Tag Archives: game design

Memories Currently on the Backburner

I should have written this post a few weeks ago, but I had to put Memories aside for a bit.  I’ve thought about it long and hard, but I still don’t know how the game is supposed to end.  So on the advice of my brother, I’m putting it aside to work on some other things for a bit.  Hopefully with a bit of distance I’ll be able to figure out where the story is supposed to go.

I honestly feel a bit like a failure.  I was really hoping to have the game done by now.  But that’s not how it’s going, so time to focus on something else!

Life is pretty busy right now (when is it not?) but over the weekend I pulled out a short story I’ve been wanting to edit for quite awhile.  The story was written as part of my NaNoWriMo blob.  I originally wrote the story for a friend after his dog passed away, but I never felt right giving it to him (and let’s be honest: it was a super rough first draft that was crap – I wouldn’t want anyone to see it until it’s rewritten and edited).  I came up with some editing ideas for the story last March, but never got around to implementing them until today.  Even if the story doesn’t stay the way it currently is, I’ve added 300 words (it was originally about 600 words and is now over 900), and it is shaping up a bit (it’s definitely stronger than it was!)

I had a pretty fun couple of hours working on it.  First I brought a notebook outside with me (it was a beautiful day!) and started writing.  But after a page and a bit, I ended up grabbing my laptop and bringing that outside because I needed to be able to move some things around and expand on other things a bit.  I took a break to go for a walk, then worked on it a bit more.  I’m thinking tomorrow I’m going to print it out so I can do another editing pass on it (I prefer to edit on paper, at least for the first while – it’s satisfying to mark things I need to change up with pen!)

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Filed under Game Development, Memories, RPG, Short Story, Writing

Final Memory Working!

Just a super quick note – I got the final memory functioning in Memories tonight! I had a couple of weird snags getting it working (and the dialogue is super clunky).  But everything seems to be functioning!  🙂

I also found a fantastic piano song that was available to license under the Creative Commons; that song is going to be the song that plays during the game’s menu screen, as well as during the actual memory events.

So the next task is to figure out how the game is going to end.  And unfortunately I have no idea. And neither do my characters!

Now what

This is literally the last conversation currently in the game!

But that is a problem for another day!

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Filed under Game Development, Memories, RPG, Uncategorized

More Memories!

I actually managed to get a lot done while working on Memories over the last few days.  And the title of this post is quite literal: I managed to get two new memories working within the game, bringing the total functioning ones up to 3 out of 4!  I had a bit of trouble figuring out what would trigger one of the memories, but after a few hours of thought (and playing with my cat), I came up with something that works (at least for now).  My next two priorities:

  1. Get the final memory functioning.
  2. Figure out how the game is going to end (I don’t want a big climactic battle because this game isn’t dealing with battles, so I have to find a satisfying other way to end it).

Once those two things are in place, I’ll need to fix up the dialogue and most likely clean up the game in general.  To that end, I’ll need to get a few friends to play test it once the basics of the game are all built and working.

I was also thinking about making it so you can choose how to respond to NPCs in different ways depending on what memories you have remembered, possibly using branching dialogue (similar to what I did in Tears of the King but without a loop), with different options triggered by different switches.  I’ve actually put the basic switches that would enable this in place within the game; I will just need to go back and have them trigger things. But that’s a problem for after I have the final memory and ending of the game in place.

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Filed under Game Development, Memories, RPG

Paper Prototyping Memories

Ugh, it’s been almost a month and I feel like I haven’t done anything.  That’s not true (I’ve been doing a lot of reading, which has been great), but I haven’t done any writing or work on Memories.  So that ended up one of my big plans for this long weekend – make some sort of progress on Memories.  (I was tempted to sit down and write a short story or something, but decided in the end that I really need to finish this game first).

So I made a paper prototype of most of the game so far, and started trying to think things through a bit.

my paper prototype of Memories

This has been great.  I made little tokens out of paper with the characters, whether or not they have a heart, and what their job title is.  I also made paper tokens of the keys you’ll need, and the memory triggers.  This way I can move everything around super easily, which has allowed me to change my mind as to who will be in what room (and who will have the keys you need).  Thanks to this, I’ve actually managed to properly think through some of the problems I’ve been having for the last few weeks regarding the second and third memories, which means I can get back to building the game!  🙂

I wasn’t prototyping the narrative, but sitting down and making this prototype reminded me of a GDC talk I attended about paper prototyping for your narrative design project.  I know my friends and I were disappointed with the talk itself (he spent too much time on terms we were all familiar with; it was just starting to get into the good stuff when he ran out of time and had to hurry through the stuff we were more interested in), but if you’re interested in it, I found the talk on Youtube.

Oh yeah, I’m also renaming the wizard.  For some reason, I didn’t realize his name started with an “E” when I named him.  One of the families has an “E” as the first letter of their names, and I didn’t want it to be confusing.  So he’s now going to be Godric.  I think that’s appropriate – it means “power of god” plus “”power, rule.”  Definitely appropriate for this wizard!  😉

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Filed under Game Development, Memories, RPG, Tools

Meet the Memories NPCs

I have created and named the NPCs you will encounter in Memories. Here they are:

Picture of Memories NPCs

 

I don’t know for sure at this time that these will be all of the characters in the game (plus Briana).  But these are the ones I think I’ll be needing. I decided on the design of most of them over the last week, but I didn’t name everyone until last night (with the exception of Bella and Briana); it was rapidly becoming very tough to write dialogue without names.

I always try to give my characters unique names so there’s no confusion as to who is who.  I tried to choose names with an Irish or English  origin, in the hopes that the names will sound similar (and tie the characters together geographically).  But in this case I also decided to give people from the same families names that start with the same letter.  I think the names are, for the most part, different enough; I just hope that this won’t confuse anyone who plays the game!

Ten of these characters were created with RPG Maker VX Ace’s built in Character Generator.  The other five were chosen from the characters that come with the software.  You may actually recognize Wulfric from Tears of the King; I chose the same model for the Tears woodcutter (seen in the video in my Jan 2 2016 post).

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Filed under Characters, Game Development, Memories, RPG

Event Stuck on Another Event!

I was working on another cut scene and I had the weirdest thing happen: one of my events got stuck trying to move through a second event. I ended up making a video explaining the whole thing:

If you don’t feel like watching the video and would rather read about what was happening, basically the guy on the left was getting stuck on the guy on the right.

map with events, butler event circled

The event/guy on the right happens first and then is over.  That event becomes invisible, and I made sure it’s marked as being under the player.  I assumed that a second event would be able to walk over it, too.  But that’s not the case.  Luckily it’s super easy to fix this problem.  When I made the event/guy on the left’s move route, I had to make sure “through” was turned to “on.”

Event editing with move route open - through on is circled

Make sure you turn “through” on and not “transparent” on.  I made that mistake once while messing with the settings to make the video and he (obviously) disappeared!

Like I said, it’s super easy.  Kind of like getting the screen to go back to normal after a tint…(hint – use tint screen, not tint picture!)

Oh, one important note: you have to turn “through” on for every move route on a different page of an event.  I turned it on for this guy when he walks from the left to the right, but didn’t turn it on for when he walks right to left; the first time worked fine, but then he got stuck on the event the second time! Also, make sure you turn through on at the beginning of the move route; it won’t really help you if it’s at the end of the list of commands.

You probably noticed that this video is a lot more involved than the previous ones I’ve made regarding RPG Maker VX Ace (it has voice over, multiple video clips, and some pictures!) Because I knew I wanted to show several videos together (specifically the guy getting stuck on the event, and then the guy being able to walk through it), I ended up buying myself Movavi Video Editor.  I was playing around with the trial version, and decided that it was well worth buying, especially since I keep making blog posts with videos about RPG Maker VX Ace tips.  I also just turned my last post where I talked about screen tinting into a video because I wanted to play with Movavi’s highlighting effects.  You can check it out here:

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Filed under Game Development, Memories, RPG, Tools

How One Shot Helped Me with the Design of Memories

I’ve been struggling with some of the design elements of how this game should work.  I knew that I wanted the main character to be able to interact with the environment and somehow regain her memories.  But how was that going to work?  Was it going to be through some sort of battle?  I mean, I am building this game with RPG Maker, and battles tend to be part of RPGs, right?

Then last weekend I played through One Shot. (If you haven’t heard of One Shot, don’t look anything up about it, just go and play it! It’s super good!) At a very basic level, One Shot is a puzzle/adventure game made with RPG Maker.  You get to wander around, finding and using items, in a very non-violent way. Which was exactly the sort of thing I was wanting with my game, but didn’t know if I could pull it off.  But after playing through One Shot, I knew that I could. And more importantly, that I should because Memories is not supposed to be a violent game at all.

So here’s what I ended up coming up with: interacting with certain things will trigger a memory.  The memory will take you back to your house, and the screen will tint a colour as the memory unfolds.  I made a quick video so you can check it out in action:

I’ll admit, I had a heck of a time getting the screen to go back to normal.  The problem was a really stupid one: you have the option to tint the screen OR to tint a picture.

RPG Maker VX Ace event tint options

I didn’t notice this, so I kept trying to untint a picture, not the screen.  Once I realized what was happening, it was a super easy fix.

In case you’re wondering, here’s the two parts to the tint event:

red tint event

They’re running as a parallel process to other events.  The first part gets triggered as the player is transported to the house.  The second part (which restores the screen to normal) is triggered at the end of the event that has all of the dialogue between the girls.

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Filed under Game Development, Memories, RPG, Tools