Part 01
Jul 02
Posted by Ben at 10:17

I originally had this post titles as RPG Maker FES 001, but saving enough space for 99 of these posts already seems like the ultimate in optimism. Anyway, here we are, after the stalled attempt with Tyrano Builder (maybe one day Iíll go back) Iím going again attempt to make a game.

I, like a fair few other people Iíd wager, own a copy of RPG Maker on the pc, I think I picked it up from a Humble Bundle. However, after not being immediately amazing at it when I took a 5 minute look at it I put it down, never to be picked up again. So hereís hoping that the more simplified RPG Maker FES on the Nintendo 3DS will be a more manageable tool.

Before I start though let me get a few touch points out of the way, both good and bad. First, you donít have to make anything to spend time with the game, so long as other people are doing the work you could keep downloading new, similar, rpgs for ages, easily getting your monies worth. Which brings us to money; RPG Maker FES isnít cheap, you can save some pennies by shopping around, but itís still the most Iíve spent on a 3DS cart in a fair old while, which makes the presence of DLC more than a little unsightly. Your initial tileset is fairly limited, fortunately there is some free dlc which will give you more to work with, but having to pay for extra upload slots, extra theme packs, some of which are approaching £5, Iím not keen on that. You can, however, download a free app that lets you, and more importantly your friends, play created games. Hopefully someone finds a way to export creations to other platforms somewhere down the line.

So, how is it going? How far have I got? Not very far.

I downloaded some other peopleís creations, played a bit of one to see what was possible. It all seemed simple enough. I then went in to the creation tools myself and made a map. The problem RPG Maker FES has, and itís a fairly major one, it doesnít have a tutorial. You can press the 3DSí Home button and pull up a manual, but thereís no ď... and next, select the tile you want to place and place it on the mapĒ. You can work out how to put down some trees easily enough, but how do you set up a battle? Well, weíll find out in episode 2 (002?) because Iíve still not got that far.

Iíve made a map, replaced what I thought were small trees that would block a route with other small trees that I think actually will block out a route, rather than not remotely hinder their progress. From there I set an event, the plan was that the event was the introduction to a battle. Thatís where a guide would have been handy, as it seems, from playing about with some things, I need to create some monsters, then I can set which monsters will appear in battle. I think anyway, I really need to read a guide. When I tested the map the text just streamed through on repeat, Iím not sure if itís because I didnít manage to lock down anything else, or if I need to Ďendí it in some way. Who knows, again, probably need a guide.

The text stuff is ok though. I suspect you wonít be seeing a lot of story heavy games, typing on a 3DS touchpad, particularly when Ď?í are hidden in a different keyboard on its 2nd page. Itís not impossible, but the dictionary option only works when youíve spelt something correctly, so isnít great as a speed tool. That said, I managed to add a character portrait, set up to 3 lines of text, then if that character needed more Iíd have to add them as another bit of dialogue, which would give me the chance to change the character portraitís expression. Itís fairly simple and useful. I found out I could change the music, this doesnít blend well so I removed it, it was a bit heavy handed for what I was going for.

I realised I needed an intro, so I added one. I placed it as close to the characterís starting point as I could, because I couldnít place it on the starting point. Hereís where I got very confused though. For some reason when I tested the level the character conversation I made first, which was supposed to be triggered a number of steps up the map, would trigger on repeat immediately, I couldnít move nor trigger the intro. In the end I had to delete the conversation, so now the intro plays, but Iíve no idea if I can move past it. So yeah, guide.

I have now started to build a monster. Thereís stock ones, but I donít want to start with a Slime, so Iíve picked a portrait I want, then I can alter the stats. Iím not sure what Iím supposed to be aiming for, but fortunately for what Iím trying I need them to be weak and the hero strong, so all I need to do is get it all running, at the very least so I can move and have a battle, that shouldnít be asking for too much...

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Tyranobuilder - Part 1
Getting Started
Posted by Ben at 09:48

We were sent Tyranobuilder to review a few weeks back. As you may have noticed there isn't yet a review for it on the site, instead we're going to try something a little different.

Tyranobuilder is a visual novel maker tool, a tool to help you piece together your own visual novel, either a straight ahead story or something built around choice and options.

The 'problem' with that from a reviewer's perspective, is that to test it out I have to try to make something, something that uses the features Tyranobuilder boasts, and something that will be worth publishing in some form so I can test that side of it too.

That, however, will take weeks, I need to come up with a story, then a script, then some choices, then actually do it all. I mean, I'd like it to be good, especially as I can't see myself making this a regular hobby simply because I don't have that sort of time.

I'm also limited by ability, I can write, I have a few stories in me, but I can't draw, at all, so whatever I build either has to be stuff I can easily make myself, or found on the net.

Which brings us to the credits, I've grabbed a few pieces of art that I intend to use, one is a monster collection made by someone called Vixeria, which I grabbed from HERE and the other is a character by someone called (I think) 高中制服男, who posted on BassNovel.com

Anyway, the idea behind this is a work in progress type thing. "Showing my working", if you will, which will hopefully act as a guide and tutorial for a few people. The video is below, and it's really, really long. It was 2 separate videos, but the first video was me struggling having not read the instructions, so I started again with the instructions to hand

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Posted by Ben at 14:42
I've been holding off on posting this for a while. Not for any special reason, just that I can see the argument that it's dickish to upload an entire game as it's released. Although thinking about it, Child of Light has just come out on the Vita I think?

Anyway, this is the final part of Child of Light, bear that in mind if you watch it, there will be spoilers. The start of the video is fairly safe, and it includes me explaining the gameplay systems and giving some thoughts on the game. Thoughts I'll repeat here, Child of Light is great, I really enjoyed it. The only real downsides to it are the script and that it isn't a touch more involved in terms of the combat

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Posted by Ben at 04:15
I've not had the time to get back to Child of Light for a couple of weeks, I'm a little surprised I remembered how to play it. I do though, not especially well but I managed to hold it together and beat a boss.

The video below is of the beginnings of Chapter 10, I didn't realise we were that far in, but it should mean the next video is the end of the game. A chunk of the video is spent looking for fireflies, not the most exciting thing and I'm still missing one of them, but I'm still enjoying it, even if I'm wishing the map had a bit more detail

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Posted by Ben at 13:35
We've not had an update on the site all week, not good, and I've been sitting on these until I could get back to Child of Light and finish it. It's probably time they go up.

I've been playing through Bound by Flames for review otherwise Child of Light would be done and reviewed. It's a bit annoying to leave it so long, I was really enjoying it but now barely remember what was happening when I left.

These videos are, I believe, chapters 7 & 8 (might be the back half of 6), so bear in mind there might be spoilers if you're early in still.

Click the tab below for both videos
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Posted by Ben at 06:51
I put up the first couple of hours of Child of Light in a First Play post, but I'll include it below to. I've been streaming the game whenever I play it, not exactly to an audience of millions, or even an audience at all half the time, but it's easy enough to do.

I've been trying to work out a way to include these videos on the site without filling up the entire page with Child of Light videos, then I remembered we had the Progress Report feature.

That means nothing to you I know, and you're right not to care, but I have to write something in this space. Anyway, currently below I've included the first 3 videos, there will be more, and I think these go up to the end of Chapter 6. There's no commentary or anything like that, just game audio, and currently these videos are up on twitch, I might upload them to youtube to see how that works out.

Click the video tabs below for each video

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Posted by Ben at 04:53
Don't worry this feature isn't coming back as a daily thing, not that it ever really managed to be a daily thing, but it's been a few days since we posted anything new to the site so we need to do something.

It's not entirely our fault though, there's just not a lot going on news wise at the minute, there will be by the end of the month with Witcher 3 probably announcing tomorrow and the next Playstation by the end of the month. The biggest problem though is Ni No Kuni

Now I don't want to gush unreservedly but I love it. There's a few issues here and there, I think there's a review on the way so I'll leave them for that, but the combat and the game world are superb.

I'm stuck in a bit of a side quest loop, I've done quite a lot but as more appear the further away I seem to get from dealing with sky pirates. I am now getting more experience from fights thanks to all this side questing, but I still feel like I'm missing a good third Familiar for my character, my options all seem hugely flawed in some way.

Anyway, we'll probably have a review of something up tomorrow, and hopefully some news about Witcher 3
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Posted by Ben at 17:59
Actually that should say 'Games Complete' because I have been hard at it the past couple of days.

Actually that's not really true, but over the last week I've been playing Enslaved and today I finished it. I still don't think it's all that good a game, and if I could be arsed to write a blog post, or my netbook could hold a charge long enough for me to write something while sat out in the sun, I'd complain about the repeating game design.

What I will say about it though is that the characters are superb, the end is a bit cheesy, but the core cast are incredibly engaging. It's just a shame the combat isn't, the camera zooms in too close, you get locked in combos, and the framerate means it's not all that responsive. I also encountered a bug towards the end of the game where Trip wouldn't move some carriages, it took me 3 restarts before it would let me past.

I'll tell you what else I finished today, only bloody Pokemon Black. It's got a strange ending, I mean it's standard for Pokemon, get to the elite 4, beat them, get to the champion, then another fight and done. What makes it weird is that you get your legendary pokemon right at the end, no time to do anything with it, use it for a couple of fights and then it's game over.

You can carry on afterwards, which is what I did, even went so far as to bring in my pokemon from Diamond, but ultimately other than collecting classic pokemon and doing some more minutia it's not worth carrying on. Shame because once I'd got my new team together I wanted to use them for something
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Posted by Ben at 18:05
When Enslaved came out in 2010 it was hailed as a classic that no one would play, well I've finally pulled my finger out and opened my copy and I'd stop short of calling it a classic.

Let me start by saying that the platforming is good, it's kind of like Uncharted in that it's simple and heavily highlighted, but it still works. The characters and environments are superb, they make it easy to see why the game is thought of so fondly. Just about everything is colourful and interesting to look at, and the characters movement really does help bring the game to life.

The relationship between Monkey and Trip is amongst the best realised in games, with Trip herself being so well done it's nigh on impossible not to sympathise with her plight.

The problem is that the combat just isn't very good. It's only occasionally hard, although when it is it's incredibly tedious, but it is dull and unresponsive (thanks to the sluggish framerate). I know people will be baulking at this, and I do really want to like Enslaved for what it does right, but it's starting to out-stay it's welcome

I've not played much else but I forgot to mention a game I completed last weekend; Anomaly Warzone Earth. It's a tower defence game of sorts where it's your job to destroy the towers. You plan a route for your vehicles, and have an avatar on screen to pick up items.

What makes it stand out is that it has a gritty modern war(fare) aesthetic to it. The plot is absolute nonsense and it does have a few troughs, but it's a quality game. It's out on PC, 360 and ios, with the ios game playing slightly differently (as I understand it), and I'd say it's definitely worth picking up on the 2 former platforms
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Posted by Ben at 19:39
while the rest of the gaming world is off playing Diablo 3, I am the wrong side of poor to be able to justify it for a couple of weeks. Instead, because it's kind of the same thing (like when I bought Fatal Fury on the Megadrive because Street Fighter 2 was £60 and FF was £8 in the local video shop), I loaded up Dungeon Siege 3.

It meant redownloading it, which was stupid as I have the disc for it, and let me tell you, it is NOT the same thing. And to add salt to the wound my game saves have vanished, possibly over-written by the new install, possibly deleted when I uninstalled. The game is a steamworks and I have steam cloud saves, which were probably an hour further back than they should have been

I was talking to someone the other day about why Dungeon Siege 3 wasn't as good as Torchlight or Diablo 3, I'm still not entirely sure, but I think it's the pacing. You don't get in as many fights, like in Torchlight it was rare you weren't killing something, and in Diablo you feel more powerful than in Dungeon Siege.

The biggest thing that struck me tonight though is how it controls. It doesn't feel like a pc game, it looks like a pc game, and it should be a pc game, but you use the A&D to move the camera around as much as the mouse because the mouse takes too long to spin the view. It's awkward and noticeably detrimental to how the game plays.

You also level so slowly, I know I've lost progress, I'm not entirely sure how much, but my character is only level 4. Thing is I know that I wasn't miles ahead of that, you just don't gain solid levels all that often
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Older posts
Progress Report
10th Jan 2012 - Voice Over Reference Here
11th Jan 2012 - Game Complete
11th May 2012: Game Complete
12th Apr 2012: Scratch an Itch
13th Mar 2012: Ess Ess Xpress
14th Feb 2012: Don't Feel Sorry For Me
14th Jan 2012 - Let's Get Ready To Rumble!
15th Feb 2012: Dear Esther
16th Apr 2012: Long Live The Stone Flesh
16th Jan 2012: Over 9,000
17th Apr 2012: Gods and Kings
17th May 2012: Making Do
18th Feb 2012: This is a Dawn Raid
19th Feb 2012: Making an Assassin Out of You and Me
1st Apr 2012: A Fool Can't Get Fooled Again
20th Feb 2012: Ezion and on and on
20th Jan 2012: Game Complete
20th Mar 2012: Don't Stop Believing
20th Mar 2012: I think It's Pronounced Eeess
20th May 2012: Back in Time
21st Feb 2012: Game Complete
22nd Jan 2012: Carlton Cole Goal Machine
22nd May 2012: Game Complete
24 Jan 2012: Game Complete
24th Apr 2012: For The Machine God
25th Mar 2012: Game Complete
26th Apr 2012: Game Complete
27th Feb 2012: Catherine Likes High Places
28th Feb 2012: Game Complete
28th Mar 2012: With Their Tanks and Their Bombs
29th Jan 2012: The Master of Progressing
30th Apr 2012: White Rabbit
31st Jan 2012: Chuckle Brothers
3rd Apr 2012: Game Complete
3rd March 2012: Saga Holiday
4th Feb 2012: Game Complete X 2
4th Jan 2012 - Are You OK?
5th Jan 2012 - Shotgun Surgery
7th Feb 2012: Golaccio!
7th Mar 2012: Let's Mention Pocket Fighter
7th May 2012: Game Complete
8th Apr 2012: I Still Love Easter Baby
8th Feb 2012: Hello DS My Old Friend
8th May 2012: Showdown
9th Jan 2012 - Can't Put It Off Forever
9th Mar 2012: Game Complete
Child of Light: Part 4 & 5
Child of Light: Part 6
Child of Light: Part 7 - The Final Chapter
Child of Light: Videos 1-3
Jan 1st 2012 - Steam Prize Hunting
Jan 2nd 2012 - Generation Game
Need Mo' Kuni!
RPG Maker FES Part 01
Tyranobuilder - Part 1 Getting Started