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Tracking and Discovering Visual Novels


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Hello everyone, I am currently developing a new website called Visualnoveler which is for people to track and discover visual novels. We recently finished implementing a translation status tracker.  The weekly translation text version can be found here.

An example of how a visual novel translation status page would look like (Astral Air) for example.

Here are some sample pages of the current pre-alpha website.

Main Features

  • Tracking Visual Novels - You can create your own list of visual novels and compare it with your friends.
  • Discover Visual Novels (Ongoing) - Visual novels are sorted by genres, walkthroughs, translation status, ratings and so on
  • User Profiles - Manage your lists,post status updates or write reviews about visual novels.

https://visualnoveler.com/vns

https://visualnoveler.com/vns/if-my-heart-had-wings

https://visualnoveler.com/vns/clannad

Some possible questions

1) Why create Visualnoveler if there's VNDB?

If you want detailed information about specific Visual Novels, VNDB is good for that. Visualnoveler aims to provide "easy to digest" information for people who are looking for new visual novels.

Visualnoveler provides a new sleek and modern UI for people to track and discover visual novels.. However, since the website is in pre-alpha status, there are still plenty of features not implemented or may break without warning.

2) I can't see anything related to tracking and discovering?

Tracking features can only be seen if you are registered in the website.

For developers

Curious about how the website is built? It is open source and built with Rails at https://github.com/wraithseeker/Visualnoveler

 

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Are the CG sections on the pages temporary, and you're gonna go through them before you're out of alpha? Cause several of the pages' ones are full of spoilers (some of them have spoilers for entire trilogies), a few of them are from related but not the same visual novels, several pictures are from the anime but not the game, I just saw a picture of Black Butler's Ciel beside Tsukihime Ciel's name, Inuyasha's Kohaku in place of the maid (if this is on purpose I laughed so good job), and a Hatsuyuki Sakura CG in the middle of Comyu's stuff. There's also stuff that is definitely fanart. I understand you're in alpha, but it'd definitely be something to check before you release it to the world, no? Are these just placeholders? Or is some of this (specifically the fanart) intentional? I mean, you could argue that someone is gonna go through all that while they're editing, but I'm not certain you'd wanna leave that to chance, considering this is supposed to be a website to discover VNs... 

Also you might wanna say where the scores are coming from. Once you add reviews people might be torn between the scores coming from them, VNDB, EGS, and your own personal ratings.

When it comes to the site's idea... I just use recommendations/reviews elsewhere to discover new VNs, so... I might not be the target here.

Edit: Definitely look at the banners, too. Saw several anime images, several of them are just skirts, Muv Luv's is from Altered Fable, and My Girlfriend is the President's is from Fortissimo! I'm not certain I wanna sign up to a site I won't even use just to do work, sooo...

Edited by Lambda
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Are the CG sections on the pages temporary, and you're gonna go through them before you're out of alpha? Cause several of the pages' ones are full of spoilers (some of them have spoilers for entire trilogies), a few of them are from related but not the same visual novels, several pictures are from the anime but not the game, I just saw a picture of Black Butler's Ciel beside Tsukihime Ciel's name, Inuyasha's Kohaku in place of the maid (if this is on purpose I laughed so good job), and a Hatsuyuki Sakura CG in the middle of Comyu's stuff. There's also stuff that is definitely fanart.

Nothing has been finalized yet and everything can change, there will be mistakes with each visual novel as I'm developing and managing the website so there's a huge shortage on manpower. Right now I'm just inputting data inside along with my friend and errors will be fixed when most of the database is populated.

I understand you're in alpha, but it'd definitely be something to check before you release it to the world, no? Are these just placeholders? Or is some of this (specifically the fanart) intentional? I mean, you could argue that someone is gonna go through all that while they're editing, but I'm not certain you'd wanna leave that to chance, considering this is supposed to be a website to discover VNs... 

Actually the website isn't released yet, at the homepage it's under construction and you can only navigate through the website if you key in through the address bar. Everything's a Work In Progress at the moment.

 

There is tons of 100% similar sites, who want to do like VNDB, but with better layout.

[Redacted] this even this

Also posting the spoiler to whole Maou story in screenshots is kinda lame.

 

For Maou, that's because the website is in pre-alpha

  The difference is that for [Redacted], I guess they are using some sort of template in Drupal and usually templates are hard to edit / customize. As for AnimeCharacterDatabase, that's a full fledged DB for storing as much information as possible whcih is similar to AniDB. That's not what I plan to do with Visualnoveler.

If you can steal VNDB's info this might work.

We are taking information not only from one site since they don't have the required formats that I'm using. For example AnimeCharacterDatabase has posters that are too small to be used properly even with Waifu2X and that the characters lack descriptions. [Redacted] doesn't have character listings as well.

Edited by Zenophilious
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You should def do something about the spoiler pics. I havent dared click any of the novels I havent actually read yet, but the ones I have read, do have big spoilers in the screenshots. For now, just go with what is avialable on VNDB in order to not put off possible alpha-testers due to spoilers.

 

As for the idea behind the site, I personally like it. If you make this work I think it would be a great place for western readers to come and discover new novels they can read. It is true that VNDB can be overwhelming and hard to understand for new readers. You should probably consider putting in some information about how to patch a game, (how to install translation patches for RAW games, how to patch if my heart had wings steam version etc), in the information about the game as that will most likely be the biggest hurdle for most western readers. It is also the one thing lacking from VNDB in my opinion. You can see (Enligsh: Patch) and click it to go to the site, but there isnt direct instructions easily available on VNDB for most games. If your site has that, it might be more user friendly.

The genres seem to be jubmled and very randomly sorted at the moment, but I assume this will be corrected more as its still only in pre-alpha. I think its smart to make sure the novels are put in order by translated [lisenced], patched and untranslated once its done, again making it easier for western readers to know what to read.

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it would be a good site if it had a little bit more things like:

links to official websites or updates, while you at it maybe add something like official stores that sell figures, keychains, etc.

more visual novels outside the steam app.

mobile friendly

no sign-ups, since everyone is getting sick and tired of always adding new passwords.

a forum to talk with other users.

more language, this is the reason why many sites fail because it does not offer other language and english should not be domain.

and lastly an indie section for visual novel developers who are starting.

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You should def do something about the spoiler pics. I havent dared click any of the novels I havent actually read yet, but the ones I have read, do have big spoilers in the screenshots. For now, just go with what is avialable on VNDB in order to not put off possible alpha-testers due to spoilers.

Can you link me or direct me to those offending screenshots? There are some visual novels that I haven't played and I'm unaware of whether they are spoilers or not.

 

 You should probably consider putting in some information about how to patch a game, (how to install translation patches for RAW games, how to patch if my heart had wings steam version etc), in the information about the game as that will most likely be the biggest hurdle for most western readers.

 

These points are great suggestions, I'm looking to work on those once I have patched up all the visual novels in my database and collaborating with Fuwanovel for these would be on my list.   

 

The genres seem to be jubmled and very randomly sorted at the moment, but I assume this will be corrected more as its still only in pre-alpha. I think its smart to make sure the novels are put in order by translated [lisenced], patched and untranslated once its done, again making it easier for western readers to know what to read.

Yes everything will be corrected when its launched. 

 

@Firecast. An indie section will be added once the polish has been done for visual novels in the site. I can't give a timeframe because right now the site still needs alot of work and the indie section isn't a priority for now. The website will be mobile friendly and I will develop the apps for it as well when everything is polished and good.

 
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You should def do something about the spoiler pics. I havent dared click any of the novels I havent actually read yet, but the ones I have read, do have big spoilers in the screenshots. For now, just go with what is avialable on VNDB in order to not put off possible alpha-testers due to spoilers.

Can you link me or direct me to those offending screenshots? There are some visual novels that I haven't played and I'm unaware of whether they are spoilers or not.

 

 

Might be good to get someone who has played each individual game to look it over and tell you what is and isnt a spoiler then. The ones I noticed that were the most spoilery was in Grisaia no Kajitsu. 1 Picture, the one to the far left is a big spoiler, and its also from the third game, not from Kajitsu. The one on the far right is a big spoiler to Yumiko's route in the first game. The rest on Kajitsu seems fine.

EDIT: Also, seems the Grisaia no Meiykuu link is broken. I dont know if you are aware of that or not.

Edited by Dergonu
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There is tons of 100% similar sites, who want to do like VNDB, but with better layout.

[Redacted] this even this

Also posting the spoiler to whole Maou story in screenshots is kinda lame.

I think that VNDB's minimalistic layout works for it honestly, its a database, its not supposed to look like a website straight out of the year 2077.

Aside from that I like the site, it seems nice, but you need to do some more moderating on the pictures, some of them just spoil entire parts of some series, which is bad.

Good luck with the website, I hope it works out. :sachi:

Edited by Zenophilious
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Might be good to get someone who has played each individual game to look it over and tell you what is and isnt a spoiler then. The ones I noticed that were the most spoilery was in Grisaia no Kajitsu. 1 Picture, the one to the far left is a big spoiler, and its also from the third game, not from Kajitsu. The one on the far right is a big spoiler to Yumiko's route in the first game. The rest on Kajitsu seems fine.

EDIT: Also, seems the Grisaia no Meiykuu link is broken. I dont know if you are aware of that or not.

We don't have anybody helping us in regards to that category. Would you be interested in helping? I'm aware of the Grisaia no Meikyuu bug now, I will fix it soon..  

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Might be good to get someone who has played each individual game to look it over and tell you what is and isnt a spoiler then. The ones I noticed that were the most spoilery was in Grisaia no Kajitsu. 1 Picture, the one to the far left is a big spoiler, and its also from the third game, not from Kajitsu. The one on the far right is a big spoiler to Yumiko's route in the first game. The rest on Kajitsu seems fine.

EDIT: Also, seems the Grisaia no Meiykuu link is broken. I dont know if you are aware of that or not.

We don't have anybody helping us in regards to that category. Would you be interested in helping? I'm aware of the Grisaia no Meikyuu bug now, I will fix it soon..  

I haven't too many of the VNs listed, so I don't think I would be the best fit for that job. I'd be willing to help with the few novels I have read, but I'm afraid it wouldn't put too much of a dent in the large amount of novels listed. Perhaps someone else here on Fuwa would be willing to lend a hand?

I checked a few:

Grisaia no Kajitsu: The two aformentioned pictures needs to be changed.

 

If my heart had wings - Seems fine.

Nekopara vol 0 - Seems fine

Katahane - Fine. One or two pics seems to be fan art instead of in game screenshots, but no spoilers.

Yosuga no Sora - seems fine, same here, 1 pic fanart, no spoilers.

School days - Seems fine

 

As for the Grisaia pics, these two are the ones that needs changing:

The picture with everyone gathered around Michiru holding a baby, and the one with Yumiko holding a baby and Yuuji standing behind them.

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g-senjou no maou has a CG from near the end of the game that is a blatant spoiler. Also all of the Steins;Gate shots are of the anime and not the VN.

You should probably change your method of googling for the shots to something else if you can't even guarantee you'll get shots of the VN.

Edited by Decay
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Several other problems with screenshots of the VNs I personally played:

Rewrite: All screenshots in the first row except for the second one are actually from a fandisk, not from the original game.

Chaos;Head: Again, pictures in the first row are not from the actual game but from other sources. Not sure about the forth one though.

Muv-luv: Poster is from Altered Fable, all the screenshots in the first row have nothing to do with the first game.

Tsukihime: everything in the first row is fanart, cover picture is actually a cover of a nonexistent anime.

Umineko, Higurashi: Second rows in both are entirely fanart and etc.

HIgurashi Kai: First row and the third picture in the second one are okay. Other pictures are just random posters.

Fsn, Cross Channel, Liitle busters: everything seems ok.

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g-senjou no maou has a CG from near the end of the game that is a blatant spoiler. Also all of the Steins;Gate shots are of the anime and not the VN.

You should probably change your method of googling for the shots to something else if you can't even guarantee you'll get shots of the VN.

I fixed those issues just now. The main problem now is that some of our older entries that were keyed in a few weeks ago differs from how we organise our format for the screenshots so I'm looking to clean all the visual novel entries today. 

Do you think it's better to have fanarts , etc etc on the Other Screenshots if they are of high quality? I'm standardizing the four screenshots under the description to be of game screenshots.

@Dreamysyu, I managed to fix those entries just now ^_^.

 

 

Edited by wraithseeker
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  • 2 weeks later...

I managed to finish up a couple of things this week on the website and upgraded the servers as well so here's a list showing the more important changes. Updates will be less often since I have to complete my mandatory conscription next week :vinty:.

By the way, I redesigned the main page of the website to one that uses the Koi Choco wallpaper because it looks beautiful. The new page should look alot better than the previous one.

New

0baa85efed.jpg

Old

c55fc8907c.png

Main stuff

  • Database is populated, it's cleanup time. (About 1500++ Visual novels in the database)
  • Added VN route walkthroughs in Fuwanovel to the website, a sample can be seen here
  • Added a main library section alongside with the previous library filters. Demo
  • Added Google+ and Facebook Authentication so people don't have to fill in forms anymore
  • Added filter for visual novels
  • Added Translated VN section

Other less important stuff

  • Add Search + Autocomplete
  • Add Franchises for VNs
  • UI changes to the VN columns
  • Mobile responsive VN page

The next major upcoming changes would be the Contest section where people would be able to create a bracket to determine their favourite character/VN (Maybe other stuff) or do a simple poll instead if they find it too complex.

Edited by wraithseeker
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@wraithseeker, a couple of questions. 

1) on the site under "whats new" its lists... well, novels that certainly are not new. Does this mean "newly added to the site?" or is it intended to show new novels? If so I dont think its working like it should. 

2) On the "top VNs" what are you basing that off? VNDB ratings? Because at the moment, Puraneko: Planet of the cats is listed as the Nr. 1 novel on the site ... :michiru:

3) Are you going to have some way for people to see what novels are and aren't licensed? At the moment, all the translated novels are under the same category: translated. People might be interested in knowing if its an official translation or a patch. And also, who translated it? That would make it easier for people to know where to buy it. (Making sure people know a novel is licensed will help reduce piracy, the thorn in the VNs industry side.) 

 

The new homepage looks great by the way. 

 

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 @Josephl64

I'm guessing you don't mind fanart, but the 4th "extra" pic for Sengoku Rance is actually a cg from Rance IX.

Maybe it would be easier to get some of the members here you trust to help with the screenshots as they can help you with some of the VNs you haven't played?

I fixed the wrong CG for Sengoku Rance. There's abit of a learning curve to learn how to use the admin dashboard properly and if people post here, I'll make the edits still. But then again if there are people who want to be actively involved in the site's development,  it'll be great if they let me know.

 

@Dergonu

1) on the site under "whats new" its lists... well, novels that certainly are not new. Does this mean "newly added to the site?" or is it intended to show new novels? If so I dont think its working like it should. 

2) On the "top VNs" what are you basing that off? VNDB ratings? Because at the moment, Puraneko: Planet of the cats is listed as the Nr. 1 novel on the site ... :michiru:

3) Are you going to have some way for people to see what novels are and aren't licensed? At the moment, all the translated novels are under the same category: translated. People might be interested in knowing if its an official translation or a patch. And also, who translated it? That would make it easier for people to know where to buy it. (Making sure people know a novel is licensed will help reduce piracy, the thorn in the VNs industry side.) 

1) It's intended to show new visual novels and also visual novels that are newly added to the site. However, right now it's just showing all visual novels which are paginated by the links and will be fixed when other issues are done first.

2) Ratings are based off VNDB's average vote ratings. Unfortunately, the internal DB of VNDB doesn't handle VNs with low votes well so that will have to be manually fixed.

3) Do you know any comprehensive lists that contains a list of licensed visual novels? Right now there are 3 states for a visual novel. Ongoing,Translated, and Not Translated. This should be good enough to let people know about the state of the visual novel. I have also added a new section whereby you can purchase the visual novel through legal means, like JList, JASTUSA, Mangagamer and so on. This are all set manually in the database so it takes alot of work to complete.

Edited by wraithseeker
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 @Josephl64

I'm guessing you don't mind fanart, but the 4th "extra" pic for Sengoku Rance is actually a cg from Rance IX.

Maybe it would be easier to get some of the members here you trust to help with the screenshots as they can help you with some of the VNs you haven't played?

I fixed the wrong CG for Sengoku Rance. There's abit of a learning curve to learn how to use the admin dashboard properly and if people post here, I'll make the edits still. But then again if there are people who want to be actively involved in the site's development,  it'll be great if they let me know.

 

@Dergonu

1) on the site under "whats new" its lists... well, novels that certainly are not new. Does this mean "newly added to the site?" or is it intended to show new novels? If so I dont think its working like it should. 

2) On the "top VNs" what are you basing that off? VNDB ratings? Because at the moment, Puraneko: Planet of the cats is listed as the Nr. 1 novel on the site ... :michiru:

3) Are you going to have some way for people to see what novels are and aren't licensed? At the moment, all the translated novels are under the same category: translated. People might be interested in knowing if its an official translation or a patch. And also, who translated it? That would make it easier for people to know where to buy it. (Making sure people know a novel is licensed will help reduce piracy, the thorn in the VNs industry side.) 

1) It's intended to show new visual novels and also visual novels that are newly added to the site. However, right now it's just showing all visual novels which are paginated by the links and will be fixed when other issues are done first.

2) Ratings are based off VNDB's average vote ratings. Unfortunately, the internal DB of VNDB doesn't handle VNs with low votes well so that will have to be manually fixed.

3) Do you know any comprehensive lists that contains a list of licensed visual novels? Right now there are 3 states for a visual novel. Ongoing,Translated, and Not Translated. This should be good enough to let people know about the state of the visual novel. I have also added a new section whereby you can purchase the visual novel through legal means, like JList, JASTUSA, Mangagamer and so on. This are all set manually in the database so it takes alot of work to complete.

Cool, I see :) 

For the last question, this thread should help:

http://forums.fuwanovel.net/topic/11049-complete-list-of-all-english-translated-vns/

There is a little note next to the ones that are licensed. 

 

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