Coder and RPG2k3 Developer from Germany


Item naming conventions

I have been thinking about the item names for my project and thought this would be worth a thread. So, there are so many different styles of how to name your weapons and armor, i was wondering what kind you prefer?

First of all I am using a modified exfont for my 2k3 project that adds an icon to every major item type in the game (future makers feature icons as well). This makes it much easier to distinguish the different item types. Lets assume we prefix every "Sword" type weapon with a % (that represents a sword icon in the maker).

Example: %Short Sword

Now, the next question is - do you prefer short names or detailled names? When using short names, the icon already explains the item type and makes the names look much more like in old gameboy games (final fantasy legend/saga etc.). Examples:


While the detailled version adds the weapon type also to the name, wich is redundant as it can already be seen by looking at the icon. Maybe its a bit easier to read (and allows you to divide the items further into subtypes):

%Short Blade
%Curved Scimitar
%Knight Sword
%Battle Blade

Furthermore, when trying to describe the items properities we have the choice to choose between a single keyword naming convention (like seen in most traditional console games) and multiply keywords (like seen in many modern computer games, especially those with random item generators). Example: We create a series of ice based swords, some of them do elemental damage while others inflict secondary effects like slow or freezing as well.

Using a single keyword, we are forced to come up with a new name for every item (wich can be somewhat cryptic):

%Frost Sword
%Yeti Sword

While using multiply keywords, its easier to describe how the weapon is working:

%Ice Sword of Stopping
%Ice Sword of Slowing

Personal Conclusion
For myself I prefer the short/single keyword version - because its clean and simple. I dont have a problem brainstorming simple but unique names for all of the weapons in my game - even if there are large numbers (there are just so many possibilities ranging from %XCalibr over %Seven to %Glass). The only downside is, that this ultra short names always carry this "we have only 8 ascii chars available" aftertaste (wich isn't a bad thing).

Well I haven't even touched the possibilities of adding quality and/or material tags to the weapons. This enables us to describe weapons much more precice and adds more variety and color to the game world itself. The downside is that inventories tend to turn into wall of texts. But a %Splendid Mithril Sword of Perpetual Slaying just has charme on its own - or not? :-)

Finally, finally - what are your thoughts? What other techniques to create item names do you know? What kind of names, length and style do you prefer?

Thanks for reading

Sprite Art Recommendations

hey everyone,
I need some art recommendations for one of my several dozen side projects :-)

In Short:

Im looking for animated battle sprites for both characters and enemies from a commercial, but yet lesser known franchise (i know this is illegal but i dont care, as my game will be completely free - if ever completed). Best would be a game on spriters-resource or somewhere else, as i dont want extract all the graphics by hand.

Do you have any idea wich lesser known franchise sprite graphics i could use?

In Depth:

One of my side projects is a battle focused minigame thats all about party combat, equipment and levelling up. Im using DynRPG and dragonheartman's Animated Monsters plugin (as well as some others) - so this is highly experimental.

So, im looking for good sprite graphics for the game. I need animated sprites (at least standing, idle and attacking) for both the player characters and enemies. I have not even decided for a theme yet, so it could be anything at least there are enough sprites and animations to represent a nice variety of chars/monsters.

As this is a combat only minigame, i would appreciate franchises that feature nicely animated battle chars. This game takes place only in the combat system, so instead of a tileset - i need as many battlchars as i can get.

I was searching on spriters-resource and a few others, but 2+ brains have more ideas than just one. so i thought i ask you here. one of my ideas was for example the battlers from "shining force 1-2/CD", as they are really well drawn and there are so many of them - sadly they are too big to fit 4 PCs and 8 monsters into a single screen.

finally I am using 2k3 and would like to get sprites in the SNES era style. And with "lesser known" i just mean: please no final fantasy! its just all over the place already.

Hope you understood my question.

Its a really simple question actually: Just throw any cool, lesser known franchise you can think off in my direction!


Non-combat skills & party members

I hope no one minds if i open another topic. I have a few ideas on my mind and like to discuss them with the community to get a better picture of what players like and what is disliked in RPGs.

I am facing a problem when designing a Non-combat skill system for one of my side-projects. There are a lot of non-combat skills to spice the game up a bit and I wonder how the party members get involved in the skill-check mechanism. I better explain using an example:

Imagine you have a party of 4, standing in front of a locked door. you dont have a key but some of your party members are able to pick locks. picking locks is done by a simple skill check (skill VS lock difficulty). but its 1 lock and 4 party members, so what do you think is the best solution for this situation?

1. all party members work together - but their skills are treaded individually
Pro: Relatively easy and fast
Con: As all skills are added together, the single skill value of a hero becomes less relevant. In fact you could simplify it down to have only one "pick lock" skill for the whole party. otherwise you have to do book-keeping for 4 skill values, that are practically treated as one.

2. all party members work together - there is only one "party lock picking" skill
Pro: Very easy and fast
* when we use only one skill value for all members, what about skill advancements in general
* a thief joins your party, the party lock pick skill has to be increased.
* the thief is leaving again, the skill has to be increased (what happens with meanwhile skill advancements?)

3. you select a party member of your choice from a dialog.
Pro: Freedom of choice and all party members can develop their skills individually.
Con: I have to script a select dialog for every skill and the player has to make a boring dialog choice every time he encounters a non-combat-skill-check.

4. the best party member is automatically chosen.
Pro: Easy and fast
Con: The other party members never have the chance to test their skills, in fact their skill points are absolutely useless.

Any thoughts on this one? As a scripters note: When every character has skill values, i have to do book-keeping for all skills *4 - wich enormously increases the variables i have to manage. in addition to that: a select dialog makes more work and is (in my oppinion) game-play-wise not really interesting to the players (= "oh no, lock nr. 15 on this dungeon level and i have to click to chose my thief again and again!")

I really appreciate every helpful comment.

Creating fun random worlds (long)

Hey there,
I just needed some distraction from my main project - and was brainstorming with some friends about dungeon design in RPGs. Our current topic is random generation and the granularity of monsters/items/traps/objects encountered. maybe you have some thoughts about this - as we would really like to broaden our scope by hearing them.

Being a fan of traditional rpgs as well as rougelike and semi-random games, i was always wondering about how random dungeons could be generated that are really fun. i like to cover the various aspects of a random dungeon seperated into layers of design in this post - hopefully i hit the mark.

PS: All my thoughts are focused on the RPGMaker2k3, as I am a real retro game fan. Of course, all ideas could be translated to other Makers/Programming languages as well - but every technical consideration is done with 2k3 in mind. True to the old-school.

PPS: As i cannot stress this enough: before you say "this is too complex/ambitious for rpgmaker" please note that this is a GENERAL discussion.

1. Dungeon Geography/Layout
#Fact 1: The random dungeon generator in 2k3 just sucks.
#Fact 2: Generating random dungeons via script in 2k3 is practically impossible.
#Solution: Pre-Map all possible dungeon layouts by creating more than just one version for every dungeon floor. Players then access a random subset of pre-generated maps and are led through a series of randomly selected subsets without repeating a single map.
#Pro: Dungeons look different all the time, while being locically layed-out.
#Con: this means when you create 30 dungeon floors, it is possible that your players only encounter 20 of them. thats 10 leftover useless layouts you spend lot of work on. Plus: When you replay the game, dungeon layouts tend to be repetitive.

I have attached a picture of a random dungeon layout, just imagine more of these. Upon entering the game, the player is thrown onto one random starting map:

2. Objects placement
#Fact 1: Random Object placement is possible in 2k3.
#Fact 2: Random Object placement with logical chains between single objects is necessary to increase fun and replay value.
#Solution: Place a maximum of every object type on the map. upon entering the map, a script calculates wich events are removed. this creates a semi-random patch of items/monsters/traps/npcs and more.
#Pro: Randomized dungeon object placement
#Cons: You have to define the maximum number of dungeons objects per map, they are also limited to their fixed locations and tend to repeat when you replay the game.

I attached the layout <A> again, with possible placements on the left, and actual placements to the right. depending on the difficulty of the dungeon, the script chooses only a certain numbers of events to be actually turned into items/enemies/traps etc.

3. Adding more fun
We already thought about some concepts wich make this somewhat simple system more fun:

A. Objects within placements are randomized, what was a item in the last placement, could be an enemy in the next game/placement.
B. Add more object types. there could be NPCs like wandering merchants and healers who sell you goods/services depending on the current difficulty/dungeon level. Expanding on the "more objects" idea, there could also be:
* Quest NPCs wich give you simple quests to solve on the map you are on. There could even be two NPCs on a map, tied together - where you have to ask the first (randomly placed) NPC to bring her/him to the second (also randomly placed) NPC on the map.
* Mid-Boss-Monsters, limited to just a few per map, much harder to beat, but provide more treasure.
* Treasure chests, like normal treasure but more limited and with the possibility of being trapped/cursed.
* Random entrances/exits to other (randomized) map levels, besides the standard exits
* Random puzzle pieces that have to be moved like sokoban boxes to solve a sub-quest
* parts of the map only being accessable by boat/coal lorry
* random weather effects upon entering the map
* random map themes like fire-dungeon, water-cave, forest-dungeon etc. that affect the monsters, traps and items placed in the dungeon
* Changed dungeon geography, more rooms/less passages or more passages/less rooms (well, this is up to the developers)
PLUS many many, uncounted ideas more - just squeezing everything fantasy into a random world-generator to create something unique, everytime you play it.

Possible or impossible?
Fun or no fun at all?

Thats the eternal question.
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