Saturday, June 27, 2009

Forays Into Other RPG Construction Kits: RPG Tsukuuru 2000

This is a most famous RPG construction kit in the English-speaking world, albeit known with a different name - "RPG Maker 2000." In general, this program is rather easy to use if one is inclined to make a Japanese console RPG-type game, but requires considerable work to change what is there (combat systems, etc.). In terms of community, this program likely has the biggest one - although a lot of art is ripped from Super Famicom games.

Years ago, I used to fiddle around in this program, although I never finished a game! (Ulp!) I do have some screenshots from what I was working on back in those days - basically, I wanted to have Korean-, Chinese-, and German-themed character sets and chip sets and work on a game with various languages and nationalities from there. Some screenshots from said game:

Character sets used sprite sizes of 24 x 36, while chipset tiles were 16 x 16; basically, character set sprite sizes in generally did not fill the entire area, instead using about 16 x 24 or so. Although small, the character sets required 12 frames total, or 3 frames for each direction, so making characters was a somewhat tiresome, if rewarding, task. (In general, the right frames could be flipped and used for the left frames, so in actuality one had to make about 7 frames total.)

In the end, I decided that I preferred the old PC RPGs compared to the old Japanese console RPGs, so I went in another direction (i.e., Dungeon Craft). Still, it was a good system for what it was, with a well-made interface and nice graphics.

Incidentally, many years back I was working on quite an ambitious game with this program, with lots of art (including big, anime-style pictures), but my hard disk basically blew up and I lost it all! Needless to say, that really sucked, and I had instantly lost many hours of work. I do sort of want to "revive" that somehow, but... I would have to redraw everything and all...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Forays Into Other RPG Construction Kits: Hephaestus

Well, although I am set on making my personal home-baked CRPG using Dungeon Craft, I am not against trying other tools every so often. In the past, I did some fiddling around with the RPG Tsukuuru series (known as "RPG Maker" by the English world, it seems), but I guess that I didn't really like the boring, Dragon Quest-esque combat engine. Ah, well.

Today, I spent a few hours fiddling with a less console-like and more PC-like RPG construction kit, Hephaestus, by Mark Damon Hughes (URL: This particular RPG engine requires some programming in Java, but does come with a mapping tool. Luckily for me, Hephaestus seems to use 48 x 48 icons in general, so I tried using my Dungeon Craft art and seeing what I could come up with:

Not so bad, eh? Luckily, it seemed happy with 48 x 48 icons (the sample game uses 48 x 70 for humans), although some conversion was necessary (namely, it uses separate GIF files for each frame (with a particular naming scheme), as opposed to Dungeon Craft's unified PNG files with all frames). Unfortunately, there were a few problems that bugged me:
  • I was unable to make maps larger than 11 x 11. Strangely, in the Map Editor, even though you can select map sizes larger than 11 x 11, it doesn't seem to let you edit any spaces outside the minimum 11.
  • I was unable to set equipment types (i.e., I wanted to have my dagger in the map be a weapon so that Irene could equip it), leaving my poor player unequipped and usually an easy target for the ice troll wandering around there...

For smarter people than me, there is the option of generating maps automatically through Java coding, but that is somewhat abstract and hard for ol' me. As it is, this RPG kit does have good potential, especially for Java-conversant folks, especially if one is into old Rogue- or Ultima-type games. I confess that my ideal is something like an overhead-view Gold Box game, or maybe Ultima VI, or something like the Baldur's Gate series; I guess I never really got into the whole Rogue-like thing.