Using Ren'Py, and frustrations... which might be possible to fix?

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Errilhl
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Using Ren'Py, and frustrations... which might be possible to fix?

#1 Post by Errilhl » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:29 pm

After using Ren'Py for about one-two weeks, I've found it to be fairly advanced, lacking documentation (or function examples in the documentation that does exist), and... for some reason overly complicated in some aspects.

Here's a few suggestions (based on, I admit, a fairly limited knowledge of Python (I'm getting better, though)):
  1. Get rid of the antiquated style / tex-properties system, introduce some kind of markup instead. Trigger on/off with a setting in config.rpy.
    This would make it possible (depending on the markup language) to modify, style and create specific text/container types within text itself, instead of having to trawl through screen-containers etc. Nothing wrong with defining "global" (for the specific screen) looks/style, of course, but when you want to be very specific about a very specific part of text, it gets a bit more troublesome.
  2. Why doesn't Ren'py (regardless of where you are, either menus, game, whatever) respect the same content modifiers across the board? Example: in the dialogue text (pretty much in every in-game text, it seems), one can use {i} and {b} for italics and bold respectively. This, however, is not possible in for instance the gui.about text (it fails with an error), or similar pages. I've still not found a way to do those specific things for those pages, following the recommendations in the comments in the files, or online docs.
  3. To expand a bit on the previous point: I've been trying to figure out a way to create a simple list (ordered or unordered) in a changelog-page I've based off of the about-page. I have yet not found anything simple to do this. What should basically be the same as creating a list in this edit-box, using bbcode, markup, or HTML, simply does not work when defining the content via options.rpy (where the gui.about and now gui.changelog is located)
  4. I do understand that documentation is hard, and that it can be very tiresome to produce said documentation. However, I feel that the renpy-engine should get a better, more updated, with better examples, documentation.
  5. Allowing for javascript implemented in the engine - I'm not entirely sure about this one, but running js through Python is not a problem, AFAIK, and would probably make quite a bit of animation, manipulation etc. very simple to do, within the engine itself
Just my two cents
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Re: Using Ren'Py, and frustrations... which might be possible to fix?

#2 Post by Human Bolt Diary » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:15 pm

I can try to address these points, but to be honest this doesn't seem like very constructive criticism at the moment.

1. What do you mean by markup, specifically? Is there a specific syntax you're looking for? What would you want to see implemented? What does the before and after look like?
2. Can you provide functioning examples of what's not working? You may have found a bug, you may have a feature request, or you might just be doing something wrong.
3. Why not create a topic with an example of what you're doing at the moment and an explanation of what you're trying to accomplish? I'm sure you'll find some help.
4. You're absolutely right that the documentation could be better. Are you offering to help? Every little bit counts.
5. I don't understand what you're asking for, so you need to elaborate. JavaScript only handles image manipulation and animation when it's used in a web browser. There's a JavaScript interpreter in browsers which allows you to manipulate the DOM. Even if you executed JavaScript from a Python script, it's not going to do anything special for you. Ren'Py doesn't run in a web browser, and no amount of JavaScript will change that. (Although possibly a decent amount of WebAssembly could) There's no feature of JavaScript that makes animation easier, but I can assure you that Ren'Py ATL does.

I can understand feeling frustrated, but take into account that there's always a learning curve when using a new language and set of tools. Ren'Py is huge and there's a lot of things you can do with it. Ren'Py isn't JavaScript and any knowledge you have about how to create a CSS animation won't help you much. It just can't be a seamless transition, and that's okay. Most of what you've described don't seem like problems to fix; they're opportunities for you to learn.

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Re: Using Ren'Py, and frustrations... which might be possible to fix?

#3 Post by PyTom » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:35 pm

Re: #2.

This has been working for me. I can write:

define gui.about = _("Hello {b}World{/b}")

and it works.
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Re: Using Ren'Py, and frustrations... which might be possible to fix?

#4 Post by Errilhl » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:15 am

Okay, that is just... weird. I tried that (regarding #2) again today, and... it works. Although I'm a 100% sure it crashed the game when loading the about-page last time I tried it. Special :D

Now, for a second question... If I would like to implement a list in the gui.about (or, a similar defined construct) - is that possible? (Something akin to the <ul><li></li></ul> in html)

I might be thinking about things wrong, of course, that happens when one picks up something that doesn't do things the way you're used to, but regarding styling of text (especially), it seems that allowing for specific HTML and inline / stylesheet (more than what is possible with style statements today) would be easier (however, I might not have gotten the specifics of style completely down yet). It seems to me that the style method mostly works on whole blocks of text, and not on specific words or small parts of a sentence. But that might just be me.

As for the documentation - I would love to help, but currently I'm learning, and I probably won't be able to for at least a few months. As for making what's already there better, maybe an archiving of the old docs (the ones with the warnings) with a permanent redirect to the new docs would be better, because currently, it's often a bit confusing what is working and what is not (as an example, mm_root (for changing the main menu page) doesn't exist in the later releases, making a lot of "changing the main menu" content moot). It might be smart to do the same with content on the Lemmsoft forum, if possible, marking things that is using older versions "Legacy" or something.

Another thing that could improve the docs is a commenting system - something akin to the PHP-documentation, where functions and built-in content in PHP is documented, usually with examples (not always great examples, but hey), and then people can provide their own take on functionality and work-arounds directly at the source. Of course, this will need some moderation, which might not be possible without help, but it's an idea at least.
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Re: Using Ren'Py, and frustrations... which might be possible to fix?

#5 Post by PyTom » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:43 am

You should be able to implement the list yourself. For a numeric list, you can write out the numbers by hand, while for an unordered list, U+2022 is your friend:

• Item 1
• Item 2
• Item 3

This isn't using HTML, this is just using unicode - you can just copy what I have above into gui.about and it'll work.

I tried wiki docs a few years ago, and they didn't work. I have limited time, and moderating the comments is not something I enjoy spending time on, especially when the wiki turned out to be 95% spam and 5% content. (And that's not to say we didn't have good content, but we just had a ton and a half of spammers.)
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Re: Using Ren'Py, and frustrations... which might be possible to fix?

#6 Post by Errilhl » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:36 pm

I understand that - and yeah, I know about the unicode-character, I was just hoping there was a less... manual way of doing it :) Especially with adding styles to said content, but I can make do. Thanks for the help :)

I don't wanna sound ungrateful, mind - I like Renpy, it's a very good framework. I just tend to focus on what I think could be better, than what is actually already great :D
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