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Tutorial - 'RpgDS for RM2Kers' by Fred

An item about RPGMaker 2000 posted on

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A tutorial for those who've used RM2K/2K3 and are looking to migrate to RPGDS.

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.:RpgDS for RM2Kers:.

- Part 1: Start your engines! -

Konnichiwa all. This is an article (or, rather, a series of articles) specifically directed for the users of Rpg Maker 2000 who want to change from it to the more advanced and "freestyle" RPG Development Studio. Its general, however, and will also be useful for people who come from other development engines or even are starting in game-making right now.

Please refrain from comments like "RpgDS is a hoax", as its been proven it exists and is a capable maker, even having a active community of its own. If you'd like to stick with RM2K and "push it to its limits", like many of you love to say, go on. No one wants to stop you.

Now, this article was made having in mind version BETA 2.5 (aka 0.80) Build 83. Download it (or the latest version) at www.crypticdesigns.com. This will probably be updated when the final release of the program is available.

A) Starting your game

Now, when you first started a new project in RM2K, you didn't have a lot of work with the setting of your game - you basically pressed the button "Create new project" and everything was set - when you test played it, RM2K would already show a map (even tough a sea-of-grass one) and your hero sprite. You could already move around, etc, etc, etc.

Well, this is a great thing for easiness of use - but not for other things. Let's say, for example, you wanted your character to run if you pressed the alt key, jump on ctrl, talk to other characters on space, call the main menu on enter, and exit the game on esc. Well, in RM2K you simply can't.

In RpgDS, however, you CAN do this - However, this has a price. When you start a new project in RpgDS, and test play it, you will think it is broken - It will only show a blank screen and you'll have no way to quit, except ctrl+alt+del, of course. Fear not, however - there's an explanation.

In DS, all the preset keys you have are the arrow keys, to move your character - nothing more. You can determine ANY other action, including calling a menu and talking with NPCs. Now, luckily for you, the developer has included a nifty demonstration which has everything you need to get your new project working:

1. Go to "File" > "New project from template"

2. Specify your game's file path

3. Select the template "StarterRPG" and click "OK".

Done. Your project will have been created. Now test play it, and you will see a explanative text. You can now press Esc to exit the "game".

You may say "Game? WTF? Its just some freakin' stupid text!" But that's not true. Let's take a look at what the game example created. Go to your "Scripts" folder (bottom-right corner of the screen). You'll see three new scripts:

Activate: This script will activate sprites. What does that mean? Simple: it will do the same your enter button does in RM2K, activate NPCs to talk/whatever and events to do whatever they're designed to.

Now, open this script. You'll see there are three commands in there: "Lock movement and default keys", "Activate sprites the events", and "Unlock movement and default keys". What do each of these do?

"Lock/Unlock movement and default keys" does just that: If your player is talking to an NPC, for example, you won't want him to walk around freely or call a menu, will you? Use this script when you want to lock the player's movement, custom keys (custom keys are the ones assigned for determined events, like space for this one) or both.

"Activate" activates either sprites, events, or both. DS's events work rather similarly to RM2K's, but that's another tutorial. For now let's just say you can choose if the player will only activate events (Useful for certain minigames), only sprites, or both, and in which order.

You could, for example, assign a key to talk with people and another to examine objects.

EndGame: This script does just that, ends the game. It is associated with the esc key, so that when you press it this script is called, and thus, you quit the game.

Initial: This is the script set as "initial", which means it will be the first one to be executed. In this case, this contains only text - you may do whatever you want with it, there's absolutely no need to jump directly to a map. You could, for example, do a title screen without going by the hassle of having to turn your character sprite transparent and using a blank chipset.

Now, two of these scripts (Activate and EndGame) are called by specifical keys, respectively space and esc. To set/change them:

1. Go to "Project" > "Input options".

2. You will see a list of keys and scripts associated to them. Note that you can use ANY key on the keyboard with ANY script. Flexibility at its best. To change them, simply select one in the list and tell the program which key you want associated.

The delay (usually 300) is in miliseconds and serves the purpose of avoiding common "relay key" errors (when the user presses the key, the command is executed twice).

B) Something graphical

Now, you may be disappointed: "Haha, the great RpgDS, this piece of crap? C'mon, its a BLANK SCREEN WITH TEXT!"

Well, that's because you didn't make any maps yet. Let's learn how.

1. Go to www.crypticdesigns.com and click on "RpgDS resource archive".

2. Download a sprite and a tileset (Any will do).

3. Import these resources on your game. Click on the "Add Tileset" button (first one from the left) > "New 2D Tileset" > "Load Image" > find the tileset you just downloaded > "Save" and save it wherever you like. For the sprite, go to "Add Sprite" (third button) > "New sprite" > "Load Image" > find the sprite you just downloaded > "Save" and save wherever you like. The other functions will be discussed later.

4. Create a map. "Add map" (second button) > "New 2D Map" > resize it to 20x20 or something similar > name it > "OK" (The disabled functions you see will only be available on the next release of RpgDS).

Now, open the map editor (click on the map you just created in your "maps" folder).

Go to the "Object Layer" (third button on the "layers" part)

Click anywhere on the map with your mouse's right button, and click "Create NEW sprite". A window will popup with some options - don't pay attention to them right now and click "create".

Now, edit the map as you like (Click the two other buttons in the "layers" section and place the tiles just like in RM2K). The two layers (upper and lower) work in a very similar fashion to RM2K, so you shouldn't have any worries here.

There, you have a map done. Now you must LOAD it to your game. How?

1. Go to your "Initial" script

2. Delete the Show Text command in there (You don't want that ugly text showing up there, do you? :P )

3. Insert the "Load Map" command (click on the button to your left, in the big list) and select your newly-created map. Specify the point where your hero will appear.

Now, your map is just LOADED in memory; you must now SHOW it. This is great for memory-saving issues - RM2K was very laggy in some points because it had poor memory management abilities.

To show your map use the "Show Map" Command. (Duh)

Now, save your script and game and test play it.

If you did everything correctly, you should now have a fully working game - except for lack of content, of course. :P You can move around, see that sprite you put in the map, and all that crap. Ta-da!

Next tutorial, we'll overview the basic stuff with RpgDS: How the script system works, alikenesses/differences from RM2K, and what all those buttons in the toolbar are for.

Tune in!

~Fred

P.S.: Any additional doubts may be sent to my email: 2e2@bol.com.br or just PM me in the GW forums (I'm currently a 0-poster).

Doma Arigatou Gozaimashita.