Handling Fight Scenes in VNs

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Handling Fight Scenes in VNs

#1 Post by ameliori » Wed Dec 24, 2014 9:14 am

Hi there! I am currently thinking of a project where there will be some battle scenes between the characters. These fights are part of the storyline and has minimal to none player interaction.

How can this be presented tastefully in a VN without being long-winded? Do people use multiple CG's, full AMV's etc? Or just basically narrating what happens as usual and putting some sound effects and shakes? Should I consider putting some gameplay in it (time-based commands or press a certain button to attack a certain way.. etc.) Or will this just annoy players?

Any opinions can help. Thanks everyone!

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Re: Handling Fight Scenes in VNs

#2 Post by papillon » Wed Dec 24, 2014 10:03 am

Don't add bits of gameplay just for the heck of it. ESPECIALLY not quicktime commands. It's very jarring to be reading a story and suddenly have a prompt flash on the screen. And while you're still blinking and going "Wait, I do WHAT now?" then you get murdered and the game yells at you to try again... basically, unless you actively want your players to be baffled and annoyed (and hey, there are times where that makes sense in a story) unexpectedly throwing a timed command at them is a bad idea.

If you're going to add gameplay, the gameplay needs to be at least somewhat entertaining in itself. Quicktime events are not entertaining. A full RPG or card-battle system or something can be, but it's a lot of extra work if that's not the main thrust of your game. If you do design a great gameplay system, it'll then be a waste if it only gets used once or twice in the game. Generally this sort of thing needs to be designed pretty early on.

Full animations would be awesome, but sort of out of the reach of most producers here.

Most VNs I'm familiar with handle fight scenes by a small number of CGs, some visual effects, careful camera direction, sound effects, and great music. If you haven't played Princess Waltz, there's a video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szP2N4mNbFQ The first half of the video is the actual gameplay system they use, but in the second half the fight continues into a cutscene and you can see what they do with a handful of CGs and effects.

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Re: Handling Fight Scenes in VNs

#3 Post by firecat » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:50 pm

i played many fighting games and even made one myself, theres like 5 ways to make it without ruining the game.

1. click fate - its most common but easy as well, the fate of the world rest with one click.

2. quick click - its a timer button attack, not used often but still works.

3. cutscenes - aks the easy way out of doing 1 and 2.

4. menu time/stock event - this idea is to add menu within a menu within a menu until you reach the ending. this also is risky since the whole fight can lead to a bad ending or game over.

5. your characters fight by (something) - give your game a system that makes your characters fight without the player needing to do anything. good example would be "Long live the queen" "fate stay night" and other fighting novel games that become popular.

i hope that helps


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Re: Handling Fight Scenes in VNs

#4 Post by SundownKid » Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:12 pm

Probably the easiest way is by just using sprites, and a few FX screens that flash to show someone is being attacked, and textual descriptions.

Slightly harder is mixing one or more CGs into it to make it more exciting.

More complicated, you could make the CGs pan around with ATL.

Most complicated... making a cutscene like a motion comic in some external editor and playing it as a movie.

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Re: Handling Fight Scenes in VNs

#5 Post by xavimat » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:31 pm

There are short action-scenes in The Doll's Stories http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 11&t=19616 using comic-like CGs. I liked them very much. Maybe they can inspire you.
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Re: Handling Fight Scenes in VNs

#6 Post by truefaiterman » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:20 pm

Demonbane or Fate is almost an action anime in visual novel format, you should take a look at it, it's mostly awesome fight scenes. And you'll see that, with the exception of a pair of animated cutscenes, 90% is told with text and CGs. Fate/Stay Night works with that a lot, too, but it uses more sound effects and "generic" attack CGs, alternating and reusing them a lot.
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Re: Handling Fight Scenes in VNs

#7 Post by SelLi » Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:18 am

It sounds like what you're thinking of is having these fight scenes be rather... rare, right?
And if they're rare, they're probably quite plot relevant.
People have mentioned animated cutscenes or multiple CGs with some effects and ATL and shaking, and those are good options, but I haven't seen anyone mention this third option:
You might think it quite a lot of work to make full cutscenes, but maybe you could do something where- in an example of a villain fighting the main character- there's an animated CG that shows the villain swinging their sword viciously toward the protagonist before stopping at a dynamic looking, still CG of them in mid-swing.
Then over the still CG, there's some text describing what's going on, and a new animated CG ending in a still CG will come up when something changes in the fight, just like moving to a regular CG.
You could have short animated segments- or long ones- or whatever you want while being able to stop at a still CG whenever you want to to describe the scene.
I think these slightly animated CGs would create a level of immersion to fights that you might not get with normal CGs, while still taking less effort than full out animating cutscenes.

Also, in a fight, characters probably don't have the luxury of thinking in depth.
They're quick on their feet- dodging daggers and taking lunges toward their pray.
Their hearts are racing.
Everything happens in the blink of an eye as adrenaline pounds through their blood. Through their minds.
And with a single strike-
It's over.
And you can simulate the kind of speed your characters are going through through your text.

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Re: Handling Fight Scenes in VNs

#8 Post by Enigma » Mon Jan 05, 2015 8:45 pm

When it comes to written fight scenes I prefer the Jojo's Bizarre Adventure way of doing things. Most fights in JJBA are actually over in a few hits because everyone's attacks are pretty much lethal with one good hit. Most of the fights are trying to figure out a counter to the other character's abilities. It skips out on choreography but there's still a lot of tension since everything is lethal ,but the hard part is that if you don't have clever solutions to problems it just gets boring

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Re: Handling Fight Scenes in VNs

#9 Post by Katy133 » Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:26 pm

If you're including multiple fight scenes between different characters, and prefer not to produce multiple CGs, then a possible solution might be to give each character a "fighting stance" sprite with a short animated loop.

Kinda like this:


The above GIF file has 6 frames of animation)

And if you want to be really creative, each "fighting stance" animation should suit each character's personality (highly trained fighters should have more confident stances, a boxing stance is different from a swordfighter stance, knights are different from samurai, etc).

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Re: Handling Fight Scenes in VNs

#10 Post by wayward » Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:56 pm

While I cant give immediate advice on this (maybe one day i'll be able to), one thing I feel i can say is that there is no wrong option: quicktime, multiple CGs, AMVs. I can picture all of these working in my head. I think that seeing a bad implementation of these methods can make someone say that they don't work, but really anything can work it just depends on how its presented. Whatever you do if you do it well, your product will be the example people use when they say "but this person did it right" How do you picture your action sequence happening in your mind? Imagine yourself playing the game, how would you like to see it all unfold? I'd say make whatever, pull away from it for a day or so, play it again, and rework it until its silky smooth.

I know this is an old post, but if you see this, there is no wrong option, only poor presentation.
Last edited by wayward on Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Handling Fight Scenes in VNs

#11 Post by Quelcezot » Mon Aug 03, 2015 5:36 am

I'd say, narrate what happens as 'usual'. Except adapt based on your narrator's perspective, I normally go first person for VNs. If the fight is frightening or meaningful in some way for your character you should be able to reflect that without using extra gimmicks.

It's just down to the quality of your assets as to how effective this is, writing, music, and art. It's worth noting that unlike certain other genres of video game that VNs are not a cinematic experience. Sudden extra layers of gameplay or animated cut scenes can feel out of place if not handled well.

Especially in dramatic scenes though, music is very important. You can have the same art and text, but with different bits of music playing the scene will feel totally different. The art and text may be very energetic, but the music could be somber, giving the whole scene a melancholic feel. Likewise, the art and text could be dark or sad but the music could be happy-go-lucky - if the attacker was a previously sympathetic character or disturbed in some way this could have a variety of effects.

Ultimately I'd suggest only adding extra features like QTEs (Actually, if you want my honest opinion - never use QTEs) or animated cutscenes if you think they are necessary or enriching. If you're just trying to fill some imaginary hole, these things may not fit.

If two people talk long enough they can explain how they feel, maybe.

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