Let’s take a quick look at the current map of the port (like all things in this game, the map may change on whim.)
There’s about ten villagers Events on the map. None of them look a like. Each one should have their own dialogue.
That’s a lot of work.
Also going on the map are Door Events, Treasure Events, Obstacle Events, Exit Events, and so on. Most of these may need a word or two to convey information to the Player.
That’s a lot more work.
As this post is on Villagers, we’ll focus on them.
All Villagers in the game must perform at least one of the following tasks:
Provide a service (selling items, renting rooms for the characters to rest in, etc.)
Advance the plot (tell the Player where to head next.)
Add world building (a sense of history of the land)
Add local color ( a sense of history of the place, of the village and villagers, etc.)
Oh! And as I’m doing a comedic take, more than a little of this should be funny, too.
As I’m taking notes on Scrivener,all the writing has to go there, too.
Work, work, work.
But that’s not the best of all. Let’s look at the world map again:
The port is in the lower right corner of the continent. It’s not even the first town the Player can hit, just the first town I’m working on. To complete the whole game, I don’t have to do just those four towns (plus perhaps even flesh out the Castle.) I’ll also have to repeat the process for every other kingdom I add to the game. Which (as I’m thinking) means two more kingdoms.
A. LOT. OF. WORK.
Size is a terrible thing.
What I need to do is to work in increments. Part of the reason for just the one simplified plot outline was keeping things small enough to manage. Same holds true for doing just the port and not the closer town. Small steps are better than no steps at all.
My goal for today was, at the very least, get all the dialogue written for the 10 villagers on Scrivener. I already have the “cards” made (as you can see below.) This is just the dialogue. I’ll worry about moving them over to the game when I’m done.
Unfortunately a large part of my day consisted of problems with my eye, so I’m not getting as much done as I’d like. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.
There’s nothing like doing a play test and finding out your clever bit of business screwed up your other clever bit of business. Such a wonderful, wonderful feeling.
Must be. How else can you explain why I keep doing it?
Best of all, I go back to the earlier bit of clever and wonder just how the hell I got it working in the first place.
I tell ya, every time I seriously think about getting into coding, this kinda crap pops up…
Yesterday we talked about the Event Editor. As we did, we brushed on Switches. To summarize my no doubt woefully oversimplified explanation, a Switch is a basic Yes/No statement. It can be used to direct traffic, telling the Event whether it’s time to act or not. They can be checked off in the Condition section of the editor, as I said before:
They also work inside the main Contents area:
With a flick of a Switch, I can choose whether the game shows a villainess in pursuit of her quarry:
Or a villainess who doesn’t quite realize she’s been bypassed by the plot:
I used to prefer the more flexible Variables, but I’ll be darned if Switches haven’t been my go-to guy while programming this game. The basic simplicity is what I’ve liked.
The above example has a designated Switch for it. However, to avoid Dread Clutter, I don’t make a Switch for every little thing.
Or rather, I do. I turn them on for a short while, then turn them off again.
These are my “Stage Directions”. I’ve got a set for Variables, too. I need an Autorun stopped for only a moment and not for good, I use one of these guys.
Just as a quick example, the map where the above Cut Scenes appear on is one where the Player roams through. To keep the Autorun from starting a scene instantly, I have a condition set for it to wait until the SD:A Switch gets flipped.
And that’s all I’ve got on the subject. Really sorry I didn’t press on with it yesterday. Oh well. I guess they all can’t be winners…
Not a lot to talk about today. More me getting my act together in terms of notes and that sort of thing. Repetitious, I know.
So instead, let’s talk mechanics a second.
I’ve mentioned Events a time or three in this series. In very basic terms, they are areas drawn on the map that do the heavy lifting of an RPG Maker game. They are the characters the Player meets, the things the Player interacts with, and, sometimes, a virtual Game Master that makes sure things run smoothly.
The Event Editor, where the magic happens, looks like this:
For the most part, we’ve brushed about the Contents section. This is the major part of an Event. This is where the game gets its instructions from the Event.
We also mentioned, in passing if in no other fashion, that Events start through a Trigger: There are five of these:
In the order that they’re listed, the Triggers are:
Action Button: With this picked, the Event will only trigger if the Player has the Player Character (PC) touch it while the Player clicks the Action Button. It’s the default Trigger. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to run a Cut Scene only to find the Event I want is out of reach and on default.
Player Touch: This ditches the Action Button entirely. The PC touches the Event, the Event starts.
Event Touch: Events don’t have to be static things. Sometime they run around the map. Sometimes they come in contact with the PC. This Trigger will set the Event in motion if that happens.
Autorun: This? This is King Trigger, to everything in the game bows down to. It starts at once, and when it reached the end of the Content Page, it heads back to the top and starts all over again. You don’t have a means to stop Autorun, then Autorun won’t ever stop.
Parallel: Like Autorun, Parallel can start at once, and will keep right on doing its thing forever. Unlike Autorun, it won’t hog the spot light. It’ll run, why, parallel to whatever else is going on in the game.
As powerful as the Triggers are, there’s another, even more powerful group that controls them. That would be the Conditions:
Look at the red box above. No Conditions exist for this Event. Thus as this Event has the Autorun Trigger set, it will start running the moment the Player enters the map (currently in this case at the very start of the game.)
Just to keep everyone on the same page (as it were), here are the Conditions, in order:
Switch: This is a basic Yes/No statement. Has a certain something happened? If it has, the Event proceeds. We’ll come back to this one, later.
Switch: No, I’m not going to repeat myself. I just thought it be funny if it looked like I was about to. My amusement is all.
Variable: Sort of like Switch, but instead of a simple Yes/No, the Event waits until a named number is reached or surpassed. An example of the Variable in action is located in the Contents to the right, where, when running, the Event continues to act a specified way until the Variable named reaches a certain number. There’s a bit of leeway in the Contents section, but that’s for another day, if at all.
Self Switch: This is the Event’s Personal Switch. Or, rather, one of four personal Switches. If you’re not going to use a Switch for multiple Events, this one is probably the Condition you’ll be using.
Item: Say you have Event acting as a locked door. The door won’t “open” until the PC has acquired the key and has it in the PC’s inventory.
Actor: Same door, different circumstances. There’s a guard on the other side who won’t allow the PC’s party through without the right person in their ranks. That person would be a PC and his (or her) name would be right there next to Actor.
The game won’t do anything with the Event until the Condition is met. Doesn’t matter how many Conditions there are, if they aren’t all met, nothing will happen. In fact, if there is only one Content Page, as in the example above, the Event wouldn’t even appear if a Condition was set.
I was going to elaborate a bit further on Switches (it was the initial point of all of this), but we’re nearing the thousand word mark. Not that near, but close enough. If nothing super interesting happens game wise, we’ll continue with the mechanics of RPG Maker.
Well, just with the Mysterious Elven Forest of Mystery map. But still. Woosh. Lotsa work. Lotsa thinking “Why the HELL did you let it get this far without doing what needed done?”
You know what I’m trying not to think about? Having to do all that work fixing lax moments through a full game. Mein Gott. Might lose my mind doing that.
All the Events on the MEFoM are now names and standardize, as well as listed over on the Scrivener file. I don’t have all the THIS EVENT DOES NOTHING DON’T TOUCH put in place, but at this moment I don’t care. Tonight I do the South Guard Post, then we start moving forward again.
Hopefully with a better plan in place.
Speaking of moving forward, a little story.
The plan, as I made mention, was to just standardize the Content presentation and write-up a little file in Scrivener. In and out, quick as you please. No more work than absolutely necessary.
Sort of like I was supposedly doing on the game. How well that works.
I hit Nilbog’s Event, and I decide to flesh it out a bit. Originally I had three Texts in place as place holders. “Here’s the lost wages back!”, “You are now 300 Gs richer!” and something to the effect of “Bye now!” (as I can’t now recall what I wrote.) I figure I program in her reaction to being found, adding just a couple more Texts, and that would be that. More temporary work, but it would give me a better idea of what was going to happen.
I get what you see above done, and I suddenly realize that for the scene to work I’m going to need to direct things. Move the hero characters into positions, that sort of thing. I tried to guide things a little, directing the Player’s movements, that sort of thing. None of it feels, you know, boss.
So I decide it needs to be a cut scene. Not a problem, as game-wise the Player will be coming in off a fight with the Goblin Guard.
For cut scenes, I tend to go to my best friend, the SHEMP Event. Shemp’s already taking care of one cut scene dealing with Nilbog on this map (her sole appearance if the Player doesn’t met here in the course of the game). Why not two?
I don’t want to actually program the whole thing in (in and out, that sort of thing.) So I go to Scrivener and add the new details to the MEoM Shemp’s index card:
You might notice that I’ve got those cards formatted. Got a nice indent there. Since there’s no ruler on the cards to set up the cards, I have to personally put that into place. Because as much as I claim I want to do this quicklyI CAN’T STOP DOING MORE WORK.
That was not a digression. It’s this post’s main point.
I get to this point. I’m check to see that everything looks good on the card, that I can read it, find information. As I do, I realize two things. First, I want to set up the Trigger information like I did the Function information, with numbering so I know where which connects to what. Second, that if I do the first, information drops off the bottom of the card. It’s not vital information, but I’m going to notice it every time I–
No, that’s not going to be strong enough.
I’m going to know it’s there whether I notice it or not. I’m going to push on with this project, knowing there’s a card with information dropping off at the bottom. I’m going to know this, and every critical bone in my body (i.e. my entire skeleton) will tell me to go and do something about it as soon as possible. Might as well fix it now.
Quickest way? Enlarging the card. It’s not at the largest size. It can go bigger.
And if it does, every. Single. Card. Gets bigger too.
Wheee! More formatting! More not moving forward!
Maybe I can just reword a few things. Or maybe I don’t have to follow format like it’s a religion or a political party. Or did I stutter?
I thought about the problem. And as I did, a little voice whispered in my head, “What does Nilbog’s Event do, exactly? Outside of just standing there?”
Boom! Shemp doesn’t have to run every cut scene. Another can do the job just as well.
And it was at that very moment I knew how the whole cut scene would run.
I’m not kidding.
The whole cut scene came directly to life.
So, rather than risk losing it, I went over to the Nilbog MEoM file of Scrivener and wrote the whole thing down:
The stuff on the right is the entirety of Nilbog’s Event as I had it at the time, so you can compare the two if you feel the need. Note the actual script continues on beyond what I’ve shown you.
This is, without a doubt, brilliant. Why didn’t I think of pulling in a writing program sooner?