EKVN - A framework for iOS visual novels

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Flick
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EKVN - A framework for iOS visual novels

#1 Post by Flick » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:16 pm

EKVN is a project I've been working on and off for a while now. It was originally intended as an open-source framework (based on cocos2d-iphone) for developing visual novels on iOS, since at the time I couldn't find any iOS-compatible visual novel-making kits.

It's nowhere near as advanced or flexible as Ren'Py, and can't be run as a standalone program; the files have been to be imported into an Xcode project. However, it's designed so that -- in theory, anyways -- people can use it even if they have little prior experience with cocos2d or iOS development, while people who DO have experience can easily tinker and modify the source code to come up with all sorts of interesting effects, or add EKVN to existing games and use it for things like dialogue scenes and character interaction.

EKVN comes with a pseudo-"scripting language" (though compared to "real" scripting languages, I suppose I would use that term loosely!) that comes with support for things like playing audio, displaying/moving characters and backgrounds, player choices / branching storylines / multiple endings, and autosaving the game on the fly (there's specifically a script command for telling EKVN to autosave... I recommend using it before having the player make any important choices!). Also, the UI is customizable, which is good since the default settings/art, while usable, might not be the prettiest thing to look at. :P

Anyways, there's more information (and a hastily-written tutorial :P) on EKVN's readme page (along with some documentation files) for those who are interested.

https://github.com/elfketchup/EKVN

In the meantime, here's some screenshots:

How it might look when playing:

Image

Player choices, the first step towards branching story paths and multiple endings:

Image

I really recommend doing all the scripting in a text file (or Word document, or whatever you prefer), since IMO it might look a little headache-inducing in its "raw," encoded format:

Image

...and I can't really think of anything else to add.

Image

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Re: EKVN - A framework for iOS visual novels

#2 Post by leon » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:38 pm

Wow! This looks awesome! Thank you for making this. :D

I was wondering, if there is a way to use it without a Mac?

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Re: EKVN - A framework for iOS visual novels

#3 Post by Flick » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:55 pm

leon wrote:I was wondering, if there is a way to use it without a Mac?
Well... in theory, you could probably get OS X (and Xcode) to run on either a Hackintosh or a PC running OS X on an emulator, and then use EKVN that way, but I've never actually tried either of those methods. :?

That said, to be be able to use EKVN, you would need the ability to create iOS apps normally; EKVN just takes care of all the iOS-specific programming and frees up people to focus on the scripting, art, and audio. So the short answer would be: yes, you would need a Mac. (though I did most of the development on a 2008 MacBook, so it doesn't have to be a recent -- and therefore expensive -- Mac!) 8)

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Re: EKVN - A framework for iOS visual novels

#4 Post by leon » Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:56 am

I see. I think I'll give one of these options a try then. Thanks. I do have a super-old Mac, but it's running on PowerPC, so I don't suppose I could get it to run on that?

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Re: EKVN - A framework for iOS visual novels

#5 Post by Flick » Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:01 am

No, I don't think the iOS software development kit supports PowerPC processors anymore (assuming it ever did). I think the current version of Apple's development software requires a Mac with a 64-bit Intel chip.

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Re: EKVN - A framework for iOS visual novels

#6 Post by Aurélie » Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:03 am

This must've taken a lot of time, it looks great! You said it's not as flexible as Ren'Py, so I guess some features might be curbed, but this is effectively a way of porting straight over to iOS, yes?

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Re: EKVN - A framework for iOS visual novels

#7 Post by Flick » Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:52 am

Porting? You could probably do it. The "scripting language" (if it can be called that) is pretty different, but some of the concepts are the same, due to Ren'Py being the original inspiration for EKVN. Some of the basic commands/concepts in Ren'Py have equivalent ones in EKVN. For example:

1. SHOW sylvie
at RIGHT
would be .ADDSPRITE:sylvie.png followed by .ALIGNSPRITE:sylvie.png:RIGHT

2. play music "illurock.ogg" would be .playmusic:illurock.mp3

3.
menu:
"It's a story with pictures.":
jump vn

"It's a hentai game.":
jump hentai
would be: .JUMPONCHOICE:"It's a story with pictures":vn:"It's a hentai game.":hentai

4. $ bl_game = False would be .SETFLAG:bl_game:0

5.
if bl_game:
"Well, apart from that boy's love game she insisted on making."
becomes .ISFLAG:bl_game:1:"Well, apart from that boy's love game she insisted on making."



That said, porting a Ren'Py game over to EKVN would take a while (partly because of the differences that do exist in the scripting language, and partly because Ren'Py really is much, much better :P), and anything more complicated than "standard" VN features (dialogue, music, choices, etc) would require lots of messing around with the source code... but yes, you could probably port an existing Ren'Py game over to iOS.

Of course, actually publishing said game would involve being forced to jump through Apple's many, many hoops. -_-;;; Still, I like to think EKVN makes iOS ports a possibility now. :mrgreen:

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Re: EKVN - A framework for iOS visual novels

#8 Post by Taleweaver » Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:15 am

You know, this neatly fits into our "Other VN Engines" forum.

Moving.
Scriptwriter and producer of Metropolitan Blues
Creator of The Loyal Kinsman
Scriptwriter and director of Daemonophilia
Scriptwriter and director of The Dreaming
Scriptwriter of Zenith Chronicles
Scriptwriter and director of The Thirteenth Year
Scriptwriter and director of Romance is Dead
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More about me in my blog
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