More is Less - Is that always true?

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Eighteenth
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More is Less - Is that always true?

#1 Post by Eighteenth » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:07 pm

Hello everyone, I'm Eighteenth, an amateur at python and Ren'py brought by Doki Doki Literature Club!

I'm currently working on a mod for it, but in the middle of its development and writing, I caught myself thinking about something:

I wanted to give the game much more life, with brand new animations, new scenarios, characters, sounds and much more control over the choices the player would have.

The problem is that, I've seen people play the original game on Twitch, a lot of those streamers would skip pretty much all of the story to get to the tense parts because they knew the game would turn out to be messed up. (I'm not generalizing, just pointing out that those type of players exist)

As someone who really enjoyed the game and as a writer myself, that hurt a lot.

My question is: why bother implementing fancy stuff if that can make who's playing even less interested in the story being told?

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Re: More is Less - Is that always true?

#2 Post by Katy133 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:41 pm

One of my English teachers gave some useful advice on this subject. She said that "Your writing should be like a skirt: Short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject."

And I think stories are like that too. I like using brevity, but you need to give the audience enough information. You don't have to say "2 + 2 = 4," but you need to give them "2 and 2" (which will allow them to come to "4" on their own).

So, to give advice on your specific situation, I'd say that if you're going to put a "normal" prologue/opening before any "messed up" events, make those normal moments interesting. Imagine that your game has no messed up events at all, and that your game is 100% "normal" slice of life. Would it still be interesting? It probably should.

PS - Glad to hear Doki Doki Literature Club is bringing in new Ren'Py fans to this forum! Welcome! :) May I tentatively recommend checking out my 2016 game, [redacted] Life. It's got some similarities to DDLC.
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Re: More is Less - Is that always true?

#3 Post by Nighten » Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:09 am

I haven't much to add to Katy's point, which I totally agree.
Eighteenth wrote:The problem is that, I've seen people play the original game on Twitch, a lot of those streamers would skip pretty much all of the story to get to the tense parts because they knew the game would turn out to be messed up
If your story is interesting or not, this kind of player will not read your story anyway. Not everyone is interested in reading, it's normal, but you don't write for this kind of persons.
Write for the reader, and do your best to make your story enjoyable. Don't try to please everyone!
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Re: More is Less - Is that always true?

#4 Post by Rastagong » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:45 am

Yes, agreeing with the point above, streamers who are in for the shock value shouldn't limit you. They're a very specific type of players with a very limited relationship to games, but there are plenty of other readers who will appreciate your efforts in writing, imagination, and so on.

If anything, since you're modding DDLC, I'd say you should feel perfectly free to write as you like to. I'm sure many people will enjoy your take on the story, whatever it ends up being!
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Re: More is Less - Is that always true?

#5 Post by arty » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:00 am

Well I mean ... you can't please everyone. Some people will devour your writing and love every word, others will yawn and skip over it to get to the "interesting" parts. It's impossible to write a story that everyone will find interesting and worth their time. You should focus on what YOU enjoy reading/writing, and create that without bending it into a shape you believe others will like.

And to add a possibly unpopular opinion: I haven't played DDLC, but from reviews I've read about it I can sorta understand why people would skip to the twists. If you check out such reviews and try to understand why they thought that way (even if you don't agree personally!), you might be able to gain insights about how to get people more interested in the rest of the story.

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Re: More is Less - Is that always true?

#6 Post by Eighteenth » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:22 am

Thank you so much for your comments, I'm not used to actually share what I do with the public and things like that can make me really anxious in general, maybe with enough time, it that can go away or ease a bit.
Katy133 wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:41 pm
PS - Glad to hear Doki Doki Literature Club is bringing in new Ren'Py fans to this forum! Welcome! :) May I tentatively recommend checking out my 2016 game, [redacted] Life. It's got some similarities to DDLC.
Thank you for the comment, and by the way, I just downloaded the game to see what is all about!

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Re: More is Less - Is that always true?

#7 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:09 pm

arty wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:00 am
I haven't played DDLC, but from reviews I've read about it I can sorta understand why people would skip to the twists. If you check out such reviews and try to understand why they thought that way (even if you don't agree personally!), you might be able to gain insights about how to get people more interested in the rest of the story.
Doki Doki Literature Club kind of has / had a unique problem. Maximum effect is achieved when people think it is just a regular otome visual novel set in Japanese high school. But that is EXACTLY why myself and others skipped over and ignored it when it was released. We had no desire to play what looked like a vanilla otome that wasn't doing much particularly new.

You'll notice that Doki Doki Literature Club only blew up in popularity months after its release, based on the slow spread of word of mouth that it was 'something more than it seemed' and had 'a dark twist'. I certainly didn't play it until I knew that.

It also has a pretty slow and vanilla, almost purposefully generic beginning. (All done for effect.) I don't know that I would have stuck with it after the first couple of hours if I didn't have the fore-knowledge that something weird and dark was coming down the pipeline. Dan Salvato had to walk a tight rope between being slow enough with the buildup to put you at ease and set the scene, and fast enough to keep players around until the true purpose of the game becomes apparent. That magical zone of attention span is going to vary from person to person.

As far as the Youtubers and Twitch gamers skipping over a lot of the opening and starting story - keep in mind that they need to retain viewers to make money, and visual novels already aren't super conducive to that purpose. A Twitch streamer is going to have to convince his viewers to stick around for 2-3 hours of watching or listening to them read before they get to the part that will enthrall people. Of course they are going to skip through a lot of that. It's just reality.

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Re: More is Less - Is that always true?

#8 Post by Shoko » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:50 am

No offence, but I skipped through a lot of the story in DDLC because it was extremely boring to read. The first day makes the "generic school club" scenario pretty clear, yet it drolls on with some incredibly dull character building for a while before the twist. Even if it's "on purpose," boring, predictable writing is boring. So focus on writing a story you find interesting first and foremost.

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Re: More is Less - Is that always true?

#9 Post by trooper6 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:59 am

I’m a streamer...and I did stream DDLC. Now I didn’t skip over anything. I did it all slow and deliberate. I also had a roundtable after I finished the game with two other streamers to discuss and analyze the game. BUT! My whole brand is that I’m a nerdy intellectual who analyzes media. So the viewers I have expect I’m going to take time. I also have done quite a few visual novels or other reading heavy games...so they aren’t going to be surprised by that either. They also sat with me for 201 hours of Dragon Age: Inquisition.

But you know...I don’t have a huge audience. I’m affiliated, but my style of streaming is not going to be super huge and I don’t think if I were a streamer who needed streaming as my income or who really were chasing more views so I could be partnered I would be streaming the way I currently do.

It is also important to note that streaming a video game isn’t just playing a video game on stream, it is providing entertainment to an audience. Streaming is a performance. So it isn’t completely indicative of what a non-streaming gamer would do. I would probably have finished Dragon Age: Inquisition much faster than 200 hours is I weren’t streaming for example.
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