VNgen is a visual novel and animation engine for GameMaker Studio. Using a custom scripting syntax, it is designed to produce premium content quickly and easily on a wide variety of platforms. It is currently being used to create both first-party and third-party indie games of multiple genres. If you value my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Your support will play a critical role in the ongoing development of these and future projects. Stay tuned to the end of this post for details! I'll be ...

Finding Success in Failing Health - A VNgen Post Mortem

For the past year-and-a-half, ThinkBoxly has been exclusively a devblog of my progress on developing original commercial content like VNgen. If you've followed me during that time, you've probably gotten used to the absence of editorial and feature-style posts (if you were ever aware they existed around here at all). But this is my blog, dang it, and I get to write what I want*. And as you can probably guess from the title, today's topic is hardly unrelated. Valve, it's time we developers had a little ...

On Steam, Valve, and Indie Developers

I hate delays. I hate my delays. If something else is delayed, I can wait. There's plenty to do in the meantime. But when I'm the one that has to make the call, it's a different issue. If you know me very well, you'll know I'm terrible at giving ETAs, which is why I hesitated to give one for VNgen until the very last. And to be fair, based on what I anticipated VNgen 1.0 to be at the time, it was a reasonable estimate. But the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced VNgen was missing something ...

Update 34 - I Hate Delays

Way back in the summer of 2014 I began writing my first visual novel engine. Not VNgen, mind you, and not even Edge VN. This was a third, unreleased engine—and for good reason: it was a horrible, broken mess. You see, not only was this my first visual novel engine, but the first program I had ever written from scratch. I've come a long way in four years, leading my work to be praised by developers even with many more years of experience than I have. But while my coding practices may have changed, the ...

Update 33 - The End of the Beginning

I've spoken before about the importance of standardization in VNgen. It's so important, in fact, that multiple times I've discarded working solutions purely because they didn't conform well enough to established guidelines. A while back, one of these solutions involved using a shader to dim characters while they're not speaking—a method that was quickly replaced by blending in a transparent black rectangle instead. And yet, at the time, I said the effort to incorporate shaders into VNgen wasn't wasted, ...

Update 32 - Shader Business Revisited

VNgen's backlog was one of the first things written for the engine well over a year-and-a-half ago. While it might seem like putting the cart before the horse, the backlog was actually a convenient testing ground for some of the new concepts necessary to make VNgen a reality. But then that reality materialized, and the backlog was left the oldest feature, requiring more than one overhaul to keep it up to date. Nowadays, standardization is the name of the game. VNgen's codebase has been cut in half despite ...

Update 31 - Log and Let Log