Vgchaos Development Blog

Day 10 (Jan 23, 2011)

Thanks to an awesome tutorial at RPG Maker VX Forums I have started to incorporate Parallax mapping in my game. It's a neat concept, allowing you to take a jpg image and use that as a tileset rather than actually doing a traditional tile/event map. By doing it this way you can create more detailed maps by superimposing actual tiles and events on a screenshot of a created map. Plus using paint.net or photoshop with unlimited layers allows for a lot more custamizability and a more fluid feeling map at the end of it all.
This kind of inspired me to make another project, hopefully something my friend Marie would help with, Notebook Hero. I envision my many different scraps of D&D games coming to life as actual worlds, letting my full-color sprites and monsters run around the pages of my black and white grid paper maps. Not sure of the story yet. I think it would be super neat to have my characters navigate a picture of my bookshelf trying to get to the next chapter of the adventure though. Seeing little 2d sprites jump around my living room and then crawling inside my books amuses me.

Day 9 (Jan 8, 2011)

First post of the new year! The project jumped ahead by leaps and bounds over the last two days. Found an awesome pokemon project thread in the RMVX community which provided me with a ton of sprites. The DS sprites were turning out to look gigantic when I imported them so I had to play around until I found the right dimensions that they should be at, then I resized all of them, and made some 8-sheets which compiled all of them, I'll upload the finished projects in a day or two.
Also put the reputation system into action, weaved together all of my opening poketopia starting zones, made an item which teleports you back to your home ship; Centurion I, and started filling out the home ship. I also implemented a Galactic Empire Investment system. There's an R2 unit on your ship who will gladly take your credits in exchange for upping your "investment level" which then causes events on your ship to become visible. These events start out small, like decorations and extra crewmembers, and end up eventually providing in-game benefits, like a Galactic Empire Weapons and Armor shop to buy your laser pistols at.

Day 8 (Dec 31)

Finally found some remixed music which is recognizably pokemon, but different enough to be fresh, with that inspiration I'm fleshing out the areas a bit more. Kirby Cave has an anthem now, so I'm starting to make up the dungeon where you will meet your first companion in the game. Together with Kirby you can take out another creature with a voracious appetite in the cave; Snorlax! I need to tweak the Snorlax sprite considerably so I can have a large version of him, as would be appropriate.
After much playing of WoW, particularly the Burning Crusade portion, I figured out how to make an in-game faction reputation system. Simply assign a variable to whichever faction you decide, in my example; 0101:Leafy Town Rep. Leafy Town requires the pikachu infestation to be brought down to a reasonable level, so if you would venture into the nearby forest and exterminate the rampant pikachus that would be excellent. Make a series of identical Pikachu Encounter events, and at the end of each one you put the event Control Variable -> 0101:Leafy Town Rep Add Constant 1. Voila, every pikachu killed nets you 1 rep. When you speak with Leafy Town's mayor you can give him a set of branching conversation options based on reputation level, and eventually this could open up some area if you associate a common event with the faction; i.e. Common Event; If Leafy Town Faction Friendly Switch is On -> Leafy Town Gym Door Unlocked. This is preferable to a simple "Collect 10 pikachu scalps" method, because several different events can be associated with the variable, any quest can have faction rep as a secondary reward, even just choosing a proper conversation choice and this can also be used as a penalty as well, with faction rep being deducted for conflicting behavior.
Also figured out how to have environment specific battle music. Have an invisible parallel process event call a common event, the common event simply being to change the Battle BGM. Not sure how to change battle backgrounds yet.
Did discover the timer, not sure how that could be useful yet, but I'm sure that could be fun for a quest of some sort. Also I mapped a variable to the amount of steps taken, saves done, and people in your party. SImply use another parallel process at the very beginning map to open a common event I called "switches" which mapped those variables, that way they keep tracking throughout the game. Important note, if testing something involving one of those variables, that common event must be started in order for the variables to be tracked.
To DO List:
Kirby Cave
Snorlax Sprite
Kirby "Class"
Yoshi Sprite
Yoshi "Class"
Filler Pokemon for Kirby Cave - This takes a long time, mainly because of tracking resistances, and trying to make relative size and strength match that found in the Bulbapedia.

Day 7 (Nov 30)

Made a Poketopia overworld map and trying to get the flow of that part of the world down right, balancing the game a bit as I go. I think I'm going to split it into 4 zones, with beast that level roughly to follow. The first zone is level 1-10 or so, and you fight the first gym leader in the very first village, but only after he sends you off to get a pokemon in a nearby cave and you find Kirby, that will be Leafy Village. You will get the Leaf Badge fom there. The next town will be featuring the next tier, second-evolution, pokemon, which you should be able to beat combined with Kirby at levels 6-14. That will be the mountainous winter zone where you get the Rock Badge. The third Village, featuring crystals and everything, will be a flying city over the desert, and that will be Lumina Town. It will feature Third Evolution Pokemon, which should be around levels 15-20 and require Yoshi as well to beat, their gym leader will award the Gem Badge. Once you get all three badges you can enter the central cities gym, and fight the gym leader there. He will then give you the key to open the gate to the Mount Doom like region in the Southwest where the legendary pokemon live, deep in there you will find the powerful ally you were looking for.

Day 6 (Nov 16-17)

Poketopolis.JPG

Figured out how to customize the tilesets, so I'm importing bits to use in the Poketopia world. Because there are only a finite amount of tiles that you can use I'm only using them when I have to, random objects will be made using object sprites. Also figured out how to operate the airship properly, and I figured out how to give you the choice of what to fly, to change your vehicles depending on what world you're on and so on. I want a different vehicle depending on where you're at, so it makes it feel more unique.
I realize that the tileset is not quite to scale with the rest of the characters running around, well I just don't care so much right now. Just spent 4 hours fixing clipping issues and squeezing pixels about. I'm happy with it, it's supposed to be the only city in my world with everything else being small scale villages, so I like to think of it as something similar to the overworld map. On that note, I have been thinking about the overworld maps for the different worlds, and if I wasn't restricted to just one additional tileset I would love to have like a galactic overmap. Unfortunately I'm going to have to still do it Star Trek style and have you beamed down to whatever planet you want.
Think I may have figured out how to make a bank script, but seeing as how a total party wipe = game over, there's not much of a point. I may instead make like a "galactic investment firm" with rewards for depositing credits. That could be cool.
Objects: Pokemon object set, sprites are ripped from a tileset courtesy of Kymotamian.
Misc. Working on a tileset. When I complete the one I will be using for this game I'll upload it. So far it includes the pokegym, the customizable brown building, the generator (Which I'm actually going to make into an object instead I think), and the arena.

Daily Thought: Make sure you have a vehicle starting position before attempting to script elaborate events regarding a vehicle. Much frustration will occur if you don't, as you can't figure out why our guy won't just board his airship and go already, when it's actually not there to begin with.

Day 5 (Nov 12)

Started working on Poketopia, the first planet which will be explored by our "heroes". Made a ravine which can only be jumped with Mario's Jump Boots, which will be found later in the Mushroom Kingdoom, and even made a cool scripted event which happens everytime you jump it. Did the same with a boulder and the Hammer Bros' Golden Hammer. The plan is to have a couple places initially offlimits, similar to the just out of reach pokeballs which you can only get once you learn the proper HM move. Probably going to put certain HM's in the game actually.
Poketopia is my vision of a pre-pokemon pokeworld, before it got super civilized. It's going to be a sort of medieval village, but with a couple innovations courtesy of pokemon. Going to make a town hall/gym, where you fight the gym leader to get a badge which marks you as an outstanding citizen of that village. The local shop will have items similar to those found in pokemon games at the Pokemart, and there will be a schoolhouse with desks lined up and everything. Maybe as they move farther inland (and as I get the tileset working…) the population density will increase slightly, and maybe get a bit more advanced.
Eventually the goal of this world is to defeat Bill, the Pokemon Master who rules over Poketopolis and fights all who oppose him in the Grand Arena. Before you meet him, Kirby will crash on a star in the woods, at which point you will assume he is a pokemon and try to catch him with a prototypical Master pokeball given to you by an impressed gym leader. The pokeball's magic does indeed bind Kirby to your service, but Kirby isn't happy about it, and often reminds you of that, and that he isn't a pokemon, both of which you happily ignore.

Day 4 (Oct 26)

New Resources
Decided to not post every picture that I make on this page, so I don't use up all my storage space by double-uploading files. If you want to check them out, see Resources.
Battlers: Made a Stormtroopa, and resized Blastoise so that they are all proportionate.
Sprites: Made an R2D2 , a Blackmage, Darth Vader and a Chicken.
Objects: Couldn't figure out how to import tilesets, so instead I just took a tileset and made the objects into events. Still works out cool, because now I have a chalkboard that you can click on and get information from it, etc. Should make a few objectsets like this and then upload them. Make sure you turn off Walking or Stepping animation when you use them, and you can even put direction fix on to be safe if you have it moving for whatever reason.

New Scripts
Clothing Change: Made a common event script which changes your character's avatar to represent what he's wearing. It's in two parts, so your character wil wear whatever is in his armor slot, but that is overridden if there is a disguise-item in the accessory slot. So if your character is wearing Mandalorian Armor, and puts on the ninja mask he will appear to be a ninja. You can switch your armor then to Clone Trooper armor and he'll still look like a ninja until you take off the mask, at which time he'll turn into a Clone Trooper.
Skill Teaching Equipment: This is courtesy of modern algebra from RMVK, awesome scripter.

Daily Thought/Tip: When making sprite or object sheets, each individual block should be 32x32 pixels. In a sheet you'll have 12 of these, 3 across and 4 down, for a total of 96x128 pixels in the sheet. Easiest thing to do to make sure you have the right sized objects or characters is to make one new picture at 32x32, and another at 96x128. Paste your object into the 32x32, resize it to fit, then bring it over to it's slot on the 96x128 sheet.
If you want a double sized object or character, like a boss monster, or a moving vehicle, just double the size of your image. This may mean you have some trouble with clipping unfortunately, because the event tile itselft remains the same, so be smart with it.

Day 3 (Oct 24)

Made this site to track my progress. So far I have started work on the opening scene in the Commander's ship. I also inputted a number of custom sprites and battlers, and downloaded a bunch of sound effects from KyuTwo ripped off of Super Smash Bros.
I'm happy with a couple scripts that I made so far. I have the Guard who sets your character's name, then walks off and tells you to see the commander, which is pretty standard but necessary. The one I'm proud of is the Red Shirt who joins your party, then follows you around on the map until he inevitably gets killed, removed from the party and taken off the map. That's my first attempt at a scripted in-game event, and it makes me smile every time. Poor Red Shirts.
Also I started working on what elements to use in my game. I'm going to have the pokemon characters all strong/weak against the elements they are supposed to be, which should be fun to try and remember everytime I put one in. Also going to put in some other elements to represent weapons and powers/spells; Melee, Ranged, Ballistic, Laser, Adamantine, Force, Magic, Psionic. I think I'm going to have to put in a book or two scattered through the game detailing which pokemon are susceptible to what. That should be fun to script, definitely saving that one in the testing area.
Daily Thought/Tip: Don't underestimate the value of a test-screen. You can easily set one up with an NPC auto-leveller to test enemies and weapons against various character levels. Or you can store event scripts here for multiple use. Or you can even store scripts which you don't really have a use for yet but like anyway. My test screen is a desert with a multitude of testing sprites running around, and a little oasis of useful game-mechanic testing NPC's gathered around. Whenever I want to test something I just set my starting position next to the oasis and boot it up, rather than playing through the same level over and over again.

My Custom Sprites

Here are the ones I've made so far. Two of them, EvilNinja and UndeadNinja, are Frankensprites, and the rest are sprites I found made for RPGMaker XP or other games which I had to tweak to work in this editor. All of them work and you are free to take them for your own use. Once I get enough made, and I figure out how to make one properly, I'll combine them into 8-sheets for easier downloading.

EvilNinja %24EvilNinja.png Mixed a skeleton and Ninja UndeadNinja %24UndeadNinja.png Again mixed skeleton and Ninja, fun to make, and I love how he turned out.
Chocobo %24Chocobo.png Who doesn't love these guys? Mandalorian %24Mandalorian.png The hero of my game, was an RPG Maker XP file that I downloaded a while ago, had to tweak to use in VX.
Jawa %24Jawa.png Another RPGM XP tweak. Stormtrooper %24Stormtrooper1.png Must have RPGM XP Tweak
Kirby %24Kirby.png Going to be my Mimic character, found the side views of him running, had to manually draw the front and rear views. Funnn… Pikachu %24Pikachu.png Unfortunately has a tiny border of blue around him, but looks smooth running about. I'll try and clean it up later.