WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT? (GAME DEVELOPMENT EDITION)

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Currently at a point in my game where I'm torn between working on various systems in my game, or working on the story and mapping and going to the systems later. And I'm not sure which I should do.
Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past is essentially a master class in dungeon design. And a free one*.

* I mean cause we all still have our old SNES cartridges from when we were kids, obviously.
Gretgor
Having gotten my first 4/5, I must now work hard to obtain... my second 4/5.
3420
REFMAP, Mac n' Blue, First Seed Material, whatever it's called. Is it acceptable to make an RPG Maker game using those assets in this day and age? I'm not a stellar artist, so I really want to use them, as they look good and require little effort on my part.

Also, @StormCrow I absolutely agree about LTTP. I should probably play it again one of these days, on my SNES that I own and with the cartridge I also own in a perfectly legal way.
Isometric or doing some sort of pseudo 3d for the world map, have thought about low poly as well (similar to FF7 and 8)
author=Rukiri
Isometric or doing some sort of pseudo 3d for the world map, have thought about low poly as well (similar to FF7 and 8)

Low poly has a certain charm.

I'm trying to figure out how to sprite a Sewer tileset under approximately GBC limitations.
Gretgor
Having gotten my first 4/5, I must now work hard to obtain... my second 4/5.
3420
author=Pyramid_Head
Currently at a point in my game where I'm torn between working on various systems in my game, or working on the story and mapping and going to the systems later. And I'm not sure which I should do.

I want more Steel Spirit SaGa :P

I'd advise you to do whichever one you feel most comfortable with first, but then I'd be a hypocrite, because I'm also deadlocked like that way too often, undecided on which task I'm the least unwilling to do at any given time.

EDIT: I guess I'd like my game to be, if nothing else, earnest. How many people would admire a game for earnestness alone?
Just in case you missed it on the discord channel, here is once again!

A summary of all I've learned about C++ so far:
:~/workspace/CPP/Pointers03/bin/Debug$ ./Pointers03 -w -a -i -f -u
The arguments to ./Pointers03 are:
1:-w
2:-a
3:-i
4:-f
5:-u
That's it!

Blame C++ for Dummies for this pathetic excuse of code that made it possible! XD
author=Gretgor
I want more Steel Spirit SaGa :P

I will get back to work on that eventually. As for my dilemma. I decided to get the nitty gritty eventing out of the way first. Eventually I intend to share a few screenshots of what I've been working on, but there just isn't anything concrete at the moment.
Gretgor
Having gotten my first 4/5, I must now work hard to obtain... my second 4/5.
3420
I know that exposition based on cutscenes alone is the worst kind of exposition, but I'm in a situation where it may be the only option. Also, exposition based on finding and reading books/documents is second worst, and it's also pretty much my only other option at the moment.

The million gold question is: is it really the only option, or am I just too lazy to find a way to integrate that stuff into gameplay? Let's find out...
Book exposition is 1000% worse than just about anything
Gretgor
Having gotten my first 4/5, I must now work hard to obtain... my second 4/5.
3420
Any suggestions? I want to add exposition about some stuff that happened in the past, but I don't want to make a playable flashback as the main character is not present in any of those situations.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
21806
author=Gretgor
Any suggestions? I want to add exposition about some stuff that happened in the past, but I don't want to make a playable flashback as the main character is not present in any of those situations.

It's been forever, so my memory isn't all that great. However, with this question, I seem to recall the flashback in FF6 with Terra's father. He wasn't designed as a playable character, per say. I mean, I think you were able to walk and talk to people. I don't know if there was any actual data behind that character, aside from just the sprite-sheet. The sequence wasn't 100% railroading and cut-scene. Maybe 90%, though?
Gretgor
Having gotten my first 4/5, I must now work hard to obtain... my second 4/5.
3420
author=Marrend
It's been forever, so my memory isn't all that great. However, with this question, I seem to recall the flashback in FF6 with Terra's father. He wasn't designed as a playable character, per say. I mean, I think you were able to walk and talk to people. I don't know if there was any actual data behind that character, aside from just the sprite-sheet. The sequence wasn't 100% railroading and cut-scene. Maybe 90%, though?


That is a good idea. I will use this idea for the "most important" optional cutscene in the story, in which some things that were intentionally ambiguous will finally be made clear.

As for the other scenes, I will keep them as scenes and books, except I'll try to make them as short as possible, and make it so that the books are accompanied by pictures and images to make them less boring to read.
Hi, I'm new here. Admittedly I use Gamer Maker Studio rather than RPG Maker, but a discussion on design theory goes beyond the engine so I figured I'd post here.

It's still early days for my project. I've hashed out a design doc but have only just started working on the actual game. Anyways, I've been thinking a lot about UI design. With GMS, I'll be creating everything from scratch ergo I have flexibility for designing the UI.

Articles I've seen on game UI design have mentioned things like making sure it takes players the smallest amount of clicks possible to do common actions like equipping that new sword they just found pronto. That's good and straightforward advice, I'm just struggling to realize that. An inherent challenge with party-based games is that it necessitates additional clicks for choosing which character you want to equip. With that in mind, the smallest number of clicks I can get it down to is 5:

Click 1 (Open the Menu) > Click 2 (Select 'Equipment') > Click 3 (Select Character) > Click 4 (Select Weapon Slot) > Click 5 (Select New Weapon)
Now, obviously it will take even more clicks if the character you want isn't in the first slot and/or the equipment piece you want to swap out also isn't in Slot #1, but this seems unavoidable.

So, the other thing is, I have normal equipment and then I need a menu option for equipping active skills, and a menu option for equipping passive skills. Moving over to these obviously takes extra clicks, but players aren't going to mess with them as often as equipment, so that's fine. I am concerned about the menu looking cluttered or ugly if there's too many options up front (there are five other menu option in addition to these three, so a total of eight).

I've been playing a lot of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 recently since the Torna DLC came out, and one thing I noticed was that all menu options for character building stuff were all shoved under a character menu. So, if you wanted to mess with Nia's stuff, you'd go to Nia's character page from the top menu, and then have a small platter of options for adjusting her skills and equipment. I really like each character having their own page with all options to improve them clustered together. I also like the idea of the top menu having broader options with smaller related options clustered together. So, another option in my game would be clumping equipment selection, active skill selection, and passive skill selection together under a character option. The problem is it adds an additional minimum click:
Click 1 (Open Menu) > Click 2 (Select 'Characters') > Click 3 (Select Which Character) > Click 4 (Select 'Equipment') > Click 5 (Select Weapon) > Click 6 (Select New Weapon)

So, what are everyone's thoughts on this? Is that one extra click an annoyance? Should the top menu have broader selections housing related menu functions put under one umbrella at the cost of extra clicks? Is there a way I can get the minimum amount of clicks down even further that I haven't thought about yet? Thank you, for any help.
@EtherPenguin:

There are some exterior factors to consider like when a shop asks you if you want to equip what you just bought, or when Pokemon asks you to pick a move you don't want anymore (right on the level up in battle). Or even just an auto equip feature (which ya know, depending on how its handled might devalue the equipping process).

Also are you forgetting L and R? To switch the character while equipping them which can bypass Click 2 (Select 'Characters') > Click 3 (Select Which Character) past the first time.

But idk man I never really complained about equipping in Chrono Trigger and that as I remember doesn't have the bells and whistles of most modern RPGs, but it pretty much maintains a lot of fundamentally good UX choices. As long as you get that general framework I wouldn't worry about it too much unless there's something unique to your customization that can warrant "Click" saving.

edit additionally: For example, FF8 has characters that are interchangeable and have assigned summons and a lot of things assigned to their individual stats and elements. There's a thing called GF Exchange right in the Switch Character menu which saves so many clicks it's absolutely necessary because the story forces you to use specific characters a lot. But of course it's due to the unique circumstances that such an efficient solution can arise.
Thanks for your reply! I haven't forgotten R and L. Believe me, the old back out of the equip screen back to the character select screen deal is something I always intended to stay far away from. I am concerned with how to get the same feel of using shoulder buttons on a keyboard. GBA and DS emulators tend to map them to something like S and D for default, but this doesn't feel intuitive to me. Switching between character pages on a console game with shoulder buttons feels natural because your index fingers are already sitting there and your thumbs don't have to move at all. With a keyboard, moving from Z and X as confirm and cancel to S and D feels more like moving between different face buttons which asks more of the player's muscle memory and something I'd like to avoid.

Some Wii games had a nunchuck control scheme where you held down Z with your index finger and that would change the function of the analog stick while held to switch between pages. I was thinking of doing something similar where the player holds down left shift and then the arrow keys can be used to switch pages. There's a great blog post by the UI designer of Nier: Automata where he discusses the intent was to make it possible to navigate the whole menu with just two buttons and the analogue stick. Shortcuts are still there if the player wants them though. (Here: https://www.platinumgames.com/official-blog/article/9624). This got me thinking about reducing the number of keys used. Ideally I'd only like to use Z, X, arrow keys, shift, and enter. Unfortunately, it looks like I need to find a better balance between muscle memory and reduced number of clicks - they work against each other.

And yes, Chrono Trigger has a great menu. It uses the first method I listed with five minimum clicks. Many games are like this and it's perfectly fine. I think I got a little too married to Xenoblade 2's character pages which is why I've become so concerned about that extra click that comes with it. The DS version of Chrono Trigger is even more interesting as it takes one click less than the SNES version. Tapping equipment takes you right to the equip screen for the character in slot 1. The shoulder buttons are then used to swap between. There is no character select. Hadn't played it for years but went back to see after you mentioned it and I was surprise by how good it felt.

FF8 is one of the only four numbered FF games I haven't played so some of what you described went over my head, but I'll look up some videos to see GF exchange in action. Again, thanks for your help!
The FF8 thing isn't entirely helpful, but I guess to make a hypothetical example instead: imagine any character can equip any weapon/armor, and those weapons/armors contain upgrades that were obtained overtime. Let's say you get a new party member a current party member is unusable, obviously you might as well take the leaving person's equips and put them on the new member. The Exchange option does all of that for you instead of having to swap individually. It's a case that 'saves clicks' because of how the system works.
Gretgor
Having gotten my first 4/5, I must now work hard to obtain... my second 4/5.
3420
I'm considering running the pruning shears through my current game project once again. The more I realize every little thing I still have to make, the harder it is to believe I can handle a project of the current size.

Ideally, I wanted something as long as the section of A Link to the Past from the beginning to the first Agahnim battle. Only length-wise, not story/mechanics-wise, of course.
author=Gretgor
I'm considering running the pruning shears through my current game project once again. The more I realize every little thing I still have to make, the harder it is to believe I can handle a project of the current size.


I've had to do this several times already. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm only one guy and I pretend that I'm making a game for the NES.
So one of the scripts I'm using (pretty sure it's Kread-Ex item charges) means that any new items/weapons/armor you make, or any changes you make to existing items/weapons/armor, don't appear in playtesting until you start a new game. Very inconvenient. Can't remember if it messes with skills the same way. Anyway, I guess I'm just going to try to develop a good methodology for working around this, long sections of database work followed by long sessions of testing, rather than bouncing back and forth between editor and playtest fixing problems as I notice them, which is my standard MO.

author=psy_wombats
Book exposition is 1000% worse than just about anything

maximum disagree. I LOVE reading the books in the Elder Scrolls games and learning about the world from them. It's probably my favorite part of the games. I've tried to roleplay characters that were specifically librarians in Oblivion and Skyrim (easier in Skyrim) and one of my most prized possessions IRL is an actual deadtree three volume codex of all of the in-game books from TES games. one of the most thoughtful presents I've ever gotten.

author=Gretgor
Also, exposition based on finding and reading books/documents is second worst.

Again, no. Finding and reading in-game books/documents to learn about the world is great. See also: the 'Shock series of games, System Shock 2, Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite, the Deus Ex series of games, etcetera. If the in-game docs are well written, whether they're "audio logs" or musty old tomes, and finding them is fun (which just means basically "if playing your game is fun") they are a good way of delivering exposition.