The arrival of relatively affordable virtual reality solutions has the potential to allow us to explore narrative and characterisation in all-new ways — and I’m especially excited to see what Japan comes up with.
An oft-cited strength of narrative-centric Japanese interactive entertainment is the sense of “intimacy” it engenders between the player, the protagonist and the core cast. Visual novels in particular are noteworthy for their in-depth explorations of characters and in allowing the player to “ride along” inside the protagonist’s head as they encounter various situations.
So what might virtual reality bring to this kind of experience? It’s an interesting question to ponder, and an exciting prospect to imagine.
Continue reading Virtual Intimacy
There are a variety of different game creation packages available these days, allowing even those with no knowledge of coding to put something that looks convincing together.
Visual novels have always been a bit more of a challenge, though, thanks to their strong use of visual art as well as descriptive prose. For those who are like me and… somewhat deficient in the artistic department, visual novel creation packages like TyranoBuilder seem like a good idea, but impractical without the ability to create your own resources.
That is, until you find ways of using other tools in creative ways to put together some convincing-looking graphics. Like using KISS’ Custom Maid 3D 2 to create the basic model for character sprites, touching them up in Paint.Net and then combining them with filtered photographs as backdrops. Which is exactly what I’ve done today with this strictly experimental pilot episode of what I like to call The MoeGamer GameCast: a podcast in visual novel form.
I don’t yet know if this is something that will be practical to do on a regular basis, but… well, we’ll see. In the meantime, feel free to download the pilot episode (featuring somewhat redesigned versions of site mascots Midori and Yumi, created with Custom Maid 3D 2 instead of MangaMaker ComiPo!) and see what you think.
Download here (Windows only; leave a comment if you want to see a Mac version. Click the “Download” button in the top right of the page that opens to download the .zip file, and extract the contents to any folder to play.)
Download browser version (untested!)