Question from a game writer to potential players!

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DarthSnuggles
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Question from a game writer to potential players!

#1 Postby DarthSnuggles » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:23 pm

Hi guys! I've been working on a game of my own for about a year now, and while it's progressing slowly, I'm thrilled just to be doing something that I love. However, although I'm making the game because it's fun for me to do so, I'm also hoping to one day put it out in the world for other people to play. Lately, I've been wondering some things about what makes a VN fun for other people. I was wondering what you, as gamers, think is important in a free-to-play game.

Some specific questions that I have are:
- What free otome/visual novel games have you enjoyed most, and what about them did you like?
- How important is art quality in a free game? Are you willing/able to overlook lackluster art if you liked the story and characters?
- Would you replay a game more than once if you got it for free? What about if it had more than one ending?
- How often, ideally, do you like to be given choice points? Do you prefer fewer decisions, so that every choice significantly impacts the story, or would you rather be given more choices but have most of them change no more than a line or two of dialogue?

Although my cast of characters and the basic plot is pretty much set in stone at this point, I'm still writing the full script, and got to thinking about the actual gameplay aspect of the game. While I'm pretty confident in my writing, I'm curious as to whether even a good mystery story would end up boring players who are used to daily-life style games with more interaction. What do you guys think?

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WizardlyClone
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#2 Postby WizardlyClone » Sun May 05, 2013 6:37 am

I haven't played many otome/visual novels. I've only started playing a few recently. Namely, Lucky Rabbit Reflex!,Spirited Heart,and Magical Diary. But what I like the most about these games compared to more "traditional" RPGs is simply choice. You are given choices and the choices you make have pros and cons. It's like real life,except not lame. Do you want to be nice to the beggar or tell him to get lost? Then you have advantages & disadvantages for either choice. Does it lock out a story-route or widen it? It increasing the replay value.

As far as graphics, it's kind of difficult to say. You don't need over the top CG quality for the game to be good. The story,characters,and gameplay are far more important. But the artwork shouldn't be cheesy. That being said, I could spend countless hours on a game even if the art is low quality.

I don't have a problem paying $10-20 for a 5 hour game as long as it's good. Multiple ending are a plus. Somewhere from 5-10 endings sounds good.Only having a good,neutral,and bad ending can be disappointing. But I suppose it mainly depends on what kind of story you're going for. A darker,more mature story should probably have more than a more light-hearted one.

I usually like multiple options. I hate feeling like a cardboard cutout character,but too many can be a problem especially if the tiniest decision can completely alter the game. I like the idea that my dialog choice will impact the game and my relationships. I think 3-6 choices is appropriate.

I hope this helped.

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#3 Postby biscuit » Sun May 05, 2013 3:53 pm

Art isn't as important as having a well-written story. (For examples, look at the Choice of Games franchise, particularly Choice of the Vampire; there is no art at all!)

I like feeling involved; if this is purely a choice game, with no stats building or anything else, I want MOST of the choices to feel like they matter. A few here and there that don't change more than a line or two (ex: What is your favorite color? Congratulations! Your room is painted that color!) can add flavor, but I want to feel like I am actually making an impact in the plot.

Basically: even if it's a visual 'novel', I want it to play more like a GAME. If all I want is a story where what I do or want to change has absolutely no impact, I might as well read a NOVEL.

The games I have enjoyed respect my agency, and have well-written characters that I feel an emotional connection to.

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FantasyFan
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#4 Postby FantasyFan » Sun May 05, 2013 8:59 pm

What free otome/visual novel games have you enjoyed most, and what about them did you like?

One of my favorite free VNs is Elven Relations. It has well-developed characters, three possible love interests, lots of choices, something like nine endings, a bunch of event CGs, and even a battle system. It's not too long to be played in one sitting, but it's also not too short - it's just about the perfect length.

I also love Re: Alistair, but that one plays more like a sim game than a traditional VN. That game has three love interests, five endings, a moneys system, a mall where you can buy things, and stats to raise with your activities.

How important is art quality in a free game? Are you willing/able to overlook lackluster art if you liked the story and characters?

I always enjoy event CGs, especially when the game contains a gallery, but I'm not very critical about art quality (especially since I can't draw worth a lick). A good story, characters, and gaming experience are more important to me than art quality.

Would you replay a game more than once if you got it for free? What about if it had more than one ending?

If the game DIDN'T have more than one ending, I'd likely feel cheated even if I got it for free and I'd be unlikely to ever play it again, since part of the fun with VNs is finding the different endings. If the game had many different choices and endings, then yes, I'd definitely play it more than once.

How often, ideally, do you like to be given choice points? Do you prefer fewer decisions, so that every choice significantly impacts the story, or would you rather be given more choices but have most of them change no more than a line or two of dialogue?

I tend to get really annoyed when huge chunks of story go by without any choices. I've played games where it seems like half an hour or more goes by without any choices and the story's just going on without me. I like to feel like I'm part of the story. I also enjoy games with point systems, where a decision that seems trivial will acutally affect your relationships with the characters or something like that. I also hate kinetic novels with no choices at all.

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Rozelliee
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Re: Question from a game writer to potential players!

#5 Postby Rozelliee » Sat May 18, 2013 4:32 am

Congrats on getting to do something you like to do! (: I hope you let your game out so we can see it. ^^

What free otome/visual novel games have you enjoyed most, and what about them did you like?

I really liked Boku no Shokora for two very important reasons! - it didn't take itself too seriously and it did what it set out to do. It was a game with a simple, silly plot, and the game itself matched that perfectly. It didn't get long, drony, or convoluted and everything it did related to that simple plot. One of the biggest turn-offs for me and a lot of people is when games get too self-important- the makers try hard to push some 'deep' message or 'dark/emotional (and poorly done)' plot into something that could have been fun and seeing how seriously they take the game and how much it strays from its original purpose makes the player take it a lot less seriously.

How important is art quality in a free game? Are you willing/able to overlook lackluster art if you liked the story and characters?

Not as important to me as good character design. For example, in Fatal Hearts the art style was spread out over a few artists, and despite that you could pretty much always tell who was who and take a good guess at what their characters might be like- good character design.

Would you replay a game more than once if you got it for free? What about if it had more than one ending?

Of course! Multiple endings or not, I like seeing everything a game has to offer. That's just my personality, though. But if a game is too long and convoluted I might get overwhelmed or just get my fill of it and leave it after one playthrough, or less.

How often, ideally, do you like to be given choice points? Do you prefer fewer decisions, so that every choice significantly impacts the story, or would you rather be given more choices but have most of them change no more than a line or two of dialogue?

Choices that change only one or too lines to the dialouge should be used sparingly, imo. And I mean really sparingly. Doing it once or twice can be funny and refreshing but too much and it takes away power from the player, and makes them feel like they might as well be reading a book or playing a Kinetic novel. Choices should impact the story, and even if they change few lines they should change them in a meaningful way to the player. Otherwise all I can say is not too many, not too few. And what that means changes from game to game. cx Sorry, not very helpful there.


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