About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

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Sapphi
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About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

#1 Post by Sapphi » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:45 am

I swear I saw this discussed somewhere before, but I can't seem to locate the thread now. ^_^;

Anyway, I'm not looking for an exact number, since I know everyone's reading speed is different. But, I'd like it if my (non-voiced)game was at least an hour long playthrough in most paths... Would anyone know approximately how many words or screens of dialogue that would be?
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Re: About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

#2 Post by Samu-kun » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:02 am

About 20 000-35 000 words, depending one your reader's read speed, I would guess. I've played a couple of games that I think were about 32 000 words in an hour, so I think 30 000 would be a good flat number to aim for.

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Re: About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

#3 Post by Mirage » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:27 am

^
That's lightning speed lol Are you sure that's average?

I consider mine average, and at best I could only read 15000-20000 words in an hour. (unless I am skip happy or don't pay attention to the story.) Plus I enjoy looking at visual changes during playing making reading speed slightly slower.

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Re: About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

#4 Post by IceD » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:54 am

Sapphi wrote:I swear I saw this discussed somewhere before, but I can't seem to locate the thread now. ^_^;
You've propably meant this one: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... =26&t=7989 Lazy, lazy :P
Samu-kun wrote:About 20 000-35 000 words, depending one your reader's read speed, I would guess. I've played a couple of games that I think were about 32 000 words in an hour, so I think 30 000 would be a good flat number to aim for.
Wow man, you read quick as lightning :D Just joking, but I think you exaggerated a bit with those numbers. An average person reads something around 200-250 words per minute, that gives us circa 120000-150000 words for a hour, while some people are able to read at faste rates, ranging up to 300 WPM (words per minute). Speedreaders read at various higher rates, ranging from 400 up to 800, while 1000 WPM is ought to be treated as an outstanding achievement. But for average people, it's hard to read faster than 250 words per minute because our comprehension rate lowers drastically. In my opinion, reading should be a pleasure, not a rushed thing; there's no reason to rush it.

As for the rest, I found an interesting article here: http://organisation341.wordpress.com/20 ... s-mediums/, along with a table full of wordcounts on various mediums. And it's right, that an average modern novel is somewhere around 80000-120000 words, with the shortest ones tend to be over 40-50k.

Sapphi - You shouldn't be concerned about the length, just write as much as you need. You can revise it later and if you'll need you can always cut on content, most of critical proofreading and revisions usually eat almost 30% of what you have written, so you really shouldn't be worrying about length, at least not now, especially if you're striving to finish your first complete work.

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Re: About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

#5 Post by Alessio » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:09 am

Here's an even older post on the topic: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 930#p21930
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Re: About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

#6 Post by Applegate » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:02 pm

Calmly reading with no intention to speed up, I finished a 2,400 word story in about seven minutes. Working from that, it means I'd read 300 words per minute when leisurely reading a good, easy-to-understand story, or 18.000 words per hour. Summarily I'd aim for 120 screens with 18.000 words assuming NVL if your ambition is to reach the hour of reading time, going solely from a Visual Novel with nothing more than words - no art to look at (I always take a few minutes to look at art when possible, because it'd be a sin not to), no music to listen to, no nothing.

Why do you want to make a game tailored specifically around a set playtime? Is there a significant reason for that?

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Re: About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

#7 Post by Lekhaka » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:14 pm

I don't think one can assume that wpm speeds tracked from reading standard text would be accurate when applied to VNs. There are many other factors in a VN, including the click-to-read mechanic which I think significantly lowers the speed.

It would be simple enough to do a VN specific study, if people would spend effort on such things. But is there a terribly important use for this?

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Re: About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

#8 Post by Aleema » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:51 pm

Even if you track my words per minute, you can't factor in my tendency to skip text. I'm a skipper. I like reading fast in boring parts, and I've watched people do the same. They'll only read each word when it's dialogue, and sometimes only important dialogue. When the story is thick, of course I'll read every word! But I've found myself skimming action sequences in novels because I'm so eager to find out what's going to happen. If you want to test your game length try running the game on auto-forward with a fairly decent clip and see how long it takes. That should be a generous estimate. :)

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Re: About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

#9 Post by Sapphi » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:53 pm

Thanks everyone for your helpful replies (and links to other posts too). ^_^
Applegate wrote: Why do you want to make a game tailored specifically around a set playtime? Is there a significant reason for that?
Well, I don't want it to specifically be an hour long, just at least an hour. My reasoning for this... well, I don't really know how to say it. I don't want it to be like 20 hours long or anything, but I'd like it if it were at least somewhat longer so you feel like you spent some real time with the characters and it wasn't just a short zip through. (I know at least for me, the amount of times I save and come back to something seems to multiply my appreciation and familiarity with it (even with physical books).)

My other main reason for asking these things is because when all's said and done, I want to have a rough estimate of how long the game is for people that want to know.
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Re: About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

#10 Post by Samu-kun » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:35 pm

That's kind of weird. I generally read faster when I'm more into the story because I want to see what happens next. Usually, I read slowly and leisurely when there's nothing going on, but once I get excited, it's pretty much clickclickclickclick at rapid speed to get to the end.

I think the visual novel medium generally gives you higher read speed than when you are reading a book because of visually assisted reading. You generally only see one sentence at a time and the words scroll on the screen, making it easier to read than a sentence in a page of hundreds of other words and also suppresses sub-vocalization. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_reading (See Reading Dynamics)

You could also try PhotoReading through the visual novel medium, but I've never used that method.


I think a good method of solving this problem is for a bunch of people with games to tell us how many words were in their script and then have us play them timed.

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Re: About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

#11 Post by KimiYoriBaka » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:21 am

You shouldn't be concerned about the length, just write as much as you need. You can revise it later and if you'll need you can always cut on content, most of critical proofreading and revisions usually eat almost 30% of what you have written, so you really shouldn't be worrying about length, at least not now, especially if you're striving to finish your first complete work.
This may just be my personal opinion, but I think this line of reasoning is terrible. The reason being that finishing a first work doesn't very often lead to completing a second work of any improved quality unless the creator was actually trying to accomplish something beyond completion. Also, the length of a story can be a good indicator of whether or not you've developed the story sufficiently for your plot. If your plot has any complexity, it should be pretty long just so the characters won't be too flat.

When I read the first post in this thread, I felt like applauding your effort to make a worthwhile story.

...30%?! really?!

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Re: About how many words/screens = an hour's play-time?

#12 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:57 am

KimiYoriBaka wrote:
You shouldn't be concerned about the length, just write as much as you need. You can revise it later and if you'll need you can always cut on content, most of critical proofreading and revisions usually eat almost 30% of what you have written, so you really shouldn't be worrying about length, at least not now, especially if you're striving to finish your first complete work.
This may just be my personal opinion, but I think this line of reasoning is terrible. The reason being that finishing a first work doesn't very often lead to completing a second work of any improved quality unless the creator was actually trying to accomplish something beyond completion. Also, the length of a story can be a good indicator of whether or not you've developed the story sufficiently for your plot. If your plot has any complexity, it should be pretty long just so the characters won't be too flat.

When I read the first post in this thread, I felt like applauding your effort to make a worthwhile story.

...30%?! really?!
I think they mean you should write to the content of a story, not a certain length or amount of words. Some stories are short and some are long. They should be the length they need to be. Just as a story may be too short to give the story justice, so too can a story be too long and simply be blathering on and not getting to the point. A longer story doesn't make a better story. I have read oneshot comics that put series to shame. It all depends on what you are doing. You should write what needs to be written, no more or less. I wouldn't recommend dragging a 15 minutes story into a hour just as I wouldn't recommend squashing a hour story into 15 minutes.

I also agree that a great deal of the story writing will be cut/changed/rearranged through the process. One of the main reasons is that the writer hasn't considered the role visuals and other elements play in a visual novel. In these cases a great deal of written descriptors can be removed and replaced by visuals/music/programming/animation/etc. A writer should aim for the best way to communicate information and this is often not the longest way.

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