Game Dev Blog #5 – Basic Game Functions

July 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Implement Basic Game Functions

I started coding the basic functions and mechanics for the game now.  My goal is to first code the game to the point where I can “play” from beginning to end.  The various mechanics will be in place, but just the bare minimum.  For example, players are able to perform “jobs” around town.  There will be 4 (maybe more) jobs, each of them will give different amount of gold based on your stats.  There will also be a brief cutscene for each job.  The bare minimum would be to implement one job, that jumps to a very brief cutscene, modify gold, stats and all other parameters, then jump back to the place where players regain control.  I will do the same for all game functions before completing them.  This allows me to make sure that all the mechanics I have in mind are feasible to implement.  I can also get an idea of how long it will take for me to complete the implementation.

Game Mechanics

I’ve managed to implement the basic functions for 70% of the features I had in mind.

Day/Time – each day, player can perform up to 3 tasks (morning, afternoon, evening). Implementation completed.

Jobs – takes 1 time slot. Increases gold.  Implemented one job (blacksmith/forging)

Lessons – takes 1 time slot. Decreases gold, gain stats. Can’t perform if gold is insufficient. Has 3 levels. Higher levels are unlocked after taking lessons for x number of times.  Implemented one lesson (Combat)

Sleep – Advance day. Implementation completed.

Exploration – takes entire day, can only be performed in the morning.  Gain crafting material (and maybe gold).  Implemented one explorable area (forest)

Crafting/Upgrading – craft or upgrade equipment from material.  Equipment gives % increase to stats. Does not need to be equipped. As long as it’s in inventory, it will have effect.  Haven’t started implementing.

Side Quest – takes entire day, not always available.  Gain gold, crafting material, and/or fame. Stats must be at a certain level to take the quest.  Haven’t started implementing

Main Quest – takes entire day, story moves on. Gain gold, upgrade material, and fame. The amount gained depends on stat level and choices made.  80% finished implementing the first quest.

Polish Cutscenes

I won’t implement most of the cutscenes until the end.  However, I will need to have a well-defined set of rules on how I will go about implementing this.  Ideally, the cutscenes are actually there, but there won’t be any actors or actions yet.  However, it can allow the game to advance.  I will likely only start to implement the actors and actions until the “playable” features have all been implemented.  I had something in place from a couple weeks back, but there were some flaws, and the flow wasn’t very intuitive.  I’ve got it to a point where I know exactly where to implement the actions when the time comes.  It can also allow me to easily add in “break points” to effectively skip parts of the cutscenes.

Categories: Game

Game Dev Blog #4 – Walk behind walls, maps, image sets

June 22, 2018 2 comments

Walk Behind Walls

By default, the “walls” in RPG Maker cannot be traversed.  This makes sense.  You don’t want characters to walk on wall tiles, but it limits the map you create.  In many situations, your character should be able to walk “behind” walls.  RPG Maker Ace VX didn’t have this feature either, but there was a script for it.  I couldn’t find one for RPG Maker MV, so I wrote one myself:

I used Neon Black’s Terrain Tags script for Ace VX as basis.  Took around 3 hours to transcribe it from Ruby to Javascript.  Here’s the kicker.  After I uploaded my script to RPG Maker Web, I found a script, written a few months ago, to do this exact thing.  I was pretty disappointed since I basically wasted 3 hours on a script, but still, it was good coding exercise and I got to learn about how RPG Maker draw layers of tiles.

There are a lot of other scripts that I either modified or downloaded for Ace VX that I have to replicate for MV.  The game I’m making this time is a lot simpler in terms of gameplay though, so hopefully it won’t be too much of a hassle.


Started working on maps.  There are two basic types – playable and non-playable.  The playable maps are the ones where players will be able to traverse in, which is actually very limited.  I’m only planning to let the player walk around in 1 (maybe 2) towns.  Every other location can only be visited during quests and since quests are basically cutscenes, those are all non-playable.  I have to put a lot more time into the playable ones, making sure there aren’t any weird bugs (e.g. places where players can traverse onto the walls or off the map).  Not to mention the entire map will have to be detailed, since players can go anywhere.  The non-playable maps are much easier since I dictate the exact scope of where on the map will be viewed and I don’t have to play test them.

I’m starting off with rough layouts, putting minimal details.  I just need to get a sense of where everything is and the scale of things.  The details will come later.  When I made my last game, I polished the map 3-4 times; each time, I thought this is it, but then I make more changes due to gameplay requirements, story changes, etc.  It will save a lot of time if I just held off on making finishing touches until then end.

Here are some sample:

Tile Sets

The basic tile sets that come with RPG Maker is lacking.  It has components to build up a basic town, but doesn’t have enough objects and styles to make something unique.  There were a lot of good resources for Ace VX, but not nearly as much for MV.  Times have changed as well.  Most Ace VX contributors provided custom tile sets for free, but most “complete” tile sets I found for MV cost money.  I bought RPG Maker MV Season Pass which comes with a few additional tile sets.  I think I’ll just stick with these for now.

Character Sets

Perhaps one of the best improvements with MV is their character generation engine.  Ace VX also had this, but it’s meh.  The portrait created are front facing and lacked appeal.  MV’s engine will actually create portraits that resemble the style of prepackaged character portraits.  The character models are also more detailed.  With this, it’s easy to create custom character portraits and sprites for all my NPCs.

Tip of the day: Don’t polish your maps until the end.

Categories: Game

Game Dev Blog #3 – Skip Cut Scenes, World Map, and More

June 8, 2018 2 comments

Decided to take a break on story, since I’m almost done with it, and I’m a bit sick of thinking about dialog.  I did write the dialog for 2+ quests, so I have a little over 2 more to go.

Skip Cut Scenes

Since most players won’t get the “best” ending on the first play through, I expect this game to be replayed 2-3 times.  Given how 50% of the game will be cut scenes, I NEED to give players the option to skip them.  RPG Maker doesn’t come with a built-in feature to skip cut scenes.  I also didn’t find any good prepackaged solutions online, so I had to figure this out on my own.  After some trial and error, here’s what I came up with.

In RPG Maker, cut scenes are defined within “events”.  Each event have a series of commands/operations that will run in sequential order.  For example, in one event, it will say:

  1. Open Dialog box with text “blah blah”
  2. Move player1 up 5 spaces
  3. Open Dialog box with text “ha ha ha”

For the most part, while the event is running, players cannot interrupt the flow.  In order to allow players to intervene, I created a separate “parallel” process, which continuously checks whether or not the “Cancel” button is pressed.  Note: although it’s “continuous”, it actually checks once every 1/60 seconds, so it is possible that a player clicks the “Cancel” button then release, and yet the game doesn’t register it.

Once the “Cancel” button is clicked, the parallel event will trigger and force open a dialog box which asks the player whether or not they want to skip the cutscene.  There are some downsides to this method.  For one, if a dialog box was already open, that one will be closed so players may miss some conversation if they choose to continue the scene.  Another downside is that it won’t always pause the cut scene, so objects will continue to move around in the background.  It’s not ideal, but nevertheless, it’s an option.  There are ways to fix those two issues, but it will take A TON of work.  There could be simpler/easier solutions out there, but I’m not too hopeful.

World Map

I like giving players the ability to view a world map that the game takes place.  My game won’t have a “world map” area for players to traverse in, and yet the story will take place in many different places.  I think it will help players immerse into the world if they have a better understanding of where they are and where events are taking place.  I used RPG Maker’s Map tool to draw, then added legends via GIMP.  Here’s what I have so far.  Note: the names are just placeholders right now.

Players can access this map via Main Menu

Fast Travel

Another “must have” feature is Fast Travel.  It’s nice to explore a town, but when a player needs to go from point A to point B countless times, it will get tedious.  This feature is very easy to implement.  Just have to add options in the menu, when a location is selected, I can just move the player to the corresponding map and x-y location.


Downloaded a script (Orange Overly by Hudell) that adds an overlay with sun rays to make the map less “flat”.  I’m only using the “light” overlay right now.  I will consider adding shadow layer as well to give the map even more depth. Example:

Main Menu Manager

The default menu is not suitable for my game.  I have no use for skills and formation options.  I also need to add World Map and Fast Travel options.  The default design is also meh, so I want to change it up a bit.  I’m using Yanfly’s YEP_MainMenuManager and SumRndmDde’s Alt Menu Screen: Icons scripts to get the job done. YEP_MainMenuManager allows me to modify what options the menu will have, and also what the option does.  Alt Menu Screen: Icons script changes the menu’s appearance. Current menu:

Icon Set

Lastly, I also downloaded a new Icon Set (also from Yanfly).

Categories: Game

Game Dev Blog #2 – Still Working on Story

May 26, 2018 3 comments

Spent pretty much the last 2 weeks on story.  I’ve expanded the story a little bit, now there will be 19 total quests.  In the process of writing dialog for the 14th quest, so not much longer now.  But… the more I write, the more developed each character became.  I’m reading through dialogs from earlier quests, and the characters behave too differently from the later quests.  So~~ now I have to read through all the dialog again and make adjustments.  I’m still on track to finishing up the story portion by mid-June, but it won’t be “complete” by then.

It also took me some time to make the story “make sense”.  The story progression I had in mind had some loopholes (e.g. motive made no sense, dialog didn’t fit the backstory).  It’s harder than I thought to create a coherent story of this length.  More respect for authors in general now.

The only thing I did aside from story is download a few character sheets that I may need. For example (credits to hiddenone, Kadokawa) :

Goblins.png Orcs.png

I also matched characters in my story with RMMV predefined characters.  The predefined characters aren’t ideal, but I have nothing else to work with.  I also need to adjust the character’s dialog and personality to fit those images more closely.

Tip of the Day: Your perception of a character evolves as you write more story and dialog.  Need to periodically review previously written story to make sure there are no loopholes and inconsistencies.

Categories: Game

Game Dev Blog #1 – Story Dictates Everything

May 14, 2018 4 comments

I’ve decided to write a post every 2 weeks or so to keep track of the progress I made with this game I’m making.  For one, this will help me reflect on what I’ve done to motivate myself.  On the other hand, I hope this can help other aspiring Indie game developers with the process of creating a game.  In my previous attempt, I felt a lot of time was wasted due to a bad process, and hopefully this time I can avoid the same pitfalls that screwed me over.

I’ve spent about 3 weeks on this game already (about 30-45 min a day), and so far, I did:

  1. Create a new project in RPG Maker MV
  2. Downloaded a few resources
    1. Plugin for flexible dialog
    2. Face images so when characters talk, there are more expressions for me to use
  3. Started a list of credits for all the scripts and images I downloaded
  4. Started different word files for the game
    1. Story – outline of the story and dialogs
    2. Mechanics – all game mechanics, e.g. how are quests given, stats, skills
    3. Quests – quest details, e.g. how much gold given, criteria
    4. Characters – character details, e.g. age, hair color, personality, backstory
    5. Dev Notes – code and logic notes, e.g. use separate seed for different RNG situations

I’d say 95% of the time has been spent on character and story so far.  My game will be quest driven. Each main “quest” will come one after another.  Each quest will develop character, move the story forward, etc.  I’m about 50% finished writing the dialog.  I initially wrote an outline that covered the general storyline, but that has changed dramatically as I wrote the dialog.  Only when I dived into the details did I find flaws in my original story.  It’s a very generic hero-save-the-world deal, but it’s hard to grasp each character’s motive and personality without writing their dialog first.  For example, I first decided which characters will participate in what quests, but when I actually got to that part of the story, it made no sense for a certain character to be there.  Also, as I wrote the story, I realized that some game mechanics had to be changes, added, or removed.  For example, I initially wanted to give players the ability to “explore” other regions and find side quests, but given how story-driven my main quests are, these side quests will reduce the cohesion of the main story and it will be too difficult to intertwine the side quest stories with the main quest stories.

For the next few weeks, I will continue to write more story and dialog.  I will also give game mechanics some more thought.  I’m hoping to start actually writing code in mid June.

Tip of the Day: Do not start coding the game right away.  Game mechanics WILL change as you develop story, character, and other parts of the game.  Take the time to solidify your design before writing any actual code.

Categories: Game

Next Project?

April 26, 2018 5 comments

Thanks for all the feedback!  I loved reading everyone’s personal stories and I’m very glad to hear that this manga has reached so many people.  It definitely made it all worthwhile.

In the past few years (and especially in the latest comments), many have asked if I will translate the other Bartender titles.  I did some research, but it seems I don’t have any way to do it.  I’ve mention this a few times before but my Japanese is very limited.  I translated Bartender by reading the Chinese translated volumes.  I couldn’t find the Chinese translation for Bartender Paris or Tokyo online.  I might be able to find it at a bookstore, but chances are pretty slim.  I also can’t find the raws for either title.  If I can find those two things, then I might consider actually scanlating it.

Some also asked if I can scanlate Drops of God, and the quick answer is no.  I read 10 or so volumes of it, and it felt “meh” to me.  The vivid descriptions for each wine is too abstract for me to relate to.  I think there’s a character in the manga that basically rates wine based on whether it tasted good or not (she was given a scale of 1-10, and I think she only gave the extremes).  That’s kind of my take on wine.  I won’t consider scanlating a manga that I don’t have any interest in.

For the time being, I will be working on a game.  I’m giving myself a 6 month time limit to produce something playable.  If by then, the game is still in infant state, then I’m just going to move on.  I will return to scanlating after that.  In the meantime, I will think about which manga to work on when the time comes.

Categories: News

[Final] Bartender Glass 166 – The Farewell Lesson (Part 3)

April 23, 2018 31 comments

It’s finally over! This is the last chapter!




Drinks of the Day:

Vat 69 with Water

Thoughts (Spoiler Alert):

I read this final story with mixed feelings.  On one hand, I liked how the story ends.  It wasn’t anything too crazy.  Some major changes are happening, but the author put in a good amount of content that can be conveyed in 3 chapters.  This manga also ended with the same cocktail that started it all – whisky with water.  I still remember reading that first chapter, expecting a fancy cocktail from Sasakura, but instead, I get completely blown away by whisky with water.  That’s what really got me hooked and wanted to read more.  It’s almost obligatory to end with that cocktail, but it felt very appropriate for this last story as well.  The situation fits too if you think about it.  Kuzuhara is probably stressed out by the merger.  A whisky with water is probably the best choice to revitalize him.

With all that said, I still felt this ending didn’t give the readers enough.  It makes me wonder if this manga was cut off due to a lack of popularity.  If the manga was popular enough, I believe the author would’ve been given more chapters to work in a longer ending.  Sure, Kuzuhara is an appropriate person to bring in for the finale, but I really would like to see the author at least touch on what happens with some of the other main characters.  Miwa showed up in the end, but what about Kawakami?  What about Yuri?  Or even a one-shot cameo of Kitagata would be cool.

All in all, Bartenders will remain as one of my favorite mangas.  I’ve been reading more seinen slice of life, and it’s hard to find another manga with the same combination of seriousness and chillness.  Not to mention all the LPT (life pro tips) that it contains.

I hope everyone enjoyed this series as much as I did.  I’ve set my eyes on another manga to translate already.  Something very different.  I will be working on a different project first though (a game of sorts).  Once I’m done with that, I will resume scanlating.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone for sticking with me over the past 8-9 years (I lost count really).  I’ve probably gone on more hiatus than Hunter x Hunter’s author (lol probably not).  I know it’s frustrating to wait for these new chapters to come out, and yet I’ve seen nothing but encouragements.  You guys are awesome!

Categories: Bartender