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


Design Your Nightmare!

We all enjoy making the games that we love. Last night, I wondered what would happen if I made a game that I hated. For example: Since I hate grinding in RPGs, I was wondering what I would do if I was ever in a situation where I had to work on a grind-heavy RPG (like if I was in a team where my partner(s) enjoyed grinding).

I'm curious as to how you would handle such a situation. What if you had to work on a game that you hated but, for one reason or another, you could not go back and make any major revisions? It's an interesting exercise that should help you think outside the box and perhaps help you come up with some ideas that you can use in your own games!

Normal Mode: Design a game in a genre you like that includes 1-2 elements from your chosen genre that you hate.

Hard Mode: Design a game in a genre you like that includes 3+ elements from your genre that you gate.

EXTREME MODE: Design a game in a genre you hate including all the elements you hate!

I'll start us off:

Normal Mode: A dungeon crawler RPG with lots of grind and a monotonous, uninspired battle system.

How I'd do it: I would write a complex and intricate backstory and deep characters, both playable and NPCs. If players are interested in what's going on in the world, that would hopefully be on their minds while they slog through the dungeons. I would also implement questlines for each NPC that require revisiting them and seeing how they develop.

To get around the monotonous battles, I would do three things: A) add an AutoBattle option so players aren't slogged down by repeatedly selecting the same commands for each party member every battle. B) Make all battles generally easier. Monotonous and uninspired beat out broken and unplayable any day. C) Put more emphasis on stuff to do outside of battle, like solving puzzles or utilizing gadgets to make field movement more dynamic and interesting.

Hard Mode: An RPG with boring battles, lots of grind, and no strong storyline.

How I'd do it: Pretty much what I'd on Normal Mode, just without the story segment. To get over the story problem, I would allow players to create their own party, allowing them to choose names and classes for each member. Throughout the game, each character will have random lines to say at random times depending on their class, allowing players to have a more personal run through the game. Each class would also have an on-field ability to make traversal of dungeons easier. For example: A warrior could break down certain walls, while an archer could hit distant switches with a bow. This system would encourage high replay value because players can explore different parts of an area if they go through with a different party of classes.

Going one step further, I would implement a system similar to Etrian Odyssey's where you create individual characters whenever you wanted throughout the game.

EXTREME MODE: A puzzle game that's entire focus is on the puzzles. No story, no characters, no general tone. Just a list of puzzles to complete (the type of puzzles don't matter). For reference, have you ever played Polarium? That's the kind of game style I'm talking about.

How I'd do it: For this particular game, I'll use a Rubik's Cube puzzle design as the core concept. Each time a puzzle is solved, the screen will slowly start to fade to white, and then players will return to the puzzle selection list. This is important, as this fade to white is actually a different puzzle that players will solve later. As they work their way through the puzzles, players should eventually notice the solved cubes will have one single letter shown on it. These letters are actually a jumbled message that must be deciphered by players themselves.

Once the message is deciphered, players must solve any puzzle to invoke that white fade again. This time, though, players must type in the deciphered message before the game takes players back to the puzzle list. Doing this will open up another set of puzzles for players to solve, thereby increasing the game's content and variety by making players think outside the box a little bit.

... It's not amazing, but that's what I would do if I had to make a puzzle game using those restrictions.

The Bad End

Disclaimer: Due to the nature of this topic, there will be an UNAVOIDABLE AMOUNT OF SPOILERS being discussed! Read at your own discretion.

Let's try to shy away from spoiling too many bad endings to games and talk about the logic behind bad endings in general. If you HAVE to actually spoil endings, make things easier for readers by listing the games you will spoil either at the beginning of your posts or just above the hide tags. Thank you!

So... bad endings. I'm not sure what to make of them. One one hand, the possibility of failure is great incentive to play the game properly. One the other, the very idea of playing a game, "properly," goes against the very nature of games.

I've been playing Suikoden 2 lately (holy shit I am loving it, by the way! Go and play it if you haven't!) and I recently got a bad ending. Without spoiling anything, the bad ending (the one I got, at least) was not the result of some arbitrary action I had taken earlier in the game. I was straight up given the option to go for it. At the time though, I thought that it was just the characters showing a little bit of weakness or exhaustion at the situation they found themselves in, so I chose the options to admit that they were tired of fighting.

To my surprise, the game rolled with it. I had fully expected the character I was talking to to suddenly go back on her previous statements and reassure me that we're doing the right thing, but nope! The game took my choice and changed the story accordingly!

I won't go into any more specific details, but that alone actually doesn't lock you into the bad ending route! You already went down a path that makes a fairly significant change to the story, but you still have a chance to return to the main story and continue on. But you don't have to. In order to get the bad ending, you have to practically beg for it.

When the band ending finally came around, I was... actually satisfied. This was an ending that I saw as an option, went for, and achieved. No random action or choice in the past that locked me into it, no invisible roll of the dice to determine the outcome. This was perfect.

So it got me thinking about bad endings in general: there are plenty of games that handle achieving them wildly different than Suikoden 2 did. Some work well, some not so well. Yes, I do think it should be possible to fail at your objective if you don't do enough work, but overall, I don't like the idea of getting a bad ending through some random choice you made earlier in the game. If they don't handle them the way Suikoden 2 (or Silent Hill 2, which is too lengthy to talk about in this initial post) did, then I can't really get behind them as legitimate endings.

What do you think? Should bad endings exist? What are some games you think handled them well? Which didn't? How would you go about designing a bad end?

Developing like a lazy bum!

Making games is hard, there's no doubt about that. Hell, that's a tagline on this very site! Thankfully though, there are many things we can do to make the developing process less tedious. For example:

Create a base project
Have you ever noticed that you use some of the same scripts between many different projects? For example, maybe you like that lightning engine a lot, and want to integrate that into your future projects? Or maybe you hate some of the default sound effects that come with a new project? Well, instead of creating a vanilla project each time you want to start a new game, try creating a project with all your preferred assets, scripts, sound effects, etc. already imported. Now, when you're ready to start a new project, all you have to do is make a copy of your own personal base project, and you'll be one step ahead of others who have to integrate a bunch of assets already!

Don't make sprites from scratch
This is kinda the same thing as the previous bullet, but because the process is a little different, it's in it's own category. Some people like to make their own sprites. It's fantastic, and it gives your game it's own identity, especially if you're going to make a character-focused story. However, it could be very tedious to create a new sprite from scratch every time you want to make a new NPC. So instead, you create your own sprite base and a bunch of premade clothing and hair items! Now, when you want to create a sprite, you just have you add those items to the base, edit the outfits a little bit to make them more unique, recolor them if necessary, and voila! A sprite is done!

For a more visual representation, this is Loose Leaf, a sprite generator that allows you to create your own Mack style sprites from a handful of bases and premade clothes. What I'm suggesting is you replicate this process using your own created base and clothes.

Of course, you'll have to do a lot more work in the beginning of the process, but you don't have to do it all at once. As soon as you make a new clothing item, just add it to the collecting of premade items and you can draw on it any time you want to. As you continue development, you can take the time to draw up more clothes to use, so it's a constant process that you can do whenever the need arises, as opposed to getting it all out of the way at the beginning.

Have a lot of events you like to copy/paste? Create an event dump map that just houses all your events
Again, similar to the previous two, there are some events that you like to use constantly. Maybe some events change the screen effects, or maybe you have a script command that can accessed via event (for example, if you have an event that allows your character to jump forward a certain number of tiles), instead of taking the time to event out that process over and over again, just have one event placed in the dump map that you can just copy from and paste into the desired location.

To take it a step further, you can delegate that event logic to Common Events. Don't be shy about using a lot of Common Events, as they can make your life so much easier!


What do you do to make life easier for you as a dev? What sort of shortcuts do you take to expedite your processes? If you learned something, or if you have your own ideas, share them here!

New Game+ and how to make it fun.

This probably boils down to personal preference, but I have rarely found any enjoyment in New Game+. Carrying over stats from a previous cleared game when there's no changes to the game itself, or being given a super weapon that makes the game itself trivial just destroys any sense of balance and/or challenge that the vanilla run tried so hard to maintain. Usually, when I want to start over again, I'll just make a new save file and start the game over from the beginning.

What I like to see in New Game+:

Earn the OP abilities, weapons, etc.: this probably contradicts what I said in the initial paragraph, but the key difference between the two is the fact that you have to EARN these weapons. I don't mind having them if I feel like I've done something to earn them. If I beat a game that was relatively easy and am given a room clearing weapon, then I just feel silly. There's no fun or challenge in just walking into a room, press a button, and clear the room. You can add them as rewards to new side quests. Oh, speaking of which:

New side quests: Of course, you can't really go overboard with this, because then you'll be detracting from the initial game.

New game modes: I like games that remix enemy waves, or add an unexpected twist to the formula (like making all enemies invisible) to keep players playing. Resident Evil REmake is a perfect example of this. Three different modes are added on after beating the game at least once: Real Survivor mode, where the difficulty is set to hard and item boxes are no longer linked, forcing you to make decisions on what should be carried over and what shouldn't. Invisible enemy, which is pretty self explanatory, and One Dangerous Zombie, where a random zombie in the game is replaced by one strapped with grenades which will result in a game over if shot. Those kinds of additions make additional runthroughs feel fresh and exciting again.

What I DON'T like to see in New Game+:

Boosted enemy stats: Yeah. We beat the game. We've already gone through all of this before. Simply increasing the numbers on the enemy's side doesn't particularly engage me, especially if the strategies for beating them do not change.

Carrying over all stats from a previous game: Do you find enjoyment stepping on grass while walking? I don't. I don't even think about it because I'm concentrated on where I'm walking, not taking pleasure on stepping on grass. It's this reasoning why I don't like carrying over stats, because all the battles at the start of new game+ will draw your attention to stepping on grass, a deed that one would think to be so boring and uneventful that you would just want to breeze over it.

Some games I felt handled New Game+ pretty well.

Tales games: Throughout your initial run, you are given GRADE, which is a score that increases or decreases based on how well you performed in the various battles. At the end of the game, you are taken to a shop which allows you to spend GRADE to carry over your equipment, abilities, records, etc. as well as unlock new features, like double EXP, give a slight boost in initial stats or even HALF all exp gains if you're looking for a challenge run. To me, this feels like you can customize subsequent runs to make a playthough that you personally want.

Dark Souls 2(Before the expansion): As soon as you begin your second journey, you are greeted with a bunch of enemies that have not made an appearance in a game until now. In addition, you are attacked by very power Red Phantoms at different locations as well, and many of them will even drop equipment you can't find anywhere else. There are also small, subtle tweaks to enemy behaviors that will throw you for a loop, like a boss suddenly ambushing you on your way to fight it. Dark Souls 2 does so many awesome things on New Game+ that it kinda sorta makes the initial game boring.

Resident Evil REmake: By the time you've beaten the game two or three times, there's not a whole lot left to discover. At this point, players who play through the game a third or fourth time will be given a plethora of new game modes to play in, keeping the experience fresh and exciting. This is especially helpful in horror games. By the time you actually beat the game, it just isn't scary anymore because you already know what's going to happen. I think it's safe to assume that subsequent playthroughs will be more about beating the game than it will be about being scary, so new game modes will made the game fun as opposed to scary.

Anyway, what are you thoughts on New Game+, RMN? Agree with my points? Disagree? What do YOU personally want to see in New Game+?

So... IGMC 2015

RMW just posted a thread about it a couple of days ago. Yep, looks like IGMC 2015 is going to happen! Degica has even set up a new site to talk about the IGMC among other things development related. For the IGMC specifically, there's a Q&A thread here. From the sound of things, no details have been hammered out other than a) it's going to happen and b) it will be different from last year in terms of judging.

I'm curious, what are your thoughts on IGMC 2015? Are you planning to enter? Are you not? Let's talk about it.

What's the difference between accepting defeat and accepting your limits?

I think I might be legitimately retarded when it comes to mapping towns.

I've spent the past week reading tutorials, watching videos, looking at screenshots, and playing games in an attempt to study town maps. Yet every time I open up the editor or even a paint program to draw out the concept for a town of my own, my mental state quickly devolves into one of a caveman, complete with the drooling and the grunts and groans that used to pass as communication. I stare at the screen in that state for about thirty minutes before closing down the editor and looking at more tutorials.

I realize what my main issue is: I'm 98% function oriented and 2% fashion oriented. If players aren't able to interact with something in the map at all, I tend to just leave it out. You can see how this is a problem when trying to design towns or other areas that have relatively few player interactions. When I sat down to plan out the city, I figured out the entrances, exits, and shops with absolutely no trouble. However, when I tried to plan out residences, paths, and other such aesthetic buildings and features, I slip into what can only be described as a standing coma.

Asking for help with specific maps is out of the question because it would be less, "helping," and more, "doing the work for me," which I can't accept as a solution. I want to learn how this is done, but I also have the rest of the game that still needs to be made, and I can't afford to waste anymore time on something that isn't even meant to be a selling point of the game. Eventually, I decided that I'm just not going to be good at mapping towns, period, and came up with a workaround. My solution was forgoing the traditional town maps in favor of a visual novel-esque choice system where players decide where they want to go. Once I learn how to map better towns, I have every intention of returning and doing it properly.

Which leads me to the point of this topic: Have you ever come across a situation like mine? Have you every come to the realization that no matter how hard you work at something, it's not going to be as good as you want it to be? What do you do in those situations? Do you deliberately try to avoid working on those areas? Or do you just accept that those areas of your games are going to be weak and do them anyway?

Cool (And Not So Cool) Looking User Interfaces

With the Luna Engine released, RM developers have unprecedented potential for customizing UIs to fit the specific needs of our games. With a little practice, your options are limited only by your creativity! Well, that's great and all, but what if you're not very creative when it comes to interface design? If you're anything like me, and I know I am, UI design was certainly NOT what you imagined spending hours on customizing when you sit down to make your awesome RPG!

Hence, this topic. Let's talk about layouts for menus, battles, etc. List some examples of menus you like, and menus you don't like. Perhaps we can share tips with each other for better customizing menu layouts!

Note: this isn't supposed to be a discussion topic for the Luna Engine specifically. There's already a pretty active board for that. This is just a topic where we talk about UIs in general.


I'll start us off by making passing observations on a few menu layouts:

Final Fantasy 13 Camp Menu:

Say what you will about the FF series, from the ones I've played, they always have some pretty slick looking menus. Take this one for example. If you ignore the autoclip option and the odd font change*, this layout keeps it information all neatly organized to different spots of the screen so a lot of info is conveyed without cluttering up the screen.

*It was shockingly hard to find a good picture of the menu for the original FF13! Google gave me layouts in bad quality, hacked characters, or pics of Lightning Returns. Everyone just loves dressing up their Lightning waifu to show off to everyone...

Valkyrie Profile 1 Battle Layout:

I'll admit to not having played Valkyrie Profile, but seeing the game in action, I kinda wish I did. I say this because I'm not entirely sure of the mechanics in the game and how they should be presented*. All I know from this screenshot is that it's a turn-based game that has an Action-RPG layout. And I'm definitely okay with that.

* It's important to make these kinds of observations about layouts when you don't know the game. Guess what? You're gonna have to design layouts to be visually appealing to attract potential players!

Persona 3 Camp Menu:

I love Persona 3&4 to death, but I'll admit to not being a fan of the menus for their. I think the biggest issue I have is the font choice. Dark blue on a light blue background with no visible border can make the info rather hard to read, especially if you might be visually impaired.

A lesson I learned from fonts is that:

It's important to have a strong visual style, but when it's so strong you literally have to strain your eyes to see it, then that's a problem. If the colors scheme was darkened just a little bit, it would be much easier on the eyes.

Finally, because I'll never get an opportunity to make a joke like this again:

Ew... it's all GUI!

[RMVX ACE] Problem with Tsukihime's Resource Checker

For some reason, Tsukihime's Resource Checker script (last updated on May 5, 2013 which I assume is the latest version) seems to be bugging out whenever I run a check. I installed it correctly, wrote the correct file path to the RTP directory, and ran the script in Playtest Mode, so it's not a problem with the setup.

It checks most of the resources just fine, but it does return two weird animations in the animations tab: Flash and Holy All. I have no animation.png files in the game with those names. I have ANIMATIONS defined in the database with those names, but that's not what the file is supposed to check. I noticed that deleting these animations does delete them from the list on subsequent checks. Odd, but nothing crippling.

Here's where things get weird though: It does not check all the sound effects, and gives up after about 2 battlebacks.

I know this because when I went into a playtest, I used a weapon with an animation that contained the sound effect Slash4 defined in the database. However, the game crashed, saying Slash4 was missing. I went a checked the resource list and, sure enough, Slash4 was not defined in the SE section of the resource list. I don't know why it skipped over that particular SE, but it does.

I used a lot more than 2 battleback 1s and 1 battleback 2s (yes, they are all RTP battlebacks), so I don't know why the script started recording them but stopped.

I've disabled the RTP for the game and am currently running through the database and recording all the assets that don't show up but should, so I'm not sure exactly how much the checker skipped, but this is an issue that I can't seem to figure out on my own.

I can definitely manually import all the assets as a last resort, but any help on fixing this would be much appreciated!

I'm not sure how this will help, but here is the resources.txt file that it created after the most recent scan. I've omitted the character sets, faces, and other assets that were imported without a hitch. It's worth noting the Flash and Holy All defined in the Animations tab that shouldn't be there. Also, note the few battlebacks. I know for a fact that I used at least 8 of each type in this game, but there are only a total of three defined in the checker.

== Animations ==
Graphics/Animations/Holy All.
Graphics/Animations/devour chara.
Graphics/Animations/devour chara red.

== SE ==

== Battlebacks1 ==

== Battlebacks2 ==

EDIT: Upon further experimentation, I noticed battlebacks that were referenced via map events were picked up by the checker. Does the script just not look into the battlebacks defined in the Map Properties screen?

Nova's EXPLOSIVE Art Dump!

It's up to you to decide if the title was a terrible bathroom joke or a clever play on my name. Or a terrible play on my name. Whatever your answer is, you're probably right.

Anyway, while my primary focus is writing, I like to do character art too. I've still got a lot to learn, but hopefully I'll get better as time goes on!

We'll start the initial dump with something simple: Line art.

Here's Karuna from Luxaren Allure:

Next, a character from my super secret project:

My first attempt at a speedpaint:

Some full colored images of two of my Soul Calibur V mains back when I played a unhealthy amount of Soul Calibur V:

I'm not good enough to draw weapons yet. I will eventually!

And finally, here's a chibi of one of my characters. Because, well... CHIBI!

Anti Pickup Lines

Love is in the air! Can't you just smell it? It's a day of joy, happiness, and spending time with that one special person...

... It's such a cliché. And I looooove breaking clichés! So we are now going to come up with the best anti pickup lines possible to ensure that we lose any dates we may have!

- Twist a traditional pickup line into an anti pickup line!
- Come up with a more personal anti pickup line just for another user. Show 'em how much you really care!

Remember: Try not to get (overly) explicit. We're trying to get rejected, not arrested! Getting dumped is an art form, people!

I'll start us off:

- It must have been a long fall from heaven, because you look SQUISHED!

- Aw, he's so cute! Is that your son or your brother?

- Hey, Liberty, you should boost my potassium count soon. After all, bananas expire after 3-4 weeks, so you don't have much time left!