For awhile I’ve tweeted about Smile Game Builder and my foray into the new RPG Maker. So I decided to conglomerate them into a single post to save time and space.
This serves a dual purpose. Not only does it showcase various features of Smile Game Builder, it also shows my beta-testing experiments. These aren’t in any particular order.
In many cases, I tried to customize graphics as part of the experimentation. Some of it went well, some of it didn’t.
Custom Title Experiment
The title screen resolution in Smile Game Builder is 960×544. I created this with the first beta build I tested. The cursor is also custom-made for the purposes of testing.
In the settings, there’s an option that allows for the staggered menu you see in the screenshot. In fact, you can customize much of the layout to create something more tailored specifically to your game.
Custom Map Tiles
And talking of customization, I played with the map tiles. Smile Game Builder does things slightly differently with regard to maps. This is to accommodate the 3D perspective.
My first attempt didn’t turn out so well. Still, it’s not too bad considering it was the first one.
However, the second attempt was a partial success and it worked adequately enough.
Creating A Door
Creating doors is actually very easy thanks to numerous easy-to-use presets. In earlier builds, there was a single door event only. I didn’t notice this immediately and set about creating a door event. The result was…
That's one way of opening a door! Ya think something went wrong?! 😂 #SmileGameBuilder #SGB #GameDev #RPGMaker pic.twitter.com/RC70CdcLdg
— RPG Maker Times (@CompanionWulf) August 3, 2016
…very humorous to say the least!
And this epitomizes how NOT to create a door event.
Most of you have probably become used to RPG Maker’s events command system by now. Smile Game Builder uses event commands in the form of presets, which you can also customize to suit your needs. This is presented as an "events tree", where adding events requires a few mouse clicks only.
As a whole, it’s much easier to manipulate and use, and with minimal programming involved.
One of the most useful features in Smile Game Builder is its dialogue system. In the next-gen RPG Makers (XP, VX, VXA and MV), having busts for conversation needs scripts or plugins to implement. Here, you don’t need any; with a few clicks you can set up a dialogue, replete with busts.
Each talker highlights when it’s their turn to speak. In addition, you can use this for a single person by not setting the second conversationalist.
My Test/Sample Game
I’m in the process of creating a test/sample game, which I hope to coincide with the engine’s release. However, I don’t know if I can guarantee that given my work and projects schedules. That said, I’m spending more time working on Smile Game Builder than I am RPG Maker. It’s surprising – or, perhaps, not so surprising – how time-consuming this really is.
And that brings me to the official title screen for my test/sample game, entitled Otherworld SGB: Through the Veil.
While the setting for Otherworld SGB is the same Otherworld universe as my current game for RMMV, it’s actually separate from it. The sample/test version is just that, a shortened version of a much longer game.
And because you can sell games created with Smile Game Builder, I’m considering making the full version commercial. Only time will tell how this pans out.
Once you know the proper formats and dimensions, creating your own assets is fairly easy. And this is especially true if you know how to use many of the programs capable of creating 3D assets.
One of the major setbacks for creating quality custom-made assets, however, is licensing. The software I currently use, Daz 3D Studio, requires expensive licenses to use their assets in 3D games. This applies to both non-commercial and commercial games that specifically share its models, textures, and so on. Using them in 2D games (as in Otherworld) requires no such licensing because it’s essentially just screenshots. And it’s not sharing assets that could potentially be dismantled and used for other purposes.
Creation of Smile Game Builder‘s assets (notably in the help files) focuses on Autodesk’s Maya software. 3D assets are in FBX format, which provides interoperability between digital content creation applications (such as Maya and Daz 3D Studio).
However, I dislike subscription-based software to use it, which applies to Maya (and also to Adobe’s suite of utilities and Microsoft’s Office). I’d prefer to buy the software and then buy additional assets or functions as necessary, provided it’s not overkill. (Subscribing might be different if my bank balance could handle it per month though!)
There are, of course, other programs capable of creating 3D assets and exporting to FBX format. Most notably is Blender, of which I’m sure most of you know of or at least have heard of. Another program of note is Magica Vogel, which is particularly useful for creating the 3D map blocks.
No doubt, I’ll cover these in more detail once I’m more familiar with them. That still begs the question can an old dog really learn new tricks? Haha! Although patience isn’t one of my stronger points, I’m still determined and motivated to learn.
Smile Game Builder‘s official release date is 8 September, alongside other DLC, such as the G-Style Modern City Resource Pack Vol.1.
There’s actually just under a month to go! (Three weeks to be precise at the time of posting this.)
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