RPG Maker MV: Mists of Tongass IV

In Part III of our exploration of RPG Maker MV, we created a town for our game Mists of Tongass, added a few interactive townspeople, and learned how to enter and exit building interiors. Just to recap the game’s plot, our hero, Lucius York, discovered a letter from his grandpa explaining that he had been arrested for owing rent and sent to debtor’s prison. Today we will be designing the interior of that prison and setting up the main quest.

RPG Maker MV comes with several dozen premade locations, but a jail is not one of them. We’ll have to design our own. The weapons shop interior provides an adequate template. Right-click on Forest Town in the map list, then “Load…”, and then select “Weapon Shop.” You’ll notice a new map pops up at the bottom of the list, identical to the Weapon Shop interior you already have. Select it and press the space bar to edit its general settings. Just change the name to “Jail” for now.

In map editing mode, right-clicking on a tile clones whatever is in that tile–convenient for painting over scenery. Click on an empty floor tile and simply paint over everything in the room except for the walls. Now, because a jail usually has sturdy walls, pick the gray stone wall from tileset layer “A”. Every wall has a top view and a side view. The lighter shade is usually the top view. Now we have a plain, depressing-looking jail.

Add jail cells by painting three vertical walls extending down from the back wall. While doing so, it’s important to keep in mind perspective. Walls are two tiles high, so you have to extend the jail cells to give the prisoners enough room to wander. Each cell should also be three tiles in width. Why? Because one tile will remain open for the entrance–that’s where the cell door will go.

To add cell doors, switch to tileset layer “B” and scroll to the bottom. You’ll see a couple tiles that look exactly like a jail cell door. How convenient! They are two tiles high, just like our walls. There is a top tile and a bottom tile. Tiles are layered this way so that when the prisoner is in the jail cell, he or she can walk up to the door and appear to be standing behind it.

Take some time to explore the tile sets and add details to the room. Barred windows, cracks, shelves, weapons for the guards, dirty burlap mattresses in the cells–all those details bring the setting to life. After a while, you get good at using layers to add items to tables and shelves. In previous versions of RPG Maker, you had to use “blank” events to do some of those things, but now the layering system works well.

Return to event editing mode to add non-player characters (NPCs). We’ll create three for this scenario: Grandpa York, a Guard, and the Constable. I took the Guard and Constable images from People3, where there are images of a regular soldier and a soldier with a cape. I created Grandpa York’s character image using the Character Generator. I placed the Guard in the hallway, Grandpa York in the middle cell, and the Constable behind a desk.

The Guard: I want the guard to patrol back and forth in front of the jail cells. How? Move the guard in front of the last cell door on the right, facing west. It is exactly ten tiles to the end of the hallway, so, double click on the guard to open the editing window. Then, under Autonomous Movement, change the type to “custom.” Under that, click the button that says “route.” Simply click “move left” ten times, then “turn 180 degrees,” then “move right” ten times, and then “turn 180 degrees.” Make sure the “Repeat Movements” box is checked. This ensures the guard will continue walking this path indefinitely.

Finally, add a bit of dialogue in case Lucius talks to the guard. Remember, double click on the black diamond and select “show text.” Pick an appropriate facial image and write a message. In this case, we’ll just have him say, “Speak with the Constable if you’re inquiring about a prisoner.”

Grandpa York: Grandpa York will move as well, but instead of a set path, simply change his movement to “Approach.” That means he will always move toward the player character as long as he’s able. Of course, he’s stopped by a door. We’ll write a brief exchange between Lucius and Grandpa in which Grandpa explains what happened.

We don’t want to keep having the same conversation, so we’ll have to set up a switch. A switch is like a trigger that activates when certain conditions have been met. In this case, when the conversation ends. Click “new event page,” which will create a blank page in the same event. Choose the same image and the same movement type as the first page. Then, under conditions, check the box next to self switch. Make sure it also says “A”. Then, beneath the dialogue on the first page, add Control Self Switch. Make sure it’s set to on and that it also says “A”. Now, on page 2, add a simple line of text like “Please hurry!”

If you did everything correctly, when Lucius finishes the first conversation, the only message that should appear when he tries to talk to Grandpa York again is, “Please hurry!”

Finally, create a third event page, but leave everything blank. Under Conditions, select “Switch” and right-click on the number. Highlight 0001 and name it “Freedom.” Now, in the Contents, simply insert “Erase Event” from the Character category on the second tab. Click “apply.”

Close out of that event. Now create a new event in the hallway and change the image to look exactly like Grandpa York. Under Conditions, select “Switch” and “0001 Freedom.” Show text of Grandpa York thanking Lucius profusely. This event will remain invisible until the trigger condition “0001 Freedom” is met.

The Constable: The Constable will not move, because he just sits behind his desk like a fat p.o.s. Under Autonomous Movement, change the type to “fixed.” Uncheck the box that says “walking” under Options. We’ll script a conversation explaining that Grandpa York owes 1,000 gold pieces and cannot go free until the debt is paid.

Here’s where it gets interesting. In the dialogue, the Constable will ask whether the player has 1,000 gold pieces. Add a new message, but instead of showing text, select Show Choices. There are two default choices: yes or no. If the player selects yes, but doesn’t have the money, we want the Constable to say something sarcastic. How? This requires a bit of scripting. Under Flow Control, click Conditional Branch, then go to tab 4. Select Gold, equal or greater to (default option), then enter the number 1,000. Check Create Else Branch.

This sets up a condition. If Gold is equal or greater to 1,000, then select Show Text and enter in some snappy dialogue (“Very good…”). Double click directly beneath that and enter the command “Change Gold…” Select “Decrease” and enter 1,000 in the Constant field. Also, just like with Grandpa York, set up a Self Switch to event page 2 so you don’t have to keep repeating this when you complete the task. Finally, add a control switch to turn on “0001 Freedom”.

Now, under the condition “Else” select Show Text and enter something sarcastic (“Come back when you’re serious!”). That finishes the Yes branch. Under the condition When No, simply add a line of dialogue like, “Come back when you have 1,000 gold.” On the second event page, add a line of dialogue that says, “Your grandpa is free to go.”

Test it out by pressing CTRL+3 to create a quick treasure chest filled with 1,000 gold. Once you’ve successfully released Grandpa York from jail in play test mode, go back to the editor and delete the treasure chest.

That was the easy part! Now we set up our main quest and its completion conditions. But how will our hero ever attain enough gold to free his grandfather from jail? In part 5, we’ll be sending our adventurer out into the world to seek his fortune.

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