Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

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Barzini
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Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#1 Post by Barzini » Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:39 am

Hi all,

Seeking your feedback on the above stated topic.
Basically, I feel that it can indeed work provided that the characters are well animated (frequent change in expressions to reflect the mood and tone of dialogue) as well as an extremely well written dialogue.

The scene will also be described in dialogue - Making it a dialogue only visual novel.

Do you guys think it will work out well?
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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#2 Post by papillon » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:20 am

We've had conversations on this subject in the past. Summing up:

To some people it will not count as a visual novel if there is no narration.

In general, storytelling with no narration requires a much higher amount of art and animation, and not just of the characters. You will need to be able to strongly represent any change in the surrounding environment through sound and visual, and to communicate thought processes through 'camera' work. This will require a skillset more related to comics or film than to standard VN work. A film doesn't have to give you a character's narration to tell you that he's lonely, if they've given him a long, brooding shot of him sitting alone in a vast empty parking lot... but just staring at a single unmoving still of a lonely character is going to get dull fast.

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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#3 Post by trooper6 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:29 am

It will work out if you are skilled and know what you are doing/have a strong vision.
I say--try it out and see how it goes.
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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#4 Post by YonYonYon » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:54 am

It worked alright with Dot Kareshi. I don't remember exactly, but the story was told mostly with dialogue.
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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#5 Post by Sleepy » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:37 pm

I think it's possible if you know of to balance out the dialogue/visuals with the lack of narration? It also relies a lot on the scenes and presentation. Such as, is there a lot of action happening? Or is it a mostly static scene with two characters having a convo?
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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#6 Post by Tyrantauranox » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:40 pm

Xblaze (PS3, Vita) is dialogue only. I think it worked out very well

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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#7 Post by SundownKid » Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:50 pm

Barzini wrote:Hi all,

Seeking your feedback on the above stated topic.
Basically, I feel that it can indeed work provided that the characters are well animated (frequent change in expressions to reflect the mood and tone of dialogue) as well as an extremely well written dialogue.

The scene will also be described in dialogue - Making it a dialogue only visual novel.

Do you guys think it will work out well?
Even if you character is describing the scene to himself rather than having a third person narrator, it still counts as narration. Dialog only would technically have barely any description of the setting, so it would only be possible if you used comic panels to literally show the reader what's going on, or had detailed animation/placement of sprites on par with a manga, etc.

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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#8 Post by Mad Harlequin » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:07 pm

A dialogue-only story would be a better fit for another medium, such as theater, or, as SundownKid has suggested, could be expressed with the help of comic panels. Visual novels can be image-rich, but their backbone is still writing.

That doesn't mean you couldn't do it in a visual novel, though. I haven't read any of the VNs given as examples, but if you know what you're doing, you could pull it off. You'd just need to establish your setting through images or audio.

One of the manga I'm reading right now is Joshi Kausei, and it does not use dialogue---the characters' expressions do the heavy lifting.
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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#9 Post by trooper6 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:35 pm

Mad Harlequin wrote:A dialogue-only story would be a better fit for another medium, such as theater, or, as SundownKid has suggested, could be expressed with the help of comic panels. Visual novels can be image-rich, but their backbone is still writing.
Games made in renpy can be anything their creators want them to be. They can be writing-light and gameplay/stat raising heavy. They can be experimental. They can be sound heavy. They can be dialogue only. This is a creative medium--or should be. The artist can create what they dream of and need not be bound by convention. If everyone was only bound by pre-existing conventions, then we wouldn't have digital: a love story, or any other number of innovative games.

For some people a visual novel must be a narrow thing. But it doesn't have to be.
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*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#10 Post by Mad Harlequin » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:58 pm

trooper6 wrote:This is a creative medium--or should be. The artist can create what they dream of and need not be bound by convention. If everyone was only bound by pre-existing conventions, then we wouldn't have digital: a love story, or any other number of innovative games.

For some people a visual novel must be a narrow thing. But it doesn't have to be.
I don't know why I have to say this when my earlier post makes it clear, but I'm not disagreeing with you. I posted to encourage, not discourage. The part of my post that you quoted is just my opinion concerning the difficulty of creating a dialogue-only VN compared to that of telling a dialogue-only story in other media.
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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#11 Post by Kailoto » Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:40 pm

Honestly, something like this really depends on the technical skill of the writing and design. There's extremely precise ways of framing different scenes and creating the flow of the story, and removing internal narration messes up that balance. It can still be done well, but you have to have a very strong grasp over what the scope should be, how to pace the narrative, etc. for it to be of the same quality or better than typical prose. Unless it's built into the design, most works will suffer from it.

Does that mean you shouldn't do it? No, not at all. Not everything needs to adhere to some universal standard of quality, otherwise there'd be no experimentation and innovation in fiction and few would improve. So if you want to do it, go for it.

And if you are, then here's something to think about: stories with no narration whatsoever are forced into a distant third person. What this means is, absolutely nothing besides dialogue is directly relayed to the audience. The player will have no indication of any character's true thoughts, motivations, reactions, whatever, and the setting and passage of time has to be expressed in a minimal way. So the real key here is designing specific scenes, as well as overall narrative, that don't rely on the player knowing everything. Think like Durarara!!, if you've seen it - part of the fun is figuring out everyone's true identities and intentions, even with the main characters. A good dialogue-only story works around its limitations; a great one takes advantage of them.
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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#12 Post by Donmai » Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:27 am

Simply try it on a small project and you will see if it will work for you, or not.
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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#13 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:38 pm

To be honest, I feel that sometimes the narration in *some* VNs is excessive, making it feel more like fluff than story-enhancing content.

As others have already said, having no narration at all would be rather difficult, especially if the visuals are limited, but there may be some benefit to keeping narration to a minimum.

Also, quoting this just because it's worth repeating:
trooper6 wrote:Games made in renpy can be anything their creators want them to be.
"We must teach them through the tools with which they are comfortable."
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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#14 Post by ColaCat » Sat Jun 06, 2015 5:11 pm

^_^ Mhm.

I would have thought that it wouldn't work, that was, until I read what you [Barzini] wrote. As long as the flow and imagery is there, be it in narration, or dialogue musings, it can work. Narration is used as a way of immersing the player, helping them picture the story and become engaged with it. If your dialogue is good enough, then it should be fine. Either way, it would be interesting to play.
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Re: Will a dialogue-only Visual Novel work?

#15 Post by trooper6 » Sat Jun 06, 2015 5:40 pm

Digital: A Love Story doesn't have any narration. And Cinders doesn't feel very narration heavy either--though there are some inner thoughts, I think.
I'm sure dialogue only has been done.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

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