Proper use of the {w} tag in visual novels.

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Re: Proper use of the {w} tag in visual novels.

#16 Post by MI_Buddy » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:38 pm

I try to look at how it will sound in the reader's head, so I have a ton of {w} tags, but timed. I'm a big fan of the Paper Mario and LOVE the way the pacing of the dialogue effects the reading of it (example here, I recommend muting though); even though most characters in the games only have 1 or 2 sprite emotions, you can get a lot just off the dialogue speed and pauses.

It's not technically {w} tags because I'm using another engine, but I have timed pauses after , . : - ? ! and other punctuation (shorter, obviously, for commas than periods). For me at least, having it somewhat match conversation time helps me read it like a conversation, and it feels more real to me.

I am uncertain how I feel about {w} in the middle of text if it's not timed. What bothers me personally, is that when I'm clicking, I want to be sure of the result, and with too many {w} tags I'll start to wonder if clicking will either:

1. Finish showing the current text
2. Show another block of text
3. Add more text

And I want to be confident which one will happen so I don't accidentally skip text when I want to look it over again. And though it feels like a picky thing, I want my eye to naturally move along with the text, and when clicking with plenty of {w} tags I often find I'm looking in the wrong place (at the beginning of the textbox) when text starts appending and it bugs me.

IMO, the problem of visual and kinetic novels feeling slow has never been because of {w} tags though, but too much time spent on details I'm not interested in as a reader, or repeating character thoughts over and over. I don't remember Higurashi's {w} mid-way through text blocks bugging me, but I had it on auto most of the time so I don't think I would've noticed it at all. I loved it, but IMO there was way too much internal monologue (at least in When They Cry, I still haven't checked out the later parts but I want to).

Psychologically, I wonder if there's a difference too depending on dialogue vs internal monologue vs descriptive text. Dialogue has a pacing; internal monologue and description have a flow as a reader, but in the story's world is generally effectively instant.

@arty I like the thought of using them for surprise twists though!
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Re: Proper use of the {w} tag in visual novels.

#17 Post by dGameBoy101b » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:07 am

As a player:
I get pretty annoyed, and sometimes confused, when the wait tag is abused or over-used (especially when no timer is set). Sometimes it unnecessarily breaks the flow, and hence immersion, of the story when ill timed with image changes and music shifts. I appreciate its use in building tension for a twist but I generally dislike it being used to emulate "natural" speach as this is best done with voice acting not writing. I believe the best time to use it is when something on-screen changes but that change is still relevent to the text previous to the wait tag such that you wouldn't want to remove that text by using a new say statement. In regards to its use to add enforced pauses for punctuation, as an experienced and dramatic reader, I generally add those pauses myself and find the enforced waiting needless.

As a developer:
I generally prefer to use the "extend" character to add player interactions between dialogue in the same dialogue box rather than the wait tag as the wait tag is ignored by rollback while the extend character is not. However, I do use the wait tag with a timer set and the no wait tag to create short cutscenes that need more predictable pacing for the movement of images and changes to music.

I also think it is very important to consider a player's set text speed when you are controlling pace. Since a players experience of pacing is relative to their reading speed, if set to an absolute time using a wait tag, a pause in dialogue can be considered slow to a fast reader yet fast to a slow reader at the same time. This also makes it important to set the default text speed to indicate the reading speed at which you mainly considered pacing for the visual novel as a suggestion.

Finally, commenting on a few other things mentioned:
ChroniclerOfLegends wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:05 pm
is there any setting where the waits can be used, but the user clicking once goes ahead and displays all of the text, skipping any {w} that it may encounter?
By default, there is no setting to automatically skip all wait tags in a block of text but a custom conditional wait tag can be added by a developer that will have no effect if a particular setting is set to true.
papillon wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:00 pm
I can't just wait and see because it's not always clear if the current pause is a brief pause or an end-of-dialog-box pause.
The end of a dialogue box can be indicated by the implementation of a click to continue symbol.

I think NVL mode should, generally, only be used to display a lot of text in the one dialogue box to create a tale-telling atmosphere.

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