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It's SUPER effective!

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I'm figuring out how much easier it is to create these big maps one section at a time. That being said, the edits can't carry over to the other sections properly if I do it that way. I think I may just do all the sections one at a time and then do a big one for the whole world at a different viewable resolution. If I did it all in one go with the main map, it would be unusable by anyone but me anyway. (the current file size is nearly 1g for just the one image lol) Plus, I have to do probably 20 - 30 different filter washes for different things to the whole image and it takes a long time per filter with an image that large. I might figure out a way to seperate the land and sea since I don't have to do as much with the sea. If I can do that, then I can do all the individual edits to the sections of land, put it all back together, and do the filters for the water areas all at once. It would be pretty nifty to have the massive map for anyone who wanted to take the time to download the thing lol (or have something at a decent resolution for printing, in case I wanted to offer that as a bonus)


Who knows. I'm learning a lot anyway. An added benefit is, just with the few sections I've done, I've come up with interesting story tidbits just from looking at the landscape that is emerging. :)


Until next time.


I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets caught up in this particular mire. You think to yourself, "Yeah, that's all well and good, but I could add more! Players will like that. You can never go wrong with more!"


It's incorrect. We all know it. We've all looked back at a project or maybe just a small section of an otherwise divine project and thought, "I should have stopped at two scotches." (of course, we'd be referring to the Scottish family staying at the Inn, not our drinking problems... Ahem!


When I think I need to add that little bit more complexity so the game doesn't get boring, I have all the best intentions. Some think an overly complex project is only there to show off. It's not. (for most of us) It's there because as a player, I tend to get bored FAST when I can press one button and coast through content. Adding complexity to overcome this is good until the developer pulls a... well... a "crossroads" and grabs ALL the candy off the shelves to put in the player's mouth at once! My current project has a lot of content development-wise, but I've reluctantly pared down a lot of the bits that I realised eventually were only there because they were cool and not because they FIT.


Don't be like me. :) Make a list with all your major game's features in a column and a few check marks in a row across the top.


1:Is it "new" or at least inventive in this genre or setting?

2:Is it "pretty" (shiny, flashy, artistically valid) without sacrificing playability / comp requirements?

3:Does it ADD anything aside from itself? (a good mechanic will affect most of the other mechanics passively)

4:Does it FIT with the other content / features / flow / etc (this is most important IMHO)


If a particular feature can't honestly fill out 2 or more checkmarks, leave it off. Some should even be left off at 3, but that's up to discretion. The truly memorable content will fulfill all 4 without batting an eyelash. (think back to your favorite bits of your favorite rpgs as you read through this and you'll realise they probably do this)


A few random examples:


My crazy intricate crafting system will revolutionize the industry!

1: no, not really. (unless you've scripted some really cool twist into it, this one's a no. massive amounts of ingredients or end products do NOT make an interesting crafting system to most people, just a big one.

2: the crafting system on its own will probably not fulfill this without other features, so no.

3: subject to the project. MOST of the time crafting systems do not, but another that's discretionary

4: hugely subjective. Does your story, areas, npcs, etc ever mention crafting? If you never hear an npc or even storyline mention your skill as a crafter, what's the deal? You're crafting the best gear in the land (apparently, since the shop sells junk) and no one associates you with that? Again, hugely subjective, but most crafting systems are shoved into other content.


The verdict: obviously, too subjective to tell without a real project, but you get the point of the whole thing.



Bad arse lighting script I added for my caves!


2: Yes, and no. It's definitely pretty, but all the lighting scripts I've found for rpg maker have lag issues on older comps. If you're ok with that, then by all means call this a yes. :)

3: Yes. Lighting systems automatically affect (if you implement them correctly) mood, story, eventing and gameplay, possibly even battle.

4: subjective, but I'd say yes as long as it's implemented correctly and not just a lot of lights scattered everywhere to look nifty.


Verdict: Yes, if you're careful about placement and don't mind dinocomps not playing your game. However, as with any other... make sure your game couldn't get along just as well without this (or any) feature addition. ESPECIALLY one that automatically removes a portion of your potential audience.



I know everyone has their own methods for choosing features for their game, but I thought I'd share my thoughts on how I go about weeding out some of them from mine.


Until next time.


Open the floodgates

Howdy folks!


Some of you, I've already talked with, worked with, had help from, or helped. I've moved past my initial test project (which will be the test bed for the main project's ideas) and into the realm of something bigger. I have most everything set up in the test project so I can copy the project, clean out the database, adjust some of the scripts to accomodate the clean slate and start plugging away.


Where I'm starting


I have the storyline's main points hashed out, and obviously the scripts, etc needed to make the gears turn. My normal next-step would be to get started on character bios, etc. However, this project is so staggeringly epic in scope, I need to do as much prep work as possible to be able to really do the characters justice. I'm treating this game project as I would some of my larger writing projects and fleshing everything "boring" out first so that the postman's wife's dog will have a name before their town ever gets the roof raised on the obligatory Inn.


First step? Start at the top. The map. The big one that the player won't walk on and might not be included in the game, depending on what I decide to do for "fast travel" options later on. This is a lot of work, but is mostly for my edification, so that as I'm working on making new area maps and story bits I have an actual world to work off of visually. Overkill? Yup, but it's fun in it's own right to me.


Here's an image of the section I have completed so far. It's not complete, as I'll have to add town markers, landmarks, etc etc. Currently, this is slated to be the "starting area" for the player. (the topmost bit is where he'll start and be tutorialized on key aspects of gameplay, then plotlines will unfold through the next few areas until he ends up on the largest area. This will include the first largish town, non-linear quest lines, and a large map worthy of more exploration than the other bits. A prelude of the way the rest of the world will be built)








And here's the same image in it's place in the main world map (currently, still just a B&W alpha map waiting for me to lovingly caress life into it) I had to reduce the size of this a LOT, as the main map is roughly 13k x 13k px big O_O









Peace Out?


So that's all I can "show" right now, but once I'm done doing the "boring" stuff, I look forward to sharing some slightly more juicy stuff.

Until next time.

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