PlayVN, a Visual Novel system extending Noble Engine


Hi everyone,

My second game, Trickle Greenweed Mermaid at Law in Christmas Catastrophe hits Catalog on Tuesday and I'm very excited. The game is made using a visual novel engine I created that builds on top of the wonderful Noble Engine. My aim was to create an engine that would allow someone to build an entire visual novel quickly and easily by simply editing a single JSON file. It took a long time, but here it is!

Now I did initially release this for people to try on the discord about 5 months ago. I am happy to say that this version works a LOT better than that version. It has new features, but mostly what it has is a lot of optimisation. However, I am primarily a web developer in my normal job, so this is my first time coding a game straight up (my first game, Ribbit Rabbit, was made in Pulp), so there are probably dozens of ways this code could be cleaned up and optimised.

This engine was always intended to be free for the community to use, edit, extend, and mess with, so I'm presenting it here.

Things this engine offers:

Scrolling dialogue boxes that type out the text, with character names.
Animated characters, backgrounds, foregrounds, and overlays.
Optional talking animations that only play whilst text is being printed.
MP3 and midi music
Sound effects
Scene transitions
Variables which can be used almost anywhere
Save games (currently just the one slot, sorry RobKohr)
Inventory system
Dialogue menus (optionally crank to select!)
Inspect the background sections, like investigation sections in Ace Attorney
Three spots for characters
Characters can optionally 'pop up' whilst speaking
The ability to temporarily disable buttons, and to autoadvance scenes after specified durations.
The ability to create your own custom functions that can be called in the JSON file to do whatever you want!

I am exhausted from developing my new game, but I intend to return to this project in the new year and use it to create more cases for Trickle Greenweed (I have two more planned at the moment) but first I am intending to create a modified version to make a game similar to the Observation Duty games!

This project was my first LUA project, and my first non-Pulp game project, and I am very happy to offer what I have made up for anyone who wants to make a visual novel. Please take a look, and maybe have a play. Detailed setup instructions and a demo are available on the github I linked above.

Edit: Noble Engine has updated since I integrated it. This may break transitions. Argh. Let me see if I can fix that.

Edit 2: Fixed it. That was easy.