I am an idiot, Please Help Me Learn Ren'Py.

Hello all!

I wanted to make a thread where I just… lay out my shortcomings and ask for help from the community. There are so many talented game devs here, especially a large number making Visual Novels through programs like Ren’Py.

I am not an experienced coder. I’m a computer idiot. I can make basic choices and dialogue through scripting, but I’m really struggling to grasp more advanced concepts, like increasing stats and triggering events.

If any of the developers working on or who have worked on visual novels and the like through programs like Ren’Py want to talk about their experience and help a rookie survive Python… I’d appreciate it.

Right now, I’ve been playing with a very early demo for an ongoing project, a small engine I downloaded for making Dating Sim daily choices, and occasionally digging into the (far too advanced for my monkey brain) files for Tramp and Fill Me Up.

Thanks again for your help, anyone who stumbles upon this

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I haven’t posted any games or anything here yet, but I’ve been looking into ren’py a bit as well
Actually very happy you made this post, cuz I really believe in helping eachother out with things like this

Python, luckily, isn’t the most difficult language to learn and work with, Ren’py also allows creators to do quite a bit of work without too much complex coding
I’d love to go back and forth with you and see where things hit roadblocks, we can just chat a bit on that as well

If I have any general advice: don’t worry too much about how your code looks for now, and keep your first projects fairly small. Just try to understand what is happening, and why the code does the things it does.

Also, depending on how ‘beginner’ you are, do look up some basic videos about python (just basic python, not ren’py) and do some research on variables, if-else statements and loops
If you understand those 3 you should be able to puzzle yourself through a LOT

Now, my message may look like a mess, my 3 AM monkey brain has been awake for a bit longer than it should be, but breathe in, breathe out, you got this, make a plan and we’ll wrestle our way through

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Hey thanks! I really appreciate the response and would love to talk with you about the profess

Think the best place to start is understanding that renpy is programmed in python and for the most part renpy script is just a simplification/extension of python. For the most part you can actually write your entire game in either renpy script or python, or a combination, and it would not matter much. While knowing python would be extremely helpful for an advanced game or or one that intends to get away from a visual novel. For the most part, to make a basic games knowing python is probably unnecessary to make a visual novel or game.

While i did know how to code before i made my first renpy game, i did not know python and actually just learned renpy script by the included demo/tutorial in the sdk. They even include a tutorial on making pong in the renpy visual novel engine, to demonstrate that while the script was built for visual novels, sky’s the limit if you know some python and get creative. Also by reading the fairly complete documentation for renpy script on the renpy.org page.

Renpy script uses if then else statements along with labels for flow control. along with direct python variables for all tracked variables. If you can make a flow diagram for your story or game, with decision branching, then each block between the decision points is a label, and you just have your variables you track stats or decisions with that you use in the if then statements to decide which label to execute next.

In summary i would start with the demo/tutorial in the sdk, with the renpy.org page used to find lots of the nitty gritty details needed as you get more advanced. Also would read this Some notes about RenPy by @dingotush who has some helpfull pointers on quirks of renpy

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Something like atom is a must for deciphering projects with lots of rpy files rather than one single script.rpy file.

otherwise ren’py are almost all:
if statement
menu
declare variables as 0 at start
variables +1
dialogue commands that alter who is speaking and font
show to show images
jump and return to make labels: work

So, uh, which of the above commands do you not understand? I’ll try to address them in more detail.

So like trying to understand tramp is like impossible with a text editor like atom, or other coding based text editor.

One thing though, I think debug text is useful, and I mod most games I play so that some dialog that comes up often like a daily hub menu or some such I just add like variable [variable] variable2 [variable2] to the text.

I also like to add those right after random choices are made, which helps me find typos and bugs in games, where I’ve posted bugs and bugfix suggestions before.

For example tiggertoo’s weightgaming had a debug section that displayed at all times and was cut down by some # comment flags and editing that area helped me hunt down bugs.

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Expanding on the comment about using a proper code/text editor like Atom, I use Visual Studio Code as my text editor and it has a plugin that actually highlights ren’py’s syntax which makes it much easier to keep track of the things you’re typing and whether you’ve missed something simple like a quotation mark.

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Yeah atom has a similar plugin although atom is now dead as of today I believe (they’re no longer working on it at all), so it might be harder to obtain? (but since it’s already installed on my machine I’m gonna keep using it until I get an issue, then I’ll consider moving to new tech.)

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