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Hi, im thinking on working on a little side project to my main game. A visual novel, where choices matter and branch off into multiple possibilities. A choose your own adventure with deep story progression. No combat. Although there will be puzzles, Timed events, and use of key items.

Here's the logline.

"I DROVE ALL NIGHT", is an indie Adventure, about two Lovers and their long distance relationship. Augustus is a member of a notorious gang, while Ophelia is part of High Society. Can the two from two different worlds keep their love alive?

The problem is graphics, i have two choices a more realistic non-anime approach, but limited character sprites (like i wouldnt be able to use many characters to tell the story) or i can use RM MV Generator and create my own characters, and have unlimited characters. Im no pixel artist so i wouldnt be able to create my own without generator.

Would people pay to play a visual novel using chubby RM sprites? IF the story was phenomenal and epic?
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
It's usually not that helpful to ask these sorts of things, since the answer is usually mixed. Getting sales is more a matter of luck and exposure, in my experience; marketing is more important than surface details.

That being said, if you're going to make a commercial visual novel, it's probably best to delve a bit into what's selling, as the visual novel market is its own little niche of gaming and has its own trends.

I'd also recommend, if you're really wanting to sell, to consider investing some cash in the graphics instead of relying solely on what you can offer for free. While it's not the most important factor, a polished product will definitely help you.
Well, i have probed the market for visual novels, and the genre is all about girls, romance, and love, and ANIME! And they come from Japan.

But im not marketing to japanese users but a western and european market, so i think maybe having the non-anime characters would work, but idk i'd like some opinions.

As for story, its an Epic Love Story, and romantic tragedy. the story fits the genre, as far as what types of stories sell in the VN niche.

But i think i will hire an artist to work on certain key graphics that i dont have yet.
the world ends in whatever my makerscore currently is
I say don't go Anime style, a more gritty realistic style would work better for the story you're telling.

It would probably be worth it to hire an artist either way if you're serious about this. If you're just trying to tell a story then go with generated. But if you want impact and originality then go for custom characters.
If that means less characters then just fill the gap with fully realized characters and deeper backgrounds and personalities.
I'm actually using Stock sprites and tiles. But without Facesets. As the Facesets in dialogue from the stock sprites give it a very stocky feel that i dont like.

Its mostly a one man operation myself working on this visual novel (a side project so i dont burn out working), and since im no illustrator, i can only do what i can and that is stocks. BUT, i will hire an artist for key scenes, mostly parallax background illustrations to tell the story scene, adequately.

I'm also thinking of using variables stats like Mental Health, Hunger, Infamy, and Love. To make it feel like a game without combat. What do you folk think of that idea? Or should i stick to just telling the story.
the world ends in whatever my makerscore currently is
I'm biased, but I love hunger/infamy/karma type systems. So I say yes, but take that with a grain of salt ;)
I think i will use variable stats, it adds lots of possibilities to dialogue choices. Since, the way i plan on the game, it will branch off with different story trees, based on your choices, which increase/decrease your stats, which open up different dialogue options depending on the stat. Adds lots of replay value that I'd like my game to have. I'd like it to have a very open ended gameplay, with some puzzles, timed events, and finding or not finding key items to change the course of the story.
Analysis of structure in old CYOA games

Small scale structures in CYOA, and check out the other articles linked within that one, especially this one on using stats in choice-based games

In general I recommend following at least the writing of Emily Short. she does reviews, has written a lot about the writing side of CYOA/Interactive Fiction, and spotlights writing other people have done on those topics too

Christine Love recently shared a presentation on the narrative design of Ladykiller in a Bind that gave me some food for thought and nicely summarized other things I've read, but uh FAIR WARNING, VERY NSFW GAME (even a couple slides in the powerpoint, but the text document is fine iirc)

Here's a discussion from RMN about "choices with consequences"

A video on point and click puzzle design - there's a lot of good links to other stuff in the description, and puzzle design is a whole different barrel of fish

So this is a link to a presentation on a particular kind of non-interactive story structure. I've used it for a couple projects and it kicked my ass into high gear in terms of "actually getting stuff done". For the actual CYOA project I have, it's been less helpful, but hey, I figured it's worth mentioning as food for thought. It's worked fine for projects with a more-or-less linear story.

I know you say "visual novel", but studying CYOA/IF/linear adventure games can still be SUPER HELPFUL -- in a visual novel you're mostly changing the presentation and have different genre expectations. And obviously having buff writing muscles is important no matter what format your novel is in

There are definitely VNs that don't use an anime style -- here's one, go check it out!! -- but anime is the style that sells. Also shamelessly promoting a friend here, too, BUT she's actually reworking the art for a more anime style precisely because of the "will probably sell better" aspect. I'm mostly just pointing out a couple instances of VNs either not about girls, romance, love, or not having an anime style -- I'm sure there's plenty more examples.

im thinking on working on a little side project to my main game. A visual novel, where choices matter and branch off into multiple possibilities

I'm sure you're already aware....but be careful....... The "little" things have a habit of becoming exponentially larger when you start combining it with branching narrative. Something to note, here's the stats on Inverness Nights as of July 22, 2016:
-3 routes (Shell, Alas, and a bad route)
-6 endings (2 per route)
-70,000+ words long
-60-90 minutes per route, and around 4-6 hours playtime total
-14 CGs

This was after about 2 years of working on it, with 4-5 people (but if you scroll down to the progress section you can see they got quite a lot done!) I haven't checked on the project in awhile so idk the current stats/progress.

I would actually consider graphics way later. During the course of writing, character amount/character style will probably change, and while I know plenty of artists who will be fine just working for $$$ no mater how likely it is the project will be finished, I think it looks better all around to have something playable and ugly, rather than having something beautiful and unplayable. The catch is that in terms of marketing, first impressions are hard to shake, so "playable but ugly" might leave a bad first impression, but hey if you can deliver on a phenomenal and epic story that's later updated to look beautiful, I wouldn't worry too much.

I would not recommend selling something in the "playable but ugly" state, but it really is an important milestone to reach. All of this may sound intimidating, but if you organize yourself and work steadily, you can chip at a large project until it's done. And make sure you set milestones you can reward yourself for along the way! It's good for morale

(Here's one last link for good measure)
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
Listen to Penta. Penta is wise and good.
I'm impressed by Inverness Nights. Although if i was producing it id do lots differently. I like the logline alot and possibilities.

As for visual novel, its not a picture by picture interactive game. too many graphics i wouldnt be able to do myself. It's done more like To The Moon, without the childish rants. Although I do plan on playful beats.

Visual is key, here. I'm going to working on the title sequence, and user interface first. I need a title screen something to look at, and call it Visual Novel.

The novel is already in my head, and how it branches, i just need to put it on paper.

Most of the links you posted and information, I'm already aware of, without even reading or what have you. But its a nice reference for ideas and structure if I get lost in the tree of dialogue.

Overall good response, thank you!
I play visual novels to read stories (they have their own pacing and very personal angles as well as the ability to tell the same story from different viewpoints in multiple endings .. so very different in feel already to other written forms).
I would totally go for a well-written one even if other stuff is ugly (in fact I have and have loved stuff). It's more an extra and it's a nice facade to have, and also nice to nail down a specific vibe and tone.
Music is similarily. Tho the changes of music pieces and sound is more important than just having something really nice and elaborate as your mind is already more occupied and so less fussy about what's in the background.

If you put too many hunger meters or whatnot in it I just feel it's distracting .. unless you really plan it well and it ties in with what you read.
Do NOT make me babysit the characters by needing to feed them every few minutes. Stop. That just sucks.

If it already fills in perfectly with what you are going for (like needing to find enough opportunities to connect and meet your loved ones), then sure. Otherwise Uh .. careful.
It can be its own gameplay mechanic, but the story is center.

If you go for stats to build up to capitalize on later, sure, go for it.

Also yes, workwise graphics aren't the backbone. I say story and writing > all, but that's how I play stuff : D and it is true that it's easier to know what fits when it's done.

What is true is that graphics are the easiest way to get peoples' attention and something you can get a very immediate overview of the style etc. So do search for something that matches the theme down the line.
Naturally, I will assume that the production value of the art also represents the overall care and quality when I first see it. So it does make a change. And minimalistic isn't really the issue, as is more if it truly fits the theme style and game and is consistent. Unless you already have the novelty factor (think hatoful boyfriend) going for you, which is half its marketing hahaha.

A good passage of reading is what really hammers it home tho, and keeps you invested to actually play through it.
Yes, Kylaila. There won't be too many stats, just key ones that effect the story and dialogue choices. The most interesting to me is Mental Health, which opens up wild dialogue choices, that really change the game.

The way the story unfolds is you play as Augustus, then the story would switch to Ophelia, and vice versa. So the player has a sense of the two different worlds that each protagonist must struggle with and conflicts that arise from being in that world.

I'm certain this game will have 50,000-100,000 words, since its dialogue heavy being a novel. Why interactive media as the format to tell this story? Mainly because I can do 99% of it all on my own. the other 1% being parallax backgrounds.

Not sure about the idea of making it a Novelty. Since its a very serious story. The novelty i suppose is the Mental Health Meter.
Here's some graphics for logo for my Visual Novel. I wanted to give it a screenplay like look even if its a game. What do you people think?

I finished setting up all the scenes and branches on paper. Now I need to write dialogue. I'm really digging the story I created, truly EPIC. Can't wait to share screenshots.
Oh I didn't suggest making it novelty. You already have your story, stick to that.
I merely mentioned it can give you more marketing and popularity at first glance similar to great visuals. At least for certain groups. *shrug*

Looks alright
I'm changed my mind on the sprite based visual novel. I am now hiring an anime artist to do a picture by picture visual novel. It will have an Anime style to it now. Story is complete with branches with dialogue took me 2 days to write.

After much thought the stock sprites, i dont think would sell the game. So Anime, Romance, Love, and an Epic Story, is my focus right now. No longer a one man operation, if i went the sprite route i wouldve done it all on my own, but people might not get to experience the exceptional story if I made it on my own using stock sprites.

You folk have any thoughts on the change? Good move or bad?
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