[UE4] Visual Novel Framework for Unreal Engine 4

For discussion and support of other visual novel engines.
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storykween
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[UE4] Visual Novel Framework for Unreal Engine 4

#1 Post by storykween » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:09 pm

Hello everyone! I thought it was time to share this here for anyone who might be interested. After using Unreal Engine 4 for over 2 years to make visual novels, I decided to publish my code on the Unreal Engine Marketplace.




Before I used Unreal Engine 4, I used Ren'Py for several games, so I developed the VN Framework with a lot of Ren'Py features in mind. I still love Ren'Py and return to it for more text-central games. But I love being able to utilize 3D environments and other powerful features within UE4 while crafting an interactive narrative.

Here's a breakdown of the main included features:
  • Flexible scene system using datatables
  • Includes instructions of how to convert your external scripts into usable .csv files
  • Ability to branch scenes based on conditions
  • Voice acting can easily be inserted into scenes as Sound Cues
  • Characters can spawn in 3D space OR display in a UMG widget
  • Complex, flexible choice system
  • Automatically tracks and saves player choices
  • Supports cycling choices so player can see more than one option
  • Supports nested choices (a choice within a choice!)
  • Characters can contain several layers for dynamic use (hair, mouth, clothes, etc.)
  • Change character costumes and hair as story progresses
  • Saving and Loading system
  • Animated blinking and mouth movement (even in UMG widgets!)
  • Auto Mode
  • Supports skipping or rolling back through text
  • Allows you to easily add dynamic camera angles to your scenes, such as character closeups
  • Includes a basic menu system with gamepad functionality
  • Options for text speed, text size, and audio levels
  • Change levels and sublevels between scenes
  • Full Gallery system to display CG illustrations and unlock them as player progresses
  • StatLog system that tracks stats affected by choices
  • Persistent data that can be used for CGs and more

Documentation: http://woodsy-studio.com/visual-novel-f ... k-for-ue4/

If you're unsure about getting the whole framework, you can start by checking out my video tutorial series about making a visual novel system from scratch:


In this tutorial series, I get you started with the basics of displaying text and using datatables in UE4--the lowest level building block of the VN Framework. But it's a long way from the full functionality of the VN Framework I've been developing for years.

If any of you give the VN Framework for UE4 a try, please let me know what you think! I continue to update the VN Framework as I use it to create my own visual novels in Unreal Engine 4.
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PeterKmiecik
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Re: [UE4] Visual Novel Framework for Unreal Engine 4

#2 Post by PeterKmiecik » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:48 pm

Hello there WoodsyStudio :) I have my eye on Your VN framework for quite some time.
I'd like to ask You a few q:
- As most of this framework is in BPs, how performance is impacted? Did You do any profiling ? and maybe on different devices ?
- What's the tickin overload ? Do You plan to move some core functionalities to code in the future ?
- How about characters being not sprites. I'd like to implement sth. based on skeletons and meshes.
Just few now, hope to get more time to check all videos and descritpions You've provided.

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storykween
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Re: [UE4] Visual Novel Framework for Unreal Engine 4

#3 Post by storykween » Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:14 pm

Hi PeterKmiecik!
- We have not been able to do extensive profiling simply because we lack the necessary equipment, but I can tell you that the use of blueprints in the framework should hardly impact the performance at all. This is largely due to the answer to your next question, which is that:
- The tick overhead is very small. The core VN Framework makes most of its calculations when a player clicks to advance a line, and all of this is done in just a few frames. While scenes are playing, the only code in the event tick of the scene actors is a simple check of whether the player is pressing the skip key.
- You would need to customize the code quite a bit, but changing the characters from sprites to 3D models would be doable. In this framework, characters are spawned as sprites in an actor called the "ParentActor." You would primarily need to add your meshes to this actor, hide the sprites, and change the current functions that control their expressions to suit your own purposes. Honestly, a system to control 3D meshes probably looks much simpler than what I had to code in order for 2D layered sprites work in a 3D environment.

Thanks for your interest. I hope my videos and such are also helpful!
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My website: woodsy-studio.com

PeterKmiecik
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Re: [UE4] Visual Novel Framework for Unreal Engine 4

#4 Post by PeterKmiecik » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:37 pm

Thank You for quick answer :)
You made me make one step closer to buy Your framework soon.
2dPaperSprites are quite problematic in UE4, this is why I am looking to switch for skeletons and 3d meshed models. If anything I'd have to think on dropping Your sprites oriented framework entirely and redo this part for 3d stuff. Give me some time, I'll read and watch Your guides and then give You my feelings about this.

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