Edit: This thread has been moved from the project section to the art and design section. Some part of the following text has thus started making less sense.
This is the place for suggesting projects right?
I'm going to divide this into three sections. First I'm going to tell you about me, then I'm going to tell you what a visual novel is and finally I will run through what is needed for this project.1. Who is this guy and what does he do?
Hi, my name is Filip.
One of the biggest goal in my life is to do something rememberable. I like to draw and to write stories. The problem is that I never have done it seriously. It's mostly random sketches and telling my friends about this new idea I have for a story. So I thought that to get my creative juices flowing, I had to start some sort of project. And I've tried but it's hard 'coz there isn't a lot of people around me that are as eager to get going as I am. I am very fond of visual novels and since there already was this game engine ready to go, I tought I'd give it a try. But the same problems as always arised.
One day I registered to this forum and though 'hey, there's this project section with a nice sign that says "Let's make games together!" Maybe there's a chance to get this visual novel thing going'.
And now I'm here.2. What is this unknown thing this man speaks of? Wishall navell?
A visual novel is an interactive story with pictures and sounds. You have a background picture that tells you where you are, some paperdolls that tells you who you are talking to, who are near and what expressions they wear and over everything is this box with text that tells you what is happening. All while a song plays, or is not played, to enhance the mood.
One of the quirks I enjoy a lot in visual novels is ability to make choices. These choices makes the story branch out which can give the story a lot of depth. If you side with the other side on your second play through, you get a lot more backround info about the characters that were you enemies during your first playthrough and you might have the change to see a couple of alternative endings to the story.
Most of the visual novels that exist are based on affection. If you are kinder to a certain person, you are most likely to end up on that person's route. But a visual novel doesn't have to be structured this way.
In the background there are things like global varibles and normal varibles.
A normal varibles is a point counter that resets every time you start a new game. These variables consists of counters and flags.
Let's say there is this character named Sarah. If you chose to give Sarah a present, your Sarah counter will increase with 2 points. If you by the end of the game has a total of 12 points or more, you will get the good end.
A flag is a way for the game to remember certain things. If chose to leave the house without checking the stove, you active the unchecked stove flag. Later in the game the game will check the flag and if it's activated, your house has burned down and you have to move in with a friend.
A global varible that is not reset when you start a new game and is a good thing if you want to save the best for later. Let's say that there is this other girl named Jenny. If you get one of Sarah's end, you active the Sarah's end global variable. During the fifth day, the game checks for this variable and if it's active, you get a new choice that gives you access to Jenny's route. Jenny's route tells you so much about the secrets of the plot that playing it before Sarah's route would have ruined the mystery.
This visual novel thing is actually a very popular thing in Japan. To make the games more attractive on the market, they are mostly pronographic. Some are just porn with a plot added to it to make it something more than just a gallery and some are a plot with some porn trown in to increase the sales.
Yes, there is a difference.
Anyway, I am not planning to make a pornographic game. But that is mostly because I don't thing a lot of people would want to help with that. And anatomy is a female dog.3. I feel like helping. What can I do?
Well there are four basics.
First of, story.
This is the biggest factor in the game. If the story is really great, it can compensate for the lack of good art or good music. It also works the other way around but not as easily.
A thing to note is that a visual novel is mostly written out of a first person perspective.
I'm willing to write. I just don't want to be alone and I think that there must be someone more qualified than me. I prefer to write stories about modern takes on fantasy or absurd takes on our modern time.
Second of is art.
Art in visual novels are divided into three things: Backgrounds, paperdolls and event CG.
A lot of indie developers of visual novels take photographs and run some filters through them to make there backgrounds. I would like to avoid this.
Paperdolls are pictures of characters with different poses that changes facial expression that you slap onto the background. If we were to aim for a higher level we could also animate these. Making them blink and stuff.
And then there is event CG. In scenes were something special happens, like your house burning down 'coz you left the stove on, you are treated to a picture of a sad main character infront of a burning house that is specially drawn just for this scene!
My main interest for this project is to draw the art. I haven't had a lot experience with image editing and coloring.
Basically I'm just a big selfish bastard who hopes to be able to develope his skills in art and/or writing by tricking a bunch of people to spend time with a project.
That's one way to see it.
Should see if I can get the scanner running so that I can show you some samples.
Third of is handelling the engine.
A game engine for a visual novel is not very complex, I think. Should be to much of a problem writting one. However! An engine named Ren'Py (http://renpy.org
) already exist and is ready for use. It's free and it's coded in python if that now is your thing.
Building an engine of my own is not something I'm ready to do but handelling Ren'Py shouldn't be to difficult for me.
And finally, sound.
Well what is there to say? Needs a lot of different tunes to enhance the situations in the story. Could also need a lot of sound effects but there are most likely a bunch of free sound FX sites on the net.
I'm trying to learn to make my own music but currently I'm no help in this section.
There are some extra stuff that can be done like voices and an animated intro or a song with vocals and stuff but just finishing the four basics would be awesome enough.
There are actually a project like this currently in development. It's called Katawa Shoujo (http://katawashoujo.blogspot.com
) but it's more about exploring love and relationships while I hope to make one about exploring mysteries. But love is a mystery too...
Feel free to post replies, send a PM or an e-mail.Bonus Section: Panic!
What the heck did I just write?! Like anyone is going to bother with reading this wall of text! Like anyone is going to help me with such an unpopular and uncommon thing as a visual novel! My drawing and writting might not even be up to standard!