Neglected But Not Forgotten

Pretitle Movie Snapshot

Sadly, I’ve neglected this blog, but haven’t forgotten about it. It’s constantly in the back of my mind.

I frequently entertain grand notions that one day I’ll uber-update it with all the latest RPG Maker news. This includes my own RPG Maker related projects. Unfortunately, this never seems to happen.

This isn’t because of lack of commitment or dedication, however; it’s simply that I don’t have enough time. Since I usually work three nights out of the week, this leaves me four days to work on various projects. Actually, essentially it’s three days because I take a day off to rest and recuperate, and catch up on some well-needed sleep. Or spend a good few hours chillaxing with Oblivion or Skyrim, sometimes with others’ RPG Maker games as well.

When The RPG Maker Bug Bit

My involvement with RPG Maker actually started with RM95 and that’s when the passion for game development really took a hold. I actually wanted to create games – not just RPGs – from an early age. Life took me in a different direction, however, and when I discovered RM2K all those years ago, the bug bit me and didn’t let go.

Years (and several RPG Maker incarnations) later, RPG Maker remains one of my greatest passions to this day.

I usually lurked in the many forums dedicated to RPG Maker (in all its forms), but rarely contributed anything. This was mostly through lack of confidence. I guess I felt that everyone else was better than me somehow, that they were the experts and I was the complete noob. Didn’t want to show my lack of experience or expertise.

So I quietly and anonymously developed my games and projects. And eventually created a website dedicated exclusively to RM2K/3. Although the site wasn’t widely known, in its own right it was successful.

I continued development with all the RPG Makers throughout its evolution: 95, 2K/3, XP, VX, VX Ace and finally MV.

First-Generation RPG Makers

With the first-generation RPG Makers (95, 2K and 2K3), the true challenge was pushing them beyond their limits. They had no coding languages for customization; they were simple and easy to use. Click on the tilesets and create maps. Create events, populate them with event commands, and make those events do something. All of it contributed towards making the process of creating games much easier.

Despite the limitations of this event-based system, however, it was possible to create completely customized menus, achieved though advanced manipulation of event commands. And that was the real challenge. Yet, when it manifested, it was the most gratifying thing in the world.

Second-Generation RPG Makers

RPG Maker XP, VX and VX Ace emerged over the years as the second-generation RPG Makers. Instead of relying exclusively on tilesets and events, the addition of Ruby Script (in the form of RGSS) made them even more versatile.

Of course, I knew nothing about RGSS. Just like many other people, I had to learn it literally from scratch. That said, quite a number of users already had some background in coding, so found it easier to transition and to create some amazing content. They were generally more than happy to share their expertise and help with noobs, like me.

At the time, I was creating an expansive, ambitious project called The Gladiator Project (now all but defunct) and decided to reach out to those experts on the forums. The idea was to create a simple lexicon script to work on, a template from which to learn on my own, something I could experiment with as well.

Perhaps it was the wrong forum, or perhaps I didn’t word what I needed correctly, but the responses were quite condescending and intolerant. One person even told me that the script was boring and crap. He could create it with some additional bells and whistles if only I listened to and trusted his coding powers!

And, despite the fact, that I reiterated I just wanted a basic template from which I could learn and add things to, nothing became of it. I abandoned those forums, vowing never to return, except to study others’ scripts and learn from them. And vowed I wouldn’t contribute a damn thing. Instead, I did my own thing by expanding the original RPG Maker Times (formerly called RPG Maker 2K/3 Master). It eventually evolved into quite a substantial site, with a plethora of sub-sites attached to it as well.

Third-Generation RPG Maker

When MV was first announced, I was excited as hell! It wasn’t just that another RPG Maker was being released. It was the fact that it used JavaScript, something I am familiar with and comfortable with. Its additional appeal was its cross-platform compatibility.

Although it took a while to negotiate JavaScript’s role in MV, and its structures and forms, I’m more confident with MV than previous incarnations. I produced a number of plugins for it, including the popular Social Media Buttons Plugin and the Map/Compass HUD Plugin.

Most of the time, I won’t release my plugins publicly, except on this site. If developers find them and feel they’re useful, who am I to argue?

The same reasons as before when submitting any MV materials I create applies to my plugins. I’m not afraid of criticism or rejection; in fact, the opposite. I just have zero tolerance for trolls, condescension and arrogance. So, rather than risking inflammatory counter-statements to idiots, I will lurk but will not contribute to the forums. This includes the official RPG Maker Web forum. I’m not saying that that the RPG Maker Web forum is like that. No, not at all. "Once bitten, twice shy" is all.

The exception I made is on the RPG Maker MV Forum. Its members are absolutely awesome, friendly, helpful and productive. You can find a number of my plugins and resources there. I’d highly recommend it to anyone, noob and expert alike, for all things MV. And there are regular competitions as well.

Smile Game Builder

Lately, as many of you know by now, much of my time is occupied with Smile Game Builder. This is a relatively new game maker, designed with the creation of 3D RPGs in mind, but it caters for 2D games as well.

I was privileged to beta-test SGB before its official release, so know this RPG Maker really well. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert with it, as there are some areas I’m not competent with, notably creating 3D models.

That said, it’s funny how you just "click" with certain game engines. For some, it’s any of the RPG Makers (specifically one over the other); for others, it’s Unity or Game Guru, etc., or even a combination. This is how it is for me with SGB.

So my main focus has been on Smile Game Builder, principally with the video tutorials I produce.

Progressing Forward

With so many goals and dreams, many of which are slowly being realized, I don’t know when updates to this blog will take place.

Although I’m pretty good with time management, there still doesn’t seem to be enough time to do all of the things I usually set my mind to. Maybe I just have way too many simultaneous projects on the go and it’s difficult to keep track of them all. Or maybe I need to readjust how that time is managed more efficiently.

In any event, I will try my level best to continue keeping things updated, driven by passion and motivated by sheer enjoyment.

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