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The Continuing Voyages of a Developer...

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Gregory Cheyney


I've been thinking for some time of a more "professional" title for this editor and engine. A lot of this goes to the intended "mental mindset" that I want to convey for the project as a whole.

Some time ago, I changed the working title of this meta-project to something a little more attention-grabbing than the generified "alternative rpg maker", to a more specific "BeyondRM". This doesn't really stem from any arrogance, but rather in having seen posts in the English RM forums for "suggestions for the next rpg maker", et cetera, yadda-yadda, and so forth, and so on.... And I really want to indicate that my projects are taking on something that the (Enterbrain, et al) RMs are either not capable of, or not willing to "fix". Being the sole developer of BeyondRM, I am perfectly aware of what it is meant to be, and what can and will be done with it, as it nears completion.

While the features I select may not fully take on each and every suggestion of such a lengthy list, I do find it within reason for many of them to be included. Take, for example, one of the most commonly-requested features, of going "3D". I'll step out onto a limb and say that this is not what I'm going for; while it would be interesting to be able to develop a three-dimensional game with the ease of a prototypical rpg maker, it would tend to make the editor and therefore the resulting game(s) a little more like the typical MMO.

On the other hand, another quite common feature request is for "better resolution". Now, I've already discussed in this post that it's not 'resolution' but 'screen size' as the proper terminology; but being able to see more of a map on the screen at one time would be a great benefit, at least for the player if not for the developer, as well. Of course, I must mention the caveat deluxe: if we are able to make game maps displayable in higher screen sizes, such that there is not the scaling and stretching as it has been, we must also be aware that the maps and the characters will also appear to be smaller. Rather, it is not that they are smaller; but in reality it is that we are taking away the scaling and stretching part of rendering, so that they are displayed more one-to-one on the screen. More of a "what it should be" type of display.

In that respect, game makers should then start thinking at a "better" scale for their mapping; a classic RPG Maker mindset is in making generified town houses as maybe two to four tiles wide, sometimes one or two tiles high for walls, and perhaps one or two tiles for roofing. In the "screen scale" I'm going for, these would look a little more like garden-tool-sheds and out-houses -- I'd like to think that a map-maker would be able to think more complex than that; and I'd like to think we can supply the kind of mapping tools that such a person could use to good effect. Parallax-mapping is one thing; but I would hope that even a tile-based system would be able to create a little more believable houses, building exteriors and interiors, than that.

Overall, the issue may be one of keeping the touch and feel of the old classics, while updating the specification to more modern hardware and software capabilities. Many of the more "classic rpg" game elements can be incorporated to "re-make" (I know, an odd turn of phrase) the classics, which were originally created very simplified so as to fit within a console game cartridge, to something that can still give homage to that while still improving upon game customization and creation.
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