A downloadable game for Windows and macOS

~Preface~ 

"There is a legend among our people--That if one were to swim through the deepest, blackest, most crushing depths of the sea, on the other side of all that darkness...there is light." 

The goddess of the sea created four races of her power, but since that time, they've scarcely met.  

Far in the north live the Nenet, the representation of the sea's storms and unfathomable wrath and power. 

In the shallow kelp beds live the Mu'etti, the representation of the bounty of life to be found in the ocean. 

Deep, deep below the water's surface are the Loremna'tat, the representation of the sea's mysteries and how no mere mortal can ever hope to comprehend it. 

And among the warm tropical islands live the nomadic Ame'sol, the representation of the winds of change and that only those attuned to the winds may ever even get an inkling of what the sea might do next. 

But for as different and spread apart as these peoples may be, they all share a common foe: the Pena--creatures of darkness that have hunted the Four Peoples since their creation. In these dark times, four runaways find themselves thrown together. Each has a personal reason for wanting to see the Pena menace done away with for good, and fueled by the belief that they were divinely chosen to end these monsters once and for all, they head out into the deep unknown to save the Four Peoples from the shadows that haunt them. But before these four strangers can ever hope to defeat a monster, they'll have to figure out how to just get along with one another first. Though they all speak the same language, there seems to be an awful lot lost in translation going on around here. 

The winds of change are upon us. Let the hunt begin.

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Genre:  Friendship/Adventure

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Features

--It's free!

--Strong but caring female protagonist.

--Almost 200,000 words.

--Good Ending, Best Ending, and bonus friendship or romantic endings.  But beware, if you or your allies don't survive, there are bad endings too.

--No route system.

--Seven bonus scenes and four bonus CGs for maxing friendship and survival stats.

--No 'one right way' to get the best ending, there are lots of combinations to get you there, every person will have a different experience.

--Water.  Lots and lots of water.

--Warnings for mild violence, mentions of blood, and flippant threats of cannibalism.  Game will also include scenes of the characters hunting, which may bother some of my fellow animal lovers.

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For Feedback

It was a long journey, it took us awhile to get here, but I thank you for your patience and hope you enjoyed the game. If you have a little extra time, I'd love to know what you think. Please write your general thoughts before answering the questions.

--Who is your favorite character and why?
--What was your favorite moment from the game?
--Any advice or critique I should keep in mind for the sequel/other future games?  (other than having more reasonable release goals)
--Any other comments/concerns?


Enjoyed the game?  Consider donating!  

http://ko-fi.com/swallowtailedtrinket

Install instructions

Windows

1. Extract the zip file and put it somewhere easy to find. I, for example, have a folder on my desk top where I drop all the visual novels I want to play!

2. Find the 'Application' file within titled "The_Deep_Unknown" and double-click.

Mac

--Uncertain

Download

Download
The_Deep_Unknown_1.1-win.zip 90 MB
Download
The_Deep_Unknown_1.1-mac.zip 89 MB
Download
Walkthrough (rtf file) 139 kB

Development log

Comments

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(1 edit)

Oh my god I'm in love.   

IN LOVE.

L O V E.

Ive played a lot of good visual novels.  and a lot of mediocore visua novels. and a lot of just downright BAD visual novels.  And Ive never left a review fro any of them, prefering to keep the magic of the game and not think of the development process. But I just had to write a review for this one.  Its a truely well written story that uses the platform of visual novel storytelling and choices perfectly.  I played the demo, and saw the potential but as it wasnt super long I was just optimistic and promptly forgot about it, until just now.  IM SO GLAD I REMEMBERED.  Over all I loved it, but there a few shining things Id like to highlight.

--The use of placement of the characters avatars wasused so well within this game.  Often invisual novels, devs make the mistake of just making facial expressions change or putting alot of trouble into making them breathe or blink to ake them feel real.  While your characters showed only four or so facial experresions they felt as if the were moving and alive due to their placement! When Groriu would be outnumbered in an arguement he would be off to his own on the screen while the others would be togetherr, visually showing the situation without being overly complicated.  It was an excelent use of the basics of visual novel set up that I see underused very often and it truly breathed life into the story.


--The originality and length of the story.  Pacin was wonderful, it was long enough to leave me satisfied but also had good pacing and didnt feel drawn out or rushed.  It was also an original story, which I havent found in a while, a rare treasure.

--Which leads to the lore and world building.  I reallt do believe that that made this game.  Their is so much well thought out lore and world building that occurs throughout the game and it was slowly introduced as we learned with Makani about the other species, not just being thrown everything at once

To answer the questions you had though:

-Who is your favorite character and why? Groriu.  Hands down.  I love the snark/sarcastic characters in most stories but Groriu managed to be a snarky sarcastic mess, that was believable AND not just outright cruel AND he had other traits otherr than vitriol.  I loved him in a romantic way, and wanted to know more about him from the get go.  Also just that character design. Woof, A+.  I also loved my siblings, and Kamekt.  Vane had to grow on me I'll be honest, but thats more of a personal preference than anything.  By end game I felt protective and proud of the little squish ball.

--What was your favorite moment from the game?

Thats a hard one but I really liked the lore between and about Grorius species.  I might have helped that he was my favorite but I really liked the whole journey in the deep ocean.


--Any advice or critique I should keep in mind for the sequel/other future games?  (other than having more reasonable release goals)

I loved that romance was a secondary thought (it can be annoying if its not an option but equally annoying if it is the sole concern of a story).  However I do feel it was a little rushed at the end?  If there could have been a little more of hinting at it throughout the game.  For example groriu goes from thinking of you as sister to a possible lver the moment the romance epilouge was started.  I enjoyed it non the less but some minor scenes troughout the middle once they were friends would have made it less jarring.


--Any other comments/concerns?

Im sorry if I misspelled anyones names.  Thank you so much for this gem.  Im sorry I cant donate right now, (moving and finishing college has made my wallet cry out in mercy) but plan to once Im financially more stable.  Would a sequel be about these characters or a whole different group?   At this point Id play anything you make, but Im curious.

Thank you for satisfying my need for a good story, this was a gift.

~Yummie

P.s I'm almost certainly making fanart for this, I need to escape to this world  little longer ;)

P.P.S I made some fanart of my favorite glowy sea snake and I also have more questions.  

Do males in Grorius tribe always wear their hair up in ponytails? Is it a status thing or does he just ike his hair that way?

Did Kamekts Mother get a pack even though she was crippled?  Do scribes get put in packs?

Which of the four species has the highest population?


Oh.  My.  Stars.    OOHHHHMMYYYSTARSSSSS!!!  Your art is so incredible and amazing!  The personality in your line work has me in awe!  I love it so much!  THANK YOU!   

Agh, that's awesome XD  
Thank you for taking the time to share all your kind comments about the game!  It thrills me that you enjoyed it so much!  I understand what you mean about the romance endings, the change was something I was a little iffy about, and that's why there's an implied time buffer of a couple weeks from the time Makani reunites with her family to the time the romance epilogues start.  But an implication isn't the same as actually seeing something change, and I get that.  I suppose I didn't really think about making it an option to get started on those routes sooner.  

As for your questions:
--The sequels will have their own casts, but Makani and co. will absolutely cross paths with them and continue to play an important role in the series.

--Men in Groriu's culture often tie their hair back for convenience, but it doesn't carry a special meaning.  Groriu likes to wear his hair a little looser than some, but also likes people to play with/braid it.  Usually they keep their hair long, --it catches the light of their bioluminescence, making them more visible to their own kind in the dark, while also attracting prey that's too curious for it's own good.  Short hair is usually only found in hollows around the rim, where cannibalism is more prevalent, as to not give foes something they can easily grab onto in fight. (side note: a woman cutting her hair short is a public declaration that she isn't interested in taking a mate).

--Kameckt's mom had a pack for a couple years when she was young before her crooked tail (scoliosis) started getting obvious.  The decision was then made to put her with the Archivists, and her childhood pack either remained a group of three, or combined with another young pack that had lost a member too and became a rare pack of six.  Archivists don't have 'official' packs, but they do tend to naturally group up in bands of 4-7.  Kameckt's mom has some very close friends among the Archivists that she works with in a very pack-like way.

--Of these four, it's either the Mu'etti or the Ame'sol.

thanks so much for responding!  I get overly curious sometimes an fixate on things.  I wasnt staisfied with the coloring on my last fan art so I re did it 😅. I will do some more in December when school goes back on break.  Is there a possibility of a sequel?  What are your current plans there?


Apologies. I'm pretty sure I had an account but I couldn't use it... ;-;

Overall, I do love the way the game was written. It was both heartfelt and humorous that I definitely enjoyed it!


--Who is your favorite character and why?

Ooooh myyy.. If you were to ask me, all three of them are admirable in their own traits. What Kameckt lacked in reason, he excelled in strength. When Vane turned fearful, he more than made up for in strategy. But most of all though, I guess I'd choose Riu. Groriu can be sarcastic, but he's honest to a fault. He's subtle with his actions, but means well overall.

Hypothetically speaking, I based the favor to those three since they were whom Makani interacts with most.

--What was your favorite moment from the game?

I loved the moments they'd joke around! Morbid humor and all, those definitely kept a smile on my face. *wink wink*

If you'd like me to narrow it down to one specific part, then it's the extra scenes on (Riu's) the romance route. Truthfully, I'd say I'm biased as a romantic.

--Any advice or critique I should keep in mind for the sequel/other future games?  (other than having more reasonable release goals)

To be honest, I did not expect the game to last as long as it had. I loved how the dialogue went longer that an average VN's shorter length. When a typical VN could give you a slightly changed dialogue with various characters, yours gave an entirely new outcome. What the game had lacked in appearance, it excelled through the story. The banter among the characters kept me laughing or grinning from time to time.

The music though I believe, could use a little more.. liveliness? After breezing through the story on a first play-through, it can be somewhat a tune that can lull me to sleep.

Once you get to begin the story line, the appearance was not an issue but is definitely something that draws me first to check a game.

On a side note, was the image on the last an implication of your sequel? XD

--Any other comments/concerns? 

I'm not entirely sure just how long their journey took but I did get skeptical on the moment they fought the Penas.

If not creating an account for this doesn't speak volumes for the admiration I have, I don't know what would. ;_;

Wow, you made a new account just to give me feedback!  That's awesome!  Thank you :D  Sorry about your other account, though, hope you'll find a way to get it back!

I'm glad you enjoyed the longer conversations (admittedly, some of them might have been too long XD  But I was having fun).  I can see what you mean about the music too.  I'll remember that for next time, thank you.  And I'm glad my inexperience at art didn't detract from the story too much :)  I must keep practicing!
Also yes!  There are a couple tiny hints at things to happen in the sequels in some of the later images of the game (and in the library too) :D

The journey from chapter 3 to the final battle took...I'm going to say five weeks? In the past any attempt to hunt the Pena was done by one person at a time--the characters had a much better chance because they were together, and then there are couple other small reasons to do with how the Pena fit into the world-building, but I admit, it might be too far a leap of logic for some.

(+1)

YESSSS GREAT GAME DUDE! 

After a few super fun playthroughs (which were interesting and surprising each-time due to the different scenes I chose) I got the best ending!  And I gotta say... I loved it. It was uplifting and warm and I'm glad that the four of them will go on to their next adventure. I enjoyed exploring their different cultures and how their perspectives clashed with each-other, but also how they overcame their differences to work together! And congrats! You made me fall in love with an eel haha.

Thank you so much for making it!  I had a blast playing it, and wish I could go back and experience it for the first time again :)

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
--Who is your favorite character and why?
I love them all, they are all my children, but i can't run from it... Makani and my snake boi for the win.
Makani my awesome daughter. At first, I was a little disappointed she wasn't more kickass in a physical fight, but then it made sense. She's determined and steadfast and a great leader absolutely, but she's no superhuman - she's restricted simply by her biology like the rest of us mortals haha. And eventually that made me respect her even more :)
Groriu's sarcasm was fun, but surprisingly that  wasn't what made him my fav. His unexpected nurturing and watchful side was! I liked his vulnerability and forever cultural misunderstandings with the rest of the group haha. I thought the relationship between Makani and him was really sweet :D
That being said, I really appreciated showing the relationships forming between the boys themselves and not just between Makani and the boys. It made them feel like an actual group trying to figure everything out. 
And gawd... Vane being the fanboy of the group is just. the. best. I love it so much haha. 

--What was your favorite moment from the game?
Difficult question. There are MANY TO CHOOSE FROM. As previously mentioned, I enjoyed every scene with my snake boi. But there were so many others as well - like the whale scene, the part where everybody stood up for Vane, braiding Groriu's hair, the end fight (you super creeped me out with the carab pena btw lol). There are probably more I still haven't seen because of the choices I made! Can't wait to play the game some more to find out :)

--Any advice or critique I should keep in mind for the sequel/other future games?  (other than having more reasonable release goals)
hmm not really? All of the following I'm going to talk about now is just going off my own hopes and dreams haha so feel free to pass this section by!
I wouldn't have minded showing off Makani's independence a little more but i think that's just a personal preference, and probably hard to do when she's also wired to be a part of a community. And just to add some more picky personal preference stuff (which im only mentioning because i keep thinking about it 'while walking to work) is that its my hardcore headcanon that she's got a sickass scar and walks with a slight limp now because COME ON. She got pretty messed up by that shark!
ok thats it ill leave you alone now haha

--Any other comments/concerns?
I have a couple of questions too!
By the end of the game, I was kinda surprised that not much was done with the corruption stuff, and the mysterious end scene in the best ending threw me for a loop. Will this stuff feature in a sequel? 
Are you planning on doing a sequel? And if so, will it continue to feature these guys as the protagonists?
And HOW OLD ARE THEY!?!? I previously thought they were all around the same age, but something Groriu said made me realise there's no real basis for that assumption like at all. ples im so curious now

Woo!  Congratulations!  And thank you!  It makes me really happy to hear you had fun!  I love it when people love my characters and how all of them get along!  It was really important to me that they grow as a group of friends all together instead of only getting closer to Makani.  And Vane is absolutely a friend-shipper XD

Actually your headcanon is true canon!  Makani does have a scar and a slight limp from now on.  I just keep thinking of it in terms of how it's reflected in the sequels so I forgot to put that into the ending (my bad).  Because yes, there will be sequels.  Two planned, and if I can manage it a short stint at webcomics to go into some back-stories, but two more games for sure.  The other games will have their own central casts (you catch a glimpse of one of these upcoming protagonists in the "Awakening" CG), but  Makani and co. will continue to play a big role in the series, don't worry.

Makani and Vane are both 19, Kameckt is 26, and Groriu is 28. I hope those numbers don't bother anyone too much...  Kameckt and Riu had to be a bit older for their backstories to work.

Haaah I've waited for this game for sooo long after replaying the demos numerous times! The wait was agonizing, but the result sooo rewarding! My god this game made me happy! I finished my playthrough right now, and I'm literally squealing from happiness at this little gem. 

It's so hard to put my thoughts into coherent words right now as I'm a bit overwhelmed with emotions, but I also feel the need to express myself while this is all so fresh in my mind.
Honestly, it was a long time since I last felt this way while playing a game - any kind of game. 
I've already told that after playing the demo, but I really like the characters - all of them. And I've been liking them more and more all along the ride. I was genuinely concerned about them and I've come to care sooo much about them. This game is about people and how they interract and make bonds, and I think you've suceeded masterfuly in that field - seeing them care more and more about each other and understand each other better and better was heartwarming. The overall story was very compelling, and I like the pacing - no moment felt dull to me, as when there was no action, I had emotions, and then action again. Or both haha!

Well, basically I've loved it, no need to dwell on that!
On a more artsy note - music was well chosen and pleasant, and I love watery settings so that was nice too. While I've seen better art from a technical view, it was effective, and I insist again on the fact that I LOVE the character designs. Your interpretation of "merfolk" is so unique and amazing - I love all of the "species", they're weird, interesting and so pretty in their own ways.

Okay so, now I'll go on and answer your questions, and I also want to ask some, but that stuff will be spoilery of course, so I'll start with a warning if someone other than the devs is reading this.


--------SPOILERS AHEAD--------

First, your questions!
--Who is your favorite character and why?
Welp, that didn't change since the very first time I've played the demo - it would be Riu. He's... basically everything I love, honestly. I really enjoy that kind of characters, behavior wise. Also, now that I've played the full game, I also can tell that I love characters with that kind of background stories - harsh customs, not the happiest life because of that, and so on. The way he changes and opens up while the story advances was really beautiful too. And besides, even thought I would have liked him just as much if it wasn't the case, his facial expressions are priceless, and god he's gorgeous. He may be one of the prettiest creatures I've ever seen in a visual novel. Then again, Makani herself isn't that far behind - he's great, and I love how caring she is. Extremely caring yet very strong MCs aren't that common actually.
--What was your favorite moment from the game?
The whole thing? I'm only half joking here, it's hard to choose since I've enjoyed all of it a lot. But I guess I can narrow it to three moments. The first one was the max friendship scene with Riu, in chapter 6. Even setting aside the fact he's my favorite character, the moment was so peaceful, so warm, it made me smile all along. The second one would be the final battle against the Pena. That was one hell of a battle - it was SO epic and genuinely nerve wracking. I was SO affraid for the characters, even with they survival maxed out. And finally... well, the whole epilogue, including the bonus romantic part. Such a perfect and adorable way to wrap things up.
--Any advice or critique I should keep in mind for the sequel/other future games? 
Well, already mentionned it before, the art could be improved a bit, but it didn't tarnish the experience in any way, nor did it distract me from the story. It's just a fellow artist being nitpicky. I guess I've also spotted some typos here and there, but I wouldn't be able to list them like that. I don't like interrupting my playing in order to write down things like that.
--Any other comments/concerns?
I guess I can ask my own questions here, actually. So yeah, I was wondering if I got the good or the best ending, actually. The fight with the Pena was great, but it ended up going a bit badly by the end, and I was left very confused at what happened after that, with all the relics glowing all around the sea, the goddess being mad at Makani and all that stuff. Because of that, I'm leaning towards the good ending, but I can't be sure. I had survivability maxed out for everyone, but not friendship - if I didn't get the best ending, was it because of that? 
Also, do the friendship / romance bonus endings vary depending whether you got the good or the best ending?
And lastly, about bad endings. Do the game feature a unique bad ending, for example everyone dying, or is it possible for some characters to survive and others to die? And how in depth do the descriptions for the bad endings / deaths go? I'm kind of curious about the bad endings - I've always been one to like to see what they've managed to avoid by doing a good ending. But at the same time, I care so much about the characters I'm afraid of seeing /reading that if it's too detailed.


Well, that was LONG, sorry about that - hope I didn't bore you!
I'll probably wait before replaying from scratch, as I'd rather do so with the walkthrough, since choosing who to spend time with each time was pretty hard, but in the meantime, I'll be replaying with the same choices I've made the first time!
Thank you for making this awesome game - from the bottom of my heart!

Thank you so much!  I haven't been able to stop smiling since I read your kind words.  I'm so happy the game was worth the wait and brought joy to someone else!  That's all I ever wanted from this project :D

That's also kind of why some of the art isn't that great.  It's not my strong suit, but it's something I want to improve at.  I knew that if I agonized over the art, I'd never get done, I'd get insecure, and I'd wind up never wanting to show it to anybody.  Learning to accept the flaws in my art, I think, has been a big step for me. 

My sister and I tried to catch as many typos as we could, but I'm not surprised we missed a few.  I don't intend to lose sleep over them.  Even if someone did get me a list, I probably wouldn't do anything with it at this point unless it was really substantial.

Alright, so the best end actually extends off of the good ending.  The epilogue plays like this:  Good end-->Romance or Friendship end-->Best End (if you've met the requirements).  In order to get the best end, you need to see all the maxed stat scenes (combat and friendship) in chapter 6 (maxing combat AFTER that chapter won't count).  The good and romance/friendship endings don't change, but if you chose a romance ending, then the best end scene varies by a few lines here and there based on who you chose.

There are technically four bad endings, but you'll only ever see one in a playthrough.  The game checks survival stats in this order: Vane-->Groriu-->Kameckt-->Makani.  So for example, if Vane's survival stat isn't high enough, then the game ends there in a short scene, you get the Bad End cg (there's only one cg--it's the same for all four characters), and then that's that.  You never even make it to chapter 8.

No worries about the length, I liked having so much to read and think about, thank you so much for taking the time!  And thank you for playing and loving the game too! :D :D :D

You're welcome, and thank you for your answers!

I may try to get the best ending later, or maybe with the walkthrough, I'll see it later - I'm pretty happy with the scenes I got during the game as it is, but I'm also curious haha - so yeah, I'll see later!

Um, hi.

Just wanted to ask how the game's getting along. I've been spending these past few months checking for updates every other day both here and over at lemmasoft. Could you perhaps give a short progress update? I don't want to pressure you or anything, but not knowing whether the game is still being worked on is starting to get to me.

It's still in progress.  Everything's done up through chapter six (of eight + epilogues), and most of the writing and art beyond that is done too, I just haven't programmed it together yet.  I've overcome one of the writing walls I ran up against, now there's just one more, and when I can write my way around that, I should be home free.  

These last few months have seen little progress due to some personal issues, I apologize.  I've been trying to take care of myself during this time instead of working on the game.  I know I'm not great at this game dev. thing.  I posted this demo to prove to myself I could do this, but in the future, I'll keep in mind not to put out a demo when there's still so much work to be done on the game.

Thank you! I'm really happy to hear this still lives.

Take all the time you need. I'll be here waiting.

I'm super excited for the full release! The demo is great :)

I'm pushing the release date to December to give me a little more room. Working on this game and  trying to finish for November has been hurting my performance at work, and as I don't make a lot of money right now, I need to realign my priorities.  I hope you all understand.

All good :) Take care of yourself!

Hey there!

I've played the game around 300 days ago (commented before), and I can't wait for the full release haha! I've seen the other comments so I know  the planned date, but I wanted to ask you if you've updated the demo since the moment I've commented, because if there's new content, I'll gladly replay!

Thank you, and good luck with the remaining work!

Ah yes, hello again!  

The demo was last updated in March--mostly fixing little grammar/spelling/art errors, but I did add close to 8000 words worth of additional content from Chapter 3.  I'm not sure whether or not you would count that enough for a replay or not, but it's there if you're interested :)

And thanks!

Oh! Of course it's worth a replay! I'm so happy to hear that, thank you!

(1 edit)

Aaand replayed it!

Don't have any real updates on the questions so I won't answer them again, but it was definitely nice to have some more story to play - with this, I should be able to wait until the full version releases! It was really interesting to see the beginning of the actual travel, not only the characters hanging out in the First Sea. It showed a bit more of the mechanics and hierarchy of the group, and I'm eager to see how it'll evolve.

It makes me realize I didn't ask about the endings before. You say it should be easy to get the best ending, so I take each character has at least a "good" and a "best" ending or something. But did you also put some bad endings in, even if you'd have to do it on purpose to get them? It would be fitting since well... their quest IS dangerous because of the Pena AND because of the boys fighting and all that stuff - it seems it can easily become pretty nasty between Riu and Kameckt, and I can easily see it getting worse. But at the same time, not all creators want or can make bad endings for their games, for one reason or another, so it's always good to know, I guess?


On a side note I MUST say it again - I love Riu sooo much I can't even get over it. I liked him since the very moment I saw him and I kept liking him more and more along the first demo, and now I just like him even more. I can't help but think he's extremely cute - it may sound weird, but in my opinion he's the cutest of the three boys - and I'm not talking about looks. Though he's also the one I like the most physically speaking - he's such a beautiful creature. First seeing him was so breathtaking! And those eyes!

Speaking of that, I believe I didn't say it when I first commented on the game, but I really like how inhuman the boys actually look like. They're clearly not your typical "regularly handsome" sea-folk (Kameckt would get a pass in that category I guess, but oh well) - and I love that fact. I don't have anything against pretty mer-people with pretty human faces and pretty fish tails and  all that stuff, but I'd rather have creatures like Riu and Vane anytime - their kind of beauty is different, and oh so fitting for a sea setting.

There are two sets of endings:  Set 1 is the overall bad/good/best ending that wraps up the plot.  Set 2 are the romantic/non-romantic endings.  These can be combined in different ways (unless you get a bad ending, in which case you never get to see the Set 2 endings).  

There's a scene that will be added into early chapter 3 that explains the 'gameplay', so to speak.  Basically it comes down to in order to avoid a bad end, you have to spend time with all three characters.  Putting all your attention on one guy will leave the other two without the sparring/hunting experience they need and they WILL die in the final battle if they don't have that experience--ending your adventure prematurely (about a full chapter before the game is 'supposed' to end).  Even Makani is killable if you aren't careful enough with your choices.
So yes, bad endings aplenty :P

Oh Riu...he tries so hard not to be cute XD  I'm glad you like his appearance too!  I thought it would fit to make him look a little more fabulous striking since his color scheme is essentially monotone as opposed to Vane and Makani's bright, warm colors that help them stand out from the cooler backgrounds and Kameckt's contrasting black, white, and gold.  The races have all been really fun to design, and I wanted to do something different with my merfolk since they're based more on actual sea life than mythology.  I've had a blast world-building for this story!  

Thanks for playing through again!  I'm working on getting the final game out as fast as I can!

I really like the fact that you'll have to spend time with the three characters. It's a mechanic that could be frustrating or annoying in some games, but in this case it's perfectly logical in the story!

I think each time I'll get a choice like that, I'll try the three options and choose my favorite event from the tree, and try alternating haha!


But because of that, I'm wondering about the romance part. I understand the Set 2 endings thing (and it's a cool idea, BTW!), but if you can't favor one guy over the others, does that mean nothing remotely romantic or hinting at romance happens before reaching Set 2, or some of your choices when spending time with someone would lead to a more romantic relationship, and you'd have to get enough of that romance "points" to unlock the Set 2 ending of that character?

Ah, I'm asking so much - if you think it's too spoilery, feel free to tell me so and not answer that!

You're fine.  They're fair questions to ask.  I don't consider them that spoilery, myself, since I'm planning on making some sort of guide anyway since I feel like it sounds more complicated than it actually is.

Yes, this set-up does mean that nothing blatantly romantic will be happening until the very end.  Romance has never been the point of this game, it's always been meant as a bonus.  I understand this is odd for a VN, and perhaps I should be more clear about that in the game's information so that players aren't disappointed if they were expecting more of a dating sim.  One of my personal goals for writing this story was to practice writing the development of friendships, and so that's what the core of this story is--the tale of four people learning to get along and be friends.

If you're concerned that this means the romance will be shoe-horned in right at the end, it may help to know that the Set 2 Endings are a sort of epilogue with a beginning, middle, and end all their own, and are about 9000-10,000 words a piece to give the blossom of a romantic relationship some believability.  

To get a romantic ending, a character late in the game will ask Makani whether or not she is in love, and if she responds in the affirmative then the character will hint at how she can move in the right direction towards which guy she likes.  You do need a certain number of friendship points for the romantic ending to initiate, but you should have little problem reaching that since practicing with the guys also raises this stat in addition to their survivability, and there are scattered other dialogue options throughout that often raise the friendship stat of more than one guy at a time.  Nothing depletes the friendship stat, and there are other rewards for filling it up other than just getting a Set 2 ending ;)

I had a lot of fun with it! I love stories with interesting creatures and cultures clashing together, and reading the interactions between your characters was a lot of fun! I  like how different the characters are from each other - they're all very distinctive and unique and will no doubt create some very interesting conversations with each other haha. 

I hope you don't mind, but I have few questions too!

Where’s the best place to check for updates?

How’s the production going so far? 

How do you pronounce all their names? 

-Anything unclear that you wish had been better explained or would expect to be explained as the story goes along?

Not really. There’s obviously a kind of mystery going on, but I’m sure that’ll be revealed eventually.

-What expectations do you have based on the premise, description, and demo?

Hmm currently its giving off this awesome cross country/ocean trip with four strangers from wildly different places haha. I love characters that are different species and have unique cultures!

-Do you like Makani? Is she a protagonist you're willing to root for?

I like her. She’s responsible and thoughtful, but I think her flaws are especially interesting in that she’s also reckless and fiercely independent (which can also be good things in my book, just maybe not when taken to the extreme).

-Got a favorite character?

Vane and Groriu are my current favourites. Loremna'tat as a species seems like the most interesting (I love deep sea creatures haha, plus the whole matriarchal thing going on is super cool) and I've always had a soft spot for dudes with a bit of attitude lol. His perceptive side is unexpected but extremely welcome! Vane reminds me of a princess but I think that’s cool! He’s obviously intelligent, if a bit pessimistic haha. I'd love to find out more about his family and species!

Kameckt's enthusiasm is endearing but he’s just a bit too pushy for my taste. But I'm willing to give him a chance! I think he could be a good friend to have if he ever starts considering other people’s feelings before charging in lol.

I love how all the characters have flaws with strengths that balance them out. They’re an interesting cast that I'd love to spend more time with!

-Would you want to play through the rest of the story?

Yes yes yes!

-Anything that just needs fixing?

Some sentences read a bit awkwardly but it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the vn. You’re doing great!

Thank you so much for playing!  I'm glad you enjoyed it!  A cross-country ocean/road trip is basically exactly what this is, and Vane is absolutely my sea slug disney princess XD  I'm always excited to hear that people like the characters so far.  I've tried to keep the cast balanced between the different personalities.

--I don't have a place I post updates very regularly, I'm afraid.  That's a part of the game development process that I haven't figured out how to handle, yet.  As I get into these last few months before I plan to post the game, I'll probably post more art updates on the lemmasoft WIP forum for the game, but most of the work I've been doing in writing (though it literally just occurred to me that I could be sharing that too, but I haven't been.  Perhaps I should start).  


--I'm writing the rough draft of the last chapter and a half and then I have some unfinished ending scenes.  I've begun work on the remaining sprites (figuring out good poses, and about half them also have lineart), and I've programmed up through half of chapter 3.  I've also changed some of the GUI layout and have some plans to fix up the main menu so more. 


--Makani [mah-kah-nee]
Groriu [groh-ree-oo]
Kameckt [kah-mekt]
Vane [vayn]
Ruim [roo-im]
Tilka [til-kah]
Nikan [nik-an]
Noken [noh-ken]
Kaial [keye-ehl]
Nareen [nah-reen]
And the rest of the cast for the sake of future reference:
Alita [ah-lee-tah]
Enoch [ee-nokh]
Tember [tem-berr]
Nigauti [nih-goo-tee]
Somufe [saw-moof]
Hylli [heye-lee]
Logai [loh-geye]
Yujezu [yoo-jeh-zoo]
Pena [pen-aw]
Thra [thraw]
Arun [a-roon]
Carab [car-awb]
Elval [el-vahl]

Thank you for the reply! Can't wait for the full game :)

I've just played this little demo, and I must say I really love this game. I really like games set in oceanic worlds, (I love, love, love stories of the sea~) can not  wait  for the  full game to be  released

Thank you for playing!  I'm glad you enjoyed it!  I also love the ocean!  It's part of what's made writing this so fun!

When will the final game be released?

By November is the plan.

Thank you! I can't wait for the final game :)

Hello there! :) I just saw this on LSF. I think it looks very interesting (I love, love, love stories of the sea~) but unfortunately, I can't play it because I don't have Win. Is there any chance you'll be releasing this on Mac, too? :)

(+1)

I'm happy to hear you are interested :D I do plan to release on Mac eventually, I'm just waiting for one or two people to get back to me and make sure it works. There have already been some issues with the Mac version that I wasn't aware would be a problem, so I didn't want to release it until the little wrinkles get smoothed away.

Alright, I'll be waiting! :)

I've just played this little demo, and I must say I really love this game. I really like games set in oceanic worlds, and unfortunately, this isn't something I come across very often. It's also nice to see how different are the main characters one from another! I like the different shapes, sizes and all that stuff.

The story seems very cool so far - got me very intrigued, and I want to know what'll happen next!


As for your questions:

--Anything unclear that you wish had been better explained or would expect to be explained as the story goes along?

Well, it seems pretty clear to me so far - of course some things are a mystery yet, but that's not unclear, simply not explained yet, like what is Riu's backstory with the Pena, since he said he wasn't involved with one "directly" and stuff like that.

--Am I too wordy? I know this is a problem I've had in the past (look, I'm even rambling now!).

I don't think so?

--Do you relate to Makani? And even if you don't relate to her, is she at least a protagonist you're willing to root for?

I don't really relate to the characters I'm playing in games, but yeah, she clearly is a protagonist I love and root for. She's really great! You know one thing I hate? When visual novel creators want to make a "strong female protagonist" at all cost, and she ends up being a cold badass capable of anything, wich is just as flat as the dense clumsy maiden. Here the protagonist is a warrior, sure, but she's well balanced and I like it.

--Got a favorite character?

Riu! He's so cool and cute in a way! I loved him since the moment I saw him!

--Would you want to play through the rest of the story?

Hell yes!

--Anything that just needs fixing?

Some minor typos and things like that, I believe. But I can't say for sure for all of them since my english isn't that good.


Overall that was a great experience, and I'll be stalking this page for future updates and new chapters!

Thank you for making such a nice game!

Thank you so much for the feedback! I'm really happy to hear that you enjoyed the demo!

The characters were a lot of fun to design, I'm glad you like them! And I'm really happy to hear that you think Makani is a balanced character (we don't want any boring flat protagonists around here!). I'll go back over the code and script after November, a few people by now have told me on other sites that there are some typos to fix and there are some other details I need to clear up and polish I think too.