Criticism and Pushing the Envelope

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IceD
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Re: Criticism and Pushing the Envelope

#241 Post by IceD » Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:21 am

Ok, so you got the point, but forgot that most of the succesful VN's start a franchise, becoming more available to wider audiences. There are many titles, which had been adapted into anime series or OVA and became popular as well. Clannad, Air, Kanon, Fate Stay/Night, School Days, ToHeart, Demonbane, Chaos Head - these are only a few examples. I don't see a problem here. Many people, even if not acquainted with VN's will propably look at the game, after watching the animated series. The fact is, that we wouldn't be able to do these kind of things to atract audience's attention.

But the main talk was about the independent VN game developing scene. Let's leave everything aside and concentrate on our main problem, as PyTom described at the beggining of this thread. Lets just focus on our stuff and leave the japanese mainstream productions.
PyTom wrote: My sense is that many of the recent releases have been from people who have just learned Ren'Py, gotten it working, and released something relatively quickly. And I think it's important that we not scare away new people, as if we do that, the community eventually dies. But at the same time, we need to go from these demo projects to more serious works. To make the best damn game they can make, and then to make the one after that even better.
I agree with this completely. I've seen many similiar examples on how the communities grown, lived and died because of similiar problems, the heck I was within one of those. It's funny how some really old games still live, even if there's a time pass of almost 9-10 years (Starcraft, Jazz Jackrabbit 2). But those games still live, even if the companies don't support them anymore. Why? Because these games are damn good, they have something that attracts people and they have strong communities and people still like (love would be a better word here) those games, even after so many years, and as far the image of these games will stay in at least few hearts of their fans, those games will still remain remembered. It's an important thing. RenPy is a very special example - it's not a game, but a developing tool, thus it requires the existence of community, which will use it and share their thoughts about it. Without the community, this program would be already dead and forgotten in the deeps of internet jungle. Of course, as a creator PyTom does his best to support it, but without a stable, or better - growing community we will all end up at nothing.
PyTom wrote: At the same time, there is something untoward about complaining about the free ice cream. I mean, mikey made 1 MegaKiss in his spare time, and we can't really say "why didn't you spend a lot of time/money to make it better". The real problem isn't any specific game, it's the lack of ambition in the forums as a whole.

Does anyone else see this as a problem, and if so how do we fix it.

Ps. I think the commercial side has been the most interesting to me over the past couple of months, as we've seen several complete, if perhaps short, games released there.
It is a problem, and it's a fact. I've been here only a while, but my eyes can already see this. The lack of amibtion/lazyness are the most common problems around the indie game developing communities and because of this, almost 80% of games end up only as dreamy projects (the hell, what am I talking about - as scrapped projects I mean - search TIGSource for examples). Eventually next 10% end up as unfinieshed games or demos. Most project are dropped because of lack of attention from other people, lack of people who would be willing to work on them or just some common problems - we can't forget about we have our own normal lives going out, with all the rest of difficulties. Most people who are willing to work are young and study. This means they won't be able to work on those projects on normal basis like in the mainstream companies. And don't forget mostly it's just a hobby. Only few manage to take this higher and succed with this. But it isn't imposible to create a good game by our standards.

See for ourself:
http://www.bit-blot.com/Aquaria

I love this game. It's a perfect example, how games can (and shoulde be, IMHO) created. You might won't believe it, but Aquaria was created only by a team of two people. They created it within two years of development, which is quite standard time, as we look onto other, mainstream companies and their production times. The final result is identical, but this games has something special, that most mainstream titles lack of - a heart. Because Derek and Alec had put all their efforts, all their personal thoughts and all the fellings, this game is special. If you're still doubtful, go give it a try. Theres a demo for download, and you'll see for yourself.

I don't know, if there's a perfect solution to solve our problems; propably it depends on the attitude of differen't people. Mabye we should really drop small projects and stop doing stuff into our drawers, as I said earlier and focus on something a little bit more challenging?

We can always give it a try.

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Re: Criticism and Pushing the Envelope

#242 Post by Adorya » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:57 am

The problem with your argument with a successful franchise is...the franchise itself, and is totally unrelated to the VN engine, but as you say let's stay to the topic :P

Your example of Aquaria is also so so, because whatever energy they spent on their game, they got hit full face by the "downloadingz now" syndrome aka indie trying to put a step into commercial by themself. You can feel it in their forum and their move to steam is only now with a poor coverage. That can be a counter example of what you are trying to say (why work so hard on commercial main stream when you know you will not get fully rewarded for it).

The only thing I can see for now is doing what you want but finish it and release it, whatever size or ambition there is in. It can be crappy or beautiful, but the more release there is the better it is for the engine. The fewer release the less attention casual players will have about it and the higher chance it will sink into "killer-app 1 day" (also Pytom motivation to enhance his engine was the release of Tale of Lemma, which was not an ambitious killer app).
Last edited by Adorya on Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Criticism and Pushing the Envelope

#243 Post by lordcloudx » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:57 am

IceD: you bring up some normally interesting and valid points, yes. Unfortunately, those valid points of yours are now considered moot and academic as far as the community is concerned. In fact, I'd go as far as to say we've heard that song a thousand times before and it can get annoyingly repetitive even if the words used are different every time as long as the message is still the same.

Now this isn't really your fault, because there's no way that we could expect someone relatively new to the community to sift through the various discussion threads now probably buried in obscurity here; rather, I think this is a good time to point out that we need some kind of sticky post (even if not entirely objective) as to what the community has been through and how far EVNs in general have progressed based on the quality and quantity of output of EVN games and also what we are already aware of as far as the game-creation process in general is concerned.

Finally, I found your post (and that of others who have gone before you in similar posts) to be superfluous and overly preachy. This isn't a direct attack on you, but I would appreciate it if someone else is thinking of making the same post again if they'd just shut up and go ahead and show us their superior game (not a never-ending WIP) instead of talking incessantly about how terrible the current selection of games are and of their hypothetically superior commercial-level VN.
How do you make your games? I see. Thank you for the prompt replies, but it is my considered opinion that you're doing it wrong inefficiently because I am a perfushenal professional. Do it my way this way and we can all ascend VN Nirvana together while allowing me to stroke my ego you will improve much faster. Also, please don't forget to thank me for this constructive critique or I will cry and bore you to death respond appropriately with a tl;dr rant discourse of epic adequately lengthy proportions. - Sarcasm Veiled in Euphemism: Secrets of Forum Civility by lordcloudx (Coming soon to an online ebook near you.)

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Re: Criticism and Pushing the Envelope

#244 Post by IceD » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:29 pm

lordcloudx wrote: Finally, I found your post (and that of others who have gone before you in similar posts) to be superfluous and overly preachy. This isn't a direct attack on you, but I would appreciate it if someone else is thinking of making the same post again if they'd just shut up and go ahead and show us their superior game (not a never-ending WIP) instead of talking incessantly about how terrible the current selection of games are and of their hypothetically superior commercial-level VN.
Don't worry, I'm not that kind of person which takes everything too seriously, and I knew this discusion will be a bit controversial. And I'm not directly talking the indie EVN's are relatively bad, they just lack a little bit of this or that, which could be acquired if the creators would spent a little more time on their projects, instead of quickly releasing them. There's no point of doing so. It seems, that the best for me and all the others is to seriously get back to work and try to acomplish what was begun :D
lordcloudx wrote: Now this isn't really your fault, because there's no way that we could expect someone relatively new to the community to sift through the various discussion threads now probably buried in obscurity here; rather, I think this is a good time to point out that we need some kind of sticky post (even if not entirely objective) as to what the community has been through and how far EVNs in general have progressed based on the quality and quantity of output of EVN games and also what we are already aware of as far as the game-creation process in general is concerned.
It's a good idea. Maybe a list of whats been achieved (what novels were created, which titles are recognized as the best/most innovative etc.) should do the job right.

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Re: Criticism and Pushing the Envelope

#245 Post by Vatina » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:56 am

IceD wrote:(what novels were created, which titles are recognized as the best/most innovative etc.) should do the job right.
That would be the Lemmy's I think :P

In earlier discussions I believe one of the results was that greater projects over longer time are being made already, but because of their nature, we just won't see them for a while.... because they take a long time to make. Until then we will continue to see the small, fast projects. It's natural ;)

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Re: Criticism and Pushing the Envelope

#246 Post by Spiky Caterpillar » Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:55 am

Adorya wrote:In theory there is more eroge VN released than game console from 1983 to 2007 according to canned dogs.
That's not remotely surprising.

If I want people to play an eroge I've written (I'm not writing one, but for sake of argument assume that I am), I need artistic skills, a development environment, dedication, and time. If I want people to play a DS game I've written, I need artistic skills, a development environment, dedication, time, a license from Nintendo, and a cartridge manufacturing plant.

The upfront investment requirement for console games is going to put off small developers. I have the time to write Science Girls! because I don't have a 'real job' - as a corollary, the amount of capital I have available to invest in it is very low. (Not completely nonexistent, but I have to be CAREFUL where I spend my pitiful few pounds.). The fact that their game will be subject to review by corporate censors is going to put off small developers - if I put a year into a console project only to find that corporate won't approve it for some reason, either I lose all the work or I have to port it to something else if I want anyone other than the emulator crowd to know it exists.
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Re: Criticism and Pushing the Envelope

#247 Post by Hime » Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:06 pm

IceD wrote:And I'm not directly talking the indie EVN's are relatively bad, they just lack a little bit of this or that, which could be acquired if the creators would spent a little more time on their projects, instead of quickly releasing them. There's no point of doing so. It seems, that the best for me and all the others is to seriously get back to work and try to acomplish what was begun :D
There is a reason they are as lacking as they are. We aren't professionals here, so we work on VNs on our free time, on which we also have to socialise, relax, eat, sleep, etc. If you add few scenes to the script to make it longer and more enjoyable, that also means more sprites, BGs, music, sound effects, coding and insertation... On the other hand, if you work more on something to increase the quality, say, work 1 more hour on a sprite, that means you have to make other sprites, CGs etc. as high quality as that one, unless you want to have bumpy quality. So, 1 hour more on the sprite can mean 1 more on all the 5 sprites, 1 more on the 5 CGs... And you're likely to have more graphics than that in your project.

That's already 11 more hours as an addition to the hours you already have to find from in between your work, other hobbies, family perhaps even your spouse. Be realistic. A lot of us could do a lot more if we were unemployed hikikomori with a mysterious money source, but unfortunately that's not the case, which is why we don't have the time and energy to make the epic VNs we might love to see. That's why some people, such as me and cloud, can't avoid considering your words hypocritical. :/ Just to explain why.
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Re: Criticism and Pushing the Envelope

#248 Post by KomiTsuku » Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:43 pm

I swore 6 or 7 times that I was done with this and keeping out of it, but yet again, here I am to rear my ugly head. Something that gets tossed around a lot is bugging me while I work.

The thing that is bugging me to no end is low quality works being called unambitious and "not putting forward effort". Now I'm sure there are some that are like this, but the funny thing is that a lot of crappy works HAD a ton of effort put into them. Because I'm the only person whose mind and work I can speak with 100% accuracy, I'm going to throw this out.

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd29 ... /Proof.png

I don't like cluttering posts with images, so we'll use the link. The image on the left is a work I did about 7 months ago, when I first left being an online editor and started working on VNs, though this project was scrapped before release. The one on the right is something I did a month ago for the project I'm releasing in two weeks. For the record, these are the same character, just different points in the series. Now, according to the logic being thrown around, I clearly put much more effort into the one on the right. In reality, I dumped nearly double the time into the one on the left, working about 6 hours on it. I busted my butt one night trying my best to understand how the stupid pen tablet worked.

Since then I've abandoned the tablet and draw and ink all my sprites by hand, which I can do faster and with slightly increased quality. I'm not super-artist, nor am I even mediocre-artist, but it is not because lack of effort. It is because I've been teaching myself art for less than a year. Quality still isn't the best, but I don't think anyone can reasonably argue that the hundreds of hours I've put in trying to improve didn't have some effect.

That, I think, is the current problem. We've got too many new folks breaking in at the same time, releasing crappy works because they're trying to get their acts together. Now, because I'm such a swell guy with one hell of an ego, I've thought up some solutions.

1. Kill the |\|008z. Purge them all and bar them from releasing anything here. No newbs, fewer starter works. Just as a warning, however, I'm a very hard one to kill. Ask Mother Nature. She's tried several times in the past few weeks.

2. Help them. I said this one before in a different thread, but it was misinterpreted. Don't help them produce their work, just help them with advice once it is released. Silence does not help make bad works better. Those of you who have been here a while have seen enough VNs to catch some of the beginner mistakes that might make the difference to somebody. Plus, it is also a motivation killer when nobody bothers to take the time to look at your work. I don't think there are many people like me who are willing to put in hundreds of hours into their craft, work a full-time job, and train to enter the military in three weeks. I can say there were a lot of times when I questioned why I was going sleepless just to have my hard work ignored.

3. Have 1 or 2 dedicated people to review everything, that way even if everyone avoids you like the plague you have something you can actually use, instead of "Good job,". I'm not sure if there are any vets who have the time, but it is always worth asking. Maybe have a rotating shift for all new releases. People don't tend to overwhelm this forum with new VNs.

4. Ignore the situation. Really, this one works, but it doesn't solve anything.

Well, I'm heading back to work. Hope this contributes to the discussion.

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Re: Criticism and Pushing the Envelope

#249 Post by DaFool » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:38 am

Very commendable post from KomiTsuku.

I guess I'm kinda in a similar situation. Although I work at an animation studio, I'm not an artist, but being in close proximity with artists for almost 6 years does have an effect.

When I first started drawing in college about 7 years ago, my entry was the only entry that was rejected, not to be included in the original manga compilation made by the university anime club.

4 years ago I got my first Wacom tablet so that gave me the initiative to start working on art again, especially since digital inking and painting made things that much easier.

I would put up some sort of 'Your development over time' thread if I had a sizeable portfolio, but once again, I'm not really an artist, since I had no official training. Instead, I'll let my current work-- when it'll be released in a few months' time -- compare with my first. I hope the difference will be substantial. However the actual amount of effort has more or less stayed constant over time, in other words I was always working at my limit.

I can't speak for others, just for myself, but let's see...
1. Kill the |\|008z. Purge them all and bar them from releasing anything here. No newbs, fewer starter works. Just as a warning, however, I'm a very hard one to kill. Ask Mother Nature. She's tried several times in the past few weeks.
Um, no? :? It's hard to be the judge, people should be given time to prove themselves, at least in dedication. (I'd go on to say regardless of the actual perceived quality of their work, their spirit and heart will be evident)
2. Help them. I said this one before in a different thread, but it was misinterpreted. Don't help them produce their work, just help them with advice once it is released. Silence does not help make bad works better. Those of you who have been here a while have seen enough VNs to catch some of the beginner mistakes that might make the difference to somebody. Plus, it is also a motivation killer when nobody bothers to take the time to look at your work. I don't think there are many people like me who are willing to put in hundreds of hours into their craft, work a full-time job, and train to enter the military in three weeks. I can say there were a lot of times when I questioned why I was going sleepless just to have my hard work ignored.
There are couple essays already at the community wiki. It used to be that they were 'kindly' dispensed in individual works in progress threads. Nowadays it's hard to not be apathetic since there are many WIPs.

I also learned from experience that no one really cares too much from your work, so just release what you have and be thankful it was an honest effort. I'm getting tired even of patting myself on the back, much less others' backs. So... no comment is the best comment I guess.
3. Have 1 or 2 dedicated people to review everything, that way even if everyone avoids you like the plague you have something you can actually use, instead of "Good job,". I'm not sure if there are any vets who have the time, but it is always worth asking. Maybe have a rotating shift for all new releases. People don't tend to overwhelm this forum with new VNs.
I actually playtest every renpy game whether I like it or not (finishing it is another matter). Just part of my duty whether it meets the bare minimum technical specs for listing. I sure as heck don't want to review everything, but isn't limited to VNs -- like with anime blogs, I totally ignore the anime review sites. I watch what I watch and couldn't care less about what other people think. I just look for general industry news and so just like here I'm only interested in participating in the bigger picture.
4. Ignore the situation. Really, this one works, but it doesn't solve anything.
I think people should read the essays in the community wiki, on renaigames, in the Gamemakers forum and elsewhere, ideally before they start fully embarking on a project. We can't expect those who wrote those essays, who are currently busy trying to prove what they wrote in terms of actual complete game examples, to go and inspect every WIP thread there is.

Well, there we go. I also reared my ugly head again in this topic (to lordcloudx's dismay... :wink: ) but I'll shut up once again to work on proving what I've been saying in words in the form of works.

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Re: Criticism and Pushing the Envelope

#250 Post by Vatina » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:51 pm

DaFool wrote: I think people should read the essays in the community wiki, on renaigames, in the Gamemakers forum and elsewhere, ideally before they start fully embarking on a project. We can't expect those who wrote those essays, who are currently busy trying to prove what they wrote in terms of actual complete game examples, to go and inspect every WIP thread there is.
That's what I did. I really recommend it.

Of course I can't prove how useful it was, since I still have my game lying on my HD without releasing it :P

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Re: Criticism and Pushing the Envelope

#251 Post by bowling pin » Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:48 pm

I'm not exactly sure where to post this and I don't think this quite deserves its own thread, but has anyone else noticed that this board has been seeing projects cropping up from creators from all parts of the world lately? This seems really promising and awesome to me, and it makes me wonder what's happened. Has word of Ren'Py really gone that far?

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