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.
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Template Design "Perfect World" by SkinCorner