Running With It


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


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


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


    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.

    Five Years?! 


    If you count the original, crummy grey book that was considered the first edition, it was published five years ago today.

    And that’s bonkers! I really don’t even have a real draft of The Demon’s Guardian to work from?! What kind of author takes that long? People are on George R. R. Martin’s case for the gap since his last book, but I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been 5 years yet.* (On the other hand, people have waited much longer for Kingdom Hearts 3, I suppose.)

    Anyway, this kind of anniversary is usually marked with a celebration. But I am just going to take this moment to say that I am officially starting to write The Demon’s Guardian today. Plus it’s not really 5 years because that first edition doesn’t count in a lot of ways. So yeah. Happy birthday, Rasuke.

    *UPDATE: I was just guessing, and it seems I was wrong. Turns out those books have historically taken quite some time to come out. The last one was in 2011, in fact. Who knew? 

    Looking Forward: Spring 2017


    Today I’m heading to a wedding, which should be fun – but not as exciting as our own wedding, coming up in June! Although most of it is already planned and set up, I suspect it will still get busier as it approaches. So, that’s going to be my first priority. 

    If I had to pick a second priority, it would be going through the built-in tutorials for RPG Maker MV. The reason is simple: they’re straightforward, so I know I can accomplish that goal easily. And a win is always good. 

    Finally, since I got the outline ready and all, I should get started on The Demon’s Guardian. Ideally, it would be nice to get a first draft done this quarter. There are 45 chapters, so if I write one a day, I only have to work on it on half the days in these three months. Reasonable? Probably, but if I don’t finish, that’s fine too.

    It’s a lot to do, but you know me. Here comes the question: what are you up to this spring?