Reach for the Stars

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Bara
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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by Bara » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:55 pm

Aura wrote:We basically need to convince the actually good writers and artists of the world to do VNs or something.
I suppose the next best thing after trying to recruit already trained, quality writers, artists, composers and directors to try their hand at VN's is to show the current generation of kids in Jr. High sitting in computer classes in Singapore, Manila, Los Angeles, Munich, Winipeg, etcetera that they can write, draw, compose and direct their own VN's. (Here kid, try this VN called KS. The first taste is free but after that you've got to write your own.)
In some ways the Devs at 4LS who think about the medium of VN's are like Michelangelo in a small way; sketching out flying machines and knowing that somehow, someway, there is a way to leave the ground and fly.
I think, despite any flaws KS may turn out to have in the final product, it will leave a mark on the history of VN development. Act 1 has already left a fair mark on quite a number of people around the world. :)

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delta
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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by delta » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:31 pm

Qaenyin wrote:Ultimately any adventure game is effectively a VN.
how about no
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Warwick
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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by Warwick » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:49 pm

Well, depending on how 4LS will exist after the release of KS, it would probably behoove the devs to write a development post-mortem discussion. I've seen a handful of these from indie game developers who talk about the pitfalls they came across and the lessons they've learned when making a game. Since KS is such a large project, there are probably tons of take-away lessons other small-time VN makers would appreciate.

Furthermore, on the topic of making VNs more popular among the Western audience, especially the OELVN crowd: has anyone considered talking to those who write Interactive Fiction? They're a small, but very talented subgroup of the indie games scene, from what works I've played. Tradition IF works are more text-based versions of classic adventure games like Monkey Island, but the fact of the matter is that there is already a talented group of game writers out there that are just asking to be tapped into.
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delta
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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by delta » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:27 pm

I don't think we want to make VNs more popular, we want to make them BETTER. Popularity could be incidental to this, but bad VNs are already way more popular than they deserve to be.

IF is related but really pretty different. Hive is interested in that, afaik.

As for a KS postmortem, there is already one: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/30640/
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Bara
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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by Bara » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:34 am

Heh, I bet anyone doing IF as an independent is already pretty much doing it for the love of that particular format as much as for anything else. I can't guess how many folks doing that would consider jumping to a different format; particularly one that, frankly, does have a reputation as a vehicle for porn and fetish pure and simple. (not that I object to porn and fetish, mind you, I'm actually in favor of much of it; but everyone is different.) :mrgreen:
I think that IF is also more able to be made by one person than VN's. You would have to be some sort of "Renaissance Man" to handle all the major aspects of a VN solo. That, and never sleep.... :wink:

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Warwick
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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by Warwick » Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:24 am

delta wrote:I don't think we want to make VNs more popular, we want to make them BETTER. Popularity could be incidental to this, but bad VNs are already way more popular than they deserve to be.

IF is related but really pretty different. Hive is interested in that, afaik.

As for a KS postmortem, there is already one: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/30640/

True. My line of reasoning was that by making the genre more popular, it could attract more talented people in related fields. The only VN developer whose name is even mentioned among the indie circles I frequent is Bento Smile. I'd like to imagine what would happen if she could mix and mingle with the more fervent IF writers. I understand that IF as a genre draws more of its roots in text-based adventure games and MUDs, and are more open and non-linear. What I had hoped to convey was that their skills could be valuable to creators of visual novels.

EDIT: Also, well played on the post-mortem link
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vaen
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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by vaen » Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:54 am

trauma team for the wii was pretty much all visual novel and a few operations in between. I loved it a lot.
I thought it was a clever new idea to approach the visual novel medium.
also, in the original blog post lacks the mentioning of music. especially umineko draws most of it's appeal from it's music and in fact it is also often referred to as an sound novel.

I think VN"s aren't about excellent writing, terrific (and lots of) art or clever uses of story branches; it's using various artwork and sounds/songs to set a mood that cannot be matched by any book. having a storyline with more depth than any movie is likely to sport and better branching/more endings than any straight up video game would, with decisions having a real effect on the story without it feeling like choosing a route (as if it's a channel). A good VN is more about how good these aspects get combined and less about how stellar any part stands on its own. Yes, a stage play will have less verbal diarrhea than your average VN, but it would also be less interesting than most VN's on it's own. there is a reason a stage play is acted out by actors in front of an audience.

Will katawa shoujo be less than a platinum framed golden masterwork of absolute awesomeness? probably. in the end it's an eroge, albeit a good one. nobody expects or wants it to be a groundbreaking work that redefines VN's as a medium.

in any case, I wouldn't be surprised if in 20 years fans of VN's now will look back and laugh at how crummy VN's "were back in the day" with 3d engines and modeling software being powerful enough and accessible enough for people to create entire animated VN's if they wanted with hardly any budget. a fusing of machinima and VN's if you will. and nothing will ever surpass OMGWTFOTL anyway.

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Suriko
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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by Suriko » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:10 am

Quartett's translation patch just came out.

It's my favourite visual novel, and a good example of a VN that tries to do things a bit differently in its presentation. It's a nice game, and quite related to the blog post.

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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by gromulke » Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:40 pm

Well, your experience as VN writers will definitely be of use, even if you quit after KS.

The biggest problem about VNs is the definition: what IS a VN anyway? A while ago, i thought it was just some japanese porn game (that's actually what made me try it. Go ahead, call me a pervert :mrgreen: ). Now that i'm into it, i realise that indeed, it's a medium that is uderestimated.

Phoenix Wright and Hotel Dusk, in my opinion, are more adventure games than VN. To me, a VN is not really a game, since you don't have to figure out most of the stuff, it gets explained by itself.

For example: in Phoenix Wright, the player has to understand how the villain made his plan, so even if the player is guided to it, it's still up to him to figure it out. Now, in G-senjou no maou, the heroes figure out the villains plan by themselves. You could try to figure it out for the fun, just like you wonder who's the assassin when you read a murder mystery novel, but ultimately, even if you're left clueless, the heroes do their job.

A VN walkthrough doesn't tell you how to win, it tells you how to achieve the route you want. So, can we really consider a VN a game?

So what bothers me the most, is not the lack of interactivity, but the themes treated: most of the VNs i've played ended up in a dating sim in the japan we have today.

How many VNs take place in medieval times for example? Or in a post-apocalyptic future? Or cyberpunk, steampunk, or space opera? Not much. (Actually, if you know such VNs, don't hesitate to tell me ^^)

Visual Novels, as far as i know, deal with similar themes or universes, because they are full of japanese culture. An american VN would be different. (KS being based on a japanese doujin, i won't expect much in this regard, even though i can't wait for the final release ^^)

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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by GG Crono » Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:18 pm

Has anyone here ever played Snatcher, for the Sega CD?

It had some adventure game trappings and a couple of shooting gallery segments (some of which were tacked on to make the game appeal more to American audiences), but it was more or less a visual novel. A pretty good one, too. Good voice-acting too, for a game made in 1994. What's more, it doesn't fall under many of the points made in the post.

Relevant? Perhaps not. But worth thinking about.

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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by TheHivemind » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:10 pm

In a nutshell, the difference between VNs and an adventure game is the lack of puzzles. That and you very rarely see multiple paths in an adventure game.

On the subject of IF, I doubt very much you'll find a lot of overlap there. IF relies on its interpreter to allow the reader to experience the story. Indeed the main draw is that many IF authors will go into great detail with the interpreter, allowing the reader/player/whatever the fuck you want to call them to pick up on little bits of flavor. IF shares much more, I would say, with adventures than VNs as most IFs rely on puzzles, even if it is as simple as the puzzle of what topics to broach in conversation. VNs do not have that level of interactivity, because if they did they'd be adventure games--it does not behoove a VN to have a 'pass' or 'fail' condition, more like a 'this end' or 'that end' condition. In IF, you can be eaten by a grue and the game is over (unless you know how to bring yourself back to life, but that was not in the original). My ideal VN has no corridor shark, and no manly picnic--it just has different stories to tell.

Honestly I'm not even sure that interactivity is required for a VN--could one just write a short story, slap some visuals and a soundtrack on it, and call it a VN? Maybe! I tried to chew over the definition of VN once before and in the end I didn't really come to any kind of conclusion that satisfied me.

The reason that IF has managed to stay alive and even experience something of a renaissance these days is partially because there's been a big 'retro' kick in the gaming market recently as well as the fact that it's something that one person can do without too much trouble. A VN takes an author, an artist, and a composer--and while some jacks of all trades exist, it means that they are usually masters of none.

This is the part of the post where I mention Homestuck as something which walks the line between game and VN and comic--the game bits play out like a VN could (walk your avatar around, talk to people, explore things, but there's not really any fighting beyond what takes place in cutscenes. Hell, switch perspectives, etc etc). Also there aren't any real choices in those interactive bits beyond the choice of in which order you explore (but that itself might be the right amount of interactivity). Of course the whole thing isn't interactive, so here is the most recent interactive bit. I should also note that I'm not calling Homestuck a VN, more using some bits of it to explain a point (and anyway you might enjoy reading the whole massive fuckin' thing, because I at least find it delightful).

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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:46 am

TheHivemind wrote:Honestly I'm not even sure that interactivity is required for a VN--could one just write a short story, slap some visuals and a soundtrack on it, and call it a VN? Maybe! I tried to chew over the definition of VN once before and in the end I didn't really come to any kind of conclusion that satisfied me.
One word: Planetarian!

And there's more.

Just found Higurashi on that list as well - didn't know that was a kineic novel...

And now this post has gotten longer than intended. Sue me ;-)
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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by TheHivemind » Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:41 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:
TheHivemind wrote:Honestly I'm not even sure that interactivity is required for a VN--could one just write a short story, slap some visuals and a soundtrack on it, and call it a VN? Maybe! I tried to chew over the definition of VN once before and in the end I didn't really come to any kind of conclusion that satisfied me.
One word: Planetarian!

And there's more.

Just found Higurashi on that list as well - didn't know that was a kineic novel...

And now this post has gotten longer than intended. Sue me ;-)

Hey, there we go. Question RESOLVED.

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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by Dabble Master » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:33 pm

Just wanted to say I pretty much entirely agree with the blog post.

To me it just seems like most VN creators don't even begin to challenge themselves. I think the market is comprised almost entirely of weird jaded otaku people that'll pretty much eat up whatever they produce and so they don't bother. I really appreciate what the KS team is doing, even if it isn't perfect it tries to set up some kind of standard. When I read VNs they're plagued with so many shitty things even the really big ones and I just ughaksfa. Honestly, I can't think of a VN I really like that isn't also thought of as an adventure game (Phoenix Wright, Hotel Dusk). Some have like ideas and concepts I think are cool but they completely fall apart, Type Moon is a pretty good example of this.

God to me the biggest problem with VNs (past the ones that are creepy fetish stuff) is just the dialogue. No one on Earth talks like they do in VNs and it's just stupid anime babble and they go on and on and on and I guess people think the plots are good because if it goes on this long and if they talk about the plot this directly it has to be good! But yeah just gotta thank you guys for actually trying to make something of some sort of quality and maybe you can help set a standard!

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delta
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Re: Reach for the Stars

Post by delta » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:59 pm

The terrible stilted and unnatural dialogue that still shows heavy traces of Japanese grammar and idioms most translated VNs end up with is another thing. I don't want to bash fan translators too much (pros have no excuse though) but it's really not something I want to read and I think at this point they're actually catering to people who think that that is what a "genuine" VN is supposed to read like, which is just sad. Though reportedly Nasu's writing is an acquired taste to say the least even in the original.
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