Why do you make Visual Novels?

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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#16 Post by Desu_Cake » Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:02 am

Because it can be the fastest way to tell stories. I come up with at least one new story idea per week, and while most of them have to be sacrificed anyway, the faster I can work, the fewer of those there are. I fail completely at writing descriptions, so having pictures instead is very useful for me. Also, it is very difficult to distribute books without getting a publisher, which tends to be even more difficult. Comics are good, and I draw a few, but they take aaaaages. VNs are also very good for unusual storytelling techniques, like multiple endings and different perspectives.
Tose are my reasons, quite pragmatic and unromantic, but there you have it.

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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#17 Post by natsumachi » Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:06 am

I'm still very new to trying to create a VN, but creating stories and writing has been my interest for a long time. I've dabbled also in doujinshi and comics, but yeah, they're very time consuming and I feel there are too many stories I want to tell to stick with such a slow process. XD

Also the combination of writing + images + music in VNs is great. I already create playlists for stories while I'm writing, and have character designs and sketches. But everything was separate.

The only commercial VNs I've played are those by Nitro+Chiral, and I was very impressed by the possibilities of the medium to tell very long complex stories (like Lamento) along with visuals and an amazing soundtrack. But I never even considered trying to make my own VN until Camille pointed me towards Ren'Py. :D

The ability to create different story paths and pairing routes is very tempting for me. I have a habit of always thinking "what if...?" and thinking up AUs of my own stories; so the possibility of telling each route with equal importance is wonderful.

Plus making VNs seems a good choice when you have little time and resources, but still want the combination of writing, music, and art.

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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#18 Post by Anna » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:48 am

I'm amazed at how many people started out with drawing doujinshi/manga before switching over to visual novels. Actually, I'm one of those people too :D.

Though I still draw doujinshi, I feel it's very limited and more a medium for short/parody stories.

Why visual novels instead of comics/manga:

1) Stories with depth. Dear god, I can put so much more story and character development into a Visual Novel of 2+ hours than in a 100-page doujinshi.
2) You're not alone! No really, drawing comics is hard to divide between people when you're the only one who can draw in the team |D ahaha... and actually, even when you're not the only one who can draw! It's also most of the work. In a visual novel each member of the team has something they can do for a long time and I find it much more fun to work together.
3) Upgraded book! I really like reading (and writing) stories/books, but I find visual novels to be much more engaging because of the background music, scenery, sprites, SFX etc. It really sets the intended mood and adds a lot to the story.
4) COLOURS! YES. Do you know how expensive it is to print colour pages in a book? It's expensive on the I'm-going-to-cry level. I love colouring, so VNs are great.
5) Costs. It costs much less than producing a comic book (in my case at least). A 100-page book will cost a lot to print, while a VN will not cost more based on quantity. With comics, we're happy if we get even. The profit is a joke and it happens more often than not that there is no profit and we pay extra. I'm just a student, this doesn't do my wallet well. :<
6) TIME. Drawing comics is incredibly time consuming. VNs are too, but the work is more varied and you get more story with less art.
7) International orders. When you sell comics to an international audience, you have to keep in mind that shipping costs will vary for each country, also with this realize that the price will increase and it may not even work that well because of it, pack all of those comics and mail them and other things I might be forgetting right now. With VNs... you upload the files on (e.g.) BMT and sell :|.
8) Varied work! Yes, when you draw comics you also think of a plot, the pacing, the character designs and what not. In the end though, 95% of the work is drawing things. When you're making a VN, the art isn't such a huge component compared to the others. You become a coder, writer, musician, artist, special effects dude(tte), interface designer, marketing strategist etc. All of those are important, some a little more than others, but it's more balanced out. I really find it incredibly interesting to learn about each field, it keeps the process from becoming boring.
9) You can add routes, which if done well can be very cool.

So, yes, I was rather happy when I discovered VNs :').

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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#19 Post by Deji » Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:31 am

I discovered VNs many years ago, while hunting for pretty bishoujo wallpapers to put on my desktop. I started collecting VN CGs without knowing it! That's how I discovered Shuffle! and eroges. I fell in love with the pictures, really.
At the same time, I was drawn to the character portraits that changed faces on JRPGs. My first attempt to make a sprite that changed poses and faces was for an RPG idea, actually. I discovered that VNs had that kind of character portraits as well, and I thought it was really cool (:
At some point, I answered to a call for colorists for an english eroge (Flight of Twilight) and started digging into it and found LSF and Ren'Py. Then I thought it'd be cool to make a VN myself, so I nagged two friends that wrote so we could team up and make a couple of VNs ourselves!.... both dropped the projects, though =___=;

I guess many of you know the rest of the story from there :P

I will add myself to the "comics take so much more time!"; I've always thought it's so time-saving to draw for a VN opposed to draw a comic! Also, with changing faces/poses and CGs and their variations, that dissolve into each other making you feel it's kind of animated... I think it's a cool medium, visually speaking.

That's why I love to do art for VNs <3 (and I get to draw pretty anime-style characters and even get hired and paid to do it. It's a dream come true! xD)

Now why I decided to make a VN myself? Well, In addition to all the visual part that I love, I like the fact that you can tell different stories in a single "scenario", so to speak (: Doing that in any other media would be such a huge task it would be too intimidating to approach, but with the VN medium, you can, and it's not such a humongous task! (unless you're doing a humongous story to begin with, but that's a different problem, haha >>; )
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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#20 Post by KomiTsuku » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:26 pm

DaFool wrote:Komitsuku is on to something
Komi is always on to something. It's the execution that generally fails with epic results. Kinda like designing a working 747 out of recyclable eco-friendly materials, and then getting the drunken man in the Garfield costume sitting on the streets of Vegas I saw to fly it and it ends up crashing into the puppy orphanage.

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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#21 Post by MiSi » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:49 am

I make VNs, because it's an easy way to tell a story and faster to write than all other stories I ever came up with... (I have only finished one of them... ._.) Additionally my sister and me can combine both our talents to create something new; she's drawing and I'm writing the script. ;)

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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#22 Post by Kura » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:49 pm

[uh oh, giant wall of text]

Funny thing is, I never knew what VNs were until I discovered Ren'py. And I discovered Ren'py because I played some silly Flash based stat-raising dating sims and decided I wanted to make my own and Googled "how to make a dating sim" or somesuch. And then I realized how brilliant and wonderful a medium this is and abandoned my silly dating sim project and never looked back. :P

VNs are perfect for me because I've been both writing and drawing for Pretty Much Ever and I equally love both. Making a VN allows me to use both of those media at the same time. I've considered making comics before, but comics are more about showing what happens where as visual novels are more about telling what happens, and especially since most of the stories I want to tell are light on action, the latter is more appropriate. Plus I get to learn a little Python while I'm at it!

And all the work is segregated--if I get burnt out on writing, I'll work on some sprites. Uninspired for sprites? I'll draw a background. Sick of all the writing and drawing? Work on the UI! I think that's why I'm making more progress on my visual novel than I have on any other type of project, because I can change up what I'm actually doing while still working on the same project, and you can do each part in any order. Even character designs can be unilaterally changed at the last minute.

Another unique aspect that draws me to visual novels is the immersion. It might just be tradition and trope rather than an inherent quality of the medium, but visual novels make it easier to get inside the protagonist's head. A VN with a first person POV tells you what the protagonist is seeing, but also shows you what the protagonist is seeing, and music and sound help to further set the mood and get you feeling the right thing at the right time--all that can be pretty powerful in getting the audience to empathize with the protagonist.

The fact that you're actually clicking on a screen and making deliberate actions can also be a big deal for a different kind of immersion--that is, drawing attention to the fact that you are a spectator, sitting at your computer, playing a game. The relationship between the audience and the text for a VN is really unique and, at least to me, fascinting. On one extreme there's pure text: since the audience is left on their own to figure out what scenes look like and even sometimes what characters look like and there's no music to set the mood, it's a more individual experience and there's a stronger connection. On the other end there's movies: you're looking at this little box being shown a different world, with very little control--not only do you have no say in how you picture anything, but you can't even decide when to turn the page, it just keeps going. It feels a lot less personal.
And then there's visual novels that fall in the middle. The fact that you're looking at it on a screen still creates that sense of distance, but you have agency. You click to continue whenever you're ready--the story only progresses if you allow it to. And sometimes you even get to make CHOICES and change the course of events and the ending is your fault--but you're still just sitting there watching it. That "active spectator" feeling can be really powerful.
For example, I don't think that don't take it personally babe would have been as effective in any other medium, even if it were a KN. That uniquely-VN feeling of being at fault for anything that happens while still being an outside party is crucial to the game's meaning.

And then of course there's the whole branching thing. I really don't see any medium better than visual novel to create a branching story. I even have one project in mind that's just text and simple backgrounds, which I was going to write as a novel but decided to make as a visual novel just because I wanted the reader to make choices.

Visual novels aren't really my "chosen medium" or anything. I have plain-text novels and interactive fiction (ie, text adventures) that I'm writing too, though as I said, visual novels are my favorite because I can incorporate drawing too. When I come up with a story, I do actively think "gee, what medium should I tell this story in?" If I want it to be interactive or branch, almost definitely visual novel (the excpetion is my ren'ai interactive fiction, because I wanted to do more showing-in-words than showing-in-pictures while still keeping interactivity). If art will tell the story better than words alone and it's not actiony enough for a comic, visual novel. If I really want the player to empathize with the protagonist, visual novel--this includes stories where there's an issue I really want to make the player wonder and think about, since being put in the shoes of a character who's thinking about it is a damn good way to do that. And then there's RESET, which I mostly decided to do as a visual novel because I wanted to get the "active spectator" vibe that I mentioned above and really make the player aware of the fact that they're just playing a game.
natsumachi wrote:The ability to create different story paths and pairing routes is very tempting for me. I have a habit of always thinking "what if...?" and thinking up AUs of my own stories; so the possibility of telling each route with equal importance is wonderful.
Thoroughly seconded.
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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#23 Post by Omnificent » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:50 pm

Visual novels are like regular stories, but with infinite possibilities in every situation, all of which are valid. It's like having a novel with an extra dimension, which is by far my favorite thing about the medium.

Plus I hate writing wall-of-text descriptions of scenery and people's appearances, love writing dialogue, can put those otherwise-useless basic design software/character drawing skills to productive use, and maybe even help influence the development potential of a relatively fresh medium. It's a win all around. :D
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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#24 Post by Mink » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:48 pm

Okay, I've got no real reason. Well, not as in-depth and complex as other people seem to have. It was really as simple as this:

1. See program and games

2. "That looks interesting and I've got nothing to do; let's try that."

3. ???

4. PROFIT!

Hm, that sounds so blah, so how about this:

I like satire, criticizing things, and deconstructions, especially if it's something involving Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.I like words and pictures, so hey, why NOT use visual novels for that? IT'S THE PERFECT COMBINATION! /caps
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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#25 Post by DaFool » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:01 am

I think it finally hit me.

The idea of creating a visual novel is spreading like wildfire all over deviantart. Now, instead of just making standalone graphics, artists are now able to finally put their art to good use, in telling a complete story.. Art has always been meant to convey a feeling or tell a story. It's not unusual after commissioning an artist, that artist in turn will want to make her own VN after seeing how efficiently her art can be used.

So I have learned to let go and understand the art standard is only getting higher. At the very least I have other skills to bring to this medium. So in the end this can work out with a symbiotic barter system: If you make the graphics for my hentai game, I will program the gameplay for your yaoi game.

So the medium is only getting more vibrant. I've recently been just as entertained playing a kinetic novel as watching a big budget animation episode -- the core elements: setting, characters, story -- are still preserved in this medium. We can probably pull the plug out in the TV room and as long as people create something for free every couple of months this community can literally be self-sustaining in entertaining itself.

sorry again for another one of my soapbox moments.

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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#26 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:07 am

DaFool wrote:I think it finally hit me.

The idea of creating a visual novel is spreading like wildfire all over deviantart. Now, instead of just making standalone graphics, artists are now able to finally put their art to good use, in telling a complete story.. Art has always been meant to convey a feeling or tell a story. It's not unusual after commissioning an artist, that artist in turn will want to make her own VN after seeing how efficiently her art can be used.

So I have learned to let go and understand the art standard is only getting higher. At the very least I have other skills to bring to this medium. So in the end this can work out with a symbiotic barter system: If you make the graphics for my hentai game, I will program the gameplay for your yaoi game.

So the medium is only getting more vibrant. I've recently been just as entertained playing a kinetic novel as watching a big budget animation episode -- the core elements: setting, characters, story -- are still preserved in this medium. We can probably pull the plug out in the TV room and as long as people create something for free every couple of months this community can literally be self-sustaining in entertaining itself.

sorry again for another one of my soapbox moments.
I'm going to admit I'm not really entirely sure what you are going on about. I get the artist thing obviously, but I'm not sure why you feel so bothered by it?

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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#27 Post by DaFool » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:32 am

Auro-Cyanide wrote: I'm going to admit I'm not really entirely sure what you are going on about. I get the artist thing obviously, but I'm not sure why you feel so bothered by it?
College anime club: We're putting together our own manga.
Everyone: yeah!
Me: Okay, here's my entry.
Club leader: Your art sucks! Yours is the only submission we're not publishing.
Me: F-
Me: There must be a way to tell my stories without needing mad skillz.

Fast forward...
Me: Ren'Py? Let's see...
Me: Ren'Py games have sucky art! I might actually have a chance!
Me: Yeah! My shitty art is the best in the forum! This is my fortress!

Fast forward...
Comic Artist: Hey, this VN format saves a lot of time!
Me: F-

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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#28 Post by Sapphi » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:57 am

Awwwwww!! :(
DaFool wrote:I've recently been just as entertained playing a kinetic novel as watching a big budget animation episode -- the core elements: setting, characters, story -- are still preserved in this medium. We can probably pull the plug out in the TV room and as long as people create something for free every couple of months this community can literally be self-sustaining in entertaining itself.
I agree with this... except that a lot of us get inspired from those big budget animation episodes :P
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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#29 Post by Anna » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:56 am

DaFool wrote:*short woeful story of his life*
I really do pity you, but this cracked me up :').

But then, you must be a good writer, right? If you team up with someone, it'll probably work out. A VN most of all needs a good story. The same goes for manga actually, those club members were stupid.

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Re: Why do you make Visual Novels?

#30 Post by jack_norton » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:35 am

I probably found about VN in a different way from most people here. I used to read/play the "gamebook", the famous http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choose_Your_Own_Adventure and was fascinated by it. So I always wanted to make something like that as videogame, and then found out about VNs :)
Curiously I played some dating sims long time ago (like Paradise Height) but I didn't even know that they were called like that, nor what VNs/hentai games were. Like most people I thought that those games were all porn ones :D
Though to be honest I am not making VNs anymore, but more life/dating sim or RPG/light RPGs. I prefer a more interactive approach.
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