What’s a Visual Novel?
A Visual Novel is a story based video game. They are extremely popular in Japan. Think of it as a cross between a “Choose Your Own Adventure” comic book, and an adventure game with puzzles to solve. While comic books traditionally feature action stories involving super heroes, and computer adventure games traditionally feature mystery stories, visual novels are traditionally romantic stories. Visual novels (like comic books and adventure games) can really be about any genre, though Something’s In The Air is a romantic comedy. More info on my blog or on wikipedia.
Why make a Visual Novel?
Technically speaking Date Ariane is a visual novel, though an odd example of one. Most have more dialogue, a story to follow, and better defined choices that branch off instead of going around in circles. Date Ariane pretty much exhausted what is possible in that format of visual novel, so I decided for the sequel to make a more traditional style visual novel. Having played a few of the Japanese variety, I decided to Americanize the concept: 3D instead of Manga style drawings, with age 20-something characters in American bars and clubs instead of the over used Japanese teenagers in school settings. I am also following American style storytelling, encompassing a larger plot divided among parallel branching stories. This is my attempt to bring the Visual Novel to American audiences.
Why do I have to download and run a program instead of play online?
Something’s In The Air was written for Renpy, a well respected open source visual novel engine used by hundreds of games. Besides pictures and text, it can include music, sound effects, and voice (which I don’t use), as well as special visual effects not possible in HTML. Renpy also allows you to save games, auto forward time, run in windowed or full screen modes. Date Ariane is now in Renpy as well.
Can I share and redistribute the game?
Can I mod the game?
For your own use? Yes you can. There is a subdirectory in the download called “game” where you will find all the pictures and Renpy text files used in the game. As long as you don’t redistribute your modified game, you can customize it all you want. You may need to download the Renpy developers kit and a text editor. Check the help file for information on customizing the sound and music.
How do I start the game over?
Saved games are located in two places, so you need to erase both to start over:
1. Not sure where to find it on Mac or Linux, but on a windows computer you can find it by typing “%appdata%” in your computer’s search field, then click, “roaming”, then “renpy”, then “SomethingsInTheAir”.
2. Another copy can be found in the game directory. Go to where you installed the game, open “games” then “saves”
In these directories, you will find a file called “persistent”. If you delete both of these files, all the game data will be erased and it will be like you are starting the game brand new. You can also delete old saved games as well.
I have not tested it, but old saved games are unlikely to work on the third edition.
I like the music, is there a soundtrack album?
Most of the music is by Marc Riedinger, and most of it can be purchased here. I would just retitle the tracks: 1) Paula’s Lab, 2) Raptor Hunt, 3) Tower of Ion, 4) SITA Main Title, 6) Veronica’s Ride, 7) Rock Golem, 8) The Maguffin Job, 9) Forest Trail, 10) The LARP, 11) Sci-Fi Convention, 12) Medusa, 13) Dance of the Vampire Stripper.
Why a new version?
I am calling the newest version the “fourth edition” like a normal novel would. There have only been minor changes to the text and story, predominantly where it comes to events of the “last date with Ariane”. You pick what happened in the game itself instead of in the preferences menu.
See this post for more details of the recent changes.