Dealing with potential pitfalls

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Dealing with potential pitfalls

Post  gekiganwing on Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:52 am

With Starswirl demo #2 a few days away, here's a couple things that have been on my mind:

* The small pitfall of "it's too difficult to fail." I first noticed this in Kango Shichauzo, an adult VN that had one bad ending... but it was surprisingly tough to get.

* Small pitfalls related to the protagonist's personality. I mostly liked main character Taehyeok in Tears 9, 10, even during a scene where he chose violence and revenge. I respected how much he kept trying to help Yeonji. However, it was frustrating how pessimistic he was.

* Insignificant choices lead to very different outcomes. I'm currently enjoying Toradora Portable, but this problem is causing some frustration. Also, there was a moment in Tokimeki Check-in where sweeping versus mopping the floor lead to different results.

* Does the reader care about the love interests? Is there anything notable about them other than "she's cute" or "he's funny"? For instance, Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side does not place much emphasis on characterization, and there is almost no plot. However, I ended up liking Wataru Hibiya, because the game showed early on how he was trying to grow up quickly and gain maturity.

* What makes the story interesting? Graphics, sound, interface, and sometimes gameplay matter. But more often than not, what ultimately matters in a visual novel is the story it's telling. Pacing problems can drag down a story. If the conflict seems trivial or dull, then the story might suffer. A thousand other things can become problems.

* Is there anything else below the surface? A story does not need to have complex themes in order to be interesting. At the same time, if all that a story offers is moments of mindless fluff, or some dirty jokes, or fight scenes, then it might come across as superficial.
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Re: Dealing with potential pitfalls

Post  MermanMike on Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:34 pm

gekiganwing wrote:With Starswirl demo #2 a few days away, here's a couple things that have been on my mind:

* Insignificant choices lead to very different outcomes. I'm currently enjoying Toradora Portable, but this problem is causing some frustration. Also, there was a moment in Tokimeki Check-in where sweeping versus mopping the floor lead to different results.

.

I'm a total noob when it comes to VNs. The only others I've played were Katawa Shoujo and some other one that had time travel(?) and was also in a high school setting (I forget the name). Anyway, I don't remember if Katawa had those types of "pitfalls", but I honestly kinda expect to see these choices present within alot of VNs. I don't know why. I guess I just assume every choice presented, no matter how insignificant they may appear to be, will have some sort of noticeable outcome pertaining to the main plot, and I don't mind it. I'm not sure if that's because I just don't have much experience with VNs or what have you. Again, I have no clue.

As for the other pitfalls you've mentioned regarding on this VN, it may still be too early to really have any definite concern. Having played the 2nd Demo earlier today and digesting all of its new features/content, I can say I've really enjoyed it thus far. I do like what I see as far as our protagonist goes. Tom is (mostly, like 99%) an original character, so I think that gave the writers alot of freedom when writing his personality. And since all of the girls are based off of existing characters whose personalities are already established, I think a majority of people who're gonna be playing Starswirl will find that similarity and transfer their pre-existing sentiments of that character to the one represented here. Not without saying individuals may discover something new about their favorite character, given their different setting, and different "anatomies" (with due credit to the writers; I don't expect the girls being carbon copies of their source material).

Sorry, I think I'm rambling! I'm not trying to discredit your worries; I think they're valid points concerning the nature of this genre of storytelling. But I also think it's still a wee bit early to really be sweating over, IMO, in case anyone is. So far, I like what I see. I have faith that the dev team will do this one just fine, however that's really all I can say at this point. Very Happy
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Re: Dealing with potential pitfalls

Post  Ruthalas_ on Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:03 am

MermanMike wrote:
gekiganwing wrote:With Starswirl demo #2 a few days away, here's a couple things that have been on my mind:

* Insignificant choices lead to very different outcomes. I'm currently enjoying Toradora Portable, but this problem is causing some frustration. Also, there was a moment in Tokimeki Check-in where sweeping versus mopping the floor lead to different results.

.

I'm a total noob when it comes to VNs.  The only others I've played were Katawa Shoujo and some other one that had time travel(?) and was also in a high school setting (I forget the name).  Anyway, I don't remember if Katawa had those types of "pitfalls", but I honestly kinda expect to see these choices present within alot of VNs.  I don't know why.  I guess I just assume every choice presented, no matter how insignificant they may appear to be, will have some sort of noticeable outcome pertaining to the main plot, and I don't mind it.  I'm not sure if that's because I just don't have much experience with VNs or what have you.  Again, I have no clue.  

I think the thing that gekiganwing would disapprove of (correct me if I am wrong here) is when the player is presented with mundane choices, such as the mopping/sweeping scenario, upon which hinges very important events. The problem there isn't that the choice makes a difference, it's that the results are out of proportion and defeat the point of having the protagonist make choices.

There are probably exceptions to this, but for the most part it makes sense to have meaningful results stem from meaningful choices.
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Re: Dealing with potential pitfalls

Post  Rainbow Wavedash on Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:24 am

I'm okay with mundane choices affecting routes if it's obviously apparent what difference it made early on. That, or if there was foreshadowing of some kind beforehand.
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Re: Dealing with potential pitfalls

Post  Ruthalas_ on Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:10 pm

That is a very reasonable point Rainbow Wavedash.

Foreshadowing especially makes for a rewarding experience- allowing you to pick up on details not immediately apparent. Very Happy
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Re: Dealing with potential pitfalls

Post  Zebasiz on Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:36 pm

I also agree. I'm loving how the game looks so far. And honestly the only thing I do worry about is if there is a choice where you are locked down a path with absolutely no indication that such a minor choice would effect everything so much.

Example: You're given the choice to buy a glass of lemonade, or a glass of grape juice. No indication that the choice is important in any way. But picking one can completely lock you to a specific path or block off others.

The fear comes from the time I played Katawa Shoujo. (It's been a few years, so I may be remembering things incorrectly.) I was playing, and during a scene where you're running on the track with Emi Ibarazaki to build some stamina for your heart. I was given the option to either push myself, or give up. I decided that I didn't want my character to just give up, so I chose to push myself. Suddenly I find myself going down Emi's storyline with no option to break out of it. (There may have been an option later in the game, but as I wasn't wanting to go down her path in the first place, I reset once I realized my character was attached to her.)

It just bothered me that there was no indication that not giving up would attach me to her character automatically. And so relatively early in the game. (Again, it has been a few years. So it is possible I'm misremembering something, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)

But I'm not as worried about something like that happening in this game. And as Rainbow Wavedash said: I am ok with small choices making a big difference as long as there is at least SOME indication of what the choice will do.

Other then that. Love the game. Love what I'm seeing already. And am Impatiently looking forward to the official release~ =3

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Re: Dealing with potential pitfalls

Post  TauManifesto on Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:39 pm

Zebasiz wrote:I also agree. I'm loving how the game looks so far. And honestly the only thing I do worry about is if there is a choice where you are locked down a path with absolutely no indication that such a minor choice would effect everything so much.

Example: You're given the choice to buy a glass of lemonade, or a glass of grape juice. No indication that the choice is important in any way. But picking one can completely lock you to a specific path or block off others.

The fear comes from the time I played Katawa Shoujo. (It's been a few years, so I may be remembering things incorrectly.) I was playing, and during a scene where you're running on the track with Emi Ibarazaki to build some stamina for your heart. I was given the option to either push myself, or give up. I decided that I didn't want my character to just give up, so I chose to push myself. Suddenly I find myself going down Emi's storyline with no option to break out of it. (There may have been an option later in the game, but as I wasn't wanting to go down her path in the first place, I reset once I realized my character was attached to her.)

It just bothered me that there was no indication that not giving up would attach me to her character automatically. And so relatively early in the game. (Again, it has been a few years. So it is possible I'm misremembering something, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)

But I'm not as worried about something like that happening in this game. And as Rainbow Wavedash said: I am ok with small choices making a big difference as long as there is at least SOME indication of what the choice will do.

Other then that. Love the game. Love what I'm seeing already. And am Impatiently looking forward to the official release~ =3

For the Katawa Shoujo thing keep in mind a few scenes ago the nurse did warn you against doing anything more than a light jog for exercise. He recommends walking but even then few short walks since anything more endangers your life. Not to push yourself etc. Most people pick the option to push yourself because they don't want to lose the "race".

Anyways to be on topic, I like having choices no matter how mundane. Sometimes it's fun to pick something seemingly random have a huge impact later on. Like picking a certain food might get different kinds of people to talk to you or how you do a certain activity. It's the small every day things that helps you get to meet people in various ways. I really need to check the new beta out!

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Re: Dealing with potential pitfalls

Post  Rainbow Wavedash on Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:33 pm

KS strategy spoilers below:

I like the idea of the Waylay/Training Flag choice in Katawa Shoujo, but it was a little too unclear. That said, if you realize how that game handles decisions, it becomes obvious. They did this brilliant thing where your choices influenced the kind of person Hisao was, rather than just affecting the current situation. It's the same reason some people found his character to be inconsistent between routes.

That is, he is inconsistent because you're shaping him into a different kind of person with each choice. Make a joke about not exercising? He doesn't really care about it. Go visit the library? Your Hisao likes to read, or he enjoys quiet spaces. This shows well in Shizune's early route when you choose whether to attack or defend while playing Risk. It mirrors what kind of strategy he uses in life, and Shizune likes someone who can match her aggressiveness.

It's something that I haven't seen done very well very often, but we definitely want to bring it to Starswirl. Just... very carefully. It's very important that you're able to choose what type of personality Tom has because of the nature of the academy and their traditions.
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