Good story but decent art

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving game writing.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
leviathanimation
Regular
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:33 pm
Completed: Tyrania visual novel
Projects: Making multiple animations
Deviantart: leviathanimation
itch: leviathanimation
Location: Canada
Contact:

Good story but decent art

#1 Post by leviathanimation » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:05 pm

As the title of the subjects says, I'm just curious if people in general are gonna drop a visual novel even if the story is good because of the meh to decent artwork. Would you drop a good story because the artwork style is too distracting?

User avatar
Johan
Regular
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:58 pm
Organization: novel & you
Location: Perú
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#2 Post by Johan » Thu Jul 04, 2019 1:42 am

If the story is actually good, then of course not! One big example for me is Umineko No Naku Koro ni (the visual novel).

I watched at first the anime and since I wanted to know more, I look it up and when I saw the artwork I though: "Ok, this is a joke. this is not the real one" and then imagine my surprise when I realized that, yep! that was the real one. At first I decided to "wait" for the second part of the anime. BUT I got impatient and I said "ok, I'll just ignore the bad artwork, I just want to know what happen next" BUT THEN, I started reading the chapter 5 and it was SO INCREDIBLY GOOD, it was completely WAY TOO GOOD, WAY BETTER than the anime that I started liking the artwork, the artwork was incredibly on point with the emotions and the situations, so it really added to the story.

It's true that the artwork is the first thing many ppl see as an introduction to a visual novel, but honestly, there's so many stories out there that are SO GOOD but ppl don't give it a chance. Not only on visual novels. For example, I've read fanfics with many grammatical errors (not so many bc then I wouldn't be able to undertand it) and strange format but GOD, THE STORY, the story well planned, GOOD development of the characters and the relationships betweem them, all of it make it SUCH A GOOD STORY A+++ but since at first sight, it doesn't look "good", ppl just don't read it and it's a pity bc they are missing out such a good stories!

So my answer is nope! I would still read it if the story is actually good! Give me more good stories instead of just pretty artwork but repetitve and nonsensical storylines that don't make any sense (unless that's the point of your story somehow? :p).
Comunidad Ren'py en Español: ¡Únete a nuestro Discord!

◤ And I saw the stars ★ falling down... ◢
Check the official page!

Follow the studio on:
ImageImage

<Icons by Icons8>

User avatar
ComputerArt.Club
Veteran
Posts: 410
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 8:12 am
Completed: Famous Fables, BoPoMoFo: Learn Chinese, Santa's workshop, Cat's Bath, Computer Art Club
Location: Taiwan
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#3 Post by ComputerArt.Club » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:58 am

I think visuals are important for first impressions before you download, that is they make people want to download your game. It may be more difficult to prove you have great writing in a game just based on the landing page. Illustrations can be simple, they don't need to be complex, but the more interesting and visually appealing the better. Once I start playing the game, story usually determines whether I will continue playing the game and probably whether I would recommend it to others.

User avatar
parttimestorier
Veteran
Posts: 290
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:29 pm
Completed: No Other Medicine, Well Met By Moonlight, RE:BURN
Projects: DemiDato, The Light at the End of the Ocean
itch: janetitor
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#4 Post by parttimestorier » Thu Jul 04, 2019 1:05 pm

ComputerArt.Club wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:58 am
I think visuals are important for first impressions before you download, that is they make people want to download your game. It may be more difficult to prove you have great writing in a game just based on the landing page. Illustrations can be simple, they don't need to be complex, but the more interesting and visually appealing the better. Once I start playing the game, story usually determines whether I will continue playing the game and probably whether I would recommend it to others.
I totally agree. If someone recommends a VN to me and the story sounds like something I'd like, I'm happy to read it even if the quality of the art isn't really to my taste. I would definitely never drop something I was already in the middle of reading for no reason other than disliking the art. But if I've never heard of it and I'm just scrolling through itch.io looking for something new, nice art is a big part of what's going to catch my eye and make me try something out.
ImageImageImage

User avatar
LateWhiteRabbit
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1849
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:47 pm
Projects: The Space Between
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#5 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:51 pm

ComputerArt.Club wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:58 am
I think visuals are important for first impressions before you download, that is they make people want to download your game. It may be more difficult to prove you have great writing in a game just based on the landing page. Illustrations can be simple, they don't need to be complex, but the more interesting and visually appealing the better. Once I start playing the game, story usually determines whether I will continue playing the game and probably whether I would recommend it to others.
This. Exactly.

If the "cover" of your "book" isn't good, no one is going to pick it up off the shelf to read the blurb on the back.

The art would have to be good enough to make me start the game, and then have to stay good at least long enough to get me hooked on the story. Xenogears is sort of the perfect example of this - they ran out of money to make the second disc (last half to last third of the game) an actual GAME and players went from playing a 3D RPG with combat, animations, and cutscenes, and were stuck reading text to finish the story. Most stuck with it, because they were hooked on the story and invested by that point. But if disc one had started with just text and reading and recycled images? Most players would have skipped the game.

I would say that art and visuals are very important to me - as an artist, that's what speaks to me. The worse the art, the more stellar the story and its execution has to be for me to stick around / pick it up in the first place.

If you can't get good art or make it yourself, it is worth asking whether or not your story NEEDS to be a visual novel. Why not a novel-novel? Does your story rely heavily on reader participation for creative effect, or could it easily be a linear narrative? If it needs to be a game, are visuals actually important and necessary? I've found several text-based games made in Twine to be very engrossing and that have hooked me, and they have no visuals at all. Food for thought.

User avatar
Revenais
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:41 pm
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#6 Post by Revenais » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:25 pm

Decent art is fine in my opinion. I've read lots of visual novels where the art was just okay, but the premise was interesting enough for me to give it a shot. I've also read lots of visual novels where the art was very polished and well rendered, but not aesthetically to my tastes. However, bad quality art has definitely made me pass on a visual novel before. For me, visual novels are about the whole package - the sights, the sounds, and the story. If I wanted solely a good story, I would read a book. And even then, as has been mentioned, people often judge books by their covers.

That said, there's no one way to make a visual novel and I think, for people who are less inclined artistically, there are other avenues to explore. There's one game that has stuck with me for years. It doesn't have sprites or CGs and all the backgrounds are edited photos. But the UI was carefully considered, as was the font choice, and the choice of music. It has a simple but effective color scheme. And the story is amazing. It didn't need to have illustrated backgrounds and sprites to have a strong aesthetic.

User avatar
Impulse
Regular
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:44 pm
Projects: Tears of Glass [Romance VN, Supernatural, School, GxB]
Deviantart: mariscribbles
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#7 Post by Impulse » Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:42 pm

Story is definitely the most important thing I think... However, if the art is bad I'm unlikely to even give it a try. It's the sad truth. The art is what brings you in. It's your biggest marketing tool and could be the deciding factor when it comes to trying out the game or not. The art doesn't have to be amazing, but it has to be "good enough". What is considered good enough is very subjective and since I don't know what you mean by "decent", I can't say if I would be interested or not in your artwork.

So basically, no I won't drop a VN if I enjoy the story but dislike the art, but I probably won't start reading it in the first place either (unless I get some really trusty recommendations or I know the person who made the game and want to support them).
Current project (on hold):
Tears of Glass - [Romance otome, Supernatural, School, GxB] - http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 43&t=37523
Demo for Tears of Glass - viewtopic.php?f=45&t=38285

User avatar
Xanedis
Newbie
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:20 pm
Projects: Project LB
Tumblr: xanedis
Deviantart: Xanedis
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#8 Post by Xanedis » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:31 am

Personally, I think that any kind of art is fine so long as it isn't distracting... but there's many kinds of distracting art, and that's the crux of the problem. Also, good art can and oftentimes DOES elevate the story(and can make subpar stories serviceable, although bad stuff is still plain bad), so I personally think that it's always safe to err on the side of good art(which, for me, means that it's not distracting :') ). Many VN's with bad art have become animes with much better art, so patience does sometimes reap its due reward.

But this is just my personal view on things.

User avatar
Elsa Kisiel
Regular
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:36 pm
Completed: Shieldlock Holmes
Projects: Home Spatial Home
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#9 Post by Elsa Kisiel » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:07 pm

Actually, I find coherence between story and art more important than the art's level. For exemple, if you're writing something a little satirical, a voluntary crappy art style might help to install an appropriate mood. A dark crime story might be made of dark figures. A story about a phone or a computer could just imitate their interface. Hey, some Visual Novel don't even have art! If it suit perfectly the story told, that can be even better than fancy flashy art.

Now, if you're writing a more "normal" story:
I will read it if: Your game's plot seems really original and fun, or it's the kind of story I really wanted to read, or there's an interesting gameplay mechanic. It doesn't matter if the art is crappy, I'm still going to play to it. I'm eventually going to be sad that the art isn't a better fit for the story, but that's not going to stop me playing it.

I won't read it if: Your story is very well written, but it's not based on a super original idea/mechanic and the summary doesn't convey how wonderful your story is. The only way to know the story is really good is to actually play to the game. And if the art is not good enough, I will think "Oh, they probably didn't have a lot of budget for art, so they probably won't have a lot to create a really good story or really interesting mechanics. If they didn't invest enough in their own project, that means it must not be the visual novel of the year." (By the way, it's not only valid for art, but also for GUI, for the trailer if there's one, for the topic's layout, for the promotionnel art, for the sound if we can hear them, ...) Story is a very important component, but it is often the thing that is the hardest to asses when reading a game's presentation.
-- Take a cup of tea and let yourself be charmed by my drawings, comics, songs, video games, novels and goodies. Here, everything is bewitched and bewitching! https://www.artstation.com/elsakisiel --

User avatar
Impulse
Regular
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:44 pm
Projects: Tears of Glass [Romance VN, Supernatural, School, GxB]
Deviantart: mariscribbles
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#10 Post by Impulse » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:39 am

Elsa Kisiel wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:07 pm
And if the art is not good enough, I will think "Oh, they probably didn't have a lot of budget for art, so they probably won't have a lot to create a really good story or really interesting mechanics. If they didn't invest enough in their own project, that means it must not be the visual novel of the year." (By the way, it's not only valid for art, but also for GUI, for the trailer if there's one, for the topic's layout, for the promotionnel art, for the sound if we can hear them, ...) Story is a very important component, but it is often the thing that is the hardest to asses when reading a game's presentation.
I agree with this. Even though I'm not looking for the VN of the year, I still look for a base quality when deciding what game to play. Since it's impossible to judge the writing before you start playing, other factors play a bigger role. Again, I don't think the art has to be amazing, but if the creator didn't even bother coloring inside the lines or the characters have very bland designs I will automatically think they didn't put much effort into it or the rest of the game. If I can see that the creator put a lot of effort into the art, GUI, trailer etc. I will get a much better first impression of the game as a whole.
Current project (on hold):
Tears of Glass - [Romance otome, Supernatural, School, GxB] - http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 43&t=37523
Demo for Tears of Glass - viewtopic.php?f=45&t=38285

Desertopa
Newbie
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:14 pm
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#11 Post by Desertopa » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:56 am

Impulse wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:39 am

I agree with this. Even though I'm not looking for the VN of the year, I still look for a base quality when deciding what game to play. Since it's impossible to judge the writing before you start playing, other factors play a bigger role. Again, I don't think the art has to be amazing, but if the creator didn't even bother coloring inside the lines or the characters have very bland designs I will automatically think they didn't put much effort into it or the rest of the game. If I can see that the creator put a lot of effort into the art, GUI, trailer etc. I will get a much better first impression of the game as a whole.
Mostly agree with this, but with a caveat. I think you can actually judge a fair bit about the writing in a game from just a handful of well-picked lines. Not all lines are very useful for gauging the overall writing quality in a work, but the developer has leeway about what screnshots, gameplay segments, etc. to advertise. So when I check out a game, the art is usually the first thing that grabs my attention and motivates me to take a closer look, but the next thing I usually look for is whether there are screenshots, trailers etc. which seem to be trying to highlight the quality of the writing. If there are, I do my best to assess the level of the writing from those, and if there aren't, I immediately regard that as suspicious. If the writing is an asset, the developer ought to be trying to show it off, and if they're not, it suggests either that it's not that great, or that it didn't occur to the developer to do so, which strikes me as a failure of judgment in itself. If there aren't any good samples to judge the level of the writing, if the game has a playable release, I'll look for comments on the quality of the writing, and if the commenters aren't favorably impressed, I probably won't check it out.

User avatar
Impulse
Regular
Posts: 139
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:44 pm
Projects: Tears of Glass [Romance VN, Supernatural, School, GxB]
Deviantart: mariscribbles
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#12 Post by Impulse » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:24 pm

Desertopa wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:56 am
Mostly agree with this, but with a caveat. I think you can actually judge a fair bit about the writing in a game from just a handful of well-picked lines. Not all lines are very useful for gauging the overall writing quality in a work, but the developer has leeway about what screnshots, gameplay segments, etc. to advertise. So when I check out a game, the art is usually the first thing that grabs my attention and motivates me to take a closer look, but the next thing I usually look for is whether there are screenshots, trailers etc. which seem to be trying to highlight the quality of the writing. If there are, I do my best to assess the level of the writing from those, and if there aren't, I immediately regard that as suspicious. If the writing is an asset, the developer ought to be trying to show it off, and if they're not, it suggests either that it's not that great, or that it didn't occur to the developer to do so, which strikes me as a failure of judgment in itself. If there aren't any good samples to judge the level of the writing, if the game has a playable release, I'll look for comments on the quality of the writing, and if the commenters aren't favorably impressed, I probably won't check it out.
I didn't think about that, but you're absolutely right :)
Current project (on hold):
Tears of Glass - [Romance otome, Supernatural, School, GxB] - http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 43&t=37523
Demo for Tears of Glass - viewtopic.php?f=45&t=38285

User avatar
Kuiper
Regular
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:16 am
Completed: Cursed Lands, Trial by Fire
Projects: Necrobarista, Idol Manager
Organization: Route 59 Games
Tumblr: kuiperblog
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#13 Post by Kuiper » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:05 am

The longer I've worked, the more I've come to realize that what I believe as a creator doesn't always match up with how consumers in general see things. So, rather than give you my own opinions, I'll try to give you my best cold read of most of the consumers I've observed online:

People judge you by the company that you keep. Many people assume that if you're a good writer, you should be able to find a similarly capable artist who's willing to partner with you. If no talented artists are willing to partner with you, what does that say about the quality of your writing? (It could mean that you're self-funding your project, and you had to go for a budget option when it came to hiring help, but that also says something about your project -- if you don't believe in your project enough to spring for higher-quality assets, why should consumers believe in your project enough to buy it?)

If you look at examples of successful projects that have famously bad art -- like Ryukishi07's Umineko, or ZUN's Touhou series, they have one thing in common: they did their own artwork. Most people agree that Ryukishi07 is a capable writer, and that ZUN is a capable game designer, but calling either of their artwork "passable" would be quite generous. I think most consumers are willing to give you a bit more of a pass if the reason that your artwork is below mediocre in quality is that you drew it yourself: there's something kind of charmingly indie about a video game that's made by a single person, and there are even advantages to having all of the creative decisions in a project being made by a single person. (I've played some games where the scriptwriter and artist clearly had different ideas about what kind of game they wanted to make, and the result is something that feels creatively-confused -- this is never a good thing, and it's possible for two talented people to create a work that nonetheless feels creatively incongruous. A game made by a single person doesn't risk running into this problem.)

So, if you're a good writer, and you create a game that has your own artwork, I think people are more likely to give it a shot than if you hired an artist who isn't very good at what they do, because there's something about artwork that goes beyond the "objective quality" of how good you are at drawing well-proportioned bodies, and games made by a single person tend to do a better job of conveying that creative flair: even if ZUN's artwork looks "bad," there's something about the character designs and the choice of color that meshes well with the type of games that he creates, and the fact that the characters ZUN creates fit in the Touhou games is arguably more important than the fact that the characters' hands and faces look poorly-drawn.

That being said, this doesn't mean that doing your own artwork is automatically going to have the same qualities that make it passable for a game like Touhou. Not being able to draw hands or faces or realistically-proportioned bodies is one thing. Having those problems and not understanding basic color theory and having terrible generic costume design will leave you with something that just looks like crap. The thing to realize about ZUN's art is that it isn't just "crappy," it's bad in some ways, but passable in other ways. For example, there's a lot of Touhou fan art out there that is quite good, and that's largely because the fan art is based on character designs that are actually quite good, even if the faces and hands and poses in ZUN's artwork all look off. One of the reasons I have always liked Umineko more than its predecessor Higurashi is that it's a big step up in terms of character design. Yes, the art in Umineko still looks "crappy," but in Higurashi the characters are drawn poorly and have generic designs.
Necrobarista - serve coffee to the living and the dead
Idol Manager - experience the glamour and dangers of the pop idol industry
Cursed Lands - a mix of high fantasy and gothic horror

User avatar
Elsa Kisiel
Regular
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:36 pm
Completed: Shieldlock Holmes
Projects: Home Spatial Home
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#14 Post by Elsa Kisiel » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:36 am

Kuiper wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:05 am
If you look at examples of successful projects that have famously bad art -- like Ryukishi07's Umineko, or ZUN's Touhou series, they have one thing in common: they did their own artwork. Most people agree that Ryukishi07 is a capable writer, and that ZUN is a capable game designer, but calling either of their artwork "passable" would be quite generous. I think most consumers are willing to give you a bit more of a pass if the reason that your artwork is below mediocre in quality is that you drew it yourself: there's something kind of charmingly indie about a video game that's made by a single person, and there are even advantages to having all of the creative decisions in a project being made by a single person. (I've played some games where the scriptwriter and artist clearly had different ideas about what kind of game they wanted to make, and the result is something that feels creatively-confused -- this is never a good thing, and it's possible for two talented people to create a work that nonetheless feels creatively incongruous. A game made by a single person doesn't risk running into this problem.)

So, if you're a good writer, and you create a game that has your own artwork, I think people are more likely to give it a shot than if you hired an artist who isn't very good at what they do, because there's something about artwork that goes beyond the "objective quality" of how good you are at drawing well-proportioned bodies, and games made by a single person tend to do a better job of conveying that creative flair: even if ZUN's artwork looks "bad," there's something about the character designs and the choice of color that meshes well with the type of games that he creates, and the fact that the characters ZUN creates fit in the Touhou games is arguably more important than the fact that the characters' hands and faces look poorly-drawn.
I totally forgot about that, but I totally agree. It might be because I really like indie games, but project where everything is made by one person really appeals to me.
-- Take a cup of tea and let yourself be charmed by my drawings, comics, songs, video games, novels and goodies. Here, everything is bewitched and bewitching! https://www.artstation.com/elsakisiel --

Dao_thao
Newbie
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:03 am
Contact:

Re: Good story but decent art

#15 Post by Dao_thao » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:25 am

For me I would hardly choose a game with a neglectful, dirty art, but I did enjoy "Frozen Essence" visual novel game, whose art, truth be told, not that good. I put a link here if you've never heard about this game before : https://vndb.org/v5530

The story play a very important role though, but you need to keep in mind that you can not control if your story turns out good or not. You just put anything you have with all your preparation of heart and experiences, and then the reader will be the one who judge your story.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users