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Question about CG's

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:15 pm
by Chimaera9
Hello, I'm new to the forums. I've been working on a visual novel and have about 65% of the script finished so far. I'm working with artists on backgrounds and sprites, but I also want to put some CG's in the game for players to unlock as they play.

My question is: What are the best types of events to have a CG for? I know they're supposed to be memorable events or significant plot points in the story, but I'm trying to get a better sense of that. What CG's have you liked the most and why, or what did you dislike about some CG's?

Re: Question about CG's

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:31 pm
by parttimestorier
I'd say that it makes sense to have a CG if what's happening in the story can't be conveyed with just sprites moving around and changing expressions. For example, if there's an action scene or something, it's way better to see a CG of the characters fighting than to just see the normal sprites or background while the narration describes it. Or if it's a romance story, I always like to see a nice CG of the couple's first kiss. Also, if there are multiple endings, a lot of VNs will have a unique CG for each ending. It makes for a nice image to conclude the story on, and it's also a good measure of your progress if you're trying to 100% the VN - if you look in the CG gallery and see that there are three locked CGs toward the end, you can guess you might have three more endings to find.

One thing I've seen some CGs do that I don't like usually happens in VNs with kind of a blank slate, self-insert protagonist. It seems to be pretty common that when that protagonist appears in a CG, part of his face will be cut off or in shadow. I guess it's so that people can keep imagining the protagonist as themselves if they want to, but I personally always think it looks weird and distracting.

Re: Question about CG's

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 3:34 am
by Chimaera9
Thanks for your thoughts on this, it was really helpful and you gave me some ideas. I was planning to have a CG at the end, but there are a few different endings so I do agree that I need to have distinctly different CG's to earn. Action scenes was not something I thought of doing, and that makes perfect sense. Having a gallery with locked CG's is definitely a good way to encourage more playthroughs, so I'll see what I can do for that.

I agree with you about the faceless protagonist in the shadows thing--it would be weird and distracting. Thankfully, my game has a named, established protagonist with his own sprite, so it won't be an issue :)

I wonder if a CG would be good for new main character arrivals? Also, I'm not sure how to segue into a CG exactly--do they dissolve in with music, or just cut to them?
Thanks for your feedback!

Re: Question about CG's

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:32 am
by Mammon
When to use CGs? As little as possible. Try to avoid CGs whenever and wherever you can, because this is still your first project. Do not underestimate how much work they can be. People easily forget counting out how much CG-requiring moments they're actually putting in a script, and end up with 30 of them. Saying that there has to be a CG for the first kiss and one for every ending, sure, but then you've got 6 LI's each with three ends and now you've already got 24 CGs not counting the rest you were planning.

What's the most important part of the paragraph above? Because it's not to clear I'll say it again: This is still your first project. That should be the biggest factor here; you simply haven't experienced how difficult it can be to make CGs. How you may have to make a BG for every one AND be able to replicate the sprites you made recogniseable enough but in different poses AND create some dynamic AND somehow convey a whole scene rather than a single action with the CG so that it won't be gone in three sentences AND deal with things like perspective now AND do that for something you need rather than something you can freely shape yourself based upon artistic preference. Be sure you know how difficult CGs can be before you start committing to them.

And really try to count out your CGs and keep this number as low as possible. Ask yourself if it's really necessary to have a CG for that scene, even if it means rewriting the scene to be a bit less dramatic and dynamic. Ask yourself if you really need a kissing CG for each LI, and if this is feasible. Ask yourself if you can reuse a CG, I know that readers find this lazy but for developers it's only a realistic necessity. And remember that CGs just like any other part of a first project can be the overburdening task that can see to the project never reaching the light of day.

Re: Question about CG's

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 8:05 am
by arty
Possibly unpopular opinion ahead.

My answer to your question is: as many as possible.
I think there's no such thing as too many CGs. I don't think people will get tired of seeing them. If anything, you'll probably spoil them.

Two things to consider:
  1. If you're not doing them yourself, you need to consider how many you can afford.
  2. If you're doing them yourself, you need to consider how many you can manage to draw.
Since you're apparently a member of group 1, assuming you have to pay your artists, it's all a matter of how much money you're willing/able to spend. Maybe I'm just an outlier, but I'm an artist, so I had the means to include as many CGs as I wanted to. I ended up drawing 12 background images - and about 60 CGs. Excessive? Maybe. Especially for a story that has like three main characters and two and a half endings.

But static backgrounds and sprites just didn't do it for me, or my story. Anything that I couldn't properly show through static backgrounds and static sprites, I made a CG for. And there was a lot of those moments throughout the whole story.

Let's be honest - basically, the typical Visual Novels are just an image slideshow with some music and text. (Stop booing me, I'm right...) You're gonna write thousands of words of text, so why are you going to put less effort into the images? They're at least as important as the text. You should of course economize since I assume you want to finish the game before you're 90 years old, but you shouldn't cheap out.

So in the end, I guess the real questions are:
What do you want to be looking at, when you finished the game and released it? Do you want to create "just another" VN, or do you want to create something memorable? Think about that. The only one who can answer these questions for you is yourself.


Re: Question about CG's

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:36 pm
by Chimaera9
Thanks arty, it must be nice to be able to produce so many CG's for your project! I am a decent artist, but not enough so that I'd want to be making the CG's for my game, so I'm hiring artists and that of course can get expensive. That's why I'm trying to figure out the ideal situations for a CG.

My original question was about what events were the best for a CG? And also, what CG's have you liked the most and why, or what did you dislike about some CG's?

Events I thought would be good are:
1. Arrival of a new, important character
2. Any romantic scenes
3. Big action scenes
4. Plot changing moments

Scenes I'm not too sure about:
1. Death scenes
2. Time-passes place-holders
3.Game over/ failure


Re: Question about CG's

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:20 pm
by puppetbomb
If you're not sure where to place CGs, referencing popular visual novels and game cutscenes is a good place to start.

Another option to consider is a special sprite. If you're using the same person for sprites and CGs, it may be a more budget-friendly alternative.

Re: Question about CG's

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:59 pm
by Chimaera9
Thanks, I've looked at a few visual novels so far for ideas, and it has helped some, but it seems inconsistent and difficult to quantify in some situations.
As for my artists and CG, unfortunately my character artist and CG artist are different, and their styles are different enough that I don't think the sprites would blend entirely.

I appreciate the input, thanks!