Novelty alpha released!

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Sin
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Novelty alpha released!

#1 Post by Sin » Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:56 pm

Image

After a long time of teasing you with screenshots, the first version of my visual novel maker is now available for download and testing.

It's been a hectic week. Crunching bugs and writing documentation (so boring). Hopefully everything should work alright now. If you have any questions you can post them here or on the Novelty forums and I'll do my best to answer them. The same goes for bug reports, suggestions etc.

I will write more tutorials soon and probably make a few videos too, but right now I just want to sleep. xD

Download and info:
http://www.visualnovelty.com/

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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#2 Post by PyTom » Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:02 pm

Let me just be the first to congratulate you on Novelty's release.

(Also I moved this thread to the GMC, where hopefully more people will find it.)
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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#3 Post by yummy » Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:18 pm

Great Sin!
I'll just test it and report bugs if there are some.

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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#4 Post by sciencewarrior » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:10 pm

Wow, pretty slick, great work! The thread metaphor you created was a neat idea. I'm no fan of XML configuration files and think most non-technical users would prefer it if they were hidden behind a nice configurable treeview; I also think a "looser" scripting language like Ruby, Python or even JavaScript would work better, but for a first cut, it looks very polished.

That's it for now. When I get some time to actually make a few scenes I'll report back. :mrgreen:
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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#5 Post by Sin » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:53 pm

sciencewarrior wrote:I'm no fan of XML configuration files and think most non-technical users would prefer it if they were hidden behind a nice configurable treeview
I understand that hacking XML to make objects is daunting to some people and I will do my best to make the process easier down the road. These past couple of months I've been focused on getting this version out so I settled for only three importers (textures, audio, fonts) for now. The XML designer can be greatly improved too. I hope you can bare with it for now.

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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#6 Post by Mikan » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:55 am

http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/9455/wontrunqc4.jpg

I can't get it to run on my computer.
My OS is Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit. I have DirectX 10.

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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#7 Post by Mihel » Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:55 am

I can't get it to run on my computer. My computer runs Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.4, and... Oh wait.

Ah well. Back to text-only Ren'Py gamemaking.

Sure looks neat... T.T
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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#8 Post by Sin » Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:35 am

Mikan wrote:http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/9455/wontrunqc4.jpg

I can't get it to run on my computer.
My OS is Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit. I have DirectX 10.
Never heard about that error before. I googled and apparently it has to do with Vista. I run XP so it's hard for me to test this.

Try downloading and running this:
http://www.visualnovelty.com/files/vcredist_x86.exe
(Visual studio c++ 2005 redistributable)

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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#9 Post by Mikan » Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:52 am

Sin wrote:
Mikan wrote:http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/9455/wontrunqc4.jpg

I can't get it to run on my computer.
My OS is Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit. I have DirectX 10.
Never heard about that error before. I googled and apparently it has to do with Vista. I run XP so it's hard for me to test this.

Try downloading and running this:
http://www.visualnovelty.com/files/vcredist_x86.exe
(Visual studio c++ 2005 redistributable)
I also googled and found that, but it didn't help ;;
I will try in XP tomorrow. (I dual boot with 32-bit windows XP on this machine)

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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#10 Post by Blue123 » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:11 am

Hmm, looking good! I've got windows 64-bit here so I'll so if it'll work. Also, I've never actually used a VN maker/engine before, so perhaps I'll be able to comment on how easy it is to get into.

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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#11 Post by Samu-kun » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:25 am

Mmm... I got it to work, so I can confirm that this works on a Vistas 64-bit system.

Now, the biggest problem I have with it is that all the windows are too small. I have a 1280x800 display resolution and I can barely even see the XML script editor because the font size is too large. The bottom 30% of the scene view's also blocked, and the actions window is so tiny I can only see about three lines and about 10% of each of the lines get cut off at the right side. Also, the massive indentation of the input boxes in the properties window seems like a waste of desperately needed space.

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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#12 Post by Samu-kun » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:51 am

After some messing around with the window, I think I've found my best set up.
setup.jpg
Setup
Couple of suggestions...

-Allow the scene view window to be movable
-Make the text start on a new line in the properties window once it reaches the right corner of the textbox
-Make it so that the text goes on a new line in the actions buttons instead of just going off the screen.
-Make the font size in the actions window a lot smaller
-Make the font size in the script editor a lot smaller
-Get rid of the indentation in the properties window

Well, it does look very pretty and all, but I can't really say this is really the best designed interface in the world... It's nearly impossible to actually see your story script at any given time in its current form, which kind of makes the program pretty frusterating to use. Ah well, I'll give it a couple more versions to fix up all the wrinkles. It's actually pretty amazing that this project has gotten even this far.

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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#13 Post by Samu-kun » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:55 am

Also, try checking out GameMaker's interface. It uses undocked windows that you can close and open very quickly, which actually makes it much easier to navigate.
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GameMaker interface

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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#14 Post by Jake » Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:41 am

I also works fine on my Vista system, 32bit Home Premium SP1.

I've not had much of a chance to play around with Novelty yet, but a few initial thoughts and an apparent bug - I don't know how many of these are just things-which-haven't-been-done-yet, but still:
  • This probably comes from finding it so useful in Visual Studio, but I find myself really wanting to drag the windows into tab groups as well as just docking them around each other. As a specific example, I opened up the 'Many Moons' sample so I could play around with the script, opened the script editor, and of course I want this window pretty large so I can see a lot of the code at the same time and edit it... I opened it out and undocked it, because really I wanted it to be in a tab group alongside the Scene view in the middle of the window, but I couldn't do that. So I get my changes to compile and hit the 'Run' button on the main app toolbar, but my script window is in the way and I can't see what's going on. :/ I had to close the Script window, meaning I lost my position in the file, so if it didn't do what I wanted I'd have had to find where I was again. (I guess I could have just docked it somewhere and undocked afterward, but to be honest I've always thought of docking as a pretty permanent thing - I'll get my IDE set up how I like it once and never touch it again.)

    Ideally, I would have liked for the script window to be tabbed alongside the Scene view, and for the app to automatically bring the Scene view to the front when I hit 'run'. (Alternatively, it might be worth opening a new Scene window (actually a new proper window rather than a new child window) in front of everything else when the user hits the 'Run' button and running the novel in that - especially since most people will probably want to think of the IDE and the game as separate entities).

    Really, this is probably just another iteration of the same issue other people have been mentioning - it's not immediately obvious how to go about setting the windows up such that you can see enough of each of the important ones to get work done. It might be worth taking a screenshot of a recommended 'normal use' layout and/or do a screencast showing how to produce a really simple VN completely from scratch, to give people a headstart.
  • The scene window, the XML designer view window and so on could really do with scrollbars, at least when the resource gets too big to display all at once. Zooming out is fine some of the time, but sometimes panning is good too. ;-)
  • I'm not sure whether this is a bug with the Novelty script editor, a bug with the AngelScript engine or just a weird language feature that I can't get my head around, but - it seems that sometimes, if I comment a code line out with just '//' in front of it, instead of '// ' (with a space), then the compiler fails to ignore it. Comment lines which are just textual don't seem to cause a problem, but on a code line, with no space, I get the error "ERR : Expected ')' or ','". The position given is the very end of the line that was commented out. As best as I can tell, this occurs only with lines which modify the '$'-denoted 'internal variables'. (Also, reading over the documentation, I'm not entirely sure what the difference is between an 'internal variable' and a class member? Is it just that internal variables don't get saved, and you can define internal variables on a class from outside of the code for that class? Or can you only define them on the game-entity 'Object' described here? Of course, I don't know whether you need to explicitly declare members on an Object, either, or whether members like 'pivot' get saved...)

    Anyway, I found that last one by editing the bounce script, making a copy of line 33 that read:

    Code: Select all

    	//self.$velocity = Vector2(randf()*6.0f - 3.0f,randf()*2.0f - 1.0f);	
    
    - which didn't compile.
  • Oh, and the mascot on the webpage is cute. ;-)
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Re: Novelty alpha released!

#15 Post by monele » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:31 am

First : yay! :D

And now onto first impressions ;). The first thing is that it looks pretty advanced already and that's reassuring ^^. Then, I tried making a vn test without opening the demo projects (actually I didn't see they were there ^^;...) and without reading much of the manual (I know, RTFM, but it's still a good ergonomy test). I'll say that I didn't insist much and went for the manual after a few dozens of second. It's a *very* good thing there were default assets, but even then, I wasn't sure what/where/how to do things. The only thing I managed to do on my own, I think, was add some dialogue.

After a quick read of the manual, skipping the first Keyboard section (I don't know for others but I'd put that in References, at the end, instead), I added a background, added a character (Tsuina :D) and tried launching the project after adding some more dialogue. It went by at lightning speed and closed. Whu? After reading the manual again, I realized I forgot to put a dialogue box, oops (I'd suggest putting a default one with default behavior in new projects, people can always change it later when they actually start their first project).
So, I looked through the assets and added the "Dialogue box". Tried setting its behavior and... nope, nothing. It took me a while to understand you had to add a "font" to put text on screen. I didn't find any hint to this in the current manual. Anyway, I ended up making this working in the end :).

I'd really suggest a First Steps tutorial that goes through things in order :
- Add a new Front End layer
- Add the dialogue box background
- Add a font object for the dialogue text and names
- Add a background and set it as background
- Add a character sprite

After that you can start with all the commands.

I still have questions after all this :
- Apparently, fade actions don't wait till they're over. Dialogues immediately appear and such. I had to add a Wait command in-between fade and dialogue. Is this the proper way?
- How do we indicate the size of the text box? Mine has text not wrapping :/ Using the size handles makes the text bigger... so it's probably not the right thing.
- Default text in the text boxes is shown when I start the game, as long as no new dialogue has come to replace it. Is this proper behavior? I know I can empty these text boxes, but then I don't see them well anymore in the editor :/
- What's the usual procedure to make a character "appear" during a scene? My intuition was to place it on the scene where it should be, and then make it fade-appear through an Action. But probably have to make the sprite not visible too, right?
- The editor eats a loooot of processor time on my computer (WinXP, AMD Athlon 2.2Ghz). I mean, 100% or so. If I launch the compiled game for preview, then it's all jittery.
- It also seemed to launch my FFDShow when it wanted to play sounds or music, I'm not sure (it was in the Novelty demo)
- I tried saving the stand-alone exe, but when I tried to launch it, it says it can't find the config.xml. Is this implemented yet?

Well, there :). While it all seems negative right now, don't think I'm not psyched ;). You can clearly have something very useable with just some more polish. Can't wait for updates :D

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