Building RPGs and Planets

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Its been a chaotic this past week but things have wrapped up pretty well.  Other than some continuing allergy problems I’m feeling pretty good.  I’ve also been busy learning about RPG Maker and working on my Planet building project.  So this weekends update will be mostly about those two things.

Planetary System Guide

Call it a working title, but I’ve been continuing developing my guide for creating stars, planetary systems and planets for science fiction games like Traveller and GURPS space, as well as my own yet to be published (and yet to be named) game system.  So far I’ve gotten most of the data I need to build random tables for generating stars, including spectral type, size, luminosity, etc.  I’ve also got data for determining orbital distance of planetary bodies, and some data on size and type.   I’m hoping by next weekend to start putting those tables together.  Meanwhile I’ve been working out formulas for determining black body temperature of planets, habitable zones (which is a bit misleading, its actually the zone where liquid water can occur), planetary albedo and atmospheric green house effects; all of which are important to determining the overall temperature of a planet.

There is still a lot to develop, considering the frequency of water and atmospheres on planets (and possibly magnetic fields and liquid cores).  Those things will in turn affect topography and the likelihood life of some kind may exist.  Where life does exist, there’s considerations for how complex that life may be, whether any of it is sentient, and then there’s the Fermi paradox to consider.

While its a lot of information to consider, its also kind of fun.  The whole process really makes you stop an think about the Universe and just how amazing it all is.

RPG Maker

I’ve also been learning a lot more about RPG Maker, mostly focusing on how Events work.  Since I got the full version I’ve been watching as many tutorial videos as I can find on YouTube as well as reading up in the RPG Maker forums.  The events system turns out to be a lot more versatile and powerful than I’d realized.  Some things I thought would have to be done with RGSS scripting, which I know pretty much nothing about yet, can actually be done with the Events system.  I’m far from an expert but I’m including two short tutorials on events in this weekend’s update.  You can find them here:

Open / Close Doors Event

Random Treasure in Chests

These are just a couple of events I worked out as I learn more about how the system works.  I’ll keep sharing things I learn as I continue to learn, never know when it may answer a question someone else has.

I’m also starting to learn some about how tile sets and sprites work and what would be involved in making them.  Basically there are two sizes, the 32×32 pixel sprites and tiles like those that come included.  These are more of a “cartoon” style reminiscent of Mario Brothers, Legend of Zelda and other “classic” games.  There are also larger 64×64 pixel sprites, many by Pioneer Games, that look more like the original Diablo or Sacred graphics.  I want to learn to create both, but its the later style that most interests me.

Another technique I want to learn about is parallax mapping, which I think will go very well with the 64×64 px sprites.  From the few examples I’ve seen parallax mapping can produce some really beautiful and high quality maps and graphics.  Its a shame in a way that they don’t include some examples in the basic software package.

There are also a lot of RGSS scripts out there written by others, which is fortunate considering it will probably take me awhile to learn the language and learn to write my own.  From what I’ve found so far, a lot of what I would like to do has already been done in some form.  So it looks like all I may need to do is simply find the right scripts, and perhaps make a few modifications.  Again, some of these options I wish had been included with the out of the box software.

Probably the one option I think is most missing is a built in option / script / method for players to customize their character at the beginning of the game.  The bad news is that no such option is included.  The good news is you can actual create a workable system using the Events options.  I think I’ve got an idea how to work one out, but I need to flow chart it then test it.  Keep a watch on the Events section for that.

The Legend of Bork

As I get started with using the software I’ve decided to combine practice with creating some basic games.  Let’s face it, its more fun to create something you can actually play and share with others than just fiddling with scripts all the time.  So I’ve decided to start with a very tongue in cheek first game, The Legend of Bork.  Yeah, that’s also a humorous tip of the hat to some older games like Legend of Zelda and Zork.  For a first game I’m just going to use the options and tile sets included with RPG Maker.  The game probably won’t be very long, maybe 3-4 mini bosses and a main boss, each at the end of their own quest chain.  Mainly I just want to get a complete project done, solid game design and mapping, everything functioning correctly, and not try to get too fancy or complex.  The big ideas, the complex features and puzzles I’ll save for later projects (Bork II… Bork III… Bork IV… lol).

For an opening we find our “hero”, Bork, snoozing somewhere and daydreaming about being a big hero one day.  He’s awakened by some noise and decides to investigate.  Discovering the nearby town in shambles he learns the big bad guy and some raiders just wrecked the town, kidnapped the princess (you knew there was going to be a princess, right?) and worse killed the local heroes!   Now there’s no one to rescue the princess and save the kingdom, oh what ever will they do.  As you might guess, Bork seizes the opportunity and pays the king a visit.  The king is less than happy to see Bork (he’s got a well deserved rep as a lazy kid) but with no better option gives Bork the few clues as to where the raiders have gone with the princess.  Maybe he can rescue her but probably he’ll get himself killed.

From there Bork is off and the adventure begins.  How exactly the rest turns out I’m still deciding but I intend to throw in some plot twists and some humor.

That’s about it for this week.  I’ll be working on some 3D models next week and I also have a real life construction project to work on, so I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for RPGs, but we’ll see how it goes.  See you next weekend and keep being creative!

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