TyranoBuilder Review

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TyranoBuilder is the latest Visual Novel development suite published by Nyu Media and developed by Strikeworks. This particular application allows for users to create Visual Novel style video games with a quick and easy user interface that requires little-to-no scripting knowledge from the outset. For those unfamiliar with the Visual Novel genre, they’re essentially elaborate visual stories that function similarly to a picture book, but are often more detailed. It’s kind of like reading an episode of an anime series or something.

One of the biggest advantages that TyranoBuilder has in comparison to its nearest competition is that it is a much easier to understand system due to being largely graphically based. Users can simply add and remove elements into the editor to get their visual novel to behave the way that they like. This is different to the traditional way of building Visual Novels which would usually require large amounts of scripting. As someone that has used scripting in the past, it’s easy to do so, but for people that want to design visual novels without this background skill, learning how to script is a hard process. TyranoBuilder eases the processes by a tonne by making the scripting a background element to the design process.

I really liked the simplicity of the user interface in TyranoBuilder as well. At a glance, you can tell what most of the functions of the program do, which is a pretty useful feature for a program in terms of useability. However, some parts of the program did require additional homework to figure out what they do and how they work. For example, there is the powerful TyranoScript, which is a programming/scripting feature in TyranoBuilder that allows you to control non-standard elements of the program. This isn’t mandatory, but you’ll need to read documentation on how to use it. Luckily, the TyranoBuilder team have a nice tutorial on how to get the program to work. We’ve also assembled our own little guide to get things started.

One of the biggest complaints that I had about this software was that it didn’t come with any assets to use as placeholders until you generate your own. This means that you have to make plans, or make some temporary assets yourself and act accordingly. It’s okay if you’re in a team or something, or have these assets down already, but if you’re a writer like myself, more than likely you wont have the assets you need on hand. It’s a bit of a loss here, because other game making software, like RPGMaker, comes with pre-made assets to mess with. Not having pre-made assets does make it a bit hard to visualise your concept as you go.

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Sometimes it felt like things take a bit longer than they should for creating certain things in the editor. For example, creating a new scene has to be done on a completely different page to the rest of the tools in the engine. Even more, you have to put in a transition to the next scene as well. After that, if you actually want to work on that scene, you’ll need to save the current scene and then move into the next one. This is odd because it increases the time to edit dramatically, especially if you’re working on two different scenes in particular. Another flaw is that you need to go through a few menus to create characters into the editor, rather then being able to define them on the same screen as most of the other tools. However, these are a minor flaw to the software, that is otherwise pretty good at being a simple tool.

The quality of the Visual Novel created at the end of the production with TyranoBuilder comes out pretty well without fiddling around with too much. However, we would definitely recommend tinkering with as much as you can, because the out of the box menus and options are a bit bare-bones. They’re workable, but they’re not really unique. The games do work really well though, and are sure to look and play amazing with a bit of hard work. You’re also able to make PC builds, as well as mobile builds. This means that you can maximise exposure for your VN if you choose to export for all devices.

Overall, TyranoBuilder is a pretty solid Visual Novel engine and development suite for the PC. It’s a great way to develop a Visual Novel as a beginner due to not being all that heavy on the coding. I’d definitely recommend taking a look at this for the development of any Visual Novels in the future.

Rating: Worth it /10

TyranoBuilder is released by Nyu Media. The engine is available on Steam for ~$15. We were provided a copy of the software from Nyu Media for coverage and review purposes.

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