Map/Compass HUD Script

New Script: Map/Compass HUD

The Map/Compass HUD script is available. It places a window on the map displaying the current map location and the party’s compass direction (the direction in which it’s moving), as well as the XY coordinates. Originally written specifically for my […]

Update: Tweaks & Add-Ons Script v1.3.3

The Tweaks & Add-Ons has been updated to include: Several additional Bitmap methods – draw horizontal line and draw title – have also been added. The manual will be uploaded later.

RMXP Scripts: Tweaks & Add-Ons Script RMXP

The Tweaks & Add-Ons script is available. It adds several tweaks to RMXP, including for layout. It also adds some unavailable features and functions and other enhancements. Read more about it on the Tweaks & Add-Ons page.

Revisiting An Old Friend: RMXP

Since getting RMXP again (through the earlier Humble Bundle deal), I’ve been experimenting with RGSS again. Surprising how much I forgot. Anyway, as a side-project to the Q-Engine and The Gladiator Project, I’ve been working on some "Tweaks and Add-Ons" […]

Q-Engine Logo

Updates: Scripts And General Updates

The Q-Engine is going through another overhaul to make things easier to update and add to. The reason is simply because it’s now so big that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. Here are the updates to the script and […]

 

RPG Maker Times Companion v4

Welcome to the newly revamped RPG Maker Times Companion blogsite. Version 4 has a new theme and better layout.

As of February 13, 2014, the RPG Maker Times and RPG Maker Times Companion blogs have merged.

This will now be the official blog for RPG Maker Times and will no longer be a "companion" site. The original RPG Maker Times blog will remain, but it will be used mostly for any updates that appear here.

Happy Christmas 2014

Wishing all who visit RPG Maker Times & Companion a Happy Christmas!

Instead of the usual message, I decided on something different. Here’s a funny animated short for you to enjoy!

Windowskins Sections Need Attention/Fixing

It was recently brought to my attention that some of the Windowskins Tutorials weren’t working. They were redirecting to the old subdomain where they were hosted, which was taken offline, so it was returning a "Page Not Found" error.

The subdomain was made temporarily available again, thereby giving the person who pointed out the error and me a chance to access the site. And, as I was browsing around the windowskins section on this blogsite, I also noticed a few more errors, which I will be fixing.

The windowskins subdomain will be permanently taken offline again by the end of the month, but all of the pages there will have been ported here.

This has been made a top priority, so please bear with me while I continue to fix these issues in between work shifts. If you encounter additional errors, don’t hesitate to contact me either here or on RPG Maker Times & Companion‘s Facebook page.

A Few Site Upgrades

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’m planning a few site upgrades to make things easier.

Overall Improvements

The primary focus is on improving overall performance and speed, reducing some of the clutter that’s developed because the blogsite has become quite large. This includes rewriting the taxonomy, categories/tags, and sidebar displays and, of course, this may take some time so I’ll start with the most popular posts/pages and sections and work from there.

Improving overall SEO is also a must. Many fetch bots have encountered a few errors as well, often increasing the bounce rate and decreasing performance.

Navigation/Page Menu

The navigation is rather cluttered in my opinion and my OCD is having a fit! So I’m aiming to clean it up somewhat and recategorise things to make it easier to find. This means a reorganisation of some of the categories and pages. And I’ll be looking into an improved sitemap, something a little more dynamic.

Rehousing Scripts

I’ve been thinking about rehousing my scripts on Pastebin or Github.

This serves a dual purpose: not only will it ease the server load and prevent some of the frequent "Resource Limit" errors the site has been having lately, but it will also be much easier to find and copy/paste the scripts. Rather than having to download and/or save the scripts as text files, I think it’ll be much more convenient to be able to copy and paste them directly into the RPG Maker of choice.

Projects Overhaul

The next upgrade is to add the Projects to the navigation menu or somewhere in the sidebar so they’re easier to find.

This also brings an awareness of the projects I’m working on and makes it easier to find their updates.

Game of Fixing Errors Chess

Fixing errors is like playing chess.

Fixing errors is like playing chess.

Errors are an inevitable part of creating a game or maintaining a website. In many ways all the pieces of code are the chess pieces and all the planning is the chess board. You move the pieces across the board until you can manoeuvre them to either stalemate or check mate.

The stalemate is where you’ve hit a blank wall with errors, so you have to backtrack all previous moves to determine where you went wrong. The check mate is where you’ve succeeded in fixing the errors.

You always have to be one step ahead, knowing the moves up to the point the error occurred or knowing how to prevent them in the first place so the rest of it runs smoothly and error-free.

Site Is Back Online

RPG Maker Times & Companion (and its subdomains) are back online.

On and off for a while now the blogsite has been experiencing "500 – Internal Server" and "508 – Resource Limit Reached" errors with no apparent resolution. There weren’t any set patterns as to when they’d occurred either, seemingly randomly, including when I was writing and publishing posts, so I’d often lose the content and had to start again.

From there it was a matter of pinpointing the exact nature of the problem, a long process of sifting through error logs and root files. Having a 500 error made no sense at all since the databases, site settings, plugins and coding are always kept up-to-date and backed up. This inferred a server-side error, but this wasn’t the root of the problem. A 500 error basically says, "Houston, we have a problem, but we don’t know what that is exactly. Please advise!"

And so the problem escalated and the 508 error in particular increased. My web host’s tech support and I started digging, using that as a basis. It made little sense that the blogsite and subdomains should reach its resource limit, since it’s unlimited (storage, bandwidth, subdomains, etc.) and there weren’t massive uploads/downloads that would put a strain on the server.

Long story short: It was eventually ascertained – unofficially, as far as I’m concerned – that the frequency of the 508 error started occurring shortly after the blogsite(s) saw a sudden increase in overall traffic. When a post is published, it’s also auto-sent to Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, and my partners also launched a small campaign to promote RPG Maker Times & Companion, including SEO-friendly tweaks and advertisements.

As a result, the blogsite(s) saw an overall consistent traffic increase of 40% for several months, which was actually quite unexpected. And this may have contributed – directly or indirectly – towards the resource limits being reached, even on an unlimited program.

RPG Maker Times & Companion and its subdomains are now "floating on the cloud", so uptime should be much more reliable in case something like this occurs again, and puts less strain on my web host’s servers.

More Site Problems! @%&#!

RPG Maker Times & Companion has been having a quite a few problems lately. Previously it was a "500 – Internal Server" error and then it was a "508 – Resource Limit Reached" error. While those seem to have been resolved for now, there appears to be more anomalies on the site.

The 508 error was established as being due to an unexpected increase in traffic to the site. I was told by Tech Support that it was caused by the fact that the domain is using a shared host and to compensate for the traffic increase they had to temporarily disable the site to distribute bandwidth more evenly for others. Also given the fact that both RPG Maker Times & Companion and my other site Paranormal Footprints share the same subscription account, the combined traffic contributed to the resource limit strain.

So now the next batch of problems are manifold. You may notice that the site is loading abnormally slowly, several images aren’t displaying or are showing as broken, a completely messed-up layout, or the site might not load at all.

I’ve tested in Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer with the same varying results. Not only is this frustrating, it’s also very annoying. The subscription is meant to be unlimited, so I don’t see any reason why an 40% increase in traffic should overly affect it (50%+ I can understand).

At this point, I don’t know what the resolution is, but I’m sure one will be found even if it’s migrating one or both sites to another web host, or separating Paranormal Footprints will become a separate subscription on the same account next year.

Otherworld Progress…Hmmm!

Progress on Otherworld is going well! Yeah, ok!

Work on Otherworld is going well! Yeah, ok!

It’s the little niggly things that cause the blank stares: a missing closing bracket here, an extra end there, or an unlinked snippet of code you really have no clue why you wrote in the first place.

Sarcasm aside, to be fair, some noticeable progress is being made on Otherworld.

I’m in the process of converting the Map/Compass HUD (for RMXP) to RMVXA but specifically designed for Otherworld.

It’s only hard-going because I’m too tired. The moral would be don’t do it right after an 8-hour shift at work, having not slept for 16 hours! I might as well go to sleep and start working on it again afterwards!

RPG Maker VX Ace Half Price Thanksgiving Sale

Happy Thanksgiving from RPG Maker Web - 50% Off RPG Maker VX Ace

Happy Thanksgiving from RPG Maker Web
50% Off RPG Maker VX Ace

For Thanksgiving, RPG Maker VX Ace is half price! The sale ends December 2, so take advantage of this offer and grab a copy from Steam while you can.

Other RPG Maker related content is also reduced, including the amazing Luna Engine, which I am going to buy since it’s payday tomorrow (I was planning on getting this anyway!).

From now on, whenever similar deals occur, I’ll try and update RPG Maker Times & Companion accordingly, as well as new resource packs as they become available.

News: Ratings System Prototype

A while ago, I mentioned a ratings system, including a special award, the Wulf’s Choice Award, for exceptional games and utilities.

I’ve started developing a prototype system, which I hope will present a fair assessment of the reviewed games/utilities. It’s still an embryo, but this is how it’s progressing with a few ideas I’ve been playing with.

  • Graphics – This rating is only based on added or customized graphics and how well they’re presented in-game. The scores are not affected if a game uses the default or RTP graphics, as this will be assessed purely on their own merit.
  • Scripts – The scripts used in the game and how well they fit into the game or enhance it. The complexity of the scripts will also be used to determine the overall score.
  • Gameplay – How well the game plays, how well it’s written or constructed, and how easy it is to get into. Long intros or cutscenes may influence the overall score.
  • Playability – How likely you are to play through until the end without too much frustration; how balanced its combat system is. Too many inconsistencies, spelling or grammatical errors will also affect the overall score (there’s a separate rating for typos and spelling as well).
  • Replayability – How likely you are to replay the game to discover its hidden secrets or make other choices (as relevant). The number of hidden areas or other in-game secrets may be a big influencer for this score.
  • Music/Sound – How good the music is; how it brings dimension and atmosphere to the game. Depending on the nature of the game, bitty or poor quality music and sound effects will affect the score.
  • Errors – This primarily focuses on spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors. While I won’t be too strict on grammar or punctuation, correct spelling is a must (a few typos or misspelled words are acceptable). Poor spelling makes it difficult to read and halts the flow of the game.
  • Overall – This is the overall rating for the game, based on all of the above factors. I’m not sure yet if it’ll be average-based or independently scored taking into account the above ratings.

The above ratings are for games only, with a similar, separate ratings system for tools and utilities on its way. I’ll also be working on a high quality award for the Wulf’s Choice Award, maybe with an additional option for visitors to rate the games/utilities themselves. Then, monthly, the highest scoring games/utilities will be awarded a Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze cup and will be placed in a Top 10 list.

Windowskin Conversion – RMXP to RMVX/VXA

One of the most sought-after searches (according to Statcounter anyway) is about converting windowskins between RPG Makers.

There are several methods for doing this, but one of the best and easiest ways is Hiper Windowskin Maker.

Import RMXP windowskins into Hiper Windowskin Maker and you can convert to RMVX/VXA by selecting the parts and applying them to the RMVX/VXA windowskins, which can then be saved and imported for use.

RMVXA windowskins are exactly the same as RMVX ones, so there’s no need for additional conversion. However, RMVXA’s windowskin colours (defined in the "System" tab of the Database) overrides the background graphics. For this reason, I’d recommend my RMVX to RMVXA Windowskin Tweak.

There is no definitive or reliable method that I’ve found to convert RMVX/VXA windowskins to RMXP because of the different format layout it uses. (If you know of any utilities or scripts that can achieve this, let me know and I’ll try them out.)