How to like your main character in a dating sim?

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puubutt
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How to like your main character in a dating sim?

#1 Post by puubutt » Mon Oct 25, 2021 9:51 pm

So I've come across a very unique problem. I've asked a few of my VN making friends and they couldnt give me any advice.
I've been working on this particular dating sim for a while and I can't for the life of me find any romantic relationship with the main character more compelling than one between two of the love interests.
I can 100% write romantic scenes between the main character and a love interest well, and it's obviously adorable but I just find myself thinking "man, love interest A and love interest B would be much cuter together." It's been to the point where I just made the main character a previous love interest, but the same thing happened! I'm now think "man, love interest C and love interest D would look much cuter together."
It honestly feels like a curse. After a while I completely lose interest in the main character no matter how many interesting scenarios I put them in, how many times I change their looks, how many times I change their personality, I end up loving the love interests' relationships instead. I literally end up making the main character the third wheel in most scenes because I go overboard with how cute the love interests would be interacting.
Any help would do. I honestly think I just lose interest in main characters very quickly or something. I'm not one to project myself into dating sim protagonists, so maybe that's the problem.

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Re: How to like your main character in a dating sim?

#2 Post by Inksword » Wed Oct 27, 2021 6:25 pm

I think what you're running into isn't a problem of writing, but simply a perspective that is different than the normal dating sim. You're just consuming your own game in a way that's different than the typical dating sim player. Consider fans of other properties and the kinds of fanfic they produce. Some people make self-inserts to write into fanfiction to be romanced by their favorite character themself, while many other people will write fanfic between two characters they see as having chemistry. These people are all drawing from the same content, so why do some ship with themselves and some with other characters? It's just a difference in tastes.

I think some people are just more likely to look for characters that work well with themselves, and some people look for characters who work well with other characters. Dating sims target the first group as the player's assumed to self-insert inito the MC, but there's plenty of people who are happy to consume them more like a romcom where they're shipping secondary characters and aren't actually wishing for a waifu for themselves.

If you're really worried, you can always pivot the game to be a matchmaking game or have friendship routes where the otherwise romantic interests get together instead of with you. Obviously the waifu consumers won't be as pleased with this route, but there are a lot of sappy shippers out there that will appreciate the route too!
Last edited by Inksword on Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to like your main character in a dating sim?

#3 Post by Elsa Kisiel » Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:10 am

Inksword wrote:
Wed Oct 27, 2021 6:25 pm
If you're really worried, you can always pivot the game to be a matchmaking game or have friendship routes where the otherwise romantic interests get together instead of with you. Obviously the waifu consumers won't be as pleased with this route, but there are a lot of sappy shippers out there that will appreciate the route too!
Personally, I would love a matchmaking game ! ♥ I never played one (usually, dating sims ask you to seduce characters, not to put them together) and that seems a lot of fun !
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Re: How to like your main character in a dating sim?

#4 Post by Imbion » Wed Nov 03, 2021 3:36 pm

I agree, it's not a writing issue but rather a problem with perspective. You might be best pivoting into a match making simulator or something different than your initial idea. That's how writing be like sometimes - a lot of finding out what the story is supposed to be like while in the process of making it. First drafts are messy for a reason, because that's when the raw material for writing is created in the first place.

From the sounds of it, though, the problem might be with your main character not being all that compelling and more so as a vessel who doesn't actually exist. Because there isn't much character to go off of in the first place, you can't exactly like them because they have pretty much no character traits. I'm not sure how close you are going to the self insert model, though, so it may not apply to you.

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