Dating sim vs. Regular VN

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Miss-Mae
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Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#1 Post by Miss-Mae » Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:12 am

I've been thinking on this for the last few days, and decided to finally post on here to see if I could get some opinions and advice from fellow game makers / players.

I'm working on my first game right now, and I originally intended to make it an actual sim-game, with stat raising and all that.. But it has recently come to my attention that a lot of the really good games out there are good without that aspect to them. I also have realized that it is much more difficult to make a game with simulation aspects to it...

So, my question is.. Do you think it's worth all the extra effort to make my first game a sim game? Or is a game with choices just as good to play?

I only ask because I've been trying to figure it out for myself and I'm having a hard time coming to a decision about it. Any advice and opinions would be very helpful. <3

( P.S: If this isn't the right category, I apologize. I wasn't entirely sure if it should be here or in general info. ^^; )
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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#2 Post by James » Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:36 am

Do you think it's worth all the extra effort to make my first game a sim game? Or is a game with choices just as good to play?
I'd stick with games with choices for now, simulation dating requires decent programing skills (at least the good ones does). To be honest, the reward is not great if done half-heatedly. I find a lot of stat building games annoying if they are not well designed.

If you still want to, it's still doable. Down load the DSE for a pre-made one, or if you already have programing experience you can make your own.

Good luck with whatever you choose
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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#3 Post by Elenakiara » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:58 am

I think that it depends on the level of difficulty that you have for the game. :3 Sometimes, the stats building game is something easy, where you just have some actions lead to more or less point increases. I think that games like frozen essence were made with it, where you just have to have chosen most of the right options for one character.

It might just be me, but like I have posted already in the contest/festival thread, I believe that making a game only with options and jumps is more complicated. I think that you will either have lots and lots of unique endings depending on each choice, since it's harder to go back or just recopy many of the same text from the main storyline.

I don't know, but it just seems a bit complicated for me, more than a simple stats-building game. :)
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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#4 Post by Harumi Fujyoshi » Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:05 am

Actually, I'm fanatically against stat-raising sims. I find they're often tedious and shallow. So if it's a lot more work on top of that; I'd say pass. It's better to start small.

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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#5 Post by jack_norton » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:33 am

Normal VNs are much easier to do than dating sims, but you should do whatever you like most. There are people who like one genre and hate the other, and vice-versa :)
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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#6 Post by kinougames » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:02 pm

I consider a dating sim a "normal VN" as most VNs tend to fall into that format, tbh. Dating sims, however, are not stat-raising games necessarily. People will mix stat-building with a dating aspect, but most dating games I've played are choices and then based on those choices, a guy may or may not like you.

As already stated, the problem with stat building games is that while they're lower on art, they're much higher on programming and being able to think like a game designer. Because they're high on sheer experience in designing them, they're really easy to make really badly and require someone to either know their checks and balances, or for someone to literally sit around testing it and fixing the math. Do it wrong, you have a super easy game with low replay value, or a super hard game that leaves everyone with a funky taste. Do it well and you could have a low-asset game that people will love and can't get enough of. :)

If you're willing to take the time on it to learn...I honestly think that you should go ahead and try it. Even if you don't complete it, you might learn something valuable. :)
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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#7 Post by Miss-Mae » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:18 pm

Thank you all so much for giving me such great feedback! This is exactly what I was needing to hear and I think I know what I am going to do now. I am thinking I'll save the stats for after I've had a chance to do a normal game. Seeing as how I'm a newbie to programming as it is, it might be best to save the stat raising for after I have a little more experience. I won't give up on making a stat game, but for now, I'll leave it until I at least know the basics of programming. One step at a time.

Thank you all again, I really appreciate it. <3
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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#8 Post by IonicMomo » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:38 am

It looks like you've already made your decision, but I'm going to throw in my two cents anyway. :D

I think the question of choosing to create a dating sim versus a VN really depends on your skills. Dating sims are harder to program, but the storytelling and characterization tend to be simpler and less involved. A skilled programmer might find it easier to create a (semi-decent) dating sim.

A VN, on the other hand, is much easier to program. (Seriously, my mom could make a very simple VN if she wanted to.) But the plot and characters tend to be more complex and developed. So someone that is more skilled at writing than programming might find it easier to create a VN.

Again these are just tendencies I've noticed, not absolutes.
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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#9 Post by papillon » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:20 am

Of course, dating sim storytelling can be a lot more COMPLICATED if you're doing vast amounts of optional events that can all interact with and change each other, instead of just 'this unlocks if you reach 80 Cool' :)

This article is talking about a free-roaming RPG, but it's got the same issue about needing to make ten versions of every dialog in order to compensate for which elements the player might or might not have already seen or interacted with.

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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#10 Post by Greeny » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:25 pm

IonicMomo wrote:Dating sims are harder to program, but the storytelling and characterization tend to be simpler and less involved.
That's the problem with most dating sims. People take it as an excuse for having a less well-thought out plot and flat characters. Just because it happens doesn't mean that's the way it should be. Dating sims should have the same standards for plot and characters.
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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#11 Post by flowerthief » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:45 pm

^ Of course you could say the reverse about VNs. "People take it as an excuse for having less well-thought out game mechanics and having flat gameplay. VN's should have the same standards for gameplay."

(No, I don't really think this, but if you can make that statement then I can make this one)
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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#12 Post by Megaman Z » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:09 pm

flowerthief wrote:^ Of course you could say the reverse about VNs. "People take it as an excuse for having less well-thought out game mechanics and having flat gameplay. VN's should have the same standards for gameplay."

(No, I don't really think this, but if you can make that statement then I can make this one)
no, no, no. You can't. A straight VN is similar to a choose your own adventure book, which pretty much has negligible (if any) gameplay components. You can't really judge a VN on them, since the focus ends up being on the story more than anything else.

Meanwhile, one of the criteria a dating sim CAN be judged on (reasonably) is the storyline underneath it. A dating sim with a decent framework/engine, decent graphics, but complete lack of story or characterization (read: Anything by Klacid) pretty much gets an F- in my book.
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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#13 Post by papillon » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:55 pm

A straight VN is similar to a choose your own adventure book, which pretty much has negligible (if any) gameplay components.
Actually, there are a number of gamebooks that have some element of gameplay to them rather than pure random choice, even those where the only player mechanic is choosing which page to turn to. Some gamebooks are nearly impossible without careful note-taking and interpretation of clues in order to work out which choice is right, or at least leading in the right direction.

Visual novels can be well or poorly designed from a gameplay perspective, not just well or poorly written. A VN with one choice at the very beginning that seems to have no effect, then identical text without branching for two hours, then suddenly a good or bad ending at the end of that, would generally be considered badly designed.

Pure VNs can be unfairly difficult or poorly balanced just as dating sims can be - they can be worse, since at least most dating sims display your stats which gives you some clue of how you're doing.

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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#14 Post by flowerthief » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:45 pm

Megaman Z wrote:\
no, no, no. You can't. A straight VN is similar to a choose your own adventure book, which pretty much has negligible (if any) gameplay components. You can't really judge a VN on them, since the focus ends up being on the story more than anything else.

Meanwhile, one of the criteria a dating sim CAN be judged on (reasonably) is the storyline underneath it. A dating sim with a decent framework/engine, decent graphics, but complete lack of story or characterization (read: Anything by Klacid) pretty much gets an F- in my book.
I don't understand you at all. Who says a dating sim can be judged on story but that a VN can't be judged on gameplay? Why are you the one to decide what a game can or cannot be judged on? All games have a focus since no game can do everything well.

I'll give you proof that people judge VN's on gameplay all the friggin' time -- the very fact that there are players (lots) who refuse to play them because of their well-known proclivity to lack substantial gameplay. Their judgement is one of preference in what they value in a game...as is the judgement that leads to your giving out those F-'s.
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Re: Dating sim vs. Regular VN

#15 Post by Megaman Z » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:32 pm

flowerthief wrote:Who says a dating sim can be judged on story but that a VN can't be judged on gameplay?
Okay, let's judge a movie or a novel on gameplay.

Fun fact: Kinetic Novels (which never fork or branch) are a type of Visual Novel.
Why are you the one to decide what a game can or cannot be judged on? All games have a focus since no game can do everything well.
1) all reviews are subjective by their nature.
2) I never claimed to be the authority (or even an authority), that's just my common sense speaking to me regarding what actually goes into a dating sim. There are certain criteria I've developed for certain mediums and certain genres of games (sadly, Strategy games aren't in that set - I suck at them, and as such I don't think I'm in any position to give a good opinion on them). My expectations of a STG game are different from an FPS, and my general expectations of a VN are different than those of a dating sim (even if there is an overlap in those two).

let's take my example again:

Before I start this, you should probably take a look at the bottom of this page over at TVTropes. It's telling that the first thing listed under epic failure gets singled out ON the story that you're implying is not needed for a dating sim.

From a purely technical standpoint, the underlying system in Klacid's Love Hina and Galaxy Angel dating sims are decent (they're actually somewhat impressive considering the platform - Adobe Flash). Graphically, they're okay (some sprites are just plain ugly, but all of them are recognizable).

However, a dating sim needs a good story - moreso if the mechanics or graphics are sub-par - if it's going to stand out well, and it is here that both of klacid's dating sims fail miserably - The story is nothing more than an excuse plot, and I'm pretty sure about 25% of the entire dialogue are expletives. It doesn't take a genius to figure out how well that sits, even today, with the fans of the two series.

and as a final bullet point, Visual Novels, if not considered an outright medium, are typically considered a form of interactive fiction, and Dating Simulations are likewise considered a type of Simulation Game. You can see from there why different standards are used when judging them.
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