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  #1  
Old 2006-08-03, 13:14
Blue Lemma Blue Lemma is offline
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Default English Visual Novel Engine Comparison

Hello! With the Blade Engine having recently come out, ONScripter getting attention from al|together, and Ren'Py seeing use in the English doujin community, I decided it was time for a side-by-side comparison of the different engines.

Here is a chart I made (it's a draft): http://lemmasoft.net/renai_dev/comparison.htm
I was hoping I could get some feedback/extra info from people around here, since they're probably familiar with ONScripter in particular. Is my information accurate? Am I missing anything? I referenced the Blade, ONScripter, and Ren'Py documentation and software. I'm also having trouble with notable features of Blade. Quite honestly, I'm not impressed with it at all, especially given the more powerful and free alternatives. But they have good marketing, so they're getting attention ^_^;

Anyway, comments are much appreciated! :)
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  #2  
Old 2006-08-03, 15:17
gp32 gp32 is offline
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ONScripter also has full support for OGG Vorbis, and support for FLAC is in the works; it also supports user-defined variable names (you simply have to define them in the *define) block. It also supports these platforms:

Win32
Mac OS X (10.3 and up)
any Linux (x86, PPC, iPod, you name it)
any *BSD (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD)
GP2X
Sega Dreamcast
Sony PSP

It's just that I don't compile any platforms other than x86 Linux, Mac OS X, and Win32.

For all supported transition effects, see this. Essentially, you missed the fact that ONScripter has a mosaic transition effect, and that it has a masked crossfade.

Sample demo novels are available for NScripter, but not in English.

It is also the only engine of the three that displays text in both "tate" and "yoko" modes -- horizontal-LTR reading and vertical-RTL reading. The former is what the English-speaking world is familiar with. The latter is something you see in Asian countries a lot. It used to be, for instance, that most Korean newspaper articles were written in a vertical-RTL alignment ...
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  #3  
Old 2006-08-03, 17:15
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...and Japanese newspaper articles still are, of course.

Couldn't you call this forum a community of sorts for ONScripter? We have to use it when translating games, although we don't make our own.
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  #4  
Old 2006-08-03, 17:46
Blue Lemma Blue Lemma is offline
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ONScripter does come up here, but I have a hard time calling this an active forum community for ONScripter... The support aspect isn't very focused/cohesive (in my opinion - not to knock you guys, there is help, just scattered about). Perhaps I should reword the category.

Thank you for the info, gp32 :)
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  #5  
Old 2006-08-03, 22:05
Blue Lemma Blue Lemma is offline
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I've posted a revised version here:

http://lemmasoft.net/renai_dev/comparison.htm

(I forgot the text layout stuff you mentioned, gp32 - will put that in next edit tomorrow)
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  #6  
Old 2006-08-04, 04:32
GreatSaintLouis GreatSaintLouis is offline
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In my opinion, the only real advantages Ren'Py has over ONScripter are the fact that it is designed with an English-speaking target audience in mind, and that the Lemmasoft forums are a good resource for English assistance. Otherwise--and I say this with no malice intended--Ren'Py is more of a hobbyist engine to ONScripter's adaptation of a tried and true commercial platform. I'm not sure how you could discount these forums as a resource for ONScripter support seeing as how this collective community is essentially THE current hub of English ONScripter activity. I mean, let's not forget insani's translated command reference. And as far as sample demo novels go, isn't the extensive library of both trial editions (look to these for those fancier effects) and doujin titles hosted on insani's site example enough? And that's not even taking into account all of the Japanese releases that, while the game text may not be in English, still provide easily accessable examples of various engine features.

Also, there was one quote that caught my eye:
Quote:
Although ONScripter can play AVI video as well as MPEG, Ren’Py supports more image effects and dating-sim style features. Given that AVI to MPEG conversion is always an option, the win goes to Ren’Py.
I really think this is a flawed way of looking at it. Ren'Py gets the win because it supports, through third party conversion (incidentally, have you ever been through the purgatory that is converting AVI to MPEG files?) the same thing that ONScripter does natively? That seems like a less than fair comparison.

Again, I'm not trying to sound like a troll, I just think there's a problem with trying to compare the two engines considering their vastly different origins and target audience, as well as a slight review bias--however unintentional--that shows a much lesser degree of familiarity with the possibilities and applications of (O)Nscripter than Ren'Py. Just some constructive criticism.
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  #7  
Old 2006-08-04, 07:30
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That's slightly unfair the other way. :)

You can't really call ONScripter a tried-and-tested commercial platform. NScripter is, but NScripter doesn't even support (non-ugly) English text. ONScripter is a good clone, but it's not complete, and I would hesitate to describe it as stable given the number of changes and bug fixes that were required to get it into a suitable state for at2k6.

Also, Ren'Py's being designed for English brings some major advantages; its text rendering is vastly superior (ONScripter only does monospaced text).
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Old 2006-08-04, 07:55
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The main issue for me is comparing between Blade and Ren'py, as I'm sure it is for Blue Lemma as well. Blade presents some sort of weird, Orwellian community where they pretend to be the only visual novel engine in existence, and their crappy, incomprehensible nagware purports to be God's bountiful gift to the world of software. Richard Stallman would have a fit.

So, rather than getting bogged down with this, I believe it would be wise to simply promote Ren'py to possible Blade developers, with ONScripter's technical achievements merely serving as a control element to demonstrate that Blade sucks.

edit: Hey, can't forget this one. http://www.geocities.com/yunaffx2001/dnmln.htm
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  #9  
Old 2006-08-04, 07:56
gp32 gp32 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haeleth
You can't really call ONScripter a tried-and-tested commercial platform. NScripter is, but NScripter doesn't even support (non-ugly) English text. ONScripter is a good clone, but it's not complete, and I would hesitate to describe it as stable given the number of changes and bug fixes that were required to get it into a suitable state for at2k6.
Agree. And there are still so many bugs to be hunted down.

The author is also comparing ONScripter-insani, in specific, to Ren'Py and Blade. Mainline ONScripter is really quite different at this point. I also, for the record, don't think that anyone should create an English game in ONScripter. The program is something that I found myself forced to work on given the translations I wanted to do, and I'm completely uninterested in supporting it for any reason other than that.
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  #10  
Old 2006-08-04, 09:10
Blue Lemma Blue Lemma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shii
Blade presents some sort of weird, Orwellian community where they pretend to be the only visual novel engine in existence and their crappy, incomprehensible nagware purports to be God's bountiful gift to the world of software.
I agree (although I might say it's... "disappointingly feature-deficient" instead of crappy - If you're in the bounds of their engine, you can make decent VNs.) I made my views known to them in no uncertain terms here:

http://bladeengine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=41

Anyway, when you compare ONScripter and Ren'Py to Blade, the differences speak for themselves. It's hardly a contest, except for the ease of learning category. That brings me to:

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatSaintLouis
And as far as sample demo novels go, isn't the extensive library of both trial editions (look to these for those fancier effects) and doujin titles hosted on insani's site example enough? And that's not even taking into account all of the Japanese releases that, while the game text may not be in English, still provide easily accessable examples of various engine features.
I agree that there is a lot of ONScripter stuff out there, but the key is that it is largely Japanese. The main point of the paper is to compare the English engines out there, so anything that requires the user to sift through Japanese isn't counted. As far as the "extensive library" of sample demo novels, I can't find it. If someone can point me to English sample demos, I would be very interested. The translated titles are of some use, but they're not exactly a showcase of how to work the engine. You'd have to play through each novel just to see what effects there are, so I'd imagine they're of marginal practical use as a reference for the beginning developer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatSaintLouis
Ren'Py gets the win because it supports, through third party conversion (incidentally, have you ever been through the purgatory that is converting AVI to MPEG files?) the same thing that ONScripter does natively? That seems like a less than fair comparison.
You have a point here, but an AVI to MPEG conversion is still easier than the code-hacking one would have to do in order to get ONScripter to match Ren'Py's functionality in the other subcategories there. Anyway, I'll take a closer look at this section again :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatSaintLouis
...shows a much lesser degree of familiarity with the possibilities and applications of (O)Nscripter than Ren'Py.
That's why I'm here ;-) I was going to post on the Blade forum for comments, too, but they don't seem to allow talk of other engines, soooo...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gp32
The author is also comparing ONScripter-insani, in specific, to Ren'Py and Blade.
I will note this and look into it more.

Thanks for the feedback! I'll post the next revision soon.
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  #11  
Old 2006-08-04, 13:21
Blue Lemma Blue Lemma is offline
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The next revision is out. This is the one I'm going to stick with for now, unless there is something major I messed up on ^_^;

As usual, you can find it at http://lemmasoft.net/renai_dev/comparison.htm

There's also a chart-only version without my commentary at http://lemmasoft.net/renai_dev/chart.htm

Feedback still welcome, of course! :)
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  #12  
Old 2006-08-04, 23:09
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Quote:
Next, we have ONScripter. It’s an English adaptation of NScripter, a prominent VN engine in Japan.
It's not really correct to refer to ONScripter as an English adaptation of NScripter. It's an open source clone, but it's still Japanese. As far as I know, only insani's branch of ONScripter has been adapted for single-byte/English scripts.
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  #13  
Old 2006-08-05, 03:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roto
As far as I know, only insani's branch of ONScripter has been adapted for single-byte/English scripts.
I think that feature is actually in the main trunk; IIRC (and I may not, but no doubt gp32 will correct me if I'm wrong) it originated in Mirror Moon's Tsukihime translation.
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Old 2006-08-05, 05:48
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I should point out that Ren'Py owes a significant debt to ONscripter, and especialy to the people who translated ONscripter games. A number of features of Ren'Py were inspired by ONscripter, with the most notable being the image-controlled dissolve feature.

While I believe Ren'Py has a superset of the functionality in ONscripter, that' largely because Ren'Py benefited from that experience. (Of course, there is a difference in language style between Ren'Py and Nscripter.)

Does ONscripter use Shift-JIS internally, or unicode? I recall there being some issues that when a Chinese team tried to use RlDev, and I was wondering if ONscripter has the same issues.
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  #15  
Old 2006-08-05, 06:29
gp32 gp32 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haeleth
I think that feature is actually in the main trunk; IIRC (and I may not, but no doubt gp32 will correct me if I'm wrong) it originated in Mirror Moon's Tsukihime translation.
That is correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PyTom
Does ONscripter use Shift-JIS internally, or unicode?
SJIS. This, by the way, is why it is impossible to use ONScripter to translate a game into, say, French or Spanish. I have absolutely zero interest in changing this.
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