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For discussion of Mask of the Rose, a marvellous romance with a hint of murder

Mask of the Rose has a demo! Messages in this topic - RSS

Hannah Flynn
Hannah Flynn
Administrator
Posts: 545

2/10/2022
Today it’s been exactly a year since Mask of the Rose was funded on Kickstarter. We have a surprise for you, and some news about the release date.


First, the surprise. We have a demo of Mask of the Rose, available right now on Steam!


Offering a condensed version of Act I of Mask of the Rose, you’ll be able to explore select locations across the city, introduce yourself to some key characters and encounter Mr Pages in its office at the Bazaar.


At the opening of Mask of the Rose, Mr Pages has employed your housemate, Griz, who has in turn found a few pennies’ work for you as census taker. The census goes some way beyond the expected (Surface census forms never did ask if anyone in the residence was in love), so you’ll need to approach conversations with care to find out all you need to know.


Demo Feedback


We are absolutely champing at the bit to see your reactions to the demo! There are a few things it’ll be useful to know before you post feedback:
  • In the final game there will be a text log, so you can scroll back through conversations
  • There will also be audio sliders under Settings
  • And of course, there will be saving in the finished game (the final version of Act I will be fleshed out from this version, so carrying choices over wouldn’t be possible).



Spotted a bug?


The demo has been through our internal testing, but if you see any bugs or typos we missed, please let us know by emailing mask@failbettergames.com, attaching your player log. Here are some instructions to help you find your player log.


We will probably only update the demo if something pretty bad has slipped through, but this will let us fix everything before we release the full game. Thank you!


Release Date


Our other major piece of news is that Mask of the Rose now has a clear release window. We now plan to release it in late October or November this year. Unfortunately, this is four or five months later than we estimated for the Kickstarter.


The main reason is that as we moved through pre-production, we realised the game would benefit from adding or extending some features we hadn’t expected to when we ran the Kickstarter.


Read the full blog to find out more about the enhancements we've made to the original idea for Mask of the Rose.

--
Wields the news canon, aboard the hype train.
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Ragnar Degenhand
Ragnar Degenhand
Posts: 326

2/10/2022
Well, I played it through -- no typos in the text I selected, anyway! And it all worked very smoothly. Pretty self-evident how to get around. The nethers got a bit chilly there, though wink And those hats!
edited by Ragnar Degenhand on 2/10/2022

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https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Ragnar%20Degenhand
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nesse
nesse
Posts: 4

2/10/2022
I played through the demo and I have to admit, I'm even more excited to play the game than I was before. I'll probably even go back through the demo again just to catch more things I missed.

The art and music are gorgeous. There were several times when I had to stop and admire the background or listen to the soundtrack. It all integrated very well without anything being obtrusive.

I also really enjoy the writing so far- I was surprised by how many choices I was already able to make about my character. I was expecting more of a classic visual novel, with walls of text and the occasional chance for a choice or input. It was very pleasantly surprising to find myself being asked for how my PC reacts to a character's news, or even just the method of delivery my character uses to announce new information. It really adds personality and immersion. The simple, Fallen London/SS style of character creation is very elegantly applied here, and I'm curious to see how much those decisions influence the story being told.

I only had two small issues, personally. I found the delay between selecting an option and the option visibly registering to be just a touch too long, and it constantly made me wonder if I actually clicked anything, which led to me clicking again and speeding through the next bit of text. It was a bit distracting from an otherwise immersive experience. The other (admittedly, this could simply be a problem on my end) is that, while the game itself was fine, the map screen seemed to be too wide and had the edges cut off, making some locations difficult to select. I may have to just play with the resolutions to fix that particular problem, however.

Overall, I'm really impressed with the demo and excited for the release. I love the way the Neath is being revealed and can't wait to learn more.
I also wonder if we'll find out [spoiler] who the regular with that familiar-sounding shriek dropping by the roof of the church is? smile [/spoiler]
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The Articulate Ungulate
The Articulate Ungulate
Posts: 11

2/11/2022
I desperately want to be able to move the text up closer to mid-screen (or even better, but this is probably asking too much, have the text voiced like an audiobook). I'm having that "I'm missing the action keeping up with the subtitles" feeling - even though I know not much changes without me clicking through for the next thing. On a smaller device (e.g. Steam Deck), this wouldn't matter much, but on my monitor (27"), I would love to resize the text window and move it around as I prefer - perhaps with a warning in the Settings that this could obscure what else is in view.
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Ragnar Degenhand
Ragnar Degenhand
Posts: 326

2/11/2022
The Articulate Ungulate wrote:
I desperately want to be able to move the text up closer to mid-screen (or even better, but this is probably asking too much, have the text voiced like an audiobook). I'm having that "I'm missing the action keeping up with the subtitles" feeling - even though I know not much changes without me clicking through for the next thing. On a smaller device (e.g. Steam Deck), this wouldn't matter much, but on my monitor (27"), I would love to resize the text window and move it around as I prefer - perhaps with a warning in the Settings that this could obscure what else is in view.


With you on the text voicing -- and having it so is not unusual; many of the games I play offer that feature. The text size was adjustable in Settings (though I didn't try it). Does the window stay the same size regardless?

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https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Ragnar%20Degenhand
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Hannah Flynn
Hannah Flynn
Administrator
Posts: 545

2/11/2022
I'm very glad to see you're getting into the demo, and our hard work is paying off! If you have feedback that you'd like us to respond to, best place to send it is mask@failbettergames.com - esp the thing about resolutions possibly being off, we could use a note about that with a description of your setup, nesse. Thank you all!

--
Wields the news canon, aboard the hype train.
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The Articulate Ungulate
The Articulate Ungulate
Posts: 11

2/11/2022
Ragnar Degenhand wrote:
With you on the text voicing -- and having it so is not unusual; many of the games I play offer that feature. The text size was adjustable in Settings (though I didn't try it). Does the window stay the same size regardless?



The text size is adjustable in Settings (and I'm absurdly entertained with tweaking it there, since it jumps larger/smaller), but what I was after is the placement of the text on the screen. Now, it is always near the bottom. Would be nice to be able to move it closer to the middle, or drag over to one side, or similar - just so the reading of the text is closer to the action in the image.
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The Articulate Ungulate
The Articulate Ungulate
Posts: 11

2/11/2022
Regarding the transition out of one location in town... Wouldn't it make more sense, if you still have time in the day before supper, to be able to go from one city location to another? Rather than an encounter ending and you being back in your room, wouldn't it make more sense to be back at the city map?
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EricW
EricW
Posts: 3

2/13/2022
I was delighted to see this demo announcement! It's so exciting to get to actually play a little. The atmosphere is just what I was expecting, and it's so cool to finally see some of the origins of this world I've been paying attention to for, apparently, over 10 years! It's also been great to see what you can really do with this kind of modern-visual-novel dialogue and interaction.

While enjoying the playthrough very much (and the music! did I mention that? It's incredible to open a game and have excellent piano over the menu screen, too), I was quite aware that this was a beta test, so I did make sure to keep notes for feedback.

First, I don't feel like I understood the "let <person> lead the conversation" option. It came up in a few places, but it seems like they didn't say much of anything and then prompted me to bring up a topic. So, they weren't really leading. Maybe I expected the wrong thing from it?

Second, actually checking off the census occasionally seemed tricky. For example, I was able to as Ferret about romantic attachments twice, and got identical dialog each time. I know it's hard to fully avoid, especially when you want to keep information available to the player as they request it, but I sort of didn't expect this to be the kind of game with much of the phenomenon where you keep coming up to an NPC and asking a question, and they keep reacting like it's the first time they've heard it. At least, not for questions like census details.

What's more, after going through that dialog sequence twice, I later found out that I hadn't actually completed the census for Ferret! I guess that could explain why the dialog option remained, in that I hadn't gotten an answer, but it wasn't clear to me that I hadn't just written down "No attachments" or "Declined to state" or something.

I had a similar problem with David and Rachel. I thought I had David's census answer, but I only got Rachel's in that conversation, to my surprise. Maybe there could be more feedback when you complete a census form, so it's easier to notice when you haven't? With all the dialog to read and the excellent visuals, I find I'm not frequently looking at the numbers in the upper left.

Third, after my first game, played without any issue at all on Linux (Ubuntu 18.04) through Steam Play, I decided to try using my Steam Link and a Steam Controller. Unfortunately, this did not work out. The controller configuration it suggested was one for a game where you have to control a camera, and I had to customize the inputs. Whatever I set up (I'm not very familiar with this kind of configuration) didn't work very well: at first, I was able to select options, but not edit text, and when I tried to change it so I could bring up an on-screen keyboard when prompted to edit text, instead I lost the ability to select anything at all. While this is definitely a "nice to have" rather than a necessity to me, I figure it's one of the places where early feedback can be valuable. I'm happy to talk more about my setup and what I tried if it would be helpful.

A few final thoughts, some additional things I liked a lot:
- I love that it starts with practicing the census questions. Whenever I have gone door-to-door, for canvasing for political candidates and the like, the most successful campaigns have started with practice like this. It gave me a nice "Hey! I know this and it's realistic!" feeling, in addition to being useful for getting acclimated to the game.
- The "recall the past" option is fantastic, giving a way to fill in more details
- The text scaling, discussed already here, is great to have. This showed up particularly when I tried to play on my Steam Link, where I'm much farther from the screen than at my computer.


Thank you for offering this demo!
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Diptych
Diptych
Administrator
Posts: 3911

2/13/2022
EricW wrote:
Second, actually checking off the census occasionally seemed tricky. For example, I was able to as Ferret about romantic attachments twice, and got identical dialog each time. I know it's hard to fully avoid, especially when you want to keep information available to the player as they request it, but I sort of didn't expect this to be the kind of game with much of the phenomenon where you keep coming up to an NPC and asking a question, and they keep reacting like it's the first time they've heard it. At least, not for questions like census details.

What's more, after going through that dialog sequence twice, I later found out that I hadn't actually completed the census for Ferret! I guess that could explain why the dialog option remained, in that I hadn't gotten an answer, but it wasn't clear to me that I hadn't just written down "No attachments" or "Declined to state" or something.



I'm guessing that this is going to be the basis of some of the puzzles that drive the game (not to mention determining how much the player gets paid). The Masters want their love stories, and the player has to provide them. Some NPCs will give their stories freely, and others will have to be convinced - presumably, by wearing the right clothes, choosing the right dialogue options, and having found items or information in previous interactions. For instance, when you're talking to Milton and Virginia, you can ask them census questions, and they'll challenge you to provide additional inducement before they give an answer.

--
Diptych, the Emancipationist Esotericist. Lord Hubris, the Bloody Baron.
Juniper Brown, the Ill-Fated Orphan. Esther Ellis-Hall, the Fashionable Fabian.
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Jermaine Vendredi
Jermaine Vendredi
Posts: 662

2/13/2022
I was just reading the comments on the Steam page, and one remark there really chimed with me, though I hadn't thought to put it into words. The commenter there explained that they hadn't found the characters appealing and couldn't imagine romancing one of them, ever.

For me, actually, it was worse. I found myself actively disliking Griz and especially the landlady -- based on dialogue rather than the art. The reason I originally didn't think to comment on this was because my first reasoning was: oh, but this is what they were like in London Above. It's all different now, and they will (have no choice but to) change. I suppose the reaction is also coloured by knowing way more than, say, Griz about the masters. Archie doesn't appeal in a different way -- the character's art has sadly lost the slight devil-may-care look of the early versions and just says "depression" to me.


There also seemed to me to be a continuity issue. The doctor is arrested because, as the last to speak to David, he supposedly poisoned him. But no, I saw David and spoke to him *after* he'd been treated by Archie. But maybe I'd better keep that to myself...

--
No plant battles, please.
https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Jermion
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Hannah Flynn
Hannah Flynn
Administrator
Posts: 545

2/14/2022
Jermaine Vendredi wrote:
There also seemed to me to be a continuity issue. The doctor is arrested because, as the last to speak to David, he supposedly poisoned him. But no, I saw David and spoke to him *after* he'd been treated by Archie. But maybe I'd better keep that to myself...


This is a slight fudge in order to shorten the length of Act I, which in the final game will be a couple of days longer.

--
Wields the news canon, aboard the hype train.
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Jermaine Vendredi
Jermaine Vendredi
Posts: 662

2/14/2022
Thanks, Hannah -- I wondered if it had to do with the compression of that chapter.

--
No plant battles, please.
https://www.fallenlondon.com/profile/Jermion
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