What other game engines have you used? How did they compare?

For discussion and support of other visual novel engines.
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ComputerArt.Club
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What other game engines have you used? How did they compare?

#1 Post by ComputerArt.Club » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:44 am

So Godot 3.0 was recently released and it made me curious about what other game engines people here have used and how they compared to Renpy. So here is the question, what other game engines have you used? How did they compare to Renpy?

For me, I have mostly used game engines with my elementary school students. We have used Blender Game Engine most, for 3D games, they worked fine within Blender but the exported distributions were terrible. Mostly visual coding. No way of creating Android or web distributions and as I mentioned earlier, the windows distributions were super buggy. However, I think people with more experience would find ways to avoid the types of bugs that we encountered.

We also used Quest for creating games quite similar to the ones we made with Renpy. They are written more like a choose your own adventure books, more narration and indirect speech. Less control over the images and we didn't try to animate or do anything fancy like that (probably wasn't possible). The games were exported to the web, which is cool as it is cross platform, though it would have been nice to have the option of creating an Android build.

I played around with Adrift too, as I had read a few interactive fiction games made with it. More spatial, in that it was more about exploring the environment. Again, less emphasis on things like sprite animation and more focused on story. Also, as it was an interpreter, the players type what they want to do, and it is more about anticipating their input and what they will try to type. Distributions were for computers only, as far as I am aware it was not possible to make mobile distributions or to publish the games online.

I only briefly looked at Godot before, it looked a bit intimidating and I didn't really have time to give it a proper go. It looked too difficult for my students.

Unity, too big. There was no way I could install it on the school computers. I tried making a VR game for Google Cardboard but there were too many technical issues that got in the way at the time. I wasted all my time trying to overcome the technical hurdles and I had not time to work on the game itself. I have not tried to use it for visual novels.

I am having a lot of fun with Renpy. I've managed to finish 3 short games that I am proud of and I am working away at two more. Sometimes I look at some similar games on Google Play and I notice their download size can be so much smaller (1-5 megs compared to the minimum of 20 before you even add images for new Renpy games), but I guess that is a trade off when you make games with a game engine compared to coding it yourself and optimising it for your game. It is probably also about porting python, but I noticed that older versions of Renpy had smaller Android builds.

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Re: What other game engines have you used? How did they compare?

#2 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:22 pm

I've worked with the Unreal Engine quite a bit, but that was several years ago in school. It is what the teams I worked with at the time used to release our games. As an artist, I loved it, because I could do some incredible things with shaders and lighting that just weren't possible in other engines at the time. We did have a dedicated programmer, and Unreal is a bit of a beast to program compared to other off-the-shelf engines.

I still work with Unity, but it is a bit of a bear for someone who is primarily an artist and a programmer a distant second. But I like its power and customizability. It does have a very large footprint as you say, but it really is an engine you can do anything with if you master it.

Choicescript is something that Choice of Games uses for their titles, and I've worked with it a lot, specifically using Choicescript IDE. It is great for pure narratively driven titles, and easy to work with, but I don't like their licensing model.

RenPy continues to impress me as PyTom works on it over the years. And you can't beat the licensing! At this point, developers using RenPy have shown you can do really impressive stuff with the engine. My one nitpick with it is probably the documentation - like any engine that has been out for as long as RenPy has, there is a lot of outdated information and tutorials from different stages in the engines life, not all of them compatible or best practice anymore. I think PyTom is looking to remedy this by studying the coding habits of RenPy users and releasing best practices at some point in the future, which will be a big help.
ComputerArt.Club wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:44 am
Sometimes I look at some similar games on Google Play and I notice their download size can be so much smaller (1-5 megs compared to the minimum of 20 before you even add images for new Renpy games), but I guess that is a trade off when you make games with a game engine compared to coding it yourself and optimising it for your game. It is probably also about porting python, but I noticed that older versions of Renpy had smaller Android builds.
I'm not sure download size is too much concern these days - most people won't blink at several dozen megabytes. You don't want unneccessary bloat, but with a lot of indie games already clocking in a 4-5 GB +, and AAA games going into the 50 GB + range .... ::shrug::

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