what other gameplay elements should visual novel have?

Games based mostly on classic VN gameplay without skills, statistics, etc to raise

what other gameplay elements should visual novel have (if any)?

You may select up to 2 options

 
 
View results

User avatar
jack1974
Pack leader
Posts: 13416
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 4:43 pm

what other gameplay elements should visual novel have?

Post by jack1974 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:58 pm

So, I'm still trying to understand what people want in a visual novel, or better a story-based game...
I have a lot of mixed experiences, which I'll list:
- people hated Vera Blanc mini-games for example. And thinking that I added them to make it different from the standard VNs... :lol:
- at same time people like other mini games for example in VN like Analogue:A Hate Story (simulating a computer, typing commands, etc)
- Hunie-pop is a big minigame for example, with more strategy than I thought (I haven't played it but watched some let's play)
- I *think* that people liked the sort of adventure-like stuff I added in certain point of Bionic Heart. Something like moving from a location to another, interacting with object/people, and so on
- I'm good friend of Wadjet Eye, and I know how successful his adventures are. Maybe though is different a pixel-art 3rd person adventure, with a first person manga one? who knows...
- we all know the Ace Attorney series. Even in that case there's a main minigame with a story around it

In summary I am thinking if to add more minigame/adventure stuff in the possible future visual novels, or just keep them strictly focused on story and choices? Note that I don't include here RPG stuff like Loren or dating sim gameplay like... the dating sims :lol: I mean for games in which story is still the 90% of the focus/playing time.

User avatar
Franka
Elder Druid
Posts: 1068
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:07 pm

Re: what other gameplay elements should visual novel have?

Post by Franka » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:12 pm

Personally, I really like there to be one central "mini"-game (yes, take HuniePop as an example, the gameplay is actually quite fun, whatever else you may think of it). I dislike half-assed mini games that are clearly filler to pad out the game length, there has to be some substance to them. This usually only happens if there's just one central gameplay portion and you can then have variations of that for different situations.

Stat raising is a viable mini game, though not terribly engaging unless the stats are REALLY used for something. Take Long Live the Queen, fx.

Simple adventure elements are not all that interesting, even though they can add another level of interaction, which I *think* people may like. I can't personally say that I really care one way or another, I don't feel they add anything if they're as simple as clicking on something or other instead of clicking on a text box.

Choices are something I am all for. Especially if those choices have real impact on the story. Now, how those choices are made could shake things up a bit compared to a regular "choose a box" VN. Once again some sort of stat raising, a moral meter, finding different people in different locations, whatever. As long as they're real choices, not just shiny ways of getting from A to B, I think they make the presentation a bit more compelling. I wouldn't say it's necessary, or that I'd prefer visual fluff, I'm perfectly fine with a regular VN. But then I'm in the minority who really enjoyed Bionic Heart.

If I could completely choose, I'd either want a really good central mini-game, or a hell of a lot of choice and consequence in the story, and both at the same time would be just awesome. I'm hoping this is what Undead Lily could end up as, a good "mini"-game at the core of a funny and interesting branching story.

User avatar
jack1974
Pack leader
Posts: 13416
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 4:43 pm

Re: what other gameplay elements should visual novel have?

Post by jack1974 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:23 pm

I see, thanks for the feedback. Probably one mistake of Vera Blanc was having several minigames but none of them particularly interesting. As for adventure element, is a bit different from saying:
Franka wrote:Simple adventure elements are not all that interesting, even though they can add another level of interaction, which I *think* people may like. I can't personally say that I really care one way or another, I don't feel they add anything if they're as simple as clicking on something or other instead of clicking on a text box.
I mean is not like "click on the text box" or "click on something on screen". I meant stuff like an inventory and object interactions. Well in this case I guess it wouldn't be a visual novel but a first person adventure :lol:
Franka wrote: If I could completely choose, I'd either want a really good central mini-game, or a hell of a lot of choice and consequence in the story, and both at the same time would be just awesome. I'm hoping this is what Undead Lily could end up as, a good "mini"-game at the core of a funny and interesting branching story.
Well for Undead Lily is a bit too early, but what you describe is what PSCD is shaping up to be. The card-battle is going to be the main focus of the game, and then there are various possible romances and some tough choices that influence the endings and some later missions too :)

User avatar
Franka
Elder Druid
Posts: 1068
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:07 pm

Re: what other gameplay elements should visual novel have?

Post by Franka » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:31 pm

jack1974 wrote:Well for Undead Lily is a bit too early, but what you describe is what PSCD is shaping up to be. The card-battle is going to be the main focus of the game, and then there are various possible romances and some tough choices that influence the endings and some later missions too :)
That's great, because then you can take all the things that didn't work out in PSCD and improve them in Undead Lily. ;)

User avatar
OhHaiMe
Young scout
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:14 pm

Re: what other gameplay elements should visual novel have?

Post by OhHaiMe » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:59 pm

I think the most important factor is that any activities other then reading need to be there to progress the story. If they are there just to provide variety or Break up the pace then either your story isn't good enough to hold interest or your interrupting a good story for no reason.

Like in Ace Attorney,Professor Layton and most Point & Click/Adventure games,the whole structure of those games is that you do some small activity and it gives you another small piece of the story.They aren't just stories with Puzzles added in,they are built from the ground up with puzzles in mind and you can feel that they they are not just tacked on. It feels like what you are are doing directly gets you the next piece of the story.
Since you know this is how these games work from the very start and it happens throughout the game you come in expecting it and expectation plays a major role in how much people enjoy something or if they find it disruptive.Also the activities are interesting in and of themselves so they don't feel like they are there just to block you from getting on with the story.


In trying to explain What I mean to say with this post,I keep asking myself why the things I'm talking about work in some game and not others,And I think the reason I'm having trouble putting it into concrete logical terms of " I like this." or "I don't like that." is that for me it all come down to Feel and Expectation, which cannot be described in concrete logical terms.
Even if an element in a game might not really be bad,It really comes down to what you are expecting. I've read a lot of stories and played a lot of games,so I think my personal range of what I expect out of VNs is probably a bit broader them most,from Kinetic to stat driven stories I except them all.(I mean I even consider Layton to be a VN for goodness sake). I also research things well before I partake of them so I usually know what to expect and so I'm rarely disappointed.

But I think when most people think of a VN they think mostly of just reading text and choosing between branching paths of a story. So I think the thing we're talking about ( Or at least what I'm talking about,and I fear I may have gotten off point;But then you did say any feedback was welcome..) isn't really a design choice, It's more a matter of managing expectations by being careful in how you describe and present the game. If you call it a VN people want to read,If you call it an adventure they want to explore or if it's a Sim they want stats.

User avatar
jack1974
Pack leader
Posts: 13416
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 4:43 pm

Re: what other gameplay elements should visual novel have?

Post by jack1974 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:15 pm

OK I see. Indeed I think too that the minigame/gameplay should unlock extra parts of the story. In the RPG that's what basically happens.
About describing the game, yes that's true, even if with a demo I guess people can see if they like it or not. For example I wouldn't know how to describe both SOTW and Loren if not RPGs, even if in one focus is more on combat/RPG part and in the other more on the story. But they're both RPGs :)
I need to watch some more of those ace attorney let's play (I don't have a 3DS and I probably wouldn't have time to play them anyway).

fleetp
Druid
Posts: 311
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:17 am
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: what other gameplay elements should visual novel have?

Post by fleetp » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:53 pm

I agree with OhHaiMe; mini-games should serve to advance the story, providing that failure to successfully complete a mini-game does not lead to losing the game (getting an immediate bad ending).
I like the way you handled the mini-games in the Vera Blanc visual novels.
Why? I like big ones, that's why.

User avatar
jack1974
Pack leader
Posts: 13416
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 4:43 pm

Re: what other gameplay elements should visual novel have?

Post by jack1974 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:40 pm

So I checked some Ace Attorney let's play on youtube, and the mini/meta game is indeed very simple and not invasive, I mean is almost like a normal VN with choices, but the difference are that you need also to pick the clues (at least from what I saw).

User avatar
abnaxus
Woods ranger
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:55 pm

Re: what other gameplay elements should visual novel have?

Post by abnaxus » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:56 pm

A lot depends on what the VN is about.

Utawarerumono is a VN with some occasional turn-based battles on grid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dAanvKBMro

It works because war is an important part of the story.

Maybe Bionic Heart could have a hacking minigame similar to the one in Assassin's Creed or Deus Ex.

kadakithis
Druid
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:32 am

Re: what other gameplay elements should visual novel have?

Post by kadakithis » Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:44 am

Other elements as said above I always love is stat building that leads to different consequences and story elements. Take the Choice Of games. They are practically just reading. But the stats and them being checked creates a whole bunch of potential. Sure you can shoot a gun, but without leadership, the crew may mutiny, and you sure don't have enough standing to impress the father to let you marry HIS daughter. But on the other hand, when the fight happens you are considered more capable and less likely to get hurt and can complete what you need to do.

Even their Hero one with a more set story and protagonist did well because you had two sides that one took from the other. Justice vs Fame, Solo vs Teamplayer, Lawless vs Lawful and they affect your choices, story, and ending. Stat building coming at the expense of other stats, and multiple ways to succeed at a given time but each getting a slightly different result.

I feel the best VN make you feel like you are playing a PnP game. Backgrounds, personality, choices through a story. Having trggers that offer one line to recognize your choices thus far, even a minor one, are very enjoyable. I do agree that minigames really only work when they are well done and interesting part of the gameplay that is part of the story.

Post Reply