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Thread: Alpha Kimori Episode One Available Now

  1. #1
    Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff Nyx's Avatar
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    Alpha Kimori Episode One Available Now

    Like sci-fi? How about love triangles? Are you looking for a new episodic RPG to whet your whistle? Check out Sherman3D's Alpha Kimori, and see what all the buzz is about.

    Story

  2. #2
    Host of The Sectorcast Rosestorm's Avatar
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    For those that are interested I'm currently playing this game for review.
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  3. #3
    A Witness to Destruction Moderator DarkRPGMaster's Avatar
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    This interests me...

  4. #4
    The game looks painfully generic, like it was made from of a particularly bad fan fiction with random, simple Japanese names.

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    BUT... it has Hatsune Miku vocals! So it definitely gets a +1 in awesomeness for that.

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    As far as I can tell, Alpha Kimori was created with either RPG Maker XP or VX. The graphics are similar to default options... but at the same time, it looks like the creators made sure everything was distinct.

    Downloaded the demo, and Norton Internet Security states that it "needs attention." Even though Norton is very useful, it seems to panic every time I download demos / freeware programs that are recent. (Avira is a free program, and it doesn't have the same problem.)

  7. #7
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    what was that other bad western rpg that tried to be japanese? plenet straglehold??? it just goes to show that people in the west know if you're going to rip off a game and do a bad job; japanese rpgs are ripe for the picking.

  8. #8
    Host of The Sectorcast Rosestorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by otakudensetsu View Post
    what was that other bad western rpg that tried to be japanese? plenet straglehold??? it just goes to show that people in the west know if you're going to rip off a game and do a bad job; japanese rpgs are ripe for the picking.
    You talking about Black Sigil maybe
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  9. #9
    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    It works the other way around, too. When the Japanese try to design for Western tastes, you get crazy stuff like (the now-cancelled) Gun Loco or the protagonist of the Xbox version of Neir.

    But yeah, I tend to cringe when I see something that attempts to imitate anime/manga, but doesn't quite get it right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosestorm View Post
    You talking about Black Sigil maybe
    no it was an xbla game, it was just on this site, planet something.

    i agree with ocelot, japanese games should be made by japanese developers.

  11. #11
    Official Developer Member AlphaKimori's Avatar
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    Umm...you guys do know that Alpha Kimori is created primarily by Asian independent developers including Japanese, right? Even the theme song itself was composed by Japanese composer, Yossy: http://studio-misty.com/index.php The official Alpha Kimori website is at: http://www.AlphaKimori.com

  12. #12
    Member Nightfox's Avatar
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    On the other hand, I've seen plenty of Japanese-made "Japanese" games that look like amateur hour (there's a handful of those on XBLIG as well that never get mentioned, and I don't want to insult the creators' work by pointing them out here, because I know how hard it is to make full RPGs even with an existing engine). Likewise, how come Western indie developers never get as much flack for making bad-looking Western-influenced cartoon or even rendered art? Saying that only a specific culture is allowed to make a specific "look" or feel to a game is frankly shallow. I get that you don't like the quality of the outcome, but that's all it should be seen as; not some expecation or limitation based on race. Not everyone enjoys even the best of anime or Western artwork, we all have different tastes, and all artists have different styles. If someone is born in Topeka, Kansas and can draw manga better than say, Kosuke Fujishima, would you seriously condemn all their work because they aren't Japanese? Well, I guess that sort of reaction is not unheard of, that's why people take pen names for creating art/writing/games in other countries... not that I have to like it.

    The thing is, indie devs generally make games because they feel like there aren't a satisfactory number of quality titles coming out of a specific genre - depending on platform, totally justifiable - or to fill a niche of a playstyle that isn't made enough. "Japanese" RPGs really just don't get ported over as often as some people feel they should especially with the recent backlash against them that even Japanese developers are forced to react to, and not everyone can speak or read Japanese fluently to enjoy them (I'm not counting translated walkthroughs, which tend not to cover 100% of the game or even get all the nuances right). If it's the kind of gameplay that people like or are asking for when clearly there's a dearth of quality titles, then there's no real reason not to try to appeal to them.

    Sorry, I know that all was off topic, but I have been stewing over this thread for a few days and I just wanted to say something. All in all I am waiting for the aforementioned review to Alpha Kimori; it was brought up again in the newest RPG Sanctum and made me think to come back here. I personally am not a big fan of episodic gaming, so I might just wait until the series is finished and hopefully packaged together as a whole.
    http://www.shadowdawngenesis.com - follow progress on the upcoming RPG series Shadowdawn on Xbox Live Indie Games and PC (and wherever else we can take it)

  13. #13
    is not declawed RPGamer Staff Ocelot's Avatar
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    Well, to clarify what I meant in particular, it's not so much imitating the art style that bugs me as people from one culture attempting to mimic something from another culture without understanding it. You see that a lot with Westerners whose only exposure to Japanese culture is through anime and manga, who then think they know everything about Japan and are going to make an indie game that is "totally Japanese." It usually results in some pretty bad stereotyping and a general amateur flavour to the games. I'm not going to say whether any of that is the case in Alpha Kimori, because I don't know. My comment was general, and I apologise to the AK devs for not making that clearer.

    Also, trust me, I am just as hard on Western RPGs that need more work in the graphics department. I believe I have mentioned Spiderweb Software in the past... I just can't get over the amateur quality of the graphics in their games, especially when the graphics hardly changed for over a decade and had been sub-par when they first came out. I get that fancy graphics aren't everything, (heck, people have been complaining about the graphics in Legend of Heroes: TitS, while I don't have a problem with them at all) but I feel like once an indie company is established, it should step up its game... especially when there are other indie companies out there who make things that look like this.

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  14. #14
    Member Nightfox's Avatar
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    I totally get what you're saying, Ocelot, as a long time fan of anime I'd have to be blind not to see that sort of almost arrogant posturing about Japanese culture from a majority of the fandom. I know a lot of [typically] younger indie game devs who are fans of older console RPGs want to replicate that feel without putting their own individual style into it and that's where I do get annoyed with the resulting product. If it's just a superficial copy of an existing game with characters swapped in then I'm probably not going to be interested, and even if I was it'd probably miss important elements that make it an authentic and individual work.

    But yeah, once an indie studio gets their feet wet it's time to at least try to put some serious heart and effort into their game's production value (especially art, almost always the weakest link in a new studio's development process). Alpha Kimori is the first title completely developed by this team, but they have quite a few titles under their belt as well they did contributions to or ports of. Still it's not too bad from what I'm seeing and can only expect greater things as the episodes continue. Like I said though, I probably will wait until the whole thing is packaged as a completely title - no offense to Sherman3D but I just have a big hangup on episodic gaming.

    And yeah, that game Bastion has a core team of experienced industry members behind it so I can sort of expect that sort of dedication and polish to their title. Heck I use it as my motivation to do better for my own title; I won't be satisfied until I can compete with it visually
    http://www.shadowdawngenesis.com - follow progress on the upcoming RPG series Shadowdawn on Xbox Live Indie Games and PC (and wherever else we can take it)

  15. #15
    Official Developer Member AlphaKimori's Avatar
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    RPGamer's Alpha Kimori Episode One interview: http://www.rpgamer.com/games/alphaki...kimep1int.html

  16. #16
    Have towel will travel Member shoptroll's Avatar
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    Questions for the devs:

    1) Are there any other bonuses for the special edition? Are there samples of the improved music quality?
    2) Will the later episodes be longer in length? You say in the interview that it's about 5 hours on average for episode 1.
    3) Are there plans for a combined version at the end of the project? Will people who purchase all three episodes individually receive some sort of bonus like Telltale does with their episodic games?
    4) Is there any sort of persistence between episodes? Ie. can I import a save game from episode 1 into episode 2 for additional content or some sort of perk?
    So long & thanks for all the fish!

  17. #17
    Official Developer Member AlphaKimori's Avatar
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    1) Are there any other bonuses for the special edition? Are there samples of the improved music quality?

    Simply put - the normal edition is Midi. The special edition is MP3. If you buy the Special Edition, you will be helping us more. We get pocket change from games sold on other distribution channels.

    2) Will the later episodes be longer in length? You say in the interview that it's about 5 hours on average for episode 1.

    5 hours is just the average. Most people play for longer than that. We can always make it longer with frivolous tasks but the 5 hours are carefully crafted with story progression which we shortened from 7 hours+ to keep the pace of the story.

    3) Are there plans for a combined version at the end of the project? Will people who purchase all three episodes individually receive some sort of bonus like Telltale does with their episodic games?

    Well, there will be a combined version if we make enough to sustain the development of this project. Development will be much faster if we don't have to keep working on outsourced jobs from the west. *LOL* We are actually pretty flexible. If you write to us requesting a combined version if you buy all 3, we would probably fulfill the request. ^_^

    4) Is there any sort of persistence between episodes? Ie. can I import a save game from episode 1 into episode 2 for additional content or some sort of perk?

    At the moment, we are giving the player special items if we find a save game from the previous Episode. We started with a full import before but our testers found that it crashes in some instances so we have decided to make it as clean as possible (after all the technical problems the engine gave us >_< ).

    Thanks for the support! ^_^

  18. #18
    I tried out the demo and I think this game needs a lot of polishing if it doesn't want to end up as another generic RPG Maker game.

    The graphics look good enough. The music is fine. The story knows where it's heading. That's all okay.
    But if you start looking at the details the "amateur" quills out everywhere. First of all the font is the default RPG Maker font that almost every second RPG Maker game has and I personally find that one rather ugly. The menus look really ugly: Words aren't centered inside the highlighting. Highlighting is just a rectangle block, etc.
    Gameplay could be improved a lot too. Especially character balance and battles. Right now it is totally unbalanced. The characters start with 45 HP at level 1 and on level 2 it suddenly jumps to 147 HP! That increase actually seems to decrease over time, so the higher level you are the more meaningless leveling becomes. One fault almost all RPG Maker games have. Wouldn't it be much better if the stats would always get percentual increase compared to their previous value? Like +20% every level up: 45 HP -> 54 HP -> 65 HP -> 78 HP -> 94 HP -> 113 HP
    This would also make it much easier to balance everything. On top of that it seems like all characters have the same HP/MP at the same level. Where's the individuality? Not to mention that story-wise the girl is a lot stronger (at least until the boy gets his fighting spirit back), but stat-wise the boy is usually one level higher and thus also has higher stats and stronger attacks.
    The next thing are the battles: There is no strategy about them at all. Monster types aren't mixed, so there is NO strategy in deciding which monster to attack first on top of that skill isn't needed either because it's fully turn-based. No strategy and no skill needed makes them very boring. I wouldn't mind a turn-based battle system, but then it at least should have some sort of strategy. Add skill elements (and multiple available skills so there's actually an option), mix monster types into one battle (for example strong attack/low HP and weak attack/high HP -> strategy would be here to target the strong attacker first), lots of improvements can be done here.

  19. #19
    Official Developer Member AlphaKimori's Avatar
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    Thanks for your constructive criticism, Rya.Reisender. Actually, Alpha Kimori has its own font which we used initially but unfortunately, it causes too much problems like the font not appearing if Windows fail to install it correctly and if the default font is fallen back upon, the system has to be restarted. In the end, we decided to go back to the default font when casual gamers didn't care about the font and wanted to just get the game working. Yup, we definitely need to improve the menu system and the mouse interaction. As for the level increments, it is really difficult to adjust in RPG Maker. >_< We compensated for Vanessa being stronger by giving her the ability to absorb Life and Ki when she uses an offensive Ki Skill. There are also monster mixes towards the end of Episode One. Skill elements are also there but more Ki Skills need to gained before they are apparent. We actually balanced the game to be really simple at the beginning and gradually increase in difficulty towards the end because Alpha Kimori was first launched on Big Fish Games as a casual game for casual gamers. Our marketing strategy is to make it an "interactive novel". It would please gamers who are more interested in the story but provides a bit of a challenge for gamers who want to use strategy towards the end of the game. At all other times, Alpha Kimori is really simple with very little grinding work. We will take into account the majority of feedback (we have players of very different profiles) provided for what we will change in Episode Two. Thanks again! ^_^

  20. #20
    In RPG Maker you can set the stats for each level manually or you can use a formula. I'd recommend one of these options rather than using the default growth of RPG Maker. Best thing is to use a spreadsheet program (Excel / Open Office) to try different formulas and see how the stats evolve from level 1 to 99.

    Also I don't like the thinking of "it's an interactive novel so it doesn't need excellent gameplay". Why not make it both an amazing story and fun gameplay at the same time? It's also a difference between making a game start easy and get continuously harder or making the battles at the start completely pointless. They can be easy and still involve some tactic. After all, this is where players should be trained for the tactics which they need later on to survive.

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