Two Years of Blender

Here are a series of tweets I made about my experiences in Blender up to this point and how I use Blender in my comics. I had always wanted to learn how to do 3D renders but always thought there would be too much of a learning curve. One day I was bored, didn’t want to draw, didn’t want to play video games, so I thought, “today is the day!!” and just started with Blender because it was open source and free. What I didn’t expect was how much fun I would have! I was using Blender for the fun of it, not just for the end goal (but my goal did help). Whenever I learned some new technique it was like fireworks going off! A wonderful feeling.

Tutorials listed at the bottom of this post!

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Fungus Research – Week 1

Fungus Screenshot
Building a Fungus game in Unity. I made a custom story text dialog and say dialog. You can see the story flowchart at the bottom.

In my quest to make the perfect visual novel, I started to research the Fungus Visual Novel Engine for Unity 5. So far it’s been really enjoyable and I feel like this might be a viable option, but there are some hangups I still feel unsure about.

It’s lack of the basic Visual Novel system.
If you’ve tried Ren’py or played any Visual Novel, you’ll know that it comes with an options menu, save menu, title screen, rewind, etc… If I chose to use Fungus I’ll have to build a lot of that myself. It would be a good opportunity to contribute some code back to the Github project.

It can be inconsistent at times.
I’ve noticed that some of the portraits will move in directions I don’t mean them to move when I try to hide them. Flying off the screen even when I set them to fade. I’m hoping I’m just doing something wrong with my commands and I’ll figure it out later.

But there are some BIIIIIG draws that make me want to switch to Fungus.

It’s built on Unity!
I’ve been using Unity for a while and the development experience just keeps getting better with each release. If you can set up Visual Studio with Unity, you can use a debug console and step through the code as you play – something Ren’py sorely lacks.

User Interface customization is easy.
If you want a new look for a dialog box or a new spot for your character to pop up, you just have to add it by going to Tools->Fungus->Create and you’ll have a handy graphic interface to make your changes in.

The code is open and reasonably easy to customize.
I found I wanted to change the way a character portrait changes. The default behavior makes the previous portrait fade (alpha -> 0) before fading in the new portrait — So the character disappears briefly… which looked a little weird to me. In animation, you don’t make the character fade out between frames.
The line I needed to change was pretty easy to find and fix and now I have the effect I want! I’ll see if I can submit a pull-request to add that as a portrait change option.

That’s all I have to report for now. I’ll keep on working with Unity+Fungus to see how far I can go before I start tearing my hair out.

If you’re interested in trying Fungus out, here’s some youtube tutorials to get started:

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