If you were to play a visual novel, how would you prefer it play?

terrorchan

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This may seem like a silly question, but if you were to play a visual novel or a dating sim, how do you think it would be best to operate?


Option A would be that there is no 'walking around' or exploring, it's all done with picture. Think Clannad.

clannadVN.jpg



or would you prefer 


Option B it takes place in 'sprite mode' where you can walk around and explore (with some more major scenes looking like option A). I can't give a good example, but maybe like Too The Moon? Or maybe Danganronpa (I've never actually played it, but I'm going off screen shots). 

CherryTree4.png



Say you were playing a visual novel that was a high school dating sim or something, would you like JUST the pictures, or would you like to be able to walk around and go to areas instead of just choosing where to go from a selection screen. If you have played visual novels, you know what I'm talking about. 


This would be very helpful :)  


Am I being too vague? What do you think? I know I have a convoluted way of speaking. Sorry :(  
 

tearsofthenight

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i  like a visual novel in a confined space, and you enter the rooms to find stuff, Also i guess that is a adventure game then xD
 

Animebryan

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After playing games like Sakura Spirit & Heartache 101, I'd have to say that interactive VN's are better than ones with little to no interaction at all. I've played April was a Fool, which is featured on RMN but didn't feel like playing it after the 2nd time because of a lack of interaction. At that point, is it really considered 'playing'? For VN's with little to no interaction, I'd rather just watch an anime version of the story-telling.
 

AestheticGamer

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I think it depends on the tone of the visual novel, no one size fits all. There's some visual novels where I want to do exactly as is transcribed; read a novel with visuals. Maybe some choices, but no form of gameplay. Other projects though I wish there was some sort of gameplay option, especially those that have interesting worlds.


Actually, this would be how I cut it for myself I think; If the visual novel is character focused above all else and the world is but a backdrop for these characters and their scenarios, then I would prefer just to have a straight-up novel interface with little interaction outside of choices. However, if the world has a focus, the world has character to it, then I would like to interact with this world some. Be it a light exploration element, light puzzles, maybe scenery art where you're given a choice to interact with environment or make choices like going left or right, or some form of gameplay involving the world.
 

Makio-Kuta

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@Animebryan ah as the writer and illustrator of April was a Fool I felt a sting to my heart!!


anyway, i personally prefer visual novels without a sprite walk around aspect. It's a visual novel and when I play them I go in with the mindset that 'I'm going to read a book' I mean, I like both styles well enough, but when I see the term VN that's not what I'm expecting.


plus if the sprite walking around bit is just being used to move between places and not any other aspect of gameplay I'd become annoyed. At that point it would feel like needless padding to make me walk. I'm here to read a book with sounds and choices, not spend 5 minutes walking across a school just to get the next line of text. If there were other things that impact the gameplay (like 999 or dangan ronpa) involved in this walk around section that's another story.


i think this opinion is going to vary a lot between people. The classic style text and pictures VN is a niche audience.
 

terrorchan

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i think this opinion is going to vary a lot between people. The classic style text and pictures VN is a niche audience.

This is my biggest struggle! Originally, I wanted to make an almost otome like dating sim with RPG elements, complex story, and adventure and stuff, but then I realized that these are two vastly different audiences and they might like one aspect but not the other and would therefore hate it  :( . Why can't everyone have weird combinations of tastes like me? I want to woo hot boys and fight bad guys :'( 


So I ended up scrapping the RPGish parts and now it's just a dating sim, but I'm not sure if I wanted to keep in the sprite style stuff for better control over cutscenes and exploring around. Maybe if I made the maps super elaborate with parallax mapping and use it for nice animations to the cutscenes. . . I don't know >.< I'll see what people here think I guess! 

is that the actual aesthetic gamer o.o big fan~
 
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EscapeCapitalist

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I believe a virtual novel or dating sim would be great as a free world, kind of like Yandere... Just... Not Yandere. but it's always good to go back to basics.
 

terrorchan

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I believe a virtual novel or dating sim would be great as a free world, kind of like Yandere... Just... Not Yandere. but it's always good to go back to basics.

Oh! That is a very good example! 
 

EscapeCapitalist

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Oh! That is a very good example! 

No.. I think Jurrasic Heart is WAY better. But thanks XD anything you need help with, I'm always free to help. I know a little aboot a lot, so... Yeah
 

AestheticGamer

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This is my biggest struggle! Originally, I wanted to make an almost otome like dating sim with RPG elements, complex story, and adventure and stuff, but then I realized that these are two vastly different audiences and they might like one aspect but not the other and would therefore hate it  :( . Why can't everyone have weird combinations of tastes like me? I want to woo hot boys and fight bad guys :'( 


So I ended up scrapping the RPGish parts and now it's just a dating sim, but I'm not sure if I wanted to keep in the sprite style stuff for better control over cutscenes and exploring around. Maybe if I made the maps super elaborate with parallax mapping and use it for nice animations to the cutscenes. . . I don't know >.< I'll see what people here think I guess! 

is that the actual aesthetic gamer o.o big fan~



Honestly, you can try and experiment and make what you want to make. Keep the scope realistic obviously, but sometimes people don't know what they want until it's in front of them. More-so, I think it depends on the tone of the game; if it feels wrong, like it doesn't 'blend' well, or if one of the aspects is far more enjoyable than the other, then that would reflect in the response to said project I think. But you can strive to make something you believe in.


A horror example, but I recalled Enigma: An Illusion Named Family, which you can find here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/355570/


That game had some sort of lighter RPG Maker Horror type gameplay, but would cut away to visual novel scenes. Corpse Party was kind of similar to that too (The remake, I mean). Hybrids can work if they fit with the project, I think (Though keep in mind, making a hybrid does increase the workload, since then you need to make assets and accomplish more than one style of game. Better to be a master of one thing that attempt to be multiple things and master of none.
 

terrorchan

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No.. I think Jurrasic Heart is WAY better. But thanks XD anything you need help with, I'm always free to help. I know a little aboot a lot, so... Yeah

lol I thought you were referencing Yandere Simulator with it's more open world concepts, but of course anything I made would be more story based rather than a choose your own adventure like Yandere Simulator. I'm kinda confused by what you mean :0

Though keep in mind, making a hybrid does increase the workload, since then you need to make assets and accomplish more than one style of game. Better to be a master of one thing that attempt to be multiple things and master of none.

Actually, I got about 1/5 of the way through this game (back then it was a fangame of an anime I liked) with the rpg and vn/dating sim elements. So, I'm pretty sure I could do it if I tried hard enough. That was back in Ace, though. And there were VN scripts that heavily lightened my workload and, as it was a fangame, I already had many assets to use for character portraits and stuff. 


I think when I get some more of the assets done, I'm going to hire some scripters to make me a few plugins similar to the ones I used in Ace >.<


EDIT: While it's true that hybrids like Corpse Party did fairly well, adventure/puzzle and vn hybrid is not as extreme as an girlyish vn and rpg hybrid :(  I also thought about having an option to turn of the RPG elements, but I don't want to put all that work into it if no one would use it >.<

Oh my god it was a boys' love dating sim and an RPG fangame of a rather unknown anime that probably has like ten fans. It's like niche inception over there >.<


It's for the best that I lost most of the data when my PC crashed because I don't think anyone would have cared about that game XD


But I kinda have my own story and characters now so maybe I lowered the nicheness. 
 
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EscapeCapitalist

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lol I thought you were referencing Yandere Simulator with it's more open world concepts, but of course anything I made would be more story based rather than a choose your own adventure like Yandere Simulator. I'm kinda confused by what you mean :0

I did mean Yandere Sim. I just... no... can't deal with it anymore......... but Corpse Party was great though. I'm sure you'll do well XD
 
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AestheticGamer

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lol I thought you were referencing Yandere Simulator with it's more open world concepts, but of course anything I made would be more story based rather than a choose your own adventure like Yandere Simulator. I'm kinda confused by what you mean :0


Actually, I got about 1/5 of the way through this game (back then it was a fangame of an anime I liked) with the rpg and vn/dating sim elements. So, I'm pretty sure I could do it if I tried hard enough. That was back in Ace, though. And there were VN scripts that heavily lightened my workload and, as it was a fangame, I already had many assets to use for character portraits and stuff. 


I think when I get some more of the assets done, I'm going to hire some scripters to make me a few plugins similar to the ones I used in Ace >.<


EDIT: While it's true that hybrids like Corpse Party did fairly well, adventure/puzzle and vn hybrid is not as extreme as an girlyish vn and rpg hybrid :(  I also thought about having an option to turn of the RPG elements, but I don't want to put all that work into it if no one would use it >.<

Oh my god it was a boys' love dating sim and an RPG fangame of a rather unknown anime that probably has like ten fans. It's like niche inception over there >.<


It's for the best that I lost most of the data when my PC crashed because I don't think anyone would have cared about that game XD


But I kinda have my own story and characters now so maybe I lowered the nicheness. 



Having the enthusiasm and focus is important. It can be all to easy to start a project and drop it somewhere along the line so it ends up never being finished, need to learn what you can handle and make methods to keep yourself interested rather than dropping it and starting something else. It was an obstacle that took me a bit to overcome eventually, but I found something that works for me and why I recommend starting small, then building off of it, as it's much easier to accomplish something then build on it than it is to make a wall that makes you apprehensive to finish or drop it.


Don't worry too much about nicheness, most people's first project will not be a big hit (with rare exceptions), just make what you want to make, gain experience, and find what it is you want to do, is how I look at it at least.
 
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Ronove

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I like something between the two options you posted. I don't need sprites but I would like some kind of interaction to be available. I basically just want something to do that isn't just press a button to get to the next bit of story.
 

Dr. Cakey

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This is my biggest struggle! Originally, I wanted to make an almost otome like dating sim with RPG elements, complex story, and adventure and stuff, but then I realized that these are two vastly different audiences and they might like one aspect but not the other and would therefore hate it  :( . Why can't everyone have weird combinations of tastes like me? I want to woo hot boys and fight bad guys :'( 

There's actually at least one game on Steam that adds RPG elements onto a dating sim. I'm not going to name it because it's terrible, but the idea's been done before. And for something more well-known, the Persona games did the opposite, adding dating sim elements to an RPG. So I think your original idea would totally work. Actually, the two genres probably combine pretty well, since the gameplay is pretty similar in both.


Of course, as was already mentioned, making that kind of game would probably be a lot of work. Excessive ambition is probably the number-one killer of projects.
 

Makio-Kuta

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There's a few games that blend RPG and dating sim. If that's the genre you want to go with, go with it. The thing with stuff like this is--- it's going to be impossible to please everyone, but you don't NEED to please everyone. Make what you want to make; an audience out there exists for it. (I, for one, would play an otome/RPG for sure!)


Scope is important though. Scope matters more than anything else. Make sure your scope is within your range, as others have said.
 

Tai_MT

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This may seem like a silly question, but if you were to play a visual novel or a dating sim, how do you think it would be best to operate?


Option A would be that there is no 'walking around' or exploring, it's all done with picture. Think Clannad.

clannadVN.jpg



or would you prefer 


Option B it takes place in 'sprite mode' where you can walk around and explore (with some more major scenes looking like option A). I can't give a good example, but maybe like Too The Moon? Or maybe Danganronpa (I've never actually played it, but I'm going off screen shots). 

CherryTree4.png



Say you were playing a visual novel that was a high school dating sim or something, would you like JUST the pictures, or would you like to be able to walk around and go to areas instead of just choosing where to go from a selection screen. If you have played visual novels, you know what I'm talking about. 


This would be very helpful :)  


Am I being too vague? What do you think? I know I have a convoluted way of speaking. Sorry :(  



Okay, I'm going to preface this with something here, so you easily dismiss my comments and post if you need to (and you probably will).  I have never played a Visual Novel game.  The closest I've come to one is some really terribly made RM2K porn games, which were less about gameplay and story... and even less about anything even slightly erotic.


That being said, I've seen Visual Novel games.  I've even spent an entire month long period planning one out before stopping myself and realizing it's too much work for me and I couldn't make it very compelling without complicating the crap out of it mechanically.  So, how would I prefer it play?


Honestly, I'm not sure.  The genre has never really grabbed me all that much (so many of the stories are simply dating sim stories, and for me, that gets old because it basically turns the game into a Guide Dang It for getting the girl you want... or collecting all the endings.  It doesn't help that the guys or ladies fall into tropes either, and lack depth beyond those tropes.).  But, if I had to choose one or the other, I'd like the exploring.  I don't want to be told a story with pictures.  I can get that from a "choose your own adventure" book.  And yes, romance novels of that variety exist.  Go, google them!  THEY EXIST!  Personally, I like my games to feel like games.  I like to wander around and talk to people who aren't the goal of the game, or find interesting things in the world, maybe even pick up "lore" by reading signs and notes and menus in restaurants.  I like the sense of agency that being able to move around and explore at will gives me.  Even if the Visual Novel railroads me into one of the pegged endings, I still like a bit of agency in how I get there, or when I get there.  I want to look around, see the world that exists around the characters, maybe meet characters I don't have to interact with... but still can.  Honestly, I'm just not a fan of "scroll until choice, make a choice, scroll until next choice" as the entirety of the gameplay.


So, with that being said...  I actually prefer the anime made from Visual Novels more than the Visual Novels.  But, that's likely because these stories (and their gameplay) actually translate far better to a medium like television than they do in video games.  I've actually seen quite a few anime that were originally Visual Novels (yes, Clannad is one of them, and it's easily one of my favorites... but I could never bring myself to play the game).  It's just that most Visual Novels, for me at least, just work better as something you'd watch on TV and not something you'd hit a button for.  I dislike them for the same reason I dislike "walking simulators" or "museum simulator" type games (like Dear Esther if you need an example of these) and that is that it's not really a game that you're playing.  A video game is an interactive experience where the person interacting with it is given agency.  If all the agency translates to is "where you go" and "which choices you make" in the game, then I can't really see that as a game, personally.

Now, that isn't to say I don't see the value in Visual Novels.  It isn't to say that I think they're bad.  They just aren't something I personally prefer because I think they've got wasted potential.  But, that's just me.


Maybe someday I'll actually find a Visual Novel that breaks the mold and makes me really want to play it and get really engaged with it.  But, hey, letting me freely explore the world is a good start.

Like... what if the original SNES Harvest Moon wasn't about the farm?  What if it was a Visual Novel that allowed for exploration and it lengthened the clock some to allow more time for chores as well as human interaction?  There might be an interesting story in there somewhere that might get me interested in playing the game that has you play every single day for 2 and a half years, until the game ends and tells you how you did.  Can you imagine the choices, complexity, and possible character interactions?


Sorry, getting ahead of myself.  Yeah, I just prefer being able to do more than scroll text and make choices.  I like my games like I like my ladies...  A little meat on their bones.
 

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I've only played one actual dating game (HuniePop) and several visual novels (like Sakura Spirit), but I think option B would be definitely more appealing to me. Or at least something in between. Take Sakura Spirit for example. The art is downright one of the best I've seen, but it's just that... The element of interaction is missing. And yes, I know that the point of a visual novel is to be a novel, mainly for viewing, right - but I would have appreciated if there were more dialogue options. There are only several times where you actually get to choose between saying different things, and even those have absolutely no impact on the story (I mean come on, at least show me 1 different picture that I wouldn't see if I chose to say the other thing)


So if you're making a visual novel, do at least offer some dialogue choices because in my opinion it gives the whole story a lot more value. Anything to make it less of a railroad.


And if it's going to be a dating sim, you can't go wrong with adding some walking in between. Just don't overdo it - I think that's the key. Make sure to contain it so there's not too much of walking around. You'll have to be careful to strike the right balance *woof*
 
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Chaos Avian

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Personally, I like my games to feel like games.



To be honest, it depends on what you define a VN to be. I'll admit whether or not it can be defined as a game is still quite vague, I myself would think twice before I classify it as a "game" since as you said interactivity is a key feature in defining a game. I personally love VNs but as a stand alone I don't think it can be classed as a game. 

It's just that most Visual Novels, for me at least, just work better as something you'd watch on TV and not something you'd hit a button for.



That's... debatable. Most of the time VNs don't translate well into anime at all. You have a small handful of good ones, like Clannad you mentioned and I believe Steins;Gate but the majority-- oh boy (Grisaia no Kajitsu was especially a train wreck). Its mainly due to the length of VNs but in anime format you're cutting away too much meat and if you read a bunch a VNs and then watched their anime counterparts you'd be disappointed (I know you stated that VNs aren't your thing).


Anyways, to the OP's question I'm fine with either to be honest. Option A would be more traditional while Option B would be more "gamey", though personally for Option B I'd like to have other things to do than just go from one area to another so it may be in your best interests to make it a hybrid of sorts. Persona 3-4 was mentioned but I feel Ar Tonelico is better example. It defines itself as a VN first, RPG second whereas Persona 3-4 is the opposite way round and feels so 'tacked on'. I say go with either, there aren't enough RM VNs and a hybrid can also very fun as well! Though you'll likely get different audiences with whichever option but make what YOU want to~
 

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I've only played 2 visual novels, so I don't have much experience with them, but both of them were text&pictures only, which I was totally OK with. I'm playing a visual novel for the story and dialogue, not for exploration or additional types of gameplay.
 

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