Sunday, October 09, 2011

Ren'Py Visual Novels

So a while ago we were asked on our forums why we never featured any games done with the open-source Visual Novel engine Ren'Py... which I pretty much dismissed in my mind with "prfff... those are not games anyways" :D
But well... a small competition over at the very nice Linux Gaming News blog asking which game engine actually had the most Linux compatible (and often at least freeware) games released so far, got me thinking about this again as with literally hundreds of games available on-line, we shouldn't simply dismiss this genre outright, I guess.

Screen-shot from the Ren'Py game Katawa Shoujo
Luckily, I do watch Anime from time to time, so I wasn't completely "out of the loop" so to say and thought "if tentacle p*** didn't kill me, I am up for anything" (except for 4chan's /b/ :D ). And at least in Japan, Visual Novels are a pretty big thing, with "next-gen" console releases, high quality movie adaptions and millions of players/readers (as an rather good example "Stein's Gate" could be mentioned).

However Visual Novels do have a certain prejudice attached to them, that most are all about school-girl dating sims or worse e.g. so called "eroge" surprisingly often also meant for a female audience, including boy-boy scenes o_o
And after digging into the scene a bit, I have to admit those prejudices are somewhat correct *slowly wanders off and wonders why he even bothered*

Screen-shot from the FOSS Visual Novel @Camelia Girls
But, that doesn't mean there aren't some good/interesting ones (for example this one), and the Ren'Py engine allows for some pretty awesome interactive storytelling (also on your Android powered device)... so lets not judge a tool by some of its user.
Besides that... it is perfectly feasible for a one man (or woman) team to succeed in creating a great Visual Novel, which can't be said for most other game genres. So if you have an awesome story to tell, and writing a book isn't your thing... well maybe making a Visual Novel is (the programming involved is rather simple... no worries ;) ). Interested? Well head over to the LemmaSoft Visual Novel development forums and dive right into this rather strange sub-culture :p