How Long Is Long?

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JudokaLilly
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How Long Is Long?

#1 Post by JudokaLilly » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:23 pm

Hello there, I'm pretty new to posting here, but I have a quick question I'd like some input on. How long is 'long' for a visual novel? Having never done this before and only working on my first one, I'm curious as to if I'm making my game long enough. As of right now, it looks like my finished game will be around 10,000-15,000 lines of code in the script.rpy file for Ren'Py. Is that 'long enough'?

I'm curious because I'm looking to sell my first VN for around $5.00 - would you pay that much for a game of this length? How long is the average long, medium, and short VN? Sorry for so many questions, just trying to get my research done ^_^
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Re: How Long Is Long?

#2 Post by Katta » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:45 pm

Is that for one route? How many are there then? Do you have other elements (minigames, stat raising)?

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Re: How Long Is Long?

#3 Post by AxemRed » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:59 pm

Lines of code is a fairly meaningless statistic. VN scripts more commonly measured in numbers of words (excluding code).

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Re: How Long Is Long?

#4 Post by Elmiwisa » Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:13 pm

As Axem said, it is usually measured in number of words (you can check that by using the Check Script (Lint) function). Beside, you have more code beside just script.rpy right?
Now, you might want to think in term of how long does it take to read. For simplicity, assuming you made a KN, the style of writing you used is easy to read, and there is no other distraction like long animation, minigame, and such. Searching around the net give me the information that the average adult reading speed is 200 words per minute, which I can't find any scientific sources of, so I am not sure whether it is true and which demographic do the number apply. However, let's assume that all your reader are Internet user, who all have to read a lot of stuff daily, so they might have a better reading speed at say, 400 words per minute. At that rate, 100,000 words would be done in just over 4 hours.

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Re: How Long Is Long?

#5 Post by やまと » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:01 am

JudokaLilly wrote:I'm curious because I'm looking to sell my first VN for around $5.00 - would you pay that much for a game of this length? How long is the average long, medium, and short VN? Sorry for so many questions, just trying to get my research done ^_^
In my opinion, that is too much for a first novel. Not that I want to discourage too. It is a realistic oppinion, not subjective.

What makes a book to worth more or less is not the number of words or the time required to read it, it is the quality of the literature (if yours is a novel or poetry or similar).

You may find books with barely 50 pages that are maybe 40$ or €, which are a very good quality literature. But also books of 500 pages for 20 $/€ which are boring and probably nobody is gonna read.

Also the matherials to print it may change the price, obviously. In your VN, the materials are the game art, music, sfx, etc...

If this is your first VN and your first writ, it may be less quality than well known tales written by well known writters. Of course, I hope yours is the best quality possible!!!

Another problem you have to confront is that nobody knows your writting skills (I think) besides maybe your friends and parents, so it is likely nobody will pay 5€ to try your novel, which may be, in addition, your first novel.

What I would recommend is that you write some novels and distribute them for free. Once you are well known in this world and everyone likes your novels, your "fans" won't mind to pay some gold coins to read what they like.
But if you make your first novel not free, you may risk your future because someone that pays those 5 bucks and don't like the novel will probably write a very bad critique, lowering your popularity a lot, making you almost impossible to overcome your bad luck.

In addition, you may try Android Market. If your VN is done with Ren'Py engine, you can distribute it for, lets say 50 cents. Nobody will burn you alive if they didn't liked your novel. It was just only 50 cents and people is *usually* kind and understand that is your first novel. That will let you know if the community didn't mind to pay those 50 cents for your novel, then you may consider to write something else and set a higher price.

For me, when in a kinetic or a VN without minigames ans the like:
Short = Moonlight Walks
Medium = Noticeabely more than Moonlight Walks and less than A Due
Long = At least like A Due.


As my personal oppinion, if your novel is so-so (short or long, i don't mind), I would not pay more than 1€/$ or 130 yen, whatever you prefer. Maybe 3 or 4 if it were a real book.
If your novel is excelent in almost every aspect, I would not mind to pay 50€ or more for it.

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Re: How Long Is Long?

#6 Post by azureXtwilight » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:15 pm

Elmiwisa wrote:For simplicity, assuming you made a KN, the style of writing you used is easy to read, and there is no other distraction like long animation, minigame, and such. Searching around the net give me the information that the average adult reading speed is 200 words per minute, which I can't find any scientific sources of, so I am not sure whether it is true and which demographic do the number apply. However, let's assume that all your reader are Internet user, who all have to read a lot of stuff daily, so they might have a better reading speed at say, 400 words per minute. At that rate, 100,000 words would be done in just over 4 hours.
I second that.

As in how long the game is, I probably won't pay for something that will take me below 30 mins to read, especially KNs.
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Re: How Long Is Long?

#7 Post by qirien » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:10 pm

I definitely recommend having a demo to download so people can try before they buy. There are lots of kinds of VNs and people tend to prefer specific kinds (GxB, harem games, indie unique games, etc). Personally, I would only pay for a medium-to-long VN that was extremely high quality in text, art, and music. On the other hand, I'll try just about anything that's free. :-D
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Re: How Long Is Long?

#8 Post by fleet » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:21 pm

VNDB dot org defines VN length by playing time .
Very short (under 2 hours)
Short (2 to 10 hours)
Medium (10 to 30 hours)
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Re: How Long Is Long?

#9 Post by Greeny » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:18 pm

People take different times to read, so I really wouldn't set a "time" as goal.

Instead, think of wordcount. A novel is generally no more than 90, 000 words, and most easily sell for $10.
It's generally not a good idea to go over. If you can't tell a story in 90k words, you're probably writing a little too purple.

Do keep in mind interactivity, though. You want to give your readers that amount of content... in one playthrough. So your actual word count will be larger, depending on the amount of branching.

Worth noting that the actual "time" for a VN has different factors than just reading speed. Readers won't just be reading lines, but will also be looking at the sprites/backgrounds and transitions. Might not seem like much, but it does add up.
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