How much time daily do you spend on your VN?

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How much time daily do you spend on your VN?

#1 Post by Preseva » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:27 pm

Visual novels are long term projects, often requiring years of development time from a small group of hobbyists that do it recreationally. I've spent the past 8 months working on my current one. I work full time, but dedicate 3 hours every morning to the project, and on each of my days off I put in another 8+ hours.

I expected it to take a long time, but what surprises me is how much time just managing the project has taken up. Most of the time, those 3 hours in the morning go towards reviewing art, drafting commissions, reviewing what the game still needs, and putting together the resources the artists have given me. I've hardly had time to do actual writing and scripting, and most of what I've done there has been proof-of-concept to get the GUI in place.

My question is, how do you guys find the time? Do you schedule time in your day for it, or do you get to it whenever you feel like it? Are you a student with a lot of free time, a part-timer worker, or do you work a full time job, and how does that affect your time spent with the game? I'm particularly interested in hearing from people that have finished a visual novel (of any size) how much time it took them on a daily or weekly basis to get it done, and what kind of commitment they think it takes to finish a game.

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Re: How much time daily do you spend on your VN?

#2 Post by Imperf3kt » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:43 pm

I work on my projects when I feel like doing it. Lately, thats not at all.

As to scheduling things, for me thats impossible. My available time per day to do anything ranges from none at all, shower and go to bed, to around 3 hours. So as a result, no day is ever able to meet schedules even if I set them.

I imagine for some people, no schedule would be a nightmare, even if they had loads of time, but to me a schedule is equivalent to a collar and leash on a dog - you are tied up and any attempt to deviate from the master's path (the schedule) results in a sharp yank back, leaving the "fun stuff" out of reach.
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Re: How much time daily do you spend on your VN?

#3 Post by milkteebaby » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:32 am

Preseva wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:27 pm
I've spent the past 8 months working on my current one. I work full time, but dedicate 3 hours every morning to the project, and on each of my days off I put in another 8+ hours.
First of all, good for you! That is some serious dedication and I know all that time will definitely evident in the high quality of your project.

As for me, I'm actually taking a few weeks off writing to work on my otome game full-time. So, I'm generally working from 5-6AM to 9-10PM, with a few breaks for lunch and dinner. Usually, though, when I'm "working" from home, I put in about 12-14 hours of work into whatever I'm doing.

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Re: How much time daily do you spend on your VN?

#4 Post by VimislikArt » Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:35 am

I'm on my first VN, and I just finished alpha production, going into beta, and currently it's a one-person project. (NOTE: I have over 6 years of experience working as an artist for game and interactive narrative production, but this is the first project that I'm writing + coding by myself.)

I schedule out short-term goals to help pace out the work as well as I can, and try to schedule production breaks as well - no consistent schedule from day to day (my day job is at a game studio, so sometimes I just need to take a break from game production period), but on average, I'll put in maybe 10-20 hours a week of work into my project, setting aside Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and scheduling out weekend time.

This week is my "break month", where I'm doing alpha testing, bug fixing, and building/reviewing my production schedule for the rest of the year, so I'm putting in only 8-ish hours a week, most of it just playtesting. I made sure the month happened when Final Fantasy XV came out on PC :).
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Re: How much time daily do you spend on your VN?

#5 Post by Mammon » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:15 am

I work when I have the time, but in my case that means whenever I'm not busy. I'm not good at bingewatching series nor getting sucked up by games but I absolutely must have something to do with my free time. So whenever I don't have anything to do I work on my project assuming I want to. I don't really manage keeping 8 hours working on the script without trailing off. My time is thus rather varied, sometimes not even a single minute per week when real-life matters consume my time and sometimes I come near a 40h/week situation.

My writing is whenever I can and preferably as much as possible. Working on drawing needs a system for me. I have two streams that last anywhere between 2,5-4 hours that I listen to on youtube at 1.25-1.5 times regular speed. They've got weekly updates so that's about 4-6 hours a week I listen to them. I cannot listen to them unless I'm working on my sprites, meaning I get weekly reminders to get back to working on them. I don't work on them too much and get a burn-out resulting in me not working art for a few weeks, nor can I delude myself into thinking I'm doing enough for the art when only getting in an hour per week or so. That ensures that the art to writing ratio stays roughly in balance.

My first project, Pervert&Yandere, was over 100000 words long and had 15 sprites&35 CGs. Both of which and the coding I did all by myself. Add a lot of going through the game a lot for alpha-testing, about three of four months lost just to a very archaic and stupid coding choice (3-4 months on top of what the coding should've taken me) and a lot of expressions and outfits added, and you've got a proper idea of the project size. It took me a year and a half to finish.

Of course, things can be a lot shorter when you work in a group. I wrote the 15000-something script for S&Y in maybe 3-4 days, writing can really vary in length depending on the writer and the script. It took me a month to 'supervise' (read; talk and plead with the others) to turn that script into a project for NaNoRenO2017. But that's a jam specifically meant to be done within a month and I did spend a lot of hours just talking and organising.

My current project just went over 180000 words and already has 17 sprites (though far from all finished). I started with it after NaNo17 so I'm almost a year into the project, it will probably take me two years at least to finish as my anticipation is 300k words and I need a lot of time for the CGs and sprites still. (Why did I make myself make that many outfits and arms?!) But looking at P&Y, I am making quite a bit of progress in working faster and more efficient in how fast I've gotten to this point compared to before.

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Re: How much time daily do you spend on your VN?

#6 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:48 pm

I've found that even if you do your best to calculate all things required for a project and the time they will take, and then double or triple that time estimate ... you will still be wrong. :( It always takes longer that you ever believed possible. Even big studios fall into this trap.

You discover you need more artwork that you originally believed. A section of the script just doesn't work, so you have to rewrite it. That feature you thought would be easy to code ... isn't. You finally get that feature to work and it breaks another part of the code. Your story rewrite requires editing the artwork. Etc. Etc.

That's not even getting into things like Feature Creep®.

I work full-time and do commissions and try to squeeze my solo dev time somewhere in the middle. A lot of time I may have no more than a hour or two a day, and if I am extremely lucky, I'll get one day a week where I can spend 8-10 hours on development. But sometimes my day is just AWFUL at work, and so when I get home I can't really buckle down in that 1 hour between eating dinner and going to sleep, and 'waste' it watching videos or playing a game to recharge.

Every few years the "Apocalypse of Free Time" comes, when Bethesda releases an new open world game, and all waking hours not required to make rent are slaughtered for the next month. :oops: Thank goodness Bethesda Softworks is slow with their own game development.

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Re: How much time daily do you spend on your VN?

#7 Post by Metatype » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:10 am

I find that I'm very bad at keeping a schedule or track how long I work on something. The best I can do is maybe remember when I first started something (the date or month or year)?

I haven't been working on my own project lately (still my first visual novel), but when I worked on it, I usually did it on days when I had no work and tried to get as far as I could.

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Re: How much time daily do you spend on your VN?

#8 Post by hoihoisoi » Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:24 am

I think I spend about an hour minimum to three hours maximum on a weekday (Since work keeps me busy) and about 6 hours maximum on a weekend. I'd say for me, it's pretty important that I keep to a schedule otherwise I'd lose momentum with my writing (Which has happened before and therefore I'm trying my best to avoid it). I think I do sometimes lose a bit of that creativity because of the rigid schedule I'm following but on most times I feel fine since I'm currently going through an in-depth review and correction of my third draft (i.e. It's a lot more editing than actual writing so I don't need that much creativity to create new content as compared to rephrasing and improving what's already there).

It's still going to be a good while though before I reach the final draft with the pace that I'm currently going at. Well, I'll get there in time hopefully. X)
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Re: How much time daily do you spend on your VN?

#9 Post by lara_dutt » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:43 am

Around 4-5 hours for me as an noob :)
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Re: How much time daily do you spend on your VN?

#10 Post by Aviala » Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:39 pm

For me it depends on how close I am to the planned release date. I tend to procrastinate at the mid-point of the project and do like 1-5 hours daily (note that this is basically my full-time job, I have my own indie game company and don't have a lot of courses at college rn). And then when the deadline gets closer I work 16 hour days.... Wouldn't really recommend this to anyone, but I think it's hard for me to stick to the standard 8 hours a day partially because of my mental health problems. I often feel tired and I don't get excited about stuff easily so it's difficult to force myself to work. But when the deadline is near I get superpowers and can work a lot with little sleep, though it always comes back to bite me in the form of burnout etc. I'm constantly working on improving my scheduling skills and the ability to work more consistently, so hopefully the next project I make will go better and I won't have to crunch at the end.

Sometimes you just gotta be merciful to yourself, especially if you have health problems or kids or pets to take care of etc.
Even if you only do a few hours a week, as long as you do it consistently you will finish your game eventually, and that's what matters.

I actually documented my hours from when I worked on Your Royal Gayness. It's really messy (it includes comments about school etc in addition to the game dev related stuff) and there are Finnish comments mixed between English but you might find it interesting: ... sp=sharing

I had another sheet like covering the rest of the work & and the launch but I don't want to go through it and edit out confidential info... I really hope I managed to delete everything from this one, haha. The sheet is from when we planned and ran our Kickstarter campaign. Back then I still had some classes but not daily. Also, note that I had a team of 6 or so working on the game part-time and a lot of my work consisted of management stuff and starting a company etc.

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