Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

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Maychanx31
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Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

#1 Post by Maychanx31 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:32 pm

Hello,

I hope I’m posting this in the correct forum!

I've finally began writing my visual novel and have two questions that have been on my mind.

1) How should I show the MC’s thoughts?

In most of the visual novels I've seen, the Main Character acts as the narrator and protagonist, however that's not the case with mine. I’m planning on having my narration in third person and only using it to describe what’s currently going on in a scene.

What I currently have coded and written is the following:

Code: Select all

    k "{i}(You're kidding!){/i}"
With this code, it has the Main Character’s nametag show up and has their thoughts italicized and in parenthesis.

Is this an effective way of representing their thoughts? Or should I switch the narration from third person to first person so that I can have their thoughts show up with no nametag?

2) Cutting away to other scenes?

There are certain scenes that don’t involve the main character that are very important to the story, and I was wondering if it was alright to switch to these scenes at certain points in the game.

Each of these scenes are only introducing the characters/bringing them into the story since the Main Character doesn’t meet them face-to-face until later in the game.

Should I omit these scenes and find a way to only reference that they happened, or is it alright for me to include them?

I apologize if my questions are confusing. If you need me to elaborate more I can.

- May

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Re: Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

#2 Post by GrammaHobbes » Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:15 am

Okay for your characters thoughts- when a person speaks it usually has their name, so for ex:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Gramma)

"Hey how are you doing!?"
---------------------------------
So when you do your characters (any of their thoughts) just don't have the quotation marks with their name ex:
---------------------------------
(Gramma)

I wonder how he is doing? Maybe I should go check on him.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Then when the narrator is speaking, there should be no name at the top name bar, as well if you are going to have your main character in the corner of the text box when the narrator is speaking it will be confusing, so when your main character isn't thinking or speaking, don't have them there. Ex:

(The light shines through the corridor of the hallway, no one was around.)

Sadly I can't help you on the coding part, but there are youtube videos as well as outlines out their that would help you figure how to do that. I hoped it helped, and I hope I didn't confuse you with what I said.

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Re: Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

#3 Post by fleet » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:46 pm

I use italics as a way to show a character's thoughts. Here's an example.
Velma (thinking): I wonder why Shaggy left so quickly.

Regarding cutting away to another scene, I use a text only slide (no background). Here's an exampe

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.
All of my VNs are at http://wolflore.net
Some are at http://www.visualnovelty.com.
Poorly done hand-drawn art is still poorly done art. Be a Poser (or better yet, use DAZ Studio 3D) - dare to be different.

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Re: Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

#4 Post by Mammon » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:52 pm

I certainly hope that those italics work, because that's how I'm doing it in my current project as well. I'd say it's clear as long as it's used consistently.

In a previous project of mine, P&Y, I used a different system. The MC's thoughts were in NVL (the text not appearing in the textbox but in the middle of the screen with everything else getting darker a bit.), which is a bigger distinction between descriptions and thought but which I think was actually not as easily understood by the audience. So I'd say that's something to consider but which I recommend against personally based upon previous experience.
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Re: Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

#5 Post by Westeford » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:14 am

Italics can work, but I personally don't think they're effective enough. If I have to stop reading and think to myself "Are they saying this out loud or are they thinking this?" then you're doing it wrong.
(I will admit, I personally have a hard time noticing italics...)
Using italics in combination with a different text color is a lot more effective. To most people a color change is a lot more noticeable than a type change.

For example the Ace Attorney series. It shows thoughts like this
"(Step ladders)"

The color change lets the player know that something is different when the character is talking like this.
(Though Ace Attorney also used the first trial to its advantage. Showing that when Phoenix talks like that, his lips aren't moving.)
(Also his voice doesn't beep when he talks like this.)
Not only that, they also used green text to showcase the current time and location.
And even yellow text for robotic voices
Beep Boop

What I think the best thing to do is use a combination of color and typeface.
The color change is the primary clue that something different about this line while the italics are the secondary clue.
But the most important takeaway from this post is this.
Be consistent!
No matter what you do. You must be consistent. If you're using italics for thoughts and internal monologue then stick with it.
(Of course there are exceptions. like if you're intentionally disorienting the player. But you generally don't want to disorient your player.)

I hope I made sense. :)

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Re: Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

#6 Post by MizuIsTheWorst » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:02 pm

How often do you predict that the character is going to be thinking?
If it happens often enough, then you might want to stay with something simplistic, like the italics or that in combination with color coding.

If the player will only see them once in a while, and you want to make sure they absolutely notice, you might want to try changing the text box.
For example, when a character is thinking, change from the normal textbox to maybe a different shade or transparency. It catches the player's attention, and as long as the textbox isn't outlandishly different, it shouldn't be too distracting or annoying for the player.

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Re: Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

#7 Post by SelenesMemeory » Tue May 08, 2018 11:09 am

For the scenes that don't include the MC why not try NVL mode. I got the idea from Doppelganger - Dawn of the Inverted Souls. It works there and is worth a shot if you feel those scenes would make the story flow better.

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Re: Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

#8 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Tue May 08, 2018 11:39 am

I know I'm a little late to the party, but I thought I'd show how I handled this in one of my experiments.

I use a different textbox when the player is speaking out loud versus thinking to themselves. Like so:
Image

I define two different characters, one for the Player thinking and one for the Player 'saying'. The thinking character uses a custom window background I created and saved to the GUI folder in my game directory. So whenever this character "speaks" they use the thought bubble textbox I made instead of the default one.

Code: Select all

define mc_say = Character("Player", color = "#19121d")
define mc_think = Character("Player", color = "#19121d", window_background="gui/thought_box.png")
Then I just write my script:

Code: Select all

mc_say "Stats at 100."
mc_think "Did I say that outloud?"
I think it makes for a pretty cool effect that really makes it obvious the current text is just in the character's head.

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Re: Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

#9 Post by Westeford » Tue May 08, 2018 11:51 pm

LateWhiteRabbit wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 11:39 am
I use a different textbox when the player is speaking out loud versus thinking to themselves.
That's really cool. Very stylistic.
Though I think a different text color would help differentiate between thought and spoken words. The text boxes while different are similar enough that the player may meld the two together. Most players are probably looking at the words and the foreground graphics than the frame of the text box. The less time the player spends wondering if the character is talking or thinking, the better. These are just my thoughts. (Thoughts they never asked for.)
I really do like them though. :mrgreen:

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Re: Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

#10 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Wed May 09, 2018 10:46 am

Westeford wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 11:51 pm
Though I think a different text color would help differentiate between thought and spoken words. The text boxes while different are similar enough that the player may meld the two together. Most players are probably looking at the words and the foreground graphics than the frame of the text box. The less time the player spends wondering if the character is talking or thinking, the better. These are just my thoughts. (Thoughts they never asked for.)
I really do like them though. :mrgreen:
Yeah, you could still do things like make the thought bubble text italic to further differentiate it. It is a bit more obvious in action, when you see the box bubble at the corners and the speech tail break up into circles. Everything is aligned pixel-perfect, and the slopes are the same, so it almost looks like a quick animation. (Might be an interesting experiment for me to work on next, to see if I can create an actual animation between the two.)

From a stylistic and design point, I don't like having different colored text, as I feel it stands out TOO much and puts too much emphasis on things that aren't meant to have any more impact that the rest of the narration. When I do want to emphasize something, I normally just make a word or phrase bold, enlarge it, or both.
Westeford wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 11:51 pm
That's really cool. Very stylistic.
Thanks! :mrgreen: Probably not going to make it into an actual project, but I like stylish interface design.

Like everyone, I've been perhaps unduly influenced by Persona 5's user interface. And as a lesson to game developers, Atlus attributes a lot of the success of the later Persona games to their stylistic menus and dialogue interfaces - the series was critically acclaimed before Persona 3, but not popular with a wide audience. Atlus believes that by making any given screen shot look stylish they were able to attract a wider gaming audience.

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Re: Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

#11 Post by Empish » Wed May 09, 2018 3:10 pm

LateWhiteRabbit wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 11:39 am

I use a different textbox when the player is speaking out loud versus thinking to themselves.
Butting in here without adding anything useful, but that is a killer strategy and seems very effective as well as clear.

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Re: Two Questions: MC's Thoughts & Cutting Away to Other Scenes?

#12 Post by Zelan » Thu May 17, 2018 11:33 am

To answer the second point: Cutting away to scenes in a different POV is doable, but can be dicey. The main thing that you have to be careful of is making sure that it's clear that the POV has changed. You could use a different colored text box, you could make the new POV character a side sprite, if that's what you did for your previous MC, etc. There have been various other threads discussing ways to show a POV shift that you could look up for ideas.

The other important thing is to make sure that the scenes don't appear out-of-place. The VN Locked Heart was a good one, in my opinion, but it did handle this poorly; out of all three routes, there was one route which had two scenes from a different POV. Since they were the only scenes like it in the game and they weren't distinguished well from the rest of the game, it felt very jarring to read those scenes.

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