Belle - Visual novel maker

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freemind
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Belle - Visual novel maker

#1 Post by freemind » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:51 pm

Hi,

I've been developing a visual novel maker for a couple of months now and although it may not be ready for production yet, i think it's better if people start giving feedback now.

Belle is actually composed by two (different) applications - the editor and the engine.
The editor has a similar design to Novelty, in case you know it, and already provides many of the same features that Novelty offers. Besides that it's cross-platform, working on Windows (XP, Vista and 7), Mac OS X (10.4+), Linux and others.
The engine uses HTML5, so the games can run in all sorts of devices with the least of efforts.

I'll be releasing version 0.3 alpha soon, with support for animated images (e.g. gifs), better memory usage in the editor and a "fallback" mode for the engine, so it can run in older browsers, amongst other stuff.

You can read more information and see some screenshots here:
http://www.nongnu.org/belle/
The website is still lacking some information, especially documentation. I've already written some documentation but i haven't finished yet.

If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to ask.

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#2 Post by mirelle » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:56 pm

Hmm, I'm actually even more confused on novelty GUI approach as opposed to Ren'py's scripting, so I'm not so sure about this @____@
I might find some time to try it out though, thanks for the heads-up! And doing it in HTML5 was a very good idea in my opinion :D
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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#3 Post by CheeryMoya » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:17 pm

Oooh, nifty. How much HTML5 do you need to know to use this engine and can you customize it to include other gameplay elements? Is it possible to have a demo of what the engine looks like on a webpage? I'd love to see this engine come to fruition, so good luck!

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#4 Post by Halca » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:26 pm

Oh my god, can I just tell you how much I love how you import characters into this engine? Saves so much time that I would have lost on Ren'Py or Novelty! Please continue to develop this engine!!

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#5 Post by Anna » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:54 pm

Woah another engine, it kind of reminds me of this one just with a Novelty-like editor attached. Perhaps we should make a list of VN engines somewhere.

As for the engine, I haven't downloaded it but from what I can see the built-in editor looks pretty nice. I wonder how limiting it is though? For example if you want to create custom effects, a custom fade/transition, or if you want to customise things like the titlescreen or savescreen. How does it handle that? Anyway, looks like it could be a cool option for people who have a hard time with coding.

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#6 Post by DaFool » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:03 pm

Anna, you had an Android version for Firefly, right? What did you use to build it?

Also, there's NVList (which functions eerily similar to ONscripter, at least on face value), the proprietary Pegasus engine (from vnovel.info), also that other engine that was built on top of Torque. Not to mention Heileen web version done in Unity3D of all things.

I wish OP had posted 9 hours earlier then I wouldn't have plunked money for Construct 2, which now has VN capabilities:


I can probably tweak the VN functionality of Construct 2 further, but out of the box the built-in transition effects (using WebGL) and easy adoptation of action gameplay make it my default choice for an HTML5 engine.

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#7 Post by Anna » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:05 pm

DaFool wrote:Anna, you had an Android version for Firefly, right? What did you use to build it?

We used NVList for both Firefly and Nanolife. It has a button to build an Android version, though you can tweak it by hand too as far as I know (I don't do the coding myself, my team-mate does that).
Last edited by Anna on Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#8 Post by CheeryMoya » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:06 pm

Anna wrote:Perhaps we should make a list of VN engines somewhere.
I-I am though :c I'll add Belle to the list.

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#9 Post by Anna » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:10 pm

CheeryMoya wrote:I-I am though :c I'll add Belle to the list.

My sincerest apologies, nice work :3.

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#10 Post by freemind » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:33 pm

Thanks all for the feedback, that was quick!

CheeryMoya wrote:Oooh, nifty. How much HTML5 do you need to know to use this engine and can you customize it to include other gameplay elements? Is it possible to have a demo of what the engine looks like on a webpage? I'd love to see this engine come to fruition, so good luck!

You don't need to know any HTML5 to use this engine, since the editor generates the game file for you. You just need to place the "game.json" (game file) along with the engine files and open the "index.html" page. What do you mean by other gameplay elements?
I'll try to put a demo up on the website soon. It will look (hopefully :lol:) like you definied in the editor. In case the window of the game is smaller than the browser's window, the game will be vertically and horizontally centered, with black borders surronding it. In case the window of the game is too big for the browser window, it will be resized, maintaining the aspect ratio. I hope in the future to add different view modes or even perhaps zooming.

Halca wrote:Oh my god, can I just tell you how much I love how you import characters into this engine? Saves so much time that I would have lost on Ren'Py or Novelty! Please continue to develop this engine!!

Great, thanks.

Anna wrote:Woah another engine, it kind of reminds me of this one just with a Novelty-like editor attached. Perhaps we should make a list of VN engines somewhere.

As for the engine, I haven't downloaded it but from what I can see the built-in editor looks pretty nice. I wonder how limiting it is though? For example if you want to create custom effects, a custom fade/transition, or if you want to customise things like the titlescreen or savescreen. How does it handle that? Anyway, looks like it could be a cool option for people who have a hard time with coding.

Can you elaborate about the custom effects and transitions? About the titlescreen and savescreen, templates could be made, although i haven't had the time to make any yet.

DaFool wrote:I wish OP had posted 9 hours earlier then I wouldn't have plunked money for Construct 2, which now has VN capabilities:


Probably Construct 2 is more stable/mature, so you still made a good choice. :)

CheeryMoya wrote:
Anna wrote:Perhaps we should make a list of VN engines somewhere.
I-I am though :c I'll add Belle to the list.

Thanks. :D

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#11 Post by Anna » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:45 pm

freemind wrote:Can you elaborate about the custom effects and transitions? About the titlescreen and savescreen, templates could be made, although i haven't had the time to make any yet.


For example an animated effect (snow falling? fire effect?), although I think you'd need code for that. As for transitions... I wonder how else to call a fade/transition. You basically go from one image to the next one, without it being too sudden and using a grayscale pattern to show what disappears first? It's used for fading out a background image for example, or switching sprites. I'm sorry for being terrible at explaining this.

By the way, I was just asking this to know its limitations so it's more clear what kind of audience you want to target. If you want to create a simple html 5 engine which targets those who can't code and just want to make a simple VN, then of course that's fine too. Just keep in mind what you want with this engine :).

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#12 Post by CheeryMoya » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:02 pm

freemind wrote:What do you mean by other gameplay elements?
Say I want to make a VN with some RPG gameplay. In Ren'Py, I can put in some codes or even a PyGame module to set up sections of the entire game to have an RPG mode. Is Belle for pure VNs and KNs or can it also make hybrid games, is what I mean.

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#13 Post by freemind » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:13 pm

Anna wrote:
freemind wrote:Can you elaborate about the custom effects and transitions? About the titlescreen and savescreen, templates could be made, although i haven't had the time to make any yet.


For example an animated effect (snow falling? fire effect?), although I think you'd need code for that. As for transitions... I wonder how else to call a fade/transition. You basically go from one image to the next one, without it being too sudden and using a grayscale pattern to show what disappears first? It's used for fading out a background image for example, or switching sprites. I'm sorry for being terrible at explaining this.

By the way, I was just asking this to know its limitations so it's more clear what kind of audience you want to target. If you want to create a simple html 5 engine which targets those who can't code and just want to make a simple VN, then of course that's fine too. Just keep in mind what you want with this engine :).


Animations like snow or rain shouldn't be very difficult to add i guess. You mentioned i needed code, what kind of code?
About the transitions, i got it, no problem. There are already some transitions available, like fade and slide for objects. I haven't added transitions when passing from one scene to another or when changing backgrounds, but i plan to do it.

I know i can't target all audience, but my objective is to have something that's both easy and powerful.

CheeryMoya wrote:
freemind wrote:What do you mean by other gameplay elements?
Say I want to make a VN with some RPG gameplay. In Ren'Py, I can put in some codes or even a PyGame module to set up sections of the entire game to have an RPG mode. Is Belle for pure VNs and KNs or can it also make hybrid games, is what I mean.

Hmm, i never played an RPG game made with Ren'Py, i need to play one to see if Belle is also capable. However i guess you should be able to accomplish something since you can plug actions to different events (mouse press, mouse release, mouse hover) in any object (image, textbox, etc). I also plan to later on add scripting capabilities (with JavaScript) like Novelty has.

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#14 Post by Anna » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:28 pm

freemind wrote:Animations like snow or rain shouldn't be very difficult to add i guess. You mentioned i needed code, what kind of code?


Well I see it like this: when you want to add a custom sprite it's easy to import it, but it's different when you want to create a custom animated effect in your engine which isn't in your list of effects, right? It would either have to be delivered in code, an animated image file, or you would need some kind of other implementation or tweaking system which goes beyond my non-programmer-imagination so far.
Last edited by Anna on Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Belle - Visual novel maker

#15 Post by leon » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:28 pm

Looks awesome! :)

I wanted to try it out, but got an error: MSVCP100.dll is missing.

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