Tag Archives: RPG

#WriteTuesday – Memories Feedback Acquired!

My friend playtested Memories over the weekend!  Overall he liked it (he called it a “nice, heartful story”). 🙂  He found a few mechanical things I needed to fix, like how locked doors would open, display the text “the door is locked” then close (he helped me fix that!) and how the ending was a bit weird because after the credits it said “Game Over;” together we figured out that you could send the game back to the Title instead of using the Game Over command, so I’ve implemented that instead.

He also said he really liked how you get more and more dialogue options with NPCs as you unlock more emotions, so I’m super glad I got some of that implemented before he playtested!

So since then, I’ve been working on implementing more of those dialogue choices.  I think I’ve got pretty much everything in place now (there are still a few places where there isn’t a dialogue choice, but I don’t really think they’re needed).

Over the weekend I also noticed a problem with my naming scheme for all the characters.  Here are their names again:

Picture of Memories NPCs with names

When I designed this, I tried to have people who were related to each other have names with the same starting letter.  I thought I did a good job of this, but I just noticed that the wizard name (Edric) starts with an E, just like my mother daughter combo of Eireen and Ena! 😦  Unfortunately, these names are kind of ingrained in my head now; I took a look last night and couldn’t find anything else that worked for any of them.  So in the end I decided to leave them as is.  Whoops!

So now that the dialogue choices are all in place, I need to actually go back and make sure the dialogue works for each character (and that each character actually has their own voice).  Once that’s done, I think Memories just needs a better name then it’s pretty much finished! 😲

So how’s your week been?  🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Beginning Edits on Memories

writing subtext cover

Seriously, this book is fantastic! I really recommend it. 🙂

Over the weekend I finally read the book Writing Subtext: What Lies Beneath by Dr. Linda Seger.  I’ve had the book for years but never got around to reading it (lol, such is the story of my life).  But now seemed like a great time to read it – I was hoping it might help me improve the dialogue within Memories.  Writing Subtext ended up a really great read – even as I was reading it I had all kinds of ideas for what I could do.  Unfortunately now comes the hard part: actually implementing all of those changes into the game.  I’ll hopefully be going over all the dialogue during the next bit to clean things up and start layering in some subtext to the story. 🙂

On top of that, I decided I’m going to implement something I considered a few years ago when I first started working on Memories: I’m going to add some branching dialogue options as you unlock more memories (and the corresponding emotions).  So once you’ve unlocked the second emotion, you’ll now have two dialogue options with NPCs, rather than just the one I originally came up with.  I started implementing this yesterday and got quite a bit changed already.  So I uploaded the new game files for my playtesting friend.  I haven’t heard back from him yet, so this is perfect; hopefully he hasn’t started playtesting yet and will be able to try the newer version instead!

So how’s your week been?  🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Memories Has an Ending!!!!

Hey everyone, how are you holding up amidst this pandemic?  I haven’t been feeling well over the week and so have been staying home.  I started reading through some old magazines I’ve had sitting around for awhile (more about that on Thursday!) And then I started thinking a little more about Memories.

I started with a bit of brainstorming for the ending on Wednesday.  The ending has always been the #1 problem for Memorieshow should the game end???  At one point I actually had the avatar character and antagonist saying “What now?”  “I don’t know.”  Lol, not exactly a good place to end up.  Plus the final memory was just kind of there and didn’t really add anything to the story.

My first order of business was to tackle that last memory.  I figured if I could make it a little more meaningful, that would help with the ending.  So I started working on the game on Saturday afternoon.  By the early evening, the final memory was cleaned up and functioning.

So that left the ending.  I kept working with the dialogue a bit (I also had to laugh – some of the stuff I brainstormed earlier in the week were already implemented into the game when I last worked on it – I guess they were really good ideas!).  For a lot of this I had kind of a vague idea of where to take things.  Then by about 10pm I had it: an actual workable idea for an ending implemented into the game! 🙂

From there it took me about two hours to get everything working.  I thought everything was okay until I ran through the game and the ending seemed to just freeze with nothing happening.  I tried everything to get the new end stuff to trigger.  Just when I was about to give up for the night, I realized what was wrong: I had the new events set to “Action Button” (meaning the player had to walk up to them and click on them to activate them) instead of them playing automatically with “Autorun.” Once I switched them to autorun, everything started working properly (which let me run through it a few times to make sure everything actually was running as I intended).  From there, I built a short movie for the end credits, and Memories was ready for playtesting!

A friend of mine (who also likes to make games with RPG Maker) agreed to test it on Sunday.  So now I’m waiting on his feedback before doing anything more (…although in the meantime I may go back over the dialogue to make sure all the characters sound right…)

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#WriteTuesday – Edits 2.0 Complete!

I am so excited – on Thursday I finished the edits for the Make Your Way story!!!! I sat down that afternoon and got through the first few sections. I had plans to hang out with my brother, so I wasn’t expecting to get much more done that afternoon, but our plans got delayed a bit so I kept working. I managed to get through all 15 sections just before going to his place, but I wasn’t happy with the last two (sections 70 and 71). So after I got home (and made really yummy Creamy Zucchini and Carrot soup), I sat back down and changed them up quite a bit until I was satisfied with them. And now it’s done!!!

I immediately messaged a friend to see if he was interested in giving it a read through. Ideally I’m hoping to get it to a few friends so I can get some fresh eyes looking at it. Depending on how that goes, I’ll give it another pass or two (I need to look at dialogue to make sure the characters sound different, and of course one last read-through to make sure everything looks good) then hopefully submit it before the end of the month! 🙂

So here’s the new flowchart for what the story now looks like:

Flowchart of the Make Your Way story now that editing pass 2.0 is completed

You can see that it’s very similar to the old flowchart (just two extra sections added).

With the edits done Thursday (much sooner than I’d expected), I wasn’t really sure what to do next (besides giving myself a bit of space from the story before tackling the dialogue). That night I ended up finishing cleaning up this blog’s categories (I think I started doing that in April, then just put it off since). I’m now down to 14, which is where I’m going to leave things for now.  Originally I was going to get rid of all of my sub-categories, but in the end I decided to keep a few, like the one specifically for when I’m talking about using game development tools, and a few for writing like worldbuilding and characters. I also updated both worldbuilding and game development so they list (and link to) posts about the individual projects I’m “working on” (they’ve been on the back-burner for quite awhile unfortunately….)

As I was paring down the categories, I stumbled on the few blog posts about Memories. It’s been a few years since I put it aside because I didn’t know how to end it. So after I was done with the categories, I decided to play through the game again. I still really like the work I originally did on it, but unfortunately I’m still not really sure how to end it. 😦 But since that play through I’ve been puttering around with the game a bit, fixing some things I didn’t even realize needed to be fixed. A really big flaw in the game (besides the lack of ending) is that there wasn’t enough direction for what you need to do to progress. That first night I fixed a few spots, but got stuck on some others because there wasn’t an obvious  fix. I’m also very happy I made a picture with all of the NPCs (and that I noticed it while cleaning up the categories!)

The next day (Friday), I went back to working on Memories, fixing it up quite a bit. The NPCs now direct the player a bit more, explaining where things are and who needs your help next. I also had to close off one of the rooms that you could originally go through; closing it off directs your path a bit more towards certain goals earlier in the game. I also had to move a couple of NPCs to make them a bit easier to find.

Now that that’s all done, I’m back to needing to figure out how the game will end! I spent most of the weekend with that problem in the back of my head, and I’m still not 100% sure. I’ll have to keep thinking about it during this coming week; hopefully I’ll have some time to figure it out.

While I really want to get some more work done on both of these projects, unfortunately they aren’t my priority this week; ThunderCon is Sept 21 and 22 and I’m once again going to take pictures all weekend (while my friend Scott takes video footage for future ads and whatnot). I’ll be posting my pictures on my Flickr account at the end of the Con; I’ll share them here next Tuesday. 🙂

So how are your projects going? Any plans for the week? 🙂

PS, yesterday I stumbled on this Pinterest board I made for Memories a few years ago; I totally forgot it existed! That was a very fun find. 🙂

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Keith Baker’s Stories and Dice

A few years ago, I stumbled on Keith Baker’s Stories and Dice blog post.  Keith got a gumball machine from his wife which he would like to fill with dice.  But rather than just buy a bunch of dice, he was asking people to send him dice along with a story.  The story doesn’t have to be about the die.  I sent him one, but it never did end up posted on his blog.  I’ve actually had this post pretty much ready to go since 2014. Rather than just delete it, I decided I’d finally just post it here.

There were many stories I could have shared with Keith.  But I knew exactly which story I would tell him: the very first time my brother and I roleplayed.  After talking it over with my brother a couple of times, rehashing the details (this happened a very long time ago), here’s the story I sent to Keith:

Years ago, my brother, Alex, used to take piano lessons at my friend Dennis’s house.  One day a week the two of us would get a ride there after school.  I would hang out with Dennis for the full two hours; Alex would come and hang out once his piano lesson was done.

One day, Dennis was flipping through the Palladium Fantasy Role Playing Game (PFRPG).  He had recently enjoyed playing it with some friends, and so talked Alex and I into giving it a try.

Now, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the PFRPG, but it is a rather complex system, especially for people who are brand new to role-playing.  It took Alex and I weeks to build our characters (remember, we only had two hours every week), but finally we were done and Dennis was ready to GM for the first time.  Our very first quest was to deliver a package somewhere.  I don’t remember most of the quest’s details except that we were told we couldn’t open the package or it would explode.  Alex wanted to try anyway, but Dennis wouldn’t let him.  And so our characters set off to deliver the package to a nearby town.  After travelling down the road for awhile, it was time for a random encounter.  Dennis’s choice was truly random: he ended up sending some sort of ogre-like creature after us.  The ogre was far too powerful for our level one characters; predictably it killed both of us.  And thus ended our first foray into role-playing games.  It was several years later before we attempted to role-play again (with a different system!) 

D10 for Keith Baker

Unfortunately, the die I chose to give Keith has nothing to do with my story.  Several years after this disaster with the PFRPG, a different friend invited me to play the Middle Earth Role Playing Game (MERP).  I had a lot of fun, and tried to find the book for myself.  I went into a local store and the guy working suggested I give Vampire: the Masquerade a try, saying it was similar to MERP. He didn’t actually have the Masquerade, but did have a copy of Vampire: the Dark Ages instead.  So I bought that.  While Vampire is NOTHING like MERP, it was still a lot of fun; Vampire: the Dark Ages ended up the game that actually got me and my brother roleplaying.  

Vampire and the other White Wolf games use D10’s.  I ended up buying a lot of D10’s, and so it was one of those that I chose to send to Keith for Stories and Dice.

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#WriteTuesday: Scaling Back a Little Bit

Over the weekend, I finally sat down and read the February issue of bUneke Magazine.  I try to read it every month so I know what’s going on (and also to find articles to highlight on the Sustainably North Twitter, @SustaintheNorth).  In the February issue, Anna East writes about getting things done.  You can find her article here:

Anna East’s article hit me pretty hard because I know I am very, very guilty of not finishing projects I am working on.  Take right now: I’m part way through the story I’m writing for the Make Your Way Anthology, I wanted to start another short story about aliens in the wild west, I have three RPGs that I’m building on RPG Maker (Tears of the King, Memories, and Soccrpg).  And I have various other short stories I have started and failed to finish for one reason or another.

I think Anna East’s problem is my problem, too: I want my work to be perfect.  So when a project is failing to live up to my impossibly high standards, I stop working on it.  I also have a million ideas and there’s never enough time to get them all written, so that doesn’t help either.

And I’m busy.  I know that this is a problem that everyone has: there just never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done.  But specific to me, I started my other blog, Sustainably North.  I started volunteering my time with bUneke Magazine, writing a monthly column.  I’m trying to get a bunch of reading done (I did make a goal to read 25 books this year, plus I just really like reading).  And then I do a fair amount of writing for my day job too (even more right now because I’m helping out on a few bigger projects that are coming up).  All of this has been making me feel fractured and really time-pinched.  Plus after a full day at work, I find myself coming home and just not wanting to work on anything else because I’m done for the day – I’ve got nothing left.

And since I have no intention of stopping Sustainably North, volunteering, reading, or working on those projects at my day job, I am going to dial back on projects at home.  As much as I would really, really like to work on a story about aliens in the wild west, I honestly do not have the time for it right now (especially since it got stuck in worldbuilding).  Plus the plot just isn’t worked out right now anyway, while the story for the Make Your Way anthology is plotted and just needs to be written.  So I’m going to stop working on the wild west story, and just focus on getting the Make Your Way story written.  And at this point I need to make sure I don’t bog myself down with feeling that it isn’t good enough; this is a first draft right now, so of course it won’t be perfect!  It has to be written before I can worry about polishing it.

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Hello 2019!

Happy New Year’s!  It’s that time of year again – time to look at the goals I set for myself last year and set new goals for this year.  Last year, my goals were:

  1. Read 25 novels.  Success! I read over 50 novel-length books this year!  I didn’t read many long ones, but that’s okay. Having no pressure to read made it much more enjoyable over 2018.
  2. Write two polished short stories.  Failure.  I wrote one, but didn’t finish the second one. 😦
  3. Finish a bloody RPG! Failure. I didn’t really work on anything at all. 😦

For 2018 I was hoping to work towards freelancing more.  Even though I wasn’t really successful with my goals, I think I was somewhat successful thanks to starting my other blog, Sustainably North. Thanks to Sustainably North, I was asked by bUneke Magazine to write a monthly column, which has been a lot of fun and tremendous experience.  For my day job I also wrote 9 articles, 7 book reviews, and interviewed 12 authors for TBPL Off the Shelf, so that’s pretty good, too.  Oh and I almost forgot that 2018 saw my first published short story, “A Harmony of Soil and Sand,” which was published in Menagerie de Mythique Anthology back in May.  So while I didn’t exactly meet all of my goals, I still think 2018 was a pretty good year of writing for me! 🙂

Oh yeah, and I participated in my very first game jam back in January!  That was fun, too! 🙂

For 2019 I’d like to do things a little differently, particularly in regards to my writing goals.  This year I’d like to set smaller goals every month rather than big overarching goals.  My thought is that way I can use the end of the month as a deadline, plus I’ll have more flexibility in case other unexpected projects come my way (like when that big freelance project came my way back in 2017).  Plus if something takes longer than planned (like how the story I’m working on for the Make Your Way anthology got bogged down in worldbuilding), I can adjust my scheduled goals accordingly.  So here are my goals for 2019 so far:

  1. Read 25 novel-length books. 25 books worked really well for me last year and I’d like to keep the same goal.  Like I said, this took the pressure off of me and made reading more fun.  This goal is the only one I’m naming that’s for the whole year.
  2. Finish the story for the Make Your Way anthology by January 31st. I think that’s a reasonable amount of time to get this story written (and hopefully submitted!)

I’m not going to talk about Sustainably North goals on here right now.  At this point I’m kind of just carrying on, trying to get a weekly blog post written plus an article for bUneke Magazine.  If that changes, I’ll let you know. 😉

This will be an interesting year – I really hope that setting smaller monthly goals (with deadlines) will work better for me!

So what about you? Have you set any goals for the upcoming year? 🙂

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