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UncannyBoots

Is it just me or have most prominent MV plugin creators retired?

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I was looking through MV plugin lists because I felt like toying around with MV (even though I don't like it as much as VX Ace) and I then remembered that Yanfly has stopped making plugins. Then I look at the other most active plugin creator that I could remember, SumRndmDde, and he has seemed to abandon plugin development as well. Same goes for Galv and Hime, and Victor and Moghunter haven't updated in over half a year so I can assume that they are mostly done with plugin development (maybe there will be 1 or 2 more from them).

 

I guess I'm just wondering how this happened? Yanfly was basically the last one and now even he's gone. I look at VX Ace scripts and scripters pumped out scripts for VX Ace's entire lifespan iirc. MV, though, despite initially being hyped a ton, seemed to not get nearly as many quality plugins as VXA got quality scripts. I look for many plugin equivalents to scripts that I have in VXA and nope, most either don't exist or are poorer in quality.

Well I guess I have a few questions here: Is MV plugin development mostly dead, and if yes then why do you think that is? Was Javascript harder to use than RGSS? And lastly, is there anyone who still regularly makes plugins?

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Dunno about the others, but Yanfly and Moghunter are definitely not gone. They've both released and updated more than a few plugins on their sites last year. Having a few months in between updates and releases is not abnormal. I wouldn't call MV plugin development dead by any means, especially when you can pop on the official website and see the Complete Javascript Plugins board get a new topic posted (which means a new plugin/script) every couple of days. Compare that to VX/Ace script development.

 

Quality, meanwhile, is highly subjective. I can't speak much as to the MV plugins but I can say that I have run into game-crashing bugs with Victor and Hime's RGSS3 scripts before and even Yanfly's stuff isn't bug free, even if he is pretty good with fixing them regularly.

 

EDIT: That said, I will also note that I may not be the best person to judge quality because almost all the scripts I put my hands on get severely tweaked under the hood by yours truly for my own project. For example, Mr. Bubble's TMI/Info Pages script may well work perfectly smoothly by itself or may actually be extremely bug-ridden and clash with many things, I wouldn't quite know - because the first thing I did was rip into the Info Pages code to add custom pages to display item portraits and word-wrapped item descriptions and some other stuff specific to my game as well as add resizing functionality for my custom Equip scene. And then I have to assume that any bugs I run into after were caused by my extensive modifications and not originally part of the script.

Edited by Traverse

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I myself use VX Ace mostly because I am used to Ruby/RGSS. It may be that a bunch of other scripters didn't really switch to MV because of it using Javascript instead even if the big names tended to. If so, there might be less/worse MV plugins being made, therefore less people using MV plugins, therefore less interest in plugin development, therefore even less MV plugins being made, and so on. That said, I couldn't say if there are less/worse plugins or not, but I have noticed that a lot more people lately seem like they are using VX Ace.

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Yanfly is actually retired from plugin making, she said so herself on her patreon

https://www.patreon.com/posts/24818226

 

The Yanfly thing seemed to be largely a reaction to someone stealing and reselling bits of code. As far as that goes, I and many others kind of just stopped messing with Yanfly plugins. I get it, it's their code. But it was kind of new users that got punished for that. The ppl stealing the code never cared about paying lol. Even though I already owned virtually all of the Yanfly MV scripts, I don't use them anymore. 

 

As far as the other plugin creators, I'm not actually sure why a lot of them left. You can't do it forever, I guess, but I think a few had similar issues. SumRndmDde has some amazing plugins that all seem to have compatibility issues or didn't survive MV version updates. 

 

I think something worth looking at is how ubiquitous JS is on the web. A lot more people know JS than Ruby, so I wonder if there are just more people making plugins for themselves. I really didn't try to learn JS until MV came out. I'm primarily on the RPGMakerWeb forums (though I started her back in the day) and the JS community is largely working on their own projects.

 

One other thing is that it's a pain to make plugin commands. They're somewhat limiting without rewriting some stuff, and overall I really don't think they're easier to use than script calls. When I'm making plugins, I rarely bother with plugin commands, mostly because I make them for myself. 

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1 hour ago, Arrpeegeemaker said:

Yanfly is actually retired from plugin making, she said so herself on her patreon

 

Huh, wow. And she/he started charging for old plugins retroactively too? Did not know. At least all the old VX/Ace ones still seem to be free, if only because they're effectively abandoned and will never be updated again (though to be fair, I guess VX/Ace engine isn't expected to get any more version overhauls like MV and so doesn't really need updating to maintain compatibility with the engine itself).

 

The last I heard about plagiarism with RPG Maker was people uploading and trying to sell whole free games from RMN on dodgy digital marketplaces and Steam, didn't think anyone would bother doing it with individual scripts much less from someone as well known as Yanfly, the closest I heard anywhere close was the guy who took stuff from Moghunter and I don't recall those being sold, just not credited.

 

It's kind of funny, because the one that seems to have been copied, Yanfly Aftermath, has (IMO) a horrible way of animating the EXP gauges. Feature seemed neat, especially at first glance from still screenshots, then I took one look at it when it was actually in motion and noped straight out. Couldn't even find any way after checking the code to improve it without rewriting the whole thing, so I just ended up writing my own. Why on earth Yanfly wanted to animate by total number of ticks, I simply have no clue, looks jerky and jarring as sin.

Edited by Traverse

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Yeah, the deal was if you already own the plugins, you don't have to pay to use them, but if you didn't by the time the paywall went up, only 20 or 30 would remain free. I don't know all the details, my opinion (and many others in general RM community) was that it was kind of a lame move. We get it, but Yanfly also made themselves integral to the RPG Maker MV experience. Their plugins were like a standard. 

Of course, it's not my code, I respect the decision, but I try not to use Yanfly plugins because it just left a bad taste in my mouth. 

 

Commissions for plugins are still going strong, though, I see people requesting them all the time. 

Another thing to mention though, is that Steam has a whole community with RPGMaker MV and VXA. I've never really gone over there and checked, but I've heard it's pretty active. Maybe there are some plugin makers over there? 

 

Overall, I think the age of the big creators with lots of free plugins might be over. Indie game making is bigger than ever, and so many people go with Unity, or now Unreal since they made one of their older engines free. 

:(    I still make plugins for my project though, and I don't plan on backing off anytime soon

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17 hours ago, Traverse said:

Dunno about the others, but Yanfly and Moghunter are definitely not gone. They've both released and updated more than a few plugins on their sites last year. Having a few months in between updates and releases is not abnormal. I wouldn't call MV plugin development dead by any means, especially when you can pop on the official website and see the Complete Javascript Plugins board get a new topic posted (which means a new plugin/script) every couple of days. Compare that to VX/Ace script development.

 

Quality, meanwhile, is highly subjective. I can't speak much as to the MV plugins but I can say that I have run into game-crashing bugs with Victor and Hime's RGSS3 scripts before and even Yanfly's stuff isn't bug free, even if he is pretty good with fixing them regularly.

 

EDIT: That said, I will also note that I may not be the best person to judge quality because almost all the scripts I put my hands on get severely tweaked under the hood by yours truly for my own project. For example, Mr. Bubble's TMI/Info Pages script may well work perfectly smoothly by itself or may actually be extremely bug-ridden and clash with many things, I wouldn't quite know - because the first thing I did was rip into the Info Pages code to add custom pages to display item portraits and word-wrapped item descriptions and some other stuff specific to my game as well as add resizing functionality for my custom Equip scene. And then I have to assume that any bugs I run into after were caused by my extensive modifications and not originally part of the script.

 

Moghunter's last plugin was May of last year, but it is possible he will be back, I dunno. He seems like the most likely one to return imo.

VXAce script development is mostly dead but that's to be expected since it isn't the latest RM release, while MV is.

 

When I refer to quality, I don't mean bugs but how well the scripts look and feel (and personally I don't experience many bugs at all despite having over 100 scripts). For an example, look up Syvkal's ring menu, and then try to find a comparative plugin in MV. The only one I could find is SumRndmDde's ring menu, but it sucks compared to Syvkal's VXA version. It doesn't have a smooth spinning startup animation and just feels clunkier (I'm sure there's even more issues but I can't remember exactly). There's also the "Dragon Engine" ring menu but it's quite different, as it seems to circle around the character and it isn't on its own menu scene, but on the map scene.

 

It is indeed subjective but from my experience, everytime I try to get into MV, I am very disappointed with how much worse the game feels and a lot of that has to do with not only the default MV engine feeling less polished than VXA (horrible sound effects, menus very generic and bland, no menu transitions, walking animation speed is too slow compared to movement, longer loading times, and imo 48x48 is too large a tilesize for pixel art), but the plugins just not cutting it compared to the many excellent VXA scripts. Even when I fix all of the default problems with the engine and customize the menus with plugins, I can't get it to match the quality of VXA scripts. I don't know why exactly but it's just what I've experienced.

 

5 hours ago, Arrpeegeemaker said:

Yanfly is actually retired from plugin making, she said so herself on her patreon

https://www.patreon.com/posts/24818226

 

The Yanfly thing seemed to be largely a reaction to someone stealing and reselling bits of code. As far as that goes, I and many others kind of just stopped messing with Yanfly plugins. I get it, it's their code. But it was kind of new users that got punished for that. The ppl stealing the code never cared about paying lol. Even though I already owned virtually all of the Yanfly MV scripts, I don't use them anymore. 

 

As far as the other plugin creators, I'm not actually sure why a lot of them left. You can't do it forever, I guess, but I think a few had similar issues. SumRndmDde has some amazing plugins that all seem to have compatibility issues or didn't survive MV version updates. 

 

I think something worth looking at is how ubiquitous JS is on the web. A lot more people know JS than Ruby, so I wonder if there are just more people making plugins for themselves. I really didn't try to learn JS until MV came out. I'm primarily on the RPGMakerWeb forums (though I started her back in the day) and the JS community is largely working on their own projects.

 

One other thing is that it's a pain to make plugin commands. They're somewhat limiting without rewriting some stuff, and overall I really don't think they're easier to use than script calls. When I'm making plugins, I rarely bother with plugin commands, mostly because I make them for myself. 

 

Very interesting perspective, I guess when RPG Maker used Ruby, people felt more compelled to help the community out since not as many people knew the language.

 

And I very much agree with the plugin manager being crap compared to scripts. It's so simple to go into the script editor in VXA and just change anything, while in MV you have to open an external editor and just that in itself is not a good experience. I also felt that the plugin commands that were being provided with plugins were far too limiting, it only allows for very specific changes. Not to mention, I like to even edit the default scripts, but in MV the default scripts aren't split up nicely and are in giant js files. What were they thinking?! Lol

EDIT: Though you seem to be saying that creating plugin commands when writing plugins is not as intuitive as script calls were. Well all in all, I just think plugins were not good for RPG Maker tbh

Edited by UncannyBoots

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I for one never really even tried making a plugin for MV, so I am not sure how it works. In a way it's kind of a shame, because from what I hear MV has a much more open nature. I like VX Ace a lot, but a lot of stuff about the engine bugs me. It can be slow and it's only really available for windows and has a lot of stuff you can't really change unless you start messing with win32api stuff. Though there is the possibility of using the open source mkxp project to replace the engine, but that hasn't really been updated lately. I am half tempted to fiddle with making my own mkxp fork so I can add some silly engine features, but eh... Maybe if and when I finish my game I will mess around with making a special enhanced mkxp edition or something.

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10 hours ago, UncannyBoots said:

EDIT: Though you seem to be saying that creating plugin commands when writing plugins is not as intuitive as script calls were. Well all in all, I just think plugins were not good for RPG Maker tbh

Not sure I understand what you mean....plugins are just what you call non-core scripts in RPG Maker MV. For example if Yanfly writes a Ruby Script and uses it in Ace, they referred to it as a script. If Yanfly did the same thing in JavaScript and uses it in MV, it's called a plugin. 

Did you think plugins were something else?

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11 hours ago, UncannyBoots said:

For an example, look up Syvkal's ring menu, and then try to find a comparative plugin in MV. The only one I could find is SumRndmDde's ring menu, but it sucks compared to Syvkal's VXA version. It doesn't have a smooth spinning startup animation and just feels clunkier (I'm sure there's even more issues but I can't remember exactly).

 

While I have never used Syvkal's Ring Menu myself, it seems that the spinning animation wasn't actually made by Syvkal, but credited to an older Ring Menu script that was created by 3 different people 😮.

 

Quote

Author's Notes

Pretty much made from scratch again for VXAce. I wanted to remake the animation coding so it was entirely mine, but I realised XRXS, Dubealex & Hypershadow180's original was near flawless so I kept it xD

 

Those notes were from his post on the official forums. Now those are some names I haven't seen in a long while. That original script looks to have been an old RMXP script that is still accessible on RMRK.

 

While I'm pretty sure not many people publicly release scripts for RMXP anymore, I'm fairly certain that there's actually still a good bit of internal development and commissioning that goes on behind closed doors due to how popular RMXP has been for commercial games (*cough*To The Moon*cough*).

 

43 minutes ago, Kayzee said:

I for one never really even tried making a plugin for MV, so I am not sure how it works.

 

Pretty much the same way it works for VX/Ace/XP, except it gets placed as a .js file in the Plugins folder and the whole thing needs to be enclosed in its own function. And the Plugins Manager will read any comments in it delineated within /* ... */ looking for the following text: "@plugindesc", "@param", "@desc", "@author", "@default", @type" and "@help".

 

By reading these, it generates the list of parameters that the user sees in the editor and then they get to type their inputs into a neatly-arranged and organized Plugin Manager window instead of having to directly write into the script. Meanwhile, these are accessed in the plugin itself by calling "PluginManager.parameters(plugin_filename)".

 

By the way, one annoyingly shitty thing I often see plugin makers do is hardcode their plugin's filename into this parameter call (i.e. Yanfly.Parameters = PluginManager.parameters('YEP_CoreEngine')) - yes that is correct, even Yanfly has a habit of doing this - instead of dynamically reading the filename as it runs (i.e. pulling the name from "document.currentScript.src").

 

The result of which, of course, is that if you happen to change the filename of the plugin to anything else (i.e. from "YEP_CoreEngine" to "YEP_CoreEngine_TestFixes") you immediately end up breaking the plugin.

 

If you ever end up making any plugins of your own, please avoid doing this unless you have a really good reason.

Edited by Traverse

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1 hour ago, Arrpeegeemaker said:

Not sure I understand what you mean....plugins are just what you call non-core scripts in RPG Maker MV. For example if Yanfly writes a Ruby Script and uses it in Ace, they referred to it as a script. If Yanfly did the same thing in JavaScript and uses it in MV, it's called a plugin. 

Did you think plugins were something else?

 

Nah, you completely misinterpreted my statement lol.

"you seem to be saying that creating plugin commands when writing plugins is not as intuitive as script calls were."

You said that when writing plugins, you don't make plugin commands because it is a pain to do, and you don't need them since you write plugins for yourself. Meanwhile, you mentioned that script calls were easier to implement.

I think the change from Ruby scripts to Javascript plugins wasn't a great thing but that may just be me.

 

I for one never really even tried making a plugin for MV, so I am not sure how it works. In a way it's kind of a shame, because from what I hear MV has a much more open nature. I like VX Ace a lot, but a lot of stuff about the engine bugs me. It can be slow and it's only really available for windows and has a lot of stuff you can't really change unless you start messing with win32api stuff. Though there is the possibility of using the open source mkxp project to replace the engine, but that hasn't really been updated lately. I am half tempted to fiddle with making my own mkxp fork so I can add some silly engine features, but eh... Maybe if and when I finish my game I will mess around with making a special enhanced mkxp edition or something.

 

I hear all the time that messing with the VX Ace engine is against the EULA, so is mkxp officially allowed or is it some more underground thing?

Edited by UncannyBoots

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Hmm @UncannyBoots lol no I think you might not understand script calls vs plugin commands. Ruby and JavaScript can both give script calls for a user. It's an extra step to make plugin commands (MV), and they don't offer as much flexibility, inherently, as script commands. That is all I'm saying lol. A 'script call' is nothing more than a function written in either language,. Since I don't release plugins publicly, I have no need to make plugin commands. I can just use the script calls. I could do the same releasing a public script, but in general, with MV plugins the idea is to add Plugin Commands to circumvent the need for users who don't script to ever do any 'script calls'. 

 

The only difference here is that RPG Maker has the extra ability for plugin makers to include Plugin Commands. 

Do you write in either JS or Ruby?

 

EDIT: I might be able to make this clearer, a plugin command technically uses script calls. You alias the plugin manager's plugin command feature, and add a script call or series of script calls (technically you can write all your plugin command code inline, but that's silly and a bad practice) that take what the user typed in for the command and break it down. It all gets passed as a string from the user, so you have to go through extra work on the programming side to make it so someone can do

Plugin Command: Call Event 5 2

instead of 

Script Call: callEvent(5, 2)

(of course, a very generalized example)

 

But it's actually more work for the programmer to take that plugin command string and extract the info from it, when it doesn't seem any more intuitive than just using a script call written for the same purpose. 

When I have made plugin commands for people, its usually a process like this:

//Function to break down Plugin Command String into useable parameters

//Call a function with those parameters

 

It seems pointless to me, because I'm usually feeding the parameters from the plugin command into a function. To me, all it does is prevent the user from typing periods and parenthesis.

Edited by Arrpeegeemaker

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41 minutes ago, UncannyBoots said:

I hear all the time that messing with the VX Ace engine is against the EULA, so is mkxp officially allowed or is it some more underground thing?

 

From what I can gather, mkxp is kinda like an emulator that makes it possible for you to run XP/VX/Ace games on Mac or Linux. It doesn't actually touch anything to do with the engines themselves.

 

Whether it is officially allowed is probably in the same grey area as other emulation software. This is due to the fact that its creation may or may not have involved cracking the proprietary RGSS DLL and reverse-engineering any copyrighted code, which may or may not be easily sue-able if anybody takes a close enough look at it.

 

Probably best not to ask too hard about it and then they won't have to say anything about it.

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11 hours ago, Arrpeegeemaker said:

Hmm @UncannyBoots lol no I think you might not understand script calls vs plugin commands. Ruby and JavaScript can both give script calls for a user. It's an extra step to make plugin commands (MV), and they don't offer as much flexibility, inherently, as script commands. That is all I'm saying lol. A 'script call' is nothing more than a function written in either language,. Since I don't release plugins publicly, I have no need to make plugin commands. I can just use the script calls. I could do the same releasing a public script, but in general, with MV plugins the idea is to add Plugin Commands to circumvent the need for users who don't script to ever do any 'script calls'. 

 

The only difference here is that RPG Maker has the extra ability for plugin makers to include Plugin Commands. 

Do you write in either JS or Ruby?

 

EDIT: I might be able to make this clearer, a plugin command technically uses script calls. You alias the plugin manager's plugin command feature, and add a script call or series of script calls (technically you can write all your plugin command code inline, but that's silly and a bad practice) that take what the user typed in for the command and break it down. It all gets passed as a string from the user, so you have to go through extra work on the programming side to make it so someone can do

Plugin Command: Call Event 5 2

instead of 

Script Call: callEvent(5, 2)

(of course, a very generalized example)

 

But it's actually more work for the programmer to take that plugin command string and extract the info from it, when it doesn't seem any more intuitive than just using a script call written for the same purpose. 

When I have made plugin commands for people, its usually a process like this:

//Function to break down Plugin Command String into useable parameters

//Call a function with those parameters

 

It seems pointless to me, because I'm usually feeding the parameters from the plugin command into a function. To me, all it does is prevent the user from typing periods and parenthesis.

I didn't know that MV allowed script calls lol though in that case you can disregard what I said about that 😅 I guess I did misunderstand you.

 

No I don't write scripts. I'm able to modify Ruby scripts with my basic knowledge of RGSS3 though (which I have done extensively).

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12 hours ago, Traverse said:

 

From what I can gather, mkxp is kinda like an emulator that makes it possible for you to run XP/VX/Ace games on Mac or Linux. It doesn't actually touch anything to do with the engines themselves.

 

Whether it is officially allowed is probably in the same grey area as other emulation software. This is due to the fact that its creation may or may not have involved cracking the proprietary RGSS DLL and reverse-engineering any copyrighted code, which may or may not be easily sue-able if anybody takes a close enough look at it.

 

Probably best not to ask too hard about it and then they won't have to say anything about it.

 

Sounds like a bunch of FUD to me... There is no need to crack or reverse-engineer anything to do what mkxp is doing. All of the information about the RGSS api is provided right in the help files, save perhaps details about the encryption used which is public knowledge now anyway. And re-implementing an api with a different backend is 100% legal. This is why projects like Wine exist.

 

It amazes me how many people are needlessly paranoid about that clause in the EULA. Here let me break it down for you: Are you actually hexediting or disassembling the game.exe and/or the RGSS DLL? If not, then you are not cracking or reverse-engineering the engine. Using the win32api functions to load other DLLs does not break the EULA. It's even something the developers of RPG Maker went out of their way to allow in fact since win32api is explicitly included as a built in extension. Using something like mkxp does not break the EULA. It's completely it's own project with completely it's own code which could be easily verified since it's code is public.

 

And anyway even if mkxp was an emulator (I won't argue the semantics one way or another) the reason emulation is often said to be in a 'legal grey area' has less to do with the software doing the emulation (which is more often then not also made with publicly available information and not actually reverse-engineered) and more to do with what's being emulated (aka, pirated ROM dumps and such).

Edited by Kayzee

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5 hours ago, Kayzee said:

 

Sounds like a bunch of FUD to me... There is no need to crack or reverse-engineer anything to do what mkxp is doing. All of the information about the RGSS api is provided right in the help files, save perhaps details about the encryption used which is public knowledge now anyway. And re-implementing an api with a different backend is 100% legal. This is why projects like Wine exist.

 

It amazes me how many people are needlessly paranoid about that clause in the EULA. Here let me break it down for you: Are you actually hexediting or disassembling the game.exe and/or the RGSS DLL? If not, then you are not cracking or reverse-engineering the engine. Using the win32api functions to load other DLLs does not break the EULA. It's even something the developers of RPG Maker went out of their way to allow in fact since win32api is explicitly included as a built in extension. Using something like mkxp does not break the EULA. It's completely it's own project with completely it's own code which could be easily verified since it's code is public.

 

And anyway even if mkxp was an emulator (I won't argue the semantics one way or another) the reason emulation is often said to be in a 'legal grey area' has less to do with the software doing the emulation (which is more often then not also made with publicly available information and not actually reverse-engineered) and more to do with what's being emulated (aka, pirated ROM dumps and such).

 

Lol I love this forum haha, I used to be on the official RM forum back in the day and they were super strict about this kind of thing. So this is refreshing.

 

I don't know if going this far would be acceptable on this forum, but I've always been curious: what part of RPG Makers (before MV) are closed-source? If you were to crack into the engines, what could you change that you wouldn't be able to by using additional scripts/modifying the default scripts? Has anyone done it?

 

I apologize if this sounds really vague and noobish but tbh I don't even know what it is that is closed off to us in RPG Makers before MV (and therefore I don't know what part of MV became open sourced and freely editable).

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5 hours ago, Kayzee said:

All of the information about the RGSS api is provided right in the help files, save perhaps details about the encryption used which is public knowledge now anyway.

 

Actually, it isn't.

 

The help file provides a basic summary of what the core methods supposedly do, but the details of how it does them and the exact code behind them are not supplied. This is the reason why RPGMaker MV was touted as being more "open" than XP/VX/Ace when it was announced - all the code for the base modules like Audio, Graphic and Input and base classes like Window, Bitmap and Sprite are accessible and editable in MV's files under "rpg_core.js". But for XP/VX/Ace, the RGSS DLL contains all of this base code and you're not supposed to see it.

 

For a direct example, you won't find the code for chopping up the "Window.png" windowskin file and arranging it in the form of a window anywhere in the script editor. It's not in Window_Base, that stuff comes from the Window superclass located in the RGSS DLL. I recall seeing someone on the official forums trying to reverse engineer the process of assembling a window just from the help file, he had limited success.

 

Another example - did you know that the base Audio module in VXAce actually contains functionality for fading-in .ogg tracks, not just fading-out? This isn't even listed in the help file. It can't normally be accessed anywhere, there is no event command for it, there is no listed method (or if there is, I do not know what it is called because it has not been documented, I only stumbled on the fact it could wholly by accident). It gets used when a BGM gets (re)played at a position in the track other than the beginning. It only works for .ogg files because position-seeking doesn't work for other formats in the first place, but you can check it out yourself - call Audio.bgm_play("Audio/BGM/whatever_track", 100, 100, 1). As long as its starting position is greater than 0, it will fade in.

 

Now, I don't know, maybe it's true that they were simply good enough that they could reverse-engineer all that functionality from the RGSS DLL without actually looking at the DLL, or else maybe they looked at the code that MV supplied and then reverse-engineered based on that. It might be possible.

 

But you will also have to forgive people who may suspect otherwise.

 

5 hours ago, Kayzee said:

And anyway even if mkxp was an emulator (I won't argue the semantics one way or another) the reason emulation is often said to be in a 'legal grey area' has less to do with the software doing the emulation (which is more often then not also made with publicly available information and not actually reverse-engineered) and more to do with what's being emulated (aka, pirated ROM dumps and such).

 

Usually, yes. Unless the BIOS code for the original hardware was supplied with the emulator, then that's illegally redistributing copyrighted/patented code, which is the reason why you will see lots of emulators tell you to supply your own BIOS dump (and the emulator won't run properly without it). Now granted, there are emulators that don't require a BIOS file because their creators were good enough to be able to reverse-engineer the functionality of it without touching the original BIOS... or did they actually do it without touching the original BIOS? Best not to ask, in that situation.

Edited by Traverse

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Is it difficult to open up a dll file?

EDIT: After a quick search, it appears it is. haha

 

Man, I'm super curious what else it is that is closed off to us in VX Ace now lol

Edited by UncannyBoots

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3 hours ago, Traverse said:

Actually, it isn't.

 

The help file provides a basic summary of what the core methods supposedly do, but the details of how it does them and the exact code behind them are not supplied.

...

 

Yes the help file only provides a summary of what the core methods do. And that's all mkxp needs to know. If mkxp was a 100% code accurate recreation of the engine, yeah you might have some merit to that argument. Might. But it isn't. It's an alternate implantation of the api. It doesn't support every function that the original engine had, and it doesn't necessarily do the ones it does 100% accurately. It works more or less good enough in 80-90% of cases, and that's useful enough for people to be able to use it to port games to it. And that's all it's really designed to do, act as an alternative implementation of the api.

 

3 hours ago, Traverse said:

Now, I don't know, maybe it's true that they were simply good enough that they could reverse-engineer all that functionality from the RGSS DLL without actually looking at the DLL, or else maybe they looked at the code that MV supplied and then reverse-engineered based on that. It might be possible.

 

But you will also have to forgive people who may suspect otherwise.

 

3 hours ago, Traverse said:

Usually, yes. Unless the BIOS code for the original hardware was supplied with the emulator, then that's illegally redistributing copyrighted/patented code, which is the reason why you will see lots of emulators tell you to supply your own BIOS dump (and the emulator won't run properly without it). Now granted, there are emulators that don't require a BIOS file because their creators were good enough to be able to reverse-engineer the functionality of it without touching the original BIOS... or did they actually do it without touching the original BIOS? Best not to ask, in that situation.

 

I do tend to forgive people for unknowingly being taken in by disinformation campaigns. I don't tend to forgive people for knowingly spreading disinformation for the sake of their own agenda, which is where a lot of this talk of 'reverse-engineering' things come from. Most of it accusations blatantly attempting to scare people and has no actual legal merit. Not saying you are one of those people intentionally spreading misinformation, but don't you think you may be a victim of people who are?

 

Heres the thing: Some reverse-engineering and illegally redistributing copyrighted/patented code is illegal sure. You know what's not? Creating your own new code based on legally obtained information about how something works that accomplishes the same overall goal. Now I ask you, very plainly and openly: How are you going to tell the difference? Not just for emulation or whatever. How about ANY software? Or hardware too? How can you prove that any 'reverse-engineering' ever took place? Given any product with a similar product that does the same thing, how can you tell there wasn't shady shenanigans involved?

 

This isn't just a rhetorical question or one with no answer. This is the actual question at the heart of the matter. People are innocent until proven guilty, or they are supposed to be. It surprises me how many people forget that. You may think it's "best not to ask". I beg to differ. If the legal system means anything at all, it's a question that needs to be answered. If big corporations can just bulldoze their way over the law, then what's the point in paying attention to laws? If you are accusing any piece of software of reverse-engineering something, how are you going to prove it beyond a responsible doubt in a court of law?

 

Most of the time the answer is long tedious and very very technical and involves lots of code auditing by experts and lots of legal wangling back and forth about obscure details. But I will tell you one thing, just because reverse-engineering may have been used in theory doesn't mean it actually was. Heck, in some ways what 'reverse-engineering' actually means in any specific case is open for debate. I am not a legal expert and don't claim to be. If you are feel free to explain to me exactly why I am wrong. If you are not however, please just take what I said into account before questioning the legality of these types of projects. Honestly I would think that the fact it and all it's code is still publicly up on github and has been for years is a bit of a hint that maybe it's legal, but whatever.

 

Edit: Oops... Sorry for kinda taking over the thread there. I know, I know, I argue too much. This is one of the topics that kinda legit triggers me though. XD

Edited by Kayzee

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2 hours ago, Kayzee said:

If mkxp was a 100% code accurate recreation of the engine, yeah you might have some merit to that argument. Might. But it isn't. It's an alternate implantation of the api. It doesn't support every function that the original engine had, and it doesn't necessarily do the ones it does 100% accurately.

 

I haven't used mkxp before, so I'll take your word for it when you say that it is, in fact, not very good or accurate at reproducing the functionality of the original RGSS code. If this is indeed the case, I have no trouble believing that they just made do with what they could guess at, with the end result being what you describe (as unfortunate as it might sound to say it that way).

 

If it did actually reproduce most of the functionality closely, I would really be seriously wondering about it. I mean, both you and I know it wouldn't be the first time somebody has ever cracked the RGSS DLL before.

 

2 hours ago, Kayzee said:

I do tend to forgive people for unknowingly being taken in by disinformation campaigns. I don't tend to forgive people for knowingly spreading disinformation for the sake of their own agenda, which is where a lot of this talk of 'reverse-engineering' things come from. Most of it accusations blatantly attempting to scare people and has no actual legal merit. Not saying you are one of those people intentionally spreading misinformation, but don't you think you may be a victim of people who are?

 

Heres the thing: Some reverse-engineering and illegally redistributing copyrighted/patented code is illegal sure. You know what's not? Creating your own new code based on legally obtained information about how something works that accomplishes the same overall goal. Now I ask you, very plainly and openly: How are you going to tell the difference? Not just for emulation or whatever. How about ANY software? Or hardware too? How can you prove that any 'reverse-engineering' ever took place? Given any product with a similar product that does the same thing, how can you tell there wasn't shady shenanigans involved?

 

Which is exactly the reason my advice was to not ask or look in too closely.

 

It's a very fine line and can be hard to tell. Giving benefit of the doubt means you're assuming that the reverse engineering was done completely through legal means (i.e. that it was done by observing aspects of the product that were legal to inspect or copy and/or guessing how something was done for the parts that aren't). There are people who are good enough at it to do it that way. I do not know how many of them exist,  but I would guess far fewer than those who need to look at the parts that aren't legal to copy or need illegal protection bypassing to inspect. But giving benefit of the doubt means assuming the creator(s) fall into the former rather than latter category.

 

If you're assuming it was done legally, you don't ask whether it's legal. You assume simply that if a part of it looks very similar to how the original did it, it means the reverse engineer just made a very good guess at how it was done.

 

If you are asking whether it's legal, what you're asking is whether it was just a good guess or whether it was a heavily educated "guess".

 

Which, unless you're deliberately trying to start something, is just going to be cause for trouble or at least that's the way I see it.

 

TL;DR - I'm saying that if you're assuming it's legal and innocent until proven guilty, you don't ask because if you do you're effectively asking for proof they're innocent, something along those lines.

Edited by Traverse

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This all reminds me of that classic 10NES case where Atari got in trouble for reverse engineering. They kind of left a trail, at the end of the day. But that case was kind of groundbreaking. 

Anyway here's the link for the WIKI, although you can find much more info on the specific case without much research.

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Reverse_Engineering/Legal_Aspects

 

Not taking sides here lol, just seems relevant.

 

Speaking of relevance though, on the subject of the original thread topic...

Like I said before, there are still a lot of plugin devs, just not as many big one-stop-for-30+ plugins. One very interesting one right now is MV3D. Still super young as a script but WOW, it's beautiful lol. 

Also, Hudell isn't as big a name, but he's still active and has a lot of plugins, I just spoke to him yesterday. 

He has a lot of good stuff. 

Also, even though there isn't that much content, Galenmerth also has a lot of good plugins, although I'm not sure how active they are anymore. 

 

Anyway, that's my main observation. It seems like we're past our 'The Beatles' age of scripts and plugins for RM games. Meaning there are still a lot of acts out there, but enough time has passed to where even making lots of content doesn't bring you much spotlight

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9 hours ago, Traverse said:

...

TL;DR - I'm saying that if you're assuming it's legal and innocent until proven guilty, you don't ask because if you do you're effectively asking for proof they're innocent, something along those lines.

 

But I am not the one who was making accusations. You were the one who brought up the possibility of shadey stuff going on. So what you are basically saying to me, is that it's okay to badmouth a project by implying the possibility of improper action, but that it would be wrong to actually make real accusations. It's basically  okay to go smearing the project's good name. Do you really not see the problem with that? It's FUD 101. It's the exact kind of cowardly tactic used by people to wiggle their way out of proving their case.

 

So no, I reject that logic. If you have a problem with something, I say put up or shut up. If you actually care about the possibility that something illegal has happened, go to any authority you think you need to go to. If you don't, why the heck did you bring it up? Why imply a wrong doing might have happened? Do you really not see the problem here? I mean, you are free to say whatever you want, but I am gonna call it like I see it. And what I see right now is pure BS that has gone too long without being challenged by anyone.

 

It is so annoying how often people do this kind of thing. Making accusations without making accusations I mean. It's doubly annoying how much people fall for it and parrot the same argument. I am actually getting annoyed. Not so much at you Travy, but at human society. Maybe this whole argument's my fault for not explaining myself more. Am I really just that awful at making my actually point? Is my thinking really that alien to most people that they just can't understand what I am trying to say? Sorry about continuing to argue again, but not so sorry I won't do it.

 

9 hours ago, Arrpeegeemaker said:

This all reminds me of that classic 10NES case where Atari got in trouble for reverse engineering. They kind of left a trail, at the end of the day. But that case was kind of groundbreaking. 

Anyway here's the link for the WIKI, although you can find much more info on the specific case without much research.

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Reverse_Engineering/Legal_Aspects

 

Not taking sides here lol, just seems relevant.

 

Yeah, like I said, it's not that it's impossible to prove if reverse engineering has happened. Because there usually is some kind of trail or other hint. Which is sort of my point. This isn't some fuzzy legally grey swamp where no one has ever tread before, and the only ones who benefit portraying it as if it was are people who want to discredit it.

 

Edited by Kayzee

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Yeah, with the Atari thing if I remember, one of their execs was actually having golf outings with an NES exec to gain his friendship, so he could trick him into talking about info Atari was after.

I think they also pulled some legal stunt that allowed the patent on 10NES to be examined. It was all real shady business. 

As if almost destroying the video game industry wasnt enough lol

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9 hours ago, Kayzee said:

But I am not the one who was making accusations. You were the one who brought up the possibility of shadey stuff going on. So what you are basically saying to me, is that it's okay to badmouth a project by implying the possibility of improper action, but that it would be wrong to actually make real accusations. It's basically  okay to go smearing the project's good name. Do you really not see the problem with that? It's FUD 101. It's the exact kind of cowardly tactic used by people to wiggle their way out of proving their case.

 

You need to chill a little, nobody is making any accusations or badmouthing (well, if anything, you're the one accusing me of spreading FUD).

 

Pointing out that asking something may come off as an accusation and that doing so may imply something shady is NOT the same thing as making an accusation and calling it shady or implying so. Trying to conflate all mention of anything to do with shadiness and illegality without sparing any thought to the context and automatically treating it like someone is somehow promoting it or making "quasi-real" accusations of it is, at best, rather disingenuous (and I'm not going to say what it means at worst, because I'm going to give you the benefit of doubt and assume you conflating and ignoring the context it is unintentional and that you're not doing it deliberately).

 

In this case, the context is that emulation is very much a legal grey area* - something which is a known fact and not FUD. I am not "implying" the possibility of improper action, I am saying outright there IS a possibility of improper action, due to the nature of the field. This is not a "smear" on any project, or some attempt badmouth by somehow pretending that the possibility is hard fact, this is simply the factual context behind the discussion which needs to be addressed to get to my point. My point being that, because of this, asking whether one is legal is akin to asking someone who you see surreptitiously knocking back pills if those pills were legal. If the answer is yes, it only gets the other guy annoyed and possibly insulted. If the answer is no, it's going to be messy for both of you unless you're deliberately trying to get a confession for some reason or other.

 

There's nothing wrong with making a real accusation if you deliberately are trying to drag a confession out of someone. Otherwise, saying nothing is just good manners and all around better for everyone's stress levels, at least IMO. You can disagree with that opinion if you wish, but there's no point getting up in arms while ignoring the context behind it, if you do that we're just talking past each other.

 

EDIT * - And because I suspect you may lament its current legally grey status as being a sad state of affairs for emulation, I'm also going to remind you to be careful what you wish for - because from what I gather (and I could be wrong) part of the reason it's been legally grey for so long is simply because the alternatives are either outright legal or outright illegal and nobody knows which way the coin would flip if courts actually started taking a hard look at them and passing down rulings, so there are people who prefer to keep it grey and avoid court rather than gamble on clarification. No, I am not talking about myself, I have no stake in it whatsoever - I am just pointing out such people exist and the reason why they prefer grey.

Edited by Traverse

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Honestly now that I calmed down a bit I feel I did go overboard. Though I still don't quite agree with you, I understand the spirit of what you are saying. Let me make this clear: I am not saying you are intentionally implying anything or smearing anyone. Keyword is intentionally. It's the whole 'legal grey area' argument I take issue with. I don't agree with the perception of emulation as a 'legal grey area', and doubly disagree with that idea being an absolute fact. Nor do I think that being a 'legal grey area' offers any kind of real protection. If anything it's the opposite, it basically means there is a lack of protection. Then there is the question of if the idea of a 'legal grey area' is even meaningful in the first place, which is a whole other debate.

 

In short: I believe you are being deceived.

 

Now mind you, I don't want the courts cracking down on emulation and other such things either, but being a 'legal grey area' is not going to stop the corporate suits from trying to get them to. And again, if the law has been so fundamentally corrupted that it can't fight off the big corporations when needed, what's the point in even paying attention to the law? If we are screwed either way, legality is meaningless. Luckily we aren't quite at that point yet, right? ...Right?

Edited by Kayzee

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