A different writing style

mockupBW
Rei looks older in black & white, doesn’t he? πŸ˜€

Jokes apart, the image above is a test/mockup I made a few weeks ago to illustrate the kind of “old book style” I wanted to try in a future game.

The images could probably be done in color too, even if personally I don’t mind the black & white style, is quite charming (I was a big fan of comics when I was a teenager).

The biggest doubt I had was about the writing, since in my games is mostly dialogue based, with a few description, “screenplay” style. In this case is more like reading a book, as you can see.

I’m well aware of the “Choice Of Games” company, and that they’re using exactly this style (minus the images, it’s only text). Looking at their games, it seems that like in my case there are more or less successful ones, and it’s mainly about the idea/story/characters, and of course, writing quality. But not writing style.

You might wonder why on Earth I am thinking to do such a game ? well, first of all, to experiment. Loren was an experiment and is one of my best titles after all! πŸ˜‰

Also to try something new. There’s no need to say that even if I make a game like this, and is super-successful, I won’t stop doing my usual VN/dating sim style! Of course not. But I might ALSO do a few games like that.

Regarding some more technical/commercial point of view, using that layout/style would offer some advantages:

  • the writing is like a book, which means the writer I hire wouldn’t need to know about Ren’Py at all. Only about the branching system (and depending on gameplay, variables and such) but no knowledge required. It might seem not much, but I think matters.
  • the art, if is done in black & white, will be less expensive. Which means I could add more images, or make games with a lower price tag. Even if in black and white I would still want to keep the art quality at high levels, as it’s usual for my games πŸ™‚
  • much less scripting needed. When you play my games, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Every background or image shown on screen is a command in the code. And even if Ren’Py is quite powerful, it’s still a lot of work. For example, scripting PSCD took over a month of time, and the scripter was particularly fast! With that style instead it would just be an image shown on the side.

So you can see why I was considering it, several advantages. Also, possibility to have a more “dynamic” narrative. I don’t know how to explain, with visual novels you often have to imagine things. I cannot draw every single action/pose/situation. In that case I could show a much bigger variety.

Anyway, for now I’m only thinking about it, since I have already enough projects to finish this year. But in future, who knows? Wait until I’ll have the crazy idea to make a 3D visual novel… πŸ™‚

No, not really. 3D is insanely expensive to get it right, so there’s risk of spending more than 2d to get a worse result!

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24 Responses to A different writing style

  1. Hetman says:

    Interactive Fiction is the word for this kind of games.

    • admin says:

      I know about IF, sadly I’m old enough to be able to say I’ve played some games πŸ˜€
      But as far as I know, they were mostly using parser, so typing with keyboard the command/actions ? and many didn’t even had any graphics. So I’m not sure they would classify as such?

      • Wyvern says:

        Those old games you’re talking about were originally known as text adventures, and are now more often called interactive fiction. But not everything that’s IF is a text adventure. Visual novels and Choose Your Own Adventure books are interactive fiction, but not text adventures. So yes, a game like you describe above would be IF, just not a text adventure in the traditional sense.

      • Franka says:

        I believe Scott Adams’ Adventureland was the first computer game I ever played, and I see from a wiki that was made in 1978 (I played it a little later than that though).

        We sure didn’t call it Interactive Fiction back then. πŸ™‚

  2. fortifel says:

    2D is much better than 3D and black-and white looks almost as good as color, so thumb up.

  3. Miakoda says:

    Heh, I’m old enough to have played the old Zork games as well πŸ˜‰

    I know I wouldn’t mind seeing such a game. I liked some of the ones Tin Man Games put out…Curse of the Assassin comes to mind.

  4. Spectraltime says:

    I love all of those kinds of games, and I’d probably like yours too.

    But please, give us saves! I *hate* having to redo the whole book at warp speed because there was a seemingly-innocuous choice at the end that screwed me over!

    • Miakoda says:

      I think being able to save is definitely a guarantee. That is one feature I really hate with the Choice of Games format…you can’t save at key points.

      • Franka says:

        Couldn’t agree more.

        • admin says:

          Oh my approach would be casual, not hardcore πŸ™‚
          Auto-save at every key point. Actually, I wouldn’t even want to have real “game over”. Only choices and if there’s a failure, you would end up in a different path. But I would really limit the amount of definitive “game overs”. Unless I was making a game specifically hard, like survive a zombie horde or something. In that case, fail=eaten alive πŸ˜€

  5. Pandacle says:

    I think black and white with few special colored scenes for important story events/romance scenes would be a good balance for everyone.

  6. lanawinst says:

    I am a huge fan of COG games, with a focus on story, choices, and good character development. I think game over can be interesting. After all, choices that can bite you in the ass is what makes them worthwhile.

    Although, implementing player saves and not just autosaves, to be able to go back at the part of the game you want, might be better? It’s always frustating to want to replay a part of the story to change things and having to go all the way back because you’re too far ahead in the story.

    Anyway, I have every confidence in you guys and I am really looking forward to what you will do with it.

    • admin says:

      Oh yes of course. There would be the standard load/save built-in Ren’Py (the tool I use to make the games).
      I just mentioned autosave because in case people forget, the game would automatically save before a big choice (as extra safety net!).

  7. redsimon says:

    I love these kinds of games. My favorite choose your own adventure book series is Lone Wolf by Joe Dever. If you don’t know it yet you should buy at least the first book and read/play it. It should be a great inspiration for you, Dever really nailed the style.
    So I hope you will do this experiment. I think it is great that with black and white you can have even more pictures in game. The combination of narration and picture creates a great atmosphere. Immersive is the word that comes to my mind. Again Dever’s Lone Wolf is a great example for this.

    • admin says:

      Yes I played that game as “book” LONG time ago! It was translated in italian (my language) and I read it while I was doing civil service as assistant in the local library. Good times. I never imagined that almost 20 years later, I could be making one of those games πŸ™‚

      • redsimon says:

        That’s great to know. Back in the day I also played some game books, but not Lone Wolf. I only dicovered Lone Wolf with the new edition that started a few years ago.
        Did you know that for the new edition of the series Joe Dever added a whole chapter to the first book? This new edition is AFAIK also available in Italian and it will feature the last 4 books that previously have never been published.

  8. Marc-AndrΓ© Plante says:

    Hey ! This kind of book thing would be excellent for a Far-west theme. XD Nah i just say things like that. πŸ˜‰

  9. hassan says:

    hi i was wondering if you are going to make more games that let you choose you gender

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