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qberty

Visual Novel Engine on Steam!

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Hey there! To celebrate my Visual Novel Engine making it to Steam (http://store.steampowered.com/app/665040/Visual_Novel_Engine) I will be hosting a visual novel creation competition.

Visual Novel Engine is an app designed to help anyone create their own visual novel for free without any programming skills.

oo.png

The rules are pretty simple, help the development of Visual Novel Engine by creating and submitting a visual novel using the engine itself. The winners will be able to put up their entire visual novel as DLC on Steam (free or paid). The Visual Novel Engine is in Early Access, so i'm also looking for testers that can help improve it.

Thanks for reading.

Edited by qberty

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Maybe I am not excited about this because I am sick and tired of Steam trying to take over the market for VNs in the west. In fact I am probably one of the few people who genuinely doesn't like and refuses to use Steam. But Renpy is already a free Visual Novel engine that hardly requires any programming knowledge. What is the point of this? Other than Steam trying to find a way to eventually capitalize off of this down the line.

Renpy already has accomplished almost everything that this engine advertises. 

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12 hours ago, Zalor said:

Maybe I am not excited about this because I am sick and tired of Steam trying to take over the market for VNs in the west. In fact I am probably one of the few people who genuinely doesn't like and refuses to use Steam. But Renpy is already a free Visual Novel engine that hardly requires any programming knowledge. What is the point of this? Other than Steam trying to find a way to eventually capitalize off of this down the line.

Renpy already has accomplished almost everything that this engine advertises. 

This entire statement is incorrect.

Your hatred for Steam doesn't really make sense. You're basing your assumptions as if "Steam" or "Valve" want to take over the market. If you watch some of the Valve staff interviews you'll realize that they only just recently started correlating a growth in visual novels on the platform. Also, Steam itself has nothing to do with developers choosing to put their visual novels on Steam. If you don't use Steam, you'll need a better reason than just "they're trying to make more money". Since that's every company ever. I seriously don't get your delusion in thinking that Steam (a digital media delivery platform) is somehow bad for VN's in the west. It's a distribution platform. Not a publisher. Also, my engine is free. How is steam supposed to capitalize on a legally bound free application? They can take their share of profits from any paid title and that's more than fair considering the exposure Steam provides.

Anyway, if you know what Ren'Py is which i'm assuming you don't based on what you just said, you'd realize it's very old, not cross compatible and not translation friendly. Plus there's no central place to catalog AND PLAY Ren'Py made projects directly without more manual work. Ren'Py is literally an engine that requires programming knowledge. It's in the name of it. "Python" is the language you need to know if you want to do anything good with Ren'Py.

My visual novel engine requires no prerequisite language. Just a simple drag and drop tagging system. It can do everything Ren'Py can plus it has a tonne more features that make it easier for developers to create, and easier for readers to play.

Also yay! Trending on Steam:

fm.png

Edited by qberty

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1 hour ago, qberty said:

Anyway, if you know what Ren'Py is which i'm assuming you don't, you'd realize it's very old, not cross compatible and not translation friendly. Plus there's no central place to catalog AND PLAY Ren'Py made projects directly without more manual work. Ren'Py is literally an engine that requires programming knowledge. It's in the name of it. "Python" is the language you need to know if you want to do anything good with Ren'Py.

This is what makes this engine so attractive. I doubt it will be as flexible as Ren'py, though (allowing creators to insert gameplay elements, for example.) The flexibility Ren'py offers is what makes Ren'py so attractive.

So is this like a better version of TyrannoBuilder?

9 hours ago, Zalor said:

Maybe I am not excited about this because I am sick and tired of Steam trying to take over the market for VNs in the west.

Why would Steam want to take over such a niche market that has such a dubious future? It makes very little sense. In fact you have it the wrong way round, visual novel publishers and creators are hopping on the Steam giant in a desperate hope to carve out some sort of financially viable future for the industry.

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13 minutes ago, Darklord Rooke said:

This is what makes this engine so attractive. I doubt it will be as flexible as Ren'py, though (allowing creators to insert gameplay elements, for example.) The flexibility Ren'py offers is what makes Ren'py so attractive.

So is this like a better version of TyrannoBuilder?

 
 

 

The reason the engine is attractive is that it appeals to those that already know Python. Previously, everyone who wanted to use it would have to learn Python as opposed to any other language to make their visual novel. 

The flexibility is also a curse as that's the main reason why Ren'Py compatibility breaks with every major version. I've yet to see a Ren'Py visual novel that isn't just a simple visual novel that didn't utilise the majority of the features that Ren'Py offers. Even TyrannoBuilder is too buggy and limited.

What makes my engine more attractive, is that it's rebuilt from scratch. It's released with all the features a visual novel writer needs, plus it being so young the community can help shape it to contain as many features as needed. The common thing about visual novel makers/engines that exist is that they have a scope of features and that's it, while on the other hand, i'm constantly adding features to my engine to actually make it easier for everyone to make their own novels and read them. Among other things, my engine will always be backwards compatible with old versions of itself so a creator need not worry about making a VN with one version and still being compatible with newer versions.

There's also an in-built update system that allows updating changes and fixing bugs to VN's extremely easy. I look at all the currently existing engines and just want to improve on them.

 

Quote

Why would Steam want to take over such a niche market that has such a dubious future? It makes very little sense. In fact you have it the wrong way round, visual novel publishers and creators are hopping on the Steam giant in a desperate hope to carve out some sort of financially viable future for the industry.

The crazy thing is, why would anyone want to fight Visual Novel exposure and financing? If Visual Novels don't make money, you'll stop seeing sponsored/higher quality VN's almost immediately. I don't see any other viable alternatives to Steam.

Edited by qberty

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12 hours ago, Zalor said:

Maybe I am not excited about this because I am sick and tired of Steam trying to take over the market for VNs in the west. In fact I am probably one of the few people who genuinely doesn't like and refuses to use Steam. But Renpy is already a free Visual Novel engine that hardly requires any programming knowledge. What is the point of this? Other than Steam trying to find a way to eventually capitalize off of this down the line.

Renpy already has accomplished almost everything that this engine advertises. 

It's sorta been said a lot, but this is so ignorant it hurts. You're acting like Valve is going out of their way to find VN's and put them on Steam exclusively, but they don't. They've never done that with any kind of game besides Valve developed ones, frankly. VN's are getting on Steam because it's the most widely used distribution platform for PC games, so many developers want to put their games on Steam so they have the higher chance of getting a profit. Not only that, but it makes a lot of aspects of marketing and selling games easier since you can use its built in blog functionality and use its built in forums which get generated for every game. While it's better to use other platforms for these functions, it doesn't change that Steam is very very appealing to a lot of companies and developers. You're pretty much hating on Steam purely because people want to use it.

On top of that, while Ren'py is nice and powerful and well documented, speaking from personal experience working on it, you actually do need to know a bit of programming to really take advantage of it. If you don't wanna change the UI at all or add any extra features, then sure, you don't technically need to program at all beyond putting in your script with some basic functions. But if you want to do anything more than that, you not only have to know how to understand and read the structure and syntax of Ren'Py's scripting, you also have to learn Python to really add more to it. It took me a long time to understand how the screens work in the engine and to get them to do what I wanted.

An engine like this or TyranoBuilder (when it works anyway) is much better for people that want to be able to customize and have some deeper control on their visual novel without needing to do a lot of code to make it work. In other cases, it would also just make development time faster even for people who already know how to code since having all the things they'd want to do already built in or given an easy interface (like Tyrano's drag and drop GUI and sprite placement). I like Ren'py a lot and a lot of my favorite VN's were made in it, but there's absolutely a place for engines that can make the process of creating VN's easier.

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18 hours ago, qberty said:

Hey there! To celebrate my Visual Novel Engine making it to Steam (http://store.steampowered.com/app/665040/Visual_Novel_Engine) I will be hosting a visual novel creation competition.

Visual Novel Engine is an app designed to help anyone create their own visual novel for free without any programming skills.

oo.png

The rules are pretty simple, help the development of Visual Novel Engine by creating and submitting a visual novel using the engine itself. The winners will be able to put up their entire visual novel as DLC on Steam (free or paid). The Visual Novel Engine is in Early Access, so i'm also looking for testers that can help improve it.

Thanks for reading.

It's pretty barebones at the moment, but I like what you're going for! I'll have to play around with it more, but if I had to request anything at the moment it'd be some way to customize the UI more (if it's there I can't seem to find it). Some tutorials or example code would help too.

Edited by Velvetique

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1 hour ago, Velvetique said:

It's pretty barebones at the moment, but I like what you're going for! I'll have to play around with it more, but if I had to request anything at the moment it'd be some way to customize the UI more (if it's there I can't seem to find it). Some tutorials or example code would help too.

Hey!

It is in-fact barebones in terms of the interface but there's a lot under the hood. UI customizations are definitely being worked on (I'm working on another Steam title at the same time). The best example code you can get is by downloading "The World Doesn't Know" demo content. It will automatically show up in the Create section and let you edit it and see what does what. If you click the question mark when making a VN, all the supported tags are there with full explanations and usages.

Edited by qberty

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32 minutes ago, qberty said:

Hey!

It is in-fact barebones in terms of the interface but there's a lot under the hood. UI customizations are definitely being worked on (I'm working on another Steam title at the same time). The best example code you can get is by downloading "The World Doesn't Know" demo content. It will automatically show up in the Create section and let you edit it and see what does what. If you click the question mark when making a VN, all the supported tags are there with full explanations and usages.

I figured! I can tell you put a lot of work into this. I'll look forward to any updates you put out and i'll probably be getting the export DLC soon, I'm really interested in playing around with this!

I have that downloaded but it doesn't seem to want to appear in my create page. I can play it fine but I can't look at it in the creation screen.

Some things I also noticed while playing around, I can sometimes glitch out the menu by clicking  on the menu options when the loading symbol is on screen at startup. It ends up reloading the menu options and leaving them on the screen permanently. I also can't seem to exit to the main menu from the create page, I have to go into a project and press escape to get back to the main menu it seems. Not a major issue but it's a bit clunky with that.

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@qberty Sorry, I believe my grudge for Steam blinded me a bit, and I overlooked some important things in your opening post. Furthermore, and this is no excuse just an explanation, I wasn't exactly sober when I made that post. 

I appreciate the work you are doing to make an intuitive and fully user friendly Visual Novel development engine. I initially did not realize that this was your own project, and I thought this was a project that Steam was working on and that you were merely advertising it here on their behalf. But now that I understand that this is your own hardwork, I would like to apologize for my initial rudeness and misunderstanding. Knowing that this engine is being developed by a visual novel fan who obviously has passion in this medium is something that I can have faith in. I made the initial misunderstanding of thinking that this was something Steam as a corporation was developing. I apologize for my drunken misunderstanding. I always appreciate and support projects done by true fans of this medium. But I hate it when corporations take something that people are passionate about, and just try to just profit off of it (which is what I initially thought was happening). 

Thanks for what you are doing. And I hope that you can forgive me for my idiotic first post.   

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5 hours ago, Velvetique said:

I figured! I can tell you put a lot of work into this. I'll look forward to any updates you put out and i'll probably be getting the export DLC soon, I'm really interested in playing around with this!

I have that downloaded but it doesn't seem to want to appear in my create page. I can play it fine but I can't look at it in the creation screen.

Some things I also noticed while playing around, I can sometimes glitch out the menu by clicking  on the menu options when the loading symbol is on screen at startup. It ends up reloading the menu options and leaving them on the screen permanently. I also can't seem to exit to the main menu from the create page, I have to go into a project and press escape to get back to the main menu it seems. Not a major issue but it's a bit clunky with that.

Absolutely! If you have an Android device you should try VNE for android. It's the same thing, but on the go! :)

Also, if you go into the VNE folder that the app creates in your documents folder, you'll see two folders. A created one and a novels one. Inside them, are the list of visual novels for each category. You can copy any of the visual novels you download into your created folder and edit them just the same. It's pretty fun seeing how people make their visual novels.

Also yes, the menu thing was done on purpose, because the projects section is being worked on. I want there to be an option before going straight to editing to let you have a choice to edit the novel itself, or edit the interface (buttons, menus etc..)

2 hours ago, Zalor said:

@qberty Sorry, I believe my grudge for Steam blinded me a bit, and I overlooked some important things in your opening post. Furthermore, and this is no excuse just an explanation, I wasn't exactly sober when I made that post. 

I appreciate the work you are doing to make an intuitive and fully user friendly Visual Novel development engine. I initially did not realize that this was your own project, and I thought this was a project that Steam was working on and that you were merely advertising it here on their behalf. But now that I understand that this is your own hardwork, I would like to apologize for my initial rudeness and misunderstanding. Knowing that this engine is being developed by a visual novel fan who obviously has passion in this medium is something that I can have faith in. I made the initial misunderstanding of thinking that this was something Steam as a corporation was developing. I apologize for my drunken misunderstanding. I always appreciate and support projects done by true fans of this medium. But I hate it when corporations take something that people are passionate about, and just try to just profit off of it (which is what I initially thought was happening). 

Thanks for what you are doing. And I hope that you can forgive me for my idiotic first post.   

No worries bro. Sobering up and looking at what you did is a sucky feeling I can relate to as well. To be honest, I see where you're coming from in terms of a corporation developing something like this. I figured that's why we haven't seen a truly professional visual novel creator yet.

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13 hours ago, qberty said:

Absolutely! If you have an Android device you should try VNE for android. It's the same thing, but on the go! :)

Also, if you go into the VNE folder that the app creates in your documents folder, you'll see two folders. A created one and a novels one. Inside them, are the list of visual novels for each category. You can copy any of the visual novels you download into your created folder and edit them just the same. It's pretty fun seeing how people make their visual novels.

Also yes, the menu thing was done on purpose, because the projects section is being worked on. I want there to be an option before going straight to editing to let you have a choice to edit the novel itself, or edit the interface (buttons, menus etc..)

No worries bro. Sobering up and looking at what you did is a sucky feeling I can relate to as well. To be honest, I see where you're coming from in terms of a corporation developing something like this. I figured that's why we haven't seen a truly professional visual novel creator yet.

Ahh okay! I'll try that then when I get the chance, thank you being so helpful! I look forward to you adding more to the engine and I look forward to playing around with it. Where can we submit our entries into your contest, by the way? Just through the sharing features?
 

 

16 hours ago, Zalor said:

@qberty Sorry, I believe my grudge for Steam blinded me a bit, and I overlooked some important things in your opening post. Furthermore, and this is no excuse just an explanation, I wasn't exactly sober when I made that post. 

I appreciate the work you are doing to make an intuitive and fully user friendly Visual Novel development engine. I initially did not realize that this was your own project, and I thought this was a project that Steam was working on and that you were merely advertising it here on their behalf. But now that I understand that this is your own hardwork, I would like to apologize for my initial rudeness and misunderstanding. Knowing that this engine is being developed by a visual novel fan who obviously has passion in this medium is something that I can have faith in. I made the initial misunderstanding of thinking that this was something Steam as a corporation was developing. I apologize for my drunken misunderstanding. I always appreciate and support projects done by true fans of this medium. But I hate it when corporations take something that people are passionate about, and just try to just profit off of it (which is what I initially thought was happening). 

Thanks for what you are doing. And I hope that you can forgive me for my idiotic first post.   

I'm glad you were able to admit when you were off base at least. Honestly though even if a corporation developed one of these kinds of tools, I don't really see the problem in that. Most of the most commonly used game engines for independent developers are made by larger corporations, like Unity or Unreal Engine. It hardly would become a monopoly on development tools for the genre, since people have highly subjective workflows that different engines accommodate for. Plus if it had shitty policies people more than likely would avoid it. Creating an engine doesn't really steal the genre away from the people most passionate about it, even if they charge for it. It's good to have options, and sometimes a properly funded and developed piece of software from a company is what you want, since it can get more polish more easily. Assuming it's developed well, anyway. 

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7 hours ago, Velvetique said:

Ahh okay! I'll try that then when I get the chance, thank you being so helpful! I look forward to you adding more to the engine and I look forward to playing around with it. Where can we submit our entries into your contest, by the way? Just through the sharing features?

1

Actually, you can share you visual novel, and link to the name of it on Steams Discussion forum for the engine here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/665040/discussions/

That way I can compile a list of all entries, and everyone can vote on the winners! :) If you have an idea or suggestion for a feature, don't hesitate to make a thread on the steam forum about it so I can take a look and we can figure out a good way to implement that feature without bothering all the other features.

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I presume Om3ga VNE is just an improved WYSIWYG enviroment for creating simple (as in, classic) visual novels with literally little to no programming knowledge required, contrary to Ren'Py which does require both at least the basic knowledge of Python and it's own syntax language. Sadly, this is also where the limitations kick in, as you're not really in control over your own program and the engine will do everything for you, which instantly reduces the ammount of possibilities available to game creators.

From a technical perspective, it's complete barebones, with a simplified syntax language and a parser, that gives you the control over a script. Ren'Py allows complete freedom over your project. I also don't like the idea of integrated sharing of games and overall oversimplification, but it's only my opinion as someone who's been acquainted with a variety of different engines for years and someone using Ren'Py on a regular basis.

That aside, I think it's a neat thing for newcomers, who'd like to get a gist on how vn's actually work (in terms of simple programming and algorithms), but it won't and really can't satisfy more advanced users, developers or people who seriously think about creating their own games. Might be a decent teaching tool, I'd say but there's nothing that couldn't be teached instantly by learning the basics of Python and Ren'Py and it's also a better investment.

Technically, Ren'Py competes with the latest KiriKiri/KAG and Unity, but there's a couple other, incredibly good engines available for both commercial and non-commercial use (like YU-RIS); the only drawback is that they're japanese and documentation is obviously in japanese as well and most of them is windows-based; the difference is they're often technically superior to what Unity or Ren'Py can offer as barebone engines but nothing can really match Unity's learning curve and ease of use, coupled with it's full cross-platform support nowadays.

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10 hours ago, Narcosis said:

I presume Om3ga VNE is just an improved WYSIWYG enviroment for creating simple (as in, classic) visual novels with literally little to no programming knowledge required, contrary to Ren'Py which does require both at least the basic knowledge of Python and it's own syntax language. Sadly, this is also where the limitations kick in, as you're not really in control over your own program and the engine will do everything for you, which instantly reduces the ammount of possibilities available to game creators.

From a technical perspective, it's complete barebones, with a simplified syntax language and a parser, that gives you the control over a script. Ren'Py allows complete freedom over your project. I also don't like the idea of integrated sharing of games and overall oversimplification, but it's only my opinion as someone who's been acquainted with a variety of different engines for years and someone using Ren'Py on a regular basis.

That aside, I think it's a neat thing for newcomers, who'd like to get a gist on how vn's actually work (in terms of simple programming and algorithms), but it won't and really can't satisfy more advanced users, developers or people who seriously think about creating their own games. Might be a decent teaching tool, I'd say but there's nothing that couldn't be teached instantly by learning the basics of Python and Ren'Py and it's also a better investment.

Technically, Ren'Py competes with the latest KiriKiri/KAG and Unity, but there's a couple other, incredibly good engines available for both commercial and non-commercial use (like YU-RIS); the only drawback is that they're japanese and documentation is obviously in japanese as well and most of them is windows-based; the difference is they're often technically superior to what Unity or Ren'Py can offer as barebone engines but nothing can really match Unity's learning curve and ease of use, coupled with it's full cross-platform support nowadays.

This is incorrect.

This isn't just a parser. It's a complete improvement on what Ren'Py offers. If you try to use it, you'll see what I mean. There's no real learning curve to this tagging system, and it's full fledged engine. The point of the Early Access is to get a direction of how users/creators want to control things. This isn't like WYSIWYG. The extreme limitations of Ren'Py are pretty obvious and that's why this exists in the first place, to completely improve it.

Have you ever used Unity? I use it quite often for freelanced projects and it is not comparable to Ren'Py at all. Ren'Py is like 5% of what Unity is. There's literally no competition and definitely not a 1:1 ratio in the slightest degree. I know everyone wants to stick Ren'Py on the top of the temple, but to be honest, almost every single commercial Visual Novel that has a marketing budget and translation staff, will *never* use Ren'Py. There's a lot of reasons for it including how the licensing and git-versioning works that's so lax.

The reason VN's are STILL niche and are only recently starting to make small bombs here and there in every scene is that there's no viable commercial engine that's cheap enough for a corp. + open enough for VN's. The point is, if you're going to make a commercial VN, you'll make it in Unity over Ren'Py. That's just the way it is. No reason to force limitations when you can just have none. I think what you're missing is the fact that engine makers can already create what exists. Just copy the code. The whole point of this is to do MORE than what exists. To make things easier for developers and make readers happier.

Also, If you think Unity can be compared to YU-RIS or KAG, you need to check out what Unity is actually capable of in the GPU space. No existing VN engine is more capable than Unity at the moment in terms of features, let alone memory handling.

My goal is to bridge this gap of visual novel creators who don't want to learn C# or Python but still want to make a fully customized visual novel game that they can sell or give out. Currently, my engine is barebones in it's interface because I'm still gauging and gathering metrics on how users create novels in the engine itself. That's how you create a proper UX experience (which certainly no visual novel creator has, with the exception of the horribly buggy tyranno). If you can tell me a visual novel engine that supports Vulkan and Vulkan mobile than you've found a contender to Unity or this engine.

Edited by qberty

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