WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

For discussion and support of other visual novel engines.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
C7N
Regular
Posts: 71
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:21 pm
IRC Nick: jfhs
Github: jsteinbeck
Location: Germany
Contact:

WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#1 Post by C7N » Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:42 pm

Hi!

As I've already mentioned previously, I'v been working on a visual novel engine for the web for about a year and I think that now is the time to finally release it. It may still be rather buggy, it is still a beta version, but that is exactly why I'm releasing it because I need your feedback, so bear with me. ;)

The engine uses it's own XML-based language for writing the novels. The first version used JavaScript as the game's language and I decided that was much too complicated for non-programmers and it also lead to some nasty bugs, so I rewrote the whole thing from scratch and thought up a small language that is specifically made for visual novel stuff.

Notable features include:

- Textboxes support both ADV and NVL style, with separate name box or without
- Everything's stylable using CSS
- Variables and conditionals (applyable to any command)
- Sub routines
- Basic UI dialogs like yes-no-questions and text input
- A savegame system
- Support for some simple animations
- It's possible to control the flow of the game using wait and break commands
- The engine can easily be extended to include completely new commands
- Effects support customizations such as changing the duration and the easing type used

What's still missing:

A whole lot really. The documentation is only in the infant stages right now. I'm working on that. The engine needs A LOT of testing. Since it has so many features, I'm sure there are many bugs lurking anywhere you look.

If you happen to find any bugs, please help out by telling me here or writing a bug report here on the GitHub page for the project.

Also, if someone of you would like to do that, I'd love to have better character sprites for the example novel in the Beginner's Guide on the site. I kind of rushed the thing and so I used some lego-like smily as the character sprite and that's just ridiculous. ^^"

The engine is licensed under the BSD license, that means you are allowed to do pretty much anything with it, including developing commercial games with it and building other software on top of it.

On the technical side of things, you will need a web server to share your creations, but the server does not need to support any scripting languages, so any web server will do. The engine uses only free web technologies like HTML, JavaScript, CSS and XML, so players do not need to have flash installed.

So, yeah, I hope some of you might find it useful!

If you have any ideas for future improvements and features, please let me know.

The engine and it's documentation can be found here: http://webstoryengine.org/

P.S.: The engine should work with IE9+, Firefox and Chrome. I did not test Opera, but I think that might work, too.
WebStory Engine - Visual Novel Engine For The Web:
http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... =4&t=16722

User avatar
SusanTheCat
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 952
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:30 am
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#2 Post by SusanTheCat » Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:58 pm

Looks awesome!

Susan
" It's not at all important to get it right the first time. It's vitally important to get it right the last time. "
— Andrew Hunt and David Thomas

Dim Sum
Regular
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:17 pm
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#3 Post by Dim Sum » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:03 pm

Could be cause it's Linux Opera but button texts aren't showing. (Only for vertical ones such as what is your name)

Would prefer keyboard shortcuts soon. (but it said on tutorial it has keys option already? Probably browser didn't catch it or it's not enter.)

Demo game art looks god tier for easily pleased VNer like me but not sure about code and rest of docs.

Not coder but even plain dialogue needs <line></line> for every entry? /n was already clunky as it is.

User avatar
Ziassan
Veteran
Posts: 231
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:14 pm
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#4 Post by Ziassan » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:08 pm

Wow, a new Visual novel web engine, I hope it'll not be dropped like the others ahah. (like http://www.visunove.com/ where VNs look like this)
That seems interesting also, the needed functions seem to be there. A good webengine for VN is really what lacks these days, but it seems really hard to make. So much advantages, though I see why it's so hard.
And even for too-advanced features that couldn't be handled like a Ren'py game due to the limits of what can do a browser, it could be used to present a demo of a game next his download so people could test at least how it looks without downloading anything (people hates download so much sometimes).

I'll test it a bit to see what it is possible or not to do (and the different pattern supported etc etc.), I think it's hostable on Dropbox Public floder.. (btw if it works well by the futur, some server to upload games for people who have hard time making their own site could be a must).
And if it works very well ahah, well, maybe some way to convert a Ren'py game in a WebStory, shouldn't be impossible~
Image
I like to create things. Mostly on the music side.
http://soundcloud.com/ziassan

User avatar
TrickWithAKnife
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1261
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:38 am
Projects: Rika
Organization: Solo (for now)
IRC Nick: Trick
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#5 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:10 pm

I must admit, it does look good. I'm not so familiar with XML (learnt some basics maybe 13 years ago), but it doesn't seem so scary, and the actual WebStories you used as examples turned out nice.

EDIT:

Ziassan wrote:it could be used to present a demo of a game next his download so people could test at least how it looks without downloading anything (people hates download so much sometimes).

I like this idea.
Last edited by TrickWithAKnife on Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"We must teach them through the tools with which they are comfortable."
The #renpy IRC channel is a great place to chat with other devs. Due to the nature of IRC and timezone differences, people probably won't reply right away.

If you'd like to view or use any code from my VN PM me. All code is freely available without restriction, but also without warranty or (much) support.

User avatar
SusanTheCat
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 952
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:30 am
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#6 Post by SusanTheCat » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:25 pm

I really like that I can edit text files. :)

Works on my Playbook really well. It made my cheap Android Tablet cry. (Most things make it cry)

Susan
" It's not at all important to get it right the first time. It's vitally important to get it right the last time. "
— Andrew Hunt and David Thomas

User avatar
Ziassan
Veteran
Posts: 231
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:14 pm
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#7 Post by Ziassan » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:43 pm

Without surprise it works directly on dropbox : https://dl.dropbox.com/u/38004258/WebEn ... index.html
(Obviously not to use for real releases 'cause of dropbox rules of fair use)
Image
I like to create things. Mostly on the music side.
http://soundcloud.com/ziassan

User avatar
C7N
Regular
Posts: 71
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:21 pm
IRC Nick: jfhs
Github: jsteinbeck
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#8 Post by C7N » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:48 pm

@Susan: Thanks.

@Dim Sum:
Wow, you're right with Opera. Strange. I'll look into it. Thanks.
What kind of keyboard shortcuts do you mean? Currently it should be possible to navigate through the UI dialogs using tab + enter. That should work on choices, too. And for clicking next or popping up the savegame menu, for example, you can define your own keys already.
Yeah, I am actually not to fond of the line command myself. The thing is that XML requires you to have the start and end tags. I could maybe some time try out a "dialog" command, where you could enter text like in Ren'Py, but I guess that would somehow feel like an ugly hack in this context. One of the reasons I used XML for the syntax is that I wanted the option to maybe write some kind of graphical editor later on and it would be pretty difficult to let the editor output a real scripting language, so I thought XML would be a good idea in this case. I thought about JSON, too, but I have the feeling that JSON looks far too daunting for a non-programmer.

@Ziassan:
Oh, that other engine looks quite good at first sight. I have never heard of it before. I reckon it is only available in French? That might be why I missed it. As for your concerns... I'm already on it for about a year and I still don't have any plans to drop it. ;)
I guess it should work on Dropbox, let me know once you tried, I do not use dropbox myself.
You are right, a place to easily upload games would be splendid. I already thought about it but didn't have any time to pursue it further yet.
As for the Ren'Py converter... I think most games should be convertible to some degree, but to write the converter would be a hell lot of work and I think there are more important things that need to be done first, so I'm not sure something like that will be possible anytime soon.

@TrickWithAKnfe:
Thanks. On the plus side of XML is surely that web developers are familiar with it from using HTML. I think it is pretty readable, but I'm a programmer myself so that doesn't account for much I suppose. ;)


EDIT:
@Susan:
Thanks for testing. Good to know it works with the Playbook. I guess the Android you have is a pre-Chrome version? I do not have any android available for testing, unfortunately.

@Ziassan:
Nice. Thanks for testing it out.
WebStory Engine - Visual Novel Engine For The Web:
http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... =4&t=16722

Dim Sum
Regular
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:17 pm
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#9 Post by Dim Sum » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:55 pm

Was expecting text in demo to move ahead when enter was clicked instead of mouse click.

Good luck with graphical editor. Hope to see it soon.

Edit: Woops! Nevermind. Forgot you said right arrow. Too used to enter/space.

User avatar
Ziassan
Veteran
Posts: 231
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:14 pm
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#10 Post by Ziassan » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:59 pm

Trying to make something but that's truth that actually the documentation lacks a bit ahah
- like, how make the left arrow allows back-rolling which is something I find very important ; or it seems some variables have $$ or $, it is for the global ones and the normal ones ? etc.
Last edited by Ziassan on Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Image
I like to create things. Mostly on the music side.
http://soundcloud.com/ziassan

User avatar
Obscura
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1364
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:58 pm
Projects: Coming Out On Top
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#11 Post by Obscura » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:08 pm

This is pretty sweet. It's actually something I've been hoping for...hope to see it come to fruition.
Coming Out On Top - An Adult Gay Dating Sim
Purchase Here
Demo
Tumblr(18+) Twitter Facebook

User avatar
C7N
Regular
Posts: 71
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:21 pm
IRC Nick: jfhs
Github: jsteinbeck
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#12 Post by C7N » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:11 pm

@Dim Sum:
Ah, now I get it. Yes, you could define ENTER as the key on the trigger setting in your own novel. Personally, I do not like using ENTER for the advance action because it might make me accidently push a button if it pops up suddenly. But yes, it's possible.

Haha, thanks, but I don't know when I will start working on that one. I have two weeks vacation right now, but I already worked on the engine the first week for like 10 hours each day and now I feel a little burned out. ;)

@Ziassan:
Yeah, I know. The next thing I'll do is finish up the documentation for the language's elements. I guess that would be a big help.

Unfortunately, rolling back is not yet implemented. But since there's already savegames, it shouldn't be too complicated to implement that in the next version, I suppose.

The {$$variables} are the global ones, the {$variables} are the local ones. The difference is that the local ones are only valid for the time until a <restart /> command is issued, whereas gloabal variables do not get deleted automatically, so that you can use them to implement some "meta features" like enabling some things only after a player finished the game once.

@Obscura:
Thanks.
WebStory Engine - Visual Novel Engine For The Web:
http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... =4&t=16722

User avatar
sake-bento
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1876
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 5:58 pm
Completed: http://sakevisual.com/games.html
Projects: Every Sunrise, Shinsei
Organization: sakevisual
Tumblr: sakevisual
Deviantart: sakevisual
itch: sakevisual
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#13 Post by sake-bento » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:38 pm

This is cool! The demo was cute, and the code looks simple enough. Thank you for sharing~

User avatar
DeeKay
Veteran
Posts: 485
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:25 pm
Location: Northern France
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#14 Post by DeeKay » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:03 pm

Pretty interesting stuff ! That's an instant bookmark from me ! :)
This can also serve as a promoting tool for games in development, a nice thing to add on a VN team's website for example. Very cool indeed ! ^^
-- No longer active --
Image
-- English/French Translation topic here
-- Hope~ - Symphony of Tomorrow alpha demo playthrough here (1h35mn long video !)

-- Current avatar by SilverHyena => her DA account

Image
-- Check out this project if you have some time !

User avatar
C7N
Regular
Posts: 71
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:21 pm
IRC Nick: jfhs
Github: jsteinbeck
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: WebStory Engine - A Visual Novel Engine for the Web

#15 Post by C7N » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:21 pm

@sake-bento & DeeKay:
Thanks, appreciate it. I hope to see some games made with it soon. :D

@DeeKay:
Sure, you could use it as some kind of advanced ad or demo for your games. I tried to port Moonlight Walks to the engine and it worked pretty well. I could replicate the timing and stuff rather accurately. Isn't finished yet, though.
WebStory Engine - Visual Novel Engine For The Web:
http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... =4&t=16722

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users