Hello, I’ve had a frustrating time seeing if any of my unique-ish ideas were possible to do in RPG Maker without scripting. There’s no point prototyping something I can’t implement so I’ve been delving into RPG Maker to see how I could theoretically implement them.
First feature I tried was displaying enemy states. The default combat system only displays the “battler” for enemies; there’s no state icons to remind you which enemy you poisoned, only your own characters have these icons.
Methods I’ve tried, but don’t seem to work:
- Change the battler via events, but surprisingly there’s no option for this.
- Have a non-targetable enemy linked to each enemy whose only purpose is to track & display the states of their corresponding enemy. There’s no option to make an enemy non-targetable, also I think I’d have to use variables to link enemies together like this. Don’t want to make things overtly complex.
- “Transform” the enemy each time they change state. Unfortunately this would mean creating several versions of a enemy, for each & every enemy, just to display a different battler graphic. I’ve been taught in programming that you shouldn’t have to repeat code, so this feels like a waste of data to me.
The best I could probably do is run an animation when they use the “change state” skill, however there’s no option to loop animations, so the player would have to memorize what states the spirits are in; like in the default system. Since I envision knowing enemy states to be important for survival, I can’t do it this way, not without pissing off the player. So on that note I’m ditching this feature. I can still utilize states to make enemies interesting, but not in this way.
The other feature I tested was using TP to track Morale/Fear. TP is surprisingly very hard coded. I thought there would be more options for manipulating TP via events, like there are for HP & MP, but there is virtually nothing. Skills & items are the only things that affect TP.
There’s also some other hidden characteristics. TP doesn’t appear in character stats outside of combat & it seems to randomly start at 25 or less. TP will also be reset per battle, unless you add the “reserve TP” flag to your characters.
It’s also worth mentioning that I can’t setup an event where a state will add itself to a character based on… anything. It seems you can’t setup ‘if statement’ type events for combat. This would have allowed me to put characters into a “fear-stricken” state depending on HP/MP, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do this now.
What I actually can do is:
- Use the default TP Cost & TP Gain for skills & items. Unfortunately I can’t use negative values for either. This also means I can’t set Guard to remove TP when used, not without making it a required cost to use Guard.
- Have TP affect skill formulas, so I could have morale affect damage output.
At first I had no idea what to do next, since I thought my two ideas to make gameplay interesting aren’t do able. But now I’m thinking of some alternatives:
- I could try switching around the use of MP & TP; use TP as Ability Points & track morale with MP. I can do more with MP that would make it work as morale. It would force me to use ability points differently though.
- “Possession” as TP. Spirits would inflict possession per attack & characters can utilize this to perform powerful abilities, but each time you use these abilities a negative state is inflicted on the character. It could be the same state each time, or a different state depending on the ability. This also gives me some lore/narrative ideas for the game.
- Have every party member start with a “calm” state. States do have removal conditions so this could work as an alternative for a morale bar.
I like the idea of every action having benefits & consequences. I also want psychology to be a factor so I don’t want to ditch a feature like this.
Sure, I’m just being stubborn & I could just download custom scripts that allow me to implement the above fairly easily, but I don’t want to do that, not with this project. I want to focus on what’s possible with the default system, which as it seems is less than what I thought. I can understand why custom scripts are used so much now.
At least its made for an interesting design challenge. Going through this has made me delve into the formulas they use to decide attack damage, guard effectiveness, & the like; which will prove useful for making an accurate physical prototype.