TyranoBuilder Review – Rice Digital’s first visual novel (PC)

If you have ever tried to make a game you know how difficult it can be. Learning a new programming language or getting acquainted with a game engine can be quite a daunting task. Enter TyranoBuilder the newest visual novel engine published by Nyu Media, which promises to be the easiest and fastest way of creating multi-platform visual novels.

 

Right off the bat, Yes, TyranoBuilder is hands down the fastest way of creating a visual novel with no coding required. It takes less than a minute from launching TyranoBuilder to getting your first visual novel up and running. All this is for a one-time fee of 14.99€. After that you don’t have to pay any licensing fees or royalties, allowing you to make as many visual novels as you’d like.

 

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Making a visual novel with TyranoBuilder is super intuitive. Almost everything is self-explanatory, meaning you can get by with just clicking around. But for those that need it there is a step by step tutorial which is constantly being updated and covers all the basic elements of TyranoBuilder.

 

You can create a visual novel from the ground up using the visual editor. This means instead of spending time on fixing the code you are free to solely focus on your game. Adding new elements is as easy as dragging them from a component list. The component menu has everything you need to create a standard visual novel, including: having characters join and exit scenes, changing their expression, changing the background, adding images and clickable areas, running effects such as quakes, modifying the text speed, styles, adding music, videos and sound effects, and implementing branching paths. Some things like positioning are extremely easy. Characters even move out of the way when someone else enters the scene and return to their position when someone leaves.

 

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For anything more complicated or unique you will have to get your hands dirty with TyranoScript or JavaScript, the scripting languages supported by TyranoBuilder. You can even open the script of an individual scene and edit it in a text editor if you wish, which allows for jumping back and forward between the TyranoBuilder and text editor if that work flow suits you. TyranoScript may not be as intuitive as other scripting languages, but it gets the job done. Its flexible enough to allow you to make stat based dating sims or even point and click adventure games if you wish.

 

TyranoBuilder is a very light-weight program when system resources are concerned. It loads almost instantly, uses very little memory and works even with lower resolutions. It is great knowing that even though it offers a visual editor it works on older hardware.

 

One amazing feature in TyranoBuilder is being able to preview your game from any point, allowing you to easily test out any change you made no matter how far in the game it is. Want to see the newest dialogue you wrote or maybe that important choice near the end of the game without having to go through everything, no problem just right click and select Preview from Here.

 

For the short time I had with this program I managed to create a simple visual novel with little effort. Exporting to the web is quick and painless and the result is a fully playable game in your browser.

 

Enjoy Rice Digital’s first visual novel!

 

 

Being a newcomer to the market means it has a number of bugs. Positioning buttons doesn’t always work and instead you need to modify the values twice. I found myself having to save multiple times in order to have my custom script updated. Labels cannot have spaces, but TyranoBuilder doesn’t stop you from creating such Labels giving you an error when the game reaches that point. Some more complex features have their explanation left in Japanese.

 

There are a few things missing in TyranoBuilder as from this release, including: fullscreen support, a dedicated voice over system, auto text mode, undo and redo, keyboard shortcuts, multiple text box windows, additional fonts, deleting and renaming scenes and characters, a rich text editor, text shadows, different mouse icons, exporting and importing save games for episodic visual novels, Steam Cloud and Steamworks “Achievements” support. Thankfully the developers have acknowledged these shortcomings and are working on implementing them in the future updates.

 

Since TyranoBuilder has been launched last month the developers already announced live 2D support, which allows for breathtaking animations. Houkago Quest! 2 is an amazing example of this technology working with TyranoScript.

 

Where TyranoBuilder stumbles is with its native mobile phone support. Making an Android build proved to be far more complicated than it should ever be, especially when compared to Ren’Py. Even for a programmer like myself the amount of work needed to make a quick build is extremely time consuming, let alone for a person who decided to use TyranoBuilder because of its simplicity. However we are promised an automated system in the future, which should significantly simply this process.

 

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TyranoBuilder is everything it promises to be, but it is still has a way to go. Its affordable price and intuitive visual editor definitely make it a tool you should consider. If you can get over its current omissions TyranoBuilder is an amazing tool that can help you to quickly make that visual novel you have always dreamt of.

 

TyranoBuilder is available on Steam for a one-time price of 14,99€.

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