Character sprites / full scenes - for 3d wg visual novels

I was wondering which do you guys prefer: sprite based visual novels where there’s a png of a character in a few poses that change when they’re talking or scenes where the character is a part of the background adding more realism but also adding a lot more work.
There are a few games in both categories:

  • Mostly sprites:

Whole Hog
Did I Eat Today?

  • Mostly scenes:

Weighting Game
Fattening Career

If you played any of these which did you prefer?

(keep in mind that scenes add like 4x the work, or more)

  • I prefer sprites
  • Either is fine
  • I prefer scenes

0 voters

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I feel like scenes could be reserved for special events like the first time a player arrives at a new location, or meets a new character, or to emphasize an important part of the story, and then switching to sprites for most day to day stuff once the physical area has been established. The human brain is very good at filling in background details by itself once it has an idea of what to expect.

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For me, it feels like the scenes are a must for 3d, why? Because scene variations for 3d might be 4x the work, but for hand drawn 2d art not using sprites and using scenes would be 4000x the work. In other words 4x the work is actually a massive time savings only made possible by 3d rendering technology.

So if you’re going to be using 3d rendering technology, you should take advantage of it’s main feature.

4 Likes

When using Virt-a-Mate as the way to render 3d images, rendering full scenes with a loads of presets and a set camera angle is about equal or less work then rendering sprites and programming them to appear in the right location. There were 4 things i came across that are big differences between the two.

For Lighting i would say rendering full scenes is way better looking then sprites, even though the sprites look great the lighting always looked a bit off compared to full scene images. You could use some tricks to offset this, for example make the background a bit blurry so the focus is on the character.

Then there is this issue of having multiple characters in the same image, when you have for example 3 character with 9 different weight stages, you would have to render 27 full scenes to make this possible. With sprites you don’t have to do any extra work to make this work.

And filesize is something else that differs a lot between the 2 approaches, games with full scenes are in many cases a lot bigger then games with sprites if both games are equal in length. This can become an issues for users on phones, i recently found out android apks have a limit of 2GB.

And lastly when you use many locations and different expressions it becomes just so much easier to use sprites because you could reuse those character expressions in the different locations, but you can also look at this the other way, whenever you do full scenes it means you have to render separate scenes for all these locations and expressions, and that is a great time to try out some angles and different ways to show off the character.

So i think it depends on what you are trying to do in the game you are making.
I personally prefer full rendered scenes, but because some things are just really hard to make work or require a lot more time to create i can understand using sprites.
Maybe a hybrid with mostly full rendered scenes and some sprite work to make multi-character scenes work would be cool to see.

2 Likes

I think the main reason I gravitated toward 3d scenes vs sprites in my renpy VN is because of the camera angles/zoom. Those under-character angles and more zoomed in shots are my personal favorites.

The sprite-focused wg renpy VNs I’ve played have all been fantastic. But for some reason, I’m always left wanting the sprites to be more zoomed-in if that makes sense? I think that renpy positions the sprites to feel further away from the MC than I would like.

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I totally get the idea of sprites vs full renders. As sprites save a huge amount of time and effort but for me the quality and immersive full renders bring are unparalleled. You can “get away” with sprites to represent things in games. When they are used in the place of full renders for scenes or activities I often find it distracting how shoehorned into a scene it looks. Which of cause distracts from well written scenes for me personally.

Now it’s not lost on me how much more effort and time it takes for full renders but it’s so common in the 3D VN fetish game space. That I tend to stay away from sprite games outside of weight gain/stuffing VNs as it really takes me out of those experiences.

At the end of the day though, a dev needs to make the right call for the type of game, scope, and expected release date/schedule.

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