Day Six of the RPG Maker MV Plugin Previews have arrived, and we continue to astound! (or at least, we hope we do).

When we last left our heroes, Ralph was laying in a hospital bed, dying slowly from an unknown illness (Editors Note: He was tired, not DYING! Actually watch the clips!). Eric was forced to continue on without him, putting on a brave face despite his soon to be deceased comrade. (Editor’s Note: He was taking a NAP!). Will Yanfly be able to heal our poor hero? Does Yanfly look cute in a nurse outfit? (Editor’s Note: Are you serious?!) Will we ever find out whose baby that is? (Editor’s Note: What baby?!)

Are you ready for some more Plugin Action? Then be prepared to check out Yanfly’s Skill Cooldowns! Yanfly also is showing off some tips and tricks with a video on The Molten Giant! (Dun Dun Dun). We also have a few more scripts to show off, including Battleback Scroll, Battle Voices, Escape Dungeon, and more!

Now, get ready to cast Escape Blog, and click below to check out the 6th episode of the RPGMaker Channel Plugin Previews!

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Wow, I think I need to take a bit of cooldown myself after checking out that episode. Good thing our New Episode skill cooldown is set to 24 hours! Who knows how high my hype would get otherwise.

So how do these plugins inspire you? What are you going to make with them? What do you think of our Tips and Tricks section. Join us in the comments below.

And don’t forget, be ready to use these scripts and more on October 23rd, by Preordering RPG Maker MV Today!

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Four days of previews down, and many more to go. Episode Five  is here!

So what is in store for us today? Will we learn if Eric is single? Will Ralph learn what that even means? Will we finally learn who the father of the baby is? (Editors Note: Wait, what baby?! Have you been going off script again? Are you even watching these episodes?)

Its once again time to glitz up your battles, this time with Yanfly’s Skill Core to spruce up the combat itself, and Victory Aftermath to show your rewards in style. Or maybe you’re a fan of “No Pain, No Gain” and need the HP Skill cost script to bring that for your characters. And last but not least, why not jazz up your Battle UI with Luna Engine Lite?

So click below to see what Ralph and Eric are up to today!

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Are any ideas for character skillsets coming to you now? Maybe using something from the Skill Core? Or maybe you want that character who uses HP to fuel his attacks? What would be the theme for his skillset? Are you dreaming of ways to make your Battle UI your own? Tell us all about your plans in the comments section below.

You can gain use of all of these plugins for no pain at all. All of these plugins and more will be ready to use for all RPG Maker MV owners. Preorder today!

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Our RPG Maker MV Plugin Previews are continuing down the track with Episode 4!

So whats do Ralph and Erik have in store for us today? Do you want to see more of Yanfly’s brilliant Action Sequences to spice up your battles? An easy to use Item and Enemy Encyclopedia system? Or maybe a couple of more fun ways to make your battles pop with Luna Engine Lite and the Battle Mode Change plugin?

If any of those sound awesome, and they do, then you are in for a treat. Jump on the train and watch Episode 4!

Click Me!

Click Me!

So which of these Plugins are you planning to use? Have a skill in mind for one of those Action Sequences? Can’t wait for your players to dig into the bestiary to learn more about their foes? Or maybe just give your Battle UI a facelift with Luna Engine Lite? Tell us how you plan to use these plugins and more in the comments below.

Be ready to use these plugins and more the day RPG Maker MV releases, PREORDER NOW.

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Good to see you all again for Episode 3 of our RPG Maker Channel Plugin Previews! And for all those here for the first time, make sure to check our previous previews of more great launch plugins.

Last time, we checked out the basics of the Ace to MV converter, but today, we’ll look at it more in depth. We also have a couple of more scripts from Yanfly to show off, designed to enhance and enrich the default battle system.

Now, let’s get the previews started!

Are you going to use any of these plugins? Thinking of converting a game from Ace to MV to take advantage of MVs power and export options? Can’t wait to use the power of Yanfly’s Battle Engine core and Action Sequence Pack to make your battles truly transcendent? Join us in the comments section below.

And remember, ALL OF THESE GREAT PLUGINS WILL BE AVAILABLE THE DAY MV LAUNCHES, Preorder RPG Maker MV now!

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Welcome back to the RPG Maker Channel, where our plugin previews continue! Yesterday, we learned how to install and configure plugins, as well as an overview of Yanfly’s core, resolution adjustment, and 8 directional movement. Today, we’ve got even MORE to show off.

But you aren’t here to listen to me talk, so let’s go to Ralph and Erik to tell us about some more awesome plugins!

So which one are you most hyped for? The ability to transfer your game from Ace to MV? Adjusting the tile size for your maps? Or the tweaks to messages and battles?

All of these are available to EVERYONE who picks up RPG Maker MV, so preorder your copy now!

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Welcome to the RPG Maker Channel, where our first goal will be to tell you all about RPG Maker MV’s Plugin system! Plugins have the same function as previous RPG Makers Scripts, but now they are easier than ever to drop in and set up. Making your game will be easier than ever.

But let’s go to our veteran heroes, Ralph and Eric, to tell you more about how they work, and a bit about a few of the scripts that you can get at launch.

Stay tuned in for more Plugin Previews, as our countdown to launch continues. And make sure to pick your preorder of RPG Maker MV today! What do you think of the Plugins shown so far? What Plugins do you want to see? Tell us in the comments below.

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degigames logo

We’re very excited to announce the Degigames Beta Testing Program!

Here’s how it works. We’re assembling a team of testers to give us feedback on our games before they’re released to the public. These games are in the beta phase so they will be feature complete but might have some areas that are still unpolished. We need participants, like YOU, to play through them and send us valuable feedback that will go towards improving the game before release!

Is there any compensation?

Testers that participate in the program won’t be paid directly, but we will be providing RPG Maker Web store credit, free games and other incentives!

What kind of games will I be testing?

You’ll be testing some exciting titles coming out of Japan, as well as from indie teams stationed all over the world! In addition to RPGs, there will also be shooters, platformers and other software!

Here’s a few examples of our recent releases, as well as an upcoming title:

Crimzon Clover

Daemon Detective Gaiden

Celestial Tear Demon’s Revenge (not yet released)

What are the requirements to participate?

Most of our titles are distributed via Steam so you’ll need to have an account setup there. You’ll also need to be able to commit a marginal amount of hours to testing each month: 5-10 hours minimum.

Decent writing skills are also a must! You need to be able to communicate issues you encounter with the game clearly as our publishing team will be reviewing your feedback and sending it to the developer(s).

Most importantly you need to be passionate about games! Especially when it comes to finding ways to break them :P.

I’m sold! Where do I sign up?

To sign up, please fill out our application form here: Degigames Beta Tester Application Form. Your application will be reviewed by our publishing team. If it’s approved, we’ll contact you via email.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll consider being part of our team!

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Something I’ve seen a lot of recently, and have seen done especially often with RPG Maker, is taking a game, and splitting it in to bit sized episodes for release.

There are plenty of upsides to this. It gives you smaller goals to works towards. It lets you get feedback on one episode while you work on the next.

But there are plenty of mistakes that people make when writing an episodic title. The structure of an episodic story has to be told differently. You can’t just cut up a longer game.

One episode is just his right leg.

One episode is just his right leg.

If you take a single long game, that is structured cinematically: set up==>conflict==>resolution, and try to cut that into episodes, it just doesn’t work.

The structure will be completely wrong. You will have episode after episode of set up. Then conflict, and then probably a single episode or two of nothing but resolution. The episodes won’t have enough pay off for someone to want to come back to the game for an episode 2.

Episodic content relies on EACH episode having a set up==>conflict==>resolution structure. You have to break down your story into bite sized pieces, that tell several stories, not just one story, that all tie together.

The best example of this is the game Dragon Quest IX. Despite not being released episodically, it was STRUCTURED very episodically.

Still the best RPG on the DS.

Still the best RPG on the DS.

In the beginning of the game we get a goal of collecting benevolessence: Basically building up goodwill and happiness for something good happening. That meant we got to travel to several towns, and solve the problems that people have there there. Each problem was its own little self contained story.

Then after we do that, we are tasked with recovering the Fyggs, the fruit from the Yggdrasil that fell to the planet. You travel to an abbey to learn the abbot has ingested a glowing fruit, then follow him to an old tower to fight the Fygg possessed version of him to recover it. Then travel to a town where a young girl is suddenly able to summon the Leviathan and find out the Leviathan is actually her dead father with the power of another Fygg trying to protect her.

I’ll try to hold off on too many more to prevent spoilers, but the point being: Each of the parts of the game is its own story. They have their own characters, each with their own struggles that you see unfold. They all fit into the central plot, but they have their own plots.

Each time you finish one of the stories, you feel a sense of closure. THAT is how an episodic game should be structured.

Have you ever made an episodic game? Do you plan to? What advice do YOU have for people who are attempting to break their game into smaller pieces? Join us in the comments below.

 

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One of the questions we get a lot about our software is “Can I make an MMO with this?”

Usually, my answer is, “Yes, technically its possible, but its not really made for that and it would require a ton of custom coding, and if you had to ask, you probably have no where near the skill to do it.”

People usually get the idea, and start working on a single player RPG with our software, or move on to doing something else altogether, and don’t pick up RPG Maker at all. Which is fine. Not everyone has to use our products,

Ignore previous sentence, hypno-toad requires you to buy RPG Maker stuff.

Ignore previous sentence, hypno-toad requires you to buy RPG Maker stuff.

But, today, I’m going to give a slightly longer answer. Not just to say that RPG Maker isn’t really designed to make MMO games, but also to point out that you probably don’t even want to make one to begin with. And that is because:

MMOs Need A Large Player Base

No one wants to play an MMO by themselves. The fun of an MMO is mostly in that it is an MMO. And that means being able to jump on and play with other people at about any time. Large MMOs will have thousands of players at a time. Even the smaller MMOs have hundreds.

You have to find a way to attract a very large player base, or your game will not survive. Not only that, but you have to RETAIN the player base to keep people coming in, and that means:

MMOs Need To Be Time Consuming

Wow, I finally got that Legendary armor. Now with 100 more hours, I can get the SUPER Legendary armor (OK, seriously, I know this terminology is wrong, I haven't played an MMO in over a decade...)

Wow, I finally got that Legendary armor. Now with 100 more hours, I can get the SUPER Legendary armor (OK, seriously, I know this terminology is wrong, I haven’t played an MMO in over a decade…)

With a single player game, a game can be 1 hour. 10 hours. 40 hours. It doesn’t really matter as long as what it gives you is fun. In an MMO, you need to retain a large portion of your player base, so the play time for your game needs to be as near to infinite as you can get. If someone has completely maxed out their character in 10 hours, they aren’t likely to ever play your game again. You’ve lost them, and they may have only played for one day or two days.

And even with 10 types of characters and expecting them to play each for 10 hours (and expecting the to max out all of them is super optimistic), you are still only hitting 100 hours. And for an MMO to survive, it needs even MORE gameplay than that. You need the players sticking to the game.

Without players hanging around constantly, new players will flake out even faster playing your game all alone. So you need a ton of variety in characters to keep people maxing out more characters, and you need enough variety in the game that the player keeps seeing new stuff each playthrough. Because of that:

MMOs Need To Be Huge

Building the world of an MMO is time consuming. They are HUGE. Every area usually has a good bit of variety, and you are going to need a ton of variety in areas. You need to have a lot of area for the players to explore and learn. Enough that someone playing for hundreds of hours is still finding new things.

Compared to a tight single player game, you will have to spend an incredible amount of time just making maps. Making cities. Making forests. Making mountain passes. Making deserts. etc. etc. And all of these places need lore and worldbuilding, so you won’t JUST be spending time building them in the engine, you have a lot of writing to do on them as well. And filling them with a variety of enemies. And tons of side quests. And just eighty million other things.

And Finally:

MMOs Take a Lot of Upkeep

Unlike a single player game, where you might need to run in to do a bug fix every once in a while, an MMO is going to be constantly in need of upkeep.

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You need a server for it to run off of, which can mess up and require fixing. You need to be doing constant bugfixing. You need to be adding new things for people to discover constantly. You have to constantly be trying to keep your player base happy, because unlike with any other type of game YOUR PLAYER BASE IS PART OF THE EXPERIENCE OF THE GAME.

I can hate the fans of a single player game and the game is still fine. But if I hate the players in an MMO, that MMO is also useless to me.

The thing is, an MMO is a huge, time consuming endeavor. More so than a standard RPG, which is a time consuming endeavor on its own. You have to be focused around retaining players, which is a very difficult job, and requires a very very dedicated combo approach of marketing and dev time that is larger than any other kind of game you could work on. And not by a small amount. By a ridiculous amounts.

What do you think? Do you still want to make an MMO? How are you planning on getting around the problems I’ve listed here? Can you think of more obstacles I haven’t listed? Join us in the comments section below, or on the discussion topic on our forums.

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So, in my last article on this subject, I discussed characters having niches that they fit into, and specifically addressed combat niches rather than addressing the whole.

Which I got called out on, and to be honest, rather fairly (though, I already had some thoughts on this before working on the next article), as as I’ve already posted about not too long ago, Combat Isn’t Everything. It was a zoomed in view of a specific part of the design of the entire game.

Sometimes, I really really want to combat the lock. I think I have it this time... nope, there goes another pick.

Sometimes, I really really want to combat the lock. I think I have it this time… nope, there goes another pick.

On the other hand, if you have a game that has more differentiation between character ability outside of combat, you can easily change things up a bit balance wise, as long as the balance works across the entire game. A character that can, for instance, let you gather more money in some way, either through pickpocketing, increasing the drop amount of monsters, etc, can increase your party strength by allowing you to buy better equipment faster than a normal party. So, they can be weaker in direct combat by comparison.

A character who would let you bypass combat in some way, by taking secret passages, or some form of stealth, would also increase your party strength, as less combat means less attrition, and could also be less effective in direct combat to balance these abilities.

One game that did this very well was the Japanese only Dragon Quest Monsters Caravan Heart.

Though I won't tell you how, its totally possible to play this in English, search around.

Though I won’t tell you how, its totally possible to play this in English, search around.

To put some context, I’ll do a rough overview of how the game worked.

In the game, you had between 1 and 3 wagons in your Caravan. Each wagon would have a guard monster. Your guard monsters were entirely only used in combat, so they aren’t the important part of this discussion.

They weren’t the only part of your Caravan though. Each of your wagons could carry up to 4 humans who had various classes. Each turn in combat, starting with the first character, one of the characters in your wagon would do his special combat action after the guard monster for that wagon went. On the second turn, the second character in your wagon would do his special action. etc. etc.

But the character classes also had some neat out of combat effects. The cook for instance, had an ability that let you use less food when adventuring. The game used a meter like fatigue from a Roguelike called “food” and you needed food to keep adventuring. Being able to do this longer was incredibly nice. The cooks actual combat ability wasn’t that strong (though kept you going longer as it healed MP every round), but his ability to preserve food was a necessity in the early game. You could even get updated versions of the Cook, all the way up to Master Chef, that healed even more MP per round, and conserved your food.

Wait, no, not that type of Master Chef.

Wait, no, not that type of Master Chef.

His MP and food conservation abilities didn’t make your party better at combat, it just let you explore much much longer. Its power, but a different KIND of power than just pure combat destruction. The game was filled with neat ideas like this, and is the best JRPG example I can think of when it comes to combat and noncombat balance. And even though originality isn’t good for its own sake, Caravan Hearts unique party building is definitely something I would suggest trying it out for some inspiration for a unique approach to character balance.

Out of combat vs combat balance is definitely something you can play with. The stronger a character is in one arena, the less strong you need to make them in another arena. The one thing I would suggest, and what we will talk about next article, is that no character should ever be BORING in any arena, even if they aren’t as strong.

So what is your opinion on Out of Combat vs Combat balance. What games do you think do it well? Have you implemented Out of Combat strengths in your own game? Join us in the comments below, or on the discussion topic on our forums!

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