25 December 2011

Happy Christmas 2011

However you celebrate Christmas, or even if you don't celebrate it at all, may the coming year bring health, wealth and prosperity.

Winter Fantasy by Ironshod (Deviant Art)

Click on the image to go to the artist's page.
24 December 2011

RPG Maker VX Ace Master Script List

Now that RMVXA has been out for a while (in Japan), with an English version tentatively hinted at for Spring 2012, there are inevitably scripts available.

I've already mentioned the Yanfly Engine Ace, but there is another one, where all of the scripts (current and future) will probably be placed.

There is a Wiki set up - RPG Maker VX Ace Master Script List.
23 December 2011

Advanced Time Scripts/Day and Night Systems

A common question I'm asked is about Time/Date System Scripts. Here's a list of some of better ones:

These include the ability to store time as variables and time-based events triggers.
20 December 2011

Guestblogging For 2012

Some time in the New Year, 2012, I'm looking into the possibility of "guestblogging" as part of an expansion program into other RPG Makers and/or game creators. If you are interested, I'm looking for particular areas:
  • Graphics: Resources, especially sprites, tilesets, facesets and windowskins.
  • Other Engines: Including RPG Maker VX Ace, Engine 001 (especially) and Dungeon Craft (FRUA), with the possibility also of OHRRPGCE, RPG Toolkit, Verge, and others.
  • Tutorials: Long or short tutorials and other how-to's (including scripting and eventing) on these makers, including any of the RPG Makers.

The major reasons I'm interested in guestblogging is to:
  • Include other RPG Makers on the site as part of the expansion process because I simply don't have the time to exclusively experiment with them all. Not even with proper time management!
  • Provide a small slice of the web for tutorials and how-to's on RPG Makers and/or areas I'm not familiar with so that others can benefit too.
  • Expose other game makers' sites, including those starting out.

To apply, submit applications to the RPG Maker Times Facebook page. Please include the following details:
  • ID Name - The ID/User Name you'd like to use.
  • Website/Blog Address - This is the name of your website or blog, if you have one, which will appear linked to your chosen name.
  • Maker/Engine - The names of the makers or engines you'd like to guestblog on.
  • Specialties - This could be eventing, scripting or graphics.
  • Regularity - How often you're able and willing to post.

Do NOT post personal details, such as email or contact addresses, as those should remain private to prevent unsolicited spam (something I'm strongly against). Instead, I'll send an IM through Facebook if/when the applicants have been accepted. Note that only then will I ask for an email address, since it's a prerequisite of being able to guestblog, and I will NOT use it for any purpose other than adding you as a guestblogger.

If, for whatever reason, you don't feel comfortable with IMs, you can use the email address on the RPG Maker Times Facebook Information page. You can submit unsolicited materials there and I will implement them upon approval. Do NOT send any spam to that email address. I will check the veracity of each link and if they don't apply to the RPG Maker Times Terms & Conditions they'll be blocked.

Entries submitted through guestblogging will be implemented proper some time in the first quarter of 2012, so if you're interested why not apply now!
18 December 2011

CW's Scriptlets Compendium v1.2 (RMVX)

Here's a scriptlet for anyone who can benefit from it. It's a compilation of some of my scriptlets, this time replete with editable options and optional icons. The Compendium comprises:

I'll be updating this scriptlet when I have time with the following changes:
  • Add Extra Stats Window - With optional access either through a keypress or the main Status menu.
  • Replace Play Time Window with System Time/Date Window
  • Transfer Steps Window exclusively to the Extra Stats Window
13 December 2011

RPG Maker Times Anniversary

I just realised today that last month was RPG Maker Times's third anniversary. The very first entry I posted was What Is RPG Maker? on 20 November, 2008. And not a single anniversary celebration. Time certainly flies! Originally, the post was placed on the now closed RPG Maker 2K3 Master blogsite.

Although I'd been using RM2K for awhile before that, I only "upgraded" to RM2K3 a long time after its "release". The original RPG Maker 2K3 Master blog was hosted somewhere else (I can't remember where) as a comprehensive guide for RM2K3. It included a complete breakdown on the Database and Events Commands, including examples. Sadly, though, the blog host went belly-up and all of the content was lost, barely up long enough to become something. I had the backup for a long time, with plans to re-release it somewhere else, but several hard drives and computers later it never saw the light again. And I no longer have the original files.

In the middle of 2008 (I think, or at least around that time), I discovered Blogger and started producing something for RM2K/3 a few months later. The rest, as they say, is history!

RPG Maker Times is still going strong and probably will continue into the future, especially since it's gradually expanding into other areas as well.
12 December 2011

RMVXA Scripts - Yanfly Engine Ace

The legendary Yanfly (responsible for the equally legendary Yanfly Engine scripts) has released several scripts for RMVXA. As far as I know these are the first complete scripts for the new RPG Maker. The complete collection of Yanfly Engine Ace (YEA) is quite comprehensive. Below is the list of scripts available (no direct links) at the time of writing this entry.
  • Enemy HP Bars - Add-On to Ace Battle Engine
  • Ace Battle Engine - Basic battle engine core for VX Ace
  • Force Move Tiles - Tiles that force you to move in a designated direction
  • TP Manager - Manage your TP system with FFX style overdrive modes
  • Ace Menu Engine - Add, remove, and reorganize commands to your main menu in Ace
  • Call Random Battle - Call random battles rather than set battles for events
  • Base Troop Events - Every battle now draws event data from one troop group
  • Party System - Enables for larger than 4 party sizes (or less than!) and a menu to go with it
  • Common Event Tiles - Bind common events to trigger upon stepping on certain tiles
  • Flip Pictures - VXAce still lacks the ability to flip pictures. Not anymore!
  • Slippery Tiles - Step on ice. You slip.
  • Adjust Limits - No longer be confined by 9999 MaxHP, 9999 MaxMP, etc.
  • Ace Core Engine - Bugfixes and small mods
11 December 2011

Sound Effects For RPG Maker

Sound effects are an integral part of a game, but finding the right one for a particular event can be tricky. Here are two of the best ones I know of and which I use frequently (not just for RPG Maker, but other projects as well). Best of all they're free! (Click on the title to open the corresponding website. They open in new tabs/windows.)
  • Find Sounds - This is the definitive site for sounds in my opinion. As its name suggests you can find all kinds of sounds there. If there's a particular sound you're looking for, you can almost certainly find it here. Formats are mostly in MP3 and WAV.
  • Free Sound - This is another definitive site, with a plethora of user-uploaded sounds. You need to create an account to download anything, and specific sounds are rather more difficult to find, but it's a worthwhile site nevertheless. Formats vary, including FLAC and AIF, but most are WAV.
10 December 2011

Zelda Forest Maze Demo RMXP

Zelda Maze Demo RMXPA day earlier than "scheduled", this is the downloadable demo for the Zelda Forest Maze Tutorial. Incidentally, the demo itself was uploaded to File Factory on Thursday. It's been checked for viruses using Comodo Antivirus and is clean.

Once the file has downloaded, double-click on it to open it and choose the folder name to extract to. The reason it's a self-extract file is because the file size is greatly reduced (for archiving I use 7-Zip as the compression rate is much greater, thereby reducing file size).

Thanks to Decanos for kicking me in the butt with this.
09 December 2011

Profile/Character Makers (Online)

Profile characters for the Status screen gives it a more aesthetic feeling, rather than sticking with the defaults, which tend to be too commonplace. Below are a few websites that will help create alternative for the Status screen. (Click on the titles to go to the corresponding websites.)

Anime Character Maker 2.2
Anime Character Maker 2.2This is a reincarnation (more like a reinvention almost) of one of the most well-known character makers online. This is one that I'm sure most RPG Maker fans will recognise. The original version had fewer options to choose from, but it looks like much more have been added already. One of the things that annoys me most is the garish colours, but it still works out. Unfortunately, as of yet, there's still no option to save, but that can be overcome by doing a Print Screen shot, although version 3 may well have the option to save. Look forward to that.

Hero Machine - Super Hero Generator
Randomised Character Using Hero Machine
This generator is designed (as the title says) to make super-hero type characters, although it has enough options to make appropriate characters in RPG Maker and it's certainly NOT lacking in options. You can choose two colours for your output, the first is the primary colour and the second is the highlighter. You can also add a companion, from a frog to a griffin and a background (you can't recolour the black-and-white backgrounds). There are also various themes to choose from. I absolutely love this and I'd recommend it to everyone, if not for RPG Maker then the sheer enjoyment. The one above was randomly generated and recoloured.

Portrait Illustration Maker
Portrait illustration created with Portrait Illustration MakerWhile this is specifically "a service which provides character icons completely free of charge...available for your blog site or SNS.", the graphics are cartoonish, but its online editor has a wealth of features. Output is 96x96 in PNG or JPG formats, so it might be a fun replacement for the facesets. (Caveat: I thought I saw somewhere on the website that images are not redistributable, although I'm not sure if it would be viable for RPG Maker. They require a "copyright link", which shouldn't be a problem for anyone. Just make sure you read through their terms before implementing them in RPG Maker.)

There are inevitably some I've overlooked. If you know of any decent ones, let me know in the comments and I'll check it out and update accordingly.
08 December 2011

Updates For The Weekend

RPG Maker Times Companion - Saturday

Sadly, the RPG Maker Times Companion has been neglected lately, but I'm aiming for some more content on Saturday. There are a plethora of utilities still out there for RPG Maker, so it's time to dig some of them out.

Zelda Maze Tutorial Demo - Sunday

There will be a downloadable demo for the Zelda Maze Tutorial, as requested by Decanos78 for both RMXP and RMVX. I'll have this uploaded by Sunday.

RPG Maker 2K3 Resurface

I've had a number of requests for RM2K3 tutorials, even though it's unarguably the best RPG Maker of them all and even though I've retired it in favour of the next-gen RPG Makers. I'm not sure I'll be doing anything with it, except for the Complete Chest Tutorial. Talking of which also for the weekend (and well into next week) I'm aiming to have a demo for the RMXP version.
06 December 2011

Map Location/Game Progress Script (RMXP)

This is a combination update of my Basic Map Location (this doesn't actually work properly in RMXP) and Game Progress scriptlets.

Map Location/Game Progress RMXP ScriptletIt's nothing fancy, just a simple, basic script because I'm not a scripter. I like to dabble and experiment, and often improve upon existing knowledge to slowly learn. If someone can find a use for it then they can use it or share it as they deem fit (observing copyrights) and feel free to drop a comment as to where and how it's used/shared.
05 December 2011

Experimenting With RPG Maker VX Ace Trial

My confession for the day is that I've been playing around with RPG Maker VX Ace (RMVXA from now on) ever since its official Japanese release. Curiosity just about killed me, so I couldn't resist downloading the demo. Of course, it was all in Japanese and I was totally lost for a while, but I had some fun guessing and experimenting.

However...the wonderful folks at RMVX Ace Games Net have provided an English translation patch for the trial version specifically for the short RMVXA game provided there too (the first one for RMVXA!). That means that I'm able to delve into it a bit more. Just for the experience.

Now the ONLY reason I did it this way, rather than wait (aside from "grasshopper syndrome"), is for review purposes and to deliver what we can expect from RMVXA IF Enterbrain deigns to bring out an English version. And they would be idiotic not to (but of course they are! *Wink*).

So what's it like? (By the way, no screenies here at the moment; they're on the RMVX Ace Games Net website.)

Demo Version Limitations

Virtually everything is fully functional, but it does have some serious limitations, which are listed below. Some of the items are a result of my own delving and some are based on the Googleated Enterbrain/Famitsu website.
  • "Open Projects" is not available, although when you open a New Project, it'll preload the sample map already provided, which you can play and from within the editor.
  • You can edit the map, including events, which are essentially the same as with RMVX, although only 10 maps and 10 events per map are allowed in the demo version.
  • There is a limited number of materials and graphics in the demo version. You cannot export materials, although you can import them.
  • Compress Data (for making a standalone, executable game) is disabled in the trial version, which means that while the games can be saved and played from within RMVXA, saved data is erased after RMVXA is closed.
  • In the Database, Actors, Classes, Items, etc. have a predetermined Max. Amount. You can edit them, but you can't add any more if they go above the predetermined upper limit.
  • You can view (and edit) the scripts, but saved script edits are automatically purged and returned to default once RMVXA is closed, essentially disabling the Save function.
  • Tne built-in Character Generator is limited to a minimum amount of options to choose from, allowing you to create basic characters, which have the element of sameness to them after a while.
  • All of the events commands work in the demo version (as far as I can determine), except for the "Play Video" event command according to Enterbrain's website. I've not had a chance to actually try this because I'm not sure how to convert movies to the OGV format yet.
  • The updater feature is not functional or compatible with the demo version.
  • The RTP (Runtime Package) in the demo version is limited to a pre-bundled package is only for "data collection relevant to the current session". In other words, as I've mentioned before, saved data is not actually saved but is reset each time RMVXA closes. The actual [official] RTP is provided separately, available after purchasing.
Yet, despite such limitations, you can still see its complete range of capabilities and you can definitely have a "feel" what the full version will be like. (For the impatient ones, I wonder how viable - and legal - it would be to purchase the Japanese version and use an English translation patch. Enterbrain would certainly want to avoid the "Don Miguel-RM2K/3 love affair" again. This is especially in light of the fact that Enterbrain has not officially announced an English version yet.)

So here are my first impressions of RMVXA, focusing specifically on its features and functionality. It's rather long, but gives a rough, certainly not comprehensive, idea of what RMVXA is all about. The following part is a bit long, though I hope not long-winded.
04 December 2011

Random Name Generators

If you're sometimes plagued by "developer's block", running out of ideas or trying to think of an appropriate character name or game title, then I have the site for you. I've used it primarily for my writings, but lately more specifically for character names.

The site is called Seventh Sanctum and trust me when I say it's loaded with generators, from names (including weird names, pirate ship names, and elven names) to character classes to plot ideas. It's all there!

While browsing around, below are a few of the gems that were generated:

RPG Name Generator
  • Fantasy: Hell of the Ghostly World
  • World of Grandia
  • Zeus' Gear: Armored War

Pirate Ship Name Generator
  • Dragon's Dream
  • Hades' Black Jewel
  • The Horrible Plague of the Seven Seas

Story Generator
The story is about a poet who hates a manipulative archer. It starts in a keep in a sophisticated country. The story begins with a shopping trip and ends with a religious ceremony. An important bloodline plays a prime part.
(And already with that the ideas and possibilities for a game are starting to trickle in, not that I will but the inspiration is certainly there!)

Even if you don't need to be inspired by randomness, the site is still worth a visit for its entertainment value, as some of the randomized output is quite humorous. And there are a LOT of generators to go through to idle away a harmless half-hour, but the chances are you'll still revisit whether for entertainment or when you need inspiration.
03 December 2011

Getting Ready For What's Coming

Getting Ready

While I've been spending more time using Ubuntu than Windows, and only a little time with the RPG Makers, I've not been idle. I'm counting down the days now for when the parts I need for my laptop arrive, which will mean proper experimentation with other RPG Makers. The major problem with this computer is its lack of memory. It's one of those medium-range computers that's "getting on a bit"; it only has two SDRAM slots, so upgrading to at least 1Gb (its maximum) is comparatively costly. Rather than investing in more RAM, I acquired a laptop instead, which needs some attention but it's getting there.

Dungeon Craft

I've been playing around with Dungeon Craft, experimenting with it, and I think I'm getting the hang of it so I'm hoping to have some material and/or tutorials soon.

Engine 001

Another RPG Maker I've been drawn to for a while is Engine 001, but haven't been able to run it. Probably a graphics card incompatibility. I'm hoping that it should work on the laptop, so we'll have to wait and see.

The Gladiator Project/Ars Mechanicum Genesis

My main projects, The Gladiator Project and Ars Mechanicum Genesis, are being worked on intermittently and the scripts are being reconstructed.

CW's Script Compendium

I've been updating many of the scriptlets on this blog, in addition to others I've written which haven't yet seen the light of day. These are being compiled for both RMXP and RMVX, so I'm hoping to have something tangible soon.
25 November 2011

Ars Mechanicum Genesis Novel - Sample

Here is a sample of my novel, Ars Mechanicum Genesis, which is the result of a poll I conducted a while ago on the subject. Around 64% of visitors wanted to read a sample, so here it is. (This is the first draft of the opening chapter after the Prologue, so there are inevitable spelling and typographical mistakes, which will be ironed out, of course, in the final draft.) Novel completion and publication dates are unknown as yet.

Nothing mattered to him any more, except for the calming, numbing relief bestowed upon him by mead. He wanted to die, but refused to die by his own hand. Suicide was the coward’s way out and he was certainly no coward.

He would rather die in a vicious street fight or a tavern brawl and he would often seek them out, sometimes instigating them himself just to get slashed by a knife blade or broken bottle. He didn’t care how he died, although deep down he harboured a secret desire to die honourably on the battlefield, where long after his death minstrels would regale their bardic tales of victory and glory. There was no greater honour for a warrior - even a luckless, rundown one like him - than to die fighting alongside his comrade-in-arms, fighting for something more worthy than a vagabond’s life.

For anyone interested in reading the full sample, it can be found on its official site.
21 November 2011

The Project Zelda Engine

Since the very first Zelda game, The Legend of Zelda, came out in 1987 for the NES, I've been hooked. My all-time favorite game is Ocarina of Time on the N64, which even now I still play on the console.

But playing them is one thing, so how would you like to create your own Zelda games on RMXP?

The Project Zelda Engine (aka Zelda Starter Kit) will allow you to do JUST that. It's for RMXP and has everything - and I mean everything you'll need to create your Zelda game.

Some of the features are:
  • Animated Title Screen
  • Horse Riding
  • Zelda HUD and Zelda-styled Inventory/Equipment
  • Hookshot (aka Clawshot)
  • Ocarina Songs (there are over 21 of them!)

I've only just downloaded this so will be experimenting with it over the next few weeks, including the hookshot, and will update then.

A Few Quick Updates

The RPG Maker Times Newsletter

The Newsletter will no longer be published. This is for three main reasons:
  1. It was something of an experiment, primarily to see if it was worthwhile. And, indeed it was, being able to boast 5 subscribers, all within a few months. Not bad considering I didn't actively promote it.
  2. It's too difficult to maintain properly, since the time to update it seems very elusive these days.
  3. There's not really enough content across the RPG Maker Times "Network" to justify it.
Therefore, as of the end of this week, it'll be shelved and archived. Thanks to those who did subscribe.

What Happened About The Layout Change?

This was a question I was asked recently in response to a poll I conducted a while ago. The short answer was that, in order to do this, I'd need to redesign the layout from scratch. And, while it is possible, it'd take too long to completely redesign one prototype layout, let alone three or four, for public review. And then porting the existing plugins, etc. I have with the current layout. Therefore, I decided to stick with the old one. That said, with Blogger's introduction of their "Dynamic Layouts" I may start experimenting again (to make life a bit easier).

Ubuntu Vs Windows

I'm gravitating more towards Ubuntu these days, only because it runs faster and smoother than Windows. It doesn't load the crap that Windows does when it starts up, initially lagging the system, nor does it hunger for more resources as time goes on. I don't have a hugely high-spec computer; it suffices for what I want it to do. Besides, money is tight, so I don't have too large a budget to play with.

The disadvantage of using Ubuntu is primarily compatibility with Windows-based software. WINE and other programs for running or emulating Windows programs are not that reliable, as the RMVX Ubuntu Test demonstrated.

Navigation Menu Change

It's about time the Flash nav menu at the top changed, as it lacks certain things, although I've not decided what to include there or how to redo it - whether to simply change its content and categories, to do away with the menu altogether and implement a more dynamic Table of Contents (including pages). Suggestions are always welcome, of course.

Heard About RPG Maker 20XX?

Neither have I, but discovered it by accident. This is what it says on its website:

To address the old-age and technology of RPG Maker 2003′s RPG Runtime engine, a replacement will be written that implements more modern features. This is intended to work both as a 1-1 replacement for the RPG_RT.exe executable and as an extender to allow features which would be cumbersome to implement conventionally as event scripts.

There are also a long string of bugs and feature requests that will be addressed with this engine, especially the more commonly known battle bugs and speed/agility problems.

Sounds like it would be useful, except I haven't had a chance to use it yet. I'd have to dig my RM2K3 - it can be used with RM2K and RM2K3 - and its projects out of limbo, as it seems to be semi-reliant on the Maker's base materials, the RPG_RT, to work. When I have more time I may check into it further. (I wonder what the implied legalities are with this.)

EDIT: It appears that this project has been cancelled. You can most likely still download it if you search for it.
19 November 2011

Complete Chest Tutorial - RMXP/VX Redux

I'm still asked about how to create treasure chests, so I'm planning on bringing the Complete Chest Tutorial up-to-date, tailoring for RMXP and RMVX.

Regular visitors will already know about the RM2K3 tutorial I did, and it's easy enough to customize for RMXP/VX, but I'd like to expand upon it. I have a few ideas already, especially for more dynamic and randomized contents via scripting rather than pure eventing.

This is what I've covered so far:
  • Chapter 1: Basic Chests
  • Chapter 2: Locked Chests
  • Chapter 3: Random Contents
  • Chapter 4a: Combination Locks (Basic)
  • Chapter 4b: Combination Locks (Advanced)
  • Chapter 5: Trapped Chests
  • Chapter 6: Picking Locks
  • Chapter 7: Monster-In-A-Box
  • Chapter 8: Items by Level (Hero Level)

  • Extra Chapter 1: Front Opening

These are some ideas I've planned (some have been requested), so if you'd like to add to the list, feel free to leave your ideas in the comments and I'll go from there.

  • Trap Disarm Skill - Used in combination with Chapter 5
  • Lockpicking Skill - Used in combination with Chapter 6
  • Monster-In-A-Box based on level - Used in combination with Chapter 7
  • Treasure based on terrain/map ID - Omitted previously
  • Dynamic Randomized Content - Event/script based
  • Treasure Trail - Find the clues in order, then go to the location for the next clue, right up until you find the treasure (more like a mini game than a tutorial)
  • Disappearing Chests - The chests disappear after being opened (with some animation)
  • Monster Kill Chests - Chests only appear after a certain number of monsters are killed
18 November 2011

RPG Maker VX Ace Features Breakdown

It looks like the scheduled Japanese release date for RMVX Ace is December 15, 2011, with no announced date for an English version yet, although it might be a few months after the Japanese release or it might be longer. According to their official website, the operating specifications are:
  • OS: Japanese version of Windows XP/Vista/7 (both 32- and 64-bit)
  • CPU: Pentium 4 2.0 GHz processor
  • RAM: At least 512Mb
  • Display: 1024x768 or greater
  • HDD Space: Minimum 400Mb
  • DirectX: Yes, DirectX compatibility is a prerequisite
  • Internet: Internet connection for authentication

These are the minimum, anticipated stablest specs required, though the website doesn't guarantee RMVX Ace will work efficiently, depending on how the Maker is used.

RPG Maker VX Ace adds following features:
  • Updated RGSS (Ruby Game Scripting System) to version 3;
  • Return of multiple tile sets support (omitted in RMVX), which includes "passability" and "bush";
  • Modifiable skill and item attack damage formulae, set in the Database;
  • A character generator (based on the Chibi characters, which I personally do not like one bit!), as well as a corresponding character portrait editor;
  • Additional effects, such as "provocation" and "cover";
  • Characters will follow you around "caterpillar" style, i.e. walking in formation on the map;
  • The addition of a fifth party member;
  • Increased eventing functionality;
  • Adjustable damage formulae;
  • Customizable combat scene background, comprising 2 mergable background images;
  • Introduction of a new regular battle parameter, "TP", which accumulates during combat and when it reaches its maximum allows a new, devastating attack, usually known as "Overdrives", "Limit Breaks" or "Finishers";
  • The return of movies in the event scripting, this time in OGG Theora format (I don't know anything about that).

17 November 2011

RPG Maker VX on Ubuntu (Test)


RPG Maker XP and VX are designed to run on the Windows platform, so trying to get it to work on Ubuntu (fast becoming my preferred OS) is tricky and fickle. While it's easy enough to install in Windows, installing in Ubuntu can be a somewhat lengthy process. Furthermore, there are still some incompatibility issues to deal with, such as DirectX, sound issues and the RTP, and even with that there are no guarantees that it'll work for a particular system, if at all.

Note: This only applies to RMVX, as I couldn't get RMXP to run at all.


Caveat: Follow the instructions EXACTLY! Don't skip a step, as this may lead to instability. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, then don't. You do this at your own risk. I'm not held accountable for anything that might compromise your system. It's the procedure that I took (after prolonged study and experimentation) to get RMVX functional.

I'll assume that most Linux/Ubuntu users are confident enough with the system, so I'll go straight into the installation process:
  1. Install Wine,
  2. Install DirectX,
  3. Install Timidity, and
  4. Install RMVX.

Install Wine

Note that Wine is not an emulator, it's an open-source project that allows you to run software designed for Windows on other operating systems (such as Linux and Mac OS). It's worth visiting the Wine website to read up on it.

First, go to the Wine Download page and follow the instructions there or open up a Terminal window (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal) and type:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install wine

This will install the latest version of Wine and it'll be ready to use. Now, you can install and run many of your favorite Windows games and applications through Wine, just like you would normally. (There should be a shortcut in Applications; if there isn't, rebooting should do the trick or continue using the Terminal.)
15 November 2011

RPG Maker VX Ace Announced

A new RPG Maker is scheduled for release, entitled VX Ace, boasting new features and customizability. I'm in favour of a new one, especially after RMVX's "failure", but in truth I'm a little more sceptical about it. The major problem I have with RMVX is the tileset limitation, although by the sounds of it that won't be a problem any more.

Here's the English promo video, uploaded on the 10th of this month. (Since I've been offline, therefore out of touch, I've only just played catchup!)

From what I can gather it's basically RMVX with a lot more features (including some of the omitted ones), including character customization and "finishing" moves for battles, as well as an upgraded RGSS (RGSS3).

I'll be posting more about RMVXA a bit later. But, trust me, I'll be watching this one very closely!

Finally Back Online

I finally got the Internet back, but have been busy specifically with coursework as well as volunteering at CHAD.

I'm currently using Ubuntu and warming up to it rapidly. I used a much earlier version while in Canada but, back then, it was a little less user-friendly. My computer's actually dual-booting Ubuntu/Windows XP, but the major problem is lack of memory (mine as well as the computer's) and, while RPG Maker XP/VX does run it doesn't run very well. When I built the computer I thought it had at least 500Mb of RAM, but instead it only has 256Mb. So the result is, well, slow! A snail on a cold day runs faster! Anyway, I'll be upgrading the RAM (hopefully) to at least a Gig.

I tried running RMVX on Ubuntu (under Wine) with very limited results. It can be done, but, unfortunately, there's more against this method than for. I'll write up a report in a future entry.

In the meantime, I'll be looking into updating the navigation menu, as well as working on a few tutorials soon, possibly a few scriptlets (I don't know yet), as well as researching some of the other RPG Makers, so RPG Maker Times can get back on track.
01 November 2011

Counting Down The Days

I'm now counting down the days when I will (if all goes well) be reconnected in my new apartment. D-Day is around the 8th or 9th of November.

Dungeon Craft

While I've been offline, I've been experimenting with Dungeon Craft, which is an RPG Maker intended to mimic SSI's Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures (FRUA). Once I'm familiarised enough with it, I'll start placing tutorials on RPG Maker Times as well.

Dungeon Crafter III

Another useful piece of software I've found is the flavoursome Dungeon Crafter III (not to be confused with the above one). This is a map (dungeon) creator, with some stunning graphics available and multi-layers for the maps for tabletop RPG games. Do people still play those any more? I've not had a chance to experiment fully with this, but from what I can see so far, it's quite useful for those dungeon romps that predominated almost every tabletop RPG game. Unfortunately, the forum and members area appear to be down; I'm not sure if this is permanent or temporary, but you can still download DCIII for free.

Fighting Fantasy

I've also rediscovered some of my old gamebooks, including the highly successful Fighting Fantasy, which is still going strong after all these years, after almost three decades! Truly spectacular. I had so much fun with these (and other gamebooks). At one point I had over 150 of them! I don't know whether to include them on here or not, since they're not actually RPG Makers, but I think they deserve a mention anyway. Perhaps another poll might be in order! ^__^

Poll Results

I've closed the poll results in favour of another one. To the question Would you be interested in reading a sample of the Ars Mechanicum: Genesis novel?, 62.5% said "Yes", 12.5% said "No" and 25% are "Not Bothered", so the majority would like to see a sample. I'll prepare something for late November/early December if I can.

That's it for another entry. I should have something more concrete in about two weeks.
16 October 2011

No Updates For A While

As the title says, there won't be updates for a while. It's not out of choice, it's just that I'm relocating and won't have easy access to a computer. These past few months in particular have been stressful - coursework, apartment-hunting, seasonal flu, and a plethora of other things to preoccupy my time - but once I've settled into my new apartment I'm sure that things will return to "normal".

In the meantime, while waiting for the internet, I'll be writing a lot of short stories, articles and tutorials. And will also be continuing with the Ars Mechanicum novel as well.

Bear with me through this "transition". Once I can get going again, there'll be more regular updates than previously (everything's going to start settling down again, I'm sure!).
06 October 2011

RPG Maker Times Facebook and Other Updates

RPG Maker Times on Facebook

RPG Maker Times now has its own page on Facebook Page. This is primarily part of the expansion planned for 2012, where there will be regular features and competitions. In the new year, RPG Maker Times will include some of the other RPG Makers as well as MMORPGs, editors and creators. The "official" Facebook page is where these particular updates will regularly go.

RPG Maker Newsletter Launch

The RPG Maker Times Newsletter was launched today and the very first edition was sent to subscribers. Click here to subscribe. You can unsubscribe at any time. Don't worry I'm not going to spam your emails - I absolutely detest the idiots that think sending spam is cool - and will only send the newsletter to you (quite irregularly as it happens).
03 October 2011

Beautiful Airship Sequence - RMXP

I'd forgotten how bloody nightmarish moving can be! Been going around in circles for what seems like an eternity, and I admit I got a little too overwhelmed, hence the lack of updates.

Anyway, I happened across this on my Twitter account and thought it was so cool I just had to share it.

05 September 2011

Ars Mechanicum Novel Update

Progress on the novel is going at full steam, but progress on the game is virtually at a stop. I'd like to get at least the first novel written before developing the game further, since the two will be a natural progression of one another and will tie up some loose ends.

In the beginning, when I first started writing the novella, it was meant to be a tie-in with the game anyway, with the game literally starting right where the story left off, but as the plot developed it became increasingly more complex. It was apparent that some additional background into the storyline was needed because without it, there were more questions than answers, even with the information being released in the game. So the starting point for the novella was a brief introduction to the characters and how they came to be at the tavern at the very beginning of the game.

As the novella developed, however, it started expanding rapidly. Further plot and story ideas gushed out, new characters and their histories entered into the picture, and the mythos behind the novella was further elaborated upon.

Thus, the novella has developed into a full novel. Depending on how the story evolves, it may become a trilogy. The working titles for the Ars Mechanicum trilogy would be:

Edit: 3 Sep, 2011
  • Genesis Legacy - Where it all begins. The prequel to the game.
  • Legacy Genesis - The after-shocks of Genesis. The game is loosely based on this one.
  • Endgame - The culmination of events and loose ends tie-up.

There is no fixed release date on Genesis, as I'm still writing it. It's about a quarter of the way completed, so we'll probably be looking at sometime next year before anything concrete happens.

That said, I may be releasing a sample chapter earlier than that, depending on the results from RPG Maker Times. If interested in viewing the sample chapter, make your vote count (no closing date yet).
04 September 2011

RPG Maker Web RMVX Tutorials

In case you're not aware already - and you should be - the "official" RPG Maker makers are on Facebook or Twitter. I would highly recommend following them there if you have accounts at one or both of these places, as you'll get first dibs on their newest products and add-ons, such as the "critically acclaimed" Samurai add-on pack.

Anyway, I digress. They've been creating a comprehensive list of very useful tutorials for RMVX on their official site, RPG Maker Web (link leads directly to the tutorials page).

So far they have 18 tutorials. I probably won't update this as they'll be "be continuing this series with a new tutorial every Friday". Note: None in the list are linked; this'll just give you a better idea on what tutorials they have (on the website itself all tutorials are in PDF format, including pictures with a step-by-step guide for each).
  • Level 1 - Creating a Story Line
    • Step 1: Creating a Story Line.
  • Level 2 - Drawing Maps
    • Step 2: Setting Up a New Project.
    • Step 3: Preparing to Draw Maps.
    • Step 4: Drawing Maps.
    • Step 5: Testing Maps.
  • Level 3 - Creating a Castle
    • Step 6: Creating the Good King's Castle.
    • Step 7: Using Quick Event Creation (Transfer).
  • Level 4 - Talking with the King
    • Step 8: Talking with the King.
    • Step 9: Organize Events with Switches.
    • Step 10: Enhancing Events with Event Page.
  • Level 5 - Creating a Main Character
    • Step 11: Creating an Original Main Character.
    • Step 12: Bringing your Initial Party Together.
  • Level 6 - Creating a Village
    • Step 13: Creating Minato Port.
    • Step 14: Using the Map Tree.
    • Step 15: Creating Doors with Quick Events.
  • Level 7 - Creating Shops
    • Step 16: Creating Villagers.
    • Step 17: Creating the Inn.
    • Step 18: Creating the Weapon Shop.
    • Step 19: Creating the Item Shop.
  • Level 8 - Recruiting a Team
    • Step 20: Creating Villagers.
    • Step 21: Recruiting Teammates.
  • Level 9 - Getting a Boat
    • Step 22: Considering the Flow of Events.
    • Step 23: Linking the Boat Event.
  • Level 10 - Creating a Dungeon
    • Step 24: Using the Terrain to Guide Player Movement
    • Step 25: Using the Generate Dungeon Function.
  • Level 11 - Placing Treasure Chests
    • Step 26: Quick Event Creation - Treasure Chest
    • Step 27: Understanding Self Switches
  • Level 12 - Creating a Locked Door
    • Step 28: Preparing the Locked Door
    • Step 29: Creating the Locked Door Event
    • Step 30: Placing a Key in a Treasure Chest
  • Level 13 - Creating Yes/No Player Options
    • Step 31: Constructing the Airship Event
    • Step 32: Creating a Yes/No Player Option
  • Level 14 - Creating a Dungeon 2
    • Step 33: Planning the Lair
    • Step 34: Drawing the Dungeon Map
    • Step 35: Setting Traps
  • Level 15 - Creating a Puzzle
    • Step 36: Outlining the Puzzle
    • Step 37: Using Variables
  • Level 16 - Useful Functions to Remember
    • Step 38: Playtest Functions
    • Step 39: Using Control Characters
  • Level 17 - Creating a Puzzle Part 2
    • Step 40: Outlining the Puzzle Part 2
    • Step 41: Variables in Use
  • Level 18 - Creating Monsters
    • Step 42: Monster Settings (Parameter Curve)
    • Step 43: Monster Settings (Actions Patterns)
28 August 2011

Resource Sites for RPG Maker

I've been using RPG Maker for awhile, as regular visitors will know, so it would be inevitable that I'd have some graphical resource sites at hand. In fact, my collection of bookmarks is huge! Sadly, however, some of the sites have faded into obscurity. These are some of the best resource sites that I know of, and I'll be adding more some time as well.

  • Etorie Material (RMXP/VX) - A Japanese resource site with the slant on anime. All resources here are good quality. Windowskins are for RMXP for the most part. — English version (Google Translated)
  • Mutation Genes Similation T.D. Lab (RM2K3/XP/VX) - A Japanese site with some stunning graphics for all RPG Maker platforms, from Title/Game Over screens to transitions to message backgrounds. — English version (Google Translated)
  • Neo RTP (RMVX) - This Japanese site has very few resources on it, but it's mentioned because it's the only one I know of with "school" themed resources, from characters to windowskins.
  • Onirology (RPG-Maker) (RM2K3/XP/VX) - A French site with a few resources, but they are quite good, including Windowskins. The site does not appear to have been updated for a while.
  • Zanyzora's RMXP Resources RMXP - Contains a comparatively small amount of resources, but good ones nevertheless. Some are matching sets and some are add-ons too, including ships. It does not appear that the site has been updated for a while.
25 August 2011

Another "Still Here" Update

I just realised today that the Flash menu was horrendously out of date, so I'll get a more up to date menu up tomorrow.

The Ars Mechanicum (pseudo-) domain name has gone. Apparently there weren't enough monthly "hits" so it got suspended. Oh well, at this point it doesn't matter. I've not been promoting it actively because the focus right now is still on The Gladiator Project.

As far as Ars Mechanicum itself, it hasn't been abandoned, just placed on the back burner for now. Not completely, however, since I'm also busy writing (rewriting to second draft) the novellas and expanding them, fleshing them out. A few hours a night, except when my head fills up with imagery, then I have to write it all down before my head explodes. Next update, I think I'll try and get some windowskins/resources up. We'll see how it goes though.
17 August 2011

Start Menu Screenshot - TGP

This is the start menu for TGP. Click on the image for a larger view (opens in a new window/tab).

Start Menu - The Gladiator Project

A translation of the Latinesque on this menu can be viewed on the Glossary page, under "In-Game Menu".
15 July 2011

Game Reviews Coming Soon

I must confess that I should have been working on my own projects, but instead I've been playing a few RPG Maker games over the past few months so now it's time to finally start reviewing them. I did mention a while back about doing this. Now is the time, I guess, so over the next few weeks I'll try and get some reviews up.

Among the games that will be reviewed (in no particular order) are:
  • Intelligence by Bizarre Monkey
  • Spellbinder by OriginalWij
  • The Cartographer by Avadan
  • The Lore of Lorewyn by Hard Triangle (Christian Clinton)

To keep things simple, the reviews will contain the following categories:
  • Storyline: The actual plot, including story and character development.
  • Graphics: The use of graphics and graphical effects.
  • Music/Sound: The music used throughout the game and effective use of sound effects (including speech).
  • Gameplay: How well the game plays and general ease of use.
  • Overall: The final score, based on the overall feel of the gaming experience.

I haven't decided whether to score using percentages or a simple star system - most likely the latter - but that will probably come after the first review has been written. It may mean that I'll have to replay the games as a reminder of what's what, but that doesn't matter too much.

I'll try to get the first review up within the week.
04 July 2011

The Gladiator Project - Redux Update #2

Some good news and bad news!

The good news is that TGP has finally found a new host. You can access it still by using its domain name. I'll be balancing between the two versions, RMXP and RMVX, as they will be synchronously developed, not so much the scripts yet, just the maps and storyline.

The bad news is that no thanks to Heliohost, I lost the previous (latest) updates - no time to backup, since I could never access the site! That means that I'll have to redo and redesign it. Not necessarily a bad thing, just annoyingly time-consuming!

Second (or third) time around usually works out better in the end, so I'll be modifying it bit by bit over the next few weeks - time permitting - to get it back on track.
13 June 2011

TGP: Good News, Bad News

Unfortunately, I was forced to terminate my account at Heliohost, the "company" hosting The Gladiator Project. They proved to be so unreliable I thought, Enough really is enough. (They say "bad luck" comes in threes...Well, this is now the third strike! So now things can get back on track!)

What this means is that I'll have to find another much better, more reliable webhost and, while the project itself is still being developed, updates will have to continue on Blogger for a while. Not a bad thing, right?

Bearing in mind that I don't have much time to work almost exclusively on the projects any more due to work and certain limitations imposed on computer/internet use, eventually there will be two versions of TGP: one for RMXP and one for RMVX, each one will have different features and scripts, but the storyline will be approximately the same.

There will be in-game movies after all, if I can get around to creating them, but they will be playing full screen, which is the only way I can get them to work efficaciously.

And finally, I had uploaded a playable demo for TGP at last, but it was taken off again as soon as Heliohost did its stoopid. I'll have to redo it and re-upload it as soon as I have time.
07 June 2011

I'm Back Kinda

I'm back and half-running. After a string of bad luck, including not having the internet for 3 intolerable weeks and a serious bout of sinusitis for a week and a half (for which I finally relented and went to the doctor's for some antibiotics) - things should get back on track.

Another serious problem is Heliohost. That's where I hosted The Gladiator Project and co-hosted the RPG Maker Times Windowskins. The trouble is that it's proven itself as reliable as a chocolate fireguard. So I'll be terminating my account there and looking for somewhere else.

What I'm hoping for is to find somewhere reliable where I can host all of my projects and subsites. I've been using Wordpress for the majority of these side-blogs because of the additional versatility. However, RPG Maker Times will remain on Blogger, as I've been using it practically since its inception and it's still my favorite.

While I was "away", I did create a few more scripts - primarily while experimenting with a few things - which I'm hoping to put on another subsite along with the other scripts.

I'd like to put a load of tutorials online as well, but we'll have to see how that goes.
16 May 2011

Extended Hiatus

I'll be taking off for a while - an undetermined amount of time, in fact. Fate can be a fickle mistress at the best of times, sometimes more so; she can be gracious and forgiving, rewarding greatly, or she can be cruel and unforgiving, taking things away. She has delivered the latter, so I'm taking a "timeout".

This means that, for a while at least, all projects and blogs, all RPG Maker updates, has had to be put on hold. At least until I've sorted through these vicissitudes.

Thanks go to all visitors, and thanks to all whose unswerving support and encouragement has meant that the following (and the other RPG Maker projects) can continue:

Be back soon.
06 May 2011

Windowskins Repository Complete

The "Windowskins Repository" is now complete (or at least it will be today), containing all of the windowskins on RPG Maker Times.

This means that, while I will still feature some windowskins on RPG Maker Times, in the future most of the windowskins I create will be updated on the RPG Maker Windowskins repository blog, so be sure to either check the "Sister Blogs" section in the sidebar or subscribe to the newsletter to keep up to date.

I realised something, though: There are more RMVX windowskins than RMXP windowskins, so after today's update to transfer all of the windowskins here, I'll aim to implement one per day on RPG Maker Windowskins, this time for both RPG Makers.
02 May 2011

Windowskins Repository

All of the windowskins for RMXP and RMVX have been collected and placed on the RPG Maker Windowskins blog. As more are available they'll also be added to here, conveniently in one place and categorised accordingly.

I expect to have a few more windowskins by the weekend - time permitting - for both RMXP and RMVX, once again using the nonpareil Hiper Windowskin Maker, which will create windowskins for both RPG Makers simultaneously.
24 April 2011

The Gladiator Project - Redux Update #1

The official The Gladiator Project site has had a redesign - be sure to check it out and for all the latest updates as well.

Although progress has been slow, it's been steady. I started work on the actual gameplay already, including some of the minigames, and the flow doesn't stop there. To quote Jack London:
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
So, beating this inspiration with a clava, stabbing it with a pilum and hacking at it with a gladius, TGP is going at full speed and it seems - for now - there's no stopping it.

This also means that I'll be dedicating a lot more time to it and its development, but will only be posting updates on the "official" site, with brief details here. To keep updated, as always, not only with updates on TGP but RPG Maker Times as well, interested parties can sign up for the regular newsletter.
11 April 2011

The Gladiator Project - First Screenshots

Regular visitors will know already that The Gladiator Project Redux is underway, this time for RMXP. Progress has been slow but steady, so here are several screenshots. In time, I'll also have a video demo too when there's much more content and gameplay available.


TGP Introduction
This is the introduction page, which uses Moghunter's Animated Title Screen (basic version). The current layered images are from the movie Gladiator but will change later. The menu commands are in Latinesque (the term I coined for the pieced-together Latin words), but moving the cursor up and down will display the English translation in the "help" box on the right.
06 April 2011

RPG Maker Times May Be Relocating

This is a notice to all visitors to RPG Maker Times. I may be relocating the blog to Wordpress. This is in light of the recent "Stop Badware" alerts, which have become the bane of my life and which are unfounded for this blog.

I've been using Blogger practically since the beginning and have had NO major problems with Google or Stop Badware in the past with this blog. So why now? Even with "cleaning" it and then waiting for another review, it will still not be resolved quickly or efficaciously.

I will "remove" the offending "badware" and reconfigure the widgets they link to, but if nothing has changed within a week from this post, then RPG Maker Times (and its companion sites) will be ported over to Wordpress, and in time the Blogger ones will be closed!

Most likely it's just my end and I'm the one being paranoid, but I may port over to Wordpress anyway, since Wordpress is much more versatile and is fast becoming my preferred bloghost now. If this is eventually the case, then this blog will most likely only contain resources - as those in the "Popular Posts" tab on the right hand side.
29 March 2011

In The Name of Internet Paranoia

It seems that in the name of internet paranoia, this blog has been flagged as "badware" by Stop Badware, which is ABSOLUTE CRAP! There IS NO badware or other malware on here!

The culprit is apparently a group of Javascript files (used for some of the widgets) that apparently link to "flagged" sites. I am NOT responsible for links actually on that site, only for the content contained in the JS files, which only contains the code for the widgets.

I've submitted a review, but that'll take time. This happened last year as well but to my "business" website and as a result, I lost business. There was NO badware on that site either. By the time it was all cleared up, I closed the site; it had been "flagged" for too long.

Meantime I will be disabling that damn option in Firefox and keeping it off. And I'd recommend others do the same, since some of the sites that shouldn't be flagged are being flagged, simply because they contain a link to a link to a link that has some semblance of badware on it. And the badware message that is displayed because of it with the legendary "Get me out of here!" button is enough to place the fear of God into the nescient! It's just freaking ridiculous that they don't actually check the site FIRST before placing that overbearing, scaremongering message!

Ok, rant over! Hopefully it WILL be resolved soon, otherwise there will be hell to pay...again!
26 March 2011

Tempus Fugit

I'm still around, though haven't been active with RPG Maker. I've been commissioned to design some websites, which has taken up most of my time. And so with deadlines looming, it's a race to get them finished before the end of the month.

In the mean time, here's the official Enterbrain RPG Maker site (in case you didn't already know about it): RPG Maker Series Official Website.

From here, you can purchase all three of their Makers:
  • RPG Maker VX - $59.99
  • RPG Maker XP - $29.99
  • IG Maker - $59.99

I'd absolutely love to purchase the IG Maker but don't have enough funds yet. Since they accept Paypal now (they didn't in the past), I'll be saving up just to see what that's about.

And here's their official Facebook page.

I'm there too, if anyone's interested: Companion Wulf at Facebook or RPG Maker Times on Facebook.

That's it for another update, such as it is.
10 March 2011

RPG Makers Update

I will no longer be supporting RM2K3 as actively as before, as the main focus will now be for RMXP and RMVX. Although I may still produce tutorial demos and mini-games for RM2K3, there won't be as many RM2K3-based tutorials; these will be primarily for the other RPG Makers.

I'm in the process of compiling the windowskins on RPG Maker Times and placing them on a separate blog. This will allow for easier access, including specific search keywords. Then, in the future, most of the windowskins will most likely be developed for both RMXP and RMVX. To view the windowskins at a glance, you can visit the RPG Maker Windowskins blog.

Since both of my projects are being developed simultaneously, updates are available on their separate sites and they will be revamped over the next few weeks. To keep up-to-date with the projects, click on the links below (and update any bookmarks accordingly):

Yes, Ars Magia has been officially renamed. This is to better reflect the nature of the game. It's actually gone back to its "grass roots", based on the previously named series of short-short stories I wrote, but integrated into the novella and game.

As always, to keep abreast of developments with the projects and blog updates, don't forget to subscribe to the newsfeeds or newsletter.
08 March 2011

The Gladiator Project Redux

The Gladiator Project is back in development after being on hold for a while. So this means that I'm now working on two projects and balancing between the two.

After originally developing it for RMVX, because of its limitations, I decided to experiment with it in RMXP, and found a formula that works quite well with it.

The menu system has been redesigned from scratch, along with some features not present in the RMVX version. I've already started designing the characters and maps, so will have something more tangible soon.

For more information, visit the "official" Gladiator Project site. Or subscribe to the newsfeeds or newsletter for updates on RPG Maker Times, including new posts and project updates.
05 March 2011

Resource Sites for RPG Maker #1

I've been using RPG Maker for awhile, as regular visitors will know, so it would be inevitable that I'd have some graphical resource sites at hand. In fact, my collection of bookmarks is huge! Sadly, however, some of the sites have faded into obscurity. These are some of the best resource sites, listed in an almost comprehensive list.

Where applicable, sites have been translated into English using Google Translate.

(RMXP/VX) A Japanese resource site with the slant on anime. All resources here are good quality. Windowskins are for RMXP for the most part.

(RM2K3/XP/VX) A Japanese site with some stunning graphics for all RPG Maker platforms, from Title/Game Over screens to transitions to message backgrounds.
  • Neo RTP (RMVX) - This Japanese site has very few resources on it, but it's mentioned because it's the only one I know of with "school" themed resources, from characters to windowskins.
  • Onirology (RPG-Maker) (RM2K3/XP/VX) - A French site with a few resources, but they are quite good, including Windowskins. The site does not appear to have been updated for a while. — English version (Google Translated)
  • Zanyzora's RMXP Resources RMXP - Contains a comparatively small amount of resources, but good ones nevertheless. Some are matching sets and some are add-ons too, including ships. It does not appear that the site has been updated for a while.
24 February 2011

Forthcoming Updates & Other News

Life has been hectic, as it tends to do, especially when you have so many projects on the go that there's no time to complete them all. I thought I'd publish a new update.

In the next few posts (time permitting), I'd like to publish the following:

  • A list of all of the resource websites for RPG Maker - finally!
  • Some more windowskins, perhaps this time including some of the specific designs that visitors have been looking for (according to trends outlined in Statcounter and Google Analytics).
  • Another update on Ars Magia 1: Genesis, which, by the way, will officially be given the name change of Ars Mechanica. This is primarily to avoid all confusion with Atlus Games' tabletop RPG and any subsequent possible copyright infringements.
  • A few more tutorials, including expansions to the Complete Chest Tutorial, along with demos for all RPG Makers.
  • A better navigation bar, which will include all collections across the RPG Maker Times network.

The Ars Magia novella - also officially renamed Ars Mechanica - is nearing completion, at least as a prequel to the game. It is being expanded to a full novel prior to publication; I'm hoping this will be mainstream, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Ars Mechanica, the game, is at a standstill, but only because I'm creating and translating the maps and trying to decide whether or not an overland main map a la Final Fantasy would work better than the original interlinking maps I had in mind.

Regular readers will probably know that I've been experimenting with and reworking The Gladiator Project for use with RMXP. I must say that it is working much better than in RMVX and I'm having a great deal of fun with it. So, some time in the near future I will officially be continuing with it.

So ends another update. I'll obviously have way too much to occupy my time over the next few days, weeks even, but I'll post something soon!
16 February 2011

Time For A New Layout - Poll Results

According to the poll results for January/February 2011, the majority of voters want a facelift for RPG Maker Times. Over 60% of voters in fact.

Interestingly, 27.27% are in favour of a layout change, 36.36% want to see a prototype first, and 18.18% are either in favour of keeping this one or aren't bothered. That leaves 63.63% total votes for the new facelift. Aside from these double digits or "gateway" numbers, numerologically speaking, is that the totals (63.63) equals 9 - 63+63 = 126; 1+2+6 = 9 or 6+3 and 6+3 = 9 and 9; 9+9 = 18; 1+8 = 9.

Among the numerological meanings for the number 9 (with the blog and its new layout in mind) are:
  • Socially Conscious - Encouraging visitors to have a say in its direction and layout, including with prototype templates, and acting on it as best I can. The blog is even being shared on Facebook and other social networks.
  • Improvement/Betterment - Throughout its development, this blog has tried to accommodate visitors' needs (in so far as it can) and add widgets to make life easier, such as a navigation menu. And, of course, I'm constantly searching for ways to improve it.
  • Imagination and Creativity - Well, it's certainly that. Trying to find articles and tutorials that many would find useful and interesting.
  • Sharing - Given that over the years, it's been shared with so many people, and they in return have often shared their comments (both as post comments and on the shoutbox).
  • Popularity and/or Nobility - RPG Maker Times can now boast an average of about 120 hits per day and has achieved a Google Rank of 2 lately, with its popularity in the search engines also increasing.

Of course, I won't be able to accommodate everyone's wishes, but over the next few weeks I will develop 3 templates and when they are ready, visitors can vote on which one they like best. The template with the most votes will then be implemented.
09 February 2011

Is That The Time Already?

I just realised it's February already - almost Valentine's Day! I hadn't even thought about it until today, which means I only have four days left to do something romantic for my "significant other"!

That doesn't mean I've abandoned this blog either, although I must admit to my newest addiction: Resort World on Facebook! It's become the bane of my life, building and trying to keep up! Their Valentine's Day "promo buildings" reminded me actually. EDIT: Inactive.

Aside from spending a little too much time playing the game, I've been spending more time writing, this time trying my hand at sci-fi, although it's not the hardcore type. Just a short story set in the not-so-far-away future.

Work has also continued on Ars Magia: Genesis, but I'm at a standstill with that. Trying to get the maps just right is proving problematic, especially the overland map. I'll figure it out one way or another because I'd like to get a playable demo out soon! EDIT: The project is defunct.

In between, I've also been experimenting with a workable formula for rebuilding The Gladiator Project in RMXP RMVX. And I've realised that some features that were available in the RMVX version may need to be sacrificed in favour of other features. But I'm still playing around with it.

Finally, based on the poll results so far (in the right-hand sidebar), it seems that changing the layout of RPG Maker Times is inevitable, provided prototypes can be viewed - and voted on - first. So, I've been experimenting with different styles, colour schemes and layouts. Certainly, for the newest incarnation - you could say "version 3" - I'd like to add additional features, such as a better navigation menu, a table of contents, maybe some games showcases, and maybe even a forum and live chat! Who knows where it'll lead. That might be an idea for another poll.

I'll try to get a list of *good* resource sites for the next few entries.
26 January 2011

RMXP/VX Windowskins #1

After having discovered the peerless Hiper WindowSkin Maker, windowskins for both RMXP and RMVX will now be placed in a single entry. There's no need for separate entries, but as usual all new windowskins will be easily accessible either from the RMXP Windowskins or RMVX Windowskins index pages.

Let's get the ball rolling and deliver some more windowskins.


Dragonis Gothic Horror
Dragonis - RMXP Windowskin Gothic Horror - RMXP Windowskin
Futuristic #1 Futuristic #2
Futuristic 1 - RMXP Windowskin Futuristic 2 - RMXP Windowskin


Dragonis Gothic Horror
Dragonis - RMVX Windowskin Gothic Horror - RMVX Windowskin
Futuristic #1 Futuristic #2
Futuristic 1 - RMVX Windowskin Futuristic 2 - RMVX Windowskin
25 January 2011

Hiper RMXP/RMVX Windowskin Maker

DownloadI'm sure that RPG Maker enthusiasts and visitors to RPG Maker Times alike are aware of the Windowskin Generator VX and the Windowskin Maker XP by now. These are two separate programs: the VX one loads via RMVX or separately and the XP one is a standalone program.

Wouldn't it be cool if both windowskin creators were combined, where instead of having to create RMXP and RMVX windowskins separately, you could use a single program to create both simultaneously? If such a program existed, it would certainly make life much easier!

Well, such a program DOES exist, thanks to the superlative talents of one Narvelan, a nonpareil Brazilian programmer, who has created the peerless Hiper WindowSkin Maker (version 1.0 BETA). I tell you, this utility is THE DEFINITIVE windowskin creator! I can't laud this program enough, so I'll outline its rich features instead.

It is in Portugese, but is fairly straightforward and easy to use, although here's a quick rundown nevertheless.

Create the windowskins

When first opening the program, the first place to go is Estilo (Styles). This is where the different graphics parts are stored, with seven style categories to choose from - including my favorite, Medieval - but you can create your own. From there, you can choose the different components from the tabs to create the windowskins. As you add the components, they will be added realtime to both RPG Maker templates.

All graphics are dependant on the styles. The Background (Fundo) is the message window background. The Layouts (1, 2 and 3) insert the message window frame, directional arrows and flashing cursor respectively. Sets (Seta) 1 and 2 are RMXP only for the battle cursors. Set 3 is the animated arrows to forward messages. And the Extra tab I have no idea what that's for.

You also have the options to choose a colour (Escholer Cor) for the background transparency or revert to normal transparency (Transparente). You can even overlay templates or create blank templates from the Show Template (Monstrar Template) options.

Once you've created your masterpiece, you can save (salvar) each windowskin in either format, or both. They can then be imported and used in games.

Importing windowskins

The final very useful feature this utility has is the ability to import RMXP windowskins and split them up so you can use them in RMVX windowskins!

It's under Arquivo (File) then Importar (Import). There you will see one option: Windowskin XP (.png), which you can use to import RMXP only windowskins.

Caveat: Do NOT attempt to import RMVX windowskins (either by accident or by design). It will not work and the program will invariably crash.


Now there's absolutely NO excuse not to create more RMXP windowskins. In fact, I will be creating the same versions of both, since the commonest search term is windowskins.

Narvelan, Tiramos o chapéu para você, mano! (Uh...Google-translated since I'm not bi-lingual.)
16 January 2011

Ars Magia Novella (Draft)

The first draft of the Ars Magia novella is complete. I'll be working on proofreading and editing it in preparation for the final draft. Publication (through self-publication) is on schedule - I was aiming for March 2011 initially - although I'm still hoping for mainstream publication.

If I do opt for self-publication, most likely the novella will be in a downloadable PDF format. The original price I quoted was $9.99, but this will be reduced to either $3.99 or $5.99, depending on the completed novella's length. This will be available for purchase directly from the RPG Maker Times blog or from the Ars Magia blog (most likely both of them).

There will eventually be four novellas in total, which will tie all of the RMVX games together. The first, Genesis, is the prequel to the eponymous RMVX game, detailing events immediately before where the game starts. The second novella will be the interim between the first and second games, with another novella set between the second and third games. And the epilogic novella will be set immediately after the third game in the series, tying up any loose ends and concluding the Ars Magia story.

Although the series title is still exploratory, even at this stage, it may end up being that the individual novellas are self-published and the mainstream publication is a consolidation of all four novellas (including the games stories, which will be elaborated upon). This would ultimately depend on a number of factors, especially time constraints, as I'm not entirely sure how long this rather ambitious, multi-faceted project will take.

Another consideration is a name change, most likely reverting to Ars Mechanica, which was the original name of the series upon which the first short-short stories were based and around which the games have been loosely based. This applies to both games and novellas.
14 January 2011

List of Other RPG Makers

Almost everyone knows about Ascii/Enterbrain's RPG Maker by now - from RM95 to RMVX - but these are not the only programs capable of producing RPG games. RPG Maker Times has been going for quite some time now, including its predecessor blog RPG Maker 2K3 Master (now closed), and its primary focus has been on these three most well known RPG Makers.

As part of its growth, however, it's about time that RPG Maker Times expanded, encompassing some (or all) of the other RPG makers available today. Of course, this may take some time as I'll have to try them proper.

Below is a list of some noteworthy others (most I have tried at one point or another).

  • BYOND - BYOND stands for "Build Your Own Net Dream". With it you can not only create RPGs but other types of games too. This is a quote directly from the website.

    BYOND is the premier community for making and playing online multiplayer games. Enjoy hundreds of games created by our community, by people just like you. BYOND supports board and card games, role-playing, action, strategy, and more!

    Making your own multiplayer games with BYOND is free. As a game creation system, BYOND is powerful and flexible, with an easy-to-learn language that stands apart from any other game maker, tools for developers, plus articles and tutorials. Building multiplayer games is easy with built-in online support. Find out how easy it is to create the game of your dreams. Your game could be the next big indie games sensation!

    I'm very intrigued by this program, especially by one of its games, called Nestalgia, an interesting-looking "unique MORPG inspired by the gameplay of classic console RPGs".
13 January 2011

Fun With Events #1 - NPC Interaction

This was a question on Yahoo! Answers a while ago, which I answered and thought I'd share. Although initially tailored for RM2K3, it will also work the same way in RMXP and RMVX.

The basic idea is that while the Hero is walking around, someone shouts hello, the Hero turns and that person walks (or runs) up to him and they start conversing.

The simplest method (and easiest to adapt) is with an "autoevent". For this example, the NPC event is 5 squares to the right of the Hero position.

Create a blank event and set the "Trigger Condition" to "Auto-Start". In the "Event Commands", place the following:

<>Move Event: Hero, Move Left, Move Left
<>Wait: 0.8 Sec
<>Message: Hey!\|\^
<>Wait: 0.8 Sec
<>Move Event: Hero, Face Right
<>Move Event: NPC, Move Towards Hero
<>Wait: 1.8 Sec
<>Message: It's good to see you,\n[1]!

The Hero will move left two squares, the NPC will shout (and will automatically enter - no keypress), the Hero will turn around, the NPC will run up to the Hero, then will say "It's good to see you..." (with the \n[1] switch being the name of the Hero you set up in the Database).
10 January 2011

Scripts/Scriptlets Updates - Victory Count/Map Location

Several scripts have now been updated for both RMXP and RMVX, so in many cases there are two versions of each. ("Anonymous" pointed out I should alias, something I'm not in the habit of doing, so yeah, more aliased methods.)

As always, place them below Materials for them to work. They are mostly plug-and-play so should automatically function.
03 January 2011

What Happened To The Gladiator Project?

This is a question I'm asked frequently - especially lately - and it is one for which there are multiple answers. In order to respond then on why TGP was put on hold, I'd like first to delve somewhat into its history.

Origins and History

When TGP was first conceived, back when RM2K was all the rage, I started creating a simple game based around fighting in a gladiatorial arena. Back then it was simply called Arena. The project was quickly abandoned due to RM2K's limitations; there was just not enough scope - even with advanced eventing - to achieve precisely what I wanted to achieve.

With the advent, and subsequent (unendorsed) translation of RM2K3, my interest in TGP was rekindled. The project title was changed to Arena Gladiatorium, which was an expanded version of its original hack-and-slash concept. It had a sense of renewed purpose, fuelled primarily by RM2K3's rich features and versatility. I also had a clearer vision on its direction.

Arena Gladiatorium was halfway finished - replete with customised graphics, a unique Custom Menu System and a fertile storyline - when disaster struck. A virulent, insidious virus attacked my system that eventually destroyed my hard drive, and I lost it all! Or so I thought at the time. Suffice to say that the project died, along with my interest.
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