Creation of a new (original) VN

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Francis
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:55 am

Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Francis » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:35 am

Lolz2day wrote:This actually an interesting idea and if it can turn into a full blown story it can be interesting. The only problem is that not everyone is a historical figure fanatic, so public interest is uncertain.
@NubChaos
I do like the idea as well. The concept that strikes me the most in that is the modern reinvention of historical figures, something which I find has its odd charm (especially as low-life members of a failing society.)

For this, I don't think audience would be a problem - VN readers (from what I know, which is essentially nothing, but I'll assume the same as of any web-dwellers) are generally educated enough to recognize major historical figures and their achievements (you don't need to be a history buff to know what's up with Rasputin, although a specific Japanese general might be a different story) and I don't think full comprehension (you expect history-people to behave in a certain way, they do or don't, interesting stuff happens) is necessary as long as the story fleshes out the characters in an appropriate manner.

I'd be a bit more worried about the cliche surrounding the "Old Soul" meta. Deathseekers, powers and all that are okay (I feel like they would be a logical outcome of the general situation as you describe it, although invincible souls looking to kill themselves are a long way from the sweet-and-oblivious "why-am-i-weird" reincarnated boys) but they very likely become akin to vampire stories if the concept is brought towards the "ancient beings with mysterious powers" direction.

I actually really like this as some sort of drama, although I'm not sure where it would be taken as a fleshed-out, standalone story.


@TheGrimAngel

I, for one, have no interest in a further plunge into the KS universe. While I like what was created so far, appreciate the fan (and extra dev) art that keeps being made, and would be insanely happy at the prospect of some sort of continuation to KS (fan-made or official), I just don't think I could be a part of it. I feel like the devs gave their best to an original idea with a lot of potential, and stretched it as far as they could while actually coming up with a viable (and released!) project that succeeds in appealing to the masses. However, I don't know how I could take it further than that. I feel like everything has already been said-and-done about the KS universe, and a follow up would most likely dull out the fond memories we have of the original project by drawing them out unnecessarily. (By that, I'm not trying to say that a follow-up to KS would deface the original creation, but that it'd simply reach a point - which I believe the original devs were dangerously close to - where nothing remains to be said of the characters (original or new) and anything added would unavoidably make the experience tedious - too much of something is not good.)

That's, of course, simply my personal opinion. I'm sure you guys can make something out of it, and I wish you best of luck in your endeavours. I am purely stating why I have no interest in the project (which is a lie - I actually want to see something like that develop; I just don't think I could give it my best,) and I am in no means trying to discourage you D:


Also, to throw an idea out there:

Closure
Closure is a concept I've wanted to work with for a while now; closure on small things, on big things. Grief, also. The mechanism seems imprinted so deeply into our nature that we find ourselves unable to beat it. Despite being aware of it, we still let it run its course. I don't know how to feel anymore when faced with sadness; should I be guilty for knowing that the emotions I experience now will eventually fade away? And if so, why can't I simply phase out now, when I'm already expecting to soon give up (without fault) on my passions? Nothing is really made to last, and sooner or later, we all have to face the eventuality that every little thing that brought us joy or sadness (for better or worse) will be gone.

I'm interested in seeing the way different people deal with these situations. The character I thought of (nothing more than an outline) would be marked for death, possibly due to a heart condition of some sort (or any physical disability, if at all - cross-viewing KS and Gattaca makes me think of life expectancy,) and would struggle to figure out the best way to come to terms with his condition. (Such a game would be much more about main character development than, say, Katawa Shoujo - which doesn't mean other aspects, such as side characters, couldn't be the center of the story.)

There's a bunch of themes in there that I feel have a lot of potential. Social interaction, friendship and emotional attachment, as well as any desire for accomplishment all seem futile in the face of death. (Why draw your friends closer when you know you'll simply hurt them more when you depart? What is the point of being part of a functioning society when you know that nothing you achieve will be there for you to look back to? What mark are you looking to leave on this world, if any, and why? What are you doing for others, and what are you actually doing for yourself?) A shortened life expectancy serves as a reminder of the transience of our lives, but whether you live to be thirty or eighty, everyone will have to ask themselves such questions someday (thus the personal, and general appeal - this isn't an oh-emo-me story, but a journey that can be taken with the level of seriousness and investment that you'd like.)

I haven't read KS entirely (didn't want to get to that for a few days due to personal reasons) and so I can't speak for every writer, but it's a theme that some have touched (barely!) and that I'd love to explore further.

Of course, I'm ready to elaborate if there's some interest for that, as well.

Ockbald
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Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Ockbald » Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:03 pm

I actually like the concept of closure. Maybe it could even feature as a gameplay thing? A long timer, that is barely there, but it's still ticking, read to end the character life?

I feel we could add some minor gameplay elements to give a sense of urgency, and even a sense of closure. Life is something to unexpected sometimes, it's hard "finishing" up some things, specificaly relationships.

Care to tell us more, Francis?

Guest

Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Guest » Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:29 pm

Anonymous lurker here... just to put in two cents for idea.

Since playing Katawa Shoujo, I've looked back at the many writing ideas I've had over the years and picked out the ideas I think are strongest in my opinion. Now I could elaborate on the details of these ideas, but I'm just going to go with a simple pitch with three starting characters I have in mind and see if this intrigues anyone.

The theme? War.

Our hero is a rookie thrust into the battlefield straight from training. From there he must make choices while under the influences of two women; his battle-hardened mentor and/or his close friend who is wheelchair-bound from being a casualty of a previous conflict.

Lolz2day
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Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Lolz2day » Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:30 pm

Expanding on the idea of reincarnated souls, we could make it that the people who have these souls would randomly (or for some explained reason) "awaken" the memories of these souls and the whole story could be based on how they handle the knowledge of their past life and interact with "normal" people. Then the MC would be a recently "awakened" person and he would find the other "awakened" people.
Last edited by Lolz2day on Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Guest

Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Guest » Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:10 pm

TheGrimAngel wrote:If anyone is actually interested a me and a couple members have already started discussing another visual novel based in the KS universe using PM, if you are even slightly interested in what we have come up with give me a PM and I'll send you our early ideas, concept sketch, etc. I feel this is a very possible task if we find enough people willing to actually put forth the effort and willing to work towards forming a team.
I think it would be a shame to create a whole new VN in the same universe as KS. As much as I like KS, surely you could do better with your own ideas?

Francis
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Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Francis » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:21 pm

Ockbald wrote:I actually like the concept of closure. Maybe it could even feature as a gameplay thing? A long timer, that is barely there, but it's still ticking, read to end the character life?

I feel we could add some minor gameplay elements to give a sense of urgency, and even a sense of closure. Life is something to unexpected sometimes, it's hard "finishing" up some things, specificaly relationships.

Care to tell us more, Francis?
Ugh. I hate timed segments in games to no end (sorry, personal thingy again!)
In all seriousness, I don't believe any sort of timer is a necessity. The VN remains above all a storytelling medium, and over-complicated gameplay elements only serve to distract from it; decently skilled writers/artists/whatnot should be able to convey this sense of urgency you speak of through the natural tools put at their disposition.

As for the story I suggested, I guess there is a point at which I'll have to actually throw out a bone if I want my ideas to make some sense to anyone. I'm not really looking forward to it, though; lots of these projects are formed around a common interest, but I don't feel comfortable imposing my work (or taking in anyone else's, for the matter) just yet. While I already doubt my ideas, I'm also finding it hard to accept some of the stuff other people have suggested (some things such as the cooking VN seem like a flat out no to me and hardly feasible, while there's other - perfectly valid - suggestions that I simply have no personal attraction towards.) When in a position like mine, it's kinda hard to throw your own ideas out there when you know you can't even be open to others'.

So, uh, what is there to say? I don't want to flesh this out too much, partly because I don't want to scare any people away (if you look at NubChaos's idea, he comes up with an extremely viable concept, but no strong direction yet, which is ideally what you'd want to present when starting a project - people want to be able to leave their own mark, and there's a difference (in motivation!) between embarking on a common project and bandwagoning onto somebody's plans,) and partly because I don't know where this is going at all (but that's the whole fun! - having a set destination and no means to reach it only sets you for disappointment.)

I don't really watch movies anymore (I still read, though!) and never have been a huge anime fan, and having grown in a culture few can relate to, it's hard for me to cite any influences, or previous works that I'd like to base a project off of. If anything, one of the strong creation ethics I believe in is accentuation through opposition and contrast (Sublime, see Hugo or Kant) and thus, I'd be looking forward to something I can describe, for lack of a better term, as a "blending of genres". (I'm -hopefully- not speaking here of some blunt melange of, say, noir and fantastic (heh, that actually sounds kind of neat, come to think of it), but of the creation through seamless integration of a new and unique atmosphere, proper to the author.)

And this is why I'm reluctant to describe my idea too much. I believe that what will happen will happen; I don't want to summarize a project (and a currently non-existing one, at that) through mere words, when we can simply see it live and take form through the eyes of our artists.

---

Still there? Okay, there's a few personal concepts that have been rattling about my head recently. Just keep in mind that, as previously stated, those are simply suggestions - very ethereal suggestions - which can be taken as is, reshaped, or ignored completely.

As far as VN creation goes, I'm more inclined towards developing a full story than taking one into incongruous paths. That doesn't mean control needs to be taken away from the player; one of the aspects I find absolutely wonderful about VN's is their ease of flexibility - it's easy, if not expected, to give the reader multiple paths, thus allowing the development of different facets to a same story. The scenario of a VN can be very intricate while maintaining the same sense of cohesion a linear novel may provide. This adds replayability value to the work; instead of releasing a sometimes drawn-out sequel, it can be interesting to add more paths.

For my idea, this would probably translate into more opportunities for character development. As the main character chooses to open up or close himself to the outside world, his actions would affect his surroundings (and consequentially, himself) in ways that could take the story down very different paths (which isn't to say I want to offer a perfectly binary choice - more on that later.)

The main character (or PC) shouldn't ever, in any way, be a shell. As much as personality creates a good literary work, lack of it can destroy one. Ideally, the player should be able to relate to the PC at some point, although they might be able to reject or even purely hate him/her(?) on certain paths (there's the antihero, and then the wtf are you doing character.) At no point should the player feel that the actions of the PC are forced.

For a PC, I thought the guy could be a nurse working at the central hospital of some large city. The environment puts him in contact with new people of diverse origins and ideas (much in the way a high school does, without turning this into a high school drama), as well as providing some basis for the medical background accompanying his condition. (Maybe he was a selfish child, and decided to work as a nurse to become a better person through helping others, due to some yet-undetermined factor, where the discovery of his condition (and the accompanying expectation of his forthcoming demise) severely crushes his ambitions, and plunges him into a state of confused depression where the player picks up.)

I have a flurry of ideas for other characters that could suit pretty much any situation. Following the "write about what you know" adage, I'm incited to create new personas based off those of people I've known personally, and that influenced me greatly on a day-to-day basis. Again if there's any interest, I could elaborate a bit on some of those.

Back to something I mentioned earlier, I dislike working in black-and-white. Shades of grey, rather than bluntly dictating morals, let the player/reader/viewer/public/anything draw their own conclusions from the work they've just been part of, often in a much more effective way. This is why I'm not trying to create clear good/bad paths or obvious choices (take, for example, Saya no Uta - the path which resulted in Saya surviving made the PC insane, and ended up cutting all contact between the pair, while the path in which Saya died led to the creation of the new world which her species envisioned - concurrently destroying Earth and humanity as we know it, but (somewhat) preserving the memory the PC had of her - while most people will almost always be able to find a choice they find "right" for themselves, you'll notice both of these paths have their own blend of light and dark,) or impose my ideas on others.

Anyway.
Whew, that's a lot of talking, and not much to back it up with. I'd like to join a few sketches to that or something of the like, but I'm not too confident in my drawing abilities as of yet (plus I can't be half-assed to draw atm, for some reason.) Your turn to speak, guys.

Ockbald
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Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Ockbald » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:22 pm

I feel KS should be left on the hands of the original group. They showed us they truly know what they are doing. Sure, fan games can be fun but it just wouldn't be the same.

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C27
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Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by C27 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:32 pm

Here's a thought on a theme that I don't think has been touched in a VN before.
Space colonization.
You're one of roughly 1000 people who have been frozen in stasis and sent on a many-lightyear journey to an exoplanet that the scientists on earth assure you is habitable. The game begins as you wake up and your gigantic ship enters orbit seeking a place to land. Throughout the game, you'll have to deal with the internal friction and politicking of the rest of the crew, survive being dumped into a hostile and unknown environment, building a sustainable settlement, dealing with the *other* spacefaring civilization that wants a piece of the pie you thought you had all to yourselves, and somehow between all of this, developing a personal life! These goals will conflict often and in difficult ways - but of course, there's no possibility for a return trip in the works, so you'd better get things right.
Opportunities exist for hard-sciency fun and dealing with what happens to people when they're stuck with each other in a small community for the rest of their lives, under backbreaking working conditions and no room for failure. It's a recipe for interpersonal relationships becoming either the glue that holds everything together despite the odds and promises a bright future, or a dagger in the back (possibly literally). And that, dear player, is up to you.
Rin Tezuka, Painter, withdraws from society...
Rin Tezuka, Painter has begun a mysterious construction!

Weaver
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Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Weaver » Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:09 pm

I'd be willing to help out on any original work. Not interested in anything that takes place in an existing universe, personally.

I'm a programmer by profession. I'm also a guitarist, I make electronic music as well.
I feel I can, at times, conjure up some powerful prose in the form of writing (probably due to my keen interest in philosophy, Nietzsche being my favourite) but it's not something I feel I could do for an entire story arc.

I can't draw for shit, but I can make things like user interfaces with what I would wager is an intermediate amount of skill. Having a professional UI designer would be better, but I could manage in a pinch.
I can, however, program user interfaces relatively adeptly. I've made a native X11 GUI entirely from scratch (including all the drawing calls) so I know my way around the mechanics.

I was actually thinking about writing my own VN engine just for fun, I've been architecting it in my brain (I'm imaging it to be probably a 3 month project... which means it's probably a 6 month project) but I'm pretty much rambling at this point.
Last edited by Weaver on Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Guest

Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Guest » Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:09 pm

NubChaos wrote:Those are all questions that could be brought to the reader's mind if I ever made this idea into something concrete.

I'd go with normal people having normal souls, thus having some sort of afterlife, whereas the Old Souls are more-or-less doomed to live on forever more. Some of the awakened Old Souls could see it as a curse and may be deathseekers: trying to find a way to end themselves permanently.
I'd think that an interesting answer to this question would be not to answer it. The Old Souls don't know what happens to other souls, and can't even prove that normal people have souls.

Something like that creates a whole set of existential questions that every Old Soul would have to answer for himself or herself. The soul exists -you know this for a fact- and you can prove that you and some other people have them. But there exist people for whom you can't prove it. Even if they do have souls, you know for a fact that they must be fundamentally different from your own in ways that you cannot understand. What does all of this mean? Stick those questions under every Old Soul's psyche, vary the answers, and you have some interesting influences for characters to consider.

Fronzel
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Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Fronzel » Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:33 pm

Guest wrote:
NubChaos wrote:Those are all questions that could be brought to the reader's mind if I ever made this idea into something concrete.

I'd go with normal people having normal souls, thus having some sort of afterlife, whereas the Old Souls are more-or-less doomed to live on forever more. Some of the awakened Old Souls could see it as a curse and may be deathseekers: trying to find a way to end themselves permanently.
I'd think that an interesting answer to this question would be not to answer it. The Old Souls don't know what happens to other souls, and can't even prove that normal people have souls.

Something like that creates a whole set of existential questions that every Old Soul would have to answer for himself or herself. The soul exists -you know this for a fact- and you can prove that you and some other people have them. But there exist people for whom you can't prove it. Even if they do have souls, you know for a fact that they must be fundamentally different from your own in ways that you cannot understand. What does all of this mean? Stick those questions under every Old Soul's psyche, vary the answers, and you have some interesting influences for characters to consider.
Since old souls are few in number, this means that virtually every one is guaranteed to be emotionally close to normal people. What does it mean when a person can prove that they themselves have a soul, but they can't prove that people they love do?

Ockbald
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Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Ockbald » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:14 pm

Weaver wrote:I'd be willing to help out on any original work. Not interested in anything that takes place in an existing universe, personally.

I'm a programmer by profession. I'm also a guitarist, I make electronic music as well.
I feel I can, at times, conjure up some powerful prose in the form of writing (probably due to my keen interest in philosophy, Nietzsche being my favourite) but it's not something I feel I could do for an entire story arc.

I can't draw for shit, but I can make things like user interfaces with what I would wager is an intermediate amount of skill. Having a professional UI designer would be better, but I could manage in a pinch.
I can, however, program user interfaces relatively adeptly. I've made a native X11 GUI entirely from scratch (including all the drawing calls) so I know my way around the mechanics.

I was actually thinking about writing my own VN engine just for fun, I've been architecting it in my brain (I'm imaging it to be probably a 3 month project... which means it's probably a 6 month project) but I'm pretty much rambling at this point.
This is good, I know just a tiny bit of programing (Enough for my webdesign job) and I know how hard things get and I always miss my deadline by a month or two depending on how complex it is. It's cool someone is willing to do two really important features for a VN.

@Francis:
Several interesting ideas, though I'd recommend you trying to boil it down to a pitch. KS had people talking and thinking about it for ages because of the passion of the people behind it and the interest of the people around then, it's hard to do so when you arestill figuring it all out.

I really liked the Space Colonization and the War settings as well, I enjoy interesting settings. In fact, I hate high school drama with a passion and yet somehow I love KS. Maybe it's about execution.

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C27
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Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by C27 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:40 pm

As for the war setting, I suggest Soviets in WW2. They were pretty gender-mixed, at least with aircraft and tank crews (females tend to be smaller, thus more elbow room in the cabins).
Rin Tezuka, Painter, withdraws from society...
Rin Tezuka, Painter has begun a mysterious construction!

Guest

Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Guest » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:52 pm

C27 wrote:As for the war setting, I suggest Soviets in WW2. They were pretty gender-mixed, at least with aircraft and tank crews (females tend to be smaller, thus more elbow room in the cabins).
Anon-Lurker, back again from original war post.

I was actually thinking something like that originally with a time period around the late 1930's to early 1940's. But I also, equally, left the idea open for more of a futuristic time period too. It can work with space colonization idea as well if blended just right.

Francis
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Re: Creation of a new (original) VN

Post by Francis » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:59 pm

Ockbald wrote:@Francis:
Several interesting ideas, though I'd recommend you trying to boil it down to a pitch. KS had people talking and thinking about it for ages because of the passion of the people behind it and the interest of the people around then, it's hard to do so when you arestill figuring it all out.
What kind of pitch did you have in mind?

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