Monday, February 29, 2016

Some more character art added for my game

I'm still replacing all the character art in my game and giving it a massive upgrade, and to celebrate getting some major coding issues resolved, here's some more character art.

First is the lovely proprietor of the Great Bazaar's Hopeful Discussions, the popular symposium where everyone can kick up their feet, debate each other, or even do the oral equivalent of shitposting, run by the charming Lady Hope McKenna.



The avatar is based off the original avatar Hope used on Sealion.club before it got updated, and speaking of the site, it's where I went after I got banished from the dumpster fire that is Twitter, not that I miss the place that shields ISIS recruiters and pedophiles one little bit.

Sealion.club is run on the GNU Social software, which is basically Twitter run on the 8chan model, so if you want to run your own microblogging instance, the software is free for anyone to use. As a FOSS fan, I adore it.

And I adore Hope for giving me a much more fun shitposting home.


And this is Lord Marcus, leader of the Great Bazaar:


Lord Marcus is based on Mark, the guy who runs the FuckNoTVTropes Tumblr. I decided to honor him with an game equivalent to his IRL look (well, skin tone is different but has the same general build and pose from the IRL photo). I also want to give Mark my thanks for doing a valuable service as a muckraker for not only TV Tropes, but my own trope site as well.

Alright, got possible fixes for the Small Medal shop AND making certain spells have "Area of Effect"

After some discussions with the good people at the RPG Maker VX Ace forums, got a possible solution for the Small Medal issue, which will utilize a variable instead of a script, will try that and see if it works.

Also, in the earliest builds of my game I discovered targeting discrete enemy groups was not possible in VX Ace without scripting, but I just found one by Yanfly that will allow some form of this to work. It won't be EXACTLY like in Dragon Quest, more like "hit everyone in the target radius designated by the skill in question's indicated range marker" seen in games like Hyperdimension Neptunia, but I'm still going to try implementing it to make Mara much less of an "I win button" like she used to be.

This will require more time to balance stuff, but the end result should be worth it to keep the game balance in check.

Note: This does not make enemy skills that hit the party change, which is in line with the DQ games, which treated all active party members as one group of foes from the enemy POV, so enemies using skills will be unchanged.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Seems my Small Medal Shop script is utterly broken

It seems my Small Medal shop script is completely and utterly broken. It had issues before, but now it does not work at all with my game.

I've already sent out requests for assistance from the original creator and a few other coders, but if push comes to shove, I plan to fold the Small Medals into my craft system, using them as ingredients to craft extremely rare or very hard to acquire items, which is partially done to some extent by Dragon Quest Heroes anyway, so where doors may be closed, I can still open a window.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Seems my Small Medal script needs replaced or rewritten

While doing a test run of my game, I discovered my Small Medal shops are borked, and given how that script already has forced me to make some menu sacrifices to just to make it work, I'm considering discarding it for one of two options.

1. A system of menu driven exchanges of medals for items, using variables and conditional branches, which is easily doable entirely with events but would require a lot of setup.

2. A script driven alternate currency system which would streamline things but may be incompatible with another script. Unlikely, though possible.

I intend to try the second option first, since script solutions are way less of a headache, but if that proves unworkable, the first option will be used. Thankfully, I don;t have too many Small Medal shop scenes, so either idea won;t take long to test and implement.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mostly done with getting the graphics updated, scripting issues are next

I'm about 60% done with fixing the graphical issues, which including converting all (save a few) facesets to portraits, adding picture flushing to all shop scenes to work around a scripting error, redrawing several maps with better details and animations, and altering some map passibility settings to give most of them more depth.

That, however, is tedious but rather easy, my real concern is when I start to work on the scripting.

The original Dragon Quest games had a theft system that worked on the following model: steal an item from an enemy, and it's removed from the drop list of items you can get from their corpse after the battle. RPG Maker VX Ace does not have this behavior by default, so it has to be scripted in, but the last time I tried implementing a stealing script, it refused to play nice with my "use equipment as items" code, it snarled with my theft code (the scripts in question used highly similar methods), and it caused crashes because the equipment as items code caused the theft code to break down since it essentially did the theft code backwards (the theft code would open up the enemy drop list with a skill and potentially add an item to your inventory, while the equipment as item code opened up your inventory and withdrew an item and in consumption caused a skill to occur), and since both methods made similar calls but did completely opposite effects, the game would crash trying to change gears, believing one script was still in effect.

I believe I have found a way around that issue, but it will be awhile before I get to test it, but I'm crossing my fingers it works this time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Discovered a weird issue with shop menus, have a fix for it.

Discovered a bizarre issue with shop menus: If you leave one without a concluding message of some sort, it causes the bust portrait to hang around until you start another conversation. This does not affect ordinary conversations, just exits from the shop interface.

Thankfully, I have a good idea why: the shop interface has been massive customized, and the built in image flushing of my faceset to bust script does not take that into account, so it's own automated image flushing code does not take effect unless I exit the shop window to another dialogue scene, THEN exit that, at which point it works properly.

However, since that's just tedious, I'm going have to do the still tedious but slightly less irritating option of just adding an "Erase Picture" command at the exit of every shop window in events since the automatic scripted version does not play nice with my modified shop window code.

This works nicely enough and have seen no issues from it, so I'm going to go with that unless I can patch the shop code somehow.

Also, I don't NEED a script to do bust portraits: I could just manually add show picture commands to dialogue scenes with X/Y coordinates to place them, but I'll be blunt, that's even more tedious, so have a script do most of the work is easier, and the bug I encountered is minor and easily worked around, so I'll go with that.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Finally managed to overcome some hurdles with my game, updates on changes

I finally hit upon a partial solution to how I wanted overlays and my game to work together, and while the actual overlay scripting is off the table due to way too many issues, I was able to recreate most of the effects with some creative engine tweaking in the tileset editor.

Not as good as actual overlays, but I can do most of what I wanted.

Still improving art everywhere in my game, and speaking of art, I made some tileset changes so it's possible to walk behind certain objects like trees and buildings on some maps. This was implemented partially to give the illusion of "3D" to the world, and will also be used to add hidden characters and secret passageways later on. Some maps are also being redrawn and additional NPCs are being added wherever the world feels the most barren.

Having a few issues with framerate: I now have animated smoking chimneys and other fancy effects, but it's caused some framerate skips, and while I managed to make it mostly minor at best, I'm doing my best to keep the framerate as steady as possible, and I may lock it at a certain value as a cap to maintain smooth frame rate if need be.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

More new art

I have done a mass importation of a LOT of RPG Maker MV assets which, after a bit of formatting, look quite stunning, but I'll let my beta testers and everyone else be the judge of that.

Also, some new character art in my ongoing quest to replace every single faceset with portraits (you can also see some of the new MV import art in these screenshots)

One of Lady Tera's succubi:






http://imgur.com/D358pQn


Sir Robert Schroeck







http://imgur.com/noFhDps

And Sir Mark Kern (aka Grummz)







http://imgur.com/NKl8d1E

Friday, February 19, 2016

New beta is likely going to be much larger in filesize

First off, just want to say I have a manic obsession with optimization and keeping file sizes low.

However, that may not be an option with my next beta, as all of the new portrait art, even optimized, is going to take up a lot more space, and since I'm doing a total replacement of all but a few characters with portraits, the size of the encrypted game archive will likely be bigger.

I'm also considering upgrading all of the RTP art to the point it's not required to run the game. It's still not finalized, but I'm heavily considering it.

I'm currently in the middle of doing a rump conversion of every faceset to portraits I possibly can, some screenshots of the new portraits will be posted soon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I discuss Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid and snark about Tv Tropes Trope Pantheon

Note: This is a bit of a rant, so be warned.

I was bored recently, so I decided to try out an anime called Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid, with intention of giving it an episode by episode review via my blog.

I've watched some of it, and my eyebrows are permanently in my hairline over how ridiculous it is.

It's essentially a late night Cinemax lesbian porno in anime format with a storyline that's a weird mishmash of Cross Ange and Freezing, and the only reason it's not a straight hardcore porno is because nothing between the legs is shown.

It DOES have a plot, but even though I'm a male yuri fan, this shit is blowing my WTF meter out the ceiling due to it sheer silliness.

I decided to pop on over to TV Tropes to see what they had to say about it, and while the page for the series isn't too bad, I decided to see if anyone from the show wound up on the Trope Pantheon pages (a series with this much shameless cheesecake is obviously a candidate for that monument to autism), and being an autistic and former fan of it until I realized the interesting crossover fanfic to fan wank ratio was too damned stupid, I was not surprised to see this shit wedged into their cross media "gods of trope" project.

To their credit, the places of the characters they borrowed is logical enough, but I was instantly reminded why the Trope Pantheon now turns my stomach these days.

1. Most of that shit obviously has one author who can't fucking spell (their grammar is also laughable), has a massive Pretty Cure/Asura's Wrath/Blaz Blue/High School DxD boner, and is completely fucking obsessed with licking the taints of characters they loved from those series and blowing glitter up their asses.

2. I used to like the idea back when it was just an interesting "which characters would be embodiment's of tropes" project, but now it's just fan wank without any pretense anymore, often giving handjobs to other fanfics (it itself is one) while circlejerking over whatever is currently popular.

3. A lot of that shit is written with one hand. Anyone who says otherwise is a goddamned liar, especially the High School DxD sections, which read like the writings of a sad, lonely pervert trying to live the harem fantasy of the show protagonist at second hand. Whoever the fucking author is, I get it, I had my shameful weeaboo phase too, but seriously, quit jerking off and writing shit that tapdances on pissing off Google on TV Tropes and get laid IRL, your obvious desire to get your prick wet with anime girls is kinda revolting and pathetic.

4. I noticed Monster Girl Quest has some characters on the Pantheon.........considering how you guys can't even have a page on the actual games because of your Google masters, that's both funny and pathetic. Funny, because you guys go out of your way include it, but if that's the case, why don't you bring back Rance or any of the other H-Game/Hentai characters without hosting pages for them? It's also pathetic because (and I admit I'm smug here) you could host your shit elsewhere where you don't have to walk around censorship eggshells, so why do you insist staying where you can't actually give that stuff relevance to the rest of the wiki (as one of the purposes of the Pantheon project was to originally link back to actual content you discuss on the main works namespace).

5. TV Tropes is a site whose masters I've long made peace with, they have their site, I have mine, and I wish them the best, but I can't help but notice a lot of fun stuff they used to have is gone, and while some is gone for good reason, I wonder why the Pantheon isn't gone yet, especially considering they actually had pages where Bill Cosby and Christian Weston Chandler were considered fallen evil gods or some shit, and while they had a moment of self awareness and actually dealt with that problem, the Pantheon pages are a festering tumor of fan wank I don't doubt will give birth to something more fucked up.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Going to give my game a severe graphics overhaul, will take more time to do balance tweaks

I intended to release a finished beta by the end of this month, or at least that was the goal I had planned, but while going through all the game events and database, I realized I added a lot of minor tweaks that, in some cases, will require severe game rebalancing.

I'm also going to make a massive effort to move away from faceset art. I blew a nice chunk of change on DLC, and I intend to use it to its full potential, as portraits frankly look a lot nicer. I'm also going to make some UI changes that will make things look a lot fancier.

Since this will result in further delays, I plan to release occasional image updates of my progress so I can get opinions on the new shift in art style.

Faceset support will be retained for a few characters I do not have portrait support for and as a sanity check to prevent game crashes.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

I plan to add a lot more portrait art

I've been using a lot of portrait art recently, and since I'm seriously considering using strictly portrait art in any potential sequel, some conversations and events will be portrait art only.

Portraits are larger than facesets and it's not as easy to get complete emosets, but they do look nicer, so some conversations will only have portraits, though facesets will be retained for failsafe reasons and when they are used for other purposes.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Some more updates and some screenshots

I've been tidying up some more of the game, turns out I made some tiling errors on later maps, now addressed, and am about a third of the way done with redoing all events to make sure they work correctly.

In the meantime, I added another feature: Much like Final Fantasy X, you can choose how you gain TP points during battle to suit each character.

Also, here's some screenshots of the new character portrait art:

Mara


Sarah:





And Roto:


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Screw it, I'm plunging ahead with my game since overlays are being difficult

In my last post, I mentioned development was on park until I had issues with overlays resolved.

Since that's taking too long, I'll just dummy them out for now and fix everything else. I still want them, since they would add so much more life to my game, but I don't want to leave this project in limbo, so I'm just going to plunge ahead and work on everything else, and if they aren't fixed by next release time, so be it.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The best laid plans o mice and game makers gang aft afley

I ran into some snags with my game regarding some display issues when using overlay maps, so I hit up Tsukihime (damned good coder, totally worth donating to them) for some help on making Overlay Mapping play nice with the minimap and day-night scripting, and the minimap is already handled thanks to Tsukihime's help, currently waiting on help for the other, but while I do that, looking into resolving a few other code oversights and standardizing all my menus to use the same layout schema (I have a few scripts providing overlapping code I want to simplify if possible) so as to make any future debugging a LOT easier.

Also finally have a decent handle on how re-balance the game now, plan to make the beginning of the game ever so slightly easier and make minor tweaks to the rest.

Finally implemented some foundation work for getting the last corners of the map explored, and I plan to finish up some areas I dummied out of earlier builds due to various issues.

And before I forget, Tsukihime is, as I said, a skilled coder, and I was happy to donate to make sure such fine work continues.

For anyone who wishes to do likewise, you can donate to Tsukihime here:

https://www.patreon.com/himeworks?ty=h

And via Paypal here:

https://www.himeworks.com/donations/

Friday, February 5, 2016

Work on new beta underway, good news, bad news, and some trivia

I've already started work on my new game beta, and and here's how it's going so far:

Good news: Have encountered no earthshattering, game crashing bugs, new game engine components that have been tested so far are stable.

Bad news: Pixel movement is possible and doesn't cause frameskipping issues anymore, but it's completely off the table due to graphical issues that are unresolvable at present. This is not a deal breaker, as it mostly just would have made for somewhat prettier event movement, but the standard system works more than well enough for my needs so this is just a nuisance at best. Overlay code seems functional, but still needs some stress testing, unknown if it will conflict with my new climate code since overlap maps aren't exactly factored into the stock climate behavior (not to mention the overlay map is never actually meant to be visited, it's layout is merely superimposed on the current map), and while I don't expect issues, it may complicate some external maps with bizarre graphical anomalies if there are any.

Notes: New portraits look nice, and so far all playable characters, Sir Mark Kern, and Tera have their own portraits as opposed to facesets, though I've retained facesets for the NPCs as a fallback, and the player characters still make use of their facesets for other reasons like in the player menus. Currently plan to just fix all existing scenes to use the new portraits and scripting, then go back and carve out a niche for the new features to fill since I need to take game balance into account. Class changing may be dummied out, as I'm concerned it may overcomplicate things and just be reserved for later games. I do want to give Mara a stealing skill like I originally planned from day one, have the code for it, hope I don't get weird issues like I did in the past. I'm using different scripting calls for that code, so this shouldn't be an issue, but time will tell.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Feature List for upcoming Dragon Quest 1 Remake Beta

I just figured out how to get Pixel Movement and Overlay Maps implemented properly, features I had issues getting to working in my last post, and even added a new one, and sinceI want give people a progress report on what the new engine offers, here's a summarized list:

* Various stock errors in RPG Maker VX Ace core fixed.
* Menu has been drastically overhauled, have nicer menu bars, and provide much more information on all subscreens.
* Added Party Guest functionality, but disabled for now, conflicts with Small Medal code, plan to make them compatible in later builds, mainly a futureproofing feature.
* New equip screen with more indepth stats and a character graphic so one can see what items are equipped on a "paper doll"
* Actor Renaming/Retitling feature added, dummied out for now.
* New MMORPG like screen for picking up treasure, provides a menu of all items acquired on bottom left of screen that fades after a brief period of time.
* Basic climate system added, now it will rain and storm on occasional intervals.
* Colosseum code added, not used at present, still working out other issues, but functional.
* New fog and light effects code, still in testing, but functional.
* Now there is actual front/back row formation code, so one can change rows for a defensive boost.
* Various new effects for a multitude of new statuses and skills implemented, some may or may not be used.
* Class changing reimplemented, but may be dummied out, still experimental. A "JP" system has been added that allows for boosting the effects of skills so they retain effectiveness later in the game, still in testing.
* Overlap mapping added, experimental feature, known instability, will dummy out if not stable by time of next beta release.
* Enemies now have HP bars visible in combat.
* Shop interface greatly upgraded to show much more information.
* Nicer looking title screen text
* New text formatting built in, including word wrapping and support for custom colors
* Pixel movement finally working properly, but has been removed until fixes for event trigger issues can be resolved, will not be retained in released beta if this cannot be fixed.

Crap, another feature I dearly wanted to add I have to shelve

Finally fixed all remain issues with my game, but that meant I had to leave two features I dearly wanted to add on the cutting room floor.

Pixel Movement and recently, Overlap Maps.

The former sucks but has an understandable reason for it. Pixel Movement differs from stock movement because game events are coded to squares on an X/Y axis and Pixel Movement changes up how movement interacts with events, and worse,  most optimization scripts either don't play well with Pixel Movement or cause the framerate to die trying to square the circle.

Overlay Maps seem to be having issues with my other optimizations, and I think I've got an idea how to work on that, but for now, like Pixel Movement, I'm putting it on the bottom of the pile since it's not currently used for anything I need to fix/debug

Otherwise, I can confirm (barring some unforeseen errors that I'm sure further beta testing will uncover) my new engine is in place and works fine.

I may switch out or combine Effectus with other performance enhancer scripting if possible, depending on what I need to do to balance performance and get the cutting room floor features working.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Finishing up some post-engine conversion, technical deets on what is currently off the table

I've managed to resolve most to all of the issues I was having with my new engine, thankfully most of the issues were easy to fix, generally involving making a few tweaks to some events, changing some event timing, and doing a few minor graphical tweaks.

However, I have discovered that pixel movement is, for the moment, completely off the table. I plan to use Effectus as my performance enhancer for the actual game (the SDK will use TheoAlien's Insane Anti Lag), and I found both scripts do not play well with pixel movement (at least Victor Sant's implementation) , which is a shame, since the finer grained control over movement makes for better event collision and allows for fancier custom move events.

However, since it doesn't break anything to not have it, It's been placed as a low priority for now while fix all remaining post engine replacement bugs.

Once I have a good idea what new features are fully confirmed to work, I will write a blog post detailing all features (both new and old) that can be expected all future builds of my game.

I will also have to do a lot of game testing and re-balancing as well as going over every event and replacing the facesets with portraits where applicable, as I have made a lot of underlying core changes