When to end a dating sim game?

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sapiboonggames
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When to end a dating sim game?

#1 Post by sapiboonggames » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:10 am

So, if my MC is a freshman in university, and the gameplay is a lot like tokimemo (stat-raising and such), should the gameplay be 4 years of his uni life? I personally think that it's too long and too ambitious, but ending the game after 2 years of uni life is rather weird...

So, if you're in my position, when would you "cut off" the game?
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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#2 Post by Asceai » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:35 am

I don't think there's any established pressure for a dating sim to go for the entire length of one's stay at a school- in fact, I suspect the majority are set over less than a year. If stopping at two years makes sense for your plans, why go longer?

In fact, a pretty common criticism I've seen of titles that have their scenarios needlessly extended over a long period of time is that you feel like you are seeing less of the story, fewer (proportionally) of the interactions between characters etc. than if the same story was held over a shorter period (I assume you're not planning on doubling the amount of scenario to extend the game to 4 years). There's VNs like ChuSinGura46+1 that manage to cover 10 years without having this problem but that's rare and hard to pull off.

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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#3 Post by sapiboonggames » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:48 am

Asceai wrote:I don't think there's any established pressure for a dating sim to go for the entire length of one's stay at a school- in fact, I suspect the majority are set over less than a year. If stopping at two years makes sense for your plans, why go longer?

In fact, a pretty common criticism I've seen of titles that have their scenarios needlessly extended over a long period of time is that you feel like you are seeing less of the story, fewer (proportionally) of the interactions between characters etc. than if the same story was held over a shorter period (I assume you're not planning on doubling the amount of scenario to extend the game to 4 years). There's VNs like ChuSinGura46+1 that manage to cover 10 years without having this problem but that's rare and hard to pull off.
The reason I ask this is because I think it would be weird if I cut off the game in 2 years, but I don't think I can pull off 4 years... So I'm torn between two choices. I suppose I could end it after 1 year of gameplay, but what's the cause? Why should it end there?

So yeah, I'm confused here and hope someone could shed a light.
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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#4 Post by Ophelia » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:00 am

4 years? In which country does a normal degree take 4 years? It's 3 where I live.

Magical Diary is a stat-raiser in school and it ends after only one year of school and that was plenty and even though many fans liked it to be longer, it didn't feel like it was cut off in the middle, or something.

If you cover all story arcs in a year or two, then I don't know why you shouldn't let it end after one or two years. There are LPs floating around, where you can take a look at Magical Diary's ending.

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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#5 Post by 15nick » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:06 am

If you're hesitating on a reason to end it at 2 years story-wise, maybe there could be a big event like a dance or party or Valentine's Day date where the main character and their love interest agree to go steady or be an official couple? Then just cover the rest of the time with an epilogue summary or something.

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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#6 Post by sapiboonggames » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:07 am

Ophelia wrote:4 years? In which country does a normal degree take 4 years? It's 3 where I live.

Magical Diary is a stat-raiser in school and it ends after only one year of school and that was plenty and even though many fans liked it to be longer, it didn't feel like it was cut off in the middle, or something.

If you cover all story arcs in a year or two, then I don't know why you shouldn't let it end after one or two years. There are LPs floating around, where you can take a look at Magical Diary's ending.
I think lots take 4 years. At least in my country it is.
Hmm, I don't know about magical diary being only 1 year, thanks for the info. Will look it up and steal learn how it ends
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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#7 Post by sapiboonggames » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:13 am

15nick wrote:If you're hesitating on a reason to end it at 2 years story-wise, maybe there could be a big event like a dance or party or Valentine's Day date where the main character and their love interest agree to go steady or be an official couple? Then just cover the rest of the time with an epilogue summary or something.
I think it's a good idea, but events like dance party or valentine's day won't fit for my game, since it isn't an otome game, but thanks for the answer!
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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#8 Post by Derpravity » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:18 am

Yeah, in my country too it's 4 years minimum for a basic degree, and that's if you don't do it part-time or go for a more involved discipline.

Anyway, the story should end where you feel like it ends, character-wise. There's no reason it has to end on graduation; end it when the characters feel like they're in a solid relationship, have no more conflicts to overcome, or whatever. As long as you find some sort of climax to go before your romantic happy-ending denouement (or unhappy endings, of course) there's no rule saying you have to go the length of an academic career. Your focus should be on the completion of a narrative arc, no more, no less.

Think about what's going on in the lives of your dateable characters -- is something big coming up, or is there a big issue they have to resolve to be happy in their relationship, or willing to date the main character? If you can't think of something to end on, you might need to come up with (a) more concrete plot point(s) to hang their story/stories on. If you want this plot point to be academic, make it a big exam or some such, or end with a denouement expressing hope for the new year on the first day of the new semester.
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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#9 Post by sapiboonggames » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:27 am

Derpravity wrote:Yeah, in my country too it's 4 years minimum for a basic degree, and that's if you don't do it part-time or go for a more involved discipline.

Anyway, the story should end where you feel like it ends, character-wise. There's no reason it has to end on graduation; end it when the characters feel like they're in a solid relationship, have no more conflicts to overcome, or whatever. As long as you find some sort of climax to go before your romantic happy-ending denouement (or unhappy endings, of course) there's no rule saying you have to go the length of an academic career. Your focus should be on the completion of a narrative arc, no more, no less.

Think about what's going on in the lives of your dateable characters -- is something big coming up, or is there a big issue they have to resolve to be happy in their relationship, or willing to date the main character? If you can't think of something to end on, you might need to come up with (a) more concrete plot point(s) to hang their story/stories on. If you want this plot point to be academic, make it a big exam or some such, or end with a denouement expressing hope for the new year on the first day of the new semester.
I would do what you suggest in first pharagraph if it's an ordinary VN and not dating sims. I think that most dating sims end at particular time and isn't event-dependent. And yeah, like you said, it should be ended when something big comes up. I think I'll steal your idea about ending with hope on new semester / year since it fits well, thanks :D
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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#10 Post by fleet » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:55 pm

Where I live many colleges offer associate degrees, which are two year courses of study. You might want to consider having your characters pursuing that type of college degree instead of a bachelor's degree.
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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#11 Post by SundownKid » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:10 pm

In America you need to go to college for 4 years to get a B.A., which is what I did.

I don't see a problem with ending after 1 year though. It could be a short lived romance or be implied to continue for the rest of college. The climax could be something happening during the time of finals. Colleges have all kinds of events.

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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#12 Post by papillon » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:07 pm

Just because it isn't an otome game doesn't mean there can't be a dance at the end!

On the other hand, there are all sorts of other big life events that might be more appropriate. Maybe the character is going abroad for junior year, so the normal story ends after two years (with an epilogue to cover what happens after the year abroad). Maybe you have to declare a major at the end of sophomore year, so the big climax of the year is making a final decision about what you want to study and what you think you're going to do with your life. You could be doing an associate degree, as fleet mentioned, or attending a two-year-only college that expects you to transfer to a larger school at the end to finish your degree (these do exist).


(And I do get a lot of people whining about how Magical Diary 'should' have been all four years. Some whining that it should have been all four years, all six halls. Some people clearly don't think I ever need to SLEEP. o.0 But you can't make everyone happy...)

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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#13 Post by trooper6 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:06 pm

Magical Diary was awesone in every way. I loved it! Would I have liked it to be more than one year? Sure, but I was happy enough with it at one...I also loved the end of year exam. After it was over, I just assumed there would be sequels. Maybe one day there will be! I'd buy them!
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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#14 Post by curry nochi rice » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:01 pm

to cut it short, imply things. Don't end it abruptly... write an epilogue on what happened n years after they went doki doki.
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Re: When to end a dating sim game?

#15 Post by sapiboonggames » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:06 am

@ Fleet: didn't know that exist, will consider enrolling my character to that type of college then

@ SundownKid: yeah, thanks for the answer

@ Papillon: 4 years of full blown simulation game is just too much work to make, I understand why you cut it to 1 year :shock:

@ Curry nochi rice: it's not exactly a "romantic" game, but yeah, I think implying is important, so readers don't feel shocked
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