A list of different and popular interactive fiction authoring tools and visual novel engines. Are we missing anything? Email us at: email@example.com.
Never want to miss out on the latest interactive fiction game or visual novel? Follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
This is just a list of the most common and popular interactive fiction authoring tools. For a more in-depth list, we suggest heading over to the Interactive Fiction Wiki.
Twine is the best starting place for any interactive fiction author. No coding is required, and it has an easy-to-learn drag-and-drop interface. It also exports to HTML, so you can post your story virtually anywhere!
ChoiceScript is a programming language created to write multiple-choice games/choose-your-own-adventure interactive fiction. It requires some learning, and coding knowledge.
ink/inky & inklewriter
ink/inkle and the visual editor, inklewriter, are all great places to start if you want to get into interactive fiction! Similarly to Twine, inklewriter leaves all the coding and fuss behind. You can focus on getting down to the creative writing with a visual interface.
Elm Story is completely free, forever. It is a visual, drag-and-drop interactive fiction tool that lets you create virtual words and interactive narratives. It has a no-code interface, live preview, and easy publishing tools.
Inform is a programming language designed specifically for creating interactive fiction and utilizes a natural language syntax. Not only can it be used for IF, but also for education, literary writing, and more! Best of all? It’s also free and open-source.
Quest lets you create interactive fiction and text adventures either online or through their app. Quest is free to use, and great if you want to also delve into parser-based games (where players input commands). It also supports graphics, sounds, and video!
This is just a list of the more popular visual novel engines. Many people also decide to create their own engines/in-house tools for visual novels.
Ren’Py is the most popular and go-to recommended visual novel engine. It’s also completely free, and easy to pick up. The engine utilizes Python, and allows you to tell interactive stories through images, sounds, and words. It’s extremely easy to learn, and the user interface is friendly.
Visual Novel Maker
From the creators of the iconic RPG Maker engines comes Visual Novel Maker. Whilst it is a paid tool, it does feature a free trial version. VN Maker is incredibly easy to pick up, and even features tools tailored towards artists and writers.
If you want accessibility and no learning curve, this engine is better than Ren’Py. On top of that, it even features scripting and extensions/plugins! It also has multiple exporting options, so people can play your visual novels nearly everywhere!
TyranoBuilder is a good middle ground between Ren’Py and Visual Novel Maker. It’s a paid tool (however, much cheaper than VN Maker). It is mostly drag-and-drop with the ability for extending your story with a scripting language. Visual novels made in TyranoBuilder can also be exported easily to PC, Android, and iOS!