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

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When do you consider yourself "good" at something?

For the longest time, I've always associated being "good" at a thing with being "proficient" at said thing. If I saw two people, for example, drawing the exact same portrait in the exact same way and with the exact same quality, but Person A completes the portrait in half the time as Person B, I would argue that Person A is good at art, at least compared to Person B.

Recently, however, I've talked with a few others who gave me different views on what it means to be "good," and now I'm not so sure what the word really means anymore to creators. I'm gonna list a general summation of the different points I've gotten. Keep in mind that, even though I'm using art a lot as examples, I'm talking about any form of creative endeavor, be it writing, programming, developing, etc.


You never give up: It may seem like a tired, overused line, but that's only because it never loses relevance as time goes on. Did you know that the character designer for the game Rumble Roses was actually paralyzed from the neck down? This article, which unfortunately is about his passing, also contains samples of his work. Keep in mind that he drew those with a stylus in his mouth.

Imagine for a second how long that must've taken. Based on my definition earlier, I doubt Mr. Kotobuki was particularly proficient, but his portraits ended up being better than anything I've ever done and probably will ever do. There's no possible way I could ever say he wasn't a good artist. However, there has to be a line between being actually good at creating something and just beating your head against a wall until the wall topples over. Are you "good" at creating a thing? Or just too stubborn to quit? Are they the same thing?


The ability to translate what's in your head to a tangible product: If you have a clear image of what you want portrait to look like, but are frustrated because you hand keeps shaking and can't draw straight lines or you can't tell the difference between different shades of red and so your portrait always looks just a little off, are you "bad" at art?


You don't get "good." Just a little bit better: I'm not sure I agree with this line of thinking, because it places a bit too heavy burden on yourself and can quickly cause you to slip into needless self-depreciation. However, the reasoning behind it seems solid enough: Telling yourself that you're "good" at something quickly leads to complacency, and that can lead to never getting better at your craft.


It's not for you to decide: As creators, it's very difficult to see past the flaws in our own work. It's easy to see the flaws in your own work far more easily than a consumer, and so it shouldn't be uncommon for you to have a lower opinion of it than the consumer would and have difficulty taking in the praise the work may get. If you make something that people love, are you good at what you're doing?


I'm curious as to your opinion on what it means to be "good". Do you agree with any of these? Disagree? Have your own view? Let's talk about it.

Sickening Article about Game Development and the "Wage Slave" Attitude

http://venturebeat.com/2016/04/16/game-developers-must-avoid-the-wage-slave-attitude/

This little piece by WildTangent founder Alex St. John makes me want to vomit. It's been a while since I've read a piece by someone so clearly disconnected with the grunt work of game development despite (or probably because of) owning a game publishing company, that my brain is literally on the verge of short-circuiting.

Some choice quotes:

"I can’t begin to imagine how sheltered the lives of modern technology employees must be to think that any amount of hours they spend pushing a mouse around for a paycheck is really demanding strenuous work."

"{Game industry veterans} are smarter, more experienced, more talented, better trained to produce amazing games and they’re still working for paychecks and whining about avoiding long crunch hours to finish big titles or about not being paid fairly by some big employer."

"Apparently people can even 'burn out' working too hard to make... video games..."

"Don’t be in the game industry if you can’t love all 80 hours/week of it — you’re taking a job from somebody who would really value it."

If working on a game for 80 hours a week for months at a time seems “strenuous” to you … practice more until you’re better at it.

What this guy is doing is calling people who are trying to normalize the insane work hours for game development selfish and entitled. He believes that the concept of a work-life balance doesn't apply to them, and that game development is a piss-easy job that demands nothing more than sitting at a computer moving a mouse around.

In the same post that he pushes the idea that creativity cannot be accomplished when your employees are miserable due to burnout, he dismisses the very concept of burnout in a creative job.

Crunch time is crunch time when the deadline draws near. Crunch time is not normal working hours, and should never be normal.

Let's Talk Bloodborne



Let's talk about Bloodborne, the latest from From Softwares's Souls games. Why there hasn't been a topic about this is beyond me, so here we are.

Honestly, this is one of the most engaging and satisfying games I've ever played, no joke. The Dark Souls games were loads of fun, and I still consider all of them terrific games (yeah, even Dark Souls 2) but Bloodborne has a distinct feel and atmosphere that sets it apart from the other games in the series. If you know anything about the Souls games, you have a general idea of what Bloodborne is.

However, Bloodborne has two primary differences that may seem small on paper, but completely change how the game feels and plays: The exclusion of useful shields, and Rally, which gives you a window of opportunity to regain lost health by attacking enemies when you get hit. This means that there's no downtime where you backpedal from the enemy with your shield up waiting for an opportunity to heal yourself. With limited health supplies, the game encourages you to be as aggressive as possible without button mashing. I love it!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

I'm currently running a Skill/Bloodtinge build to prepare for the DLC. I just got some extra cash for Christmas, so I'm making a new character since all my other ones are on NG+, and there's no way I'm going into any DLC on NG+.

Level: 61
Vitality: 23
Endurance: 22
Strength: 10
Skill: 25
Bloodtinge: 16
Arcane: 15

I'm rocking the Blade of Mercy and Threaded Cane in my right hand, while the Hunter's Pistol and the Hunter's Torch in my left hand. I'm thinking about swapping out the Threaded Cane with the Chikage once I figure out the intricacies of that weapon, but I'm not a fan of health drain with the katana activated. I played around with the backwards build of the Reiterpallasch in my right hand and the Flamesprayer on my left, but I don't want to give up the Blade of Mercy, as it's my go to weapon for any situation. And since I already use the Hunter's Pistol, the Reiterpallasch feels a bit redundant, since it can transform into a pistol.

Unfortunately, I don't play online. As much as I want to, it's not worth buying Playstation Plus since online Bloodborne is literally the only thing I'd do. For those that do, how is online play? Is it easy to hook up with friends? How often do you get invaded or summon help? Do YOU invade other players?

Post your builds and talk about the game. What did you like/dislike about it? What were your favorite moments? Least favorite moments? Do you play online? Wanna organize a hunting session? Post here!

Fun With Formulas

So. Damage formulas.

I've seen some pretty crazy and complicated ones from looking at database entries, and sometimes often it's hard to imagine what the creators were thinking (or what hallucinations they were having) when they came up with them. So why not share a few formulas and talk about why you like or dislike some of them? If you know something cool or an interesting technique, share that too!

Personally, I'm not a big fan of super complicated formulas. 90% of my damage calculations can be boiled down to:
a.atk - b.def

Swapping out attack and defense for their magic counterparts for magical attacks. It's simple, effective, and easy for players to understand just how much damage they'll inflict an enemy by doing a little math. Pair that with an ability to compare your character's stats to the enemy's in battle and players will have much more control over the party's actions than they probably would otherwise.

Though a flaw in this style is that you'd probably have to make some sacrifices when it comes to damage progression. Having enemies in later stages of the game with proportionally higher stats will mean there might not be a bigger difference in strengths than there was before, and the damage inflicted might not fluctuate as much as it would otherwise.

Did you know that you can use variables in your damage formulas? Adding
v[x]
in the formula will return the value of the variable you specified as x.

What's that? The help box in Ace already tells you that? Okay, well, here's another one: Did you know that you can inflict states in the damage formulas? Adding one of these two
a.add_state(x) b.add_state(x)

will add state x to either the user or the target! A more creative application can break the engine's normal scope limits by adding a semicolon
a.add_state(x); b.add_state(x)
to inflict a state on both the target and the subject!

Did you also know that you can actually use conditional branches in those formulas? Say you have a healing spell that also adds a powerful buff, but you only want the buff to apply when you're in battle. Here's how you do it:
if $game_party.in_battle; b.add_state(x); end; #rest of formula goes here


So there's some nifty things I found with damage formulas. What about you? What's a typical damage formula you find yourself falling back on? Why do you like it? Do you know some other cool non-numerical tidbits? Share them here.

[RGSS3] [SOLVED] Yanfly Command Equip & Luna Engine works

Good news: I think I figured out how to get Yanfly's Command Equip to work with the Luna Engine. Bad news: it requires a defunct Window_EquipStatus, a pretty important component of the equip scene. Hopeful news: I think I may know what to do, but I have no clue how to go about doing it. Hence the topic.


First, here's the temporary solution: Go to YEA's Equip engine line 1109 and add:
return if $game_party.in_battle

Just below the line: @last_item = item. Now Yanfly's Command Equip should work during battle:


Don't mind the battle HUD. That's an issue that can come later if this can work.

Battle HUD aside, do you notice something odd? That's right: the price you pay is that you can't see the changes in parameters when you highlight the individual equips. They still occur, don't worry, but you can no longer see it.

Now comment that line out, because the rest of my process doesn't have that line in. I just mentioned it so anyone who's fine with not seeing parameter changes can now use the script.

The reason the line is added is because the game crashes is due to the very next line:
temp_actor = Marshal.load(Marshal.dump(@actor))


In battle, the Luna Engine adds extra classes/properties to actors that Marshal's dump method doesn't recognize (mostly sprite properties). These new classes have neither marshal_dump nor marshal_load(obj) methods defined, so the game crashes. Well, okay, that's easy enough to fix. Those new classes aren't necessary for the equip scene to function, so creating some blank functions just to keep the game from crashing should work. After doing this for all the classes that cause the game to crash, I've got this little piece of code:

class Sprite_Base
  def marshal_dump; end
  def marshal_load(obj);  end
end


class Sprite
  def marshal_dump; end
  def marshal_load(obj);  end
end

class Bitmap
  def marshal_dump;  end
    def marshal_load(obj);  end
end

class Window_BattleActor < Window_BattleStatus
  def marshal_dump; end
  def marshal_load(obj);  end
end

  
class Font
  def marshal_dump;  end
  def marshal_load(obj);  end
end

class Method
  def marshal_dump;  end
  end

class Viewport
  def marshal_dump;  end
end

I run the program and... the game still crashes. However, it's no longer because of a lack of Marshal dumps. Instead, I've got:



That. And here, unfortunately, is where I'm stuck. It appears that something's screwy with marshal_load(obj) now that it won't even recognize the info. I don't think I messed anything up too badly, but I could be very wrong.

Now, I'm aware that the Command Equip script is listed as incompatible with the Luna Engine, and I'm also aware that, even if I can figure this out, there's no promise that it'll make everything work right. However, I've gotten this far in getting it to work, I feel like it's not much more before it'll work as intended unless I royally screwed something up with my current adjustment.

If anyone sees something I don't, I'd really appreciate it.

IGMC 2015 Results!

Look like the results for the IGMC 2015 have finally arrived! Here's the breakdown:

Grand Prize Winner:

Corrine Cross' Dead and Breakfast: by Badchalk


2nd Place: Nanuleu by Carlos Villagran

3rd Place: Symbiote by Des


Genre Prizes:

RPG: Grist of Flies by Razelle

Puzzle: Robocoder by Herco

Shooter: Bosstardian by Ricardo Baeza

Adventure: ZIZ by nerdvsgame

Action: Little Big Runners by Renato Duchini

Simulation: Soil and Rubble by Daniel Mullins

Strategy: Toy Blockies by Delitaru

Platformer: Oh! I'm gettin' taller by ElfGames


Engine Prizes:

RPG Maker: Free Spirits by Pentagonbuddy and emmych

Stencyl:Flower Child by Alex Moreland

Axis Game Factory: Fishing Sim: Keep or Release by jason

Game Guru: Area 52 by Ted Cullins

App Game Kit:Nerius by noel baldacchino

Play Canvas: Chicken's Day Off by BenBean

GG Maker: Project Gemini by Sean Arseo


Other Prizes:

People's Choice: Omega Carinae by Federico Jose Diaz

Embrace the Theme: Feed Your Beast by baxgamedev

Prize Pig: The Lone Skeleton by Black_Clone

Golden Reviewer: Jtrev23


Congratulations to the winner and everyone who took part in the contest!


Check out the official page here.

Balancing challenge and hype

Imagine you're playing Final Fantasy IV for the first time. You've made it through the final dungeon and are ready to confront the last boss. After a long cutscene ending with the entire party brought to near submission, Cecil alone manages to stand back up to confront the villain. Battle begins. Cecil starts alone with 1 HP and everyone else KOed. However, one by one, the party members pick themselves up from the ground and stand with him. The spirits of those that helped him along his way heals the group and brings them back into fighting shape. Cecil is granted a crystal to reveal the true form of the last boss. Now the true final battle begins. "Alright," you think to yourself, blood pumping, hands shaking in anticipation, "I'm gonna beat this guy and save the world!! YEAH, LET'S KICK HIS ASS!"

Except you don't. Four turns after the battle begins, your party is wiped out. And now you have to go back through those cutscenes again to get another shot at the boss. Only this time, the hype is only a fraction of what it was the first time.

Or even worse, failing the battle two or three more times and realizing you have to go back and grind a few more levels before going through that long cutscene for the 5th time. By then, the game's pacing has been completely shattered, the adrenaline has run out, and you're just interested in beating the boss, screw the plot.


Just like a well timed scare in a horror game, the impact of a well executed pivotal plot moment in an RPG can evoke a powerful emotional reaction from a player. However, that impact is very often at its height only once. Seeing that same scene again would, in most cases, not be nearly as memorable as it was the first time. However, we are making GAMES. And games, after all, are supposed to CHALLENGE a player in some way. What happens if players fail the challenge and have to go through it again? If an RPG places its story front and center, then should its gameplay be easier in order to move the player through the tale? Though in that instance, the fight wouldn't be as memorable if you could breeze through it with no problems.

In the event of a game over, it'd be easy enough to add an option to skip the cutscene or even to retry the battle. But no matter what sort of solution devs come up with, there's no reinvigorating that initial hype.

What I'm asking is, if this is even a concern to you, what do you do to make the fight challenging without losing the magic of that initial hype? Do you just make the fight easier than you would normally? That would certainly keep the flow of the plot going, but you wouldn't really have the satisfaction of beating a really tough enemy. Personally, I've been thinking about giving bosses multiple phases. The first phase would be simple enough and mostly to keep the adrenaline flowing. Then, as their HP wears down, have the boss adapt new tactics and gradually up the challenge.

Maybe you don't care and just want to let the players get by the fight so they can watch the rest of the cutscene? Or maybe you want to give players the satisfaction of beating a really hard enemy? If they fail once or twice of ten times, tough. What are your thoughts?

[SCRIPTING] How to test for script compatibility?

I'm writing a script in Ace that brings forward certain features you can't change by default in the database (maximum battle members, keeping EXP upon changing classes, etc.) for convenient customization, and I wanted to submit it when I think I've got enough to warrant a submission. The problem is that there are loads of scripts that mess with these features as well. Since it's obviously impossible to test every script ever written for compatibility, what are some general guidelines one can follow to make sure that there are as few issues as possible?

Here's what I've done already:

- Tested in vanilla Ace.
- Tested in Yanfly's core and battle engine scripts.
- Tested in Luna Engine Base (which contains Yanfly's core and battle engine).
- Placed script at the very top and very bottom of custom script list.

All of these have produced little to no problems with method overwrites (though there's not much this script actually CHANGES), but the settings can be overwritten by other scripts that adjust the same settings as mine if not placed on the very bottom of the script list. So far, that's the only issue I see, and there's nothing I can do about it.

So, unless there's a step I didn't take, would this be enough testing to justify an initial release?

The RMN Skill Exchange

Not every collaboration has to involve joining up with a team for a long term project. Sometimes, all a dev needs is an example of something to give their creative sides a jolt. Hence, this topic. Here, you can pair up with someone and have a short little skill exchange where you do something for someone else and get something in return. Hopefully, the result of these exchanges will help inspire you and let you see your project in a new light. And perhaps, by helping someone else, you might strike upon an idea that you could use for your own projects!



Examples of skills you can offer:

- A couple of maps.
- Writing a character's backstory.
- A dungeon gimmick (This includes a working prototype).
- A character design sketch.
- Testing a short segment of your game.
- A simple script.


Rules:

- You can only have one exchange going on at a time. After the exchange, you are free to post in this topic offering up a service.
- Only pairs are allowed. No exchanges involving three or more people.
- You must offer up a service first before asking anyone for theirs, and they both have to agree on the exchange for it to take effect.
- Unless agreed upon otherwise by the individual parties involved, what comes out of these exchanges are free to use in each other's games. That's the whole point of this exchange.
- You do not have to share what you have created here if you don't want to. Only the original creator is allowed to share what they have created here.
- If you're creating something for someone else, you need something tangible for it to count as an exchange. Don't just tell someone an idea and not do anything yourself.
- How credit is given to each other is up to the parties involved.
- This is not a long term commitment. Nobody is joining any team here unless they wish to do so after the exchange has been completed.
- You must both post in this topic if you are committing to the exchange so I know to put you in the Current Matchups list. Also, you must post here when the exchange is done so I can take you off the list.


Current Matchups:


Available:

- SnowOwl: 1-2 Parallax maps.
- LockeZ: Scripter. Looking for some sprite work.
- jomarcenter: character backstory writing.
- captainregal: mapping/dungeon gimmick work
- charblar: Sprites/tilesets and/or audio.
- AubreyTheBard: Scripting. Looking for some map tilesets
- GoatBoy: Sprite work. Looking for music or puzzle designs.
- ESBY: Mapping. Looking for a writer.
- PacifisticKiller: writing. Looking for character design sketches or mapping
- the13thsecret: Story planning, review & critique, or Sound looping. Looking for RTP Face edits. Details here.
- Novalux: Title graphic, playtest, character writing, battle mechanics help.
- AceVII Character designs. Looking for pixel artist.
- NeverSilent: Puzzles, testing for XP, Ace, and VX. Looking for feedback on an idea.
- Zephire98 Mapmaking/story. Hasn't specified what they're looking for.
- Mushi420 Music composition. Not looking for anything specific.
- sinnelius Artist. Looking for a writer.
- AbominableFunk Music composition. Looking for artist.
- Kotakota Artist and music. Not looking for anything. Link to portfolio here.

The President of Nintendo has passed away

Yeah. The title speaks for itself:

http://www.engadget.com/2015/07/12/nintendo-chief-satoru-iwata-dies/

Damn. I mean... damn. He will be sorely missed.

... Damn.