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.

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