Interlude

Since we had five Wednesdays this month, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk a bit about what’s coming up here on MoeGamer.

In the immediate future, you can expect the full Cover Game treatment for the rather peculiar autoscrolling roguelike One Way Heroics next month, starting from next Wednesday. During the course of September, we’ll look at the original One Way Heroics, its substantial expansion One Way Heroics Plus and the brand new re-imagining of the game by Spike Chunsoft, Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics, which, conveniently, is due out for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and PC in mid-September.

Following that, in October you can expect an in-depth look at Inti Creates’ rail shooter Gal*Gun Double Peace for PlayStation 4 and Vita, including a detailed look at how it blends mechanics from rail shooters, dating sims and visual novels to create something altogether unique — and something that has far more depth than might be immediately apparent.

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Gal*Gun Double Peace is coming soon to MoeGamer.

After that, with any luck I’ll have made it through Compile Heart’s latest (at the time of writing) opus Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force, so that takes care of November. Advent Dark Force is, for the unfamiliar, not only a revamped version of the original PlayStation 3 version of Fairy Fencer F, but it also incorporates two brand new scenarios that diverge considerably from the original storyline. Featuring art by Tsunako of Neptunia fame plus contributions from Final Fantasy veterans Yoshitaka Amano (concept art) and Nobuo Uematsu (music), it’s not a spoiler to say it’s a game that fans of JRPGs won’t want to miss.

By then it will be December and the end of the year will be closing in. With Final Fantasy XV now coming out in November, I’m keen to write about that in some point in the near future, but without playing the game I don’t know if I’ll have done so to my satisfaction by the time December rolls around. Final Fantasy XV, of course, is not exactly a “niche” game, but it’s too big to ignore completely — particularly as the level of trust the general public has had in the series since XIII has been… a little lower than in its heyday, let’s say. In other words, it’ll pay to do some in-depth analysis on what promises to be a remarkable and possibly divisive experience. So I’ll pencil that in for December, though this may end up being replaced by something else I can write about at more short notice if it turns out to be a behemoth, no pun intended.

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Whatever you think of what’s been shown so far, Final Fantasy XV is going to be impossible to ignore.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has shown their support for MoeGamer to date, with a particular emphasis on those who have been kind enough to demonstrate their support with financial contributions via Patreon — if you’d like to join them, please click here. The more I make each month, the less I have to worry about paying the mortgage and bills and whatnot; since I’m between “real jobs” at the moment, and have been for several months now, this is a very real concern, and it would be utterly wonderful to be able to go back to the halcyon days of being paid a living wage to do what I love.

I’m currently looking into other ways that readers might be able to show support on a non-recurring basis, and am leaning towards the idea of a MoeGamer Compendium — a book featuring all the in-depth articles from this year (plus a few extra bits and pieces exclusively for the book), edited for print format and tarted up with all manner of nice shiny coffee table book prettiness. If this proves to be popular, I’d like to make this an annual thing in the long term, building it up into a collection of books that any collector or fan of Japanese games would be proud to have on their shelves.

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A mockup of what a MoeGamer Compendium might look like.

Another alternative that I’ve been kicking around is a MoeGamer magazine to act as a collectible companion to the site’s monthly content, gathering both the Cover Game articles from the site with some additional supplementary goodies about the game(s) in question.

If either of these options are of particular interest to you, please let me know and I’ll look further into getting things rolling on them.

In the meantime, another hearty “thank you” to those who have shown their support for MoeGamer since its inception — or in some cases, since my earlier JRPG and visual novel columns on Games Are Evil (RIP) and USgamer. I love playing and writing about these games, and knowing that my work is appreciated means the world to me. I hope I can continue to delight you with tales of underappreciated classics and highly creative works of flawed genius for many years to come — so long as there are new experiences out there to be had, I’d love to keep writing about them.

Arigatou!

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RPG Maker MV: All About Plugins

So you’ve got your basic game up and running, and now you want to add more to it? Great!

Aside from the other Event Commands available straight out of the box, most of which are relatively self-explanatory, the biggest addition to RPG Maker MV is the Plugins system.

Previous versions of RPG Maker from XP onwards have included various means of extending the basic engine’s functionality through scripting, but RPG Maker MV makes this enormously flexible aspect of the software more accessible and straightforward to use than ever before.

So let’s take a look at what plugins can do for us!

Continue reading RPG Maker MV: All About Plugins

RPG Maker MV: Getting Started with Events

It’s time to breathe some life into our world!

In RPG Maker, you add interactivity through Events. These are lists of commands that are attached to an object on a map, coupled with a trigger of some sort, be it the player walking up to an NPC and pressing the action button, or the number of flatulent wombles the player is carrying in their bag being greater than 13.

Events are essentially a simple form of programming, but don’t run away screaming — you don’t have to memorise lots of different commands, define functions or anything complicated like that. All you need is an ability to think things through in a logical manner and an awareness of the options you have available to you.

Continue reading RPG Maker MV: Getting Started with Events

RPG Maker MV: Basic Mapping

Let’s make a game!

Well, part of one anyway. Over the course of the next three articles, I’ll introduce you to how RPG Maker MV does business: how you create maps, fill them with things to do and, in the final part, how to go beyond the constraints of the basic engine.

Today we’re going to take a look at the most basic skill you will need to get an RPG Maker MV game up and running: mapping. Like any creative tool, if you don’t master this essential first, there’s little point in going further. Learn to walk before you run before you fly, and all that.

The aim for today is to make a small town and the beginning of a dungeon beneath it. Not the most ambitious or sprawling game, sure, but more than enough to give you a look at how to create both maps. In the next article, we’ll add some life to these locations with Events.

If you’re ready, then, let’s get going! If you want to follow along but don’t have a copy of MV, you can download a trial version from the official website.

Continue reading RPG Maker MV: Basic Mapping

RPG Maker MV: Introduction and History

Have you ever thought about making your own games? I bet you have, even if it was only briefly when you were twelve years old and didn’t know any better about how much work was involved in producing them.

Over the years, there have been a number of solutions for aspiring game designers to put together at the very least convincing prototypes of the things they want to share with the world, and in many cases fully-realised projects, assembled without any need to delve into the complexities of programming a computer from the ground up.

One such solution that has remained enduringly popular over the years is the RPG Maker series, initially developed by ASCII and subsequently handed over to Enterbrain, a subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, for the more recent installments.

So what, exactly, has made this series such a firm fixture in the amateur development landscape for so many years now? Arm your chipsets, ready your battlers and cue up your BGM; we’re going in.

Continue reading RPG Maker MV: Introduction and History

Ys: Sights and Sounds

Much like its gameplay, the overall aesthetic of the Ys series has evolved considerably over time.

As technology has improved with each new generation of games consoles and computer hardware, the Ys series has adapted and changed. And with its longstanding nature — not to mention its numerous remakes over the years — it’s fascinating not only from the perspective of examining how Falcom has improved the series over time, but as a means of showing how games in general have grown and changed.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the sights and sounds of the series have changed over time, and their relevance to gaming’s evolution as a whole.

Continue reading Ys: Sights and Sounds

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