Tales of a RPG Maker – Week 1

(Don’t know what this is all about? Read the introduction here)

Starting a project is almost always the most difficult part as there is so much to do and when you’ve never done a similar project before you don’t even know the best order of doing things.

That’s what I’ve been doing this week, organising the order of how I think it’s best to go about creating a RPG.

As it turned out the first thing I needed to do didn’t even involve RPG Maker VX. It involved a pen, some paper and a period of intense creative thinking. By “intense creative thinking” I mean spending roughly half an hour coming up with the basis of the story for the game.While I don’t want to give away the plot for the game entirely I can say it involves mystery, intrigue, betrayal and more double entendres and innuendo than you can shake your stick at (ooh err!).

With the skeleton of the story completed I turned towards the protagonists of the game. Again I don’t want to give too much away at this early stage but the names of the characters are below. See if you can guess what their role will be – while I’m not fully set on their classes right now there’s currently a white mage, a black mage, a dark knight, a thief and a grappler. Guess them right and you win the GCUK No-Prize Award.

  • Jack Rayder
  • Pandora Nyxx
  • Orion Ashmore
  • Annika Morgan
  • Henry “Pugshuffle” Paxton

Enough of that fancy pants writing malarky though because I wasn’t going to go the full week without even opening up RPG Maker VX. Not when I have a world map to make!

And there it is in all it’s blocky glory! Isn’t it magnificent? Notice how I managed to maintain to urge to create an island of a rude shape.

The above world map is all well and good but it’s a little featureless isn’t it? However a few castles here, a few mountains there, sprinkle in some trees and cacti and hey presto!

Map building is very easy on RPG Maker VX. It’s simply a case of choosing the tile you want (whether it’s grass, water, mountains or castles) and dragging your mouse over the place you want.

One issue I did come across though was adding in mountainous regions in the desert continents. The tiles that come with the game simply do not match as you can see by the two desert mountain types below.

What this meant ultimately was that my two desert continents are without mountains because I didn’t like the look of either of them. This seems like mistake that should have been caught in the beta testing of RPG Maker VX. There were tilesets out there on fan forums but part of this project is only using what comes with RPG Maker VX.

All in all though it didn’t take long that long to create the world map but it is important to know at least the basic events of your story before you start so that you can add the towns, cities and dungeons in places congruent to the story.

What is particularly interesting in fitting the world map and the story together is preventing the player from going to areas before they should. The story begins in the central continent and the player cannot progress until they have achieved the requirements to unlock a boat. Similarly there is a town in the north-west of the map that the player will also have to enter a cave to reach even when a boat is accessible. By using “switches” I can set it so that the party won’t enter the cave until a certain event has happened. What are switches? They’ll be more on them in the coming weeks…a lot more I suspect.

Next week I will start working on the towns, castles and various other places that make up the world.

That’s all for now so stay tuned until next Friday!

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