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Suggestions for Visual Novel Gameplay Features

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Hello. I'm making an action adventure Visual Novel game. The story follows a group of independent contractors who agree to take a bodyguard job that requires them to safely escort a young man back to his home country. This game includes some fantasy elements (each character has a specific aura element) and most travel occurs on foot. Aside from making decisions in branching dialogue, what other gameplay features, or mechanics, would you suggest?

 

As a side note, many Visual Novel games include some form of interactive gameplay that fits the story. For example, space simulation VIsual Novels will sometimes allow the player to do side-scrolling space combat in a ship (Starwish might be an example of this). Another example is Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (999), a game about nine people who have to escape from a ship before their time runs out. This game has escape-the-room style gameplay between the usual dialogue and cutscenes.

 

For an action adventure of this kind, what sort of gameplay would you include?

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First of all, what platforms are you targetting, and what sorts of action occur during the story (shootouts, spell-slinging duels, jumps across abyssal chasms, etc.)? If there are combat encounters, are they one-on-one, one-on-many, or otherwise, and are there any interesting environmental elements to them (such as taking place while leaping from rooftop to rooftop, or in the middle of a cave that's shaking itself to pieces around them)?

 

Those asked, two things come to mind offhand:

 

The simpler is just choices of route: at certain points the path splits, with different dangers and opportunities (not all apparent from the point of choice) along each.

 

Perhaps more interestingly, you say that this is an action-adventure--perhaps some light action mechanics for dangerous encounters might help to convey the excitement of the action. What form these take might depend, however, on just what action is being modelled and what platforms (and thus what input mechanisms) are available...

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First of all, what platforms are you targetting, and what sorts of action occur during the story (shootouts, spell-slinging duels, jumps across abyssal chasms, etc.)? If there are combat encounters, are they one-on-one, one-on-many, or otherwise, and are there any interesting environmental elements to them (such as taking place while leaping from rooftop to rooftop, or in the middle of a cave that's shaking itself to pieces around them)?

 

Those asked, two things come to mind offhand:

 

The simpler is just choices of route: at certain points the path splits, with different dangers and opportunities (not all apparent from the point of choice) along each.

 

Sorry! I forgot to include the platform earlier. This is a game for PC (just Windows, for now). I haven't finished the story just yet, and actually the plot is a bit...strange. There are ambushes throughout the journey, so I think spell-slinging duels would be perfect there! Abyssal chasm jumps... That's pretty extreme, but interesting. The combat varies from one-on-one to one-on-many. I was thinking the most common encounters might be random ambushes from thieves or robbers along different routes. I'm writing in antagonists later though.

 

Yes, I'd like to include environmental elements like those, but I hadn't given it much thought just yet (I'm still in the process of writing the story, haha). I'll definitely include route choices. Thanks for the suggestions!

 

 

Perhaps more interestingly, you say that this is an action-adventure--perhaps some light action mechanics for dangerous encounters might help to convey the excitement of the action. What form these take might depend, however, on just what action is being modelled and what platforms (and thus what input mechanisms) are available...

 

 

I was thinking about using real-time action, like Street Fighter (an odd example, I know), and subsystem damage (separate health bars for the right/left arm, right/left leg, torso, head, etc.).

 

Here's how I planned to do the action portion of the adventure: Each character has an aura element (fire, lightning, water, ice, earth, etc.) and aura potential (low, moderate, medium, high, etc.). The characters can use more advanced elemental attacks with a higher aura potential, and if their potential is not maintained (not used) then it will digress (for example, go from moderate back to low).

 

Another thing I wanted to do, to liven up the action, is to allow the player to use aura abilities after the gauge hits 0. Depending on how much aura is used, it can go into negatives (I'm calling this the "Adrenaline Limit" in-game) and cause lingering side-effects (called "Fatigue" in-game) on the character that affect the story.

 

Do you think this could work, or would it become a hindrance to players?

 

Many thanks for your post!

 

Edit: The input mechanisms that I'm currently supporting are the keyboard, mouse, and game controllers (hopefully I'll get an Xbox 360 controller soon, but right now I can only test gamepad input with my Nintendo Gamecube controller).

Edited by On Rye

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