Examples of Good/ VNs?

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juji
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Examples of Good/ VNs?

#1 Post by juji » Wed May 10, 2017 2:59 am

Hi there, I'm new to the forums and creating VN games in general. I dabbled in ren'py years ago creating story-heavy and art-heavy mini VNs (meaning... I hardly know how to code anything beyond art, text, and sound effects OTL). I'd like to jump into creating again, perhaps alongside a programmer.

Firstly, I'd love to get recommended some visual novels that are well conceived in story/programming, to see how a solid VN is created. Examples of elegant/practical interfaces, clever programming, and compelling art would be great. I'm open to any genre or style. I'm so out of the loop after all this time I need some pointers OTL//

So... any games that have personally stuck you as innovative, well-built, or simply beautiful? I'd love to hear!

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Re: Examples of Good/ VNs?

#2 Post by Lesleigh63 » Wed May 10, 2017 7:43 pm

If you want an idea of where VNs are at now, try looking through the first couple of pages of the WIP section. Quite a few WIPs mentioned there are commercial or related to kickstarters. You can learn quite a lot just by looking at their art, GUI and how they present themselves.
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Re: Examples of Good/ VNs?

#3 Post by juji » Thu May 11, 2017 1:33 am

Lesleigh63 wrote:If you want an idea of where VNs are at now, try looking through the first couple of pages of the WIP section. Quite a few WIPs mentioned there are commercial or related to kickstarters. You can learn quite a lot just by looking at their art, GUI and how they present themselves.
actually I found myself browsing the WIP page today! You're right it's a really great collection of in progress games, and I like reading how developers ask critiques, tweak the game, ect. Thanks! :P

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Re: Examples of Good/ VNs?

#4 Post by Shinoki » Thu May 11, 2017 6:47 pm

There aren't any EVNs that have really jumped out and shocked me with innovation or greatness, even if I've enjoyed a number of them (they're kind of short for me, since I like long visual novels even if they end up being a bit padded). However, if it's JVNs, I can give an example or two of something good.

I think Liar-Soft has a lot of interesting interface and design choices. (Its stories tend to be great too, but they fall into the pit of overly wordiness.) Since I'm in the middle of one of their games and just finished their fabulous yuri game, I'll just advertise their interesting set-ups.

Kindred Spirits on the Rooftop:
Kindred Spirits is a pretty great game, long, but it's a kinetic novel, which is where its set-up truly shines.
The calendar system. The game is set up so you can access and unlock scenes on a calendar, meaning that you can go back to any scene you want to see. While a lot of games have scene viewers, it's usually only for a select few scenes like the action scenes or the sex scenes.

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Shikkoku no Sharnoth (and the What a Beautiful series in general):
I adore the way they set up their sprites during the normal dialogue scenes. There's a full body sprite off to the side with the background and a cut-in of the background detail showing where in the setting the characters. On the other side, there's the sprite that goes to about the waist.
Personally, I think paired with the art of the game, it looks really aesthetically pleasing.
If your game turns out to be very long and art asset heavy, it might save you time and money to do one full body default image and just do waist shots for the expressions. I assume that it's easier to draw poses if you don't have to draw the legs.

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Re: Examples of Good/ VNs?

#5 Post by dragondatingsim » Fri May 12, 2017 2:34 am

juji wrote: So... any games that have personally stuck you as innovative, well-built, or simply beautiful? I'd love to hear!
As far as games built in ren'py go, I found Selenon Rising to have a number of different things that I found impressive.

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Re: Examples of Good/ VNs?

#6 Post by juji » Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:55 am

dragondatingsim wrote:
juji wrote: So... any games that have personally stuck you as innovative, well-built, or simply beautiful? I'd love to hear!
As far as games built in ren'py go, I found Selenon Rising to have a number of different things that I found impressive.
Sorry for such a late reply to this, thank you for the recc!

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Re: Examples of Good/ VNs?

#7 Post by SundownKid » Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:52 pm

dragondatingsim wrote:
juji wrote: So... any games that have personally stuck you as innovative, well-built, or simply beautiful? I'd love to hear!
As far as games built in ren'py go, I found Selenon Rising to have a number of different things that I found impressive.
Nice! It's good to know that people think my game isn't just a pile of ridiculosity. Now I should probably get to work publishing that whole next episode thing that has constantly been at 99% for a week as I kept finding a new thing that needed to be tweaked.

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Re: Examples of Good/ VNs?

#8 Post by SinaAzad » Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:04 am

Well, My favorite visual novel is Quartett! nice story, nice theme, nice art and nice way of telling the story, it is not built with Renpy, but it is just great.

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Re: Examples of Good/ VNs?

#9 Post by SundownKid » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:38 pm

RetroLiving wrote:I need help making a great Visual Novel not a short one i'm going for 100 hours or better with 5 girls to date and such(the basic formula to a great moe game)

the problem is the Python stuff makes it near impossible to write without the errors all the time
If you're asking for help and making a 100 hour visual novel thats kind of like taking the black diamond slope when you are learning how to ski. I think you'll find that even 10 or 20 hours will be extremely time consuming and/or expensive.

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Re: Examples of Good/ VNs?

#10 Post by noeinan » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:44 pm

Shinoki wrote: Kindred Spirits is a pretty great game, long, but it's a kinetic novel, which is where its set-up truly shines.
The calendar system. The game is set up so you can access and unlock scenes on a calendar, meaning that you can go back to any scene you want to see. While a lot of games have scene viewers, it's usually only for a select few scenes like the action scenes or the sex scenes.
I wanted to second that-- Kindred Spirits stood out to me as really well designed, with the programming being polished and thought out. I remember being pretty impressed with the game options. I have an auditory processing disorder, so it is always a big deal to me when games allow you to adjust the volume of the background music, sound effects, and voice acting separately. Often the music and sound effects are too loud compared to the voices, and because of that I can't understand what people are saying, even if I physically hear their voices.

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I've seen some games that go even further, and allow you to adjust each individual character's voice separate from the others, in case someone just has a really quiet or loud voice. They also put a lot of thought into things, like having a silent mode or allowing you to turn off "stop voice on click". (I always hate it when I accidentally click and then the voice stops.) Another great feature in games with voice acting is the ability to view the log/dialogue history, and there is a microphone button that allows you to hear the line again.

In general, I just appreciate when games have thought put into them, and I can see that the creators have made an attempt to make the game accessible. And a lot of these features are useful even outside the disability community, like being able to make text sizes bigger/smaller, or making choices based on color + shape instead of only color. (More recognizable even if you aren't colorblind.)

As far as just clever gameplay is concerned, Analogue: A Hate Story did a really good job. They had a terminal where the player had to put in programmed commands for parts of the game:

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And they blended the story really well with the limits of visual novel input. All choices in the game are binary, where you can pick one of two choices. And they play with that, where sometimes the AI will give you two choices that are basically the same thing, or that two choices don't allow you to fully express yourself. It was really innovative and unique, I'd love to see more games experiment with gameplay/programming.

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Re: Examples of Good/ VNs?

#11 Post by Ghost of Crux » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:30 am

It's more on the shorter side (less than 2 hours) but Locked-In by saguaro is just something I still remember, years later, and have since then held up as just the standard I want to have in my VNs, period.

One of the first things that stood out to me is just how well it worked with its limitations, and just how it made the game more thanks to it-- I don't believe saguaro drew? so what graphics there are can look rather basic, in a way. But. It blended subtle and simple animations and sounds to establish the scene; for example, the imagery of the nurses talking about toddler pooping habits being chattering birds? Genius. Considering how the narrator views the conversation (not very well) it works both to declutter the scene and subtly convey what the narrator might've felt about those minor characters. The fact that the beaks also move makes it even better; considering the simplicity of the graphics, these little things are what makes it come alive. I also have to praise the entire thing on its usage of music-- I don't recall if it generally has one playing, since most of the time it has an establishing setting sound effects (like hospital equipment beeping) but it associated La Vie En Rose with power and money and the ruthless personality of the main character, which is just AMAZING. It's all just generally very excellently executed, to me-- individually, they're just interesting little quirks, but together they're a strong story.
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While at some point I felt like at some point it's a bit hard to truly make the "right" decision without there being some luck involved thanks to its shortness (that, or I'm a naive and trusting fool), but I also found the character voice to be strong. And if there's something I feel should be more prevalent in VNs, it's a strong character voice. (not related although often confused with characters with a strong voice-- mostly I meant that I can definitely tell who's talking based on the sentence without needing to glance at the name tag. It's not very easy to pull off and tends to make the script shorter, but I still feel like it's something that is generally good in most cases.)

Overall, it's not something you might be able to apply to your projects (it's very particular), but I find it an excellent thing to at least study to keep in mind.
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