Writing You vs I

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maufii
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Writing You vs I

#1 Post by maufii » Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:06 pm

Has anyone written a renpy game in the 'you' perspective? What I mean is a story that repeatedly refers to the main character as 'you'.

" You open the window, and you look outside. From you're view point no one's there, but in the distance there's a crimson light that seems to beckon you forward with its insistent blinking. You take one foot... then your second foot.... and suddenly that's when the great tragedy occurs. In your moment of insanity you can't help but keep moving forward until there's nothing left beneath you but the ground."

" I open the window, and look outside. From my view point no one's there, but in the distance there's a crimson light that seems to beckon me forward with its insistent blinking. I take one foot... then my second foot.... and suddenly that's when the great tragedy occurs. In my moment of insanity I can't help but keep moving forward until there's nothing left beneath me but the ground."

I want to know what kind of preferences y'all have on this. I know it's a very small difference in wording, but it really changes your relationship to the character. Does anyone prefer being the character over reading about a character? In what circumstances would you like to be the character?

I'm trying to write an otome game and I'm not sure which perspective I'd like to use in this case, so I'm just trying to
get some ideas going here. C :

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Re: Writing You vs I

#2 Post by Codexus » Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:58 pm

That's a very interesting question.

Most of (all?) the old game books (choose your own adventure, fighting fantasy) that are similar in concept to visual novels were written using the second person. The same is true for interactive fiction (text adventure games). Why is this not often the case for visual novels?

Maybe one difference is that those books and games didn't really develop the player's character in much detail. It was just a generic hero trying to reach the end of the adventure alive. Usually the illustrations didn't show the player's character. The content of VNs is often more based on emotions or romance and the protagonist has its own identity. It could be harder to make choices that you wouldn't make in real life when you're identifying too closely with the protagonist.

Also a VN has often a limited amount of choices, it's annoying to have the game telling you "you're doing this and that" when you don't get a choice about those actions.

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Re: Writing You vs I

#3 Post by Aleema » Sun Oct 11, 2009 4:58 pm

Actually, there's a recent thread similar to this, lol: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... =26&t=5766

I personally prefer the first-person or third-person narrative. I'd like my main character to have a personality, rather than insert the player directly (making them a shell of a character, up to the imagination of the player), which is what second-person does.

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Re: Writing You vs I

#4 Post by sake-bento » Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:36 pm

I tend to write from a first person point of view, but I make choices third person. Something like:

Code: Select all

"Nao looks at me expectantly, wondering if I'm going to go with her or not."

menu:
   "Say you're tired.":
       pc "I'm tired."
       "She looks sad, but she doesn't say anything to me."
   "Say you'd love to go.":
       pc "I'd love to go!"
       "She throws her arms around me happily."

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Re: Writing You vs I

#5 Post by JinzouTamashii » Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:36 am

That sort of sin really rubs me wrong... what you just said above, sake-bento. Maybe I am more sensitive to pronouns because I usually would leave them out.

I always rephrase it to something like:

Code: Select all

menu:
"Now what do I do?"
    "I look down at her unhappily.":
       i "That was rude."
       call argue
   "I shrug my shoulders..":
       "I smile at her forgivingly."
       i "It's not a big deal... "
       call peaceable
In a videogame, "I" and the "You" (the causal agent, the player) are actually two separate identities only pretending to be the same thing.
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Re: Writing You vs I

#6 Post by Koveras » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:23 am

I guess a game from the second-person view would be similar to Myst and all its reincarnations. Also, there's been a game marketed explicitely as a second-person narrative recently, Experience 112, and I hear it's quite good. You might wanna take a look at those for some inspiration...

Also, most pen-and-paper RPGs played offline are narrated in second-person by the game master (as opposed to forum-based RPGs, which are usually third-person).
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Re: Writing You vs I

#7 Post by sake-bento » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:00 am

JinzouTamashii wrote:That sort of sin really rubs me wrong... what you just said above, sake-bento. Maybe I am more sensitive to pronouns because I usually would leave them out.

I always rephrase it to something like:

Code: Select all

menu:
"Now what do I do?"
    "I look down at her unhappily.":
       i "That was rude."
       call argue
   "I shrug my shoulders..":
       "I smile at her forgivingly."
       i "It's not a big deal... "
       call peaceable
In a videogame, "I" and the "You" (the causal agent, the player) are actually two separate identities only pretending to be the same thing.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. XD

The reason I use that style is because I feel as if the player is controlling the character, not being the character. I tend to write stories thinking of it more as a novel than a first person game. And like a novel, the main character is a distinct and separate individual who is telling a story to the reader/player. So the main character is asking the player "What should I do?" And the player will tell the character "Say you love her." It's similar to those interactive plays where the actors let the audience vote on what happens next in the story.
Last edited by sake-bento on Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Writing You vs I

#8 Post by Aleema » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:12 am

Actually, if we look at tabletop gaming as an example again, sake-bento's way is actually pretty natural. It's a question-response method very native to the human tongue.

"What do you do?" "Mary does this." -- doesn't sound right, because the game didn't ask what Mary did, it asked you want you did! "What do you do?" "I do this!"

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Re: Writing You vs I

#9 Post by Jake » Mon Oct 12, 2009 5:30 am

Personally, I kind of prefer - instead of broad descriptions - having actual lines of dialogue as menu choices, or imperative statements:

Code: Select all

menu:
  "Just leave":
    g "Hey, wait! I haven't finished yelling at you!"
    jump leave
  "Look, I'm sorry, OK? How many times to I have to say it?"
    g "Hrmph. You don't sound it."
    jump sorry
  "If you're going to be this unreasonable, I'll take my ball and go home."
    g "Oh, grow up."
    jump ball
Like that, you eliminate the whole question, really; whether you're choosing a line of dialogue for the character, or electing to say it yourself, it's the same line of dialogue, and an imperative statement works as well as a command for someone else as it does as a determination to do that thing oneself. So you can keep both Sake-Bento and JinzouTamashii happy without having to write specifically for them.

That said, if my menu is selecting between thoughts instead of actions, then I'll use the first person, because:
Aleema wrote:Actually, if we look at tabletop gaming as an example again, sake-bento's way is actually pretty natural. It's a question-response method very native to the human tongue.

"What do you do?" "Mary does this."
Presuming you mean tabletop roleplaying, of the Dungeons and Dragons mould, I'm pretty sure everyone I've ever gamed with has used the first person exclusively. After all, if you're roleplaying, you are your character; speaking about them in the third (or second) person suggests a detachment that means you're not roleplaying, you're just moving them around like a chesspiece.
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Re: Writing You vs I

#10 Post by Showsni » Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:15 pm

sake-bento wrote:I tend to write from a first person point of view, but I make choices third person. Something like:
You mean, second person.
Presuming you mean tabletop roleplaying, of the Dungeons and Dragons mould, I'm pretty sure everyone I've ever gamed with has used the first person exclusively. After all, if you're roleplaying, you are your character; speaking about them in the third (or second) person suggests a detachment that means you're not roleplaying, you're just moving them around like a chesspiece.
He (or she?) means when the DM's talking, I think.

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Re: Writing You vs I

#11 Post by sake-bento » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:08 pm

Showsni wrote:
sake-bento wrote:I tend to write from a first person point of view, but I make choices third person. Something like:
You mean, second person.
I do. >.>

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Re: Writing You vs I

#12 Post by Aleema » Mon Oct 12, 2009 11:28 pm

Showsni wrote:He (or she?) means when the DM's talking, I think.
Whaa, I'm a girl! That's the second time! Do I just give off that vibe? :P
And yes, that was exactly what I meant. It's a conversation between to human beings.

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Re: Writing You vs I

#13 Post by Jake » Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:32 am

Showsni wrote: He (or she?) means when the DM's talking, I think.
OK, but if you use that analogy, then the entire game should be in second person except for the choices, which is more or less the default adventure-game-book approach (except that in a game-book, the choices are the book addressing you, rather than you addressing the book), but completely the opposite way around to Sake-Bento's approach...

RPG method (second-person storytelling with first-person actions and decisions):
GM [2nd]: A gap opens in the crowd, and a figure walks towards you. The crowd itself is still just as agitated, but they're quiet for now. As the figure gets closer, you realise that the demagogue is actually the very princess you were sent to rescue!

<equivalent of a VN menu starts here>
Player 1 [1st]: I'm going to try and open a dialogue. "Fancy meeting you here!"

Player 2 [1st]: While she's doing that, I'll look around at the crowd, looking for anyone looking to start trouble.

Player 3 [1st]: I maintain my quiet air of superiority.
Sake-Bento's VN method (first-person storytelling to a detached puppet-master):
[1st] A gap opens in the crowd, and a figure walks towards me. The crowd is still just as agitated, but they're quiet for now. As the figure gets closer, I realise that the demagogue is actually the very princess I was sent to rescue!

What now?
- [2nd] Tell her you've been sent to rescue her.
- [2nd] Say something facetious to her.
- [2nd] Look around at the crowd in case anyone attacks you.
- [2nd] Keep looking for whoever threw that rock at you.
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