Progress Journal: Getting out into the world

(NOTE: Because of all the bugs I’ve been fixing lately, many of which can impact the editor as well as the game engine, I’ve built a new version of the installer.  Check it out on the Downloads page.)

Once I was able to make battles play through properly, I moved on to the next part of the game.  Lutine heads out into the world, a great deal of which is composed of small, single-screen maps that don’t scroll. (Kind of like the original Legend of Zelda.)  I walked around a while, and ran into some bizarre issues where characters could walk off one edge of the map and around to the opposite edge, but only in certain conditions.

RPG Maker supports this kind of wraparound on certain maps, (it’s very useful for world maps, for example,) but this wasn’t set for these maps.  Turns out there were a couple different bugs in the wraparound code, so I fixed them.

Also, with all that moving around between maps, I had a handful of completely random crashes in the script engine.  Those were really nasty to track down, but I eventually found 3 different problems in the threading code.  Using threads (a technique that allows your program to do multiple things at once) is very useful, but it can also cause some bizarre and unexpected problems if you’re not careful.  I guess I have to be more careful!

Eventually I made it to the Temple of the Earth, a big area where the party couldn’t walk around at all.  Traced that one back to a glitch in the importer, so I fixed it and re-imported the project.

Once I got inside the Temple, suddenly there was a crazy amount of lag, enough that I couldn’t even get the party to walk around properly.  Turns out the main map was running a handful of Parallel Process scripts that were very short and repeated constantly.  So I changed the script code to make a Parallel Process script sleep for 1 frame length before it could repeat.  This is consistent with the way RPG Maker handles them.

In the meantime, Admiral Styles had just released the complete version of his excellent Love And War, Act I.  The Admiral is an old friend of mine, from back before he started working on Love and War, so I figured I’d check out the re-release.  It includes a new intro that makes heavy use of images and visual effects, so I decided to run it through the TURBU Player to see how it would cope.

Turns out the Flash command doesn’t work at all when there’s an image covering the whole screen.  When I found that out, I did some testing and ended up having to completely rework the Flash implementation, and change a few details about Tint as well.  (There were also a few timing-related issues, which I haven’t had time to look at yet.)

The last thing I did was fix up the input message boxes so that special values (stuff like \V[1] and \N[1]) would display correctly. They were already working for the normal message box, but now they should work for all of them.

That’s all checked in to source control and in the new build on the Downloads page, and it should all work if you run a game from within the editor.  Next up, making special symbols (things like $A) display properly, and trying to fix the timing problems I observed in Love and War.

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