What to keep in mind for mobile vn's?

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wyverngem
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What to keep in mind for mobile vn's?

#1 Post by wyverngem » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:13 am

I've been playing around with the idea of making a new game only available for mobile. I know there are a lot of people who play on PC, but I wanted to try and develop something for mobile devices. What things should I keep in mind when creating one of these types of games?

Some general questions I had were as follows:
I want to flip my screen from horizontal to vertical. However, could I offer a style that allows the player to choose between or notice when the phone is flipped a certain way and automatically switch it. Can renpy tell? What kind of screen ratio should I pick? Is it better to keep the ratio smaller or medium size? The game I have in mind is going to be a short story similar to Lady Luck's Due; with a mini-game that can replayed at any time. I know to be mindful of buttons and space on the screens, but curious to how this would work on a phone. Can you test your game privately on your phone before public release?

The other thing I'm worried about is there different licencing when it comes to mobile games?

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Re: What to keep in mind for mobile vn's?

#2 Post by ComputerArt.Club » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:48 am

Hey! I am also working on a mobile game. Here are my concerns so far:
Text size
button/menu size and position (took me awhile to locate)
My game has an issue where you can't turn of your screen or the game won't reload (probably because it has RPG elements and dungeon crawler elements). Keep it simple. The more stuff you add, the more issues you are likely to encounter.
There seems to be conflicting information about requirements for icons, try and find the most recent information you can about it.

It's fun to have your game on your phone though!

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Re: What to keep in mind for mobile vn's?

#3 Post by puppetbomb » Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:09 pm

There's plenty of apps that forces a user to use a specific aspect ratio. I think whatever you choose, there's enough precedent that it shouldn't be too much of a problem (also designing a UI for both landscape and portrait mode is more work to give options to people who, for the most part, won't mind either way).

For testing on Apple devices, Test Flight lets you test your app on devices without needing to go through the App Store.

Be sure to research what fonts you can use for distribution! Font licensing between a raster image vs. a font file has to be downloaded as a package with the app is often different (web distribution license).

For mobile games, check out http://gamesinspiration.com/ and look at the UX of games closest to what you're making. If you're new to making UI/UX for mobile games, don't stray too far from conventional placements of buttons.

My thoughts on vertical format on phones:
I'm not a fan of visual novels in portrait mode as I found that the distance I had to from the text to the character's face was pretty significant (I use an iPhone 6+).

People tend to use their phone in landscape when they want to watch a video for a significant amount of time. So IMO, making a visual novel in landscape shouldn't feel so inconvenient that people will refuse to play it.

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Re: What to keep in mind for mobile vn's?

#4 Post by Imperf3kt » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:42 am

Editing the GUI for mobile requires a small amount of work, but its honestly not a lot. You just need to be familiar with screen language and the default project files.

One thing that's been a real issue for me, is the quick menu. I'm considering consolidating it into a 'drop down menu' style screen.

As to testing, if you've got an Android device, you need a couple of things.

A file manager: without this, you probably won't be able to install the .apk

Enable installing from unknown sources: This is found in the security settings. It is recommended to turn it off again after you install your app.

Copy the file (.apk) to your phone via usb or bluetooth then find it with your file manager and 'open' it to install it.

Note: several functions from Ren'Py won't work on Android, but the majority work just fine. All the important stuff works, at least.
If you make use of renpy.update, you'll need to disable that to avoid crashing the app. (just add an 'if not renpy.variant_small' before calling the update function.)
Updating on Android is handled by simply installing the same version number or higher, file again.
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Re: What to keep in mind for mobile vn's?

#5 Post by LeonDaydreamer » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:52 pm

I ported A Near Dawn from PC version to Android in about a day and a half (I say ported, but it's all Ren'py, just had to figure out some things) - the coding and everything was super easy, what took the longest was dropping the resolution (which in the end only saved 10 MB, so I'm not sure it was worth it to even do that). I think the game will automatically be in Landscape mode on mobile - it may have been based on your Width x Height resolution settings, or it may have been something you select on the Build menu, I just remember that it wasn't even an issue.

So if you remove the changing of the resolution (which was unnecessary :/) - the main things you will need to revise is the font sizes (you can play around with them until they are just right); and the size and positioning of the GUI elements, especially since they are set in pixels rather than 0.01 floating point coordinates. Of course you will have to drop the Quick Menu, because it's too tiny. You will have to make sure that every button on the screen can be pressed relatively easily, so what I actually did with A Near Dawn is I dropped all the Save/Load/Settings and combined them into one button that gives you a menu screen.
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