Quick Time Events in Visual Novels

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TellerFarsight
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Re: Quick Time Events in Visual Novels

#16 Post by TellerFarsight » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:04 am

I'm reminded of the QTE decisions in Zero Time Dilemma. At the end of every puzzle, there would be this whole shebang of animation and flashing spinning circles and the words "DECISION TIME" (or something like that) would appear and would be a whole big deal for you to choose between two options. I don't even actually remember if they were timed, but it's a similar idea to the ACTION SEQUENCE.

I agree with trooper6 that having it as a toggleable option seems somehow wrong, and cheapens the QTEs when you do have them. Toggle options always feel like nothing more than a cool easter egg that you look at for 5 seconds and then turn back off again (The rerelease of the original Pokemon let you display it in a gameboy window). I don't want a QTE to feel like that; I don't want it to feel like a special request I made that you weren't ready to fully integrate.

The main takeaway here is that a timed menu needs to have warning, because VNs are specifically designed for you to be able to walk away and grab a cup of tea at any moment, and sit back and drink it while the thing plays. A "BE ALERT" warning sounds good to me to give warning, or by introducing them very early in a situation with no consequences. If your game is really that action-y, then there are a number of ways to telegraph that, but it's also sometimes good to just drop the timed menus altogether.
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Re: Quick Time Events in Visual Novels

#17 Post by bluebirdplays » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:57 am

I haven't yet played a visual novel with QTEs but I'm interested in how they'd go about it. I think I'm just used to reading visual novels at a slow pace, so seeing a QTE would probably be jarring for me at first. Not unwanted though- I'd love to play a more action-adventure-(horror?) VN that has to keep you on your toes!

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Re: Quick Time Events in Visual Novels

#18 Post by Sleepy » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:24 pm

TellerFarsight wrote:
The main takeaway here is that a timed menu needs to have warning, because VNs are specifically designed for you to be able to walk away and grab a cup of tea at any moment, and sit back and drink it while the thing plays. A "BE ALERT" warning sounds good to me to give warning, or by introducing them very early in a situation with no consequences. If your game is really that action-y, then there are a number of ways to telegraph that, but it's also sometimes good to just drop the timed menus altogether.
Especially in systems like Ren'py, with an auto-button. I feel like you'd either need to be able to put a 'pause' for that, along with the warning, or if you're entering a highly actionized sequence put it right at the start of it so the player understands that the QTE/go-go-go will be over a scene instead of just the one off. Kinda like how games often break up their VN and their gameplay segments with clear UI warning, so players know what to expect.
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Re: Quick Time Events in Visual Novels

#19 Post by Eirrir » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:37 pm

papillon wrote:I wouldn't entirely count all timed menus as quick time events, but I have enjoyed some games that allow for 'choosing nothing' at a menu point for a long period of time to count as 'the character doesn't say anything' and the game reacts to that. Especially when the amount of time given for a response is reasonable. This allows for a stronger connection between what is happening in the game and what the player is actually DOING. You were sitting there unable to choose what you wanted to say, so the character didn't talk.

If, however, the protagonist is a super-ninja and I'm reading the story of this super-ninja and suddenly the game asks me to hit a key in order to duck, and I don't manage to because I was reading the story, and so the ninja gets hit in the face and dies... this isn't increasing my immersion, this doesn't make me feel like I am a ninja, this is just annoying. It works a lot better if you're playing a console game where you were already physically in control of the ninja and thus your twitchy reactions (or lack thereof) are already connected to that ninja's progress.

I don't want a computer-based VN where I'm mostly sitting in autoplay reading a story to suddenly throw a 'PRESS W OR DIE' at me. It's jarring and not fun. But a game that is very frequently "PRESS A RANDOM KEY OR DIE" can be entertaining (look, I'm old enough to remember Dragon's Lair coming out, okay?) At that point it's an intrinsic gameplay element.

If I wanted to work occasional QTEs into a VN... I'd probably try to use the UI to signpost that the game was entering an ACTION SEQUENCE. Stuff like suddenly letterboxing the display, flashing a "BE ALERT!" warning. Get them tense, get them knowing that a QTE is going to happen soon, even though they don't know exactly when. Then the sudden challenge won't be unfair, it will be anticipated. Anticipation is part of what makes this kind of thing fun! Give them a couple different timed prompts during the ACTION SEQUENCE, then stand down from high alert, let the UI return to normal.

To make this feel like an integrated gameplay element spicing things up, they need to happen several times during the game. If you have an intro at the very beginning and then never bring it up again until the climax at the end of the route, it will still be jarring and un-fun, and treated as just some weird random thing rather than a true gameplay element.
Thank you for the suggestion of the "ALERT" warning, Papillon. For some reason, my mind automatically coupled QTEs with its suddenness, but I realize now that doesn't need to be the case! And I agree that anticipation might allow for QTEs to build even more tension. I do more research into this, as well as how to make QTEs feel more integrated into my visual novel. In any case, these responses have given me newfound encouragement to experiment with QTEs and see how it goes!
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Re: Quick Time Events in Visual Novels

#20 Post by Frullo » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:07 am

papillon wrote: To make this feel like an integrated gameplay element spicing things up, they need to happen several times during the game. If you have an intro at the very beginning and then never bring it up again until the climax at the end of the route, it will still be jarring and un-fun, and treated as just some weird random thing rather than a true gameplay element.
I agree. I think that QTE can be a neat addiction and contribute to the immersion of the player, as long as:
- they don't feel forced
- they are somehow foreshadowed
- They make sense in the game environment

The VN i'm playing right now, The House in Fata Morgana, force the player to rush some choices (which can lead to a bad ending) in specific cases, but they are foreshadowed (like the MC saying "I really must take a decision quickly") and make sense in the general narration, so they don't feel frustrating (although i would say they are not really necessary, they don't really add up a lot in that context)

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Re: Quick Time Events in Visual Novels

#21 Post by Zelan » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:04 pm

This is just a little suggestion, but in relation to what Ghost of Crux said about a player not saving and getting frustrated: I would suggest that failing a QTE leads you to a "bad end," but then instead of bringing the player back to the menu, the player is given the option to retry. The game could then pick up a few lines before the QTE.

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Re: Quick Time Events in Visual Novels

#22 Post by Tyrantauranox » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:58 pm

I'm okay with minor QTEs, like "Press SPACE to dodge, or get hit in the face by a flying pie"

I'm not so cool with stuff like "Press SPACE or face instant death!"

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