Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

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Cadenza
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Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

#1 Post by Cadenza » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:30 am

What are underused gameplay/UI elements you'd love to see more of VNs? I'll say mine, as example: I'd love to see people utilising dialogue/plot choices in a way that isn't just clicking on a dialogue choice the same way you make plot/action choices. Like conversation trees, or even changing how people make choices - like clicking on Character B when the game asks you to choose between them or Character A, rather than clicking a choice button. I'm starting to not make sense, oops.

Generally I wouldn't mind if some VNs actually listed what our character was about to say, rather than "Be diplomatic" or "Be aggressive". While there can be The L.A. Noire Problem when exact dialogue is listed, e.g. some people might read a line as sarcasm when it isn't, I think being able to get the intent of a line across is an example of skillful writing. And it helps avoid the game seeming too shallow. You could even have two diplomatic dialogue lines and two aggressive ones, they're just coming from different personalities.

Oh, and point-and-click VNs that don't suffer from lack of an engaging storyline. I love those, it's true. (Shout-out to Moe Escape ~ )
Last edited by Cadenza on Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Rare and interesting things you'd like more of in VNs

#2 Post by gekiganwing » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:25 am

A while back, I made a couple similar threads, which I believe were called "Settings you'd like to see" and "Main characters you'd like to see." I don't have enough time right now to find them.

Back in 2004 when I discovered freeware and indie VNs, I was just glad to find that something more than harem/love polygon games existed. I was equally glad to find that there were more than a handful of visual novels which did not include obligatory sex scenes. I like cute stories, school settings, and BxG pairings... but I also like variety.

* More integration of visuals and text. Instead of a separate text box (ADV mode) or text superimposed over graphics (NVL mode), bring them together. Create something similar to a comic, but present it as a visual novel. As I've said before, this is _not_ something that's easy to do, even with really basic art, but it could work well in a short, experimental story/game.

* Roleplaying the main character. In other words, making sure the player's actions shape who the MC is. And yes, this is _not_ something easy to create.

* Emphasis on social links. The main character's interactions with friends, family, and other people should not be mandatory. But they can add to the gameplay and story.

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Re: Rare and interesting things you'd like more of in VNs

#3 Post by Cadenza » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:52 am

gekiganwing wrote:A while back, I made a couple similar threads, which I believe were called "Settings you'd like to see" and "Main characters you'd like to see." I don't have enough time right now to find them.
Hmm, I changed the topic to "Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs", do you think that will clear things up for people?

I totally agree with you on the roleplaying the MC. That was one of my favourite things about MoaCube's "Cinders". It's pulled off well in Bioware games too, mostly. Bioware games aren't VNs, but they're good examples of MC personality development.

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Re: Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

#4 Post by Sharm » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:42 am

I'd like to see more genre blending, especially with the point and click style Adventure Games. Also it'd be fun to see some romance endings that require a good relationship with someone other than the person your pursuing, like a family member or best friend.
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Re: Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

#5 Post by azureXtwilight » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:54 am

Sharm wrote:I'd like to see more genre blending, especially with the point and click style Adventure Games. Also it'd be fun to see some romance endings that require a good relationship with someone other than the person your pursuing, like a family member or best friend.
I'd like to second that notion, please. Also less "I like history!" or "I like math!" kind of choices... It's totally giving a bad theme of "You should like what the guy likes too!"
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Re: Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

#6 Post by Cabriolean » Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:06 am

I like it when your relationships with different characters can interact, in Heartstring Bugs, when dating 2 best friends at the same time, they knew and reacted. In several other games, I've dated 2 best friends, neither in secret and neither of them acknowledged that I was cheating on them in any way.......it was slightly off-putting.
Not having to stalk characters to get the relationship ending with them.
Having platonic relationships as well as romantic and not too many frivolous menus.

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Re: Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

#7 Post by CheeryMoya » Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:35 pm

Cadenza wrote:Generally I wouldn't mind if some VNs actually listed what our character was about to say, rather than "Be diplomatic" or "Be aggressive".
I'm actually doing that for my NaNo as much as I can when the choice is what the MC will say next, I have to make sure it's consistent though >_>
Cabriolean wrote:I like it when your relationships with different characters can interact, in Heartstring Bugs, when dating 2 best friends at the same time, they knew and reacted. In several other games, I've dated 2 best friends, neither in secret and neither of them acknowledged that I was cheating on them in any way.......it was slightly off-putting.
From a player's point of view, having a sort of "jealousy" system where other characters react would be the best thing ever o: From a developer's point of view, keeping track of all the variables that go into the reactions is hell. Still, it's something that more people should attempt to tackle and even if the reaction text is kinda simple, it'd be better than having the characters be oblivious to everything.

As for gameplay I want to see... more things like the Ace Attorney series. During a conversation, players have to present things like quotes, items, etc. to a character to keep the game moving forward. I'm entertaining the idea of adding a timer element to that so if you don't present something then it's game over. Hm...

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Re: Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

#8 Post by Nuxill » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:32 pm

I would love to see visual novels that played more like those old CYOA books, where there was a choice almost every page that would lead to a new plot point/bad ending. Of course you lose the time honored tradition of bookmarking all your past choices with your fingers/pieces of paper just in case you made a bad turn. :P

I think something like that might work best with small illustrations instead of sprites and backgrounds though. And it would probably be hard to make all by yourself. But dang wouldn't it be fun to play.

My favorite CYOA book as a kid was "Into the Jaws of Doom" which had certain paths give you an item which you could use later. Sometimes It was needed to get to the next part and sometimes the item would lead to your death. That would be interesting to implement in a CYOA style VN as well.

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Re: Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

#9 Post by Flowers from Nowhere » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:55 pm

azureXtwilight wrote:less "I like history!" or "I like math!" kind of choices... It's totally giving a bad theme of "You should like what the guy likes too!"
Seconded! Seconded SO MUCH! I hate when I get a choice like that. It brings us back to the faceless doormat protagonist problems. I also don't like choices where I feel like I don't have enough information about the setting or characters to have any predictions for the consequences of my decision but I reach a choice that is hugely important to what ending I get. It's like the game is mocking me.

I do like a lot of choices because they keep me invested in the action so having a few choices that don't make a big difference to the overall game doesn't bother me.

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Re: Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

#10 Post by CaseyLoufek » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:16 pm

More multi-linear and non-linear stories instead of paths. The Event system in the Dating Sim Engine can be used without the Day planner for this purpose to make it quite simple.

More choices in stories with more leeway. This helps alleviate the problem of not really knowing the consequences if things don't all hang on one choice.

More RPG hybrids, anything from Princess Maker to Fallout to Star Control 2. Most of my favorite games are detailed RPGs with conversation systems.

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Re: Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

#11 Post by nyaatrap » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:34 am

Sophisticated system environments and animation effects are the first thing before any game element to me.
Though if i say about things more than that, I'd say it's coordinate elements like fashions, personalities, equipments, daily trainings e.t.c. can be effect on stories.
I don't like stories which one choice determines destiny. I'm thinking styles, habits or determinations - whatever human set in their life daily should be controls their life. And I want to see (or make) a game which implemented this philosophy.

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Re: Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

#12 Post by vividXP » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:35 am

Maybe some people will find it intrusive but if you have a particularly unique GUI going maybe there should be a tutorial in-game or a section where a player can access it. I spent a couple of hours playing Dandelion (which I love so this is not an insult) without realizing that flashing heart on the top of the MC was how you were able to unlock activities. Now I need to go back and play the game all over again.
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Re: Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

#13 Post by Funnyguts » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:57 pm

For me, the thing I want to see more of are the things I can't even imagine working in a VN, but end up working anyway. Gigantic, sprawling, procedurally generated worlds, maybe?
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Re: Gameplay/UI elements you'd like more of in VNs

#14 Post by CaseyLoufek » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:26 pm

Actually with a lot of modular background art that wouldn't be too hard geographically. Making all those procedural places interesting is always the challenge.

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