VX and VX Ace users, lo and behold the latest script submissions!
Push Blocks (VX): made by Philip, this is an alternative to event-based puzzles with blocks you need to pull and push here and there.
Item Cap (VX): this nice little script allows you to specify a different cap for every item the player carries, instead of the default 99. Unlike many similar scripts using a global cap for all items, this one can set it individually. The author is a strange yellow lifeform with sharp teeth who also happened to write the next scripts I will mention.
Change Fade Time (Ace): Nice utility allowing the developer to alter the number of frames used for the default fade-in and fadeout event commands.
Enemy Summon Skill (Ace): Originally a script made by modern algebra, Pacam ported it to Ace. Like the name implies, it enables the use of reinforcements for enemies.
Change TP Display (Ace): The last in the current Pacman series available on this site, it simply allows you to toggle on or off the TP display in the menus.
Advanced RGSS3 Console (Ace): Berka, the master of unusual scripts, strike again! Ace has a console? Make it better! Syntax highlighting, Regexp highlighting... it's here!
- X-M-O - Thanks to everyone who contributed to this first Official Issue of the SNaV! All of your hard work is greatly appreciated, and I know many readers will benefit from your submissions! (SNaV stands for "Super News and Views", in case anyone was curious, lol.) I'll soon be releasing a Music Competition that will last for the month of February - so keep an eye out for that, and join in once you see it! =D
We of course should have the Indie GN mentioned: Here. And here. The concept is a channel on Youtube which showcases many game projects done in various engines, produced by independent developers. Currently planned is a Project of the Month and a Project of the Year feature. Developers are encouraged to submit their projects. This is not quite exclusive to RRR either, and various submitters from other boards are encouraged to submit. While it's still an emerging concept for the current person running it, it's been suggested before. It has it's own pinned topic in RRR's Game Theory and Design board as well. We may see a contest for it. More information awaits.
Next is the interesting topic started by vastin: Click here to view topic. I've seen the tool mentioned before, but I haven't seen much of an explanation on how to use this that was so simple. There's quiet a few uses for these as well, particularly in the puzzle arena. This could be used for various languages, magical, alien, or otherwise. A brief discussion of it's use is found in the posts to follow, which show how it was used in the original posters game. These could be great for floor and wall symbols to connect phrases in a poem together, where the player must activate the words or phrases in sequence. It's a great tool for any designer to use who is making a general RPG.
This topic also links to two other topics about Strategic Battles and Boss Battles in RPGs, and how to really spice them up beyond the "Hit X until it's dead" commonality. Cick here to view topic. Within is many useful ideas to get one thinking about the design of dungeons in relation to boss and normal battles. These alone will provide a lot of individual content for staff writers to highlight and look at when creating an article. It's also a subject we see repeated once every quarter it seems. This list is in no way complete either. The deeper this list goes the more it can benefit everyone, so long as the information stays relevant.
Here is a great thread recently brought back up by Kaust: Click here to view topic. It highlights activities that, instead of being fun for players, feels more like doing a chore. While not all ideas listed here are mutual in agreement, some are, and some are at least worth mentioning. Certainly there are mistakes here by big companies that are worth learning from.
I think there's a lot of content here that's very interesting and I, as a game designer myself, have found useful and a great way to get myself thinking about the theory of the gamespace and what is fun.
Despite popular belief, the XP Forums are still alive and well; even with the introductions of newer engines such as the latest RPG Maker, VX Ace. There's still great reason to continue development under the XP Engine and post in the XP Forums! Here are the latest hot topics:
Project Zelda Engine The PZE or the Project Zelda Engine began in the works starting January 1st, 2011. It is one of the most innovative projects every released on the XP Engine and boasts features including perfect Zelda-matching features such as a Zelda-styled Action Battle System, Horse Riding, Fairy Guardians, Detailed Health Meters, and an Advanced Message System. This topic has generated a lot of support over the past year and it is perfect for you aspiring developers wishing to create a Zelda remake!
Becoming a Scripter Want to become a scripter like the title denotes? Check out this pinned topic giving an easy-to-read step by step process on how to stat scripting before you know it. Guidelines like these are very important as they give aspiring scripters a sense of direction. Without this, you could skip steps, and not know where you're going which could lead to drastic consequences and holes in your learning. Stop by here if you're serious about scripting.
shinyjiggly's RM2K3 Corner
This will be my first piece for X-M-O so I'll try to keep it simple, and what is simpler than simplicity itself? So here are a few (simple ) thoughts about simple music and its effects. (With simplicity in mind, I'll try to refrain from delving too deeply into theory or its specific terminology)
There's no need to write a symphony to trigger sympathy.
Firstly, consider the opening shot of Orson Welles' Othello; luckily provided free on youtube:
Here only three notes are engaged, not even chords, no accompanying octaves, no other instruments whatsoever are playing but when you hear it you're not thinking Othello's just a little sleepy are you? Getting this opening just right was make or break for the film as it differs wildly from its source text, a text many critics considered 'unadaptable'. Yet it's so easy to play I accidentally found it while I was just messing around at the piano one time (a bassy F E followed by F D, if you're curious).
If you are reading this page then there's a strong possibility you've not encountered much music theory and, consequently, never noticed that the vast majority of popular music will exclusively employ the fabled 'three chord trick' (the first, the fourth, and the fifth of a scale). And, indisputably, if it's popular then that also means it's successful, even though it may not be by any means complex.
It has long been recognised that repetition is the foundation of music; with this in mind try to consider how creating a hundred motifs is more likely to be damaging to your song than beneficial, as well as being more complex and time consuming. Indeed, the most successful motifs are ones that stray only slightly away from the track's backbone, as if questioning the original movement and also making returns to it easier.
With vague concepts out of the way here are a few simple tricks of theory:
-The resolved feel: by ending your song on its first note you are essentially saying to the listener, "don't worry guys, everything we've faced throughout this has been overcome and now were returning to the peace we experienced on first meeting".
-The unresolved feel: end your song on the seventh of its scale. As you play the seventh you'll feel an almost tug towards another note, usually the first. This is why ending on it provides the 'unresolved feel'.
-Break the rules occasionally (but really, just on occasion, or it will sound messy): hit a few notes outside the scale and tonal centres be damned! This can be a great way of creating a sense of disruption. Remember that theory is just a guideline, you don't need a thorough understanding to write music, conversely don't forget that it was established way back in Ancient Greece and it's survived for a reason.
-Tempo: Possibly even more important than a song's construction is its delivery. Conveying Misery? Contemplation? Try lengthening your notes and the pauses between them. Naturally, do the opposite for more upbeat music.
Now I'm not saying to throw away your latest masterpiece because it is 'too complex', complexity creates diversity, and the problem with deliberately writing basic music is that it can sound 'samey'- someone somewhere has already wrote it or eventually will. But try to remember that in-game your music will likely be on a loop.
You spent months on the perfect eight minute requiem that encapsulates every aspect of that town? It's a real shame the player took a song disrupting ten minutes to get out of the town (the full eight plus the restarted two ruined by the world map music) simply 'cause he was looking for a couple of bonus chests. Or even worse, he missed out the last two minutes entirely because he skipped the text boxes entirely.
General Comments This game was created for the R3 apocalypse-themed game-making competition and was awarded 1st place. Although all the other applicants were all outstanding. Finding Eden, brought something rather different and outstanding, just showing the talent of the creators.
Example of Apocalyptic Scenery
After the competition was completed the developers took the game and fixed many of the bugs which were in the game, and also added in a new title screen:
New & Improved Title Screen
And also added in the extra bonus of gaining Mana from the Harvesters- the main enemies in the game.
Gaining Mana from Harvesters (Taken from Game Topic)
Although, due to the overuse of the word "mana", a lot of the time you end up being confused and may not understand the different uses, therefore are unable to complete the game. The three different forms of mana are:
The mana that you pick up from Harvesters; this mana is used for the two different abilities that Red and Blue offer.
The mana you gain from the boss battles; this is used later on in the game to gain entrance to the final area.
The mana that is keeping them alive; this is only referenced in cut scenes.
Another feature I love with this game, is the in game tutorials, with the complicated battle system with it's use of Character Switching and abilities, it was brilliant to see that the developers took the time to event a small tutorial so that you know what you are up against:
Storyline: This is my second play through this game, and even now...I still am shocked by the ending. It takes hold of what this game is written for, the challenge of creating an Apocalyptic game, and throwing it against the wall, and turning it inside out and then rearranging it into, what has become the most impressive storyline I've heard.
The story is based in a post-apocalyptic world, where the only way to survive is to harvest mana, which is basically how the people in this world survive. It follows two characters and their fight to decide whether to live out their days with the mana they currently have, or resort to what is known as harvesting, which is taking the life out of other living people.
All I am saying is, the ending to this story is heart-wrenching call me whatever you want but the ending was beautiful, it was portrayed perfectly...the emotion would bring even the most butch of men to tears, even just slightly.
Characters: There are very few characters in this game, two of which are bosses, which I will cover in the Battle System section. The two main characters are Red, and Blue...surprisingly, I don't think their real names were ever given during the game, but sometimes names are left best not spoken. There is a lot of mystery about the history of how they became so close, also whether they are a love interest. There is a lot not said, which normally would bring the characters down in their development, however their communication between the two characters make up for the lack of detail in the history.
The battle system, is very complex, it looks amazing and the theory behind it is impressive. However there are many problems which stop it from being perfect. The main problem with the battle system I found was that there was no definition between being attacked, and attacking the lack of animation or something that separates the different attacks, makes it very difficult to tell the difference. A lot of the time I ended up dyeing and didn't realise because I believed that I was the one attacking rather than being attack.
There was little variety in the Battles, however this doesn't take away any aspect of the battle system. However would have liked to have seen different levels of Harvesters, such as difference in colours, which means that perhaps the drop something a bit stronger than mana, obviously as this game was created in a short space and time, the time constraints of the competition might of hinder the extra development.
Graphics & Audio Well... what can't I say about the graphics. Amazing. Just purely amazing. A large amount of the graphical content is custom made by Hirei. For those familiar with Hirei's work will know that her original artwork, cannot be mistaken for anyone else's. The UI also created by Hirei fits snugly in the corner of the screen and works well with the overall feel of the game.
Custom Art Used
The Audio was non hindering and was used when needed, and added to the overall atmosphere of the game.
Although the battle system could use some work, the outstanding Graphical content mixed with the apocalyptic scenes, and simple yet effect dialogue makes this game a must for any aspiring developer, for it shows how strong RPG Maker XP really is when used properly.
SNaV Review Score: 9.5/10
.::Editorials & Entertainment::.
With the year rounding to a close, it's hard to believe that a new maker will soon be released and, fingers crossed, an English version should be around the corner. But even with all the various tools at our disposal, it's quite amazing how far the community has come, and how much we still cling to the past.
For example, whenever I'm browsing the magazine section at any store, I can't help but to pick up an issue of Nintendo Power and skim through the contents in hopes of a glimpse at old console games, if for nothing more than to spend a moment reliving my childhood. Unfortunately, while console games live on even after death, indie games aren't always so lucky.
So here's a nod to a few games that have made a splash in the indie gaming community over the past few years.
First up is an rpg adventure with heart. Created by Strangeluv, A Home Far Away tells the tale of a brother's and sister's struggle to find their way home. The classic rpg features a variety of challenging puzzles, mini games, and quests.
The Mirror Lied plays like a hybrid adventure/horror game that will require a bit of deep thought and contemplation. While it has been a subject of controversy in the past do to its lack of a coherent story, the end result may be worth it to those willing to dig deep for understanding. Unfortunately, a working download is difficult to find these days.
While certainly not the best rpg that was ever created, The Cartographer was definitely one of the better games that came out in early 2009. Showcasing the VX in a more favorable light, Avadan's skill with events and use of tilesets helped to pave the way for future games to come. If your looking for something with a retro appeal, then look no further than this classic.
QUOTE (KD648 - Member Submission)
Some of us are graphic artists, some of us are writers, some are scripters, mappers, and some of us are level designers, but ultimately no matter our background, speciality, or our beliefs about game design, we all begin a project the same way. We sit down at our desk and stare at a notebook, maybe a word processor or drawing paper, but what's important is that it's always blank. And then we think: "What do I want to do?"
The Goal of a Game
We want to make a game obviously, or else we wouldn't be here. But what do we want our game to do? The simple and most common answer is that we want our game to be fun. And exciting. And poetically meaningful. And to make us a ton of money and get us a girlfriend. But those answers are what we want our game to be, not what we want our game to do. Except the last bit. So, what is it that our game does?
Taking a step back and really looking at what a game "does" is a bit confusing, and a bit overwhelming if you think about all of the mechanics and separate but entangled pieces. But thankfully, I think we can all agree that games are form of art, which actually simplifies our question. What does art do?
When people ask me about art, which isn't nearly as often as my ego would like, I say this: "The goal of art is to deliver an experience from the creator's imagination to the audience." It seems overly simple at first, but when you think about it, this definition applies to all art: paintings, movies, music, theatre, books, and especially games. When you interact with anything that's "art", you don't care about the physical object. When you look about the painting, you don't care about what kind of paint it is, you care about the image and what it says to you. When you listen to music, you don't care that it's an "A-flat", you care about how it makes you feel. It's not the "game" you care about while you're playing it. It's not the numbers, the code, the .pngs, or even the text that you care about. You care about the experience you're having.
Which is totally fantastic and pretentious and all that, but how does it apply to what we actually do when we sit down at our computer?
It applies because our job is no longer to make a game; our job is now to make an experience through a game. The job of the medium (the book, song, game, etc.) is to be as invisible as possible so that the audience, or player in our case, can get to the experience as effortlessly as possible. When you're playing a really great game, the last thing you're thinking about is how "balanced" it is. In fact, if you're playing a really great game you've probably forgotten you're playing a game altogether. I know that when I'm playing an amazing game and someone interrupts me, it takes me a second to figure out where I am. I don't forget that when I play checkers. I'm not just "playing a game", I'm having an experience.
But, before we can try to cram an "experience" into the rest of the overwhelming amount of crap we already have to make, we need to isolate and define the experience that we want to impart to the player. The shorter and more specific the definition the better; this is why all movies and most games have a one sentence "logline" that curtly defines it. Then we use that logline, or the "essence" of what we want our players to experience while playing our game, to influence the four elements of our game that we have control of. These elements are: Technology: The engine and script that is running our game. In this case probably RPG Maker, but the technology largely determines the limits of our game and can help us expand what's important about our essence. As an example: Bethesda built its own engine for Skyrim to highlight the draw distances, which is the most important thing in a game that is primarily about free roaming exploration.
Mechanics: The "numbers" behind our game that ultimately determine the feel of the gameplay. How fast can your character run? How much health does he have? How much damage does he do? How many hits can he take before he goes down? How much ammo or "MP" does he have, if applicable? What about enemies? What's too difficult and not difficult enough?
Aesthetics: Art and Sound. While these are also responsible for drawing the player into the world, they are actually how the player gets most of the information about the gameplay. Imagine if you cast a spell and there was no flash and no sound. How would you know if it worked? And yet when you're hit with a screen shaking explosion and you hear a "low health alarm" go off you know exactly what to do.
Story: Information on the goals and characters within the game. The majority of simple decisions that the player will act upon will come through aesthetics, but complicated ideas need to be explained through words. The story affects how we feel about our world, and therefore how we play the game. If we hate our enemy, we will fight him differently than if we privately sympathize.
All games contain all four of these elements. And before you say that not all games have a story, let me assure you that, yes, they do. Not all games have a narrative. Even Pac-Man has a story: otherwise he wouldn't be running away from ghosts and eating fruit, he would be running from grey squares and absorbing grey circles.
The key to transferring our experience to our player is by manipulating these four elements. As an example, let's dissect a game and find how its essential experience is translated into its elements. For diversity's sake, let's pick something that's not an RPG, but something that we've all (hopefully) played anyway: Half Life 2.
Now, because I wasn't directly involved in the creation of Half Life 2, I can't say for sure what their exact "essence" was. I've come up with my own imperfect recreation: "The dread of rising against a totalitarian superpower". That doesn't even come close to covering everything in the game, but it's enough to dissect what I want to talk about: City 17. Let's go through bit by bit and examine how this theme is tied through each different element in the opening minutes of Half Life 2.
Technology: The goal of our technology, in this case, is to emphasize and empower the gameplay most important to our essence. In this case, we need a technology that can, among other things: handle complex animations, play multiple sound files at the same time, show facial animations, path-find, aim accurately, and load large areas at a time so that important sections of gameplay can flow uninterrupted. It sounds simple, and yet our own RPG Maker can't handle many of those functions on its own.
Mechanics: In our "totalitarian" theme, Gordon is going to need to be able to take on multiple enemies at the same time. Fighting a superpower won't seem realistic if he only takes soldiers on one by one. And yet, he also needs to be vulnerable. One man fighting a whole government without taking a scratch also isn't in the best service of our essence. The answer was the "shield" bar, which while up greatly decreased the damage Gordon takes enough to fight multiple foes face to face, but while down would have you running for the hills. Also, it's interesting to note that when you are first running away from the Combine your health is greatly decreased. One or two shots could kill you, further carrying the theme. Ordinary people don't stand a chance. It's only Gordon, and only with his suit, that can go toe to toe with the Combine.
Aesthetics: Again, aesthetics is where the player gets most of the information. There is a lot to be learned from the sights and sounds of City 17. Very few people walk the streets, all wearing the same blue jumpsuit. Faceless police patrol everywhere, two for every ordinary citizen, and the walls are barren except for globular clusters of propaganda. Unlike most opening game sequences, no music plays. Only the occasional ambient noise alerts us to the sterility and barrenness of our surroundings. Through all this, the player is given mounds of information without touching a button or hearing a word. Although, the most terrifying aspect of the aesthetics is how ordinary everything is. Except of course the looming tower in the distance, reaching up farther than the eye can see. The aesthetics communicate very clearly to us that this is our world, oppressed. Story: Once getting off of the opening train, all citizens file through a security line. A monitor looms in the distance bearing an older, clean cut man. In one of the best written sequences I have ever seen in gaming, the man responds to a letter from a "concerned citizen". The man discusses how the citizen has a right to be concerned that the human population is no longer allowed to procreate freely, but that his fears are in the wrong place. The enemy is instinct. Instinct is what keeps us animals, and therefore instinct is what must be fought and destroyed. The story clues you in on the complicated idealism that often goes on in a totalitarianism and further affects the way you play. You don't know whether or not the man believes what he is saying, but you hate him more either way.
It's disheartening to look at all this and dwell on the workload and detail required to make such a fantastic game. If you're anything like me, looking at a masterpiece like Half Life 2 makes you a tepid combination of inspired and terrified. We see the intricacy and emotion that these developers pulled from thin air and wonder how we can ever come close to it. We look and see that our vision is attainable, and also how overwhelmingly difficult it is to reach. If you're even more like me you'll have a small panic attack before eating an entire row of Oreos and contemplating how the people at Valve are probably ugly and have bad personalities. But tomorrow, we'll wake up and have another great idea for another game that we don't know how we're going to make time for. And for a moment we'll let ourselves get lost in our own creative power. We'll feel pure emotional ecstasy at the opportunity to share the meaning and the truths we've created with complete strangers.
And then we're back, staring at that shitty, blank notebook, or word processor, or whatever. And the question remains: "What do I want to do?" And now, by understanding the details of what it is that we are doing, we can get one step closer to finding the perfect answer.
Ars Harmonia: Swallowed Alive by the Demon
Chapter 3: Abstruse Acquiescence
Fira's mother didn't know what to expect from the "specialist" her ill guest had requested, but this certainly wasn't it.
"You're Dr. Eigermann, right?" Truth be told, she wasn't sure if the man was supposed to be a doctor or a priest. He wore a golden cross on a pendant and came dressed in a lab coat and bright red tie, the same color as the scraggly, unkempt hair that sat on his shoulders. One look at his attire and the eerily amused smile that was plastered on his face was all she needed to decide that she would never want to be treated by him.
"Call me Erich." The scrawny doctor walked past her, carting a case of equipment behind him. "I understand my friend has been giving you some trouble."
"No, she's been resting for most of the day. It's no trouble, really, but something about her is kind of strange."
"Oh, you have no idea." Erich chuckled, an enigmatic sound which did nothing to quell her nerves. He followed her to the guest room and knelt down at the white-haired stranger's side.
"Do you know what's wrong with her?"
"I have a few guesses. You should probably leave the room. There are some things you're better off not knowing." Although his words roused her curiosity, the intense look in Erich's eyes set off warning flags that told her that trusting him was in her best interests. She nodded stiffly and left the room, closing the door behind her.
"It's unusual to see you in the UP," Erich said once the woman was gone. "It must be one heck of a case to bring you this far south."
"Can we save the banter until after you've cut me open?"
"Straight to the juicy part tonight? Have it your way. If you had to fly me out to see you, then it must be pretty bad. I've only seen you bedridden once before. Poison?"
"Bullets? You're usually pretty good about taking bullets. How many?"
"Thirty-five? God damn, White. Did you get caught up in a gang war?"
"Worse. Police. They came at the wrong time and my prey escaped." She clenched her fist in annoyance as she recalled the events of the previous night, but even that small exertion caused fresh waves of pain to course through her body, provoking a grimace.
"Did they take anything from you?"
The two made small talk as Erich removed the wine-colored sash that held together her flowing, charcoal robes and began to examine her body, which, aside from numerous patches of discoloration, appeared to be completely normal. In spite of the severe injuries she had suffered the night prior, her body bore neither visible scars nor wounds.
"They took everything. I need new equipment," the white-haired woman said as Erich used a black marker to draw a number of X's across her body.
"I'm going to get started. Ready when you are."
The white-haired woman placed a hand over her face and gazed distantly up at the ceiling as the red-haired doctor began to make the first incision. She winced as the procedure began, but it was one she had become reluctantly familiar with. One by one, Erich removed the bullets which were trapped inside her previously unmarked body.
"I'll need to borrow your cross. Without my equipment, I don't have a way to finish it off." She continued the conversation even as he dug into her body, occasionally moaning in pain. Once in a while she flinched, but experience had helped her discipline her body to stay calm even when under the duress of extreme pain. This was nothing.
"A demon? In the UP? I thought you said they never turn up here."
"They don't. That's why I'm here. The thing I fought didn't look like a demon, though."
"Was it one of those contractees, or whatever you call them?"
"No, they don't regenerate. Definitely demonic in origin. On second thought, I might need to borrow your cross for a while."
"Can't you get your supplier up in Bellemont to make you a new sword?"
"What happened to him?"
"That seems to happen to a lot of your partners." Erich paused to take a drink of water, leaving obscene red handprints on the bottle. He glanced at his partner, who coolly returned the gaze in spite of the gruesome state of her body, its delicate pallor marred by cuts and streaks of red. "Is that going to happen to me?"
"Sooner or later," she answered bluntly. "If I tell you not to meddle, then don't meddle. For as long as you can abide by that rule, your life is in no danger."
"That doesn't sound very hard."
"Sooner or later, everyone meddles."
Sighing, Erich went back to work. "Has anyone ever told you that you're jaded?" he remarked while cutting into her thigh.
"I've been told that once or twice."
"That makes thirty-five," Erich announced as he dropped the last bullet onto the tray. Putting down his tools, he stood up and stretched his back. He thoughtlessly wiped a bead of sweat from his brow with a bloody hand, painting a streak of scarlet across his forehead.
"Is it safe to let go?" his patient asked, having held her hand in the same position over her face for the entirety of the operation.
"Just a minute. Let me collect my payment." She had almost forgotten about the arrangement they had made. Since she had no steady form of income (actually, she had no form of income at all; it's not like anyone paid for her services), it was really all she could offer him as compensation. Still, she was glad that their host wasn't in the room, because the ritual proved difficult to explain to other people.
After removing his bloody gloves, Erich produced a camera from his crate and began to circle the mess of a bed that had served as his ad hoc operating table. Like an artist inspecting a recently-completed masterpiece, he drank in the scarlet-streaked sight with a look of intensity and appraisal. Truly, his patient's flawless, pearly body was a canvas upon which he had painted a new great work. This one was far more magnificent than the last. His new piece spoke to him with such fervor that it set his heart aflame with exaltation, nearly sweeping him from his feet with euphoric wonderment.
"Oh, it's wonderful! My God, it's transcendent! I can't wait to show you! A thousand, no, a million of history's finest paintings can't even approximate this beauty!" Erich danced with elation, singing ranting praises for his own work.
The bitter realization that his work would soon be erased permanently brought him back down from his state of ecstasy. Sighing, he went to work doing the only thing he could to preserve his art. The woman who had once again become the canvas upon which this morbid artist had drawn a new outlandish creation gazed wistfully off into the distance as he instructed. Although she had long since discarded her sense of embarrassment, the cold eye of Erich's camera as he feverishly snapped pictures of her nude and mangled form never ceased to rekindle shame's long-forgotten flames. Somehow, the knowledge that the ritual was borne of pure artistic expression rather than erotic obsession made it all the more mortifying.
"Ahh, my friend, truly we are the world's greatest avant-gardes!" Erich sighed with emotion once he was satisfied with the collection of pictures, cradling the camera in his arms like a newborn. "No one in this world has ever pushed the very boundaries that define art itself like us! And I owe it all to you, my dear partner, my muse, my easel and my masterpiece."
"Can we discuss the profundity of your art after I've healed? I'm still bleeding and I'd rather stop."
"Yes, yes, do what you wish. I won't cry, even if you destroy my creation mere minutes after its completion. Smother my newborn fresh from the womb. I won't cry, I won't!" His partner sighed and removed her hand from her head. Immediately, the countless incisions in her body began to close. Soon, there was no evidence left at all that she had just been the subject of a rather gruesome surgery, save for the blood that was still smeared across her body. Once her body was fully restored, she slowly sat upright and flexed her left arm.
"How do you feel?"
"Good as new. I appreciate it, Erich."
"Well, it had to be done sooner or later. You won't do a very good job sneaking up on demons when you're jingling like a penny jar. Spare your thanks for when I've immortalized you as the subject of the greatest work of art man has ever known."
"Stick to what you're good at." The white-haired woman garbed herself in her now-bloodied robes and stood up. She would have to ask to use the shower, but she was loathe to see the expression upon her host's face as soon as she laid eyes upon her blood-streaked form.
"As an artist, I resent that! ...But as a medical practitioner, thank you. Still, this insult to my talents will not soon be forgotten!" The newly-rejuvenated woman exited the room, leaving him to his ranting.
Send in the Slimes!
I've always found it odd that, despite the havoc that these Chosen Ones cause for the Big Bad Guy, he doesn't seem to care all that much. A prophecy predicting your downfall at the hands of specific persons? Bah! Throw some slimes at 'em!
Now, in terms of general game design, this is not a bad thing. It only makes sense to face off against the weaker enemies first. But in the context of the game world and story, it just doesn't make sense for the Big Bad to throw his most powerful foes at you only until he's given you enough practice to defeat them.
An obvious solution, of course, is to make the Big Bad oblivious and have the heroes face off against common monsters not loyal to Lord SuperDeath. However, I have a different solution.
This was an idea I had in one of my long-abandoned projects (because God forbid that I actually finish something). It was based on the cliché that something goes horribly wrong. See Final Fantasy 3 (I think; it's been a long time).
The idea was that these monsters don't know anything about the world; they've come from a dark land full of different threats. While they get accustomed to their new land, they're going to be fairly weak. Perhaps all monsters come from slimes who gradually adapt to their respective environments. This could lead to enemy variants or mutations in random battles that are both advantageous and disadvantageous.
A wacky example would be a fish with legs. It is a land encounter, but is also immune to water attacks. As the game goes on, the monsters become more suited to the world and adapted to its dangers, making them progressively more difficult to kill. Essentially, they're "levelling up" with the player outside of a design context.
There are, of course, many other solutions, but I'm not going to do all the work for you.
Special Thanks To: kaz: For putting up with and for supporting X-M-O along the way! KD648: Contributed an amazing article to the SNaV! Kread-EX: Script Highlights, general notices, and for his smile! Sailerius: Ars Harmonia The Law G14: Moderator Staff Highlights Titanhex: Moderator Staff Highlights