19 December 2010

Happy Christmas 2010

Wishing all my visitors a Happy Christmas, wherever you are in the world.

I won't be doing too much on the RPG Maker scene until the New Year now. I'll be continuing work on Ars Magia 1: Genesis, trying to get a playable demo. The tie-in novella should be finished by March, which will be purchasable from the weblog or this blog.

I'll be changing the layout to this blog as well, either using another template or (most likely) designing one from scratch. It's time for a new look, as this one's been up for close to a year now.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
~Companion Wulf
08 December 2010

Zelda Forest Maze Tutorial - RMXP/VX

Zelda Maze Demo RMXPEDIT (9 Dec 2011): Demo now available. Checked for viruses using Comodo Antivirus.

Continuing with the Fun With Variables theme and as an expansion to the Simple Event-Based Random Teleport tutorial, here's something a little different. It's designed for RMXP but can also be adapted work on RMVX (though not the same way on RM2K3 without some tweaking).

For those of you familiar with the "infamous" Forest Maze in The Legend of Zelda (for the NES) will know all about it. For those unfamiliar with it - shame on you for not playing this classic! - the aim is to find your way through the forest using specific directions. If you don't, you'll just be wandering aimlessly and won't find your way out. That's the foundation of this tutorial.

This is a rather long, but not overly complex, tutorial, so take the time to read it and go through step by step as necessary.


To begin, we'll need the following:

  • 4 Variables: 0001: Randomize, 0002: Map ID, 0003: Coord-X and 0004: Coord-Y.
  • 1 Common Event: Teleport
  • 2 Maps: Maze Map and Congratulations!
  • At least 5 events for the map, although I've used 9 in total (some just for effects).
30 November 2010

AMG Video In-Game Features Demo

This is a video demo of some of the in-game features, including the intro through to the Status Menu. The intro will be changed later, however. Don't forget to read the footnotes below too.

Revision Edit:
5 December, 2010
The video has been truncated from its original. I also added some annotations to better explain the features.

Most of the scripts have been tweaked to integrate properly into the AMG system. The characters' profile information is incomplete yet, as is the "Extra Stats" page. A complete list of scripts is available here, updated as other in-game scripts are updated.

A playable demo will be released soon - though no sooner than next year - and I'll upload it then. Watch this space, I guess!
29 November 2010

Simple Event-Based Random Teleport Tutorial - RMXP/VX

As a continuation of the Fun With Variables tutorial, I thought I'd try something a little different.

What if you wanted to create a simple but effective event-based map teleporter? Of course, a more complex teleport system is possible using scripts, but for the purposes of keeping things simple, events are better.

This will work in RMXP and RMVX, although not the same way in RM2K3.

Variables Setup

To achieve this, we'll need to create 4 variables:

  • 0001: Randomize
  • 0002: Coord-X
  • 0003: Coord-Y
  • 0004: Map ID

Map Setup

Next, we'll need our maps to teleport between. For this tutorial, we'll be using two maps and teleporting (randomly) between the two. Let's create the first one, setting the dimensions to their minimums - 20x15 (RMXP) and 17x13 (RMVX). Make a note of these numbers (the maximum x-value and y-value), as we'll need them later.

In the centre of the map, create an event (called Teleporter or something similar) with an appropriate graphic for the Teleporter event. This can be a path tile or animated event graphic, or it can be blank for the element of surprise. Set the "Trigger" to "Player Touch". In RMVX, you might want to set the "Priority" to "Below Characters" as well. Leave the Event Commands blank for now; we'll come back to that shortly.

You might also want to place a flower tile or event or other feature to distinguish this map from the second one. Simply copy and paste this first map, then change the flower tile, event or feature to something else. That way when teleporting between the maps you'll know which one you're on.

Teleport Setup

In the Database, create a Common Event, called something like Teleport. In the Events Commands, we'll need the following:

  • Set the variable Randomize to a number between 0 and the maximum x-value (from earlier), subtracting 1 because the coordinates actually start at 0, of the map. (If in doubt, in the Events Mode click on any of the right-most squares and note the first number.)
  • Set the variable Coords-X to Randomize.
  • Set Randomize to a number between 0 and the maximum y-value from earlier, again subtracting 1, of the map. (If in doubt, in Events Mode click on any of the bottom-most tiles to note the second number.)
  • Set Coords-Y to Randomize.
  • Finally, "Transfer Player" to their corresponding map and x/y coordinates. Select "Appoint With Variables" (RMXP) or "Designation With Variables" (RMVX). "Map ID", "Map X" and "Map Y" is set to their corresponding variables (i.e. 0004: Map ID, 0002: Coords-X and 0003: Coords-Y respectively.


Before we can do anything, we'll need to go back to the Teleport Events on both maps and in the Event Commands, add a "Call Event" set to our "Teleporter" event from the Database.

When the game is run, every time the player steps on the "teleporter" it will transfer him to a random location on either map. If you added a distinguishing tile or feature to the map, you'll be able to tell which map you've been transported to.

One possible application for this could be for a maze-like series of maps, adding switches to the Event Commands according to which map you're on to trigger other events. In the next Fun With Variables tutorial - whenever that will be - I think I'll expand on this idea and create a map maze similar to the ones used in several Zelda games.
26 November 2010

AMG Demo Release Date

I was asked recently on the Ars Magia: Genesis blog when a demo will be available.

The answer is: Soon! Edit: 1st December, 2010 - Video Demo.

With Version 0.9 Private Release, the current version, I'm putting the finishing touches to the menu system, working industriously on script integration and overall aesthetics. Once that's done - and I'm satisfied with it - I'll upload a movie clip demonstrating this part of it, along with some additional screenshots. Version 0.9 also does not have any content yet because I've been working on that as another, separate project prior to putting the whole thing together in Version 1.0 Public Release.

Version 1.0 is nearing completion, with some of the maps already in place. I'm in the process of customising some of the graphics and fine-tuning the map scripts, as well as two minigames. Events take place immediately after the eponymous novella (almost finished) ends. When this version is released, which I'm estimating will be around Christmas or New Year (time permitting), it will be a playable demo.
17 November 2010

RMVX Character Sets #1

These two charsets for RMVX (originally for RM2K3 but converted to RMVX format) were actually requested by a friend of mine. I tried creating my own, but my "artisty" skills failed me miserably. Anyway, here they are.

Animals Vehicles
RMVX Charset - Animals RMVX Charset - Vehicles

There are some awesomely talented people out there, so the next update on resources (chipsets, charsets, etc.) will be in the form of links.
16 November 2010

Fun With Variables #1 - RM2K3

I was bored! What can I say? So I started playing around and decided to have some fun with Variables! And why not? Better than advanced algebraic equations, which I was never any good at anyway!

Random Colours In Messages

What if, for whatever reason, you'd like the character's name to be a different colour each time you speak to an NPC?

You'll only need one variable (let's call it Randomize) and one NPC event with two Command Events in it, thus:

<>Variable Oper:[0001:Randomize] Set, Rnd[1-19]
<>Message: Heya, \c[\v[1]]\n[1]\c[0], how's it going?

The first line sets up the random number for the colour. Under "Variable Operations", set the "Single Variable" to Randomize, which is then "Set Equal To" a "Random Number Between" 1 and 19. (The colours are based on the 20 colours in the current System Set. Zero is the "default" colour, but we won't use it in this example.)

The second displays a message with some "control characters" inserted. Control characters are letters or punctuation marks preceded by a backslash - there are 12 in total, which I may expand upon in a later entry. The ones we need are for inserting the colour (\C), the name (\N) and the variable containing the random number (\V). The basic format, for example, would be \N[1], which would display the name of the first Hero in the Database.

We'll be using "nested control characters" (control characters contained within control characters) to display the name of the first Hero in the list (in the Database) in the randomly selected colour.

The emboldened part is how the nested control characters fit together, split into four parts:

\C[ \V[1] ] \N[1] \C[0]

There are no spaces in between; it's just easier to read. The variable control character is contained in the colour control character, generating the random colour each time the Hero talks to the NPC. The name of the Hero is then displayed in that colour. Finally, the text colour is set to its default colour so the rest of the text isn't the same as the name.

Of course, this can be done with other things too, as long as the same format is adhered to. This will also work in RMXP and RMVX, but the default colours will need to be added to in RMXP via script (in Window_Base under the text_color method).
15 November 2010

RMVX Character Sets #2

Here are four RMVX charsets, two of which might fit a battlefield or warzone scene and two of which are monster types. These were created at the Charas Project website.

Injured Soldier #1 Injured Soldier #2
Inujured Soldier 1 - RM2K3 Charset Inujured Soldier 2 - RM2K3 Charset
Lamia Slime Muck
Lamia - RM2K3 Charset Slime Muck - RM2K3 Charset

Clicking on the images will display them full sized (in a new window). Right-click and save them. Later, when I have the time to create some more, I'll put them all in a convenient full charset sheet.

EDIT (8 Mar 2011): I uploaded the RMVX versions instead of the RM2K3 versions, which did not convert properly anyway. I will address this soon. So apologies on my bad, bad oversight (but thanks to Anonymous for pointing it out!)
05 November 2010

RPG Maker XP Windowskins #2

Here are some RMXP windowskins. These have been created using GIMP and Paint Shop Pro. Clicking on the windowskin will redirect to the full size image (opens in a new window).

All Gold Halloween
All Gold - RMXP Windowskin Halloween - RMXP Windowskin
Paper Gold #1 Parchment #2
Paper Gold 1 - RMXP Windowskin Parchment 2 - RMXP Windowskin
26 October 2010

Poll Results - Enterbrain Take Note!

The results are in! The populace has spoken! So, Enterbrain take note!

Their next RPG Maker should be a fully functional MMORPG creator, as it's the next, best thing. MMORPGs have been around for some time now and they are big business and a rapidly growing industry. Now that would be cool! In fact, 61% of voters also think the same thing.

A close second would be a "true" 3D RPG Maker, i.e. one capable of 3D graphics a la Phantasy Star and Wolfenstein 3D (or some other FPS). In total, 21% voted for this option. The MMORPG RPG Maker would have this integrated anyway.

Finally, if that proved to be impractical for whatever reason, 16% of voters would settle for a new RPG Maker but with all the elements of previous versions - RM2K3, RMXP and RMVX - combined. Nothing from the previous versions omitted either, i.e. multiple chipsets, missing functions, etc.

I know that I would definitely purchase an MMORPG RPG Maker, even for $80, as it's been a dream of mine for quite a while to be able to create an MMORPG of my own. And using what I've learned (am learning) about RPG Maker it could be put to good (better) use.
25 October 2010

Announcement: Evolutionary Progress

More Resources Coming

Three months of keyword analysis (via Statcounter and other sources) and a previous poll indicates a high demand for resources. So be it, but if I'm brutally honest, I've been avoiding it because I'm definitely NOT an artist - at least when it comes to creating resources from scratch.

But, the statistics are that around 65% are looking for resources, of which around 55% want RMXP windowskins and 30% are after RM2K3 resources. So I will try because I've recently rediscovered the wonders of GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), which makes things a helluva lot easier. Notwithstanding, using a combination of GIMP and Paint Shop Pro, I will be resource creation crazy, I guess, trying my hand at some "from scratch" resources, particularly RMXP windowskins.

In addition, I'll be utilising the various online generators and creation programs to produce non-windowskin resources as well. They will then be converted to other formats as applicable. Included in this resources expansion will be more resource tutorials and how-to's - in particular resource specifications, which is another high-demand area.

Closures and Farewells

RPG Maker 2K3 Master was the first (and original) blog I crreated to demonstrate my own personal passion for RPG Maker. This was way back when Blogger was in its infancy. I have some very fond memories attached to it and to RM2K3 itself. But, all good things must eventually come to an end.

So, as of 30 September, 2010, RPG Maker 2K3 Master will officially close in favour of this blog. Most of its content has been collated and integrated into RPG Maker Times and its Companion blog anyway.

My other blogs, Wulf's Parazone and Paranormality Reincarnated, will no longer be updated and will also eventually close. Neither has really been updated for a while. I've kinda lost interest in them and want to steer in a different direction, although the former will probably be renamed and used for something else.

I'm also closing RPG Maker Times Companion, although it may remain "as is" purely for archival purposes. Much of its content as become absorbed in this blog as a means of collating everything RPG Maker for easier updates and easier access.

Joining The Dots

Too many of my resources are dotted all over the place, so I'd like to place them in one convenient place. To clarify then, and to avoid confusion, RPG Maker Times is the primary blog for RPG Maker, including project updates, and RPG Maker Times Companion is the repository mostly for tools and utilities, as well as resources (Edit: Integrating with RPG Maker Times).

In time, the latter will be used for all resources - windowskins, charsets, etc. - as well as my scripts and scriptlets. These will all be placed in their own separate posts, updated as necessary, and conveniently labelled to make them much easier to find.

Being Industrious Ain't Easy

With all that said, it is going to take time to implement. That's something I have little of these days, but will make a start on it asap.

Lots to look forward to and to keep me busy!
19 October 2010

Customizing Menus - Part 3: Nuts and Bolts

In Part 1, we dealt with the basic menu structure and how the the commands are displayed and called. Part 2 detailed how to execute the routines when the menu item is selected. And Part 3 will continue with some of the other elements in the menu.

Immediately below the menu index (line 28 in RMXP and line 62 in RMVX) is the part to check if the party members (actors in RMXP or members in RMVX) are alive which sections can be displayed and if save is enabled display it in the menu options.

The code structure is as follows:


# If number of party members is 0
if $game_party.actors.size == 0
   # Disable items, skills, equipment, and status
# If save is forbidden
if $game_system.save_disabled
   # Disable save


if $game_party.members.size == 0 # If number of party members is 0
   @command_window.draw_item(0, false) # Disable item
   @command_window.draw_item(1, false) # Disable skill
   @command_window.draw_item(2, false) # Disable equipment
   @command_window.draw_item(3, false) # Disable status
if $game_system.save_disabled # If save is forbidden
   @command_window.draw_item(4, false) # Disable save

This queries whether any or all of the party members are incapacitated or dead, and disables the corresponding sections for them so that they are inaccessible through the menu. And if the save option is disabled (by setting @save_disabled to "true" in Game_System) then it will be grayed out in the menu.
15 October 2010

Customizing Menus - Part 2: Inside The Menu

In Part 1, we dealt with the basic menu structure and how the the commands are displayed and called. Part 2 expands on that and details how to execute the routines when the menu item is selected.

Scroll down to case @command_window.index (line 123 in RMXP and line 88 in RMVX). This is where the execution methods are defined, telling RPG Maker that when a menu item (the menu index if you recall) is selected, call the appropriate command.

This is processed in the definition update_command in RMXP and update_command_selection in RMVX. And this is where we need to change the code so that it does what it's supposed to do when the menu item is selected. The default structure is as follows:

Customizing Menus: Part 1 - Menu Structure

In this multi-part tutorial, I'll demonstrate how to customize the default menu (Scene_Menu) in both RMXP and RMVX. Scripting the menu is more frustrating than difficult because it doesn’t allow you to simply append new commands to the existing menu and only the menu items manually added into the menu script will appear. So we have to manually add them to form our basic menu. (That said, for the non-scripters, SojaBird's excellent New Menu Items script makes it easier to collate existing menu items and add new ones.)

For the purpose of this tutorial, however, we'll be modifying the existing Scene_Menu to add an Extra Stats window. First thing's first, let's explore how the menu structure is set up.

The basic structure for the menu in each RPG Maker is the same, but RMVX also has the additional option of multi-columns in the menu, which we'll cover later.

Initialize The Menu Index

The first section sets the command cursor's initial position.

def initialize(menu_index = 0)
   @menu_index = menu_index

By default, it's set to 0, the first item on the menu list. The number increases by one for every menu item below the first command, which means that every time the cursor is moved down to the next command it increases by one. Conversely, if the cursor is moved up one command the index decreases by one. So, if you were to set the menu_index to 4, when you open the status menu the cursor would default to "Save" every time you open it.
12 October 2010

The Mysterious Disappearing Images

Bear with me, folks! Image Shack has a nasty habit of "losing" images, sometimes they will disappear, and sometimes they will reappear. So I'm in the process of transferring them elsewhere. I started this hideous process before, but there were way too many and I was overwhelmed at how time-consuming it was. I'm not going to put up with it any longer. It's time it was done properly and once and for all.

Also, I'm in the process of transferring everything on the RPG Maker 2K3 Master blog here, since I'll be officially closing it at the end of the month. The reason for this is that, having everything RPG Maker combined, will make things much easier. My initial consideration for having a separate blog for RM2K3 and another for RMXP/RMVX was to house the various RM2K3 tutorials I’d written, and besides, RPG Maker 2K3 Master was the "original" blog, the first I’d created. There comes a time, however, when change is necessary. There are some big changes coming to RPG Maker Times - nothing scary, just more content.

Eventually my focus on RM2K3 will fizzle out in favour of RMXP and RMVX, although probably not altogether. What I’m hoping for is more content, scripts, resources, resource templates and tutorials, and games/project reviews.
30 September 2010

Ars Magia 1: Genesis - Character Classes

The Ars Magia Character Classes are now 80% complete.

There are five main playable character classes and two non-playable ones. They are:
  • Alchemist (Non-Playable) - Adept at potion making, including explosives and incendiaries.
  • Archaeomage (Non-Playable) - Expert in ancient technologies and automatons.
  • Cleric (Playable) - Expert in healing and blessing spells.
  • Druid (Playable) - Caster of elemental spells and can also summon animals.
  • Hunter (Playable) - Expert archer, keen-sighted and fleet-footed. Note: Content is pending.
  • Warrior (Playable) - Combat veteran, capable of delivering powerful blows.

The fifth playable character is pending, as I'm not sure what it should be. I had considered Blue Mage or Black Mage. Suggestions are welcome, use the comments box for any suggestions or recommendations on what this fifth character should be.
28 September 2010

RPG Maker VX Windowskins #8

Here are some more RMVX windowskins. As always, they were created with the Windowskin Generator. Also as usual, these are also placed on the sister blog, RPG Maker Times Companion, where you can collectively view the other RMVX and RMXP windowskins. Right-click and save the image to your hard drive.

Charred Parchment
RMVX Windowskins - Charred Parchment
Fiery #1
RMVX Windowskins - Fiery 1
Fiery #2
RMVX Windowskins - Fiery 2
Parchment #5
RMVX Windowskins - Parchment 5
Woodsy #3
RMVX Windowskins - Woodsy 3

Note: Woodsy 1 and 2 are currently MIA! I'll upload them when (if?) I find them.
26 September 2010

Status Window Help Menu Script

What this script does is simply to add a help window displaying descriptions of each item in the status menu. This was requested by someone who was having difficulty implementing something similar, so it's really a tutorial than a full script. I've posted it regardless in case others can use it.

Copy and paste it anywhere in Materials (or above Main) and it should work, as it's Plug 'n' Play. Additional instructions of use are in the script.

It's easy to modify, as there are only two sections where additional descriptions can be appended. Again, these are clearly definite in the script itself.
24 September 2010

Critical Hit Flash Screen Scriptlet

It's funny how, when you're poking around in the RGSS scripts, a small portion of the script jumps out at you. You then feel inspired to "tweak" it and an enhancement or scriptlet is born. That's what happened with this one.

It's a very simple battle add-on that flashes the screen red and plays a sound whenever a critical hit has been delivered. The colour and sound can be modified in the script to something more suitable for a game's needs.

Copy and paste it anywhere in Materials (or above Main) and it's ready to go.

It was created using RMVX, but looks as though it would be compatible with RMXP as well (I can't test it in RMXP). And it's compatible with Modern Algebra's Damage Popup script also.
23 September 2010

Ars Magia -- Upcoming Novella Tie-In

I’m in the process of writing a novella, also entitled Ars Magia: Genesis. It is a tie-in with the RPG Maker VX game, also currently under development.

Below is an interactive live demo, where you can read the complete Prologue. The full screen (and easier to read) version is viewable here.

Free website - Powered By Wix.com

I’m not sure which came first, novella or game. Perhaps they developed together, as they do go hand in hand. The novella sets the scene for the game and the game continues where the novella ends. That said, I wrote the plot and basic outline for the novella a while ago, then translated it into game format and, as development began, the story – more a preface to the game – evolved.

The novella is far from complete yet, but scheduled release date is March 2011 – if everything goes according to plan. Major updates to the novella will appear here in addition to the game progress.
14 September 2010

RPG Maker VX Windowskins #7

Here are some more RMVX windowskins. As always, they were created with the Windowskin Generator. Also as usual, these are also placed on the sister blog, RPG Maker Times Companion, where you can collectively view the other RMVX and RMXP windowskins. Right-click and save the image to your hard drive.

Darkness #1
Darkness 1 - RMVX Windowskins
Darkness #2
Darkness 2 - RMVX Windowskins
Darkness #3
Darkness 3 - RMVX Windowskin
Gold Wood
Gold Wood - RMVX Windowskins
I'll be making more soon, as inspiration takes me, but I've been drawn more towards "woodsy" windowskins lately. Don't know why though!
29 August 2010

Ars Magia 1: Genesis - New Project

It's funny - not funny as in haha!, but funny as in strangely sinister - how sometimes the things you plan meticulously for months in advance just simply fail! And you're back at the bottom of the ladder, having to crawl your way back up to where you were! Fate can be a cruel mistress!

Click on the image for the "official" update site.
Anyway, my new project! It's not really new, since I started it way before The Gladiator Project and lost interest in it, and thought I'd lost the project itself. I found it on a DVD gathering dust, so decided to rekindle its flame, placing TGP on the backburner (for multiple reasons).
02 August 2010

Extended Hiatus

I will be taking an extended hiatus - for at least 3 weeks to a month - because I'm relocating. There is a lot to do from now until then, but when I'm settled I'll be continuing work on the blog and projects.

In addition to several scripts I've been working on (full scripts and CMSes, not snippets) I'll get back on track with the projects, including The Gladiator Project and Ars Magica 1: Genesis, as well as going through the "to do" list finally and completing the tutorials, demos and how-to's there.

Also with the brand new start I'll be working on a brand new computer, with a brand new OS installation (XP to begin with, then upgrading to Linux/Win7). Something to definitely look forward to.

Well, see you in about a month (maybe sooner if all goes well) and thanks for visiting.
23 July 2010

Frequently Asked Questions #2

These are answers to some of the simpler questions about RPG Maker I'm asked on a regular basis. Some of these have been taken from Yahoo! Answers. Many of them have been taken from IM'd questions or targeted keywords at Statcounter. You can find a full list of FAQs here.

Is it possible to add scripts to RM2K3?

No, it isn't. RM2K3 has no support for scripts, unlike RMXP and RMVX because they utilise the Ruby Gaming Script System (RGSS) engine already built into its structure. RM2K3 can only use "scripts" from events - normal events or common events - using the event commands.

Is there an Enter/Exit Vehicle glitch?

Yes and no. RM2K3 only supports three vehicles at once, predefined in the Database (under System), which are then used on the map either through eventing or "Place Vehicle Starting Position". It is not possible to simply use an event with a vehicle graphic and use the "Enter or Exit Vehicle" event command. (Vehicle Tutorial Coming Soon!)

Why won't the text display in RPG Maker XP/VX?

This happens when a font is used that is not installed on the computer. It can also happen due to script conflicts, changing the default windowskin, or when the text coordinates are out of the window's range. If graphics transparencies are not set correctly, this can also cause problems with text not showing up.
22 July 2010

Parameter Increase/Decrease Icons

The default Equipment screen, where you can equip and unequip weapons and armor, is rather boring in my opinion, so here's a simple RMVX script to enhance it.

Now, whenever you equip or unequip items an icon will appear next to the appropriate "parameter", according to whether the stat is increased or decreased.

Place the script above Main. I'd recommend placing it somewhere at the top, below other scripts that modify the equipment scenes.

The script overwrites the following definitions in the Window_EquipStatus class: new_parameter_color and draw_parameter.
13 July 2010

Good News & Bad News

I finally managed to reinstall both RMXP and RMVX, but only after majorly overhauling the registry, which had become corrupted after that malware episode. That's the good news!

Bad news is that some of files of The Gladiator Project became corrupted and the backup is on the other computer, which is in storage. Maybe it isn't such bad news, since at least there is a backup. Personal experience is a very good teacher!

I will be posting a few more substantial updates and tutorials within the next few days.
01 July 2010

Monsters As Variables

I noticed several entries in Statcounter for something on setting monsters as variables, so not one to refuse a challenge, this is what I came up with. Hopefully this will help some.

While I don't think it's possible to store individual monsters in variables, at least without using Fork Options, it is possible to store Monster Groups. The number stored in the variable corresponds exactly as they appear in the Database.

First create a Common Event in the Database (F8), named "Monster Var" (or something similar). Set the "Trigger" to "Call". In the Events Commands, simply place the following commands:

<>Variable Oper: [0001:Monster Var] Set, Rnd [1-10]

This will store the Monster Group as a random number between 1 and 10, which means that if the random number is 8, the Monster Group appearing for the fight would be (by default) 3 Gorgon and 2 Basilisk.

<>Enemy Encounter: Normal, V[0001]

This calls the enemy encounter sequence, but the monsters encountered will be based on whatever is stored in the variable, Monster Var.

The call routine doesn't just have to be a Common Event. It can be an Autorun map event as well, so instead of setting fixed encounters via the "Map Properties", encounters can be completely randomized from map to map, using different random numbers or variables.
27 June 2010

The One That Got Away

Computer had some malware. I don't know how it penetrated the defenses, but it infiltrated somehow, causing a major meltdown. I can no longer run RMXP or RMVX on this computer, at least not without a major registry overhaul!

This means that the planned "Menu Tutorial" will have to be put on hold until the relocation. And of course, TGP has been put on hold once again too. I just don't have the time for that at the moment. I can still use RM2K3, so will be focusing on that over the next few months. Perhaps this will give me a chance to design some Windowskins for both RMXP and RMVX, and some more FAQs.

All things happen for a reason, so whatever the reason is, this isn't really a great loss (since everything has been backed up), just a little setback.

Extra Chapter 1: Front Opening - The Complete Chests Tutorial

Continuing the Chest Tutorial, the next set of tutorials either enhance existing tutorials or adds some extra features to chests.

To add some realism, you won't nessecarily be able to open a chest from behind, only from the front. This is how it can be achieved in RM2K3.

In Conditional Branch (third tab, second column), there is an option to determine which direction the Hero is facing.

<>Branch if Hero Up Facing
  <>Play Sound: open1
  <>Message: The chest opens!
  <>Move Event: This Event, Face Right
  <>Wait: 0.2 Sec
  <>Move Event: This Event, Face Up
  <>Wait: 0.2 Sec
  <>Move Event: This Event, Face Left
  <>Wait: 0.2 Sec
  <>Change Items: Potion 1 Add
  <>Message: Potion received.
  <>Switch Operation: [0011:Chest E1 Opened] ON
: Else Handler
  <>Message: Try opening it from the front!
: End

So, if you try opening the chest from the sides or back, a message will tell you to open it from the front.
23 June 2010

Character Creator Studio VX

RMXP Unlimited Just like the Character Maker for RMXP, Character Creator Studio VX allows the creation of RMVX character sets. It does have a lot of resources available to create some decent characters, with the ability to add multiple items.

What I like most about this program though is its simplicity and ease of use, and its features:

  • Large Preview - A separate window for a much larger preview of characters, updated "live".
  • Undo - Unlimited undo's if something doesn't look right.
  • Reset - Resets the character set to its default "naked" state.
  • Save - Save your creations as individual charsets. (These can be imported directly into RMVX and used if they are saved with a $ at the beginning of the filename.)
  • Import/Export Allows you to import and export additional resources either premade or from existing character sets.

All images are saved as PNG format, including the character building resources, which means that, if you know what you're doing, you can create your own hairstyles, clothes, etc. and use them directly.

Not only that, Character Creator Stuido also comes bundled with another program, called Sprite Stitcher. This allows you to "stitch" individual character sets together (created with the Studio or somewhere else) into a single character set, up to the maximum of eight.

In short, this program is the best one I've come across so far. I know that for myself I'm so glad I stumbled across this program simply because spriting is NOT something I'm good at. And I know that others will find it as much of a boon as I do. Highly Recommended.

RMXP Project Organiser

RMXP Unlimited This nifty little utility (from Evil Cabbage), just as the title suggests, gives you the chance to easily manage all your RMXP projects.

First off, you can launch or edit projects directly from the program, making it much easier than loading them individually in RMXP first.

Note: You can launch RMVX projects as well, although you can't edit them without receiving an error message.

This application is packed with other very useful features. You can change the game's title, restore the database and scripts in a project to default, delete unwanted save files rather than manually in the project folder itself, and if any RGSS dlls are required it can copy these as well.

There is, however, one very important caveat to be aware of: If you don't highlight a project first, the program will crash! Aside from that, this program is definitely useful, especially as a launchpad for editing and playing projects.
18 June 2010

Extra Stats Window Script

I wrote this script while studying the Battle_Scene class with the intentions of creating a Custom Battle Scene for TGP.

The Extra Stats window can be accessed from the menu to display the following stats:
13 June 2010

TGP Update Relocation

This is just a quick multi-purpose note.

The first thing is that this blog will no longer contain any major updates news for The Gladiator Project. They'll be placed here instead. This is primarily because, with work continuing on TGP, there will be a lot more progress updates than before, so it's better not to overwhelm this blog with too many TGP updates, thereby deviating from other content. You can also see when TGP is updated under the "Sister Blogs" section (on the right-hand side) or on my Twitter account.

The second thing is that I only have about a month before relocating, so I'm excited as hell about that. I'm having to deal with the boring last minute preparations - sorting, packing, etc. - so updates may be few and far between until I'm settled again.
01 June 2010

The Gladiator Project - Update #4

TGP had been put on hold for a while, but I've started working on it again. What rekindled my interest was a movie I saw that inspired me and a visit from SojaBird (whose Achievements script I was using on and off). So, in light of my renewed inspiration and drive, I rewrote the plot and started the entire project from scratch.

The following have been implemented in the game and are final.

Title Menu

In a previous update, I implemented a demo video of the title screen. As you can see the menu itself has changed significantly. I'm still using Moghunter's Animated Title and Dr.?'s Credits scripts.

The game does contain several in-game movies, extensively utilizing Berka's nonpareil Game Film II Reloaded script. In fact, this is the ONLY movie script I've found that works efficaciously. Unfortunately, this does mean an increase in size but it will be worth it, unless I have two versions (one with the movies, one without).

At the moment, the movies have been extracted from commercial movies, since I don't have a mega budget to create my own, so as it stands for now these will only appear in the "personal" version but may not appear in the demo or final versions. As a side-note, the movies I've modeled the in-game clips on are Gladiator, Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Extinction and Flatliners, also with clips from the mini series Space: Above and Beyond, as the segments I've used encapsulate what TGP is all about and progresses the plot. I could put the "Intro" movie on here if I can get past the copyrighted material dilemma, alongside a "Don't Sue Me" disclaimer!!
31 May 2010

Basic Map Location Script

This basic script allows the map location to be displayed on the Status Menu. In other words, whatever the name of the map is will be shown there.

The map information is stored in "DataInfos" (located in the Data folder). The script is the same, but the extensions are different for RMXP (rxdata) and RMVX (rvdata).

So, to insert the location in a new window, the following is used:

map_name = load_data("Data/MapInfos.rxdata")
self.contents.draw_text (0, 0, self.contents.width, 32, data[$game_map.map_id].name, 2)

map_name = load_data("Data/MapInfos.rvdata")[$game_map.map_id].name
contents.draw_text(x, y, self.contents.width, WLH, map_name, 2)

17 May 2010

TGP - Guilty As Charged

I'm guilty of neglecting this blog again! The trouble is I tend to focus on too many projects at once, unable to limit to one or two. It must be something to do with having a fertile imagination or an attention deficiency!

One of the major distractions lately has been Perfect World, a deadly cocktail of MMORPG obsession, timewasting and craving for inspiration. That was until the inevitable, mandatory "party quests" I so hate, where quests become available at a certain level but they are "elite" monsters and you will not be able to defeat them either without leveling up first or without a party. I don't mind party-questing, just not so early in the game. It kinda spoiled it for me and I uninstalled the game - for now at least.

That doesn't mean I've been away from RPG Maker. I've been continuing work on TGP (The Gladiator Project) lately, tweaking the Status Menu, taking out features and reimplementing them, modifying events and gameplay. Most importantly, however, I've been rewriting the entire underlying plot, strengthening it and deciding its final direction. I'm not going to give anything away.

What totally renewed my interest and inspiration in continuing TGP is actually two things:

The first is a movie I watched - forgotten the title already! - which gave me some solid ideas, so instead of stagnating and going in circles it's full steam ahead once more.

The second is a visit from SojaBird, one of my "coding heroes" (alongside ModernAlgebra and Yanfly) from whose scripts I've learned so much about structure, format and how RGSS works in general.

Because I've meticulously reworked the entire project, essentially starting from scratch, including a lot of the scripts I previously omitted or removed (temporarily or otherwise).

I will post an update on TGP hopefully this month or next month, although I'm in the process of relocating so might not be able to. But I am hoping for a demo (at least of the first "chapter") by the end of the year.
11 April 2010

Image Nightmares

Image Shack, where most of the images on this blog are stored, is proving to be unreliable. Half of the images don't load half of the time and even in my Image Shack folders it says "Thumbnail Not Available". Image Shack has been quite reliable in the past, but lately it's become progressively worse. I can understand downtime, but this is ridiculous! So now I have the onerous task of using another image host, transferring all of the images to another host, then changing locations in each entry. And there are over 200 images! Ugh!

I had also created a plethora of RMXP windowskins the other day, some of which were converted from a few of the RMVX ones I did. But due to an error in transferring them onto DVD, I lost them. Good job there's a backup somewhere; experience can be a hardnut teacher! So I'll be attempting that again soon.

If "bad" things come in threes, the third hasn't happened yet. Fingers crossed! But I also believe in "third time lucky", regardless if it's bad or not, so whatever the outcome it's going to work out in the end.
05 April 2010

Frequently Asked Questions #1

These are answers to some of the simpler questions about RPG Maker I'm asked on a regular basis. Some of these have been taken from Yahoo! Answers. Many of them have been taken from IM'd questions or targeted keywords at Statcounter. You can find a full list of FAQs here.

Are there any online versions of RPG Maker XP or VX?

There aren't any online versions of Enterbrain's RPG Makers, although there are two websites that I know of that boast emulated RPG Makers, thus:
  • My Game Builder - A fabulous website where you can create games, including RPG Maker type games. In addition to being able to create maps and events, you can also use the built-in editor to create or edit graphics. They have regular competitions in different categories, not just RPGs. Highly recommended if you have a few hours to kill. (You do need to sign up - it's free - to create the games, but not to play them.)
  • Flash RPG Maker - You would expect that something on the Newgrounds site would be good, and this one shows great promise. However, it fails miserably for one reason: it's buggy as hell! Not recommended!

How do I change the default font?

To change the default font, which will apply to all windows, in the Window_Base class, directly beneath Super(), place the following:

Font.default_name = "Times New Roman"

The font for all windows will now be Times New Roman. Bear in mind, though, that just because you might have a fancy font for your game, that doesn't mean that everyone else will have it and it will invariably generate an error message or the text won't show up in any of the windows.

To rectify this, we will need to set up an array variable to list the available fonts, including alternatives if a particular font isn't available. To do this, place the following outside the Window_Class, i.e. just above the class Window_Base < Window or in a separate module:

FONT_NAME = ["Arial", "Verdana", "Times New Roman"]

Then under Super(), place:

Font.default_name = FONT_NAME

This will then go through the list until it finds the installed font, starting with the first name.

How do I change the default windowskin?

Windowskins are imported into the Graphics/Windowskins folder and then placed into a "Cache". The default windowskin is then set in the Database (under "System").

If, however, you want to change the windowskin during the game without affecting the default one, you can use the following:

self.windowskin = RPG::Cache.windowskin("Windowskin_Name")

where "Windowskin_Name" is the name of the windowskin to be used. This is placed under the def initialize, right under the Bitmap setup. You can use this simple method with each instance of a Window, with each one having a different Windowskin.

What is RMVX "batch entry"?

By default message boxes allow only four lines of text. If you check "Batch Entry", you'll be able to exceed the four lines and RMVX will automatically create separate text boxes for you, each containing four lines, which saves you from manually clicking on "Show Text" each time.
31 March 2010

Charset - Resources Templates (RM2K3)

Charsets represent the animated characters, including NPCs and some events.

Image Size: 288x256, containing up to 8 characters.

Charset Template - Resources RM2K3

Each charset comprises 12 squares, divided into 4 rows of 3 columns, representing the 3 animation frames for each direction.

The top row is where the character is moving upwards (north), the second row is moving right (east), the third is moving down (south), and the bottom row is moving left (west).
27 March 2010

System2 Set - Tutorial (RM2K3)

System 2 graphics, located in the System2 folder, are the "Battle Menu Set", used in battles to determine the cursor for targeting enemies and allies. It also displays the ATB bar and the numbers for HP and MP display in gauge type battles (set in the "Battle Layout" options of the Database).

Image Size: 80x96.

This is a "default" template for creating your own System2 designs.

System2 Set Template RM2K3 Basic

So now, breaking it down into its component elements, we can gain a better insight into how it all fits together.

System2 Set Template RM2K31: The three-frame animation sequence for the left arrow.

2: The three-frame animation sequence for the down arrow.

3: The numbers for displaying damage values in battles.

A, B and C are the frames for the HP, SP and ATB bars respectively.

D: This is usually kept blank. Although I don't know precisely what this is used for, most likely this is used for transparencies.

E: These four blocks are for the gauge colors, displayed when the "Battle Layout" is set to "Gauge".

F: This is the gauge for the ATB, which is used for determining times between turns.
Now that we know what each section does, we can add the components. Again, I've used Character Maker 1999 to recreate the System2 set.

System2 Set Tutorial - Part 1Let's do the arrow animations (1 & 2) first. The first row is for the left arrow and the second is for the down arrow. These arrows can be anything, provided each frame is 16x16 pixels an in sequence.

System2 Set Tutorial - Part 2Next task is "fleshing out" the stat containers - HP (A), MP (B) and ATB (C). Each one needs to be 8x48 pixels and usually comprises a frame and blank or empty container for the gauge graphics. These can be left completely blank but for aesthetics I always prefer putting something here.

Each gauge - two for HP and MP gauges (E) and one for the ATB gauge (F) - is also 8x48 pixels, but must be positioned centrally against the stat containers so they fit into the blank or empty containers.

System2 Set Tutorial - Part 3The penultimate addition are the numbers (3), 0 through 9, which are used for damage in combat. They can be any color, font or design provided that each number fits into a 16x16 block.

System2 Set Tutorial - Part 4The final part of the System2 template is the 16x16 block (D). This is usually kept blank for, I suspect, transparency values.
26 March 2010

System Set - Tutorial Part 2 (RM2K3)

As part of the new, expansive resource templates tutorials, which will eventually extend to all RPG Makers, this series will demonstrate how to create your own resources from scratch. You can use any graphics editor for editing, but for RM2K3 resources the best program to use is Character Maker 1999.

The first one we'll focus on is the System Set, which is located in the System folder; this is used for the main menus and windows/text boxes.

Image Size: 160x80.

The basic System layout looks like this:

System Set Template RM2K3 BasicOnce "filled in", this will determine how the messages appear, including text colors, in text boxes and menus; in other words, the main interface.

Breaking the template down into its component parts, we can have a better understanding about how the components work, thus:

System Set Template RM2K3A: Size: 32x32. This is the window background. It can be a single color or gradients, or even an image.

B: Size: 32x32. This is the frame around the window (3 pixels wide) and the up and down arrows for scrolling through options. The arrows are 8x8 in size by default, but for the best results 10x8 is recommended with 2 pixels between each arrow.

C: Size: 32x32. These two are the patterns used for the command cursor. If they are two different patterns, the cursor will flash rather than be static if they are both the same.

D: These are the four animated arrows used in shops. Each is 8x8 in size, comprising four frames each. The first row is for stat increases, the second is for unequippable items, the third is for stat decreases, and the fourth is when an item is already equipped.

E: Size: 16x16. This is the background color of the menu, used as "opacity".

F: Size: 16x16. This is the letter shadow color, displayed "behind" the letters to give it a shadow effect.

G: These are the numbers used for timers. There are twelve in total, each one 8x16 in size and comprising a set of two numbers, with the last one a colon (or other separator). It's important to note that, except for the colon, there are two numbers in each square spaced 1 pixel apart.

H: Size: 16x16. These are the two shadows for airships, which are displayed on the map whenever an airship is used as a vehicle.

The last two rows are for the twenty basic colors used in the game. Each is 16x16 in size. The first four are the "system" colors, where:

  • 0: The default text color.
  • 1: The stats default color.
  • 2: The color for when stats increase.
  • 3: The color for when stats decrease or when commands are unavailable.
  • 4: The color for when HP or SP decrease.

So now that we know what each of the components are, let's create an example System Set. I've used Character Maker 1999 for this because it makes it much easier to edit.

System Set Tutorial - Part 1The first thing we need to do is create the window background (A).

For this tutorial, I created a simple blue gradient background. This will now be the background for all windows.

System Set Tutorial - Part 2For the next part, let's create a simple gold border, including gold arrows (B). The white color (default is orange) must be consistent throughout the template, as this will be used to determine transparency. For the cursor command windows (C), they are set to two different background colors, but they can also be the same background colors with slightly different border colors to give that "flashing" effect.

System Set Tutorial - Part 3The next part to modify is the shop cursors (D). Again, I've opted for a goldish and silvery look. As a quick reminder, the top row is for increased stats, the second is unequippable items, the third is for decreased stats, and the fourth is for items already equipped. When purchasing items from shops, the animation will cycle through the animation (frames). These can be any images, provided each individual frame is 8x8 pixels and they are consistent; it will look weird if animations jump from one image to another not in sequence.

System Set Tutorial - Part 4For this next part, the penultimate, it's a simple matter of filling in two squares - the window opacity color (E) and the letter shadow color (F) - with a single color. The opacity color is usually the same as the background color in the first window of C. The shadow color is usually set to black but can be any color as long as it matches the color scheme.

System Set Tutorial - Part 5The final part is where we add the numbers for the timers (G) and the airship shadows (H). Each individual number needs to be 8x16, with a colon and blank square for the spacer.

System Set Tutorial - FinalThe final step is to fill in the white background to the default orange. This will be the transparency color when importing this System Set. (This could have been done earlier, but because we were creating gold lettering and borders, white makes it much easier to work with until the final product.)
25 March 2010

Windowskin Maker XP

A lot of people lately have been searching for Windowskin Generators to make life easier. No doubt regular visitors to this blog (or the forums) already know about the RMVX Windowskin Generator, which is a superlative utility that I use frequently.

Unfortunately, there has been no RMXP equivalent...Until now!

The talented Evil Cabbage has created just the utility. It's available for download (from RMXP Unlimited) here. Right-click on the "Download" link and Save As for it to work.

Now there are opportunities aplenty for us "non-artists" to create windowskins for both our RMXP and RMVX projects!

A full, light review is available here.
23 March 2010

More Windowskins VX #6

Here are some more parchment type RMVX windowskins that I found lurking on my hard drive. As always I assume they were created with the Windowskin Generator and Paint Shop Pro combination. Also as usual, these are also placed on the sister blog, RPG Maker Times Companion, where you can collectively view the other RMVX and RMXP windowskins. Right-click and save the image to your hard drive.

Dark Bronze Parchment
Dark Bronze Parchment - RMVX Windowskins
Dark Parchment
Dark Parchment - RMVX Windowskins
Feather Parchment
Feather Parchment - RMVX Windowskin
Light Parchment
Light Parchment - RMVX Windowskins
20 March 2010


Direct Download This utility scans RPG Maker games for missing files and gives instructions on how to fix it. For example, if a MIDI or particular graphics file is missing from the game's Project folder, this tool will tell you which one is missing.

RMTool - Scan Resources
RMTool - Scan Resources

If any files are missing, you can then import those resources into your project. The program will then "fix" the missing files.

RMTool - Import Missing Resources
RMTool - Import Missing Resources

Note: The program was specifically made for RM2K, but works as well with RM2K3, except for 2K3-specific folders (i.e. System2, BattleChars, CharSets, etc.); they just won't be scanned.

Windowskin Generator VX

Direct DownloadI found this awesome and very useful utility. It's a Windowskin Generator, programmed by Woratana and with graphics by Aindra, for RMVX and it works! The idea behind this is to make Windowskin creation easy by selecting various parts and applying them to the skin. It even has a preview area where you can see what the resultant image will look like! Once you're done, the finished product can be saved and imported into RMVX for use in your games.

Windowskin Generator RMVX

Download it directly here, then extract it to the RMVX Projects folder (using WinRar or Winzip) and open it up in the RMVX program.

It can be run directly from RMVX or as a standalone program. If used as standalone, the RGSS2002e.dll may be needed. Information on creating and running standalone games (including downloading the appropriate files) can be found on the RPG RPG Revolution forum.
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