Adding Balloons to Important Sprites

bgillisp

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One feature that I've seen commonly requested is being able to add balloons over characters so that you know they have a quest to give you. Some suggest using parallel processes to do that, but as we know many parallel processes can also slow your game down, and I've heard of reports of players being unable to save their game while a balloon image is processing in the system. Here I'm going to show you how to use an image editor to do a similar thing.

First, you need to install an image editor software. I will be using GIMP for this one.

Open up three files in GIMP. One will be the sprite of the quest giver (found in your project under img/characters), one will be a sprite that will be for copying over things only so select any for this one (I like to use Actor1, but People1 works well too), and the last one is your balloons file found under img/system.

Once all three are open, go into GIMP and go to View and check Show Grid and Snap to Grid for all three tiles. Then go to Image and select configure grid for all three files. If you are using default sized assets set the grid to 48 x 48. If you are not using default sized assets set it to whatever your tile size is.

From here, go to an image file that we will be using for copying things over. First, important: Go to File -> Export As and give it a new name! This way you don't save over the file by accident and lose the original images.
From there, Select Image, then Scale Image. At this point tell it to double the height of the file but keep the width the same. You will need to select this icon here to be able to do that though else GIMP will try to keep your height and width in ratio.

Tutorial_Image_1.png

If you are using MZ to double the default height of 384 for a sprite sheet you will need to enter in 768. Again do not edit the width. Select the scale button once you are done with this to apply the changes.

And...looks awful right? Well that's why this is only a placeholder. Next select everything in the image and select CUT. That will get rid of all the images and keep the gird and everything for us to use.

Next, go to the spritesheet that has the image of your quest giver in it. Select the first row (only the first row!) like this:

Tutorial_Image_2.png

Select Copy, then go to the 2nd row of our now blank sprite sheet and paste it in. If you do it correctly it should look like this:

Tutorial_image_3.png
Note in GIMP once you select Paste to copy the image you need to click your mouse a couple of times to make it stay where you pasted, as GIMP will, after you select Paste, let you move the image around with the arrow keys to center it first. But if you don't need to move it at all, just left click your mouse a couple times to make it stay there.

Next, do this for every row of the character sprite, but put row 2 of the sprite in row 4 of our new file, row 3 goes in row 6, and tow 4 goes in row 8. You should always have a blank row of your grid between each image, for reasons we will see very soon. The finished result for this sprite will look like this if you do it correctly.

Tutorial_Image_4.png

Next, go to your image of your balloon icons. Find the one you wish to show over your quest giver's head, and copy that one icon. Then paste it above the image in the 2nd column of your sprite. The result will look like this:

Tutorial_Image_5.png

Now use that image as your quest giver! You can put other images in this file too as other quest givers, since we got space for 8. If you want it to blink you can turn stepping animation ON for the sprite, and if you want the balloon to be static (like Trails of Cold Steel) just leave it like this without the stepping animation, or paste the balloon icon above all of the images of the sprite like so:

tutorial_Image_6.png

Now in game it will look like this for the quest giver.

Tutorial_Image_7.png

Now if you want the icon to no longer show once you start dialogue, you set your events as follows. First on page one of the event have it first change the graphic via set move route -> This Event -> Change Actor graphic, and for the new graphic have it use the version without the balloon above it. Then put all of your sidequest logic in the event, and end it with self switch A (or some other way to register that the quest has been given). It will look like this:

Tutorial_Image_8.png

From there, on page 2 you'd use the version of the image without the balloon above it and do all stuff you need to do for after the player has received the quest.

And there you have it! Your quest givers and important NPCs can have balloons over them. If you wish to animate them you can play around with which ones you copy over and give them a cycle to match their movement and so on.

Oh and here is the actor sprite I made for purposes of making this tutorial. Same Terms of use as MZ as I used all MZ materials for this. QuestGiverTest.png
 
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Finnuval

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Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best :)
 

Bribolox

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Or you could just turn the balloon graphic into a character animation. Then you can use them above any character.
 

bgillisp

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Also works yes, but this way takes less events, which can be critical if you have a big map.
 

The Row

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If you cut out the middle sprite of the npc, and use it in all 3 frames (per direction ofc), you could possibly animate the Ballon and have him stand still, provided you don't want your npc to walk around.

Just thought I should throw that in.
 

bgillisp

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That could work yes! Thanks for posting the idea.
 

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