Question: To see or not to see?

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YuMMz
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Question: To see or not to see?

#1 Post by YuMMz » Thu May 17, 2007 10:46 am

I was wondering does it negatively impact your experience if you see a picture of the main character?

For example, the dating sim game I am working on places you in the eyes of the main character. So you go through the game experiencing everything through his eyes. If you never see a picture of the main character's face then you create his image however you want. For example you could visualize the main character in your own likeness if you choose to. This I would think would bring the character in the game and the person playing the game closer. Yet if you do see a picture of him then his image is concrete and could not be created by each individual player. So if my created character does not fit with what the player visualized would it alienate the player?

Maybe I am just be being paranoid and it does not matter one way or the other. :shock:

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#2 Post by DaFool » Thu May 17, 2007 11:44 am

For me it just depends on economics.

If I don't feel like drawing a character (especially a male character), then I just won't bother and will just concentrate on the ladies.

Do note however that not depicting the main character will mean that if you have event CGs with the main character in it, there will be a chance the response will be "Who is that? Is that me? Lol!" which dampens the effect of that CG unless you showed him earlier on.

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#3 Post by monele » Thu May 17, 2007 12:42 pm

Hentai games don't show the main chara except in CGs, and they usually have him be *very* neutral looking and, of course, not showing their eyes.

Not that there's any rules to this but I think it all depends on how much depth you want to give to the main character. If you have a big story and behavior for him/her... maybe it's better to let it be known right away by showing a face.
But if you plan to give very varied choices such as being bad or being good (simply letting the player build the protagonist), then maybe not showing him/her is better.

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#4 Post by YuMMz » Thu May 17, 2007 1:38 pm

Good points.

DaFool: It would either be all or nothing. If I did not depict the main character, then he would be absent in all cgs. This is very possible to do.

Monele: That is even a better way to phrase the question. Does not depicting the main character give the character more depth? The game does have a variety of options for the main character to follow. So would you rather see a standard/bland main character that could in theory fit all the possible personalities OR would it be better to not ever show the main character's face and let the player imagine him.

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#5 Post by Enerccio » Thu May 17, 2007 1:48 pm

I don't like to see main protagonist as a sprite.
But event cg is different though (I don't mind it there).
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#6 Post by absinthe » Thu May 17, 2007 2:53 pm

I don't care either way. I'm probably atypical in this... I like both methods.

Guess it depends on the story, too. A story with multiple protagonists, each with a story line, would lend itself well to a pre-game viewing of the hero you've selected, just to 'set the scene'. Or one told in third person (that'd be a lot of work, though!). Or it could be really cute in a somewhat funny game to have a small, off-set window for a little picture of the hero and his facial expressions as he talks and interacts with people!

I've never really understood it when people say they have issues getting into a character who has a defined face, history, and such, but I've heard a lot of people say that. Meh, go with what you think works, then change it if you think it isn't working! (I'm so helpful today.)
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#7 Post by monele » Thu May 17, 2007 3:07 pm

I've never really understood it when people say they have issues getting into a character who has a defined face, history, and such, but I've heard a lot of people say that. Meh, go with what you think works, then change it if you think it isn't working! (I'm so helpful today.)
It's still rather different. To take Fate/Stay night as an example... even though you play in "first person view" most of the time, Shirou is clearly shown in a few CGs and is has a few strong principles that not everyone is forced to agree with. Just that makes him a character on his own and I find myself thinking "he/him" instead of "me/I" when I play and think about choices and stuff.
The difference is probably thin but some characters will be "customizable" and others not.

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#8 Post by Sethaniel » Thu May 17, 2007 4:30 pm

I suppose it matters also whether you care if the player is thinking "I/my" or "him/his."

I mean, is it necessarily bad for the player not to identify with the protagonist?

There are some ren'ai I've played where I don't even remember what the main chara's name is-- and I don't necessarily think that's a good (or bad) thing.

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#9 Post by YuMMz » Thu May 17, 2007 6:21 pm

Good points.

I guess I would assume the game would be more engrossing with an I/me perspective. But I never really thought about it until making this game. I am very curious about other's opinions. I am trying to think back to some of the better games I have played and whether I felt an I/Me connection or His/He type.

Goes back to pondering which way to go. :?

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#10 Post by Ignosco » Thu May 17, 2007 11:43 pm

Hm.. I'd lean towards showing the whole of the main character in CG's, eyes included, mainly just to give more flexibility in the sorts of scenes you can show, and the perspective you draw them from (eg Crescendo).

For example http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/c ... tId,81923/.

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#11 Post by chronoluminaire » Fri May 18, 2007 5:35 am

Well, I knew with When I Rule The World that I wanted a way to have Selena on-screen even when she was the only character around, so that's why that game has its slightly unconventional layout.

That did let me do some funky things with flashbacks (have Selena narrating off at the side with one expression, while Selena in the flashback is in the main window with a different expression), and with shifting POV (have Takeshi appear in the narrator position).

Elven Relations was always meant to be a more traditional style of VN, so I didn't do anything like that. But I did worry that the event CGs might come across a bit like "Gosh, who's that person?" when you see Takuya. So I tried to fix that with (a) the childhood reminiscence CG including Takuya as well as Kei and Tohko, and (b) having his sprite visible in combat.

I generally prefer to have the narrator character well-defined, including having an appearance. Because you'll never be able to make the narrator's choices line up perfectly always with the player's choices, so the "this is me" illusion will always be imperfect; so I prefer having a well-defined character, but one I can identify with to some extent.
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#12 Post by EwanG » Fri May 18, 2007 1:59 pm

Also depends on whether you're always playing as the same character. In Camp Handiba, since you play as one of three POVs, you are going to see "yourself" when you change POV. In such a case, you pretty much have to have a character design.

To take another example, when you play Zelda, you usually get to see Link. Although that's partly because of the "over the shoulder" viewpoint the game uses.

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#13 Post by monele » Fri May 18, 2007 3:35 pm

But in Hadiba's case, you can't deny that all the characters are already quite fleshed out :). Otherwise, you, as an author, wouldn't know how the character the player is not controling should act.
If you took Kikuit (I know there's a 'y' somewhere but...) and tried to write a parallel story from one of the girls' point of view, I really don't know how you'd portrait the main male character ô_o...

On the other hand, hime's Project Nattsu has an actually well defined character, except that you, as the player, can still overwrite his personality with your choices. Basically, you can't know the protagonist's real personality since playing immediately means you're overwriting it... but the author knew what she wanted the protagonist to be in spite of this.

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#14 Post by musical74 » Fri May 18, 2007 11:27 pm

OK this is gonna be fairly long so bear with me.

I believe it honestly depends on how the game is protrayed. In Garden Society Kykuit it's from the standpoint of Authur Turner. In it you are seeing essentially what Authur is seeing, and for that, it works well. In playing Elven Relations, there's times where you see the main character, and that helps you ID with him a little more. In the various Zelda games, it's a over-the-shoulder view of Link, which works well (honestly I can't imagine playing a Zelda game in GSK style....I'd lose SOOOOOOOO many times!)

Which is best? They all have good points and bad points. I think Elven Relations has the best idea though. For the most part the main character is *faceless* but occasionally having a CG where you see the main character is a good idea. It gives you an idea of what the main character looks like and helps you ID with him better than if he or she was just faceless....

I know, I know, this isn't helping you make up your mind, is it YuMMz?
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#15 Post by YuMMz » Mon May 21, 2007 2:14 pm

Actually it has. I have decided to give the character a face. I was thinking about it and I just think the cg's with the character kissing, etc. will be much better if he is visible. I am not going to overload the player with pictures of the main character, but he will be present in some cgs.

Thanks for the input everyone!

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