OELVN related crap that pisses me off (part 1)

When reviewing an English-language visual novel every week, after a few months certain things start to stand out. Here’s an incomplete list of things that annoy me.

Creators

800×600

It’s the year two-thousand fucking twelve — why the fuck are you still making VNs in 800×600‽ Is everyone secretly using 15″ flatscreens from 2001 or something? Even netbooks are at least 1024×600. At least use an aspect ratio that’s still in use.

Readability

When what you’re making is more or less a digital book, readability is damned important. I don’t want to read an entire VN in some ridiculous clown font that you found while sailing the sea of bad ideas. Also, shadow and/or outlines: use them, they prevent the text bleeding into the background.

Side images

I hate side images. If it’s just the protagonist, why not just display him/her on the screen normally? Side image + same character’s sprite on screen at the same time = double retard.

Blinking sprites

Looks like shit and annoying.

Commercial games with only one pose for even the main characters

Seriously, WTF.

??? "Heart"

Dual Hearts, Spirited Heart, Bionic Heart, Fading Hearts, Fatal Hearts, Grinning Heart, Dizzy Hearts. I think we have enough.

Using the term "PC" to refer to a Windows-only version

Don’t get your tech terminology from borderline slanderous commercials. See blast processing.

Readers

Complaints about having to click so much / Using a mouse at all

There’s a big plastic slab of buttons right in front of you. This amazing invention is called a keyboard, fucking use it. Hell, I often use a gamepad (protip: joytokey) so I can sit back in a comfy chair.

Complaining about lack of gameplay, choices

Seriously, it’s a visual novel, what the fuck were you expecting. The whole damn genre is defined by lack of gameplay. On a related note, what’s up with this weird trend in English-speaking communities of treating non-branching VNs like they’re a completely separate thing entirely?

20 thoughts on “OELVN related crap that pisses me off (part 1)

  1. To be honest, I am rather curious in what’s wrong with the 800×600, given that doujin works still use that resolution even at these days. If possible, mind suggest a resolution, preferably one that’s not wide screen?

    On the other hand, have to agree with the “heart” thing.

    • “But they use it too!” is NOT an excuse for bad choices. 1280×720/1280×800 is a fine resolution to work with, and it works on any monitor manufactered after 1998 (that is, with 1280×1024 support).

    • 800×600 looks awful on a 1920×1080 monitor. Maybe if you have a bunch of 800×600 stock art, but otherwise…

      >preferably one that’s not wide screen
      What’s wrong with a wide screen resolution? It’s what the vast majority of people have (+/- 80%).

      • If you use a widescreen that 20% of your audience can’t use, you lose 20% of your audience.

        If you use a 4:3 screen, both old and new screens can run your VN. Even if some of your audience thinks it doesn’t look “movielike”.

        And frankly, I don’t get widescreen VNs. They’re meant to be read, not watched like movies; if you filled the horizontal width of the screen with your text, the lines would be too long to read comfortably, so you’re just going to center the text in the middle anyhow. And if that then brings the focus to the middle of the screen, what’s the point of the extra width?

          • All screens can scale, including widescreen ones.

            But scaling down is more destructive to the picture than scaling up.

          • 1) It’s better if 20% of your customers has to scale than 80%.
            2) No, it’s not. Downscaling follows known algorithms, upscaling is ‘magical’ — you can’t just add details to an image.

        • >If you use a widescreen that 20% of your audience can’t use, you lose 20% of your audience.
          4:3 monitors can display widescreen just fine. It’s only a matter of who you optimize for — the 80% using 16:9/16:10 or the 20% using 4:3/5:4.

          Ren’Py and NVList are both perfectly capable of downscaling 1280×720 to 1024×576 for the 5% using netbooks or 10+ year-old monitors.

          • First of all, downscaling is, in fact, more visually destructive – you can check this for yourself by taking a Ren’py game with a resizable window, and observing the effects of first shrinking the window, and then enlarging it.

            Downscaling “follows known algorithms” of compressing and removing information. And are you implying that upscaling is just something computers improvise, or whatever?

            It isn’t a case of choosing “who to optimize” for, because the nature of the “optimization” differs on either end. Widescreen users may complain that the window doesn’t fill their screen – but 4:3 users need to deal with compressed visuals.

            And if you complain that I’m exaggerating the problem, you’re probably right. With my 1280×1024 monitor, I can comfortably run “Juniper’s Knot”, and “Analogue:A Hate Story”, and I don’t even need to go fullscreen. And interestingly enough, the vertical resolution of my monitor is much higher than a great many so-called “modern” widescreen monitors.

            It’s the vertical resolution problem that makes 800×600 the default size, by the way. Since 4:3 is overall a better aesthetic for VNs than widescreen, the question becomes, what manner of 4:3 best fits widescreen monitors? And the answer is, one that doesn’t have the window drop off the bottom. With the crippled vertical resolution that many widescreens have, 800×600 is the best solution.

            Perhaps in the future, as widescreen monitors mature, you’ll see more 1024×768 or 1280×1024 visual novels.

          • >And are you implying that upscaling is just something computers improvise, or whatever?
            It samples from the existing image but this is far from correct or even good-looking. So yes, ‘improvising’.

            >Widescreen users may complain that the window doesn’t fill their screen – but 4:3 users need to deal with compressed visuals.
            Any semi-modern 4:3 screen will be 1280×1024, with can run 1280×720 VNs just fine without downscaled visuals. Compressed is something else entirely. Besides, I’d rather have larger-but-downscaled visuals than visuals with a small resolution in the first place.

            >Since 4:3 is overall a better aesthetic for VNs than widescreen
            Opinions, opinions, opinions.

            >With the crippled vertical resolution that many widescreens have, 800×600 is the best solution.
            98% of the widescreen monitors out there has a vertical pixel count of at least 768 or 800, so no. Even if you’d use 4:3 resolutions, 800×600 would definitely not be the better option.

  2. I don’t see the problem with 800×600, given that is an industry standard for Japanese visual novels too. It’s annoying to see them all the same size, but at least with an 800×600 res VN you can play it properly on a large monitor set to its native resolution and have it look just fine windowed. The window itself will just be small.

    I think it is more annoying when the games are at a RIDICULOUS resolution like 1920×1080. Yeah, that’s awesome, but I don’t think most VN players can afford a laptop in the price range of $1,500 or use a monitor for a desktop so massive. 1366×768 or 1440×900 is closer to what most people use. Imagine down-scaling a massive VN like that, it will look like utter shit. I want to be able to see the images in a VNm sure, but I don’t want them to be so huge they are destroyed just so I can play the game sometimes.

    Unless you always play in full screen mode, which I do not. I hate full screen.

    The only thing I disagree with aside from this is side images, but that is based on personal preference and not what I think is functional.

    But I agree with your readers part completely. That shit is annoying.

    • A 1920×1080 monitor costs +/- $100, and it’s the most common resolution for visitors of this site.

      800×600 windowed is -tiny- on a 1920×1080 monitor.

      I’m not saying everything needs to be 1920×1080 (although with NVList you can, go pre-scaled images!), but at least make it bigger than 800×600. Japan isn’t exclusively doing 800×600 anymore either, they’re slowly moving to 1280×720.

      • What is most common for your site is not what is most common overall, though. I’m not saying you don’t make a good point, it’s just that I see far more people with smaller laptops and monitors. And yes, it is tiny on that size, but at least it fits on it properly without any issue. (Note that I am speaking as a reader, not a creator.)

        Is it annoying? Yes. I would love to see games with bigger or different resolutions. But 800×600 is a good size and one industry standard and fits on all screens how without issue. I think it’s more annoying to have them almost always be at 4:3 instead of widescreen.

        I would prefer more games in widescreen, actually, more opportunity for sprites not being crushed together and showing off good art overall. More screens are widescreen now too, so why limit themselves to the box of 4:3?

  3. Here’s something that pisses me off: people who refer to various forms of media as genres. (You’re actually guilty of this in this post.)

    “Visual novel” is not a genre, just as film is not a genre, anime is not a genre, video game is not a genre.

    Regards.

  4. Seriously, as a (hobbyist) VN developer myself, this is awesome. It makes me feel so happy that there’s a person thinking like this.
    It really should included in “http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/SoYouWantTo/MakeAVisualNovel”

  5. OK you got me on the 800×600 comment… I’ll increase project size to 1024×768… it should be very good size… it is big enough for newer screens while small enough to accommodate and not stress older units…

  6. I’ve been complaining about 800×600 for years now, and I’m glad to see I’m not the only one that thinks it’s ridiculous today! I mean, any CRT in the last 15 years should be able to handle at the very least 1024×768, and I don’t even think they made LCD monitors lower resolution than 1024×768. The only 800×600 LCD displays I know of are OLD laptops, particularly the pre-Pentium 3 ones. Even a Pentium 3 laptop I owned had a 1024×768 resolution.

    Of course, this in itself is a sign of a larger problem in Japanese-made PC applications where they do not support variable resolutions. The most recent example is the PC port of Dark Souls, a freaking polygon-based game of all things, and yet it renders at 1024×720 and requires third-party modification in order to have actual resolution independence.

    Japan, I love ya, but honestly I think they’re a little behind when it comes to PC best-practices…

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