\\\GIFT OF HEAVEN/// Prologue now available!

  • The Prologue of my epic RPG, \\GIFT OF HEAVEN/// is now available for free on the RPG Maker Fes 3DS App! You can find it by searching on the app for my nickname, O.M. Hawk. Check out the Prologue Launch Trailer:
    Youtube Video

    Also if you haven't seen it, here is \\GIFT OF HEAVEN///'s promotional short film, Symphonia Anathema:
    Youtube Video

    This prologue may be short, but I put a TON of work into it. And I have \\GIFT OF HEAVEN/// tattooed on my arm. So, it's pretty serious! I am fully committed to finishing the rest of the game, with the eventual goal of impressing enough people that I could get enough Patreon funding to quit my day job and thus have enough time to make original graphics and music for my second game (most likely using a PC version of RPG Maker). At this stage, I'm basically just trying to get noticed and earn respect.

    I'm really excited to hear what people think of my Prologue. Are the jokes funny? How brutal is the combat in the dungeon? I'm a gigantic RPG nerd, so I'm hoping we can really get into the nitty gritty!

  • Hey O.M. Hochstetler. I created this account on the Easy Allies forums because I wanted to give you feedback on Gift of Heaven. You've been a Frame Trap sponsor for months now and I think you deserve more engagement for supporting the allies like that. Clearly you've put a lot of time and effort into making this game, so I hope my opinions on the prologue chapter can help you in any way.

    In regards to the story, it's clear you have a complex and well-thought-out world. The game references so many different characters and events that, while it's impressive, is hard to digest for a player new to this world. I liked the idea of this apocalypse being so far off that people are apathetic towards it, but I was kinda lost towards the end as to what was going on or why I was going to slay a goddess. I understand exposition can be hard to write correctly without boring the player, but I'd rather be bored for a little bit than confused for a lot of it.

    Another thing that makes the story hard to swallow is the tone. I think you're good at writing dialogue that sounds majestic or otherworldly, but when you sandwich it between people saying words like “butthead” or “dogfarts” it makes me respect the serious stuff less. This goes double for references. There are way too many references in this game. I can get behind references on non-critical NPC's like the Tenacious D one, but when you have main story beats quoting Greenday or the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air it's too much. When Kyle praised Shovel Knight awhile ago, he mentioned how the world believed in itself and didn't resort to 'winks and nods' that devalued the world. If you could ease up on the references and replace them with your own words I think it would go a long way. I was smirking at some of the dialogue in the tavern so I know you can write comedy without having to lean on references.

    I was initially put off by how hard the combat was, but it actually grew on me. I liked how you had to pay attention to the enemies patterns and take them down in a specific order. Knowing you're potentially one wrong move away from a game over was thrilling and kept me engaged in the combat. I've played a lot of RPG's that give you freedom over what strategies you want to use, so having to figure out the singular correct strategy was new and fresh to me. One downside to the difficulty though is that you can sometimes get into scenarios that you have no chance of winning. There were several times where I would complete a fight with only one party member alive and have to suicide in the next fight as I needed both members alive to have a chance of winning. Also had a couple of fights where I had to rely on a monster not to attack a specific party member if I wanted to win, which comes down to luck and not strategy.

    A couple of stray thoughts that couldn't make a full paragraph:

    I like the \”:”// denoting locations. I don't know if they actually have any meaning to them, but it makes me feel like they do.

    The 'follow the correct answer path' maze dungeon is a neat idea, but we're never given any info to be able to answer the questions correctly so it's just trial and error. Wouldn't it make more sense to ask questions about things we were told previously in the game so we can feel smart for getting it right?

    There are some typos and other small errors in the game. One of the people in the tavern talking about sportball is missing a ] at the end of his sentence. There's a character towards the end of the dungeon that says the same word twice in a row. If you lose to the boss, it continues into the next scene like you won before giving you a game over.

    Giving us the option to save during the cutscene before the boss is a bad idea. I saved when prompted to because I thought we were going to a new area, not fighting a boss. Mack was low on MP when I saved, and since the only way to damage the boss is to have him cast super explosion, I spent most of the fight just giving him items to replenish MP. This made the fight way harder and mostly luck-based as I had to get perfect RNG with the status ailments to have a chance of winning. Maybe telegraph that a boss is about to come up so players can prepare themselves. The save spot is pointless anyway, as I still had to watch the entire cutscene over again every time I died to the boss.

    It was a little complicated to find the demo to download. I think you should specify that the capitalization and spaces in O.M. Hawk are necessary when searching for the demo.

    Not really game-related, but I think you should stop advertising that you've spent 600+ hours on making this game. It gives me sunk cost fallacy vibes. I think you want people to know how hard you've been working on this game and I get that, but it's about quality, not quantity.

    I hope my feedback can be of value to you and help you hone in on what works and what doesn't. Sorry if any of this comes off as overly harsh, but I believe honest feedback is the best way to improve. Love & Respect.

  • Hi crazy565k! Thank you so much for playing my game, and for making an account just to give me feedback! So about the obvious errors: I fixed the problem of not getting Game Over if you lose in the Sohelunda fight, so if you re-download it, it will now work correctly. Depending on when you downloaded it before, I may have already fixed the typos, but I will do another check-through tonight to make sure they are corrected, and then re-upload it again if I found and fixed any.

    So about the confusion-versus-boredom: that's interesting to me that you'd rather be bored. What I was trying to do was the "Star Wars" type of excessive detail, where you don't really consciously absorb or remember everything afterward, but it convinces you that the world is real. And kind of the same thing with the tone being all over the place. The idea is that real life doesn't follow a consistent tone, and obviously in real life there's an insane amount of details everywhere, you just don't think that much about them. Like in The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda sticks out like a sore thumb, he's so wacky, in the middle of a dark, serious story. Maybe the problem is in how I structure that variety (or don't structure it! lol)

    About why Machelvis fights Sohelunda: a. he disaggrees with her about how civilization should progress (she is pro-industrial tech and he's anti) b. he wants to join the rebels, (who still worship the older, Forsaken Gods) and in order for a famous hero like him who currently is loved by the Primary Pantheon to get banished to the Rebel Worlds where the rebels live, he needs to really piss off Sohelunda. c. He's starting to like Andiel, or at least doesn't believe she deserves to die. Just like Morferos, Machelvis thinks Andiel deserves another chance at life. You should have gotten a scene when they enter the Hall of the Mind where Machelvis explains he's going to attack Sohelunda (and why) and Andiel gets mad. Let me know if you didn't get that scene, cause it could be a bug.

    whew! ok, I'm going to address your other points in a separate post tonight, gotta go to work. Thanks again for being my first critic! I appreciate the harshness, keep it comin! :D

  • About the tone: the goal with Gift of Heaven's tone is to be halfway between Earthbound and Final Fantasy. So, there's no fart jokes (unless you count Jerry saying Drakonic sounds like dogfarts) but at the same time, silly stuff is happening more frequently than it would in a Final Fantasy game. I want to make a 100% serious RPG, but not with someone else's premade graphics and music. I'm saving that challenge for my second game, which I will make all the graphics and music for from scratch. Gift of Heaven is the semi-comedic game that I feel the RPG Maker Fes graphics and sounds are best suited for. It's a Harry Potter type of tone, where it is often light hearted, but does go very dark and serious at times.

    Now, that said, of course Harry Potter does not reference outside stuff at all. I think in general you're right that the references need to be reduced. In some cases, I feel its consistent with the main themes of the story, like the Black Hole Sun. If the player hears that song in their mind while playing, I'd say it improves the experience rather than taking you out of it. (because it fits) But the Green Day song, and also the Fresh Prince song don't plug into what the game is about, so I will for sure remove them. And for example in the Anaconda Lockhart book, I will change the parts that are xbox-specific."Tenacious D" I actually want to remove, because that doesn't connect to the story.

    Also about the humor: I'm realizing now there's too much repetition in the jokes. Like, the first time you read "smooch my butt" its hilarious, but it shouldn't be reused again in this short Prologue. And Andiel's snorts. Too many snorts. I'll work on the non-referencing humor too.

    About the combat: I'm going to do a big re-testing of all the enemy groups, cause I thought I made them all winnable regardless of the chance factor. (of whether they attack Machelvis before Andiel and whatnot) I look forward to discussing the fights with you once I re-test them.

    Save points: you're totally right, I honestly forgot to consider the stuff you mentioned about this when I was testing the game. I'll work on my save point logic.

    About the follow the correct answer maze dungeon idea: yeah, I think I made it too mysterious, in hindsight. It needs to require some thought, but there have to be more hints as to which is lazy, or rebellious etc. That should not be a trial and error thing. (like the combat is) That's just dialogue editing, so it's an easy fix.

    About finding it on the App: yeah, if you don't watch the trailer, you're right it's hard to know how to type it. What I'll do is show an image on the screen during Frame Trap, that's the best solution.

    And lastly, about MP during the Sohelunda fight: that I can fix! I'll just make his MP fill to max automatically before the fight. Yeah, if you don't start with full MP, it comes down to chance. According to my tests, you will always win if you start with full MP and use the correct strategy on her.

    What I've decided to do is make a Prologue 2.0, changing, fixing, and removing a variety of stuff. I'll be sure to let you know once that is done, probably in just a day or two. Hey I just want to say, your critique was seriously on point, and really helpful with all those details. It's so funny that I only got one comment, but it was the exact comment I really needed! I swear if I had the money, I would hire you and pay you. Thanks for taking the time to analyze all that stuff.

  • Hey there. Just downloaded the game an hopeing to give it a shot over the next few days.

    Crazy565k, I didn't have any trouble finding it as 'o.m. hawk' without the capitalizations.

  • Hey there o-m-hochstetler

    So far, I have to say I agree with Crazy565k on just about every point they made, so I don't wish to just repeat them. Consider my thoughts to largely be a +1 to those comments.

    It is obvious you've put a lot of work in here. I also found the humor didn't jive well with the rest of the tone. Buthead/dogfarts aside, a lot of that was referential humor, and it seems you're in agreement there.

    I'd add that using Earthbound as an example, modern references worked better in that game because the settings was very similar to modern-day North America. The examples given don't quite jive here, but references to fantasy settings, other RPGs, etc work well as long you don't beat people over the head with them.

    To expand on Crazy565k's example of Kyle's description of Shovel Knight believing in its world and not resorting to 'winks and nods', I played 'The Messenger' recently and found it didn't seem to believe in itself in that same way. The game starts off with some excellent platforming action that wore its Ninja Gaiden inspiration on its sleeve, and there's an interesting story hook. And then you get the ability to wall hang from a mystical shopkeeper, who says the technique was invented by "Joe Gaiden"...and it took me right out of the game. I still enjoyed it, but I found myself gritting my teeth whenever I had to interact with an NPC, because large sections of dialogue just seemed to be "See! See this is what we're referencing! Isn't that clever?!" I'd rather just enjoy the story and world the creator has made.

    So, I wouldn't say get rid of all references, but things don't need to be fourth-wall-breaking. As Crazy565k, the dialogue in the tavern is largely good, and I think your writing works well on its own.

    Since you mention that you'll be releasing a Prologue 2.0, I think I'm going to hold off on playing the rest of this version, and wait to see what you've changed. All the best with the revision. I'll be looking forward to it.

  • Alright, just an update:

    I have fixed all the technical issues that Crazy565k pointed out, including removing almost all references, and made a couple of other minor technical improvements. However I'm realizing now that the Prologue is still just ok, not great. I'm working on some re-writing to tone down, remove, or replace certain humorous parts, and if possible to make the information given to the player more digestable (or just have less info be presented here, and save it for Act 1). That way, Prologue 2.0 will be worthy of the name.

  • Appreciate the update...and the update about the update :)

    I'll download the new version and give it a shot.

  • Ok, the Prologue 2.0 is now complete, and all of the following changes will be implemented if you re-download it:

    I fixed the missing cutscene, and the enemy group that sometimes kills off a party member if they both attack the same one. And I changed or removed most of the references to outside stuff (there was a lot). I think the only references I left in were the two Elder Scrolls references, Black Hole Sun, and Shine by Collective Soul.

    The Elder Scrolls references were both pretty subtle, and I think they fit neatly into the dialogue, where they're not sticking out or emphasized too much. In the case of Black Hole Sun and Shine, those songs are both the "spirit animal" of Gift of Heaven in different ways, and I think connecting this game to them adds to the experience rather than taking away from it. Black Hole Sun is a good name for an ominous, world-ending plot-device, and the Shine lyrics work well as a prayer.

    In addition, your MP and HP now heal to max automatically before the Sohelunda fight, I added a bit more hints in the question and answer maze, I changed some jokes that were too repetitive, and all the typos should now be fixed. I also removed the random encounters from the incorrect dungeon paths, except the beginning parts of them, so it won't be immediately obvious you have taken the wrong path. This prevents a lot of potential frustration and pointless over-leveling.

    I decided to leave the save point where it was, because if I move it forward it would mess up the moment right before the fight starts, but if I move it back, then you would have to sit through the whole cutscene again, instead of just part of it. So I feel it's a good compromise.

    In terms of the information conveyed to the player, I didn't change much in that area. I think it is overwhelming, but that was more or less my goal, to convince the player this game has a complicated, multidimensional world. That one scene that was missing was pretty important, so the plot should be coherent now. It is supposed to be mysterious, but not about basic stuff like why you fight Sohelunda.

    Numerous humorous bits were changed or removed, although the overall tone (and the sometimes wild variation in tone) is probably not too different. To be honest with you, Gift of Heaven's tone is going to be kind of all over the place. Act One will introduce elements of scary horror type stuff, and there are some very tragic and sombre parts of the story later on, as well as heavy philosophical and spirtual themes. It's a story that is always trying to be entertaining, but doesn't really care how it accomplishes that.

    Update 1: I just sent Ben a new image to show on Frame Trap that shows the exact spelling etc of O.M. Hawk, along with some cool character portraits! :D

    Update 2: I had forgotten to change the names and descriptions of Robu and Morferos' special attacks (which were blatantly referencing outside stuff). Now I changed it so they have new names and descriptions which reflect Robu's Graduist ideology and Morferos' Materian ideology, without any referencing.

  • I had a decently long thought-out post and the Forum ate it because apparently I have to wait 10 minutes after making an account to post, thanks forum.

    Long story short, finding the game was incredibly difficult. I would suggest throwing together a page on how to do it and putting it in the description with the sponsorships; I have never used FES and it took 15 minutes of forum searching to figure out how to get it since the downloader is so picky with names. I got it and will probably play it within the next couple days, but I am confident most people won't go through that much effort to find it.

    You've worked hard and I want people to find your game, but that was tough man.

  • Hi Boomhauer, thanks for checking out my game. So at this point in time, my Frame Trap ad says: "search the 3DS eShop for the RPG Maker Player, and search on the RPG Maker Player for the nickname O.M. Hawk." And it shows an image on the screen showing the correct spelling and spacing of O.M. Hawk. But yeah, the RPG Maker Fes Player is super janky, it doesn't work like a real search would where you can type something similar and it will still find it. Do you think it needs to be explained more precisely in my ad?