VN assets for Unity3d

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VN assets for Unity3d

#1 Post by anticulturist » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:42 am

I did recently an interactive project for a Yoga studio, and before starting it I tested few software packages to see what is better suited for my needs.
Ren'Py, Game Maker, Construct2, Adventure maker, Adventure game creator, Adventure game studio, Flash, Dreamweaver, Unity, there are a ton of programs out there etc.
I found Unity 3d very complex, but also very powerful. What picked my interest, were some plugins from the asset store that let you hit the ground running, so to speak:

Visual Novel/RPG Conversation System.
http://fallenprogramming.wordpress.com/ ... -complete/
http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/169005 ... ion-System
Localized Dialog System - Cutscene Dialog UI with zero scripting!
http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/157128 ... -scripting!

What is your opinion of those plugins?

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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#2 Post by Kami » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:00 am

I have been using Unity 3D and I like it due to having option of JS scripting, but I never looked into an option making VN via Unity 3D, which might result in fairly great game, thanks for sharing these links I will look into it more later! =]
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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#3 Post by anticulturist » Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:42 am

I was happy finding these plugins because I think Unity is intimidating for non programers. Unity in itself is interesting not only for handling 3d medium, but also for its export abilities. If you browse Unity asset store probably you can find more.

This one is a free version: http://u3d.as/content/sol-tribe/visual- ... t-free/53G

Another asset dealing with 2d in Unity:

http://www.bento-studio.com/index.php/a ... s/16-uni2d

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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#4 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:38 pm

By sheer coincidence, I'd been looking at how well VNs could be created in Unity, and had visited every one of the links in this thread about 2 hours ago.

My conclusion: The existing content is abysmal, to be frank.

What I saw were front-ends to create less than is possible from half an hour with the renpy starter guide.

Unity's main advantages are that it handles 3D graphics very well, it is capable of amazing effects, and can be adapted for a wide range of systems.
The problem with that is, the VN community generally frowns upon 3D graphics in VNs unless they are of the quality most indie devs can only dream of.
I can't see it being of much use more the majority of us, especially considering the extra expenses involved, where licensing alone may exceed the entire budget most indie devs have for their entire games.

I was unable to find a single VN done in Unity that was of better quality than the entries in The Worst VN Ever in this forum.
"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.

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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#5 Post by anticulturist » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:44 am

Regarding the quality of VN in Unity comparing to the VN in Ren'Py: it is not the tool, is the creator. There are other genres that are very successfully made in Unity3D.
I checked more in detail this plugin and I like it: "Localized Dialog System - Cutscene Dialog UI with zero scripting"
The developer seems to be very involved in the community and he is releasing updates constantly. Ver. 2.9 seems to support also Flash. Just curious, what other features would you like to see to be able to do what you do now in Ren"Py?
With this plugin I believe is possible to do a VN in Unity even for a non programer like me. The low side, hmmm... is $80 for the plugin vs. $0 for Ren'Py.

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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#6 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:09 am

Personally I think it's partially about freedom more than just features.
What I saw from the plug-ins is that they do things in a very particular way.

Actually, most of what I saw was the ability to have background images, character portraits, sound, text and yes/no buttons. That's just enough to technically make them VNs (as I understand the terminology), but that's about it.

I could write code for all of that in Ren'Py in a few minutes that anyone could copy and paste. And that's not because I know anything about programming, it's because they're the first few things that are taught in the Ren'Py starter guide.

I don't mean to rain on anyone else's work, but having to pay to have greatly reduced functionality seems counter-productive. Maybe there are features that I didn't see though.
"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.

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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#7 Post by anticulturist » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:42 pm

I thought that's about VNs, must have background images, character portraits, sound, text & yes/no buttons. ;)
Here I found a link to the flash demo for the LDC:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/521 ... Flash.html
I guess this shows the ability to export to flash and some other inside, like password, logic, data entry, skins. I don't know if this program allow to playback my own video and flash movies. I know Ren'Py can playback video, but I had an issue with dropping frames.

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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#8 Post by ocimpean » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:35 pm

I would like to post here a fragment from a PM exchange with the developer -with his permission:

Hello Mel

This will be a long post feel free to put it on the forum if you want.
Thank you for answering my previous PM. I am trying to understand what are the differences between what it can be done with Ren'Py vs. Unity with your plugin and see what can fit better my requirements as I am not a programer. I am doing the writing, the music and the graphics and animation 2D and 3D, but I am still looking to find a solution regarding the programing part, that is not my forte. I was impressed that you seems to be very involved in this project as I was reading trough all those pages in the forum and you bring a lot of the requested features to life very fast and you got my respect for your constructive attitude. Also you are right about the export options in Unity, once a project is done.

There are few things that I do not know, and I would like to ask, please let me know what is possible from what I am asking below:

1) regarding backgrounds, layers & actors. I did not understood what files are supported as background, maybe it is on the site and probably I missed the info. Like .png, Photoshop .psd with layers, .jpg, .gif (animated gif), .tga, .avi .mpg4 (for video), and how it handles Alpha Chanel for transparency?

2) what are the transition and transform options for actors/layers/backgrounds?


Scene Example, regarding the graphic manipulation in the game that I plan to do: I visualize a scene with a picture background, a park that use fade in. An actor slide in the frame and it give a speech. Can it be displayed in a bubble close to character head like in comics? Then the rain starts, or snowing or leaves are falling from the tree. I see this like a layer of animation with alpha that is sliding on top of the previous 2 layers. It can be a loop of 3 frames repeating themselves for a certain amount of of time, let's say 10 seconds. I have the layer that has the eyes and mouth of the actor that change to surprise so I want to animate that expression change for 3 seconds and then revert to original (timer?).
Another actor enter scene (slide or fade in), let's say it is a butterfly and has 2 wing position. I want it to move behind the character and then switch position and come in the front delivering a line of speech in a bubble. Then I want my option box, for simplicity sake a & b, yes & no at the bottom of the screen, on the top layer, using a semi-transparent background. On option one the main background fade out and a background containing a video file (avi, mpg4 etc) will play for a certain amount of seconds. While the background change, I want the foreground layers to stay the same, including the option box semi-transparent layer. On option two, I want the second actor, the butterfly to move out of frame rotating 360* like going away out of control and scaling down simulating the depth of scene. If the player do not click on screen or on buttons a timer should advance to the next scene.


3) In the text capture widget that you mention and it is used like an example of capturing the player name and password, is it possible to enter the text like in a dialog from the player point of view, something like keywords, instead of option 1 or option 2 button?
Something like a dictionary that is referenced when the player enter certain words.

Interactive text capture logic Example:
I have a dog picture on screen. In the text capture field I want to enter a word: "down"
In case the program find it in my dictionary, I have an option to change the actor picture to a sitting dog.
In case the player uses a wrong word the dog image switches to a picture that represent the dog barking and a sound file with a bark is played. An ability to branch decision depending on the player word, first is a positive "sit" answer generating go to frame A, then is a wrong/incomprehensible answer "hello" generating go to frame B, then is the negative answer "don't sit" (anything negative get checked against another dictionary) that generate go to frame C.

--------------------
Hi Ocimpean,

No worries about the questions, happy to help! :)

1) Formats

Any 2D format supported by Unity (practically all of them), Photoshop, PNG, BMP, TIFF, JPG, TGA, etc. Alpha channels are fully supported. Unity converts these image formats into special formats that make them run faster from a graphics card. Animated GIFs aren't natively supported.

With video backgrounds you can do this inside of Unity using "Movie Textures", and you can use LDC to easily activate / de-activate it.

More info on video Textures:
> Video Textures
http://docs.unity3d.com/Documentation/M ... Files.html

2) Transitions and Movements

At the moment, LDC can update actors and backgrounds every time it changes screens (usually when a button is pressed or the timer runs out). Animated Actors are a feature I plan to include in v3.0, although I dont have a final timescale for release yet.

But practically most things you want to do are possible, such as:
- Fade In / Out transitions.
- Actor sliding in and out from the top, bottom, left or right.
- You are able to scale Actors (but currently not as part of a transition).
- You can have multiple background and actor layers (so its possible to add a rain effect over a background, etc).
- You can have actors change expression etc but these are all triggered via buttons or counters. So for example you can have a picture of the Actor in an idle state, and the button could say "Insult", or you could simply have another actor insult him as part of the story, when the next piece of text loads, you are able to change all the graphics, so you can make him have an angry face, etc. On the new dialog line, you can make that expression revert back to idle again. So basically, dialogs can be time driven (via a counter), button driven, or both.

A Good Example of Visual Novel type features (There have been many new features added since I released this):

If you think this is a useful indicator of features, feel free to add this link to the forum thread you were talking on earlier!

> Comic Demo
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/521 ... Novel.html

I even made a tutorial video where I make a simplified version of the above from scratch - feel free to watch it to see how it all works (again, loads of new features have been added since I made this:

> Visual Novel YouTube Tutorial
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P734XsgC ... r_embedded

3) Tokens / Data Entry

Yep, that sounds very possible to me! In LDC, you can setup a token to capture user input, then use "Logic" to test what the user wrote and take them to the appropriate screen:




In the above example, you can see we're testing a user's strength and taking them to a different screen.

If you set up a token called "DogCommands", you could use the above to do something like this:

====================================

IF [DogCommands] [Equals] [bark]
go to screen 2

ELSE IF [DogCommands] [Equals] [sit]
go to screen 3

ELSE IF [DogCommands] [Equals] [fetch]
go to screen 4

(... Add as many ELSE IFs as you like. ...)

ELSE
go to screen 5

====================================

This is a super easy way to add basic programming functionality to your games / visual novels! And of course, everything you do in LDC should work on every platform Unity supports (Mac, PC, Linux, Web, Flash, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, etc ) Doesn't get easier than this!

I hope this helps answer your questions! :D

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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#9 Post by SHiNKiROU » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:44 pm

I chose Unity3D for my project because I need to animate spaceships and incorporate RTS elements.
The hardest part is creating the save/load system and the scripting language. I tried to make the language look like a screenplay rather than programming.

Here is a screenshot of the adapted version of The Question:
http://i40.tinypic.com/nmxhkl.jpg

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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#10 Post by Jason » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:07 pm

If Wordpress: Fastest Web Development Solution (quick setup and tons of free plugins to help implement the features you need including e-shop)
Unity: Fastest Game Development Solution (quick prototyping and a lot of free plugins to disregard the need of coding)

Fastest =/= The Best, Game =/= VN , Unity isn't really hard. Just google the things you need and watch the tutorials and you won't regret choosing it. But if you're just gonna make a "simple" ADV or Quartett style vn and you need it cross platform, RenPy may be the wisest choice. If you're thinking about implementing battle systems, puzzles and such, Unity will be helpful in the long-run.

Speaking of which Rival Threads has released a demo featuring full blown 2d awesomeness:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kon ... sts/581541
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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#11 Post by anticulturist » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:46 pm

@SHiNKiROU: In the end are you going with C# or JavaScript for your project? Did you try visual novel toolkit free for the dialogs. They have a similar scene like the one you put in the link with few character sets. I had some issue with the animation part, I still don't understand where are the coordinates when you move in the actor :)

The RTS elements are in 3D or you will use 2D graphics?

Good luck with your game.

@Jason: I checked Unity and there are different packages available, much easier to get something started from a template. I just found on the asset store some TBS hex engine and they have some RPG toolkit too. That plugin Bento Uni2d that enable you to use 2D inside Unity with collisions and animation with bones is just sick: http://www.bento-studio.com/index.php/a ... s/16-uni2d

The programer behind the Dialog and Cut Scenes just announced version 3 of his plugin. That is a big upgrade, because you can have now animated actors and backgrounds, something like a series of images.

I looked at the Kickstarter link, thanks, I will keep an eye on that.

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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#12 Post by netravelr » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:02 am

That also being said, Unity also just recently announced that they are integrating 2D into their engine natively rather than needing new plugins (http://www.joystiq.com/2013/08/30/unity ... ity-games/) so that'll be really exciting as well. RenPy is a really great tool for creating visual novels very quickly. However, if you're building a more complex kind of game going with Unity, UDK, or some other engine may be a good route to go (unless you're really willing to get into pygame/a lot more python).
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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#13 Post by anticulturist » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:39 pm

netravelr, thank you for the heads up, I was looking at few Unity assets to help with the 2D import, so I am happy to hear that ver. 4.3 will support 2D internally. I will abstain :) from any purchases till the new version is coming out.

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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#14 Post by Morgan_R » Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:52 pm

One factor in Unity's favor, which I don't think anyone has mentioned yet: iOS support.

I've set my game aside in favor of a non-game-related creative project, but when I come back to it, I'm hoping Unity will look like a better candidate for a VN-ish game. Or something will have changed on the Ren'Py/iOS front, although that seems less likely.

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Re: VN assets for Unity3d

#15 Post by jack_norton » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:53 am

I make non standard VN but unless is 3d I still prefer Ren'Py because is really FAST to debug games with it. I am not much an expert of Unity, but AFAIK you don't get crystal clear bug reports like Renpy/python (the traceback pointing to the exact problem/line). Also you don't have rollback and make changes and reload on the fly?
If I didn't use Renpy, a super complex game like Loren would have taken me at least twice the time to code it.
Of course not saying that Unity is bad, just sharing my point of view :) I think depends on your priorities and maybe also on your coding skills (mine aren't that good).
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