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  • Writer's pictureNero

#8 Putting the “Visual” in Visual Novel

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

Last week I said that I wanted to get the dialogue and story finished and that is exactly what I have done and more.

So, I began by writing more dialogue with the main character becoming sentient. I also added a save button to the game. The save button becomes available just after the player chooses a game to play for the final stream.

Screenshot of the game

The save button works by saving all the variables that the player has at that time and then once clicked it loads those variables and sends the player back to the last stream (where they saved). The player is also given the option to quit or restart the game if they desire.

Options presented to the player

When the player is offered whether they want to save, they are given a choice of 4, 3 of the choices are the same with only 1 actually causing it to save. I did this because I wanted the player to think about their choice for a moment as this is a more important decision than they may think.

The reason it is important is because it allows the player to correct their decisions if they want. This power is taken away from the player towards the end of the game though, This is how the main character shows that he is in control rather than the player. The player can no longer press the save button and go back like before.

This then leads on to the ending, of which there are 4. I chose 4 endings as there are 4 meters that are on the screen during the whole game and its these meters that matter most in the game. So, depending on what value that your stats were, you got different endings.

all endings lead to the credits

If you had 8 Social or more, you would go to Scenario 1 where the main character misses the other characters and ends up deleting the game. In this scenario the player is the winner.

If you had Anxiety/Hatred 8 or above, you would go to Scenario 2 where the main character ends up deleting you the player from the game. This is a scenario where the player loses the game.

If your Devotion/Ignorance is 8 or above though, you would end up in scenario 3 where the main character forgets what happened and the player is praised for being ignorant. This scenario is once again a winner scenario.

Finally, if none of your stats are 8 or above (except followers which was automatically set by the character earlier) then you end up in scenario 4 where the main character ends up deleting all the other stats except the follower stat before deleting the player like in scenario 2. This is another lose situation for the player.

Sending the player to different endings

As you can see, there are 2 good endings and 2 bad endings which makes it possible to replay the game multiple times to find the different endings. There are also multiple different paths throughout the game that are mostly dictated by the social variable, although other variables do affect the game too.

Next week I need to playtest my game a lot to see how balanced these endings are. and although I want the 4th scenario to be the most common, I don’t want any scenarios to be impossible to achieve.

Anyway, now that I had finished the narrative section of the game, I needed to focus on the visual side. This means that I had to finally decide on the aesthetic of my game.

(Degica 2017)

After doing a lot of research into visual novels I discovered that the vast majority were in an anime style, I also discovered that my lack of skill meant that I couldn’t draw in that style.

So, I contacted a bunch of people I know who can draw in that style, before realising that I was going to have to have about 4 different reactions from each character depending on the situation. This meant that the number of drawing went from around 4 to 16.

I then thought that it wouldn’t be fair to put that much work on other people who all have their own assignments to be doing so I decided to do the art myself. This was easier said than done.

After about an hour I came up with 4 drawings of the characters that I was happy-ish with and I thought they had a sort of style to them.

I never claimed to be good at art

As you can see these interesting looking characters are very different to most visual novels and I am just going to call it “Unique”. The problem now was that although I knew what these characters looked like, I had to redraw them all in order to get different moods.

This took a long time, and they all look slightly different in each picture. For the main character, I decided to go with just 3 stages of the same expression. Each stage would correlate to the level of sentience the character.

Greg head happy Greg head sad

Greg head shock Greg head Angry

As you can see from all of these faces, they are all different, but the main features are the same. While this is purely down to lack of talent, I am going to call it a stylistic choice that makes the game unique and interesting, so it stands out in the genre.

I then added all of these faces to the dialogue and it actually makes a big difference.

View of game

Next week I hope to get all the rest of the art into the game, including backgrounds somehow, and start making it look polished. I have asked my friend Archie Johnson who is studying music at university to compose a song for the game, which I hope to add either towards the end of the week or the week after. I also want to start playtesting to make sure the game is balanced and fair.

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