I'm not sure whose blog that is, but I've gained newfound respect for that person. The fact he took the time to play through all those "OELVNs" and actually give valid, if curt, criticism for each (whereas I or other 'back-slappers' still have to play most of them)... why...
THANK YOU (a genuine heartfelt one at that).
Now excuse me while I mumble "oh shit" to myself since a lot of the criticisms apply to some of my current projects, and worse since they're not Nanoreno games (which can be excused for deficiencies) and are even planned to be for sale for the first time ever.
You know the current entertainment climate since the advent of internet piracy... only AAA titles survive. B and C-tier properties don't make a return of their investment anymore (whether time or money), that's why we hardly see anybody besides indies make them anymore. New IPs are also especially risky. It's kinda shame really since I got into the fandom because of the "B movie" nature of most OVAs but since I haven't purchased an anime DVD in years -- only blu-rays of the best of the best -- I have no right to bemoan the current state of the industry. I think that also applies to visual novels.
In the case where a person puts out work after work that gets unnoticed, it's a fact of life that they can get discouraged to the point that they lose all motivation to carry on in that direction.
I already killed a lot of my planned personal projects. It's hard to find justification to make something that you already know will only be at best mediocre from the premise alone. The only way they would be resurrected is if I were to lose my job and have plenty of resulting free time, and just hope and pray I just keep batting and batting and hoping that one day I'd hit a homerun which would have returned the investment of all the other efforts.
I'm still glad that I started early though, so all my shitty games were out of the way and I still am able to catch up with the minimum or median standard of quality of the current EVN scene... though these are team projects. If I had started only now with the really impressive and amazing and inspiring things going on by semi-pro rookies, it will take me several years to catch up, and by that time the standard would have been raised even higher. I think that's one of the reasons there are hardly any Japanese devs making HD console games.
And we do need to 'catch up', since otherwise the game will be buried and ignored. I don't need the games I work on to be mentioned in the same breath as "Digital" or "Cradle Song", but at least the next time somebody is talking shit about "OELVNs" I can rest easy that they're probably not talking about games I was or am involved with.
I also think a key factor here is support.
Definitely. And as more and more projects are made, each gets less of the support pie, unless it's one of the more impressive efforts. And unless the size of the scene is increased even further to grab more players, which, ironically, is only possible with impressive projects.
Our little world of VNs can be even tougher, in the sense that it's a really niche avenue of entertainment.
Not to mention the most avid connoiseurs have been looking down on our scene. There's less looking down now since KS's release, but this is LSF after all, where people can still easily find "shitty games" to prove their thesis "EVNs are shit".
I saw that a lot of other people were making games that at least looked like they were going to be about a million times better than mine.
I still feel that way, 16 projects later (I consider a project as my contribution if it took more than a weekend's worth of work) and recently having professional artists on the team. I think it's even worse now, since I'd assume all that newfound injection of money will give you an edge but there's still a million other factors to consider in execution, each potentially jeopardizing the final quality and thus perception of the project.
Now sorry if I get into a tangent, but since I've contributed to shovelware, mediocreware, okayware and eventually successware, I might have a wider perspective than people who've only released overlooked projects or only popular projects: I'm starting to get a hang for 'what works' and thus what kind of projects are worth my time.
Of those projects, these are the ones that I will forever be proud of their success:
Songs of Araiah (freeware version)
These are the ones that I think did well enough to have been worth it. They look less polished now, but they were decent during their time, at least in my opinion
These are the projects I now wish would get a remake, though I generally despise remakes. It's recently occurred to me that they might have had more potential to make a bigger dent and won't be so overlooked had they better art at least:
The Thirteenth Year
Ideally, yes, this is the indie scene, you're supposed to "do what you want", but after years of doing what you want, and not getting the praise / downloads you expect -- yeah these things count even in freeware -- you kinda start thinking about the potential success of projects even in the conceptual stage.
Sorry for the OT and tangent, but this being I suppose the best Nanoreno ever, with many games even better than some non-Nanoreno games, it really makes me reexamine my current projects and think of ways they'll be at least up to par. No EVN developer lives on an island, after all.