How do you make your VN catch people's attention?

FoxySeta

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So, I've found this thread here very useful when advertising my own project, but I'd also like to get some visual-novel-related suggestions about making people pay attention to your game. That's because I find very difficult to achieve this in a community which is mainly into RPGs. Initially, I thought that changing genre would have just made things better, but that doesn't seem to be the case...

Thanks for spending your time answering this!
 

Finnuval

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Well this caught my attention :D
Though I'm sorry to say i can't really offer any advice on the matter. Though I do enjoy a good VN from time to time :cutesmile:
Good luck with getting it out there in any case :cutesmile:
 

JGreene

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The visual novel aspect (aside from the lack of "walking" around the map and having directional control of your characters) has been used in several RPG Maker games before VNMaker was ever developed. Bust messages and cutscenes have been used a lot. I would take a look at some games with those aspects and try to learn from them. As far as story flow goes, that's something you have to get right with any game to be able to keep the players' attention.

But as suggested in that thread you linked, basically try to be as unique with the presentation as you can. Seeing something visually different will hook more people than most anything. Me, for example, I at least try a lot of the demos and projects on here for various reasons. And I typically head for the section labeled "Screenshots" before anything else. Or a video, if there is one.

This community is a great place to get advice and feedback, though. In any case, good luck with your game!
 

FoxySeta

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The visual novel aspect (aside from the lack of "walking" around the map and having directional control of your characters) has been used in several RPG Maker games before VNMaker was ever developed. Bust messages and cutscenes have been used a lot. I would take a look at some games with those aspects and try to learn from them.
To be honest, even if I sure played various RPGs in the past, I thought that the best way to learn about visual novel aspects was from visual novels themselves (since they are what emphasizes these things the most). Sure, if you were to suggest I just have to insert some RPG features in my VN (such as a little map/battle system) I guess I could give it a try...
Thanks for your nice feedback!:kaojoy:
 

JGreene

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I didn't mean you had to turn your visual novel into an RPG by adding those features lol. I'm just saying that there are a lot more of those out there to get some ideas from. But, depending on what genre you're going for, there are always other professional games and even anime to get some ideas from.
 

FoxySeta

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I didn't mean you had to turn your visual novel into an RPG by adding those features lol. I'm just saying that there are a lot more of those out there to get some ideas from. But, depending on what genre you're going for, there are always other professional games and even anime to get some ideas from.
Oh man I'm feeling so dumb right now:kaocry:
(I think I get it now though, I had just some doubts about using specifically RPGs as reference for VNs.)
Thanks again!
 

Finnuval

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@FoxySeta No need to feel dumb. We all misunderstand, don't understand, or lose our train of thought at times (I do often lol) :D
Especially on a forum with people from all over the world and all things that can get lost in translation ;)
 

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I did, a long time ago, work on some visual novels on another site, and this came up all the time. Generally characters and dialogue are the most important parts of a VN. Characters and dialogue go together as well, as a characters dialogue should have its own unique voice. Showcasing this is what tends to attract players.

Looking at your thread the characters are kinda hidden away behind spoiler tags, and that can be a problem.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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When I look for Visual Novels to buy/play I look at two things mainly, graphics and synopsis. Since in VN the player will be looking mostly at your graphics and reading dialog, the graphics play an integral part in making them interested. I don't mean it needs to be HD or super nice looking, but it has to look good and coherent. I find VNs with a "cooler" color scheme more playable because staring at a screen full of "hot" colors for long is so straining to the eyes.

Then since its a VN, the story is also a very very very very very important part, we play VNs for story mostly after all. So you have to write a short but very interesting synopsis for your game. It needs to make the player yearn to learn about the whole story.

Looking at your thread the characters are kinda hidden away behind spoiler tags, and that can be a problem.
If the thread is in here, its probably because we have some forum rules regarding things like maximum image size that is allowed to be shown outside of spoiler tags and so on. :)
 

trouble time

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@Engr. Adiktuzmiko Oh yeah, I sometimes forget that rule. If so it might be a good idea to make an image with all the characters in one frame to use next to the games title, a banner if you will.
 

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Thanks for your answers!
If the thread is in here, its probably because we have some forum rules regarding things like maximum image size that is allowed to be shown outside of spoiler tags and so on. :)
Exactly my words.
 

consolcwby

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Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say player agency. Even in a tightly scripted and directed game, the player must feel as if their choices have real meaning and impact on the story (whether for good or for ill). Here's an interesting article I've found on the subject:
http://moacube.com/blog/how-to-make-player-choices-interesting/
 

FoxySeta

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Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say player agency. Even in a tightly scripted and directed game, the player must feel as if their choices have real meaning and impact on the story (whether for good or for ill). Here's an interesting article I've found on the subject:
http://moacube.com/blog/how-to-make-player-choices-interesting/
Then what about linear VNs? Some of the tops VNs out there feature no branching paths.
Also, I'm not really into multiple-routes-VNs at all.
 

Elissiaro

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Then what about linear VNs? Some of the tops VNs out there feature no branching paths.
Also, I'm not really into multiple-routes-VNs at all.
If the story is linear, it has have an interesting and well written enough story to make up for that. Plus you have to hook people into it early.
I guess that applies to visual novels in general, but having big choices will make me stick with a not great story for a lot longer than I would have otherwise. (Because for example, maybe I end up romancing someone boring, better check if one of the other options is more fun.)

And on the topic of tips getting noticed (Note Im not an expert of anything, my one crappy released game is completely unnoticed because I never bothered advertizing for it.):
Having pretty art and interesting looking characters is a good way to grab peoples attention, then pull them in further with a good story.
Also targeting a specific audience.
Or getting a famous youtuber to play it or something.
 

consolcwby

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Then what about linear VNs? Some of the tops VNs out there feature no branching paths.
Also, I'm not really into multiple-routes-VNs at all.
I agree with @Elissiaro on this one. Also, I rarely download pure linear VNs since certain color combos are murder on my eyes. Also, a protip: if you hate branching, then stay away from Virtues Last Reward! No, I take it back - run as far away from it as possible! Lol
 

FoxySeta

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I agree with @Elissiaro on this one. Also, I rarely download pure linear VNs since certain color combos are murder on my eyes. Also, a protip: if you hate branching, then stay away from Virtues Last Reward! No, I take it back - run as far away from it as possible! Lol
Well, it's not like I hate that series... I just don't like how *other* titles offer a branching story just to make up for their lack of interactivity, or without a valid narrative reason (you just add the risk to lower the general quality of the game if there really is no reason).
Also, not really sure how linear VNs and color combos have to do with each other:kaoswt2:
 

consolcwby

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Also, not really sure how linear VNs and color combos have to do with each other:kaoswt2:
It's about sight and the screen: https://www.essilorusa.com/newsroom/be-careful-color-and-font-choice-could-hurt-your-eyes
Erm, VNs being linear or branching isn't the problem. Reading text is... :/
and, according to what you said:
Also, I'm not really into multiple-routes-VNs at all.
Then I only recommended to stay away from a real killer. True Story:
I just finished VLR. ALL OF IT. ALL... ALL: Scroll down to the flowchart. That's only part of it. And to get the extra special deluxe ending, I DID IT ALL. 39+ Hours worth... and now I am nearly blind. Catch my drift? ;)
So, if you don't like multiple routes/branches/foolishness, STAY AWAY!
Phi is a jerk. I don't like her monotone voice or her rationalizing. But it's okay. Everyone else in the story is a jerk as well. Except for Luna. Because she is the only real human in the story! BEWARE!!!
 

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When in doubt, a scantily-clad lady on the cover usually helps.

On a serious note - You really need to offer the player some kind of incentive to play.

Lots of games have been using VN-style conversations to progress the story. Many, many RPGs such as the Tales Series feature this, as well as tactics games like Fire Emblem and even bullet hell shooters like Touhou. It's way easier to make than a full, in-engine or even pre-rendered cutscene and looks really good if the game has stylized art and character designs. You are pretty much competing with these games when people look into your project and see screenshots of it. VNs are popular in Japan but the lack of actual gameplay is a big part of why they never took off in the West.

You really need to know what your game is offering the player. A game with stale gameplay can fall back on a good story to keep players going. A game with a cliche story can fall back on fun gameplay. A pure VN has a lot less wiggle room - you need excellent characters and story, but you also need to convey them well. Good art isn't really optional, it's almost like the starting line really. You could offer good music to set the tone just right for each scene. I'd suggest investing the player in the story through choices leading to optional scenes and/or alternate outcomes, but without multiple routes or branching narratives it will be a lot harder to get a player to make the initial investment.

A game with 6 routes and 30 endings can advertise that to entice players to buy. A linear VN with no branching doesn't have many options to stand out from the crowd. You need rock solid characters, plot, and even art no matter what. To get noticed and encourage players to actually play you need some feature you could make into a sales pitch, the "this is why you should play this game" line. If possible, make it a "this is why you can't afford not to play this game" line. Find a way to sell your story and characters, even if it's just teasing what kind of great adventure they are going to go on.
 

FoxySeta

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When in doubt, a scantily-clad lady on the cover usually helps.

On a serious note - You really need to offer the player some kind of incentive to play.

Lots of games have been using VN-style conversations to progress the story. Many, many RPGs such as the Tales Series feature this, as well as tactics games like Fire Emblem and even bullet hell shooters like Touhou. It's way easier to make than a full, in-engine or even pre-rendered cutscene and looks really good if the game has stylized art and character designs. You are pretty much competing with these games when people look into your project and see screenshots of it. VNs are popular in Japan but the lack of actual gameplay is a big part of why they never took off in the West.

You really need to know what your game is offering the player. A game with stale gameplay can fall back on a good story to keep players going. A game with a cliche story can fall back on fun gameplay. A pure VN has a lot less wiggle room - you need excellent characters and story, but you also need to convey them well. Good art isn't really optional, it's almost like the starting line really. You could offer good music to set the tone just right for each scene. I'd suggest investing the player in the story through choices leading to optional scenes and/or alternate outcomes, but without multiple routes or branching narratives it will be a lot harder to get a player to make the initial investment.

A game with 6 routes and 30 endings can advertise that to entice players to buy. A linear VN with no branching doesn't have many options to stand out from the crowd. You need rock solid characters, plot, and even art no matter what. To get noticed and encourage players to actually play you need some feature you could make into a sales pitch, the "this is why you should play this game" line. If possible, make it a "this is why you can't afford not to play this game" line. Find a way to sell your story and characters, even if it's just teasing what kind of great adventure they are going to go on.
Seems like someone here has never played DR/AA. Can't blame you though: that's pretty hardcore stuff:kaomad2:

@consolcwby whoops sorry guess I just misunderstood this sentence of yours:
Also, I rarely download pure linear VNs since certain color combos are murder on my eyes.
Oh btw, it's not like I'm a 999 hater or anything, that's one of the few games that uses branching routes for a reason, and unlike the overrated Steins;Gate it offers some escape-the-room gameplay, so I'd say it's okay as VN.
 
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When it comes to RMW, people just aren't into VNs here, they're into RPGs. So your VN simply won't get a lot of views here. If you want to advertize your VN, you need to search for communities that are into visual novels. Not to mention make sure you're posting about your VN on your social media.

What attracts people to VNs, well the first thing you're going to see is the art, as with any game. Flaunt your art. Make some really cool coverart. It is a visual novel, and showing the art is a lot easier than showing parts of the story. Reel them in with pretty graphics and well designed banners first, then keep them there by getting them excited about the story.

It also helps if your VN uses a lot of cool features such as blinking, moving mouths, voice acting, animated cutscenes (sprites moving on the screen), several different poses (back poses are a huge plus!), and even flashy transitions will help out.

A good rule of thumb; animations make everything more spiffy. If you can make something move, then by all means, make it move!
 

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