Author Topic: Actual Sunlight  (Read 9206 times)

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NeonCowboy

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Actual Sunlight
« on: December 29, 2012, 10:48:46 PM »


Actual Sunlight - Demo

Hi everyone,
 
The game is actually 'finished' from a writing and development perspective, but I'm in the process of trying to raise funds for original art and additional music. You can download the game from this page:

ACTUAL SUNLIGHT - DOWNLOAD: http://www.actualsunlight.com

I'm not super hung up on funding, would just to know what people think of it. :)
 
I know it's not a traditional game, and more of a visual novel (very similar to something like To The Moon, in fact...!) but I hope that the story and the experience will interest you. Please provide me with any feedback that you can... Thanks!

WARNING: This game contains an adult-workplace amount of profanity and mature (sexual) themes (there is no nudity or graphical displays of sexuality, however.) It is not appropriate for children.
 
STORY SYNOPSIS
 
Actual Sunlight is a short, interactive story about love, depression and the corporation.
 
In the story, you take control of the main character during three distinct points of his life as a young professional. You struggle with relationships, addictions, and try to deal with your problems through anger and imagination.

The game begins on what seems like a typical day in the life of the main character - throughout the day that follows, you go through what has become an all-too-monotonous routine, and learn about the perspective of this character. You're also introduced to other characters in the life of the protagonist, both directly and indirectly. The first day ends with a revelation about the character's past, and the consequences of his choices are then played out in a sudden shift to many years in the future. The game ends on a final decision that raises questions about player agency, predestination and resignation.

The name of the main character is EVAN WINTER, and he is a 31-year old single male office worker.
 
WORLD DEVELOPMENT
 
The setting of Actual Sunlight is in downtown Toronto, and is set in the present day.

SCREENSHOTS

« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 10:09:02 AM by NeonCowboy »

NeonCowboy

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 10:12:04 AM »
Hi everyone,

The game now has an independent website - please check it out at:

http://www.actualsunlight.com

And, because I'm concerned that the screenshots really don't do a lot of justice to what the game is like, I thought I'd post some player feedback here as well... If you like smart, thoughtful writing, I really do think you'll enjoy Actual Sunlight.

Player Feedback

“The writing is frank, funny and raw, but in a polished way. You’ve made something of real consequence. Aside from the sentiment of the story, my favourite part of the game is how you handle the linearity. This may just be the academic in me overeager to read into things, but I liked how the lack of options reinforced the sense of powerlessness expressed in the writing. And not just at the end.”

“Holy philosophy, Batman! I know this game won’t be for everyone, but it’s certainly nice to see something of an alternative topic covered so … Thoroughly.”

“I just finished this, and damn. It’s a very powerful experience; I’d put it in the Utsuge category actually. I encourage everyone here to play it. When I opened it, I was expecting something fairly half-baked with meh writing (something the VN afficionados on the OELVN scene keep complaining about, really.) It’s not quite a traditional visual novel, but to be honest, it definitely fits in here more than everywhere else. And it’s got great writing.”

“I started and I managed to log almost 20 minutes in the apartment alone, just reading all the stuff you’ve written for Evan, that Something Awful review… It was epic.”

“The story moved me at points. Certain situations and pieces of story or dialogue, I could identify with. That’s a powerful position to be in as a writer, and when the game resonates with the player, on any level, you know the writing is well done and effective.”

Judedeath

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 02:01:51 PM »
Does Actual Sunlight kill vampires?
Old River was as dead as a doornail, this must be distinctly understood or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am about to relate.

Liberatingpulse

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 10:52:09 PM »
Sounds really interesting! I'll give this game a play-through tomorrow after I do some work.

I do sound design and composition, so feel free to PM me to see if we can work something out.
Recently released a dubstep EP. Check it out here > http://bit.ly/WgefwS < or stream it off my website. http://liberatingpulse.com/ Thanks! :D

Pretzle

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 03:08:19 PM »
(Long, but hopefully worth it ;))

I just played it. I started before dinner, played about 5 minutes of it, and then finished the rest of it in one go after dinner.

My husband actually looked at my screen and asked 'ehh, is this about bi-polar/manic depression?'. I could definitely relate to quite a bit of the feel/content of the game. I know comparisons probably aren't what you're after but I'll use it to explain my response to the game. Compared to To the Moon, my response to Actual Sunlight isn't exactly 'I like it'. It's more of an 'Ah, familiar and true - comforting in one way, rather frustrating in another way.' It's definitely a game/story which makes me feel something, which is always a good thing!

SPOILERS if you haven't played the whole thing yet!

As someone else said - the sound for the text gets a little bit annoying after a while. What you could perhaps do for the longer texts is only play the sound for the first 3-4 sentences or so, and then only play it again on the next screen (although that might end up being 'weird', not sure it would work. But I think getting rid of it completely/allowing players to switch it off will take away some of the atmosphere).

In the store (near the beginning I think it was) you can check several items (not sure how many, I just checked the ones on the left side of the video games) but when you buy a video game(/buy something? Can you buy something else?) you immediately go back to your place and can't check the store to see if there are other items to interact with. If there is more to explore in that scene, it would be great to be able to look around first before leaving.

One of the things that kind of got to me at the beginning is how ugly (not badly done - actually ugly/plain - I mean, the characters themselves, not the sprites :)) the characters are. Which I suppose is intended? (Boring/plain people, no one really interesting around, except for the guy with the red eyes who gets the promotion. And he's clearly just pretending to be happy.). I think this added a nice bit of something to making the game seem connected/put-together. The whole world is(/appears) to be boring, even the people you can interact with.

What I did wonder about - what exactly are you portraying with the part where the screen goes red and the main character destroys everything. Is he experiencing a psychosis or is he 'just' angry/annoyed and very depressed? It's not the actions themselves which make me think 'whoah maybe this guy has more going on than a bad depression' but because the screen goes red it seems like it's something else. Maybe a more grey-ish filter would put more emphasis on the depression (if that's what you're going after) as opposed to red.

I was a bit disappointed that you couldn't see the items he smashed actually... being smashed. It would be nice to see some effect in the items themselves. I did think it was a nice detail that later on the 'smashed' items were all gone from the apartment!

At the end, not being able to go back inside, or go back to the other parts of the roof really REALLY irked me. In a good way. Very nice detail. Also taking away all options in the elevator but having 'ROOF' 3 times... Nice one! If you had just taken away the others and left 'ROOF' 1 time that part would have been less intense.

One question: Do you have any other games? :D
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NeonCowboy

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 06:00:55 PM »
(Long, but hopefully worth it ;))

Totally worth it! Thank you for such detailed feedback.

Quote from: Pretzle
As someone else said - the sound for the text gets a little bit annoying after a while. What you could perhaps do for the longer texts is only play the sound for the first 3-4 sentences or so, and then only play it again on the next screen (although that might end up being 'weird', not sure it would work. But I think getting rid of it completely/allowing players to switch it off will take away some of the atmosphere).

It's a good idea, but you're right - it could be weird. I'll give it a shot and try to make an honest assessment of whether or not it works... Maybe I just need to find a sound that is totally non-invasive but still creates the same kind of atmosphere...

Quote from: Pretzle
In the store (near the beginning I think it was) you can check several items (not sure how many, I just checked the ones on the left side of the video games) but when you buy a video game(/buy something? Can you buy something else?) you immediately go back to your place and can't check the store to see if there are other items to interact with. If there is more to explore in that scene, it would be great to be able to look around first before leaving.

Most of the items there give the same reaction, but if you poke around you'll find a few variations. Here's something that you might not have seen: Try to leave the store without buying anything!

Quote from: Pretzle
One of the things that kind of got to me at the beginning is how ugly (not badly done - actually ugly/plain - I mean, the characters themselves, not the sprites :)) the characters are. Which I suppose is intended? (Boring/plain people, no one really interesting around, except for the guy with the red eyes who gets the promotion. And he's clearly just pretending to be happy.). I think this added a nice bit of something to making the game seem connected/put-together. The whole world is(/appears) to be boring, even the people you can interact with.

Yes, there's certainly supposed to be a persistent ugliness or drabness about the world - I hope to add to that even further once I get some additional and original art assets put into the game. I also intend to make the characters look a lot less general, and really use art to speak more to who they are...

Quote from: Pretzle
What I did wonder about - what exactly are you portraying with the part where the screen goes red and the main character destroys everything. Is he experiencing a psychosis or is he 'just' angry/annoyed and very depressed? It's not the actions themselves which make me think 'whoah maybe this guy has more going on than a bad depression' but because the screen goes red it seems like it's something else. Maybe a more grey-ish filter would put more emphasis on the depression (if that's what you're going after) as opposed to red.

I think the red is important because there is rage to be conveyed there... You're the first person to react to this in this way, so I'd like to see if there's a trend here...

Quote from: Pretzle
I was a bit disappointed that you couldn't see the items he smashed actually... being smashed. It would be nice to see some effect in the items themselves. I did think it was a nice detail that later on the 'smashed' items were all gone from the apartment!

Would definitely like to add this in - maybe not through sprites, but through a full-screen CG that shows everything having been destroyed, and the apartment essentially covered in smashed-up things...

Quote from: Pretzle
One question: Do you have any other games? :D

Thank you for asking! I'm afraid I don't - this is my first. :) I think my next project might be a straight-up visual novel, probably done in Ren'Py, but I'm a long way from finished with this one...

Pretzle

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 04:13:11 AM »
Maybe I was just overthinking it with the red. ^^;

Btw, I think you're a good storyteller :)
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NeonCowboy

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2013, 06:43:28 PM »
Hey everyone,

Just wanted to let you all know that Actual Sunlight made it successfully through the straits of IndieGoGo, and has now launched on Project Greenlight! Check it out here:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=132375295

If you guys have Steam accounts, I'd love it if you could give it an upvote, or just offer a nice comment towards it. :)
Thanks!

Merlandese

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2013, 02:51:18 AM »
Alright, finally downloading this. I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out. :)

Merlandese

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2013, 03:27:46 PM »
Oh, wow. Totally cool game. Lots of great writing (the game's mostly things that the main character is "writing" in his head; a lot of little tidbits on how he perceives things).

I recommend this for people who are fond of abstract narrations and reading. The writing is just excellent. I think it could use some more ambient noises in the musical silence, or maybe some more music. What was there was great. Very fitting.

Even by themselves, some of Evan's pieces are really cool! I wouldn't mind coming back to some of those short transcripts on their own, just to enjoy the pacing and word choices.

I hope Will (the creator) gets a lot of good credit!

Merlandese

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2013, 12:09:07 AM »
That's the one I played! XD

NeonCowboy

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2014, 08:23:00 PM »
I saw an inbound link from this thread today, and was so happy to come back and see such kind words about my work! Thank you!

Just as a reminder, I am still on the grind to make it past Steam Greenlight, so if you enjoyed the game and did not yet vote for it, please do so by visiting:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=132375295

If you haven't yet played it, I'm also running a 60% off sale on the game right now via the fantastic itch.io:

http://www.reddit.com/r/GameDeals/comments/1yxq51/itchio_actual_sunlight_60_off_200_cad_drmfree_and/

Once again: Thanks to everyone who played. :)

Merlandese

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2014, 03:32:39 AM »
I have only three quotes in the Quotes section of my Facebook, and one of them is from Evan Winter. :)

NeonCowboy

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2014, 07:38:29 PM »
Just as a reminder, I am still on the grind to make it past Steam Greenlight
Where is it right now? I voted for it quite a while back and I'm curious to know its rank.

It isn't quite in the Top 100 yet - it's 90% of the way there, though!

It's been a long hard run. I'm hoping for the best.

I have only three quotes in the Quotes section of my Facebook, and one of them is from Evan Winter. :)

Thank you! And thanks to both of you for your support. :)

luqadoo

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Re: Actual Sunlight
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2014, 07:06:41 PM »
Just finished the game, the writing was really good.
That boss dude (Brussels I think his name was) made me want to hit him in the head with a baseballbat.  :)