VIsual Novel Manager

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#1 by micah686
2021-03-03 at 03:21
< report >I finished creating a visual novel manager that helps in keeping tack of you games, play progress and more.
I had a lot of help from Nikey646 in regards to VndbSharp library.
The main site is here: link, and the source is here: link.
If anyone has any suggestions, let me know, and I'll do my best to address it.
#2 by oysterkeeper
2021-03-04 at 02:00
< report >I like this a lot. Thanks for sharing it. Easy to use, looks clean, and I love being able to see all my VNs in one place. link
#3 by shukumeiteki1
2021-03-04 at 02:58
< report >I'm having an issue where the exe needs to run with admin privileges or it wont work, if I set the exe as admin via properties >compatibility then when I try to lunch the game with the manager it wont load, if I disable that from the exe, then program will load the game normally but it crashes since I need those privileges to run it.
Any way to fix this?
Other than that it works great, really amazing software!

EDIT: I just tried something extremely obvious and it fixes it (duh), running the program with admin priv let's you run other software with admin priv.. go figure..., so ignore my dumb issue.Last modified on 2021-03-04 at 04:56
#4 by kiru
2021-03-04 at 07:57
< report >Yes, to launch something with admin rights, a program needs that itself.

That said, make sure you really need that, as giving things admin rights is a bad idea in most cases. Install old games that save to the same folder outside of the protected program files folder. This is the number one reason why people might give things admin rights that don't need it.

Think of admin rights like a key to your house. Make sure you can trust who you give that.
#5 by shukumeiteki1
2021-03-05 at 05:02
< report >#4
I know, this is an old game that works perfectly fine under xp and 7 but on 10 for some reason it will give errors on loading certain parts of the script of the game if you dont run it with admin rights ( StarTRain ), usually I use a virtual machine to run old games but this is an exception.
#6 by ffthewinner
2021-03-05 at 12:38
< report >Can you add an option for it to scan a folder/a disk that the user specifies for VNs? maybe using the VNDB database as reference? I have hundreds of VNs, so adding them manually one at a time would take me way too much time. Having such an automated option would help a lot.Last modified on 2021-03-05 at 12:49
#7 by anonymous
2021-03-06 at 17:47
< report >The UI looks pretty bad to be honest, lots of wasted space and the like.
#8 by micah686
2021-03-06 at 23:11
< report >Well, how would you lay it out?
#9 by shukumeiteki1
2021-03-07 at 00:33
< report >You don't get it, the point is to crap on others work not to try to improve them.Last modified on 2021-03-07 at 00:33
#10 by anonymous
2021-03-07 at 11:33
< report >@8: I would start by offering alternatives to the colour, something more pleasing to the eyes, like the colour the windows on your OS have. The games are displayed as those large pictures + name + option menu which is a waste of space, especially if one owns more than just a few VNs. Having something like a list view with some additional options would be good. Why do settings pop up in the top left for no reason while "adding a game" pops up in the middle which makes a lot more sense? Creating new categories doesn't work because all categories "already exist" (not that it makes much sense creating categories in the options of a VN anyway - one would expect to create a category on the very left where they would then be listed). In the VN overview, why is the VN picture + title etc on the right side? Considering we read left to right, the left side would make a lot more sense. The layout is also messy. Just doing it like it's on VNDB/AniDB makes a lot of sense. Tags should be toggable. Different releases might be useful but probably harder to implement? The relations bug out when you switch to characters or screenshots and back. The screenshots are stretched. The program never remember that I want it maximized. The program crashes when I exit a VN. I can't add a VN without being forced to add a path (basically all VNs I own are physical and they go in the hundreds, so adding them without adding a path (which can always be done later) would make a lot of sense). The program takes a surprising amount of resources for how little it does.

@9: Says the person with the spam post. Also, reflection is (or should be at least) a thing.
#11 by micah686
2021-03-07 at 20:00
< report >1) For the colors, what would you recommend, in terms of OS colors? I did try it with light colors, but it looked really jarring that way
2)So, you would like a list view of all of the games available, instead of the grid view?
3)What do you mean, creating new categories doesn't work? The only category that you can't create is "All", because that is the default that has all games.
4)I thought it would be good to break up some of the information. I can move things around if need be.
5)What do you mean by toggleable tags?
6)I decided against releases, staff, and a bunch of other data, as I didn't want to overload the user with information. This isn't meant to be a local vndb copy.
7)Ah, thanks for letting me know about the relations issue. It would have been more helpful if you created an issue on the github page.
8)I'll see if I can fix the screenshots.
9)I'll see if I can fix the maximized state issue.
10)Could you give me more information about what vn/exe file is causing a crash? Please open an issue on the github, so I can try to find the issue.
11)The program is mostly meant to be a launcher. But, if you want to add games that aren't installed, you can point it to a random exe file, and then modify the path later.
12)I know that it's not the most performant right now, but I'll try to improve that later.
13)For reflections, do you want them on the game cards? Or what do you want with reflections?

Seriously, for these complaints, open an issue on github. I'm more likely to respond to questions/suggestions/criticism there.
#12 by lordkain1
2021-03-07 at 23:01
< report >Welcome to publishing anything on the internet. People will come in tell you its crap and make you wonder why you bothered. Though hats of to lucumo for actually providing constructive feedback when prompted. I have no issues with the GUI so far.

When you add a game to the list would it be possible for the path to be a non-mandatory field. Might be nice to be able to maintain your collection in the programme without having to have it installed. Thinking along this line perhaps an advance feature would be able to point it at your vndb list and it automatically add those games to your collection. You could then go into them to specify a path if they are installed.

I'm going to play with it more, but awesome work, you've clearly put a lot of thought into it.
#13 by micah686
2021-03-07 at 23:06
< report >I'm still trying to think of a clean way for users to add multiple games at once, without causing any issues elsewhere in the program. I just need to make sure I don't break anything when I do that.
#14 by anonymous
2021-03-08 at 09:49
< report >@11:
1.) For me, dark colours are straining on the eyes, so I go with classic Windows colours and a lot of programs adopt that automatically (like my browser for instance). I'm a non-technical person, so no clue how they get that working.
2.) Yes, absolutely. Like I mentioned in another point, when the VNs you own go into the hundreds, having a better overview is vital (not to mention not wasting space should be an important principle in general).
Example of a decent list view with more information (also doubles as an example for colours): link
3.) Hm, now I can create categories but it didn't work before. Every time I wanted to create one, no matter what I wrote, it would say that it "already exists".
4.) That would be helpful. Layouts have been tinkered with a lot, so websites like AniDB have years of experience with that matter (though, it maybe also depends on the theme one uses) and it's also why it works well (as opposed to other websites that cater to mobile-users and such...).
5.) Basically make the tags show up or hide them completely. Even with spoilers completely disabled, tags like "only virgin heroines", "bad endings", "late sexual content" etc etc spoil the VN in some way. Personally, I only need genre tags and something like that can be achieved with categories that you can create. Additionally, for characters, "engages in (sexual)" and "subject of (sexual)" shows up, even with spoilers disabled.
And speaking of characters, keeping it separated/ordered like main protagonist, main characters and side characters makes sense. Didn't have any VN with those information added yesterday but I saw it today.
6.) Well, it's a point that is generally discussed here even. Playing some 90s VN and then playing some remaster with other graphics etc but which are listed under the same VN is pretty different. As such, it would make sense to have separate entries. But like my question mark showed, it might be too difficult to implement properly.
There is also the issue that despite having no full releases, the languages of all are still displayed below the VN picture + some information. So there is a flag for some release which is just partial...or the flags are ordered alphabetically which is...not ideal since what would matter more is the original language of the VN (which is often Japanese). (Not to mention, I don't care at all about other languages other than the original.)
7.) Sorry, I'm not really interested in creating an account on that Microsoft website (although I may have had one previously?). And like I said, I'm a non-technical user, so no clue how it works there anyway. I don't mind giving feedback on a forum like this or on IRC.
10.) Actually...every single one that I've tried? (Well, it's only been three so far but still...) So it seems to be a general issue if anything.
11.) Yeah, that's what I did. But yeah, I'm not the only one interested in that apparently, seeing what lordkain1 wrote.
13.) Haha, it was meant as "self-reflection" and more of a general point that I wrote to another user (see more below).

/edit: What I didn't mention yesterday. I do like the fact that you used the word "program" instead of "app".

@12: Hey, I didn't say it's crap at least. But, there are reasons why I do it the way I did it. For one, the thing you mentioned also goes the other way. I've had it more than enough times that I give constructive feedback in my first post and then I get replies like "people always complain", "ok" or simply nothing. Considering that a lot of people don't actually want feedback and just a pat on the back, I stopped bothering and wasting my time. So now, I do write something short and more general at first. That has three advantages: 1. I don't waste time writing a proper post, 2. If the author is interested, he can always ask for more specifics (like micah686 did), 3. The author can actually work even with what little I provided by reflecting on things himself. After all, when you create anything at all, a constant process of reflecting on what you have done and then refining it to the point where it becomes polished is how it typically should be.
And yeah, the internet has become a lot more negative in general, but that applies to all sides. In the end though, creators definitely have it a lot harder than it used to be.Last modified on 2021-03-08 at 09:53
#15 by micah686
2021-03-09 at 01:22
< report >1) While I can edit the color scheme to a white based one, some colors on my controls would have to be changed to match it, so that's somewhat low priority.
5) For tags, I have to go by what the VNDB API gives me for spoilers. And as for the sexual tags, those are controlled by the maximum sexual level, NOT spoiler level.
10) Could you try the latest release (1.0.6), and see if it still happens? I removed the code that causes it to crash if it can't cleanly exit the game processes.
#16 by mspy
2021-03-09 at 09:04
< report >It’s about time someone created a tool like this!

Picking up on what #6 said, is it possible to direct the app to perform a scan of a folder where we have our games, even if they are not installed on our computer? Ideally it would pick up the games .EXE automatically it finds on said scan and add them to the app but also (and this part I don’t know if it is possible without having a database with file hashes to check against) it would pick up the .ISO (or other similar format) that we have the games at. I think the scan could also be made to be somewhat ‘intelligent’ and pick up the folders/filenames it finds during a scan and take that information to add games. At the very least I would expect a feature to import/export the games we have on VNDB list/wishlist. If anything allow to add games just by entering the VNDB ID/Name without the need to point to the game .EXE just for managing purposes.

Also I don’t know if VNDB would be OK with this but AniDB have many of such tools like this one (for anime that is) for quite some time, and one of the things that I like is that you are able to kinda download the entire of AniDB database and browser shows you don't have and whatnot offline, this to say that if Visual Novel Manager would do the same it would be great thing to have a ‘missing games’ tab of sorts with all the games.
#17 by anonymous
2021-03-09 at 09:38
< report >@15:
1.) And it's not possible for it to match your OS settings automatically, like how it's done in other programs?
5.) It still spoils it though. And it obviously is an issue on VNDB too, seeing stuff like "marriage ending", "rape" etc which I don't want to know. That's why a toggle to hide tags completely would be appreciated.
10.) No crashes anymore in that version. That doesn't mean it works though. When I exit the VN, I have to manually click on the "stop" button but playtime is not taken, same with "last played" (by the way, wouldn't playtime need to be something like "none" instead of "never"?).
#18 by micah686
2021-03-10 at 01:50
< report >1) I should be able to, it's just having to adjust colors so they don't clash/become invisible
2)I'll at least think about it.
10) I'm aware of the issue, after looking into it some more. A bit of my code seems to be reliant on .Net framework (vs .net core), and I'm guessing that is going to cause an issue. You can try installing Net framework 4.7. However, I don't think that will be a quick fix, since I have to find an alternate method.
#19 by dataerror
2021-03-14 at 21:20
< report >First of all, I deeply appreciate you doing this work (and also open-sourcing it!). This has the potential to be an incredibly useful tool, and the panel and detail views both look really clean.

In addition to the "list" view suggestion (to see major tags like "length" at a glance), one feature that I'd love to see is the ability to set a custom title for an entry.

Right now, if I link something to VNDB to import all its metadata, the VN's title is set as the "master" title on VNDB - usually the romanized version of the title's Japanese name - and cannot be changed. It would be very helpful to me if, like a custom icon, I could set a custom "display name". As an example, I'm most familiar with the localized titles of most VNs, so I'd like them to appear in my personal library under those localized titles.

Thanks again for working on this and keeping the suggestion box open!Last modified on 2021-03-14 at 21:48
#20 by micah686
2021-03-15 at 04:39
< report >DataError, I added issue Issue 45 to track this issue. Should the custom name only show up on the main card view, or on the Info view as well?

Also, what did you mean by: "to see major tags like "length" at a glance"?
#21 by dataerror
2021-03-16 at 00:48
< report >Cool beans - glad to see it was a useful suggestion! Hopefully the custom title would show up in both places, but the main card view seems by far the more useful one.

By "major tags", I was referring to that a view like that given as an example in #14 (i.e. this one) would presumably have columns displaying some of the top-level metadata from the info view, such as those shown on the main-right panel
#22 by adamstan
2021-03-16 at 10:51
< report >If I could have an request/suggestion for the next update, I'd like the option to change the format of playtime counter, to get rid of "days" unit, so even after crossing 24hrs, it would still display just hours and minutes - because for me main function of this (very nice) program is to track playtime of non-Steam VNs.Last modified on 2021-03-16 at 10:58

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