Who doesn’t love a good visual novel? English speakers are slowly catching on to what might my favorite video game genre, one that focuses on text-heavy narratives and “choose your own adventure”-like branching story lines instead of complicated, action-based gameplay. Whether it be a traditional dating sim, otome game, or something else entirely, visual novels are unique and now, even easier to make yourself!
Nyu Media has just announced plans to release an English version of the visual novel studio TyranoBuilder on March 27th for just $14.99. While Ren’Py, the go-to visual novel engine for many indie creators, is open source and supports Windows, Mac, Linix, and Android, TyranoBuilder appears to be much more flexible,* and may be even easier to use for newcomers to game development. Take a look at the launch trailer to get an idea of what the software looks like:
TyranoBuilder touts the ability to create games for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android (requires porting through a free thirds party app), as well as gaming devices that run HTML5, such as the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita. While Linux is surprisingly absent, the HTML5 and iOS compatibility coupled with the studio’s very intuitive-looking interface make it look very appealing!
While developers familiar with Ren’Py may not be looking to switch, TyranoBuilder looks like it could be a great tool for those interested in trying out visual novel game development! Coupled with a Steam release, it has the potential to get even more people interested in visual novels, which can only be a good thing in my book! There will also be a demo available on the official site at a later date, so keep an eye out for that.
*I confess to know not much of anything about game development, so I am only saying this from the perspective of someone who has had a cursory look at both TyranoBuilder and Ren’Py! People familiar with Ren’Py, please feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments.