Cuttin’ the Fluff

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Real life, and a number of other things have kept me from getting much work done on this project, so an update is in order!

1. There has/will be a major storyline overhaul to address a number of nasty plotholes.
2. Said overhaul has been due to a collaborator joining in.
AND
3. The class system will be going on a weight-loss program to rid itself of excess fluff.

The class system will be reduced to a simpler 14-class system, featuring the option to ‘equip’ a secondary class. As the primary and secondary classes gain levels, new options will become available. This new class system will allow for more freedom and chances to experiment with different combinations. Don’t like being a Barbarian? Fine, change your class to Soldier, or maybe a embarking on the path of a Paladin is more your style.

More details will be available as they materialize.

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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…

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!

“Make It Like an Old NES Box!” They Said…

A good friend of mine has gone so far as to ask for a brief synopsis for my game (something I actually have yet to really post about). He said to me “Think like the description on the back of an old NES box.” So here I am, staring at the back of Dragon Warrior’s box, trying to my best to live up to the paradigm set forth by this highly revered RPG classic.

Embark on a quest to save the land from the New Age of Darkness!

The land has fallen on dark times. The Cult of Darkness seeks to open a gateway to summon their demonic master!

Take the role of Ryan, descendant of the powerful Geomancers, masters of elemental magic. Steel your nerves, and prepare yourself for a journey like never before!

Scour the land in search of allies. Every ally you find will add their own powerful abilities to aid in your quest. Crawl through unique dungeons, filled with horrible monsters and valuable treasures!

Be careful, as the Cult’s greatest general, Zelf, will try to stop you at every turn. Stop him and the Cult of Darkness, and destroy their demonic master once and for all!

Over 40 classes and hundreds of spells and skills to try. Make each character your own! Craft unique items that can change how your skills work. Add powerful fire damage, or a chance to freeze your foes in ice!

Embrace your past, master your destiny, and save the land from eternal darkness!

I think I did a decent job.