Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence

I have enough lockerspace to hold an episode of Friends.

"We'll make a toast to absent friends and better days,
To remembering and being remembered as brave
And not as a bunch of whining jerks!

Don't lose your nerve.
Do not go straight
You must testify
(or I'm going to come to your house and punch you in the mouth)

- TW/IFS, "All The World Is A Stage Dive"
Iron Gaia
As the only human awake on board a space station controlled by an insane AI with delusions of deification, you must unravel the mystery of your own identity and discover: "What is the Iron Gaia?"


[PENCIL & GODDAMN PAPER] The Other Kind Of RPG: The Dawnline

There is another kind of RPG that is not digital but analogue. Without this ancient form of RPG we would not have RPGs as Square-Enix and kentona make them today. There are a lot of these old "books with games inside". And I mean a lot. Most of you guys could probably name D&D, Pathfinder (which is essentially D&D), maybe Shadowrun (that's the one I worked for), Vampire, maybe some of the Warhammer ones...but there are hundreds. Thousands, probably. And the vast majority of them are dead and unsupported.

I should know. I ran a tabletop RPG publishing company for over five years. 95% of the tabletop games you see on Kickstarter are CRAP just like 95% of everything is crap.

It is also made by amazingly prolific reviewer and tester/human game guinea pig/general betterer of RMN kumada who some of you might know. (I think that might be his voice on the video, not sure, but I'm almost positive he wrote what's being said.)

More importantly, it's been pitched to me as Vampire Hunter D meets The Oregon Trail meets The Way. I have only two words for that premise:


You should check it out on Kickstarter and learn more.

Now I've gotta say goodbye for a little while.

P.S. The reCaptcha challenge is more of a game than probably 10% of the games on this site lol. I played it three times while making this post.


As a general rule, I feel the same way about musicals as a class of media that the Westboro Baptist Church is convinced God feels about homosexuals.

I am the kind of person that would commit a genocide against musicals if they were something that could feasibly be genocided. If I had access to a genie a year ago I would have used up 33.333% of my wishes to wish them out of the world. You get my point, I think.

I hate musicals. I hate the idea of musicals. I am spiritually invested in hating the shit out of EVERY MUSICAL EVER MADE.

I was able to enjoy the Book of Mormon which I was lucky enough to see on Broadway during the original cast run, but only through the mental gymnastics of convincing myself that it was a some kind of an ANTI-MUSICAL and a giant TAKE-THAT at musicals in general (and in hindsight, I have to admit that as much as it takes the piss out of Mormonism and Africa and religion and belief and political correctness in general, structurally, it is a pretty straight forward musical).

Right now--having never even seen it, only heard it, on repeat, an increasingly embarrassing number of times--I am about as obsessed with the MUSICAL (technically...rap opera?) Hamilton as I have ever been obsessed with any piece of media I have ever consumed. I am totally rapt with its brilliance and its beauty, on so many levels, across so many dimensions.

Can it just be that good that my vendetta against musicals is somehow broken? What the hell (restricted to this particular context) is wrong with me?


Admitting Defeat - When A Videogame Breaks Your Spirit

I love the Souls series. To me, they are some of the best videogames {Kanye} of all time {/Kanye}. I love for their challenge. I love them for their brutal difficulty. I love them for their incredible atmosphere and for their make-the-player-work-for-it approach to storytelling and worldbuilding. I love them for the fist pumping, chest beating rush of triumph I feel when I scream "YEAH, MOTHERFUCKER!" at the top of my lungs (scaring the shit out of my girlfriend and my dog: my cat doesn't give a fuck) upon actually beating one of their absurdly cheap bosses, a euphoric adrenaline rushing in my brain.

I self identify as "masocore". (A word I only learned on RMN five years ago from kumada, FWIW.)

The reason I was able to beat Demon's Souls, in hindsight, is probably because it allowed you to farm arbitrarily large numbers of healing items in some late-middlegame areas. They fixed this problem in the spiritual sequel, Dark Souls with Estus Flasks. (For whatever reason, Bloodborne did nothing for me.)

I never beat Dark Souls. After picking it up and putting it down and picking it up and putting it down and picking it up and putting it down I managed, somehow, somehow, somehow, to FINALLY beat Ornstein and Smough. This still feels like one of the greatest achievements of my life. Note that I did not say one of the greatest GAMING achievements of my life. I own a company that lets me make my living making games. I somehow tricked a girl that is actually attractive into staying with me for ten years. I survived a small-bowel resection surgery under general anesthesia and went on to tell about it. I count defeating Ornstein and Smough among these achievements.

But beyond Ornstein and Smough was the bullshit crystal caverns and the double bullshit boss fight with Seath the Scaleless and you know what, Seath? I'm fucking done. Eat a dick. I'm out.

I never beat Dark Souls II. My momentum was good, my morale was good, most of the bosses were little more than speedbumps. Then I got to what I thought was the end of the game, and upon getting an idea of how much of the game was left after I defeated the Mirror Knight (in less than 10 tries, I think) I just kind of collapsed from exhaustion.

I am stuck on the final, final, really for real final boss of Dark Souls III.

I have been stuck on him since late May.
I say I've been stuck since June, that doesn't mean I've actively been trying and failing that entire time. That would be the definition of insanity. No, I think in late May and early June I was still pretty chuffed over having finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, FINALLY beaten Prince Lothric, which only took 109 tries (twice as many tries as Aldrych, which in turn took twice as many tries as Pontiff Sulyvahn) and which I genuinely thought was the final boss of the game...until I found out about the next boss. The true final boss.

The Soul of Cinder.

In early June, I tried to beat the Soul of Cinder and lost as often as I could find free time to lose to him. By late June, I was limiting myself to three tries a day to avoid becoming frustrated. In July, I think I might only have taken five cracks at him total, for the whole month. I haven't played Dark Souls III once during the entire month of August, and I am strongly considering putting disc away in the case, and putting the case away on my shelf, and just accepting that I am a 30 year old man and that I will die without ever having beaten a game in the Dark Souls.

Is that okay? Because for whatever fucking reason, it doesn't FEEL okay.
I would almost rather go to the dentist and say "three root canals please, no sedation" than pick up that controller and throw my brain and eye-hand coordination and my PS4 controller at that unbeatable fucking boss (which hundreds of people have beaten and some of the smug bastards have probably done it on a challenge build or on a speedrun or something) one more fucking time. Yet there is a part of me that feels like if I were to shelve the game and give up on the momentum that has gotten me this far I would never be able to respect myself for the rest of my life, knowing that I had come that far, been that close, to beating Dark Souls IIIwhen the Soul of Cinder had broken my spirit, and I had fled into the night, and obscurity.

There are really three types of responses I'm looking for here:

  • Telling me that it is okay to accept I will never beat the last boss of a videogame about imaginary knights and bonfires and make-believe dragons and demons without permanently losing a measure of my self respect.
  • Telling me that I'm being a giant pansy and it's time to "GIT GUD" and get back in there and fight the Soul of Cinder until my PS4 breaks or my sanity breaks or I fucking beat him.
  • Any actual tangible advice for actually BEATING the motherfucker (I can tell you my build if any of you are crazy enough/determined enough to have made it anywhere near this far in the game, or even worse, if any of you crazy mofos have actually beaten him)

First post in quite a while,
- Max

P.S. I've actually had this happen to me twice before in my life: getting stuck on the VERY LAST BOSS of a videogame and being unable to beat it. It happened to me with Parasite Eve and it happened to me with Final Fantasy IX, neither of which, to the best of my recollection, I ever beat. Even now, a decade and a half later, I still have the savegames, frozen on the precipice of victory, but never to see those end credits. I never got as philosophical about it either them. I was a teenager back then. And now, I am old.

RPG MV Stuff Repository?

Is there a repository/listing of stuff (i.e. plugins, graphics packs, add-ons, whatever) for the new RPG Maker MV somewhere on this site that someone could point me to? If not, is anyone interested in compiling one here? I know the maker is obviously new, but looking on the site sections like this one seem quite bare, even taking into account how new the engine is.

Any chance of putting together a big "RPG Maker MV Stuff" repository thread here, or am I going to have to go off-base to other sites like or whatever.

Money and Motivation

So, lately (for perhaps my last five years of sporadic on and off gam mak) I've had a higher than average amount of trouble sticking to projects long enough to finish them before losing interest in gam mak generally, coming back later, and starting something else that was "new and exciting" at the time. You know how the cycle goes.

And I've found it downright impossible for the last five years to bring anyone on board to help with one of my projects without that person flaking out or vanishing into the internet and turning into a pumpkin at some crucial point where I really needed their contribution to keep me motivated and on task. Often I get super talented and/or semi-famous people who offer to collab or at least pitch in but then they flake out and/or disappear. And honestly, I've been kind of an on-and-off flaky internet pumpkin myself for blueperiod, the creator of the spectacular LINUS, and I feel pretty ashamed about that.

The last...six...serious projects I launched the development of, I told myself something like "it's reasonable to have this be a freeware game to start, and then to consider monetizing it and taking it commercial once I have a substantial amount of progress done, if I'm impressed with the results I have and it seems to "deserve" commercialization. This seemed like a reasonable position at the time.

So I thought to myself today: I make tabletop games as a business, and in that arena my rate of finishing and releasing products is damn near 100%. Because there are financial stakes and it feels real, like work. Getting bored and losing interest doesn't even feel like an option because products have overhead costs and consumers have preorders through KS and so on, i.e. there is MONEY involved.

So my question is...if I monetize a project as commercial from the getgo will that increase the chances that I will stay on board to finish and release something?

More importantly, if I "put my money where my mouth is", will it make internet dev help (i.e. "hiring a team" or "hiring a partner") a reliable, viable option? Or even with paychecks and commissions on the line, do people still flake out and turn into internet pumpkins regularly in the vidya sector?

Even more importantly, if I declare a priori that the design of "Game Project XYZ" will be a business from the outset, will gam mak still be fun?

It occurs to me that these questions seem of interest to devs in general, so please discuss?

H!F!S!: No Man's Sky

Everything that this game is promising (and demonstrating the lovely beginnings of) is BLOWING MY FUCKING MIND. The game is basically promising: a procedurally generated open universe game where players take the role of a planetary explorer with a spacecraft, allowing them to explore the surface of numerous planets and interact with the flora and fauna, and take to space, engaging in combat with hostile forces and travel to other planets. Planets and other features of this universe are procedurally generated; though initially built based on a 32-bit number processor, the final game will use a 64-bit seeding key, with the developers stating that this allows for more than 18 quintillion possible planets every single one of which is lush, gorgeous, and unique. The game will have online features that allow players to share details of planets they have visited with other online players, and will allow players to visit these planets through a large galactic map once they have upgraded their ship for hyperdrive capabilities.

Basically, it seems to be offering the freedom of a space exploration, combat, and trading game like X3 combined with the freedom of a vast planetary exploration game like Planet Explorers multiplied by about 18 quintillion due to Dwarf Fortress style procedural generation and cloaked in a layer of lush gorgeous graphics and just AGGGGGGHHHHHH. AGGGH. I cannot even handle this. What the fuck.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

[VX ACE] I Am Not A Lunatic

This thread is "I think out loud while trying to figure out how to accomplish something simple with RGSS3 and you all laugh at how badly I'm failing/offer suggestions how to fail less". If anyone else finds even the simplest scripting tasks as paralyzingly unapproachable as I do, maybe this will help you with the learnings.

The script in question I am trying to leverage is "Yanfly Engine Ace - Lunatic States Package - Punishment v1.01" and specifically an add-on scriptlet somebody (I'm not sure who) made for it to allow a 'DOOM' or 'Death Sentence' effect a la Final Fantasy.


# Punish Effect No. 9: Doom

# - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

# When this state's turns reaches 0 and clears itself, the battler will

# be instantly killed unless immortal. The death effect will not occur

# if the state is removed manually through a skill or item.


# Recommended notetag:

# <leave effect: doom>


when /DOOM/i

return if dead?

# Change the number to the id of any revive animation you wish to play,

# or to "nil" if you do not wish for any animation to play

@animation_id = 0




What I am trying to accomplish is a Gradual Petrify status again a la Final Fantasy. After a few turns, the character will be turned to stone.

The first thing I did was set up a stone state, State 24 in my database. It makes an actor unable to act and it has no removal conditions (so you'd need a 'Stone to Flesh' spell or a Soft-equivalent item to cure it). Its traits set Target Rate, Physical Damage Rate, Magical Damage Rate, and Floor Damage Rate all to 0%, so the effected actor shouldn't be targeted by enemies and if they are, all damage they take will be reduced to 0%. Then I added State Resists for all negative status effects because statues can't bleed, be poisoned, etcetera.

Now basically it looks to me like this Punish Effect No. 9 does exactly what I want, it just inflicts the wrong state. So what I'm going to do is basically copy it, change the name, change the comments, and change the state it inflicts.

What I wound up with including my comments looks like this, and is pasted right below the existing Doom effect:

# Punish Effect No. 10: Petrify
# - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
# When this state's turns reaches 0 and clears itself, the battler will
# be turned to stone. The petrification state will not be inflicted
# if the state is removed manually through a skill or item.
# Recommended notetag:
# <leave effect: petrify>

when /PETRIFY/i

# Change the number to the id of any revive animation you wish to play,

# or to "nil" if you do not wish for any animation to play

@animation_id = 0



Now all I need to do should be to create an "About To Get Stoned" state which I will call "Flesh To Stone" (State 25). It doesn't do anything on its own and it goes away at the end of battle and in three turns. It has a " <leave effect: petrify> " note tag in its Notes box.

There. I know it doesn't do a couple things I want it to do. Multiple applications of State 25 won't cause State 24 to trigger immediately, but I can live without that. Additionally, every actor being Petrified won't trigger a game over effect like it probably should which is a slightly bigger problem.

[VX ACE] HP 0% ~ 107293248%

So the version of ACE I won during RMN Plays has some issues that the old version I was using didn't.

One of those issues is that it seems to need Steam to be open to run it. I don't like that at all. Any way to disable that?

Anyway, the other issue is that the HP condition for enemy actions is no longer working properly. No matter what range of HP percentage I put in, it displays either 0% ~ 0% or 0% ~ 107293248% (or some such nonsense number) anyway. What gives? Anyone know of a fix for this? Is breaking this function some kind of insane reverse psychology pro-piracy feature?

If anyone from Enterbrain et al. is reading this it sure would be nice if a brother could get an orc to drink a potion when his HP is low without your @#$%^&* program shitting the bed like this.

[Poll] Dealing With The Lure Of The New

To all of you makers out there, I think all of us have experienced this: just as motivation drain is really grinding you down on a project you're trying to haul towards completion, a bolt of inspiration strikes you for a new game, maybe in the form of some new graphics that became available, a new mechanic you want to try out, or just a yen to work on a game with a different setting/theme.

Suddenly, the prospect of starting the new game makes you feel like a kid on Christmas morning, and the prospect of continuing your current project seems like doing homework in your least favorite subject.

How often do you have this happen and how do you handle it?

[Poll] Optional Content: How much is best?

I'm positive we've done this thread before but I don't remember what the consensus was so aw heck I'm doing it again.

RPGs are a tricky beast. One of their characteristic features is optional side content that can be missed or skipped. Side quests, hidden dungeons, secret bosses, you name it. Most RPG series are famous for including these. As a one-man development team, it seems horribly inefficient to work on content that not every player will see. Especially since, as an indie, you are already looking at a very limited audience seeing ANY part of your game. On the other hand, optional side content is the kind of thing die hard fans expect to give them a special sense of achievement.

So what do you think is the "right" amount of optional content, the right balance of potentially wasted effort and optional extras for die-hard "super-users", keeping in mind it's obviously a somewhat subjective issue.

Bonus Question: However much optional content you are using, when do you put in the work to build it? Do you weave it into the development of the core game, or set it all aside for after the core game is done, or something else?