Part 3 of the Making Cosmic Drifter series. In this article, I will cover the Character Sheet and Background Skills as well as the RPG Maker plugins I used to support non-random character generation.
Character Sheets And Skills
Characteristics or attributes are basic requirements for most RPGs. Skills are also a must-have for most role-playing games.
Players are going to want to increase their base stats and skills over time. Even if it happens automatically players appreciate, and expect, to see Skill progression and Characteristic progression (at least up to a maximum number of points).
Unfortunately, RPG Maker only comes with a set of JRPG-support hooks that we can access. We will need to add some plugins to support displaying variables from the database.
Thankfully, Yanfly has exactly what we need:
- YEP_ CoreEngine - This plugin is the core module required for all other Yanfly plugins.
- YEP_ StatusMenuCore - This plugin will allow us to add additional options under the Status Menu, as well as configure the colors for status bars, and more.
- YEP_X_Actor Variables - This is an extension to the Status Menu Core plugin that allows you to have up to 4 columns of variable names and values displayed from the database.
Using these two plugins is easy. They are part of the Yanfly Full Collection as well as the Skills & Status Menu Pack.
The First Roadblock: Screen Space
After installing the two plugins mentioned above, I was happy to see I could get 4 columns with 8 rows for a total of 32 possible variables.
That seems like a lot but it's not enough; I have 7 Characteristic scores plus over 33 skills on the standard Traveller SRD skill list.
I realized I was using the default project screen size, so I changed the screen resolution to 1280x720 (HD res using the Yanfly Core Engine) and got enough room for 4 columns of 11 rows for a total of 44 variables.
That could work! I did an analysis of the Skills granted for all the careers and found that some skills were seldom used (like Explosives). I was able to collapse some skills together and eliminate some skills that would either be impossible or unlikely to use in a video game.
I managed to get the Skills List down to 30 skills, which fit nicely in the 3 columns to the right of the Characteristics.
There are only 7 Characteristics, leaving 3 rows below for future expansion. Maybe Infamy or Renown or Bounty level or Crime level? Let's think on that one for a bit and get back to it later.
Creating Actor Variables
There is a Variables Database in RPG Maker MV that lets you have 5000 variables. That sounds like a lot, but you could easily hit that limit.
It's simple to increase the variables limit above 5000 by visiting this thread.
For now, let's designate a "scratch-pad" section of variables for throw-away calculations, plus 37 variables to hold the 7 Characteristics and the 30 Skills.
As part of the non-random character generation system, we are going to need to track 4 other variables to determine background skills. This will also be useful during the game as part of the story, "Tell me more about growing up in a poor mining colony..."
I will designate the following variables:
- 1-7 for Characteristics
- 21-24 for Background Info
- 25-26 for 1st 2 Careers
- 41-70 for Skills
In addition to these variables, we need to keep in mind that any crew members we add to the party will need their Characteristics recorded in addition to a handful of skills.
I'll keep this in the back of my mind and fully address it later. For now, let's just concern ourselves with the main character.
I'll open up the Actor Database and enter the following into the Note section:
<Column 1 Variables: 1 to 7>
<Column 2 Variables: 41 to 50>
<Column 3 Variables: 51 to 60>
<Column 4 Variables: 61 to 70>
You should now have a 4-column display with the first column containing Characteristics, and the other 3 columns containing the Skill names and values.
OK, now we have the Character Sheet and Skill List done.
In the next article, I will discuss how I worked out the non-random Character Generation for Cosmic Drifter.
Your Turn. What Do You Do?
What do you think of my solution for displaying character stats and skills?
Can you think of a better way to accomplish this?
Tell me about it in the Comments Section. I'm interested in what you have to say about RPG Maker MV Character Sheets and Skills.
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