Normal vs. text only visual novels

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Ryue
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Normal vs. text only visual novels

#1 Post by Ryue » Wed Apr 13, 2016 1:17 pm

Heya
I've seen something I never tought I would see. On Steam more and more text only "visual" novels pop up. Seemingly quite successfull.
I'm wondering though if that is just an exception, or if there is any noticeable trend there?

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Re: Normal vs. text only visual novels

#2 Post by firecat » Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:26 pm

people have used twine to make them, they do it because there is no programing needed (which is a much of lies).
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Re: Normal vs. text only visual novels

#3 Post by warmsundae » Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:39 am

I think of them less as text visual novels and more as choose-your-own-adventure games, which started off with most its filling as words. Also, text is easier to make since anyone can write (some people can't write very well, but they can still make words into stories). And since one person could make the entire game and they don't need to pay anyone to draw or anything, it's easier to turn big ideas into projects. Which, I suppose, makes it easier to make grander stories.
That's my unprofessional speculation, and it could be wrong :P

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Re: Normal vs. text only visual novels

#4 Post by Ryue » Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:43 am

warmsundae wrote:I think of them less as text visual novels and more as choose-your-own-adventure games, which started off with most its filling as words. Also, text is easier to make since anyone can write (some people can't write very well, but they can still make words into stories). And since one person could make the entire game and they don't need to pay anyone to draw or anything, it's easier to turn big ideas into projects. Which, I suppose, makes it easier to make grander stories.
That's my unprofessional speculation, and it could be wrong :P
I had the same train of thought there but wasnt sure if i was mistaken or not :)

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Re: Normal vs. text only visual novels

#5 Post by trooper6 » Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:30 am

Text adventures have a long history in video games, especially Western video games. There is an entire tradition of text adventures. From the old Infocom games of the 1980s like Zork, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Leather Goddesses of Phobos, to modern version of Interactive Fiction.

Since it has such a long tradition, I'm not surprised to see some interactive fiction/text adventures on Steam.
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Re: Normal vs. text only visual novels

#6 Post by Ryue » Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:02 am

trooper6 wrote:Text adventures have a long history in video games, especially Western video games. There is an entire tradition of text adventures. From the old Infocom games of the 1980s like Zork, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Leather Goddesses of Phobos, to modern version of Interactive Fiction.

Since it has such a long tradition, I'm not surprised to see some interactive fiction/text adventures on Steam.
I still had thought that it was the end of the line for this sort of game when graphical vns became so popular oO

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Re: Normal vs. text only visual novels

#7 Post by SundownKid » Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:37 am

Ryue wrote:I still had thought that it was the end of the line for this sort of game when graphical vns became so popular oO
Oh no, definitely not. Twine is still extremely popular. But whether pure IF can be commercially successful is another matter.

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Re: Normal vs. text only visual novels

#8 Post by Ryue » Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:38 am

SundownKid wrote:
Ryue wrote:I still had thought that it was the end of the line for this sort of game when graphical vns became so popular oO
Oh no, definitely not. Twine is still extremely popular. But whether pure IF can be commercially successful is another matter.
Why twine there? Aren't there a lot of engines out there capable of it like also renpy?

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Re: Normal vs. text only visual novels

#9 Post by SundownKid » Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:42 am

Ryue wrote:
SundownKid wrote:
Ryue wrote:I still had thought that it was the end of the line for this sort of game when graphical vns became so popular oO
Oh no, definitely not. Twine is still extremely popular. But whether pure IF can be commercially successful is another matter.
Why twine there? Aren't there a lot of engines out there capable of it like also renpy?
Yes but I am guessing Twine is the easiest to use/play. Kind of like how there are a lot of blogs but Wordpress is the most popular.

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Re: Normal vs. text only visual novels

#10 Post by Ryue » Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:58 am

SundownKid wrote: Yes but I am guessing Twine is the easiest to use/play. Kind of like how there are a lot of blogs but Wordpress is the most popular.
Ah ok get that one. else wouldnt have made much sense to me^^'
(I mostly see twine as something used for organizing plot points more than anything else^^')

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Re: Normal vs. text only visual novels

#11 Post by trooper6 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:12 pm

Ryue wrote:
SundownKid wrote: Yes but I am guessing Twine is the easiest to use/play. Kind of like how there are a lot of blogs but Wordpress is the most popular.
Ah ok get that one. else wouldnt have made much sense to me^^'
(I mostly see twine as something used for organizing plot points more than anything else^^')
There are a lot of Twine games out there. Also, Choice of Games is a primarily text engine, and that is also modern and popular. One of the very popular Renpy games among people who don't have any connection the Japanese VNs is Chritine Love's Digital: A Love Story. That is all text.

A was just reading about another new company that is doing most text games...in collaboration with novelists...but I can't remember the name of the company.

Clearly, text based games are on the rise (relatively speaking...it is not like text games will ever beat Call of Duty in popularity). My personal theory is that the rise of smartphones and kindles is driving an renewed interest in text games.

Also, old school interactive fiction is still being made.

Now, these boards are not very focused on Western style games, so if a person stays primarily here or on JVN focused sites, then they would miss a lot of story based games that might be more text focused.
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Re: Normal vs. text only visual novels

#12 Post by philat » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:18 pm

It's a matter of supply and demand. Text games (in all forms) have a long tradition and a vibrant community of people who are interested in them, but with the rise of video/graphics based games in the 80s and 90s, it became more difficult to charge high enough prices as were needed to make commercial games at scale in a physical-media world. In other words, people were not interested in paying the exact same price for Super Mario or Wolfenstein as for a text adventure, but the text adventure still required a relatively high budget to distribute on disc/cartridge/CD/etc. On the other hand, people who are interested in reading had little reason to squint at low-resolution text on a TV or monitor when books provided a much higher quality experience (albeit sans interaction).

It's only recently that 1) tools that enable people who are primarily writers moreso than game devs to easily create content became readily (and freely) available -- such as Ren'Py, twine, and others, 2) it became much easier and cheaper to deliver the content to people over the internet, and 3) mobile platforms and browser-based games made it easier to reach wider audiences than those who were the target for traditional AAA gaming.

It's really part of a general overall trend where indie games in niche genres are more prevalent than they were for a very long time -- indie devs are able to deliver experiences that AAA can't (although obviously the same is true vice versa), and as the gaming industry matures and the audience for gaming widens, that's gaining enough traction to be commercially viable. It's like saying "roguelikes are on the rise" or "card games are on the rise" or something like that -- basically ALL of the genres that were niche compared to the traditional RPG/Shooter/Action genre are on the rise because it's possible for a very small team of people to make them, make them well, and get them in front of people.

I honestly spend less time playing the prototypical Japanese-style VN (i.e., in the style of The Question) than other narrative-based games in general, so it's a bit surprising that this is surprising.

In the general pure text side, choice-of, twine, and old-school IF are all going strong, although it's unlikely you'd find any of these on Steam other than Choice-Of.

There are the studios I think of as "mid-majors" like inkle (Sorcery!, 80 Days) and Failbetter (Fallen London, Sunless Sea), where there is some core graphical gameplay (map-traversal and resource-management, mostly) but the heart of the game is all text. These have been smash hits by indie standards lately. This is also the same general box as the prototypical Japanese-style VN or VN+gameplay mechanic like games that we are most used to seeing made with Ren'Py. Obviously this is spectrum, Long Live The Queen is more on the game-side and 80 Days is much more on the text-adventure side, but I don't think it's a great dividing influence -- many of the people who are interested in 80 Days for its narrative would also be open to a Choice-Of game despite the latter not having a pretty map.

Then there's been a general renaissance of the narrative-driven games as well, even if not text-based, such as (in no particular order), Life is Strange, Gone Home, The Stanley Parable, Her Story, Firewatch, etc., which have been garnering loads of critical acclaim.



tl;dr: people are making good text-based/story-based games, and people are interesting in playing good text-based/story-based games, and it is now possible to do that at scale without a publisher.

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Re: Normal vs. text only visual novels

#13 Post by Klawzie » Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:02 am

Highly recommend studying some of those games, btw. And reading IF dev blogs and reviews. It'll give you another perspective on game creation and resources that might be applicable/useful for you.
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