About the Main Character

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
Message
Author
Pyre Sieg
Newbie
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:17 pm
Projects: Untitled (2% progress)
Location: in the land of lolcats, under da bukkit
Contact:

About the Main Character

#1 Post by Pyre Sieg » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:41 pm

Uh, hi. I was following with this forum as a lurker for quite some time and became interested in creating games through Ren'py for quite some time. I tried to work on a game myself, but I am in need of a bit of help.

....

....No, I don't mean help on a game :oops: I probably won't ask for help on it until I get decent progress..., but more like some detailed input. I've been looking through a lot of the questions in the forum on my own for some time now, but I am not sure if this was asked before. If it was, or if there are topics with answers you feel will help, by all means, I'd love to see them.

The question I wanted to ask regards main characters. While working on a rough draft I had, I was originally going to write a Pick Your Own adventure game staring the player as the main character. However, after seeing a lot of other games both from other game makers here and otherwise, I began to wonder more about what kind of things do players expect from their main character?

I guess, to make the question clearer, I am asking whether or not you, as a player, like playing as either a character you completely make up in the game, or do you mind playing as a character that had already been pre-made for you?
Do you want to see more games offer the option of letting you customize your main character?
Do you get urked when you see a main character already made for you besides (maybe) their name?
Is it the other way around?
Do you care if the custom character has any pros and cons depending on how you make them?
Do you get annoyed when something you make technically breaks canon rules but doesn't seem to go noticed? (For example, in a game where there are werewolves and vampires, and you create a character whom is a vampire, the fact that your character is never discriminated against by other werewolf characters is a matter that will never be brought up in the game).

I would elaborate more on what I mean if you all would like, but be forewarned that I tend to make posts that are... Um... :oops: pretty long. to put it lightly...

User avatar
Tsundere Lightning
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 910
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 4:30 pm
Projects: And plenty of them!
Location: Creche Alpha, Treasure Island
Contact:

Re: About the Main Character

#2 Post by Tsundere Lightning » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:51 pm

What we expect is far less important than what your story needs.

That being said... the main character should be intelligent and personable enough that we can empathize. We don't have to agree with or even like the MC, but we should understand it.
She's sun and rain: She's fire and ice. A little crazy, but it's nice.
Bliss Stage: Love is your weapon! A sci-fi visual novel about child soldiers coming of age. Kickstarter prerelease here. WIP thread here. Original tabletop game by Ben Lehman here. Tumblr here.

User avatar
Deji
Cheer Idol; Not Great at Secret Identities
Posts: 1592
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:38 pm
Projects: http://bit.ly/2lieZsA
Organization: Sakevisual, Apple Cider, Mystery Parfait
Tumblr: DejiNyucu
Deviantart: DejiNyucu
Location: Chile
Contact:

Re: About the Main Character

#3 Post by Deji » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:54 pm

I think this has been asked already, but my search-fu isn't very good D:

Do you want to see more games offer the option of letting you customize your main character?
I like customizable main characters, but I realize they're a pain to put on the Event CGs, if there's any >>; Now if, there's none, then sure! Yay for customizing your character *_*!

Do you get urked when you see a main character already made for you besides (maybe) their name?
Nope. I just assume I'm just controlling the actions of the main character, that in this case is not me, but a well defined character. And that's ok with me, as long as, like TL said before me, the main character makes sense in their thoughts and actions~

Is it the other way around?
I assume that if I'm allowed to customize the character a lot is because the game-maker wants me to experience the game from my (or my character's) PoV, so it's ok xD;

Do you care if the custom character has any pros and cons depending on how you make them?
As long as all the combinations have pros/cons, it's ok with me. It'd be unfair to me to have the combination I like to be more flawed compared to others for any reason D:

Do you get annoyed when something you make technically breaks canon rules but doesn't seem to go noticed?
Yes. I like the game-universe to make sense, including my main character! You shouldn't allow this to happen in the first place >O
Image
Tumblr | Twitter
Forever busy :')
When drawing something, anything, USE REFERENCES!! Use your Google-fu!
Don't trust your memory, and don't blindly trust what others teach you either.
Research, observation, analysis, experimentation and practice are the key! (:

Pyre Sieg
Newbie
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:17 pm
Projects: Untitled (2% progress)
Location: in the land of lolcats, under da bukkit
Contact:

Re: About the Main Character

#4 Post by Pyre Sieg » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:10 pm

Ah, great, thanks for the feedback so far. :P

Another question is that if the game allows customization, would you expect more from the story as far as making these changes important? As in the options you are allowed to have to customize a character are not just cosmetic?

For example, if the story was written in a sense that it could branch off depending on, say, what species you decide your character should be, would you expect more of a significance in your choices, or do you really care if the dialogue seen in a game was more or less copy and pasted save for replacing "wizard" with "ninja" when they mention your class/race/etc.

Also, do you prefer games that let you customize or games where the character is pre-set for you (with or without a customized name), and also where do you make an exception of the rule and where do you draw the line?

User avatar
DarknEvilShadow
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:25 pm
Projects: A small visual novel.
Contact:

Re: About the Main Character

#5 Post by DarknEvilShadow » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:17 am

Another question is that if the game allows customization, would you expect more from the story as far as making these changes important? As in the options you are allowed to have to customize a character are not just cosmetic?

For me, it depends on how it will affect the story. Let's say I choose to be an Elf rather than a Human. At a certain point, I get to enter a forest because I'm an Elf, but if I were a Human, I would not be able to. It would be at this point, that you would, as the writer/developer, to decide if it branches back in, or branches back out. In the case that it branches back in, I don't think it's too big of a significance. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the little differences as well, but wouldn't you be slightly annoyed to replay the same game again, only to have less/more detours?
In the case that your story branches out because of your choice, then I'd say that it would be an extreme significance, considering how it is affecting the story path.
Also, do you prefer games that let you customize or games where the character is pre-set for you (with or without a customized name), and also where do you make an exception of the rule and where do you draw the line?
Either way, I believe it works fine. It's just a matter of the way you present it and how you play it.
Ex.:
Final Fantasy. You usually play main characters, right? They're already pre-set for you, with their names and everything. All you're doing is playing through their story.
Usually when it comes to MMORPGS, the ability for you to do whatever you want and how to do it is how you play it. Your character isn't defined, only to the point with character stats/job.

See what I'm saying? You can do a good job both ways. It's just a matter of execution (and I suppose, what you want to play :D )
Ren'Py Student Level: 2

User avatar
LVUER
King of Lolies
Posts: 4538
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:57 pm
Completed: R.S.P
Location: Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
Contact:

Re: About the Main Character

#6 Post by LVUER » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:00 am

A little late... but better than nothing at all, I guess? So here's mine:

Q: I began to wonder more about what kind of things do players expect from their main character?
A: Depending on the game... Sometimes I want to be a character in that game, feeling that I am there. In some other game, I want to pretend that I am that character. In yet another game, I just want to enjoy the story and characters reaction.

Q: I guess, to make the question clearer, I am asking whether or not you, as a player, like playing as either a character you completely make up in the game, or do you mind playing as a character that had already been pre-made for you?
A: I don't mind and enjoy playing both of kind. Premade character let you feel the personality, story, and characters relationship better while Custom character let you immerse the world and your role in the story better.

Q: Do you want to see more games offer the option of letting you customize your main character?
A: Yes. The more the better. But please don't make all of them too complex. Sometimes I want to play simple games.

Q: Do you get urked when you see a main character already made for you besides (maybe) their name?
A: No. And that is the kind character that JRPG use, so it's natural for me. As long as the character is good-looking, nice/kind, and have something that will make us (player) like him/her... but also not too perfect (or it will be boring). And if that character have some unique potential to make him/her the protagonist, it's even better.

Q: Is it the other way around?

Q: Do you care if the custom character has any pros and cons depending on how you make them?
A: Yes, as long as it still within reasonable boundaries. Like balancing all characters with no character too strong or too weak.

Q: Do you get annoyed when something you make technically breaks canon rules but doesn't seem to go noticed? (For example, in a game where there are werewolves and vampires, and you create a character whom is a vampire, the fact that your character is never discriminated against by other werewolf characters is a matter that will never be brought up in the game).
A: Of course I am. If that happened, then what is the purpose of character creation? Is that purely just cosmetic? Then we should be able to change appearance on a whim/in an instant anytime

Q:Another question is that if the game allows customization, would you expect more from the story as far as making these changes important? As in the options you are allowed to have to customize a character are not just cosmetic?

For example, if the story was written in a sense that it could branch off depending on, say, what species you decide your character should be, would you expect more of a significance in your choices, or do you really care if the dialogue seen in a game was more or less copy and pasted save for replacing "wizard" with "ninja" when they mention your class/race/etc.

A: When I want to play complex/realistic game, then yes, I want that. FallOut2 is a good example. Let's say that if I'm evil, then most of my act will be evil. Civilian will be afraid of me. And all law enforcer will be chasing after me. And please don't make it so easy to turn my character into good guys (hint: Fable). Or if I'm an elf, human will hate me (or love me if I'm a cute elven girl ^_^ ). I could do magic easier than human. And so on...

Q: Also, do you prefer games that let you customize or games where the character is pre-set for you (with or without a customized name), and also where do you make an exception of the rule and where do you draw the line?
A: I want all of them, bit of both, or at the extreme sides of one. Actually it depend on my mood. If I want to play complex game, then I want to make my own character. And Preset character sometimes is more enjoyable, more simple to play, and easier to make (usually means better story/character relationship and development).

That's all I guess. I hope that could help you ^_^
"Double the princesses, quadruple the fun!" - Haken Browning (SRW-OG Endless Frontier)

DeviantArt Account
MoeToMecha Blog (under construction)
Lolicondria Blog (under construction) <- NSFW

User avatar
chronoluminaire
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1153
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2003 4:57 pm
Completed: Elven Relations, Cloud Fairy, When I Rule The World
Tumblr: alextfish
Skype: alextfish
Location: Cambridge, UK
Contact:

Re: About the Main Character

#7 Post by chronoluminaire » Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:14 am

For most visual novels, I prefer it if I have no "customisation" of the main character, particularly their appearance. Here's why: because it lets the author write a more complete story involving the character who I'm controlling than if they had to add little branches everywhere depending on whether the character's short or tall.

Story is one of the most important factors in whether a game's any good, and if the main character has no defined personality, then their story is less interesting. If you get to customise not just hair and eye colour but also preferred dress style, music genre, hobbies and favourite celebrity, then there's less constants for the author to depend on when writing the story.

Now if the author's put the time and effort in to write consistent, believable stories for each of the different character customisation efforts, then that's great. But if not, then either the story just doesn't touch on all those things, which is bad because it (a) makes the characterisation pointless and (b) means there are various subjects the author can't include in the scenes, or the story's inconsistent with your earlier choices, which is very bad.

If the customisation is completely unrelated to the story, but is just on the level of hair colour and coat colour, then that seems singularly pointless. I don't find myself watching Iron Man thinking "I can't identify with Tony Stark because his hair's that colour".
I released 3 VNs, many moons ago: Elven Relations (IntRenAiMo 2007), When I Rule The World (NaNoRenO 2005), and Cloud Fairy (the Cute Light & Fluffy Project, 2009).
More recently I designed the board game Steam Works (published in 2015), available from a local gaming store near you!

User avatar
Wintermoon
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 701
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 3:41 pm
Contact:

Re: About the Main Character

#8 Post by Wintermoon » Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:58 am

Every choice in a visual novel already customizes the main character. If the game asks you to choose between girl A and girl B, it's really asking if you want the main character to be the kind of guy who falls for girl A or the kind of guy who falls for girl B.

With that in mind, I think that making a bunch of explicit choices up-front is the least interesting way of customizing a character. Far better to customize your character by making in-character choices. Even RPGs are moving toward the in-character-choice model for character customization.

User avatar
Jake
Support Hero
Posts: 3826
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 7:28 pm
Contact:

Re: About the Main Character

#9 Post by Jake » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:15 am

Wintermoon wrote: With that in mind, I think that making a bunch of explicit choices up-front is the least interesting way of customizing a character.
In some ways, actually, I'd find that very interesting - answer a load of questions up-front, and the rest of the game is choiceless and just tells the story that happens when your protagonist is the character who answered that way to those questions. If you create an inquisitive character they get intrigued by the conspiracy going on behind the shadows and either get absorbed into it or bring it down depending on the other characteristics you've chosen; if you create a coaster playboy, they just take one of the conspirators out on a date and mess around with her, giving you a completely different story within the same overarching plot.

(Of course, it would suck from the point of view of the kind of player who hunts endings, since they'd be stuck reading the same story with only minor changes over and over again while they tweaked the character they start with to get to all the end-points.)
Server error: user 'Jake' not found

User avatar
LVUER
King of Lolies
Posts: 4538
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:57 pm
Completed: R.S.P
Location: Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
Contact:

Re: About the Main Character

#10 Post by LVUER » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:02 pm

Wintermoon wrote:Every choice in a visual novel already customizes the main character. If the game asks you to choose between girl A and girl B, it's really asking if you want the main character to be the kind of guy who falls for girl A or the kind of guy who falls for girl B.

With that in mind, I think that making a bunch of explicit choices up-front is the least interesting way of customizing a character. Far better to customize your character by making in-character choices. Even RPGs are moving toward the in-character-choice model for character customization.
Silent Hill Shattered Memories is a good example where you actually shape the main character in the beginning and along the way. (Almost) every little thing you do determine your (I mean the main character) personality.
(ex: lovely daddy, alcoholic, slut, or wicked).
And the rest characters (and the scenario) tags and changes along with your choices/personality ^_^ A nice game indeed...
"Double the princesses, quadruple the fun!" - Haken Browning (SRW-OG Endless Frontier)

DeviantArt Account
MoeToMecha Blog (under construction)
Lolicondria Blog (under construction) <- NSFW

User avatar
A Terrible Rabbit
Regular
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:51 pm
Projects: Kyuuketsuki BonBon
Contact:

Re: About the Main Character

#11 Post by A Terrible Rabbit » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:13 am

I think if your game is more about the people you meet and the world you see, then it's alright leave the main character a little wispy and let the player fill in the details. If you're going for a strong storyline as well as interaction with people, you'll probably need a more well-defined MC to hold up the plot.

Also, I definitely get miffed when a main character isn't subjected to the cannon rules. :D If you set up world rules and don't follow them, you might have accidentally made a Mary Sue!

User avatar
Tsundere Lightning
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 910
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 4:30 pm
Projects: And plenty of them!
Location: Creche Alpha, Treasure Island
Contact:

Re: About the Main Character

#12 Post by Tsundere Lightning » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:22 pm

I'm definitely in the "let their choices customize a defined character" camp. It's also fairly standard in visual novels.

While I like customization in the vein of Dragon Age, Baldurs Gate and the like, this is more because the focus in those games is on tactical combat. I would never have that many up-front choices in a game with more emphasis on storytelling.

Two games with good compromises between storytelling and tactical considerations:

Seiken Dentetsu 3 - you pick a main character and two allies from a group of 6 predefined characters, with different strengths and weaknesses. Each character's story of saving their people is canon, up to a point; after that, the main character goes on to save the world.

Kingdom Hearts - the sequence where you choose the blade, the shield or the wand as your strength is excellent shorthand for the tactics involved.
She's sun and rain: She's fire and ice. A little crazy, but it's nice.
Bliss Stage: Love is your weapon! A sci-fi visual novel about child soldiers coming of age. Kickstarter prerelease here. WIP thread here. Original tabletop game by Ben Lehman here. Tumblr here.

Coatl
Regular
Posts: 163
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:54 pm
Projects: Working Title (If I realese the Alpha before I give out a title I'll ask for opinions)
Location: Oakland, Ca
Contact:

Re: About the Main Character

#13 Post by Coatl » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:50 pm

I think if you can give us a choice on our actions that we want to make, that's customizable enough. I usually play these games for story, so I dont try playing romance VNs because I dont feel like a game is creative when it simply uses the romantic interest of the player as a route instead of using hundreds of other available factors.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: akhayashiii