StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#16 Post by firecat » Sun May 08, 2016 1:10 pm

Ghost of Crux wrote:
firecat wrote:@BáiYù

@SundownKid

you two miss the point, its not about selling its about sharing the site. right now the only possible way to share it is to copy & paste the web url. then after that you won't be able to communicate with the artist without signing in. this is pointless, you only have one way to communicate with the artist/coder. everyone who has worked in a commission knows that communication is key to getting paid and its the reason some users would put their e-mail on the thread so if the user doesn't want to sign-up they can still communicate with them.
Might be catching this wrong but, uh. What exactly do you mean by "share the site"? I reckon it's not about advertising the site, because it seems like, well. Sharing the link is literally how any sharing is done.

Signing in to communicate via private message is the norm. After the message, what's stopping you from asking the person you're working with for other methods of communication? I actually find this to be a FAR better method overall; having an e-mail address out in the open is risky sometimes, and even if it's not, some people prefer not to be contacted that way until an agreement is reached. VN making is not a one-off, short term collaboration/commission. Requiring signing in also helps preventing something you mentioned in a previous post:
lastly how will you stop people from unwanted message, not everyone joins for the collaboration.
Having an account means that you can be held accountable if you've been sending unwanted messages. If someone spams someone from the site through e-mail because the e-mail was out in the open, there is no way to prevent the person from doing it again to other people.
thats what i'm saying, its only those two options the site offers. you basicly have to repost many times to get people to see your page on storydev. not everyone will discover storydev, there is little communication with that site and us supporting it will have little impact on getting people to join. there needs to be more options for people to interact on the site than just a website for commission.
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#17 Post by Ghost of Crux » Sun May 08, 2016 2:31 pm

firecat wrote:thats what i'm saying, its only those two options the site offers. you basicly have to repost many times to get people to see your page on storydev. not everyone will discover storydev, there is little communication with that site and us supporting it will have little impact on getting people to join. there needs to be more options for people to interact on the site than just a website for commission.
Valid point, but mmm.

Do you mean that you're suggesting that a forum board (or something of that sort) should be implemented? But that's kind of, well, the reason why StoryDevs was created, I reckon-- because forum boards can't convey things like skill level and willingness to do certain things easily. I'm trying to wrack my brain for more example of "communication methods" that might count, but I'm out of ideas. Perhaps if you have a clearer example in mind?

Honestly though, I feel like "more options for people to interact" would be kind of redundant. StoryDevs is basically a portfolio site-- you don't see forums or really, any "interactivity" in Carbonmade, or in Squarespace, or anything of that sort. And that's because whoever is looking is expected to already know what they want in mind-- you can sort the portfolio out the way you want it, and so if you see someone you want to work with the next logical step is to contact that person instead of asking for ANYONE to pick up the project.

The getting people to join part, I don't understand. It's not a developer's forum-- it's a story-driven-content developer portfolio compilation. The fact that it's devs only means that it's a narrow "customer" range, I admit, but anyone who's not a developer won't use it anyway. More "interactivity" on the site won't change the fact that the offered things are project-based-- a non-dev won't stumble upon the site through some non-commission-functionality and look at these people offering things like script writing and character design and art and go, "hey, these look cool. Now I suddenly want to work with them!" (And even if they do, they'd fall into the developer side of things) The demographic, the people who needs to know the site exist, is small. But what the site aims for is to facilitate easier viewing of portfolio so that collaborations are easier, rather than incite people into the business. While it would be good if it can do such a thing, it's probably a lot more work than worth, especially when the site developer is paying for everything themselves.

Not everyone will discover StoryDevs, that much is clear. But the only ones who need to discover it are story-driven-content creators. I feel like that should fall more on advertising methods rather than changing site functionality.
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#18 Post by KittyWills » Sun May 08, 2016 6:06 pm

I agree with Ghost, as a portfolio site this seems like a great idea. Chances, in the beginning at least, are that most people will use it to link to potential clients to show what they can do. I know I would very much appreciate having a place like this to look at rather then digging through someone's tumblr of dA site. It's more professional.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind if this site branched out a bit and maybe incorporated other types of game dev. I do most of my hiring through game dev forums and so many people don't have portfolios or are using a crappy sites. It's hard to find people, I've been looking for a pixel animator for months now.

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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#19 Post by psy_wombats » Sun May 08, 2016 7:24 pm

firecat wrote:
thats what i'm saying, its only those two options the site offers. you basicly have to repost many times to get people to see your page on storydev. not everyone will discover storydev, there is little communication with that site and us supporting it will have little impact on getting people to join. there needs to be more options for people to interact on the site than just a website for commission.
I don't think every site needs a community around it to be successful. I could definitely see demand for a searchable portfolio-style index when looking to hire. Even when I run into people I'd want to work with on a forum or other board, we almost always work via skype, slack, IRC, or email anyway.
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#20 Post by netravelr » Sun May 08, 2016 10:57 pm

Tempus wrote:
netravelr wrote:Interested in seeing what you have for programmers as well, but I would also suggest allowing them to put images as well as text/code. May also want to make sure the text is syntax highlighted and not just text. :-)
Yeah, I've considered allowing images for folks other than artists... I'm still not sure. I mean, part of it is just trying not to use more bandwidth than necessary since all media will be served from the servers I'm paying for. But another part of it is that I'd prefer writers were evaluated on their writing, programmers on their programming, and so on. Otherwise the writers, programmers, etc who have skilled artist friends will get them to make these really nice banners, whereas less connected folk won't be able to do that.

I don't know though. Maybe that's a silly concern. And programmers who are also artists would still be able to place art on their profiles anyway.
Well, as a UI/systems programmer being able to visually show off animations and/or effects that I've created for projects for things I created (even if I didn't create the original artwork) is something worthwhile to have when looking at people to employ. Not only for attracting attention but there's quite a difference in the polish that people can give to projects that can't be seen from a straight up code sample. If you're worried about misrepresenting if stuffs not being done by them, you can of course also allow people to state if they did or did not create the art assets used.

If your issue is bandwidth, I'm sure you can allow people to provide links from imgur or whatever instead. Or, you could allow people to optionally provide a YouTube video link to demonstrate work done on a project.

I'm also thinking it may be a good idea to have video editors as a possible position as well; as I often see people posting about that here as well.

Either way, good luck!
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#21 Post by Tempus » Mon May 09, 2016 2:08 am

Zetsubou wrote:That all sounds logical enough to me. I'd be interested in seeing how a programmer search winds up looking though. Obviously it'll be less visual than an artist's page, but how will a programmer get someone's attention? Tags for individual languages? Links to Github, Bitbucket, etc. with potentially useful stats, like the number of stars on their repositories?
Tags for individual languages will be a thing, since you almost always know the language(s) you want a programmer to know. Also, while the subject is programming here's some work I've done integrating syntax highlighting. This is an actual webpage, though it's not on the site yet:
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Zetsubou wrote:The same goes for writers. Maybe a genre search? Tags for common story elements they've used before?
Yeah, I'm not sure yet... I'd like to try to avoid defining genres as much as possible. But maybe that's very difficult/stupid to do in practice and would lead to too many irrelevant results? I don't know. As much as possible I'd like to provide filters on factual things like, say, the word count an author has previously achieved in a given work. That's not necessarily a useful thing to know by itself, but it could be helpful to have lots of little facts like that together.
Zetsubou wrote:As for media using up bandwidth, I think you should mandate that images are stored elsewhere. Force users to upload their images to imgur, Google Photos, etc. Whether that's a popular decision among users or not, you'll use less bandwidth and decrease page load time, not to mention the time and effort you save on properly handling (see the recent imagemagick exploit?) and storing images.
I'll consider what you've said here though I'd really prefer not to make someone leave the site to upload images.
firecat wrote:there needs to be more options for people to interact on the site than just a website for commission.
I'll about think about this. It's worth noting that the site is under development at the moment and that there are plans for other sections—I've limited the scope to the talent database for now. Thanks for your feedback and for clarifying your point.

FWIW I'm going to be promoting the site elsewhere myself. I'm not really expecting the site to become a sudden success due to people sharing a link to it a couple of times. What I'm expecting is to have to continuously promote it alongside developing it.
Auro-Cyanide wrote:I think another thing I would like in a future version is the ability to say 'I can be tempted' along with available or unavailable. /Technically/ I'm unavailable 90% of the time and I don't do commissions, but generally I'm open to being approached with cool ideas on occasions. I'm not bothered by those types of offers, though I know a lot of other people are especially if they have a hard time saying no.
I really like this idea. I've felt the same before, but it never occurred to me to make it an option. I'll include it next time I update the site, along with a skill-trade compensation type:
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KittyWills wrote:Honestly, I wouldn't mind if this site branched out a bit and maybe incorporated other types of game dev. I do most of my hiring through game dev forums and so many people don't have portfolios or are using a crappy sites. It's hard to find people, I've been looking for a pixel animator for months now.
Yeah, game dev sites typically have uh... kinda bad recruitment boards. Maybe I'm lacking in imagination, but I can't think of a way to structure a recruitment subforum better than LSF. I mean, there's nit-picky things I'd change, but the overall concept of splitting up by skill + allowing people to offer work by compensation type seems like the best you can do given the constraints of most forum software.

As for branching out, I've thought about it but I'd really like focus on getting this right first. I think branching out too early would be a mistake. That being said, I think the search > browse > view result paradigm of the columns on the right of the site is one that fits a lot of problems, IMO. I didn't design that system for just the talent database. It doesn't fit all scenarios though, hence why I'm only using it for the talent database atm.
netravelr wrote:Well, as a UI/systems programmer being able to visually show off animations and/or effects that I've created for projects for things I created (even if I didn't create the original artwork) is something worthwhile to have when looking at people to employ. Not only for attracting attention but there's quite a difference in the polish that people can give to projects that can't be seen from a straight up code sample. If you're worried about misrepresenting if stuffs not being done by them, you can of course also allow people to state if they did or did not create the art assets used.
Ah, this is a good point. It would actually be cool if you could view the code and what it does side-by-side. Like an image/video of the UI on the left and the code on the right. You'd need to maximise someone's profile for that to be easier to see, of course...
netravelr wrote:I'm also thinking it may be a good idea to have video editors as a possible position as well; as I often see people posting about that here as well. . . . Either way, good luck!
Yeah, I agree having video editors would be a good position. And thanks!

-----

Thanks for your feedback so far everyone—it's been very useful!
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#22 Post by Laniessa » Mon May 09, 2016 5:14 am

Oh, something I've noted since my account is up as a prototype - it might be useful to sort by languages that we can speak? I have no idea if you'll hit the Chinese ADV community, but since I'm fluent in Chinese, I definitely want to be approachable to them as well. It's in my description but it might work as a good filter.

Are you thinking of having a larger gallery for artists to showcase their works? A single image of each type of art (environment/character/design) isn't as good as representing my skills as, say, two or three of each.

I second netravelr's idea of being allowed to show what the programmer can do visually. I can't understand a block of code, and that's probably why I'm looking for a programmer! A combination of project names and a showreel would help me make my choice.

Good luck though, I'm looking forward to the final results!

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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#23 Post by Tempus » Mon May 09, 2016 12:59 pm

Laniessa wrote:Oh, something I've noted since my account is up as a prototype - it might be useful to sort by languages that we can speak? I have no idea if you'll hit the Chinese ADV community, but since I'm fluent in Chinese, I definitely want to be approachable to them as well. It's in my description but it might work as a good filter.
Yeah, I agree it's a good idea to be able to filter for language. Though someone would still need to know English to effectively use the UI of the site.

I went to implement this and realised it's a little more involved than I first thought. I can make a checkbox for every single language... but that's obviously a lot. So I went to make a drop-down menu and then realised you might want to filter for multiple languages at the same time (e.g., if you're looking for a translator). So I suppose this is the best option:
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Obviously you'd want a full list of languages—I just wrote those in manually. I can probably find a decent list of languages online and auto-generate the drop-down menu from that.
Laniessa wrote:Are you thinking of having a larger gallery for artists to showcase their works? A single image of each type of art (environment/character/design) isn't as good as representing my skills as, say, two or three of each.
Yeah, the size of the gallery will expand based on how many skills you list. I'm thinking any visuals-based skill would bump up your limit by 3. So if you list, say, character art as one of your skills you get 3 images. If you listed character art and graphic design you'd get 6, and so on. But I'm not married to that idea.

I'm probably going to make it so a profile can be maximised but you can still navigate the results. That would mean a lot more space for images and allow for a better gallery. I don't think what I've made right now is particularly good as you can only see one image at a time. That'd frustrate me if I were trying to use it.
Laniessa wrote:I can't understand a block of code, and that's probably why I'm looking for a programmer! A combination of project names and a showreel would help me make my choice. . . . Good luck though, I'm looking forward to the final results!
Another good point. As for the project names, I was considering having some kind of minimal overlay for work examples that gives you additional context for the image/music/code/etc. It could have various info, such as what project the example is from, if any.
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#24 Post by Alte » Thu May 12, 2016 3:06 pm

Is there a place for narrators? Just making sure they're not missing out.

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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#25 Post by Tempus » Thu May 12, 2016 3:59 pm

I'm not sure what you mean by narrators—do you mean voice actors? If so, there'll definitely be an option for that!
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#26 Post by Tempus » Tue May 17, 2016 7:18 pm

I've been doing some more work on the search options so I thought I'd share it.
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As you can see "character art", "environment art", etc have been collected under "visual art." This is for two reasons: first, it's just less clutter in the skills section. Second, if you're looking for someone who does characters and environments you only have to specify an option like "2D" once, rather than in a separate characters box then in another separate environments box. Various other additions are present, such as a "skill-trade" option for compensation, and "could be tempted" option for availability. Plus there's now 100 (exactly 100!) natural languages to choose from—if you think any of them are named incorrectly or confusingly, please let me know.

Please note that these options are not available on the www version of the site, but you can check it out live on https://beta.storydevs.com/talent Just be aware that the search there doesn't actually work. Also it's a live testing site—if you want to reserve your handle you can do it here on the www site: https://www.storydevs.com/reserve

And speaking of reserved handles, there's now well over a hundred! That's really cool :D So thanks everyone for your interest, questions, comments, and suggestions—keep them coming!
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#27 Post by mikey » Wed May 18, 2016 1:45 pm

@Tempus - I would maybe suggest a "producer" skill, or something in the project management area, meaning a person who would manage the team, set up collaboration and see to it that things are running etc. I am occasionally thinking of having a project where all I do is manage and other people do the creative work. Not because I want to get credit for their work, but because many times projects could benefit from a good producer. Anway, that'd be my suggestion.

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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#28 Post by Kuiper » Fri May 20, 2016 12:31 am

On the beta site, it looks like the skills for editors and writers don't match up. Under writers, you list "fiction" and "non-fiction," but under editors, you list "genre fiction" and "technical writing"--which seems to exclude forms of fiction that aren't genre fiction (e.g. literary fiction), and forms of non-fiction that aren't technical writing (e.g. creative non-fiction). Any reason for this incongruity between the skills for writers and editors?

Actually, I might also be beneficial to add genre distinctions to the various talent fields (which probably would differentiate writer skillsets from editor skillsets more), so that you can do a search and say "Show me all the artists that do fantasy art," or "show me people that write romance." I'm not sure how specific you want to get with the categories, but in my experience, it can sometimes be hard to find artists who have experience with specific things like animals, monsters, or vehicles, and that seems like a problem that could be addressed through search. Writers could benefit from the same "sub-genre" differentiation, as even with a category like "science fiction" there is a world of difference between hard science fiction and space opera. Of course, there is a point at which things become so granular that they become useless (I don't think having a list of 50 checkboxes on the search page is going to benefit anyone). Maybe eventually have a keyword search, in case you want to run a search for people who have mentions of something random like "steampunk" or "mecha" on their profile?

It might also be helpful to have a mechanism that allows creators to exclude themselves on searches for certain genres. My assumption is that as it currently functions, the system by which people add "skills" to their profile will only work in the positive direction (e.g. "I write romance") but not list a skill in negation (e.g. "I don't do yuri"), it might be helpful to have a system that can filter these kinds of conditionals.
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#29 Post by Tempus » Sat May 21, 2016 4:39 am

mikey wrote:@Tempus - I would maybe suggest a "producer" skill, or something in the project management area, meaning a person who would manage the team, set up collaboration and see to it that things are running etc. I am occasionally thinking of having a project where all I do is manage and other people do the creative work. Not because I want to get credit for their work, but because many times projects could benefit from a good producer. Anway, that'd be my suggestion.
This is a good idea. Doesn't make sense for all teams, but I recognise it as an important role. I probably won't add it immediately, but it's definitely something I wanna add. Might be more intuitive to list it as "manager," but I guess games already use "producer" so maybe its best to stick with that.
Kuiper wrote:On the beta site, it looks like the skills for editors and writers don't match up. Under writers, you list "fiction" and "non-fiction," but under editors, you list "genre fiction" and "technical writing"--which seems to exclude forms of fiction that aren't genre fiction (e.g. literary fiction), and forms of non-fiction that aren't technical writing (e.g. creative non-fiction). Any reason for this incongruity between the skills for writers and editors?
The reason is just because I've talked about the editor options with an editor, whereas I haven't done the same with the writer options. After bringing the editor options to their current state it did occur to me that it'd make sense for some symmetry between editing and writing options (and this is present on my local copy of the site!) Maybe a better set of options for both writers and editors would be something like:

Experience:
  • Genre
  • Literary
  • Technical
  • Experimental
Domain:
  • Fiction
  • Non-Fiction
  • Prose
  • Poetry
The term "domain" as well as its separation from "experience" is somewhat arbitrary. In my mind the options under "domain" are broader and less concrete than the options under "experience" which are more refined. Maybe that's dumb and they should just all be listed under one heading. None of these options would be mutually exclusive either—they'd be checkboxes, not radio buttons.

I kind of have an issue with "literary" as an option—I have no idea what it means and this isn't from a lack of looking for a definition. It seems to have a greater connotative meaning rather than denotative; its implied meaning seems to be "good" or "serious" fiction. I'd suggest literary fiction is really a genre at best and a value judgement at worst. Not sure how popular that opinion will be! Also, we have to keep in mind that people are self-selecting their information. If the association between "literary" and "good" is a common one in people's minds then who wouldn't want to list themselves as being literary? I'm wary of any options that can end up just becoming vanity labels. But! Maybe I'm wrong about that and it's a useful option.
Kuiper wrote:Actually, I might also be beneficial to add genre distinctions to the various talent fields (which probably would differentiate writer skillsets from editor skillsets more), so that you can do a search and say "Show me all the artists that do fantasy art," or "show me people that write romance." I'm not sure how specific you want to get with the categories, but in my experience, it can sometimes be hard to find artists who have experience with specific things like animals, monsters, or vehicles, and that seems like a problem that could be addressed through search. Writers could benefit from the same "sub-genre" differentiation, as even with a category like "science fiction" there is a world of difference between hard science fiction and space opera. Of course, there is a point at which things become so granular that they become useless (I don't think having a list of 50 checkboxes on the search page is going to benefit anyone). Maybe eventually have a keyword search, in case you want to run a search for people who have mentions of something random like "steampunk" or "mecha" on their profile?
I'd prefer to not include genre or style at all, though that may be unavoidable. It's a super slippery slope of "where do you stop?" with no apparent answer. Most people would probably agree on romance, fantasy, sci-fi but it begins to get murky eventually. Should "crime" be a genre? What about "noir" or "cyberpunk"? Why not noir if we're including sci-fi? Is noir not defined enough? Not popular enough? What set of criteria are used to evaluate whether a genre is fit for listing? When each addition to the subcategory requires philosophical introspection that is a bad thing IMO.

I think your suggestion of a keyword search handles the above better, but it'd have to be a very robust text search engine. By that I mean it would need to understand that "macabre" and "horror" are related, or show you results for "macabre" when you typed "macarbe." I wouldn't try to implement this myself though. I know some sites use an embedded Google search but that mightn't play nice with the way StoryDevs dynamically loads content. While the number of profiles is less than, say, 10,000 it's probably gonna be okay to have no keyword search. It's reasonable to expect the combination of other search criteria will yield results that contain roughly 1–3% of the database's profiles which is manageable.
Kuiper wrote:it can sometimes be hard to find artists who have experience with specific things like animals, monsters, or vehicles, and that seems like a problem that could be addressed through search
This is a good idea for art and I'll try to include it somehow. This is the kind of thing I'd like to find with writing—something you can say about a piece that's unambiguous (e.g., this is non-fiction) and which provides a lot of utility for those searching.
Kuiper wrote:It might also be helpful to have a mechanism that allows creators to exclude themselves on searches for certain genres. My assumption is that as it currently functions, the system by which people add "skills" to their profile will only work in the positive direction (e.g. "I write romance") but not list a skill in negation (e.g. "I don't do yuri"), it might be helpful to have a system that can filter these kinds of conditionals.
Negation will eventually be a search option. There's two reasons I'm not including it yet: first, I'm trying to get some minimum feature set online that's not just fitting but also really well-thought-out. Second, it's just a UI/UX thing—I don't want to overload newcomers with too many options just yet.

Another thing the search will do is let you "and" or "or" between options. For example, if you check "characters" and "environments" right now you'll only find people who can make characters AND environments, but sometimes you don't care whether someone does one or the other as long as they do at least one of them. Though negations should probably disable this and just always "and"—thinking in negated logic is confusing and the results probably aren't that useful.
StoryDevs — easy-to-search profiles for VN devs (under construction!)

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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#30 Post by Kuiper » Mon May 23, 2016 11:06 pm

I'd be okay with dispensing with the term "literary fiction" entirely. The only reason I mentioned it before is that you originally listed "genre fiction" as a search term, and the only reason I could think of to list "genre fiction" (as opposed to just "fiction") is if you wanted to distinguish it from literary fiction.

Especially within the realm of visual novels (which seems to have a lot of cultural overlap with video games, anime, and manga), there seems to be this rabid desire to slap a genre label onto everything. If you tried to ask most visual novel players to classify a classic work of literary like Hemmingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" (which is clearly literary fiction and not genre fiction), they'd scramble for some label like "drama" or "slice of life." So if the purpose of the site is to index people who make stories for interactive media, I don't think you lose a whole lot by pretending that literary fiction doesn't exist, because even if it does exist on the platform, the natural tendency is for people in this sphere to try and find some genre classification for it.

I agree with the notion that "genre fiction" and "literary fiction" aren't opposites, as plenty of counter-examples show. For example, Orwell's 1984 is a dystopian social science fiction story, putting it in the realm of "genre fiction," but it's also regarded as literary fiction.) I think it would be more accurate to say that the opposite of literary fiction is pulp, or perhaps more accurately, "pulp" and "literary fiction" are two labels that exist on opposite ends of a spectrum that has a lot of granularity to it. This how we can say, both "The Hunger Games" and "1984" are both dystopian novels, but 1984 clearly is closer to the "literary" end of the spectrum, while The Hunger Games is a lot more pulpy.

Perhaps some people will conclude "literary = good, pulp = bad," but I'd argue that when it comes to skills in a marketplace, pulp writing is actually a lot more marketable. (In fact, pulp fiction is the most marketable form of fiction practically by definition, being that pulp is "fiction for the masses," work that is commercially driven and created with the intent of making a profit through direct sales.) I think the argument that "pulp = low brow" is pretty easily dispelled by the fact that in pulp magazines, you can find the writings of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, Frank Herbert, H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, and so on. Definitions like these have gotten increasingly blurred by the fact that we're moving toward unified distribution channels; it used to be the case that you'd find pulp on the magazine rack, and then find "great literature" bound in hard cover, but now that books are being sold digitally there's very little distinction between forms. (Same goes for itch.io and visual novels.)
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