Things people want to see in a dating game

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Things people want to see in a dating game

#1 Post by chronoluminaire »

An excellent idea to create this forum, Lemma. :)
I know at least two of us here other than the Lemma himself are writing dating games.

So, one useful discussion: what would people like to see in a dating game? What kind of things would you like to see, or do you think are most important?

I'll start off: on the general front, I think an involving story and believable characters are by far the most important thing.

As for specific things: well I find it irritating in some dating games when the main character says "She's irritating and not pretty at all" and I think "Actually I disagree!" So one option I'm thinking of putting into my game (not for sure yet though) is to allow the player to choose from 3 or 4 "reactions" each time they meet a new character. Like "she's cute", "she's irritating", "she's boring", "she looks scary" - or whatever, depending on the character.

What else do people think is most important, or is something that hasn't been done much which should be?

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#2 Post by Yang Sei Fu »

Like all humans, people demand a GOOD STORY.

When I say good story, especially with romance, it has to be MOVING and INSIGHTFUL, not to mention PHILOSOPHICAL and THOUGHTFUL, and the mandatory requirements of REALISTIC and SENSITIVE.

There, the highlights did it all some good.

As the writer/CEO of Project Journeys, I intend on matching (I can't beat Asae-sama on his creativity and deep-ness) KEY's storyline creation quality.

To write a good story, BE the story.
Sorry, scatterbrained again.

I believe the storyline should be sensitive enough to know what type of person the user is so by the time he has chosen enough storylines, it will go with the chosen line's characteristics. In other words, the main character is a blank canvas and by the time we reach the middle we have a generic concept of what kind of person the main char is...artistic, thoughtful or what-not.

Of course, such a sensitive line requires A LOT of work. It would be quite an undertaking to see one FINALLY coming out in English...

I need CG artists...who's with me!? (Raises sword)
=/| ClearWind Design Studios |\=

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#3 Post by Blue Lemma »

Ah, the age-old question! I wish I knew the answer, but from my experiences talking to people and playing games, I'd say these things tend to be most common on people's lists:

* Story - Like you guys said, people want a good story. Otherwise, what's the point of the game? Well, unless it's an H game, but I assume that's not what we're talking about here :lol:
* Cute/Appealing Graphics - If not for this, we might as well read a book, right? And who wants to do that?! :P I remember hearing someone describe cuteness as a quality that makes you just want to hug and protect the person...maybe snuggle up in a non-sexual way. People are drawn to cute things, and they make great merchandise (plushies!) :D
* Surprises - If the player can predict the story, it isn't much fun. People are delighted by amusing twists of fate. Just make sure the surprise fits in with the game somehow. Don't have aliens abduct the love interest when she's about to pour her heart out, unless there's been some reference to aliens or UFOs before. Otherwise, people will think "uh...yeah, that was dumb."
* Novelty - Do SOMETHING in your game that you haven't seen done before, or try to improve on something you have seen done before. Don't just settle for making a stripped-down version of [insert popular game here].
* Decisions - Since it's a game, it needs to be interactive. Once again, if it's not, we might as well be reading one of them "book" thingies. I think the important thing here is that people want decisions that matter! They don't want to have choices A and B, choose A and perform B anyway. You see this in RPGs a lot, like when the hero is asked to go on a mission or become leader of a group. No matter what you say, you end up being drafted into whatever decision advances the linear story. I think the Gaming Intelligence Agency described this as "Communist Choice" :lol: Let's not be communists, okay?
* Freedom - This kind of goes along with decisions, but it's more broad. Let's take Tokimemo for instance. A mere decision would be choosing to give a present to either Shiori or Ayako. Freedom would be having the option of ditching the school completely or being able to whisk them away on a surprise date. I guess freedom is having a wide variety of options that lead to fairly different places. However, you don't see this a lot because it creates more work for the game creators. All the plot branches it leads to could be a headache. :( One compromise I see is to have the plot branches, but have all the branches tie back to the main linear/general plot line at some point. From there you could make more branches and tie them back in later again. One big potential pitfall, though, is to have so many branches that each of them becomes shallow and makes the overall story suffer.
* Fanservice - While not absolutely necessary, it generally doesn't hurt. :wink: Let's face it: we're working with cute fantasy girls (or guys) and it's all in good fun, so why not? As long as you don't overdo it (unless you're planning to make a naughty game like Myriad Knight :wink:)
I'll use the apple tree incident from ToL 1 as an example of having decisions, story, and fanservice work together. If your character has been sexually focused, he gets the option to pull Miko's pants down (decision). However, if he hasn't been sexually-focused, that idea wouldn't seriously cross his mind since it doesn't fit with his personality (story). And if he does pants poor Miko, we see her cute pink cherry panties (fanservice). A couple things to note here: First of all, no one is forced to take the fanservice option. It's up to the player. So if players don't want to see that kind of thing and see it, they have nobody to blame but themselves. (In other words, they can't blame YOU :D ) And second of all, the fanservice incident helps with the story. We see Miko and the guy's reactions, as well as... another cute side of Miko, all of which adds to the story and characters.

Whew, that was a mouthful, but that's what I have for now. :)

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#4 Post by uchuusen »

I agree with most everything said.

On the matter of decisions and freedom, mainly in the visual-novel type of games, I have a few thoughts that may or may not be coherent...

In any game, the feeling of being free to do whatever one wants is generally considered good. However, too much freedom can soon become confusing to the player.

For example, about over month ago I played Doukyuusei 2 (SFC version), and I never would have been able to clear it completely without using walkthroughs found on the net. But then again, maybe I'm just not too bright.(heh) There is quite an amount of freedom of movement in the game, and there are few hints as to what you should do, or where you should go next.

Even so, Doukyuusei 2 was a good game(at least I thought it was), and a good example of what a ren'ai game should be. While there was a lot of freedom, I didn't really feel overwhelmed by it, it just made it more challenging.

But there is the danger of too much freedom, which I think most can understand.

Also, as for the so-called Commie Choices (i love that), I tend to take the position that they are not generally evil. If used rather sparingly, they can be good for comic effect, I think. Now of course, if there were too many of these, you could just go ahead and call them Saddam(or whoever your favorite dictator is) choices, and THAT would be bad.

In the game I am supposedly making, there are a few of these meaningless choices thrown in. They are mainly in the beginning where nothing much important happens anyway, and they sort of help set the tone of story early on.

These are just a few of my thoughts on the matter. While interactivity is important, it is just as important not to lose focus. or something...

And finally, as a side note(completely unrelated to anything): when using a scripting language to create visual-novels, using one that supports the use of English is a good idea, perhaps... I will have to eventually switch away from NScripter...hehe

Good bye, comrades (?)

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variations on a theme...

#5 Post by Eiji »

I"m a bit new here, but I have an interest in ren'ai and I think I got something that might work for a story of one..

thing is I"m not sure the theme will work..

its a bit of a spin on the "exotic girlfriend" genre.. (you know.. like UY, Tenchi, etc).

here's the baseline...
its the early half of 2019.. and man has made a massive quantum leap in propultion technology (in short.. a workable warp drive).. I open the story with a 17 year old guy, whos part of the crew of the first starship to use this new drive... they've just arrived at Barnard's Star (in case you dont know where that is.. its a yellow dwarf star, a lot like our sun.. about 6 lightyears from Earth).

during the course of surveying the landing zone of one of the dropships.. our "hero" is up in the mountains and gets seperated from his party by a landslide.. and ends up in a forest, injured...
now heres the thing I"m not so sure about... he does get rescued by one of the planet's "natives" (it turns out, they're humaniods that seem to resemble Tolkienesque Elves and their technology resembles what humans would call sorcery)
most of the main story and its endings are still up in the air I think.. but the main premise is that this "elf"-girl ends up helping our hero on a journey to find the rest of the expedition and to get back home

any thoughts on this? Because I think it would be a good way to show that "love is universal" aspect of games of this genre..

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#6 Post by chronoluminaire »

That sounds like a good idea, certainly, Eiji. The combination of the sci-fi and fantasy aspects could work out being an excellent setting - I've certainly liked it in novels I've read. Romance with aliens / non-humans is fine - I've seen stories before where it worked well, anyway. (As well as stories where it didn't work at all, but that's a different subject...)

As with pretty much any ren-ai game, the most important bit will be writing the story and characters. Work on really planning out how the story will let your characters develop feelings for each other.

The other thing I suppose, with any game where there's just one plot route to go down, is to figure out why you're making it a game and not just a visual novel with no interaction. What benefits from the interactive nature can you get? If there's only one girl who the main character can fall in love with, then are you going to make the choices determine whether or not they get together (like Tales of Lemma 1), or what?
There's lots of possibilities, so it's just something to bear in mind :)

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#7 Post by Eiji »

well... I think there should be a lot of "paralell paths" that they can take.. like more than one way through a certian area for example (I'm debating on having them go through a mine thats overrun with some none-too-friendly creatures).

there's 4 ways the story can end from what I"m seeing..
1. the boy dies
2. the girl dies
3. boy gets girl after getting home (and she goes back with some others of her kind as well)
4. boy gets home, but girl wants to remain with her people.

I know, I know... but sorry to dissappoint you.. but I think I'll leave the H stuff out for this one.. though I might consider having an "add-on" that puts some H-stuff in at a later date... just maybe, mind you. (I mean.. I played a hacked version of "Season of the Sakura" and that was rather nice.. hentai or not)

though I'm not sure what kind of "fan service" I can have with an elf-girl... unless the hero catches her bathing (though I think thats pushing it.. too ecchi there I think), though she could have a somewhat suggestive outfit..

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#8 Post by chronoluminaire »

Haha! I find it entertaining that you're worried about *disappointing* people by not including much fanservice :)

There are two things I can say here:
1) Take a look at something like Love Hina (or Hand Maid May, Chobits, ...) for an endless supply of examples of how one can acquire fanservicey or slightly ecchi situations out of nowhere ;)

But more to the point:
2) If you don't want to put it in, then don't! :D My larger[*] game is pretty much a high-school setting, and I think it's pretty unlikely I'll include much in that or at all. Remember a lot of the most well-known games in Japan (Tokimeki Memorial, etc) don't have much ecchiness at all, and they're still enormously popular. I've seen one or two anime where I was surprised they avoided a fanservice moment or panty shot or whatever. I've seen lots of games and anime where they throw in utterly gratuitous such things (either full sex scenes or just ecchi moments), not even contributing to characterisation or anything, where I've thought "this would be much better without that scene".

Like Lemma said, a lot of people will enjoy it if you put it in; but it's not to everyone's taste. You certainly shouldn't feel bad for avoiding it if you feel it'd be better without for the moment :D

(And Season of the Sakura is a magnificent story and game, isn't it? With or without the sex scenes :D :oops: )

[*] Larger game: I recently discovered Lemma's tips, and realised that while I was on track to meet points 3-5, I'd totally ignored 1 :) I've done far too much work on the characters and story of the game to throw it away, but I've decided to write a smaller and simpler game to start with. I'm switching the universe and setting but keeping some of the characters :D ... partly because I've got to know the characters quite well and they're fun to write, partly to avoid spending ages coming up with new ones, and partly to provide some fun continuity for the players when I eventually finish the larger game too :) )[/url]

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#9 Post by Zero »

There's one thing that I would truely love to see in a dating sim, source code. You needn't release the entire game to the public, only the engine. Like Id is doing with nearly all of their old games, give the engine code away, but keep the data files.


some advice

#10 Post by Neoshaman »

well i'm getting involve in dating sim making and i do a lot of reshearch on it (*caugh* *caugh* i'm suppose to draw for tralu's love revo but i have failed to keep my promise due to some difficulty)

(sorry if my writing is sometimes kinda weird but i'm a french native speaker)

well i play TOL1


i was a kinda deceive

ok it's a visual novel not a dating sim or a dating without sim (there is no simulation)

i think the game lack too quality even for VISUAL novel (interactivity and visual)

i explain


since it's not a professional work, it's hard to put choice each time, isn't it?

WRONG early games was made in a single month by a single person in a part time
these game were called adventure text game, doing some reschearch on it can help you build the better engine
and you have not to keep text since image speak themselve (description etc... it's kind of boring, don't say the character is in a swim suit if the image show that, it's common sense)

the second problem is story required, well....
it's a computer generated works, computer can do a lot without any effort
just keep your imagination on design issue
i'm lazy, idon't want to make much work, then i always think about doing greater in the lighter way
having too much to write is difficult and loosen the story
that's why i choose to think different
i mean i try to not thinking in term of story but situation
you can simulate a situation
a simulated situation will be a set of rule in a particular condition where action brings event

well it's this way tokimeki works
event are links to condition, and condition is activated by action
there is no plot tree, and it's easier to play since there much more possibilty with less efforts
tokimeki has for example event trigger, overall stat , relationship stat (with the player and other character too), etc....
then there is a script that sez to the sim character what to do
in order to make this you have to make a digital profile just like writer make a writing profile to say who is the character and what way he will react to other member

for visual it's quite simple
drawing is difficult and it's the main problem of such game
but as i say before BE LAZY, think of the easiest way
actual project has only one good thing
they don't redraw each time the character for each expression
they have the body and then you have a set of expression to put in


why not expand the methode to the whole character??
not only in a digital sense but also at the drawing stat

any skilful drawer know that we always begin with general scratch and then make details
since i make animation too, i never do for each image a complete new image
for drawing large amount of draw i make general sketch that i can reuse
i have sketch with only body in all position then i reprint them and had detail for making a new character or a new clothing or hairing
i can also make them bigger or thiner or change little detail like the hand position to make nuance etc...
i have also a set of head position (without face) and i apply this to the body
you get the point??
you can make the game look much more like a anim and comics with true energy through it in no time

just trust me[/b]

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#11 Post by kara24601 »

I like "silly" story games as much as I enjoy serious ones.
For example , some online "romance simulation" games aren't very serious at all but they're so stupid that they're funny.
So I'd hate it every single project that came out was serious.
I love variety.

Like others have stated , if possible , make the game have many choices to make , especially if it's an H game. People get tired of "think" , "look" , and "do" with limited sentences / reactions to trying each choice.

I agree with - "While interactivity is important, it is just as important not to lose focus. " - too.

I wouldn't mind , ( and in fact have played some games like this ) , playing a mostly text version or whatever of these type of games but like anyone I enjoy good graphics too.

I agree with nearly everything stated.
Again , basic story doesn't really matter...
Serious ....odd...or silly...I don't care....
I just want more games to play.

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Lets get tricky...or not

#12 Post by nerer1001 »

I know Ren'ai came from 'visual novels', but I think that to make a fun and entertaining Ren'ai game, you really need interactivity to make things exciting.

In a ren'ai game where certain events are triggered based on your scores in certain areas (kinda like an RPG), I would like to see something more than just the character running across the screen over and over again to build up these stats.

A mini-game, or something, so that I'm not just killing time until the next Dialogue event, or something. Theoretically, the games colud become more difficult as the stat increases and if you do exceptionally well your statistic would increase by a large bump.

** oh, and one thing I LOATHE ENTIRELY: think/look/act/etc. games where you can't do anything until you have completely worn out every option in every room in your own private hell you were lured into.
Once again, variety is key and all things in moderation can be okay, but don't overwhelm the player with choices when there is only one true answer. (Or don't listen to me, I tend to rant indecisively)

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