Author Topic: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops  (Read 3712 times)

Offline Arraxis

VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« on: July 07, 2015, 01:06:58 am »
http://vnsnow.com/2015/07/a-quick-look-at-sierra-ops/

Thought I'd share an article on Sierra Ops' pre-demo from VNs Now, where he goes into detail on some of the things seen. It's more critical than I've been, but it raises some good points on how the game can improve from a more outside, less prejudiced perspective. Hopefully you'll be able to alleviate these concerns in game :D.

Offline Youko

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 06:16:05 am »
I suggest you be AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE. The more specific your concerns are, the better I can answer them.

As far as I can tell you, a lot of what JP says are non-issues due to the length of the demo (obviously) and lack of context.

While I respect JP and his opinion, I feel like I need to mention some things first.

To address what I can pick from his post...

1. Everyone is stereotypical

While in the demo, yes, they seem stereotypical. Why? It's an hour. You literally only get to exchange pleasantries before you're out and gone.

Think of the last random person you saw recently. Did you ponder what sort of events lead to to deciding to dress in whatever way they decided to that day?

If the answer is "no", you now understand why everyone is stereotypical.


2. Junius is your standard-issue protagonist who suffered a traumatic backstory and has little time for anything not related to his current assignment.

While I don't know about standard-issue, Junius is a pretty average guy with his own flaws and vices. This has always been the idea from the start. The idea was to make him relate-able to the average person while still being his own character.

3. The characters have known each other for six years but are still strangers.

I don't know about you, but I live in a suburb of a few hundred people. I maybe only know my neighbours.

The station at Venus carries over 1500+ people on it. There's no way Junius would know every random technician or research.

As for the specific characters:

Freija: She's practically a hermit. This and her cold behaviour will be covered in her story arc.

Rutherford: He's head engineer and has been extremely busy until recently with the Sierra's completion. 

Doc: Doc always makes time for Junius. ALWAYS.


4. The Ares Confederacy are idiots/ cliched/villains for villain's sake and aren't a threat

This question I'll leave the story to answer. If you read carefully, you can already tell why this isn't the case... other than the cliched part.

Yes, they are cliched. However, cliche is not a bad thing. It really isn't. Every idea in the world has been thought of and done somewhere in the world so the only thing you can do is spin existing stuff whether you know it or not. Cliches exist for a reason, much like stereotypes and tropes. Humans repeat patterns. It's the fact of life.



Gameplay note:
If you think playing an RTS with a controller is a good idea, please go play an RTS with a controller, come back and say that again without lying. 


« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 09:17:20 am by Youko »

Offline Megillot

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2015, 09:13:39 am »
Gameplay note:
If you think playing an RTS with a controller is a good idea, please go play an RTS with a controller, come back and say that again without lying.

Who said something about playing RTS with a controller? All I see in the article are issues with impossibility to control the game with keyboard, as opposed to mouse only.

P.S. If you need to check my RTS/controllers CV: played Warcraft and Red Alert on PlayStation, Dune 2 on Sega Mega Drive before that - it certainly wasn't a *bad* idea.

Offline Marx-93

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 07:27:52 pm »
Youko, I'm not JP, and while I agree with you that a lot of the things he says are actually non-issues (seriously, some are eye-rolling worthy), I think he has a point in 2:

-The first, the 6 years thing. I know that with a space station of 1500+ persons it makes sense to not know everybody. But they were there for a mission, and were supposed to work together. Not only that, they finally achieved the success they had waited for all this years. Everyone feels a tad bit too cold. Specially for being in the eve of such a discovery. In research projects even of this caliber when finally success is found, you hug with all your teammates, know their name or not, and hell, even without knowing their name, sharing communication for 6 years even if for work related things makes for a very friendly relation. Don't let the super-focused scientist trope trick you, even in my very small experience they're nothing like that (even if sometimes they want you to believe it). And if you've been working together with in the last 6 years with them without the usual rotations then you will have some affinity with some of them. Freija is acceptable, as it's kinda what she is and I think there will be some other reasons. But Rutherford, the rather nerdy, cool and adorkable technician? Busy or not, you gain an affinity with someone after 6 years, even if you only see them once a week to make a report. On the doc, nothing to say.

-On the Ares Confederation, I think it's not the point that they are cliché, but that we have no way to gauge their threat level. For us it doesn't matter, as we know the lore: the Earth is devastated, all qualified manpower is on Mars, and they the resources and facilities to create a fleet able to top the UTV, specially with all the preparation until now. But from someone out of it, Mars is a poor planet with only iron, and it doesn't seem like a possible threat to the UTV that controls numerous colonies, Earth, and has facilities even on Venus. Seeing people panic on them without fully realizing the context is a little jarring. Of course, an infodump after the particle one will be a bad idea, but I think a way to have the game show you, not tell you, "We are fuc*ed" would be the best. A small scene, maybe even before the rebellion, of someone telling something like "with 70% of the iron industry focused on Mars..." or "The last batch of resources coming from Mars is late. I'm worried that without it the progress on XX and YY colonies will be stopped to a crawl. Someone should tell the Earth government to stop being so reliant on Mars resources...". Small foreshadowings that make the whole freaking out after the speech make more sense.
Why can only the evil have empires, power and majestic theme music? I reclaim the possibility of creating the Federal-democratic-free Empire! A (democratic) tyranny fueled by the Power of Love!

Started writing. You can check it out here: Home

Offline Youko

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2015, 03:33:38 pm »
Youko, I'm not JP, and while I agree with you that a lot of the things he says are actually non-issues (seriously, some are eye-rolling worthy), I think he has a point in 2:

-The first, the 6 years thing. I know that with a space station of 1500+ persons it makes sense to not know everybody. But they were there for a mission, and were supposed to work together. Not only that, they finally achieved the success they had waited for all this years. Everyone feels a tad bit too cold. Specially for being in the eve of such a discovery. In research projects even of this caliber when finally success is found, you hug with all your teammates, know their name or not, and hell, even without knowing their name, sharing communication for 6 years even if for work related things makes for a very friendly relation. Don't let the super-focused scientist trope trick you, even in my very small experience they're nothing like that (even if sometimes they want you to believe it). And if you've been working together with in the last 6 years with them without the usual rotations then you will have some affinity with some of them. Freija is acceptable, as it's kinda what she is and I think there will be some other reasons. But Rutherford, the rather nerdy, cool and adorkable technician? Busy or not, you gain an affinity with someone after 6 years, even if you only see them once a week to make a report. On the doc, nothing to say.

-On the Ares Confederation, I think it's not the point that they are cliché, but that we have no way to gauge their threat level. For us it doesn't matter, as we know the lore: the Earth is devastated, all qualified manpower is on Mars, and they the resources and facilities to create a fleet able to top the UTV, specially with all the preparation until now. But from someone out of it, Mars is a poor planet with only iron, and it doesn't seem like a possible threat to the UTV that controls numerous colonies, Earth, and has facilities even on Venus. Seeing people panic on them without fully realizing the context is a little jarring. Of course, an infodump after the particle one will be a bad idea, but I think a way to have the game show you, not tell you, "We are fuc*ed" would be the best. A small scene, maybe even before the rebellion, of someone telling something like "with 70% of the iron industry focused on Mars..." or "The last batch of resources coming from Mars is late. I'm worried that without it the progress on XX and YY colonies will be stopped to a crawl. Someone should tell the Earth government to stop being so reliant on Mars resources...". Small foreshadowings that make the whole freaking out after the speech make more sense.

Issue 1- The main point of this issue is that you only people on the team you actually get to talk to are Freija and Rutherford. Freija's practically a hermit (which will be addressed later) and Rutherford is from a completely other department. However, the issue has been addressed in later scripts and stuff is getting tweaked in the prologue.

Issue 2- The issue is definitely that they're cliche. I talked to JP myself and that was his response even after I explained it. On that note, a bit more exposition has been added to the script so your issue with it should have been solved.

Updated: July 08, 2015, 03:39:30 pm
Gameplay note:
If you think playing an RTS with a controller is a good idea, please go play an RTS with a controller, come back and say that again without lying.

Who said something about playing RTS with a controller? All I see in the article are issues with impossibility to control the game with keyboard, as opposed to mouse only.

P.S. If you need to check my RTS/controllers CV: played Warcraft and Red Alert on PlayStation, Dune 2 on Sega Mega Drive before that - it certainly wasn't a *bad* idea.

Oh man, I should have screenshoted it because he edited it from before. Originally, he complained that the game should be optimized for controller instead of mouse and keyboard.

Anyway, using controller greatly limits what you can do with a RTS because no matter how you see it, it'll slow things down dramatically when you have to apply everything you do for multiple units. While Hel is going to add controller support, the game will be tailored for mouse and keyboard.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 03:40:16 pm by Youko »

Offline Marx-93

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2015, 05:16:09 pm »
Issue 1- The main point of this issue is that you only people on the team you actually get to talk to are Freija and Rutherford. Freija's practically a hermit (which will be addressed later) and Rutherford is from a completely other department. However, the issue has been addressed in later scripts and stuff is getting tweaked in the prologue.

Issue 2- The issue is definitely that they're cliche. I talked to JP myself and that was his response even after I explained it. On that note, a bit more exposition has been added to the script so your issue with it should have been solved.

Okay. Though isn't Rutherford the helmsman of the Sierra? And being the former aide of the Doc I thought he should have had more interaction with Junius. Though the fault on that is with Rutherford, as he is such a bro you kinda want to slap Junius for not having talked more with him even with the chance.

And well, it seems I wasn't indeed JP with issue 2. To be honest, part of the problem is that the lines after the speech is basically "We are all going to die!", which kinda makes the whole thing kinda hard to take seriously. From someone without idea that only just heard of the Ares Confederation in the speech of that Char Aznable wannabe, it makes the whole situation a tad bit funny and not in a good way.

Oh, aside from that, after the demo (I played the steam build yesterday) I was just dumped on the overworld map. I knew you planned to update through time, but there was a mission or something? Since I was dumped just there without anything more I just fought Martians units until they blew me up (I suppose you've already been told that a lot, but while the battle system has a lot of promise it still need lots of polish). I missed something?

I might make a detailed post with my impressions. Shall i derail this thread more or do it on the feedback thread?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 05:17:42 pm by Marx-93 »
Why can only the evil have empires, power and majestic theme music? I reclaim the possibility of creating the Federal-democratic-free Empire! A (democratic) tyranny fueled by the Power of Love!

Started writing. You can check it out here: Home

Offline Youko

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2015, 05:03:12 am »
Issue 1- The main point of this issue is that you only people on the team you actually get to talk to are Freija and Rutherford. Freija's practically a hermit (which will be addressed later) and Rutherford is from a completely other department. However, the issue has been addressed in later scripts and stuff is getting tweaked in the prologue.

Issue 2- The issue is definitely that they're cliche. I talked to JP myself and that was his response even after I explained it. On that note, a bit more exposition has been added to the script so your issue with it should have been solved.

Okay. Though isn't Rutherford the helmsman of the Sierra? And being the former aide of the Doc I thought he should have had more interaction with Junius. Though the fault on that is with Rutherford, as he is such a bro you kinda want to slap Junius for not having talked more with him even with the chance.

And well, it seems I wasn't indeed JP with issue 2. To be honest, part of the problem is that the lines after the speech is basically "We are all going to die!", which kinda makes the whole thing kinda hard to take seriously. From someone without idea that only just heard of the Ares Confederation in the speech of that Char Aznable wannabe, it makes the whole situation a tad bit funny and not in a good way.

Oh, aside from that, after the demo (I played the steam build yesterday) I was just dumped on the overworld map. I knew you planned to update through time, but there was a mission or something? Since I was dumped just there without anything more I just fought Martians units until they blew me up (I suppose you've already been told that a lot, but while the battle system has a lot of promise it still need lots of polish). I missed something?

I might make a detailed post with my impressions. Shall i derail this thread more or do it on the feedback thread?

Rutherford is the head engineer. He's also extremely busy and usually just sends people to write down that Junius says about the handling and controls rather than going himself. As for Junius' history with Doc, that'll be more covered in the future, but most of their conversations has been over the "phone" during Doc's work on either Earth or Venus while Junius was going to school on the Moon.

Some more dialogue has been added that better exemplifies their relationship so it shouldn't seem "generic" anymore (I hope). I just hope you all like Youko humour because there's a lot of it.

The "we're all going to die" line was actually just something I decided to put in because I recalled a story my 7th grade teacher told us. Basically he got on to ride a new rollercoaster at a theme park as the first group and someone screamed, "we're all going to die!" That stuck with me and somehow made it into the script. It has now been removed. -just a little sad-

Since I've never watched Gundam, I actually had to google who Char Aznable was. You can blame Hel for any resemblances the two have. To be completely honest, whenever someone tells me this person is like this person from this sci-fi thing, I usually stare at them blankly because I don't actually watch all that much sci-fi anime/play sci-fi games. Funny how that works, right? However, let it not be said that I haven't tried to make this good and at least make some bit of sense. Just don't expect me to hit every single space opera cliche... because I don't know them. That may be a good or bad thing depending on your opinion.

What you experienced is pretty much what happens for everyone. Hel's being slow as usually (granted, I'm pretty slow too) and missing deadlines for updates. The demo is SUPPOSED to reach the end of the common path. He said he wanted it to go into the first mission, but that's still a matter that's on the table.

...How many times do I have to go "please give me your honest criticism" before someone actually decides to give it? I'll probably just make a thread for it, honestly.


Offline Marx-93

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2015, 07:45:44 am »
Oh, on the script that was most of my criticism, I was talking mostly about the gameplay. What would be left would be mostly praise. Still, I shall make a detailed post for you special thread.

On the Char Aznable thing, it wasn't about the cliché or not or about being who he was. As a small explanation, in general, characters with masks in any kind of serious affair are very ridiculous and a very good way to drain the seriousness of whatever situation (*cough*Arcadius*cough*). The original Char Aznable was done like that because Gundam was marketed, thought and prepared as a show for children, and so it was one of the tactic Tomino used to distract from all the violence death and serious issues that occurred on the background. In his later U.C. Gundam series, actually none of his "rival Character" actually had a mask, normally a small implement to homage Char, but nothing more: compare this and this.

However, later, with all the gundam alternative time-lines and reboots (made by other directors), the ridiculous mask become one of the symbols of Gundam. Thus, it has basically something that anyplace it appears is as a living homage to Zeon and Char and is sustained by nothing more. Like a superhero disguising through using only glasses if you want to compare. The Martian Admiral is like that. And so, combined with the fact that everyone seems to panic for no reason, creates a little chuckle for any sci-fi aficionado. Sorry for the "we're going to die!" line, but that is the cherry on the top that basically makes it seem like a parody more than a serious situation.

On the other hand, while I'm a fan of some of the sci-fi clichés, there a looot of them and a loooot very bad used, so seeing something new will always excite me, so don't worry Youko.
Why can only the evil have empires, power and majestic theme music? I reclaim the possibility of creating the Federal-democratic-free Empire! A (democratic) tyranny fueled by the Power of Love!

Started writing. You can check it out here: Home

Offline Arraxis

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2015, 04:16:57 pm »
I thought the Char Aznable mask thing was because Gundam came out on the heels of Star Wars, which was popular in Japan, as an homage to Darth Vader.

Offline Marx-93

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2015, 08:53:07 am »
I thought the Char Aznable mask thing was because Gundam came out on the heels of Star Wars, which was popular in Japan, as an homage to Darth Vader.

That were the lightsabers and Char's helmet (point: mask =! helmet). If you look at Char's mask, is a lot more similar to those used by other traditionally masked heroes than Darth Vader It also fitted with the whole lost heir theme.
Why can only the evil have empires, power and majestic theme music? I reclaim the possibility of creating the Federal-democratic-free Empire! A (democratic) tyranny fueled by the Power of Love!

Started writing. You can check it out here: Home

Offline Arraxis

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2015, 05:08:08 pm »
Poor choice of words there on my part, but you've made your point :D.

Offline Youko

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2015, 02:39:27 pm »
Oh, on the script that was most of my criticism, I was talking mostly about the gameplay. What would be left would be mostly praise. Still, I shall make a detailed post for you special thread.

On the Char Aznable thing, it wasn't about the cliché or not or about being who he was. As a small explanation, in general, characters with masks in any kind of serious affair are very ridiculous and a very good way to drain the seriousness of whatever situation (*cough*Arcadius*cough*). The original Char Aznable was done like that because Gundam was marketed, thought and prepared as a show for children, and so it was one of the tactic Tomino used to distract from all the violence death and serious issues that occurred on the background. In his later U.C. Gundam series, actually none of his "rival Character" actually had a mask, normally a small implement to homage Char, but nothing more: compare this and this.

However, later, with all the gundam alternative time-lines and reboots (made by other directors), the ridiculous mask become one of the symbols of Gundam. Thus, it has basically something that anyplace it appears is as a living homage to Zeon and Char and is sustained by nothing more. Like a superhero disguising through using only glasses if you want to compare. The Martian Admiral is like that. And so, combined with the fact that everyone seems to panic for no reason, creates a little chuckle for any sci-fi aficionado. Sorry for the "we're going to die!" line, but that is the cherry on the top that basically makes it seem like a parody more than a serious situation.

On the other hand, while I'm a fan of some of the sci-fi clichés, there a looot of them and a loooot very bad used, so seeing something new will always excite me, so don't worry Youko.

That's honestly kind of sad to see masks be used in such a fashion considering the reasons someone decides to put one on can be as much for themselves as it is for others. Anyway, I'll let you guys in on a little secret, but from what I can tell, the reason behind the mask of the martian admiral was mostly plot contrivance on Hel's part. I've of course tried to correct that like I've done with a lot of the story.


Offline Marx-93

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2015, 02:45:22 am »
That's honestly kind of sad to see masks be used in such a fashion considering the reasons someone decides to put one on can be as much for themselves as it is for others. Anyway, I'll let you guys in on a little secret, but from what I can tell, the reason behind the mask of the martian admiral was mostly plot contrivance on Hel's part. I've of course tried to correct that like I've done with a lot of the story.

Well, it's mostly that way due to most space operas being pretty far in the future, where in theory face disfigurements, scars, and even thing like blindness, etc could easily be restored to normal. This mostly leaves masks as either a very conspicuous way of hiding yourself (classic sci-fi helmets) or to contain some kind of "always-on" power. As most sci-fi tends to be conservative on the second, and the first doesn't tend to be applicable to legitimate leaders or rulers is more or less where it has ended. As pure curiosity, do you have an idea of a setting where a mask would be as meaningful as you say? It had never occurred to me, and it seems interesting .
Why can only the evil have empires, power and majestic theme music? I reclaim the possibility of creating the Federal-democratic-free Empire! A (democratic) tyranny fueled by the Power of Love!

Started writing. You can check it out here: Home

Offline Youko

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2015, 11:57:25 pm »
That's honestly kind of sad to see masks be used in such a fashion considering the reasons someone decides to put one on can be as much for themselves as it is for others. Anyway, I'll let you guys in on a little secret, but from what I can tell, the reason behind the mask of the martian admiral was mostly plot contrivance on Hel's part. I've of course tried to correct that like I've done with a lot of the story.

Well, it's mostly that way due to most space operas being pretty far in the future, where in theory face disfigurements, scars, and even thing like blindness, etc could easily be restored to normal. This mostly leaves masks as either a very conspicuous way of hiding yourself (classic sci-fi helmets) or to contain some kind of "always-on" power. As most sci-fi tends to be conservative on the second, and the first doesn't tend to be applicable to legitimate leaders or rulers is more or less where it has ended. As pure curiosity, do you have an idea of a setting where a mask would be as meaningful as you say? It had never occurred to me, and it seems interesting .

It's kind of a HUGE spoiler for me to get specific about my own character, but to speak generally, there's are a lot of psychological reasons to put on a mask. In a way, you're distancing yourself from who you are according your face. This is similar to how people's personalities on the internet via text only or when talking face to face. In a way, a mask can easily become part of someone's whole identity like their screen name or avatar.

Offline Marx-93

Re: VNs Now! A Quick Look at Sierra Ops
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2015, 08:31:22 am »
It's kind of a HUGE spoiler for me to get specific about my own character, but to speak generally, there's are a lot of psychological reasons to put on a mask. In a way, you're distancing yourself from who you are according your face. This is similar to how people's personalities on the internet via text only or when talking face to face. In a way, a mask can easily become part of someone's whole identity like their screen name or avatar.

So looking more on the psychological effects. There's a small bit of that in Char, but it really appears only on the sequel and then has changed his mask for a pair of sunglasses, so it's hard to say it was the mask. It was more trying to run from who he was.

The theme of identity is however very interesting, so it really seems a little like a waste, as you said.
Why can only the evil have empires, power and majestic theme music? I reclaim the possibility of creating the Federal-democratic-free Empire! A (democratic) tyranny fueled by the Power of Love!

Started writing. You can check it out here: Home