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#112833 - 03/28/02 08:26 AM Re: It has to be said
heavycat Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 08/04/01
Posts: 184
After all, this discussion board right here -- this is your market.

Along with others: casual game players, girls, anime fans, etc.

The name Ladystar itself, so soft in its imagery, is not going to appeal to males.

Maybe not. The title, like just about everything in the game, is significant beyond just sounding cool.

The roster of characters makes it clear that the game's main cast consists largely of females.... turn a profit in an industry where males are such a large part of the core audience

Well, LadyStar is an all-girl team. Its story is similar to a genre of anime known as "bishoujo sentai" which literally means "pretty girl fighting team."

Properly written, LadyStar may appeal to both females and males: females because, well, LadyStar has more female heroes than the rest of the game industry combined, and males because of the swords and magic and monsters.

I support your ideas and your work, and I'll look into LADYSTAR to see what it offers.

We appreciate your interest, and thanks for the comments.
_________________________
Scott
Heavy Cat Multimedia Ltd.
www.ladystar.net - Your Magical and Mysterious Adventure Awaits
www.heavycatweb.com - Only the Gameplay Matters

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#112834 - 03/28/02 09:01 AM Re: It has to be said
Josho Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 12/27/99
Posts: 88
Loc: Colonie, New York, USA
Nobody need "ahem" at my comments re: male players playing female protagonists. I'm well aware that there are plenty of exceptions; I'm one, myself (just got done spending I-dunno-how-many-hundred-hours playing Diablo and Diablo II as a female character).

However, in largest part, males -- particularly children and teen males -- are not NEARLY as open to playing female characters as females are open to playing male characters. This was true back in the early 1990s when we asked the question in every single survey we sent out at Sierra On-Line -- the male respondents were DOWN, DOWN, DOWN on playing female characters, and the female players were nonjudgmental about whether they played a male or female. This was just as true two weeks ago when I attended focus groups on the latest adventure game I've been working on for the past 18 months. The game allows you to play as EITHER a male protagonist or a female protagonist. The focus group kids -- consisting of children anywhere from 7 to 16 -- were sent the game 2 weeks prior to attending the focus groups.

When they arrived at the focus groups, one of the first questions we asked was how many girls played as the girl protagonist, how many girls played as the boy protagonist, how many boys played as the boy protagonist, and how many boys played as the girl protagonist. In each group, with very little variation, the girls tried playing the game both ways. In most of the groups, NONE of the boys tried playing as a girl.

(Mind you, I'm not a believer in focus groups, as what's reported is so heavily influenced by what others are saying and doing at the moment...but it can't be ignored that thousands and thousands of anonymous, privately-filled-out surveys sent in over the course of half a decade by Sierra On-Line game players reported almost exactly the same results.)

Adult males are a good deal less likely to be so negative about playing as a female character.

BTW, for what it's worth, I agree with those who say they have no interest in playing online games. I don't like my gameplaying to depend on the vagaries of server status, ISP problems, the talent and availability of other live players, the tendency of other online players to make life miserable for "newbies," or any of those problems. Maybe if I were into "fragging," I'd feel differently, but right now, I like to choose when to play, whom to play, and how to play, and online play takes much of that choice away from me.

--Josh

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#112835 - 03/28/02 10:49 AM Re: It has to be said
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35393
Loc: southeast USA
Quote:
Originally posted by mac_attack:
As long as they have a great story and graphics, I don't mind the sound at all. Sometimes I completely forget that there is any sound at all in the game.
I may not notice the sound so much while I'm playing a game either. But I certainly notice the lack of it. Without some sort of sound, I don't feel like it's a complete game. In fact, I played midis while I was testing the online version of LadyStar because the silence of the game bothered me.

About guys playing female characters:

I remember reading a complaint about "Wheel of Time" in one of the newsgroups a couple of years ago: The gamer said the problem he had with the game wasn't so much that you had to play a girl as that she was a "girly girl." I think it's even worse with LadyStar. You play as a giggly adolescent female rather than as an adult. I think this would likely turn off not only guys but adult gamers in general.

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#112836 - 03/28/02 10:57 AM Re: It has to be said
heavycat Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 08/04/01
Posts: 184
You play as a giggly adolescent female rather than as an adult. I think this would likely turn off not only guys but adult gamers in general.

Alas, all must start from somewhere, and a long path stretches to the horizon before these characters.

Suffice to say that there are many things that are unknown by players about the LadyStar characters at this point, and Jessica, although a main character, is but one of seven distinct and unique personalities among the girls, all of whom contribute to the game and story, and all of whom will be playable during the course of the game.
_________________________
Scott
Heavy Cat Multimedia Ltd.
www.ladystar.net - Your Magical and Mysterious Adventure Awaits
www.heavycatweb.com - Only the Gameplay Matters

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#112837 - 03/28/02 11:07 AM Re: It has to be said
Skinter Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 4161
Loc: Herndon, VA
Jen,

From what you have played right now. You haven't had given a chance to meet some of the characters in the other episodes. I agree that Jessica is just a little bit on the giggly side. But, characters other than that seem more mature than they really are. There definitely does seem to be more of a puzzle-solving in Episode Three. If you don't want to do that, maybe you could help me out by playing Episode Three and solving the puzzle a long with me. This girl in Episode Three doesn't seem to be as giggly as Jessica is, though. Let me know if you would like to take a shot at Episode Three with me! wave wave
_________________________
Lvl 55 Hunter in WOW

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#112838 - 03/28/02 05:14 PM Re: It has to be said
pernilla Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 347
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
A phrase that comes to my mind when reading this thread is "kill your darlings". It seems to me that the developers of Ladystar aren't prepared to do this. Instead of reevaluating their design decisions, they try to convince us by words that the game in its current state will appeal to lots of people with different interests if we just give it a chance. Maybe the parts that you, the designers, like most are the parts that the players don't care much about?

Sound for example, someone said that the lack of sound is disturbing, you should take this point seriously! Not just turn the argument down by saying that sound would make the files too big. You made the design decision to exclude sound, well that may be the wrong choice. Even the early graphic adventures had midi music and adventure players aren't used to walking around in a silent world. Yet you think this is unimportant.

I don't think it's possible to please everyone with one game, instead you run quite a big risk to displease everyone. Maybe this thread comes too late in the game development, maybe you should have asked the would-be players much earlier. Just pleading for people to like the game and pay for it doesn't make it more attractive.

Sorry if this post sounds harsh. But if you come here to ask our opinions (most of us are adventure game lovers!) on a game that obviously doesn't attract the number of people you'd hoped for, don't expect us to tell you that all seems well, keep up the good work and we'll buy your game to be nice. Many people have given their honest opinions as to why the game doesn't appeal to them and what should be changed, and if you want to make the game interesting for us, listen to our opinions and don't be afraid to kill your darlings!

Pernilla

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#112839 - 03/28/02 05:24 PM Re: It has to be said
Bruce Fielder Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 11/27/01
Posts: 638
Loc: Amarillo, TX USA
Well said Pernilla.
_________________________
Live by the Golden Rule at all times.

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#112840 - 03/28/02 06:25 PM Re: It has to be said
aberfoyle Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 327
Loc: Massachusetts, USA
Hi,

Pernilla, your post said it beautifully.

The other day there was a problem with LadyStar because Internet Explorer version 6 (IE6) was not behaving as did earlier versions of IE.

Somewhere in postings from LadyStar, I read that there might come a time when players would be required to use the Mozilla browser because it has never had a problem.

This didn't seem to me to be a solution that made any sense. As a developer myself, I have to make the program do what is necessary to serve the customer. I am not in a position to make them change their ways to handle a problem I might have because of Microsoft.

I believe with the best of intentions and eight months of market research and lots of time (beautiful pictures) and effort, the product itself isn't there yet.

I got lost in a forest in chapter three and haven't gone back yet. I really don't like mazes very much at all.

Regards, Aberfoyle happydance

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#112841 - 03/28/02 07:00 PM Re: It has to be said
heavycat Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 08/04/01
Posts: 184
Instead of reevaluating their design decisions, they try to convince us by words that the game in its current state will appeal to lots of people with different interests if we just give it a chance.

The game in its current state *does* appeal to lots of people with different interests. That's the whole point. What we don't understand is why the pageviews/downloads number is so far out of proportion with the registration numbers, especially considering that LadyStar is about $5 more expensive than a steak dinner.

It's funny that you mention "give it a chance." So far, we have published three episodes, one of which most people haven't even played through yet. We still have 10+ characters to introduce, and we're perhaps 1% of the way into an 800 page story. If you're looking for "Instant Gee-Whiz," LadyStar will be a disappointment.

It is no different than investing in mutual funds. There can't be a really great payoff if there is no investment. Great things might be happening on page 700, but people who read the first four paragraphs and go "eh, boring" will miss out. The greatness of page 700 absolutely depends on the foundation built by page one.

Sound for example, someone said that the lack of sound is disturbing, you should take this point seriously! Not just turn the argument down by saying that sound would make the files too big. You made the design decision to exclude sound, well that may be the wrong choice.

It may be, and I think we should be allowed to be less than perfect. We didn't just reject the argument by saying the files would be too big, although that is a major consideration, given the dozens of people who have slow dial-up connections. We also have to consider that the sound might work on one platform, but not on another. (This is very likely, given the fact that what works on Windows is usually broken everywhere else).

But the larger point is that we do not want to overreach. We could spend weeks producing a mediocre soundtrack, (or worse, a bad soundtrack) and please those people who want sound, but displease numerous others who expect a soundtrack to be of a certain quality. Better that it be excluded than be sub-standard quality.

I suppose we could offer a super-glitz multimedia extravaganza with 50MB episode downloads and a $59.95 price tag, but that's not going to make anyone happy, and I'm not all that sure it will make the game better. It will take our attention away from our strengths: characters, story, setting, graphics.

Like all design decisions, there is a tradeoff. We made our choice, and that means that people who support the other viewpoint will be disappointed. That doesn't mean they have to give up on the game completely, though.

If sound is ever included, it will be in the form of an FMV, which solves the technical problems and also limits the risk of producing a poor product.

I don't think it's possible to please everyone with one game, instead you run quite a big risk to displease everyone.

So you can't please everyone, but you *can* displease everyone?

Just pleading for people to like the game and pay for it doesn't make it more attractive.

I don't think we're "pleading" for people to like the game. Given our download numbers, and our guestbook comments, and e-mail, etc., I'd say we have answered the question of whether or not people like the game.

if you want to make the game interesting for us, listen to our opinions

Hey, we're here, and myself and the rest of the team are listening, and we're discussing what we hear all the time. I think we're doing at least an above average job compared to other developers.

But it is unfair to ask a game company, after having invested years of work, to go back and re-develop their game, re-write their characters, re-engineer their platform, and so forth, because players might prefer if this feature or that feature were included. Maybe we can improve those things in a sequel, or an add-on, but we can't go back and rip out the foundation of the entire project at this point.

Many of the comments are about the fact that Jessica and the other characters are just kids, and not adults. I suppose we could dye Jessica's hair black, give her a lot of black eyeshadow, age her 15 years and have her walk around being angsty and sour and depressed all the time, but pop culture has produced far too many of those characters already.

Jessica is who she is for a reason. I think there's room in the world for a cheerful, slightly silly adolescent female, and I don't think she is any less a potential hero than any of the other characters in adventure games. Plus, Jessica gives LadyStar its personality.

We do appreciate all of the comments we receive, and please don't assume that because I personally may not agree with them, that they are any less valuable to us. We know that adventure game fans want good products, and we're working as hard as we can to provide them. We may not be 100% perfect, but we'll at least always be improving.

Thanks again. smile
_________________________
Scott
Heavy Cat Multimedia Ltd.
www.ladystar.net - Your Magical and Mysterious Adventure Awaits
www.heavycatweb.com - Only the Gameplay Matters

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#112842 - 03/28/02 07:08 PM Re: It has to be said
Skinter Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 4161
Loc: Herndon, VA
You guys may be slow in developing your story, but, I hope that you guys have come up with something good for the later volumes. <img border="0" alt="[winky]" title="" src="graemlins/winky.gif" />
_________________________
Lvl 55 Hunter in WOW

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#112843 - 03/28/02 07:12 PM Re: It has to be said
heavycat Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 08/04/01
Posts: 184
a problem with LadyStar because Internet Explorer version 6 (IE6) was not behaving as did earlier versions of IE.

Which has since been fixed

(Thanks, M$. We appreciated that.)

Somewhere in postings from LadyStar, I read that there might come a time when players would be required to use the Mozilla browser because it has never had a problem.

If we have another unplanned "breakage" in IE, this is very likely. The total refit to over 300 files that was required after IE6 broke compatibility with Gecko represents the upper limit on time that we can devote out of our production schedule to broken products.

This didn't seem to me to be a solution that made any sense. As a developer myself, I have to make the program do what is necessary to serve the customer.

There is no disservice to the customer to ask them to use a particular program to view a particular kind of information.

I am not in a position to make them change their ways to handle a problem I might have because of Microsoft.

This is why Microsoft is able to break their browser with each release. It becomes the reponsbility of every other software development company to invest time and money fixing Microsoft bugs, because their customers do not demand that Microsoft reliably support published, industry-wide standards.

We can improve the quality of LadyStar by 50% overnight if we chose to only support Mozilla. We made the decision, however, to also support IE, and we are continuing to do so, to a point.

I got lost in a forest in chapter three and haven't gone back yet. I really don't like mazes very much at all.

We'll be putting the Hint-O-Matic on-line in a few days (and announcing it here) if you want to bypass the forest puzzle.

Thanks for the comments. smile
_________________________
Scott
Heavy Cat Multimedia Ltd.
www.ladystar.net - Your Magical and Mysterious Adventure Awaits
www.heavycatweb.com - Only the Gameplay Matters

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#112844 - 03/28/02 07:18 PM Re: It has to be said
Skinter Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 4161
Loc: Herndon, VA
One tiny little question, Scott? Who is M$? <img border="0" title="" alt="[Confused]" src="confused.gif" />
_________________________
Lvl 55 Hunter in WOW

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#112845 - 03/28/02 07:23 PM Re: It has to be said
heavycat Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 08/04/01
Posts: 184
Who is M$?

That would be Micro$oft.

laugh
_________________________
Scott
Heavy Cat Multimedia Ltd.
www.ladystar.net - Your Magical and Mysterious Adventure Awaits
www.heavycatweb.com - Only the Gameplay Matters

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#112846 - 03/28/02 07:26 PM Re: It has to be said
Skinter Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 4161
Loc: Herndon, VA
Scott,

Do you think you could check out my question over on the Hints page labelled as Ladystar? Thanks!
_________________________
Lvl 55 Hunter in WOW

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#112847 - 03/28/02 09:58 PM Re: It has to be said
Anonymous
Unregistered


I reread your first post and it seems you are saying if we (adventure game player)dont buy every adventure game out there, you and others with stop making them. Does that mean if I dont download and pay for your game you will stop making it? No I dont think so.If I want to buy a game I read the box and see what it is about. If I like what I read I buy it. If I am not quite sure if I want it I go online and find a review for it. But it is my choice.If I buy a real stinker of a game I would hesitate about buying another one from that company. But still its my choice.
I respect everyones opinion on this board and every one is quite unique with their opinions. They should be heard.
And anyway I still dont know if this game is just a slide show or is there movement in the game? And if there is no sound how do the characters talk? Or do you have to read it?(Wish I still had my old commador64)

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