@Ashley: visual novel using C2

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Post » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:27 pm

Sorry for directing this post to Ashley but it stills open to anyone to talk so don't be shy! ;D

I already searched throught the forum and read some posts but can't make my mind up this simple question: is it possible to make a visual novel using Construct 2? What tools C2 offers to manipulate text?

Many of you may suggest to use Ren'Py (yeah, would be great to load a text/mark-up file and run the actions of the game) but I don't wanna make a simple visual novel. I wanna use the tools provided by the engine to make better GUI, include different iterations and other stuffs that a 2D game engine can provide (physics, touch controls, etc).

Being an ex-user of GameSalad and GameMaker, I've tried my skills on Stonetrip ShiVa (with no luck). I released 32 iOS games using GameSalad and Multimedia Fusion 2. None of these engines have a good text management tool (maybe ShiVa, but the IDE is a bit too complicated). I bought C2 in the early-adopter sales because of the Box2D and the much better editor. Right now I use MMF2 but would be great to change to C2.

I know that in C2 you can use the "text" plugin to display text but if you think about text localization or writing 10k+ dialogue lines inside the editor, the "text" plugin shows not suitable to this job. The "xml" plugin, at least to me, needs a bit more information on how to use (load document, pick line by line, mark-up / tokenize (I think)). Maybe a .capx could clarify this.

I'd like to suggest a "Dialog" plugin where you could load the text file (.xml, .txt, .csv, .xls, whatever), set the text pace (and assign sounds (like NES games)), assign attributes to characters (something to "set F=Francesca" / set color F=red).

Long story short: is it possible to make a visual novel using C2?

If yes: how?

If not:

- Is there any plans to implement the necessary tools (plugin / behaviours)?
- How far in your todo list is it? Will it take more than 3 months?
- Should I try another engine?

Looking foward for your answers!

Thanks!
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Post » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:40 pm

Short answer: Yes.

Not so short answer: It is possible, however it requires a little bit of know-how. You will need to consider the following:

- a way to manage text, including fonts and display (with different colors)
- a way to manage scenes, you are going to have to manage dialogues and actor animation yourself. This part is easy, if you create a simple engine that looks for data (xml) and processes it, however it requires some game design knowledge.
- resource management. Visual novels are rather resource heavy, considering all those large images of characters and scenes. Background images will take the most space, because they are rather diverse and cover the whole window. Then there are character graphics and, of course, sounds (effects, music).

Considering the resources, I don't think a HTML5 game engine is suitable for fairly large VN projects. Without some way to preload assets during gameplay, you'd have to download all graphics and sounds at once, meaning you have to wait for 50+ MB game to download.

But it is very much doable. I believe there is an example of VN game lying somewhere in the examples forum.

Edit: found the example of C2 visual novelMipey2012-08-31 21:42:14
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Post » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:56 pm

I'm afraid I don't really know what's involved in "text management", although I do think it sounds like the XML plugin is what you need. If you load every string from an XML file, then you can switch language by changing the XML file. The XML object is pretty simple and just uses XPath to read strings, e.g. XML.StringValue("\book1\chap1\title"). Perhaps a feature to set the relative path in the XML object would help this (so you don't need to keep repeating \book1\chap1\ for example).

Image management is another potential problem, but if you are targeting desktops they most likely can handle anything you throw at them. For mobile we do have a load-by-layout feature planned - can't give an ETA on that though I'm afraid.
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Post » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:15 pm

@Mipey

I've found this example and it is exactl what I don't want: write the text inside the editor. I have this same thought as Prinsokun:

"the only hard part, was making the dialogue, using too much variables
wasn't comfortable or easy, i hope a new feature for dialogue behavior
would be added in the future updates."

If you take a look inside the .capx maybe it helps to clarify what I'm talking about.

@Ashley

Could you please make an example or point me in the right direction about XPath (related to C2)?

@Mipey and @Ashley

I'm planning a desktop version of the game (maybe in a far future a mobile version) so everything will be loaded locally (.exe).

Thanks for your much apreciated help!loglady2012-08-31 22:16:05
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Post » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:50 am

@loglady

Have you looked at the scenario plugin?
Maybe that will help you. Uses external program to write csv.
I told my dentist I had trouble with my teeth and asked her to fix it without looking in my mouth..
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Post » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:52 pm

I would be interested in this sort of thing too. I had thought of using the CSV plugin to load text and any form of image loader plugin to load an image at runtime, so that the user does not have to wait for 50MB or whatever to download at the beginning. However it might take a lot longer for each page to load...

Also, as you were saying about using Physics and other game elements in it, if you can, you should check out the Iron Man mk7 app on iOS (it might be found elsewhere, not sure). It includes a lot of interesting features as it retells the two Iron man movies. You can attach parts to Iron man by dragging them onto him, the crowd cheers if you tap them, people shoot if you tap them etc. It's really quite fun! Also, any items you can drag fall around via Physics depending on the orientation of the device.
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