Narration, Dialogue, and GUI Design

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Narration, Dialogue, and GUI Design

#1 Post by Morhighan » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:40 pm

In 2010-2011 I made a short amateur visual novel. The feedback that stood out to me was that someone had a strongly worded complaint that they could not tell the difference between the narration and dialogue, even with the character's name displayed above the text box. This issue haunted me for some time, making me change the way I design VN GUIs for my projects and projects belonging to others.
Basically, as a rule I break up text types thus:
-Dialogue, or text spoken by characters, uses an ADV style textbox.
-Narration, or descriptive, unspoken text uses a NVL style textbox.
I've used this method for some time without issue, but with a few recent projects I have received several complaints. I can understand where people are coming from for the most part. (Except for the people who think it's a bug? :lol: ) A lot of people say that it's distracting or hurts their eyes, switching between the ADV and NVL.
So I wanted to discuss GUI design in relation to the visual novel's text. What are you preferred ways of implementing this? I would love to see your examples.
I know some visual novels are purely one style text box or the other. Some use the mini portraits on the side of the textbox.
I would like to keep using the NVL and ADV, but I am willing to change the style to be easier on people's eyes. I just need to figure out how to do that and would love input.

I've attached samples of the GUI I requested for one of my projects.

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Re: Narration, Dialogue, and GUI Design

#2 Post by saetan » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:46 pm

I don't know if this is what you're looking for, OP. But, DDLC has narration as plain sentences and dialog in quotes.

[ Saetan thinks about what best to say. ]

[ "Hopefully this helps, OP!" ]

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Re: Narration, Dialogue, and GUI Design

#3 Post by mikolajspy » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:04 am

You can also try doing descriptions in italics in ADV, that's what I did and I didn't heard complaints yet.

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Re: Narration, Dialogue, and GUI Design

#4 Post by Draziya » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:46 am

I've been thinking this over a while. Figuring out the best way to display dialogue vs narration is one thing, but doing it in a way that incorporates both ADV and NVL?

In the end the only "solution" I can offer is having the ADV text box at the top of the screen, which is even less conventional. Still, it solves what I believe the issue is: players are used to looking at the bottom of the screen in ADV, and suddenly having to start from the top of the screen in NVL is distracting/hurts. And that problem there is why I can't figure out a compromise between the two.

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Re: Narration, Dialogue, and GUI Design

#5 Post by Imperf3kt » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:13 pm

Recently, I've seen spoken text presented between quotations.

"This line is dialogue."
This line is thoughts
[This line is narration]

Maybe you could incorporate a similar style.
Warning: May contain trace amounts of gratuitous plot.
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