Game Development Journal XVI – Love Witch and TyranoBuilder

Another great piece of art to share from Sylvia Armitstead!  This is the Love Witch, the Time Wizard’s partner.


I’ve also started to work with TyranoBuilder and I wanted to share my experiences so far with any aspiring game designers that might be reading this.

First, the good news: the drag and drop interface is very easy to use and very visually pleasing.  You basically just set up a chain of events that the program will execute one after the other down the line.  For example:

  • Character enters scene
  • Character speaks
  • A panel arises for player to make a response

All of those are single actions that you simply drag and drop wherever you want them on the line.

It gets a bit complicated, however, when you introduce branching choices into the mix.  If you want the characters on the screen to respond differently depending on the player’s choices, you need to introduce Labels (or, as I call them because of the little icon the program uses, flags) and Jumps.  You use these two pieces in conjunction to create a split in the story line.  For example:

  • A panel arises for a player to choose what to say
  • [Option 1: Compliment vs. Option 2: Insult]
  • Computer Character Response 1: *Blushes*
  • Computer Character Response 2: *Storms Off*
  • Stop

If you simply line up your entries like this, the program will go down the line and execute each piece in a row.  In other words, no matter which option you choose, the computer controlled character will first blush and then storm off.

So, we need to create labels and tell the program to jump from one string or another depending on which option is chosen.

It will look something like this:

  • A panel arises for a player to choose what to say.
  • [Option 1: Compliment vs. Option 2: Insult]
  • Option 1: Jump to Label “Nice Guy”
  • Option 2: Jump to Label “Jerk”
  • Label: Nice Guy
  • Computer Character Response 1: *Blushes*
  • Stop
  • Label: “Jerk”
  • Computer Character Response 2: *Storms Off*
  • Stop

It’s a little confusing to keep track of everything, but I’ve been experimenting with using a flow chart program to help me map it all out.

The next thing I need to figure out is how to make the computer “remember” the choices that that player makes from scene to scene using variables.  I worked a lot with variables and switches in RPG Maker but TyranoBuilder deals with them differently.

And here’s where the Bad News comes in.

TyranoBuilder is a new enough program that there isn’t really a robust group of fan-made tutorials out there yet.  With RPG Maker, if I ever had a question about how to fix a particular bug or how to create a particular effect, I could usually find several forum posts detailing multiple solutions quite easily.  TyranoBuilder has a tutorial that walks you through building a basic game, and that has been pretty helpful to me so far.  But for the more complex operations I’m going to have to do a lot of guessing and testing on my own.

So, what do you think of the Love Witch?  Is anyone out there playing with TyranoBuilder (or any of the other visual novel software that is floating around out there)?  Have any tips for me?


5 thoughts on “Game Development Journal XVI – Love Witch and TyranoBuilder

  1. I think kwiksher was an extension for photoshop made specifically for that purpose you should check it out. I personally, am totally on the design side, I can’t code beyond basic C++ XD

  2. I picked up Tyranobuilder hoping to streamline the process of recreating the VN sections of my favorite game series, but I’m hitting the same wall you are where there just isn’t enough information out there yet. Luckily the developer seems to be on the ball about answering questions in the Steam forums. I’ve also been swamped with classes, so I haven’t been able to really dig into it and see what I can and can’t do yet.

    I was previously using Ren’py, which is powerful if you don’t mind losing the simpler GUI of Tyranobuilder. You’ll be typing up the script in a text editor instead of drag and dropping things onto a time line. On the up-side there are plenty of fan-made tutorials and help is relatively easy to find.

  3. Hi all, thanks for the great tips! I thought about using Ren’py but then TyranoBuilder seduced me with its gorgeous interface. I THINK I am getting the hang of the programming language but we’ll see when play testing rolls around…

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