Archive for December 2013

Tactical Retreats   Leave a comment

After a long delay, welcome back to Gratuitous JRPG.  This is Epic Alphonse, and this post happens to have an unfortunate announcement, relevant to a situation many amateur game designers have or will experience at some point in their careers.

I feel I am at a point where I am going to have to drop the game project.  As much as I have enjoyed working on it, it turns out that a combination of problems has brought my personal momentum on the project to a standstill.  Real life interferences aside, this lack of momentum was damning, as was my increasing doubt about my ability to write for this game.  One could say that I am backing out, but the truth is that I have not worked on the project for a span of time that could be measured in months, and any attempt to resurrect it has been stonewalled by me wondering where I was.  Combine this with running out of skill concepts to fill out the admittedly massive pool of skills I had set up, and I could easily say that I had set myself up for failure.  In short, I made the game too big and ambitious for my first attempt.

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Yeah, yeah, I get it, you told me so, get over your damn selves already.

This, however, does not mean the end of Gratuitous JRPG or the end of me as an amateur game designer.  The real question to ask yourself at the point you find you cannot complete a game is not “am I done with this?” so much as “what have I learned?”  And in this case, it’s that while I might be largely (with some exceptions like the skillpool issues above) able to handle bigger games on the mechanical front, I shouldn’t forget that I can’t write nearly as well as I can design.  Consequently, I should aim my design scope more around my ability to write than my ability to design.  It’s a lesson harshly delivered on the back of a dead project, but an important one nevertheless.

So, what do you do when you’ve just quit a project?  The first thing to come to mind is to either start a new project right away, or do nothing for a while.  If the project was found to be unworkable after sheer effort that was frustrating and ultimately fruitless, the latter would be desirable.  My case, however, has me in a quandary: I don’t want to jump straight into another project after I have declared my previous one dead in the water, but at the same time I don’t want to go back to doing nothing.  As such, I’m going to resort to doing a thought exercise that’s been in the back of my head since one of my earlier posts: “Fix The Defaults.”  And I will be bringing it onto the blog as well!

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Ten weeks.  Ten default characters.  ARE YOU READY?!

The premise of this project is simple.  Each week, I will look at one of the default RMVX Ace characters in order: Eric, Natalie, Terence, Ernest, Ryoma, Brenda, Rick, Alice, Isabelle, and Noah, go over what does and doesn’t work for them, and then expand and redefine each into a character I feel would be worthy of being in a game of my design.  One week for each character, and if I don’t finish, then I’ll have to simply post what I have for the given character for that week.  The challenge is as simple as that, really.

Which is why I feel it would be interesting to add in a couple of complications to this.  The first: Minimal scripting.  The only gameplay script I will use in this case is Yanfly’s Instant Cast and Follow-Up Skills scripts and fomar0153’s formula tricks.  This will force me to work within RMVXA’s parameters more.  The second is that I have to work within the given equipment types (for how they apply) and elements.  This means that, yes, I will have to work with the full default eight-element set: Fire/Ice/Lightning/Earth/Wind/Water/Holy/Dark.

Everything else there?  Fair game.  This includes the engrishy titles and backstories.

Ultimately, this is a thought exercise to get me back into the mindset of game design.  That way I won’t simply leap out at any concept through desperation, and it’ll give any ideas I do have time to formulate so I can approach them more in full.  This isn’t something I would recommend for everyone, mind you–find out what works for yourself, and go with that.  So next time, we’ll be covering the RPG Maker series’ latest Alex/Aluxes/Ralph, Eric, and how to improve his quality, mechanically speaking.  Until then, this is Epic Alphonse, signing out.

Posted December 21, 2013 by EpicAlphonse in Uncategorized