How to create a consistent and tasteful tone and atmosphere?

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GreyWolfXx
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How to create a consistent and tasteful tone and atmosphere?

#1 Post by GreyWolfXx » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:25 pm

I want my visual novel to have a tasteful tone and atmosphere. The kind of VN where the sprites and backgrounds both work very well with eachother, and the music complements the tone of the story nicely.

I think that this work in particular accomplishes this: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=31457&hilit=GxG
Is there any good way to also create an atmosphere like that?
In Green Eyed Monster, the music feels consistent with the unique artwork, and the backgrounds as well as character sprites feel consistent too. I (personally) found the game to have nice, stylized art that fit well with the music and story. Although, there are many types of well done or consistent games, this is the most memorable one for me and the first to pop in my mind.

How would you guys go about creating a good tone and atmosphere for a game? Especially for it to be taken seriously, and seem like a well put-together work.
Last edited by GreyWolfXx on Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to create a good aesthetic?

#2 Post by SundownKid » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:46 pm

It depends on who your target audience is. A game like Green Eyed Monster would be seen as unprofessional for a certain subset of readers who connote "sketchy = unprofessional" and "precise = professional", but for others such as yourself, they might see it as stylized and artistic.

Ultimately the only thing you can do to make it consistent is to have a good eye for art design and direction as well as GUI design to make sure that everything matches. But "good" is relative. Well, it's more easy to clarify what "good" means in terms of UI though. If the UI is badly designed it will be obvious to a UI designer.

I think one thing you could do to make a unique aesthetic is to try to relate the art with the base concepts of the story in some way. For example, in Undertale the battles with monsters have them in pure white. It feels like a conscious choice in order to represent the player's "othering" of the monsters as threats rather than sentient beings. Or, say, a game like Gravity Rush has a unique color pallete that makes stuff look antique. Or in Valkyria Chronicles it's supposed to look like a painting due to the time period it's set in.

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Re: How to create a good aesthetic?

#3 Post by firecat » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:13 pm

I don't think you know what aesthetic means, it is not used to remember things instead it is used to accept good taste. The green eyed monster is not a great example, there is no theme, art is very random at times, characters do not seem interested in their world.

I think one of my stories counts as aesthetic, the theme is about many book reference, i didn't add my songs to the story instead i got classic and modern day music, and the characters do interact with the world. Yes i do admit its not the best aesthetic but thats how people's taste in vn works. They either like certain things in storys or they disagree with it.
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Re: How to create a good aesthetic?

#4 Post by guzy » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:14 pm

Maybe remarkable characters could be a good start.

People make associations, if you can associate something in your game to something that people often see in real life, they'll always have a "nostalgic" feeling about it after some time.

Green eyed monster isn't aesthetic, is just conceptual.
If you make a wild west game (sorry if this is the wrong word for the genre) and use musics and sprites of the same genre, you'll reach the same feeling that you had playing Green eyed monster

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Re: How to create a good aesthetic?

#5 Post by GreyWolfXx » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:27 pm

Ah, I feel kind of embarrassed. I included too many ideas at once, and it probably was misunderstood a bit. Or maybe I just completely misused the word aesthetic.

I meant how can I make a good tone and atmosphere for a my game. I also meant how could make a game people feel nostalgia for *or* that is memorable. Two separate things, but I wasn't clear.

SundownKid makes an excellent point that target audiences are important and maybe Green Eyed Monster isn't the best example. That was a game that felt memorable to me, and also had a (in my opinion) consistent atmosphere.

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Re: How to create a consistent and tasteful tone and atmosph

#6 Post by KittyWills » Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:48 pm

Re-writes, lots and lots of re-writes. That's really the only way to make your script tone feel consistent. I'm working on one right now that's very inspired by Wizard of OZ and classic sci-fi. I'm on my forth re-write to make sure it keeps the tone how I want it. Tone down some parts that got to dark and add more fantastical elements in places that felt to plain. You need to take a step back and view it as a whole to find inconsistencies.

For the appearance. Go in with a solid idea of what you want. Research. Consume other media that fits the genre you like. I spent 3 hours reading about the World Fair and hot air balloons for my game. Look into what type of music already exists in the time period or world location your game might take place. Once you have a solid idea on what already is there you can change it to add your own spin.

There really isn't a trick or tell-all. Everyone has their own way to make their game flow and look how they want. Sometimes you just have to jump in and see where it takes you. Get a solid idea on you concept then get feedback from someone who will give you constructive criticism.

Hope that made sense. It's kinda how I do things at least. ;)

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Re: How to create a consistent and tasteful tone and atmosph

#7 Post by RotGtIE » Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:07 am

We stand on the shoulders of giants. If you found a creator who leaves a good impression on you, follow in their footsteps. Try to surpass them, if you can. Recognizing excellence is the first step to making something great yourself. Competing with it is the path to getting there.

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Re: How to create a consistent and tasteful tone and atmosph

#8 Post by MoonByte » Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:30 am

Well, one "easy" way to make the characters seem fit into the backgrounds is by making both.
If you have different people work on them, you get what I always call the "cg-issue", being that the sprites and CGs look like entirely different people (look at "Coming Out On Top"). If one artist does the outline for everything and one does the coloration (or one person does all), you can usually be sure that the style at least harmonizes enough to make the characters not seem too much out of the ordinary (granted, of course, that the artist isn't overwhelmingly excellent in one and truly abhorrent in the other).
Music naturally also usually works best, if made specifically for the game. If thats not possible, then many, MANY hours of going through all the pages that offer music for a simple mention (unless you want money, then its getting naturally even more difficult).

In general, what RotGtIE said:
Look at the games you liked and take your time to properly analyze WHAT you liked. What was great about the game, what not? What did you find memorable? And then try to follow that. Don't blatantly copy, it's more like figuring out the recipe and then decide to exchange things to make your own cake from it.

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Re: How to create a consistent and tasteful tone and atmosph

#9 Post by Parataxis » Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:28 pm

I have found that having a clear vision of what you want your game to be goes a long way. Green Eyed Monster was a very visually interesting game, partially because the person doing the art was working together with the writer to make this surreal psychological take on their subject matter. The GUI (especially the menu and logo) and the slightly sketchy artwork--along with the nonstandard character designed formed an interesting unrealness to the game in comparison to other takes on that Genre in particular. It helped give the game a definite tension and suspense that I don't think the writing quite had the ability to keep up with toward the end.

So I guess what I am saying is that knowing you are going for a particular atmosphere, keeping it in mind and communicating it to any artists/musicians you end up teaming up goes quite a long way toward keeping things consistent.

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Re: How to create a consistent and tasteful tone and atmosph

#10 Post by trooper6 » Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:45 pm

Parataxis wrote: So I guess what I am saying is that knowing you are going for a particular atmosphere, keeping it in mind and communicating it to any artists/musicians you end up teaming up goes quite a long way toward keeping things consistent.
This is what I wanted to say. In order to have a consistent tone, you have to know what you want from the beginning and then think about how every element of the game can contribute to that tone.

You want to do a 1940s noir game? Then makes sure that every element (the color palette chosen, the sprites, the BGs, the CGs, the font, the GUI, the music, the sound effects, the camera angles, the writing, everything) is consistent with a 1940s noir theme. How do you know what is consistent with a 1940s noir theme? Watch lots of 1940s noir and read lots of 1940s pulp crime novels. Really know what you want and know the lineage of that thing, then be deliberate about going about getting that thing.
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Re: How to create a consistent and tasteful tone and atmosph

#11 Post by GreyWolfXx » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:33 pm

Thank you for the replies. This should help a lot with my projects!

"We have been to the moon, we have charted the depths of the ocean and the heart of the atom,
but we have a fear of looking inward to ourselves because we sense that is where
all the contradictions flow together." -- Terrence Mckenna

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