Over the last week, I have created a few new maps for Tears of the King! I’m pretty excited for them – I think they’re the first new maps in a year and a half.
First, here’s a brand new city (the Imperial City):
This map is loosely based off of the Kingdom of Pandora city in Secret of Mana in that it is built on a couple of islands. Plus there will be a castle you can go into (you can see the base of the towers) in the top right of this map, again like the Kingdom of Pandora. That similarity was due to the way I laid everything out (and because I didn’t want the castle to be physically in this map). The castle isn’t built yet, and neither are the insides of the houses.
The Imperial City should be the final city in the game.
Also here’s a dock, complete with a ship! (I had to buy extra tiles to make the ship happen).
You reach the ship through either of the two paths in the right side of the Imperial City.
So what’s next? I have some more maps to build (the castle, the insides of the city houses, and an island where the ship will eventually take you). But I also need to go back over my notes and actually replay the game that I have made so far; it’s been so long that I only vaguely remember what still needs to happen.
There’s still a bunch of work that needs to be done, but I’m rather excited to see that the end (of map building anyway) is in sight! 🙂
Happy New Year everyone! 2016 was in many ways a difficult year. But in other ways it was a great year. I started my radio show AND got a permanent part time position at the library. I also just got back from a wonderful few weeks in sunny Florida (pictures forthcoming on Flickr!)
Here’s all the things I wanted to do in 2016:
- Finish Tears of the King – failure. I didn’t finish it, but I did work on it a bit more earlier in the year (to the point that I would say 1/3 is functioning and built). I think I made this game much bigger than I should have; it’s going to take me awhile yet to finish it.
- Write four polished short stories – failure. I don’t think I really wrote any short stories. I brought a few older ones with me to edit and that didn’t even happen. Oh well.
- Take a Lego Picture a month (and actually post it in a timely manner) –
failure huh partial success. I took one and posted it relatively on time every month until the fall. I seriously thought this had fallen apart long before then.
- Eat healthier – huh, partial success. I started using my dietary scale to make Greek yogurt parfaits with granola (which I love). I’m also a bit more conscious of my portions. Not bad!
- Be more active – partial success. I walked a lot over the summer, and a lot over the last few weeks in Florida. Plus last month I went swimming a lot, too.
- Read the anthologies I own – failure. I read 4 anthologies or short story collections. One of them was honestly an accident (I didn’t realize The Jungle Book was a short story collection when I started reading it). I also think I’ve read one of the four before (but didn’t realize it until I recognized the final story in the collection). I’ve also got two anthologies on the go right now and haven’t read from either of them in awhile.
- Build 1 of my worlds that need building. – this is another partial success. I did spend some time working on another world, but I don’t think I got it to the point where I feel it is ready to work with (the setting is still unnamed at this point, though I have spent some time trying to name it with no luck thus far). Hilariously I also spent a bit of time working on magic in Imezza while I was in Florida; sitting on a beach watching dolphins is sort of the best inspiration for an ocean world! 😉
- Edit my NaNoWriMo 2012 book – failure.
- Take apart my NaNoWriMo 2015 blob – success! I succeeded at this back in February! 🙂
- Work with Chat Mapper – failure. I have done nothing with Chat Mapper since January 2015 (which was fun though!)
While I didn’t accomplish many of my goals for the year, as I said, I ended up starting a radio show, which has been a great experience! My life has taken me in some unplanned directions, making me a lot busier than I may have previously been. So with that in mind, I’m going to make less goals for this year, but make them things I really, really want to accomplish. Hopefully this way I can keep myself a little more focussed on things now that I have more limited time. So this year I want to:
- Read 40 novels. In 2016 I read a lot of shorter things (both graphic novels and short stories). So this year I’d like to focus on longer works. Ideally most of those longer works will come from books I have stockpiled in my house but we’ll see what happens.
- Write four polished short stories. I have three worlds built to a point they can be written in/about, and a fourth one coming along okay. It’s time to start using these worlds!!! Plus there’s a short story contest I’d like to enter.
- Work on Tears of the King. Ideally I’d like to finish it. But even getting another third built would be awesome!
Those are realistically my most important creative goals for this year. Taking Lego pictures is fun, but I don’t want to bog myself down thinking I HAVE to take them. Chat Mapper hasn’t happened for the last few years, so there’s no point in worrying about it now (but if it does happen this year, that’s still cool). Likewise, I haven’t gotten around to editing any of the NaNoWriMo books I’ve written and they’re not a priority to me at this time (but again, if I do get around to them, that’s great). And I don’t need to do any more worldbuilding, but again if it happens, that’s great (and I already know I have to tweak a few things in my Imezza and Faeriia Google docs thanks to my brief work on Imezzan magic over the last few weeks). I also decided not to bother posting my non-Creative goals here since this blog is entirely devoted to my creative endeavours.
EDIT: I came up with one more goal. Goal #4 is to spend one hour a week on writing. This hour can be spent on Tears of the King, worldbuilding, editing, short stories, novels, whatever. I’ll even schedule it into my week if I have to!
So there we have it – my goals for 2017. Wish me luck as I work to accomplish everything! I’ll do my best to keep this blog updated with my writing progress. 🙂
When I built Storm Point in Tears of the King, I built a magical grove attached to the city, rather like a park. All of the groves in the game have the same music except the one in Storm Point; since the Grove is part of Storm Point, it plays the town’s music. So this week I wanted to see if it was possible to tie the music into a map’s region. A bit of research revealed that yes, it’s totally possible! Here’s how you do it.
First, you need to set up the region you want the music to play in, like this.
As you can see, I’ve made the Storm Point grove into Region 1.
Next you need an event. Here’s the one I have for this particular case:
You’ll notice that this is triggered only after the Lava Cavern Switch is turned on. If it’s not on, this event does nothing.
Once the event is triggered, you’re going to use a conditional branch (that’s found under Flow Control, just like Loop from last time). Go to the fourth page, where you’ll find Script.
Now you’re going to type in $game_player.region_id == 1 as your script. The number will be whatever region you used (so in this case, since I used Region 1, I have to use a 1). Click OK, then fill in what you want to happen when the Player is in that region. I used Play BGM, which is under Picture and Sounds, and selected the music I wanted whenever the Player stepped into the Grove. Under Else, I said to play the BGM that normally plays in Storm Point. Make sure this event runs as either an Auto Run event or a Parallel Process if you have another event going on at the same time as this one (which I do).
And here’s what you end up with:
I’d like to give a big thank you to LoneWolfDon on the RPG Maker forums for his demo of region controlled events. You can find his discussion and a link to the demo here. That’s where I got the script I used from.
I didn’t post about it at the time, but I did a lot more development on Tears of the King last night. I ended up building the caverns below the mine. There are two caverns you walk through, which lead you to a much smaller lava cave. There you find one of the ingredients you need, which causes a boss fight (still slimes!). I stayed up way too late building all of this, but I’m super happy with how it all turned out, especially the lava cave:
Today I haven’t done as much, but I did manage to get some looped branching dialogue into the game, which was pretty exciting. I added some really simple branching dialogue yesterday after my friend played through what I had at that point. A priest in the starting village asks you if you want to know more; my friend did, but there was no option and no other dialogue. So I put a little something in place for now. So today I decided to put some NPCs in Storm Point (that’s one of the towns). When I got to the church there, I put in a bit more extensive branching dialogue (there were three choices instead of just two). But when I tested it I discovered the dialogue would end automatically after you read through one branch. That really didn’t work in this case, so I had to play around with Loops. Using a Loop means you can go back to the choices after you play through the dialogue options. Here was what I ended up with (just playing through one branch):
Here’s how you make this happen:
- On your event page, first choose a Loop (it’s under Flow Control).
- Next, choose Show Choices (under Message). You’ll get to make a few choices (the default ones are Yes and No). Put your dialogue in place as you normally would (under Message, Show Text, then choose a picture and write some dialogue).
- Finally, on the choice that will end the dialogue, put a Branch End into it (that’s also under Flow Control).
Here’s a simplified version of what your event page should look like:
When I was trying to make this work, I started with writing the choices, then tried to make a loop happen afterwards. If that’s the case, you can just cut the whole choice and paste it into a loop. Don’t forget to put the Branch End in or else the dialogue will never be able to end!
I think I managed to fix the Witch Glitch!
A friend of mine came over for a bit this afternoon and I let him play through Tears of the King. Among other bugs he found, the Witch Glitch happened when I wasn’t expecting it to. So after he left, I set about trying to fix it and a few other things he found (like the fact that the woodcutter starts clearing the path to the Fairy Forest way before he’s supposed to). I ended up removing the ability to grab the first ingredient before you’ve talked to the Witch. As far as I could tell, having the ability to grab it either before or after talking to her was a big part of my problem because then I was trying to make things happen with two different switches. So rather than dealing with the two switches, I’ve simplified things for myself and only have to deal with one. As far as I can tell, this has solved a lot of the problems I’ve been having with my events.
I’m hoping that the way things are now isn’t too rail-roadey for players. But making the game more linear has helped to make things easier for me designing the game, and to get the player to the Witch’s house faster. When my friend was play testing, he wandered through the mushroom cave (without finding the mushroom), up to the tower, and got confused about where he was supposed to go until I told him he couldn’t do anything there yet. So realistically, allowing you access to the mushroom cave (or the tower’s base at the very least) early in the game wasn’t a good thing if it lets you get sidetracked and lost. But I’ll have to see what other people say when they play it.
Oh, and I’d like to give a shout-out to GrandmaDeb for her switch tutorial game! I played through it before deciding to take out the mushroom functionality.
In addition to all of these bug fixes, I actually did build another map last night. I’ve been needing to build a mine near Storm Point, which is where another of the ingredients is going to be. I was planning on sketching out ideas for a mine, but I ended up just building, which resulted in this:
Sorry that this picture is so tiny. The original picture was in 1/2 scale, but it’s now a lot smaller because I had to stitch two screenshots together in paint. Plus I had to shrink them so I could properly crop the map into one image. From here, I need to keep building a few more maps that connect to this one (basically the player will be going deeper into the mountain until they find the next ingredient). Oh, and I need to straighten up the path of that second big forest map I started (it’s still not finished, and probably won’t be for awhile yet). Right now the paths are too windy, which is a pain to walk on. After playing through parts of a different game made with RPG Maker, I’ve decided that I’m going to have as few diagonals in my maps as possible because they’re really annoying in a grid.
I don’t know why, but for some reason I keep having two witches pop up when I’m play testing Tears of the King!
To solve a stupid problem I had with Tears of the King, I ended up making the witch into two separate events. The original event (which worked fine) had her moving out of the way of the hallway, letting you go and grab something from the chest in her room. The problem was that one time she moved over and I accidentally exited the house. But then when I walked back in, she was standing in the way again and wouldn’t move because that part of the event was done; I wasn’t able to get to the chest. The same thing happened with my woodcutter (it’s this video if you don’t remember); he moved out of the way but when I went into the forest and came back out, he was standing in the way. So like with the woodcutter, I split the witch event into two. The first event walks over to the second event, there’s a bit of overlap when they’re both standing there (you can’t see it because they’re in the same pose), then the first event disappears and the second one takes over. But for some reason the second event shows up before it should! The weird thing is that it’s not happening all the time. Every time I think I have it fixed, the second witch pops up again. Currently she isn’t popping up, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ve solved the issue!
Life has been busy. So busy that I wasn’t sure if I’d fit any writing in this weekend. I had every intention of writing because I haven’t done much this month (I was working on Tears of the King at the beginning of the month, and then I had a day where I started looking at my NaNoWriMo blob, but that’s been about it). Then a mild crisis almost completely derailed me again today (don’t worry, everything’s fine-ish. Just had a fridge stop working). But I am happy to report I did manage to fit in some writing work. I finished putting the notes into my hard copy of the blob (the photocopier from work can print from USB, which is awesome! Unfortunately it left my margin notes out though). The next step with the blob is to completely dismantle it so that I can organize all the notes within it (and take out the things that I don’t need anymore, like the blog post I wrote in it because I needed to up my word count, or the page I spent coming up with world names).
Once I finished with the margin notes, I decided to work a bit on Tears. I’ve been meaning to add a line of dialogue into the game in the hopes it might help players find the witch right off the bat (I honestly don’t know if people will have trouble finding her house or not, but I’d rather err on the side of caution). After that I decided to do a quick play through of the game thus far just to see exactly what I will need to work on next (and to check on how I’m feeling about the early dialogue). Unfortunately I discovered a rather troublesome bug that needed to be fixed; I did manage to deal with it, but it frustrated me for well over an hour!
I’m not sure when I’ll be working on things next because time seems to be at a premium in my life right now. I’m thinking to deal with this, I’m going to have to schedule writing time into my week and stick with it. I’m still not sure if Fridays are the best day for me or not, but I really do like the sound of “Write Fridays.” So I might start fitting in writing time wherever I can during the week and just giving an update here on Fridays. 🙂
Wow have I been busy with Tears of the King! Last that I posted about it, I had just finished the Witch House Grove. Since that time, here are the changes I made to it (which I mentioned in a comment on that last post):
The main problem was the cliff that I wanted to incorporate. This map attaches directly to the Witch House Hub, which means there’s a cliff a little below the entrance to this map. So that’s in place now. I also changed from the black forest to a bunch of oak trees because that’s what’s in this area; I’m going to keep the black tree tiles specifically for the fairy forest.
I’ve also made a new town!
Currently I’m calling this place Storm Point. I’ve already made it so you can go into all nine buildings; it’s just missing the people and things like that.
Finally, I also made a series of maps that take you into one of the towers on the Mountain Forest (that’s the huge map I finished back in August). With those maps completed, Tears of the King now has full functionality through the first two ingredients! I’ve cleaned up some of the early placeholder text as I’ve been working on things, too; the dialogue isn’t perfect, but the early stuff is a lot better than it was! Oh, and one of the most fun things in the game is an event with the woodcutter I got working today. The idea is that he swings his axe to knock down a tree that’s in your way. I was so proud of it that I made a recording to show you!
So yes, that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing for the last few days. The next thing I need to do in the game is build myself a mine! Oh, and I guess finish that second big map I started…
(This picture is scaled in 1/4 and made from two separate images like the Mountain Forest was because it’s the same size).
Happy New Year everyone!!! 2015 was overall a really good year for me and I’m rather sad to see it go. But hopefully 2016 will be just as good!
Here’s all the things I said I wanted to do in 2015:
- Read 50+ books off of The List -partial success. I read 51 books this year, but only 25 off The List.
- Stay in shape – I’m going to say failure. I did get back to swimming, but really late in the year.
- Get 2+ of my worlds that need building up to the point Imezza is currently at – success! City of the Dead and Faeriia are not done but I can easily write stories set in them. That sounds like the point Imezza is at to me! 🙂
- Finish the screenplay I started – failure because this was going to be a gift for a boyfriend who I broke up with in March (so I stopped caring about it).
- Write the Grief Project – success! A first draft was completed in my NaNoWriMo blob!
- Write a story a month for Apocalypse Madness – success! I actually wrote 13 stories plus wrote something with Chat mapper for Apocalypse Madness last January.
- Build a game – partial success. After Storynexus stopped being supported I switched back to RPG Maker (which meant switching to a different game). Tears of the King is not completed, but I’m still working on it!
- Figure out Chat Mapper – I’m going to list this as a partial success because I did write that Apocalypse Madness thing in January. But that was the last time I even looked at the program, so I don’t want to say it was a full success.
- Take a Lego Picture a month – failure. I stopped taking as many pictures in general this year and miss it, but I just haven’t had time! 😦
- Fix up my Red Bubble profile – I actually did do this early in 2015. So it’s a success, but I haven’t added anything to it since then.
- Edit my NaNoWriMo 2012 book – failure. Lack of time.
No wonder 2015 was a good year for me – out of 11 goals for 2015, I completely succeeded with 4 of them (and 2 of them were quite sizable – writing a story a month for Apocalypse Madness and getting two worlds to the detail level of Imezza!) I also made a valiant effort on a few others, with only 4 as outright failures! What’s more, I actually succeeded on more writing projects than I did last year! (I think my main accomplishment last year was to build Imezza). So 2015 really was a good year! 🙂
So let’s look to 2016. This year I want to:
- Finish Tears of the King. That should obviously go without saying.
- Write four polished short stories. I’m very proud of the work I spent writing for Apocalypse Madness this last year. But Apocalypse Madness is all about writing first or maybe second drafts. So this year I want to put the time into writing more quality pieces, not quantity. I’m planning on perusing Duotrope for markets that I’m interested in and writing a story every quarter for one.
- Take a Lego Picture a month (and actually post it in a timely manner). I can do it!
- Eat healthier. I’ve been so busy over the last several months in particular and I feel unhealthy. So 2016 is the year I’m going to try to be healthier. I’m just listing this here as part of my goals, but don’t worry, I’m breaking this down for myself in better detail!
- Be more active. Going hand in hand with number 4. Also breaking it down for myself into better detail.
- Read the anthologies I own. Looking through my list of books, i have over 25 anthologies of short stories on there! So this year I’m going to focus on getting through most of those (if I make it through 20 I will consider this a success). As a side note, I’m going to mark my Goodreads Challenge as reading 40 books for the year. So that means I hope that half of my challenge will be made up of short story collections.
- Build 1 of my worlds that need building. I don’t really need to do this this year, but I know there are two main worlds that need building (well, one world, one science fiction setting that in reality will be multiple worlds). If I can get through one more right now, that’ll only help me more in the future, right? 🙂
- Edit my NaNoWriMo 2012 book. This is the same as last year – I want to make it into a coherent narrative that I can share with people.
- Take apart my NaNoWriMo 2015 blob. This sounds a bit silly, but I’ve already put it off for a month. The blob is made up of worldbuilding, Grief Project, more worldbuilding, and several other, smaller things (stories, a blog post, etc). I need to take it apart and organize everything (particularly the worldbuilding and Grief Project. The smaller things are pretty much self contained inside of it).
- Work with Chat Mapper. This poor goal has been on my lists for the last few years (since 2013!) It’s time to actually do some work with branching dialogue!
So there we have it – my goals for 2016. The first five goals are really my priorities for the year. Wish me luck as I work to accomplish everything!
I know I said that most likely I wouldn’t be blogging anymore in 2015. But I couldn’t resist writing one more post!
Yesterday and today I really wasn’t feeling well. I had planned on going to a friend’s house tonight for New Year’s Eve Rock Band and whatnot, but I honestly wasn’t feeling up to it. So instead I ended up spending most of the day working on Tears of the King!
Apparently I haven’t worked on the game since September. So here’s my first new map since then:
This map may look familiar – it’s very similar to the Fairy Grove map I posted back on September 11th. One of the things I’ve been struggling with is how you’ll get back to the Witch House Hub (that’s this map, which has been finished since I posted this screenshot) after you get different ingredients. The big concern so far was getting back from the Fairy Grove because you get there through the Fairy Forest, which is a map I intentionally built to be confusing. I also had an extra path leading from the Witch House Hub, having previously decided that one direction will lead to one thing, the other direction will lead to the King’s City (which I today renamed the Imperial City). So why not have some sort of magic teleporting system from one grove to another?
Once this map was completed, I set to work on the actual challenge I’ve been struggling with since September: what will things look like off to the West of the Witch House Hub? Today I’ve largely answered that! I’ve got another map that’s the size of the Mountain Forest (which means huge) that’s going to connect the Witch House Hub to another village and a mine which is going to have one of the ingredients in it.
So even though today was disappointing because I wasn’t able to go play Rock Band, I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this momentum going and finish Tears of the King soon! So Happy New Year to everyone, and see you in 2016! 🙂