My first hour in the engine

Visual Novel Maker is an engine created by Degica, the same people who publish the RPG Maker series. The engine was released on Steam on November 16, 2017 for $59.99USD.

The following video is my first hour using the engine (having never used it before.) The engine has a well designed, but complicated UI. While it may be easy to use, I'm hesitant to say it as easy as RPG Maker. (Is it easy enough for a child to use?) It's certainly easier than Unity of Game Maker, since I was able to figure out how to do some very basic things in my first hour.

The issues I had:

Changing scenes will remove any changes you have made unless you save.
Copying and pasting the commands is annoying.
Pressing the DEL button should Delete.
Creating a new message combined messages in the first box (maybe I did something wrong.)
Clicking on the screen didn't make the text box cycle quickly enough (could be FR issue caused by Camtasia Studio.)
The mouse roller didn't cycle back and forth through dialogue.
I thought that maybe the help files should be in game and not connect you to a website.
(I thought there was a problem with not being able to move the windows, but I actually figured that out later in the video. So ignore the times I mention it.)


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What were your thoughts on the resources?

I do agree about the help window and how it should be tied to the maker, not a site. And making things like adding a message a lot easier to find (took me looking through the help file to figure that out on a blank new project.) It's a mixed bag, in my book.
The most beautiful user on RMN!

About 17 hours or more in now.

I think there's enough graphical resources to make a decent game. I would have liked more background musics perhaps. As it's going right now I have used almost half of them. Also, some of the resources are hidden in a DLC folder (fantasy graphics) for some reason.

Also, it's hard not to draw comparisons to Ren'Py. ie. the title screen / ui options Ren'Py gives you at the start (ie. different color patterns, cusotmizing your UI before you start your game.) Ren'py also has better built in mouse control with being able to click anywhere on the screen to move forward (though Dr. Yami has addressed this in an extension.) I think VN Maker will certainly have a lot of support in terms of extensions in the future. If that happens then it will definitely be the engine to get.

It's hard to give a recommendation at this point if your an artist and can easily draw your own stuff (Ren'Py isn't that much harder to learn honestly.) But if your a programmer and can't draw you are buying quite a lot of resources with this engine.

Funnily enough, it's aimed more at artists who hate renpy and all it's shitty learning to use bullshit (I tried that shit it is not easy to use >.<; ) and want fast results they can see easily, not programmers (who actually seem to hate the program, especially renpy users who have gone out of their way to express that hate XD).
The most beautiful user on RMN!

It only took me a couple of days to learn the basics for Ren'Py. I wouldn't say its hard, more or less annoying (entering paragraphs of text to get a couple minutes worth of dialogue.)

Visual Novel Maker may be slightly faster in that regard, but if you know how to use RPG Maker well enough... Well it's not hard to autorun (maps just being backgrounds) / show pictures (for characters) / show text / occasional save game (basic visual novel right there. Nothing fancy, but it could function.)

Using RPG Maker has made me a spoiled brat that wants all engines to be so easy to use.
Well, true, RM is much faster. XD
VNM can be a great tool, but it's got some big flaws. However since I already started learning it I don't plan to switch unless I get into some huge headaches.

If I could suggest one thing it would be making it faster and more stable and improving the area where you add in the events (a lot of things in it could be improved.)

I've got like 90 hours in Steam, but a lot of that was idle, I'm probably only about 15-20h in.
The most beautiful user on RMN!

I think I like the engine more now that I know better how to do some things. And the dev team has fixed bugs, added resources, etc...

It's not perfect, but it's a decent engine.
The scary part is Live2D; we're waiting back on a response from the Live2D people themselves, but since 2.0 animations are the only ones that work you need to use that... the problem is that they don't advertise the 2.0 animation tool (Live2D doesn't) as part of the software you can get anymore.

So VNM is supporting an old version of Live2D that Live2D isn't technically selling anymore - we're reaching out to see if we can get it unlocked with the current subscription, but they're slow to respond.

Took a ton lot of research and work to figure all of this out however. Not even sure most of the VNM staff understands it; if they have knowledge or work-arounds they've kept it pretty hush-hush too.
The most beautiful user on RMN!

That's interesting because they sell a DLC for that.

The Visual Novel Maker - Live2D DLC allows users to use Live2D 2.1 models in their Visual Novel Maker projects. This includes access to official Live2D models such as Haru, Wanko, Epsilon etc. What also makes this DLC special is that it Visual Novel Maker users have a special license where they no longer need to sign a contract with Live2D and can even sell their game with Live2D without paying licensing fees to Live2D Inc. As long as that game is made in Visual Novel Maker!

The wording here is interesting. You can use the animations, but don't need to own the program (ie. someone could make the animations for you, you could use pre made animations, etc... I can think of other options I can't mention here.)

Exactly how it works - you could take model files created by someone who has/works in Live2D and put them in your game without ever having to pay Live2D, just pay for the extension for VNM.

I'm really hoping VNM updates their Live2D support soon, it's currently a nasty mess, in particular it's inaccurate and a bit misleading (or they're keeping some secrets!)

The artist I work with picked up and learned Live2D and we've found that while models need to be in 2.1 (which isn't sold anymore but you can export to from 3.0!) the ANIMATIONS (motions) need to be in 2.0 to work! (This is also not sold... so technically making your own model potentially requires a cracked or illegal version of Live2D animation to work, whoops!)

Between me and her it's probably been about 25h+ figuring the 2.0 animations out; and then she had to redo a model because the nicer new features don't export to 2.1 properly, etc.

I feel is has great potential, and I'm glad they included Live2D support initially, but it needs to be updated ASAP since I feel it's a major selling point (the best engine for Live2D is Unity I believe, which is much much more complex to learn and work with.)
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