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Quest Tracking
by -3-
20th Jan 2021, 10:55 AM
I made mention of using Variables rather than Switches to track quest progress.
Let's take a closer look at what i meant. To illustrate the process, we'll need a simple quest. So, let's say that Moon & Teela were roughhousing with B.D. and he tore up Moon's outfit in the process...

What's a girl to do? She already needed a new dress and swimwear - best go take care of all three in one single shopping trip. 'Duardo doesn't do swimwear, so it's off to Kinky World...

Kinky World sells a lot of small items and things worn under clothing. For security purposes, they require all customers to leave their clothing at the entrance. So - to make our little Shopping Quest, we'll need to keep track of a few things...

Moon must be naked to shop. That's easy, as it's a standard flag in the game. (Naked/Not Naked)
Moon must visit 3 Departments and make a selection in each one. But, i don't want to force the player to shop in a particular order, so we need to keep the sequencing flexible. And we'll need to track which items she selects so they're ready for her at Checkout.

Typically, tutorials teach using Switches to track things. We have 3 Departments to visit - 3 switches. Each department has 3 Items offered - another 3 switches for each. 3 + 9 = 12 switches.

So our Quest might be laid out like so:

Quest Active - Switch 1
Arrive at Kinky World - Switch 2
Get Naked - Preset Standard, no new switch needed
Visit First Department - Switch 3
Choose Item - Switch 4, 5, or 6
Visit Second Department - Switch 7
Choose Item - Switch 8, 9, or 10
Visit Third Department - Switch 11
Choose Item - Switch 12, 13, or 14
Go To Checkout, Pay & Receive Purchases - Switch 15 (possibly more, depending on how handled)
Return Home - Switch 16
End Quest - Turn Off Switch 1

While this system certainly works, we can see how rapidly we'd be spawning new switches to serve our needs over the span of the game. I find that a modified version of what Bethesda uses for the Elder Scrolls & FallOut games serves me better.

Instead of multiple Switches, we're going to track most of it with a single Variable and a few Self-Switches.

Our Quest Variable:

Quest Active - +1000 = 001000

Why are we starting at 1000 for our first stage instead of just 10 or 100? Because we're keeping the 3 lower digits open to track our purchases.

Arrive at Kinky World - +1000 = 002000
Get Naked - Preset Standard, no new switch needed
Visit First Department - +1000 = 003000

Each Department has its own Self-Switches. We'll set one after the Player visits so the Department knows it's already done with this Quest. That way, if the Player visits the same Department twice, the system will know not to run the routine again.

Choose Item - +? = 00300?

Since we're allowing the Player to visit the Departments in any order, that question mark might actually be in the Ones, Tens, or Hundreds slot depending on which they're currently visiting. For convenience, we'll do them in ascending order, but it's really up to the Player's choices as to which comes first.
Since they have 3 item choices, their selection will determine what digit is used. Let us assume that Moon has chosen the 3rd item offered, so we add 3. This sets our variable at 003003.

Visit Second Department - +1000 = 004003
Choose Item - +?0 = 0040?3

Each Department's choice is listed in a different slot, so this one gets multiplied by 10 making our selection 10, 20, or 30. Let's take the second offering this time, just to avoid the 3 obsession. So we add 20, making our total 004023

Visit Third Department - +1000 = 005023
Choose Item - +?00 = 005?23

What a surprise - Moon picks the 3rd choice once again, so we add 3x100, 300, bringing our total up to 005323

Go To Checkout, Pay & Receive Purchases - + 1000 = 006323

Now that we've reached the CheckOut Point, we'll need to give Moon her purchases. But we can't just check to see which Switches are turned on to deliver the goods. Since we're using the single Variable, we'll have to do a simple check. We know that the Variable will be 006??? at this point. If it's less than 5000 when they arrive at CheckOut, they'll be sent back to finish shopping first. Then we'll have to set a Disambiguation table. That just reads the number incrementally to sort things out.
We know the value of the Variable will be over 6000 at this point. So we check to see if it's Greater Than 6300. If so, we know Moon made the 3rd choice for that item. If not, we check to see if it's over 6200. If so, Moon picked item 2. If not, obviously she picked item 1. However, you can still run a check to be sure it's over 6100 just to be sure nothing went wrong. Generally, that's a superfluous step, but i sill like to build in Error Codes that let me know what when wrong if things fail. Either way, the system now knows to give her the third item selection for that category -

Run through the same process twice more...

...and we'll have all three selections added into her inventory (after payment, of course)...

Return Home - +1000 = 007323

And now her shopping is finished and she can relax in her new outfit...

Or not.

End Quest - Set Variable to 010000

Now we've only used a single new Variable for the Quest instead of nearly a dozen and a half new Switches. Much less code clutter with only a bit of extra effort at the end to deliver the purchases.

(Special Thanks to Moon for suggesting the images to illustrate this post. Blog posts have been piling up for lack of pics to accompany them.)
They're Fun AND Useful.
by -3-
5th Nov 2020, 1:03 AM
I noted that Replay is a big factor in designing the game. In part, that means Variation - and Lots of it. While Random Variation definitely has it's place, the game would rapidly feel chaotic if one left all to chance. So we want Intelligent Variation where possible.

One way to achieve this is with Character Customization. During the Character Selection phase, after choosing Eileen, Ben, Kelly, or Gene the Player is given ways to customize them. Because we're dealing with set characters with their own pre-established back stories, we don't have the freedom one would have with a full Character Creation system. This inherently minimizes the potential for Variation. But it does speed things up considerably since we're only adding finishing touches to our Chosen One.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Gene doesn't receive the same options as a part of his game start. In fact, after selecting Gene the start is completely different. We'll talk about him later on.

(Gene is different in SO Many ways)

For the other Three, first we choose the Background Bonus. Essentially, we're deciding what they've been doing with their free time until now. Hitting the Gym? The Books? The Dojo? The Track? The Sack? The...?
This allows the Player to set the PC's primary strength, so as to lean into the particular play style they have in mind. Is the character stronger than typical? Faster? More Perceptive? More Educated? A Slacker? Basically, what were they doing with themselves before the game started?
This allows automatic variation right from the beginning.
A higher Perception would be able to spot hidden TransMat Nodes, lost items, secret treasures...
Greater Education might offer more Reply and Choice options, receive more information during Events, Recognize secrets...
More Strength is good in combat, of course, but might also allow the PC to access areas blocked to others.
Higher Stamina and Agility are good for more than just sex, too.
There are about a dozen Background Bonuses from which to choose at this point. More may follow.
This is all pretty standard for Role Playing Games (RPGs), though often it's more geared toward combat situations. I'll tell you straight up, Understanding and Knowledge will get you further than combat skills in The Third Colony.

I have a secondary stage planned for the Customization, but not yet enacted, wherein you pick your character's Hobby. I'm waiting a bit to see what Skills prove most useful and/or most interesting before compiling the final Skill Table and putting it into use, but it's simply a bonus to the PC's starting level for their chosen skill. (Skills, like most stats, run on a 1-100 scale -  a limit which can be surpassed.)

All of the above choices can open paths not available to PCs without them. Some lead to People, Places, and Things that can enhance the PC or provide special bonuses. Branching variations are pre-set by Character Customization choices. One thing to remember when crafting your own game - features like these are only as good as you make them. There have to be plenty of opportunities built into the game world for the player to take advantage of their Bonuses and Skills, and preferably unique ways to solve problems using them. The same is true with any Powers or other Specials that you put in your world...  Make Them Count.

Now we move on to the More Uncommon engines of Variation in T3C...

Having seen some of the 'dark side' of the game, it may seem natural that after the basic bonus & skill, next comes Fetishes & Traits.
The Player is prompted to choose the PC's Known Fetish. Everybody has fetishes, even if they're not aware. Here we presume that the Character is self-aware enough to know a primary fetish in their head. Or, at least, that their Player knows. We also have unknown fetishes, lurking deep in our heads waiting to be discovered by circumstance - or perhaps even induced through intense experience. But, that's for later in the game.

(One never knows the sort of trouble a particular fetish might invite. (Yes, this is The Naked Time club again.))

Fetishes have multiple aspects and impacts. For example, Besides the sexual arousal aspect, Bondage might make one more vulnerable, or less resistant, in a capture situation. But, it might also make one more knowledgable with Ropes and Bindings, perhaps allowing for easier escapes and, conversely, for better skill at securing a captive malefactor. A Submissive fetish would also allow one bonuses in undercover roles, being more practised at sublimating impulses. A Technophiliac is likely to have bonuses when dealing with technological troubles. All Fetishes have applications outside of the obvious Personal Factor. With the (possible) exception of Hydrostatophilia. (Though that might up one's defences in the unlikely event of a Shikima incursion. At least in the absence of any school girl ninjas.)

(Definitely Not what's happening here. This is simply an unplanned visit to the Alien Zoo.)

So Fetishes induce both strengths and vulnerabilities in the character. They may also open up avenues not available to other characters. There is an excellent Q (supplier & developer of gear for SuperHeroes) who will only deal with Technophiliacs. There are powerful NPCs who can be most easily found in places like Bondage Clubs where only those with the proper Fetish are welcome. A submissive might be Recognized by a Dom/me who can offer a path to power, money, or success.
Fetishes don't only potentially affect game play, they forge opportunities as well, and can dramatically change character interactions. They can become a major source of Variation in the game.

Traits can make a difference as well. Some merely affect small encounters, others can play a major factor. Sensitive Nipples may be fun, but Sponge can be a huge advantage. The term Sponge refers to Mental Absorption - being able to skim a database and soak up the information - at least on a short term basis, possibly long term, depending on how developed the trait might be. Currently, Traits are Not subject to Player control. They're each assigned random values between 1-100 and remain hidden until situationally triggered. This adds an element of Uncontrollable Variation to the game with less influence than Fetishes, but still potentially significant. While I've thought about ceding control of Traits to the Player and giving them a pool of points to spend on them, i don't think that'll happen. And if it does, i'll probably exempt a few like Sponge and Luck to keep Players from stacking their points in them. That's kind of counter to the whole Variation notion.

The decisions made by the Player and actions of the PC cause little changes here, major shifts there, and secret triggers where' they're not looking. And PoD9 itself has its own ongoing stories, with Variations inherent there as well. (This will be a post before too long) For now, suffice it to say that there are a lot of background stories, politics, and happenings that go on outside of the Player's influence, and they're not all fixed. A Hero might capture a Villain in one game, let him escape in another, or lose and be captured in third Variation. Much of the time, that might not mean more than a different version of stories appearing in the Daily News. Other times, it may have repercussions on other on-going stories, causing more changes down the line.

(Seriously. One never knows the sort of trouble a particular fetish might invite. That's Izanami with the paddle. She's basically this world's Kolchak, and Gene is her great white  whale  monster.)

What all this means is that even before the Game starts, the Variations have already begun, sometimes in completely unpredictable ways. So i get to have fun playing it, even if my rotting brain actually still remembers what i did while making it.
Let's talk about SuperVillains
by -3-
18th Oct 2020, 4:52 AM
The best Heroes are often defined, in part, by their villains. And along the way, every Hero tends to pick up a Nemesis.
Superman's Luthor.
Batman's Joker.
Captain America's Red Skull.
The Fantastic Four's Dr. Doom.

So, when building a game with SuperHeroes & Villains, that can be a very important aspect. Now, you know i've made mention of mirror cracked versions of villains populating the game world, like the G.C. Rejects...

...but those are the villains who tend to fight the other heroes already active in the world.
Our new hero is going to want villains of their own to face. They'll still encounter the others, of course, and perhaps team-up with the heroes the villains usually face.

Another consideration for T3C is the Replay factor. That's always important for me; not just for the obvious reason of making the game more entertaining to play more than once. There's the reason that only applies to me - the more unpredictable variations at play, the more fun it is for me to play since i don't automatically know what will happen. So just having a fresh group of stock villains to use is less than ideal.
Though we DO, of course, have a fresh group of stock villains. Not all may appear in any given game, however. I try to build a pool of players greater than the expected need and let the system draw upon them as needed. This also should help let the game go on longer and still be able to add in fresh elements.

As you may recall from the earlier post on how our Hero develops their Power, one of the triggers is Origins. Events may have a potential Origin Trigger built in to them, and if the PC is plateaued and ready to "Level Up" in power, they may have an Origin to determine the nature of that Power Increase.
To keep things interesting, the PC is not the only one who can be the recipient of an Origin Incident. Many NPCs have potential Origins built in to their character. If an event goes unused and there is a viable candidate near, the system may decide to involve them.

If an NPC does have an Origin and become empowered, they made decide to go Hero or Villain, with odds based on the character's disposition. And this gives us a new and varied pool of heroes and villains that may arise during the game.
However, it would take a fairly insane(r) amount of effort to build detailed 'career plans' for every potential character, complete with all of the Events necessary to make it happen. And new characters who don't actually do anything are of exceedingly little value. Mere set decorations.

So instead each is given a Profile. And we have a set of Career Plans for Heroes and Villains in our System Library. Each Career Plan has a Profile, too. When a new Hero/Villain becomes active, Their Profile is matched to eligible Career Plans and a random decision is assigned. The Career Path itself is a framework with some variable freedom built in. If a certain type of crime is called for, there may be multiple locations the would suit the need, and it would randomly choose instead of having a fixed target every time. A Framework may have variable path options that open only to certain power sets. Or may have variable paths the open based on the PC's power sets to better counter the player. There are other potential variables, but you can see the sort of flexibility i'm working for from these examples.

So this should allow the semi-random new villains to grow along with our new hero.

So now we start tracking encounters - wins & losses, possible humiliations, even imagined slights.
As our new villains accumulate points in various categories, they climb higher in our hero's Rogue's Gallery until one of them reaches Nemesis status and begins to accrue extra Bonus and new Power to make them more dangerous - as usually happens in the comics.
And, of course, a Nemesis has a greater Career Plan, so now they switch up on that and open up the new plotlines accompanying the position with appropriate obsessive focus on the PC Hero.

And just to be mean, many of those various Master Plans share the same opening steps. One might think they know what the villain is up to based on previous experience, and then they suddenly veer off and do something else on you.


And in the end, we've got an Arch-Nemesis that evolves naturally over the game and rises up to be the Big Bad instead of a single fixed villain. So even the game designer has no clue how things will turn out when i play.

Of course, it's all theoretical. The game isn't yet built for long-term play. The world and characters and support structures are all being constructed, but i'm only now getting to working on the day-to-day routines and filler to run things over time. The longest test game of any sort so far ran for only two weeks. And that got pretty sparse. To test these mechanics will require months of game time passing, and that's a lot of playing.

In more ways than one, only time will tell.
But it looks good on paper.

So You Want To Make A Shapechanger...
by -3-
13th Oct 2020, 2:03 AM
I'm going to try something a little different today. This is a How-To article for making a shapechanging character using RPG Maker MV. The same basic principles apply for the MZ and older RPG Maker editions, so far as i know. But the screens are all for using RMMV.

A Shapechanger is actually a very easy thing to do, even with the default assets. So that's what we'll use here.
The first thing, of course, is a character.

Let's go with Eileen, the first PC choice in T3C...

Oops. Looks like Eileen's been getting into the Lactacid. Guess we'd better call Kelly instead...

Next, we'll need to pick a shape, or some shapes, into which we can change. Let's choose 3, for some odd reason. For variety, we'll choose a Dog (1), a Horse (2), and a Skeleton (3).  Now, we could use a separate Switch for each form, but i prefer to just use a single Variable. We set 0 as the base, unchanged form, then number our choices. Now a simple check of our Variable, let's call it SHAPE tells us that if it's equal to 1 or greater, shapechanging is active. That makes it easy for Universal conditions. For example, most animals cannot open a door. So we put an extra event page on all doors in areas where shapechanging might take place. (In my game's case, everywhere).
We set the page Conditions to If SHAPE >= 1, like so:

In the code for the Shapechange flagged page above, the first thing it does is check to see if the player is in Skeleton form (Shape 3), since skeletons have hands and can use doorknobs. If so, the door operates as normal. If not, then they get the text message.

I find this method to be more elegant than having one Switch to indicate shapechange and another to indicate form, or having to make multiple pages, one checking for each Switch.

But now that we have our shapes and know how we're going to track our shapeshifted forms, we have one more major decision. How is the player going to change forms? If you're using a magic system, you might have one spell for each creature, or a single spell that allows choice.
In T3C, the player can call up a Powers menu with a hotkey (P) and access Shapechange from the Powers menu. That requires using a Plug-in and we're looking a default system at the moment, so we'll come back to that another time.
For now, let us go the easiest route and give them an Item Of Power - a Totem from the Animal Guardian who granted the power to our PC.

As we see over in Effects, using the Totem calls the Shapechange Common Event -

You might note i tend to include some extra steps. It isn't really necessary to check what form the PC is already in. Changing from Dog to Dog simply wouldn't do anything. It's merely a bit of polish.
There are 4 lines for each actual change - the first simply adds an animated glow effect instead of simply having the sprite change shape.
The next line sets our Variable so the system knows what form the PC has assumed.
The next sets the system graphics for the character  (See the inset with the Dog face & walk in the lower left dark zone.)
The final line sets the PC movement speed. This is there so that we can make the horse move faster than normal - but we need it on the others to be sure they move properly in case the PC changes from Horse to another form.

That's all that's needed for the basics of shapechanging. The code we did with the door above can be adapted to any sort of restrictions you care to apply...

And you can reverse it, too. For example, a tunnel might be too small for any form except the Dog to enter it. Just use what we did with the skeleton - only the dog can pass, everyone else is too big. But be sure to apply it to the main screen so Human form can't enter.

Of course, once you have your shapechanging set, people need to react properly...

That would be pretty strange if he spoke to an animal that way. Instead...

We do this using the same basic flagging system we used on the door...

If the SHAPE Variable is 1 or greater, it goes to the Animal Talk options instead of his normal.
Note that i also include an ERROR report if the number is higher than it should be. It's another unnecessary step, but putting error reports in your code can save you hours, days, even weeks of aggravation later.

The process is all quite simple.
The trick is spending the time and effort to make your world recognize and respond accordingly to the changes you allow so that the player feels like the character is actually changing with the graphics. And it really helps to be thinking of ways to exploit the shapechanges while building your game. The tunnel example used above is a good way to hide bonus treasure or shortcuts to the player's goal. It gives a reason for wanting to be able to change shapes - and that makes having the power simply Better.

As Always, it's how you use those simple tools that counts.

On Power And Variation
by -3-
8th Oct 2020, 11:48 PM
I previously mentioned in a couple of days from now how Kelly's superpowers are unspecified, and manifestation is keyed to three factors - Preparation, Happenstance, and Origin.

Lets talk about that design mechanic today.

Sorry. The joke is too old for most of you.
(These are some of the potential Temporary Costumed Identities usable during Kelly's Trainee period, before adopting her actual Hero Identity.)

One thing i really dislike is a game where everything is pre-set and the player is just walking through a series of fixed scenarios. (Well, okay - that can work to an extent with 4X games where you play through once and then are playing maps instead of story. But this ain't that.) But i love a game that i can play again and have an new and different experience in the process. So that becomes the basis of a lot of game design decisions.

For SuperPowers, there are a variety of types including Heat, Cold, and Energy manipulation; Enhanced Strength, Stamina, Speed, etc.,; Magick disciplines; Shapechanging; and a variety of Combat and Techno based powersets.

(ALL Trainees are required to take Physical Combat courses, even those who don't specialize in such things)

As Kelly trains, she increases her Potential Power Pool (PPP). During this time, she'll be studying different courses that build her Preparation Profile. When her PPP reaches a Threshold level, she's Ripe to blossom a new power manifestation. This doesn't happen immediately - it starts a countdown timer. During this time, she could encounter a potential Origin Trigger. Origin Triggers are built into scenarios as potentials that may or may not occur. If one occurs with the PC while Ripe, that will shape the manifestation.

For example - if Kelly was caught in a firebomb, it could trigger a Pyro Origin with fire control powers manifesting, or leveling up if already present.

If the countdown timer runs out with no Origin encounters, then the manifestation falls to Preparations and Happenstance. Happenstance means that there are Random Potential factors at play, ranging from Cosmic Storms and Lullaby Festivals to simple die rolls. Happenstance has the potential to override Preparation. Otherwise, powers are based on what the PC has been preparing for. Study Magick, gain Magic Power.

Once a power manifests, the Potential Power Pool begins to regenerate again.

As you might extrapolate, this all can lead to a great difference in power sets and thus optimal approaches to problems. And the player doesn't have complete control over how things develop, only influence.

That by itself can lead to great replay variety. But let's add to that.
A Hero is more than just their powers and skills. There's Costume and Gear, most obviously. There are a number of Costumers and Qs scattered throughout the game world. We're talking Bond, not Trek. (Although...)
Some of these folks operate fairly openly and are easy to find. Some require introduction/recommendation. Some are hidden and only discovered through circumstancial encounters and hidden triggers. (Meaning there's a good chance you won't know what you did to open the path to find them last time you played the game.)
Which costumes are available might not seems like a big deal, but that include what materials are available. How much damage can your suit absorb? Things like that can make a big difference.

The A-Listers
(Say what you will, they've all proven themselves in Alien Invasions and other Major Emergencies)

While Kelly is in Training with the Registry, there is a Veteran Mentor Program. The top dozen heroes are contractually obligated to help train the new generation, and Trainees get partnered with them for "work experience" and first hand guidance. Based on who the PC is partnered with, both Training and Connections will vary. The PC can apply to be partnered with a specific Veteran, but in the end it's subject to Assignment by the Trinity Council.

This, too, will shape the options available to the player...

How bad do I want an A in Interrogation?
(Go ahead and try to imagine what sort of Connections Pink Cherry would introduce our Tainees to during their Education. And pay no attention to the pole.)

...or maybe just shape the player character.
Tom Cat would have just taught her where the pain pressure points were located while beating a thug for examples.

By the way - you might have noticed that Pink Cherry there was the one playing "Nurse" in the previous blog post. She and Pairadox were pranking the new girl to check her out. I suspect we'll take a peek at that on the blog before too long. And, yes - that's one of the Red Hood Gang.

So far, we've only talked about how Kelly's character path can vary. The same holds true for the other PCs, of course, though in different ways. But the world also has its own stories and variations, so things may not be quite the same as the last time one played the game. Those miners didn't collapse that tunnel onto those molemen triggering an uprising. That NPC got caught in an Origin this time, and now they're a new Hero/Villain in the mix. The cops caught Red Menace before he reclaimed his gear and there was no rampage this time. Et cetera, etc.,.

Things feel more alive to me when they're not all fixed in photons.

(But, yeah - i make ridiculous amounts of extra work for myself doing things this way)

T3C - Under The Hood
by -3-
6th Oct 2020, 1:33 AM
Let's talk about potentially the most devisive thing about The Third Colony - my choice of game engine.

I decided to build T3C using RPG Maker MV. The RPG Maker engine has a Very mixed reputation, and some deeply hate it and wish it would vanish from the face of the Earth. (I bet they hate that a new generation, MZ, came out last month.)

But the truth is, most of what they hate isn't really the engine - it's many of the games built with RPG Maker. You see, RPGM's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: It makes things so easy that anybody can make a game.
But that means that anybody can make a game. Clue owner or not.
And that means a drenload of games that often aren't really games - just a path through somebody's demo world, at best. Too often they come across as a lesson in how Not to design and build a game.  But that's all on the builders, not the tool.

Other issues are justifiable annoyances - such as the complaint that the system builds games that are too damn small. Very valid complaint. And i'll add that it's stuck in old-mode aspect ratios, unsuited to today's widescreen monitors.
Thankfully, we have Plug-ins to the rescue. While the basic game engine does a lot, it does have limitations. Most of those can be changed with plug-ins. Ignoring the default limits, T3C is sized at 1280x720, and that was my choice to keep it that small. 1080p or higher is an option, but i wanted to keep the size of the graphics down and make sure it would run on my old laptop. So 720p it is.
The entire system is built with javascript, and therefore is highly expandable using javascript. Fortunately, other folks are out there doing that so you don't have to.

Another obvious, and valid, complaint is that the games all look alike. Not surprising given that most use the built-in graphics for their games. And worse, they use only the default graphics and character sheets. Even if you can't draw, there is a character generator built into the engine so new character sprites can be made. It's only laziness or cluelessness that leads to using those same characters that appear in every other game. And with only minimal work, both the character graphics and the tilesets used to build the maps can be expanded using Free downloaded art.  Adding pictures to the game is as simple as droppng PNG files into the pictures directory. 
Again, it's not a true system limitation. With T3C, i'm using some default assets for map building and some custom graphics. The ratio on that keeps changing as i add more custom map tiles over time. The character sprites don't use the default system at all; i decided to go with rendered sprites for the on-screen characters. It added so much more flexibility, so now i can essentially use Idles. If one is familiar with games like Skyrim and FallOut, Idles are the animations that PCs and NPCs use when they're not walking around. A blacksmith hammering steel, a hooker waggling her wares, a cook preparing a meal ... all idles.
The perception that all RPG Maker games look alike doesn't mean that they Must look alike.

RPGM is much more combat focused than really suits my game, but that's okay. We can ignore much of that. (Actually, there are several different "combat systems" in the game, and more planned. Strip Mud-Wrestling anyone?)
What suits me quite well with this engine is simple world building. I'm not making a Visual Novel nor constructing a Path Through The Woods. I'm making a Game with a world to explore. And i wanted to focus on building that world and solving the challenges presented along the way. For that, the simplicity of the system serves admirably.

We'll discuss some of the other apparent limitations and how they may or may not apply as we look more at the game building side of things here on the blog. We'll also talk a bit about game design and perhaps some of the other tools used.
But, for now - it feels like i've been babbling for a bit, so i'm going to stfu.

Damn. It feels wrong to not have some imagery in the post, but i can't think of anything really relevant to the discussion to use.
Screw it -

And they said it was Money that made the world go 'round...
(It may come as a shock to learn that's not really a Nurse fondling Kelly)

You don't mind that it's unrelated to the engine, right?