Tuesday, December 6, 2011

RPG Maker VX Ace, it's the shit.

After about a weeks hiatus of doing anything development related, probably due to the game I literally just reviewed, I thought it would be a nice day to go on the IRC I visit and apologize for not being there too.

Apparently a lot can happen in a week, even by enterbrain's lazy "this are pet project" attitude about RPG Maker. Rpg Maker VX Ace is in open beta and it had already had a fan-translation atleast 30 hours before I realised, I'm glad to see the Enterbrainless are atleast acknowledging Indie Game Maker was a complete fucking failure, such to the point there isn't even a crack for it.

So far I've only just scratched the surface of this expansion, mostly due to the fact that there is only a surface, but thats forgivable as its a beta, that notwithstanding there are some ground breaking changes in here, basically all of which are incredible improvements, though in all honesty, should have been in from the beginning.

First, Interchangable tilesets, thats right, you can actually have a different tileset each map instead of each entire fucking game. And it seems this is something the enterbrainiacs wanted as well, due to the amount of detail they have put into their new tiles, I'm guessing this is because that due to the before had lack of infinite expansion, they had to put in the bare essentials, but now they can be creative as they want, the food dishes that sit on tables actually look like something I would eat now. A Strawberry Cake, Roast Boar (or something.) Grapes and Purple Olives (I think), Lattice Pie and other I've forgotten about, They also in their creative rush added onto the original iconset, making potions that actually look like potions, and buttloads of new awesome looking, weapons, armor, even two scythes.

And yes, all the features from XP are there -second detail layer notwithstanding-, 4-way passability, terrain tags, viewable and changable TileID's, Stairs, Bushes, and fuckloads of other shit I've forgotten.

So yes, thats a big one, probably the most overwhelming change, now we may move onto another that they decided wasn't necessary for VX but was for XP.

Battlebacks, they are a thing without a script now, and they are mix n' match-able, making it a lot more varied than first appears.

Okay, next thing. There's a (limited as of now) charaface generator, which I have basically seen every possibility of.

The main thing is the massive database changes, which are too broad to list, but I will start with the fact that every page, save animations, troops and system/terms has note boxes now, actors, classes, etc. Everything is a lot better interface wise as well.

Most things, enemies, actors, classes, items, weapons, armors, can have perimeters, a new feature that basically lets you have more control over what shit does, of the one I've had fun with, Evade Magic, Counter Attack, and Magic Reflect are a great start.

There are tons more, no random enemy encounters, double chance of pre-emptive, no back attacks, the list goes on.

Weapon classes are also a thing, so if you want a certain class or actor to only be able to use guns or crossbows, you can do that.

Armor classes are also a thing, Heavy Armor, Medium Armor, Light Armor, Magic armor, it goes on. Much like elements, you can edit these to you hearts content.

Skill types are also a thing, so I'm not sure what this does other than restrict actors using certain skills, you can change it at any time though, whether it be through an event command, or a parameter on a weapon or armor, or an item you use.

The versatility is startling.

The Status screen in the menu is now something you'll actually consider looking at, so thats cool.

As far as menu options go, likely the hottest of these is formation, you can now have more than 4 party members, and switch at will, you can also set whether actors in reserve receive Exp, and you can change the order of your party members, catterpillar is also baseline now, but its easy to turn off and on again.

There's fuckloads more but I have to attend a server I have already talked about at 5:00 AM tomorrow morning, I'd like 7 hours of sleep.

--And now I can continue, as for the tilesets, you can actually give them tags and in turn, battlebacks and enemies can be set depending in said tags, so if you want to fight forest trolls in a grassy forest, that can be done, just like if you want to fight Frost Nymphs on a Snowfield, that is also a thing. This makes world maps a much better thing, you could even have beach enemies, by adding a unique terrain tag to the desert tile, you can use the other desert tiles to fight Vultures and Tomb Raiders, yadda yadda.

So thats good, Because I'm sure I'm not the only one getting tired of setting battlebacks in arrays and then having to redo them when I re-organise stuff.

On the subject of maps, they now have note boxes. Yep, I imagine we'll very quickly see unbeleivably innovative ideas with such a feature.

Now we can move on to the Juicy fruits of the forest, event commands.

First, swapXT is now Baseline, you can change a tileset mid map, mid cutscene, which is insane.

Theres a 'display scrolling text' option, which basically eliminates the need for a map credit script or story book effect outside eye candy.

You can now also display the list of key items a player has, and has them choose which one to use, this could actually prove to be a roundabout way to make an alchemy system, beyond its intended use, which is demonstrated in the sample map.

This could effectively make puzzle games, and to a greater extent, adventure games a lot more plausible.

So next, there is the 'Change Nickname' command, yeah, Nicknames are a thing now, and I can very easily foresee that like \n[1] to display actor 1 by name, we'll likely have \ni[1] or something to display actor 1 by nickname. Otherwise Nicknames appear in the status page, and nowhere else.

Next is 'Change single File walking' which is equivalent to turning caterpillar on or off.

Currently I am unsure of what 'set single file members' does.

Still no flip or 'proper rotate' picture : /

Retain and Resume BGM, HELL YES.


If you don't understand this, I'm not going to go to the trouble of explaining it.

In short, it renders AudioXT useless for Ace. Which I am actually okay with, because it always bugged for me.

Next command, Change Formation Access, for anyone who has used rpg maker and know most of the event commands, this will require no explanation, in short, it greys out the 'formation' option in the menu, and disables it until turned back on.

Change Window color, yes, you can change the colour, but we still can't use multiple window skins and change between them... wut?

Okay, this one is a mind blower.

'Play Movie'

Waht teh fukc?

Well, this currently doesn't work and simply crashes the game with a windows error when I play it, either because it isn't fully developed yet or because of the 'no resource importing' rule for the beta.

Unless it only takes an uncommon format, so far I have tried .wmv, .avi and .mp4, all to no avail.

No worries though, I'm sure it will work when this is on shelves and buyable online.

Theres a new list of event commands, labelled as 'Map', just before 'Battle'.

First of these, is 'Change Map Name Display' Yes, Map names are displayed in the top left corner shortly after entering a map, and disperse in 5 seconds or so, map names are a thing, next.

'Change Tileset'

This is a really cool feature, and I can see many ways of using and abusing it to innovative levels, and this practically scraps the need for a 'swap XT' for RGSS3

'Change battleback', does what you would expect.

'Change Background' by ofcourse, it means parallax, this basically lets animated parallaxes be a thing, or just to switch them without need of a script. You can change the scroll too.

'Acquire Position Information' this basically tracks the players location, and lets you set it to a single variable, instead of 3. Atleast I think thats what it does. It's hard to think of what else its point could be.

The Battle commands are all the same.

In some of the legacy event commands, there are extra little utilities, for example, and likely my favourite, when you do 'Transfer Player' you can now choose whether to have the normal 30 frame black fade, a white fade, or instant transition, basically rendering my small 'Instant Trasition' script pointless to make in this engine.

I don't want to spoil everything, and the capacity of which I have been able to reach into this program's dark pockets are limited to a degree by my shortened span of time, to a far greater extent the lack of resources and limitation of an unfinished beta, and to a lesser extent, my inspiration to do cool stuff in an engine which I can't even leave without discarding everything.

The limitations are only there because this is a beta, its currently free, and they don't want people publishing a commercial game when they didn't pay a dime, mind you, this hasn't had much effect, but it has softened the blow, the fact you can't import resources is definitely the biggest buzzkill for me outside the inability to keep my projects. Due to the fact I don't like how the RTP faces look, the style is not mine, and I just disapprove of it.

I was originally going to make a small pet project where you run around as a green haird tramp called piejynx and rob the neighborhood of all its pies (especially the lattice ones) so you can eat yourself obese. but you have to do some hefty shenanigans to actually produce a game made in a program that wasn't ready for such an undertaking yet.

And like that bully at school who always hung a piece of candy just beyond your reach, Enterbrain are similarly saying;

"Here's what we have so far, we are going to give you the candy, but you can't eat it until we deem it proper candy."

Well alright then Enterbrain you teasing fucks, I will wait until you release this for english proper and then pirate it just like every other fucking RPG maker I own (see RPG2K, 2K3, XP and the only one I used more than twice, VX) and giggle like an adorable school girl, I hardly expect they wouldn't expect some kind of big 'fuck you' to this, many people have already done it, far more than I have, I recall a story about someone who actually released a commercial game and made 35 dollars in sales, ($5 per copy) which is more than enterbrain have made off of this yet, which is to say they haven't made anything. If they continue to hype it they won't make jack shit, but its okay for them, because really most of their money comes from their 'real' work which is magazine printing(incase this was big news to you, RPG maker is a project they do off to the side), so I suppose my 60 dollars or whatever Ace will cost will be pretty insubstantial. They sell three magazines and they make all that back.

I do applaud the effort that has gone into this though, mind you, all the features here have already been in previous RPG Makers and now they are just combining it into a slurry that will make the Ace of their 8 card deck.

I am still saying this is the shit, and Enterbrain's small teases have probably helped to make me want this program in full form, and if there weren't any cracks on the first week I probably would buy it, knowing I made the same mistake with Indie game Maker and when I did go to eventually buy it for the absurd 90 dollar price tag it wasn't worth, I found out the method to buy it didn't work.

Well, so be it, if they don't want to sell me Indie game maker, then fine, i don't want that shit, VX and possibly VX Ace is all the comfort I need.

Going by the fact this is an 'expansion' instead of a brand new engine, I'm guessing it will probably be around the average price a World of Warcraft Game Card is here (30 dollars) with the point being if they do charge me 60 dollars it will still occupy more of my life than WoW will, it will definitely keep me going more than 30 days, thats for sure, now before I wrap this review up, which is already turning into an absolute monstrosity. I would like to point out a flaw, though its likely a bug.

You can't tag enemies for immortal in the troops tab of the Database, I hope this is a simple mistake, as a lot of enemies in my games rely on awesome boss mechanics like on death moves or a party member finishing off a boss in epic fashion, it also helps if you want to have 'AP' be a thing, by which you can simply add onto the AP variable and then insert a quick enemy add death state. where if there is no immortal tag, that isn't a possibility. Granted, you can do the AP container method, but it isn't as efficient.

Thakfully, enemies can now drop three items, so you can simply reserve one for AP Crystals and just go about regular VX business.

It still limits the awesome I can add for boss battles though, so yes, lets hope this is a thing they didn't want to do this second as its only a beta and not by any definition the final product.

Okay, that is everything, hope you enjoyed this stupidly verbose wall of text, I'm not sure what I'll do next article. Don't hold your breath my few cherished zealots, I will post when I have something new to rant about.

Skyrim, Game of the Year up in this bitch.

You'll never play anything quite like an elder scrolls game, just like it would be foolish to try to develop a game like it. To start off, Oblivion was rather disappointing, and it has its variety of flaws, but thats not what this review is about. I'll simply be using it as a point of comparison in some cases, seeing as I haven't had a chance to buy morrowind with the literal shitload of other games pilfering my wallet this year, also christmas.

So, first off, in both my and my brothers opinion, this is the best game thats come out this year, and probably won't drop that title.

Sweater is going to be a big flop, and other than that, I can't think of any big or indie releases this year.

Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty are not good games, they're terrible, much like the people who play them. I'm not buying that shit.

So back on track, Skyrim. To do a review properly, one would do ratings, so yeah, I'll do ratings i suppose.

Well lets begin. Graphics: 10/10
This is generally not something I pay much attention too, because I don't need a game to look good to be immersed. But Good graphics certainly won't hurt your game, and some people are absolute faggots about graphics, see anyone who seriously thinks crysis is a good game.

This game, though 4 years ahead of Crysis, looks almost as good, and doesn't need a computer you'd only get by trading your soul to the devil. Actually, the requirements are pretty lenient, when compared to CoD or god damn crysis. So this is a 10.

Story: 9/10
The main reason for the non-perfect score is probably due to my lack of knowledge on the Elder Scrolls lore, asides from that though, the lore is well written into the narrative, not all blurted out like the game wanted to hand you a glossary at the beginning, you can choose to read books lying around, which help with understanding how shit is and all.

Gameplay: 10/10
I was almost going to give this an 11/10, but not only would that defy logic, and sound silly, it also isn't accurate, still, its a perfect score, here's why.

The game is just awesome, there is so much you can do, and it strains my brain just thinking how much went into all this, the fact you can ride rapids like a water park and set just about anything on fire is really awesome, the few restrictions to this rule are snow and water, duh.

The only reason I at one point, had issues with gameplay was because I use Windows XP, and there is an anoying bug, which basically makes it so it does a 2-7 second pause sporadically, when outside. This breaks the immersion a fuckload, and would have gotten this score to a 9, but some awesome guy made an unofficial patch and it was all good then.

The skills levelling up and perks are far better than oblivions 'sleep to level up' bullshit as well, in this installment of the franchise; levelling up means something.

The best thing about the gameplay is choice, I basically played by the cards, and did my fellow nords proud, but after I had aquired a fullset of dragonbone armor and a legendary weapon that hit for 500, I decided to say 'fuck the police' and kill everything, eventually I realised that killing everything in a homocidal rampage felt really satisfying, especially against previously mentioned imperians, they are the hugest asshats with a broom handle the size of Texas up their ass, as you can imagine it feels very gratifying when the camera zooms in on you shoving your duel swords through their chest or decapitating them, it is simply the best feeling there is.

Audio 10/10
Okay, so the music is phenominal, especially when fighting the games antagonists, dragons, there are plenty of them, but they are more sparse than your usual monster, essentially they are bosses, angry fire or ice breathing ones, there may be more elements in draconic echelon, but I have yet to encounter one.

The voice acting is actually good, and doesn't sound like it was done by a total of 5 people, like it actually was in oblivion. Many varied voices, with the norse accents and the imperian bastards who think they own the place, the audio definitely gets a 10, my only complaint is the lack of more than one battle track, asides from obviously fighting dragons.

 9.75/10. Pretty much a top mark, if your wallets starting to bulge and you have no other big releases you're looking forward to this year, Skyrim is definitely worth your money.

I don't think I've ever given a game this higher score, thats probably because you cannot beat Skyrim in a GOTY-off, it is simply the best game there is.

Maybe I'll review Terraria 1.1 later on, right now though, another post is coming your way. Keep your eyes on this blog, my loyal adherents, for I will soon be talking of my opinion on RPG maker VX Ace.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What a long busy week it's been.

Busy, but awesome, so since most of you won't know, I play on an MC server that is up 9 hours a week that I attend almost religiously, Terraria is also having a major patch break down my door on December 1st (2nd for me because of weird timezone shit.) and it is an update I am very highly anticipating, me and a couple friends are going to have an all night release party.

Shit is going to be hellacious, christmas is also coming up and that has required me to be busy more than usual. I couldn't be more happy with how this year is ending though, and since I have 10 hours before Terraria 1.1 is released, I'm going to review skyrim, because I have had a good fuck around with it.