Back Home 

Standard

It’s official. Ten days ago, I got married to someone really amazing. It’s been a true adventure, and I’m glad that I get to share my future with my wife.

I truly enjoyed the wedding and honeymoon, but now it’s time to get back to everyday. Which is why I’m back to this blog, too. So what’s on the agenda now? Well, I was having fun with RPG Maker MV, and I still am, but it’s much more important right now to get our house cleaned. We have a home inspection coming up, so it has to look…  good.

Unfortunately, that means putting off main projects. Hopefully, if we work together and take it one step at a time, we can actually make our home somewhere we can relax.

Check-in

Standard

Sorry I haven’t posted anything lately. I just haven’t been doing much work lately. Between trying to figure myself out (an issue I won’t get into here), trying to keep the house clean and last-minute wedding preparations, it just isn’t the time for personal projects.

By the time I post to this blog again, I’ll probably have already gotten married and be back from my honeymoon. So, see you all on the other side! 

Shelby Quest Released!

Gallery

Yes, the little game I’ve been working on is finally done. And due to the magic of itch.io, it’s possible to play it on any modern browser. That means that even a decent phone will run it, regardless of whether you’re using Android, iOS or whatever else. (I opted not to make it an app for either in the end, due to some big stumbling blocks I found along the way that would really cost me to get past.)

So yeah. Go ahead and play it! Discover all the ways it’s broken and probably not all that great, seeing as I never really planned for it to have a storyline at all. If you’re playing on a phone or tablet, also be warned that it may have some lag and that the controls are kinda-sorta terrible. If I was advanced enough to begin to fix that, I would, but a bunch of programmers way better than myself have been working on those problems for over a year and I don’t see it ending. So, we’ll have to just live with that.

Overall, I’m fairly proud of this. It’s much more than I ever thought it could be, in a lot of ways. Sure, I definitely have my disappointments, as outlined above, but I also got some unexpected triumphs. Each character just naturally fit into the place that I chose for them, and the enemies, equipment and skills followed suit. At first I wrestled with the question of how to deal with difficulty when the player can just wander around wherever, but some friends over at Habitica gave me a clever solution.

Plus, other than the tiny short-short game I once made about Eibmoz (and am not honestly sure where it is anymore), this is the first time I’ve managed to actually finish and release a game of any complexity. You could also count CaveBlade or Miracle Springs, but those were just little growths from a tutorial and you can honestly complete either one in about 10 minutes. Plus, I never really cared if anyone played those or not, whereas I really hope a few people enjoy Shelby Quest. Even though I’m not expecting that to be more than like five people.

Anyway, let’s quit messing around. I ask of you, please be one of those people and play Shelby Quest!

Running With It

Standard

Shelby Quest Screenshot

A lot has happened with this little RPG Maker MV project, which I have dubbed Shelby Quest for obvious reasons. At this point, after playing through for about 3 hours making sure it wasn’t too blatantly awful, I consider it to be ready for more of a proper testing phase. That really tells you how powerful RPG Maker MV is, considering I’ve been at this for something like 3 weeks. Then again, Steam shows about 105 hours that I had the engine open, so…

Anyway, I’m really excited that this whole thing became so much bigger, and that despite that, it’s mostly done. I’m not too thrilled with some of the controls on mobile, but it looks like the community just doesn’t have solutions for that yet, so I’m going to call it good enough. All in all, I feel like I’ve gone to great lengths to accommodate the problems this engine has, especially when it comes to the mobile app versions.

That said, I actually have no idea if the game will actually work for iOS. I’ve been testing it on Android, and some of the features I had added would throw errors when I played on that format. Hopefully iOS doesn’t have a whole different set of errors, or I’m frankly kind of screwed in that department. I don’t really want to do much more work on the game itself, unless someone finds bugs or other issues. I just want to focus on giving it a sort of mini-release. (Obviously there are limits because the characters are copyrighted, but I still want to explore how that phase works.)

That Awkward Moment

Standard

Shelby Quest Screenshot 001

So instead of working on The Demon’s Guardian like I was supposed to, I ended up continuing on my little practice project from RPG Maker MV. It was more or less a joke at first, just featuring random characters from things that I like. The idea was that the player would make a custom character using a plugin, and then that character would search for these other characters before facing the final boss. I was going to use solely the maps provided by RPG Maker MV.

I hit a roadblock when I realized that some plugins completely break down when porting over to Android (I haven’t even gotten to iOS yet, actually). So I couldn’t have a custom character. Then it occurred to me that it might be nice to make Shelby the main character. With her knowing (and loving) this, I can’t very well not complete the game she stars in, can I? That inspired me to give it a little smidgen of story besides the little bits that go with the characters.

So now each character has at least five skills, two sets of equipment, a town and a dungeon dedicated to them. And it turns out that with RPG Maker MV‘s bigger tiles, the default maps actually look huge. I’ve accidentally spent two solid weeks making a world that could probably take several hours to get through–assuming you’re not distracted by the ridiculous amount of treasure I’ve thrown around. None of the enemies or items have any stats attached to them yet, either.

Which leaves me asking myself the question: what fresh hell have I stumbled into now?

Now About That Outline

Standard

A few years back, I had a post about J. R. Hall’s story structure scheme. It more or less informed how I wrote the final version of The Third Face. I haven’t actually reread any of that stuff, but I do remember the basics. That’s how I got The Demon’s Guardian outlined. Here’s how I split each arc up:

  • Hook/Part 1: Introduce the situation as it stands at the beginning, with a little detail to grab the reader’s interest. 
  • First Plot Point: Some event shakes things up, causing the main character to have to react and do things differently from normal life.
  • Part 2: The main character is trying to deal with the First Plot Point, and its consequences are becoming more clear. 
  • First Pinch Point: There’s a glimpse at the bad thing that could come about if the main character fails. Often it’s a villain showing off their evilness. (Actually should come in mid-Part 2.) 
  • Midpoint: New information! Suddenly you have a better idea of what is really going on, and perhaps an idea of how the main character is going to deal with it.
  • Part 3: The new information lets the main character stop reacting and start making real decisions. 
  • Second Pinch Point: Much like the first, but scarier. 
  • Second Plot Point: Right here, things look more hopeless than ever. But a decisive change is the last thing that creates the last hope.
  • Part 4: Building on the Second Plot Point, the main character takes definitive action that drives the story to its end. 
  • Resolution: The day is saved! Or maybe not. There is some amount of aftermath either way. 

    The astute reader noticed that there are ten of these. I gave each of the five characters all of the different moments, but some didn’t warrant a whole chapter, or they overlapped with each other, which is what led to the count of 45 in the end.

    Since it’s been so long since I posted that stuff the first time, it might be nice to revisit it as a little series with my own take on the subject. It would involve rereading the original, which might give me more insights, too. And, it could give this blog that component of helpfulness that I’m not so good at. Does that sound like a good idea? 

    How to Make RPG Maker MV Games Work on Android

    Standard

    Last week I spent my one and only day off trying to figure out what RPG Maker MV could possibly mean when it claims that its games work on mobile platforms, particularly Android. Despite working from morning to night, Googling each and every problem that came my way and trying at least 6 different methods (two of which were considered “official”), I made exactly zero progress that day.

    Amazingly, my next search brought me to a program that, long story short, worked perfectly. While it’s mainly a commercial program, Website 2 APK Builder does have a free option that got me up and running just fine. Since I struggled so much, here’s how I did it for anyone who’s wondering:

    1. From RPG Maker MV, click File -> Deployment and export as Android/iOS.
    2. Download and install the free version of Website 2 APK Builder.
    3. Open it up. If it asks you for a key, just continue with free version.
    4. At the top-left, make sure “Local HTML Website” is checked. Give it a name.
    5. Near the bottom-left, click Choose Folder next to Directory of Local Website. Find the “www” folder created in Step 1.
    6. Change any other settings you want. Some might require the pro version, but for just testing like this, only the things I mentioned are necessary.
    7. Click Generate APK in the bottom-right and watch it go! It’s surprisingly fast, depending on how big your game is.

    After this, you can install it on your system using the same methods mentioned in the manual, or however else you want. The point is, you now have a working APK file that any Android device can install. Unlike other methods I’ve seen, this shouldn’t result in any errors while you’re working or when you try to open the app. And again, you can get at least a basic one running completely free.