Simple Request in modifying the VXace battle system

Greetings all,

So, I'm being drawn into the allure of VXAce and all of its impressive functions, but I would really like to modify the default battle system and make it my own. The trouble is, I'm still quite a novice at scripting in Ruby; my previous experience was all with XP, and that mostly consisted of shuffling integers around.

After taking a crash course in Ruby, I am familiar with the terminology, but I am still having trouble with what I imagine to be a very simple problem. I would like to add face portraits to the battle window. That is easily done, just by editing Window_BattleStatus and adding:

draw_actor_face(actor, 100, 0,actor.alive?)

But while this works fine for a single actor, as you can imagine multiple actors cause the face graphics to stack in the same place. I have tried to find the appropriate method to have only one graphic be displayed when a given character is selected, but after two hours of reading guides and searching through the scrips I have not found said method. I would be extremely grateful if any of you wise, knowledgeable and all-around attractive people could point out what a newbie like me is overlooking.

Alternatively, I considered having face or battle graphics for the different actors displayed outside of the menu, but then I run into the problem of how to assign them individual coordinates, as I don't know the method for having individual face and battle graphics positioned, only for having them ALL be positioned.

I apologize if these questions have already been answered before, but I didn't see them when I did a search before making this topic. Once again, any insight you guys have would be greatly appreciated.

Your Top Features in Games

Greetings all,

Lately I've been reading a lot about what people think makes for a 'good' RPG. During my quest to objectify the unobjectifiable, I've come across a number of games which tried new things that didn't really work out, for one reason or another. One such game was Nippon Ichi Software's, "Last Rebellion", a 2010 PS3 exclusive that appears to have received universally bad reviews. You can read one such review here
, which is definitely one of the harshest reviews for an RPG that I have ever read.

Reviews were so bad, in fact, that NIS America's president, Haru Akenaga, stated that the game was, "not the kind of title we should release in the United States because of its quality", and that he felt, "really sorry for our customers because we released that title." What? An apology just for releasing a game that wasn't considered up to current standards? Say what one will about the criticism on RMN, but I don't think that has ever happened.

A better review for the game can be found at Destructoid here, which goes into why the game didn't work as well as it could have; it was unpolished, and the new mechanics, while containing a lot of good ideas, weren't implemented well, causing the final product to look under produced.

This got me thinking; is there a way to avoid these kinds of pitfalls, without just making a generic game and without having to spend much of the playtesting correcting fundamental problems with design? Is it possible to come up with a solid list of dos and dont's that apply to pretty much every game, and that can serve to facilitate the proper implementation of new and daring RPG concepts? I don't know that such a thing is possible, as every game is different, but I do know what things people have been complaining about for years. At the very least, we'll end up with a handy reference list of things people do and don't like about RPGs.

Please note that this is not a thread for talking about new concepts or debating whether one system is superior to another. Rather, it is designed to list features that are presently considered to be 'must haves' or at least strongly desirable in the court of public opinion. I realize that no such list can be entirely objective, but I think it would be useful for myself and others to know what people consider are pitfalls before a large amount of time is spent making said fall. The points brought up in this thread are only suggestions based on what essentially amounts to market research; they are based solely on popular ideas, and are not a substitute for knowledge of game design and creativity.

I'll start the ball rolling with a list of common criticisms put forward by "Vysethedetermined2" in his "Pier Solar" review, which you can check out here, with a few additional points that I have seen come up quite a bit on forums and in text reviews.

1. Save Anywhere Feature: I think pretty much everyone can agree on the appeal of this one, to the point where I know people who won't play an RPG Maker game without it. Originally, the idea of a save point or check point was to prevent the player from getting into an unwinnable situation. However, this problem can usually be corrected with appropriate design decisions, meaning that the convenience of saving anywhere is pretty much demanded these days.

2. Non-Random Encounters: There are still games being made today with random encounters, but the consensus among gamers seems to be that this is an archaic system that should be replaced with visible enemies. Non-random encounters cut down on the amount of time players spend in combat, and makes exploring hostile areas less of a chore.

3. Tree Dialogue and Story Impact: People seem to really dislike very linear storylines, especially if the story and the characters are 'generic'. Tree dialogue systems make for a more customizable story experience, similar to those seen in recent Bioware games. A system where players can more directly interact with the story appears to be far me preferable and is considered far more engaging. Personally, I'm on the fence about this one, but it is something I've read a lot in reviews critical of a game's story.

4. Non-reused Sprites: This one isn't really a big deal, but it's a pet-peeve I've seen come up a lot; gamers can sometimes feel 'cheated' if sprites are reused often in a game. If, for example, all the towns look the same or if the same monster sprite is recoloured four or more times, the game starts to look a bit cheap. Again, I don't think this is a game breaker by any means, but I've seen it come up enough in criticism to be worth listing.

5. Unique Abilities: Swords and spells are fine, but one of the things used to measure a game's quality are 'unique' abilities that change up the game; things like stealing, blue magic, and other non-standard features are now, ironically, considered pretty much standard. These features may not be for everyone, but including them shows a diversity and complexity in a game that critics seem to appreciate.

6. Clear Story Progression that Avoids Meandering: Basically, don't pad out a story with pointless busywork, or feel as though the story needs to be a certain length. Really good stories in games, such as the story of Final Fantasy VI, will easily fill a full-length RPG. Conversely, nobody seems to want to run around town collecting miscellaneous items anymore.

7. Optional Minigames Only: Mini games are fun, but if the player is forced to enage in them as part of the story, they quickly lose their charm. RPG players want to play an RPG, not necessarily a space shooter or a puzzle game. Again, this is a bit of a balancing act, as most RPGs feature things like puzzles which are mandatory.

8. Avoid 'Grinding' for XP: Everyone hates grinding, it seems, but there are many different points of view on what an acceptable alternative is. MMOs, for example, are quite popular, and yet most are based around some kind of grinding. The main criticism of grinding seems to be whether or not it is pointless. Players quickly become frustrated if they are grinding for levels so that they can 'get on with' the game, but grinding for item components or optional features seems to be far more acceptable. Again, this point is hotly debated, but the main criticism remains.

9. Pause Anywhere Anytime (Added by Kentona): "So fuck off Diablo III and your no pausing. That is a gamebreaker for me these days."

10. Unique abilities/classes (Added by Kentona): "If every one of party is too same-y, it kills the satisfaction I get from building up my party. This is why I stopped playing FF7 (all the skills were tied to materia, that you could just swap out)"

11. Challenges that test the investments I made in my character builds (Added by Kentona): "I get dissatisfied when the points I poured into Disable Traps are wasted if there aren't any traps ever."

12. Quest/Plot resolution (Added by Kentona): "Unless there is a plot-specific goal to resolve, I quickly lose interest. Which means that for me "post"-game content is pointless and wasted. As are MMOs, in general. Fuck PvP shit."

13. Item Gathering (Added by CyrusBlue): "Used reasonable, this can be quite fun for crafting items or even just salvaging items from the environment or battles to sell later for extra cash. I feel it adds more depth to the world you create and you get an idea of what it's like actually living in that world."

14. Duo/Party Skills(Added by CyrusBlue): "Perhaps through a close relationship or some form of compatibility, two or more active party members can activate a skill that involves them acting together or simultaneously. Not only does it provide some decent eye candy, but it also encourages the player to form strong relationships between party members and makes battles more fun."

15. Bestiary(Added by CyrusBlue): "I'm one who enjoys collection. It's pretty useful to keep track of enemy strengths and weaknesses as well as what kind of loot you can pick up from them. Plus it also encourages exploration and fighting of optional bosses. There could be a reward provided for a complete library."

16. Remappable Keys (Added by Shinan): "I like remappable keys and help text that recognises that I did, in fact, remap these keys.

As a leftie (not only politically) remappable keys are a must in almost any game that has even a slightly more action bent. Sure it's not always applicable in RPGs, in fact it's somewhat rare it comes up. But if the game is using a mouse+keyboard (rather than mouse only or keyboard only) remappable keys must be there.

I'm talking to you lazy console ports."

17. Skippable battles (Added by Shinan): "Godsdamn you games! Let me skip the shit and get on with the fun!"

18. Skippable cutscenes. (Added by emmych): "Like holy fucking shit, modern games, this is a thing you have done right. My least favourite part about playing Golden Sun back in the day was having to button mash my way through every fucking cutscene whenever I died. It was painful. I hated it. Also, like... FFX, the goddamn Yunalesca fight? You get this epic scene right beforehand, but NOPE IF YOU DIE YOU GET TO REWATCH IT 50 TIMES and it is considerably less awesome the second and third and fourth and fifth and FFFFUUUUUUUU-- time."

19. Difficulty Levels (Added by Dyhato): "If a game is too hard, casual gamers complain. If it's too easy, people who enjoy regular Game Over screens complain. This option will keep all demographics happy.
Easter eggs for beating the harder diffs are cool. Just don't do the "Game ends at level 6 instead of 8 on Easy" shit."

20. Character customization (Added by calunio): "This rarely fails in making me interested in games."

21. Removal of Random Chance from turn-based battle systems (Added by slashphoenix): "Randomization plays a part in nearly every turn-based battle system, and its role can range from very small to very large. All in all, the mechanic is archaic and *usually* does nothing but detract from the game. A miss at the wrong time means the player dies, but it's not their fault - they just rolled poorly. A critical hit may guarantee them a victory - but instead of being rewarded for playing well or being clever, it was due to random chance, and this feels less fulfilling."

Not that all randomness should be removed from all games and that it doesn't have its place, but holy hell it does NOT need to be in every game."

So, those are seven to start with. No doubt some of you will disagree, and have your own points about what makes for a good base on which to build an RPG. I look forward to reading what you guys have to say.

Hello Fellow RPG Makers!

Hello everyone,

I've been using RPG Maker XP for some time now, and using this site as a resource for tutorials, tips and the like. In that time, I've seen what a friendly and talented user base this community has, and decided to stop lurking and finally sign up to say hello.

I look forward to meeting you all, and contributing something useful myself.
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