Future RPGs: VN beta first?

Games with combat, inventory, crafting and more beside a story and dating/life sim gameplay

for future RPGs, what if the game was available first as "normal visual novel"?

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jack1974
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Future RPGs: VN beta first?

Post by jack1974 » Fri Nov 04, 2016 7:37 pm

As you know I have a "few games" in the works :mrgreen:
Of which, unfortunately (or fortunately, depends on the point of view!) many are RPGs. Which means, will take me long time to make them. I don't think I'll be able to make more than 1 RPG a year. Perhaps I could do two, if they were like Queen Of Thieves (not too complex).
Anyways, the point of this poll is: to avoid possible delays, now I tend to wait until the full story (or like 90% of it!) is done before I even start designing the RPG part. Which means that I could likely do a "VN Mode" version of the RPG and release it (still in beta) much earlier than the RPG part.
The question is though: would this be a good idea or not?

I can imagine that for those who are more interested in the story, would be an obvious yes! I'm not sure about those who like both the story AND the RPG :)

For me the main advantage could be to have people play the story first, and in the case the game has a lot of branching/multiple paths/endings, help me fix it faster. I could also open preorders early which is cool too, but not essential.
On the other hand, this could also potentially backfire, since many people once have seen the story, maybe aren't interested in playing it again in RPG mode. Exception to this rule are super-hardcore fans like Fabula who replayed SOTW like 4-5 times or renke who did a lot of testing for QoT :lol: (but not sure how many others would do that!)

I'm not saying that if this poll is won by "yes" I will surely do it, but of course will think about it, especially for RPGs with a LOT of branching (like Roger Steel). For other more linear RPGs, probably wouldn't be worth it.

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jack1974
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Re: Future RPGs: VN beta first?

Post by jack1974 » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:03 pm

There's also the possibility suggested by dev friend/colleague Hanako of doing some sort of "closed beta" in VN mode only. Could be a good reward for Patreon backer maybe :)

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DarkWolf
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Re: Future RPGs: VN beta first?

Post by DarkWolf » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:06 pm

I can't see this being a bad idea since people who are here mainly for story can play it in a VN mode earlier and those who are here more for RPG side will have to wait ether way and those who are into both can just decide case by case, I can't see what would anyone have to lose from this, so if only a gain comes from an idea I would say it is a good idea. The only way I could think of people being unsatisfied by this is if you ware to sell versions separately in witch case I would still be ok with it and probably many other people but I can see how some wouldn't like it.

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jack1974
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Re: Future RPGs: VN beta first?

Post by jack1974 » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:10 pm

No the game version would be the same - it's just that people could play the VN part early once it's finished.

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BobTheMob
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Re: Future RPGs: VN beta first?

Post by BobTheMob » Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:16 pm

Interesting idea.

To me, it would seem best to try that w/ something and then see how players react from there.
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Troyen
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Re: Future RPGs: VN beta first?

Post by Troyen » Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:20 am

Honestly I think it'd be better to do it the other way around. Often, the VN stuff is usually minor issues like typos or conditions improperly set. We're not really doing substantial editing of the story in beta.

On the other hand, I'd imagine most of your time is spent on tweaks and the actual gameplay parts of the engine - at least it read that way for SotW, PSCD, and QoT. Very early on you had the tech alpha for QoT which I think helped (though you'd know better than me). Likewise, I think having a tech alpha of Amber would help catch general issues with the crafting and the crafting interface. These parts seem more prone to bugs and failure and could use the most testing time.

Personally I tend to wait until the very end of beta before trying to help out because I usually only play through the game once or twice. I have too much other stuff going on I haven't even sought out the alternate endings on many of your recent games, so if there was a VN mode released first for a story I was really looking forward to, I'd likely read it and not come back for the RPG part a month later (or more, remember the RPG part needs the most tuning!).

It's already a tempting struggle on existing games with a VN mode like PSCD to go with the gameplay aspect. Yeah, the gameplay itself can be fun if you get into it, but you're also artificially distancing yourself from the rewards (the ending CGs) since actually playing the game takes a substantial amount of time compared to reading.

For those that play VN only, how many of you actually read every line on your second playthrough instead of holding down the control key to get to the new material? Releasing RPG later would be like that second playthrough but you're playing just for the game system so there's not really the story reward. It's almost like releasing a textless game system simulator at that point.

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jack1974
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Re: Future RPGs: VN beta first?

Post by jack1974 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:19 am

Thanks, some good points.
I know that most people play it once or twice - it's normal, I have hard time playing my OWN games more than 3-4 times, also because after a while you don't even spot the mistakes yourslef (the famous "need some fresh eyes" haha).

I guess it could vary depending on the RPG. For SOTW I basically was doing the game almost at same time the writer was writing it, and I think it worked well. For QoT, I did that tech demo mainly to see how the various changes I did to the combat would work. In retrospect I should have done it also for the robberies but sometimes you don't know yourself how the final gameplay will be :oops:

Anyway, you're right saying that for most games the "VN bug" are really not hard. For a game like Roger Steel though might be different. There is an INSANE amount of branching, and different skills that change based on dialogue choices. That one will be challenging to debug also in VN mode :)

There's another thing regarding that game: because it's Steampunk, the writer made a lot of notes about the fights themselves. And I think I really would need the new RPG framework Anima is working on, since has support for ammo. The current one (Loren/SOTW) doesn't have it. I mean, I could probably add it but would be a hack :lol: and I'm sure that I wouldn't be able to do a good job.

So even if the writing was ready I should wait for the new framework, and that's why I was thinking to release the game in VN mode first to at least get all that branching story checked out.

Anyway, there's time - the game story should be finished this month, but then the writer has to put EVERYTHING in Ren'Py format (he wrote it in screenplay first) and I believe for such a big story, that will take 2-3 months. And of course there's still the art and music to finish. Next year I would prefer to finish PS2 if that's possible since it's a long time people are waiting and I want to finish it myself! Which probably means that for RS there's time towards end of next year or maybe 2018 :oops:

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Pace675
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Re: Future RPGs: VN beta first?

Post by Pace675 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:09 pm

Depends on the game and story with me, since I rather be involved with the story, if the RPG mechanic doesn't add to the narrative, I would be happy just to bypass it all together. The downside to this, the user will lose a lot of game completion time. Look at Loren, a good 20-30 hour game with RPG element, take that out you have a 2-6 hour VN, but the saving point here is all the romance paths for replayability.

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jack1974
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Re: Future RPGs: VN beta first?

Post by jack1974 » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:56 pm

I want to say that I will always include a "VN Mode" in all future games (unless the gameplay is such an integral part of the game that won't be possible). This because I noticed that the recent games with it had many people who bought it only because the mode was available, and so it's a good thing for me :)

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Jaeger
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Re: Future RPGs: VN beta first?

Post by Jaeger » Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:25 pm

If Loren was a pure visual novel, I would expect some extra writing to fill in what happens during battles scenes. It wouldn't be necessary with an RPG, since the player take control over the events and outcome.

In other words, I'll wait for the RPG. It's the area that needs the most fine tuning. Even QoT, which was intended to be simpler than SOTW, underwent several design changes from damage/defense calculations to how formations work.

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