VX Ace: Make Your Own Game Tutorial VII: Creating Encounters Part 2

in Tutorials

In this tutorial we will finish up creating our encounters, and create the sample games final boss: Morris the Fanatic cultist!

If you would like to read the full version, right click save as the pdf version HERE. But now, let’s get on to the preview!

Aspects of Encounter Balance

Despite what you might think, Encounter Balance is not all about difficulty. Difficulty is a portion, but there are many moving parts that you want to take into account when designing encounters.

So lets look at what I consider the important aspects

Duration: Duration is how long the encounter lasts. In general, with nonboss encounters, I prefer duration to stay low. Going into medium length in a nonboss encounter is ok, but make sure the time to reward (exp/gold) ration still stays good. No one wants to fight a battle and earn 5 xp and 4 gold when they could fight three in the same amount of time for 3 xp and 2 gold each.

Danger: Danger is the likelihood of the player losing an encounter. for nonboss encounters, this can range from low to high, depending on how you handle other aspects.
Toll: Toll is the amount of resources the battle will tend to exhuast. This includes HP, MP, potions, or any other expendable resource the player has. this can range from mid to almost non existant, depending on encounter style.

Strategy: Strategy is a level of how much good choices on the part of the player, such as party composition, equipment choices, and in battle skill use affects the Duration, Danger, and Toll of the encounter.

Swing: Swing is how much randomness, such as battle surprise, enemy skill usage, or enemy evasion, affects the Duration, Danger, and Toll of the encounter.

Aspect Interaction

Now that we’ve gone over the five major aspects I use to balance encounters, let’s talk about how they work together. How they work together can create a cohesive feel for your game, as well as add even more variety to your encounters.

First, let’s look at two styles of gameplay that can illustrate how you can add a cohesive feel through balancing encounters properly. These two styles are by no means the only ones, but are a good representative of RPG designs.

The first style I will call attrition encounters. With attrition encounters, no single encounter is dangerous, but they instead add up over time.

This works well for games with save points, where the challenge isn’t from any single moment (outside perhaps boss battles), but instead from the extended challenge of making it from one save point to the next.

To compare let’s look at another style I’ll call immediate danger encounters. With immediate danger encounters every encounter has a chance to wipe you out.

This works well in games where you can save anywhere.

Both of these playstyles can be reinforced heavily by rating what the average encounter in each of the five encounter aspects.

Attritions requires fairly low ratings all around. But with a high enough toll to matter over time.

Immediate danger requires high danger and trivially low toll. You want to prevent to much swing when doing high danger encounters as it this can lead to player frustration. High strategy works well in this style as well.

—PREVIEW END—

To read the full version of this and the rest of our Make Your Own Game Tutorials click over to our RPG Maker VX Ace Tutorials!

Need some more advice on encounter balancing? Don’t hesitate to comment in the section below.

8 comments… add one

  • amerk July 2, 2012, 9:10 am

    Awesome job, this. Just noticed that page 5 and 6 of the pdf appear to be duplicates of one another.

    • Nick Palmer July 2, 2012, 9:42 am

      So it is. I feel stupid. Thanks for catching that. I’ll be getting up a fixed version soon.

  • Damien Darkwood August 11, 2012, 5:33 pm

    Thank you very much for this amazing tutorial, it’s really helped me to learn a lot about RPG Maker (I’m new, like, very new).
    One question, do you have any idea of when the next Tutorial on story and the such might be coming out?
    As I’ve got stuck trying to get the section of the boat and the Morph Wood/Logs working; I’ve made a guy, and managed to figure out a way to get the situation working but I can’t figure out a way to make the event work so it sees I have 3 Morph Wood in my inventory and continues with the quest! :c
    That was a long comment, so once again, thanks c:
    Ciao, piacere di conoscerti.

    • Nick Palmer August 12, 2012, 6:00 pm

      Sorry for the delays in the tutorials. Tutorial 8 should go up this week, and will have the answer to your question.

  • Annelotte Rose October 31, 2012, 8:34 pm

    It has been way too long since we last have new tutorials for VX Ace. Part 8 still isn’t out yet. What’s the hold up? Did I miss something? I’m just wondering because I am dying to really learn how to use Ace’s full features to make some real games instead of just fooling around blindly. I have looked around for tutorials but yours is the best ones I’ve found; plain, simple, and short not complicated and excessively long. I hope you’ll release more soon somehow. It really did help me understand the basics of RPG Maker Ace. Oh by the way, thank you very much for your hard work on the tutorials! ^_^

  • Max Krakers December 12, 2012, 8:57 am

    Hey there, i’m a huge fan of your tutorials and they have been a tremendous help to getting me started. any guess as to when we’ll see the next upload or is around christmass going to be it?

    Regards,

    Max

  • Cal-El January 28, 2013, 2:12 am

    I’ve recently got RPG Maker VX Ace and I’ve been loving getting to grips with it and working my way through these tutorials! So thank you!

    One question though, where is the next tutorial?

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