Time for another Golden Week Tutorial! Remember this is the last day of Golden Week, and time is running out to get huge deals on all things RPG Maker, or perhaps win a copy of RPG Maker MV, but its also time for some event tutorials to teach you some new techniques!

Harold has decided that a good way to spend his Golden Week vacation is on a fishing trip! So he has headed up to a mountain fishing village and found some “dark water” that signifies the fishing spot.

Why do fish always congregate in easy to identify spots anyway?

Why do fish always congregate in easy to identify spots anyway?

So, we’re going to do fishing kind of like in Animal Crossing. You start fishing at the spot, you wait a random amount of time for an indication that the fish is on the hook (in Animal crossing it was visual, in our event it will be auditory), then you press the OK button really fast and you catch a fish. If you are too early or too late, you miss it.

Just as with the last time, its important to think: What information do we need to track?

So in this case what do we need to track… Hmmm… Huh… Well. Nothing. There is nothing to track but how many fish the player has and that is done by just giving him more fish as items.

That DOESN’T mean though that we will not need a variable or switch. Sometimes you’ll need a variable or switch inside an event just to keep track of something specific to it. In the case of this event, we will need a Count variable again! This is to randomize the delay between the start of the event and the noise, as well as to measure the amount of time the player has to press the button. A generic Count/RNG variable is always useful to keep around just for these reasons. Sometimes you’ll even need multiple generic ones. We can do this with just one though. And if it was the same project as we did our ordered switch tutorial on, we could reuse that one.

Pretty easy variable/switch list this time around.

Pretty easy variable/switch list this time around.

Now we need to work on the second part. In plain text, what should the event do.

  1. Wait a random amount of time between 1 and 6 seconds.
    1. Did the player press the OK button during this time? Give too early message, end event.
  2. Play the Splash Sound Effect.
  3. Wait 1/2 second.
    1. Did the player press OK during this time? Give the player a fish, end event
    2. Did the Player fail to press OK during this time? Give a fail message, end event

So first, we need to add a Wait 30 to the beginning of the event. Why? 30 frames is half a second. This gives the program time to differentiate between the press that started the event, and the beginning of player input for the wait period. If you don’t add this in, it will read the player still having the button pressed from hitting OK to start the event.

Now, you are thinking, well, I just need to Wait a random amount between 30-270 right? That will fill out the 1-6 seconds. So store a random number between 30-270 in the Count variable and then wait that amount.

There are two reasons this won’t work. 1. You can’t wait a Variable amount of time, and 2. You can’t then check if a button was pressed during that time. Instead, we’ll need to use a Loop. Loops are super useful in lots of situations, they basically just keep doing the same thing over and over until you tell the program to break the loop.

So, you had the beginning right, First, drop that random number between 30-270 in the Count variable. But then, we want to start a loop. So we want the loop to do these things. Wait 1 frame, check if the player hit the OK button, have it tell him too early and break out of the loop if he doesbreak, subtract one from the Count Variable, check if the Count Variable = 0, and if it does, break the loop, if it doesn’t, go back to Wait 1 Frame and repeat. This is a very simple Loop, and learning to understand it will build up your ability to do other similar puzzles. This is what it would look like.

Loop

So we Wait half a second, determine a random amount of time between half a second and 5 and a half seconds, Then start a loop that counts down that amount of time and breaks the loop if the count hits 0 or the character hits the button too soon.

Now we just need to create the loop inside the If: Count = 0 Conditional Branch. Its pretty much identical to the original loop, but instead we set our Count variable (which we can use again since its not being used anymore) to 30 for half a second, and play a sound before it. And this time, hitting the button during it is SUCCEEDING and not hitting it is failing. With being so close to the original loop, I’m not going to repeat the process of creating it, but it should look like the following, starting at the If: Count = 0:

2ndloop

So, did you follow along? Why not check out the demo HERE? Can you find a more efficient way to create this event? Or maybe you have questions of how it is made? Join the comments below!

3 comments

To continue our Golden Week Celebration, where you can currently get huge deals on all things RPG Maker, and perhaps win a copy of RPG Maker MV, I’ve also decided its a good time to do a couple of Golden Week Tutorials!

Today, I have a tutorial requested by a fan on Facebook. If I have 4 switches, and they have to be flipped in a specific order, how do I event this puzzle in RPG Maker? I’ll also include a demo at the end.

Now, this is a pretty common puzzle in RPGs and Adventure games. Figure out the order, flip the switches, carry on.

So I draw out a quick map with the events mocked up for it to work with.

map

The first thing I like to do when creating an event I don’t know how to do yet is break things down by writing down all the information I will need to store. If you think of what needs storing from the beginning you can usually figure things out pretty fast. So in our 4 switch order puzzle, these are the things that need to be stored:

  1. How many switches are flipped?
  2. Is a switch flipped
  3. What order was a switch flipped in
  4. Did the puzzle get completed?

Let’s start with number 3 and go backwards. Number 4 is obviously just a switch: Is the puzzle done. There isn’t any more information but off and on. So that is one switch. Number 3, the order the switches are flipped. That is a variable. One for each switch. Just store 0,1,2,3 in them as they are switched on.

But what about 2? Its obviously switches, and in a lot of cases you would use a self switch for this unless it was being referenced from an outside source, but they aren’t REALLY necessary. Instead, I could just have the variable from 3 have 0 = switch isn’t flipped. So each switch variable is now 0 = not flipped, 1-4 equals order flipped.

The last thing I need is a way to tell when all 4 switches are flipped. Technically I could just check if each of the 4 switch order variables are non-0, but making this its own separate variable will make it easier to store the variables for the others, as you will see shortly. So that leaves me with the following switches and variables:

variablesswitchesThis creates perhaps the simplest setup we can use. Technically, I can think of other ways to do it, some more complex, some more obtuse, but this is probably the ideal setup.

So, the first thing to do is create the first switch event. I’m going to remove all the graphical and audio parts from consideration other than fully on and fully off, because those are pretty simple, and not really part of the challenge of making the event (all it is is move events turning the event to make it look like its switching/opening). What we want to look at is the pure mechanical part of the eventing to understand it.

Now, let’s break down what should happen each time a switch is flipped. Writing down what you want an event to do in plain text makes it easier to conceptualize how it works and what you need to do with it. So this is what we need this event to do:

  1. It should increase the Count variable by 1, to show that 1 more switch has been flipped
  2. It should record the order the switch was flipped in the appropriate switch order variable.
  3. It should check if all the switches are flipped.
    1. If Yes, it should check if the order is correct
      1. If Yes, it should open the door.
      2. If No, it should reset the whole room
    2. If No, it should do nothing.

Number 1 is easy. Just Control Variables Count = Count +1.

Number 2 is also easy, and now you’ll understand why I made Count a separate variable instead of just checking if all the Order variables were nonzero. All we have to do, is set the appropriate Order variable to the Count variable with Control Variables.

So starting with the nested Conditional Branch for #3, we start with If Count = 4 so that you can tell if all 4 are flipped. Then we check each individual variable in nesting to make sure its the right numbers, if it is, switch the Door Open switch to On. Now, we could create an else branch for every single one of the nested conditional branches checking the Order, but that isn’t nearly as efficient. Since if they are all right, it flips a switch, you can instead put another conditional branch under the nested set, but still inside the If Count = 4 to check if the Door Open switch is Off. If it still is, then it resets the puzzle by changing all the order variables back to 0.

This is what the event should look like:

Event

The first section changes Count up 1, then sets the switch order variable. Then if all switches are flipped (4), it checks if the order is right and then if it is flips the switch to turn the door on. Then if all the switches are flipped, and the door is NOT open, it resets the puzzle. Exactly what we needed.

After that, just set a second page that is the switch flipped if the Order variable is 1 or higher for it, and a second page on the door that is open if the Door Open variable is on. Copy over the contents to all 3 other switches, change the variable references in them and color, and bam. Done. You can of course, add in graphical stuff and audio (which I have done in the short demo of this puzzle that you can check out HERE), but the puzzle fundamentally works on a mechanical level here.

So, can you think of another way to do this? Maybe with less variables? Or maybe with shorter events? I actually have a more obtuse way ruminating in my head that uses less variables, let’s see if you can think of it. There is also part of the event that is duplicated that doesn’t actually need to be. Or maybe you have a question about the way I did things? Join us in the comments below.

2 comments

PAX East is here, and we’re all working away as fast as we can. But I know what you are thinking. “Man, why couldn’t I make it.” (And if you are here, what are you doing reading this? Get out there and enjoy the show!).

We have a one-two combo of PAX East goodness to bring a bit of the experience to your living room, office, local library, or wherever you may be!

First, we have the PAX East LEGENDARY LOOT GIVEAWAY. We partnered with CyberpowerPC, AMD, and LG to bring you so many amazing prizes, you won’t even know what to do with yourself. Win processors, monitors, games, Steam cash, and way way more, today.

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And after you’ve entered there? Why not see the video game adaptation of our Booth (with a bit more shenanigans than the real thing), with our full free game: Harold Vs PAX East!

You are Harold, aspiring adventure, carried through a portal to PAX East! Where he must complete quests around the booth to release a dragon from dark sorcery! But there is more to things than meets the eye. Watch trailers, check out awesome game posters. Solve puzzles, and fight the ULTIMATE BATTLE. Can Harold live up to the strength of his idol, the Legendary Ralph? Only you can decide!

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Made in 2 weeks, by our community Manager Nick Palmer (Hey, that’s me), with art from almost our entire Art team, Harold VS PAX East shows the basics of what RPG Maker MV can do! Made without any plugins, you can see the true power of eventing! It boosts around an hour of gameplay, and some tricky puzzles. Always be ready to think outside the box!

Are you ready for the digital PAX East! What are you hoping to win in the giveaway? What is your favorite part of our game? Having a bit of trouble with a puzzle? Just want to say hello? Join us in the comments section below!

3 comments

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PAX East is just around the corner, and I’m sure a lot of you are thinking about the day that YOU will be the ones exhibiting a game, rather than just attending, a show like this.

So, what should you expect when you get out there? Well, we aren’t an indie dev presenting one single game, but we thought it could be fun to tell you a little bit about what it takes to put a booth together like ours.

To do that, I’ll be doing short interviews with three of our staff members who will be working at the booth. First will be Hirei, who is our convention organizer. Second will be Mark, our lead producer. And finally will be myself, our social media master.

Let’s get started.

So, PAX East is just around the corner. How does that make you feel?

Hirei: I’m actually very excited for the show but also a little worried by how much we still have to do in terms of prep work! This is probably one of my first game conventions I’ve gotten to organize a booth for so there’s always something new to learn…or stress out over. It’s a little bit different from other types of conventions such as anime cons or even game/tabletop cons.

Overall, I can’t wait to see our games being demo’d and enjoyed by fans both new and old on the showfloor. We’ve come so far from our tiny little Indie Megabooth in years previous ~

It warms my heart. <3

Mark: Coming hot off of GDC, I feel much more prepared for PAX East than I did prior. That said, PAX East is a much different beast. First off, we’ll be on the Boston Convention Center show floor instead of the relatively quiet 3rd floor West Hall of the Moscone Center. Second, instead of one game, there will be over a dozen titles running at once. Thirdly, there will be WAY more people funneling through. For a person who hates multitasking, it’s basically my worst nightmare!

If there is one thing I learned from GDC though it’s that I’m much more resilient and adaptable than I initially thought. PAX East will be both a learning and growing experience for me, and I’m excited about that. I’m also excited to show off many of these titles to the public for the first time!

Mark snapping a picture of the OneShot Dev showing off at GDC.

Mark took this picture of the OneShot Dev showing off at GDC.

Nick: Excited, nervous, happy, stressed. Its really a huge mix of an emotional bundle. There is still plenty of work left to do, but we have plenty of work behind us as well. It’s all the fun of going to a really cool Convention on a subject matter that you love, but combined with the highest pressure work deadlines that don’t literally involve someone dying if you fail.

But mostly, just proud. This just shows how far we’ve come since I came on with the company… 5 years ago I think? Our only game related software at the time I was brought on was RPG Maker. Now, I look at the team we’ve assembled, and the games we’ve put out, and it’s simply amazing. Mindblowing really. And to get to talk about that for a whole weekend? Who wouldn’t love that?

What is your job for the show? What does that mean? What have you been working on?

Hirei: My title unofficially is Convention Operations Manager, which is pretty much a term for someone who oversees or produces pretty much 50-90% of the planning that goes into the convention event. In this case though, I actually have been handling most of Degica’s North American convention appearances since last year’s Anime Expo 2015.

I handle everything from initial contact with the venue to secure boothspace to equipment rentals and print materials handling. I have a HUGE list of things I’ve done but I’d rather not bore (or possibly intimidate) anyone who is looking to display their games at conventions such as these.

The bulk of my work is done pre-show but I have to stay vigilant during the show in case any issues arise during in-booth events or other normal convention occurrences.

Either way, I am going to let Nick and Mark do most of the talking since I’m probably going to be too busy drawing away for the live demos. Speaking of which, Mark and Nick have both been very helpful with assisting me in terms of getting game information together / planning assists / social media. I’m really thankful to have assistance in working on such a large endeavor.

Mark: As lead producer, my job is to manage all the titles we’ll be showcasing. I’ve been working with Hirei on promotional material for all the games. This includes game flyers, info stands, and merch. I’ve also been working with Nick on coordinating announcements and social media coverage. He handles most of that stuff like a champ but I’m there whenever he needs more info or is missing an asset. I’m also in charge of the press outreach and scheduling appointments for press to come by and demo our titles.

On the show floor, I’ll actively be showcasing several of our titles, but short of cloning myself, there is no way I’ll be able to demo them all. Fortunately, we have staff members and volunteers that will also be working the booths. I have to make sure they have all the game information and talking points to knowledgeably discuss the titles with both press and attendees.

Nick: I’m our social media guy, plus I’m in charge of all our emails. That generally means anything you see about the show before the show either went through me, or was crafted by me directly, like the post you are reading right now. I also have a secret project going, but since it’s a secret, I can’t very well tell you about it, can I?

Admittedly, this means my pre-con work is actually probably the lightest of us three, so I try to give as much feedback and suggestions as I can on every decision that I can. We are looking at new things every day. Giveaway organization, competition organization, art for promotional items, art for the booth itself, getting equipment, deciding on which games to show.. The amount of stuff I see every day that I can have an opinion on is staggering.

At the actual show though, I’ll have a lot more to do. On top of the normal duties of talking to anyone and everyone who comes up asking about something, or is just showing interest, I also have my work cut out for me in getting interesting photos and information from the show to everyone who follows us on social media.

In the course of doing all this, what do you think is the biggest challenge?

Hirei: Deadlines. From my experience with working with all sorts conventions, deadlines are the number 1 killer. There are so many to keep track of along with tasks that need to be micro-managed in order to make sure that things go smoothly. Almost everything has a hard and concrete deadline that you need to be very wary of.

Late on that payment? Late fee for you or possibly no booth space or rental for equipment! Oh no, I forgot that it takes 3 days to produce these print items!? Then no print items for you during the show because it will arrive the day after the event ends.

Your deadlines will heavily influence your stress levels, your budget (hello rush shipping and production!), and ultimately on how smoothly your convention event runs. …Thankfully I can say that I’m not too bothered by deadlines since as an artist I’m very much used to deadlines being a part of my daily life.

I would say stress is also something to be very wary of especially for individuals who are new to event management. There’s a lot you have to get familiar with and quick and it can be overwhelming. And budget is a no brainer: Cons in general are expensive to exhibit at if you go to ones such as PAX East. But as a general rule of thumb, expect to pay for everything at premium or inflated prices.

Mark: Managing so many titles! At GDC, I had only one title I had to promote. Now I have over a dozen! It involves compiling tons of resources and delegating tasks between several people. Managing all that is enough to make your head spin! When it gets overwhelming, I like to walk away from my computer and go outside, meditate or make a fresh cup of tea. It’s important to take breaks and clear your head so you can make the right decisions instead of the quick ones.

Nick: I think it’s really two things. One is just not letting the stress get to you. Its really easy to have it crash down on you and spend a whole day not getting anything done. And that just makes it worse, cause now you have the stress of having one less day to work with. You have to just be able to work through it. Though I think Hirei is a bit more skilled at that than me. If I had all the paperwork to do that she did, I would have just cried until some time after PAX East was over and we would have had a pretty awful booth. (I kid you not, Hirei is a blessing to work with on this. She is invincible and it keeps me going.)

The second is all the work you can’t even help with. For instance, I’m not an artist. Seeing all the work that other people have in front of them, like making a bunch of art, that there is no way I can help with, I stress about them finishing, even though I KNOW how capable they are. I’ve never been that good with things outside of my control.

Anyway, to add something I directly worked on that I can talk about: Writing the same info four times for announcements was challenging. I wrote the blog and email for both Degica Games and RPGMakerWeb. The duplication without it all just looking exactly the same was a bit tricky. You’ll find yourself having to repeat yourself, sometimes so many times it becomes routine. You have to avoid falling into the rut of sounding bored with it. And once you hit the con itself? You’ll probably find yourself repeating the same things over and over all weekend. Make sure to keep up your enthusiasm!

Out of everything you are doing, what is the bright point that you find the most fun?

Hirei: I think the first WOW moment I had was when I finished putting together the 3D mockup with our booth with full art panels and everything.

It’s a very big booth compared to what Degica is used to and yet we have such amazing artwork adorning the walls! Not only can you find franchise artwork but also some great work by Michael.Galefire and I. He is one of our in-house artists who does battlepacks like the Sci-Fi one. It was very moving to see sort of an interactive overview of all the games we’ve worked on. We can’t wait to show the boothspace off!

Not going to lie I’m also very excited to make a certain well known hero come to life for a certain something that you will probably see in the booth.

Mark: I enjoy designing the promo materials for the games. Most of my job is replying to emails and chat messages and managing tasks across several projects so it’s a nice break to sit down and do something creative.

Nick: Seeing all the artwork! Hirei and Michael have been making some super amazing art in setting up for the show. Our booth is going to LOOK fantastic. The mockups I’ve seen have been crazy awesome. I can’t wait to take pictures of the real thing so that everyone can see it.

An example of some of the art done for the convention, our Stamp Rally card, with art by Michael.

An example of some of the art done for the convention, our Stamp Rally card, with art by Michael.

One other thing that has been super fun is my secret project. But once again, I can’t talk about that yet.

If you were able to start the whole show planning over again, what is the one thing you think you would want to handle differently?

Hirei: Plan earlier! I always feel like no matter what there’s always things we could do a lot better whenever I finish staffing for a convention. “Wish we could’ve done this or that, but we didn’t have enough time!” Deadlines are brutal and they will always make you cut out some details that you wished you had time for.

Mark: Locking down the list of titles. As we planned which titles to showcase at PAX East, new ones kept getting piled on. It made it more difficult to plan what materials would be needed for the booth. For future shows, I’d like to get those details hammered down earlier.

Nick: Start planning the day after I was born? Getting ready for a show like this is a super amount of fun. It’s like a dream, really. I mean, I’ve been making games as a hobby for about 2 decades now (started with QBASIC when I was 10 or 11), and I never dreamed I would ever get to be part of something like this. But it’s also so much work and I don’t even have the heaviest load. Whatever amount of time you think you will need, double it. Probably triple it.

It’s just like when you are working on a game. Whatever you think is the amount of work you will need to get it finished, you probably are forgetting some detail that will need to be worked out. And unlike your game, which you can put off if you don’t feel you are done, the show date won’t move for you.

What would be your advice for someone who wants to work on something like this one day?

Hirei: If you want to be involved as a dev at a convention or be an event planner, take time to plan out every detail and also get familiar with how conventions work. Being an exhibitor vs. an attendee is worlds different than what you might expect. Marketing yourself efficiently not only through words but also how you showcase your demo(s) and company are important skills to master.

If you plan on showcasing your game solo, be prepared to do everything from graphic design work to marketing during pre-con period. It helps a lot to have a small team with individuals who are efficient at their job so you can split the work.

Keep in mind that different conventions have different rules/regulations so read the Exhibitor’s Manual or Handbook carefully. It’s usually a textbook PDF but worth to look over.

As a game dev in general, just go for it. There’s nothing more exhilarating than achieving your dreams and doing what you love! I look forward to one day playing your games and seeing your demos on the showfloor!

Where Hirei shows off she can draw and me and Mark can't.

Where Hirei shows off she can draw and Mark and I can’t.

Mark: Conventions are hard; especially for us introverts. GDC was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. Standing around and interacting with people 8 hours a day for 5 days, repeating the same talking points over and over, was absolutely brutal.

But a lot of those interactions were amazing and I made a lot of great connections. Also nothing can beat the insights from watching people play your game in person. For anyone who is promoting a title, it’s a must!

Nick: Chase it. If you told me as a teenager I would be doing what I’m doing today, I would have literally laughed at you. When I was writing down what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was all practical jobs. Math Teacher being the highest on my list. I had another list that was my “yeah, right” list that included the things I’d REALLY love to have been. A writer. A game developer. Just anything in the game industry. I always thought those would be pipe dreams.

But it happened. It happened and now I’m not even sure how I’d go back to anything else. Be proactive about your dreams. Just because they seem farfetched doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Yeah, you might never reach it, but you never know where you’ll end up if you try.

Its been nice to get a chance to talk about our jobs some. Have any questions? Just want to chat? Join us in the comments section below! And to everyone going to PAX East: See you on the show floor!

1 comment

Our devs have been hard at work, and its almost time for an update for RPG Maker MV, upgrading from 1.1.0 to 1.2.0. This will include several fixes, and several new features, all detailed below!

We estimate that it will be sometime around late next week.

We would like to remind everyone to make sure to do the following steps before updating to ensure that when the update happens, your changes won’t be overwritten:

– Make a backup of your project.
– Make a backup of your Generator folder if you edited it.

The following things are the incoming features, changes and fixes for 1.2.0

New Features

  • Implemented Dark Theme
  • Implemented Map Grid Options
  • Implemented Refresh Button for Plugin Manager.
  • Implemented Map zooming with CTRL + Scroll Wheel
  • Implemented Resource Manager DLC Button (Steam Only)
  • Implemented editor DPI Scaling on Windows
  • Implemented Batch Selection in resource manager including Batch file deletion and batch file importing.

Changed

  • The top left tile in the “B” tileset is changed to always be a “Star” passability. This is to ensure collisions work right.

Fixed

  • Fixed Editor Tooltips appearing on the wrong monitor when using a multiple monitor setup.
  • Fixed a bug with animations that caused it to hide the target wrong.
  • Fixed a bug with memory leaks in the tiling sprite.
  • Fixed an issue with copying and pasting on IME keyboards.
  • Picture Rotation Event Command is now be able to rotate pictures counterclockwise using negative values.
  • Fixed a bug in resource manager that made it so files would not be overwritten if you imported a file with the same name.

Previews

Click for larger view.

Grid Optios

RefreshDLC

4 comments

I’ve been working on a “super secret project” the last few days. This experience after not having used the editor for a while has reminded me of one thing: Sometimes, I’m dumb.

So, instead of wallowing in it, I’ve decided to share my dumbness, so that maybe, one of you will be spared from making the same dumb mistakes. That or you can laugh at me. One or the other.

1. Movement and Sound Effects.

Ok, so, say you want a sound effect to be associated with a certain movement. Like, for instance what I was doing was having a damage sound effect associated with a jump move route for the player.

So what you don’t want to do, is place it AFTER the movement. Because of the wait for completion, the sound effect won’t play until after the action is done.

PlaySE

And now, I’m sure you’re telling yourself. Yeah, but, why don’t you just put the Play SE IN the Movement Route.

Well, first… Hm… No… I got no answer. I’m dumb. You got me. So, going forward:

2. Remember that Movement Routes can do all kinds of cool things.

Who needs parallel processes when you can use custom move routes for a lot of things.

You can turn switches on and off, play sound effects, put in waits… you can even do a script call if you need to do something really interesting.

moveroutes

In the above, I controlled a timed set of switches, included playing the sound effects, all from a custom move route, rather than using the events actual contents.

3. When moving events or the player, always remember Through.

You know what happens if you make an event that tells the player or another event to move through something it can’t move through. Well if you didn’t click “skip if cannot move” then your game is going nowhere fast if you don’t turn on through.

through

Through lets the move route ignore barriers. Very useful in many cases, such as the above event which opened a secret passage. The event switched places with the event that slid out of the way, turning into the transfer event, while the other event just sat pretty being a visual of the piece of wall that moved. Which leads to another problem:

4. Just like Erase Event, moved events go back when you reload a map.

So I had my cool secret passage, but when I came back out… the wall was back in place and now my passage event is in the wrong place.

-PICTURE REDACED, NO INFO ON MY SUPER SECRET PROJECT!-

The wall was back where it originally was put, and because it had switched places before, the event that WAS slid under it to turn into the transfer was just hanging out there in the wrong place, too. I solved this by adding another page to the events that made the original transfer event become the wall and the wall become the transfer event after the first time you went through it, but I’m sure there are many other solutions to this problem. And finally, one last problem, this one somewhat unrelated:

5. When using the Color Codes for Text. It starts with ZERO.

So, you go to set up a huge puzzle that all has to do with color coded words and phrases and you are going good and have it all coded in and then suddenly. You notice. Your colors have betrayed you. Why is this?

Start counting at ZERO, not 1.

Window

Seriously. I was so angry with myself. I mean, I just had to go through and subtract 1 from a bunch of numbers but uuuugh. So in the above: White is 0, blue is 1, red is 2, green is 3, etc. etc. Don’t fall into the same trap and spend 5 minutes fixing your mistakes.

So what mistakes do you make over and over? Or maybe you’ve done some of the same things I have? Tell me your stories in the comments below!

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Hey, everyone. Any of you guys heading out to Boston this month for PAX East? Because guess who else will be.

That’s right, RPG Maker. As part of our Degica Games booth, promoting RPG Maker, as well the growing collection of amazing games we’ve published, such as RPG Maker games like Hero & Daughter+, or cool Japanese titles like Deathsmiles and Pharaoh Rebirth+.

We’ll even be showing off our upcoming RPG Maker gem Oneshot!

You can also win prizes in various giveaways and competitions, both at the booth and online to win some stellar prizes! If you come by the booth, be sure to check in with our front board and friendly staff to learn how to participate. And for everyone, at the Convention or not, be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter all during the weekend for even more opportunities.

You can also see live art done by Michael Rookard, the artist behind our Sci-Fi Battler Pack, and the upcoming Crimson Towers pack, and Hirei, our event coordinator and in house artist, buy cool Degica Games merchandise, and try out a few games that have yet to be released

When you get to the Con, you can find us at Booth 3224, Click Ralph Below to see us on the map!

booth1

The RPG Maker Web team, and Ralph will be waiting to say Hi to everyone, so make sure to come by!

 

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Monday, I discussed the first part of the creation process I went through to come up with a setting. And now, its time to figure out where that went, and see if my experience can help you glean a few more insight into making your own settings.

So I’ve created two major characters. I’ve got the basis for the one big event that drives the setting. Let’s see where it goes from here.

Its always OK to Change Direction

… At this point I realized an issue. I wanted to use him as a hero. I didn’t want to explore him as a villain, I didn’t want to have him succumb to his issues, I wanted to explore him overcoming those issues to stand side by side with Hobo Warrior to defeat the thing that destroyed their home. I mean, if I’m making an RPG out of this, I can’t very well have just one hero, that doesn’t work very well unless you are going Action RPG, and I’m not as interested in that.

As an aside, this is another of my laws. Touchfuzzy’s Law of Medium Acknowledgement: Always be cognizant of the limitations and requirements of the medium you are creating for.

I needed to change direction. And when you are still in the planning stages, YOU NEED TO LEAVE YOURSELF FREE TO DO THIS. The only time anything is set in stone is when you’ve released it to the public as a finished product. (And even then, not really. I mean, you can always recontextualize things that happened.)

Or if you are DC, you can just have Superboy punch reality.

Or if you are DC, you can just have Superboy punch reality.

For instance, what if Hobo Warrior only THOUGHT that Doubting Magus had betrayed him? What if he was mistaken? So I decided the best action was to get Doubting Magus out of the country before it fell somehow. He couldn’t be there to defend himself to Hobo Warrior, so all Hobo Warrior saw was the Magi betraying him and his people. And Doubting Magus was part of that.

What if his sister was the one who got him banished? What if she was the true villain, and out of love for her brother, she got him removed from the realm before she unleashed literal hell?

This change in direction opened up a whole lot of new avenues for me. And this will happen to you, too. Always be willing to explore all the options, just write down a huge pile of ideas and think about the consequences of each. Sometimes you’ll stumble on something like this, that adds more depth. Sometimes an idea will just be stupid. Sometimes it is just half an idea that you need to weld to another idea before it makes sense.

Going With Your Interests

So now, let’s look at the sister. Now dubbed Diabolical Sis. She obviously isn’t 100% bad if she removed her brother from the line of fire before bringing through the demons. So why did she do it? This is another question that setting creation can use a lot: Why?

Why would history go a certain way? Why would society progress in this direction? Why would a culture have these beliefs? How explains the way something happens, but why, why explans the reason it happens.

She was a powerful Magus, rising in power and prestige. Would she do it for power? It just didn’t make sense. She already had more power than almost anyone else. And I wasn’t interesting in exploring the power corrupts angle. But what if she knew something we didn’t? What if there was some, yet unknown threat, one that she felt was SO dangerous, the only recourse was to ally with demons.

I’ll admit at this point that I’m very fond of “for the greater good” antagonists, and that is a major reason fro this decision. But you should be doing the same in your own setting: Find ideas and character archetypes and themes that YOU enjoy. Sometimes the right decision for your setting isn’t what fits ‘perfectly’, but what you as the creator enjoy the idea of. Your enthusiasm will come out, and that ‘heart’ is more important than a perfectly logical piece to the puzzle.

hmmm... now if a mecha could somehow make it in there. (Sometimes you have to make sure your interests FIT the story though)

hmmm… now if a mecha could somehow make it in there. (Sometimes you have to make sure your interests FIT the story though)

Our Seed Grows a… Spiderweb? (This metaphor is getting strained)

Another aspect of making this decision about the history of my world: It gave me another setting detail: There has to be some greater threat. What is it? Where does it come from?

This is something that you should see is a pattern throughout these articles: Every decision leads to more and more questions. Every time you find an answer, your world, and the story it contains, continues to grow outwards like a Spiderweb, each thread supporting and strengthening the ones around it.

And this goes on and on. I’m not going to take it step by step any more, but you can probably see how each step happened by reading through the changes.

I eventually made it into a space fantasy setting, taking place across an entire solar system (this is partially inspired (read: stolen) by reading Warhammer 40k novels at the time, and partially to answer the question of why the demons don’t overrun the entire planet: They pretty much did, but they are blockaded in space). I decided all matter of “tech” exists but its all magic. Magic spaceships and magic guns that shoot magic bolts and magic space habitats and etc. etc. etc.

Magic! That's Heresy!

Magic! That’s Heresy!

Then created “spellshield” a type of material that naturally absorbs magic based on the wearers will, making there be a reason that swords and spears and such were still used (I hate that most games don’t explain why people would use swords in a setting that has rocket launchers and machine guns). As an added bonus this adds some extra fun for mechanics for a game. Melee is more dangerous to you, but does direct damage, magic has to eat through a barrier first, but keeps you safer. (there is that law of medium acknowledgement again)

Then decided on explaining the Magi and demons by creating two ancient races, one that humans descended from that are the source of the Magi’s power, and the other the “demons” sealed by humanity’s forebearers by shifting the demons’ entire planet a bit to the left on the planar scale.

Then decided to include Elves and Dwarves to round out things. Well, Space Elves and Space Dwarves. The Dwarves are from a mountainous Ice Planet with deep volcanic caverns. The Space Elves are an extrasolar race, arriving on giant sleeper ships that became sprawling forest habitats in space, having fled their own homeworld after being attacked by dangerous threat…

But no Space Hippo Men.

But no Space Hippo Men.

And that leads to another lesson: Sometimes, when you are working on some other part of your setting entirely, you come up with the answer you’d asked yourself days before. I now had the danger that Diabolical Sis had foretold. The thing that had chased the Elves away was not so keen on letting them escape. And now, just as my story begins, their scouts are just beginning to arrive.

And that leads to my final wrap up: Ask How. Ask Why. Ask the questions your players would ask. By focusing on these questions, you create the setting you NEED for the story you are writing. I can’t stress this enough: The only part of the setting that is important is the part that supports your story and in the case of a video game, what supports the gameplay.

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Every game needs a setting. Well, I suppose that isn’t true, Tetris doesn’t exactly have a setting, so if you are making some sort of abstract puzzle game then you can ignore this article.

Though this is a great visual representation of most settings I create. (Happy settings just aren't in me)

Though this is a great visual representation of most settings I create. (Happy settings just aren’t in me)

But if you are making any other kind of game, a setting is needed. And with an RPG, a setting is usually doubly as important.

I could write an article with a thousand ideas on methods to make a setting that is intriguing and unique, but I think sometimes we lose ourselves in talking in generalizations. So instead, I’m going to discuss a specific setting I’ve made, and walk through the steps of how it was created. Instead of just telling you “this is a method that works”, I’m going to show you the connections I made in my own head, and hope that you can divine some use out of it.

But first, a word on setting and story: To me, these two are intertwined. The setting serves the story, and the story serves the setting. You can’t separate the two. Because of this, you will notice that not only am I creating the setting, I am creating the story as well. Now, not the whole story. But the setup for the story. The characters and the history that make the story happen.

The history that is important to a setting will ALWAYS be the history that makes the story happen. The rest can be INTERESTING, but it is not always important.

The Seed

I’ve found the best way to develop a setting is to start with what I call the Seed. The Seed is that little bit of something that everything else will be built around. It can be an image. It can be a theme you want to discuss during the game. It can be pretty much anything.

No, Patrick. Mayonnaise is not a setting seed.

No, Patrick. Mayonnaise is not a setting seed.

In this case, it was a character concept. Only two words: Hobo Warrior. It had stuck in my head, this image of a warrior with ragged clothing, beaten but well taken care of armor and sword. Instead of the “mysterious wandering warrior” stereotype you normally get, calm, collected, “so coooool”, I pictured a character who was hard, with clear issues that prevent him from being part of normal society. But still supremely skilled.

I imagined him wandering from place to place, surviving off the land, and fighting some form of enemy that has a personal meaning to him, not because he is trying to save the world, but because of a personal trauma.

I feel this works solidly as a Seed because it is a unique hook. I mean, don’t you want to explore the life and times of Hobo Warrior already? A good seed is like this. It will hook in readers just from hearing about it alone.

Growing the Seed

Now, with this seed in place, it needs a world to inhabit. So, I come to the question I ask myself all the time when creating a setting: How?

We need not just a world that this character can be part of, we need a world that would PRODUCE him. How did he get this trauma? How did the enemies he hunts come about? You would of course, need different how questions with a different seed, but the idea is similar: How did “the seed” come to be? Or How will “the seed” be ? in the case of a theme

I decide to build this around two things, loss and personal betrayal. To build the most loss, I decide that he started at a high  point in his youth, some form of high ranking nobility, not in line to take control of his house, but instead a young knight, trained to protect his kingdom.

So at this point, his house has to fall. But why stop there, when we can have his whole kingdom fall? Everything he ever cared about taken away from him. What if a portal into some form of “demon” realm was opened that enveloped the entire kingdom? Not just destroying his people, but even the land itself being warped into a dark reflection of what he once loved.

This is what I will call the Touchfuzzy Law of Infinite Angst: If you are going to create a character who angsts, that we are supposed to like, at least give them something traumatizing enough to be worth angsting about.

And I don't care what you say, being mind controlled into giving a psychopath a weapon capable of destroying the entire world is a good reason to Angst. Fight me.

And I don’t care what you say, being mind controlled into giving a psychopath a weapon capable of destroying the entire world is a good reason to Angst. Fight me.

As for why demons? Honestly, I don’t really know. Sometimes you just have to throw ideas at the wall and see what sticks. And sometimes “cliche” is simpler, especially in the early planning stages. I can always change it later into something more unique if I want to, and for the moment the cliche fills the need. But at the moment, I’m not sure I even want to. Demons are horrifying. Destructive. Everything I need to do to my main character is there.

Stealing From Others

So now I need to ask again: HOW? How did this happen? So at the time when I was working on this setting, I was also watching the first few episodes of The Shannara Chronicles. Somewhere in its vascillating between being something halfway decent and being a mess of teen fiction, I got to thinking about the Druids from the Shannara setting.

I rather like the Druids, I’m a huge fan of the books (which while, not high literature, are certainly entertaining), and the idea of super powerful wizard/monk/historians struck me as interesting. And the idea of an order like that turning to “evil” as they did in the history of the Shannara books was appealing.

So… why not steal it? I mean, yes, you should never just rip off an existing setting wholesale. But individual bits and pieces? There isn’t a creative person alive who hasn’t done a bit of that (and I’ll certainly do some more before this setting is done). Steal the bits and pieces you need and combine them like Lego into new and interesting arrangements.

Just to be clear. I'm stealing from THESE. Not that ridiculously teeny MTV show. I have some standards.

Just to be clear. I’m stealing from THESE. Not that ridiculously teeny MTV show. I have some standards.

So an order of super powerful wizard types who go rogue. Since I wanted a personal betrayal involved in my main characters trauma, I believe we need to establish some kind of relationship between him and this order.

What if his Kingdom is really run by this order? What if the nobility exists mostly as a form of figureheads and bodyguards for these wizards? Somewhere along this idea my hobo warrior goes from just high up nobility to one of the younger princes of the realm. I figure with the real power laying with the magical order, who I refer to as Magi (singular Magus) at this point, I might as well move him up into the position where he will have had a lot of interactions with them.

Stealing From Yourself

So at this point, I had the bare bones of a fantasy setting. Realm destroyed by demons brought through by a powerful magical order going evil, with the hero of our setting being the prince, stripped of everything he had wandering the land to fight them. But I hadn’t made his pain PERSONAL yet. That was an early goal I set out to do.

So I needed another character, a character he could perceive as having betrayed him, someone he used to be close to.

While writing up this part, I had also been looking at a few of my older, abandoned stories. One of them was the beginnings of a sci-fi novel that featured a highly talented member of a psionic order many believed destined for greatness, who suffered suffered from extreme self-doubt. He developed a personality of “If I never try hard, all my failures are a result of my not caring, rather than that I couldn’t really do it.”

IE: I swear this was not a self insert. I mean. Really. I don't have psionic powers.

IE: I swear this was not a self insert. I mean. Really. I don’t have psionic powers.

Well, I certainly wasn’t using him in that story, it had sat there for years filed away in the back of my brain untouched, but the character itself was something I felt would be interesting to explore, so why not import him directly in.

Rather than a psionic, he was now a Magus. I decided to give him a sister, equally talented, who he always felt he could not live up to. She rose to the upper echelons of the Magi, he hovered in place, never taking things as seriously in fear that it would backfire and show everyone what a fraud his “talent” really was.

I developed a relationship between him and the young prince who would become Hobo Warrior. They were close. Not close enough for him to open up about his doubts, as he would never do that with anyone, but the closest relationship that either of them had.

So now that I have Hobo Warrior and Doubting Magus. Two characters set in a kingdom that has gone horribly horribly wrong. Most of my setting work so far has been to establish the story so far: AND THAT IS GOOD. I can never stress this enough times. Your setting serves the story. Your setting serves the story. Your setting SERVES THE STORY. You can include as much detail as you want, but the important bits to figure out are what makes your story click. All the rest is just details. Wednesday, I’m going to come back to give you part 2, where I’ll delve even deeper into more thievery, more cliches, more asking questions, and hopefully, a few more methods you can use in your setting creation.

So did you learn anything interesting? Have your own little tips, or maybe even stories about how you came up with bits of your setting? Share them in the comments section below.

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by: Lunarea

You’ve found yourself right at the finish line, but before you hit “submit” on your masterpiece, take a moment and go through some finishing touches.

Find a brand new player

Home-at-last

Whether you’ve tested your game a million times or had a plethora of friends and family helping, nothing replaces the kind of feedback you get from a first-time player. And here’s why – there are errors and inconsistencies that you simply don’t notice because you’ve gone through them so many times that you already know what to expect and what to do next.

Having a completely new player go through your game once is the best way to check for persistent or subtle errors. It’s also a simple indicator of how some of your players might react to your game – and a nice boost to your esteem if they fall madly in love with it.

Check your credits

Thanks-friend

Go through your credit list one more time and double-check that you got everyone’s details correctly. It’s way too easy to flip some letters around or miss a name – and that could lead to an unhappy artist/scripter or even a big copyright mess.

There are websites and blogs out there that have large collections of material from a variety of sources. While it sounds very convenient to just pick and choose resources from there, such places don’t always keep up to date with the original artists’ terms or updates. Always be sure that you’re going to the source directly by sending the original artist a message or by carefully looking through the EULA/TOS included in their resource pack(s).

Give yourself some time off

Sleepy-time

Lastly, make sure that you’ve finished your work with a lot time to spare. Not only does this give you a chance for some well-deserved rest, but it’s your just-in-case buffer. We’ve had quite a few cases of individuals who missed a big event deadline by a hair because of unexpected technical issues – internet went out locally, their host was down and the judges couldn’t download the project or they found a major game-breaking bug right after they submitted their game. And nothing is more frustrating than seeing yourself disqualified over something you had no control over.

Having that time off is good even when there’s no deadline in sight. You get to enjoy that satisfied feeling of completing something, before you have to tackle feedback from your players (whether that’s constructive criticism or high praise).

And that concludes our short game tips series! Have we missed anything? Let us know below!

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