RPG Maker XP
|RPG Maker XP|
|Platform||Microsoft Windows XP, Vista|
|Released||Japan: July 2004 Worldwide: September 2005|
|System Requirements||Microsoft Windows ME/2000/XP/Vista
Processor: 800mhz RAM: 128mb Video: 1024x768 or better, high colour graphics Sound: DirectX Compatable Sound CardHard Drive: 100mb
The fourth installment of RPG Maker, it was the first of the series to be translated officially into English for release outside of Japan. This, like all previous RPG Makers, is created by Enterbrain.
Features in RMXP have changed hugely since the previous versions. One such change is the move from the side battle system to a turn-based front battle system using large battlers rather than the sprites. There is also a return to a higher resolution 640x480, rather than the lower resolutions seen in RPG Maker 2003 and 2000. The arrival of the Ruby Game Scripting System, allows for added functionality in games, such as new menu systems and different battle systems. The End User License Agreement also allows for games to be commercially created.
The return to the 640x480 resolution that was seen in RPG Maker 95 proved to be popular with the arrival of higher spec PCs allowing to run more advanced graphics. However, through the use of the RGSS, scripts can improve graphic features such as the framerate per second and resolution.
 Battle System
A change in the battle system was witnessed as Enterbrain decided to scrap the side battle system for a less popular front battle system. This allowed easier set up of battles and allowing the view of animation more clearly. However, the battle system can be changed using scripts which can allow side battle systems seen in games like Final Fantasy, or action battle systems seen in games such as Secret of Mana, to tactical battle systems. Just about any battle system can be used with the right graphics, scripts, and instructions.
 RGSS: Ruby Game Scripting System
A new feature to the game is the Ruby Game Scripting System. This new scripting system allows games to be enhanced by increasing the number of features available. New menu systems, battle systems and other features such as heads-up displays can be added to the game. The game uses a number of classes to change these functions although some are hidden unless the game is altered. This new feature is similar to C++ programming which both can be easily adapted to each other.
 Graphic Resources
The program by default, comes with an RTP of resources created by Enterbrain. The image types supported by the game are JPEG, BMP and PNGs. The GIF images may be displayed, but not animated unless a script is entered which can allow the game to handle animations. Graphics are sorted into categories; Title Screen, Game Overs, Window Skins, Battlers, Character Sets, Tile Sets, Pictures, Transitions, Panoramas, Battle backgrounds.
Charsets are the main images that characters use. Displayed in a 4x4 grid, the image contains 4 animations for each direction, with the first being used for standing still.
Maps are the virtual surroundings that a character moves on, this can be a variety of settings such as towns, buildings, castles and caves. One tile is 32x32pixels lined up in a 5 across grid. There is no limit to the vertical height of map sets. By default, the maps are split up into different areas... a variety of towns such as Farm Town, Forest Town, Mining Town, Castle Town, Desert Town and Post Town exist. These come with a field map of that area. The number of maps can be increased by adding them to the map folder. A number of maps have been created such as ones merging tilesets.
There is a way of identifying how a tile reacts to a character. Tiles such as grass and plants have been given a tile type to give the illusion that the player is actually standing in tall grass. Different heights of the tiles are also existent. Tilesets can be given such attributes such as passability, which makes it so the character can pass through a certain tile, and priority so the character can be either be above or below the tile. This is commonly used in trees, where a character can walk behind the tree and be hidden from view, but can also be seen in front of the tree depending on his position. This priority is given a value between 0 and 5, 0 being below the character and anything else being above. This priority system can also influence the effects of layers on a map.
Layers allow a map to be built up. There are four mapping layers; three normal tile layers, the event layer which doubles up for allowing tiles to be completed, or to create NPCs and other items. There is also an effect layer which allows a set fog to be viewed.
 Battle Backgrounds
Battle backgrounds are the scenery that fills up the rest of the battle screen. This is layered below all over objects. These images are 640x320 pixels. Images may be different sizes but may not display properly. Any image inserted into the battle background folder will be able to be used as a battle background.
Animations are a cycle of images set. These animations can be 'called' inside or out of battle depending on what has called it. Animations cover many uses such as, showing status defects like poison, to hit animations and field animations.
An event is pretty self explanatory. They are a set of events that will happen, when called upon when their condition allows it. They can be autorun, which is where they run as soon as they appear on the map, to being set on action button press, or on touching the player. There are three pages of events that can be chosen from, from which you can select a variety of commands, such as battle processing, audio changing, fog change, map transportation and calling parts of scripts. Most of the game is created using the events due to their quick ability to create text dialogue. The events can set up different variables or switches, of which over hundreds can be set up, and can also act upon other events on the page. The events can also be set with a graphic, such as part of the tileset (which can act as the '4th layer' or using a sprite, such as a NPC, or a something such as a door or chest.
Transitions are images that transist between two screens. This is most commonly used when a character enters battle as it 'warps' them onto the battle screen. These can also be called upon by a script.
Sort of like miscellaneous... Pictures placed in the pictures folder are used for anything else that cannot be displayed using the other graphic sets. These can be shown on the map and are set by coordinates (x & y). Any image file type and size can be used. Pictures used in scripts that take images to function or just look nice are often put into this category for it's lack of other productive uses.
 Window Skins
Windowskins are graphics that create the windows that are viewable. Usually measuring at 192x128 pixels, their most common use is holding the text created by events. If there are more events carrying on in a windowskin, then a 16x16 animated arrow will be displayed to notify the user. Also present is a choice box, which the user can select choices by using a highlight selection box.
Audio is integral to games created in RMXP, and as a result, the program can understand four different types, MIDI, WAV, MP3 and OGG. This is one more over the previous RPG Maker, which could not decode OGG, and two over RM2K which could only decode MIDI and WAV. Four different audio types are selected for use in RMXP, BGM (BackGround Music) BGS (BackGround Sound) ME (Music Effects) and SE (Sound Effects). These each have their own uses:
- BGM is generally used for music in the background.
- BGS is mainly used for background objects, such as animals or the wind.
- ME is usually musical effects, sometimes used when asleep.
- SE is mostly used for sound effects, something quick.
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