Post-release: Dating Sims (Design Edition)

What I’d Like to Remind Myself in the Future

So now that everything is out there, I thought I’d do a little write-up of big things that I learned during the making of this visual novel. My specific reminders are mainly about writing and design. I did the assets, and I am responsible for the looks, story, and game-play of DS:TVN. Deamon wants to do something similar to this, so we’ll have all the bases covered in terms of remembering past mistakes.

Limit the scope of the project a few more notches.

I thought this was going to take about two months, and I kicked myself for every delay I had, whether it was distractions, other commitments, or just plain lethargy. I had to take out one story-line, but I should have taken out two or three. I just need to remember that dreaming big means that most things stay dreams.

Don’t cut corners in the beginning.

Make everything in the same dimensions, and save manually rather than quick exporting, because Photoshop fucks up the ratios of everything if you let it. I need to make sure I edit the shit out of transparent objects, little slivers of color manage to worm themselves into the edges of every image if I don’t. I cut a few corners while doing it the first time; I had to go back again later, and that’s always annoying.

Do one task fully before starting another.

This kind of ties into the previous reminder, and it’s interesting that Deamon and I have opposite outlooks in this situation. I learned that I can’t just bounce between writing, composition, and art because I’ll just use one as an excuse not to do the other. I didn’t want to go back to an annoying project after starting to work on another thing.
In this same vein, I shouldn’t have saved segments to draft later. I had to go back and add things later, and my editing session turned into another drafting session, and presto, I needed to edit all over again. The weakest story-lines and weirdest endings were because I just didn’t want to do it. Those stories didn’t get enough editing sessions because they weren’t written in the first draft.

Positive: Character-design is fun.

One of my friends hates Hayley. Another friend thinks she’s super cool. There are widely varying opinions about Chad. I really had fun with making polarizing characters, and I want to explore more characters in this way. Though I haven’t gotten much feedback on the main dates as characters, I hope that the same kind of polarization is present for the romances. I’m looking forward to more character-design options in future games. Oh, also trailer-making is fun too!


For now, I suppose that’s all I have to say about my stuff. It’s what I want to remember, anyway.  I know it’s just a silly visual novel, but I’m pretty proud with how it turned out. I can’t wait to start on our next project. Maybe something with a little less dialogue…