RMMV [MMO] Wytches and Wyverns

Ellie Jane

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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.

Anyway.

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:

 
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Ellie Jane

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Your three-day update

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.

Wildlife

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)



Quests

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.

Security Implications

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.

Inspiration

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.




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.

 

Ellie Jane

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Your Three Day Update

So, what can be done in three days?

These all link into each other but I think the last update is the most interesting, for me anyway, as I've created a new system from scratch that I don't think you will find in any other game yet.

The "Quests and Adventures" Panel

This is a panel using my modular Scroll scene, which basically displays information about your travels, with a kind of link carousel at the top.

You can view your Bestiary, Quests, and Exploration.


Bestiary

The bestiary shows how many of each enemy you have defeated. In future this will be used to provide medals and trophies.

It only specifically shows enemies that have been flagged for addition to the bestiary, so you won't see special/dummy enemies here.

In future this will have tabs for different types of enemy.



This can be neatened up later, for now the functionality is what I am interested in.


Quest List

Using a database of quests and a database of associated regions, this is the new quest list.

Red: not discovered
Orange: started but not finished
Green/tick: quest complete!



Again this can be neatened up later.


Journey and Exploration

For now, all this page shows is a dummy image.

When we have more world content this will be a Skyrim-style fast-travel map, in which nodes unlock as you discover them.



Which brings us to our:

Dummy World Map

This is the world for now. I could get into detail and create an amazing world map - but that's a job for another day.

This will do.




This brings us then to the most interesting update, which is...


In-game Wiki-style User Guide

When you click on an enemy name in the bestiary, a quest name in the quests list, various links on the forums, or other places, you are taken to the in-game Wiki-style user guide.

This is edited in the same way as a traditional WIki but very slimmed down and lightweight.

Here is what the player sees:



Red is a link to another page in the guide. Browser forward and back buttons fully work with this.

Here is what I see, so I can edit from on the fly within the game.



This even shows for pages that do not exist, so all I need to do is add a link to a page, follow it, and then create that page.

I have created my own BBCode system for this, just some basics such as:

[Link Text Here|linkname] <-- this creates a link to a guide page.

{imagename|floatdir} <-- this creates an image floated left or right, with padding appropriately formatted.

*text here* <-- this makes text italic.

% <-- this defines a new paragraph.


You didn't need to know any of that, I realise.
 
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Ellie Jane

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Hi guys! Me again.

Just a short update this time around because this took a while to conceptualise and implement.

HP Stream

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 :p.

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.

Removing Conditions

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:



Enemy Conditions

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.
 

Ellie Jane

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Hi guys!

Where did we get to...

Having a lot of fun with the battle system now, mainly in testing different spells and seeing what works, etc.

Terms

Forcing myself to call spells "Abilities" and states "Conditions", to avoid confusion between Spells, Skills and States.

Enemy HP Bars

Settled on enemy HP bars. Removed conditions from them, there may be a separate target window that will show those. Too much information to put above any enemy.

Enemy bars only show if you or that enemy are targetting each other.

In this vid you can see me cast a burning spell, giving negative DoT (spell animations were turned off for the time being).



Tooltips

Wary of throwing too much information at the player, but these are tooltips for when you hover over an ability or condition icon.



Here you can see a condition:



Classes

So, here are the first two classes and prospective abilities to form them. The yellow box defines an elite ability unlocked by choosing abilities that give you that class.



Main Post

I'm aware the first post on this thread is getting increasingly out of date. I won't focus on that yet though. Sorry.
 

ravenhood

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the game seems to be okay, it would be better to have a video, maybe it's the gif files but character movement look so laggy
 

Ellie Jane

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the game seems to be okay
I am totally using that as a tagline.

character movement look so laggy
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.

While I'm here some more work on classes:

 
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Ellie Jane

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Evening guys,

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.
 

Ellie Jane

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Evening guys.

I now have a date for "going back to work" - potentially June 15th - but it depends what happens with the Corona Virus R value in that time. The government have said if it rises before then we won't reopen. It does mean I have at least two and a bit weeks of solid gamemaking ahead of me so I should be able to make good progress.

I do have some updates.

I did a bit of a playtest to see how it all goes. Main feedback was:

- Inventory is just a long list of icons and very difficult to navigate
- Lots of wasted space in menus
- Not easy to see what each spell does

I also needed some functionality from each scene so it made sense to quickly redesign them.

I did say I would steer away from UI changes until the game was out but this felt like a necessity.

Inventory

The inventory is now categorised into general usable items, materials, tools, equipment and key/quest items.

When you select an item you also get a much larger picture of it.

They also link to the aforementioned guidebook.



Still need to replace the Discard button.

Here's a "before" pic:



Spells and Abilities

Abilities are now categorised; I can add more categories later as we get a sense of what they need to be.

The system is designed to hold a lot of each type, which have not been created yet, which is why it seems so empty. Nonetheless it's functional.



Again here is a before shot:



I'm going to overlay on the chat window for the information about classes and elite skills. It feels too important to cut short, but too cluttery to put in the abilities window.

Here is a quick mockup of that (everything above is working and implemented).

 
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Ellie Jane

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Evening guys, it's that time again!

I have two quick videos to show you this time around, and we're moving into exciting territory with these.

I really do appreciate any and all feedback (it's been a long while since this thread had any replies!)

Two things to show you, then.

The Class/Build System

This is a unique trait to this game, and something I've planned from the start but put off implementing because it seemed like it would be a huge job. As it was it was about half an hours work and it just worked really well from the get go.

As mentioned above the spellbook was recreated. I've extended this further to invoke the class system.

Your first ability is chosen by the weapon that you equip. (This is the means of making weapons "more powerful"; they don't have stats, but different abilities tied to them).

Your next six are chosen by you. These seven altogether have different weightings for different classes. These run from between -5 to +5. Having a -5 means a class probably won't contain this ability; having a +5 means it likely will.

All these numbers are added together to work out which class you are.

So, if your abilities are mostly weighted towards thieving you're a thief. Here are some examples:



New Classes

There are eleven classes so far. These are low fantasy classes - magic has not been unleashed in the game in quests yet - and all the abilities they draw from will be low fantasy in origin.

The classes currently are:

Druid, Fighter, Thief, Rogue, Bandit, Thug, Pirate, Archer, Scout, Huntsman, Swordsman, Barbarian, Bard, Assassin, Ninja

Some classes are very difficult to obtain and are more easter eggs than mainline content - such as Bard or Pirate.

New Abilities

Because of this I have had to create a large amount of basic abilities to build classes from. Often they are shared between classes, especially the rogue classes which are very close to one another in subtle ways.

So there are now 53 abilities in the game - in name, graphic and description. I now need to implement these, which is going to be a big task, because this is where I need to learn QABS inside out to see what can be done.

To begin with I have started with some very, very basic abilities - Kick and Punch.

 

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Insanely impressive!
 

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Wow this is amazing! How are you handling the multiplayer part? Building your own solution or plugins? Is it true mmo with scaling?
 

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It's crazy to a project like this in MV. So much nostalgia for the likes of Ultima Online coming from the aesthetics. Looking forward to your future updates!
 

Ellie Jane

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Hi guys. Apologies for the lack of content this week but I'd like to give you an update.

As of tomorrow I am back at work. This is going to be an incredibly stressful time, because I work in retail, so there are so many things going through my mind, such as what happens if we fail to take any money? And of course the prospect of getting ill.

There's also the timing of RPG Maker MZ. While it would be daft to restart an ordinary project, this project is quite different. All of the work I have been doing is my own systems, and so I know exactly how they work, and they are immediately transferable to another engine. All the background systems and such. I need to study MZ when it's released and work out whether it would be better to use that system. If there are inbuilt tools to help with using the PVGames graphics, for example, or equivalents for QSprite and QMovement, it would make a lot of sense to transfer; equally if they have better online tools or Pixi5.

What worries me about that is converting QABS to work with MZ. As no developers seem to work with Quxios' systems, and Quxios himself is retired, it would be down to me, which is a lot of sidework away from the main game. However it would be an opportunity to develop some of the systems I want to create for it - such as enemy teams and summoning/necromancy.

So in short, there will not be a lot of development this week either, while I get settled in at work. They do not know anything yet, about what our customer levels are going to be like, and so I can't even guarantee what hours I will be working, or what days.

Wow this is amazing! How are you handling the multiplayer part? Building your own solution or plugins? Is it true mmo with scaling?
My own system. I use Ajax, and use that to communicate with a web forum using that as a backbone. This has many drawbacks, but the benefits outweigh them to me: user management, social sign-in, security, in-built systems for messaging and forums, even chat management.

This does mean the game can only be played from a web browser.


So, has any development happened?

Without meaning to sound like a complete sop I haven't been sleeping, and I refuse to take my laptop to bed, so I've been doing a lot of story development. And, as I'm finding it hard to concentrate on any important work, I've been doing a little level design here and there.

I don't know if these will be used, or if I'm just practicing mapping, but this is part of the Ork homeworld.

The game starts off in a low-fantasy state and that includes things such as other races. There is a Firefly/Red Dwarf-esque lack of the supernatural, but that doesn't mean that the peoples of the time wouldn't see it as otherwise. Orks then are an assumed warlike race, that are actually just a human tribe. I won't go much further than that as it would be too spoilersome, but these maps represent the start of Ork architecture and my first attempts at desert mapping.







I think my desert mapping suffers from a case of "let's chuck rocks everywhere" but some of the stuff is OK.

The desert tileset was $7 by the way.
 

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