Minimum viable product

From VNDev Wiki

A minimum viable product (MVP) in terms of a game is the distilled core of the game idea, with all of the bells and whistles stripped away. In general, an MVP is not meant to be played by anyone outside of the dev team or prospective investors, though when used as such, it’s often referred to as the prototype. From there, other features are added on in order of importance.

In the visual novel scene, newbie developers are typically advised to start out with the bare bones of a visual novel - usually a kinetic novel, with one character, and a scene of a few hundred words. This is to teach a newbie how much work goes into even just that so they can better understand the scope of a VN project and how to plan for the next. It is generally not intended to be the prototype for a full game.

More elaborate VN projects may wish to follow the general game dev practice of starting from the basics (script + choices) and adding in more optional features after the MVP for the game has been completed. A feature such as fully animated cutscenes may be something to look into after you’ve finished the MVP for the project and know better about your budget; etc rather than holding up the entire project on something you may not have the budget for in the end and now can no longer afford to complete the game at all.

A minimum viable product is a product development concept where the goal is to satisfy a known need of an established (or at least identified) consumer base. MVP is generally the core of any adopter/customer-first development project.

For something to be an MVP, it needs to satisfy three conditions:

  • It must have an audience.
  • That audience must want something specific.
  • That audience is satisfied by the product at its base form.

For us, this might mean making a visual novel focused exclusively on one particular character type or trope for people who are fans of the trope. (e.g a VN exclusively about tsundere characters for tsundere fans.)