Discussion - Where to start?

JoelMatthews

Pokémon Nebula Dev
Member
Posts
6
#1
Here's a problem I see a lot. People have wonderful ideas, concepts, and inspiration to work on the fangame of their dreams. But the problem is... when you open up your programs and your project, where do you even start? How do you decide what to work on? And how do you order its importance? Do you do the maps first and then design the Pokemon, or do you base the maps around your Pokemon? I'm genuinely very curious to see how people order their workload.
 

Ouroboro

Eternal Idiot
Member
Posts
24
#2
i have a few different personal approaches! its not for everyone though.

sometimes i want to figure out how to set the first cutscene, so at the very least I'll do the first map. I haven't worked on fakemon so I cant exactly help there.

regardless in that first map I'll figure out how to relay the pacing of the first part of the game. my personal style is kind of cutscene heavy so I work on a script to compliment the first scenes of the game. afterwords I'll put it into eventing to see how it actually looks, then I'll spread out the actions in the script into their actual move routes and see how it works, tweaking every little irregularity along the way. The big thing is to make sure it's actually interesting though because people prefer no dialogue (or at least risk free cookie cutter basic dialogue) than bad dialogue

I think for people who care more about supplying good gameplay, you could work on stuff like pacing still but instead figuring out when to give out information while retaining freedom. I think a big thing to consider is letting your player move and explore things on their own quicker for these. There's been a lot of creative ways to introduce the first pokemon cutscene, but the best way imo I've seen them work is by getting their as soon as possible or at the least giving the player to move asap without bogging them down, only forcing necessary text. It varies on the type of game of course, and if you don't have a traditional game, it'll probably require a bit of tweaking.

tl;Dr: I do one map and figure out how to relay information in the very first cutscene. Then it branches from there depending on the game. My word is not law and is probably very wrong though ekekfnsojdodnfjdj
 
#3
I'd say first figure out what your main draws are-Gameplay, story, fakemon, etc. Then, from there, start forming a general idea of major locations. (A hub for a certain kind of gameplay, the major story locations, habitats for your fakemon, etc) I would put setting after your main draw, because you don't want to write yourself out of something you really wanted to include. Like, say you designed your region completely, and it doesn't have any icy locations-but you have all these Ice-types you want to put in! Now you have to try to rearrange your map to fit in an ice area!

This might be counter-intuitive, but I'd say put your polish/flourishes/quality of life things in first, before you even start mapping or eventing. That way, you can make sure nothing you add in is going to be broken or need updates from it. Maybe you want to add Mr. Gela's name windows to your dialogue-put that in first, before you start making all the events with dialogue, or you'll have to edit every event again later.

After that, I honestly think it's just a matter of what you want to get done? If you're working with a deadline, like for the Game Jam or something, then you should definitely start with the beginning maps and events before going on to the next, so you have something playable. But if you're releasing your game whenever you want, who cares what order things get done in? You could get a map done and save it to be evented later, you could get an ability designed and save the fakemon for later, etc. Only rules I can think of there would be
  • Don't make events move before the map is ready. (so you can be sure their movements are in the right spot)
  • Don't include fakemon before their moves/abilities are working. (so the game doesn't crash when you test them out)
  • Don't make trainer battles until you've included the fakemon (if they use them)-the game will crash crash without them
  • So, pretty much, don't make something new that relies on something else new if it's missing?
 

Aki

Starry eyed
Member
#4
I'm a lot like Ouro, starting at the very beginning to set the pace and feel of the game.

First thing I tend to do, is make whatever core part would be the hardest for me to figure out (not allways because it's difficult, but just because it's usually something new I haven't done before). Then that informs the rest of the design. So for like MewYou, the first thing for me was setting up the player character in the overworld and in battle. Getting that to look right lead to setting up new encounters, and seeing how the character moved just made hovering over water feel natural, so the rest of the game was designed around those things even though they hadn't been part of the initial idea. In Tempo Rising the first thing was getting a repeatable cutscene to work with its' length based a variable!

When it comes to building the rest of the game, I do maps first one at a time. I usually have an aesthetic idea of what I want from a map, so when it's finished I choose wild Pokemon that I think compliment that aesthetic. And by aesthetic I don't mean visually, I'm really about the feeling of the environment and what a particular pokemon's presence says about it. (and yeah I'm aware that most people don't care about random pokedex tidbits like Horsea eating bugs or Oddish being nocturnal, I just happen to be pretty detail oriented) I'm not into competitive stuff, so my choices aren't influenced by how good a pokemon is, it's just trying to work in some type variety and trying not to be biased towards using pokemon from a single generation.

I don't really work with fakemon because creature design is a personal weak point...I can only say that when it comes to designing a regional variant, I still do the environment first and then see where it would make sense to add something like a new form or evolution. For example I saw Oricorio would be a great fit for my game, and each of its' forms already suited a certain map pretty well; there was just one map that didn't suit any particular form, so that's what the new form was designed around.
 

Cadeorade5

Dev of Hunter & Raymond
Member
Posts
23
#5
I know that the saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" might be most applicable to fangames when someone is viewing the forum post, but I think it also applies to the first few events in the game. For me, I need to complete the intro/first few events that happen in the game so I know I've set the tone the way I've wanted. So before you even open RMXP, I would have a good idea of what you're intro is going to look like. You want your intro to entice the player, and just coming up with it on the fly is not going to make the player want to play the game more.

So what does a good intro look like? It really depends. One of the rules that I've learned quickly though, is that shorter is normally better. Pokemon games are notorious for having the same, long and dry cutscene. The moment I open up that fangame and I even see the default background, I think to myself, "oh boy, here we go again." So I would open a game just like how you would open up an introduction for an essay. You could give a quote, ask the player a question, or just say something that is out of left field that engages the player.

After the intro, I would work on whatever comes next. The longer you can keep the player thinking "hey this game is so cool because I'm so interested in what's going to happen next," the more the player is probably going to like the game.

Of course, these are just my ideas and there are definitely people who probably have better ideas than me, but this is my approach. We're all always looking to learn and improve, so it's great to hear everyone's approach to the creation process.
 

aveontrainer

Novice
Member
Posts
14
#6
As a complete noob I started with making Maps first. I also started with vanilla Essentials. I hated how limited I was with the Fire Red Leaf Green tilesets. So I started changing them. In the middle of it all I accidentally deleted my original tileset. Wiping out all the maps I had already created. I am now just strictly building art for my game. I already have a story in mind and the world map mapped out in my head. I know what I want to include in the game. So I'm building all of my tile sets and character sets first. Because when I first began making my game I would get stuck because I didn't have the characters and tilesets I needed to continue building my story.

So I guess the short answer would be build your tilesets first.
 

aveontrainer

Novice
Member
Posts
14
#8
You should be able to still recreate those maps by putting the tileset back in! They'll retain the data from when you built them!
I accidentally permanently deleted it. it's going to take a lot of trial and error trying to figure out where my Cliff tiles my grass tiles and my tree tiles were. Nevermind the building tiles in the fences and so on. I was trying to build one massive tileset. But that turned out to be a mistake. Because you are limited with how big it can be. needless to say I had three files one named outside tile set another one named outside tileset 2 and a third named new tile set. Most of my game was mapped with outside tile set and that's the one I accidentally deleted. I meant to delete the one with the two next to the name. I don't mind remapping my entire game. I only got to the 4th town. And besides the style of my game has completely changed to a cross between 3rd and 4th gen style tiles
 

DogzNDogz113

Arbiter of Doggos
Member
Posts
25
#9
I accidentally permanently deleted it. it's going to take a lot of trial and error trying to figure out where my Cliff tiles my grass tiles and my tree tiles were. Nevermind the building tiles in the fences and so on. I was trying to build one massive tileset. But that turned out to be a mistake. Because you are limited with how big it can be. needless to say I had three files one named outside tile set another one named outside tileset 2 and a third named new tile set. Most of my game was mapped with outside tile set and that's the one I accidentally deleted. I meant to delete the one with the two next to the name. I don't mind remapping my entire game. I only got to the 4th town. And besides the style of my game has completely changed to a cross between 3rd and 4th gen style tiles
So, you deleted the graphic for the tileset, not the tileset as defined in the data editor?

1.Try searching for a backup of the image. Some programs like graphics gale maintain backups.

2. Search for one of your own previous entire game backups.

3.Alternatively, color with a solid color different "sections" of the tileset image. For instance, make one red area, one blue area etc.
When opening your maps, you'll now be able to vaguely make an approximation of where each tile would have been.
The shape of a building, where the trees are etc. You might even go ahead and fill each 32xXXblock horizontal line with a different color (like a striped flag but with each line colored differently), which will make this a bit easier.

Don't do really big tilesets. Aside from potential performance issues and the size limit which is already stupidly large, you will have a hard time scrolling up and down to find what you need. Besides, smaller tilesets are more manageable, losing one of them means not losing half your game and are easier to work with.
 

aveontrainer

Novice
Member
Posts
14
#10
So, you deleted the graphic for the tileset, not the tileset as defined in the data editor?

1.Try searching for a backup of the image. Some programs like graphics gale maintain backups.

2. Search for one of your own previous entire game backups.

3.Alternatively, color with a solid color different "sections" of the tileset image. For instance, make one red area, one blue area etc.
When opening your maps, you'll now be able to vaguely make an approximation of where each tile would have been.
The shape of a building, where the trees are etc. You might even go ahead and fill each 32xXXblock horizontal line with a different color (like a striped flag but with each line colored differently), which will make this a bit easier.

Don't do really big tilesets. Aside from potential performance issues and the size limit which is already stupidly large, you will have a hard time scrolling up and down to find what you need. Besides, smaller tilesets are more manageable, losing one of them means not losing half your game and are easier to work with.
Wow thank you so much for the tips!! I will definitely try that. Yes I deleted my graphic file. This should be a good method to try and re-create everything. Thank you.
And yes I learned this the hard way. That's what I get for being a total noob lol
 

leilou

A wild Minun appeared!
Member
Posts
205
#11
well if you're using a windows pc (which you probably are if you're using rpg maker xp)
then you should look up the recycle bin ... if you didn't clear it everything you deleted should be in there

that's only if you deleted it tough ... not if you overwrote it
 
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