New to VNs but not to Game Dev...looking for advice.

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NutsVolts17
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New to VNs but not to Game Dev...looking for advice.

#1 Post by NutsVolts17 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:38 am

Hello Everyone!

I am new to this site but wanted to seek out some advice from VN pro creators and players alike. I am the programmer at Nuts and Volts Electronics. We are a small 3 person team that has created 3 games so far for the Steam platform on PC. My artist pitched the idea to create a Visual Novel for our next project. I am excited about the idea but have some questions and concerns.

I'll tell you about our project, ask some questions, and then post some screenshots of what we have so far (along with mention features.)

The project name is: Fate of Persephone
Inspiration: The classic Sleeping Beauty story (not identical but merely inspired by)
Basic Plot: The young Princess of Eden's Realm is thrown into a precarious situation after Nexa de Fata (the Fate of Death) has destroyed the Castle in Morseph and killed her father, King Gregory. Nexa believes Persephone to be dead at first but Persephone must consult Vita de Fata (the Fate of Life) for help with her journey and survival. There are eight other Fates who you must determine where their allegiance will lie.

The story is also an extremely expanded sequel to an RPG game we released on Steam called "The Mines of Morseph" which touched on the lore of the game world.

Anyhow, the technical specs are going to be:
1920 x 1080 artwork
Particle Effects for the BG art (smoke, mist, dust, fire, etc.)
Atmospheric sound track (fire noise, crickets at night, etc.)
Voice acting
12 endings
Hundreds of decision points that are weighted toward one of 12 ending scenario variables

Questions:
1.) I noticed that most VNs on Steam (I am not sure of the non-Steam market since I have only researched Steam) have Asian themes, characters, and settings. Are VN players open to more Westernized themes but in a VN framework?

2.) We were not planning to utilize mini-games, as we wanted to focus to be just on the story and the many decision points that the player can make. Is this a mistake and do the majority of VN players prefer mini-games?

3.) Do you believe that extra details like particle effects for the BGs and atmospheric sounds for the setting add to experience of the VN or would be distracting?

I may have more questions later but that is all I can think of for now.

Here are a few screenshots of what we have so far (downsized to 720p but actual game is 1080p) :
fop_preview03.jpg
fop_preview02.jpg
fop_preview01.jpg
Thank you for your help.
Our website is: http://www.Morseph.com
Twitter is: https://twitter.com/NutsAndVolts17

Sincerely,
Matthew W. Phillips
Developer at Nuts and Volts Electronics

gekiganwing
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Re: New to VNs but not to Game Dev...looking for advice.

#2 Post by gekiganwing » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:34 pm

It looks like your work-in-progress is currently on Kickstarter under the title "Visual novel inspired by Sleeping Beauty." I know that some people here on Lemma Soft have created crowdfunding campaigns, and a number of them have succeeded. Be sure to talk with them about how they've attracted an audience, and how they have made their projects stand out on crowdfunding sites. For instance, at least one person behind Changeling has posted here. Their now-finished Kickstarter showed their relatively realistic art, talked about the tone of the story, had a lot of details about the characters, and had extensive information about both goals and rewards.
NutsVolts17 wrote: 1.) I noticed that most VNs on Steam (I am not sure of the non-Steam market since I have only researched Steam) have Asian themes, characters, and settings. Are VN players open to more Westernized themes but in a VN framework?
Ideally, a visual novel should just be another way to tell a story. Unfortunately, it's kind of like comics. When I think about comics, I remember a variety of pictures-and-words stories which originated from many different nations, with quite a few topics, art styles, formats, audience demographics, and so on. However, I admit that it's all too easy to assume that comics only exist in two or three nations, only cover a handful of topics, and have just a couple art styles.

A couple years ago, there was a visual novel called Cinders. It referenced a fairy tale and told its own story. I'm not entirely sure how to describe its art style -- relatively detailed but not quite photorealistic, with emphasis on both character design and backgrounds. It also has quite a few bright colors. I thought this was remarkable, since I've become used to original English language video games that only feature brown, gray, and maybe red.

I think that your visual novel could be interesting. It doesn't seem like a pop culture hand-me-down (I've cynically described some fantasy novels as "Tolkien fanfic"), and it doesn't seem like a low-budget imitation of things which you have liked. So... what might make it exceptional? What will help your story seem different from the centuries-old fairy tale, or the Disney film? Does your story have anything to say about its themes, characters, or setting?
NutsVolts17 wrote:2.) We were not planning to utilize mini-games, as we wanted to focus to be just on the story and the many decision points that the player can make. Is this a mistake and do the majority of VN players prefer mini-games?
When you have time, read the TV Tropes article So You Want to Make a Visual Novel. One thing that it recommends is "If you're going to have gameplay, then it better be fun." For instance, if you choose to include a puzzle, then make sure to playtest it, and make sure it isn't frustrating or boring. Ask yourself if people are more likely to buy your project in order to read a story, or to experience a blend of gameplay and narrative.

NutsVolts17
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Re: New to VNs but not to Game Dev...looking for advice.

#3 Post by NutsVolts17 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:58 pm

Thank you gekiganwing. I will do the research you suggested!

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