RMN SNEWS - ISSUE #3

A newsletter - 3-Hour, Befuddle Quest 2, Rant and Rave '09, Hero's Realm, Inside, harmonic

  • kentona
  • 05/08/2009 12:00 AM
  • 5781 views

..:: Issue #3 ::..






3 Hour Competition - Playable Supervillains

On April 28th and 29th, Max McGee hosted a new 3 hour competition. The purpose of the event (and any 3-hour, really) is to create, from scratch, a brand new project based on the given theme (theme is not known beforehand). Most entries tend to be silly, often incomplete, buggy, and poorly balanced, but they are still a lot of fun.

In the end, there were 6 submissions, ranging from silly to very very silly (and one serious entry).

To recap, here is Max McGee:

The Purse Snatcher
Great Red Spirit
DL: http://grs.negative0.net/RPGMaker/ThePurseSnatcher.zip

Recap:
As perhaps the lamest super villain ever, the purse snatcher, your power is to...flee. At moderate speed. Through an endlessly scrolling background and a series of inexplicable obstacles. This game is mildly entertaining and impressively complete considering the time it was made in, just half of the time of most of these three hours. In other words, this is a basically working minigame, in 90 minutes. In the words of Darth Vader..."Impressive".

Calculator
ChaosProductions
DL: http://chaosproductions.neg0.ca/RPGmaker/Other Projects/calculator.rar

Recap:
If you are a real man, you will at least try to do this math based game without a calculator. In short, the cohesiveness of vision and how "complete" it feels impressed me. Also it is very silly.

I Expect You To Die
Kentona
DL: http://kentona.rpgmaker.net/misc/SuperDuper.rar

Recap:
This very very silly game by Kentona that contains an incredible not one, not two, not three, not four, but at least five (kind of) working mini-games, a SECRET VOLCANO LAIR, and a good spoof of Bondesque antics and Bond villains. If the three hour competition had a winner, this would be it.

Everything Turns Technicolour
Little Wing Guy
DL: http://kentona.rpgmaker.net/3Hour/Everything%20Turns%20Technicolour.rar

Recap:
This is everything I expect from a three hour. Overly ambitious, buggy as hell, and truncated at the three minute mark in a HILARIOUSLY abrupt manner, which marks the most amusing use of the "Show Choice" command I have ever seen.

Untitled
Fractal Advocate
DL: http://kentona.rpgmaker.net/3Hour/3_hour_game.rar

Recap:
Another silly game (shocker) with some pretty clever ideas (mechanically) that are hampered by (understandably) boring, tedious, and poorly balanced boss battles. Also, the humor as hit and miss. All in all, pretty good for a three-hour.

Rampage
Max McGee
DL: http://kentona.rpgmaker.net/3Hour/Rampage.rar
(Warning: File is ludicrously bloated with unnecessary resources because I kind of dumped all my resources in it at the start of the comp and did not get a chance to RM Tool it before the time was up. That's okay, it's still pretty small by today's standards.)

Recap/Author's Explanation:
The only project done for the three hour that wasn't silly, by intention or otherwise. What I did for this was I, in quick sketch, created my own comic book super villain, with his own set of powers, and also created an even rougher sketch of the world he lived in and the forces at work there.

The villain's name is Sigil, and the source of his power is occult in nature; he has sold various parts of his body and spirit to demons in exchange for dark power. He can use magic to turn invisible, drain the life force of his enemies, call hellfire, kill enemies, and reanimate the dead. Because he's a comic book villain, he's also no slouch with his fists and feet, and has used magic to make himself super strong, super fast, etc. Essentially an evil version of Marvel comics' Dr. Strange.

Then I made perhaps a single 22 page comic books' worth of action/entertainment, where you play as the bad guy, kill cops, fight super heroes, and so forth. Combat was balanced to be semi-balanced but to still make you feel like a badass; it also has something that you'll never see in any other RPG, a death spell that actually works a reasonable percent of the time.

I would really love some feedback on this. I think it is very representative of the BEST I can do with RM2k3 in three hours at this stage in my career. Also, I included passing reference to both the Medieval France and zombie themes.






Most Memorable RM Characters
Liberty asks us to think about the most memorable characters from the RM games you've played. Who's your favourite? Who's the worst? Who's the one you most wanted to kill? The one you pitied the most?

After a few simple one liner answers, discussion took off. Not only are people weighing in with their favorite characters, they're also discussing why the characters are effective and how they fit in with the greater story.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Invasion of the Bots


Looks like RMN is getting popular...too bad it's bots and spammers (and trolls). Buy viagra.

I was casually browsing through the RMN forums (looking for cheap videogames) when I came across several posts like the one for dermatitis. They looked Free oakley sunglasses click here like legitimate posts, but at anything more than a glance you could tell that you were reading 25% off Chapters the work of a bot or spammer.

Our staff and admins have been clearing out 3 or more bots a day, thinning Laser lipo their ranks as they reveal themselves through posts.

If you see a suspected bot or spammer grocery coupons top websites, please let a staff member know.

I'm not talking about the rubber sex dolls in your room, buddy boy. I'm talking about full-fledged, pleasure toys that will do anything to make you happy. Thanks for reading, cutie pit jr. See ya later boys!

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Befuddle Quest 2: Charmed & Dangerous

The second edition of the community collaborative game is going on now!

Pegged as Map Design Fun #9, Befuddle Quest 2: Charmed & Dangerous is a the collaborative puzzle/maze game community project. Using a specific product, RPG Maker 2003, participants will each make a single map puzzle using RTP and kentona will link them together in a quest.

Befuddle Quest 1 was a moderate success, a lot of fun and worth a download (It has 121 downloads so far). If you are interested in contributing, post a message in the forums or send kentona a PM.

Submissions are due on May 15th, 2009 @ Midnight.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


If you liked X, you might like Y...

One of the biggest problems an eager player of amateur RPGs faces is "Which game will I enjoy?"

Often times, visitors to an indie or amateur site (like RMN) is faced with a long wall of games listed alphabetically, with little to no indication of their quality or content. So finding a new game you might enjoy becomes a tedious hunt.

In response, the community has started to come together to create a web of game recommendations, based on people's playing experience. Will it take off? Will it be useful? Do eager player of amateur RPGs even exist? One hopes so.

So, join in with your recommendations, or use the thread to find new games of your own to play.




Thoughts about Titlescreens
What makes a good title screen for an RM game? What makes a good title screen, in general?

Members are discussing the pros and cons and aesthetics of various title screens while posting examples, both good and bad.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Rant and Rave '09 - An inward reflection of the current community
by Magi

After completing the enormous task of finishing The Messenger and the Heretic, I acknowledged that the product needed time to set in with the community before confronting the enormous task of crafting a sequel that should surpass the original. Over the past seven months Balmung Cycle has seen a fairly successful run, turning up on a couple non-rpg maker oriented pages and in websites in several different languages. In terms of such an amateur game I consider that a far greater accomplishment than I could have hoped for.

Regardless of that, I recognize there are numerous flaws that persist in the game itself. The storyline though sufficient is not Pulitzer material, lacking a strong central theme. Several systems although present, hardly received enough exposure; and then there is the matter of challenging battles that are a scarce sight in modern role playing games. I was never fully content with my final product, but then again why should anybody ever be? I then started thinking about how the rest of the user base is approaching development of their own games and how these new users reflect upon the community at large. It's not pretty, and it likely won't get better. Should any of you choose to stay on-board with the others who will ride this sinking ship to the very end, I have a few things I'd like to say.

A great mentor once told me that an artist is never satisfied with a final product, and there's wisdom in that statement. Though many of us come from different backgrounds and areas of expertise, we are still artisans of a craft dismal at times. If you understand what I am saying, I'd like to issue a challenge: Never settle for what you're only capable of. Raising the personal bar in your projects and adopting professional practices is the most important striking feature that separates poor projects from the spectacular.. There are a number of conventions that even simple hobbyists should familiarize themselves with to make their projects easier to develop, and I hope to one day explain these processes in detail. For the time being simply study from the great masters of the 16-bit era, and for the love of God newcomers; stop submitting your first game projects on the front page.

By now most should be thinking "What's with this pretentious faggot, what makes him thing he can lecture ME?" A couple days ago I had been discussing the direction of a community that is becoming an increasingly niche hobby and the clear source of it.

The truth is that there's no single reason. The distribution of older programs such as RPG Maker 2000/3 has dramatically decreased in the past several years as newer more powerful development environment have emerged from the same company. Even with that in mind, the role playing genre itself is changing to accommodate the tastes of mainstream society. Turn based battles, tile restricted movement, and low-resolution pixels are all the trademarks of yesteryear; the age of HD has transformed pixels and reinvented 2d in a new light. This a great thing, but not so great for the few nostalgia-ridden enthusiasts such as myself that hold onto aging software.

Make no mistake, RPG Maker 2003 and it's earlier incarnations have gained a bad rep and currently are on their last legs. Most of us still left using these alternatives do so simply out of preference and the lack of time/willingness to learn something new when we are comfortable with what there is. RPG Maker 2003 regardless of what others may say is a powerful tool to create Super Nintendo era role playing games, and if that is the type of genre and age you wish to emulate, then why look elsewhere? There are a number of new tools that have been developed to extend the potential of this older program without having to sacrifice much on the user end, and these are things everybody should be looking into in the future. Consider using some of these following patches in your project:

Innovations
- Rm2k/2k3 font changer:
The same old two fonts have become a defining staple of an RPG Maker project. However did you know that you no longer have to be confined to these? A program developed by the now widely-known cherry replaces the font that your RPG_RT.exe file points to. This means that you too can have a cool font like Balmung Cycle! However you should be well-aware that only bitmap fonts should be used and True Type fonts should be avoided at all costs!

Image Positioner:
Have you ever had to make use of many pictures on screen but never can figure the exact coordinates they should be placed at without extensive testing? The image positioner solves this by allowing you to place your image on a 320x240 grid in real-time revealing the coordinates. This is sure to save developers from countless headaches!

Power Mode 2003!:
The subject of much discussion in recent times, power mode is much like its name implies. It is rather complicated however and not recommended to new users. Some of its functions include disabling the default title screen and enabling the ability to load save data in-game, grabbing mouse pointer coordinates, detecting many additional keyboard strokes, the inclusion of new mathematical algorithms, and the mapping of picture rotation angles to variables.

Fmod plugin:
If this alone doesn't get you excited I don't know what will! Fmod extends the audio capabilities of RPG Maker, allowing you to use many additional formats such as .ogg even tracker files like .mod! Additionally, Mp3 playback is also much faster and powerful than RPG Maker's default playback is. This package is included now in Power Mode 2003.

Picture Pointer Patch:
A godsend to anybody creating custom systems, this patch applied directly to your RPG_RT.exe that allows you to call pictures from variables and file! This cuts out a heavy amount of work and allows custom systems to be finished in a fraction of the time that they used to take.

Rm2k/3 Hyper Patcher
Allows you to quickly change many values that RPG Maker locks and makes unmodifiable. There is no English translation of this program so I can't explain in detail what it does.

Auto-enter patch
Bypasses the default title screen, userful for making custom titles.

On the use of commercial and copyrighted graphics
Balmung Cycle is particularly guilty of shamelessly taking the great majority of its graphics from a single commercial source, a sacrifice made under an informed decision to maintain the project's consistency. Since the early community "rips" have had a prominent place in most projects in an effort to distinguish games from one another. It has long been a necessary evil and while the practice persists it is difficult to design a game that is uniquely you.

A slightly less-shameless approach is to mix and match until there is some semblance of unique style. This doesn't mean use Rudra and Suikoden tilesets in your game, but rather create an array of tilesets that are blended from two or more sources. Through this technique, people can identify a map designed by Meiscool simply because his alterations follow a unique set of processes that no others apply to their games. On the other hand, just about every other game designed after Ara Fell defined Mac and Blue tended to resemble BadLuck's project.

The sad truth is that most of us are no pixel artists, and that is why one graphical style tends to be overused to the point of exhaustion. Unless you fully understand what you are doing, be aware that a unique approach is necessary with popular graphics. Mix and match, color correct and adjust, add an aesthetic texture, tint, or tone to all of your graphics. If you are studying some medium of art, don't hesitate to integrate it into your project. This extra work goes the extra mile in your final product.

Time constraints and efficiency
While RPG Maker has always streamlined certain aspects of the development pipeline it has strangled other aspects. This means if the user has never developed a game before or just doesn't know about organization, the production process will slow over time! Follow stricter naming conventions for files and develop a hierarchy for your maps. Organize your map tree in a way that makes sense, such as the order in which locations are visited. Create several root folders for "World Map", "Cut Scenes", and "Custom Systems" and create embedded hierarchies for your world to organize locations such as "Northern Hemisphere." Name files appropriately and group them with a prefix such as world-mini and world-large. Use digit buffering to organize files numerically (BatAn-0001, BatAn-0002.) Comment all your events and make markers indicating a special action so you can easily find it later. There are so many little things organization-wise that are essential to keeping your project production fluid from start to finish.

I've seen some great projects suffer from poor organization and I often stop to think how much better it could have been if the creator had only paid more mind to good housekeeping. It's true in the realm of programming and it's true in the realm of visuals and design.

Conclusion
The problem with this community is that it's centered around "me". Play my game, review my screenshots, critique my story. Too few people have a genuine interest in what others are producing, and that's because the quality of development is so low. I can't possibly expect others to play my game if it's only 30 minutes long and consists of a premise so tired and tedious that it pushes interest away from it, that would be my fault. Try new things, and push boundaries where you aren't comfortable, because that is the only way to gain recognition in this community. Offer and accept scathing critiques, don't be afraid push the bounds of what community is. It's not about posting rosy screenshots on a forum, nor is it about seeing who can make the most successful advert thread, and it's certainly not about hyping shallow ideas of little thought or substance. It's about expressing the total sum of your creative ideas and talents to and beyond your personal best. Make the sacrifices, make the committment, and ground yourself in reality.

You have my best wishes for 2009. I've told you much of what needs to be done, so make this year better than the last.








Generic RTP Gaming Fun!


What is it?
Hero's Realm is a traditional RPG that plays like an early SNES or late NES era RPG. The gameplay centers around creating an effective party in a standard fantasy setting. Characterization is minimal, and the dialogue and story is light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek but enjoyable. In the game, you guide four heroes and their parties through five chapters to defeat an ancient evil.

Why should you care?
After nearly 3 years of development, the full version of Hero's Realm is out. Even after two months, the game still floats near the top of various Game & Demo forums. Max McGee asks, "If you like (s)NES-era jRPGs, and you're not playing Hero's Realm, why the heck not?"



Putting the spotlight on a oft-overlooked game



Dare to venture Inside?



"More people should play this; any game that can get me to give more than 3/5 is probably worth playing.."
- Fallen-Griever


What is it?
Inside is quite different than the standard fare at RMN. Best described as an action-puzzle game, Inside leads the player through a series of challenges and conundrums whilst forcing him to avoid evil elemental monsters. Relyt has done a great job on this game.

Why should you care?
Fans of Inside rave about its excellent level design - a critical component of any puzzle game. All the reviews are generally positive, and new levels can be added easily (so Rylet claims!).




harmonic

Master of Dooderoodie
..:: Games :: Articles ::..


harmonic is the creator of the tremendously popular Legacies of Dondoran. So popular, in fact, that for a brief period RMN's Help & Requests forum was taken over by it! It has nearly 4000 downloads on RMN alone.

But enough about that. We're here to know the man behind the game. In his own words...


RMN HISTORY:
I joined RMN once it became relatively public. I'm pretty sure it was either Karsuman or Iishenron who invited me over. I hadn't been active in any RM boards at the time, and it was a welcome departure from past forums.

I submitted Legacies of Dondoran pretty quickly, and kept RMN as my primary online hub for posting/updated my RPGmaker activities. Somehow or another, Doodieroodie is pretty popular here, which is nice to know.


PERSONAL BLURB:
I think the video game industry is going through a slow but sure revolution process. I HOPE it is, anyway. The small, dedicated indie-style teams of the early 90's are gone from the mainstream, and the industry mirrors Hollywood, somewhat.

I think indie game developers will have an increasing role in the video game mainstream as time goes on, and production costs per game get too prohibitive for more and more game companies, who seem to be less and less able to satisfy the demands of gamers.

Someday, I hope to develop my musical production endeavors to the point where I could possibly do so professionally.


SPARE TIME:
I currently hold two jobs, teacher and financial adviser, the latter of which I do in my own time as an independent. So basically, if I'm home, I'm either working on LoDVX, or working with clients online or over the phone.


FAVORITE FOOD:
Steak.


FAVORITE SAYING:
"I think we should take Iraq and Iran and combine them into one country and call it Irate. All the pissed off people live in one place and get it over with."
- Dennis Leary


PET PEEVE:
Disrespectful behavior. Deceit, passive-aggressiveness.


LITTLE KNOWN FACT:
I was nominated for homecoming king my senior year of high school - the first year they allowed people NOT on the varsity football team to do so. My nomination was probably a testament to my high-profile music nerd status. Thankfully, I didn't actually win.



Recognition for a dedicated member.


Fallen-Griever for his dogged reviewing efforts (he has 27! And counting!). Though blunt (and oft harsh), his reviews are well-written and worth the read.

Posts

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kentona
only 90s kids will like this admin
20443
...?

It's the same as the last two, just with different (and more this time!) content. Thanks, though.
I meant that I like the content that was chosen for this one. I have no idea why I said setup.
The bots are coming!

Nice work Kentona and kudos to Magi for an interesting read
I thought I made Calculator.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
good jorb homsar
kentona
only 90s kids will like this admin
20443
That's what I get for copy & pasting from Max.
Good job on this issue too. It's great to see what's going on in the community without having to venture into the community in a convenient summary.
Craze
purity or absolution
13128
YOU GOT RICK ROLL'D
I definitely second Inside as a hidden gem. It needs more people playing it so Relyt at least considers a sequel. :P
Craze
purity or absolution
13128
I just read through all of Magi's article and I agree with, uh, all of it. Good job Magi; now you just need to get people to read that.
kentona
only 90s kids will like this admin
20443
Putting it in the Snews was a good first step, I think. I've left a comment in the blog post about how Magi should submit it as an article.
Yellow Magic
I'll never regain the bones I lost from my loneliness and sorrow
2993
I love the RPG Maker 2003 talk/innovations. Thanks alot for sharing ;)
Yellow Magic
I'll never regain the bones I lost from my loneliness and sorrow
2993
Hey, thanks for the INSIDE mention.
It's too bad that we have to throw Magi's article into the RMN SNEWS for people to actually bother looking at it... but whatever works, I guess?
Craze
purity or absolution
13128
Buy a google ad.
kentona
only 90s kids will like this admin
20443
It was from before the time of Blog Posts on the homepage. It was a dark time - a time of fear and anger.
Sated
puking up frothing vitriolic sarcastic spittle
4064
Thanks for the shout-out; its nice to know what I do is (kind of) appreciated.

(I should really finish playing Hero's Realm so I can review it... But Prince of Persia and Gears of War are much more enticing prospects!)
kentona
only 90s kids will like this admin
20443
Hey, did anyone check out the Break Dancing Transformers video? Click the bot image...
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