So today I had a bit of time at lunch to begin setting up my events on my farm map. This includes triggers to go inside the buildings and to plant anything in the garden. This really calls for a lot of different conditions to be mapped out for each plot which includes all seed options, navigating back to root menus, and also canceling out of each seed option. With what I have for seed options, there are a lot of conditions to set up. To be honest, I'm not great at coding. I look up what I need on GitHub most of the time when I code something on my own. With RPG Maker, the events editor is set up in a logical way where it makes sense in the code while it displays it in an easy to read list.
As shown above, the events menu is listing out what I want my plot dialogue box to ask the player and what to do with these options. Here, the options that appear with the dialogue where the player can choose to plant a seed or to cancel out. From here, it will get more complicated…once the player makes a selection, the game then now has to decide if they player meets the requirements to plant the seed (In this case, have it in their inventory). If the player meets the requirement, then the seed is planted and the item is removed from their inventory. If not, a message will appear and notify them that they do not have enough seeds to plant. Then if the player decides to cancel the action, they will be taken to the previous menu.
This doesn't seem bad at first, but this is just for one option. The flow listed above will be duplicated for each seed option and nested into the same gardening system. If this is set up as a flow chart, it will look something like this:
This is just one small part of a game system and it doesn't even include how the timers work or when the plot is ready to harvest! I don't think I'll make a flow chart for every system in my game, but I think you can get the idea how complicated it is to set up a simple game system. Going through this process on a more user-friendly program like RPG Maker is making me realize how complicated game development can be. It's interesting and awesome, but still complicated.
If you were reading this and becoming discouraged about your own game systems idea, please don't. I believe in you! The best thing to do is look at other examples of the same systems and break it down into digestible chunks. If you have to draw the whole thing out on a piece of paper or in a notebook, then do it and work on one part at a time. I'm still learning to do this as well and honestly I see an improvement every time I do it.
A few other things I'm learning with working with RPG Maker is that you cannot pull up other menus or tools when one is open. The current tool or window will become modal and it makes the other parts of the editor inaccessible until its closed. Lesson learned from here: Have a spreadsheet of your database tables. This is soooo important when you have to reference item names or ID's in other tables or systems. I really wish RPG Maker was smarter about this or at the least have an export option for all of your tables. Moving and updating tables by hand can be tedious after a while.
Hopefully with these lessons learned and placed into practice, I'll be able to get to a point where I can begin to make video demos of my game. Right now this is not looking likely to happen within the next month or so, but it will happen.