The all around prick
RMN's Most Humblest!

Prayer of the Faithless
On the brink of the apocalypse, two friends struggle to find what is worth saving


Improving Basic Attack and Guard Functionality

Why do your basic attack when you have a plethora of skills available to use instead? What's the point of hitting the guard option when you can just attack enemies instead? No need to guard when they're dead, after all. What rewards beyond reducing damage do you like to see in a guard command? What else do you want to see in a basic attack beyond just inflicting basic damage?

I try to tweak battle mechanics to give these two commands more viability in my games, but I want to talk about how you all handle it or if you know of games that handle these two commands well.

Just so it's clear, I'm talking about system-level mechanics and tweaks. External factors like enemy behavior encouraging more guarding or party members using more basic attacks due to the lack of other offensive options isn't what we're looking for here. Also, removing these options isn't helpful, either. Let's talk about mechanics that make basic attacks just as useful as, say, an AOE slash skill.

In my first game, Soul Sunder, the guard and attack commands restored and depleted a character's stamina pool, respectively. Once a character's SP was reduced, they had no choice but to guard to restore stamina, reducing damage at the same time. It's a small addition, but it's enough to change the ebb and flow to combat, as now players are required to understand the limits of their characters and read the enemy attack patterns to maximize damage and minimize resource spent.

In my current game, Prayer of the Faithless, defensive mechanics in general received a major overhaul: guarding no longer reduces incoming damage, and instead restores a % of a character's maximum SP. Since SP now represents a character's defense, reducing a % of all incoming physical damage, this means that players are encouraged to take a more aggressive role in combat.

As for basic attacks, I typically give them the exact same damage formula as skills. The only functional difference between basic attacks and skills is that skills have an added effect, such as inflicting a state or a critical hit under specific conditions. Because of this, skills are not replacements for basic attacks, and players are encouraged to use them just as often as skills when they just want to inflict damage.

There is certainly a lot of potential to alter basic attacks quite a bit with weapons, too. The Golden Sun games had a good idea where equipping different weapons gave you different "Howl" skills that randomly activated upon using the basic attack, though I wish there was less RNG in that implementation.

Bloodborne, while not a turn-based game, let you restore health lost from a recent attack by fighting back.

Healers and other non-offensive party members would need specific tweaks to make their attack and guard options useful, but I'm struggling to think of useful system-level mechanics for them. Perhaps guarding can increase the effectiveness of their next healing spell? Maybe their attacks don't do direct HP damage, but instead inflict an ailment that increases damage from the next attack, allowing for a team combo of sorts?

Those are just my implementations and ideas. I'm sure you all have your own. Share some here! And be sure to let me know if any of my ideas are stupid and that you know of a better solution!

What are YOU even good for?

Hello. I'm Nova Novingsworth, President and CEO of Novinga game development studio. Convince me that you would be a valuable asset to our company.

Please use words I can understand.

[RGSS3] Debugging Help

So I found a nifty little Ruby method to print a trace from the code's current location:

puts caller.join("\n")

I'm using this to debug my code, but I need a little help converting one piece of information to something readable. I put the caller method in my code and get this:

{0166}:6390:in `refresh'

{0067}:57:in `set_temp_actor'
{0069}:112:in `update_help'
{0054}:391:in `call_update_help'
{0054}:96:in `active='
{0053}:137:in `activate'
{0166}:6582:in `init_commands'
{0166}:6558:in `start'
{0100}:12:in `main'
{0006}:23:in `run'
{0275}:10:in `block in <main>'
:1:in `block in rgss_main'
:1:in `loop'
:1:in `rgss_main'
{0275}:8:in `<main>'
ruby:in `eval'

From the first line of the above block: "{0166}" is the name of the script containing the trace call (in this case, Yanfly's Equip Engine), and 6390 I believe refers to a line number, but I'm not sure exactly, as Yanfly's Equip Engine is certainly not even close to 6000+ lines. I need to somehow convert these lines to something readable, but I don't know what method to use.

I need to figure out how to translate {0166}:6330 into the exact script name and line number during output. Doing this will help me read which methods from which scripts are being called. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated!

Persona 5, Streaming, and the Impact of Spoilers in Story-Driven Games

In case you aren't aware yet, Atlus has threatened copyright claims on any streams or LPs that, among other restrictions, show content of Persona 5 after a certain in-game date:

from linked article
If you decide to stream past 7/7 (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT DOING THIS, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED), you do so at the risk of being issued a content ID claim or worse, a channel strike/account suspension.

As you can imagine, this did not go over well with the community.

What makes this case especially interesting to me is the fact that P5 is a highly linear, story-driven game. There was a similar controversy with the release of That Dragon, Cancer a while ago, and I wonder how many arguments applied to that game apply here as well?

I'm also curious about your opinions on player's reactions to this decision. Simply put, Atlus caused the Streisand effect to go in full swing: Comments on vids of certain Youtubers I follow complain that spoilers for P5 run rife, content creators are openly giving the middle finger to Atlus by posting endgame content and cutscenes, among other responses. Has anyone seen similar problems?

For the record, requesting that players refrain from spoiling Persona's story is not new behavior for Atlus. This has occurred with previous games in the series, including Persona 5's release in Japan. So why, then, is THIS instance causing an uproar? Well, I imagine it's because Atlus has outright THREATENED players with taking down their channels this time. In the past (from what I've seen), it was just kept as a kind request that players do not spoil the game. No one, especially those making their living on Youtube, likes having their channels threatened.

What are your thoughts on this whole debacle? If you were in Atlus' position, how would you have handled this situation? Would you give free reign to Youtubers and streamers to post whatever they want? Would you make a different request? Talk about it here.

How are we doing? A survey to help us improve RMN

It's been a while since the change in staff, so we were curious to see the general opinion of RMN and the forums as well as hopefully get some feedback on how we can improve. We'd also like to know your thoughts on the community as well as RMN's functionality. It shouldn't take you too long to fill it out and it would be a tremendous help for us, so please feel free to give us your thoughts!

*Survey is now private. Please PM me for a link, instead.*

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Running a successful playtest

Testing games is everyone's favorite thing to do, right? It's such a simple and easy task that you can do without sacrificing much of your time and vitality trying to fix and tweak every single little detail, right?


Okay, testing sucks. You have so much to look out for when running through your game that it's next to impossible to keep an eye out for every little detail through a single run. What can we do to make it suck less? Obviously, you're gonna be running through your game time and time again while you fix and polish as much as you can, but what are ways you've found that make testing easier on yourself?

While this can include getting others to test your game, I'm primarily talking about self testing in this topic. Coordinating testing efforts with others is a whole different can of worms that could probably go in its own topic.

Personally, I have different testing sessions where I focus on one aspect of the game and ignore everything else. Functional testing, writing testing, balance testing, bug testing, etc. are all done separately in order to keep from overloading my brain by looking at every possible issue that could potentially occur.

I keep a running tab of every bug/issue I find classed in one of four ways:

These are the showstopper bugs that impede progress of the game. If your game is impossible to complete due to this bug, then it is a critical class bug and requires addressing before any other class of bug. Key items not appearing, required bosses missing a resource, faulty event logic on a required event, etc. are all critical bugs that prevent the game from being completed.
Bugs that disrupt a core function of the game. Examples include: a party member's skills don't work as intended, the menu system doesn't display when pressing a key, a save system doesn't correctly save data, etc.
Bugs that don't directly impede progress like Major bugs do, but affect more core functionality than Trivial bugs. Examples include displaying incorrect messages to the situation like a Show Choice function that accidentally holds "Yes" logic under the "No" choice and vice versa, or having a skill description not accurately describe the skill.
Tiny little details that don't affect anything other than polish. These can be typos, dialogue overflow, misaligned pictures, etc.

Do you do something similar? Different? Let's talk about how we can get the most out of playtesting our games.

The DiAry of tHe mASOchisTic monk [DArk SoUls too BarEhandEd ChaLLenge]

For those that don't know (if my love for the Souls series hasn't tipped you off), I have a bit of a masochistic streak when it comes to fun games. If I play a game I enjoy, I want to play through it again under some sort of challenge, such as Resident Evil 4 without the merchant, or a Tales game without using any items. Completing said challenges scratches a very... particular itch that I can't properly explain. I certainly do not recommend this hobby to anyone with at least some sanity left in their heads. However, I have no sanity to speak of, and so I willingly put myself through this kind of pain and misery.

Today, I've decided to document my suffering for your personal entertainment (and to get in some writing practice). I will be playing Dark Souls 2 with a twist: I will use only my unarmed attack. No weapons, no magic, and no attack items. Just my bare fists (and some rings). I wanted to use the joke weapon, the handmaid's ladle, but the damage output was so low that it became literally impossible to hurt even the first boss.

What you will find:
- Lots of personal suffering.
- A very snarky and grumpy Nova.
- Lots of ragging on the bosses I fight, include playground bully-level taunting of their boss designs and backstories.
- A myriad of questions regarding my life decisions.

What you will NOT find:
- Pro skills.
- l337 skillz.
- MLG skills.
- Skills.

A few things to note about this playthrough:

  • 1: This is the PS3 version. I already bought all the DLC and stuff, so I didn't want to upgrade to the PS4 version just for new enemy placements that I won't be documenting anyway. Plus, I don't have PS+ and can't play online like I can in the PS3 version. You better believe me getting invaded is going to get documented.
  • 2: Bosses only: I would like to have this playthrough done before I die of old age, so I won't document my route to each boss. The rules of this challenge only apply to the bosses, so I will be arming myself with weapons to make gathering Souls and progressing that much easier. I make no promises about beating ALL the bosses in the game, but I'll certainly do the ones I find interesting.
  • 3: I have done NO prep work on this: I haven't looked at the Stat Builder app on the wiki to plan out my build for the maximum damage output. I haven't practiced against the bosses in question. I have no idea if this is even POSSIBLE to complete! In other words: I have no idea what I'm doing.
  • 4: No phantoms: I'm doing this on my own. No help from NPCs!
  • 5: This is a fresh new game: While DS2 makes lots of fun additions for each game cycle, I simply don't have the time to play through the entire thing multiple times to get the max level of NG+10. This is going to be a fresh new game

The Subject:

Name: Masomonk
Class: Deprived (no starting equipment and the lowest possible starting level)
Starting Gift: Petrified Something (to give to the crows and maybe get something fun out of it) For all the good it did me. I got an item I can never use.

Soul Level: 67
Vigor: 25
Endurance: 19
Vitality: 6
Attunement: 6
Strength: 37
Dexterity: 9
Adaptability: 6
Intelligence: 6
Faith: 6

Comments about this challenge, my sanity, or just to laugh at me would be greatly welcome, if for no other reason than to show me that SOMEONE out there is excited to see me suffer.

DISCLAIMER: I've never done a Let's Play before, never mind a written one, so I apologize in advance if there is any aspect you find lacking. If there is anything in particular you want me to focus on in my write-ups, I'm all ears!

Past Tortures:

- Boss 1: The Last Giant
- Boss 2: The Pursuer
- Boss 3: DragonRider
- Boss 4: Ruin Sentinels
- Boss 5: The Lost Sinner
- Boss 6: Mytha, the Baneful Queen
- Boss 7: Old Iron King
- Boss 8: The Rotten
- Boss 9: Scorpioness Najka
- Boss 10: The Duke's Dear Freja

[RGSS3] Stop Galv's Bust Flicker [SOLVED]

This is an issue that's been plaguing me for a while, and temporary fixes just won't cut it anymore: When using Galv's Message Busts script, you can cause a bust to "flicker" when setting a character's move route to turn in a single direction between two messages with busts.

Like so: (Apologies for the low framerate of the gif. That makes it harder to see, but trust me, it's there)

If you look carefully, there's a split second where the bust pops back on the screen before the text box opens up again. Double that flicker length to account for the loss of frames due to the gif, and you've got a real eyestrain here.

There are workarounds that I've used, such as unchecking the Wait For Completion box, but I'd like to deal with the problem at its source rather than temporary fixes.

So here's what I've done to try and address this problem:

alias galv_busts_message_clear clear
  def clear
    @bust_name = "" 
    @bust_index = 0
    sleep(0.05) #Nova added
end # Game_Message

The sleep command pauses the game for 0.05 seconds, which shouldn't be noticeable by the human eye. At least I didn't notice anything, and I was looking for potential issues. This command gives the game a few extra cycles to fully dispose of the bust before loading in a new one. When testing, I can't see any potential issues.

Perhaps I'm being a perfectionist, but I don't like this method. It feels way too indelicate and clunky to count as a good solution. So what I'm asking is this: is there a better way to remove the flicker than the sleep method?

Thanks so much in advance!

EDIT: Just saw the programming subforum after clicking submit. Whoops. Hopefully this is the right place to put this topic!

EDIT2: On further testing, the flicker rears its ugly head again when displaying a message with a bust after a message with no bust. So the sleep command idea is scrapped and I'm back as square one. Yay.

Formatting Dialog Outside the Editor

For my Ace* project, I type up all my dialogue in a Word document to catch any careless spelling mistakes:

If you're wondering about the spacing, it's written in such a way to make copy/pasting dialog much easier. The dialogue is formatted to accommodate the four line limit of each box, and the long string of numbers at the bottom of the screen is the width limit of the dialog box, so I know not to write past that. I use 11 pt Courier font to make sure the text size translates as best it can when added to the editor. The result of all this work is that I can just copy/paste the entire scene into one dialog box (with Batch Entry checked, of course), save, then bam. All the dialog boxes are written and cleanly formatted.

That's the theory, at least. And 90% of the time, it works.

The problem is that's a lot of guesswork on my part, and the margin for error is pretty small. If one single line is off, the entire format of the scene from then on gets borked. This means I'll have to either painstakingly redo every line in the scene (which is a nightmare for lengthy scenes), or just scrap the boxes, take another look at the text in Word, and try to figure out where the misplaced line is.

If I'm just being lazy and the solution is to just suck it up and deal with it, then fine. I can do it, as I've been doing it so far, but I can't help but wonder if there's a better, more precise way to write dialogue outside the editor?

For those of you that write your dialog outside RM: How, if at all, do you format your text? Do you use Word as well? Or is there some magical program that handles all of this for you? Magic would be nice. I like magic.

*: I say Ace because I'm unsure if my setup will work for 2k3, MV, etc. and if there are solutions specific to different engines.

What's your favorite Video Game song(s)?

I love listening to video game soundtracks, not because I like the songs themselves, but because I recall the events surrounding the music and the impact it had on me as a player at the time. That's why a lot of what I listen to is pretty simple and not melodic-intensive.

Four songs that really stuck with me since I first heard them:

Just in case I haven't somehow made it clear enough, ICO is my favorite game of all time, hands down. When grabbing these links, I've come to the realization that these two songs are a huge factor in my opinion. They play at the perfect moments in the game to really drive home the emotional impact of the scenes, and cemented my conviction that no only is sound design crucial in a game, but how the most powerful pieces need to be unlike anything the rest of the game's soundtrack has to offer.

Even now, fifteen playthroughs later, these two tracks still get me. And I know they always will.

For me, the final fight with Pyramid Head in Silent Hill 2 was the most powerful moment in a game chock full of powerful moments. The raw emotion of James Sunderland finally accepting and conquering his inner demons shines through in this track, and stands out as a stark contrast to the creepy, panic-y, and depressing tone of the rest of the music.

Not saying this track isn't creepy in and of itself though. Far from it. That metal scraping really completes the piece. I've heard the music without it, and it feels much more empty.

I'll end off with a track in a game I've recently finished: Majora's Mask:

Holy. Mother. Of. God. Did someone break Nintendo's favorite toy when this game started development? Majora's Mask was such a stark contrast to every other game in the series I've played (even the more gloomy Twilight Princess) and that's almost entirely because of the Moon.

Having a hero fail to save the world in time over and over and over again is already depressing enough, but hearing this in the final hours of each three day cycle, knowing that there's nothing you can do to stop it except go back in time and undo all the good deeds you've accomplished thus far, really drives home the bleakness of the end of the world. Wandering around Clock Town and seeing its residents either succumb to panic or face their impending deaths head on brings out a surprising amount of depth to the NPCs that not many games can replicate.

I'll stop now before I bore you all with my ramblings. What about you? What are your favorite music tracks from games? You certainly don't have to explain yourself in as much detail as I did, and maybe you just like listening to the tracks rather than remember what was happening at the time? That's fine too.
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