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Old 2011-07-28, 12:41   Link #1
Vexx
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Decision Points/Interactivity in Visual Novels/Ero-games

[mod edit: This thread was created as an extract of a conversation that began in the What Ero-games are your favourites at the moment? thread. I preserved this part of the comment as the launching point for the conversation.]


And my main complaint about VNs continue... not enough decision points, something I've found true in almost every Japanese VN I've played. As the Bioware story flowcharts show (or any good D&D module), you can make the viewer *feel* like they are getting lots of input into the story even when they're being herded down relatively small plot conduits.

Last edited by relentlessflame; 2011-07-28 at 21:19.
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Old 2011-07-28, 13:11   Link #2
Soviet
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
And my main complaint about VNs continue... not enough decision points, something I've found true in almost every VN I'd tried. As the Bioware story flowcharts show, you can make the viewer *feel* like they are getting lots of input into the story even when they're being herded down relatively small plot conduits.
There seems to be a misconception at work here. VNs are not supposed to be "choose your own adventure"-books, the era of dating-sims with huge amounts of interactivity is long over. They are just another medium that is used to tell a story. Well some actually ARE choose your own adventure books, but in this case they will be advertised as such (Thief&Sword for example). The quality of a VN is measured by the quality of its story, characters and production values and not by the amount of superfluous choices the developers managed to cram in.
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Old 2011-07-28, 13:36   Link #3
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Originally Posted by Soviet View Post
There seems to be a misconception at work here. VNs are not supposed to be "choose your own adventure"-books, the era of dating-sims with huge amounts of interactivity is long over. They are just another medium that is used to tell a story. Well some actually ARE choose your own adventure books, but in this case they will be advertised as such (Thief&Sword for example). The quality of a VN is measured by the quality of its story, characters and production values and not by the amount of superfluous choices the developers managed to cram in.
Then why have any choices at all? And I didn't say "superfluous".... but you have as if having choice is a bad thing. Because, guess what? Purely by virtue of having any choices at all, its is a part of the "choose your adventure" genre and that is one of the legitimate criteria to judge it by.
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Old 2011-07-28, 13:41   Link #4
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Then why have any choices at all?
Bad ends, alternate routes, or just a slight change in dialogue.
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Old 2011-07-28, 13:42   Link #5
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Bad ends, alternate routes, or just a slight change in dialogue.
Correct... and therefore - participation by the reader in determining the outcome.
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Old 2011-07-28, 13:52   Link #6
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It ultimately depends on what the Visual Novel tries to achieve by playing it. I've only encountered one VN without any choices, True Remembrance, and it worked without problems for it. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to miss choice selection for romance/eroge-VNs ie. the only genre I usually play. Be it to choose my girl or the type of ending (normal/good/true). Some people just don't enjoy canon-pairings due to said character choice isn't their taste for example. As someone who hates bad endings, being "forced" into one by no choices would leave a bad taste.

@Demonbane: It was indeed not bad, but you could say the ero-stuff ruined it a bit for me. Disregarding that, Al was my favorite path in terms of romance, Ruri was for that a bit too neutral(?) in her true end, without spoilering anything.
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Old 2011-07-28, 14:38   Link #7
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Then why have any choices at all?
Would you prefer a route-selection at the title screen without knowing anything about the story and characters? Those choices are just triggers that set you upon a path in a fluid and natural way. They can also be used as gimmicks to mix things up, make the reader think a little or be greeted with a game over for acting dumb.
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And I didn't say "superfluous".... but you have as if having choice is a bad thing.
Choice is not a bad thing and I didn't say that. But if your story is chock-full of choices that greatly affect everything you can kiss any kind of narrative that is worth a damn goodbye. And if they don't affect anything they are superfluous and shouldn't be there in the first place.
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Because, guess what? Purely by virtue of having any choices at all, its is a part of the "choose your adventure" genre and that is one of the legitimate criteria to judge it by.
Now that is just silly. Some simple choices don't make a "choose your own adventure"-concept. A Visual Novel is exactly what the name implies, a novel with a presentational kick. People read them because some of them tell damn good stories, like Muramasa. Or for the porn. And that's all there is to it.
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Old 2011-07-28, 14:48   Link #8
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Indeed, VN should not be mistaken as similar to "choose your own adventure" media, just because of the presence of choices. Honestly, I don't get why people keep using this kind of stuff to explain VN while there is next to nothing in common.

As Soviet already explained, a VN would rather be compared to novels/romans, since the primary purpose of a VN is to deliver a story with features that a book cannot offer: backgrounds, characters appearance and expressions, voices, BGM etc.
By this point, it would be rather preferable to have a story being properly focused with few branchment options to deliver the story in a broad sense.

There is little to no reason to expand a story needlessly where the author will have to involve situations that wasn't supposed to happen. I personally think choices were presented so readers can have an idea of "what if" scenarios (which is actually the case, and still within the frame of the story that the author has written so far).

In a way, a VN is like a novel being published with different versions of the story, sharing the same starting context, but differing with the events more or less drastically.
Thus, choices are there not for interactive purpose, but rather allowing the reader to reach the predetermined route they were looking for only after reading a little while.
Otherwise, you would be able to customize the protagonist and changes things even before the story rolls in.
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Old 2011-07-28, 15:55   Link #9
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I just find it interesting the amount of energy being spent in asserting there's no connection with the "choose the adventure" format when the a large part of the VN world is exactly that (date-sims in particular). Making the choices drives the storyline, changes it. The flowchart for a VN defines various narrative segments that when connected all tell a cohesive but one that can lead to very different endings.

Perhaps its a taxonomy difference of opinion? Historical context? I read both Klash's and Soviet's descriptions and find they can be used word-for-word to support my contention as well.

But both of you keep assuming odd things when challenging "choice options" as a criteria for review -
Quote:
expand a story needlessly where the author will have to involve situations that wasn't supposed to happen.
That doesn't happen with story flowcharts - the author simply decides how to connect his story arcs together and provides nexus points for branching. They are supposed to be there because the author decided to put them there.

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you would be able to customize the protagonist and changes things even before the story rolls in.
That's an RPG function from tabletop games ... I only refer to Bioware's story flowcharts as an example because games like Mass Effect and such are also descendants of the "choose your adventure" genre. The best example to use (but one many younger people may be unaware of) with VNs are the old paperback "choose your adventure" books which are exactly the same in format as software VNs.

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Some simple choices don't make a "choose your own adventure"-concept
Hmmm, where's your line in the sand? 3? 5? 15? Like I said, a VN corresponds exactly in construction and format to old paperback examples like -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choose_Your_Own_Adventure
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...enture&x=0&y=0
You might snare a copy and read one. They tell a story, they have branch points, they have Good Ends and Bad Ends, they have a "Best Path". The advantage software VN has is in the production values, voice acting, artwork, music. Are ya'll asserting I have no basis to consider a story's flowchart as part of my assessment?

Last edited by Vexx; 2011-07-28 at 17:51.
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Old 2011-07-28, 18:00   Link #10
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
I just find it interesting the amount of energy being spent in asserting there's no connection with the "choose the adventure" format when the a large part of the VN world is exactly that (date-sims in particular). Making the choices drives the storyline, changes it. The flowchart for a VN defines various narrative segments that when connected all tell a cohesive but one that can lead to very different endings.

Perhaps its a taxonomy difference of opinion? Historical context? I read both Klash's and Soviet's descriptions and find they can be used word-for-word to support my contention as well.

But both of you keep assuming odd things when challenging "choice options" as a criteria for review -
That doesn't happen with story flowcharts - the author simply decides how to connect his story arcs together and provides nexus points for branching. They are supposed to be there because the author decided to put them there.

That's an RPG function from tabletop games ... I only refer to Bioware's story flowcharts as an example because games like Mass Effect and such are also descendants of the "choose your adventure" genre. The best example to use (but one many younger people may be unaware of) with VNs are the old paperback "choose your adventure" books which are exactly the same in format as software VNs.

Hmmm, where's your line in the sand? 3? 5? 15? Like I said, a VN corresponds exactly in construction and format to old paperback examples like -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choose_Your_Own_Adventure
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...enture&x=0&y=0
You might snare a copy and read one. They tell a story, they have branch points, they have Good Ends and Bad Ends, they have a "Best Path". The advantage software VN has is in the production values, voice acting, artwork, music. Are ya'll asserting I have no basis to analyze the story flowchart as part of my assessment?
Alright. I'm not exactly sure why this seems to be such a hard concept to grasp.
Choose your own adventure stories are built modularly. You choose answer 2? Pick scenario b12 to continue your story! Those modules might cross paths or result in bad ends or whatever, point is that you form your own story step by step through decision-making.

You could look at the common route of VNs as a module that connects to several other modules (the individual routes) and come to the conclusion that VNs are deficient cyoa-stories (yes, I'm going to abbreviate this term). But that doesn't make sense because YOU forming the narrative is not the fucking point of a visual novel. Some dude had a story in mind when he wrote a VN, and your job is to read his story, not rearrange parts of it and fuck around with the characters and the flow.

Routes are not modules that you continually piece together to form a story, they already ARE an entire story. Sometimes you decide through choices which story/route you want to read first, sometimes the order of the routes is fixed because they are part of a greater whole (Baldr Sky for example) which is pretty much a storytelling-method that can only be used by VNs.

It all comes down to the fact that telling a good story with a great setting or having interesting characters has nothing to do with decision points. Muramasa wasn't any less of a masterpiece just because I didn't get to decide how Minato Kageaki would behave every couple of lines. It would probably be even detrimental to the experience. There is just no reason to make decision-points something that is important for the quality of VNs and uhhh, in fact nobody does it because a VNs job is not to provide you with a roleplaying experience. You're reading a novel.
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Old 2011-07-28, 19:58   Link #11
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I don't know why YOU find it so hard to grasp that I don't see a hard line between a VN and a "cyoa". Not a single part of your post supports your assertion that they are intrinsically different, if anything, every single example you list only affirms that there is a close relationship between the two products since they can be applied to both. And adding profanity every few words doesn't really augment your argument.

Quote:
But that doesn't make sense because YOU forming the narrative is not the fucking point of a visual novel. Some dude had a story in mind when he wrote a VN, and your job is to read his story, not rearrange parts of it and fuck around with the characters and the flow.
That's odd - I just *did* "form a narrative" with Demonbane, just like I did in the past with Shuffle! and other VNs - by deciding what branch to take. The author wrote it all, I chose which combinatorial story to follow. So far, it seems like YOU don't have clear ideas about the similarities between the two. Someone had a story in mind when they wrote a CYOU. They don't "fuck around with the characters" or flow any more than a VN does. A typical CYOU book has maybe 5-10 branch points.. have YOU ever looked at one? You're right that these aren't RPGs... that was probably a mistake on my point to have referenced the flowchart storyboard method that *all* VNs, CYOUs, and RPGs use to convey a story line. Topologically, they're equivalent, just spread on different points on the complexity line.

Here, try this: tell me why Dragon Age isn't a VN if you remove the character creation and the fighting portions of it. Same with Utawarerumono... how is it different from a VN when we remove the battle modules (which are basically breaks between the storyline)?

Quote:
It all comes down to the fact that telling a good story with a great setting or having interesting characters has nothing to do with decision points.
Since the author wrote the decision points and consequences - they're all equally valid parts of a variety of futures. You don't actually seem to be giving the author credit for constructing a "multiple universe" story model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by me
Hmmm, where's your line in the sand? 3? 5? 15? Like I said, a VN corresponds exactly in construction and format to old paperback examples like -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choose_Your_Own_Adventure
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...enture&x=0&y=0
You might snare a copy and read one. They tell a story, they have branch points, they have Good Ends and Bad Ends, they have a "Best Path". The advantage software VN has is in the production values, voice acting, artwork, music. Are ya'll asserting I have no basis to consider a story's flowchart as part of my assessment?
You didn't respond to this at all. I'm going to poke at 0utf0xZer0 (a veteran VN player/reader on this forum) and see if he can poke holes in my reasoning. I'm quite fine with discarding this idea if it has holes... but no cracks are appearing yet.

Last edited by Vexx; 2011-07-28 at 20:34.
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Old 2011-07-28, 21:48   Link #12
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My two cents on this whole topic...
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Then why have any choices at all? And I didn't say "superfluous".... but you have as if having choice is a bad thing. Because, guess what? Purely by virtue of having any choices at all, its is a part of the "choose your adventure" genre and that is one of the legitimate criteria to judge it by.
I don't think you're wrong to judge it in this light; it's a valid point of view. However, to be perfectly honest with you, I personally would be totally fine if most of these games would just give me a single choice at some point "what branch of the story do you want" and be done with it, because that's really about the amount of customization most of these games really give you anyway. A lot of games have decision points that are either really dead-obvious and "non-subtle" (and seem to be there only for the point of checking the "decision point" checkbox in the list of game features), while others are just so obscure and nonsensical that you can't really figure out the impact of the decision and it amounts to guesswork.

Personally, as the amount of time I have to play games has lessened, I've tried to maximize the value I get of the experience, and don't want to waste any time going down dead-end routes, or missing key events, or having to do things over to get "100% clear" or whatever. So, even with games with rich interactive story elements (like your Bioware games, etc.), I find myself leaning on walkthroughs and guides to make sure I don't miss anything and don't screw things up because I'm probably never going to go back. Some people say that this sort of approach takes the "fun out of gaming", and I totally respect that opinion/perspective, but I'm okay with getting the best possible pre-canned experience even if it means I'm religiously following someone else's script. In that sense, the perspective that says "these things are really just novels that happen to have multiple endings" works for the way I want to approach these games.... though that it isn't in any way intended to bring into doubt the value of the more "role-play" get-into-the-character, the-character-is-formed-by-your-decisions point of view. That's just not the way that I personally want to approach these "games" (stories).

I think it's clear that the mechanism used in these games definitely is the functional equivalent to the old Choose Your Own Adventure Novels. But I'm the sort of person who would find the best ending in those books, and then work my way back through the pages to find the path that I could follow in the book to get at the ending I wanted... which basically defeats the whole purpose of the branching structure anyway. Even in Bioware games, I always play "lawful good" (or at least "Neutral Good") and never even try the other options in order to not screw things up. So for me personally, this complaint, while valid, doesn't really rank at all in my personal list of concerns. I think it's all about what you're trying to get out of the game and how you're approaching it. And even though I'm sure I'm "doing it wrong", it works for me. Again, not trying to say there's anything wrong with the way you're approaching the issue... but just a totally different perspective to throw on the table.
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Old 2011-07-28, 21:55   Link #13
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Vexx is correct in that the story flow of many VNs is similar to the story flow of a typical CYOA book. Both have predefined routes, you don't get to mix and match modules.

What I think some of you are trying to say is that interactivity is a secondary concern in modern VNs (after story, art, etc.), unlike a CYOA book where interactivity is a selling point. Which is true, but as Vexx pointed out, Bioware has mastered the art of both herding the player and making their decisions feel important, so it is definitely an area where VN makers can improve their craft. They can have their cake and eat it too.

Side note: some VNs actually use branching systems that are a bit more complicated than in your typical CYOA. A common system is to award the players points with certain characters for making certain decisions, with the number of points being used to determine the outcome of a branch point later on. Of course, the player never sees the inner workings of this - I only know because I've seen decision flow charts for a few games. (In a couple cases, I've found this system annoying because it makes it annoying to tell where I went wrong.)
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Old 2011-07-28, 22:50   Link #14
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Indeed, what 0utf0xZer0 said.

Someone once summed it up like this: Western 'interactive fiction' is more 'interactive' than 'fiction', while Japanese 'interactive fiction' is more 'fiction' than 'interactive'.

Choose-Your-Own-Adventures (the name says it), RPGs and early text adventures are made to give the player the impression that THEY are deciding what the story will be like. They give the impression that their choices are essential to how the story progresses.

Visual novels, on the other hand, tend to tell you to go to hell with your 'own choices' and will only let you choose what will lead to what the author intends and that fit the protagonist (who is actually a character, not just a self-insert, although some shallow high-school romance protagonists are practically self-inserts). Some games, such as Tsukihime and Fate/stay night, even directly punish you for picking choices that are out-of-character for the protagonist (choosing to kill somebody when the protagonist is obviously kind enough to let them live causes a bad end where the protagonist practically turns into a monster, and picking the choice that's against the point of the entire route cuts the route short and gives you an anticlimactic ending where it's only described in a couple of lines how the protagonist wins the entire conflict the entire story is about).


(Type-Moon's way of telling you it's their story, not yours.)
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Old 2011-07-29, 01:12   Link #15
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Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
What I think some of you are trying to say is that interactivity is a secondary concern in modern VNs (after story, art, etc.), unlike a CYOA book where interactivity is a selling point. Which is true, but as Vexx pointed out, Bioware has mastered the art of both herding the player and making their decisions feel important, so it is definitely an area where VN makers can improve their craft. They can have their cake and eat it too.
I've never really thought this about Bioware's games, though to be honest I find most of them incredibly boring. Your choices don't seem to matter at all except maybe a slightly different ending or slightly different character interactions. You still end up doing the exact same thing and fighting pretty much the exact same fights.
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Old 2011-07-29, 05:36   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
I just find it interesting the amount of energy being spent in asserting there's no connection with the "choose the adventure" format when the a large part of the VN world is exactly that (date-sims in particular). Making the choices drives the storyline, changes it. The flowchart for a VN defines various narrative segments that when connected all tell a cohesive but one that can lead to very different endings.

Perhaps its a taxonomy difference of opinion? Historical context? I read both Klash's and Soviet's descriptions and find they can be used word-for-word to support my contention as well.
Means (choices) and End (deviation of the route/ending) don't equal the intent/purpose. 0utf0xZer0 and VDZ probably summed it better than I did:
While both VN and CYOA have choices based on the story context, VN are by far more focalised on what the characters would pick, not the readers. I believe this "subtle" difference is the key here: as explained by VDZ, CYOA are heavily tailored around what a reader may decide with few points that will be used as flags and incremented value etc, while in VN, they are by far more decisive and stuck within the characters decisions, not range of actions alone.

Bluntly speaking, while CYOA would offer all options that a character "can" do (giving the freedom for the reader to pick X/Y/Z choices with their consequences), VN will offer only options that the character "will" do on their own.

The purpose of the choices themselves is rather contradicting between the 2 media: in CYOA, you are progressively making a story on your own based on the multiples choices that will alter the ending depending of the parameters, within of course the restrictions set by the author. This leads to a cohesive pack of modules being assembled together with the parameters you have input.
In a VN however, choices will guide the characters into a specific route, which was already set in stone, with little to no alterations possible (with few exceptions of course). Therefore, with the flags you are selecting yourself, you are preparing for a route A/B/C/D, not a route made of parameters A+someB+ no C + etc.

I won't deny their are based on the same concept, but the way they are used in their respective medium is really different.
CYOA purpose is self explanatory: allowing the reader to make their own adventure depending of choices and other decisions. VN purpose is actually unfolding a story that would have been different if X or Y events happened (meaning the interaction and control the reader has is vastly more passive and limited intentionally).
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Old 2011-07-29, 06:21   Link #17
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A typical CYOU book has maybe 5-10 branch points.. have YOU ever looked at one?
And a typical VN has ONE branching point. The divide between the common route and the individual character routes. Choose your own adventure kind of falls flat when there is not much adventure choosing to be done. As I've already said, some VNs like Thief&Sword are total branch-fests and will be promoted as such.

Quote:
Here, try this: tell me why Dragon Age isn't a VN if you remove the character creation and the fighting portions of it. Same with Utawarerumono... how is it different from a VN when we remove the battle modules (which are basically breaks between the storyline)?
Dragon Age still wouldn't be a novel? And Utawarerumono is a Gameplay-VN anyway so I'm not quite sure what point you are trying to make. Why the hell are you even bringing Dragon Age and "Bioware story-flowcharts" into this discussion about the value of decision-points in VNs?
Quote:
Since the author wrote the decision points and consequences - they're all equally valid parts of a variety of futures. You don't actually seem to be giving the author credit for constructing a "multiple universe" story model.
I'm not getting this part. How do decision points come into play when you're evaluating if you like the story/characters/setting of a VN?
Quote:
You didn't respond to this at all. I'm going to poke at 0utf0xZer0 (a veteran VN player/reader on this forum) and see if he can poke holes in my reasoning. I'm quite fine with discarding this idea if it has holes... but no cracks are appearing yet.
You are like a WRPG player that has discovered Final Fantasy and complains about the fact that it's missing freedom of choices, which of course is not the point of a JRPG. B-b-b-but I can choose my equipment and which quests to tackle first! Why give me these choices in the first place when they are not supposed to be the point?
Because they are rudimentary gameplay-mechanics the same way decision-points are rudimentary tools which the story-writer uses to send you to the path of your favorite heroine. They are obviously not used to provide interactivity just like choosing the order of quests in JRPGs is not used to provide free-form storytelling. There is no intrinsic value within the concept of branching storylines driven by a shitload of choice-points for the Visual-Novel medium, and there never was. A good Visual Novel strives to deliver a good story, that's all.

To be perfectly honest, you sound kind of new to this whole Visual Novel -thing. Nobody would actually write a review of a Visual Novel that goes like this: "Amazing story with complex themes driven by very interesting characters, masterpiece 10/10. Oh wait, not enough decision-points 9/10".

You are of course free to criticize VNs in this regard but anyone who has actually played VNs for several years just won't take you seriously.

Last edited by Daniel E.; 2011-07-31 at 02:04.
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Old 2011-07-29, 09:26   Link #18
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This strikes me as a difference of degree, not kind. To me, the defining features of pure CYOA are:
- Gameplay consists exclusively of making choices
- Said choices are explicitly listed
- The number of choices at any branch point is relatively small
- Each choice corresponds directly to an action in story

So I'd accept most VNs I've played to be CYOA. (Higurashi 1-6 and Umineko 1-7 would be degenerate CYOAs.) The Ace Attorney games (even if you just count the courtroom scenes) are the big exception.

To explain points 3 / 4:
One can consider the choices to be "Go to next statement", "Go to previous statement", "Press", "Switch to Evidence mode" // "Go to next page of evidence", "Challenge using evidence 1", "challenge using evidence 2", ... "challenge using evidence 8"; in this case, the choices don't directly correspond to in-game actions.

One can consider the choices to be "Press statement 1", "Press statement 2", ... "Challenge statement 3 with evidence 15", ... In this case, choices aren't explicitly listed, and there is frequently a large number of choices; it fails on points 2 and 3.

(Similarly, I think that the distinction of ADV vs. NVL is one of the least important properties of a VN.)
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Old 2011-07-29, 11:27   Link #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soviet
And a typical VN has ONE branching point.
"typical"... really? That would knock out AIR, Shuffle!, and probably 75% of the VN market. Soviet appears to be redefining the perimeter of what can be considered a VN.
Quote:
Originally Posted by soviet
To be perfectly honest, you sound kind of new to this whole Visual Novel -thing. Nobody would actually write a review of a Visual Novel that goes like this:
Soviet seems focused on using personal attacks but whatever, the other posters are doing a much better job of explaining their understanding of the continuum and nuance of the concepts. Soviet hasn't responded to any of their posts, most of whom are taking strikingly different positions.

These two lines quoted above illuminate that: 1) it may be *soviet* who is limited to the last few years or so of VN as examples; and 2) soviet draws a much narrower circle of what he'll permit to be called a VN than any of the other posters do - only 1 branch point? Again, look at what products the other posters are providing for examples.
Just for reference, the first VN I played was AIR back in 2005 (which doesn't qualify as a VN by soviet's definition), after that I played a number of older titles from the late 90s and early 2000s in quick succession. After that I've played about 1 or 2 a year when they'd catch my eye. I play a lot of different kinds of games (both tabletop and computer), perhaps you don't and might not notice concepts that overlap across genre.

(narrative->branchpoint->narrative->branchpoint->narrative->ending) what type of entertainment have I just described?

Just to quote a few posts:
Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerpepitone
This strikes me as a difference of degree, not kind. ...
So I'd accept most VNs I've played to be CYOA. (Higurashi 1-6 and Umineko 1-7 would be degenerate CYOAs.) ...
(Similarly, I think that the distinction of ADV vs. NVL is one of the least important properties of a VN.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klashikari
I believe this "subtle" difference is the key here: as explained by VDZ, CYOA are heavily tailored around what a reader may decide with few points that will be used as flags and incremented value etc, while in VN, they are by far more decisive and stuck within the characters decisions, not range of actions alone.

Bluntly speaking, while CYOA would offer all options that a character "can" do (giving the freedom for the reader to pick X/Y/Z choices with their consequences), VN will offer only options that the character "will" do on their own.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0
some VNs actually use branching systems that are a bit more complicated than in your typical CYOA. A common system is to award the players points with certain characters for making certain decisions, with the number of points being used to determine the outcome of a branch point later on. Of course, the player never sees the inner workings of this - I only know because I've seen decision flow charts for a few games. (In a couple cases, I've found this system annoying because it makes it annoying to tell where I went wrong.)
Soviet's assertions contradict their writings. Perhaps he should address them. OTOH, I can certainly follow Klash's remarks that the difference is a matter of tone and emphasis. It certainly isn't a hard line in the sand as soviet keeps asserting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_novel
Unfortunately, To Heart, Kanon, AIR, Clannad, Higurashi, etc all fail to meet soviet's definition of a VN. Looking at wiki's terminology, I'm taking that he views the *only* "true" visual novels as those with no branch points (NVL).

I guess what I'll take away from this is that there's a range of opinion on what a VN can be (with a zealot definition at one end). The hilarious bit to me is that the game I was reviewing (Deux ex Machina Demonbane) fails to meet soviet's test for what a VN is as well. It makes one wonder why he attacked the thought that some people might want to know how interactive the interactive fiction is.

Update (several days later): ya... I guess he ran away.

Last edited by Vexx; 2011-08-01 at 11:34. Reason: grammar and proper form
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Old 2011-07-29, 14:22   Link #20
Usami_Haru
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A branching point is different from choice point. It's not just a variation of the text for that particular scene but the point where the whole story actually branches. For example when you branch into a heroine's route. A typical VN would probably have something like this:


Example of games that use this system: Da Capo, Clannad

This is the system that most Visual Novels tends to use. There is only one point where the story actually branches but there may be 1 choice point or hundreds of them.

Another example is when there is a branch in each chapter, for example:


Example of Visual Novels who follows this system: G-Senjou no Maou, Aiyoku no Eustia
I personally dislike this system since It cuts the story short.

Of course there is a lot of other systems but most VN's tend to use some variation of one of these.

Saya no Uta for example uses a variation of the latter and Fate/stay Night uses a variation of both.
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