Crème de la Crème Developer Diary and Romance Guide (Spoilers)

Aha I think my rationale was that they kiss on one side, so the chills go on that side - but I totally see how that could feel weird! I’m so glad you enjoyed the scene nevertheless!

Totally, it would be pretty easy to hide it from students especially as Hartmann would generally try to keep their personal life separate from their professional life!

Mum is Belle (Amabel), and dad is Eugene.

None of the Creme characters wear glasses during the game (considering I and most of the people I know wear glasses this is an oversight, but c’est la vie) but I could see some of them wearing glasses as they got older. Maybe Auguste? Hartmann might too! I don’t think their eyesight is perfect, but it’s not bad enough that they can’t work without it in CdlC.

I will draw a discreet veil over this worldbuilding detail as it’s not something I’ve specified and I don’t want to put myself in a tricky narrative position by pinning it down too specifically. In general… I look at medicine/surgery/science/technology that was around in the 1920s and 30s for inspiration, but that’s very broad and I tend to play fast and loose with that in service to the story if it needs it.

That’s so kind, thank you so much! I’ve had a very cosy festive season, which I’m very grateful for.

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well, Hartmann’s hand was on the back on MC’s neck and lips in lips, and nothing involved holding any hand, so the kiss should’ve been symmetrical, so… ah, i’m sorry for that! not trying to be nitpicking, just explaining why it feels so.

Thank you! <3

And who was Hartmann initially, dad or mom? Was it a marriage of convenience or do they love each other?
What sort of family is the other spouse from and what was their surname?
Are they old money or new and what do they do to maintain their wealth?
Mom looks like the spitting image of Hartmann, what does dad look like?
What appearances do Marcel and Leopold have and what’s their age difference? Do they go to Gallatin or somewhere else? Since 10-11 is the age for the 1st grade.

Please bear with me and my questions, i’m dying to understand family dynamics better, and canonical info is always more valid than something from headcanons, and i just love your characters so much… all this info might not be that important for you, but very important for one hartmann lover T_T

Aw, that is great to hear! Some cozy is much needed after this tough 2021, and also after all the hard work you’ve done :slight_smile:

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Happy New Year everyone :tada::confetti_ball:

I get multiple letters after graduation I think?
And both from them XD I think I’ll send a video of it someday once I replayed that route again
For now, maybe it’s because Delacroix finally learned to clone with the Hecate powers haha

I don’t have the screenshots but I once read from Author’s Tumblr some mild Nsfw like how

Hartmann is the most vocal and has a secret desire to be stepped on

Rebellious Hartmann wants you to bite their lips >v<

If Dad is Eugene does that mean male Hartmann is a Eugene Jr.?
Max is going to troll this for sure XD

i suspected that much and i love it! hartmann is a person of my dream indeed
not that secret though, after this difference in kissing scene :slight_smile:
but i scrolled through the whole ask, and the one about vocal is nowhere to be found. Hannah? is that true, or was it a sweet dream WhoAmI saw?..

any hartmann wants you to bite their lips! but rebellious hartmann actually dares to act on it :smiley:

Oooh Hartmann really stole your heart whole~ :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

No it’s not a sweet dream :b (I actually learned the meaning of vocal from that ask-)


But if you clicked on the Url it will say it’s not found?
I think it’s because as Author said

Hence probably why they deleted some higher than mild nsfw asks?

Though if it’s in my moldy stash of screenshots folders (10+, 1k pic each), I’ll pm it to you

Ohhh I see
Hartmann is always rebellious, excluding when I make mean MCs, so thank you for the new path to look to XD

Please do! You’d make one little me very happy! Please don’t hesitate to throw any info of that sorts at me :slight_smile:

Mine always is, too. Spot the difference in the scene:

Compliant:
Your heart thumping, you draw closer to Hartmann, whose eyes widen. He tilts your chin so you can get into a comfortable position. At first he 's cautious, but then he bites at your bottom lip, his breath thickening. He puts a hand to the back of your neck, light but firm, and threads his fingers over your hair, sending chills down your arm.

Rebel:
Your heart thumping, you draw closer to Hartmann, whose eyes widen. He lets you tilt his chin to kiss him. At first he 's cautious, but then he encourages you to bite his bottom lip, his breath thickening as you do so. He pulls your hand to the back of his neck, and gives a soft groan when you thread your fingers through his hair.

See? They do the same to you, but less intense with the hair, like they’re trying it out to imagine the feeling but don’t quite dare. I s w e a r they’d love grabbing/pulling their hair while kissing.

Omg imagine if Hannah just wrote the scene without that much in-depth thought about Hartmann’s intentions, and now i’m talking in their thread about what their own writing meant. Embarassing.

Oh NOOOO how can you tell… and here i thought i was so discreet

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@HannahPS
I found a couple of bugs.

  1. On the sports day (chapter 8), when you sabotage Auguste and taunt them, the successful line checks Florin’s pronoun.
    Text to easily search in the script: “and the mood turns in your favor”.

  2. In chapter 12, while visiting Florin, when they asked about Blaise reaction to you working with lady R, telling the truth checks relationship with Hartmann instead of Florin.
    Text to search: “pale eyes glitter with interest”

  3. And in the same chapter, when your parents ask you about the same, apparently your father’s line checks Delacroix’ pronoun?
    Text to search: “suppose we hoped it was all a mistake”

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Thank you so much @Christian.Valentine - I’ll send those corrections over. Also I haven’t forgotten your other questions! I’ll be getting to them but have been busy the last few days.

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Oh, that’s totally okay! I’m not gonna stop loving Hartmann in a few more days, you know :)) Please take your time and answer when you feel comfortable enough to answer :slight_smile:

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Does anyone know which characters tutor you for specific stats? Like I’m trying to get Delacroix to tutor my character but I haven’t figured it out so far. The same goes for Max and Hartmann.

Delacroix: Intrigue
Max: Flair
Hartman: Poise
Gonzalez: Spirit
Freddie: Wit

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Please forgive me, but i brought you one more… rather complex Hartmann question that might sound like a tall request (it has a lot of words because i am unable to speak shortly), but it’s really important for understanding them better. I hope you’re okay with that, please be okay with that? I’m not rushing you to answer, but once you’re in Hartmann state of mind to answer my previous ones, maybe you’d also think about this one. But if my enthusiasm is annoying, please tell me and i’ll back off.

I’m actually in love with how you answer about your characters because you never make it sound like they’d eagerly accept and understand everything as long as it comes from MC (and some VN writers do that a lot), ROs in your answers have their tastes and opinions, they don’t always agree, and that’s amazing - they feel very alive and have complex personalities.

In any case, the Question in question

So, Hartmann develops a lot of feelings quickly, even though they don’t express them fast (and we know that they don’t express a lot of things). But what – and how – do they really think about it? When Hartmann is sitting and reading, barely looking at MC but feeling Feelings, what does their train of thoughts sound like? How much of it do they say to themselves? Do they allow themselves to actually admit their feelings and voice them inside their head, of they prefer to cut them off with thoughts about their plans, studies, parents etc?

Also, how jealous they actually are? Not asking for a friend, my MC would never cheat on Hartmann, but i wonder what would they think and how would they express their displeasure (if in any way at all) if they’d think there’s an actual reason to be jealous, if logically they understood there’s no reason but couldn’t help feeling tense about someone who very obviously likes MC, and if they weren’t in a relationship yet, but Hartmann already had a lot of feelings, and MC was, i don’t know, playing spin the bottle or accepting someone else’s attention while Hartmann did nothing to voice their feelings but had a lot of them? If they had or thought that they had a competition, would they try to fight for the person they love (in any sense of this word) or they’d rather step aside and let the feeling pass with time? How easy is it for them to let their crush pass?

And would Hartmann rather be grateful and comforted or find it annoyingly patronizing if MC openly told them that they want to go to their parents together to not leave them alone?

Also, i brought you assorted pictures.

Gonzalez faceclaims i've made with artbreeder - i wonder how accurate they are?


This person has strong nonbinary Karson vibes for me

I won’t hide this one though. I commissioned a traditional artist to draw me Eugene Hartmann, and i’m happy with the result, just the right amount of handsome but not overly handsome, tense but reliable, resilient but fragile, the face that has the capability to appear very soft or very arrogant, depending on the occasion, just as i imagine him!


(full size)
(upd: oh, i see you reblogged my tumblr post :flushed: aaand it was before the picture had its colors fixed and i added a couple of words, but oh well! still great because i wanna brag about my hartmann pic to everyone who would listen)

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@Christian.Valentine Aww, Karson and Gonzalez are cute! Gonzalez does have longer hair, but the general look is lovely! And that Hartmann and Saeran art is SO lovely, the artist is incredibly talented. I cannot even deal with the beauty :sob: :sparkling_heart:

And now… lots of Hartmann answers below the cut!

It's Hartmann time

Dad was the original Hartmann! His family has a bit of an older reputation/lineage than Amabel - their estate came from the dad’s family, and was purchased maybe a couple of generations back. The Hartmanns aren’t super fancy landed gentry but they are very wealthy and well thought of. I see Eugene’s occupation being mostly running the estate and managing property - he’s a landlord rather than a stocks-and-shares businessman.

Amabel’s original surname is Van Ruis. Her lineage is more business-focused and came into its money slightly more recently - Hartmann’s maternal grandparents had a property development business which brought them a lot of success. Amabel brought a lot of extra wealth to the family and she is a very savvy businessperson (more so than Eugene, really, who is more insular) so she took on most of the financial running of things. They mostly got together via family connections - not an “official” arranged marriage but very much family encouraged. They get along pretty well and are a good team but it’s not much of a love match.

Both of them are very ambitious and are really aiming to get Hartmann Jr to marry into aristocracy (Auguste is an ideal spouse), hence they’re not really keen on Hartmann going to university. They worry that Hartmann won’t find someone suitable there, or will be too much of a nerd to be a ““desirable”” marriage candidate. Hartmann does have a pretty ambitious and perfectionistic personality but their parents very much encouraged this and put a lot of pressure on them to be moulded into what they want.

I could see Hartmann Sr looking a bit like Hugh Bonneville!

Leopold is around 12-13, and Marcel is around 11. So there’s quite a big gap between Hartmann and them, and then they’re pretty close in age. I don’t want to be TOO specific because I may put them in a future game and don’t want to contradict myself with saying someone’s in one school year and then changing it!

They all look pretty similar - you can definitely tell they’re all siblings when you see them together. Leopold has a bit darker hair and is more stockily built, and is in general more uptight and potentially grouchy. Marcel has overtaken Leopold in height and has paler hair, and is more bouncy and informal. He’s definitely the spoiled baby of the family, and gets away with a lot more than either Hartmann or Leopold.

They don’t go to Gallatin, I haven’t decided exactly where they do go though! I feel like Leopold may be at a pretty traditional day school (similar to Harrovian perhaps?) while Marcel may be at a subject-specialist boarding school - perhaps focused on music or the arts. (If I was doing it again I’d put Leopold at Gallatin too, but I think I didn’t settle on character siblings until relatively late on.)

The inside of Hartmann’s head is BUSY and NOISY. If they go down a train of thought that they don’t want to think about, they will try to repress the heck out of it and think about other things instead. They do a lot of busy anxious thinking, planning things, overthinking, and trying to account for every circumstance that could go wrong. It’s exhausting and definitely contributes to their tension. Over time, they might unbend a bit and enable themselves to express thoughts internally - and eventually externally - and deal with their anxiety in a healthier way.

I think it would depend on the situation and who the other person was. If it was someone really fancy like Rosario, say, Hartmann would be like “well that’s a foregone conclusion, I will sit here and feel sad and worried and never do anything about it, never mind”. But if it was someone that Hartmann doesn’t like or respect? I’m thinking of someone like Max? I think especially if Hartmann was friends with the MC, they might try to say something to the MC, probably awkwardly and maybe not getting their feelings across very well. Something like “there are so many other people around who might be better suited to you!” They would feel uncomfortable about the whole thing though, and would find it challenging to express it - they really don’t want to put themselves in a situation of potential rejection.

It’s a bit complicated because Hartmann does find it pretty vulnerable to have other people around if their parents are treating them badly. But if they’re feeling more comfortable and relaxed with the MC (especially if they’re more on the rebellious side), then they’d really like the MC to be there. There could be some discomfort where they’re worried about the MC doing something that the parents might disapprove of and under some circumstances they would be a little prickly and defensive about it, going “hey I don’t need coddling”, but ultimately they would find it comforting to have moral support.

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OMG thank you SO MUCH for all the time and energy you put into answering my questions, i love you and i would die for Hartmann (and now i love Hartmann even more, even though i had no idea it was possible? Today is a full year and one week of me loving him)

Every time is Hartmann time here in my timezone. It’s very confusing to know that somewhere non-hartmann time exists. How do you people live there?

*every time is Hartmann time in my world*

My Hartmann is rebellious, but Saeran is polite and respectful with his parents nonetheless, even when they don’t agree. They would hate to put Hartmann in a situation where he would have to choose sides. And they would never try to, you know, rile his parents up for fun or self-affirmation - it’s petty, it’s pointless, it will bring more pain than clarity, and they have decorum.
They do (firmly but politely) stand up for Eugene’s right to have his own ambitions and to be given a credit and trusted with choosing what’s better for him, especially in private conversations with his parents, but they rather prefer standing up for the principle than making it look like they’re specifically protecting poor defenseless Eugene who will perish without their protection. Saeran hates patronizing and chooses their words to never make it sound like they think that Hartmann would be helpless without their support, even when the support is appreciated. They’re here for him because they want to and are proud to, and also because they think that the principles they stand for are true, but Hartmann is their partner/husband, not their damsel in distress who needs saving.
All in all, i think they’re a good partner for him, right? And he for them because he’s pretty much the only person with whom they share the most of their vulnerabilities and insecurities and don’t feel unsafe. Plus, they really trust his opinions and judgment.

Haha, i have a ton of headcanons about Saeran and Marcel’s friendship, so i’m really happy to hear that he is like that! It’s very along my line of thinking and also incredibly cute. Also, i would LOVE to potentially see boys sometime in the future.

And for… how long will they sit here sad and worried? We know they pined for Auguste for a long time, but at least they had some hope, but in case of such foregone conclusion? Are they able to make themselves let it go pretty fast, or they will be sadly and hopelessly pining for that person for ages?

Oh, i thought you’d say someone like Florin. I always had the feeling that deep down Hartmann doesn’t dislike Max that much, they obviously dislike Max’s way to behave and disrespect the rules, but maybe even like their personality anyway? They both were good at pep assembly when Hartmann drank their uptightness away and Max stopped taunting them :slight_smile: While i think Hartmann would have zero tolerance to how Florin doesn’t care about their own virtue and how MC behaves around Florin.

Unrelated question: how do they react when someone snaps at them? Like, obviously unfairly when they have nothing to do with the cause and just asked a person what happened and they lashed it out at Hartmann?

About Auguste, i always thought about that, when MC’s parents did something bad, their bad reputation fell on MC to the point of people being cautious about being associated with them even when everyone understood that MC had nothing to do with it personally. Lady R did something way, waaaaay worse. A lot of immeasurably worse things. So in case where she is publicly exposed (and Saeran would fucking yell about what she did so the whole world would hear) and imprisoned, i guess Auguste’s reputation as part of the family and as a desirable marriage candidate, even despite being “honorable”, is terribly riuned for a long time. I understand how it was not that bad in the writing because that would be disheartening if MC just fixed their reputation to get even worse by romancing Auguste, but in reality, it would be a collapse. How would Hartmann and their family react to that blow after Hartmann and engagement? They’d break it off i think? (poor Freddie who i intrigued into Auguste’s arms myself)

Don’t fret, Hartmann Sr! I’m very sure you will get Leopold to marry into aristocracy!

Ohh, i may or may not have two more pictures of Saeran and Hartmann together commissioned from the same artist incoming in a couple of weeks! I hope you don’t mind me tagging you for my posts related to your games? It’s both so you would see visuals, and so people who read me would visit you.

Hmmm, now that i think of it, maybe i want portraits of his family, too? Like, parents and the boys? I’m serious and probably going to use this photo of Cate Blanchett for Amabel reference.
See how deep i am? Before you can blink an eye, i’ll be commissioning portraits of his grandparents and grand-grandparents and asking you for their names. And it’s all your fault for creating Hartmann. I’m dying of love and i’m blaming it on you.

Also, suddenly not a Hartmann thing, but about Blaise.
You said in one of your asks that Blaise has claustrophobia. Did they develop it as the result of the mines or they had it before the mines? Because… i mean, it’s terrible in any case, but if they had it before and suddenly woke up in a cell, it is just… gosh. My poor baby.

Also found this pic on pinterest. My first thought: prince Alejandro??

I brought some more Hartmann, just as i threate…uhh promised!
Please feast your eyes upon this fine specimen.

The picture goes best with this song, they’re dancing to it. The text is enough to fall in love with each other while the song lasts.

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Totally! They sound like a lovely couple and it sounds like Saeran would be someone who could navigate the complicated family dynamic of their inlaws deftly and delicately.

I think if it was a foregone conclusion, they would likely be sad for the short/medium term, and would try to set it aside as much as they could. They pride themselves on their self-control/self-restraint… whether that’s the entirely healthy thing to do is another matter but I could see them finding love elsewhere in the end and looking back on it in a fairly calm way.

Yes, that’s fair! Certainly they wouldn’t admit getting along with Max but maybe one day when they’re in a less weird environment, they might be able to be friendly again. I did originally consider having a matchmaking Max and Hartmann storyline but it ended up being way too complicated…

And yes I agree, Hartmann isn’t fond of Florin and finds them a combination of intimidating and distasteful, and would find it quite hard to understand why someone would go for Florin when Florin doesn’t treat people with much emotional care.

Hartmann would get a bit snappy back - they tend to get prickly by instinct rather than thinking before they speak in those sorts of situations. They might wind it back if they realised that the other person is upset or stressed out, but their immediate reaction would be to be snappy/defensive.

I think Hartmann’s parents would likely pressure Hartmann to break it off, yes. Hartmann might stick by Auguste if they had gotten close and if Hartmann was more on the rebellious end of the spectrum… otherwise they would probably break up.

Yes, it was a result of being in the mines - the whole thing was very traumatic for them.

Ahhh I haven’t decided exactly what Alejandro looks like yet, but that pic is extremely Zaledo!

That picture is SO. BEAUTIFUL. I love it!!!

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They just might! (they aren’t exactly besties with Eugene’s parents, but at least high virtue and reputation, and being part of the prefect committee helped to start off on okay terms with inlaws)

I think Saeran would actually choose as their Gessner major something that was strongly suggested by mr Hartmann Sr. Something that would benefit the family, related to business or property management. Despite having A+ grades and being smart in general, Saeran doesn’t have a strong aspiration, so when the “you’re starting your own family, you must learn something that will give you financial security” topic is brought up, they consider it and agree (plus, Saeran doesn’t trust their parents with money anymore, so they know better than to rely on their parents’ business). And since Eugene has academic ambitions and they respect it and encourage him to pursue these ambitions, sounds like a reasonable choice to take the job upon themselves.

I can see them working directly under one of Eugene’s parents after the uni, like an assistant or something! That would be a fun dynamic.

i LOVE it. with your every response, i fall in love deeper and deeper. can’t be helped, i guess… they’re so… not perfect, but so alive and have so much personality. literally, your every answer about Hartmann gives me happiness.

thank you! i can’t stop looking at it! and the song they’re dancing to (it’s an old school waltz) goes “don’t get me wrong, i’m not that strong, but for you, i will do my best i swear”. very much their dynamic.

Also, i’m trying to create a map of your world (because i love your world, and also i’m obsessed with visuals), i would be extremely grateful if you gave me some pointers for where’s what, either text descriprions or something like circles on a piece of paper. like countries’ placement and size relative to each other and where known locations are (like, in the middle of a country, on the border etc)

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I haven’t decided on what a map would look like yet, I’m afraid - sorry! I know it’s something I should do but part of me is nervous about pinning it down in case I want to change something later. Jezhan is to the east of Westerlin, and I think Zaledo is to the southwest and Teran is to the west/northwest? But I am wary of going into too many specifics right now while things are very much in progress.

Heyo folks.

So Creme de la Creme was my first entrada into the world of interactive fiction[1] - definitely did not disappoint! I wanted to share some of my thoughts in case any of you are interested.

There’s a lot I loved about it.

There’s the endearing and diverse cast of characters from the students to the teachers. A melting pot of distinctive personalities and differing backgrounds; the miffed-out royal kind of ashamed of their own status, the local school eccentric into ghost-hunting, etc - they all feel distinguishable and variable. I am especially a fan of Freddie, and their whole “rags-to-esteemed-university” drive - that there’s one dream for equality achieved[2].

Then, the feeling of interactivity and sense of choice I felt the gap between player and character being blurred; in some sense I felt I was my own character, rather than, say, some puppet-master controlling my character’s choices and directing their life.

Then there’s the whole atmosphere; the whole pristine posh Victorian-esque school setting and the various glamorous activities contained therein, the whole aristocratic etiquette and politesse social front, high society socialite hobnobbing and fraternization, etc. Some people may not be a fan of it, but I loved the very detailed visual descriptions - I felt quite immersed in the whole setting! (putting some classical music on helped too)

I don’t have much criticism aside from the “grand miner-slaving conspiracy” sub-plot… which I found kind of silly and over way too fast. Would have been preferred the whole story being mostly slice-of-life. That said, this is just my opinion. If you found it entertaining… then more power to you. I only wish I did myself.

And also, I felt like it could have lasted rather longer than it did :sweat_smile:. I blitzed through an entire school year in less than half a day… although I suppose that’s the trade-off with interactive fiction: with a finite number of words, greater interactivity necessitates a shorter experience. And to be fair, the amount of skill and effort that it took to write 440,000 words is daunting and challenging enough; I could not imagine doing it myself!

That all said, Creme de la Creme has definitely been
a very enjoyable experience for me, not least for it’s own merits which I’ve elaborated on above, but for how it’s introduced to me interactive fiction - an entire new medium of fiction I knew nothing about before.

Thanks for reading this; I hope you’ve found some interesting nuggets of thought!

[1] I don’t know whether to call it a game or novel - it really lies straddling between the two mediums!
It’s 100% text and imagination, but there’s also choice and player stats - on the other hand, I suppose excluding choice-based novels would eliminate CYOA and feels too limiting, which frankly feels wrong. I suppose that’s a good reason to use “interactive fiction” instead!

[2] I suppose that might be what Revekah Vasile wants for everyone… (at least by the way I pegged their politics; a socialist/economic redistributionist-type revolutionary)

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Hello there, welcome to the forum and thank you so much for your kind comments and thoughtful feedback! I always love hearing what people think of my games and I very much appreciate anything players have to say. If you use Spotify and would like some musical atmosphere, this is what I was listening to when I was writing!

I hope you find plenty more interactive fiction that you enjoy! (If you’re not aware, I am working on two games in the same universe with different protagonists - Royal Affairs and Noblesse Oblige - they may catch your eye!)

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