Working with Ren’Py:
- Part 1: Downloading and Configuring
- Part 2: Editing and Creating Characters
- Part 3: Scenes and Showing Images
- Part 4: Menus, Labels, and Jumps
- Part 5: Variables and Conditional Statements
- Part 6: Transitions
- Part 7: Building Distributions
Ren’Py is a engine for creating visual novels. It comes with a suite of tools for taking code and transforming it into programs that can be run on Windows, Mac, Linux, and even, with a little more work, mobile platforms like Android and iOS.
Note: As of this writing, the latest version is Ren’Py 7.0. All screenshots and code in this guide are based on that version.
Ren’Py can be downloaded from its its Download (Latest) page. It has builds for Windows, Mac, and Linux by default. (Additional, individual downloads for tools can be found under at the bottom of the same page.)
Depending on the platform chosen, the downloaded file will need to be uncompressed into its full content of files. On Windows, this is done through its self-extracting file. On Mac and Linux, it can be uncompressed either through the default file viewer or from command-line tools.
Navigating to the now uncompressed folder shows its contents. To run Ren’py, open the “renpy” executable on Windows, “renpy” shell script in Linux, or the “renpy.app” on Mac.
The Ren’Py Launcher provides access to all of the files, directories, and possible actions for any project. By selecting projects on the left-hand side (“Tutorial” is selected by default), they can be changed, built, or run.
With “Tutorial” selected, click on “Launch Project” in the lower, right-hand corner. This will open the project in a playable view.
“Tutorial” can be played through clicking on “Start”. It contains various examples of how to accomplish common tasks in Ren’Py as well as demonstrating it at the same time.
To close “Tutorial”, press ESCAPE and then choose “Quit” and confirm it. (Unless changed by the author, this is the default way to access settings while playing something made in Ren’Py.)
Editing files is as easy as choosing them from under the “Edit File” listing when selecting a project.
With “Tutorial” selected or choosing it from the left-hand Projects listing, click on “script.rpy” under the Edit File listing.
If trying to open a File for the first time, the Ren’Py Launcher will ask which editor should be downloaded and connected to editing files.
The first three, Atom, Editra, and jEdit, are listed in order of size and functionality. Atom, for example, comes with more features, but is also much larger to install.
If unsure, choose Atom, the recommended editor for Ren’Py 7.0.
Once an editor is chosen, it will be downloaded, uncompressed, and configured for use with the Ren’Py Launcher. Depending on a number of factors like bandwidth and computer speed, this step may take some time.
Once ready, Ren’Py will prompt to “Proceed” to open “script.rpy” in the editor chosen and downloaded.
Note: The above screenshot is from Atom.
When opened, files can be edited in different ways. Once done editing, it can be closed by closing the tab of the open file or editor itself.
Note: If following this guide closely, close the “script.rpy” file instead of editing it at this time. It needed to be opened once to prompt the editor choosing and download screen.
Return to the Ren’Py Launcher.
Ren’Py is now downloaded and configured for editing existing and creating new visual novels!