Stupid Question.

Discuss how to use the Ren'Py engine to create visual novels and story-based games. New releases are announced in this section.
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Ulises Roth
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Stupid Question.

#1 Post by Ulises Roth » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:37 pm

Hi! I’m new to the forum, but I introduced myself in the Discord channel, so I’ll just say hi for the second time. Yoroshiku ne ^^

I have a question that I think must have been asked before, given the amount of people that use Renpy as a VN engine, but since I didn´t fount it, I’ll just ask it myself. I´ll try to keep it as short as possible. (Note: I´m a Hispanic writer, and even if I understand English at perfection and I’m currently here as a translator my redaction in that language is far from good, so my apologies to whoever read this.)

A little introduction first: I´m new at this, so I don’t know scrap, but It’s been a few months since I’ve been interested in making my own VN, so I had time to check a few engines by now. I discarded the Unity “fungus” patch because of a lot of things I wanted to do and weren’t in it, GDevelop because dialog didn´t appear fluid, CatSystem2 because the English word-wrap patch doesn't work (or so they said), Cloud novel because what´s mine it´s mine (?), Novelty because it was discontinued and the rest, Belle, Omega, Tyrano, etc, because either I had to pay for them, they didn´t export multiplatform or they were betas. In the end, I decided that Renpy was the best choice.
Now, I’m perfectly capable of learning to program in Renpy and I’m determined to do so. What I want to do is not a simple VN, with dialogue, CG´s and all the usual stuff, but something a little more complicated. It involves a die system, random battles, inventory, status screen and a lot of stuff. Something like the system from Just Desserts, except is more complicated. I assume it´ll take me a while to learn enough to make it by myself, but I won’t give up on it.

So, the question is: Why doesn´t Renpy have, like, a simpler, visual, user friendly interface? Of all the engines I listed, Novelty was the one I loved, I mean, TRUE LOVE, like, “marry me” kind of love =3 I would have kept on it if it wasn’t abandoned, didn’t have graphic problems or if at least it had exported the games to Linux, Mac and Android. I imagine that making a simple interface of “click a button and add the code” like in Novelty or Tyrano is not something hard to accomplish. Like, with just the press of a button, add a dialogue script, a new thread, an event, modify a variable… Everything would be simpler for a person who doesn’t know how to code if he could visually see what he´s doing. And since this engine is free it would encourage a lot of people to use it, so, why not make it so?
(Someone in discord sayd that the Renpy community was a reserved club that goes like: If you want simpler, find something else, looser, We´re Renpy programmers, fuck ya! or something like that. Is that the reason? o.O )
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Re: Stupid Question.

#2 Post by Imperf3kt » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:26 pm

Efforts to simplify the creation process have been made and are ongoing.

I suggest checking out the "Renpy interactive director"
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Re: Stupid Question.

#3 Post by trooper6 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:46 pm

Basic Renpy is very simple.

This is a completely working game:

Code: Select all

define a = Character('Anne')
define b = Character('Bill')

label start:
    scene bg forest
    show anne at left
    a "Hi, I'm Anne"
    show bill at right
    b "Hi I'm Bill!"
    "You game is done."
    return
All that you need to make sure is that you have the files "bg forest.jpg" "anne.png" and "bill.png" in your images folder and your have a complete game without have to do any sort of coding at all.

I think you want s WYSIWYG editor like the Renpy Interactive Director that PyTom put out for last NaNoReno? WYSIWYG editors are sort of good...but they are often limited in certain ways...they make you do things only one way, and the minute you want to do something in a different way, you are screwed.

So I'd recommend starting with the simple thing like above and then adding more simple things...like a menu:

Code: Select all

define a = Character('Anne')
define b = Character('Bill')

label start:
    scene bg forest
    show anne at left
    a "Hi, I'm Anne"
    show bill at right
    b "Hi I'm Bill!"
    menu:
        "Did you have fun?"
        "Yes":
            "That's great!"
        "No":
            "I'm sorry!"
    "You game is done."
    return
And then add bits one by one. Add a screen with a button. Play with the different screen elements and learn some screen language.
Practicing customizing the GUI that they give you.

Then go and learn some Python for the more complicate stuff and add that sort of stuff bit by bit.

I think Ren'Py is pretty simple...at least it can be super simple. You can make it more complex...but I recommend adding complexity incrementally so it doesn't overwhelm.
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Re: Stupid Question.

#4 Post by Ulises Roth » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:12 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:Efforts to simplify the creation process have been made and are ongoing.

I suggest checking out the "Renpy interactive director"
I just downloaded it and checked it out. It's not in the least the level of simplicity I was referring to, but at least it's good to know that someone it's working on it. Thanks for the reply ^^
trooper6 wrote:Basic Renpy is very simple.
I know =) That´s how I know I’ll learn it in time. What i meant was that it would be simpler to just remove the part where you actually typed the code.

Everything in the code you showed was pretty simple and doing it by writing the code or pressing a button would not make a difference, but more advanced stuff would be far simpler if it were made visual.

Image

This is simplicity. And really, it can’t be that hard to achieve, since independent developers make stuff like this on their own. But I’m just saying, like, you know, whatever.
Thanks to you both ^^
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Re: Stupid Question.

#5 Post by sasquatchii » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:51 pm

As others have already said, Ren'Py at its core is simple and user friendly. PyTom even created a Tutorial project in Ren'Py which details and lays out how to customize Ren'Py games, step by step.

The reason that Ren'Py is more complex than Novelty is because Novelty definitely has its limitations as to what you can do, whereas with Ren'Py, the sky's the limit. I remember looking at Novelty a few years ago when I first started making visual novels and feeling frustrated at its limitations of what I could and couldn't customize.

With Ren'Py, you can have any kind of minigame you can dream up in your games. You can change the UI so that the buttons are circles or have unicorn buttons if you feel like it. You can make the game whatever size you want and save it to be playable for windows, linux, macs, and android phones with ease.
Ulises Roth wrote: This is simplicity. And really, it can’t be that hard to achieve, since independent developers make stuff like this on their own. But I’m just saying, like, you know, whatever.
Thanks to you both ^^
This statement is a bit presumptuous. Ren'Py is more than 10 years in the making, is free to use, and PyTom and everyone else in our community has worked really hard to make some amazing stuff with it. If you don't like it for whatever reason, there are, as you mentioned, other indie developers making stuff like this on their own. You could use their programs - or even make one of your own if you're truly unhappy with what's out there.
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Re: Stupid Question.

#6 Post by philat » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:54 pm

Since it really can't be that hard, perhaps you could make it yourself.

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Re: Stupid Question.

#7 Post by Ulises Roth » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:25 am

Nope, thanks, but I’m not going anywhere ^^ I stated my mind because I wanted to and could. I have the outmost respect for the work of those you listed, but your reasoning is flawed. Just because Renpy lets you do more stuff doesn’t mean it "cant" have an interface like Novelty. And about the stuff novelty "could" do, the work you take a year of programming to code can be done there in a couple months, and that was my point. Renpy could have a better interface, period.

And I don’t know how to program, Philat, nor would I waste my time on something like that if I could, so I won’t be making a Visual Novel engine any time soon =P The "rude demand" part, well, I honestly couldn’t care less on what you think the tone of my comment was. I neither know you nor care for you, so... In resume, If you both don’t like or appreciate my humble opinion, well, there´s a cliché line for what you can both do next, but my mama raised a well educated little boy, so you can just imagine it x)

Thanks for the comment, guys =) Very helpfull.
Ne, i´ll just go use GDevelop. Be very happy. Hasta la vista, beibisss 8)
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Re: Stupid Question.

#8 Post by Imperf3kt » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:18 am

With great simplicity, comes no complexity.
With no complexity, you are limited to simplicity.


Ren'Py 'could' have a better interface, but you'd severely limit its customisability.
For classic examples, just look at Microsoft Frontpage or Windows Movie Maker.
I swear... If I see one more YouTube video with a blue Title and white text...


You're just being salty. You're gonna move on to the next community and say the same things to them.
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Re: Stupid Question.

#9 Post by philat » Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:11 am

I don't know whether OP is actually going to quit these forums or not given the contradictory statements in their post, but I would like to elaborate because, well, this seems like a fairly frequent occurrence and I might as well spend actual words explaining why this type of post helps no one.

So it always starts off: "why doesn't Ren'py have a visual interface?" And people answer, "because visual interfaces are generally limiting / hard to develop." And the rebuttal is always, "no, they're not and you're all text elitists for saying so / it can't be that hard to develop." This is bonkers.

People who want visual interfaces are almost always people who do not know how to program on an engine- or interface-creating level and therefore are not best suited to judge the difficulty of that task. As such, an attitude of "But not everyone likes to code! Why aren't you making things specifically so I don't have to code!" comes off as incredibly entitled.

Ren'py is a free, open-source engine. There are alternatives that offer more visual interfaces -- wonder why they're usually commercial programs with a higher barrier of entry (whether through price or restrictions in usability) than Ren'py or abandoned/slowly developed/in perpetual beta? It's because developing a visual interface on top of an engine takes EFFORT. It takes TIME. People usually can and do charge money for products of labor. If they don't, then it's unsurprising if that project becomes difficult to maintain.

Of course, I don't begrudge anyone for wanting a visual interface for Ren'py. It would be great for people who don't like text-based development if there were one! But again, developing one takes time and effort, both of which are finite resources. Time spent developing a good visual interface (mind you, a visual interface and a GOOD visual interface are also two different things, and the latter isn't easy) is time diverted from other things like adding features and fixing bugs. If there were one, developing the engine further would become harder as well as changes in the engine would have to be reflected in the interface. This is all an investment and IS DIFFICULT. PyTom has said before that he thinks his time is better spent improving the engine rather than developing front-end comforts. That's his choice. I respect that and frankly find it difficult to understand why people come to his site specifically to disrespect it.

Furthermore, the assumption always seems to be that there isn't a subset of people who PREFER text-based development. Not everyone likes to code, and not everyone likes clicking buttons and dragging and dropping -- why is the latter preference assumed to be somehow elitist? It's a way of working. As a writer more than an artist, I find the simplicity of a text editor far more soothing and clearcut than the Novelty interface. That's a personal preference, but one that is no more or less valid than preferring Novelty. The question is, why must Ren'py be Novelty? Why is it presumed to be a slight to visual-oriented people if Ren'py is Ren'py? Why can't Novelty be Novelty - or Tyrano, or Belle, or VN Maker, or whatever?

I don't pretend to be an active contributor to Ren'py -- I'm not a programmer, and my knowledge of python is very, very beginner-level, so I'm not exactly qualified. That is, I am not personally slighted by the lack of respect, I just find it galling. It goes without saying that I don't speak for PyTom -- it may be that he has his sights on interface improvements, if the interactive director is any indication. And if that's the case, great! If PyTom chooses to invest further in a visual interface, even if that's not what I personally prefer, that is also his choice and one that I would respect. If people want to chime in and ask for a visual interface to try to sway PyTom's mind, why not.

But people rarely come here (meaning the Ren'py Questions section of the forum) and create a thread asking politely if PyTom plans to develop a visual interface for Ren'py. It's always "Why ISN'T there a visual interface?" as if they're entitled to it and are offended that it isn't there. For a product that's distributed for free!

It's a particularly stark comparison to how people often come by and ask if Ren'py supports Live2D. The answer is it's on the horizon but probably not a priority, according to PyTom. People come, ask, and say oh cool, and that's that. Earth-shattering, that civility can be achieved.

There is a place for constructive criticism. There is a place for people to give feedback or express where they would like Ren'py to improve. And then there's, you know. This thread.

tl;dr: when asking other people to go out of their way to cater to your specific whims, consider whether you are asking like an ass. Especially when "paying money elsewhere for the things you want" is a valid alternative (and "the things you want" are not basic human rights to which you are entitled).

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Re: Stupid Question.

#10 Post by sasquatchii » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:00 am

philat wrote:The assumption always seems to be that there isn't a subset of people who PREFER text-based development. Not everyone likes to code, and not everyone likes clicking buttons and dragging and dropping -- why is the latter preference assumed to be somehow elitist? It's a way of working. As a writer more than an artist, I find the simplicity of a text editor far more soothing and clearcut than the Novelty interface. That's a personal preference, but one that is no more or less valid than preferring Novelty. The question is, why must Ren'py be Novelty? Why is it presumed to be a slight to visual-oriented people if Ren'py is Ren'py? Why can't Novelty be Novelty - or Tyrano, or Belle, or VN Maker, or whatever?
Well said!

I'm a graphic designer. I am a very visual person, and completely hopeless when it comes to all things technical. But I really like the way Ren'Py is designed. It's actually very well designed, and it just keeps getting better with each iteration and version that PyTom puts out there.

Also, there are so many resources out there to help me better understand Ren'Py. There are free games that people create and give away to help people understand things like how to understand the interface. There's the cookbook forum here. If I don't understand something, I can google it or look through the archives on this forum. If I do all that and still don't get it, I make a post here detailing what is happening, and a kind and helpful person usually gets back to me within a day with helpful tips (sometimes I hear back from someone even sooner if my problem is a simple one). People on here are always willing to help out, and PyTom himself has even taken the time to comment on some of my posts and help me out with my code.

Also, it should be noted that a 'visual editor' of sorts is currently in the works for Ren'Py - but it still uses the same old code we all know and love (thank god). It allows you to use your code and see the changes you make in real time. It looks neat and I'm looking forward to it!
philat wrote:There is a place for constructive criticism. There is a place for people to give feedback or express where they would like Ren'py to improve. And then there's, you know. This thread.

tl;dr: when asking other people to go out of their way to cater to your specific whims, consider whether you are asking like an ass. Especially when "paying money elsewhere for the things you want" is a valid alternative (and "the things you want" are not basic human rights to which you are entitled).
To be fair to OP, they did say they were not a native english speaker. Their culture is probably different than ours, he might be a lot younger, and is brand new to LSF. I would usually give them the benefit of the doubt, but then they said they don't care if they're coming off as rude so :(

You do raise a good point on the importance of asking for things, though. Being kind and thoughtful while doing so will usually get you a lot more than acting entitled and asking without doing your research first or understanding much about the complexities of why Ren'Py is the way it is.
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