Events aren’t NPCs: The Biggest Mistake in Cutscene Events

in Tips and Tricks

So you start to make your cutscene. The event is triggered (either through autorun, player touch, or action button), and it started.

The first NPC had his little speech, and now its time for the next NPC to do something. So you may be asking yourself “well how do I trigger that NPC, do I use a switch and pages?”

dontneedWell, you need an event, but you don’t really need it to have any COMMANDS or to trigger. To explain this, let’s first talk about WHAT IS AN EVENT?

Too often, people fail to see what an event really is. They think of events as their NPCs. They try to move them from map to map, have them be autonomous, and many other weird things that come from viewing events wrong.

Events aren’t NPCs, they are representations. Instead of being actors with their own autonomy, they are more like action figures. Instead of the event that starts it being a director, its more like a kid playing with his figures.

So how do we do this?

moverouteSee here on the move route command? Move route can move ANY event (or the player) from the first triggering event. No reason to trigger another event to have it move, just tell it to move.

Like I said, think of it like a kid playing with his action figures. He moves them all, he talks for them all. Talking you say?

showtextYou’ll notice that the show text command has ZERO connection to the event that triggered it, you can select any face graphic you want. There is no reason that it has to originate from the same event that is the graphical representation of the person talking.

And that is the thing. Events are only graphical representations. In fact, you can use the same event to be 8 different characters (if none of them show up at the same time).

eventsSee those two events in the upper left corner? Those are completely blank. Nothing in them, no graphic, nothing.

I know what you are saying: But Nick, what are they GOOD for then? Those are my action figures guys!

A cutscene starts, and I need two guards to come out. What do I do? Easy, using the original cutscene event, I use “Set Event Location” to move both of them just off of the visible area for the player where the guards would come in, then I use “Set Move Route”. You’ll notice in the move routes there is a “Change Graphic” command. Using that, I can set them to guard graphics, walk them onto the scene, have them do their part, and then do the whole thing in reverse, moving them back up into the corner when I’m done.

Time to do another cutscene on the same map? Use the same blank events. They are just action figures. And unlike a real life action figure, you can completely change what they look like!

So let’s go over the points I made here:

  1. You only ever need one event issuing commands in a cutscene.
  2. You can reuse blank events to represent as many NPCs as you want as long as they don’t appear at the same time.

Hopefully, these tips will help you out. Any questions? More tips on common mistakes? Another way to cut down on event and switch clogging? Check in on the comments section below.

13 comments… add one

  • Donn Manalili aka Seita August 10, 2013, 12:47 pm

    Great article. This is a widely mistaken perception among new rpg maker users. I would relate it to the green and grass correlation. NPCs are all events, but events are not all NPCs. On the whole I have multiple NPC-events in a cutscene, one primary Autorun event that handles all of the major cutscene commands, and possibly a parallel event that controls randomized variables, such as random lightning strikes or maybe a bird that flies by at random intervals. There are exceptions to this but this is the general flow of my cutscenes.

    • Nick Palmer August 10, 2013, 1:30 pm

      Honestly, cutscene events are the SIMPLEST events I can think of. Because they are almost universally linear and are all handled in one event. People just overthink it a lot.

  • Sharon August 10, 2013, 1:46 pm

    THIS needs to be embedded into every new RPG Maker user’s brain!

    I don’t always use blank events – sometimes I will put them where I want them and will give them a graphic (especially if I have a lot of them), but they’ll always be controlled by a central event. Though they take a long time to make, cutscenes ARE one of the easiest and most interesting types of scene to do.

    • Nick Palmer August 10, 2013, 1:55 pm

      I’m very regimented. Every map I make has three blank events in the upper left corner, whether I use them or not. I just find it the most convenient way to do it.

      • Drew August 12, 2013, 4:55 pm

        Nick, that’s a really great thing to do… it’s a shame not everyone is like you. I often download games that are very far in development and I grimace at how messily they’re handled.

        Since the game I’m currently working on involves a lot of screen tints and is trying to capture a sense of awe, I place an event in the bottom left corner of every map.

  • Luis August 10, 2013, 2:09 pm

    “A cutscene starts, and I need to guards to come out.”

    *two

    • Nick Palmer August 13, 2013, 2:08 pm

      I have a notorious issue with homophones.. I swear I read that article like 4 times before I posted it.

  • Matthew Arildsen August 10, 2013, 2:11 pm

    This blog has been extraordinarily helpful for me! Thank you so much for this post especially. It makes much more sense to actually have some events coordinate objects in a pattern (aka an “event”).

  • Zachary Nelson August 10, 2013, 8:00 pm

    The blank event thing I never thought of! I always just had all the graphics needed stored in a separate section of the map far away from players view. That is gonna save me so much work now! Great advice and awesome tips and tricks.

    • Drew August 12, 2013, 4:56 pm

      Yes~ when you learn these useful tips and tricks and really put them to work, you can get a project done several times faster.

      For example, finding flexible scripts, learning eventing strategies (like the one above), setting your game’s pace, and finding that perfect iconset!

  • Charon August 12, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Good article. As a new RPG Maker user who’s just starting to learn how to use events, I can already tell that this has probably saved me numerous headaches in the future.

    • Ron August 16, 2013, 3:58 pm

      the event is important to the game
      ;)

  • amerk August 14, 2013, 9:29 pm

    Not a bad idea, but I’m still set in my ways. I like to name my cut scene character events and then operate them on and off with a switch. When the scene starts, I move them into place, and then turn their switch on. The reason I want the events named is I find it easier to manage with set move routes.

    With blank events, you really can’t give them a name, because they could be a multiple of people depending on how many scenes take place on that map.

    Still, for quick and smaller scenes a blank event could work.

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