Protagonist portraits: side image or a sprite like all other characters?

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nerupuff
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Protagonist portraits: side image or a sprite like all other characters?

#1 Post by nerupuff » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:53 am

Hi, everyone!

Just curious to see if anyone has any specific preferences when it comes to the location of the sprite/portrait of the main character of the VN/protagonist/character you play as. I've seen a lot of games do variations of these things, but the most common that I have noticed is the use of a side image on the lower left corner of the screen where the protagonist's bust-up sprite is located. It's also what I'm used to, so whenever I play a VN that has the main character among the sprites of the other characters, I'm surprised and sometimes I need the time to re-focus on the story again (it's just me, I read slow and like to take in things as I go).

I think any style would look good, honestly. I'm just wondering if others would like one over another. When I see side image sprites, I'm assured that whoever it is, they are the main character, whereas when I see the main character among the cast's sprites, I tend to process it as them having equal weight with each of the other characters, that the story focuses on a lot more than just the main character (sometimes, utilizing a 3rd person narration as well)

Do you think that each style leads to a certain effect? Thank you for your input!
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Re: Protagonist portraits: side image or a sprite like all other characters?

#2 Post by Katy133 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:36 pm

It depends on what effect you want to create, so looking at all the options will help you decide what to pick for a VN:

a) Sprite, no side image.
-Makes the "camera" more like that of a film or television series.
-The other character sprites will be looking directly at the protagonist's sprite.

b) Side image, no sprite.
-Makes the "camera" the protagonist's POV--we are literally viewing things from their eyes.
-The other character sprites will be looking directly at the camera.

c) Sprite and side image.
-Makes the "camera" more like that of a film or television series.
-The other character sprites will be looking directly at the protagonist's sprite.
-If the protagonist changes expressions, you will likely need to change both the sprite and the character portrait. Otherwise, there will be inconsistencies (the side image smiling while the sprite looks angry, etc).

d) Neither a sprite nor a side image.
-Makes the "camera" the protagonist's POV.
-The other character sprites will be looking directly at the camera.
-We can't see the protagonist, so the player can imagine what the player looks like.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Protagonist portraits: side image or a sprite like all other characters?

#3 Post by YuukiCrossPudding » Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:43 pm

Personally I prefer having a sprite portrait as a side image beside the textbox like most of VNs out there, but sometimes I do like when there's no image/no sprite representing the character we play as/perspective from because it felt like we're really playing as that person.

I think it depends on the story and game design, if the main character never shows up and suddenly pop out in a full body sprite like the rest of the other character sprites then it'll be a bit weird seeing the character we play showing up when at first the main character didn't show up.

But it'll be a good way to see what character we play as or who's person perspective we are reading/playing at the moment if we have some sort of signs, either using the side sprite or by describing it via the narration.

The downside of having all of the sprites (main character is amongst the casts) will be showing if the VN have many perspective or views on the story, so when it switched from A character to B character and the VN showing all of the sprite together (with the main chara sprite/the person we're playing as), we will be a bit confused if the game didn't tell us beforehand that it switched perspective/person we are playing as or use any differentiation between the main chara/our perspective at that moment and the other casts

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Re: Protagonist portraits: side image or a sprite like all other characters?

#4 Post by nerupuff » Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:20 am

Katy133 wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:36 pm
It depends on what effect you want to create, so looking at all the options will help you decide what to pick for a VN:

a) Sprite, no side image.
...
b) Side image, no sprite.
...
c) Sprite and side image.
...
d) Neither a sprite nor a side image.
...
Hope this helps!
Katy133, thanks! I didn't think there was more to it than just side-image and main sprite! :) The effects that you have mentioned for each of thee configurations make sense and definitely add more flavor to the type of storytelling one can go for when making their VN. I'll be sure to keep this in mind!
YuukiCrossPudding wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:43 pm
Personally I prefer having a sprite portrait as a side image beside the textbox like most of VNs out there, but sometimes I do like when there's no image/no sprite representing the character we play as/perspective from because it felt like we're really playing as that person.

I think it depends on the story and game design, if the main character never shows up and suddenly pop out in a full body sprite like the rest of the other character sprites then it'll be a bit weird seeing the character we play showing up when at first the main character didn't show up.
YuukiCrossPudding, thank you for sharing your thoughts about the way the sprites would affect the potential players when they're trying a VN for the first time. It's nice to know about other people and their preferences because I think it helps VN devs to consider these tiny details in what they want to have in their own games. We definitely share the same point of view, I also do prefer a sprite portrait as a side image, largely because that's what I'm used to seeing in a lot of VNs.

It also adds insight on game design itself, so thanks for replying!
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