It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

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ScarletKnives
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It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#1 Post by ScarletKnives » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:30 pm

To be honest I want to create my own VN; but aside of Umineko no Naku Koro Ni; I never finished reading a VN before because I get lazy to read. As my idea is to create a romance VN with routes for every girl and some endings for every one of them; Umineko is definetly no a good source, lol. But my real question is... it is a requisite to read a handful of VNs before doing one?

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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#2 Post by mikolajspy » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:51 pm

Speaking from experience, it's not required.
But playing them will help with knowing what exactly do you want to do and you can get some inspirations in terms of mechanics/effects etc.

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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#3 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:05 pm

I think it is important to be familiar with any genre or medium before attempting to make one of your own. Otherwise, you won't know the standard conventions and may end up re-inventing the wheel. Other creators may have solved problems that you'll struggle over. I personally find it frustrating to play a game where it seems the creators have ignored improvements that are common in the genre.

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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#4 Post by Donmai » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:03 pm

Must have read a handful of VNs first? Um, no, really?
I created my first "visual novel" while I was still playing my first VN, Katawa Shoujo.
Having finished creating Toire No Hanako, my one and only "Japanese" high school drama, I tried playing some of the most famous Japanese VNs that people worship here (you just mentioned one of them) but, unfortunately, I'm yet to find a Japanese VN which wouldn't put me to sleep after fifteen minutes. It's very tricky saying such thing here because many sensitive fans will think that, because I'm saying Japanese VNs are not my thing, I'm also saying they're bad. No, far from it. I'm just saying they're not the way I want to go.
So, if you haven't played a handful of VNs, but you do have a good idea to make one, then the whole world (me first) is curious to know what you can come with. So do it, even if you will want to tell the story of the lonely transfer student who bumped into someone while he was in a hurry because he was late in his first day at his new school...
Who knows you will start something really new and interesting? Maybe the first anime was made by someone who watched some Disney animated cartoons (and didn't fully appreciate what he/she saw, so he/she made it his/her own way).
Yes, I'm a "VN" creator with a good experience with comics and adventure games, but I have only played a few VNs in my life. But I Donmai... err, I don't mind that.
Maybe I'm not doing it the "right" way. But I'm having my fun, anyway.
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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#5 Post by BlackWolf1992 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:40 pm

Honestly, you do not have to read any visual novels to create one. However, you would be missing out on a chance to learn new ideas and mechanics seen in some visual novels. It is always helpful to see how others have created visual novels and how the genre you wish to create is portrayed.
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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#6 Post by papillon » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:03 pm

It's not required, but if you have trouble focusing on reading enough to play a VN, it's unlikely that you'll be able to focus on writing enough to complete and polish your own. It's a lot of work!

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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#7 Post by TheJerminator15 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:26 pm

It's not required, but I would highly suggest it.
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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#8 Post by ScarletKnives » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:20 am

I see

What VN is a good one to start? I will need to know how the storytelling and pacing is; as well as knowing how to do a common route and how to implement every girl route in it (and measuring how long it should be)

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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#9 Post by Imperf3kt » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:21 pm

If you want a suggestion for something that will give you a good idea of mechanics, I personally recommend Steins;Gate as a good starting point.
Its a bit different to typical VNs in regards to how to reach the True End, but the rest of the story has excellent pacing and knows when to switch from a sad atmosphere, to a happy one, even to a full on despair-riddled scene - yes, that was a warning incase you cannot handle such themes.

It also switches between narrative styles quite well, ranging from the main character thinking to himself, to addressing others and even addressing the player - without breaking the fourth wall.


The genre you're probably looking for though, would probably be more akin to 'otome' style.
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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#10 Post by YossarianIII » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:07 pm

ScarletKnives wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:30 pm
But my real question is... it is a requisite to read a handful of VNs before doing one?

I actually think it might be more beneficial to read a bunch of VNs AFTER you've made a short project (or at least played around with Ren'Py a bit).

Trying to learn from someone else's VN can be overwhelming if you don't know anything about Ren'Py. But if you've got even a little experience with Ren'Py, you'll be able to look at other VNs a lot more analytically because you'll have a general idea of how things work.

That said, it certainly won't hurt to play some before you start to see what type of stories you prefer and get some inspiration.


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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#11 Post by Sleepy » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:45 pm

It's like writing and reading, really. Yes you can write without reading but reading gives you a greater understanding of what's out there and helps you improve what you do. Same with VNs.
ScarletKnives wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:20 am
I see

What VN is a good one to start? I will need to know how the storytelling and pacing is; as well as knowing how to do a common route and how to implement every girl route in it (and measuring how long it should be)
There's tons of VNs with romance routes so it's hard to just rec one. Are you doing a fantasy? An escape room horror? A typical high school story? Long or short? Honestly, I'd say look around a bit and pick appeals to you or resembles the type of story you want to tell, but I agree that otomes work as a nice intro too if you find one that fits what you're looking to do. Otherwise, I'd rec something like Katawa no Shojo, since it's free and has lot of familiar tropes/pacing.

On Steins;Gate, I rec it as a fantastic VN but to see how it ties girls to a route, not so much. There's endings associated with girls but they're more like divergences from the true ending path.
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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#12 Post by ScarletKnives » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:40 pm

Sleepy wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:45 pm
It's like writing and reading, really. Yes you can write without reading but reading gives you a greater understanding of what's out there and helps you improve what you do. Same with VNs.
ScarletKnives wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:20 am
I see

What VN is a good one to start? I will need to know how the storytelling and pacing is; as well as knowing how to do a common route and how to implement every girl route in it (and measuring how long it should be)
There's tons of VNs with romance routes so it's hard to just rec one. Are you doing a fantasy? An escape room horror? A typical high school story? Long or short? Honestly, I'd say look around a bit and pick appeals to you or resembles the type of story you want to tell, but I agree that otomes work as a nice intro too if you find one that fits what you're looking to do. Otherwise, I'd rec something like Katawa no Shojo, since it's free and has lot of familiar tropes/pacing.

On Steins;Gate, I rec it as a fantastic VN but to see how it ties girls to a route, not so much. There's endings associated with girls but they're more like divergences from the true ending path.
Oh, I will take that suggestion in account :3

As for Otomes... I fear it will not be my cup of tea... since I'm a male XD

And I have on mind a High School setting; but as another recommendation above said; it may be better if I fiddle-diddle with some short project before going with this one... and I dont really know what to make out for that XD

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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#13 Post by sasquatchii » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:41 pm

There's no requirement or rule anywhere that says you have to have read multiple VNs before you create your own.

But I think that would be a bit like trying to write a novel when you've only ever read one book. Or trying to shoot your own movie when you've only ever seen one film.

If you're dead set on creating your own visual novel anyways and you just want to jump right in, I would strongly recommend doing a very small project - you'd be surprised at how long even short visual novels can take to create. There are so many moving parts that come with creating visual novels, even though at a glance they seem relatively simple or easy to make.

Also, I would question why the visual novels you are playing are boring you? What kinds of VNs are they? What genre? If the VNs you are playing are boring to you, maybe you should look around online for suggestions of truly good VNs to play that might match your tastes (or you could even ask us for recommendations).
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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#14 Post by Alhia » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:43 pm

I'd say yes and no. I actually find it interesting to jot down ideas (or make a very small project?) before being immersed in the standards of the genre !

That being said, yes, if you're already settled on an idea for a VN, it could be a good idea to see what others have made in that field? As others have said it will allow you to see which solutions developers have already come up for problems you'll probably encounter. And if you've started designing or coding it might actually make even more sense. I remember playing games and, several months later, having an "eureka" moment, finally understanding why this or that game was made that way.

But it all depends on your goals really. If you want to have fun and really don't want to bother with playing other VN, well why not! Have fun creating, and you'll soon realize if you'll actually have to research more for your needs.

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Re: It is needed to read some VNs before creating your own one?

#15 Post by puffinlady » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:19 am

Personally, I think it's definitely important that you know about the history of VNs and read at least a couple of famous ones. ONE ~Kagayaku Kisetsu E~, Fate/stay night, Planetarian, and the When They Cry series (which you already know) are some important ones. You should also check out famous VNs that are in your target genre. Thankfully, most VNs are heroine route VNs, such as Grisaia no Kajitsu, Da Capo and related entries, ef - a fairy tale of the two., and Flyable Heart.

Through this, you can learn first-hand about how a VN is typically structured, the different types of choice systems, how to design your GUI and whether to use NVL or ADV, how much music and sound effects to use, and how to properly time and utilize CGs and sprites. You will also learn how the "show not tell" writing rule encompasses more than just character development and characterization in VNs, as it can get incredibly literal since there's already basic visual representations of your cast and locations.

Aside from reading VNs, it's also important that you know at least a little technical and structural terminology. You can easily look up definitions of lots of VN-specific things on the Visual Novel Database's Tags page. Check out the "Plot" and "Style" categories for the important stuff.

Finally, since you're writing a standard heroine route VN, here's a few more suggestions if you've got the time/attention span: G Senjou no Maou, Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo, MajiKoi, CLANNAD, and Little Busters.

If you're focusing on a more lighthearted romance story, I recommend you put your time into Flyable Heart and the Da Capo series. For more drama, I recommend Sharin no Kuni, anything by Key (CLANNAD, Little Busters), and ef. And for more cool action and drama, definitely focus on Majikoi, Grisaia and G Senjou no Maou.

Don't be afraid to take out the parts of the VNs you don't like that you might see a lot in these entries. It's not required to have long, boring common route filler that doesn't seem to add anything or advance the plot, nor do you have to have Tons and Tons Of Choices. For beginners, it's definitely a good idea to go with a choice system like Grisaia's, where one choice either leads you to the heroine route or doesn't, and then there's another single choice in the route that either leads you to the bad ending or doesn't. Otherwise, you might end up with a messy structure (like how Da Capo's admittedly is). There's no need to have a true route (especially if it doesn't fit in with the narrative). And you certainly don't need to put in erotic scenes!

There's plenty of other advice I could give, but I'm afraid this post is getting too long, so to keep it short, you should also make sure you know the basics of writing and read a couple of traditional novels too, and watch/read a few things in a more visual medium to know some visual cue & tonal tricks. That's it!
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