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Remort Studios

A member registered Apr 10, 2017 · View creator page →

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Yep.  Public domain works are fine as long as they fit with one of the permitted themes.

Corpse Party is an acceptable example of a hybrid we'd allow into the jam, yes. Some of the submissions in the past have had a component of exploration fulfilled by RPG Maker or similar tools.

In the interest of fairness in the jam, you'll need to recreate them.

You'll need to have them remade if you're making a spinoff/DLC entry for an existing work.  It's up to you how that happens, whether you have your commissioned artist create them or an artist recruited specifically for the jam.

We do accept DLC and Fandisc style content to be submitted to the jam, which we couod easily extend to new chapters, however I'd apply the same ruling to the question here;

This means there would be an expectation that you would be recreating sprites and using only a limited amount of things from your prior chapters. 

Quick tips on getting short-listed and entering final judging in no particular order.

  1. Acknowledge the jam in your submission by adding its logo to your title or splash screens.  A tip of the hat to the judges and host is a sign of respect for the event and helps our audiences find the rest of the jam submissions.  The logo is available on the jam page!
    1. A short but comprehensive entry is often the best suited entry for placing in the jam.  
    2. Complete entries are viewed more favorably than incomplete ones. You are more likely to finish an entry if it is only as long as it needs to be. 
    3. Consider the following for reference Concise & Complete > Short  & Complete > Long & Complete > Incomplete & Long > Incomplete & Short > On-Screen Errors / Game Crashes during Auto Play > Disqualified Submission >  No Submission At All > Offensive Submissions 
    4. Consider watching Shino’s talk about their experience in jams, and check out Vimi’s guidance for surviving NaNoRenO.  All of the advice applies to Spooktober as well!
      Shino's Talk:
      Vimi's Talk:
  2. We love spectacle! These are visual novels, so leverage it! 
    1. Lead with your best visuals in your submission and on your page. 
    2. Don’t be afraid of showcasing mild spoilers if they’re visually impressive.  Visually interesting spoilers often turn the audience’s ‘Whats’ into ‘Hows’ and catch otherwise uninterested onlookers. 
    3. Consider leveraging VFX, background layering, movement and animations to make your scenes & CGs shine.  
    4. Pay attention to sprite composition.  If your characters and camera perspective are always in the same places, it can become stale fast. Check out Spooktober 2021 Prize Winner Vimi’s video at Visual;Conference on Visual Novel Cinematography.
  3. Refine your opening to be attention grabbing and to the point.  
    1. Consider establishing the stakes for the characters early.  This means introducing the characters, setting the scene and tone, and why it matters. 
    2. Consider the En Media Res technique to help your team visuals and audio start strong.   
    3. During shortlisting, judges read submissions up to the point where they suspect an entry could be in the top 10 submissions.  Try to catch our attention in the first 15 minutes.
  4. Audio is important! 
    1. Consider recruiting voice actors for key characters and lines.  Voice acting lends a lot of quality to your submission and is easier than you think to implement. Check out MAHO Cody’s talks on working with voice actors as an indie.
      Video 1:
      Video 2:
    2. Pair sound effects to both on and off screen action to help create a full experience. - Music sets the mood, and sudden silence can be a striking or dramatic choice. 
    3. Consider a LUFS of -23.  Try Youlean Loudness Meter 2 and check out Tim’s Visual;Conference video about loudness. The judge’s ears will thank you!
      Tim's talk: 
  5. Put effort into your submission page!  It is your first impression to the judges. 
    1. Loglines, Animated cover images and screenshots are a nice touch. 
    2. Consider making a video promo if you have time.  Don’t have video editing tricks?  Try recording the first 3 to 5  minutes of your visual novel using a tool like OBS.
  6. Utilize the themes in clever or unique ways.  The jam is very permissive in the content types you can make.  You’re not limited to just horror and holiday submissions!  
  7. Pay attention to prohibited themes! Submissions containing depictions or threats of suicide or sexually explicit content will get you disqualified from the competition!
  8. Winners have bags of both tricks and treats.  If there’s something ambitious you’d like to try or you have an idea you’ve never seen executed before, this is a great time to give it a shot!
  9. Learning from previous years winners is a smart move, but nobody likes a copy-cat.  If you learn something from a previous year’s winner, be sure to own it and make it your own!

Feel free to post and share your own advice or resources here too!

Depends on the visual novel.  I'd probably recommend a few good ones.  

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Hello everyone!  I'm the host and one of the judges of the Spooktober Visual Novel Jam, and I'm excited to bring it back for its 4th year!

The Spooktober Visual Novel Jam aims to do 3 major things:

  1. Encourage developers to make well-timed content for hungry audiences.
  2. Provide an event that is competitive and attracts high quality talent to make great visual novels.
  3. Celebrate the indisputably best holiday of the year: Halloween!

Our competition runs between September 1st and September 30th.  In August, we gather folks together, promote the event, an help them build teams.  In September, the jam is on and each of the teams have the whole month of September to create a visual novel based around themes related to Halloween.  In October, our judges review the submissions and select the winners, with prizes awarded and announced.

Why should you join this jam?

  1. You are a developer and you've been curious about visual novels.
    They say that the best time to start learning anything is yesterday, the second best time is today.  I say that if you're trying to learn how to make visual novels, our jam is one of the best times to do so.  You'll have access to other developers during this big event for our modest community, many of which are experienced visual novel developers that you can learn from. 
  2. You are already visual novel developer.
    Again, this is our biggest event of the year.  We offer 4 digit prizes for winning teams, which can be a great way to kickstart your visual novel development career.  We're one of the few visual novel development competitions out there, and this is your opportunity to become an award winning visual novelist.
  3. It's a lot of fun!
    Our vibrant community of visual novel developers participates mostly for fun!  Programmers, writers, artists, voice actors, animators, and other visual novel related professionals come together and talk about their work and ideas, and share their work.  After the jam is complete, we spend most of October talking about and playing the submissions and celebrating the occasion!

So what are you waiting for?  Come check out the jam, sign up, build your team and be a part of our biggest event of the year!

Submissions are strongly encouraged to be mostly visual novel based, meaning the main interaction with the game is reading and observing on screen action. However hybrids are permitted and have found themselves among winners in the past.

In 2020, Therapy with Dr. Albert Kruger won 1st place, and has a number of mini-games relevant to the narrative of a patient dealing with a scary therapist.

In 2021, Stardander: Revenant won 2nd place, and had small combat and stat-raising segments built around a school narrative.

The submissions do not need to be complete to be a part of the jam, but complete entries are viewed more favorably in judgement on average.  

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Hey therey!  Came to announce my visual novel Cherry in the Wild.  It took us a week to make and we made it for O2A2 Jam using Unity, Naninovel and Spine.  It was a lot of fun, and we hope people get a chuckle or two out of it.

Cherry is a Discord and Twitter bot that runs in our community as a mascot, and this is mostly for people there, but most folks can still appreciate the effort that went into the animation and voice acting and no prior knowledge is required.   

A nature documentarian(voiced by MAHO Cody) finds Cherry, a bot, and provides commentary on her and the lifestyle of bot mascots.

It's free and runs in the browser using the Unity web player.

This one hits me hard.  Absolutely stellar submission.  

Love the character's art style and the overall aesthetic.

I'm not crying, you're crying!

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Gorgeous art, absolutely love the direction from beat to beat. Fantastic work on your jam submission!

Feel free to submit your streaming VODs here for the streaming portion of the contest.  We've extended the submission deadline out to Nov. 1st, so feel free to include your Halloween streams!

If you posted them elsewhere, feel free to link it here.

For you and anyone else in this position, please reach out to me privately on our Discord and I'll arrange a submission link for you. 

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We're open to interpretation on what constitutes a VN. Hybrid games are allowed.  We've yet to disqualify anyone who has attempted a hybrid VN.

See also

Yes, you can use commercially available assets and asset generators.

You may submit one project as many times as you want.  The very last submission you make before the deadline is the one that will be reviewed.

Videos are only required if you're a streamer entering for the live performance part.   Otherwise, submissions are visual novels.

This is a great question!  No worries.  Please check out this response regarding Halloween DLC/Fandisk style content.  It covers the topic.

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Depictions of suicide are allowed when it is explicitly warned for. Mentions of suicide are allowed, and we encourage warning for it. Please distinguish between mentions and depictions in your warnings. Encouragement or glorification of suicide is strongly discouraged.

I've also added this statement to the above thread where we cover some other sensitive material.

There is no strict ruling that an incomplete or demo submission counts against any submitting teams, however the trend has been more often than not completed but short VNs have been leaders in terms of judging over the past two years. 

As long as what you worked on is submitted before the deadline, it will be counted whether it's a complete experience or not. Many teams make demos as part of this jam to begin work on a product they intend on finishing at a later date, and we love that.

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Feel free to post your free/CC and paid assets here.  

If you have assets to share with the community to use in the jam, we'd be delighted to show them to jammers.

Hey, thanks for clarifying that.  I'll make a thread for CC assets if anyone wants to share them there too.

While we strongly urge all participants to have an account and join the jam, strictly the jam only needs one person with one, and then everyone who has participated in the submission needs to be credited in the fashion of their choosing both in the submission fields and in the executable itself.  

You may! Third party assets are allowed (not just CC, but also paid or otherwise licensable) if they re publicly available to everyone to use or purchase.  

Quick note for everyone reading: The spirit of this is a level playing field for participants, so while it's allowable by the letter of the rule, some obvious loop holes are frowned upon. One such example of such a loop hole is making your own assets CC just prior to the jam starting and saying they're publicly available on your own website.

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These are threads for the judges to use, or for people to ask specific judges questions!

Please reply under the specific judges if you have questions.   Other top level comments will be deleted.

You're welcome to participate in the jam with a VR VN submission, but I have not required the judges to own or use VR equipment, and odds are you won't be eligible for prizes if the submission requires special hardware to play.

In the instance you are making a Halloween DLC style entry of your existing visual novel, you may only use backgrounds and UI elements from the original if they have Spooktober VN Jam themed elements added to them(e.g, Halloween decorations, horror genre props, etc,) if they don't already have them. 

You are not permitted to bring over music, sfx, or sprites, or any other unmentioned assets, unless they fall into the realm of publicly available resources rules as listed on the jam page.

For sprites, you're allowed to use the original sprites as a concept for new sprites. In the interest of fairness in the jam, you'll need to recreate them.  For purposes of judging, I will say the higher the deviation from the original sprites, while still being recognizable as the characters, the better.  New outfits and/or costumes are a good start.

For music, themed remixes of your originals are an acceptable replacement for the original music.

Code, especially for minigames or non-visual novel mechanics, is handled on a case by case basis.  If you have code you'd like to bring over, please discuss it with us first.  Thus far, we've permitted the use of RPG-like code from a RenPy made original game on the basis that much of its code would be available in another VN-capable engine like RPG Maker out of the box.  As a general rule, code that would normally be available out of the box in another engine is most likely okay, but we need to be made aware of it.  For judging purposes, I will say entirely new mechanics is favorable to reused ones.

We'll add a link to this question on the page for the rules regarding DLC/Spinoffs.

You're welcome to submit your Spooktober entries to other jams.

If you are making an entry for another jam, it will only be valid if it meets all of Spooktober's criteria, including limiting your work period to our jam period.