Rebel’s Beginner’s Tips #2 for RPG Maker

Long, long ago in untold ages, I wrote about some beginner’s tips for making a game in RPG Maker.  They weren’t anything fancy, but useful items to know if you’ve never used the engine before.  It’s been a long while since I tackled the subject, though, so this week I thought I’d go back and talk about the topic again.  There are plenty more idiosyncrasies you have to pick up when learning the engine, and I definitely have more tips to share.  Like the last time I discussed the subject though, remember that these tips are going to be geared more towards the modern RPG Makers (so RPG Maker VX/VX Ace and RPG Maker MV).

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Selecting and Using Fonts for Webcomics

Check out my guest post on lettering for comics that I wrote for Nattosoup!  It’s a fantastic blog with so much info on creating for comics, whether you want to talk about art, writing, or marketing aspects.  It also has a lot of great topics on watercolors for you traditional artists as well.  Please make sure to give everything a look through if webcomics and/or art are one of your interests!

Rebel’s Beginner’s Tips #1 for RPG Maker

While I am certainly no outstanding expert on RPG Maker, I have clocked in a few hundred hours between RPG Maker VX Ace and RPG Maker MV.  I even have three completed games that you can view on my game studio site, Illimitable Galaxies.  As such, I have overcome a lot of trials in regards to using the engine to create games.  With both programs going on sale pretty often, I feel it’d be relevant for me to pass some of my personal tips for those just starting out the engine.  Keep in mind, these tips really only apply to the two programs mentioned above; I have no idea how applicable my tips are for other entries into the RPG Maker series, such as RPG Maker XP.  However, hopefully you will find the following tips helpful as you first learn the program and start your path into making a game.

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Games and Writing the Silent Protagonist

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR UNDERTALE!

 

One of the stranger polarizing issues I’ve come across in the game community is silent protagonists.  Some people love them and think they add to the immersion.  The player is not forced into a character’s dialogue choices, and they can feel more like they are the character due to the silence.  Other people hate them.  They often view it as a developer being lazy, and they also believe that it makes a character very flat since they have no real personality without dialogue to convey it.

This being the case, indie devs and homebrew devs may find themselves in an odd situation.  Should they risk people’s ire and make a silent protagonist, or should they risk a different people’s ire and have their character have spoken dialogue?  This can be a crucial decision when handling the writing of a game.  However, it is my opinion that what matters more is the protagonist is written and executed well, regardless of whether or not they’re silent.  Thus, today I would like to bring to you three questions you can ask yourself before you decide to make your protagonist silent or not.  These will prioritize the quality of the story versus other factors.

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Mechanics Transparency: Tales of Xillia Edition

Twice before on this blog I have discussed having transparent mechanics in games being a good thing.  The first time I addressed GUIs and how they functioned in Subnautica.  In the second post, I addressed the use of enemy waves in Dragon Age II.  Today, I would like to revisit this topic with a different series and specific topic nuance: leveling in Tales of Xillia and Tales of Xillia 2.

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Web Design Basics: What Not to Do

Web design can be hard.  Whether you’re creating a site for a comic, a store, or just a portfolio of sorts, they all offer different sorts of challenges.  This is often the case regardless of how you make the site (in other words, whether you use a website builder or code it from scratch).  Choices of font, layout, and the likes all come into play throughout the process, and it is inevitably a trial that tests both a creator’s aesthetic abilities as well as their ability to write, organize, and beyond.

Now, I certainly wouldn’t consider myself an expert web-designer (if that wasn’t obvious).  There are a lot of things I don’t understand, such as common SEO practices, logo design, and graphic theming to name a few.  However, I have dabbled enough to feel confident in naming things you shouldn’t do.  As such, I would like to give you three tips today for what not to do when designing a website.

These tips are more for absolute beginners, so if you know a bit about web design this probably isn’t the article for you.  Without further ado, let’s begin.

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The Power of Sound Effects

As someone who is a big fan of Subnautica, I often keep up with updates to the game, usually via various Youtubers who cover the game extensively.  Without spoiling too much, a huge portion of the end game is in development right now (when this article was written anyway).  Since it’s a key story point, it’s being tweaked to be as impactful as possible.  Animations, voice acting, textures, and tons of other aspects keep being overhauled to present the most satisfying moment that could be achieved.  However, in some of the more recent updates, one additive that added a ton of impact caught my eye: the sound effects.

Sound effects are one of those aspects of creative media that often get overlooked.  Whether the sound effects are audio or implied to with words, they make a huge difference despite being minor additives.  Unfortunately, in numerous indie industries, they can often be underused.  While certainly you run the risk of oversaturating a piece with sound effects, they are still an essential that should never be neglected.  To hammer in this point, let us examine why the sound effects make a difference in two industries: gaming and comics.

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Side Quests: Making Interesting “Fetch Quests”

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Dragon Age: Inquisition (specifically the Hinterlands).

 

The week before last I analyzed side quests and how you could make them more compelling than the generic fetch quests one might see in a grind-like MMORPG.  At the heart of the matter, I illustrated three ways one could make them interesting, namely: having side quests add to the story, having side quests with worthwhile loot, or having side quests with an enormous gameplay challenge.  In regards to story, I discussed certain aspects in Dragon Age II and how some of its side quests vastly change outcome of the story.  However, today I would like to expound on this point some more, and also tackle fetch quests which I didn’t talk about fully in that post.

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Side Quests: Interesting vs. Boring

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Dragon Age II and Kingdom Hearts.

 

Anyone who has played any sort of mission/quest based game is familiar with side quests.  They’re those pesky optional quests that the player can choose to complete or not.  Some are simple, such as delivering a package to the NPC in the next town.  Some are challenging, like cave diving for a treasure.  Then there’s also the invariably hard and cruel ones that have you defeat some optional boss that takes every ounce of your being to defeat.  In either case, side quests come in a variety of flavors and vastly help to buffer the gameplay time.

However, not all side quests were created equal.  In fact, some can be outright snore fests.  Take, for instance, pretty much any optional quest in an MMORPG.  In general, these fall into one of a few categories: kill a certain number of creatures, collect certain ingredients/items, or deliver something to an NPC.  MMORPGs are very formulaic when it comes to this matter.  While these side quests do earn you experience points (exp) and virtual money, they have little else to offer the player.  They are, essentially, what makes a lot of MMORPGs grind-fests as it were.  Single player games can often be guilty of the same thing, especially for the RPG genre in general.

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