Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!
Since the latest version of RPG Maker is due to release very soon, a lot of information regarding the Plugins feature coming with MV is being released. The way they are presenting the information is a little weak. RPG Maker Web is releasing videos to showcase the features, which is great, but the information is being delivered through text instead of voice over, or a combination of both. However, each video is filled to the brim with information. I have learned a great deal about what plugins actually are, what they do, and why they are awesome. That will be the focus of today’s post, and I’ll try to keep it short.
Warning: I tried to keep it short… and I failed. Lawls.
First, allow me to explain the basics of what plugins are. Plugins provide RM users with a new way of easily modifying their created games. They provide a series of options that can alter values to existing scripts, alter existing functions, or even implement new ones. The plugins interface allows RM users to easily modify the varying options without having to dig through the scripts for a particular value. Some of the informational videos released for RPG Maker MV showcase the possibilities that can be had through plugins by introducing the Yanfly Engine Plugins (YEP).
Yanfly Core Engine
The first major plugin that was introduced was the YEP Core Engine. This will be the plugin everyone should have if they want to make any sort of change to common mechanics. For instance, if you’re not a fan of the default resolution of the game screen, the Core Engine will allow you to change it. This plugin also makes it easier for RM users to change many of the default values for features such as maximum gold or item limit. This kind of stuff excites me, because it will allow me to make adjustments as I see fit. Here is a short-ish list of different options available through this plugin:
- Adjust Game Screen Width and Height
- Set Gold Max, Font Size, and associated Icon
- Set Global Item Max
- Add Max Item notetag to Items to set a unique Item Max for each *
- Set Max Level (above or below the default 99)
- Set Actor and Enemy MaxHP, MaxMP, and Parameter maximum
- Make a variety of adjustments to in-game interface *
Yanfly Message Core
When it comes to portraying dialogue in created games, not much has changed in MV. Luckily, this isn’t a bad thing. Many of the options that RM users have access to in VX Ace, such as the various text codes, remain present in MV. The video showcasing the YEP Message Core first introduced viewers to the default options available. Then, halfway through, the real magic happened.
The YEP Message Core adds a few new features for the message window, and a huge collection of new text codes. Players of RM titles can now speed through text, which is useful if a player has played a game multiple times or have accidentally spoken to an elderly lady who happens to jabber on for days and days (as shown in the Message Core video). The Message Core can also enable an additional window with which to display names. This is achieved through one of the additional text codes that you can see listed below:
- Name Display Window: \n<x>
- Name Display Window (affixed center): \nc<x>
- Name Display Window (affixed right): \nr<x>
- Due note that text codes can be used within the Name Display Window.
- Text Outline Color Change: \oc[x]
- Text Outline Width Change: \ow[x]
- Font Size Change: \fs[x]
- Font Change: \fn<x>
- Font Bold: \fb
- Font Italic: \fi
- There are so many more text codes than I wish to list here.
I really enjoy what the Message Core plugin has to offer. It adds a lot of additional tools to what is already available so that RM users have a large number of options when writing dialogue or messages in-game. Sadly, I don’t think the Message Core added a text code for centering displayed text, which makes me sad. I need that functionality so bad (lawls). Additionally, I don’t think the Message Core solves my main issue with writing messages in RM; which is that there is no real-time preview of the written message as it would be seen in the game. So, I expect testing out dialogue heavy scenes will still be a bit of a pain in the ass without proper planning.
Yanfly Battle Engine Core
The YEP Battle Engine Core takes everything you know about RPG Maker battle systems, and removes a lot of the nonsense. Through the plugin, combat should be sped up a great deal instead of feeling sluggish or slothish (yes, I made that word up). RPG Maker’s combat doesn’t really do well at being an overly fun or satisfying experience, especially when all RM had was the front-view system. This plugin should change that. Essentially, the Battle Engine Core plugin is designed to streamline, clean-up, and increase the pace of RPG Maker’s baseline combat system, which can often be inefficient, disorganized, and slothish. Below are a few of the features attached to the Battle Engine Core:
- Battle Text (Toggle): Used to hide the text that appears along the top edge of the screen as actions are taken. *
- “Fight or Flight” Menu (Toggle): Pushes the players passed the Fight or Run commands that precede the real combat commands.
- Adjusted Skill Window Position (Toggle): Moves the skill window down to the lower third of the screen from its default position, which is in the middle of the screen obstructing vision of the enemies and party members.
- Intuitive Mouse-Click Enemy Selection (Toggle): Makes selecting enemies with a mouse simpler. Enemies can be clicked on more efficiently while toggled on.
That Which Makes Me Facepalm
Now, I have been as excited as anyone else to get my hands on RPG Maker MV, but seeing some of the tools and options provided by the Yanfly Engine Plugins made me feel like I’m being sold on RPG Maker VX Ace 1.8. Many of the options available through the YEP Core Engine, namely the notetag options that bypass the numerous value limitations of RPG Maker, shouldn’t be necessary. These are limitations that exist in RPG Maker VX Ace and, for some reason, were not dealt with during the development of MV. The numerous UI elements in MV that are involved with determining how much Attack a weapon or enemy might have are no different than the ones that exist in VX Ace. By default, an RM user is still only capable of creating a weapon that provides no more than 500 Attack. That is unless they use a notetag. Why weren’t those limitations removed from the base software?!
Here is a shortlist of YEP options that shouldn’t be necessary, because the functionality should be available within the RPG Maker software by default.
- Equipment and Enemy stats can now go beyond the limits of the editor using notetags.
- Add Price notetag to Items for larger prices.
- Add Gold notetag to Enemies for larger gold drops.
- Add Initial Level and Max Level notetags to Actors to set unique values for each (primarily for use with much larger Max Levels).
Since I began writing this post, many more videos from Yanfly Engine about their powerful plugins have been released, and there are even more plugins than what I have discussed here. I could list them all, but I think it would be better if I linked the playlist.
While I’m not exactly pleased at how dependent on plugins MV appears to be, there is no denying that they bring an extensive supply of useful and powerful options with them. As I watched the YEP videos, I could see how I might use the plugins in my projects. There were a few options that I thought would be necessary for how I like to design games. The freedom that the Yanfly plugins provide to break free from the often irritating restrictions left from RMVX Ace is a nice thing to have, even if I don’t enjoy the idea that notetags are mandatory to achieve this. All in all, I think MV will be a great way to make games for a while (but mostly because of the efforts of the YEP crew).
What do you think of plugins so far? Have you watched the whole playlist RPG Maker Web created? Are you planning your next MV-built title? How much experience do you need to reach your next level? Join the discussion below.
In the listed sections, some bullets have stars affixed to them.
* changes or additions that I am excited for
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Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you’ll be back for the next one.
War Fist out.