Gaming Pixie's Stuff - Ephemera

When Art Becomes Obligation

One of Jenny's worlds
One of Jenny’s worlds
I’m going to finish She Who Fights Monsters. I’ve been tethered to this game for a while and I want it done so I can move on to other things without having to think about it so much anymore. I’m also doing the best I can to do its ideas some justice given what I planned it to be and what I have to work with. I think it’ll turn out well for a first game that wasn’t made in Twine, but I wish I had started–and followed through with it–differently.

The game began as a submission for the Experimental Gameplay Workshop. To no one’s surprise, it didn’t get in (the alpha version was extremely rough), but I mostly just used that as an excuse to jump into an idea I’d been toying with for a while. And when I’d never touched RPG Maker before and everything in it was new, it seemed like the perfect dev tool.

Then I started running into its limitations. Having come in from the freedom of Twine, those limits became really frustrating. That feeling of frustration makes working with the thing seem like a drudge or a wrestling match sometimes; I wish that I had started off in Unity instead of, in some ways, wasting my time with a program I’ll quickly outgrow.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad I’m making this game even if the means and results aren’t everything I expected. It’s the sort of thing I would’ve eventually done anyway and even might redo once I have more skills. I just hate feeling trapped by it, knowing that if I do something else I really want to do, I might not get back to this game for a long, long time. And in the meantime, I’d feel bad for leaving it neglected.

Though I often enjoy working on it, I think the main reason I’ll finish the game within the next few weeks is because I’m tired of looking at it and want to move on, and I’ve delayed the release month already. I think the main thing I’ve learned from this is not to give games release dates or definite timeframes until I’m fairly sure I’ll want to finish them by then.

She Who Fights Monsters: Game Delayed

Due to life circumstances (namely a new day job and… well… dealing with stage fright), it’s unlikely I’ll have She Who Fights Monsters done by the end of this month. I probably could if I rushed through it, but I want to give myself the time I need to make this game decent and the emotional space I need to stop freaking out over what may or may not happen when I release the finished game to the wild. But I’m pretty sure I can have it done my the end of May.

Once I’ve settled into my new schedule and a new life in general, I have plans for other games, too. The first thing on my mind is a much-expanded version of the game I made for the Cyberpunk Jam. Next up? Getting friendly with Unity so I can try other stuff.

Or, depending on how things go, maybe I could do both at once.

(Also, I’ve made some little changes to the demo. It now has the current sprites for Jenny and her father as well as a more obvious path to a certain semi-hidden feature. You can get the latest version here.)

She Who Fights Monsters: The Memory Bloom

After dealing with some personal issues, I’m finally back to working on She Who Fights Monsters in earnest. I’m mainly focusing on the art assets right now since, for me, those are the hardest to focus on. I like drawing sometimes, but I generally don’t LOVE it; I actually have more fun sorting through the technical stuff and making new things work. But art/design is very important in determining how well things work from a gameplay experience standpoint, and I’d rather have the real thing there when possible instead of just placeholders. (And, of course, I also want to just get it out of the way.)

The Memory Bloom
The Memory Bloom

One of my favorite things from the game is the Memory Bloom. Right now, I’m mainly taking care of some art associated with that. It’s not new; it’s in the demo if you look for it. In the final version, it will still be semi-hidden, but hopefully, it’ll be easy to find as long as you’re paying attention to certain visual clues.

The Memory Bloom has a major role in determining which ending you get. The game will have a total of three: a default and two others that only become accessible via the Memory Bloom. The Bloom lets you view some of Jennifer’s hidden memories–ones that don’t appear during the main part of the game. What you do with what you find decides who Jennifer becomes.

Sort of like dealing with memories made in the course of real life.

Offline Versions Now Free

The offline versions of Eden and Shadow of a Soul are free now. You can donate if you like, but it’s not required to access the games any more than it is to play them online.

I made them free because I want people to play and share my games–and I’ve found that if you’re new or unknown, not offering them for free shuts you out of being able to promote them in quite a few venues. Moreover, almost no one pays anyway, and what little I might get doesn’t offset that lack of publicity. So… yeah. Just chalking that up to a failed experiment. But I do enjoy making games, and it always makes my day when someone tells me they like my work. Whatever increases the chances of that is a step I’m willing to take.

To people who have donated or purchased or might in the future, I really appreciate it. Not only is it encouraging; I definitely need the money.

Take care,

Signed, The Pixie.

RPG Maker VX Ace: Pros and Cons

So I’ve been working with RPG Maker VX Ace for almost three months now. In that time, I’ve gotten fairly used to how it works and what it can do–and certain things it does poorly. In the interest of other folks out there who might want to use it in their game-making endeavors, here’s my take on the thing.

RPG Maker VX Ace is… okay. If I only wanted to make typical JRPG-style games that only run on Windows, I’d likely think it was awesome. But since I want to do more than that, for me, it’s just okay and often kind of frustrating when I run into its limits.

Certain things that seem like they should be built-in options (more than four selections from “choice” menus, having your characters’ sprites show on the battlefield, an obvious way to add a condition for “Make this special thing happen when this technique is used in this battle”, options to animate enemies–or your battle sprites, for that matter, etc.) can only be done with scripts. And it can be quite an adventure finding scripts you’re allowed to use in commercial games. Moreover, the scripting language RPG Maker uses 1)might as well be Martian to me and 2)is pretty much useless to me outside of RPG Maker. Twine uses JavaScript, CSS and HTML. Unity uses either UnityScript, Boo, or C#–it’s your choice. But to use RPG Maker’s capabilities to the full, I’d have to learn this new language from the ground up that, as far as I’m concerned, is only good for that one thing: making RPG Maker games. (more…)

Raziel: Original Version

Note: To learn more about how this one happened and the thought process that went into it, please read this post. Basically, it’s the product of my first game jam.

This is the original version of Raziel, the Twine game I created for the Cyberpunk Jam. It’s simple. It’s quick. It’s something that eventually got an RPG Maker version, and even that has at least some chance of evolving into something else just because for that version’s clearly experimental nature, there’s something about it I really like.

[Play Original Version of Raziel]

My First Game Jam

You can play the game I made here. OR… play the upgraded version.

Last night, I finished my first game that I made as part of a game jam. Well, not finished, exactly; more like managed to put together something serviceable that kind of makes sense, even if I didn’t get to do nearly as much I wanted to with it. Anyway, the game jam in question was the Cyberpunk Jam. All the games are listed here. And I have to say it was an interesting experience.

I wasn’t even sure I’d participate until it was half over. I didn’t have any ideas and, frankly, I just didn’t think I could do anything worthwhile. But as I was taking a shower one day, a weird question popped into my mind:

“Use the Augment? Y/N”

That question plus another wouldn’t leave my thoughts. I had to do SOMETHING with them, and they were definitely inspired thanks to the Cyberpunk Jam. I decided 1)yes, I’d participate and  2)since I needed to put this together very quickly, I’d go back to my old friend Twine.

There were so many ideas I had for what I wanted to do. But first, I had to figure out the basic details of the story. That took my a day or two. Then came the real obstacle: there was so much I wanted to do and not nearly enough time for me to do it right. It’s like my creativity was cannibalizing itself as every thought led to what I couldn’t do and how little time there was and what’s the point and it’s gonna suck and what were you thinking etc. I really started hating the time limit and feeling so confined.

Then, with mere hours left to go, I faced my nagging inner critic and asked, “So, what do you want me to do?” The critic had no answer and (surprisingly) shut up.

From that point on, the project was fun. Once I accepted the limits (for now; I WILL work more with this game later) and worked with them instead of against them, it was much easier than expected to get something done. No, it isn’t nearly what I wanted it to be. But I survived and I did make something I wouldn’t have made otherwise. Something that I’m sure I’ll sculpt into something much better one day.

The end result was a short Twine game called Raziel. You can play it here. Since then, I’ve also created a new version in RPG Maker VX Ace.

RPG Maker VX Ace: Your Files and You

A week or so ago on As the Pixie Turns, my demo for She Who Fights Monsters was delayed for a couple of days due to a technical mishap. What happened is since there’s no “Save As” feature in RPG Maker, I copy-and-pasted my game project files into another project directory, and I planned to edit THAT project to make the demo.

For reasons that I now forget (probably wanting to tweak the map data in the master project and use the improved versions in the demo), I decided to delete the maps in the demo project. Which, in case you missed it, was a completely separate entity from the project I copied it from. So I did the deletions, saved the project, closed it and opened the master project… only to find that all the maps were suddenly gone from there, too.

Now, if you haven’t used RPG Maker, maps are where the program stores ALL your layout data: where things are positioned, what events/scripts are triggered and where, what areas look like, etc. Basically, if a map is deleted, the area is gone forever. If all your maps are gone and they’re not supposed to be, well…. That’s a freak out-worthy event. And somehow, messing with a completely separate project did this to the main one. My best guess is it happened because the master project and the would-be demo were stored in the same directory at the same level, even though they were in different folders. Don’t try to make sense of it. It’s just what the program does.


How to Copy and Backup RGP Maker Files Safely

First off, a usage note. If you delete a map from your RPG Maker VX Ace Project, you can’t undo it. The menu’s Undo option will be greyed out. So when the dialogue box asks you if you’re sure you want to delete it, it’s being completely serious.

Now on to the copy and backup stuff. Here’s the safest way to copy a project: (more…)

She Who Fights Monsters: NEW DEMO!

After a harrowing misadventure that involved technical mishaps, piecing together my game data from old files pulled up with Shadow Explorer, and doing a fair amount of re-coding to get back to where I was, the new OFFICIAL demo for She Who Fights Monsters is here! No more alpha stuff.

Get the demo here. The game is now complete.

About the Game

She Who Fights Monsters is part RPG, part horror, and part daily life. Help little Jennifer survive seven days with her alcoholic father, navigating worlds created by her imagination; gather the young girl’s memories and see who she becomes. The demo covers Day One.


Download Demo Get the Game

She Who Fights Monsters: Demo Delayed

Since I’m too tired to tell the long version (I’m actually writing this at almost four in the morning and queuing it to post… whenever it posts), here’s the short one.

Due to an unfortunate incident brought about by RPG Maker VX Ace’s lack of a “Save As” feature and a baffling glitch which caused it to change not only the file I was working on, but the one it was copied FROM, I have a fair bit of rebuilding work to do. I’m just glad I was able to salvage most of the original data.

Sorry about the delay. The demo should be ready by Wednesday or Thursday.

Follow on Twitter Follow on Bluesky Follow on Facebook Follow on Follow on YouTube Buy Me a Coffee