Custom Battle System Scripts Comparison

in Tips and Tricks

This is your friendly neighborhood Jet here. Nick asked me to write up an article for a comparison between some popular CBS (Custom Battle Systems) scripts for RPG Maker VX.

Battle Engine Melody by Yanfly

Melody by far has the most features and configuration, but is sorely lacking in ease of use, and compatibility. Melody is definitely for those who want EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE and know how to use all the tools it offers.

Tankentai by Enu (Localized by Mr. Bubble)

Tankentai has many features as well. While it is even worse in compatibility than Melody, it is easier to use and configure. Due to its “age” it has accrued the most tutorials on its use. There is also some stigma against it in the RM community due to it being commonly used with poor or no customization beyond the defaults. Used correctly though, it can produce some extravagant results.

Wait Gauge Battle by ziifee (Localized by Mr. Bubble and TakamiDaisuke)

Ziifee’s wait gauge is lacking in any visual representation of players on screen, but does give the battle a whole different style. It is more geared towards creating an ATB (Action Time Battle) system, in which actions are taken as soon as it is the character’s turn, not all chosen then done in a sequence. (This style was popularized by the Final Fantasy series, and was used in FFIV-FFIX.)

SSBS by Reedo and SBS by Jet

Reedo and Jet’s SBS are pretty simple, and if it weren’t for dynamic sprites in Jet’s they would have been tied in usefulness. Both Jet and Reedo’s are more for simpler folks who want a retro Final Fantasy type of feel to it, without all the complication Tankentai and Melody have. Jet and Reedo’s are both compatible with multiple other CBS though, and they are usually used with another CBS. Ziifee’s wait gauge for example, can be used with either to have both the sprites and ATB. RIBS, another CBS not mentioned here, can also be used with them, along with many others.

There are many other battle systems, these are just a few of the more popular traditional RPG battle systems. There are many other CBS scripts from the communities including several other styles such as:

  • ABS (Action Battle System), which allows battles on the map similar to old school Zelda
  • TBS (Tactical Battle System) which emulates Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics grid-based battles.

Of course, you can also just stick with the default front view Dragon Quest-esque system. While simple and not as graphically impressive, there is a lot that can be done with it alone.

Have some questions? Ask them in the comments section below.

Jet is an omnipresent member of several of the online RM communities and prolific scripter. He is also an F-16 Fighting Falcon. We haven’t figured out yet how he types with no hands…

21 comments… add one

  • Michael Ponder Jr December 11, 2011, 10:31 pm

    I get the feeling that none of these systems will even work with Ace, and new ones may need to be written.

    • Nick Palmer December 12, 2011, 12:31 am

      This is true, though I know Yanfly is doing an Ace battle system and Jet might be porting his at some point.

      Still Ace is not going to have an English release for a while longer yet, and VX is still a great Maker so we are going to support it.

      • Michael Ponder Jr December 12, 2011, 1:31 pm

        I never cared for VX.. … Ace has my full attention though.
        I feel i can do a LOT more with it.
        It just needs a good custom battle system.

  • antog89 December 12, 2011, 12:09 am

    why Enterbrain doesn’t develop a battle system worthy of this name? this “frontal view” is horrible and very old… rpg2k3 have a good battle system. you could make a basic BS, so that scripters can improve it. but this choice to make a frontal BS (is almost like not to put it) I do not share.

    • Nick Palmer December 12, 2011, 12:29 am

      The frontal view is a good default to work from. I think a lot of power users (which includes most of the RMers that are parts of forums are) tend to forget that Sideview Battle Systems require a lot more art to be done if they aren’t using RTP art. Front view static battlers make it easier art wise for a user to make custom art. Also it is easier for a scripter to add a sideview portion, than it is for them to remove an existent one.

    • Archeia December 12, 2011, 1:28 am

      I would have to agree with Nick but the DBS is actually really fun and easy to use. It’s true there’s no battlers but in the end, it’s all about how much you can customize the battle system :)

  • Archeia December 12, 2011, 1:14 am

    There’s something that confuses me, it says BEM is 2/10 in ease of use and Tankentai has 4/10? BEM is plug and play and easy to customize battler wise, etc. Specially when it allowed the option of using sprite sheets and battle animations. There’s also a lot of custom scripts made for it like custom damage formulas and HUD modifications by Yami. The code is a lot cleaner too THAN Tankentai so I’m really confused over this one.

    • Nick Palmer December 12, 2011, 1:22 am

      I would have to grab Jet on his reasoning on that. I personally find BEM to be a bit simpler than Tankentai to use (especially to use WELL), and as you said the code in BEM is cleaner (though even YF has told me he should have broken it down with more plugins instead of making it one giant thing)

      I think this is really more of a personal take on it, but I’ll see if I can grab him to answer your question a bit better.

      • Archeia December 12, 2011, 1:25 am

        Yeah If you could, please ask him about the tutorials too? I remember BEM has hugeeee manuals and a wiki before too about the usage of melody. It’s just the site went down but a lot of people were able to preserve some parts of it, right?

    • Jet December 12, 2011, 3:28 am

      You would not believe just how many people have so much trouble changing anything past the first few options. There is a lot of configuration (10/10 of course) that the average user just DOES NOT UNDERSTAND.
      I love BEM, it’s the best most creative, expansive CBS out there, but it is just not easy for people to use. It’s easy for you I’m sure, an experienced RMer I know you to be, but by comparison, which is what this was, Tankentai is easier to use than Melody, for the plain reason that it is easier to configure (Past Action Sequences of course).
      As you noted, the code is a lot cleaner, which is why so many people can make add-ons for it, but a lot of add-ons have been made for Tankentai as well, so that’s not really much of a thing.
      Tutorial-wise, there was indeed a GIGANTIC manual for how to use BEM, which is not unavailable on the original site, and has been preserved in htm/html pages. This humongous manual just adds to the point that Melody is not easy to use without help. The same manual is basically the only widely available one, past making “melodies” which is why Tutorials was marked as “Few”.

      Though, as Nick said, it’s purely an assessment and can be greatly brought down to a personal take on the matter. I just wanted you to know my reasoning on that.

      • YF December 12, 2011, 3:45 am

        To clear some things up:

        You don’t need to configure anything for Melody outside of getting the iconset that I provided with the demo. Also, having a manual doesn’t mean it’s hard to use. And even if the website/wiki manual is down, that’s why I wrote another one inside of the script itself.

      • Archeia December 12, 2011, 3:48 am

        What bothers me the most about the ease of use portion. It’s nice that you brought this up though~

        For one Tankentai isn’t plug and play, so wouldn’t that make Ease of Use already downwards than Melody’s? Melody can function as a standalone plug and play script (the 4 parts) and Tankentai had to be modified lot by Mr. Bubble.

        I think the only reason why it (Tankentai) was usable was because of the demo, otherwise, using it on its own is already extremely hard.

        And while Pockethouse Wiki is down, the scripts still has the manual over there. And the manuals are there to serve as a purpose if people were stuck in a roadblock. You can still configure the battle without reading the manual and just playing through the demo game too. I remember just reading a few melodies which is just the formula and wait and animation.

        I know for one that Melody is hard to configure visually and other plugins though due to being massive. So I understand why, but that’s really what you can expect from its size.

        Most of the people I know that use melody aren’t that experienced on RM. But you are right, this is more of personal assessment and opinion from this point :)

  • Robin Porter December 12, 2011, 2:14 am

    All the battle systems are fine to a point, depending on what you’re looking for and “can” use. The RPG I’m making uses the normal battle system built in, but I control it with other means. Through events, an encounter is randomized as to what shows up. Sometimes an encounter can end up being a item given to you by a lucky nekomata. Also, you start and end the game at Level 1. That, and I also use what i call the “rest/action” system of skills to manage battles. I can also see exactly how much difference 1 def (ect) make when changed. The battles are more endurance of HP and AP management. As for the frontal system being “old”, it works none the less, and some like the old nestalgic stye.

    • Nick Palmer December 12, 2011, 2:23 am

      I am a big fan of more options mostly. I think the default battle system is good, especially if you know how to use all the little pieces together. Mechanics really should be the first concern of any RMer, and unfortunately I see a lot of people who are implementing really complicated battle system scripts, without putting thought into the mechanics of their battles at all.

      I’m happy to hear that you are focused so much on the mechanics of how it works. Hope your project turns out how you want it in the end.

  • Robin Porter December 12, 2011, 6:31 am

    Actually, I am enjoying it a lot more then having to focus on leveling. You can still grind crafting items, but there is no EXP grind, and focus more on strength and weakneses then, and also makes it so I can throw the enemy in any location it’s needed and not be underpowered or overpowered. You got your “grunts” who will have similar basic stats/attacks. then the general, sub boss and boss. You have to figure out your tactics to beat them. You get to chose your skill allignment at a point which can really help or hinder you progress in some locations. The hardest part was ironing out the If/Else conditions for the random enemy spawns and the crafting.

  • Yami December 12, 2011, 7:15 am

    My my, I think there is an unfair comparison here.
    Of course tankentai have many add-on and tutorial for it, but it doesn’t mean it easy to use than BEM. Melody lacks of tutorial because the manual inside script is very clear to understand. Of course there are some option like custom damage formula, custom object effect, etc… are unfriendly with newbie, but it’s worth than nothing, since Tankentai doesn’t have it and the users must search for add-on if they want.

  • Robin Porter December 12, 2011, 4:39 pm

    I am curious. I’ve been buying RPG makers since PSX (my first game took 7 memory cards) and am surprised that there hasn’t been an official “tactics” maker, or something like Ogrebattle used with squad and formation, really released in the US.

    • Oriceles December 14, 2011, 2:47 am

      Look for TBS Scripts

      • Robin Porter December 14, 2011, 6:34 pm

        Would be nice to not have to always use scripts. no offence to scriptors. besides, hard to find scripts without having to register everywhere on the web.

  • LightningFlare August 8, 2012, 5:19 pm

    Okay. I am quite new to the whole system (only got the program three weeks ago!) and I am VERY confused what “Sprite Support”, “Dynamic Sprites”, “Animated Battlers”, “Action Sequences” and “Different Styles” mean. (“Sprite Support” is obvious, but is there something else that comes with it?)
    Some help would be very appreciated.
    (I have VX Ace)

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