Development team

From VNDev Wiki
(Redirected from Solo Dev)

A visual novel development team can be composed with as little as a single, independent individual to sprawling organizations. The exact responsibilities of these roles may vary from team to team. Depending on the size of a given team, some roles may be combined and performed by the same person.


Creative director

The creative director, or just director, of a visual novel acts as the funnel that guides all of the different creative aspects of a team’s efforts into the final product as a cohesive whole. In small indie and game jam teams, they may also act as the producer and manage the project's schedule and time investment. Usually, they are considered the project’s lead developer because the nature of this task obliges them to have the final word on whether or not something adds to the whole of the project and/or might add too much to development time.

Because of the heavy reliance on text and programming in VN development to control direction, a VN director may work directly with the writing and/or programming teams. At the very least, they are the ones interpreting any points of direction not covered by the script writers or altering direction notations in the script that don't come across as intended on-screen. If they are not writers themselves, they should have a feel for stage/film direction and understand how to draw a reader's attention correctly.


The producer's role is to act as the lead organizer for the team. Producers facilitate the development team by creating schedules, organizing resources, and ensuring the team is meeting their deadlines. [1] Producers keep track of the game development with task management tools such as Google Drive, Trello, or Jira.

Producers must have good organizational and communication skills in order to keep the team motivated and stay within the planned scope of the game. The producer plays a key role in avoiding and/or managing crunch and minimizing burnout of the team. Producers don't make creative choices for the game, but serve as the point of communication between the development team and the director. However, the producer and director may be the same person in small teams.


The role of the writer, or scenario writer, is to write the content for the game. They are chiefly responsible for creating the 'novel' part of the visual novel. Writers use a variety of software to manage their stories, from drafting and organization tools like Scrivener, to simple text editors such as NotePad. Many writers are directly involved with the visual novel scripting in the language/engine tools their team is working with to reduce the need to convert a more traditional writing form, like screenplays or novels, into something readable by a visual novel engine.


The Editor reviews the text and story of the game and makes suggestions for improvement. This may include grammar or spelling fixes, but more commonly, editors focus on things such as flow, pacing, character development, and overall storyline. Editors often work very closely with writers, and may provide feedback on a scene-by-scene basis as they are written. Sometimes, though, editors are brought in after most or all of the story is written.

The role of Proofreader is similar to, but distinct from, that of editor. A proofreader provides suggestions only regarding grammar, spelling, and other line-by-line edits. In contrast, and editor may provide this type of feedback, but primarily focuses on broader issues. There are many different types and styles of editing, so it's important for an editor to communicate clearly with other members of the development team to ensure that everyone is on the same page about what services are needed.

Character artist

The character artist creates all the characters used throughout the game's story, including portraits, sprites, and other visual elements used throughout the game. They are responsible for bringing the characters to life through their designs, ensuring they fit within the game's world and atmosphere. This includes creating concept art, designing costumes or clothing, and developing expressions that convey emotions in-game. They may work on background characters, NPCs (non-player characters), enemies, and even some environmental objects. The character artist works closely with writers and designers to ensure that their creations accurately represent the story and setting of the game.

CG artist

Background artist

Background artists are responsible for producing backgrounds: images which depict in-game settings and locations to be used as backdrops during gameplay.

Background art is typically painted, rendered, and/or drawn digitally, though some artists may employ an analog-only or hybrid approach.

GUI artist

A GUI artist or designer is responsible for planning and creating of all image elements in a visual novel's Graphical User Interface (also known as its GUI). This generally includes assets for basic interface screens such as the Main Menu, Textbox, Settings, Save Menu, and Confirm screen, as well as Extra menus such as image galleries or music rooms. This may also expand to non-standard screens such as minigames, transitions, glossaries, or any other interactive screen that a visual novel requires.

GUI artists facilitate the gameplay experience for players by ensuring the contents of a visual novel are legible and that Quality of Life (QOL) features such as settings, rollback, and save/load files are easily accessible. The aesthetics of a GUI are also often planned with the game's overall artistic direction, visuals, and themes in mind.

Some GUI artists work with a programmer to plan and/or implement the GUI in the game engine used, while others may choose to implement it themselves.

Script director


The programmer's role is typically to assemble the parts of the game into a fully functional game. Programmers work within the game engine being used by the team, as well as resolve any issues that may arise while testing the game. The programmer typically joins a team based on their familiarity with a specific game engine and/or programming language or, for indie or game jam teams, their willingness to learn them.

The role of a programmer on a VN dev team may involve some or all of the following:

  • Scripting, which involves turning the writers dialogue and prose into a script that can be compiled and run by the engine. May include adding music, sounds, images and sprites as directed by the writer or director.
  • GUI Programming, which typically involves taking assets and designs provided by the GUI artist and implementing them into the game engine, including any animated parts or effects if required.
  • Adding extra functionality that is not included as standard by the chosen game engine, which may differ between different game engines.

Other tasks that may fall under the role of programmer if not already handled by another member of the team could include, building or updating game versions with changes if needed, handling source control for the project, or uploading builds to storefronts if more in-depth knowledge on those systems is required.

Audio director

An audio director's purpose is to procure audio assets, including sound effects, ambiance, voice dialogue and music. They oversee the quality of produced audio assets and communicating with those providing said assets, such as sound designers and composers.[2] Furthermore, an audio director may seek out and contract audio staff and create lists of needed audio resources.[3]

Sound designer

A sound designer creates sound effects, records on location, edits dialog and music files and works with programmers to implement audio assets into the game.[4]


A game composer composes and most of the time also produces a game's soundtrack. This may include the creation of background music for use in the game itself or for use in menus, title screens, credits, and/or promotional materials such as game trailers.

The music created by the composer for use can be diegetic or non-diegetic:

  • Diegetic music comes from within the story itself, such as music played or sung by a character.
  • Non-Diegetic music is removed from the story and characters, and serves as background music to influence the player's emotional reaction to a scene. This includes emotional themes or character themes which are played throughout regular gameplay.

Music produced by the composer for use in a visual novel may be looping tracks or non-looping tracks.

Audio engineer

Voice actor

Voice director

A Voice Director works with Directors, Producers, and sometimes Writers to supervise Voice Actors in recording for their respective roles. A Voice Director will review scripts to understand the story, scenes, and characters to be recorded, and if deemed necessary, find sample scripts and/or similar scenes for reference. They will then communicate with voice actors to ensure their understandings of the script and their characters are aligned with the overall project vision.

Voice Directors are typically brought in for larger recording scopes, such as for fully voiced games or fully voiced scenes in games with partial voicing.

Depending on the requirements of the visual novel, a voice director may live direct voice actors in recording sessions, which are typically done remotely instead of locally in visual novel development. During live directed sessions, a Voice Director will...

  • Ensure audio recording quality is up to specifications
  • Manage time in the recording session
  • Determine how many takes should be recorded and in what order
  • Coach actors on their performance, including on line delivery, accents and pronunciation, or staying in voice
  • Guide actors in understanding the scene and its broader context

Casting director

A Casting Director is responsible for matching talents to any voiced roles needed for a visual novel. They typically work with the Director and/or Producer to understand the characters being cast for and their desired voice qualities.

Casting directors are generally responsible for reviewing all auditions and selecting auditionees who best fit each role. They may also be responsible for some or all of the following casting duties:

  • Creation of casting call documents, including audition instructions, character profiles, and/or project terms
  • Public announcement and posting of casting calls to social media, forums, servers, or other voice acting communities.
  • Management of audition submissions and files
  • Issuing audition callbacks
  • Sending role offer emails and/or initial role acceptances from chosen auditionees.

Casting directors will typically not have a hand in further production after all roles are cast, unless recasting is required.

Social media manager

Solo Developers

A Solo Dev or Solo Developer is an individual creator who takes on most, if not all, development team roles required to produce a full visual novel.

Solo devs often begin developing visual novels with pre-existing familiarity in one or more major skills used in development, such as writing, illustration, or programming, and take on additional skills and responsibilities as development continues.

They may outsource work to others or find existing stock assets for one or more aspects of development, such as for music and sound effects or background art.

Depending on the scope of a project, Solo Devs may shift to leading a development team either at the start of or during development, instead of developing the full game alone.


  1. Lucy Morris, Game Development Cheatsheets: Producer,, published July 23, 2018, retrieved June 18, 2022.
  2. Phillips, Winifred (2014). A Composer's Guide to Game Music. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. pp. 139-140. ISBN 978-0-262-02664-2.
  3. What’s an audio director and why might you need one?,, published January 12, 2020, retrieved July 16, 2022.
  4. Phillips, Winifred (2014). A Composer's Guide to Game Music. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. pp. 140-141. ISBN 978-0-262-02664-2.