Castles Masterpiece Sequel

I think having levels sorted by difficulty within each world and all worlds available from the start (except for perhaps a "finale" world) makes more sense. If someone were to make a "Forest" level with endgame difficulty and it was placed in the first world based on theme, it would make for a poor difficulty curve.

I doubt I could be a judge (even if I did have any credibility around here), but I'm definitely interested in this.

World map or not?

As a player, I'm neutral toward world maps. As a designer, a world map is far more appealing than the thought of building dozens of location maps that are likely going to feel samey, especially as the size of the game world increases. What you call "lazy", I call "economical". Then again, I'm pretty sure there isn't a rule saying your game must take up the entire planet, perhaps you can get by with a small enough setting that you don't need a world map anyway.

Now that I think about it, my favorite approach is to use location maps, but later on provide players a flying airship/creature/whatever that travels via world map, a la Secret of Mana.

And an original game with a world map is lazy, but a fangame isn't?

Do RPGs need a story?

Most games need some sort of context, even if it's as simple as "Save the Princess", but I don't think a complex story is necessary for an RPG. I'm probably in the minority here, but I think that whatever story there is should serve to enhance the gameplay rather than the rest of the game serving the story.

If the combat is boring, why have it? When you can just have a story.

On the other hand, if you remove the combat and other "unnecessary" elements, then why are you making a game rather than some sort of non-interactive media? I'd think it would be better to work on improving the combat instead of ditching it altogether, but I'm admittedly biased toward gameplay

PepsiOtaku's DynRPG Plugin Emporium!

I tried out the ATB overhaul plugin, and for some reason it doesn't seem to take effect on the first battle (it appears to use the default ATB formula), but works fine for every battle after that. Assuming that this applies only to the first battle in a new game, I could easily work around it, but I still think it's worth mentioning.

[Poll] All Hallows' Event II: Theme Poll

I voted monster attack, although open theme seems like the best idea so far.

Star Stealing Prince Review

Suppose I go to amazon.com and buy a $40 toaster. (Just put aside the fact that the example uses something that costs money... that is not relevant here.) The toaster gets to my house, I unpack it, put it in it's place, and the next morning I wake up, and go to have my breakfast. I plug the toaster in, I put the bread into it, put it down... and nothing happens. Okay... maybe it's a temporary problem. Try again. Nothing. Try a few more times. Nothing.

All right. I go to amazon.com. Go to the toaster's page. Go to the review section. Give it one star. Tell the story of what happened. The toaster I got of this model from this company didn't work when it arrived. Yes, I'm upset. After all, it was $40. But I try to stick to the fact that it didn't work, instead of resorting to calling the company names, and alleging they're frauds, which is usually not the case.

Does this hypothetical toaster come with a hypothetical instruction manual?

Your review keeps talking about how the game is unplayable even though many people have been able to finish it (and I doubt that your one copy of SSP is defective), so it seems to me like the problem is from you the player. Not to sound like another 'you suck at reviewing' comment, but the main criticism I have of the review is the implication that your bad experience equates to a bad product (whether that experience was your fault or not).

What do you call a "Great Mario Level"?

There aren't really any concrete rules of what makes a "great" level, but the most common mistake I see (especially in SMBX levels) is levels that are really, really long. It's amazing how many designers forget (or ignore) the fact that SMBX limits you to one checkpoint per level.

RPG Maker VX Ace battle system

There's nothing inherently wrong with the default battle system, and it's your game, so go ahead and use it if you want.

If you're concerned about not seeing your characters, you can use a script that shows facesets during battle, which I think is a good compromise (I'd recommend Yanfly's battle script, which adds this and a few other tweaks to the default system)

The Screenshot Topic Returns

What if you were to use the same event to cover the transition after shift+click? Perhaps that might work?

What do you like in a turn based battle system?

If my enemy is paper, what reasons would I have not to choose scissors? This is probably the most important question you can answer if you go this route.

Simply tie side effects to each element. Ice freezes enemies, Fire reduces defense, Lightning reflects off metal armor back at the player...