As a big Carmilla fan, I was excited to see this pop up but I do think that you have a long ways to go. I'm glad someone is going out of their way to make a full Carmilla RPG so I hope to provide you with some constructive feedback. I can boil it down to this: You do have a good start so far, but when it comes to making it feel like a true CARMILLA game, you still have a lot of work to do. But again, this is a demo, so there's plenty of room to grow from here. I love this game's potential and if you want me to help beta read your dialogue, let me know and I'll get you my contact info. As for the con crit, let's get started~ Uh, brace yourself, it's kinda long, but I just wanted to be sure it was thorough in order to help you out better. :)
- While you still primarily have placeholder sprites, I did like the little custom stuff I saw so far. You even have a Uby by Kotex box! :D
- As far as how the cutscenes were handled, being able to walk around, interact with plot relevant objects, and the transitions from place to place? Everything worked fine. In a gameplay sense, it was barebones but it was a fairly consistent experience throughout. I'm sure that the final product itself will be solid in that department, so long as you keep putting the effort in.
- I was amused by [boring amount of time]
(they probably made out)
- The fade to black and the use of the nightmare sounds was a good way of adapting that part of the story to the RPG Maker medium.
- THANK YOU for using LaFontaine's correct pronouns! Seriously, good on you.
- You purposefully rushed the dialog and explanation. Unfortunately, I feel that doing so is very much to the project's detriment. A LOT of why Carmilla works as a series is because it has a unique cast of characters with their own distinct personalities that are in a very unique setting. Having a game that expands on the parts of the show that aren't shown is a great idea and I'd love to see how far you take it, but cutting the character interaction to its barest bones and not showing any of the previous background info the show has about Silas U means that the parts you don't see in the show that are in your game don't have the context necessary to actually work all that well. Ditching that background info and other character interaction also means that a lot of the humor that the series is known for is gone as well, which might not go over well with other Carmilla fans. Like LaFontaine, without that humor, you got a character that does weird things for seemingly no good reasons. You have Danny with war paint on and Laura asks about it, but it's never answered, despite the Summer Society and Danny's role in it having a big role in both season 1 and 2. The way it's framed in the RPG makes it seem more like a benign club rather than what it actually is. Laura seems to be narrating to no one in particular instead of to the audience as she usually does when she's near a computer and I feel that aspect should be kept in unless you can have a good reason to adjust it otherwise.
- Speaking of "having a game that expands on the parts of the show that aren't shown", I feel the demo as it stands so far doesn't do a very good job of doing so. I was expecting to see more of the initial party, like a walkaround where you could talk with other people and possibly get more foreshadowing on what's to come later, but even the first episode shows more of the party than you did. A lot of stuff, like Silas classes, all the various clubs, the discussion between Carmilla and the Dean, etc. aren't really shown. It isn't until we get to walk with LaFontaine to the faculty meeting do we actually get to go past the dorm to the greater (and surprisingly unpopulated) campus at large. There's a lot more work to be done here and I hope you do expand more on a lot that is left offscreen. Like that little library visit...the Alchemy Club's mushroom mishap...and that final confrontation during the finale...
- Despite being ostensibly a yuri game, the only route that can be truly pursued in the demo is Laura/Danny, to the point where you directly break with canon as to when they've first interacted. It seems fairer, at least to me, to have the romantic routes follow their original canon progression and diverge from that basis or, if they're intended to, break from canon rather blatantly for both ships just to be fair. Regardless if you kiss or keep it friendly, the dialogue doesn't change all that much beyond locking you out of further romantic dialogue, which is unfortunate, because pursuing the Laura/Danny route is one of the few choices the player can make besides walking and interacting with objects.
Actual Glitches/Bugs I saw
- When the demo ends, the Coming Soon screen doesn't cover the window, it only shows up in the right corner, very small
- I'm not sure if this is just an RPG Maker thing, but when characters open the door, can they not have the door behind them when they do so?
- Any chances for any further RPG style combat? I feel it would definitely be more RPG like with it, would offer more gameplay richness for players, and you got plenty of potential threats to combat. Zeta bros, the Library books......the Alchemy Club's mushroom mishap...and that final confrontation during the finale...
- I think that if you're primarily focused more on expansion of the original series and the shipping aspect, it might be more effective to develop a Carmilla visual novel or an interactive fanfiction story via Twine or a similar program. When the main means of directly the story is through dialogue and player choice, those mediums are more effective, as when people play RPGs, they're expecting to be able to fight monsters, level up characters, explore, etc. If you were to do a visual novel or interactive fiction, you could also have the character dialogue and actions not only lead to certain romantic endings but even endings that we didn't get to see in Carmilla! Though if you wanted to stick to a more linear narrative with no player choice, that's also possible with visual novels and interactive fiction too. Linear visual novels are called "kinetic novels".
- Don't feel afraid to change plot aspects to fit within the RPG medium but also expect that Carmilla fans will expect some level of familiarity. Having that will not only help Carmilla fans get more into the game, but if you're also going to promote the title on places like itch.io where it might get players that haven't seen Carmilla, having those plot elements still in there will keep them from going "I really have no clue what's going on here, it felt rushed".