Bonkers

I haven't seen you since the plague.
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Dialogue

For example purposes, our characters will be Stacy and Jayce. Say Hello Kids.
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They're shy. They are also in the vacuum of space.


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Maiko was generous enough to let me use these commissions towards the workshop. Be sure to visit her workshop!


If you want to improve your dialogue writing skills I can offer a few suggestions. This was brought about in part due to the recent IGMC were we all saw a lot of work from the community. It is clear that


there has been no resource, or workshop devoted to something as powerful as the information the player sees. All information communicated to the player that is necessary to play or enjoy the game comes through 'meta' or regular dialogue/alerts. It works just like any other resource and can become a very powerful tool if you use it in conjunction with graphics and sound effects.


The first piece of advice I can give you is to use the comment tool. This is something anyone of any level can do in RPG maker.


Open a new event, first tab, "Flow Control"(At the very bottom) :Select Comment. There is a very good reason why the comment command is under this category.


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To plan a scene simply write the action in the comment section. Be as detailed or brief as you like.


This doesn't effect events, nor does it impede the game in anyway to leave them peppered around your event pages. Think of them like an outline.


Don't make multiple pages and conditions.


Get a clear and concise flow of how a player will view the scene. Make sure you list what information they need to continue the game through comments first.


Write everything that a character will say in word/notepad first.


Don't type any dialogue directly into RPG editor's text box as you go. This is a horrible way to control the amount of information the player gets. It's especially harmful when you start to weigh down a section of exposition that isn't needed. The more you do this the less likely you are to go back and edit.


When a character yells it isn't in all capital letters. The same applies to italics and color, as it is usually only one word which is the focus of a statement; and this is given by context.


Let's try our example pair of characters Stacy and her brother Jayce.


Comment: Stacy yells at Jayce to clean the toilet seat.


Stacy: You'd think being in a chair all day you'd manage to not make a mess on the toilet seat.


Obviously this was not bloody murder. There is no wrong here that cannot be righted. There is no need for an exclamation point.


Comment: Stacy yells at Jayce for killing an alien dealing Narcotics outside of the abandoned mall.


Stacy: God damn it Jayce! He was our only lead. Now what are we going to do?


The reader isn't foolish. They know Stacy is still yelling, and the tone of the character even if the portrait associated is unchanged


when Stacy uses that first exclamation mark. Context is also providing the scene with emotion.

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Yelling things doesn't make them dramatic, sorry. Real emotion is pinballed off of another character. This is why movies don't star one person.
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The bane of my existence as a writer. These little three dots add nothing, nadda, zilch, zero to your story and dialogue. If you need a pause use \| or the emoticon bubble for the character graphic. Keep it out of the text box. I've seen games were "..." took up pages upon pages of space, and those were professionally done commercial games. Pauses in dialogue aren't written in, they are actions made by the character.


Action has no place in the written word. Don't put asterisks with emotional actions inside of text with the character locked in one emotional state. Emotion isn't something that is directly communicated by spoken word. It can be inferred or implied, but the real indicator is a portrait/facial expression. Typing out an emotion, or lack there of will burden the dialogue window. This goes double if the portrait/facial expression is unchanged.


Written action of a character has no place in the spoken word. It's the same in the real world. If you want to punch someone, you do not do it with words. You do it with a


visible action.


This means any action a character does won't appear in the dialogue window, at all.


In order to keep your train of thought between the spoken word use comments to mark actions.


Comment: Stacy hits Jayce.


Later you can come back and animate this with a sprite, or small animation. Remember the player won't be looking for the action itself, but the sound effect, the visible effect, and the


reaction of the character Jayce to being hit more than *She hits him*. Even if you have no graphical experience you can still set minimal indicators an action has happened, and even without


the audio and visual cue it's the reaction of the victum that determines a player's reaction. Is it funny? Is it a serious wound? Only Jayce's reaction can tell us.


Jayce: It's a good thing I'm already in a wheel chair.


Now we know it isn't serious, and he took it in stride.


This can work out a great deal better-


Comment: Stacy hits Jayce knocking him into something. Since he isn't out of the wheel chair no new sprite edit is needed.


Move to < Backup > Jayce's Sprite Speed 4x


Stan: Consider how the furnature feels in this situation. Yeowch.


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You can even get away with minimal movement making a small event from the tile set to fall around the character to show that objects were displaced while he was hit.


That's just another simple move command for a makeshift sprite.


Enhancing the dialogue relies on your control of movement, and of sounds. Not in writing actions with the written words.


For the best examples look at how plays and screen plays are written.


Directing the action through a comment or writing out a script in advance helps you to show someone what is inside your head, rather than giving us a run down


or skimping details that could enhance the story.


***


Comment: Jayce has stolen evidence from a crime scene, but doesn't want Stacy to know.


Jayce: Let's just get home. After the aliens, and you getting caught under a car I don't want to imagine what else is going to happen to us.


Stacy: Hey wait up! Since when are you this fast?


Jayce: Sorry, it's downhill. I have the advantage here.


SFX: Crumble, Snack, Thunk.


Stacy: What was that?


Jayce: Probably one of the junkers on the road ready to give out.


Stacy: Jayce you aren't fooling me.


Batch Entry Stacy(Shock): Did you take something you weren't suppose to from the police barracade?


Jayce(Eyes half down): No. Did you?


Stacy: They left those donuts out for everyone.


Move to <Event Stacy: Stop. SFX: Munch. Resume Walking.>


Stacy: Besides I'd never thought I'd eat again.


Emotion isn't something that is directly communicated by spoken word. It can be infered or implied, but the real indicator is a portrait/facial expression.


Typing out an emotion, or lack there of will burden the dialogue window. This goes double if the portrait/facial expression is unchanged.


Try telling someone you are unhappy without altering your tone of voice. We don't have the vital tool which helps us with expression and judgement here in the editor.


Comment: Jayce tells Stacy he is unhappy with their work fighting alien narcotic dealers.


Jayce: Stacy, I wanna go home.


Stacy: You'd think I'd be the one whining after getting trapped underneath that car.


Batch Entry Stacy: What's wrong now?


Jayce: I want to go back to school, and be a water boy again. Even if coach won't let me join the real football team.


Jayce(Crying): I want to see my friends again. I wanna eat normal food. I don't want aliens hurting us anymore.


Stacy(Annoyed): Tough. We made a decision, and we have to stick with it. Our parents were killed by these Space Narcotic Alien dealers.


Stacy(Angry): You think I'm not home sick too? I don't miss netflix? Jesus Jayce! A new season of Sword Art Online was out.


SFX: Sniffles.


Stacy(Normal): Come on. I'll buy you a whatever they drink on this planet.


SFX: Sniffles.


Jayce(Normal): Coca Cola?


Stacy: Well I was hoping for something less like pure acid, but yea sure.


Now we know what emotions we need to make a scene. We don't have them off hand which means we hunt for them, or make them. We know what we need ahead of time, so that means it will get used!
Say it with me now.  Change is good, and empowers you.  No amount of work and investment of time is wasted when it broadens your experience with media and allows you to think 


outside of your comfort zone.  It's this zone that will make you seem lazy to others, when in fact you're working far harder than you should be.  There are so many easy things you


can do to improve your game in less than a day it's startling.


First go read this new article on the site's blog: http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?/topic/35768-5-things-people-don’t-customize-in-rpg-maker/


This is a very good first step.  Now you have an advantage of being informed and know what to look for.

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A few questions people have asked:


How did you go about doing class progression in your game? 


The game I'm currently developing calls for class progression but I wasn't sure how to do it in a fluid manor. 


I answered this briefly in PM, but it deserves it's own topic.  The situation of this type of progression is in a lot of games.


I did several things in my own game to signify that the actor's class had changed:


Different graphics for the character in and out of armor, and then in better armor when he changed a second time near the end.


A custom Animation, and sound effects to accompany it.  This isn't just used in scene however.  Don't go thinking you need to create new material just


for the sake of a single scene.  When I planned this out I made sure the animation could be used for multiple scenes, and for battle as well.


I never make something with the intention of only using it once.


I used change actor graphic, and change actor class as well.  Unfortunately the player has no idea anything has changed until they visit the menu screen and skills.  What happens behind the curtain is


oblivious to the player.  


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They may not check the menu before battle and become confused if forced into a fight.  That will put them at a disadvantage and be rather frustrating only to 


see things they aren't familiar with.


*An NPC may be needed to verbally inform.


*The animation visually informs and new actor graphic reinforces that.


*The 'Meta Effect' sound alerts the player a change is taking place.


Meta Effects are for the player only, the characters don't hear them in their environment. 


They can be for items, events like Inns that restore the party, or signify you have made progress to the plot.


Now the player has an idea that a change has taken place.  The more familiar they are with a meta effect sound, the better they are looking for the other cues.


I made sure to keep this process to cut scenes and plot related events where the player knew something would happen and was informed visually as well as through sound.


The most important thing is that the characters themselves react to the change and are aware it happened.


Behaviors:  This is one of the highlights of my workshop.  I love to do them for friends.


People have mannerisms, and so do characters.  Jayce loves to move, and most of his behaviors will involve him doing so.
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 Stacy is very strong and aggressive, since she is the left hand of the law.
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 Her leg work and his moves combine to make them Wheels and the Leg Girl!  


Here is a small sample of how I would expand DLCs materials to fit a game.  


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No DLCs are not complete either.  You'll always be able to improve materials in this fashion.


This tileset is incomplete!  Why should I use it?  


Realize one obvious thing any tileset artist will tell you.  EVERY SINGLE tileset of any style, and of any degree including the RTP is incomplete.  Do you know why? 


You can always add to it.


Take a look at this very simple map. 


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Notice anything about it?  Try looking at the stairs.  For those of you who know about the DS set you'll know only the ruined castle set has a staircase for it's rug autotile.  Where did this one come from?  I made it because I needed it for a scene, and now that I have it I can  expand on the set for myself.


I'll start with the original rug and cut out the section I need.  Since the design of the tassels is the same throughout, I can keep that.  I'll mimic the ruined tileset staircase and choose a darker color for the segments of the stairs.  


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Since the golden inlay or design is different at points I'll select only that portion I need.  So I have two versions.  A default without the design and one with it, which can change if I don't like how it looks when I use it in game.


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I'll alter the tileset and rename it as an edit, so it will show up directly above the original one.  I don't want to alter the default one in-case of an oppsie.  Load the amended tileset into the game.  


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Now I reassign the tileset section and use the material in game to observe if changes need to be made.  


Time taken?  5 mins.  New Resource, happy people, and improved game.  You just made three magic things happen in 5 measely minutes.  You are now a sorceror. We will burn you later.


Desensitize yourself.  There is nothing to fear in trying to improve what you have, and putting your effort into right places.


Next time, animations.  People seem to think they are hard, and making custom ones are hard to do.  We'll dispel that myth next with some examples and get your feet wet.
 
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Bonkers

I haven't seen you since the plague.
Restaff
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Check out Masteb2611's tutorial here on more advanced techniques as well: http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?/topic/36135-adding-realism-to-battle-animations/

 

The first step to understand an animation is to know what resource you are using.  There are two types Stacy will be discussing:

Seamless Sequence Overlay

Single Animation Sheet

 

The best example without any previous experience is to reference a "Cut in".  Used in battle or crucial plot moments they can add to the dramatics.

The speed at which they are moved determines everything.  Too slow and it's boring.  Too fast and the audience vomits.

 

Here is a 544x416 example with no frills or objects.  Simply speed lines and motion blur meant to be scrolled horizontally left to right.

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For an experienced user this can be a seamless titlescreen graphic, or something flashy to put on the boarders.  Some work better with a black background while

others can be put over pictures and maps.   I highly recommend looking at Shaz's multiple fog script for the level of control it can bring when 

placing and moving a seamless scene piece, and if you want the effect for the Title Screen Dekita and Mog have some handy scripts for you; but that's another workshop entry.

 

I use boarders to enchance a stationary picture, or add a major effect to a dungeon switch to alert the player a change happened.  It happens sometimes in anime

as well when the character gets a thought, and a sudden sharp flash line is drawn across their face as if having a revelation.

 

A single Animation sheet means you must "tween" or setup up and align each frame of animation manually.  This sounds difficult, but it's really

just time consuming.

 

Both are powerful resources, and can add some flare to your game.  Stacy will begin by setting up the editor and we'll go to the "Animations" tab under database.

 

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You will be able to:

Name an animation

Directly below name you will be able to use 2 different animation sheets to use.  This is a limitation, which can be gotten around like a tileset edit

where you can make your own sheets.

Position is where the animation will take place.  The references are in relation to the battler, where a dummy is provided for the sake of aligning; and can

even be made to the exact graphics center of the screen (graphics.width/2, graphics.hieght/2)

 

Change Target will enable you to change the battler dummy.  This is a mute point, but if you have a larger battler compared to a smaller trash mob there 

may be differences since the animation will not rescale itself to fit the different sized battler.  Keep in mind one size must fit all if you use the animation in battle.

 

The advanced commands below this are for experienced users.  I won't touch on them yet, but if you are using animations that go beyond 20+ frames they are necessary to maintain

sanity.

 

Look at the variety of examples in a default RTP project.  Start small and edit one for fun.

Change the color of an animation by going into Graphic(top or bottom) and adjust the hue like you would for 

altering a battler.

 

This is the simpliest variation that can be done by the least experienced user.  Next we will look at "SE and Flash Timing".

 

The Timing window is everything to animation in the same way we discussed dialogue.  To carry the animation it must have SFX and sometimes a brief flash.

This does not mean you overload the window with 30 things for a 6 second animation.  Look at some of the default examples to see that SFX are spaced by seconds.

 

Right click on the box and select edit.  Every partition of an animation is called a frame.  On a frame is where you can assign a SFX.  You cannot assign anything

that isn't directly related to a whole frame/second number.  To get around this you can record or edit a sound file to fit, but that's another workshop entry.

 

Target: The most useful type of flash.  When an afflicted monster, or character in a cutscene is the subject of an animation they will flash the color specified.

This effect is easiest on the eyes and doesn't trigger epilepsy in small amounts.

 

Screen: The most powerful, and misused flash.  Serious damage to eyes and concentration can occur if you mishandle any type of colored flashing sequences.

All types of people play video games and you need to carefully consider long looping sequences of sudden flashes can have consequences.  Please

use this responsibly.  Warn players if necessary that your game contains 10+ seconds of sequential sudden looping flashes for basic animations.

Your eyes are a valuable resource, and you should properly care for them.

 

Hide Target: While it is useful for a moving animated target like the tooltip says, there is another reason to consider hiding the target.  Transformation, teleportation, and 

transmutation.  Transformation is a command used by a battler to become another battler and this process can be done with sprites just as easily for players and NPCS out of battle.

Teleportation is the act of moving or transfering players to another location without direct sequencial movement, much like the animation red line for Indianna Jones while traveling.

Transmutation is a sudden change in a feature like th UI or menu that the animation is altering the player take immediate notice.  This is likely a lasting change or added feature

as you make progress in the game.

 

So we've taken a look at when to use an animation, but not how.  First determine if the life of the animation will be battle or scene oriented.  Animations can be both, but it's faster and

easier to designate.

 

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We'll alter the basic bludgeoning animation to give Stacy her patented leg girl kick.  Since this is scene oriented I want to shrink things down quickly and easily.  Go to Cell batch.

To edit a large number of frames at once, I can control everything here for the entire length of the animation.

 

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Frames we know, but what are cells?  Cells are the objects within the frames.  They are the elements of the animation which give a frame it's action.  Since there is only one cell by frame,

we're in luck and need do nothing to it.  For more complicated animations like summoning a monster this will be very important to include the range of all cells per frame.

 

 

I'll reduce the zoom, scaling down and depending on the direction give 

the animation a flip: yes.  This will horizontally flip the animation so the kick looks like it is going away from Stacy rather than towards.  Play the animation so you can see the results.

NEVER TRUST THE FIRST EDIT.  In the same way an artist sketches, animations need to be edited and refined.  Sometimes things won't work at certain scales and you will need to move on and 

look at other sheets or even edit them together to form what you want.

 

We're not done.  Head into graphics, and make sure if you are using two sheets to change both hues.

 

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Shut up Jayce.  To get a star animation we will have to do some searching.  Avery has provided some interesting animation sites from overseas, let's try those.

http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?/topic/35800-where-to-find-more-animations/

Remember!  Credit the artist used.  This animation came from Pipoaozai.

Look everywhere.  If you see animations and gifs you like, you can always reproduce them yourself too in your own style.  Making you're own animation

is a good workshop entry for another time.

 

Like with any addition to any part of the database you must "Change Maxiumum".  This tells the database to make more space in the array which controls an aspect of the editor.

I usually got in lots of 5, since adding one thing invarietibly means adding more.  Entry 111 will be "Star".

 

Next we'll load the custom animation sheet.  You must important animations to "Graphics/Animations" located at the top of resources importer.  Putting them elsewhere

is a waste of space.  

 

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Isn't it lovely?  But notice something, it repeats after frame 7 and restarts on 8.  Let's save ourselves some time and some space.  We can always come back and edit out

the unecessary frames and fit more on the remaining 12 at some future point if we require to enchance the animation further.  Say for Star II, Stara, Staraga, and other

mishmoshing of final fantasy like terms that have no real value outside of tongue and cheek latin.

 

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You'll also want to consider a second sheet and consider adding two or more cells per frame.  Say a magical circle?  There are some royalty free ones over at

the Cartographers guild.  http://www.cartographersguild.com/forumdisplay.php?f=49

The best phrase you can possibly hear as a game desginer? "Royalty Free".  

 

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So you have some options to spice it up now.  Rotation, fade(opacity), Zoom(Resize), and Copy.  If you want multiple stars you can use what we discussed about

copying specific cells from frames and pasting them in, or in smaller animations like this just dupe on the frame.  I choose to have the circle at 200%

it's original size and matched the color of the star.  I can also consider changing the blending type to make it screened(Add) and glow.  Dodge(Sub) makes things really dark near black

and None(normal) does nothing to the cell.  This is another reason I cut out the battler for the example, as I don't wanna be distracted by the effect till it's done

and ready to be used.  I can change the settings on a cell later easily.  

 

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Okay.  Select a manly color.  I chose blue, because green stars look radioactive and less nice for such a cartoony looking graphic.  Fit color choice and graphics for the project.

Don't use XP elements in an RTP setting without editing or DS with Highfantasy.  You cannot mesh styles.  No one can.  Joe Madura does not do chibis.  Rob Liefield doesn't do anatomy.

It just doesn't work for their styles.

 

Stacy:  That's mean.  Rob works very hard to trace those drawings.

 

 

WAIT!  Does this mean I have to set this up in every project if I like the result?  No, and you can share with your friends.  Simply copy and paste into another project.  You can also load your results

into a dummy project without RTP or save the database file and share with the graphics that way.  Nifty huh?

 

Now that Stacy's brother is a star mage, nothing can stop these two!

 

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Keep on rolling Wheels! 
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Making your own animations is something we'll talk about in a future workshop entry since that requires out of editor materials and skills.

 

 

Next Time- Custom music, SFX, and 'Meta' Effects.  Where to find them, and how to use em.
 
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Matseb2611

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Lol. Poor Jayce always gets picked on.

Nicely explained. There's a lot of info for people to take in, but it's all very useful. Since you've touched upon making edits to all frames at once, another thing might've been good to mention is that you can shift the entire animation in any direction via those same commands. X determines the shift on horizontal axis and Y on vertical (where positive Y values means moving it downwards). It can be useful for things like say you've got a side-view battle system and you have a screen AoE attack that only hits enemies, but you want another copy of this animation that is on the actors' end of the screen.

Also, only noticed after reading all this that I've never used 'Hide Target' option. :p

Good stuff. I'll try to get my one finished soon as well.
 

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Recently got RPG Maker MZ. A bit slower with my current PC but I will be getting a new one soon.
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