As for potential standalone versions, perhaps you could open-source the project, provided there's enough community interest. (Other than "for the community's sake," I get that there's no reason to open-source if nobody is going to help with the project.) Then others with the motivation could do it.
At first, my framework was created for a Flash-based RPG. The project was canceled for two reasons: first, I lost a huge amount of work when someone broke into my house and stole both my computer and my backup drives. Then, Adobe announced the discontinuation of Flash. Few years after, I decided to adapt this engine to make visual novels and Sandbox Adventure Engine was born. Since then, I've always wanted to add an RPG module to the engine, but I've never took the time to do so. Then, the quarantine happened.
Thanks to Phaser 3, I've added a tile engine, in order to be able to move around in a map like RPG Maker. You can see the result here. There are differents NPCs in the demo, and you can talk to each of them. One even has a small side quest for you.
Each talk works exactely like a scene in the visual novel engine and I plan to add the same features. Characters will be able to move and change expression, and it will be possible to add visual effect. For now, all the discussions happen in the tile world, but it will be soon possible to switch from the tile world to a visual novel scene. In other word, if you start a discussion with a character, the tile world will fade and will be replace by a regular visual novel scene, with a background and characters on stage.
You can change location by exiting the map in the west and the south direction. The southern map includes monsters you have to avoid or kill. For this example, I've made it simple but everything is possible. From there, it is technicaly possible to make an action adventure game like the original Zelda.
Discussion and text can be created using Sandbox Adventure editor (example here).
Map can be created with Tiled Map Editor. You can there add npcs, enemies, exits and spawning point.
In case you missed the link, here it is again: http://sandbox-adventure.com/phaser/0.2/
The next features I plan to add:
- Topdown action-adventure games are nice, and so are plateform-adventure games. Next example will therefore be a plateformer =)
- Switching from map to visual novel mode, so we can have better looking scene
- Phaser can manage Spine skeletal animation, so why not using it in discussion in order to have animated characters
They are both connected to the visual novel engine, meaning you can use Sandbox Adventure Editor to write all the dialog. You can see the dialog editing page of the two first people you will meet here and there. It is reaaly simple for now but I plan to add character animation and special effect, as in any normal visual novel.
Well, that's nice you might tell, but what does that means for a visual novel? It means that you can now include topdown and sidescrolling part in a visual novel, for instance to move from one scene to another or just to have mini-games between scene. I've put a little action in the demo, but there doesn't need to be any enemy. It can simply be a map to explore, with people to meet. Since dialogs can be played in either topdown or sidescrolling mode or in visual novel mode, you can decide to switch between bot mode or to make all the visual novel happens in the topdown/sidescrolling mode.
There is still much to do, but it's pretty much exciting for me
Next, I will work on implementing Spine skeletal animation.
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