Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

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Aegis312
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Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#1 Post by Aegis312 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:47 pm

Basically a visual novel where you can only see white...well...except for the text
Now...this may seem weird...i am kind of new here and on game development
So...I decided to make a visual novel that doesn't really 'need' art...at all
And I made the protagonist blind
...kind of...not really?...spoilers
So...is that "dodge" good?...i understand the visual part of visual novel but I am trying...

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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#2 Post by Vegeluxia » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:04 am

I've played some before, but at that point I don't think it's a "visual" novel. It's just a text based game. Like the "Choice of Whatever" games. I must have played that particular one a million times to get all the endings and variants, even.

But, yes, absolutely, they can be good if done well. I wouldn't say your character has to necessarily be blind, either. The above link is a really good example, I think.

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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#3 Post by Imperf3kt » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:18 am

I remember Zork, AKA "Eaten by a Grue" being one of my absolute favourite games in my younger years, back when all I had was a 100Mhz CPU with 1MB graphics card running Windows 3.11 and DOS.
I highly suggest if you go with this approach, you use white text on black - less strain on the eyes and save some power to boot. I'd also suggest NVL mode.

It can be done, how well depends on your skill as a writer.
Last edited by Imperf3kt on Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#4 Post by SundownKid » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:22 am

You may want to watch the "Thousand Years of Dreams" sequences in Lost Odyssey. A "sound novel" can still be good but it will still need effort into making the effects nice. If you just make a straight up bunch of text, then you may as well make a Twine game because it won't work well as a VN.

Even a blind person has all their other senses and they are usually accentuated because the brain has less ability to process multiple senses at once. So if you cannot adequately capture the other senses then it simply becomes a lazy justification for putting in no graphics and not a legitimate plot point.

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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#5 Post by Sleepy » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:38 am

I agree that just text can be done well but I think it's a lost opportunity if all there is is a white screen and text. For one, is your character born blind or did they lose their sight at a point? While they'd still have the memory of sight in the latter, even those born blind still 'see'/'perceive' things through their other senses and don't necessarily just see things in just white or black. This creates a pretty big difference in not only who the character is but how they'd perceive things.

But it can be done, or sure, as long as you really commit to the style. You might have more emphasis on things like sounds or even the text can be altered to reflect mood, for ex. Or, when I once wrote a blind character who was born blind, she tended to 'trace' a mental map for herself based on her other senses, which was later reflected when characters went to her mental space. Instead of seeing the usual surroundings or objects, they saw things like basic monochromatic lines and shapes (save things character 'traced' or knew more meticulously) and 'saw' more objects when they either touched them or heard them.
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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#6 Post by Imperf3kt » Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:41 am

Just found this. Might be useful to you:

viewtopic.php?f=45&t=40435
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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#7 Post by trooper6 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:47 am

Christine Love's Digital: A Love Story is a very critically acclaimed VN that only uses text. The tex is organized to look like an old school computer. But it does what it does well and is successful. So there is precedent.
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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#8 Post by Kominara » Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:25 am

Surprisingly, this has been done before. (H2O: Footprints in the Sand)

I'd personally add sepia tone stock background to both represent the character's "mental map" and to give the player a point of reference, though.

Either way, you'll need some godly sound design to make up for it.

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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#9 Post by Mammon » Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:22 am

It can be done right, but be careful not to make it a regular story put in a VN format for no reason. If you put it in ren'py, do it because it does allow you to add background music and sound effects to the story, that would justify the format over just writing a script. And it can work out well if done well, but then again any story can work well depending on the skill and effort of the developers.

If you're asking this because you don't want to go through the hassle of drawing stuff yourself or finding an artist for it and made the protagonist blind to accomodate that, you might want to look through the Creative Commons section of this forum. Using free-to-use assets, you can make a VN without having to draw anything yourself. Just in case you're asking these questions without knowing that, considering this is your first post. Or you could make a VN with backgrounds to tell the reader where you are even though the protagonist doesn't see it, because they do know where they are and what it would look like sort of.
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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#10 Post by Taranee » Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:25 am

You can still have:

- Cool fonts, maybe different fonts for different characters or situations to represent voice
- Background images that are solid colors or textures
- A lot of music
- Sound effects
- Silhouettes of the characters (can be downloaded for free on many websites)

I have read a visual novel that didn't have any sprites, but had a lot of 'artsy' background images that changed often. A visual novel without sprites can look good, but it still has to have a style. If it looks like a visual novel where someone forgot to include the sprites, it's done wrong. It should look like not having sprites is an intentional stylistic choice. I think it would be good to customize the default Ren'Py UI, or at least change the textbox, to avoid looking low-effort.

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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#11 Post by Caveat Lector » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:47 pm

Have you played Locked-In? It's a short VN about a protagonist with locked-in syndrome, who is also blind Check it out if you're interested in seeing how the visuals are pulled off.
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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#12 Post by Aegis312 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:51 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:I remember Zork, AKA "Eaten by a Grue" being one of my absolute favourite games in my younger years, back when all I had was a 100Mhz CPU with 1MB graphics card running Windows 3.11 and DOS.
I highly suggest if you go with this approach, you use white text on black - less strain on the eyes and save some power to boot. I'd also suggest NVL mode.

It can be done, how well depends on your skill as a writer.
Well...the novel is called White and i put some philosophy that i think is cool on how he sees white instead of black...so would black text on a white screen work?

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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#13 Post by Aegis312 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:56 pm

Vegeluxia wrote:I've played some before, but at that point I don't think it's a "visual" novel. It's just a text based game. Like the "Choice of Whatever" games. I must have played that particular one a million times to get all the endings and variants, even.

But, yes, absolutely, they can be good if done well. I wouldn't say your character has to necessarily be blind, either. The above link is a really good example, I think.

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Oh and I played the different Choice games...i liked them

And when I realized I couldn't have art because it would be a jumbled up mess, I created a story where the protagonist is kind of blind, but it doesn't look like a "budget dodge"
So from what you say im guessing it depends if i write well...and know how to record sound effects

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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#14 Post by Aegis312 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:11 pm

Mammon wrote:It can be done right, but be careful not to make it a regular story put in a VN format for no reason. If you put it in ren'py, do it because it does allow you to add background music and sound effects to the story, that would justify the format over just writing a script. And it can work out well if done well, but then again any story can work well depending on the skill and effort of the developers.

If you're asking this because you don't want to go through the hassle of drawing stuff yourself or finding an artist for it and made the protagonist blind to accomodate that, you might want to look through the Creative Commons section of this forum. Using free-to-use assets, you can make a VN without having to draw anything yourself. Just in case you're asking these questions without knowing that, considering this is your first post. Or you could make a VN with backgrounds to tell the reader where you are even though the protagonist doesn't see it, because they do know where they are and what it would look like sort of.
The game is entirely based on one place and the protagonist barely knows about it
I would go to incredible heights if i had the option of art trough hiring someone or just drawing myself but for the latter, i'm horrible drawing and i don't even have some sort of graphic tablet...only a laptop...with a touchpad...which doesnt help
And i tought about Free-To-Use Assets...but when i found out about them i had already made the foundation of the story and i tought it was...cool :?

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Re: Can a visual novel "without sight" be good

#15 Post by Aegis312 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:15 pm

Taranee wrote:You can still have:

- Cool fonts, maybe different fonts for different characters or situations to represent voice
- Background images that are solid colors or textures
- A lot of music
- Sound effects
- Silhouettes of the characters (can be downloaded for free on many websites)

I have read a visual novel that didn't have any sprites, but had a lot of 'artsy' background images that changed often. A visual novel without sprites can look good, but it still has to have a style. If it looks like a visual novel where someone forgot to include the sprites, it's done wrong. It should look like not having sprites is an intentional stylistic choice. I think it would be good to customize the default Ren'Py UI, or at least change the textbox, to avoid looking low-effort.
Actually even if i never actually "released" them, I made a lot of visual novels to experiment what i can do and can not do, so whenever i make a visual novel, i have the story in my mind and make a textbox, namebox and menu background to fit it...so im good in that front, i suck at drawing but i know how to make boxes where text is put in

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