Blade Visual Novel Engine

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Alessio
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#16 Post by Alessio » Fri Jul 28, 2006 1:00 pm

PyTom wrote:lack of any sort of support for variables and condition testing in Blade is a fairly major omission.
Eh....? O_o How on earth is the logic supposed to work, then? (Rhetorical question.)

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#17 Post by PyTom » Fri Jul 28, 2006 1:18 pm

Looking at the blade command reference:

http://bladeengine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11

it seems like one can only represent game flow using "jump to a new file". Choices are implemented by jumping to a new file based on the choice that's been picked, and there's a @load command which loads a file.

This sort of vaguely reminds me of Esperknight's engine, but that may be based on an old release of it. And this doesn't use XML, but an ad-hoc language.

Blade games seem to be control-flow based, where your path through the game is represented by where you are in the script, and if two paths combine you lose information about which path the user took.

Many games are actually control-flow based... IIRC, most of mikey's work has been control-flow based, and MW was as well, save for one variable that controlled a small amount of flavor text in one of the endings.

Other games, like GSK, use variables to store information, and recombine branches on a regular basis. Blade couldn't be used to make a game like that.
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#18 Post by mikey » Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:08 pm

All three of the sample games work now. Check them out.

Me, I had a few graphics display problems, the cursor was flickering and losing transparency at times, and there was a white square that sometimes appeared. Other than that, the game-ish demo was fine if short (showing hpunch and vpunch), the two sample games effectively showed dissolve, move, menu and fadeout.

What was interesting was the option of tweaking text from within the game - you can choose to apply borders and shading, but also switch them off if you want to.

The menu system as such has a little quirk, it needs to be *closed* manually, which is a bit annoying, but it has a CAR beside the QUIT button. A car! I love this. The Japanese know good stuff. We'd have some stupid door as exit/quit :P

All in all, fine and functional. But the PDF with the commands looks really scary.
PyTom wrote:Other games, like GSK, use variables to store information, and recombine branches on a regular basis. Blade couldn't be used to make a game like that.

Well, in theory, if you'd calculate all possible options and then copy/pasted the needed bits... 8) But editing would be VERY annoying. ^_^

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#19 Post by RedSlash » Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:39 pm

The Blade command references seems pretty simple and straightforward to me. One command per line and probably works out for most VNs anyways. If I were more familiar about this engine, I would say its probably simpler than ren'py and more suited for the beginner. Ren'py tends to be a bit more programming like. You indent blocks, assign variables, jump to labels, for-loops, oo-like features, etc.. I think that non-programmers would grasp a language system like Blade's much better compared to ren'py. However, I can't really speak in this area since ren'py just made complete sense to me when I checked it out. We should find out what ppls experiences are migrating from one engine to ren'py.

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#20 Post by mikey » Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:39 am

Well, they are planning to add user-requested features, so it looks like this isn't a closed project. Which is good, it means that there might be more VNs this way.

For Ren'Py the special SCITE or what it it called, the notepad that highlights ren'py syntax is very useful. It makes the code look very clean and understandable, and I don't remember well, but it may even help with the indentation.
RedSlash wrote:We should find out what ppls experiences are migrating from one engine to ren'py.
My experiences - it's not easy, but I had a good reason, GR. I couldn't have possibly done it with my previous system. And when I was making my next game, I had this flowchart and I was afraid how I'd manage all the menus and things, but I had it all inserted in maybe less than an hour. I was really surprised, the game actually worked very soon. Of course, you can then spend endless time tweaking it and adding effects.

Still, the CD extra builder which we used for the early games was object-oriented, WYSIWYG. So you could easily check results and all... moving to something that uses text commands (be it ons, blade, renpy...) is really frustrating.

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#21 Post by PyTom » Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:42 am

mikey wrote:For Ren'Py the special SCITE or what it it called, the notepad that highlights ren'py syntax is very useful. It makes the code look very clean and understandable, and I don't remember well, but it may even help with the indentation.
It does help with the indentation, IIRC by indenting every line to the level of the line before it. It may also auto-indent after lines starting with a colon, I forget about that.
Still, the CD extra builder which we used for the early games was object-oriented, WYSIWYG. So you could easily check results and all... moving to something that uses text commands (be it ons, blade, renpy...) is really frustrating.
Well, you do know about the warp feature I added a while back, right?

GUI editing is a hard problem, especially for something like Ren'Py which tries to be a bit abstract about the whole thing. One feature I may consider adding sometime in the future is a way of editing/adding dialogue while Ren'Py is running, to make editing the script easier.
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#22 Post by mikey » Sat Jul 29, 2006 11:02 am

PyTom wrote:Well, you do know about the warp feature I added a while back, right?
Yes I do, I meant the time before it was added, I was already thinking about it a bit when making RT, but at that time I could do more effects and put objects on the screen (RT has many overlayed bitmaps and things)... and then I got used to it so I made K* and MS basically because I already knew how to work efficiently. But I suppose at the latest with MS (and parallel to that, MW) I started to see that it's really much easier than what we were doing.

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#23 Post by EsperKnighht » Mon Jul 31, 2006 8:26 am

You got that right about mine, about the jumping to a new file, personally I liked it since the scripts aren't huge but hey ;) Now I have condition testing which possible you could have who script portions skipped and works great for which way to go and images loading and yadda yadda. But I have to admit, Blade looks interesting and definitely close to NScripter or (O)NScripter.

EK

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#24 Post by Guest » Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:55 pm

Hi, I'm new here, came from animesuki forums :)

I like the straightforward line-by-line approach of the Blade Engine, since I've had more experience programming microchips (in assembly language) than computers in general (object-oriented, i.e. C) The line-by-line approach reminds me of the sequential method you input instructions into the registers.

But it definitely feels like Ren'py will be better in the long-run, since from the get-go it offers more features. Its just that I have to overcome the total blackout my brain experiences when looking at the code. It's been years since I've programmed in C++. I was too lazy to learn python and other languages on the web (regret it now).

However I'd have to thank Curious Factory for making the news for the Blade Engine. Without that news I would not have discovered renai archives, and more importantly, Ren'py. I was just totally unaware of it, even though I had played ALL of insani / haeleth's translations, and any visual novel I came across. I am more surprised at the number of Filipinos in these forums (2 or more is a lot imho), there seems to be something about renai-gamer Pinoys, that they tend to be hardcore anime fans too, and very fluent in English. I guess being politically close to U.S. and geographically close to Japan makes it a good candidate for the next OEL visual novel capital of the world---I'm kidding! :o

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#25 Post by DaFool » Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:34 pm

Sorry for double post...

I guess one has to be realistic...I was hoping to release the first-ever OEL Visual Novel using the Blade Engine, but then realized that using a particular engine is not really that special anyways...it's what you DO with that engine. So if it's the tried-and-true Ren'py, so be it :lol:

And it seems like a lot of OEL visual novels came out in 2005 totally under my radar...I hope I had not missed the boat, because I think the scene is about to FLOOD (thanks to the Blade Engine announcement and pimping by yours truly)

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#26 Post by PyTom » Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:50 pm

After a slow start to 2006, I'm starting to believe you're right. I'm currently on the project team of two games, and the size and quality of these games is incredible, compared to some of the others we worked on. Even the NaNoRenO results from this year, while fewer in number, seemed to be longer form.

I'm sort of kicking myself for not promoting Ren'Py more. Blade has gotten alot of attention, and even a panel at Otakon. Not bad for something with no third-party games.

One of these days I need to put together a white paper comparing Ren'Py, Blade, and ONscripter. I guess I'm disqualified from the Ren'Py wikipedia article.

Ren'Py's language is inspired less by programming languages, and more by the sort of scripts you see in movies. I wouldn't call Ren'Py particularly object-oriented... while one can use objects, I can't think of anytime it's required. In fact, Ren'Py programs aren't particularly structured... Djikstra is probably turning over in his grave.
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#27 Post by mikey » Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:50 pm

DaFool wrote: Without that news I would not have discovered renai archives, and more importantly, Ren'py. I was just totally unaware of it, even though I had played ALL of insani / haeleth's translations, and any visual novel I came across.
There is a link at Shii's translation list. http://shii.org/translate (down the document)
DaFool wrote:I guess one has to be realistic...I was hoping to release the first-ever OEL Visual Novel using the Blade Engine, but then realized that using a particular engine is not really that special anyways...it's what you DO with that engine. So if it's the tried-and-true Ren'py, so be it :lol:
Actually I agree, and even in the reversed sense. I think Blade is really not as powerful as Ren'Py, but if you are fast and efficient in it (or any other game-making program), it doesn't really matter that it can't do spacey effects and so on, all you really need is to display text, graphics, music and some choices. The rest is creativity. And to be honest, the most intriguing ideas come from people who have to work with limited options. 8)

And welcome! :wink:

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#28 Post by RedSlash » Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:33 pm

I'm sort of kicking myself for not promoting Ren'Py more. Blade has gotten alot of attention, and even a panel at Otakon. Not bad for something with no third-party games.
Well, I guess with commerical backing and $$$, one can achieve unlimited marketing power.

Maybe something ren'py can use is having a more professional image. Right now, its a powerful tool, but it sticks out as someone's hobbiest project. I'm not saying that it isn't a hobbiest project, which it is, but I think by tweaking the image, it may have a better appeal to people to serious consider using it for their projects.

I think simple things like designing a logo (which seems to have been started already), assigning a domain and designing a website specifically for ren'py could help.

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#29 Post by PyTom » Tue Aug 01, 2006 10:07 pm

I also think that Eileen probably is due for a makeover. I hate to say it, but people are right insofar as I am using art that is less professional then our community is capable of.

(Part of this is that I'd rather spend my limited time helping and growing the community, rather then on the crap required to make Ren'Py more professional.)

(And noone got my not-so-subtle wikipedia hint?)
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#30 Post by Alessio » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:07 am

PyTom wrote:(And noone got my not-so-subtle wikipedia hint?)
You mean you got banned for "vandalism"...?

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