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Black Sands Entertainment

I am trying to change what it means to be an OELVN: Thoughts?

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Transforming what we expect from the OELVN market

 

Whenever I talk to communities that play visual novels, there is always a kneejerk reaction when you say OELVN. To many, they are the bane of the visual novel world. All of the player base agrees that there were many well done and even groundbreaking OELVNs developed but for the most part, they are done poorly and use common tropes that can be redundant at times.

The fact of the matter is that OELVNs tend to be indies, have much lower budgets then Japanese VNs, and do tend to stick to the script more than change things up. This is why I am writing this now. I am pioneering a movement to completely recreate what it means to be an OELVN.

Many may say, “That is too ambitious for an indie” but I will not be stopped. Months ago I launched a kickstarter for my game but I didn’t invest enough capital to get quality art so it was ignored. This was entirely my fault. I then adapted and started making sure my original and very different idea was presented with all the bells and whistles needed to grab the attention of the player base. With that attention, I can begin to explain what I intend to do to change the game.

OELVN to Western VN

An OELVN is not much different from a Japanese VN. In fact, they are so similar that people that know of OELVNs tend to call them low budget or indies as a bad stigma. There are exceptions like Unwonted Studios and Winterwolves but for the most part, the stigma is very real. What is my solution to this?

Make a Western VN. How can you compare or stigmatize something that has no equivalent? If it has no equivalent then you must judge it based on your own personal experience with it. There are many American developers out there that try to place stories in japan and use the common. The setting of my game is in the ancient middle east. It also has elements of the ancient alien theory and historical references of many different pantheons during the time of 3500 BCE. This has never been done before, not even in video gaming as a whole. But to understand why it Is different, we must look into individual changes that make the experience different from a normal VN.

Art Style

Since the story is different, more serious, and from a certain period, we chose to use art that looks digital but has a comic like styling to it. All armor, clothing, and backgrounds are based on alien technology and period architecture/writing.

Music

We tend to make most songs fit the location of the game but we do not allow that to stop us from adding a few Asian songs to capture the mood. The music is intense and matches the flow of the game.

Flow

The game has short chapters spanning no longer then 10 minutes each. There is a world map and different type of quest which require tactical decision making and exploration. There is very little internal monologue and the viewpoint is omniscient even though you only control the main character. It will feel like mini-episodes of a very big series where you develop characters and become attached to their own personal goals.

Relationships

Unlike in other games with a BxG relationship in the genre, we have incorporated a very different mechanic to how ours works. First, you as the main player will be competing for the love of the female lead. Your actions can cause her to love or hate you and the other character’s actions can do the same. You can very well FAIL to get the girl and even more, lose the girl to your rival.

Additionally, all the characters in the game will react, listen, and follow you differently based on the reputation you acquire throughout the game. Your decisions will make them great allies or reasons for your death!

Insanity

The main character has psychological issues that he must conquer. Throughout the game you will come across spirits messing with your mind and as a result, you must either embrace these ideas or suppress them. By embracing them, you gain new powers that are extremely powerful BUT by giving away your autonomy, you also lose the ability to think rationally in situations where you have to use self-control.

Questing

Unlike other games which stick to one type of mini-game throughout the story, Black Sands offers many. There will be investigations, tracking missions, and random skill check progressions. Each one requires a completely different set of skills.

Exploration

The world lore of Black Sands is deep with mystery and discovery. While the player can choose to stick to the main path of the story, they will most likely engage in the side stories to discover the secrets of the rift. Every secret unlocks a journal entry and we have an in game encyclopedia that will explain all the lore.

Historical References

When you unlock lore entries, you get the real world context from which it was created including sources. This adds a level of education to a fantasy game that is never done.

Main Character

A common complaint about VNs as a whole is the main character being too needy and weak. In this game, the main character is a vicious fighter with an exceptional command over people. He suffers from Dementia but focuses himself using “knowledge of self” and meditation. You as the player will tell his story in your own personalized journal which will be sharable online.

Victory Conditions

In Black Sands, every turn cost time. Events happen based on the time and when you meet an obstacle for the first time, you get a progress bar on the top right. The more you learn about the obstacle, the more “confidence” you have you can deal with it. This helps you in the events that happen when you take on that challenge OR when that challenge decides to take on you. If you do not prepare well, you may be forced into a very bad situation but if you prepare for the coming enemy etc, you will succeed.

Theme

We incorporate ancient Kemetic-Kushite, Canaanite, Akkadian, Minoan, Greek, and Hindu mythology into the Black Sands universe while tying them all together with the ancient alien theory as the base. This will bring new fans to the genre as the ancient alien gaming world is an untapped market and the cultures of the middle east and black community would love to have heroes that look like them.

 

Thus, we are moving forward, ever aggressive and ever vigilant. If you have any questions or critiques, please comment below.

 

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The fact that you are not even using a high school setting is already 70 points on a 100 point scale for me. Most of us here are tired of that cliched, over troped and overused nonsense and it's very refreshing to read VNs without using that boring setting. 

Good luck and looking forward to it and I hope you guys can be up there with Katawa Shoujo as one of the best OELVNs to ever be released. 

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Good plan.

It's good being ambitious.

But be careful for the financial backlash. I hope you made sure that you were either ready to make a game whilst losing money, or studied your audience.

Market studies are super important. Nobody will try stopping improvement unless there is no profit.

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Just now, maefdomn said:

Good plan.

It's good being ambitious.

But be careful for the financial backlash. I hope you made sure that you were either ready to make a game whilst losing money, or studied your audience.

Market studies are super important. Nobody will try stopping improvement unless there is no profit.

I have a growing following in the black community and my web series which comes out soon specifically targets the ancient aliens/astronauts audience. I am definitely fighting hard to spread the net.

So while this is how I get VN fans, this is not how I get black fans or ancient alien fans. They need completely different strategies. This is also why I am delaying heavily the relaunch of my KS. I want it to go viral.

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48 minutes ago, CeruleanGamer said:

The fact that you are not even using a high school setting is already 70 points on a 100 point scale for me. Most of us here are tired of that cliched, over troped and overused nonsense and it's very refreshing to read VNs without using that boring setting. 

Good luck and looking forward to it and I hope you guys can be up there with Katawa Shoujo as one of the best OELVNs to ever be released. 

there is a oelvn that has even 70 points????

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18 minutes ago, Justin579 said:

there is a oelvn that has even 70 points????

How rude. Break Chance Memento, SC2VN, Long Live the Queen, Black Closet (right, Black Closet isn't a VN, but let me be), Cinders and Cave Cave Deus Videt are all quite good VNs. Solstice, Venti Mesa and VA-11 HALL-A all look damn fine too.

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just a few notes:

Akkadian is a language for ancient Mesopotamia people, not a culture.

Kushite Religion is very limit, there is basically no research done on it.

you will run into Canaan vs Bible reference battles, its best to understand why the two are not the same.

Hindu mythology is way different, it never has been connected with the bible while everything else has in some way shape or just plan added.

it seems lke you not thinking this through, while the story you thinking might sound good, it ultimately will be misleading if people find that nothing in the vn is worth its price. these are what makes people think oelvn has bad vn, they think its an american trying to do a story.

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3 minutes ago, firecat said:

just a few notes:

Akkadian is a language for ancient Mesopotamia people, not a culture.

Kushite Religion is very limit, there is basically no research done on it.

you will run into Canaan vs Bible reference battles, its best to understand why the two are not the same.

Hindu mythology is way different, it never has been connected with the bible while everything else has in some way shape or just plan added.

it seems lke you not thinking this through, while the story you thinking might sound good, it ultimately will be misleading if people find that nothing in the vn is worth its price. these are what makes people think oelvn has bad vn, they think its an american trying to do a story.

Let me put a public disclaimer before I go in on this post. I do not respond in a hostile way to almost all critiques but this was not a critique, it was a character assassination on the level of Trumpism.

 

It seems you read my entire script and all my references through your Byakugan eyes.

I will shred your critique apart since it was a hostile attempt to sound educated while belittling me.

"Akkadian is a language for ancient Mesopotamia people, not a culture."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akkadian_Empire

The Akkadian Empire was the empire that predated the Sumerians.

Next.

"Kushite Religion is very limit, there is basically no research done on it."

The reason its called Kemetic-Kushite culture is because they were one and the same. They worshipped the same gods, exchanged gods, and had the same cultural norms.

"you will run into Canaan vs Bible reference battles, its best to understand why the two are not the same."

I am using the book of enoch as my reference since historically it is based on both the biblical and canaanite religious bases. All historians agree on this.

Additionally, who said this game was about the bible? Not I. 

"Hindu mythology is way different, it never has been connected with the bible while everything else has in some way shape or just plan added."

"We incorporate ancient Kemetic-Kushite, Canaanite, Akkadian, Minoan, Greek, and Hindu mythology into the Black Sands universe while tying them all together with the ancient alien theory as the base. This will bring new fans to the genre as the ancient alien gaming world is an untapped market and the cultures of the middle east and black community would love to have heroes that look like them. "


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_astronaut_hypothesis

So unless you somehow missed the multiple references to the ancient alien theory or just have no clue what it is, you should not be saying how my research is off.I would not say Elves from the lord of the rings is not the same as "elves from the norse mythologies therefore tolkien is an idiot.:"

He wasnt writing about ancient Norse mythology. He based his writings on it. I am done.

 

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o.0 This looks like a complex read. Gonna be like Steins;Gate all over again where I look around the internet as I read to understand these new terms. Just make sure to put some notes whenever you introduce a foreign word in the dialogue, it can be easy to lose the reader if you use a lot of it.

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3 minutes ago, CeruleanGamer said:

o.0 This looks like a complex read. Gonna be like Steins;Gate all over again where I look around the internet as I read to understand these new terms. Just make sure to put some notes whenever you introduce a foreign word in the dialogue, it can be easy to lose the reader if you use a lot of it.

there is an ingame encyclopedia for everything foreign in the game. We will have an alpha version of the demo ready in 3 weeks. This is the polished short version of the demo used to land a publisher -)

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Encyclopedia is great but it wouldnt hurt to use footnotes or little pop up messages explaining what a certain term means or signifiy. 

Japanese VNs do it all the time like explaining the significance of certain Japanese festivals, cultures, rituals, or food in a little message box that appears on the top right or left of the screen. This beats having to make the reader open a separate menu to browse for the term. 

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Just now, CeruleanGamer said:

Encyclopedia is great but it wouldnt hurt to use footnotes or little pop up messages explaining what a certain term means or signifiy. 

Japanese VNs do it all the time like explaining the significance of certain Japanese festivals, cultures, rituals, or food in a little message box that appears on the top right or left of the screen. This beats having to make the reader open a separate menu to browse for the term. 

that is a great idea. If we don't incorporate it in the dialogue, this would be a great alternative method.

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It's wonderful that you're aiming for the sky, and it's even more wonderful to see clear progress towards your goals, like the lovely artwork you've posted in other threads and the detailed background information in this thread. But I'd offer one small suggestion: you might temper your rhetoric just a little bit. Claiming that you're doing something big that "has never been done before" can alienate audiences, especially pedantic people (read: most of the internet). If they can dig up some example, however obscure, then you can find yourself in an argument that isn't interesting or useful, and that shifts the focus away from your work. I think you're clearly doing great work - whenever possible, let it speak for itself.

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2 minutes ago, Fred the Barber said:

It's wonderful that you're aiming for the sky, and it's even more wonderful to see clear progress towards your goals, like the lovely artwork you've posted in other threads and the detailed background information in this thread. But I'd offer one small suggestion: you might temper your rhetoric just a little bit. Claiming that you're doing something big that "has never been done before" can alienate audiences, especially pedantic people (read: most of the internet). If they can dig up some example, however obscure, then you can find yourself in an argument that isn't interesting or useful, and that shifts the focus away from your work. I think you're clearly doing great work - whenever possible, let it speak for itself.

You make good points. I would let you know though that I plan to pick a fight with "Gods of Egypt" before they release. I am going to go so hard against them it isn't even funny. This is solely for my black community fan base though. Its a fight that must be fought. 

I will not use grandioso words much more. I think I only used it here because I was explaining the "hidden" reality of what i am trying to accomplish.

BTW for everyone following this. @black_sands_entertainment is my Instagram handle. I do most my updates there. We have a comic series coming soon called Black Sands: Sons of Nibiru. It is the WAY BACK story of why Nun came to earth in the first place.

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5 minutes ago, Black Sands Entertainment said:

What do you think about just calling it a "Western Visual Novel?"

just thinking aloud here,

i think the term 'visual novel' neglects the fact that music plays a BIG role in them, so why not call it a 'multimedia novel' or something

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6 minutes ago, john 'mr. customer' smith said:

just thinking aloud here,

i think the term 'visual novel' neglects the fact that music plays a BIG role in them, so why not call it a 'multimedia novel' or something

that is a bigger beast in an of itself. The original visual novel was copywritten right? It was originally called sound novels.

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