Budacanta Feedback

I entered Budacanta into the Back Garden of Spring Thing 2021. If anyone has any feedback, technical issues, reviews they’d rather not make part of a longer thread… …please let me know here.

I will be extending Budacanta after the festival, and I’d like to make sure I’m putting in more of the good stuff and sorting out the rough patches (it’s my first-ever program, there are bound to be some :wink: )

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Hi Alianora!

So first off, for context-- I’m neurodivergent by way of ADHD, so that’s my background going into your game.

I’m really excited to see where you’re going with this!!! I absolutely love having visuals with varying levels of color/detail to simulate disassociation, and think a game about trying to go on an adventure while preserving your spoons is a fantastic world to explore. I particularly loved that you chose solo travel-- a rewarding challenge that can seem equally daunting to neurotypical individuals, even if the reasons differ.

I’m curious as the game progresses, how you’re planning on handling full spoon loss. I played through a couple of times and made it through without ever getting too low, though I couldn’t tell if that was because the game in general is designed to keep me from losing all of my spoons, if just the introduction/tutorial is designed to keep me from losing all of my spoons, or if the current version of the game includes a way to lose all of your spoons, and I just missed it because I was more naturally drawn to picking choices geared towards preserving energy.

If full spoon loss is possible (either now or in the future): what will that experience look/feel like? Will the game continue past that moment, or restart the draining scenario/game? Will players be able to track their spoons or otherwise be warned when they’re getting low, or will they suddenly realize they’re completely tapped out?

And if full spoon loss is not possible: where do you think you would gate the bottom? And I suppose same question applies here: would there be a method of restoring spoons and continuing, or would players restart the section/game?

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Thank you so much for giving me such detailed, enthusiastic feedback!

It’s mathematically possible to have zero spoons (not negative) at one point of the excerpt. Only one such point exists, though - if you were doing a spoon-preserving path through, you probably missed the entire segment where it was possible. This is a branching visual novel, and it’s not possible to do every good thing in one playthrough. The spoon was a deliberate design choice for three reasons:

  1. It’s effectively the tutorial phase. Explaining basic visual novel mechanics to someone who hasn’t played IF since the early 1980s turns out to be tricky, so I wanted to space out introducing other mechanics. I want players to have confidence that they understand how each thing that needs to be done before either introducing more things, or increasing the difficulty. That’s why a player can only hit zero spoons in the excerpt with considerable effort. Confident players are more likely to explore different options and generally persist - both things a solo traveller needs in reality and IF alike.

  2. For plot-related reasons, having some consequences of spoon failure during the excerpted element would have different consequences to what they would be later - and I haven’t done enough research to know how some of those places would handle it.

  3. Some of the potential consequences may well take longer to code than the excerpt I submitted.

Both of your hypotheses have some validity here. The tutorial is designed that most players won’t lose all their spoons because it’s designed so players following its advice will opt for one of the many paths that means at least some spoons remain by the end of the excerpt.

Running out of spoons once, by itself, will never exit the visual novel (now or later). (spoiler for this excerpt) There is one point in the excerpt that will lead to an exit, but that’s due to a bad choice advised against in-game. It happens before spoons are introduced as a concept, and there’s a choice to go back and pick differently. In fact, hitting zero spoons, and then returning yourself to positive spoons before you need spoons again, will often have no consequences at all. For anyone who isn’t familiar with spoons, it’s a bit like how the bank will allow you to have nothing in your bank account - as long as you don’t have further expenses coming in before payday. (There needs to be a consequence coded in for negative spoons, for the same reason that overdrafts generally have interest …but if I’ve calculated correctly, the excerpt doesn’t allow negative spoons, so that can go on next phase’s task list).

If you reach zero/negative spoons, and then hit a point where you need spoons, consequences will vary according to the situation. Sometimes the effect will be minor, like having a conversation play out differently. Other times it will radically change your experience of the game (spoiler for future element) up to and including medical treatment - that will itself include choices to make and things to explore. And yes, it will be possible to get from that part back into the primary path.

There will eventually be ways to completely exit the game in ways that partly involve spoon loss, but that will require several things in succession to go wrong, and it will be obvious that a player is on a path to completely exiting while there is still time to do something about it. I’m hoping that in these cases, I can program in a choice of return points, depending on which part the player wishes to explore further. It’s an area that I feel warrants more handling than, “Oh dear, out of spoons, please start again”.

The spoons were supposed to be visible on the excerpt, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it in an accessible way in time. Rather than half-implement the feature, I opted not to add it yet. Clearly, I need to implement it before making serious consequences of spoon loss possible. (While the backgrounds will change in response to spoon state in later excerpts, and indeed do so in the later part of this one the fact they don’t for most of the excerpt is plot-driven, I’d prefer to also have the number there for people who either want more precision, or simply cannot see the background change).

There are ways of restoring spoons via choices already (though the visual novel doesn’t spell out when that’s happened. Long Live The Queen is an example of a visual novel that optionally allows state changes to be revealed, and it would be cool to implement something similar). I also want, eventually, to have methods of spoon restoration available that are readily accessible and only cost time, provided the player has opened up access. Paths to two such methods can be started during the excerpt, but not progressed far enough to get the readily accessible spoon restoration method.

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Hello again ! I just played Budacanta, and i really enjoyed it :relaxed: The spoon idea :ok_hand:

Also, that damn security beep beep at the airport is the story of my life

GG !!

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I’m glad you enjoyed it :smiley:

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That’s fantastic. I’m so looking forward to seeing where you go with this. :grin:

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I like the game, and wrote a review here: Budacanta - Details

I found one error when testing the feature at the beginning of the game:

Summary

Screenshot 2021-04-12 225305

unless the game was supposed to have an error there. I would be happy to see the rest of the game made!

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The game is definitely not supposed to have an error there, I will look into it right away!

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I am in the process of getting a bugfix submitted to Spring Thing. Please bear with me.

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The bugfix has been submitted. If you were waiting for it, please download/online-play. Saved files should work, and pick up changes once you go forward a screen (or use rollback and then go forward a screen from the rolled-back point). Those of you who download Budacanta will be able to see what’s been changed in the “info” text file’s “Changelog” section.

In particular, I fixed the problem @mathbrush found (as well as another instance of it further on in the path) and have a rudimentary spoon/time display at each choice where either is potentially relevant, as @mwahahavilah recommended (time isn’t displayed during the tutorial, spoon counts aren’t displayed until they are introduced).

Please let me know if you see anything else amiss or have any other feedback.

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I just started up your game to have a little looksee…

The musical introduction and the straightforward honesty already have me smiling.

I look forward to playing it for real in the morning.

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Apologies for the timing, but I’ve just uploaded a fresh bugfix to Spring Thing. Please re-download Budacanta to have more things working, including a branch I’d accidentally closed off during an earlier update.

@rovarsson Thank you for the lovely comment! I hope the rest of Budacanta also gives you something to smile about :slight_smile:

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Hello Alianora,

I’m in the bathroom with you and…

(wait, that sounds really weird. let me try again:)

I’m at the point in the game where the protagonist takes the player to the bathroom. There she can tell the player about “passing” and “spoon management”.

There is an initial explanation of the importance of self-care and the concept of spoons. This ends with Alianora saying that she started the day with twenty spoons, and after the challenges in the airport she has fourteen left.

After this there is a choice I can click: “I’d like to hear more about spoons.”

When I click this option, I do not get more information on “spoon-theory” or Christine Miserandino. Instead, the previous explanation about self-care and the fourteen spoons left is repeated.

This is just a small nitpick.

I’m really enjoying the game, and learning a lot while playing!

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Would you believe that was being caused by 1 errant character (an s instead of a 2)?

Thank you for letting me know. I’ll just check to see if there’s anything else I should fix before resubmitting. (Is 3 bugfixes in the space of 4 days a festival record?)

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Less-buggy Budacanta now available. Enjoy!

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