Hehe. The purpose of the above is to teach you Area of Effect spells and when to use them. Spiders are relatively weak, so you can take out most of them with the right aim.
It also demonstrates the neat movement of QMovement combined with QSprite and the PVGames graphics.
Here's a quick woodlands map I've knocked up in about 10 mins, nothing special, I just needed a map with monsters on it rather than a town. I know I said the initial world would be limited, but I have certain nodes I definitely need to test.
The chest top-left is what is known as a "guardian chest" - opens when all monsters on the map have been killed. (In practice this will be a bit more believable, i.e. it's locked, and the last monster you kill drops the key)
This helps make more things to do in the world and turns simple woodland romps into dungeons in themselves, with rewards and goals.
This woody dungeon is optional but logical. It's accessed via the ladder in the basement with the spiders. You could go back the way you came and miss it. Or you could climb the ladder and spawn in this woodlands map.
The map is just a lengthy A to B, but you could either fight your way through or run past mobs and pick the right pathways to enable you to do this efficently.
I'd like to think I'm getting better at this kind of map but I'm not sure. In my old game it would have looked like this:
It's time to get serious. The likelihood is I'll be going back to work soon. As in, 1st June soon.
This is going to impact my development. The first post in this thread was made roughly 7 days after I started work on this project so you can see what I can achieve with time. But I won't have time.
I need to work out my options.
With that out of the way... we'll continue.
I have used the RMXP RTP to nab some little wildlife to use in the game. This is limited to the tinier sprites, and I've given them new pallets that better fit with my existing graphics.
This has been implemented partially as monsters to fight, but also as ambient wildlife that moves around with events, such as rabbits crossing your path, or flying birds.
(If you're fast you can catch these)
They're intentionally small - insignificant little bits of detail to add flavour to forests and such.
This adds to the existing PVGames wildlife -
Giving us this current enemies list:
(This scene is not fully implemented yet)
The first quest has been implemented. This is because of a quite hefty update which I will talk about later (as it's exciting!).
Quests and Adventures is the name of the menu that will show you what quests you have completed. In future, these will be linked to a Wiki-style guide that opens in the in-game action window space.
The quests above will be the quests in the starter game when that is released. Note that the starter game is just a test-bed designed to show each function in full.
Above is how they chain together to form a coherent storyline.
The final quest there launches an "epoch", which is something I will discuss to greater length at another time; storyline is not an important topic for the moment.
How do you know where to find a quest? The area labels match up with these splashes in-game:
How do you know when you have finished a quest?
Rewards will have to be carefully balanced but will usually include new spells.
Mapping and Areas
I needed to unwind the other day so I mapped another area quickly.
I think what I've found is that small maps are better. They will probably be 50x50 in the actual game, rather than the 100x100 I initially went for. This is 100x50.
Anyway, it's time to come to the actual big update:
Server-Side Switches and Variables
This is important as it actually makes an MMO...
We now have three types of switch (and variable).
Local: these are stored on your computer so if you close and reopen the game they will reset. Saved: these are stored on the web, in your account, so if you reopen the game they stay stuck. Global: these are saved variables that affect every player in the game.
This means that we now have functional working things such as levers, gates and doors which require multiplayer participation.
Perhaps a multi-user dungeon where one player has to open a door for another player.
Perhaps a multi-user event where there is a tally of monsters killed and all players must defeat a certain amount to progress the event.
This opens us up to multiplayer cooperative content and I'm really excited to get my teeth into this but I will hold off because it is not important right now.
Because some switches are stored locally, they are hackable.
Ones that are stored globally on the server are protectable by smart systems in the background that I won't go into (because then you will be able to work on ways to defeat them).
The game will be open to modification. There is no way around that with this still being an RPG Maker game. I know the pitfalls and I know the security implications.
Your account is safe. Nobody has access, not even me, to your login details. That is all handled through a secure API.
Your character is safe. That is uneditable by anything other than the server.
You can't make your character look like a tree and have everyone else see it (as has happened in MMO testbeds in the past).
But you could, by quite regularly used means, cheat your way through some battles, flip some switches, and gain advantage that way.
There will be tests server-side, with careful effort not to false-flag. But I cannot guarantee that people will not be able to cheat.
Quick Dirty Website
I've created a quick landing page for the game so that it can be found on Google searches, mainly. Will also point people to project threads in various places: http://afar.ws/
Afar vs Wytches & Wyverns
W&W is just a working title because that was the name of a previous project and I didn't want to waste time on logos to begin with.
Afar is the name of my previous MMORPG.
Afar is the name of the game world, and that's true of W&W. It's a world I've built up over the past 16 years.
W&W however is flexible. For now I like it, but I will gauge public opinion on that matter.
That felt like a wall of text so to finish this round I'll tell you about my inspiration for massive, cooperative events: The Great Fire War.
It ran for a few months when Adventure Quest was very new. Every now and then the story would progress but only with the actions and effort of players against the fire mob.
A multiplayer RPG you can play using your browser. Create a character and fight creatures to earn magical weapons armor.
It was the most fun I think I've had in a game, although nostalgia bites and all that.
I would very much like to emulate this kind of event, later on though.
Big events happened, established characters were killed off, me and some guys ran a roleplay thing called Fire War News - in fact it's from there I picked up RPG Maker, back in 2004... So I owe a lot to this event.
Just a short update this time around because this took a while to conceptualise and implement.
I have completely ripped this off from Guild Wars, I just want to make that clear before accusations start flying and people start guessing where I got it from .
As we're an ABS game, there is an ambient HP stream. It usually sits around 0. If you idle for a bit it gradually increases to give a bit of ambient healing but only outside of battle.
When you invoke a status effect (condition) that condition can add or remove from the stream's value. So a weak healing spell might be +2. A really strong poison that's probably gonna kill you without curing quickly might be -8.
The chevrons show how quickly the stream is moving. Each one represents about 2 hp per tick. In the cip above the player walks over tiles that add or remove conditions.
On the left are negative conditions (in this video they are "bleeding" and "burning"). On the right are positive conditions (just three weak healing spells in this clip).
You can see that the right hand ones compound with the left hand ones to cancel each other out, until one of the conditions is removed.
Conditions can be directly healed with certain spells or items. Otherwise, they might either have a timer, or a distance (or both).
So some conditions run out after walking a certain amount of distance. Others disappear after an amount of time. In case of time, the icons begin to flash as they run out:
The condition system only works if it is applicable to both player and enemies!
I need to make it modular now to apply it to enemies. I have not got that far yet. I also need a way of showing enemy conditions to the player. One thought is possibly a target window:
The alternative would be having HP bars appear above enemies, showing their conditions above them:
Condition range and diversity
There are so many conditions because then it leads to an interesting array of abilities to invoke them.
Conditions don't just add or remove from the HP stream. They can do everything they do in RPG Maker normally. They can affect how your next spell performs.
Here are some ideas (not final and the names are placeholders):
Sorry there wasn't much this time around. I absolutely appreciate any feedback and critique you have however.
It does? Which gifs in particular or just all of them?
Did it get better when I switched to 2.5D?
Perhaps it's the way I'm moving the player around as I keep stopping to take in certain effects and things. The movement doesn't even lag with 50 spiders following the player (which I expected it to).
That said, I do plan to significantly reduce the size of my maps to avoid lag as I very quickly learned the error of my ways there. Towns will likely be 50x50 rather than the 100x100 shown.
Now, battle animations are laggy and I am trying to find a resolution to that. I am not sure whether it is RPG Maker's asynchromatic loading that is causing it, or the very idea of having battle animations on the map that the game can't handle.
I have however condensed the RPG Maker animation files; lost 80% of their size without any noticable loss in quality.
I do need to make a video at some point and I do need to update the first post as it is woefully out of date.
Edit: I've remade the first post so it's more up to date. I hate selling myself tho.
This weekend's work has mostly been behind-the-scenes stuff to improve performance. This includes use of preloaders, and massively rejigging graphics to be smaller in size and dimensions.
I made a program (in VXa, incidently) that I can use to pull parts from different spritesheets together into one and jig them around how I want them, so now I only use the frames I need from the PVGames sprites, but still have the full range of animation I require.
I have also limited the colour depth of files, because it's pointless using more than 32 colours to draw, say, a bow. They were 32-bit!
Altogether this has taken some visual equipment sprites from 1.8mb to 18kb in size. An enormous difference.
Because of this improvement in performance, I have been able to recreate the character creation scene to use real character sprites rather than the busts that I so disliked (not because they're bad, I just don't think they fit in with the game).
Here's my progress:
There are now 19 hair styles in 8 colours, alongside 6 skin tones, for 912 possibilities, which will do for now.
Importantly hair colour is not by a file but by HSV values, which means adding new hair colours in future will be both easy and powerful. I can create items in future to dye your hair, which could become collectors' items.
It's also very easy to add new hair styles because they only need to be one colour, rather than the multiple files previously.
So it's all good work and it all means a much smoother game with less glitches. I believe that once I implement a lot of this conceptual stuff I'll solve the jumpiness in cutscenes too.
A quirk of this game is that there is only one gender. I'll come to that later and explain my workings.