I make video games that'll make you cry.
The final boss is your heart.


Contract Musicians & Artists: When taking a commission, what descriptions and references work best for you?

Hi everyone! It's been a while.

I've been kinda pondering this one recently, and I'm looking for ideas. When commissioning artists in the past for various game assets, I'm never sure what kind of references are most useful for the contractor. For characters I've just stuck with worded descriptions of style & attitude, as well as a few key details, and occasionally some reference photos (often RL fashion). I try to avoid direct comparisons to existing media, but maybe that'd be helpful. But I don't know if there might be a better approach!

With music, I'm even less sure - I've never contracted music, and I can imagine describing a mood and tone and speed, but is there any other references that might be useful? Is it useful to list specific pieces that are similar to what I want, or is that too much or difficult to work with?

If you've contracted people before, what do you think? If you're a contractor, what do you prefer, and what doesn't work?

How do you keep focus when you're writing?

I have a hard time sitting down and just... writing. Specifically writing - I don't really run into this when I'm working on design, or art, or code. I don't know what it is! I have a hard time starting from scratch when it comes to characters and plots and scripts. I prefer to type, but being in front of a computer means I'm likely to space out or get distracted by Twitter or Hearthstone or something. It's hard to just sit down and concentrate and write when staring at a blank page.

I suppose I should just be throwing words at the paper, right? Even if they're bad and I end up throwing them out? Maybe I'm just facing writer's block.

If you have any advice or tips you use when you write, I'd love to hear them!! Thanks :D

Supreme Court strikes down bans on gay marriage in US

The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the United States in a divided ruling that will stand as one of the major milestones in its 226-year history.

This is pretty fantastic news. I'm really shocked by how close it was, though: 5-4. Jeez.

Anyway, huzzah \o/

Adding Humor and Fun to Serious Stories!

This is something I've been messing with for a while. I'm still a pretty inexperienced writer, and the most "serious" story I've written was Résumé, which dealt with a real-life subject, but the writing was all over-the-top satire. Writing that was easy, because it didn't need balance - I wanted it to be ludicrous, because it was poking fun at something ludicrous.

I want to figure out how to add levity to stories with serious themes. I'm interested in writing about more personal subjects, and I don't want to be flippant about them - things like dealing with depression, or fighting against the way you were raised - but I think that serious stories need a some light-hearted counterpoints. If everything's always grim and angsty, it doesn't hit very hard when something bad happens, right? This is even harder with games, IMO - how do you mix strategic combat about overpowering hordes of enemies with the loss of a loved one? I worry that sad, human themes and traditional RPG mechanics clash too much.

Do you think it's important for darker stories to have fun or humorous moments, or at least more neutral ones? How do you strike a balance between the two? Do you have any good examples of games, shows, or books that do this?

Bouncin' around ideas for a strategic boss battle game

So, I've been dying to make a small game centered on boss battles in VX Ace, partially because of LockeZ's boss topic, partially because I just replayed Wine & Roses, and partially because I'm restless due working on too many big projects and if I don't release something every once in a while I wanna cry.

The battles are tweaked from Yanfly's FTB, which you've probably all seen - every hero's actions take place immediately, instead of commands being entered in a queue based on AGI. After all the heroes take their actions, the enemies make their attacks, then control returns to the heroes. The major tweaks are:

  • Heroes start the battle with full health and every resource available to them.
  • Any hero can taunt for free (w/o using their action), making them the focus of enemy attacks. This allows for control over who is taking the most damage, and the player can switch who's currently taunting when necessary.
  • Enemies have a "chaos" meter that goes up when they're attacked or when characters heal. If this fills up, the enemy goes wild, ignoring Taunts and using more powerful attacks for a few turns. They're immune to CC during this. Some hero skills can reduce enemy chaos.
  • In addition to HP, players have SP (shield points) which act as temporary health. Damage taken will reduce SP first, and the remainder reduces HP. Some attacks and buffs generate SP, and it’s generally easier to build SP than it is to recover HP.

Taunting is there to reduce the chance of enemies all pummeling a hero with low defense. The player can choose who is tanking and swap to a different character while healing the first one. Other characters will take damage from minor attacks or AoEs, but the tank will be taking the brunt of it.

The chaos mechanic adds some flow to the battle - the enemy is going to enrage, but the player has some control over when it happens and can (hopefully) prepare for it. Chaos is supposed to create stress and panic - a crisis situation where the player has to survive as best they can until it’s over.

The Shield Points mechanic is there to add a proactive element to protecting heroes, instead of reactive healing. HP is difficult to recover and will mostly be going down over the course of the battle, and it shouldn’t be possible to keep a battle going infinitely by rotating healing (boring!). Preventing as much damage as possible with shields should be a priority for players.

I imagine there’d be about 10 battles, and each battle would take a few minutes to beat, at most - they’d be challenges you could throw yourself at in any order, rather than a strict, linear progression.


Each encounter would be unique, with bosses that have attack patterns and possibly additional minor enemies to manage.

Example Encounter:

Lord of the River:
  • Uses strong physical attacks on the Taunting hero.
  • Every few turns, stuns a random hero, dealing medium damage.
  • Has an aura that deals light damage to all heroes every round.
  • Every few turns, summons weak skeletons that heal and buff the Lord’s damage if left alive, and deal minor damage to the tank.
  • When enraged, deals two powerful hits that targets random heroes.

This is a pretty simple fight, but the gist of the strategy is:
Keep all your heroes healed up from the Lord’s aura (a light shield every few turns should be enough)
Keep the tank healed.
Kill the skeletons ASAP when they spawn.
Before the boss enrages, make sure all the heroes are properly shielded.


Each hero would have a unique set of skills (offensive skills raise the target's Chaos unless noted).

Example Heroes:

Balanced Strike: Deal damage and lower target's Chaos.
Shield Strike: Deal damage and gain SP.

Shatter: Deal high damage and generates a lot of Chaos. Bonus damage if the target is bleeding.
Drain Blood: Inflict bleeding and drain HP from an enemy.

Mirror Beam: Deal low damage and generates a little SP for all allies.
Chilling Reflection: Deal damage and Chill an enemy, lowering their chaos over several rounds.

Jab Combo: Deal damage and inflict Defense Down.
Peekaboo: Gain Power Up and Defense Up.


I have a few thoughts I’m still bouncing around:

1) Is this system too complex? Since all the battles are unique and there’s no random encounters or filler, I want to encourage tactics and thinking a few turns ahead. However, I don’t want to add needless complexity; I want the combat to be challenging and strategic, not confusing.

2) Right now, each hero can take one action a turn - but I’m considering giving them multiple actions. I’ve found players really avoid making choices that don’t deal damage because it feels like they’re not making progress (the enemy HP isn’t going down!). This is why I made the universal “Taunt” action a free action. Still, I’d love to create interesting combinations of support & defensive actions… here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Heroes can take as many actions as they want, limited only by a slowly regenerating Energy resource. This would allow players to cast buffs or heals and still attack some turns. I also think this is a pretty easy-to-understand system. However, this is pretty much copping directly off Wine & Roses and I feel kinda dumb about that.

  • Heroes can take one offensive action and one support action (separated into different command lists for ease of use). "Support actions" would be buffs, shields, heals, etc. This way, the player always gets to deal damage, and doesn’t feel like they’re "wasting their turn" using a support action. However, I’m not sure if this will be clear & obvious in practice, or add unneeded complexity.

  • Don't change anything! If I have four heroes, maybe players would be totally fine with spending an action a round on buffing or healing. I could dedicate one hero of the party to pure support (and little offense) so it doesn’t feel like that hero’s action is being wasted when they have to cast a buff or heal. In addition, several offensive skills already have support side-effects (building SP, etc.) so maybe I’m worrying over nothing!


Anyway, that’s the gist of what’s on my mind right now. I’ve had a blast messing around with RM again and I’m hoping I can translate these ideas into a fun and challenging game. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it all! I know it’s a long read, so thanks :D

[RMVX ACE] Make an enemy use a skill as soon as it qualifies

I'm playing around in VX Ace at the moment - using Yanfly's FTB system - and I'm wondering if there's a way to make sure an enemy uses a skill as soon as it meets the prerequisites. In my case, I'm making an enemy's MP rise over the course of the battle, and having it cast a spell once it's at 100% MP. However, the enemy sits at 100% MP for one turn, uses a standard action, and the next turn, uses the 100% MP skill (if it can).

It looks like whether enemies can use a skill or not is evaluated as soon as the new turn begins, so if the enemy hits 100% MP during the player's actions (say, from the player hitting it with an enemy restoring skill) it doesn't know to use a different skill when its own turn comes around. Is there either a way to force it to reconsider its actions before it acts, or a script that allows it to interrupt and cast something immediately once it meets the parameters?

Thanks :D

Drilling for motivation when the well is dry

So, we've all been in that groove before where we can just crush through work like it's nothing - all your code works, you're blissfully cranking out art assets, and suddenly hours have gone by and you have a lot to show for it.

It's a great state to be in, but it's not always how things go. Sometimes you're just in a crappy mood and yet there is work to be done. Sometimes you feel like zoning out and playing a mindless game instead. How do you power through it? How do you motivate yourself to get motivated?

I figured we could share our personal experiences with this unfortunate situation, and share some of our personal little tricks for getting hype when we need it most :D

As for my little tips, I've found that I like:

1. Dressing Up: When I'm in sweatpants and a tank top it's easy to fall into that lazy refresh-twitter-twenty-times feeling. It's kinda dumb but putting on shoes and pants and a nice shirt makes me feel like a professional and helps me concentrate >_>

2. Incense: My sisters are hippies and got me into incense. It smells nice and helps focus!

I'm kinda curious how other people handle their gammiking efforts. I've recently started working a more regular 8-hour schedule, and when I get home I find myself being super lazy and just goofing off until I go to sleep. I'm pretty productive in the morning before work, but still...

[RMVX ACE] Shared health / mana pool in battle?

I don't have VX Ace but I'm considering picking it up very soon, I just wanted to check one thing first. Would it be possible to script a battle system where you controlled several party members, but they shared an HP / MP pool among all three of them?

I have a decent amount of programming experience, I just don't know if something like this is possible or practical to script in VX Ace... thank you :D

slash does art

Hi, I'm slash, or Agent V, and I make art sometimes, for my games or just because... so here we go!

I recently did some pixels for Mirror Boy. These are the ones I think turned out the best!

A couple simple characters...

I've only recently moved up from pencil sketches to a drawing tablet, and I'm still learning a lot. I'd love any tips people might have, especially with color and light, because I don't have much experience in those areas... thanks!

Gonna keep working hard :D

"This above all; to thine own game be true." ~William Shakespeare

The game is simple: take a famous quote from someone, and twist it into inspiration for game-makers.

  • Post famous quotes that might inspire us all to new gamiking heights!
  • Quotes must be totally real super fake.
  • Quotes should be about game making!

<all credit and respect goes to kentona cuz this was his idea>


"Don't worry when your game is not recognized, but strive for it to be worthy of recognition." ~Lincoln

"Make no little games. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not themselves be realized." ~Daniel Burnham

"Downloads may come to those who wait ... but only the downloads left by those who hustle." ~Abraham Lincoln

"Markerscore is life. If anybody tries to tell you otherwise, they are lying or trying to sell you something." - Mark Twain

"Gretzky is like an invisible man," said Soviet assistant coach Igor Dmitriev. "He appears out of nowhere, passes to nowhere and a game is made."

"When I was young I thought that game making was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is." - Oscar Wilde

"Do not grind gentle into that good night,
Old games should burn and rave at close of day;
Play, play against the dying of the light." ~Dylan Thomas

"What do you think an game developer is? An imbecile who only has resource books, if he is a programmer, or ears if he is an audio technician, or sketches of every corner of his notebook if he is a character designer, or even, if he is a 3-D modeler, just his vertical mouse? Far from it: at the same time he is also a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, and with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No, gamiking is not done to entertain children. It is an instrument of war." ~Pablo Picasso

Pages: first 123456 next last