn » Ven Juil 20, 2018 4:20 am

Congrats to the winner! Can't wait to play these soon.
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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Blizdi » Ven Juil 20, 2018 7:32 am

Gratz to the winner, hope both entries have their problems fixes and/or are completed so they can release them publicly soon!
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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Tiagofvarela » Ven Juil 20, 2018 3:35 pm

Congratulations, Ferdie. From what I played and what I've heard you say about your case, it seems like the case is heading the way it seemed to be heading last I played it. As I rather liked what I saw, this is good!
If you need further betatesting, I will remain available.

As for the review for my case, Enthalpy, I'd highly appreciate if you messaged me explaining more explicitly which cross-examinations and contradictions you're referring to in your criticism, if you ever get the time. Mostly so I don't misinterpret the meaning or which one you're referring to, as I intend to work off yours and Ferdie's criticism to improve them.

Because, indeed, a week before the deadline I had to make a choice: Either I would focus on the 'finishing', or on the 'mystery'. The mystery, in this case, would entail fleshing out the problematic cross-examinations in order to ensure the trains of thought are clear. I created those cross-examinations to be difficult, but their difficulty was harder than I intended due to a number of issues: Missing assets that would clarify certain questions, certain clarifying scenes being hidden behind an obscure side-path the player is unlikely to even see, and them already being convoluted by design.
From the feedback I've received thus far I am already considering the ways in which to improve on the issues I want to fix, but if you have any more to offer, please do so.

As you can see, I focused on the 'finishing' instead. And this is where I must thank you. Were it not for this competition, I do not believe I would have ever finished this trial. I had enough written that I couldn't find it in me to scrap it, but I thought I would never be able to play with these characters any more, even though I liked them.
So, thank you. When I came up with a plan for the plot of the rest of this case in preparation for this competition, I was incredibly happy. In the end, I am happy with what I have made. Every cross-examination is different from each other, even though there were issues, and I like the way I ended up ending it.
Speaking of which, only half the ending is actually complete at this point. I am not certain if you noticed that. But now you know.

Thank you again for hosting this competition. Feverishly working on a case like I did here was an absolute blast!
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Re: I'll Face Myself 

Message par Enthalpy » Lun Juil 23, 2018 1:55 am

Glad to hear it! I'll send you some more details tonight.

I'll be locking the topic in about a week, once others have had their chance to congratulate the winners. I'm looking forward to seeing these releases!
[D]isordered speech is not so much injury to the lips that give it forth, as to the disproportion and incoherence of things in themselves, so negligently expressed. ~ Ben Jonson

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