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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 https://itch.io/post/4069397

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.

https://itch.io/post/4185478

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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.  

https://itch.io/post/4145704

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 itch.io 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.

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> Is there a minimum required length for submissions or minimum number of assets?

There is no minimum or maximum word count or assets.  If you want to go minimalistic or all out, that's fine by us.

> Is a choice based storyline required or would a linear submission be acceptable?

Both very acceptable.  

>Would it potentially be acceptable for the game to contain a few mini stories rather than a single narrative?

That's a pretty cool idea!  Kind of like a 'Campfire Ghost Stories' thing where more than one story gets told.  That's acceptable, exciting to think about even!

> I have a vague idea of what I'd like to do but would like to plan a tiny bit ahead to organise if I need a team and what I might need to sort out before the start. Thanks!

Good luck!  If you find yourself in need of a team, make sure you join our Discord.  We have two big team building events on the 21st and 28th for anyone looking for teams that hasn't found one yet.

This is very cute!  I absolutely love the cover art.  I hope you get an opportunity to finish it.

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Many of such instances would be handled on a case by case basis.  We got this question a bit last year as well, but in different forms:

A few quick, hard answers on some of the more common things:

Gore itself permitted when it is explicitly warned for.

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.

Sexually explicit content is expressly forbidden from the entries as per the rules.  Anything as an extension of that would follow as well.  You can update your entries at a later point to include it.

Anything that could be constituted as hateful messaging or imagery.  Things that encourage racism, sexism or other discrimination against peoples.  

Harassment or encouraged harassment of real peoples.

This list is not exhaustive.  I would urge entrants to exercise good common sense regarding the content they enter into the contest.

Edit:

And, of course, feel free to ask ahead of time about your project/scene ideas either here or in our Discord.

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We're pretty flexible on the definition in terms of judging.  Visual novels are a subset of interactive fiction to us and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.   

The big things here are an emphasis on delivering a story via text above all else.  Reading should be the primary mode of which the reader interacts with the visual novel.  Mini-games and such are allowed, and generally as long as it's apparent that the spirit of a visual novel was attempted, even if it does not fit the strictest of definitions for a visual novel, it'll be counted for the jam. To get at what I think is the heart of the question, we've only ever disqualified two submissions since Spooktober has been running, and neither of them had text beyond a title screen and control instructions.  

Our goal is to be inclusive of new ideas and interpretations of what a visual novel can be without losing the heart of what makes visual novels great:  A marriage of entertaining visual aspects and a strong emphasis on delivering a story through a novel-like format.

For anyone that has questions or doubts if their submission would count, feel free to discuss the details with one of the judges.

The Jam period is between September 1st and September 30th, and is the only time you are allowed to work on your submissions.

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Sponsors and Sponsorship Info

If you are interested in sponsoring DevTalk+ or SpooktoberVN jam check out this handy graphic.

Spooktober Sponsorship Tiers 

Who do we want as sponsors?

We prefer sponsors who are upstanding businesses or individuals who are interested in providing quality goods,  services and other opportunities to developers.  Our jam encourages highly motivated and skilled developers to create the best submission they can, timed in a way to reach their audiences at the best possible time, and we want sponsors who are here to help them do that.  Great examples of types of people or businesses that fit this are as follows:

  • Developers of Engines, Frameworks or Plugins for Visual Novels
  • Publishers of Visual Novels and Visual Novel like content
  • Localization Groups (e.g ENG->RUS, ENG->JP, etc Translators)
  • Asset or Asset Bundle Creators
  • Artistic Tool/Hardware Creators. (e.g Sprite Generator developers, tech hardware manufacturers, etc.)
  • Literary Tool/Hardware Creators (e.g, Word Processor/Script Management Software developers)
  • Audio Tool/Hardware Creators (e.g Audio Capture Manufacturers, software developers of Audio processing software)
  • Software Development Tool/Hardware Creators (IDE Developers, Non-Specific Engine Developers)
  • Any Other Relevant Service Providers (e.g, Voice Acting Casting Services, Editing Services, Composing Services.)

What's the benefit of sponsoring?

Plenty!  Your brand will be put in front of our jam contestants at the Plum tier and higher, and it's a great way to get introduced to the independent visual novel development scene.  For Lemon and Lime sponsors, you'll be able to judge, or see the judging process and add special categories for judging.   For Lime sponsors, we'll have a live meeting towards for sponsors the sponsors to meet and address the contestants!

What's the downsides to sponsoring?

If you are sponsoring the contest, you are not permitted to participate in the jam as a contestant.  Any submissions linked directly to sponsors will be permitted to be submitted, but disqualified for any of the prizes or awards.

How do I sponsor the Spooktober Visual Novel Jam?

E-mail the host at Nai@SpooktoberVNJam.com for details on how to proceed, questions, and alternative offers.

How will our contributions be used?

100% of the contributions provided by our sponsors are given to the participants as prizes and awards.   Cash contributions are awards as part of the main prize pool or specific categories.  Goods and services are awarded at a time based on the sponsor's preference.

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If you have any questions or need for the hosts or judges to clarify a rule, leave your question here and we'll get to it ASAP.

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If you are participating as part of a streamed show, please link your submissions here, up to 2 hours and 30 minutes! Videos longer than that will only have their first 2 hours and 30 minutes counted.

Looking forward to giving this a look once the Jam's submission time closes.   Looking great!

Delivery of prizes will most likely be conducted through itch.io barring prohibitive circumstances.  In those instances, I'm sure our sponsors would be happy to work out other suitable arrangements.

#SpooktoberVN

Hey everyone.  DevTalk, a visual novel development community, is hosting our second annual Spooktober VN Jam!

Spooktober 2020 Visual Novel Jam

Here's 7 reasons why I think you should join it.

  1.  It's a visual novel jam.  If you crave a different kind of challenge, and you're only used to making games for your jams, give this a shot.  There's a lot of nuance and the (assumed) simplicity can make it especially challenging to innovate.  Challenge yourself.
  2. It's running in September, a month before the holiday it celebrates. We aim to provide the gaming community with a nice, timely load of fresh content for one of the best months of the year. Be part of it.
  3. Did I mention there's prizes? Because there are.  At the time of this post, there are 3 prizes valued at $500, $350 and $150 USD.  It can be a great way to kick off your next project, power up your current one, or make a cool buck or two doing something you might have been doing anyway. Get that money.
  4. Are you using Unity 3D?  One of our non-cash prizes is a free copy of NaniNovel, one of the best paid plugins for VN and dialogue system interface development, and it has awesome support available through Discord.  Upgrade your development.
  5. The Jam is very flexible.  Anything to do with the holiday of Halloween.  Whether it contains monsters, costumes, candy, horror elements, or just takes place during Halloween, it's allowed.  Spinoffs, fan-disc, DLC style, "Halloween episode" submissions are strongly encouraged.  Do it your way.
  6. The DevTalk community is very wholesome.  We're a carefully managed, positive and business-think friendly community. We are LGBTQ+ friendly, and we live by our values and morals, and recognize enterprising individuals who do so. If you're new to visual novel development, or have been a long standing developer, we offer free services to help you on your journey to success. Join our community.
  7. Seriously, it's about Halloween.  What's not to love about that?

NaNoRenO is over, and we'd like to hear from the participants how things went!   We're collecting postmortems written by any of the participants, whether you made it to the end or not.   Any team that submits a postmortem to us on Twitter using the #VNDev tag or tell us on the Devtalk+ Discord  will be eligible for interviews that will be recorded for future VNDev jams.

This year, Devtalk is hosting a NaNoRenO online Meet and Greet to help people find teams and resources they need to participate in #NaNoRenO2019.    


We'll be holding 3 sessions at 12:00 PM, 5:00 PM, and 8:00 PM EST.  You can drop by for one or all three and talk with other Nano participants, share resources, guides and tutorials and work out your ideas and team needs with us.


You can join us and set yourself up with your roles here:

 https://discord.gg/VzM6DeQ