It is this time again! After 30 months since 0.5.0 we present you: The next major release: 0.6.0 “Preemptive Attack”. As the codename tells you already: This release focuses on battles and battles were always really lacking in EasyRPG Player – until now.
First we have to tell you: We are sorry! This blog post will not do 0.6 justice. In these 4 months more code was added more than in the previous 12 months. There were so many minor detail changes especially in battle and the savegame system, you can’t write this all down without getting burned out, because typing this is pretty boring and reading it is even worse. That means sometimes this blog post will simply sum up 10 minor changes in one sentence. If you are curious about more details, simply write us a message or read the linked GitHub issues.
Especially the battle system was in an interesting situation: In August we received ca. 100 commits by a new developer and they fixed many issues in the battle system and the algorithms but unfortunately this developer had no time anymore and left us alone with these commits. How shall we handle this? Luckily a new developer appeared shortly after and helped us fighting through the mess. We had many long discussions spread over 3 months, some commits were simple, some controversial (will this break games?) and some just wrong. Getting all these patches in was a nightmare and we could not wake up by pressing “9” but in the end we got them all in and now and you can enjoy them in this release!
New startup logo
You know the EasyRPG Player Logo from day one! For the first time we updated it and gave it a more modern look that is consistent with other well-known engines. (#624)
Known regressions in this release
This new release of EasyRPG Player contains lots of savegame compatibility improvements with RPG_RT, but this also means the Player is now incompatible with saves of old versions! You can still load them, but you will see visual glitches: To fix them, simply change the map. If this doesn’t help: You must restart the game, sorry. This should be the first and last time such a compatibility nightmare occurs, because from now on we save the EasyRPG Player version in all savegames. This allows us to ensure savegame compatibility, because we can determine exactly which version created the savefile (#1656) and fix incompatibilities while loading.
When in a battle it is possible that battle animations created with the “Show Battle Animation” event command are not properly working, because the interpreter is not waiting for completion. We believe that this is more correct than the previous behaviour, but it breaks the animations in the game Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis.
Pictures are now updated before the events. By comparing with RPG_RT we are sure this behaviour is correct but it completely breaks picture zoom in the Smash Bros. clone もしもスマブラだったら. This will be fixed in 0.6.1 when a new, more accurate interpreter is implemented.
ChangeEquipmentevent command crashed when a two-handed actor got the weapon in the first slot removed while the second slot was empty. This broke many effects in Yume2kki.
- On some platforms all events on the map flickered while scrolling
- The Android version crashed when attempting to report a bug (how ironic!) (#1477)
- Our internal RTP translation table which maps Japanese to other RTP versions didn’t work anymore. (#1579)
- Removing the Class with
ChangeClasscommand did not work anymore. (#1657)
The RPG Maker 2000 demo for the Tokyo Demo Fest 2018 Wild compo (search for tdf2018wildcompodemo) was hanging or skipping parts of the demo sequence. If you are familiar with the Demo scene you know that the synchronisation of video with audio is very important. Therefore this game used an undocumented feature: “Get MIDI Ticks” of the Change Variable command works for non-MIDI files: It returns the track position in seconds. With this implemented the demo plays perfectly. (#1517, #1523)
Sprites are now properly rendered at borders of small looping maps (20×15, which is the minimal map size) . When a sprite overlaps the border of a looping map it is rendered two times or four times, depending on the corner. Before Player only rendered the sprite once. Contrary to RPG_RT we support proper looped rendering for the airship and fixed a visual glitch: When the Pan is locked events on the most bottom row become invisible. (#1216, #1541).
This video is a glitch exhibition of RPG_RT panning bugs. We don’t emulate them, EasyRPG Player will behave correctly in all these cases.
Screen/Picture Tint, Shake and Flash:
- The “affected by Tint” flag is now fully supported for Pictures. (#1545, #1546)
- The screen shake effect is now fully implemented and matches RPG_RT completely. (#1547)
- The “affected by flash” flag is now partially supported for Pictures. When the Picture is below the weather plane the screen flash will be always applied, we plan a fix for a later release. (#1549)
- All screen effects were applied one frame too late, you probably never noticed this but as we become more compatible we care more about timing.
With these bugs fixed the game Desolate City: The Bloody Dawn (Enhanced Edition) becomes fully enjoyable.
Panoramas are now matching RPG_RT completely. There are too many ugly details to explain here, just try it. They work perfectly! Try it with pan or on looping maps or on maps with scrolling backgrounds, it will work everywhere. Additionally the new savegame fields panorama X/Y from RPG Maker 2003 English edition are now supported which means the panorama position is preserved in savegames. Pan is also correctly saved and restored now. (#1485, #1498, #1531, #1534, #1551, #1554)
The Change HP command didn’t work when the whole party was being damaged. (#1558)
RPG_RT only does Game Over checks after certain event commands executed. We already supported this but lacked some commands, e.g. Change EXP, Change Level and Change Equipment. (#1583)
Parallel events did not halt execution when an “Input Number Message` Command was used resulting in the number input being skipped. (#1598)
Move event related fixes (Spoiler: 0.6.1 will have a gigantic amount of movement fixes, we postponed them because they need testing first):
- The facing direction is now correctly calculated for jumps. (#1113)
- Menu calls through event commands (Menu, Shop, etc.) happen now immediately instead of waiting until a movement finishes. (#1559)
- Movement commands targeting vehicles that are not on the map are now queued until the vehicle appears on a map, before the Player would hang when Proceed with movement was used. (#1580)
ChangeHP, AddState and RemoveState match now the RPG_RT behaviour: (#1481)
- HP changing is not possible when an actor is dead
- If ChangeHP kills a character, it adds the Death state to that battler
- When Death state is cured it always sets the HP to 1
- When a character dies, all the other states are erased, the defense, charge, gauge and stat modifiers are reset, and the current attribute shifts erased.
- When a state is added, all states with priority <= max_priority – 10
are cleared. (#1489)
When the default cancel option in a `Show Choice` is an unused choice, e.g. when you have a Yes/No Answer and Cancel is the 3rd, non-existing, the Player does not crash anymore (#1634).
The ChangeClass command removes now the equipment. (#1657)
This release features a gigantic amount of battle changes especially to the algorithms and the RPG Maker 2000 battle UI. The RPG Maker 2003 battle UI did not receive many improvements. We want to handle 2003 in a later release but all the algorithm changes also apply to RPG Maker 2003 battles.
RPG Maker 2000 only
There was a gigantic amount of cosmetic changes to the RPG Maker 2000 battle system, so we cannot list all of them:
The victory message has correct amount of delays.
In some cases the amount of SP recovered reported -1 instead of the real value.
When an ally receives damage the screen shakes now.
Dead enemies cannot attack anymore.
When you hold Cancel while a battle executes the battle will stop.
The battle message box was completely rewritten. All the messages generated should now match the RPG Maker 2000 behaviour. including most of the delays. We won’t list them here as the old message box was completely incorrect.
When an ally is targeted no battle animation is displayed. Instead the sound effects of the first 20 frames are played, everything else is cut off. (#1377)
The battle state machine we use to handle the battle state execution was completely refactored. This makes the code more maintainable. (#1573)
The word-wrapping algorithm of RPG Maker 2000 v1.61 hung the game when the word was longer than the line. (#1570)
Auto battle supports now attack-all weapons. (#1540)
The Defend command ignores the agility and is executed first. (#1560)
Restriction changes are now applied even during turns. This means an actor who just received a “No Move” restriction won’t attack in this turn anymore. The same applies when the actor runs out of SP before invoking a selected skill. (#1538, #1560)
When a state was healed right before an attack the state can be caused again.
While holding the Decision key the battle execution speed will be doubled.
RPG Maker 2003 only
States which resulted in the inability to move (Sleep, paralyse, etc.) never auto-healed because the turn count was not increased. This made many games, OFF and Mother: Cognitive Dissonance among them, much harder. This already worked in 2k. (#1276)
Various visual fixes for the RPG Maker 2003 Battle system improve the experience in Mother: Cognitive Dissonance: (#1605)
- Battle backgrounds are now animated
- Background or Terrain loading is now correctly handled, including battle tests
- The traditional battle style shows now a SP box in the skill selection and hides the SP in the actor list
When a monster is killed by an event command the death sound plays now. (#1439)
Battles, victories, escapes and defeats are counted now. (#1439)
Status effect immunity of items is now supported.
Battle Animations don’t block the battle interpreter anymore.
Battle music starts playing now when the transition from the map starts, before it started after.
In many places the sound effects were wrong, some examples:
- Confirm and cancel sounds were missing or played twice
- Confirm sound was played when you pressed enter while a battle action was executed
- Items didn’t play the item use sound
The custom skill name of the actor is only displayed when the “rename skill” checkbox is selected.
Weapons that inflict states inflicted the wrong states.
The Skill menu remembers now the cursor position.
Buffs and Debuffs stack now correctly.
Items and Skills that affect groups only reduce the SP once.
State probability respects now the armor resistance.
The battle is over when the whole party has a “No Move” restriction and the chance of recovery is 0%.
When having an ability that halves SP cost the halved SP are rounded up.
Equipment that protects against an element works now like a buff and shifts the attribute.
All states with a recovery rate of >0% autoheal now after a battle is finished even if they can persist on the map. (#1392)
Attacks that target all enemies do not hit hidden enemies anymore.
The battle windows are now animated and slide from left to right.
Self-destruct shows now a zoom-fade-out. (#1452)
Medicine is now usable by any actor in battle, but when the target cannot use the medicine it will silently fail. (#1482)
Automatic state heal happened one turn too early. (#1504)
The Random Encounter algorithm was redone and matches now the RPG_RT implementation. (#1455)
The critical hit algorithm combines now the critical percentage for actor and weapon correctly and equipment that prevents critical hits is supported. (#1487)
The algorithm for physical attacks matches now the RPG_RT algorithm. (#1511)
The RPG Maker 2000 battle uses now the correct algorithm to determine the turn order. (#1519)
The SP required to use a weapon or a skill are now correctly calculated. (#1511)
The skill window remembers now the last selection per actor. (#1525)
Fixed equipment (curse) is now implemented for items and states. (#1562)
States that grant 100% dodge are supported now. (#1563)
Jump and Crouch didn’t work anymore in Ara Fell after loading a RPG_RT savegame in Player. (#787)
After loading a savegame in Peuteris Grey the scrolling began to induce motion sickness (#1026).
The save count fields are now respected: When the database save count mismatches all common events are reloaded from the database and when the event save count mismatches all map events are reloaded from the map. (#1203, #1441)
Saving of tile substitution is now supported. (#1266)
Steps are now counted and stored in the savegame. They are only used for applying damage when an actor is poisoned. (#1472)
Continuous Flash effects are supported now and the flash state is correctly saved and restored. (#1501)
The player character was not visible in Makoto Mobius because the last actor in the savegame was not initialized. (#1514)
When loading a savegame that had no events running the event running on the main interpreter was not deleted. (#1565)
When the title screen was disabled in a RPG Maker 2003 v1.10+ game pictures were not restored when loading a savegame. (#1571)
Various gameplay changes
The ExFont resource is now automatically extracted from RPG_RT.exe and used as the ExFont graphic in Player. This will help a lot of games that use custom ExFont like Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis and Mother: Cognitive Dissonance and (#605)
The debug scene, accessible through F9 when TestPlay mode is active, got new features: Besides variables and switches you can now change gold, items, start battles (#1431) and it is now accessible in battles. (#1432)
The load/save screen has now animated scrolling. (#1520)
Escape & Teleport play now the skill sound. (#1591)
The window showing a description at the top in many scenes has a special behaviour: Whitespace is only half the normal size. (#1611)
The Shop scene received multiple fixes:
- FaceSets are now displayed in the message window (#1614)
- It was possible to sell items in an empty inventory which crashed the Player (#1615)
- The arrows which indicate if a new equipment is better or worse use now the correct algorithm (#1590, #1615)
The unpopular 2k3 Status scene uses now the terms from the official RPG Maker 2003 release instead of the RPG advocate translation. (#1616)
Vehicle BGM plays now correctly: When you enter a vehicle the old map BGM is stored and when you switch the map the vehicle BGM continues playing. After leaving the vehicle the stored BGM is restored, except when the map changed, then the map BGM plays. (#1619)
The Equipment scene shows now a “>”-arrow between the old and the new parameter value. (#1660)
Items that invoke skills behave now correctly in the menu. (#1526)
Moving the entire party in the back row is not allowed anymore. (#1444)
The Items Tab in the RPG Maker Editor has a very obscure behaviour: The equipment settings where you can choose between Actor and Class are a global setting! This means when you change it to Class, the class check applies to all items (same for Actors). We find this highly counter-intuitive but support it now for compatibility reasons. (#1438)
The logic for skill usability on the map and in battles is very chaotic and we should document it someday. We found one more edge cases: Skills that only affect states which end after battle are not usable on the map anymore. (#1439)
Changes to the Walk through wall (hold CTRL) feature in Test Play mode (#1439):
- You can’t walk out of the map bounds anymore
- While an event move route is active the feature is disabled
- The feature is disabled while in vehicles
The bush transparency effect only applies to characters on the “same as hero” layer. (#1465)
Our image cache didn’t differentiate between transparent and non-transparent images: When a picture was loaded twice, once with transparency and once without, both were transparent. (#1576)
When a map has save/escape/teleport flags set to “inherit from parent” and the map is moved to the root of the tree the flags are now handled like “enabled” even though there is no parent. (#1597)
Because Windows is case insensitive we must emulate this behaviour on all platforms, otherwise files are not found when the case doesn’t match. Until now we only supported this for A-Z, but the game Blue Star Story required it for Ś->ś. We switched from our naive algorithm to the ICU library which supports lower-casing for the whole Unicode range. (#839)
More fun with Unicode: There are multiple ways to store many glyphs in Unicode, e.g. ä can be stored as the codepoint ä or as a+” and OSX uses the second option which breaks loading of almost all files because the game and the filesystem name mismatch. The Player normalizes now all strings, again using ICU. (#1530)
The popular game Violated Heroine was unable to load assets in subdirectories on Windows because the directory separator was handled incorrectly. (#1383)
The macOS version will not crash anymore when a directory is accessed that is not readable. (#1476)
Via hex editing it is possible to put assets in subdirectories or even navigate upwards with “..”. The Player attempts to convert these to a canonical path by removing redundant path components. The VIPRPG game エターナリ草 referenced “Picture\map\\block01” and we did not to convert \\ into \ before, resulting in “image not found” errors. (#1542)
When the path to pictures contained a slash “/” (only possible with hex editing) the path separator was not properly transformed on Windows which meant many assets failed to in Violated Heroine. (#1629)
When the RTP is not installed or only partially installed the Player will always emit now a noisy warning when any RTP asset is requested. The warning displayed on Player start is gone. (#1630)
Building for Windows (with vcpkg) is now supported by our CMake script. Which means this is the only supported way to build for Windows now. The Visual Studio project files were removed. (#1270, #1536, #1537)
The install path for manpages on UNIX is now customizable. (#1533)
The Android port was updated to SDL 2.0.9. This fixes startup crashes on multiple devices with broken Adreno GPU drivers. (#1609)
The Nintendo Switch port received a major update: The port compiles now with the latest version of devkitA64 and supports hardware acceleration which gives a huge performance boost. Debug tracing is now possible with nxlink. (#1607)
On certain hardware configurations the audio on Windows was broken when the WASAPI backend was used. This only affected our nightlies after 0.5.4, because for this release we used an older version of SDL. (#1405)
The seed used to initialize the Random number generator is now written into the logfile, making game recordings/replays more deterministic. (#1446)
The WildMidi library searches now first for /etc/wildmidi/wildmidi.cfg because the timidity.cfg contains soundfonts on many distributions which WildMidi does not support. (#1467)
Our library for reading and writing RPG Maker files got major updates! When you load any RPG Maker file (there are LDB – Database, LMU – Map, LMT – Map Tree or LSD – Savegame) with liblcf and save them without modifications the result will be now perfect down to the byte for 99.9% of all files. The exceptions are files with custom modifications due to patches. We cannot handle them, but we support custom headers and they are preserved.
The reading and writing was tested against 1500 games and we hope that this gave us enough coverage to say: Our read and write code is now perfect!
Additionally we handle now all the default value corner cases, e.g. there is in some cases a difference between a missing and an empty field. E.g. when the party field is missing it means that Actor 1 is in the party, when it is empty it means the party is empty. (#229, #234, #242, #268, #277, #279, #283, #284)
liblcf will not choke anymore on corrupted chunks. This makes a few games playable for the first time in EasyRPG Player, because when liblcf cannot parse it, Player will not play it. Games that start now are Der Sinn des Lebens, Devil or Angel, Kroetenstuhl, Rick Jones Hunters and Monster World RPG. (#249, #250)
All chunks are now identified which means there is no field left anymore whose purpose is unknown. This allows us to make saving in EasyRPG Player match RPG_RT behaviour but we are not fully there yet! (#261, #264)
Music and sound effects are now correctly restored from savegames. Before pitch and volume changes were ignored. (#262)
String parsing was optimized which gives a minor parsing speedup mostly noticeable on slow systems. (#273)
This affects some users and developers: Our gigantic RAM eater reader_struct was split in smaller files. This means you will not run out of memory anymore when building e.g. on a Raspberry Pi and the compile speed was increased. (#289)
The new animation type “Step frame fix” added in RPG2k3E is supported now. (#306)
liblcf for Developers
A new helper function PrepareSave was added which can be used before writing LDB, LMU and LSD to increase the save count. (#266)
Most of our liblcf code is generated through scripts but one part still used a boost preprocessor macro. This was now replaced with a jinja2-template, too which removes the last usage of boost in our code. (#238)
When the CMake version used for compiling liblcf is older than 3.10 the bundled EXPAT and ICU CMake files are now used for finding the libraries. In newer versions of CMake they are provided by the host system. (#275)
The Save chunks for Player, Event and Vehicle inherit now from a common base class SaveMapEventBase. This matches the RPG_RT behaviour and allowed us to remove many code duplication in Player. (#282)
Our code generator supports now emitting of constants. (#287)
All liblcf structs are now equality comparable. (#291)
As for Player building for Windows (with vcpkg) is now supported by our CMake script. Which means this is the only supported way to build liblcf for Windows now. The Visual Studio project files were removed. (#294)
The tarball created by autotools contains now the CMakeLists.txt. (#297)
Headers and Sources are now sorted and listed in both Makefile.am and CMakeLists. The CMake generator supports now creating of logical groups you should know from the Visual Studio project. (#298)
Mimetypes are now provided and install for the RPG Maker files on GNU/Linux. (#301)