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 to display actor 1 by name, we'll likely have \ni 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.
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.
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.