Monday, July 29, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sam Gets the Rules

Kenny and Sam come up with wacky plans more frequently than Lucy. Hence, they do a lot more thinking about theirs, which is why their questions for Lucy are important. Table of contents here.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

RPG Maker: Scanning Enemies Without Scripting

So, for the past three hours, I have been trying to get a Scan/Libra type skill to work in RPG Maker VX Ace WITHOUT using scripting. I tried a bunch of triggers with events, variables and switches. All of these led to dead ends. Then, I realized something. I can use things for things that they are not meant to be used for.

So, I created a status effect called "Scanned," and my scan-type abilities will inflict this status effect. Then, for each battle, I've created an event for each enemy that triggers at the end of any turn where the enemy is afflicted with scanned by using the "When the end of turn" condition and the "Conditional Branch" option. The event causes a text window to appear and cleanses the enemy of scanned. The text window can have the necessary text written in like a normal event. It won't give you the dynamic HP, TP, MP, currently inflicted states, etc., but it will work for weaknesses and biography type information. You could, theoretically, set INTERNAL conditional branches to say things like "The monster is currently poisoned!," but I felt that was going too far.

Now, this works for me, since I want the numbers to be fairly hidden. Plus, this means I can write things like: "The monster is easily knocked off-balance and takes time to recover after large attacks." Or: "The enemy will respond harshly to attempts to heal." to help players figure out strategies BEFORE they wipe the first time.

Some warnings: Scanned needs to last 2 turns, otherwise RPG Maker clears the effect BEFORE checking if an event should happen. You need to make sure that each event only gets checked for once per turn, otherwise it will constantly fire off if you set it to moment. I have no idea how this work around works if you're using an Active Time Battle System.

... This is how I spent the last three or four hours of my night. What's worst? It probably isn't even the best solution to the problem.

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Edit: What this ALSO means is that you can have enemies scan specific player characters to trigger events. So, you could have an enemy "lock on" to a player, and then have the conditional event text read: "The sniper is aiming at Jim! Protect him!" Then, have the next turn, have the enemy do something to targets afflicted with Scanned [provided you make sure the enemy's event did not clear scanned on the PC]. So, now Scanned is pulling double duty. All without scripting.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lucy Gets Cold Feet

In which Christine makes a dirty joke, Lucy doesn't get it, and we all laugh.

... We all laugh.

Table of Contents.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

RPG Maker Combat System

Before I go any further with making items/characters/skills, I need to sit down and decide combat numbers. On the one hand, I like how the HP/damage scales through Ch.1 (at the end, your tank has around 1.3k HP and his base attack does around 120~, while your damage dealer has around 750 HP and does around 160~, but can reliably do special attacks that pump that 300~.)

That feels like very Final Fantasy numbers. The problem is that it gets unwieldy FAST. So, what's the other possibility? Make the numbers much smaller, removing the multipliers. At the base, a regular attack is your Attack Value * 4 resisted by an enemy defense value * 2 [with a +/- 20.]

What I'm tempted to do is retweak the numbers to get rid of the multiplication. So, instead, your tank would have around 130 HP by the end of chapter 1, the damage dealer would have around 75. The difference in their basic attacks would be 12 to 16, with the damage dealer being able to put out about 30 damage with a special, with the boss going from having nearly 1500 HP to having about 150. Nothing changes except the scope of the numbers, but it would make it easier for me to balance in my head.

So, here's my question for RPG Players: Do you prefer the large abstract numbers of Final Fantasy/Star Ocean titles, or the smaller, more easy to understand numbers of a more tactical game like Fire Emblem?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lucy Gets Second Thoughts ... Again

A relatively short section. Table of contents here.

There are now two major projects I am working on. One is the slow conclusion to the Lucy and Sam story, of which I have an update below. The second is the RPG I am making with RPG Maker. My initial goal is to use the in-built sprites/icons/etc. as place holders. Once I get far enough in I know that at least the first couple of chapters are a thing, I'll try and draft a sprite artist to help make things work. So! Project Update:

1. Lucy and Sam story: Probably about 20-30 more pages to finish.
2. Dreaming Path: First floor of the dungeon, first two PCs, and part of dungeon floor 2 complete.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Dreaming Path

Ever since I played the early Final Fantasy games, I've wanted to make an RPG. The biggest thing standing in my way has always been a complete and total lack of technical skill in coding, programming and art. Enter, RPG Maker.

In this image, Arthur, our first character, uses a spell.

As you can see, RPG Maker has solved a lot of these problems for me. Finding a script from their Wiki to make the party's sprites appear in combat, we currently have a fairly solid system for an old-school, turn-based J-RPG. But, we really want to try and make things different than other games. The first thing you'll notice is that the title implies that dreams are going to be a powerful theme.

That's true, in more ways than one. Right now, I've only finished the first floor of the starter dungeon. It is a bit surreal, a bit silly, and fairly simple. The enemies there are basic starter monsters. They just attack you. As you're all alone, though, you'll need to guide Arthur to safety. The first dungeon will take you from level 1 to 7.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Banana Strawberry Vanilla Pie

Try this at home kids. I subbed in graham crackers for vanilla wafers. But... I think the crust did not turn out proper at all for me. I think it is going to be more... strawberry banana crumb pie than actual pie. We'll see what happens tomorrow when it is done chilling. I always thought pies were supposed to be easy, but that stupid crust was a pain.

Pictures below, they're fairly self-explanatory. There'll be no pictures of the whipped cream because, well, I'm not doing that till tomorrow morning.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lucy Gets Historical

So, how many of you are doing this Sharknado thing? This section solely exists to let Kenny and Christine have another scene together. This scene exists for no other reason than that. Table of contents here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lucy Gets Flustered.

Back to Lucy. This section is for some callbacks, to have Lucy insult Mr. Dawes, and to show some mild level of growth and not growth in Lucy. I like it, but, I tend to like a lot of what I write, even when, objectively, I know it should be called crap. Table of contents here. If I ever fix the table of contents page, I think I would redo everything into the X gets Y format.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Random People, Random Places: Or Why Matt Can't Have New Friends

Random Woman Walking to Safeway: "I think I hear a baby goat."

Matt: "I thought I heard one too, but let's not kid ourselves."

She didn't think it was funny. There was a baby goat though; more reasons I should always carry my camera. The baby goat was safely in control of Fairfax park people, so no worries about it.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sam Gets a Deal

I received a blog hit through the search "algebra is an ordeal." So, there's that. This is just a quick set up to help remind us of a few things, let Mr. Dawes interact with the cast for a bit, and to set things up for when everything will start spiraling out of control. There aren't really any more dominoes to set up, I think, so now we can get to the execution part, which I'm sure will be bungled. Ultimately, you know things are going to end poorly, since two wacky plans are about to implode on each other. The table of contents is here. I also like Kenny's idea of a business proposal.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Jon Gets Bad Advice

For folks who don't want to read about The Walking Dead, here is this section. We get to see something rather amusing, for me. Lucy's constant harping and nagging was actually working. Jon was really thinking about just letting it all go. Then, Sam and Kenny with their incomplete understanding of the situation come along and screw it up. They mean well, but you know how that goes. This is also another section that lets Kenny just be a little weird for the sack of being weird. Table of contents here.

Walking Dead: 400 Days Review & Annoyance

Spoilers below the fold, but first: For a $5.00 DLC on Steam, this was well worth the investment. It isn't very "gamey," sort of like the original five episodes. It is much more narrative in scope. Because of the shorter vignette structure, as opposed to a more cohesive story, it lets us have wildly divergent choices where we're left to imagine the outcome that brings our five characters from the end of their snapshot (if you've played the game, you caught the pun, I hope), to the epilogue.

I'm actually a fan of this style of game, and while a lot of people say you don't get a feel for the characters, I think they're just not paying attention. Vince is a protective leader-type; we're not sure WHAT he was helping his brother with that lead to his story, but throughout his story, no matter what choices you take, he comes across as a can-do leader that both of his companions come to trust.

The other characters are a bit more divergent in their growth, but that is based solely on your final decision. To get into to much detail there is spoilerific, so be warned.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sam and Kenny get Cherry Cokes

I like this section because Sam and Kenny get to just be Sam and Kenny for a bit. Kenny is something of a chivalrous pervert, which is fun to write. Sam's focus is also a nice contrast to Kenny's broader goals. It's a much different dynamic than Lucy and Christine. Kenny is more the oddball silly one, sort of like Lucy's ramblings and saying crazy things, while also being the trouble maker and instigator like Christine. Sam is the more level-headed, even-keeled one, like Christine, while being more like Lucy in his execution. Thus far, someone could probably write an interesting thesis on gender views by comparing the qualities demonstrated by our leads, but I'm not really fond of gendering my writing.

Anyway, table of contents here.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Walking Dead: 400 Days Release Date; Sam Tells the Truth

Staggered releases are great for story-focused games because we all know how no one ever burns through a game in a night and posts spoilers EVERYWHERE.

Anyway; table of contents here. Story below the fold. The initial punchline was going to be: "I hate herbivores; they are the hippies of the animal kingdom." Then, I realized that Susan probably gives off a pro-hippie vibe through the rest of her character. The line about dancing and heels, however, felt a bit more in tune with who she was, while still having an amicable closing point for the two.

If you forget who Susan is, what Frontiers is, well, uh, just read from the start? Really, at  this point, if you haven't read all the sections, just do it. The writing is hit or miss, and some sections drag and are bad, but a lot of the story now will be self-referential, so, you need that background information.