While I was browsing the internet, I ran into this small engine called Ren’Py. Ren’Py is an engine specifically designed to create visual novels. If you are not familiar with those games, they are basically games where you read a lot and pick different dialogues to see the story move forward, and that’s it.
When you open the engine, you can see you can either open a sample project, a tutorial or create your own project. The sample project is basically a really tiny game where you have to make a series of choices and you get a good ending and a bad ending. The game is just a couple of minutes long, but it can show you what you can do with the engine. The tutorial project is another game, but this game takes you through the different features of the engine, from creating a project, creating dialogues, adding art, etc.
A lot of the work in the engine is done using scripts. For example, writing dialogues is handled using a markup language, where you can use different special characters for various purposes, like displaying the character’s name, using formatted text, changing the color of certain words, etc.
To add images to your game, first you need to save them in your project’s directory, and then use scripting to reference the images (including image positioning depending on what you want to do). You can even add transitions like fades, or translate the images across the screen.
Ren’Py can compile your visual novel on different platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and web (iOS, Android and Web don't show up in the image below because those are compiled from a different window). While some of the visual novels created using Ren’Py have also made it to consoles, I am not sure if those games were re-made in another engine for the console release, or if the developers of those games modified Ren’Py so it could build console games. I have to mention Ren’Py is open source (you can download the source code from the website) so it is possible those developers modified Ren’Py to make the console ports.
Ren’Py is a very simple engine, but it should fit the needs of anyone interested in making visual novels. While some people may not like scripting, markup is actually pretty easy to learn, so you can start creating your visual novels in no time. On top of that, while there are other engines (or engine add-ons) that let you create visual novels, Ren’Py is completely free, so that’s another point to its advantage.
If you are interested in making visual novels, you should try out Ren’Py. The engine runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Get Ren’Py: https://www.renpy.org/