7l0mIW

The IGMC continues to march forward, and we hope you are making fantastic progress on your entries!

One thing I have noticed with the IGMC, is that making games quickly is very very different from making games at your own pace. A fast deadline, like, a month, such as some contest that is really super cool where the prize pool just went over 20k recently, means you have to approach a game very differently.

On your own time, you can work on whichever parts strike your fancy, when on a deadline you need laser focus.

Myown

When left on my own, I tend to do a lot of mapping first.

So what do you need to focus on? Should it be writing, should it be graphics, should it be music…

The way I see it, your first goal is two things: Nail down your gameplay, and then quick prototype that gameplay to make sure you can make it happen.

Every other thing is for naught if you can’t make something happen that you need to happen. Work on proof of concept of any event systems. Make sure the plugins you are using create the effect you want when combined (and that they are compatible at all!).

Use placeholders. Keep the writing to a minimum. Writing is always something you can add. Graphics are always something you can add. If you have planned your game around a mechanic that you can’t make happen, that is a LOT to go back and redo.

Meh, I can put something here before I hit publish.

Meh, I can put something here before I hit publish.

This isn’t to say that mechanics are the most important thing. In my opinion, the best games meld together their mechanics and storytelling. One informs the other which informs the other in and endless cycle. So, if you try to tell a story that you can’t back up with mechanics, your game will fail.

Prove you can build the mechanics you need to support the story you are making. If you can’t, adjust the story to the mechanics you can make.

Just be sure to learn what it is you can make, as soon as you can make it.

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Humble

The Humble RPG Maker Bundle just got better, with fantastic new additions to the beat the average tier!

So pull out your wallets, and help support charity and the 2017 IGMC while getting everything you had seen when the bundle went up, but also:

rpgmakerxp

I know you were probably asking yourself where this was when the bundle first dropped. The first RPG Maker ever officially released in English, and still the fave of many a practitioner of the ancient art of gam mak (the art of making games), RPG Maker XP is here to shine.

DeadlySin

Also joining in on the fun are Deadly Sin 1 and 2, from Dancing Dragon Games! With Echoes of Aetheria and Skyborn already in the bundle, this gives you a one-stop shop for all of the Dancing Dragon games! On top of being fun games, Deadly Sin 1 – Echoes of Aetheria is a perfect representation of the progress and evolution of RPG Maker and game design skill that you too can achieve!

And finally, the Wood Stone and Steam DLC Pack! Featuring fantastic tiles and music, from Pirates to Steampunk, to the dead of Winter! Watch the youtube trailer above for a full list of the fantastic assets included.

Of course, don’t forget the Indie Game Making Contest! Make a game in a month, and compete with RPG Maker Users from around the world for a chance to win a huge cash prize.

7l0mIW

So make sure to tell all your friends, the more bundles sold, the higher and higher the prize pool for the IGMC goes, and the more you can potentially win!

 

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7l0mIW

So the IGMC has begun, and everyone is working away on their projects!

And if you aren’t, the clock is ticking! (And speaking of the clock ticking: Best to go ahead and pick up that awesome Humble Bundle now! Fund the IGMC and get a ton of great RPG Makers and DLC!)

So of course, the best thing to talk about is how to make a short game. I’ll be doing more of these articles as the contest goes on, but the first one I think this one is the most important.

The biggest secret to creating a short game is to plan a short game.

Now, I know, this is a kind of “Well, duh” comment, but you have no idea how hard that can be. It is too easy to have an idea, write it down, and suddenly it takes up an entire notebook, spans 30 years of in-universe time, and has over a hundred characters.

Good thing I installed all this server space for my game idea! (Look, I have to get images in here somehow, and Planning is incredibly hard to make visually interesting. Bare with me here).

Good thing I installed all this server space for my game idea!

You have to keep it small.

Pick one central idea. Pick one situation you want to deal with. This could be an external situation, such as a single battle in a war. Or maybe something a bit more personal. Maybe a father and son working through the issues that left them estranged for the last 20 years. Or maybe something not even in the story. A single mechanic. Or a specific art style.

Take that one thing, and plan everything around it. Make sure anything that doesn’t serve that thing is streamlined out of your process. In an hour-long game. In a game that is made in less than a month, you don’t have time to explore more than 1, maybe 2 ideas. Maybe pick up a single “B Story”. Much like a 1-hour tv show, you will possibly have time for a second background idea, one that perhaps ties into the themes of the main story, but deals with something else.

Much like this Humble Bundle is a wonderful B-Plot to our IGMC. (I know I'm shameless)

Much like this Humble Bundle is a wonderful “B Story” to our IGMC. (I know I’m shameless)

But, you must resist the urge to let your plan sprawl. Keep the plan tight. Keep it simple. Focus on what you want your game to communicate, what you want your game to be ABOUT. Losing focus can lead to rambling. And rambling takes time, both to create, and to play.

So get that game planned, get that game made. And good luck to everyone out there competing!

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7l0mIW

We’ve taken a year off, but the Indie Game Making Contest is BACK!

This year, we are going to focus things down to just the RPG Maker series. So any legal version of RPG Maker can be used, MV, VX, 2k3, your choice!

You’ll have one month to make the best 1 hour game you can make, starting now, ending Midnight PST, November 5th, 2017.

You can check the full rules here.

But I’m sure you are really asking yourself is: What can I win?

The answer is cash. Loads. And loads. Of cold hard cash.

First place starts at $5,000 and it only goes up from there!

How does it go up? If you’ve played this game before you know the answer: An RPG Maker Humble Bundle!

Humble

The higher the bundle goes, the bigger the prizes go. So tell your friends, tell your family, tell random strangers on the street! Every time they buy the bundle, more money goes to charity and more money goes to lining the pocket of the IGMC 2017 winners!

So what is in the bundle? About everything RPG Maker you can imagine: Every RPG Maker, tons of DLC, an exclusive Bundle DLC, award-winning games. This is more materials than you’ll know what to do with!

Or maybe you know exactly what to do with it: Join the IGMC! And remember, every person who completes a game is a true winner!

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Countdown

in Announcements

It Has Returned

7l0mIW

17 comments

So your game allows the player to name their characters. But there’s a catch, you don’t want the player to name their main character with the same name as another character. Or worse, something unsavory. This tutorial is for cases like that.

  1. Create a text file of all the strings or phrases you want to ban from your game. For now I will go with “Ralph” and “Alex”
  2. Create a Common Event called “Name Input Processing”
  3. Create 2 Labels, One called START and One called VALID.

Now under the label START, and assuming you can only name one character and we’re going with Actor#1, put the Name Input Processing Command. Although this is optional and more about personal preference, I would put a Change Name command to set the name to blank. It should look something like this:

Code:
◆Label:START
◆Change Name:PLAYER1,
◆Name Input Processing:PLAYER1, 7 characters
◆Label:VALID

Insert a Conditional Branch with an else branch. Go to Page 4 and select Script. This is where we will insert the following code:

Code:
/BANNEDSTRING/i.exec($gameActors.actor(ID).name())

So, since one of our banned strings is “Ralph”, it should look like this:

Code:
/ralph/i.exec($gameActors.actor(1).name())

And under the else command, just copy and paste this conditional branch and change “Ralph” to “Alex”. You will end up something like this:

Code:
◆Label:START
◆Change Name:PLAYER1,
◆Name Input Processing:PLAYER1, 7 characters
◆If:Script:/ralph/i.exec($gameActors.actor(1).name())
  ◆
:Else
  ◆If:Script:/alex/i.exec($gameActors.actor(1).name())
    ◆
  :Else
    ◆
  :End
  ◆
:End
◆Label:VALID

As long as the strings “ralph” and “alex” are present, it doesn’t matter what the case (upper or lower) of the name is, the system won’t accept it.

Now just above the Label: VALID, add a Show Message command that says something along the lines of “That name is already taken.” and add a Jump to Label START. Then on the very last “else” of your conditional branch, add a Jump to Label VALID. By the end, your event command should look like this:

Code:
◆Label:START
◆Change Name:PLAYER1,
◆Name Input Processing:PLAYER1, 7 characters
◆If:Script:/ralph/i.exec($gameActors.actor(1).name())
  ◆
:Else
  ◆If:Script:/alex/i.exec($gameActors.actor(1).name())
    ◆
  :Else
    ◆Jump to Label:VALID
    ◆
  :End
  ◆
:End
◆Text:None, Window, Bottom
:    :That name is already taken.
◆Jump to Label:START
◆Label:VALID

And that’s about it! Now you just need to put it inside an event like this:

Code:
◆Text:None, Window, Bottom
:    :You want to name your character?
◆Common Event:Name Input Processing
◆Text:None, Window, Bottom
:    :That's a really nice name \n[1]!

Thank you @Shaz for helping me figure this out.

Find the original tutorial, and discussion, on the forums here!

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Back-to-school-email

The RPG Maker MV School Project is live!

The RPG Maker MV School is set to be a perpetually growing community project, an RPG Maker game that teaches you how to use RPG Maker. With lessons created by our community manager Touchfuzzy and from many many around the community! The school will also be teaming with students and faculty that represent you the users!

You want to be involved? There is plenty you can do to help out, from art (we need a title screen!) to music (who doesn’t think this project deserves its own theme music), to lessons, to just being a part of the school as a community character!

There will be prizes (to be announced!) and you can learn all about how to join in on the fun, and download the base project here!

1 comment

Back-to-school-email

It’s that time of year again, where all the students file their way despondently back into the classroom to listen to more boring lectures! And all the parents get to be happy that their kids are out of their hair!

And here at RPG Maker Web, we are huge fans of education, and using RPG Maker to learn! That is why we’ve decided that this is the perfect time to hold an RPG Maker Back to School sale! Most back to school sales will net you a few notebooks and a whole lot of college ruled paper, but this one will land you something much better:

Nearly everything RPG Maker is 30-50% off right now on the RPG Maker Web Store!

And, in the back to school spirit, it is time to announce our new community project: The RPG Maker MV School!

This will be a community built game, led by the RPG Maker Community Manager… Me! It will be about a brand new student “The Student” who comes to the RPG Maker MV School, which is right what it says on the tin: A school for learning RPG Maker MV. But there is more to the school than that! It is built on a nexus of time, space, and even dimension, and it itself grows and contracts to meet the needs of its students and faculty. One floor might look like your standard old school:

Front Lobby

While the next might be a cave, a starship, or even a… whale? Our imagination is the limits.

And you can help make this project all it can be in one of two ways, or do both!

You can make lessons for it, or you can just submit yourself to be an NPC! If you make a lesson, you get to put yourself in as the teacher, all other NPC submissions will be either students or non-teaching faculty. To learn more, head to our forums here!

So hit the store, grab those packs we know you’ve been eyeing, then head to the forums to immortalize yourself in our Ongoing MV School project, either as a student or really step it up in order to be a teacher!

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Realism vs Fun

in Design

One thing I’ve noticed in video games, as the systems they are on have become more and more powerful, there has been an urge to create more and more realistic games.

And realism can be good! In the right places, at the right doses, in the right game.

But, sometimes, it feels like games insert “realism” into games where it doesn’t fit.

Not the world of gritty realism (RPG Maker DS Resource Pack! On Sale until 9/6/2017!)

Not the world of gritty realism (RPG Maker DS Resource Pack! On Sale until 9/6/2017!)

Are you making a gritty simulationist game where getting from town to town alive is supposed to be a challenge? Then maybe all those hunger/cold/weather/camping mechanics are a good fit. They create the main challenge of the game.

Are you making a high adventure game with world-altering magic, dragons, etc. Maybe it isn’t the best fit. (I mean seriously we have spells that can nuke enemies the size of a skyscraper but no one found out how to cast a spell that can keep us warm?).

Realism shouldn’t be included in a game for realism, realism should be included in the game because it makes the mechanics of the game better, or adds to the feel of the game. Are your characters supposed to feel like they are scraping together whatever they can? Then a system of equipment degradation adds to that sense of improvised gear. But adding equipment degradation to a game where you are wielding legendary weapons… it feels very off. It just adds a nuisance layer to the mechanics that doesn’t need to be there.

This is much more where I would expect to run into simulationist mechanics. (Medieval: Diseased Town Resource Pack)

This is much more where I would expect to run into simulationist mechanics. (Medieval: Diseased Town Resource Pack)

What do you feel about realism in games? What is a situation where you could see implementing a simulationist mechanic? What is a situation where a simulationist mechanic felt out of place? Tell us in the comments below!

2 comments

So, this week’s sale in the RPG Maker Web store is on the wonderful Twilight Shrine: Japanese Resource Pack.

twilight-shrine-jrp-banner

This pack includes a lot of cool stuff music, sound effects, graphics, for a Japanese themed or inspired setting.

Which got me thinking about how we create fictional cultures in our games. Outside of those set in the real world, our games include tons of fictional nations, cultures, and people. So how do we write them?

In general, when people create cultures for their games, they use an existing culture as a template. For instance, we could use Japanese culture for the template, which helps because, well we have these wonderful packs to use for it!

And on sale too! Hint Hint.

And on sale too! Hint Hint.

This is always a good start, but you really should come at it from the right direction. Are you just stealing the culture or are you respecting the culture?

I’m not going to delve too much into this, but just in general, make sure that you are being respectful, if you take a culture, put it in your game, and then portray their culture as corrupt and nasty (based on their cultural beliefs), then you are probably going in the wrong direction. Better to use a generic standin culture for that, rather than basing it on a real life one.

But being respectful doesn’t mean that you have to make the culture identical. You can change details, this is a fictional culture!

Your pseudo-Japan doesn't have to look just like this.

Your pseudo-Japan doesn’t have to look just like this.

The best way to do this is to understand the culture you are borrowing. Why did they become the way they did? Take the Japanese obsession with fish dishes. Of course, they are obsessed with fish dishes, they are an island nation! A culture that grew somewhere away from the coast, with similar beliefs, would develop different food.

Or take the creation of the folded steel of the Japanese Katana. The reason for this is the quality of iron found in Japan was not as good as the ore found in Europe. Because of this, they had to develop a method that would turn that iron into a higher quality steel blade. A culture that has rich iron mines would probably never develop such a technique.

The key to adapting a culture to your game is to A. Understand and Respect the culture, and B. Make adjustments based on differences in how they developed.

How would these kinds of shrines be different if the forces they represent had real measurable effects on the world?

How would these kinds of shrines be different if the forces they represent had real measurable effects on the world?

Think about how real magic, or an invasion by another culture, or literal gods walking the planet, or even just a different topography of the land they live in, would change the culture as it grew.

That is the key to making powerful, evocative cultures in your games. Do you have any tips for creating cultures?

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