for expierenced NV developers/creators, what would you say to a first time VN creator?

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TorroesPrime
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for expierenced NV developers/creators, what would you say to a first time VN creator?

#1 Post by TorroesPrime » Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:34 pm

So, pretty much what the title says I suppose. so if you were to break the process of developing a VN down into quantifiable and separate jobs, what would those jobs be? And I know that all VN are different so while one may require a dedicated mini-game programmer while another requires a Data base admin or something, I just mean in terms of generalities. Like the 10 (or 5? or 8? or whatever) jobs that all NV need to have completed in order to be 'finished'.

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Re: for expierenced NV developers/creators, what would you say to a first time VN creator?

#2 Post by GNVE » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:57 pm

Well I wouldn't necessarily call myself experienced but I do have some insight in the do's and don'ts.
First thing you should do is to play a good number of VN's from other developers. Try to see what are things you like and dislike in other peoples/teams VN's. What makes a game good or bad in your opinion? Think about art style, story, setting, controls, translation, game engine etc. A good resource to learn to think like a developer is the Extra Credits YouTube channel. They focus mostly on more traditional games but that doesn't make their insights less valuable per say.

Second thing I'd suggest (if you want to develop your game in Ren'Py) is to get a basic understanding of Python. Learning a bit about python will help you programming in Ren'Py especially if you want to do more advanced things like implement minigames or custom screens. It also helps you troubleshoot bugs in your game because it makes it easier to read the bug report the game throws up. It might not be required to make simple VN's but I do think it is highly advisable. Two resources I found helpful are: the free tutorial of the University of Waterloo, Computer Science Circles and the paid tutorial on Udemy, The complete Python Bootcamp: Go from zero to hero in Python 3 (wait until a sale, it's more often on sale than not, atm 13,99).

Third suggestion would be to start small. like one location 2 characters that sort of thing. I know you are dying to start your magnum opus. I know I am. However in your first VN you are learning the craft. It will take (a lot) more time to create a VN then when you've got some experience under your belt. Having a clear goal in mind and actually finishing your first project is a great boost in morale. Besides you are going to make a lot of mistakes in the beginning. A lot of things you think are a good idea are actually horrible and vice versa. Some of those mistakes might be so bad that you'll get demoralized on a larger project and have to abandon it.
Just for reference some of my mistakes: trying to make several pieces of artwork per line of dialogue on average, having some important piece of the artwork under the dialogue box, not indicating a progression of time well enough, trying to implement an actual spin the bottle game and more.
Having made these mistakes (and actually making them in my second game) has given me the confidence to start a new and big project.

Last thing I'd say is to make use of assets in the public domain or with a creative commons licence. Otherwise pay for the assets you cannot make by yourself. Last thing you want to do is pirate assets if you ever want to exploit your games commercially.


Please note I have no affiliation with any of the sources above I just think their content is good.

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Re: for expierenced NV developers/creators, what would you say to a first time VN creator?

#3 Post by Mutive » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:00 pm

I'd echo the "start small" advice and use as many creative commons or public domain assets as you can. Get a sense as to how long this will take (and how much it'll likely cost) to do even a small project before embarking on something huge.

You may find that you *love* creating games and, after a small project, want to do more. Or you may find that you'd rather do literally anything than resize creative common assets, edit them to look right with your background, find music you like, format scripts, etc. It's really hard to know until you do it, but you're almost certainly better spending $0 and 20 hours on something small you can release than thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours just to give up.
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Re: for expierenced NV developers/creators, what would you say to a first time VN creator?

#4 Post by Katy133 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:16 pm

Katy133's List of 10 Things I'd Tell First Time VN Creators:
  • Start small: VN projects always, always, always end up larger than you expected.
    -Make bite-sized steps: Divide everything into tiny, manageable, daily/weekly steps. Be manageable.
  • Pick the VN project you *want to do,* not the one you *want to have done*: There is a difference. VN development is a long journey. Make sure your project will be an enjoyable journey.
  • Players remember the risks in your games, not the generic stuff: Every genre in fiction has staples, but it's the odd, experimental stuff that players will remember after playing your VN.
  • When writing, aim for 400 words per day. Sir Terry Pratchett recommended this, and C. Robert Cargill says a small word count goal makes writing feel less daunting to start.
  • References are your friend: Use programs like DesignDoll and Sweet Homes 3D to create drawing reference. This is something proffectionals use to make their workload managable.
  • Be eclectic: Take in literature and media that is both new and old, and from a variety of genres and contries. Research details that your VN will include (have a main character who is a librarian. Look up what that job is like). You will learn a lot and recognise patterns you may want to subvert.
  • Be part of the EVN community: Surround yourself with other VN devs. Cheer them on. Join forums and VN-related Discord servers. Help out other VN creators. Post about helpful resources you've found. You have no competition.
  • Show your work: Use social media to post work-in-progress stuff you've accomplished. Before people can play your VN, they need to know it exists first.
  • Celebrate milestones: Train your brain to release dophime by rewarding yourself after completing tasks. Post about it. Reflect on your accomplishments.
A list of some jobs that a VN may need: Writer, artist, programmer, musician, sfx artist, playtester/beta-reader.
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Re: for expierenced NV developers/creators, what would you say to a first time VN creator?

#5 Post by GNVE » Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:25 am

Katy133 wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:16 pm
Katy133's List of 10 Things I'd Tell First Time VN Creators:
When writing, aim for 400 words per day. Sir Terry Pratchett recommended this, and C. Robert Cargill says a small word count goal makes writing feel less daunting to start.
Good advice overall Katy133 but as to the line above I'd like to add that depending on the amount of art and custom code you need and the time you have available 400 words can be a lot. Feel free to set a different goal that is right for you. Terry Pratchett 'only' had to write a story not worry about everything else that comes with making a VN and having to market it yourself. I'd suggest to treat it as a guideline more than a deadline. Some days you can't find the inspiration to write. See if you can do something else productive in that time (e.g. market your game, interact with followers, do some studying on skills you can use in your game etc.) Just try to keep to the goal when you look on average on a longer time period (week or month).

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Re: for expierenced NV developers/creators, what would you say to a first time VN creator?

#6 Post by Katy133 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:36 pm

GNVE wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:25 am
Katy133 wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:16 pm
Katy133's List of 10 Things I'd Tell First Time VN Creators:
When writing, aim for 400 words per day. Sir Terry Pratchett recommended this, and C. Robert Cargill says a small word count goal makes writing feel less daunting to start.
Good advice overall Katy133 but as to the line above I'd like to add that depending on the amount of art and custom code you need and the time you have available 400 words can be a lot. Feel free to set a different goal that is right for you. Terry Pratchett 'only' had to write a story not worry about everything else that comes with making a VN and having to market it yourself. I'd suggest to treat it as a guideline more than a deadline. Some days you can't find the inspiration to write. See if you can do something else productive in that time (e.g. market your game, interact with followers, do some studying on skills you can use in your game etc.) Just try to keep to the goal when you look on average on a longer time period (week or month).
To be clear: I was specifically talking about writing on that tip. It's a writing goal, not an art goal nor a programming goal (those would likely not be done on the same days--you likely will want to write the VN before doing the art, if you plan on being the writer and the artist for the VN).

400 words is about less than a page. But yes, decrease the goal if 400 words is too much.
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Re: for expierenced NV developers/creators, what would you say to a first time VN creator?

#7 Post by GNVE » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:16 am

Katy133 wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:36 pm
GNVE wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:25 am
Katy133 wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:16 pm
Katy133's List of 10 Things I'd Tell First Time VN Creators:
When writing, aim for 400 words per day. Sir Terry Pratchett recommended this, and C. Robert Cargill says a small word count goal makes writing feel less daunting to start.
Good advice overall Katy133 but as to the line above I'd like to add that depending on the amount of art and custom code you need and the time you have available 400 words can be a lot. Feel free to set a different goal that is right for you. Terry Pratchett 'only' had to write a story not worry about everything else that comes with making a VN and having to market it yourself. I'd suggest to treat it as a guideline more than a deadline. Some days you can't find the inspiration to write. See if you can do something else productive in that time (e.g. market your game, interact with followers, do some studying on skills you can use in your game etc.) Just try to keep to the goal when you look on average on a longer time period (week or month).
To be clear: I was specifically talking about writing on that tip. It's a writing goal, not an art goal nor a programming goal (those would likely not be done on the same days--you likely will want to write the VN before doing the art, if you plan on being the writer and the artist for the VN).

400 words is about less than a page. But yes, decrease the goal if 400 words is too much.
Ah that clarifies it a bit. My workflow is different in that I don't write out the story fully before starting to work on the artwork. For me it helps to change gears every so often if I encounter/want to avoid a writers block or artists(?) block.

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Re: for expierenced NV developers/creators, what would you say to a first time VN creator?

#8 Post by sake-bento » Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:04 pm

The advice I'd give in response to your thread title will probably help you suss out the answer to the question in your thread body.

Make a VN and all the assets yourself before starting your "real" project. And by that, I mean do a thirty second story where you create all the parts. Writing, art, code, music, sound effects, whatever. In the same vein as "start small," it'll give you a good idea of what goes into making a VN. In this case, it'll also give you a good idea of the different skills needed, and you'll be able to figure out how many people you'd need on a team.

There are several one-person dev teams here, so the fewest people you'd need is one. What makes up an average team has changed a lot over the years, but these days it feels like a VN group has at least one leader, one writer, and one artist. The leader often doubles as the writer or artist. Other than that, size varies wildly. I don't think I've seen many teams get larger than ten folks, but I'm sure there are exceptions to that as well.

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Re: for expierenced NV developers/creators, what would you say to a first time VN creator?

#9 Post by toxxic » Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:00 pm

So I've been reading through the forum and I was a bit hesitated to reply, as I'm new here. But guess I can share some tips as well.

1) Stay goal-oriented
It's great to just have so much ideas just keep popping up, but you gotta have a solid goal before you start working. And when you're new to the whole developing extravaganza, I'd say, keep it simple.

These are few examples of goals that you can have: 'I want someone to cry playing this VN' 'I want to make a dating sim with LOTs of interactions'.

This goal would really help you when you have to make decisions as it will serve as a guideline for your project.
For an example, you would be less likely to give up on heart-wrenching music over extra humor scripts if you're making a VN to make someone cry.


2) Communicate. Ask for opinions and think why

Though VN can be developed Solo, I'll still recommend people to ask around and get ideas and feedbacks from others. When communicating, share your intentions with your peers so that they can give you some helpful answers.

Also, when it comes to accepting feedbacks, always question for 'why'. Experiment and ponder what made your peers think that way. Why did they feel bothered while playing? What made them laugh? What's the better way to show this dialogue?


3) Create phases and short goals

This is seconding to what everyone else is saying-. The feeling of accomplishment really matters when you're working on your projects. Set a goal and drive yourself to achieve that. Don't feel bad to reschedule things unless you've made a promise to someone else. Make sure to give yourself a pat on your shoulder when you've done something! Something you did might not look so good for you, but it still is something that you took your time to create.

4) Think twice when it comes to Assets.

Do you really need these many characters? Are they absolutely your number one priority when it comes to your VN? Can these side characters be combined in 1 to perform the roles needed? Do you really need all these backgrounds and color variations?

Though it's great to be rich in assets, more assets mean more managements and more coding. Especially if you're new to making a VN, do think twice on if you really need all the assets that you think you need to stay and focus on your goal.


I think this is about it when it comes to me!

Katy133 had a really nice list, so it might not be much but hopefully someone will find this helpful.

Thanks to others for sharing a nice tip and Torroes Prime for the nice topic!

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Re: for expierenced NV developers/creators, what would you say to a first time VN creator?

#10 Post by OldNoEyes » Sat Nov 23, 2019 6:22 pm

Katy133 wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:16 pm
Katy133's List of 10 Things I'd Tell First Time VN Creators:
  • Start small: VN projects always, always, always end up larger than you expected.
    -Make bite-sized steps: Divide everything into tiny, manageable, daily/weekly steps. Be manageable.
  • Pick the VN project you *want to do,* not the one you *want to have done*: There is a difference. VN development is a long journey. Make sure your project will be an enjoyable journey.
  • Players remember the risks in your games, not the generic stuff: Every genre in fiction has staples, but it's the odd, experimental stuff that players will remember after playing your VN.
  • Be eclectic: Take in literature and media that is both new and old, and from a variety of genres and contries. Research details that your VN will include (have a main character who is a librarian. Look up what that job is like). You will learn a lot and recognise patterns you may want to subvert.
  • Show your work: Use social media to post work-in-progress stuff you've accomplished. Before people can play your VN, they need to know it exists first.

    A list of some jobs that a VN may need: Writer, artist, programmer, musician, sfx artist, playtester/beta-reader.
I think all of these points are super-valuable. Writing projects, especially novel-length ones, tend to spiral out of control until they're too big or daunting to revise. Also, ditto to the points about doing things that are risky and eclectic. Piquing a reader's interest right out of the gate is a huge accomplishment.
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