Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

A place to discuss things that aren't specific to any one creator or game.
Forum rules
Ren'Py specific questions should be posted in the Ren'Py Questions and Annoucements forum, not here.
Message
Author
czxcjx
Regular
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:01 am
Contact:

Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#1 Post by czxcjx » Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:07 am

This is something I came up with while idly thinking about the Medium (because I love to analyze stuff more than actually trying to make anything). What do you think of the tenets in this mini-manifesto? Does it make sense or am I just speaking out of my ass?

The Visual Novel CAN be recognized as a subset of the medium of interactive fiction but it is NOT purely within the realm of what is called interactive fiction. To confuse the two is to confuse the PRIORITIES of the mediums. Interactive fiction values the ability of the SYSTEM to augment the CONTENT whereas the Visual Novel sees the CONTENT as superior to the SYSTEM. Thus in a Visual Novel the CINEMATIC QUALITY and EMOTIONAL RESPONSE is sacrosanct over things such as choice systems, pathways or any other thing system related. YET this does not mean that the system can be overlooked BUT that the system must be thought of in ways related to the EXPOSURE of content (which is the end) rather than being the END in and of itself.

This is what causes much of the failings of the medium. To recognize the ability to CHOOSE can exist in a Visual Novel does not mean that the ability to CHOOSE must be essential to the game. Fate/Stay Night overcomes this by, rather than having a branching plot out of a common path, has 3 paths that STACK onto one another and evolve and build off one another. Yet it also has its shortcomings mainly due to the bad ends, which merely serves to break the FLOW of the content. This is because Nasu THOUGHT of the novel in terms of its system, and THOUGHT that he had to make it 'difficult' to fit the action and tenseness of the scenario. This was WRONG. A better way would be Remember11's bad ends, which rather than detract from the game, add questions, meanings, interpretations. Forest's bad ends are also okay because they do not detract from the hallucinatory nature of the game, rather, AUGMENT it.

The problem with CHOICE is that it means NOTHING content wise and is rather a shoddy way of WISH FULFILLMENT to get the girl in each path. Most of the time the player has to scroll through the common path AGAIN to get to another route, which completely RUINS narrative flow altogether. Choice must MEAN SOMETHING to the experience. This is another example of prioritizing the SYSTEM over the CONTENT which is a great flaw of all Visual Novel creators out there. Though Heroine choice is a staple of the form it is not NECESSARY if it is not done WELL.

We must think about the relation of the Visual novel to other mediums. Is it a game? Is it a novel? Is it a symphony? Is it a comic book? What makes it special? What does it lack? Why choose it as a medium in the FIRST PLACE?

Let us consider an aspect that most people will miss. In film one melds dialogue, art, sound and editing. In theater one melds dialogue, art and possibly sound. In books one has only text. In choose your own adventure books one and has text and choice, a bare system. In comics one has text and art. In radio plays one has dialogue and sound. In a video game one has the possibility of everything except an ABUNDANCE of text (commonly, though there are things like Oblivion or Skyrim but in these cases the text is a low priority compared to the system). Visual Novel is the only form that melds vast TEXT and SOUND. A comic book can meld sound and art. A film can meld sound, art and dialogue. What other medium can have a novel with AUDIO CUES? This is basically why G-Senjou no Maou is so grand in scope, because of its soundtrack. The only other way to meld text and sound is to play a song while reading a book.

Forest is the only game I can think of that is a great textual-sound montage. It has poetry and auditory disorientation. The opening scene is a weave of different sounds and images coming straight at you with little context. It is perfect in setting up a hallucinogenic atmosphere.

Only in a Visual Novel will you have the full cinematic experience applied to text. Grandeur of sound and the power of cinematic editing. Another problem is that most Visual Novel creators downplay the importance of EDITING. If you strip away the game to its components it is a series of stills with text. Watch La Jetee. Basically it's a proto-Visual Novel. If you do not think of how each still relates to each other CINEMATICALLY then you lose an important component of Visual Novels.

A good Visual Novel has a TEMPO of sound, stills and text. Another great sin of Fate/Stay Night is to completely efface the image by having the text entirely cover it, which kind of misses the point. If you want to maximize on the emotional content and the form, the art can NEVER be effaced in such a way. But this also means that you cannot think of a Visual Novel LIKE a Novel. You cannot have grand Proustian Flourishes of language if you want to maintain the art, text, sound tempo. The text itself, in relation to the frame IS a part of the picture itself. You can rearrange the text in many different ways to maximize on the artistic quality, or even in some cases, if you want to portray a Beckettian void, you may have the text be the only picture on the screen BUT you should NEVER efface the picture for the mere sake of the text because then the form will become DISUNIFIED. Visual Novels should be written, therefore, with Hemmingwayian efficiency and a powerful clarity of images and information per line.

Actually that is another component of the Visual Novel that people overlook. THE TEXT IS SUBJECT TO CINEMATIC EDITING. This means that it is less a novel and more of a textual collage. You can choose to relay a piece of information bit by bit to get a narrative flow or tempo. You can have comic timing or dramatic timing. NEVER FORGET that the way a person reads a text, the way the text is revealed to him, can AFFECT his aesthetic experience of the text. The ending of one of the routes in Yume Miru Kusuri slows down the text to sync with a particularly emotional moment at a fairground.

Now we can get back to the System's relation to the medium. The System must always be slave to the Content and Aesthetic Experience. But other than this rule anything goes. If you want to have a Choice you must give it the existential weight it deserves, and you MUST have no easy drawbacks. The first route is usually the most cohesive aesthetic experience the player, NEVER FORGET THIS. If you want to have choices and bad ends that can merely be reloaded and replayed. then choice becomes MEANINGLESS. There is no struggle or emotional burden to the choice. If you want to have so many choices then DO NOT MAKE IT A CHOICE but rather an INTERPRETATION. Once again I cite Forest and Remember11. But remember to make it easy to get back to the narrative flow after achieving the bad end.

Think larger than the simple systems. Think like Christine Love who always finds an innovative way to maximize on the use of a system while always remembering that the system is subject to the content. Think like Irisu Syndrome where the system makes it so that it is as if the game is bleeding into reality by spawning text notepads in your real hard drive.

There are so many ways to make use of this medium. There are so many ways to fail at using it. Think bigger. Think better. Most importantly is quality, write well, draw well, compose well.

User avatar
MaiMai
Yandere
Posts: 1757
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:04 pm
Completed: [Phase Shift]
Projects: [ None ]
Organization: Paper Stars
Tumblr: maiscribbles
Deviantart: maiscribble
Location: USA, Southern California
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#2 Post by MaiMai » Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:15 am

I wouldn't call these rules so much as what has been seen so far.
Image COMMISSIONS AVAILABLE (check Tumblr sidebar)

User avatar
SundownKid
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 2299
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:50 pm
Completed: Icebound, Selenon Rising Ep. 1-2
Projects: Selenon Rising Ep. 3-4
Organization: Fastermind Games
Deviantart: sundownkid
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#3 Post by SundownKid » Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:21 am

Personally, I would love to add cinematic editing to text, but it just takes too long to add all the code involved. That, and if the line happens to be voice acted, it would have to match up with the voice acting which involves going back over it. Adding cinematic text to a 100k word story is just hugely time consuming, at least for the effect. I never cared that much for it in Phoenix Wright, I just fast forward the text anyway because it's too slow when it has the fancy "effects".

czxcjx
Regular
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:01 am
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#4 Post by czxcjx » Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:12 am

SundownKid wrote:Personally, I would love to add cinematic editing to text, but it just takes too long to add all the code involved. That, and if the line happens to be voice acted, it would have to match up with the voice acting which involves going back over it. Adding cinematic text to a 100k word story is just hugely time consuming, at least for the effect. I never cared that much for it in Phoenix Wright, I just fast forward the text anyway because it's too slow when it has the fancy "effects".
To me that's just a sign of bad execution. Like I said the form itself does not fit a massive text overload unless its done well. Cinematic editing, to me, is the moments in G Senjou no Maou, which uses a mixture of music, image, voice and text to deliver a mad adrenaline rush.

By cinematic editing anyway I don't exactly mean just using effects with words; that would be too banal. What I mean is the kind of thing that Shakespeare did when he ended each Act with a couplet to have the rhyme resound in your ear. Or actually how the novel House of Leaves is structured. If you've seen it before you'd know how it literally uses the text as image to build and decrease tempo. It would have some pages that go completely blank except for one or two words, then it would return to normal. It also colored words to have an effect. Now a medium can achieve that without wasting ink or pages.

Probably the only examples of this done well are in Japanese Visual Novels. Dies Irae begins with a cinematic version of a long speech by the main antagonist (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umwNJHyyBeg) while Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai begins with all 6 main characters reciting a short poem before cutting to the opening. Forest starts off in such an amazing and unconventional way that despite it being pretty indie and low-quality, you're just bombarded with all sorts of sensual stimuli. The craft of rhythm is something that cinema basically took ages to develop. I think that if you focus too much on one area, for example the story, or the art alone, without considering the cohesive unity of the work, then you lose out on harnessing the potential of the medium.

User avatar
raistlintg
Regular
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:12 am
Projects: Silver (VN)
Location: France
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#5 Post by raistlintg » Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:47 am

Hi there

Fate is a NVL, that's why the text box is huge.
I am like you, I prefer ADV, but NVL allows more literary expression (while ADV is close to theatre).
It's a VN genre that has its fans, that's all.

I don't agree with your passion for cinematic editing.
Sure, it's great to emphasize a scene, but that's all.
I think the specificity of VN is to allow the reader to direct his attention to the music, the text, the image, at his own pace, like HE wants to do.
You can stop reading for a while because you're listening for a BGM you like, or because you want to hear the characters speak, or because you're contemplating an image...
And then you can read faster because you want to advance in the story...

Say you watch a movie.
If you like a shot, a landscape, or a music, you better enjoy it while it's here, because when the scene changes, it's over.
In a VN, the reader can enjoy all the media exactly the way he wants !

For example you talk about Remember11 ... I was always reading veeeery slowly when the BGM "Heuristic" was on !
It gave such a mysterious atmosphere !
And I always took one or two seconds to check every facial expression of Keiko.
(and let's not speak about Hanako from Katawa Shoujo...).

With cinematic editing, that pleasure would disappear !

By the way, I think you're right about the importance of the text-sound combination (it's also what 7th Expansion thinks).

czxcjx
Regular
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:01 am
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#6 Post by czxcjx » Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:58 am

raistlintg wrote: Say you watch a movie.
If you like a shot, a landscape, or a music, you better enjoy it while it's here, because when the scene changes, it's over.
In a VN, the reader can enjoy all the media exactly the way he wants !
There's a very beautiful passage from Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler that takes place close to the end of the book at a library where various readers talk about their favorite styles of reading. As an avid reader myself I love being in control of my interpretation. Sometimes I also like to give my senses over to a movie where a director has control of the flow. Everything can be done in shades, there's no full way about it.

I keep going back to Forest but its just such a great example. In the opening scene the first type I watched it I was so flabbergasted that I just kept on scrolling through, not listening to the character's words fully, letting the noise and visuals stack up line after line until I felt like I had entered a fever dream. I understood nothing because the game had thrown me into this collage without a context and everything was sensory explosion. When I had finished the game and understood everything I went back to the start and it was a completely different experience. This time I went through everything thoroughly and since now I knew the context I was able to appreciate the composition better.

Cinematic editing is not about trying to wrestle control away from the viewer, its about being a guide to his senses. I think that when you follow the normal route with common path and branching heroines that is when you wrestle control away (ironically) from the viewer by forcing him to scroll backwards through the common route just to get on another path and break the immersion. A cinematic thinker has to know how much information he releases per line and per button click. He has to think through the structure of how he's going to string together these bits of information so that a reader can experience it. Beckett is already doing 'cinematic' writing when he structures his novel so that it has two paragraphs, one two pages long and the other a hundred+ pages long. If the cinematic thinker thinks that something will seriously undercut the flow of his piece then he'll control it. This was done in White Album 2 when the setpiece moment, the concert, was wrestled away from the viewer so that he could experience the event as fully as possible. It can be done subtly while the viewer is in full control of the narrative, such as Umineko's red sentences.

Already by the very nature of the medium one has to think about it line by line. In a novel one has to think in terms of sentences and paragraphs but since its the publisher that formats the book in the end (unless you're Mark Z Danielslewski) you don't have to think of the way the reader experience the tempo of the pages, just throw the guy a manuscript and laugh all the way to the bank (or lack thereof). With a Visual Novel you have to think of how much words you want to fit per button press, what sound plays and what picture is revealed. Already you know generally that you control much of the unfolding process, the only thing you can't control his how fast the player clicks. You can reasonably assume that he wants to at least read the stuff on screen even though he doesn't want to listen to the dialogue completely. You can reasonably assume that he'll wait for a music cue or a picture shift rather than ctrl-ling through. You know these things so you have a general idea of the tempo that he reads. How will you shape the text around it? Will you write it like a novel and throw it all into the game blindly? Obviously not since you have to link image to text. So we recognize that this the need to edit and shape the content is already inherent in making the game, but we recognize it only subconsciously and that leads to very slipshod formatting that isn't thought through properly. Like how a person who watches a movie won't be aware of the effects that shot and frame composition have on a spectator. Once awareness of the form sets in then a whole lot of great things can start.

If you imagine the beginning of a game. Imagine you begin it with a black screen and the title fades in. What does such stark simplicity do for your tempo? If instead of a black screen you put the background as the sky. After the title screen you place a still that implies a pan downwards showing the stuff below the sky, what would you put for the first still and what would you put for the second still? Imagine if you decide to put an epitaph or a quote before the title screen is shown. Imagine if you begun with a button without a choice: Listen to cassette tape, clicking the button causes a click to sound and plays a monologue, it creates a kind of Bioshocky opening with a great speech or rumination or something. For a great use of setting atmosphere just watch the first scene of Cross Channel and feel how each line adds to the weight of the scene overall, and what it feels like when the scene transitions from a night sky to a dawn. The text melds with the image to create a tempo.

Getting it right though requires more than idle thought. It requires really thinking through how every aspect of composition melds with one another, in other words no easy answers. You'd need to analyse Visual Novels the way film scholars breakdown movies, literature scholars do sentence analysis of books, or how music scholars analyse musical motifs. That's really what I think pushes the medium forward. In Japan more studios and scenarists are already start to think of all these aspects in a greater way. I really only understood this when, as a part of my Japanese study, I hooked up various Visual Novels to AGTH and Atlas and translated each line from scratch, spending 20 minutes or so per line.

User avatar
raistlintg
Regular
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:12 am
Projects: Silver (VN)
Location: France
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#7 Post by raistlintg » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:51 pm

A cinematic thinker has to know how much information he releases per line and per button click
Oh, that was what you meant.
Absolutely right, the first interaction player-CPU in a VN is the button click (we do it all the time !), the choices are secondary (kinetic novels don't even have them).
So you have to think "what does the act of clicking will bring to the player ?", I agree with you.

About rythms, did you notice "rythm break" in narration is often used for comic purpose.
For example, one character makes a totally absurd and grandiose statement, with very long textboxes, and the main character answers [...] and then [yeah, right], or something like that.
Burlesque situations are often ended in a very curt and slightly inappropriate statement like [we had fun...].

Ah, and if you liked Cross Channel beginning, you might enjoy A profile (from AB2, like G Senjou) if you don't already know it.

gekiganwing
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 2462
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2004 1:38 pm
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#8 Post by gekiganwing » Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:31 am

czxcjx wrote:You'd need to analyse Visual Novels the way film scholars breakdown movies, literature scholars do sentence analysis of books, or how music scholars analyse musical motifs. That's really what I think pushes the medium forward.
If you are willing to think about VNs, then consider the following:

* Is clicking, tapping, or pressing a button in order to advance text necessary? I have no problem with it. I often prefer it to auto-forwarding text. But is there another way to present a text based story in electronic form?
* Pictures and text don't often mesh. There have been only a few examples where the text is not in a separate box, or appearing on top of the pictures. Are you okay with this? Do you want to see more VNs that find interesting ways to combine or blend the two?
* Should your story include choices? The way I figure it, if you can't think of another path or ending for your story, then don't include any decisions.
* What difference do choices make in terms of what happens next? How do they lead to multiple endings?
* Think about how many of the following kinds of decisions are appropriate for your story:
** Blind Choices (guess what will happen)
** Correct Choice Indicator (make it very obvious)
** Meaningless Choices (don't make any difference in story terms)
** Timed Choices (choose now!)

User avatar
TrickWithAKnife
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1261
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:38 am
Projects: Rika
Organization: Solo (for now)
IRC Nick: Trick
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#9 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:09 pm

I'd like to put forward the idea that defining the rules for VNs may be counter-productive in some cases. Innovation happens when people think outside the box.
"We must teach them through the tools with which they are comfortable."
The #renpy IRC channel is a great place to chat with other devs. Due to the nature of IRC and timezone differences, people probably won't reply right away.

If you'd like to view or use any code from my VN PM me. All code is freely available without restriction, but also without warranty or (much) support.

czxcjx
Regular
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:01 am
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#10 Post by czxcjx » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:07 am

TrickWithAKnife wrote:I'd like to put forward the idea that defining the rules for VNs may be counter-productive in some cases. Innovation happens when people think outside the box.
Except that blind meaningless creativity more likely hampers innovation and experimentalism. Experimental art or new art is made in-reaction to old forms, which is why when a lot of poets try to begin with free verse they can never pull off the same effect that Whitman or TS Eliot did with their poetry because they simply did not know what made good poetry in this first place. You begin by defining the box and then posit possible means to subvert it but you have to know what makes a good work of art. Rather than say 'no rules are the best rules' you should come up with a principle that is counter to a standing principle with your own reasons and evaluations.

Basically I just came up with certain axioms based on my view and personal experience of playing games.

1. Content must be prioritized over systems. (Does choice really matter or contribute anything good to the story which I am trying to tell? Does adding a mini-game add to the overall vision?)
1.1 A lack of choice may not have value but choice must have value.
1.1.1. An end is an end, neither bad nor good.
1.1.2. An end that can be easily continued is not an end but an interpretation.
1.2 A conscious lack of choice is still a choice and is different from a lack of choice.
1.2.1. Any moment where a player must choose is a choice, regardless of whether the consequences of the choice are similar.
2. The text is not the text itself but an image of text that is a part of a larger textual-image collage.
2.1. Placement of text, length of text and even colors and font per image is as important as the content of the text
2.2. A lean and precise writing style frequently works over an ornate and wordy one.
3. The image by itself is less important than the relation between images.
3.1. The current image must have a continuity and an artistic unity to the next one.
4. The merging of text and sound is one of the most unique aspects of the medium, as opposed to the merging of text and art alone. The name 'Visual Novel' undermines this.
4.1. This makes spoken dialogue sacrosanct. It creates theatrical dramatic texture.
4.2 Audio cues and music are much more important than you think.
5 You are not the main character no matter how much you wish you were.
5.1 A choice and the consequences of a choice must make sense to the established context.
5.1.1 You are less the main character and more of the spirit whispering inside his head.

czxcjx
Regular
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:01 am
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#11 Post by czxcjx » Wed Nov 26, 2014 11:12 am

Pictures and text don't often mesh. There have been only a few examples where the text is not in a separate box, or appearing on top of the pictures. Are you okay with this? Do you want to see more VNs that find interesting ways to combine or blend the two?
*

Christine Love I think is probably the top innovator for this mainly by mediating her novels with other text-based mediums such as email, recorded logs, forums and chatrooms so that the text exists within the world rather than apart from it like a storybook. The problem with this though is usually the visual aspect suffers. Digital can't exactly be considered as a Visual Novel. The only really visual part in Analog is are the on screen characters. Don't Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story... was a mix between storytelling and other in-world textual mediums so it made better use of the art. I think though that if the art, sound and writing are all great it doesn't quite matter as long as most of the aspects are visible. It's just that being aware of the possibilities of arranging text or framing text make for a better creator.
Should your story include choices? The way I figure it, if you can't think of another path or ending for your story, then don't include any decisions.
* What difference do choices make in terms of what happens next? How do they lead to multiple endings?
* Think about how many of the following kinds of decisions are appropriate for your story:
** Blind Choices (guess what will happen)
** Correct Choice Indicator (make it very obvious)
** Meaningless Choices (don't make any difference in story terms)
** Timed Choices (choose now!)
The fact is that choice in a system that allows easy reloads has no weight. Bad ends are probably one of the worst inventions in Visual Novel history since more than anything it breaks the flow of the game. If you want to have a huge schism in the immersion and player experience you better have a bloody good reason to do so other than just 'making a bad end to give some illusion of difficulty'. The Bioware approach where choices culminate in the finale makes more sense. The only reason why I think a break in the narrative is appropriate is to draw attention to a possible state of affairs; different perspectives like how The Stanley Parable crafts its endings, no interpretation triumphs over other paths. Chaos;Head also failed by having a final choice that could have been easily reloaded. Choices shouldn't determine the end but should add up to the end. The once-off final choice in Nier is this idea of a last choice taken to the extreme, where all progress is destroyed after that choice. Of course seemingly small choices that actually lead to large life-changing decisions and seemingly large choices that end up not contributing much to anything at all other than seeming huge in a person's own head are parts of life.

The idea of a meaningless choice is to draw the player's attention to futility. But usually when a player makes a choice they aren't aware that its meaningless until they replay it. Truly meaningless choices loop back into the choice itself. But then what's the point of drawing out futility? That depends on the aim or theme of the work itself. A Lovecraftian or Pessimistic horror work could run these choices to show a protagonist being manipulated by dark otherworldly forces. An idea I had once was a game that had existential themes and two choices - the first was meaningless and showed the protagonist's inability to choose. The after the events of the plot the game then looped back to the beginning (making use of Eternal Recurrence and other interesting concepts) except that the other choice could now be chosen and was a sign that he gained the free will to make the choice. Kind of the same as Fate/Stay Night's 3 arc structure except that this time rather than being separate stories the two arcs had meaning and were thematically intertwined.

The only way I could think of to make use of a correct-choice indicator like a morality system would be to make the 'correct choice' ironically lead to all the most morally horrible endings. For example you could conceive of the protagonist being a part of a dictatorship or an evil empire and every choice was good in favor of the empire. To take it one step further you could make it so that going all the way with one choice or another always leads to a worse possibility whereas making the correct choices at the correct moments make the most sense. For example choosing to side with the empire all the way is wrong, but choosing to side with the revolutionaries all the way also causes a new state of anarchy or a new tyranny. The correct-choice indicator is actually there to mislead the player into thinking that making choices for one side without thinking rationally what the choice mean overall would lead to a good ending. The third option would be to make choices that matter the most to the protagonist rather than using any scale. To really take it up one step further write it so that all three endings give extremely gray endings where some things are won for some sides and some things are lost for other sides but nothing ever completely is resolved, to push the message that there is no easy way to achieving an utopian status quo. Of course to really pull that off one needs to be as good a writer as a historian and a world builder.
The place where I dump my reviews because I'm too lazy to make my own website:

http://myanimelist.net/profile/czxcjx

User avatar
RotGtIE
Veteran
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:33 am
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#12 Post by RotGtIE » Wed Nov 26, 2014 2:54 pm

Your time would be better spent showing us how it is done, rather than dictating how you want us to do it.

Caveat Lector
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 680
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:02 am
Completed: Colette and Becca
Projects: Rainbow Love (HIATUS), The Haunting of Blackbird School, Cry of the Roses [TBA]
Organization: Velveteen Rabbit Productions
Deviantart: Velveteen-Rabbit-CL
itch: caveat_lector
Location: My chair
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#13 Post by Caveat Lector » Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:36 pm

1. Content must be prioritized over systems. (Does choice really matter or contribute anything good to the story which I am trying to tell? Does adding a mini-game add to the overall vision?)
Except in order to be able to execute our story as a game, we first must learn how to work with the system itself. I agree you should have a good story to add first, but if we decide that yes, we do want choices if they are an integral part of our vision; and yes, we do want a mini-game for whatever reason...then we sort of kind of DO need to learn the programming skills required for that. In that case, once you know what your vision is and how you want to achieve it, then learning how to use the system should take priority. Even kinetic VN's still require a very basic level of programming knowledge--maybe somewhat less complex than a branching VN, but still some knowledge. I run up little joke "projects" on Ren'Py from time to time just to experiment with the engine and get the hang of it, and it requires going through a lot and lot and LOT of traceback errors before getting it right, and I ran into difficulties even with the kinetic "projects".
1.1.2. An end that can be easily continued is not an end but an interpretation.
What does that mean? An ending that could be continued...kind of like an open ending? An ending that doesn't explicitly spell out certain details but instead leaves them up to the imagination? That's still an ending, technically. I mean, the "read the manga" endings from badly done manga-to-anime adaptations are awful, but if we're talking about the kind of ending that gives the story closure but at the same time leaves enough open ends for a potential sequel or for the viewer/reader/player to fill in some of the blanks, that's still an ending.
1.2.1. Any moment where a player must choose is a choice, regardless of whether the consequences of the choice are similar.
Doesn't that go without saying, though? I'd also think most people around here would know that audio and visual cues are important, too.
TrickWithAKnife wrote:I'd like to put forward the idea that defining the rules for VNs may be counter-productive in some cases. Innovation happens when people think outside the box.
Same here. While it's true that we should have a basic understanding of the box we're stepping outside of, we do that by examining the genre first (the box), rather than defining it by the absolute rules of the medium (the factory the box came from). And hey, sometimes "blind meaningless creativity" can actually produce something good! Also, I really, really don't like the idea of calling any kind of creativity "meaningless". When it comes to discussing the genre and typical plot elements of said genre, or how VN's differ from other mediums, it's best to discuss them as a means of seeing what people think of them and what we can do with them rather than trying to use them as absolute strict guidelines.
Reader Beware!


The Haunting of Blackbird School: In Progress

Colette and Becca: Complete

User avatar
Enigma
Veteran
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:53 am
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#14 Post by Enigma » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:56 pm

czxcjx wrote:blind meaningless creativity
Would you define this for me?

User avatar
sasquatchii
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 547
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:48 am
Completed: A Day in the Life of a Slice of Bread
Deviantart: sasquatchix
Soundcloud: sasquatchii
itch: sasquatchii
Location: South Carolina
Contact:

Re: Rules on the Visual Novel as a Medium

#15 Post by sasquatchii » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:10 pm

Skimming this thread, I've seen the phrase "meaningless choices" thrown around a few times. I'm curious to know what exactly this means?

I think that sometimes in vns, a few extra choices are fine, even if they don't have a huge impact or affect the ending at all. If we learn something new about the story, world, or characters along the way, would it still be meaningless? After all, it's not necessarily the ending that is most important, but how we got there.
ImageImageImage

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users