Difficulty: Challenge vs Frustration

Hey guys! I just finished my newest article about game design. It's kind of long, but I'll paste some highlights.


So what exactly is frustration? What causes it? What makes a player want to turn off the game and never play it again?

Frustration occurs when the player feels as if his time has been wasted, and that the game is at fault.

There are two important parts to that statement, so let’s break it down. The first part has to do with the value of a player’s time, which is an important concept to understand in modern gaming. Thirty years ago—or twenty—or hell, ten—players valued their time differently. Games back then were a lot harder (and a lot more frustrating) than they are today. This isn’t to say that players’ time was less valuable. Accessibility to videogames was different, and gamers didn’t have the luxury of thousands of games available to them at a moment’s notice. In today’s world, if someone doesn’t like your game—maybe because they feel that it’s not worth their time—they can just delete it and find another one within moments. Twenty years ago, if a game frustrated a player, they didn’t really have that option, so they kept pushing through until the game was beaten.

Gaming culture has changed, and game design changes to accommodate the lifestyles of games. You can’t get away with wasting your player’s time.

So what is a waste of the player’s time? Think about the times that you have gotten mad at a videogame. Maybe you died and were forced to replay a huge area—maybe you were forced to sit through that long cutscene again and again. Maybe you were just about to land the final blow on a boss that you’ve been fighting for an hour, and he hits you with a cheap shot, leaving you to do it all over again. Or maybe you find yourself in a random battle every other goddamn step you take.

Check out the full article on Finalbossblues

RPGM Podcast!

Howdy! :D

I'm happy to announce the RPG Maker Podcast!

Our regular hosts are myself, Despain, ReynardFrost and Kilim.

Listen to Episode 5 here.

This is going to be a weekly thing, so if you like it—or if you hate it—let us know. We want feedback.

Episode 1 World Immersion
Episode 2 What Drives Story (Play or Flay Vermillion)
Episode 3 Dialogue (Play or Flay Wake)
Episode 4 Gettin' Serious about Teams (Play or Flay Deceit)
Episode 5 X-ploration (Demo Review X-Noir)

despanrs pixel tut's :)

so hey i am working on a massive multi-part pixel art tutorial. i've written a lot of little tutorials and stuff in the past (unfortunately most of them are long lost). the goal here is to cover a shitload of topics, from the most basic to some pretty advanced stuff later on—as well as lots of smaller instructional lessons along the way.

as of now i have the first few sections done. i wasn't originally going to post this but it's probably gonna be a LONG TIME before this thing is actually finished, so i'm going to release the sections in a blog format: they'll be updated whenever I create a new one. i'll update this topic whenever i make a new part, too.

because they're pretty long and have a lot of images i'm going to link to them, but i'll give a description.

  • Introduction
    just the introduction to the series: it outlines my goals and philosophies

  • Thinking in Color
    mostly this article covers some of the very basics: color terms worth knowing. it's sort of introductory into the next section

  • Read Between the Pixels
    contrast! this section goes into detail explaining how to get the most out of the contrast between your colors

  • Using and Choosing Colors
    this is a big one—it's all about color choice and creating a color palette. this is the tutorial that is most often requested. so hopefully a lot of people will find it useful.

i'm also using the same site for my writing tutorials and if i create any more rpgmaker resources i'll set up a section for them.

i will PROBABLY submit them to the site too (i'm sort of lazy though and don't want to convert them all to the bbcode format for submitting), but mainly i'm looking for feedback and suggestions in this thread. also REQUESTS. i have some very speficic ideas about where I want to go next, but i'm gonna leave you with an important question:

what do you want to see in a pixel tutorial?


so i've been here on and off for years but im gonna try and be more active, make this my primary home, etc. the other big rm sites these days have an unpleasant vibe (the kiddy-focus of the modern rpgmaker community man, it's like people are afraid to give each other criticism for fear of hurting feelings). gw and hbg are pretty much dead. this site's all that's left (that isn't a bad thing, this is also the only one with an actual website).

plus i'm damn old by now and i just wanna place where i can chill and do rpgmaker stuff as a hobby.

-first found rm2k in 2000, been a regular user of every rm program since
-mod and staff on dark dominion, then staff on dev empire, former mod on, former head admin on
-i've run my fair share of small and midsized rm forums
-other names: evincar, evega, missingnoise, ionem, homosexual_agenda (irc)
-consider myself a writer. have an honors degree in english. im working on a novel (no, not nano junk)
-while i'm working on ways to make some kind of profit from rpg maker (namely graphics), it's pretty much my lifelong hobby.
-also a pixel artist. a damn good one by rpg maker standards (after ten years i better be, right?) most of my posts will probably be sprite related.
-more recently i've been working to create resources for the official rpgmaker blog, the first of which was released on halloween

lotsa people know me in one way or another. also i idle in the irc as homosexual_agenda (been idling there with one name or another for years) and i'll try being more active maybe.

also hi benos


this is a story i am writing for fun. its about two strangers who meet by coincidence and decide to throw their lives away for adventure. ultimately it's a novel about nothing at all. may i present...


i want feedback, please. don't be afraid to be brutal. everything that we write is a chance to improve our craft. most of all thanks for reading (please read it).

edit: i wanted to put each chapter in a hide tag but it seems that we aren't able to use them anymore.

Chapter One

It's not too often that you see a grown man cry. I mean, everyone cries, but you don't always see it. Sure, maybe a family member, or in the movies and stuff. I remember my father crying fairly often after my mother died. But not like strangers or anything. In real life, just around town, out on the streets, whatever. You will never really see a total strangerâ€"and an adult man at thatâ€"sitting in a booth at McDonald's and crying his eyes out.

So, naturally, I decided to sit down across from him and strike up a conversation.

"Hi," I said.

He looked at me. "Can I help you?" His eyes were red and the tears had left trails down his cheeks and around the corners of his mouth, disappearing into the thick stubble around the bottom half of his face.

"You seem like you're the one who needs help, my friend."

"Fuck uff." He coughed the words and let his head hang back down.

He was clearly an employee. A black baseball cap with a McDonald's logo was crumpled on the table next to his elbow, and in front of him sat a pair of eyeglasses. He looked like he was in his late forties, possibly even a young fifty. He had brown skin, and his hair was black and littered with streaks of gray, and it was a mess from being cradled by his gigantic hands.

"Yo, Harv! Your break was over ten minutes ago. Get back here!" A wiry woman behind the counter yelled out at him. By the sound of her voice, I expected to see a man. "Tell your friend goodbye."

He didn't look up, and continued to stare down into his glasses, as if looking for answers to questions he didn't even know to ask. The woman watched us for a moment before shaking her head and disappearing into the back of the store.

"I told you to fuck uff," he grumbled towards me.

"Look," I said. "I have all the time in the world, man. Talk to me. I want to help you through this."

"You don't know me."

"I don't have to. I feel a connection between us."

He barked out a nasty laugh. "Right."

"I'm serious." And I was. "It's not a really powerful connection, but it's still there. It's not like family or love or friendship or anything like that. We're both human beings, man. And we're both here and we're both now, and that's enough. And you look like you need something that I can give you."

He looked at me again, but his eyes weren't annoyed with me any more. They were just sad and empty. "And what's that?"

"You need someone to listen."

"I..." he started to talk, then shook his head. "It's stupid. Go order your dinner and leave me alone."

"Don't waste this chance, man. Right now, I exist entirely to help you. How often does that come up? I'm here for you and you only, and nothing else matters."

"You don't fucking know me," he repeated.

"I don't have to."

He sighed and rubbed his eyes. He slumped his shoulders and leaned back in the seat. It creaked at the movement. It took him nearly five minutes to gather himself. He just stared blankly ahead, in my direction but not at me, until he was ready to talk. It was okay. I had nowhere to be but here. I'm sure a lot of thoughts were running through his head. Who was this random guy? Why does he give a shit about me? Should I bother talking to him? Will it help?

"My name is Arvind Beyer," he said at last. He wasn't crying anymore, but he looked like shit.

"Why were you crying?"

"Everything," he said. "I was crying because of everything. Everything fucking sucks, man. It's all bullshit. And I'm too much of a fucking pussy to kill myself.

"Look at me," he continued. "I'm pathetic. I'm nearly fifty, and I'm ironing burgers at a fucking McDunald's like a high-schooler. I've been here for four years. Four fucking years and I've got nothing to show for it. My last raise was six cents. Six fucking cents. And you know what? They upped the minimum wage, buddy. And when they did that, my raise went bye-bye. Fucking pricks. They thought that eight bucks an hour would be a nice little increase. But when you were already making eight bucks an hour, all it does it put you back a couple raises. Put me on the same level as all the other fuckers around here. Not that the six cents means jack-shit anyway. That's like a fucking cup of cuffee every week. 'Gee, thanks for all the hard work for the past three years, Harvey. Here, have a cup of cuffee on me.' Bastards.

"And if one more person calls me Harvey I'm going to break their neck. My name is fucking Arvind. A-R-V-I-N-D. Is that so guddamn hard to figure out?"

I decided that I liked Arvind Beyer. I liked that he was speaking his mind. I liked that he was in a situation not too different from my own. I liked the way that he used his hands when he spoke. I liked the way that he pronounced the word "fucking". He put a lot of emphasis on the I-N-G that gave it a stronger impact than the usual "fucken" that I was used to hearing.

He sighed. "I work my ass uff here, buddy. I'm the only one who does, too. Nobody ever shows up for their shifts on time. I'm always working late, coming in early. Doing three or four jobs at once and getting paid for half of one. And how do they repay me? I come in and check the schedule for next week. I'm on for three days. Three fucking days. Can you believe it? I can't even survive on what I get paid for five days. But three? Gud-fucking-damn it all, man."

There wasn't anybody else in the store, other than a bored-looking cashier behind the counter. The man-voiced woman popped up next to him and stuck her head out at us again. "Harv! Get the fuck back here right now! I'm not going to tell you again!"

He shifted in his seat. I could tell that he was about to give in to her. I stood up quicker than he could. "There's nobody out here with the name 'Harv'!" I shouted back at her, an then sat back down as though I hadn't said a thing. The woman's eyes opened wide, and the turned around and disappeared for the second time.

Arvind let out a chuckle. "She's probably gone to call the store manager. She's always been a fucking tattle-tale. It's like I'm stuck in middle school.

"You know how old she is? Twenty. Motherfucking twenty. She's been working here for a less than a year, and she's a guddamn manager-in-training. Bosses everyone around like she's been here forever. Whatever. Fuck her. Let her make the call. It's hard to even give a shit anymore, buddy.

"Never thought I'd be here at fifty, man. No family, no friends. Nothing but this fucking place. Can't even afford a guddamn dog."

We sit in silence for a long moment. A lot of what Arvind is talking about resonates with me. I'd been working in a shitty little pet store ever since I got my GEDâ€"nearly five years now. I made more than he did (not by much), but it just wasn't enough to be happy. Go to work, go back home, go to sleep, wake up and repeat. It's exhausting, it's boring and most of all it isn't even worth it. The only thing that kept me going was meeting new people. That's one thing that I've been able to have some pride in. Since I left school, I've always been eager to put other people first. Hear what they have to say. Everyone has their own story, and they're all worth listening to. I'm a junkie, really. That's how I got to be sitting here across from this man.

But lately it just hasn't been enough. I wanted more out of life, just like Arvind.

"You wanna go?" I ask him.


"You wanna split? Just get up and go."

"Go where?"

"Anywhere, man. I'm ready to move. What about you?"

"I can't lose this job." He looked back at the counter. There was a small line of people now. "I have to get back."

"No, man. That's not what I mean. You can lose your job. Fuck 'em. And that's what we're going to do."

"I need the money."

"But you don't want it."

"Don't matter."

"What is one thing you've always wanted to do before you die?"

He was quiet for a moment. I could tell that he was thinking about the question. "You know, most people would probably have an answer to that. I've never really thought about it myself."

"Then let's go find something for you."

"What about you?"

"Me? I've always wanted to drive an ice cream truck. But not like as a job or anything, you know? I just want to have one instead of a normal car. An ice cream truck of my own. And I'd have the ice cream to myself, or to my friends. And instead of the annoying kiddy music, I'd play whatever the fuck I want out of the speakers, and everyone else would have no choice but to listen to it too."

"Wouldn't be too hard to buy an old truck, I don't think," he said.

"You're probably right. Let's go do it."

"Do what? Get an ice cream truck?"


"Can you afford it?"

I shrugged, but a smile was creeping onto my face. "No idea how much they'd cost. No idea how to go about getting one. No idea how to manage one or what it'd take. But it'd be fun."

"Go for it, buddy." Arvind grabbed his glasses and adjusted them on his face. They were slightly crooked. He stood up. "Come back here and let me know how it all works out for you. I have to get going."

I stood up, too. "But you're coming with me, Arvind Beyer."

"To get an ice cream truck? Don't think so, buddy."

"No, man. It's about more than that. It's about freedom. We'll sell our cars, our places, anything and everything we have. Get a fucking truck and hit the road. Try to make something out of our lives. Anything's gotta be better than this, right?"

He started walkingâ€"slowlyâ€"back towards the counter. I followed. Arvind's hat was forgotten on the table behind us. "Look, buddy. I appreciate you helping me out. I really wasn't feeling so great. Worried about money and life and everything. Thanks for talking to me. I feel better now. You were right about that. But I can't just run uff with you. I don't even know you. I don't even know your name."

"My name doesn't matter right now. Call me whatever you want, man. My point is that I need to get out of hereâ€"I need to move. And I can tell that you need the same thing. We're dying inside, man. The both of us. And Iâ€"weâ€"need to live."

He put one of his giant hands on my shoulder. "Thanks for everything, kid."

Arvind turned and disappeared behind the counter, following in the footsteps of the man-voiced half-manager. I nearly followed him. Instead, I stood and watched for nearly a full minute. I glanced at the menu plastered up on the wall behind the cashier. Somehow, all of the food looked absolutely disgusting to me.

"Can I help you with anything?" the cashier asked.

"No thanks." I walked out of the building and headed toward my car. Opened the doorâ€"never bothered to lock the damn thingâ€"and sat down for a moment, my legs hanging out and my feet on the pavement. A cool breeze washed over me. It was a nice quiet evening. The stars had just begun to show up when I had gone inside, and now they were out in full force. I almost started to cry, but instead just managed a sigh and pulled my legs into the car. I slammed the door closed.

What was I thinking? Leave everything behind and follow some stupid ice cream dream? And with a guy I didn't even know. For all that I knew, Arvind Beyer might be an ex-convict. Not that it matters, though, I guess. Still. In that moment, I was prepared to throw my life away to chase a dream of freedom. A dream of the open road and infinite possibilities. I plugged the key into the ignition and turned it. My car growled. Oh well. Back to my shitty apartment, to look forward to a shitty day at my shitty job. Go back home, go to sleep, wake up, go to work and repeat.

A sudden knock on my window yanked me out of the depressing thoughts. Arvind's face stared at me from outside. He was smiling.

"Fuck 'em," he said. "You ready to go or what, buddy?"

Chapter Two

Arvind knew about a shady little dealership, and by the time we got there, it was just about to close for the night. We'd driven there separatelyâ€"I followed him. My car was in slightly better shape than his, so the idea was to sell his while we used mine until we found our van. He was the one who offered his own carâ€"in fact, he seemed eager to get rid of it. We were in this together.

I waited outside while he ran in. My radio was broken, but I had gotten used to listening to the sound of my own thoughts. They drifted to work, and I couldn't help but picture the look on my boss's face when I didn't show up in the morning. He'd call and leave messages on my machine. At first they'd be nice: "Hey, just calling to make sure you're on your way. Did you sleep late? See you soon." An hour later, and he'd leave another: "Where the hell are you? Did you read the schedule, you idiot? Do you even know how to read? Get your ass here right now!" He'd have to clean the cagesâ€"a job that he loved dumping on meâ€"and then he'd end up kicking towers of merchandise in frustration. He'd make a mess, and he'd be all alone to clean it up himself. Days would pass, and he'd eventually realize that I was gone and not coming back. He'd be a little sad, a little lonely at first. But he'd find someone else to replace me. That's all that I ever was in that kind of jobâ€"it's all that anybody is in that kind of job. Arvind, too, at "McDunald's". We're all replaceable.

Arvind didn't take long insideâ€"not even ten minutes had passed before he came back out. He walked right by his own car without even looking at it and hopped into the passenger seat of mine. There was a wad of cash in his hand.

"That was the only real thing that I owned, buddy," he said with a smile. "Got more than I expected for it." He was clearly excited.

I didn't ask how much money he'd gotten. Didn't need to know. "Did you ask about the truck?"

"Yeah. The guy didn't know too much. He said that we might be able to find an old van or something and clean it up and add a freezing unit. Said he thinks we need a special license or something to drive a Good Humor for real."

"Anything here for us?"

"Not the kind of van we'd need. I asked."

"Okay then," I said. "Let's get the kind of van we need." I turned on the car and pulled out of the place. I drove around absently for quite some time, not really sure where we were going. Arvind didn't seem to mind. He sat back in his seat, looking out the window and at the stars above, continually ruffling the bills in his hands. I wondered what was going through his head. He seemed happy with things. He was happier than he was when I met him two hours ago, at least. Every few minutes he would catch my eye and flash me a massive smile. It seemed like a huge pressure had been lifted from him. He looked relieved to have lost his job, relieved to have sold his car. He was looking forward to a new life and a fresh start. I was just the excuse he needed to throw everything away.

"Know of any places where we can get a van like we need?" he asked.

"Not particularly. But I figure any place won't be open till the morning."

"Want to meet up tomorrow morning? Drop me uff at my apartment?"

"Got anything particularly important there?"

It took him a moment before he said anything. "Nothing but sadness, buddy."

"Good. Then we're not going back there. Or to my place, either."





A few more minutes passed. You'd expect the silence to be awkward, but it wasn't. It was relaxing, really. It was getting close to ten. There were few cars out on the road with us. "So where we headed?"

I realized that I had taken a turn onto the highway and we'd been traveling away from the city for quite some time. "No idea," I said honestly.

"Sounds good. Wake me up when we get there."

It didn't take him long to fall asleep against the window. I drove on for another hour or so, listening to Arvind's soft snoring. The weirdness of the situation began to sink in slowly. I was driving aimlessly on the highway, late at night, with a man in my car who I had just met hours ago. He'd sold his car and had agreed to leave everything in his life behind him, and so had I. We had a vague idea of buying an ice cream van, but that was about it. The only thing ahead of us was the open road. And I liked that.

* * *

By the time I woke up, Arvind was already driving. It took me a moment to remember where I was, but I was awake and feeling great in a few minutes. I was laying down in the back seat of the car. I sat up and leaned forward in the middle, elbows on the shoulders of the two front seats. The sun was up, and the clock on the dash showed that it was nearly noon. I'd slept for a good ten or more hours. We were on the highway still, but other than that I had no idea where we were.

"Morning," Arvind said. "You slept for a long time, buddy."

"Yeah." I scratched my head. My hair was a mess and the side of my face was covered in drool. "Glad to see you're driving."

"I saw you were in the back seat when I woke up. We were pulled over on the grass and the keys were right there on the driver's seat. Figured that was an invitation."

"You figured right. Where are we?"

"No clue, buddy. Does it matter?"

"Not really."

Arvind laughed. "I half-expected to not wake up this morning, you know. Thought things were confirmed when I couldn't find my cash, but then I found it in the glove compartment."

"I figured it'd get all over the place if I let you sleep with it in your lap."

"Yeah, well. Thanks."

"For what?" I squeezed between the two front seats and plopped down beside him.

"For not killing me and robbing me in my sleep."

"If you thought that I was going to do that, then why'd you come along?"

"Dunno." He paused. "I mean, it was in the back of my head the whole time last night, but I just didn't care. Maybe I wanted something like that to happen. Can't kill myselfâ€"maybe I was hoping you'd do it for me."

"No luck there, friend." I noticed the gas gauge showed that the tank was full. "You fill her up?"

"Yeah. About twenty minutes ago."

I felt really good. I'd slept better than I could remember sleeping in years. It was a gorgeous day outside. The windows were down and the wind whipped around us like a strong hand smacking us into our senses. Forget about our lives before. Forget about money problems, family problems. Forget about our jobs and our stresses and our worries. This was the first day of the rest of our lives. I couldn't hold back a smile. We were on the road, and we were driving straight towards the future.

"Sign says there's a city up ahead," Arvind said, nodding towards a green sign that read "WATERVLIET 25". "Wanna head in and see if we can find that old van?"

"Sounds great."

"How would you pronounce that?" He asked.

"The city? 'Water-vlee-it', maybe?"

"I'd guess 'water-vlet'."

"Well, the 'water' part we can agree on."

A few more minutes passed, and I watched the road signs pass by the window. Couldn't help but try different pronunciations in my head. I mean, the word didn't look complicated at all. It just didn't really roll too easily. Maybe it could be "water-vlight".

"So tell me about yourself, buddy. I've been thinking, and I told you a lot about me last night. Don't know the first thing about you, not even your name. And here I am starting this great new adventure with you."

I laughed. "Not much to say, really. I've been living a pretty mundane life up until now. Let's keep the past in the past."


"Buddy's fine by me."

"All right then, Buddy." He said it in a way that makes me just have to capitalize it now. It became my name. And I have to say that I liked the idea. I let my old name and identity fly out the windows of the car as we turned onto the ramp towards towards Watervliet. "Buddy" felt like it fit just fine.

"Maybe it's better that way," he continued. "I mean, say you killed someone or robbed a bank or something. Here I am running uff with you, helping you make your big escape from the state. I can't get in trouble if I don't know what happened, right?"

"That's true. If I don't tell you anything, then you're not involved."

"Good. Let's stick to that." He chuckled. "Looks like we're in this city, now. Let's keep an eye out for any place we could get that ice cream van."

"Okay. But I didn't kill anyone."

"Okay, Buddy."

Chapter Three

Apparently it's pronounced "water-vleet". Makes sense to me I guess, though I'd become attached to "water-vlight". It was quarter after one when we pulled into a small diner to grab some lunch. We both had enough money saved in our bank accounts where we could eat and get supplies for a while without worrying too much about it. Sooner or later, we'd be out. But we'd worry about that when we got there.

"I've been a vegetarian for the past twenty years," Arvind said as we sat down. Ten minutes later he was taking a bite out of a behemoth of a cheeseburger. Two gigantic patties, slathered in barbecue sauce and topped with the thickest bacon I'd ever seen. He seemed to have a hard time gripping it in his massive hands. "Gud damn," he said mouth full of meat. "This tastes like heaven."

"Wouldn't heaven taste lighter?" I picked at my grilled cheese. "I mean, like cake or something? That's why they call it angel food cake, right? Something like that burger might taste more like hell. Grilled up on a fire with barbecue sauce, and everything."

"Well then, hell tastes damn good."

I triedâ€"and failedâ€"to flirt with the waitress a bit when she came to deliver the check. She laughed it off. Arvind asked if she knew of anywhere in town where we'd be able to get the van.

"You boys looking for a shaggin' wagon?" she asked.

"Not exactly," I said.

"We want to get into the ice cream truck business," Arvind told her.

"Couldn't tell you how that works," she said with a smile.

"Less the 'business' part and more just the ice cream," I said. "Have you ever imagined owning your own ice cream truck? Just for yourself, you know? Instead of a regular car?"

She laughed. Her voice was nice. "Sure, when I was a kid."

"Well, that's the plan."

"Well, good luck to you boys." She left the check on the table. It took Arvind a few more minutes to finish his beast of a sandwich, and the waitress came back just before we got up to leave. "I asked one of the guys back there," she said, "about your van. Mick says that someone's got one for sale not far from here. An old brown van with a 'for sale' sign. Out on his front yard. Might be worth checking out."

She gave us some vague directions and wished us luck again. It was nice to have some direction. And on top of that, we were both satisfied with our mealsâ€"Arvind much more so than myself. He paid with his debit card, and we left a large cash tip for the waitress.

"You know," Arvind said to me, when we stepped outside. "We need to get rid of these cards."

"Hit the bank? Take out all our cash?"

"Close the accounts."

"Live on nothing but what we have in our pockets."

"Fuck yeah, Buddy."

I had an account at a bank that had branches all over the country, and luckily there was one not far from the diner. The people inside didn't seem to happy when I asked to close my account. I told them that I was moving. That I was going to open a new account when I reached my new place. I felt bad for lying, but it was more or less based in truth. It felt nice to walk back to the car with all my cash in my hands. Deep down inside, part of me knew that this was dangerous. If we were robbed, or if anything happened, then we'd be shit out of luck. But it was worth it for the thrill and the freedom. We were living for ourselves and for the road.

Arvind's account was with a smaller, local bank. We talked about heading back to our own town to take care of it, but ultimately he just pulled everything he could from an ATM. We stashed all the money together in the glove compartment with the cash that he'd gotten for the car. All together, it was a decent enough amount. If we traded in this car, plus a little extra, for the van, then we figured that we'd have enough money to keep going for a while, as long as we didn't spend too much of it.

Closing the bank account was a big step for me. Arvind had taken that step the night before by selling his car, and I was beginning to feel what he had. Sure, I'd gotten myself all pumped by leaving everything behind, but closing my account and taking out all my money had a certain impact to it. It was like the proof that it was all behind me now. Having the money in my handsâ€"all the money that I had in the worldâ€"it was like solid evidence that everything in my life was ahead of me. There was no looking back.

I wanted more of it, too. I couldn't help but wish that I was a vegetarian just so I could toss it aside and eat a gigantic bacon cheeseburger.

It was harder than we expected to find the guy with the van for sale, although that's likely because we weren't really trying all that hard. But at last we turned a corner and there it was. It was like we turned and suddenly my destiny was right in front of me. It was perfect. Old, beat-up, brown, and humongous. There was my dream, there was my future, sporting a "for sale" sign and sitting on the grass in front of a little blue house in Watervliet, New York.

We pulled into the driveway and stepped out of the car. Arvind circled the old brown van while I knocked on the door.

"Buddy!" Arvind called. He was peeking into the back windows, his face pressed against the glass. "There's no seats in the back. It's perfectâ€"all we need is the freezer."

I started to head towards him when the door opened. A very tall old man stood in the doorway, wearing nothing but a pair of faded jeans, which his belly hung over. His nipples and his ears sprouted matching tufts of white hair.

"What d'ya want?"

"Good morning, sir."

"It's mid-afternoon."

"Good mid-afternoon, sir." I extended a hand. He hesitated, but slowly shook it. "My name is Buddy. I'm interested in the van you have for sale." I pointed at it with a thumb over my shoulder.

"What's yer name?"


"Whose that?" He gestured to Arvind, who was wiping off the passenger side window with his shirt. It hit me very suddenly that we were both still wearing our clothes from the night before, and Arvind was still in his McDonald's uniform. We probably smelled like ass.

"That's a friend of mine. We want to buy the van together."

"You a couple o' queers?"

"No, sir. Business associates, if anything."

"He a mooslim? A ter'rist?"

"No, sir." I actually knew nothing about Arvind's religious beliefs.

"How much y'offer?"

"I'm interested in trading in my car. Assuming, of course, that the van is working and good to go."

He smiled a nasty smile. His teeth were nearly as brown as the van itself. "It's all ready to go whenever you are," he said. "Used to be to Christine's, before she ran off with that music boy. I always told her he was trouble." His eyes glazed over and he stared past me at nothing in particular. "She left 'bout a week ago, I'd say. Sure as hell ain't coming back, neither. I wouldn't let her if she tried.

"How's yer car, boy?"

"A bit old, but in good enough shape. If you sold it back somewhere, you'd most likely be making a profit. More than you'd get for the van." I didn't know whether or not I was lying. I didn't know shit about cars.

He scratched his chin. I could do nothing but stand there as he weighed the decision. "Damn thing's a gas-guzzler," he said at length. "And ugly as sin. Been on my lawn for a week." He stepped out onto the front step with me and held up an arm to shield his eyes from the sun. His armpit hair matched the hair on his nipples and ears. "I'm pretty sure that Christine and that music boy of hers were smokin' the reefer in there, too," he said. "Damn shame."

"Damn shame," I echoed.

"I don't want that garbage on my lawn."

He turned around and walked inside, leaving the door wide open. I watched him go in and turn a corner out of my sight. I hesitated. Do I follow him in? He didn't say anything. I hate moments like this. He came back out a minute later and handed me a key.

"Gimme yers."

"No paperwork or anything?"

"Gimme yer key before I change my mind."

I tried not to smile. "Sure, give me just a second." I ran down to meet Arvind by our car. "He's gonna make a trade," I said. "Straight up trade for the car."

"That's great."

"Make sure that we don't have any money or anything left in there," I said. "And give me the keys."

The old man seemed happy to make the trade. He seemed not to care about selling the van for any profit at all. I think he just didn't want the memories that came with it. Must be hard for someone from his generation watch a little girl grow up and change. Whoever Christine was, she wasn't what he'd expected her to be as an adult. I felt a little sad for the old man, and for Christine too. He sighed when I handed him the keys to my car. It sounded more like a throaty growl. "If y'see Christine," he said, "Tell her that poppy loves her and misses her. But let her know that she don't have no home here if she wants t' come back."

"I'll be sure to tell her that."

"You seem like a good boy. Why couldn't she have run off with you instead of the music boy?"

"I can't answer that, sir."

He scratched his chin again. Then his ear. Then his other ear. "Well, enjoy yer guzzler."

And just like that, we had our van.

The best modern RPG Maker games?

There are always "What are your favorite RPG Maker games?" topics. This is similar, but more about recommendations. I want to play a good game, but it has to be GOOD. And it can't be insanely difficult, eitherâ€"I don't like grindfests or anything boring. That means mechanic or battle-based games. I want somethin with story and setting.

So what games out there are the best, these days? I'm up to date (For the most part) when it comes to good RMXP/VX games (of which there are very very very few), but this place is more about the older makers, right? When I think about ABL or even stuff like Legion Saga or Jay's Journey, I feel goodâ€"like those games had a real special place. Something that feels RPGMaker-y without feeling like an RPG Maker game, if that makes sense.

It's been a while since I got enjoyment from a game like that. What's big and new and what would be fun to play?


Yoâ€"I'm back.

Might not remember meâ€"but maybe you do. I've been away from the community for a while, focusing on my own things. I used to post all over the place and hang out in most irc channels. It's about time for me to start showing my face again around here, and around some other places maybe.

I used to be known as Ev (a long time ago), and then as Despain, which unfortunately has a pretty bad reputation among the kiddy rpg maker forumsâ€"like, which I used to run for a while until I got bored of the memberbase. These days I go by missingno or missingnoise, and I consider myself a writer, web designer, and pixel artist.

And I'm long overdue for a creative project.

New Enterbrain Maker - Action Game Maker!


On its blog, Enterbrain has announced its newest game-making program. And the best part? It's not another fucking RPG Maker!
Make platformers, action-RPGs, shmups and more!
Japanese release date: December 12, 2008

Games can be ported to Xbox Live!

Announcement is here: click
AGM Page is here: click
English hype page:

Let us pray for an English release (or a good illegal translation).

grow up :o

It's 2008, last I checked. RPG Maker 2000 and 2003 are outdated, by a lot. RPG Maker XP and VX are the current standards (or at least they should be), and the current attitude of "everyone is using rm2k3 and will never ever go beyond it" is seriously holding this community (and other ones) back.

Topics like these, which are so 2k/3-centric just show that this community is so dead-set in its ways. This is actually one of the big reasons for all the GW drama: a lot of you guys just refuse to use anything other than RM2K3, even when there are well-known updates to the program.

This isn't meant to be some sort of shitty rant aimed at the community, but that sites like this one should be working on little things that promote more current engines. The thread I linked to is the perfect example: contests by staff members ("contributors", whatever) based around rm2k/3 tilesets make a very clear statement about the community's stance on moving forward: and that statement is that you simply refuse to do so.

This site would certainly be opened up to a lot more potential new members if it was able to move on and start promoting more modern programs. This is, not

VX - Untitled

On a Friday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I had a sudden burst on inspiration. On irc I told a friend "hey, let's make a game this weekend". Three of us ended up making games that weekend. This is mine:


The game is intended to be an example of a solid, well-made RMVX game, without being anything phenomenal. This could actually be considered the perfectly-average game, and in that regard I am most likely going to try and release it as a sample game of sorts. Anything better than this is good, anything worse than this is bad. In addition, this is an experiment in motivation in that the game is being released in small chapters as I work on it.

Elice is a young girl living in Kingdom City. Once day, she is visited by a man who claims that he is from the future. Elice learns that she is the only chance to save the Time Wanderers, and that she is the key to keeping the timeline intact.

The story followed Elice and her friends as they travel through time and unravel the mystery of the Day of Dust. Pretty straightforward.

Nothing exceptional, other than attention to detail. There's a custom leveling system, and equippable skills, but nothing fancy.

Most NPCs will have different things to say if you talk to them multiple times, most objects can be inspected, etc. Because of the restrictions and nature of the "weekend game", the game originally only used the RTP. I've chosen to keep with that style as I work on it.


Every week, until the game is complete, I'll hopefully release an installment, which would include everything up to the current position. Each installment will consist of a weekend's work. The plan is that every weekend, I put a mad rush and see how much I can get done (to keep in the spirit of the original challenge, which was "hey, let's make a game in a weekend"). They'll all be listed here as I make them. RPG Maker VX RTP is required.

It's not necessary to download all of these. The most recent download will contain the entire game up to that point. The previous downloads only remain for comparison purposes.
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