How important is making items useful?

I'm very much the same. I have a too-good-to-use -category in items (which includes almost all items, especially all MP recovery items). I think there is nothing you can do about it. If someone wants to play like this, they will even risk dying to save items.

should I include an ability later on in the game that lets MP regen even faster?

Absolutely. you say don't want to waste players time, so someone who likes regening MP will pick this ability and love it.

[RMVX ACE] Animated Battlers script help

You can set up every pose separately with Victor's Animated Battlers.
The script is very complex and beginner unfriendly though.

[RMMV] [SOLVED] "Doom" type status effect

To expand, you could set it to inflict a status called Doom (5), lasting for 1 turn. After that inflict Doom (4) etc until after Doom (1), add state 1 (KO). That way you can set animations, messages etc and you can actually see how many turns left until you die

What are you thinking about? (game development edition)

It's not tricky at all. You can lock facing your character while being able to move, so you can create a strafing button (toggle or hold). Alternatively you can make a button that turns direction without moving the character.

Don't go for mouse targeting for ABS. I suggest using option 2. Option 1 will feel clunky no matter how well you do it on 2k3.

Smaller or Larger Maps

Both in playability and ease of mapping, smaller maps are better.

a) Smaller maps are simply easier to map. You can focus on the small area and make it as interesting as possible without the fear of exhausting your ideas or repeating yourself when you make the next screen over. They tend to be better looking also because if someone makes a great looking 50x50 map in 2 hours, he might make a gorgeous 30x30 map in the same time.

b) Smaller maps are easier to navigate. The player can only see so much, so you should limit yourself to the player's POV. It would be useful to turn on the grid in the settings (for XP and later), and use the max view distance values (20x15 for RMXP, 17x13 for VX and later IIRC). This way you wont have long straight passages or empty spaces, since you can clearly see how the player would find that area looking like shit. If you grasp that concept, you should make the grid even smaller. Then map your base, and start progressing from there using one patch at a time (5x5, 8x8, 8x6 etc). Artists use this technique for painting etc, and you should use it too. Make each small patch look so good you could put up a screenshot of it here, with pride. This excludes impassable areas, such as cave walls, house walls, and water areas (though you should still make some interesting for the player to view underwater).

These thoughts don't really apply to man-made interiors (house, castle etc) but the MOVABLE area in those maps should still be as small as possible. Not to restrict the player, but to prevent aimless wandering and long areas without nothing interesting to see/do in.

Example 1: Final Fantasy VI. A lot is in this small area (4 houses, 3 NPC's, and some roads). There is practically zero useless space, save for some grass to not make it too clumped together.

Example 2: Chrono Trigger. You can clearly see a lot from this small part of the map. There is something over to the left, something on the top right and at the top of the screen. The player instantly notices these things, and notes them in his memory. So the player already knows of 3 potential areas in the map, without needing to move an inch. None of the walkable areas in the picture are more than 4 tiles wide, or less than 2 tiles narrow.

Screenshot Survival 20XX

Screenshot Survival 20XX

Finally getting the water to look fine-ish. Also the terrain for this small map is already ready, which is nice. Now for the decorating (for which VXA mapping sucks, but what can you do).

Is it possible to create the ever so famous Lv5 Death skill?

You can even do this for RM2k3.

I would probably do this with an Element that most enemies are not suspectible to (0 dmg). For "level 5" enemies, give them the 800% dmg attribute, and make the skill do max damage. This works up only up to 9999 (max dmg in 2k3 iirc?), but should be enough since lategame bosses should be immune to this stuff in general.

Screenshot Survival 20XX

spruce it up with some rocks and stuff or some different ground/lava tiles :D

I think this is pretty bad advice. Huge, open, flat areas look like shit regardless if they are filled with the 2nd layer goodies. When you map, especially areas that should not be flat in general (caves, mountains, etc) first make your map look good using only walls and the ground. Make different elevation, interesting routes, and make it compact. Creating an interesting landscape makes it possible for the map take as much time to explore and pass through as a big, flat one, while keeping it smaller. Smaller maps are easier to comprehend and remember. There's a reason why most bad maps posted in screenshot topics are bad because they are boring and empty. They are simply too big for the content they offer.

[Game Maker] Energy Consumption in Games

You could just make the player die? And make enemies just slow you down from getting to the next batteries/reload pointss. Or instead of Health, make enemies sap out your energy
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