The Start of the EnVN Project
Before I say anything else, I still have a lot of work to do on this website. I just quickly cobbled together the way it looks now. Part of the reason I haven’t been working on the web site is because I’ve started work on enciorcal’s first open source project.
This project is what I’m calling EnVN (Enciorcal Visual Novel) right now, but maybe I’ll think of a better name at a later stage.
If you want to follow the project you can see the page for the first part it on GitHub. Though before I start actually making the tool I’m writing up documentation in the wiki about the format of the files which the tool will be reading.
Now to give a little info on the project.
EnVN is intended to change the way visual novels are made and played. It however is not considered a replacement for the existing visual novel engines, it is just an alternative with specific goals. There are advantages and disadvantages to EnVN.
The basic idea is that visual novels with EnVN won’t be stand alone programs like most games and visual novels today. Instead EnVN visual novels will be files (or more accurately archives of files). Then there will be a separate reader file for reading those archives. The reader program will also automatically handle common VN tasks such as saving, loading, options, and the galleries.
Another goal of the engine was to make it so that making visual novels was as close to writing normal novels as possible. Other tools I have worked with either require you to be a programmer or they require you to transcribe your story into a WYSIWYG editor. So our idea was to make the fundamental unit of the visual novel the novel text itself, and then add game features to that using special syntax. It should even be possible to load a normal novel in to the reader and read it (just without any pictures, sound or formatting)
And one other goal is to make the visual novels responsive. All distances in the engine will work off percentages and screens will dynamically resize to accommodate different screen sizes.
We are also hoping that we can incorporate a library functionality in to the reader to keep track of all your visual novels. This would include benefits such as accessing all your VN galleries in one place and quickly swapping between VNs.
As a stretch goal it might be nice to make the reader tool able to read and keep track of other normal ebook formats other than visual novels.
Below are benefits and drawbacks that I can think of
Benefits of this Approach
- As long as the reader application is kept up to date your VNs will avoid compatibility issues in future
- Your visual novel will be available on any system which has the reader application
- The ability to unite your VN expereince
- Making VN production more like actual novel production (It might be possible to release it as both a normal novel and a visual novel depending on the type)
- Difficult to add custom code
As you can see the main drawback I can think of is they difficulty of adding custom code which means that this tool is really meant for people who want to make pure visual novels which don’t have other game elements. However if you do want specific custom code which does not exist you will need to do a pull request and get the code added as a function in the tool. This will be a little more work than adding the code to your own game but it has the added benefit that the custom code will then be in the engine for anybody else to use in future.
Hopefully you’ve gained a bit of interest in EnVN. Look forward to more news as progress on it continues. Hopefully the wiki writing stage won’t last much longer and we can start one making the first tool which is the packager for converting the raw files into an EnVN file/archive.