Where Have I Been?

“Where have you been?” I imagine that is a question some of you might be asking, and today, I plan to address that. The short and sweet of it is a combination of busyness and a sort of laziness.

The busyness aspect is rather self-explanatory, between my jobs, taking lessons (to be explained shortly), and life in general, it’s a little tricky finding a good, long stretch of time to dedicate to my game *and* my blog.

The laziness stems from being tired on a regular basis (see: jobs) and not always being able to force myself to sit down and work (especially when inspiration is fleeting).

So now, you may be asking yourself, “Where is the project sitting right now?” Well, with the first dungeon being essentially complete, there’s the waiting on feedback from playtesters. Once that comes in, there is the task of addressing their thoughts, comments, and concerns. During this time, a bit of stagnation has occurred. I have reached a crossroads that will determine in which direction the main (and currently only) crafting system will be handled.

My options are as follows: eventing or scripting. I already have a rough idea of how the system will run if I event it, but with eventing it, there is a bit of redundancy. If I were to script it, using RGSS3, RPG Maker VX Ace’s scripting engine and Ruby variant, there is finer control over how the system runs. The issue with scripting is that I have no idea how to take my ideas from the eventing “proof of concept” to a finished RGSS3 script. Luckily, I’ve been taking Ruby lessons on Codeacademy, which have been helping me form my script, but I still have a long way to go…

Until I’ve got more of substance to post about, I will try to post new Class Spotlights more regularly. For now, it’s back to the grindstone…

It’s Time To Patch This Game Up!

After a bit of scrounging around, I’ve managed to find a program that will build an installation package for my game, Excelsior Installer.

This program should, for the time being, be able to cover my basic needs for an installer/patcher system. While this doesn’t mean anything to most people, it does mean that I will be able to distribute updates to my beta testers using smaller files, and also allow any savegame files that they may have to carry over.

A special “Thank you” also goes out to Tsukihime for their Data Patcher script for RPG Maker VX Ace. All that remains is to create a patch, and begin field-testing.

To Level or Not To Level?

Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about the intended difficulty curve for my game. When I first started this project, monsters had set statistics. A slime’s HP was always the same, an ogre’s Attack was always the same.

As the project advanced, and remade, I chose to go with having the monsters “level” with the party. With this system, a slime’s HP would have a base value, which was then modified by a percentage based on the party’s average level.

Unfortunately, I have reached a point where this newer system could be a detriment to my game as a whole, and am considering going back to the older, set-stat system. Both have pros and cons, as outlined below.

Set-Stats
Pros

  • More control over direct stats. (HP, Attack, etc.)
  • And by virtue of that…

    • More control over stats such as accuracy, damage reduction, etc.

Cons

  • More time spent playtesting battles.
  • More time fine-tuning stats.
  • Flat difficulty level, based on area.

Variable Stats
Pros

  • Constantly scaling difficulty curve, providing a constant challenge.
  • Near copy/paste-ability of monsters, helping similar areas alike in difficulty.

Cons

  • Less control over direct and indirect stats.
  • Less control over difficulty at later stages of the game.
  • Smaller tolerance ranges when balancing.

Both systems have their merits, and their place, and as I weigh both options, a third comes to mind: using the variable system for basic monsters, and having powerful bosses use the set-stat system.

The issue that arises with this is the inability to sense the potential difficulty of a boss by the common monsters in any given dungeon. A dungeon with a ‘level 15′ boss could be filled with level 5 monsters, or level 20 monsters, depending on when one enters.

Clearly, I’ve got a bit to think about as I work this weekend…

Class Spotlight: Evoker

The time has come for another, long-awaited Class Spotlight. Today’s feature is the Evoker.

Evoker Spotlight

If the Barrier Mage embodies everything that defensive magic can do, the Evoker embodies raw, unbridled power. The concept behind the Evoker is that of the fireball-slinging wizard, raining death on enemies from afar.

The Evoker’s power lies in its very high Magic Attack, but is contrasted by low Defense stats and the low HP common to Wizards. Spells that will included in the Evoker’s arsenal will include the following:

    Disintegration: A spell that will outright kill an enemy with low HP, and has a chance to drop any items they may have.
    Meteor Strike: A strong Earth-element attack with a chance to cause serious Burning.
    Monsoon: A Wind-element attack that has a chance to blow enemies right out of the battle.

With these powerful skills, the Evoker is a force to be reckoned with, but one must always keep a watchful on both HP and MP, as such resources will be in short supply…

Check out previous Class Spotlights here.

Also, an updated ‘Thank you’ list has gone up here.

Take a Note in Your Handy, Dandy…Journal?!

After a few days of beta testing, a number of things have come to my attention.
1. There are a number of bugs that have been addressed (and certainly more to follow)
2. There is a lack of any sort of quest log.

Having already addressed the major bugs, I have begun to turn my attention to the quest log. The current plan is to divide it into ‘chapters’ based on the main dungeon at that point in the game. There will also be a separate chapter for guild quests. This guild chapter will keep track of any guild quests, as well as your reputation.

The idea of allowing user input is currently on the table, but the execution of that might be a little more involved than would be viable at this point in time.

Time for Some Holiday Fun (Albeit a Tad Late…)

After quite some time being sick, tired, and just plain unmotivated, I’ve managed to finally put together the special holiday content for my beta testers. Along with that, I’ve also finished the first quest for the Adventurers’ Guild! (Hooray progress!)

I will be sending out this new beta to my testers later today. I will also be looking into better ways to update the beta version, rather than always packing a new .EXE file. I know that some RPG Maker users have developed a patching script, and I may be able to make use of that and/or a patch installer. The installer would allow my testers to update versions other than the next-to-newest without missing critical files.

These methods for keeping the betas updated both have their own set of pros/cons to consider, so a decision may be made much farther down the line.

For now, it’s time for my beta testers to enjoy a brand new round of testing, with some fun surprises in store.

Grinch’d

Happy holidays!

Now is (hopefully) the time to spend with friends, family, and/or loved ones. As well as sharing gifts and good food.

I was planning on a special bit of content for my beta testers, along with getting a new version out to them by today. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
The Grinch that is my job got the better of me and my time. In the coming week, I hope to get this holiday content for my game out to those who are anxiously awaiting it.

In the meantime, please, please, please check out The Kingdom of Loathing. It’s a wonderful browser-based game, full of wonderful jokes and pop culture references. I am even so lucky as to have its creator as part of my beta team.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!