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  05 March 2014 - Airships, encounters & events :: Posted in RPG Maker VX Ace
It's probably a Japanese RPG thing, but there's a firm believe that the moment you enter an airship (hmm... airship - yes it is a Japanese RPG thing ) you're safe to travel everywhere. Well, in my opinion, there is no such thing as a safe sky in any fantasy settings. Rocs, dragons and other nasty flying beasts live there and are most certainly not impressed by your puny airship...

Then there is an odd thing in RPG Maker that you can't let your airship 'participate' in events on the map at all. And it's those events that I wanted to use to clip maps together, allowing me to make one huge map. Where characters can use these events to move to the next map, as well as boats, airships are doomed to stay on one map. I thought to change that, and I did

Let me start with the main part that allows airships to participate in events on the map.
 photo 2014-03-05_00002_zpsc46b0d22.jpg
Line 345 removes the 'through' flag for the airship. You need to remove this flag because if you don't, the airship will never trigger an event because it just goes through them. Oddly enough this only affects the other events on the map the airship encounters. The impassable tiles are not affected by this line.
To avoid you can't fly over things as chests (which are map events), you have to set the 'through' flag for these. But that would mean that your characters on foot would be able to move through them. Well, drop an (invisible) impassable tile below them and you're done!

...and while writing this and looking at lines 381 and 384 I found out that they basically rule each other out. As it is now, or in it's original writing, no random encounter from the ground will be triggered So please ignore those 2 lines and only look at 345...

So, we can trigger events on the ground now. But what about monsters (as event, not the random map encounters)? Yes, you trigger those as well. But that's pretty easy to work avoid.
 photo Screenshot2014-03-05200842_zps2063a39d.png
Just make a 'Conditional Branch: Airship is Driven' statement in the event and drop the monster encounter under the 'Else' part (sadly RPG Maker doesn't know an IF NOT statement for events). You should do this only for ground monsters. Monsters that can fly (rocs and dragons to name two) you can leave the Conditional Branch statement for so that they can attack you both in air and on the ground.

Last but not least, random encounters in the air. Earlier I've said that map encounters will not work, but we do want random encounters, don't we? Well, that needs a bit of event scripting...
 photo Screenshot2014-03-05203454_zps0f438317.png
Lets start with a delay of 60 frames. This should be around 1 second unless you have a real huge map with lots of events causing a drop in framerate. This delay is required for two reasons.
   1. Letting the script run continuesly will cause lag all by itself. The delay will lower the call to this routine and thus cause less lag.
   2. Letting the script check 60 times a second for an encounter is a bit overkill and will result in quite a lot of encounters during your flight
Then we have that 'Conditional Branch: Airship is Driven' statement again, but this time we run it directly instead of in the 'else' part (we want an encounter for when you're in the airship). In this statement we pick a random number - 1d100 seemed just right for me and we follow it by yet an other 'Conditional Branch:' statement. But this time we check if the number is smaller or equal to 5, giving us a 5% chance for a random encounter (feel free to change this number to your needs). 

In this example I have used only 1 encounter for 2 bats to appear. But you could run yet an other 1d100 and use the result to make a differentiation in the encounter. I could imagine that there's a 1% chance that you bump into a dragon, a 50% chance to bump into anything common and things like that.

That's it for today, I'm off to experiment some more in RPG Maker. Happy flying in your airship and be careful for that dragon out there

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  03 March 2014 - Learning through Trial & Error :: Posted in RPG Maker VX Ace
'Two know more than one' is the phrase, and that's all too true.

With my brother and me both having RPG Maker VX Ace now, we're both experimenting with all that's possible. In the mean time we have also found a lot of scripts we can use, and we're especially found of those from Victor Sant. The only problem with his scripts though is that documentation is very limited on how to use them. This means that my brother and I really have to experiment with what we thing is right

Because of all the experimenting we do, we learn through trial and error. And with each thing learned we're trying something else to push the boundaries of what RPG Maker can do without too much scripting of our own (at the moment - we will be scripting for sure later on ).

One of those trial and error examples are the Pixel Movement plugins that Victor has made. The Moving Platform plugin is giving a couple of real nice options, but to tell that the documentation is clear for a complete newbee to RPG Maker - not really I myself tried to figure out this plugin and tried to replicate that teleport back to the side after falling and here's what I came up with.
 photo Screenshot2014-03-02204638_zps9dc24e95.png photo Screenshot2014-03-02204610_zpsd2438848.png
It was in general the script in the 2nd picture that I wondered if things could not be easier, but at least it did work. When I later watched the movie that came in full with the plugin, I wondered how the script I made could even be used if the player is somewhere in the middle of a void spot on a platform that disappears. It was only until I was working on the cliff that I found out how the teleport feature in the plugin works. Instead of that whole script thing I made, the easiest way to get the teleport back to the save side is <return to safe position>, which I obviously have added to the script now

Then the cliff. That was somewhat harder to do, and I had to read through the comments and the (small) manual that's included in the script to figure that one out. I started like I did with the fall routine, marking tiles and then make a common event to get it triggered. But all I did, nothing worked. When I took a closer look at one of the screensshots in the comments of the plugin I found out I was doing it all the wrong way around I immediately started working on how that screenshot was built and here's what I came up with..
 photo Screenshot2014-03-03123614_zps3cb516a9.png
This approach I'm using map regions to perform actions, while marking them with the 'script tags' in the notes. This while I thought that those map regions were only used for random encounters After going through the manual included in the script I found out that I could also use the map regions for falling and even set a common event ID to run after a fall (either into the void or from the cliff) occurs. This way I'm no longer bound to only 8 tags per map thought the tiles, I can use up to 71 (63 from the map and 6 from the tiles) different events.

I think this only shows how 'powerful' RPG Maker is if you take time to read through documentation and try lots of things and not being afraid to make errors. The only thing that still bothers me though is that extreme small screen used. The default resolution is 640x480, and I have found a script that 'blows up' to higher resolutions and emulates fullscreen, but the size of the number of tiles shown on the screen stays the same

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  26 February 2014 - Bought RPG Maker VX Ace twice :: Posted in RPG Maker VX Ace
It's one program on Steam that I've been watching for a while already, but never took the time to actually buy it. I know, it's been on sale for a couple of times already, and this week, RPG Maker VX Ace is on sale once again and this time with 75% off. And though I'm still working on TetraGems, I figured if I wanted to make a RPG as next project, this would be the best time to buy it.

And so, this morning I bought myself a copy of RPG Maker XV Ace, downloaded it (it's not even 300Mb in size ). Almost right after I bought it, my brother hopped in on Steam chat (he saw I bought it), and asked tactically if it was a purchase for his b-day next month (he has RPG Maker VX Ace on his Steam wish list). Well, the moment it shows on my Steam profile as bought, I actually have bought it and not dropped it as gift in my inventory. And with him using his wish list on Steam quite like I do (slightly interested), I didn't even think about asking how badly he wanted it. Well, he kinda told me that since I didn't buy it as gift on Steam, he'd buy it himself.

Now wait a sec bro!

I always have trouble getting a gift for your b-day. Mostly things you want you buy and forget about asking it for your b-day in the first place (I'm kinda the same as well ). So I told him NOT to buy it, but instead I'd buy it for him as early b-day gift for him. Though we're still a month away from his b-day, I decided to give it to him immediately so he could start playing with it immediately (and teach me later on how to use it, like I will teach him Unity3D ).

When I fired up RPG Maker VX Ace later today, I was a bit interested in the scripting language used. I heard it would be using Ruby and I wanted to make sure. And yes, it indeed does use Ruby as scripting language. Then I thought to check Spine if that would support Ruby, and it does. But I'm not sure how to use Spine with RPG Maker VX Ace (yet). But Spine having Ruby support is already a great PLUS - now it has moved to the top of my 'want-to-buy' list.

There is one thing though I will not buy for RPG Maker VX Ace though. That's the DLC that's available for the program. Though there are a lot of great DLC packages, I want to make my own RPG and not use some pre-made models (which is also why I checked if Spine would work with Ruby).

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