This week a new program called TyranoBuilder launched on Steam. This is great news for anyone—kids and adults—who want to make their own games but don’t necessarily have the technical know-how to follow through with their ideas.
TyranoBuilder aims to help users build their own visual novels. The visual novel genre is broad, but typically consists of games where character interaction and conversation are the main motivators. You might be prompted to make choices about how to respond to a dialogue or event, and those choices will somewhat impact the outcome of the story. Typically games that have elements of combat or puzzles aren’t categorized as visual novels. The genre is popular in Japan, though not exclusive to that locale.
One of the draws of this type of game is that the emphasis is on art and writing. Visual novels usually only use 2-dimensional artwork, so there’s no need to know 3D modeling or animation (though of course you can explore these if you like), and dialogue tends to be text-only, so you won’t need to try your hand at voice acting if that’s not your jam. You can also add music.
TyranoBuilder sounds like a great program for people who are new to game design, especially since in theory a single person with very little experience could put together a playable game on their own. The program comes with some preset artwork if you aren’t interested in drawing your own assets, but it would also be possible to use photographs or other types of visual elements. It would also be a fantastic opportunity for collaboration between artists and writers in a home or classroom setting. I know I’m planning on checking it out with my more wordy friends.
The program costs $14.99 on Steam, and is available for Windows PC and Mac.