Last time we explored the map making interface and made our first map in RPG Maker. It looks nice, but there is not much for the player to do.

RPG Maker Edited Map

Enter Events

Events are a collection of commands that happen under certain conditions. Think of these like mini-programs. A shop keeper is an event, a map change is an event, even battles can be triggered by events.

To get started we need to enter Event Mode(F6) before we can start adding events. A grid should appear showing you the dividing lines of each tile. Right click anywhere on the map and you will see a context menu with many options for events. Click new and the event editor will open up.

The Event Editor

RPG Maker new event window

There is a lot going on here, but fortunately RPG Maker splits the window into easy to understand parts.

Title Bar

In the title bar we have the event ID, this is the number that will get referenced by other events and scripts we write in the future.

Name and Page Controls

Then we have the event name, this is for your reference and will not be seen by the player.

Notes are similar to the name in that they are for your reference, but some plugins use them for special commands.

Next we have page editing features. Events are broken up into pages. Most events we will work with will only have one or two pages, but you can have up to 20 different pages. You can see that all sections underneath this part of the interface are in a tab, this is an event page.

Page Conditions

This is where event pages come in handy. We will explain this stuff in detail in a later article, but events that have unmet conditions will not execute. Each page can have a condition. Lets say we want something to happen only once or the dialogue of a character changes each time we talk to them, this is where you can make that happen.

Image

RPG Maker Sprite Seclector

Events are invisible to the player by default, but we can give them a character image. These images can be doors, switches, animals, monsters, or anything else that you would like your player to interact with. Each character image is split into cells. These cells are three by four. This makes an animated character sprite. The first image is the right foot, then standing still, and finally the left foot. The process repeats downwards for each direction. These characters are placed on a sheet of 8 characters.

Images are a bit complex and we will cover them in-depth at a later date.


Autonomous Movement

Movement is another complex feature that could use an article of its own. With autonomous movement you can make a sprite move without any input from the player. This can be random, always moving towards the player(Approach), or defined by you(Custom). Speed is how fast the sprite moves and frequency is how often.

We will be working a lot with movement in the future, but it is okay to set this one to fixed for now.

Options

Options determine how the event will be displayed.

Walking displays animation when moving, this is what we want to use for most of our characters.

Stepping displays the stepping animation while the character is stopped. This makes fire and lights glow automatically. This can also make a character walk in place.

Direction Fix prevents the direction that the image is facing from changing while moving.

Through allows to pass through terrain and events that cannot be passed through.

Priority

Priority determines how the event will interact with the player and others.

Below characters will let players and so on will be able to move on top of this event.

Same as characters will be at the same height as characters, and it will not be possible to go through this event.

Above characters players and so on will be able to move beneath this event.

Triggers

Triggers determine how the event activates.

Action Button activates the event when the player is touching the event and presses the action button. This is how events are handled by default.

Player Touch activates when the player touches the event. You could use this for things like pressure plates.

Event Touch activates when an event makes contact with a player through either their autonomous movement or the player touching them.

Autorun activates as soon as event conditions are met. This is useful for introduction sequences and one time events that must trigger no mater what.

Parallel activates the same way as autorun, but the it runs in the background. This lets the player move and continue playing even as the event is executing. This is great for background elements that need to happen, but should not interrupt gameplay.

Warning
Autorun and parallel can cause your game to enter an endless loop if you do not stop it. Always end your autorunning events with something that stops them from running.
RPG Maker Event Commands

Event Contents

The right side of the event editor contains all the event commands. This is where the magic happens. Today we will only cover a few commands, but these will be the building blocks for more complex systems in the future.

Double click in the contents section to open up a list of event commands. There are a lot of them, but they are broken up into easy to digest Groups.

We are going to start with the Show Text command. This will let us make a dialogue box that the player will see when they activate the event. We can chose a face image to show along with the text. You can change the background and position if you wish. For this example we will have the character say “Hi, how are you?”

Now that we have a question we should let the player respond. We will use the Show Choices command to do so. This will let the player make a choice, we can execute different commands based on their response.

Lets say “Good” and “Terrible” are our choices. When we enter the command you will see that there is text that says “When good”, “When Terrible”, and “End”. Every command we place in the Good section will only execute when the player selects “Good” and the terrible section only executes if “Terrible” is selected. Everything entered after the End statement will execute no matter what.

Lets make our event respond to the player’s choice. Afterwards our event should look something like this:

Now we just need to play test the game. Give it a try and see your world come to life!

Wrapping Up

RPG Maker has many more commands that we will cover in the future. You should read the documentation for more details in what each event command does.

We will start building our database and make more events in the next few tutorials. Look forward to it.

This year was a bit slow, but we published four detailed articles and started a new series of posts on game design. We also redesigned the website and started a news letter.

Posts at a Glance

We began making a simple video game in RPG Maker MV this year. First we established the cost and scope of the project. Then we covered the RPG Maker Interface and Map editor.

We covered two valuable networking tools along our RPG Maker project: ipconfig and ping. These quick overviews of are the start of a larger glossary of Windows 10 and Linux command-line tools.

Going Forward

We plan to continue our RPG Maker series in 2019. Our next article will be on basic event creation, then we will cover each page of the Database. After building this foundation we can start making little tutorials covering specific events, puzzles, and plugins.

There are many ideas we have yet to cover and it takes a lot of work writing about them. We plan to have guest writers publish content to help improve the quality and quantity of content.

We will be pushing updates through our new email list that you can subscribe to here or on the sidebar of this page.

See you in 2018!

Windows 10’s new Creator update that improves upon the system’s settings, privacy, included creative software, and gaming. Microsoft will be slowly phasing in the update over the next few months. What if you want to get it now though?

Update Assistant on Windows 10Windows 10 Update Assistant

Microsoft provides a way to skip the line when it comes to updates. This tool is the Update Assistant. You can download it from Microsoft’s website here.

Once downloaded you can run the updater, it may take some time.

What is new in the Windows Creator Update?

Many small improvements have been made, privacy is better, new ads in the start menu, a game mode for video games, 3D paint, and more.

Make sure to review your privacy settings. Microsoft likes to know everything about you and will sell it if you let them.

I have opened up a Patreon account to help offset the costs of running this website. You can donate money to help keep Random Thoughts going. Everything will still be free. There will never be a charge to access our content.

Why Patreon?

It takes time and money to write. There is the initial cost of the website, then resources, software costs when a tutorial is needed, and opportunity costs. An article can take hours, sometimes days, to write. This is time that could be put to making money for food, housing, and quality of life improvements.

Patreon lets fans of my work fund its creation. As these costs are balanced out, more time that was spent working can be spent writing. Each time you donate through Patreon, you support the content creation process. Without support it is difficult to continue providing these free resources.

Your money will go to the following:

  • Web Hosting. This is the first cost of Random Thoughts. My website takes money to maintain.
  • Improvements. This includes development of the website, hiring staff, and improving equipment.
  • Facebook “Boost”/Advertising. Facebook does not show our posts to all of you who like our page. They only show posts to a portion of you. By paying Facebook Random Thoughts can get our messages to more of you and expand our audience.
  • Personal Costs. As said previously, I cannot work when I am writing. To continue writing I need food, housing, and bills paid. After all else is paid, I can invest money into paying these expenses and therefore spend more time writing and filming.

Reward

Backing me on Patreon gives us a unique opportunity. I will have time to create special rewards for you as thanks for your support. There are multiple tiers of rewards, each tier includes all other rewards.

  • $1 – Access to my Patreon only feed where I will share more ramblings and what I have been working on. You have my eternal gratitude for your support.
  • $5 – Not only do you get access to the feed, but you can suggest topics for the next article. Your name will be on the Wall of Thanks on the website.
  • $10 – A PDF copy of each article published the month that you are a Patreon and early access to all content posted.
  • $15 – A live audio chat session with the other Patreons and I once a month. You can ask me anything here or just hang out and chat about life.
  • $30 – You will receive access to the entire PDF archive for offline viewing.
  • $50 – You will receive access to a video download of each video posted the moth you are a Patreon. *Note* This does not guarantee a video will be posted that month.
  • $100 – A website should never expect this kind of support from any one person, but you will have my thanks. A one on one chat between us. You can ask anything, be it how to do something on a computer or a political debate.

As you can see, Patreon is not only beneficial to me, but to both of us. You have my thanks for checking me out on Patreon.

You can access my Patreon here:

https://www.patreon.com/randomthoughts

2016 has been an interesting year. Random Thoughts has produced a series of articles Introducing Computers, another Simpsons joke came true, and many other things came to pass.

Technology

We plan to continue our computer series with some more specialized tasks throughout 2017. An overview of VLC Media Player and some HTML for example.

I (Matthew Lamont) will be taking more classes at college this spring semester and will not have as much time to write. To make up for this, there will be more smaller articles and tips. Occasionally I will share a keyboard shortcut, a small settings change, or a browser plugin that is useful. These short posts will not replace the long form content, but serve to complement it. There will be at least one tip a month with two or there being the norm.

Philosophy

Philosophy posts will be few and far between as they will require more research and time to write on my part. We will have articles ranging from materialistic scientism to Plato over time.

Random Thoughts will always encourage respectful and logical debate here. We want philosophy to be fun for everyone. That being said, it is not always fun to have your core beliefs questioned. We ask that you come in with an open mind full of questions.

2017 and Onward

We will be trying to get as many articles as we can converted into a video format to increase accessibility. This action will be of a lower priority than writing articles due to the time and hard drive space required to edit and keep videos. All computer articles should get a video to accompany them over time.

At this point Random Thoughts is run by just one person. I hope to bring others into Random Thoughts and increase production quality over the next year. This will allow for more detailed articles in subjects that I am not well antiquated.

We will open a Patreon account if we get enough traffic and popularity. This will allow us to accept donations to fund more complex projects and increase production value.

Today, we are going to go over the basic computer hardware you will need to get up and running.

The Hardware:

The Computer: Most computers are housed in tower-like cases and are thus called towers. These towers hold all the components that make the computer run and have slots to plug peripherals into it. This is the most important and most expensive part of your system.

HDMI, DVI, and VGA are used to connect the monitor to the computer.

HDMI, DVI, and VGA are used to connect the monitor to the computer.

The Monitor: The screen that allows you to see what your computer is doing. This normally connects to the back of the computer in a  VGA or DVI port, but sometimes HDMI is used. These connections are color coated on most devices.

The Keyboard: This is the second most important part of the computer system hardware. You can get somethings done without a monitor, but you cannot do anything without a keyboard. The computer keyboard is much like a typewriter’s, but it has special keys that hold special functions for the computer, you should try to get a full sized keyboard that includes a number pad. Keyboards can go from just a few bucks to more than a thousand dollars(USD). This connects to the computer using either a PS/2(Purple) or USB port.

An example of a higher end keyboard is: Logitech Gaming Keyboard G110, much more than is necessary for normal use.

PS/2 and USB can both be used to connect a keyboard or mouse. USB can connect other hardware as well

PS/2 and USB can both be used to connect a keyboard or mouse. USB can connect other hardware as well

The Mouse: This device, wist not necessary, makes using the computer much easier for the layman to use. Generally they have a right and left button and a wheel in the center, but there are computer mice that have 16 or more buttons.You want to get one that curves naturally with your hands and is comfortable to use. This connects to the computer using either a PS/2(Green) or USB port.

Personally I use the Logitech G502 mouse, it gets the job done and is comfortable.

Ethernet is used to connect a computer to the internet.

Ethernet is used to connect a computer to the internet.

Ethernet Cable or Wireless Card: If you want to connect to the internet you will need an Ethernet Cable that plugs into the back of your computer or need a Wireless Card. Ethernet is the most reliable and secure you are going to get, but you need to be physically connected to the source of your internet. Wireless is more expensive and arguably less secure, but gives you mobility. Most wireless cards connect via USB, but some do connect to the inside of your computer. Ethernet has not setup required for most home solutions, but wireless in more involved and setup is different case by case. Read the manual if you do not know what to do. Most laptops have wireless cards built in and setup for you.

Speakers: These are self explanatory, they allow you to hear things. Speakers have color coded connectors to show you where each part connects to the computer. If your computer has ports on both the front and back of the computer, use the back ones first. You will want to save the ones on the front for headphones.

If you have a laptop this hardware will be part of the laptop itself.

Other things to consider: You will want to have as many USB ports as possible on your computer. You will be using them in the future for connecting Printers, External Hard Drives, and USB Flash Drives. Each computer is different and the way you connect your hardware will differ.

That covers all the major hardware components you will need to get started. Next time we will go over setting up Windows and learning the interface.

Note: This post uses affiliate links for Amazon.com, this is perfectly harmless. When you click one of them it just means that I receive a commission for referring you if you buy anything. It helps this site stay online.

As you can see, we have made some visual changes to the website. Personally, I like dark colors. Unfortunately many do not like to or have problems reading light text on dark backgrounds, so this is a compromise.  Over time I will improve the CSS for the website, but this is functional for the time being.

SSL Website Encryption

A more important change is that the website is now using SSL encryption provided by Let’s Encrypt. Let’s Encrypt is a free SSL certificate authority sponsored by many large organizations including Mozilla and The Linux Foundation.
If you check the URL to the website you should see that it uses https instead of http and there should be a lock icon nearby, depending on your web browser.

For you who do not know: SSL encrypts web traffic, preventing big brother and others with nefarious intent from spying on you. Google and other search engines penalize websites that do not use SSL and give advantage to they that do. By encrypting the web we take power from organizations like world governments less control over our data. Encryption is necessary not only to protect from theft, but to create and protect a free and open internet.

We will go over Encryption in our Introduction to Computers series after going over the basics, look forward to it.

Our computers fill up with a lot of useless programs over the years and many computers come with a lot of useless programs pre-installed, much to our annoyance. You could use Windows built in uninstaller, but it does not do nearly as great of a job as one would want.

The Problem:

Windows uninstaller does not always clean up files programs spread amongst multiple directories or the registry keys left behind in the registry. Some programs cant even be uninstalled from the control panel so you need to find their uninstallers somewhere hidden in Program Files.

The Solution:

Revo Uninstaller, a third party uninstaller that cleans the leftover bits left behind by Windows. Revo Uninstaller has a freeware version and a professional version, but today we will be looking at what is freely available.

First I wish to say two things: Freeware is different than Open-source so read the licensing agreement before you use Revo Uninstaller commercially and be careful when messing with the registry, if you do not know what you are doing leave it alone.

After you install Revo Uninstaller you will see a screen full of your installed Uninstaller_Appleprograms. You can change the view using the view button on the top tool bar if you would prefer a more detailed view or list.

In our Example we will be getting rid of Apple Software Update, but the same principles apply. We will want to double click on the program we wish to uninstall, this will start the uninstaller.

The first options you will be presented with are to run the built in installer, the vary thing we wish to avoid, Safe, Moderate, and Advanced. Most of the time going with Moderate is your best bet. The program explains what each one does in case you wish to do something Uninstall_Modedifferent. When you hit next it will start the program’s default uninstaller. After this Revo Uninstaller will scan for leftovers. If it finds any you will be prompted to clean them.

If you are uninstalling a game for example and the game did not remove old saves or config files, they would show up here. You can select what you want to remove and what Revo Uninstaller should keep. This is the same for the registry. Do not do anything to the registry unless you know what you are doing as Revo can make mistakes and you could remove something important to running Windows. Some registry keys are self-explanatory, but most are not.

Revo Uninstaller has some other tools, but there are other programs that handle these tasks better.

You can get Revo Uninstaller at its website here.

Many value a computer mouse over a keyboard nowadays. There is less to remember and the use of menus give us easy access to everything we need. We even have touch screens now that can save us seconds of time now that we do not need to drag the mouse across the mouse pad. With all of this innovation many do not even see the value of a keyboard, with the exception of typing and the few shortcuts that they know. The truth is that keyboard shortcuts are not only for computer geeks and they increase ones speed more than any touch screen could ever dream.

Many who will read this will know their fair share of keyboard shortcuts, however many people only know few, if any, shortcuts.

In my brief experience with the Vim text editor I learned to love my keyboard. Shortcuts allow you to get things done much faster with just a few keystrokes. A control+c here saves two clicks and a shift+control+directional key will allow you to select a few words without you needing to leave the keyboard. The speed took some time to master, keyboard shortcuts are many and require some time to learn, but the results well made up for the time.

I have talked about the application launcher Launchy before (If you are on a Linux system with KDE you can use Krunner), it allows you to launch programs without leaving the keyboard. Application launchers paired up with a working knowledge of shortcuts can lead you to a place where you do not need to reach for the mouse so often. Knowing your shortcuts can greatly increase your productivity in work, school, and even in play.

Wikipedia has an exhaustive list of universal keyboard shortcuts that I highly recommend you take a look at. In the future I will post more on keyboard shortcuts and how to make your own.

Many know that a court stated that the FCC lacks the authority to enforce Net Neutrality. This means that the FCC holds no power to prevent ISPs from discriminating against websites. The main fear that many who use the internet have is that this could lead to stronger censorship in the United States. This fear is justified in that, without Net Neutrality, ISPs could slow down connections to content that they do not like.

Net Neutrality is an idea that I don’t think exists in reality. ISPs may respect it, but nothing is really preventing them from slowing down connections. Back in the early years of faster internet, companies like Comcast were slowing down internet connections to their enemies sites. Net Neutrality can not really be enforced, who is to say that the website is not just slow? Unless there is an investigation, no one would know.

Net Neutrality is one of the lesser concerns of internet freedom; it is important as an idea to uphold, but it does not really hold any real value other than preventing the taking of more freedom. That being said, we should fight for it, just not for having it, but rather to prevent them from taking more away.