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Tech Review: Tyrano Builder Visual Novel Studio

   tb logoFirst up is our disclaimer.  We received this software for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this article are our own. No compensation has been tendered for this review.

Well it’s been a long time coming with this review. I am a big fan of gaming, and as such I have always dreamed of making my own…whether it be a tabletop title or a simple RPG. So I decided to reach out to Nyu Media in regards to their Tyrano Builder Visual Novel Studio!packaging

The software, like a few other simplified game development packages, is incredibly easy to use. It even comes with a tutorial so you can put your best foot forward right away. Once you’ve learned (mastered) the setup for the software, you’ll breeze through basic game creation.

However, if you think you can just jump right into it and start making complex, industry-strength titles, I have some bad news for you. Unlike packages such as RPGMaker or Unity Engine, Tyrano Builder only comes with two preloaded assets. the-final-sceneThis means that to create your game you must either be an artist, or know an artist. Conceivably, you could still make a game using materials found online. But you can’t sell your creation unless you “own rights” to these materials. So if you’re considering Tyrano Builder without proper access to these sorts of assets, I would recommend against the investment.

The software is an incredibly powerful tool however for authoring a visual novel, whether it be a romantic comedy or a fan-fiction paring between Jack Atlas and Carly Carmine.tyrano-builder-02 I have already recommended it to Mikiko Ponczeck so she can create her own visual novels, rather than having to rely on Tokyopop and other publishing companies.

Overall, is Tyrano Builder Visual Novel Studio worth it? If you are a artist, yes. If you are a person with zero artistic talent, probably not. Despite its ups and downs, it’s an amazing piece of software and I really enjoyed taking a look at it.

-Daniel Clatworthy-

 

Haven Editorial: AI Theory

AI: Artificial Intelligence.

It’s a fact that AI in games is mostly based on path-finding, and nothing else. A* (pronounced “A star”) is a simple algorithm that calculates the fastest path to a target, although it seems that many programmers don’t even include it in their games. This leads to zombies and even more zombies; dumb polygon things that only walk in one direction…yours! For me this is boring and uneventful…more annoying than scary. Bad noises and dreadful design do not help much, either. I’ve been thinking, and after studying cognitive science I realize that AI is still struggling, period. Take vacuum cleaners. Any owner of a Roomba will tell you that it spends as much time bumping into tables as it does actually cleaning your living room.

My remedy is based around the idea of programming “statements”, though this would require a lot of power and programming finesse. It would have to be hard coded into the level design as well. The idea is that each time there is an input, the enemy will pick an event from a list and then preform it. Naturally this will make things a bit unpredictable, unless there is a very clear audio-visual clue. The hard part is in the command sequence.

First, there needs to be a proximity system in place. For example, if the player is within an “outer zone”, there is a chance that the AI might attack, unless a specific action is preformed, such as a distraction. There has to be a list of things that will happen if the player moves closer, pulls back or just stands still. I designed the above chart to illustrate my thought process. As you can see, the statement tree would be quite crowded and consume much CPU power. However this is the price for a more dynamic and interesting AI. I realize this example is purely reactionary, since a proactive one would be a nightmare to make, and even harder to break. Imagine though; a zombie that runs toward the nearest chest-high wall has a chance of lobbing grenades at the player, instead of just just running-and-gunning.

-Njål Sand-

Tech Review: RPG Maker 2003

First up is our disclaimer.  We received this game because we wanted to review it, and as such all views in this article our are own. No money has been exchanged for this review.screen_condition_icons

RPG Maker 2003 is an older model of RPG maker software however despite its age it is also new. Because it was originally launched only in Japan and it wasn’t until this year that it was launched globally on steam. Now with that being said this will be in comparison to the RPG Maker I use a lot of the time and that is RPG maker VX Ace.
RPG Maker VX Ace in a lot of ways is superior of 2003 Edition of RPG maker with how it is extremely customizable in all the options and the ability to write and use scripts to create whatever you want. RPG Maker 2003 does not have this option. What it does have, however, is a simplified way to build a game.b9977bd3b1ee7f36443cd8c71b1bd1a2

You see in RPG Maker VX Ace it is an extremely complicated system because you can customize so much of it. You can even give it mode 7 so your world scales from an angle to look like Final Fantasy VI if you wanted. Another script you can add will make the game look like Doom III if you wanted it too. The only thing to hold you back is your own skills.

Part of the charm of the original 2003 RPG Maker was that it was so simple even a child could master it. The entire software was built on the principle of making a side battle system essentially like a Final Fantasy title. While RPG Maker VX Ace can do it too,you would need extra scripts for it. Some of these scripts you would have to pay for to use commercially. Another downside is that there is very little support from the creators if you have questions. By default, RPG Maker VX Ace has a face forward battle system much like the Phantasy Star titles from the old genesis era of gaming.tutorial3_2

Despite the many differences between the two programs each has the same principle when building worlds. Making events with a simple click interface which is really useful if you cannot program like the professionals can in Unity or Unreal. It also helps to know talented sprite artists who can help you create a world all your own. (Kinda like us on our current project.)

In the end if you want to make a role-playing game and don’t want to pull out your hair studying every inch of RPG Maker VX Ace, than RPG Maker 2003 is the software for you even more so if you want to get the software because you enjoy Final Fantasy and want to make a game in that type of format (albeit the classic era Final Fantasy and not the modern titles). If you want a more complex over the top game and can dedicate time and the irreparable gray hair that will soon follow from it then I totally recommend RPG Maker VX Ace. It may have a huge learning curve but it is incredibly dependable with the right scripts.

-Daniel Clatworthy-