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You've gotten me addicted to this game and I've played it through with two students already - and I only bought it the other day! :) Having said that, I can see quite a few areas that could use improvement. I'm still not entirely sure how to do several things in the game, so bear with me, but here are some things I've noticed so far. (I'm sure I will add more later as well!)


1. Character creation points. I got very confused with this the first time around. I'd allocated points to all my character's numeric attributes and moved on to the next stage... whereupon I was surprised to discover that some sections allowed you to add in more than one point, some didn't, some points were greyed out after one selection when others weren't, etc. Different categories were sometimes placed on the same page, such as astrology and birth location. I couldn't figure out why the screens greyed out some options in a category (ie astrology) and yet allowed others. I think it would have been better to lay it out with just one category per page, and allow a set number of points to be allocated per page. As it is now, my number of points for the entire character creation is displayed just once. I think it would make more sense to show the number of points to be allocated per page on the current page, and have it reset for every subsequent page when the user gets to it. It would have made the process far more user-friendly and less confusing, in my opinion. At the very least, the game definitely needs a more user-friendly explanation about allocating points on the character-creation pages.


Similarly, I was very disappointed when I got to the halfway point and discovered I'd run out of points and couldn't fill anything else out. I didn't know how many pages of questions there were, and so couldn't plan ahead to ration out my remaining points. Sure, I could go back and reallocate them, but it was a time-consuming process that involved a lot of clicking. I think it would have made a lot more sense to allow for one point per page, to give the process some consistency.


2. Graphics. I love games with a lot of text, but even so, I thought Academagia needed some more graphics! I don't think it's necessary to cut down on the text, but I would definitely like to see some graphics mixed in with it. For example, when I wanted to have my characters in a certain location, I found myself frequently wishing for an illustrated map showing the locations. The first time I played through, I spent a good couple of hours feeling certain that there was a map hidden behind the interface, and that at some point I'd trigger something that would bring it to the foreground and let me select regions on it. Sadly, my belief did not turn out to be accurate - but the implication of a map is already there in your background graphics! The world of Academagia sounds so beautiful, but I didn't have a clue where things were in relation to each other. Seeing how the grounds were laid out and where the towns were would have made a huge difference. Even something as simple as a basic floor plan of the Academagia itself would have been nice. Some visual support would turn this from a good game into a fantastic one.


I would also have specifically loved to see cutscenes. Again, at first I was expecting some, and was rather disappointed when they didn't eventuate. A great place to include cutscenes would be for the special events days. I'd love to see images of some of these festivals and celebrations in action! Alternatively, a cutscene for a particularly big accomplishment by the character would have been nice. You've got pirates! Ghosts! Spies! Thieves! I'd love to see what they look like! :)


3. Special events days. The first time I played Academagia, I found myself feeling pretty excited when I saw these coming up on the calendar. Festivals and feasts, wow! These were things to really look forward to! To my disappointment, however, nothing happened except a normal event. The only difference was that the special events were fixed rather than random. To me, that actually seemed less exciting after the first playthrough, because I knew exactly what was coming. I really think that something special and unusual should happen on the special events days. For example, the role-reversal day really captured my imagination. There was so much potential there for amusing incidents between students and professors! Instead, I found myself reading about the same History class and the same mixed-up bunch of papers. I found this in particular to be very disappointing. For such a great-sounding festival, it seems a shame that a disorganised book was the only thing that happened.


Again, I think that cutscenes would go such a long way to making these days stand out. For example, you could display the image of a professor dressed in a school uniform for the role-reversal festival! This would be entertaining, funny, and give the festival that little bit of extra oomph!


Another idea I like is that you could have new Adventures that can only be triggered on these days (unless you have them already... in which case I was evidently oblivious to it). You could have a special Role-Reversal Adventure, for example! Similarly, new secret locations could open up just for these days and only be accessible at certain times. I don't know, maybe this exists already and I just missed it (in which case I wish there had been a hint somewhere in the game). If it doesn't exist, you could put it in! I would! :D


4. Locations. I thought this was possibly the game's weakest area. It's one of the things I still don't really understand, even after two run-throughs. Maybe I'm missing it, but I haven't been able to find a list of locations in the game where I can look up their descriptions if I need to. You have lists for everything else, such as spells, phemes and abilities, but I think locations definitely need to be there as well. Most of the time, I couldn't remember what the effects of any of the locations were, and I didn't know how to look them up for a reference.


I also didn't know how to use locations. For every action a character made, I could set the location, but I never really understood what it did. Nothing ever seemed to change, no matter what I selected for that box. And since I couldn't remember what the locations did, I didn't even know what to check for. There were never any messages describing the effects (if any) of the locations on my characters, so I didn't know if anything had happened. I also found it rather amusing that for many actions, you could put in completely incompatible locations so that the character was apparently in two places at once. They could be using an ability about the Smuggler's Bridge (or similar), for example, when technically my location box said it took place in 'Character's Room'. I found this extremely confusing.


When I first started playing, I had my characters do things that seemed logical, like training for Archery at the Archery Range, studying Grammar in their room, etc. But if this had any effect, I couldn't see it. Before long I stopped bothering. Aside from a few later experiments to see if anything happened (it didn't appear to), I just had every action take place in the Character's Room, unless it was automatically set to something else (such as for Negation Extra Credit). In short, I don't understand the purpose and impact of locations at all, nor how to use them. I definitely suggest including a more accessible explanation for locations in the game at the very least. Maybe locations could be taken out altogether - I can't see what they do! The only ones I could figure out were the ones that were listed as Abilities in the Abilities section.


As I mentioned above, I think a map or two would be immensely helpful in clearing up the confusion here. (It would also look very nice!) Alternatively, locations could be matched to the abilities or actions in use so that they make more sense. It makes sense for students to train Archery at the Archery Range, so why not make the training extra-effective if done in that location? More importantly - inform players of it somehow. If it's invisible, we'll never know it happened! Or, if a character trains for Archery in the Character's Room, they could receive a detention, accidentally destroy a possession, or receive some kind of penalty. After all, nobody in their right mind would shoot arrows in a confined dormitory, right? And how could someone train for swimming at the top of a tower? These sorts of additions would add a lot more strategy to the game and make training more interesting. At the moment, it's kind of just 'train' 'train' 'train' all the time, anywhere, and guaranteed to succeed even in the face of all logic. It gives locations a clearer sense of purpose as well.


What I'd personally try and do is group locations by skill. Devise a list of possible training locations for each skill/ability (ie only locations including water for the Swimming skill), and make it so that a player can only choose between these for their selected action. At the very least, training Swimming in the Character's Room should be unsuccessful.


5. Romance. I noticed that several spells and abilities affected students of the opposite sex, but I never saw any evidence of romance in the game. (Did I just miss it? Maybe my character just didn't do the right thing.) It seems to me that by having spells that specifically target the opposite sex, romance is automatically implied. If there's no romance in the game, maybe it would be better to make all spells indiscriminate of gender, as it gives out a misleading impression at the moment. Having said that, I'd definitely like to see some romance in the game. With so many different students with different personalities, it would be great to see what the implications of different romances were!


6. Delay between screens. This one's relatively minor, but still important. Usually when I clicked on a button, there would be quite a long delay between screens. While annoying at first, I could get used to it. However, one thing that caused me strife was the fact that sometimes the delay would be so long that I wasn't actually sure if I'd clicked on the button properly or not... so I'd click again, and then I'd find myself accidentally entering in the next day full of 'Rest' when I didn't want to, thanks to clicking twice.


To solve this (and also for a more efficient design usability overall), I'd suggest putting a much more obvious hover effect on the buttons (it's quite subtle at the moment), and an even stronger 'down'/click effect, so that the user can actually see the button reacting to a click. This way, they'll know when they've clicked a button and need to wait for the delay, and when they actually didn't click it properly and need to click again.


7. Items. This took me a while to figure out, and I still haven't got it all worked out. At first, I had no idea what to do with items. I didn't notice the 'Inventory' tab at the top for ages (or any tabs, for that matter - they seemed to blend in with the background pretty well!) First of all, I could never get 'Use Item' in the menu to work. Nothing my character held ever showed up in it. I would have really liked to have some hint as to why. I went through two whole games like this wondering what the 'Use Item' area was for as a result. Needless to say, it never saw any action. Maybe you could cut this bit out - or at least provide a hint of which items it requires to be usable!


Secondly, I wasn't really sure what the difference between holding an item and putting it in the wardrobe was. I managed to figure out that the wardrobe reduced concealability and encumberance, but that was all. Are there any other differences? Is an item active while it's in the wardrobe? When it's in the backpack? Or only while being held? I have no idea. I think this really needs to be explained in-game.


Thirdly, it took me half a game to figure out how to equip items. Even after I discovered the Inventory, I still didn't realise what the little squares in the centre were for. At that time, I had just one item, a plant, and my Inventory showed a single square called 'Plant' in the middle of the page with no further information. This was not very helpful. I ended up guessing that the square represented a mini-garden in the bedroom, and it wanted me to plant the plant in my personal garden! Only in my second game did I discover that areas for wands and necklaces opened up when I acquired more items, and that the squares were actually for equipping items. (And then, I wondered, how and why does one equip a plant, anyway?)


The 'Durability' stat had me confused. I thought it might mean how many times an item could be used... but then it seemed that items with a Durability stat could usually be used indefinitely. Once again, I didn't know what it referred to and think it ought to have been explained somewhere.


I also had problems selling items. In some shops that didn't have 'catalog' in their names, I couldn't even find a sell button and was very confused. The first time I did find one and tried to sell my plant, not only did my character not receive any money for it, but the shopkeeper stole the rest of my money as well! There was never any explanation as to why, and naturally I refused to sell any more items after that. While I think this would make a great trigger for an adventure ('Thieving Shopkeeper!), it was frustrating that there was no explanation. In any case, I learnt my lesson! Don't sell to dodgy shopkeepers! :D


8. The 'Control' tab. I still have no idea what this does. Whenever I check it, it's completely blank, and I can't find a hint in the text anywhere as to its purpose. In regards to navigational hierarchy, you'd imagine that the large tabs at the top give access to pretty important stuff, so I get the impression that 'Controlling' must be very important - so why can't I find any information on it? Why doesn't it do anything? My best guess is that you can control students by blackmailing them? Control your familiar? Hmm. This one has me completely stumped. Since I don't know what it does, I don't know how important it is. However, if it isn't that important, I'd consider moving it somewhere else on the page where it isn't so prominent.


9. Dueling. If this was possible, I never managed to figure out how. I thought that having my character duel with other characters would be very fun, and allow me to finally use some of those spells to immediate effect! However, the game's text offered no hint as to how I could initiate a duel with another character, simple as that. If it isn't possible in this game, it ought to be (otherwise what is the game doing with all those superfluous duel-only spells?)! If it is, then I would advise making it a lot more obvious how to actually start one. I'd really like to see a 'Duel' action in the Actions menu! :D


10. Some minor inaccuracies. One thing that surprised me was that I could access Pamela on the Familiar tab before I had the adventure that introduced my character to her - long, long before, to the point where I found the 'introductory' adventure very amusing. Logically, this tab should have been blank until that adventure - or at least until the Familiar section in the mentor adventure.


Another thing I noticed was that some 'new' additions got repeated a lot. I would often find my character 'learning about X' a dozen or so times throughout the game. Logically, it would make sense for this not to come up after the first time.


Some texts in the 'lore' section were identical, repeated under different names. You might want to go through and delete the surplus ones.


11. Lore. This is another thing I don't understand the purpose of. At the moment I'm assuming it's just for atmospheric effect, to enhance the story. However, I have to wonder if it has any actual impact on the character.


12. Context. Whenever I click on this tab, nothing happens. As a result, I have no idea what it is or what it does. I find it especially frustrating that there's no reaction at all to my click. Even if it's an unfinished area of the game, I'd still like to see a reaction to my click, even if it just comes up with a blank screen like the 'Control' section (though a screen with 'Feature in development' would be more helpful). With no reaction, I have no way of telling whether there's a problem with my mouse or I've missed the button, whether there's a bug in the game, or anything.


13 Demo. I bought this game straightaway because I've never played a life simulation game I didn't like. However, I think that not having a demo version available might hurt Academagia's sales, especially since the life sim genre seems to be so small and relatively obscure. A demo should be fairly easy to arrange with a game like this - just shorten the duration. Instead of having it run for a whole year, you could include most features and have the game run for a single month, or even a week. Something like this should whet people's appetites and make them want more!


14. Marketing. Needless to say, I have no idea what's been happening in terms of marketing for this game, but it seems clear to me that you've got an absolutely massive potential market out there in the form of Harry Potter fans! If you aren't already, you could try marketing this on websites for young adult or fantasy readers, or specific Harry Potter sites. I'm sure there would be tons of people interested in trying it out!




A lot of the issues I personally came across in Academagia could have been improved (if not solved) by the addition of in-game text explaining the mechanics of the game. While the 'mentor' adventure is helpful, it leaves out a lot of information that I think is very important. There were many aspects to Academagia I absolutely loved, such as the colour-coding of possible reactions to an event, but even the most positive aspects of the game often took me hours to notice or figure out. This is by far Academagia's greatest weakness, in my opinion.


A tutorial system would help a lot, but I would personally solve this problem by including more text in various menu sections and tabs. For example, a short sentence or three in the Inventory section explaining how to use each Inventory area and the differences between areas would be of immense help. In fact, I would say that this information is basically essential. I went through my first game missing out on an awful lot simply because I lacked information on how to play the game. I'm fairly patient with a game and will put myself through a lot of trial and error to figure something out, but I doubt that many people would do so. In the end, the trial and error wasn't even all that successful, as there are still many features I don't understand.


I've only pointed out the major things I think need improvement here, but there are loads of things I love about Academagia as well! I love the strategy, the Cliques, the replayability, the character portraits, the masses and masses of skills, the incredible depth and mythology of the game (which, I imagine, is the main contributor to some of the issues above being overlooked, thanks to all the extra work it requires). It's a very good game... but it could easily be made even better! :)



Whew! This was long. There are other things I noticed as well, but I can't dredge them up from memory at the moment - I'll have to play the game some more to remember them. Hopefully I'll be able to figure out some of the issues above in the meantime and clear a few things up in my head.



Aha! Just remembered another big one:


15. Ability/Skill/Lore/Item/What? Whenever the text said my character learnt about something and provided a link to it, it usually wasn't clear as to what kind of thing I was looking at. Some of the Lore was attributed to authors/artists and in quotes, so I knew it was Lore, but not all of it. Likewise, a lot of Abilities weren't obviously Abilities. Ditto for Spells and Items. The only ones I could consistently tell apart were Phemes, and only because they all had the word 'pheme' in the descriptive body of the text. I found myself constantly wanting to know what category a particular thing belonged to!


The confusion here could easily be cleared up by announcing the category of the subject along with its description. It would have made my game experience go a lot faster if I knew which menu I was supposed to be trawling through to find a particular heading!

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Excellent! Thank you for the suggestions. :D


1. Several other Academagians have requested that there be enough points to choose one from each category, but our poll was almost an even split on the topic. Ultimately, the slight favor was for the current number of points. I don't know that we will change this, but once the Mod Tools are available, it will be very easy to modify if you so desire.


2. We would love to see this too! The truth of being an Indie, though, is that you have to pick and choose where your resources go. In this case, we opted to really focus on the content. That said- I hope in the sequels we are able to increase the amount of graphics.


3. Adventures would be great for Holidays and such- we agree! But what we learned from beta was that Adventures which were available for a very short time were unpopular, because of the preparation necessary to partake in them. In the DLC we will be adding more of these 'easter egg' Adventures- some of which will be about the Holidays.


4. Thanks for the input here! We are doing several things to improve how Locations are reported, and some of these (hopefully) will make it easier to understand and use. You can review all your Locations in the Lore tab (in Patch 4, they are right at the top), and all Locations which have an Effect when you Visit them are now selectable when you choose a Location for your Action (as opposed to previously, where all Locations, regardless of whether they had an impact or no, were shown.) The Locations which you set for your Actions are meant to be preparatory or inspirational Locations from which you begin your activity (versus swimming in your room!) That said, it's counter intuitive, and in Year 2 we may rework this system.


5. There is no Romance in Year 1, but there are hidden consequences for doing certain things. Romance will make more of a noticeable appearance in Year 2 and 3, but really blossom in Years 4 and 5.


6. This has been reported, and we plan to replace those buttons- making it dramatically clearer when you press on them. Additionally, we will try to further optimize the code, although I can't say right now if that will have measurable success.


7. Items can be used if you wear them, or they are in your Knapsack (assuming they *can* be used! Many Items provide a passive bonus to you when worn, or are ingredients and thus lack a usable Ability). The primary reason for storing things in your Wardrobe is (and you guessed correctly!) to lower your Concealability and Encumbrance. It also has the nice feature of being 'safe' from Instructor confiscation or theft. Equipping a plant poses an interesting challenge, but I suppose you could think of it as a daisy in your hair. :)


Durability is the measure of an Item's 'hit points' and also tells you how many Phases must pass before it spoils (in the case of Perishable Items.) The reporting here can definitely be expanded.


Finally, the selling issue is a bug, which we thought was closed in Patch 4- but may have recurred. We are checking into it, but it's good to have another confirmation of the behavior.


8. This is for a few very specialized Actions and Spells. Perhaps it should be greyed out, however, if you aren't in Control of anyone.


9. Dueling is in the game, and occurs only when you have a Rival. If you make an enemy, you can 'Declare Vendetta' on them, which then unlocks a special Adventure- leading to a Duel. :)


10. Pamela, in Content Patch 1, is introduced to you almost immediately (I am guessing that you have not used this Patch?) We are constantly scrubbing the content for typos and inaccuracies- many of these are out in Content Patch 1, but you'll see another round of fixes in DLC 1.


11. No, this is pure role-playing, although some of them do hint at future Years.


12. Context is only active in Stories, and shows you a list of Actors for easy reference.


13 We are considering a demo, but it's a bit of a problem on how to structure it. As you have seen, the experience is very deep, and that's something we would like to carry over in the demo as well. That said, we will most likely produce one at the end of this year, once we have completed the UI improvements that have been suggested. It's only fair. :D


14. We appreciate the suggestion! If you have any sites in particular that you might recommend, we'd be more than happy to consider them!


Thanks again for all the time and effort you placed in this. We agree: the game UI and reported can be made much more user friendly, and we are working to do so in every Patch.


Please keep your suggestions coming, and thanks!


Edit: 15: One way we are looking at doing this is color-coding the entities in the game. We'll see how the Players react, and proceed accordingly. Thanks!

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I'm unsure a demo could do this justice. What might be nice is a nice Let's Play series on YouTube. I've had some issues with finding a decent video capture software though otherwise I'd do it.


That way people can follow along (much like the nice video tutorials already posted) and pick up tips along the way.

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I think a demo is a great idea, but I don't think people really get the feel for the game until after midterms. Before then, you're busy befriending and increasing skills and studying. You aren't really good enough in anything to succeed at a lot of the random event rolls. Sure, this adds to your choices later on. But a new player probably won't realize this.


Maybe make an adventure that begins with character creation. Have it run X number of days so the player can experience choosing what to do and the general game play. Maybe even limit the choices a player can make (X amount of locations, spells, phemes, actions, abilities available). Plan for it to take a certain number of days. Make it clear in the demo that this is what can be expected further into the game. Maybe even a two-part demo: beginning and latter play.



1. I actually came over here to ask about something. Prudence is part of my character's clique. Twice she's encountered a random event that has Prudence sitting behind her and tossing pebbles at her. There's no option to tell a friend to cut it out. The only choices I had were to tell the teacher or fight back. Neither choice would be something you'd do to a friend. For that matter, even Prudence, snark that she is, probably wouldn't pick on her own friends in class.


2. Context is only active in Stories, and shows you a list of Actors for easy reference. Stories? Actors? What? Do you mean adventures?



ETA: Blogs


I also don't use Facebook. You could have include a copy of your Facebook blog in a stickied thread in the Announcements section on the forum. The more information out there for customers and especially potential customers to find, the better.

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Yes, Adventures and Events- you can see all linked entries in the Context tab, as a convenient way to see who/what's involved.


As to the Random Event, did you happen to catch the name of the Event? If not, please press F12 the next time you find an Event you'd like to report- it will tell you the name. We'll see if we can locate the one you mention from your description, however.



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It is intended that random skill increases can land on skills you've already maxed, but would it be possible to make maxed skills not appear on the list of skills the random pick does? (and only get nothing if its an empty set) That might make random too skill increases too good, but I've found that I still sometimes do this.



Library of Man... that gives 1 random revision skill

when I've 10 in every revision skill but 1 and then reload until I get that one randomly.


I'm conflicted on if that would be a good idea or not, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

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I just discoverd the Riding Subskill and now I hope that when we can have more then 1 Familiar next year we can have a Flying Animal that we can ride as one Familiar :(


Edit: Maybe the NPC AI sould be teached that Draining Merits from the College that is placed at last isnt a action they sould even consider.

(Btw to my Expirience in my last 2 games first Aranza got the lead and after a time vernin thake over and keep the lead, with the exception of 1 or 2 times, till the end of the game. Avalia, Godia and even worse Hedi dont have a chance to keep up. Hedi is not even at half in the end without player help.)

Edit2: I think it would be good if only the Highest Merit Action/Event of all its Students count for a College per day. Because this balance the coleges a bit more and gives the player more chance to influence the Merit war if he want to.

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Hedi is especially weak due to the lower number of students, the average aggressiveness. If you want to raise Hedi, Compete early and often. When you can teach somebody try to train your classmate in Compete subskill: Manipulation, Wit, and Planning, so that their compete action is more effective. even though later on they can Create Wondrous Poems it's not effective enough to catch up.

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