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A Gauge Of Importance For The Elements In A WIP Summary

Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:38 am
by hoihoisoi
Hey everyone, HoiHoiSoi here. I'm starting this topic mainly to gauge what exactly are the various factors people look to when browsing the 'Work-in-Progress' section and how they would gauge them on a scale of importance when it comes to posting a comment or getting interested about a game. In a sense, what makes you (As a fellow forum browser and potential player of said game within the section) get interested about a game currently in development and which elements of the post would you rank on a scale which would increase your chances/motivation in leaving a comment or getting interested in the game.

I'll list down several common elements below to get started. These will comprise of the very basic building blocks of such posts in the WIP section. And from there, there'll be some specific instructions on how we're going to rank them. (So that we may create a bar chart after that to have an idea of where majority of the community stands.) So the common elements will be:

1. Summary of Story/Plot (Includes characters)
The foundation of which will be the basis of the VN you're trying to make. Basically the summary of the overall idea and sequence of events which will unfold within the game. This is usually a big part of any of the posts in the WIP section which will set the tone for the game and the overall feel of what's to expect. (Usually will be on the the top part of the post)

The look of the characters and the backgrounds which will be part of the game. (Usually will be below the summary of story/plot in some way) Also includes the tunes that would play in the background of the game.

The various themes/genre the story will touch upon. These can be hidden within the Summary of Story/Plot or it can be separated from them to give the readers an expectation of what will be touched upon without going into detail of the events which will unfold later in the story. It also includes the general categorization of the story and whether it fits into certain niches such as - mystery, historical, romance, fantasy, yandere, etc.

4.Various Game Details

The Length of the game/word count, whether the game will be commercial or free, the overall age rating of the game, how many paths or ending there is to the game. Essentially the more minute details of what is expected of the game from a more 'developer/admin' perspective. Doesn't concern the story/art/theme in anyway.

5.Development Team/Progress

The people who are behind the project - who they are and what they are in charged of. Next to which, the completion status of the project.

Anything else to which I have missed out, you may list it out but must be written under this section only. (In other words, we will be lumping all other consideration factors within this category unless it blows up into something huge and then we'll find some way to split it up) This may include how the overall presentation of the post looks, the tone and language of the post, the questions they pose, the demo provided and so on and so forth.

Now that we've gone through the very five basic elements, here are the following assumptions we will be using, just so that we're all on the same page. This is required because we would want these factors to be controlled, and only the above elements become as variables.
1. The developer of the game will always reply you in the event you respond to his post.
2. The developer of the game will provide consistent updates on the progress of the project. (Biweekly or Monthly)
3. How the developer responses to the posts will always be in the same tone of voice and he will always be nice and accommodating.

Now that we have our variables and controls addressed, let's go on to the main activity and rules of the game here:
1. Each poster will be given 6 different cards to rate the above 6elements. The top card with the highest priority will be rated 6*, while the lowest card will be rated 1*. Essentially, you would have the following cards from strongest power to lowest: 6*, 5*, 4*, 3*, 2* and 1*.
2. You may only use each card once and only once for either category of the 6 elements above. No two elements can share a card of the same power. Essentially, no matter how similar in importance is one category is to the other to you, you will have to choose which to rank higher on your scale.
3. You must play your cards from highest to lowest. You cannot skip cards. Such as choosing to rank 6*, 5*, 4*, 2* and 1*. You cannot skip the 3* card. It must always be ranked downwards. HOWEVER! You may choose not to vote on your lowest cards. This means that you can choose to rank the elements with 6*, 5*, 4* and 3* but leave out the 2* and 1* if for you, the last two categories seems to be of no importance to you. (I don't recommend this, but it is a valid move)
4. You may write a short description/elaboration under your vote on why you decided to vote with that power card and in that sequence after you are done. Next to which, what are you always looking out for when it comes to those sections. What are your preferences and in what kind of information/expectations you would like to see in those sections.

The template we will be using will look like the following and I will go first as an example:
Rating of Elements

1. Story/Plot [5*]
Story or plot is pretty darn important IMO, afterall, it's the backbone of the entire project. It'd be nice if the story/plot comes off as more bombastic as it will catch the eye, but essentially, I'm always looking for something unique in this section which separates the story from its competitors. It can be the characters, or the overall plot line, but generally, something which has to be different from the overall market.

2. Art [6*]
Personally, art is pretty important to me. Specifically since I really like the japanese anime-ish art style. Usually, to get me to be attracted to a game, the first thing that catches my eye is the art. If I like it and it looks appealing to me, only will I progress on to see what the story/plot is about.

3. Theme [3*]
Not much comment here.

4. Various Game Details [4*]
For the various game details, on the other hand, I tend to have a liking towards more 'True Route' games, mostly KNs like Rose Guns Days. In that sense, I do have an affinity to single routes although multiple routes are okay too, but I guess, how many endings or routes do still play a part in what I consider to be important in the introductory post of the WIP section.

5. Development Team/Progress [1*]
Not much comment here.

6. Others [2*]
It'd be nice if the presentation of the introductory post is presented in a nice and consistent way, as it catches the eye when I go through it. But it's mostly eye candy for the most part to build the overall feel of the story and how it is linked to the post.
That's roughly how the response would look like. You may choose on whether to elaborate on the way you ranked the elements, but it's by no means a necessary thing to do. After we have enough posts, I'll just bring out an excel spreadsheet and plot it on a bar graph to see how it looks overall I guess. In a way, this post is trying to address the issue of marketing a VN and which elements should developers concentrate on when writing up their introductory posts in WIP. Can't say I've been getting comments on my project page too, so I'm interested to see where it is most people are looking towards when going through an introductory post. Maybe I'm doing something wrong or something, lols. Well, maybe this exercise will help clarify it up a bit.

Also to note, you may reply to a comment and so forth, this thread isn't some stringent thinger ber jiggy exercise of some sort. Things are up for discussion as long as the discussion is civil and all that. But if you would like to be part of the rating rather than just commentating, it would be good if you could make it known by using the template which begins with Rating of Elements, so I know where to extract the information from. But even if you don't do that, I'll use my own discretion to pick apart the posts who want to rate and those who are commenting. Shouldn't be too hard to separate I guess.

Anyways, cheers! And let's hope to create a beautiful bar chart through this! :D
Current Voting Results (23 June 2017):

'Other' elements that are seen to be important:
1. Questions
2. Typos/Grammer
3. Logo
4. GUI
5. Thread Layout and Organization
6. Screenshots and Samples Images

Current Sample Size: 10 (7 Vets, 3 Regs)

Re: A Gauge Of Importance For The Elements In A WIP Summary

Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:07 am
by Mammon
1. Summary of Story/Plot (Includes characters)[4]
This one I would personally split in two parts; the premise and the characters. The premise, being the pitch of the story, I would actually rate 5 while I would rate the characters 3 if it weren't one category together. But, in the middle it is. With the premise, whether this is presented well will determine if I like it, and I recommend that you strive for a 1 minute pitch. Make that premise as short and powerful as possible. Something I've got to learn to do myself too.
The characters are 50% under the art category as I see it, because character sprites are the first thing to be made and finished usually. And if you show those, you might as well add a description to them. These are usually in an 1-min pitch themselves because the writer doesn't want to say too much yet and their descriptions can be easily related to, so they can often be the part that people will like and remember.

You've got your 1 minute pitch with the outline, but the art will be the much stronger and more important 1 second pitch. Good art, art you like looking at, will be a great incentive to wanting to play the game. A picture is worth a thousand words.

These are important in the 1-second pitch, namely the reading of the topic title before clicking it. In the WiP itself, I usually don't see it as that important.

4.Various Game Details[1]
Whether something will be commercial or not, which is usually also in the topic title, is important to me. For most people on the other hand, if there's no specific price to it then it probably won't matter. The rest, ... eh.

5.Development Team/Progress[5]
A massive amount of projects never get finished. If I look at the list of developers and see someone/a team that has made a project I remember and liked before, or someone with several finished projects in their signiature, that's a big plus. If it's a large group of people but no one really rings a bell or when there's one known person alongside a bunch of unknowns, that usually suggests it will never see the light of day. If it's a single person, if there's progress on all fronts with an overall >40%, I believe them. If not, I doubt that the WiP will ever become a completed project. And if the progress they made and the progress they wrote down is very different, suggesting they don't even know the general effort that goes into a project, it's a very big 'not going to happen'.
Therefore, I do think this part is very important, as it gives a great indication of whether I as a potential reader should get invested. Unfortunately, not even great art and such are good indications of whether the project will succeed. This part is a lot more reliable.

Questions. Asking the audience questions is pretty damn important if you want a reply, especially if you're looking for anything specific. It will give the reader a guideline to follow rather than having to make a start themselves and it will actively invite a response. If you don't, you'll probably still get a 'this looks awesome!' or 'can't wait to play it!' every once in a while, but longer posts will be absent probably.

Re: A Gauge Of Importance For The Elements In A WIP Summary

Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:02 pm
by parttimestorier
Rating of Elements

1. Story/Plot [6*]
This is the most important thing for me. Art and stuff is important as well, but I'm mostly interested in VNs as a way to tell a story. I'm unlikely to be interested if the story doesn't sound like my thing.

2. Art [4*]
This is a bit less important for me. Art that really catches my eye is more likely to get me to read the thread at first, but if the story sounds good, I'll still be interested even if the art isn't that great or if they're still using placeholder art or something.

3. Theme/Genre [5*]
This is pretty important to me too for the same reason as story/plot - I'll be less interested if the genre is something I don't tend to like, for instance.

4. Various Game Details [1*]
I guess this is probably the least important for me compared to the other elements, but it's still good to know whether they plan for it to be a commercial project or not, since that can affect my expectations for it.

5. Development Team/Progress [3*]
I agree with Mammon that it's good to see a team who has some experience and seems to be making steady progress, but if some new people have a cool idea I still want to encourage them to keep working on it, even if it's a bit less likely to be completed.

6. Others [2*]
One thing that can affect my opinion is if the post has a lot of typos or grammar issues. I mark students' papers for living, so I can't stop that stuff from jumping out at me. But it's not a huge issue if there's only a little bit, especially if the post was written by the project manager but someone else is the writer or something.

Re: A Gauge Of Importance For The Elements In A WIP Summary

Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:45 pm
by Scribbles
Rating of Elements

1. Story/Plot [5*]
The basic story is probably the second thing I look at after the art, but you can usually gauge the story a bit from any provided art. I prefer mature stories, though there are a few "tags" that'll catch my eye. If the art is great but the story sounds dull or childish or not interesting to me I will pass.

2. Art [6*]
Art is really important, especially Character Art IMO

3. Theme [1*]

I'm less interested in "themes" or "tropes" than I am in the story and plot. There are tag words that'll catch my eye, but if the plot doesn't appeal to me I'll pass

4. Various Game Details [3*]
I actually am not a fan of minigames, overly long games, or certain settings so if these are listed I'll usually opt out until it's something I'm really interested in

5. Development Team/Progress [2*]
I don't think I know everyone here well enough for this to stick out --BUT if I see someone I've spoken to/talked with on here working on something I am more willing to look into it and check it out and even give it a chance even if it's not really my type of game

6. Others [4*]

I like posts that look like work has gone into them, if there is no art, or just a few words and then a link to a download page I pass.

Re: A Gauge Of Importance For The Elements In A WIP Summary

Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:06 pm
by Shinoki
Summary of Story/Plot (Includes characters) [*6]

If the summary of your game is too vague, I won't understand it. I want to know what the game is about, the story and all that. If it's badly written or basically nonexistent, I probably won't bother asking you about your game unless your art and designs hook me in.

Art/Music [*5]

Though summaries are important, without nice formatting and pretty pictures, I'd probably get bored of a text wall pretty quickly. For visual novels, art is a very important part of the game. I won't play an ugly game unless the story is very engaging, and even so, I'm not that interested in games that aren't visually appealing. I could find a normal novel to read that would take less of my time if I just wanted a decent story. If your WIP looks bad, I probably won't go back to check on it very often.

Theme/Genre [*2]

Bluntly putting it, I would consider theme/genre to be part of the story/plot summary part, which is very important. However, not having an explicitly stated theme/genre won't turn me away from a WIP post.

Various Game Details [*3]

If they weren't there, I'm pretty sure someone would end up asking about them eventually, so it's better to have it there in the first place. Plus, as someone who likes long stories, if you tell me the word count is long, you'd get me more interested.

Development Team/Progress [*1]

I don't care who is on your team. It's nice to have details on development, but often it's things like "Prologue 100% done" or "5/10 CGs done," which is nice for a quick glance but not something that makes me think of your team as better or worse. Rather than having the element in the WIP summary, make sure that you update the thread with meaningful things instead.

Others [*4]

You need to have questions or some sort of interactive cue with the forum goers. Like some of the earlier replies have said, you might get some short replies, but by initiating interaction with questions like "which heroine seems the most interesting?" or whatnot, you can get more feedback and interest in your game.

Re: A Gauge Of Importance For The Elements In A WIP Summary

Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:37 pm
by LateWhiteRabbit
1. Art [6]
Sorry, but I'm a shallow, shallow, artist. The art has to win me over immediately or I'm not likely to even look at the rest. There are a few creators who I have enough experience with their games and designs that I'll give a pass on art, but for the most part, I won't even read a WIP post if it doesn't include pretty pictures. Sorry - I know this is terribly shallow of me, but as an artist, the art is what ensnares my soul and thus my interest.

2. Story/Plot [5]
The story and plot is very important to me. I need to see a good, strong, 'elevator pitch' - a succinct and impactful story blurb. When I say, succinct, I mean it. You should sell me on your story idea and plot in less than 3 sentences. I don't want a long drawn out plot summary. The more plot points you tell me about your story, the less likely I am to want to experience it. I've been reading, writing, and watching stories for decades now. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of TV Tropes. You tell me too much, and I'll know your ending and every twist you're likely to use. Neither of us want that. You need to hook me, make me ask, "Wow, I wonder how that would turn out?" and that's it.

Characters are not important in a pitch or WIP. Now, don't crucify me here. I'm not saying that characters aren't important, just not in a WIP. I want to learn about your characters and their personalties as I play the game. I don't want or need to know about them ahead of time. They should be revealed through the story. Part of the fun of dating or befriending someone is getting to know them right? Then, why would you ruin half the fun of a VN or dating sim by giving us a character profile upfront? Why saddle us with preconceptions of the characters? To be blunt, I shouldn't be picking out who I'm going to pursue in your dating sim before I've launched the executable.

3. Theme [4]
This kind of goes with story. Your story pitch should actually reveal the theme of your game to me.

4. Various Game Details [3]
How many endings, how many dateable characters, etc. all that stuff is important to me. But I don't care about word count. Word count is the silliest metric to measure I can think of. It tells almost nothing useful. The most important thing to me is that your story is written well. I'd rather read an amazing short story where every moment was a pure delight than read a novel length epic in which everything is padded and the narrator is waxing poetic to an empty sky. I'll just quote myself from a few years back, here:
Too few VN writers have any sense of pacing. If you are a master at clever writing, dialogue, and tension, you can let mundane scenes drag on to great effect ala Tarantino, but the majority of writer's aren't that good. Things aren't helped by the VN gamers who insist on knowing "How many words are in the VN?" "How many scenes?" "How many sentences?" None of that matters to the telling of a good story. In fact, it can hurt it. I'm sure a lot of VN makers have padded their writing because of some in the community's insistence on judging VNs by their word count. It is directly counter-productive to good writing, which is all about cutting stuff out and editing for pace.

Take a cue from movies and tv and better written media. If nothing important happens until noon, skip to noon! Don't walk us through breakfast and how boring morning classes were! Of course they are boring! Thanks for sharing the boredom with us, the audience. Don't share details unless they are important to the setting or plot. Unless the resolution of the plot revolves around whether or not the protagonist will pick pancakes or waffles at a critical moment, don't show us the protagonist struggling with what to have for breakfast!
5. Development Team/Progress [2]
Don't care. An estimate of when the game might be done is nice, but I don't need or want percentage breakdowns, just give me a time frame - Fall 2017, Spring 2018, etc.

Re: A Gauge Of Importance For The Elements In A WIP Summary

Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:06 pm
by sasquatchii
I love this idea! It's been fun reading how others rank things in terms of importance, looking forward to seeing what others have to say!

For me, it's:

1. Summary of Story/Plot [*6]
For me, story is everything. One of the most meaningful and enjoyable aspects of my life is the time I spend with stories - from visual novels, to books, games, shows, movies, podcasts, and even stories told to me by the fellow humans that I interact with on a daily basis. I don't just love stories, I need them. I can't imagine living a life without them. So yeah, having a good story, plot, and characters is the bread and butter of any visual novel. I am willing to forgive and overlook almost anything else (such as shoddy artwork, cliches, overused tropes/themes/settings, etc) if the story is compelling.

2.Art/Music [*4]
I usually associate the quality of any VN's art with the amount of effort put into the game as a whole, even though they aren't necessarily connected. There will always be exceptions to that of course, but when you have thousands of VNs to choose from that you've never played, you don't have a whole lot else to go on.

I guess what I mean is that judging the artwork is also a good way to filter if you want to make the best use of your time. Though (as stated earlier) if a story or writing is absolutely amazing I am willing to forgive and overlook artwork that I don't personally like.

I really enjoy how VN devs have created genres & subgenres to categorize visual novels. Certain genres usually tend to attract specific types of people. I definitely have my favorite genres, but I also really enjoy when others play with certain genres and themes in ways that are unexpected and suprising.

4.Various Game Details[*1]
I don't really care too much about the length of a game, whether or not it's kinetic or has multiple endings, or if it's free or commercial. These are nice to know but don't affect my interest or how much I care about a game in a work in progress thread. If a game is commercial but it appeals to me, I don't mind spending money to play it! Same goes for the length & other various details.

5.Development Team/Progress[*2]
I love how people in their works in progress threads continually give updates and post writing snippets, art assets, and percentages of roughly where everything is. It's fun to check back in on a game's progress and see how things evolve over time.

6.GUI, Logo Design, and Character Design Templates with Intros & Descriptions + Thread Layout/Organization [*5]
The second most important aspect when it comes to evaluating work in progress threads is how they handle the design of everything. The design of your game is a lot more than most devs realize - good design isn't just a pretty UI or a nice logo. It's also about the user experience - and how everything works.

I have played visual novels and with UI so confusing and badly designed that it actually made me stop playing.
On the flipside, games with carefully crafted and well thought out design are a delight to play.

So yeah... I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to design, but only because it's a lot more important than most people give it credit for :)

Re: A Gauge Of Importance For The Elements In A WIP Summary

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:55 pm
by YonYonYon
TBH, all of these are important and some things will be meaningless without the other. So, I'll look at it from the perspective of what will make me view your thread.

From highest to lowest ranks:
1) Title/Genres/themes
I do get curious sometimes, but I'm mostly clicking the threads with interesting to me genres. Some genres I avoid like a plague

2) Art
I won't play your game if I don't like your art. I don't mean it has to be on the level of Michelangelo, it just has to be workable enough with the premise of your game.

3) Summary
Only then I will look at the summary of the story.

4) various details
If it's a romance game, I'd like to know the list of romanceable characters; If there are requirements for their romance; and how many endings are there. I don't care about the numbers of words and CGs.

5) developers team
There are developers I avoid and developers I trust. If I don't know you, I don't care.

6) Other
Then I might look at the questionnaire

Re: A Gauge Of Importance For The Elements In A WIP Summary

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:34 am
by Lesleigh63
1. Art [6]
I'm with Late White Rabbit on this one. I'll look at the art before reading anything. I need to like the look of the sprite art and if there is also original background art then I'll sit up and take notice.

2. Genre/theme [5]
If it's a genre that really interests me, I'll take more notice.

3. Summary/plot [4]
I'd prefer a brief synopsis (just a couple lines or a paragraph) and if that interests me I'll read further for more detail. Brief character descriptions are fine.

4. Various details [3]
Which characters are capable of being romanced. How many endings. Is it stat raising or something else. How many hours to play through (word count). Is it commercial or free.

5. Development [2]
Who are the developers and what percentage of the work is done. Can have an influence on my interest and whether something may turn into vaporware.

6. Music [1] - I don't see a place for it in a WIP (but then I'm not a musician).

7. Other
The above information needs to be on the WIP page - don't just post a link there.

Re: A Gauge Of Importance For The Elements In A WIP Summary

Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:41 am
by juunishi master
1. Story/Plot [6*]
Ehh, I dunno how to put it, but I play visual novel to look for good story. If I don't find it, I'll skip.

2. Art [4*]
At least it should be "decent". I will lower my toleration if I know that the story will be comedy or have a pretty heavy comedy theme in it.

3.Theme/Genre [5*]
Kind of related to story/plot, IMHO. I prioritize yuri ones, followed by dating sim and yaoi. Supernatural/mystery is my thing, but not horror. I'm already way over 18 y.o. but I find myself isn't always comfortable with R-18 NSFW one (except for yuri and yaoi).
That the gist of my consideration in theme/genre.

4.Various Game Details [2*]
I usually look for playtime approximation. Sometimes mini-game or interesting gameplay mechanic lure me into a certain one, but it's not the most important for me.

5.Development Team/Progress [3*]
Hmmm ... I always open for various/new developers, so I don't mind try visual novels from anyone, but the VN will get more favor from me if I at least played and really liked his/her/their previous work (my case with Christine Love, although the theme/genre of her latest game makes me reluctant to buy it :? )

6.Others [1*]
Hard to say ... but if the introductory post provides the information above (preferably not too much text, because I don't always browse game while doing nothing) and has several interesting screenshots/image sample, it will get more attention from me.
But if the story idea is already interesting, I'm the kind who cling around for some development progress/updates, really want to try it. :wink:

(Uh, I hope this is helping)

Re: A Gauge Of Importance For The Elements In A WIP Summary

Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:24 pm
by hoihoisoi
So far, the graph looks like this, I'll attach it to the main post as well, just so that it'll remain up there.

Current Voting Results (23 June 2017):

But from the looks of it the current ranking seems to cascade down from:
1. Art (6*)
2. Story/Plot (5*)
3. Theme/Genre (4*)
4. Various Game Details (3*)
5. Development Team/Progress (2*)
6. Others (2*)

The current sample size is 10 voters, made up of 7 veterans and 3 regulars.

From an expectation point of view, I guess it does fit with the common trend that the art, being the more eye catching thing would rank higher than the story/plot. Everything else so far seems to 'fit' into the usual mold although I didn't really expect Development Team/Progress and Others to result in a tie.

The 'Other' that matters according to the current sample size are:
1. Questions
2. Typos/Grammer
3. Logo
4. GUI
5. Thread Layout and Organization
6. Screenshots and Samples Images

Thus, this is the current results from our vote.

Re: A Gauge Of Importance For The Elements In A WIP Summary

Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:58 pm
by LateWhiteRabbit
hoihoisoi wrote: The 'Other' that matters according to the current sample size are:
1. Questions
2. Typos/Grammer
3. Logo
4. GUI
5. Thread Layout and Organization
6. Screenshots and Samples Images
Just to note, I wouldn't include the logo, GUI, or screenshots under 'Other'. I consider all of that under the 'Art' category.