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GreatSaintLouis
2005-03-01, 04:49
I just have to ask: what exactly ARE the AVG32 and RealLive programs upon which Key's games run? The impression that I get is that they are interpreters similar to Infocom's Inform software used in the Zork game way back when, with the obvious contrasts being support for sounds/music and images, and lack of freedom found in those original text adventure games. Am I anywhere close to being on the mark?

Furthermore, are the tools for creating a visual novel in AVG32 or RealLive freely available, or are they licensed out from the owners? Are there any free (legal) programs that serve a similar purpose?

I'm very curious to know a little more about how this all works.

Haeleth
2005-03-01, 05:10
Am I anywhere close to being on the mark?
You're pretty much spot on.

Furthermore, are the tools for creating a visual novel in AVG32 or RealLive freely available, or are they licensed out from the owners?
The official toolkit is proprietary. It appears that VisualArts only license it to subsidiaries or companies whose titles they are publishing.

I have AVG32 and RealLive toolkits of my own, which are available under much more reasonable licensing terms to anyone who can convince me they can make good use of them. They wouldn't be very good for creating new games from scratch, though. We're talking very low level code and nothing in the way of user-friendly front-ends.

Are there any free (legal) programs that serve a similar purpose?
Many. KAG3/吉里吉里 (http://kikyou.info/tvp/) is a good free Japanese equivalent (and it's been used for commercial titles like Fate/stay night). For English speakers, Ren'Py (http://www.bishoujo.us/renpy/) provides most of the same basic functionality.

gp32
2005-03-01, 05:25
Are there any free (legal) programs that serve a similar purpose?
Many. KAG3/吉里吉里 (http://kikyou.info/tvp/) is a good free Japanese equivalent (and it's been used for commercial titles like Fate/stay night). For English speakers, Ren'Py (http://www.bishoujo.us/renpy/) provides most of the same basic functionality.
To add a bit to what Haeleth said, there's also NScripter (a visual novel engine that was used to drive a few games you might have heard of -- like Mizuiro, Tsukihime, and many others) and its open-source reimplementation, ONScripter (http://ogapee.at.infoseek.co.jp/onscripter.html).

Oh, and KAG3/吉里吉里 was also apparently used in a game entitled Naive -sex of drugs-. Sex of WHAT?!

GreatSaintLouis
2005-03-01, 05:38
Excellent, thanks for the help. I'll have a look at those links tomorrow, seeing as it's currently late enough to be considered well into tomorrow.

As far as the free visual novel engines go, how accessable are they to mere mortals, i.e. those with very little-to-none programming talent?

I guess for the record I'm not so much interested in creating things on my own (would you, having experienced the competition?) but more an overwhelming curiousity on my part. Japan's pretty much got the ren'ai market locked down, but I'm wondering if there would be any use of visual novels that would appeal to 'western' markets?

gp32
2005-03-01, 05:46
As far as the free visual novel engines go, how accessable are they to mere mortals, i.e. those with very little-to-none programming talent?
Depends. NScripter's scripting language is very simple to write, but ends up reading a lot like assembly language sometimes. I've never used Ren'Py. KAG3/吉里吉里 has, IMHO, a good blend of readability and functionality, BUT there are a ton of commands to learn, and the (extensive) documentation is all in Japanese.

In conclusion, I'd say that if you're comfortable with the level of scripting found in the Infocom interpreters, you wouldn't find NScripter or KAG3/吉里吉里 that hard to pick up.

I'm wondering if there would be any use of visual novels that would appeal to 'western' markets?
Believe it or not, I'm working on a research project right now that uses KAG3/吉里吉里 to drive a medical education module. Perhaps I'll go ask the project leads if it would be okay to release at least the documentation that I've translated to date ...

GreatSaintLouis
2005-03-03, 06:07
I'd definately be interested in it if you were able to, and if not, I understand. Thanks to both of you for the links and info!