The elusive VN fight scene

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kuroi
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The elusive VN fight scene

#1 Post by kuroi » Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:12 am

Fight scenes. They are a mainstay of many genres such as movies, books, and manga however, they are conspicuously lacking from many visual novels. Why? Because there are few things harder to do in a visual novel than to create a really action packed fight scene.

Now, most of the time when I hear talk to someone who has tried visual novels but doesn't like them, they almost always give the exact same reason for not enjoying them. They will say that they are boring. I (and probubly everyone else here) don't agree with them but reguardless weather we do or not, we must concede the point that many people are turned off to Visual Novels for this reason and that we, the visual novel creators, are losing a fair amount of possible audience as a result.

Having said this, I would like to say that I very much want visual novels to gain mainstream appeal outside of Japan so that at least some of us VN creators can do what we love for a living. I feel that a fight scene here or there especially in vn genres such as fantasy and sci-fi could do a lot to bring in a wider audience and get us closer to mainstream interest in visual novels.

So, I propose that we as a community take a little time and think about this problem. Lets brainstorm together. What makes creating an exciting fight scene difficult? What technical advantages and disadvantages does the visual novel genre have over other genres such as movies or manga? When have we seen vn fight scenes done right and when have we seen them done wrong? What can we learn from those to make any fight scenes in our own visual novels better and more exciting?

Thanks for your help! If we all work together, I know we can create better and better games!
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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#2 Post by 000 » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:04 pm

As I see, technically, pure VN can only have described fight scenes. I mean, action, described in words (like "With a battlecry Hero charged at a monster, tryng to impale it with his trident. Monster waited for hero to come closer and sidesteppes running hero. Then he slashed hero across his back with his claws, sending poor hero in flight." and so on. I really really feel sowwy for my Engrish here...) or in pictures, like in comixes. Both approaches requiries A LOT of talent to make a good, dynamic and belivable action scene.
Movies has advanage of being dynamic per se. As for manga (comix)-style action scenes -- I guess it would be pretty odd to see multi-frame image in VN, but only because it would be new. Still, it could break artistic consistency of a game.

Well, we can also cerate a cut-scene, changing pictures with key scenes of combat in given intervals. But it will significantly enlarge amount of images needed. Still, I see it as the best thing to show a fight scene.
<feels sowwy for his Engrish>

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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#3 Post by monele » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:44 pm

Fate/Stay Night has really good action scenes imo... and they are thoroughly described in text since it uses a NVL mode. A lot of other VNs go with only dialogues and never any description... (not fighting VNs though ^^).
Anyway... Fate does it with very nice action stills, animated through the VN engine : zooms, pans, rotations, tinting, flashes, fast transitions to "slash/pow" pictures.

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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#4 Post by Wintermoon » Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:23 pm

CGs in visual novels tend to involve a lot of work, so visual novels tend to have few of them. This works for mostly static scenes where you can show the same image (with minor alterations) for a long time, but not for dynamic fight scenes.

One idea would be to use lots of quick sketches for the fight scenes instead of a few high quality CGs.

Another idea would be to take the conventions of a fighting game or rpg and apply them to the visual novel. You don't have to make the fights interactive if you don't want to. You can intersperse the fighting with dialogue. Just use the presentation style of the game to show who's attacking whom, using which attack, and who is winning.

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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#5 Post by papillon » Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:47 pm

The people who find VNs boring because they complain that it's not a game and they don't get to DO anything are probably not going to be any happier about watching fight scenes they can't control....

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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#6 Post by monele » Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:37 pm

From what papillon says, I remember wanting to add that people who didn't like VNs probably didn't like to read novels either. So just describing a fight probably wouldn't help much. I didn't think about the lack of in-fight interactivity though, but papillon is right... this is another thing lacking in VNs for most gamers.
So what's the goal? Turn VNs into regular video games or enhance the VN experience for those who already like it and, maybe, grab the attention of a few gamers who won't mind the lack of permanent interactivity? :)

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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#7 Post by blakjak » Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:16 pm

yup I think that's about it. I was satisfied and excited by the fight scenes in fate/stay. I was happy not to have to punch buttons, and actually let the game choose the pace and outcome of the batlle.But I guess that yeah, some interactive choices in the middle of the battle could make the player feel like he /she participates, but that's about it for me. I'm a fan of Metal Gear Solid, but of the story, the sneaking and the fighting, it's the first that I prefer, I guess that's why I'm attracted to VNs in the first place.

edit : Kuroi, do you have in mind the rpg battle systems when adressing this issue or you consider them not relevant ?

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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#8 Post by papillon » Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:03 pm

Oh, I'm not saying that adding dramatic fight scenes is a bad idea. Cinematic fights are cool! Just that I'm not sure this will really open the doors and bring in floods of people who otherwise think VNs are dull. :)

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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#9 Post by Hime » Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:10 pm

monele wrote:Fate/Stay Night has really good action scenes imo... and they are thoroughly described in text since it uses a NVL mode. A lot of other VNs go with only dialogues and never any description... (not fighting VNs though ^^).
Anyway... Fate does it with very nice action stills, animated through the VN engine : zooms, pans, rotations, tinting, flashes, fast transitions to "slash/pow" pictures.
My thoughts exactly when I read the post above! :D In my opinion, Tsukihime's fighting scenes were well-written too, though TYPE-MOON's visuals weren't nearly as great as they are now back then.
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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#10 Post by Wintermoon » Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:42 pm

papillon wrote:The people who find VNs boring because they complain that it's not a game and they don't get to DO anything are probably not going to be any happier about watching fight scenes they can't control....
Targeting gamers with visual novels is silly in the first place, because visual novels aren't games. Try targeting readers (of comic books and of pure prose) or movie fans. There are plenty of people who don't mind lack of interactivity in their entertainment.

The alternative is to create interactive skill-based fight scenes. At that point you're no longer creating a visual novel, you're creating a game. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it just seems off-topic in a discussion about visual novels.

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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#11 Post by lordcloudx » Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:51 am

but, but... some OELVN's do have fight scenes. *points to self* :cry:
How do you make your games? I see. Thank you for the prompt replies, but it is my considered opinion that you're doing it wrong inefficiently because I am a perfushenal professional. Do it my way this way and we can all ascend VN Nirvana together while allowing me to stroke my ego you will improve much faster. Also, please don't forget to thank me for this constructive critique or I will cry and bore you to death respond appropriately with a tl;dr rant discourse of epic adequately lengthy proportions. - Sarcasm Veiled in Euphemism: Secrets of Forum Civility by lordcloudx (Coming soon to an online ebook near you.)

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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#12 Post by DaFool » Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:10 am

Even with movies, fight scenes are expensive and require a bigger budget. Or it's just me noticing that most arthouse / independent stuff stick to dramas and slice of life, which is what most VNs are.

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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#13 Post by 000 » Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:14 am

Wintermoon wrote:
papillon wrote:The people who find VNs boring because they complain that it's not a game and they don't get to DO anything are probably not going to be any happier about watching fight scenes they can't control....
Targeting gamers with visual novels is silly in the first place, because visual novels aren't games. Try targeting readers (of comic books and of pure prose) or movie fans. There are plenty of people who don't mind lack of interactivity in their entertainment.

The alternative is to create interactive skill-based fight scenes. At that point you're no longer creating a visual novel, you're creating a game. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it just seems off-topic in a discussion about visual novels.
Well, VNs ARE games, as
Wikipedia wrote:A game is a structured or semi-structured activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment
Can anyone argue that VNs are not fit for this? ^_^
More importantly,
Wikipedia wrote:Key components of games are goals, rules, challenge, and interactivity.
So, only thing "gamers" could complain at is lack of challenge. I mean, maybe for gamers challenge given by VN is not enough. Then it is not an issue of action scenes.
<feels sowwy for his Engrish>

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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#14 Post by Raikiri » Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:42 am

Hime wrote:
monele wrote:Fate/Stay Night has really good action scenes imo... and they are thoroughly described in text since it uses a NVL mode. A lot of other VNs go with only dialogues and never any description... (not fighting VNs though ^^).
Anyway... Fate does it with very nice action stills, animated through the VN engine : zooms, pans, rotations, tinting, flashes, fast transitions to "slash/pow" pictures.
My thoughts exactly when I read the post above! :D In my opinion, Tsukihime's fighting scenes were well-written too, though TYPE-MOON's visuals weren't nearly as great as they are now back then.
Pretty much sums up my thoughts, too. The Type-MOON games are what inspired me to write VNs in the first place, and I was particularly impressed with the fighting scenes in both games; from Kinoko's characters and writing style that made even the eye candy-less fights in Tsukihime memorable, to Fate/Stay Night's clever use of rather simple animation techniques and sound effects to create an impression of intensive, high-speed combat.

I'd really recommend everyone who hasn't done so to download the translated F/SN demo from insani, which is basically about the last couple of days before the Grail War begins seen from Rin's perspective. The Archer vs Lancer fight towards the end is rather spectacular and not what I had really expected from a VN, at least not before I had seen it with my own eyes.
Last edited by Raikiri on Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The elusive VN fight scene

#15 Post by monele » Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:39 am

I'd really recommend everyone who hasn't done so to download translated F/SN demo from insani, which is basically about the last couple of days before the Grail War begins seen from Rin's perspective. The Archer vs Lancer fight towards the end is rather spectacular and not what I had really expected from a VN, at least not before I had seen it with my own eyes.
I tried to find videos of it but they seem to have disappeared. So yes, if you haven't seen that fight, get that demo, it's worth it ^_^

(actually, it's not *just* the fighting... there are other cool scenes done with transitions in it)

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