Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

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TrickWithAKnife
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Re: Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

#16 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Fri Jun 24, 2016 4:54 am

I think it's difficult but totally possible to make some educational elements hidden within the plot. It's certainly a lot easier to do it overtly, but teachers often find ways of sneaking target language into conversations, for either review or to give context to what will be studied, so I don't see why it couldn't be done in games as well.

Personally I'm aiming for a mix of conversation for practice, optional lessons where things can be taught directly, and optional mini-games that can be accessed at any time for review or drilling.
The trick is making students want to try all of these methods without it feeling like a grind.
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Re: Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

#17 Post by chocoberrie » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:58 pm

Rossfellow wrote:Also, OP, I think plot would complicate the educational material, especially one about language. This is because having a linear plot requires the reader to be totally immersed-- The act of academic learning disengages them from the story. It's like reading the glossary at the back of the book in the middle of reading a heated argument. It's exhausting and it cuts into the experience. If this synthesis between plot and language education is possible, I haven't seen it yet. (Maybe for science... Think Franken Fran.)

You can try the VN equivalent of the 4koma approach, similar to 4koma manga like Geijutsuka Art Design Class, or textbooks like the new New Horizons(the version with the Ellen Baker that went totally viral). Short one-shot chapters about or including the educational material of the day. A format similar to Higurashi's TIPS section might also work for this purpose, where you select a subject and a chapter plays out.
Thanks very much for your feedback, it's really helpful! I really enjoy 4koma manga, and the way it's presented would be indeed fitting for language lessons to prevent information overload. This is a wonderful idea! :D

I've never heard of Higurashi before - I'm assuming that's a VN? I'll look it up! Thanks for the suggestion!
Ghost of Crux wrote:It wasn't too much of a deal to me to look things up. HOWEVER, it DID mean that I have totally forgotten the conversation just prior, so I have no idea what's happening anymore. Since you end up focusing on looking up words, I'd really suggest having something like a history screen as a reminder of what happened prior.
Ah yes, a history screen is definitely important! Thank you!
Ghost of Crux wrote:IMHO plots where "MC goes to place, has to learn how to say things" is kind of... really blatant and quite a bit awkward, though admittedly the one that most prominently came to mind was that semi-disturbing Go Go Nippon thing. Obviously that's just one (questionable) way to approach the idea, but I personally wouldn't be too interested in such a thing for a plot.
Yeah, I completely agree; a plot like that is really boring, and exactly what I wanted to avoid.
Ghost of Crux wrote:I think it's because less of the plot and more because I care about the characters. I was curious about their dialogue. I wanted to know what they're doing. I think this is primarily why it seems like a number of people ended up learning English because of fanfics-- because the characters are ones we're already invested in.
Characters are really important, yes!

For a language learning game though, how would I go about developing characters that the player would care about? I'd like to take a fun, light-hearted 4koma approach to presenting a story in episodes. Any suggestions?

Thanks for all of your feedback as well! :D

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Re: Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

#18 Post by Shagwrath » Fri Jun 24, 2016 4:09 pm

What really helps we writing characters is making a character sheet for them, by the time you've filled it out you will be inside their head and you''' have a good idea if they're likeable or not. I mean you should be able to tell by then if you can relate to the character and they are likeable.

That's what helps me anyways.
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Re: Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

#19 Post by Ghost of Crux » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:40 pm

Shagwrath said it, but another aspect that I'd have to say you might want to put attention to is relationship dynamics. Characters who might be a bit flat alone but do really well together and have interesting dynamics will be a lot more compelling to understand-- literally. I reckon one of the lessons you'll want to get across the most will be mainly in dialogue? As such, good character dynamic > good individual characters that fall flat around each other.
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Re: Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

#20 Post by chocoberrie » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:36 pm

Ah, I see! Great advice, thanks very much! :) Writing likeable, dynamic characters is always a challenge, isn't it? Even for non-visual-novel endeavors! XD

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Re: Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

#21 Post by Rossfellow » Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:31 pm

trooper6 wrote:I was quite immersed with the plot of the Himmelscheibe von Nebra even though it also included educational material...so it can be done. I think that it was a mystery was helpful.
I just looked this up and it does indeed look interesting. I like how it has a disclaimer that it requires the player to be -really- invested in learning.

Though, what level was the educational material in that game? OP's game strikes me as a basic course one-- Starting with alphabets and such.
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Re: Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

#22 Post by Rossfellow » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:18 pm

RotGtIE wrote:You should make a game about a dude who takes a plane to Japan and has a homestay with a pair of cute sisters who dress up in yellow tour guide uniforms to show him around the country.
I just bumped into what this was referencing and realized that this is an underrated comment. Go! Go! Nippon is a really good example.
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Re: Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

#23 Post by Shagwrath » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:14 pm

Rossfellow wrote:
RotGtIE wrote:You should make a game about a dude who takes a plane to Japan and has a homestay with a pair of cute sisters who dress up in yellow tour guide uniforms to show him around the country.
I just bumped into what this was referencing and realized that this is an underrated comment. Go! Go! Nippon is a really good example.
I just saw this game last night on Steam and it had me thinking back to this topic.
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Re: Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

#24 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:27 pm

Go Go Nippon is the one that everyone knows, but isn't so educational. It offers interesting trivia about Tokyo, but as far as I know, no language skills. Plus the theme of the game may be off-putting to many (or most?) people.

I think OP is interested in real education.
"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.

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Re: Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

#25 Post by Rossfellow » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:45 pm

TrickWithAKnife wrote:Go Go Nippon is the one that everyone knows, but isn't so educational. It offers interesting trivia about Tokyo, but as far as I know, no language skills. Plus the theme of the game may be off-putting to many (or most?) people.

I think OP is interested in real education.
It also hasn't been specified what level it should teach. Basic? Intermediate?

Maybe it can be handled like childrens story books. Very basic structures that make use of grammar lessons or vocabulary but has the potential to be engaging, if done right. But then it wouldn't have to be a VN at all.
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Re: Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

#26 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:05 am

Rossfellow wrote:Maybe it can be handled like childrens story books. Very basic structures that make use of grammar lessons or vocabulary but has the potential to be engaging, if done right.
That's the holy grail, right there. Difficult to pull off well, but worth its weight in gold if it is.
"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.

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Re: Language-Learning VN Game for Japanese

#27 Post by trooper6 » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:28 am

Rossfellow wrote:
trooper6 wrote:I was quite immersed with the plot of the Himmelscheibe von Nebra even though it also included educational material...so it can be done. I think that it was a mystery was helpful.
I just looked this up and it does indeed look interesting. I like how it has a disclaimer that it requires the player to be -really- invested in learning.

Though, what level was the educational material in that game? OP's game strikes me as a basic course one-- Starting with alphabets and such.
The German game was level A2...which is advanced basic, I suppose...or beginning intermediate?
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