Presentation in Visual Novels
Now I've talked a lot about writing in my previous blog posts, so I'd like to mix it up with some new topics. Starting off, since it's relevant to what I'm working on: presentation. Making a VN look good before you release it (and I'm not talking about the graphics).
What I find is that the majority of EVNs (there are a few notable exceptions), even if they have decent writing or art, aren't presented well. I would say that this is because of a lack of programming expertise, as well as rushing out the game too soon. For instance, many EVNs disregard scene transitions and jump from scene to scene. Or, similarly, they cut from one BGM straight to another.
Other things to consider: How cool the title screen looks -- not the default Ren'Py stuff, that's laziness. On that same note, small attentions to detail are nice to see. Any bugs that pop up and crash the game certainly aren't good. Lack of sound effects to round out the atmosphere is also bad.
I think you get what I mean by now. It's the line that separates hobbyist from professional. And that may be the main "problem" with EVNS: the majority of its creators are simply doing it as a side hobby. They don't put in the extra effort to make it professional-looking because they don't WANT it to.
I can't force people to act like professionals when they don't want to be. So I'm not sure if it's possible to raise the standards for EVNs. Hobbyists will continue to write what they want how they want using whatever art they can scribble up. Their concern is not in the audience, but in themselves. If you plan on standing out with your game, make your audience aware that you care about them. Show them that you've put some extra time to make your game look and feel nice before posting it -- make it presentable!