Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

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Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#1 Post by Nvekmauvia » Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:26 pm

Heyo! My Name is Kevin, and I'm here to look for writers for a project me and a few others have been working on!

(-‸ლ) edit: formatting

Edit 2: Demo is up!

Download link (40mb): http://www.mediafire.com/download/y1kb4 ... .4_win.rar
Only windows build up for now, working on mac port

Edit 3: We got a writer!

Many thanks to all the people that applied, and also to those that gave us feedback!

Notes about the Demo:
Once again, I must stress the fact that we don't have a writer (which I suppose is kinda the point). As such, expect the writing to be fairly dodgy, as it was put together by a bunch of artists and a programmer. The build is intended purely as a tech demo demonstrating the capabilities of our system - I'm sure the writers out there can already envision better uses for it!
Optimization for lower-end computers is still on-going, so it might lag a bit on older laptops/desktops.
If you guys find any bugs with the build, or have any comments, please let us know!



The demo in action! :D

Project Ven
What is Project Ven? We like to call it "a visual novel on crack" (You can see that we're not very good with words - probably why we need a writer).
Our goal is to make a visual novel that demonstrates the capabilities of the medium to a mainstream audience, while remaining relevant to existing fans of the genre.

Examples of some of the elements we are exploring:
  • Player agency and its role in dictating narrative pacing and content
  • Usage of textual and visual assets in complementary ways
  • Page/link system ala Twine
  • Kinetic typography
  • Experimental rendering systems to simulate 2d "hand-drawn" animations
  • Exploration of space as a narrative device
While it's still too early to spill the beans on all the stuff we have planned (nCart rendering system I'm looking at you), suffice to say we have a lot of exciting stuff coming - all of which you can follow throughout the coming months on this blog.


Our studio: Title pending
The team behind it all.
In the latter half of 2014, a group of nerds got together and asked themselves the question: why haven't visual novels grown as a medium since its 2000s heydays? Compared to other "niche" genres such as voxel games, rogue-likes and simulators, the genre hasn't seemed to have progressed as much, and still remains a budding industry in the West. While we salute the folks at Dischan Media, Freebird Games, and Sekai Project - examples of companies that have made great strides in furthering the genre - we remain deeply dissatisfied at the state of the medium, for we know that it's true potential has barely been touched.

So we decided to do it ourselves, and that is how Project Ven came to be.

Overtime, we have formulated the following Manifesto:
  1. Expand and evolve Visual Novels as a medium for a universal audience.
  2. Explore new ways in which Visual Novels can be used as a story-telling medium.
  3. Raise the quality bar for Visual Novels not only in the West, but worldwide.
Though our team is localized in Melbourne, Australia, we welcome writers from any part of the globe.

We need a Writer!
We have the technical know-how. We have the visuals down-pat. We have the programmer, the designer, the artist, the animator…but we're still missing one crucial element - the writer.
This is why we have created this "tech demo": not only to show what we want to do, but to show what we can do - the capabilities of the team and the quality we are aiming for.
So if you're a writer interested in creating a high-quality, "next-gen" visual novel, please apply!


What we are looking for:
  • Fast and loose writing: Due to the nature of our game, you will be expected to create a large number of text assets - however, you will also be given a large amount of creative freedom in what you write: as can be seen in our demo, we have anything from poems, jokes, anecdotes, screenplays, to recipes.
  • Collaboration: As fellow creatives we understand the pain of having to compromise your vision. That being said, a few of us on the team are also quite keen on the world-building and character design aspects of the game, so be ready for some collaboration! That being said, for our project the story trumps all, so don't be afraid of having to compromise due to artistic or technical constraints - it will be our job to match the story.
  • Volume: We must once again stress the importance of speed: specifically, we're looking at around 180 pages of work (100 pages for the main script, 80 for all the side stories/objects) in 4 months, leaving 2 months for polish/QA.
Setting
Though the plot and setting of the game has not yet been finalized, we are currently leaning towards magic realism as the genre. We are also steering away from romance; this is due to a variety of reasons, but mainly due to oversaturation from existing works.


Scope
We wish to start off by testing the grounds with a smaller project: our goal is to release a ~1 hour long novelette within 6 months. The system and pipeline has already been set up for easy integration with text assets - the bulk of the work will not be integration but creation and editing. By aiming for a smaller release we can also focus on quality of execution and polish. The fast release will also let us know on how to progress with the eventual "larger" game, depending on how the initial release goes.


Finances
We are working with a revenue share model. (Most of us are just students or recent graduates). That being said, we plan to apply for various funding bodies such as the Indiefund & Film Victoria - if any funding is successful, all members of the team will immediately get a share of the funding.


For anyone interested in the position, please include an example of previous work you have done.
As we are on an extremely tight schedule, please contact us by the 23rd of March.

Look forward to the demo, which should be up by this Thursday (polishing it up for Freeplay - which if you live in Melbourne, you should totally check out).
Edit: We realised the submission deadline for the competition is Friday, so will use this opportunity to polish it up further - apologies for the delay.

Feel free to contact us about if you have any questions, or simply ask us below! (I'll be sticking around)
email: projectven.games@gmail.com
twitter: @projectven
Last edited by Nvekmauvia on Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:30 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#2 Post by Laiska » Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:47 pm

You said you're looking to steer away from romance—is there a genre/mood that you are more interested in pursuing? Drama? Comedy? Mystery? Philosophical?

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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#3 Post by Nvekmauvia » Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:59 pm

Slice of life/magic realism (think Haibane Renmei/Aria/Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō), slowly seguing into action/drama.

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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#4 Post by Laiska » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:10 pm

Ah, that's an admirable list of influences :)

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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#5 Post by Thee Forsaken One » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:12 pm

Wow this looks incredibly interesting. How quickly are you needing a writer? I'm tied in up some projects at the moment but this looks really cool.
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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#6 Post by Nvekmauvia » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:25 pm

We're on a pretty tight schedule, so we're giving ourselves till the 23rd of March (roughly 2 weeks) to approach writers. We might give ourselves an extra week or so depending on how things go though.

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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#7 Post by Hendo » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:56 pm

An interesting project, that's for sure. I like what you're trying to do to add a bit of variety to the VN style. I might be interested (read: definitely interested, but not sure if I can can fully commit) but have a few questions first.

1) When you say 180 pages of script, what is the approximate word count for that? From what I know a play script equates to about 1 minute of performance (give or take) per page, but that's only a couple of hundred words or so.

2) Is this 180 pages the short 1-hour test project you mentioned? It seems like it probably is; just clarifying.

3) Have you considered putting up a flyer or something at one of the universities? If you're a bunch of recent or soon-to-be graduates, you might find someone in one of the pro-writing courses who will be interested in working with you.

4) This project seems cool. Not a question, I know. Just thought I should put it out there.

Hendo.

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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#8 Post by Nvekmauvia » Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:01 am

Hendo wrote:An interesting project, that's for sure. I like what you're trying to do to add a bit of variety to the VN style. I might be interested (read: definitely interested, but not sure if I can can fully commit) but have a few questions first.

1) When you say 180 pages of script, what is the approximate word count for that? From what I know a play script equates to about 1 minute of performance (give or take) per page, but that's only a couple of hundred words or so.

2) Is this 180 pages the short 1-hour test project you mentioned? It seems like it probably is; just clarifying.

3) Have you considered putting up a flyer or something at one of the universities? If you're a bunch of recent or soon-to-be graduates, you might find someone in one of the pro-writing courses who will be interested in working with you.

4) This project seems cool. Not a question, I know. Just thought I should put it out there.

Hendo.
1. Around the industry standard of 250 words/page. So in total 45,000 words.
2. Yep!
3. That's a good idea, we should really look into it
4. :D

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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#9 Post by Hendo » Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:37 am

Okay, now I'm definitely (openly) interested. Some of my writing samples can be found here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/o8i7uk8bnkfa ... 7wiTa?dl=0

Just a note: I do work full time and I'm also engaged in another VN project (Violet Hill) with a group of people here. My job does come first, though even with that I can still pull out a fair amount of writing each week. Over this past week (including this weekend) I've been editing a story that I started about a decade ago, and I have managed to turn the first three chapters from about 10,000 words to 20,000. (Whoa... I wrote 10k this week? Madness!)

Anyway, feel free to look over what I've got in the above link. If little else, I can help out as a co-writer.

Good luck with the project!

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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#10 Post by Thee Forsaken One » Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:58 am

Nvekmauvia wrote:We're on a pretty tight schedule, so we're giving ourselves till the 23rd of March (roughly 2 weeks) to approach writers. We might give ourselves an extra week or so depending on how things go though.
I probably should have been more clear but I meant how quickly would you need any writing required. What sort of rough date are you aiming for actual release?
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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#11 Post by gekiganwing » Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:04 am

I like innovation and different things. I'm usually encouraged to see people make bold plans. However, I have some concerns...

1. "Will it ever be released?" A perennial problem. Freeware and indie teams talk about what they want to make. And then reality sets in. It's tough to set aside free time for writing and coding. People struggle with perfectionism or boredom. The scope of their projects becomes overwhelming. A lot of planned freeware games and visual novels never get past the planning stages. Sometimes there's only a demo, and the full game ends up on infinite hiatus.

2. "How do you categorize it?" If there's no easy way to compare it with existing media, it's tough to sell. I had this concern recently with Herald. It sounds promising. But I'm not sure how to describe it, except with the catch-all phrase "indie game."
Nvekmauvia wrote: Our goal is to make a visual novel that demonstrates the capabilities of the medium to a mainstream audience, while remaining relevant to existing fans of the genre.
"Mainstream" is a vague word. Ask a dozen people what it means, and you might get a dozen different answers. Also, when I try to think whether are there any video games that might be considered mainstream, I shrug and say "I don't know." It wasn't all that long ago when I was worried that I was painfully uncool because I only sort of liked Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and preferred to spend time playing Dragon Quest II.

So yeah, you might benefit by thinking of an audience that would enjoy your story or game. It's impossible to please everyone.
Nvekmauvia wrote: Overtime, we have formulated the following Manifesto:
  1. Expand and evolve Visual Novels as a medium for a universal audience.
  2. Explore new ways in which Visual Novels can be used as a story-telling medium.
  3. Raise the quality bar for Visual Novels not only in the West, but worldwide.
"The West" is another vague term. What nations are included, and which ones are excluded? Would Australia be excluded because it's in the southern hemisphere? Many English-speaking writers live in Singapore, Israel, and South Africa -- are any of those nations included?

Prose fiction stories exist in many genres, formats, and styles. They are written in many languages, and are from many different nations. With comics, you sometimes have to search to find diverse types of stories, but they exist. With visual novels, it can be frustratingly tough to find anything other than romance triangle stories and academic settings. If you want to find something different, you have to be willing to dig through indie/freeware archives.

That said... tell the story that you want to create. Use whatever art style you want. Don't limit yourself by saying, "it's just a video game, so it doesn't matter" or "it's just freeware..." Also, don't limit yourself by describing your story with terms that only dedicated fans use, such as "OELVN."

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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#12 Post by Cith » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:52 am

gekiganwing wrote: 2. "How do you categorize it?" If there's no easy way to compare it with existing media, it's tough to sell. I had this concern recently with Herald. It sounds promising. But I'm not sure how to describe it, except with the catch-all phrase "indie game."
Herald is an adventure/VN hybrid (from what I can see.) The adventure tag denotes gameplay (exploration, puzzle, narrative) while the VN part describes the storytelling experience. Similar to how 999 is an adventure/VN hybrid.

You raise a lot of good points in your post, but trust me when I say categorisation will be easy.
gekiganwing wrote: "The West" is another vague term. What nations are included, and which ones are excluded? Would Australia be excluded because it's in the southern hemisphere? Many English-speaking writers live in Singapore, Israel, and South Africa -- are any of those nations included?
The West generally denotes Western European settlement these days, so Aus, NZ, USA, Canada, Russia etc. The OP should just stick to the term 'worldwide.'
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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#13 Post by Nvekmauvia » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:20 am

Thee Forsaken One wrote:
Nvekmauvia wrote:We're on a pretty tight schedule, so we're giving ourselves till the 23rd of March (roughly 2 weeks) to approach writers. We might give ourselves an extra week or so depending on how things go though.
I probably should have been more clear but I meant how quickly would you need any writing required. What sort of rough date are you aiming for actual release?
Our current timeframe is 6 months for a ~1 hour novelette. The writer will be given approximately 4 months to do 180 pages (industry standard, 250 words/page), with 2 more months for polish and QA.

To gekiganwing: you raised a lot of great points! Going to bed now (it's 2 here in Australia), but I'll be doing a detailed write-up tomorrow morning to help clarify the project!
EDIT: Oh god I'm so sorry I misspelt your name, urgh that's why you should never type at 2am in the morning (-‸ლ) - thanks to Taleweaver for letting me know.
Cith wrote:The West generally denotes Western European settlement these days, so Aus, NZ, USA, Canada, Russia etc. The OP should just stick to the term 'worldwide.'
Yep, "West" is probably an outdated term, but we pretty much meant the English speaking world. Not to say we aren't interested in multi-language localizations, but it's just not something our limited budge can handle right now, and we don't want to go around making empty promises.
Last edited by Nvekmauvia on Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#14 Post by ImmaDeker » Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:12 pm

Very interested. Have sent you an email.

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Re: Calling on writers for "next-gen" Visual Novel!

#15 Post by Nvekmauvia » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:04 pm

Finally, the reply to gekiganwing ^^; took me a while to write up - really interesting stuff, so I made it into a blogpost!
http://projectvn.blogspot.com.au/2015/0 ... stion.html

Here's a transcript for ease of access:

The first issue I'd like to address is that of over-scoping - many have expressed concern that our project might be too ambitious, doomed to never see the light of day. This is an extremely valid point! Over-scoping is definitely the bane of start-up groups, and the first thing we had to decide was the scope of Ven. Our team has a strong track record of completing projects (it's the first thing you learn as a game dev) - and doing so in relatively quick times. Check out Rabbit Rush:http://www.rabbit-rush.com/, a game we made in 2013 that got an honourable mention for IGF 2014! While not the most polished game, it was definitely a fairly large scale project, and we managed to make that in 4 months with a group of 5. A few of us have also worked on commercial projects (iPhone apps, prototypes for larger companies, etc.), so we do have some experience with project completion and follow through. This is also the reason why we're purposely limiting the scope of the game to less than 1 hour of playtime - quality over quantity, and it helps us scope out follow-ups much easier.

Some have also commented on the over-simplistic nature of our "goals" - rest assured that our "goals" were oversimplified for public consumption - we have a detailed, 17 page design doc for internal use, which we are happy to share with anyone in the later stages of engaging with us as a writer. Nonetheless, I can see where how some of the terms we used might seem rather ambiguous, so let me clarify them in greater detail:

"Mainstream", and why we're going there
Mainstream is a rather vague word used out a lack of a better one (that we can think of), so let's put it this way instead: we want to create a game that reaches outwards (from the VN community), while still remaining an enjoyable work for those within the original community. While targeting a niche market is generally the sounder business choice (at least in the short run), our "goal" is not just to make money. Don't get me wrong, we're not altruists on a holy mission, and being commercially viable is definitely a key factor for our success, but if we just wanted to make money…we probably won't be making games . It's our passion and love for the medium that propels the project, and our greatest desire to see it rise up and take its place amongst the other "great" mediums - film, books, comics, anime…
The following will probably be our most controversial statement: we believe that in order for a medium to grow past a certain point, it requires mainstream recognition and relevance to popular culture. Studio Ghibli, as clichéd as it might be, is a great example of a studio that "reaches out", while remaining relevant and enjoyable for the original fans of the medium. We want to be like that.
We understand if not everybody agrees with us in that statement, but that's what we believe in. That being said, we're definitely not out there to make a "watered-down" experience, or to censor - it just means we have to approach the narrative from a more universal point of view.
So not too niche, but not too mainstream: like most things, balance, I think, is key.

The West
"The West" refers to the English-speaking world. We believe that language is the largest barrier preventing wide-spread access of the large majority of visual novel works, and by creating high-quality, easily accessible English-language works we lower the barrier of entry for a lot of people out there. This is not to say we are not interested in releases in other languages - it's just a bit outside our budget (scoping once again) - and we don't want to make any empty promises.

Tl;dr: We more visual novels beings made worldwide, and higher quality works produced. We believe by creating a high-quality, high-profile English visual novel that reaches out from the current VN community is the best way to do that.

A last point I want to clarify is that we are not just fans working on a pet project! We are game developers that have worked on professional, commercial works, forming a start-up company to work on our dream. We understand that there are risks involved, which is why we want to make sure people know what they are getting into. Is it going to be easy? No. Is it going to be risky? Heck yeah. But we truly believe we have something worth investing into, that people will enjoy!

Hope that it clears things up a bit, and once again, if you have any questions or comments, please let us know!

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