Benefits of Visual Novels?

A place to discuss things that aren't specific to any one creator or game.
Forum rules
Ren'Py specific questions should be posted in the Ren'Py Questions and Annoucements forum, not here.
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:49 pm

Benefits of Visual Novels?

#1 Post by Rouki » Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:33 pm

I've created stories since I was very young but none of then came out of paper. Since 2016, I've been trying to improve my artistic and narrative skills to finally start and finish a project, but I'm not sure about the best "format" to publish my story. I've searched and concluded that in my case, I have options to create either a Comic, a RPG Maker or, of course, a Visual Novel.

>I don't think my art is consistent enough to create a comic, I'm not so confortable on making one;
>I'm a big fan of RPG Horror games, Mad Father, Ib, Corpse Party, AliceMare; I just love these styles of games, but I don't think they're popular nowadays.
>I'm probably going to make a Visual Novel, since you use a lot artistic skills and can make multiple routes (so the player can be part of the story and not just sitting and watching/reading it).

So, I ask you, creator: Why do you choose a Visual Novel format to create you story? Why not a comic, a game, a book, or any other format? What are the pros and cons? Or it doesn't really matter as long as you're working hard on it?

(First time posting here, also not a english speaker but I hope you can understand me.)

User avatar
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 2714
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:05 am
Location: Your monitor

Re: Benefits of Visual Novels?

#2 Post by Imperf3kt » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:06 pm

Well, I chose to use the Visual Novel format for my few projects simply because I like Visual Novels. I can't really draw too good, but to me the art is secondary. Some imperfections and flaws give it character. You can't do that in a comic, it doesn't seem okay, to me.

I don't like RPGs, or rather, I'm tired of RPGs.
Having spent the better part of my teenagehood playing mostly RPGs, they're all the damn same to me now. 'travel for 15 minutes, grind for 30 minutes, loot for 5 minutes, explore for 50 minutes, looting random crap along the way,...'

I don't know, they're just... boring.

A visual novel, however, can be vastly different. I find VNs far more entertaining and less of a chore to play through.
This also suits my story well, as while I was writing it, I wrote several versions, indecisive about which to use. With a visual novel, I can use all of them!
Warning: May contain trace amounts of gratuitous plot.
pro·gram·mer (noun) An organism capable of converting caffeine into code.

Todo list:
Actually finish a project

User avatar
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:28 pm
Completed: Sylvan Disappearance, Upon a Darkening Flood
Projects: Something Umineko-related
Tumblr: rastagong-tearoom
itch: rastagong

Re: Benefits of Visual Novels?

#3 Post by Rastagong » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:43 pm

I'm into VNs for the engaging presentation!

I used to be very interested in pure text, parser-based interactive fiction (and to some extent in Twine games too).
But then I started reading visual novels, and realised I wasn't so interested in choices per se, but rather in immersion, first-person perspectives, and in interesting ways to present stories through music, sounds and visuals. VNs are a particularly good fit for these kinds of stories, and also for certain genres like horror and mystery.

As a result, I tend to write fairly linear stories, though I don't put much emphasis on animations, sprites and CGs —mostly by financial constraint, but more simply because I don't have a good visual sense to begin with. So I tend to focus on the text and on the general atmosphere of the story through music, sounds, and styling.

I also used to be very interested in RPG Maker/pixel horror games! I still am in a way.
(And as a side note, I'd say they are still fairly popular? It's true they rarely get major media attention as certain VNs do, but they do seem to have an active comunity of fans and devs. There's a fairly regular flow of new games being made in the genre that sound lovely, and that I'm really interested in playing!)

But what I'm missing the most in VNs is a sense of place from the point of view of the player. You get such a sense extremely well in RPG Maker games, due to the exploration of 2D spaces, but also in parser-based interactive fiction, where many stories rely on spatial exploration.
(Of course, there are a number of VNs with exploratory segments, and also VNs which describe their settings at length and really well… but it's always a bit different from the sense of self-discovery in a game.)

Overall, I still find VNs to be a very interesting format to tell stories!
If you come from a RPG Maker background, I think you may like them a great deal, if only for the possibilities to build atmosphere through writing!
Craving for a slightly historical mystery VN with an unusual presentation? Some amount of psychological or folk horror? A bit of weirdness? I got you covered.

User avatar
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 3617
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:33 pm
Projects: A Close Shave
Location: Medford, MA

Re: Benefits of Visual Novels?

#4 Post by trooper6 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:32 pm

You asked:
Why do you choose a Visual Novel format to create you story? Why not a comic, a game, a book, or any other format?
I want to say that for me, a visual novel is a video game. Interactive Fiction, for me, are also video games. So, for me, the question is: why visual novel video game rather than a book or a comic book?

The answer is simple—I want to make a game. Comic books and novels are not interactive and I want to create an interactive game. And I want to do fun things with audio.Also, I’m interested in exploring the relationship between the player and the MC and issues of control. So, visual novels seem like a no-brained for me.

Note: I’m not talking about kinetic novels that don’t have choice.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: ... 51&t=21978

User avatar
Posts: 61
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:50 pm
Projects: King of the Cul-De-Sac
Deviantart: vimislikart
itch: vimislikart
Location: Rochester, NY

Re: Benefits of Visual Novels?

#5 Post by VimislikArt » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:27 pm

For me personally, the VN format gives me certain benefits I can't get from producing a story as a comic:
  • Sprite/background production where I can reuse assets without it looking like I'm just being lazy.
  • Branching paths so I can pump out lots of weird ideas I have without making the story 4 times as long, and encouraging re-readability.
  • The digital format lets me play with different user interaction methods - have little interactable baubles or simple puzzles the reader interacts with to continue the story, instead of just scrolling or clicking.
Check out my VN, King of the Cul-De-Sac, currently in beta production! Try the demo HERE!

Posts: 169
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:05 pm
Completed: Jake's Love Story, NEKOKORO
Projects: Courage for a Kiss
Deviantart: mikolajspy
Location: Wrocław, Poland

Re: Benefits of Visual Novels?

#6 Post by mikolajspy » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:28 am

I've been trying to make games for years, 3D ones (RPGs, story-driven shooters etc.), but all those game were very hard to make.
I never was a fan of RPG-Maker clones or pixel art games, I think the market is oversaturated with them and they all look the same. Then I found Visual Novels!

For me, benefits are:
- With good management, they are relatively cheap to make, while keeping rather decent quality and don't feel like another clone game
- As others mentioned - you can focus on story and even alternative chains of events, which might be hard to do in "normal" game
- Story is the main part of the game, so you rarely have players, who will skip what you wrote only to beat the game (go there, kill X, bring Y).
- VN devs and player community is usually very friendly, compared to "average game" toxicity.
- It's a video game of sorts, so releasing it is not hard and you don't need a publisher or even forming a company (but check your country laws etc.).

Why not comic? I can't draw as good to make one, and I definitely can't afford hiring an artist - besides there's issue with marketing etc.
Why not book? While I'm confident in writing, making it reach the audience is problematic - self publishing is close to impossible, and finidng publisher is also not easy.

User avatar
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 712
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 3:09 pm
Completed: Pervert&Yandere, Stalker&Yandere
Projects: Roses Of The Thorn Prince

Re: Benefits of Visual Novels?

#7 Post by Mammon » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:37 am


a comic requires both good and consistent but also continuously making art. I don't make a comic because art isn't my main goal or interest, with writing being the secondary skill. Not to mention, what I can draw consistently doesn't look too great.

With RPGs it's probably also a pretty big factor that there's no free engine for it out there, as there is Ren'py for VNs. It's not the only one, but when you're just trying things out and experimenting it can be the deciding factor. Add how RPG is a bit more reliant on the assets you already have, map designing and coding, pixel art and generally just being something that either has combat&grinding or is just (potentially horror) walking around and seeing the plot happen. It's a lot more coding, at least from the outside, and a lot more forceful for beginners in what to do and what they can do.

Games are just incredibly difficult, or the game itself is simple. But that's all programming at the base, before you can start with the plot. So, meh.

Books, that's probably the most appealing alternative to me. A much bigger market, no need for CGs and BGs to make, virtually no coding. But, for the time being I'm still sticking with VNs just cause.

With visual novels, you can give personality to your characters by making them appear and move around while wearing certain expressions. You can make backgrounds or CGs that show what you cannot describe in words (without bogging the story down) and you can add background music of your choice to the chapters that the reader shall be reading. Those are all pros to the VN over the novel. Also, you can add anime tropes and expect the reader to know what you mean, because VNs are intrinsically enwoven to that japanese culture.

Want some CC sprites?

User avatar
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 528
Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:40 am
Completed: Your Royal Gayness, Our War Everlasting, Love Bug
Organization: Lizard Hazard Games
Tumblr: lizardhazardgames
itch: aviala
Location: Finland

Re: Benefits of Visual Novels?

#8 Post by Aviala » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:31 pm

I make both comics and visual novels (though mine are usually visual novel hybrids with management elements or something) and I think different stories suit different mediums - or rather, the presentation affects how the customer experiences the story.

I'm currently releasing a DnD webcomic called Dear DnD Diary and it's a 3-panel comic that has a very clear rhythm to it: some scenes can be just one page long with the 1st panel being the introduction, the second panel the buildup and the third panel the punchline. Some scenes are longer than that, but the rhythm of the 3 panels per page affects the storytelling even inside a longer scene.

It's pretty much impossible to do something like that in a visual novel. Likewise, a lot of the storytelling in the comic relies on visual things like expressions, body language, etc and sometimes there are pages without any text at all. A lot of comedic moments are about the visual storytelling and timing.

But visual novels can do a lot of things a comic can't - interactivity being the main thing. For me and probably most other people it's also faster to make a long visual novel than a long comic. Additionally, I have wrist pains so drawing can't be my only job, so it's good to do writing and coding as well since they're a little less intense on my joints.

I love games and visual novels are my "gateway drug" to more complicated game dev. I like visual novels but I want to do other types of games too. Visual novels were the easiest to start making thanks to ren'py so that's why I'm a visual novel dev rather than someone who makes platformers or action games.

So basically, think about the story you want to tell and how different mediums would affect how it's presented. For example, if you want to make a very action-heavy story, a normal visual novel might not be the most exciting choice - a RPG or a comic might work better. Then again, if you're making a slice of life story that mostly consists of character dialogue, a visual novel seems like a good fit. Another thing that's worth thinking about is how you're going to monetize your story (assuming you're trying to be a professional artist or game dev). The way you make money from games is different from how you make money from comics.

User avatar
Posts: 471
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 10:06 pm
Organization: Metasepia Games
Deviantart: qirien
Github: qirien
itch: qirien
Location: New Mexico, USA

Re: Benefits of Visual Novels?

#9 Post by qirien » Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:33 am

I wrote a novel a few years ago and, while it was fun, I didn't really enjoy writing most of the prose! I love dialogue, which is where visual novels shine. It's also much easier to get an audience as an indie game maker than an indie writer. You actually need way less graphics assets for a visual novel than a comic book, but you can combine them and animate them in ways that still feel fresh and help tell the story.

And, of course, there's the interactive aspect -- making choices that affect the story. This lets you tell a different type of story than you can tell in non-interactive media. At their core, every visual novel has as part of the premise the theme that *your actions matter* (unless it's some sort of parody where no matter what action you take, the outcome is the same, but that's the exception rather than the rule). I love that theme and its multitude of variations.
Finished games:
In progress: Our Personal Space 2: Space to Grow

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users