Calibre's Undertanding the Basics of RMXP

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Level 87
Project of the Month winner for September 2007





PART 0 - Introduction

PART 1 - Main Editor Screen Tutorial

PART 2 - Main Event Screen Tutorial

PART 3 - Event Function Tutorial

PART 4 - All about Switches (Still to come)

PART 5 - All about Variables (Still to come)

PART 6 - All about Conditional Branches (Still to come)


Part 0 - Introduction


OK, so we often see people asking questions here like how do I make a cutscene or how do (insert problem here).  Well, most people could probably learn for themselves if they just understood what all the basic functions of events and the maker in general, do properly first.  I'm writing my own guide on understanding the basic principles of events and how and when to use them.


PART 1) Let's get Started!


So we want to make an amazing game but where do we start?  Well let's look at the basic editor screen we get when we open the program and see what it has to offer.

1 Main Editor Grid

This is the main editor screen where we will be doing most of our work.  On this grid we create our towns and villages, make our cutscenes, plot our chests ands so forth.  It is what we will see in the game when we are playing with the exception of the gridlines and semi-transparent event squares such as 'No. 7' shows)

2 RPG Maker Toolbar

This is the RPG Maker Toolbar.  As you can see the areas are already broken up with a faint divider.



If you highlight the icons they will tell you their function.

First Section

The first section you should be familiar with from various other programs.  New project, open project, save project... simple stuff. 

Second Section

The next four are also simple, cut, copy, paste and delete.  For these I instead tend to use right-click as you would in Microsoft Word and for delete I simply press delete on the keyboard.  The next one along is an undo button in case you make a mistake.  After this the keys become specific to RPG Maker.

Third Section

The next four icons control the layer on which you are working, click one to change to that layer.  It is good practice to map floors on layer 1, and then items such as houses on layer 2 on top of that.  Accessories often go on layer 3.  There is no strict method though, just whatever works best for
you.  Layer four is exclusively for events which are covered a bit further down this tutorial. 

Fourth Section

The 5 icons in the next section are only selectable when on layers 1 to 3.  They work the same as in paint programs  and determine the way your highlighted pieces of the tileset are drawn onto the editor grid.  The 5th option is a select area tool for copying and pasting certain areas of a map.  This is good for symmetrical places like a castle.

Fifth Section

The next three icons work as a zoom.  By default you are always on the closest possible but for larger maps you can select -2 or -4 views.

Sixth Section

The final five icons are among the most commonly used and are very important to making a game.  The first of these is your games database.  All information that is not determined actually "in-game" is produced in here.  Such things as stats, names of weapons, monsters in your game and so forth.  It is a very big topic on it's own.

The one along from that allows you to import new files into your game such as a new tileset or a new song.  Be sure to be highlighting the right type of area when you import.  For example don't highlight character set and then try to import a song, it won't work!

Along from that is your scripts database.  This DOES NOT mean scripts as in dialogue!  Scripts add extra functions to the program that didn't come with it initially.  If you are new to RPG Maker I seriously suggest you forget all about scripts until you have a good understanding of the basics first.

The penultimate icon is the music directory.  It basically functions as a jukebox within the program if you want to listen to your RPG Maker songs at any point.

The final icon is the test play icon that starts the game.  The program wouldn't be much use without that one!

3 Tileset Graphics

This is the tileset we currently have assigned to the particular map we have on screen.  We use the tileset to design the actual game areas itself. All your dungeons, towns and cutscenes will be made up of the graphics within the various tilesets.  Only one tileset can be applied to each individual map.  Click on a piece of the tileset and then by clicking on the Main grid that piece of graphic will be painted onto your map.  Note that you must paint maps onto layers 1 to 3,the fourth later only allows events on top of it.  More to come on this later.

4 Map Directory

The map directory houses all your maps in folders.  Try right-clicking on the first map the game gives you - "Map 001".  This brings up a new menu for this particular map.  In map properties we can name the map, select which of the tilesets are assigned to this particular map, select the size of the map measured in tiles, select the maps background music and background sound effects as well as select which monsters will appear on the map (if any) and how often.

OK, let's close that window and learn how we add new maps to our game in a logical and ordered way.  It doesn't actually matter where your maps are placed because any map can link to any other map but it does help you in the long term to find them all!  Think of how files are stored on your PC.  Files within folders within folders within folders.  Maps in RMXP work the same.  To see how it works lets rename "map 001" to "village 1".  If we right click on "village 1" in the directory and select the new map option, name it "house 1" and then close we will see that "house 1" is stored inside "village 1" that can be minimized or maximized.  Try right-clicking on the actual root folder at the very top and clicking new map.  Name it "Village 2".  We will see that "village 2" is in the same directory as "village 1", but "house 1" is still only seen in the "village 1" directory.

5 Events

If the tileset is the games main visual input, events are what makes the game actually work!  To make one simply ensure you are on the fourth layer (the event layer) and double-click where you want it in the grid. Events can range from very simple to very complex depending on what "event" we want to achieve for our game.  When using RPG Maker an "event" basically refers to anything that actually happens when playing the game.  It can either be visually represented like a king walking around his chamber or can be invisible like a teleport at the edge of the map.  Not all events have to go in a certain place to work either.  For processes within the game like a cutscene, it is good practise to place your event at the bottom right of a map so you can find it easily later.  It is also good practice to name an event though it doesn't matter if you don't.

6 Co-ordinates

While nowhere near as important as many of the things on screen, hovering over a tile on the main editor while display it's coordinates here.  It is helpful for eventing various things as well as laying tiles in the right places.  The X (Sideways) coordinate is displayed first followed by the Y coordinate (up and down).  Note that the first tile is referred to as '0', not '1'.

7 Starting Place

This is where your hero will start when you start the game.  Of course you can only make 1 start point within the whole of your maps.  You will need to change it a lot when testing areas of your game.  In a full project it is commonly placed on a blank map for intro cutscene purposes, but don't worry about that too much right now.  To make a new starting position right-click a tile space when you are on the 4th layer and select player starting position.


PART 2 - Let's Use Events!


OK, so we have broken down the Main Screen and should know where all our tools are on it.  You don't need to design a map to try out how events work, we just need the plain grass map we started with.  Now we need to understand all about the event itself.  Remember an event is anything that actually takes place in the game.  The stuff we define in the database is the fundamentals of the game, the events on the map are turning those fundamentals into tangible processes.

Let's take an example to make that make sense.  In the database we determine the party members that can be met in the game.  We decide their stats, skills they can use, their names that will appear in the menus and so forth.  In events we put our actors in cutscenes, change their weapons
and skills, remove them from the party and so forth - things that happen during the game, not determined before it has begun.

Let's take a look at the page where we make all our events.  Remember to place each event just double click a square in the grid whilst on the fourth event page.  Events can be very simple but can be pretty hard to understand at first so do try to read and take in as much as you.

1 Event Name

This is simply naming the event.  Honestly most people don't name every event but it does help to name events you are planning to use in a cutscene such as a character.

2 Event Processing

This is where you insert all the event commands that this particular event will process.  This is the meat of the event and can be made up of many different functions.  To add an event, double click where the @ symbol is.

3 Page Commands

This is where we can create, copy or remove pages to the event.  Sometimes the same event needs multiple pages of event processes depending on whether certain conditions have been met.  For a simple example, a man in a village may trigger a cutscene the first time you speak to him.  After the cutscene he will likely just have a snippet of new dialogue to say to the player if
you try speaking to him again.  These two different processes must be on separate pages.  RPG Maker always reads the latter page first UNLESS the pages conditions have not been triggered.  This means that your events processes must go in the page order they occur.  In the example given about the man in the village, the first page would have no conditions and the second would have a condition.  That means RMXP will process the first because the seconds conditions haven't been met, but as soon as those conditions are met it will read the second pages events because it always uses the last page available.

4 Page Tabs

This allows you to select which page of events you are viewing.  Be default only one page exists.

5 Event Conditions

The conditions determine whether or not a page of an event should (and can be) processed.  An event does not NEED a condition on it's first page but can have one depending on the situation. 

Let's have an example.Take Elf Village.  In Elf Village when you first visit there are NPC's to talk to.  These elves do not need any conditions as you can talk to them immediately in the village.  However, later in the game you return to elf village and it has been seized by the Dwarves.  You add dwarf NPC's in the same way you did the elves but for the dwarfs you'll need a switch to ensure they aren't standing about the first time you are there.  You'll need to trigger the switch at any time between leaving the village for the first time and returning the second.

A switch is the most common form of determining whether or not a page should be processed.  I'll go into more detail on switches later on but put simply a switch is either ON or OFF.  A switch is turned on like all other processes within the list of event commands.  If the switch is ON then the pages conditions are met, if the Switch is OFF they are not.

A second switch condition is provided for moments when two conditions must be met.  Imagine a mage saying bring me some Forest Mushrooms and a Golden Feather.  If both conditions are met the new page will process.  If only one is true then the previous page will still process.

A variable is basically a numerical value.  If the number of a particular variable is over the specified amount in the event conditions then the event is processed.  Just as a note, I don't often use variables here, but they are commonly used within the event processing itself.

The final condition is a self switch.  This works just like a normal switch but is only usable within this event.  It is good for events such as item chests that once are opened remain opened forever.

Take the earlier example of the Elf village.  A self switch would not work in that case because the switch to determine the dwarf invasion needed to be used widely amongst many NPC's, not just for a sole event.

6 Event Graphic

An event can either have a graphic or no graphic.  Something that can be visually seen and engaged on a map such as an NPC or a chest should have an assigned graphic.  Something that will teleport you to a new map generally should not.

7 Event Movement

This determines whether the event moves or not.  The most common auto-moving event is an NPC or monster.  Fixed means no movement, random is well random such as a strolling NPC, approach means approach the hero, often used for on screen enemies and custom you can event your own movement. The speed of the movement determines the actual speed, the frequency determines how often that movement is processed from tile to tile.  Fastest frequency means continuous movement such as a child running in circles.

8 Options

Extra options for your event. 

Move Animation - The event animates whilst moving.

Stop Animation - The event animates when not moving.

Direction Fix - The event cannot change direction.

Through - The event can pass through all tiles, events and the hero.

Always on Top - The event is always drawn over tiles, events and the hero.

9 Trigger

This determines how the event begins processing assuming the conditions of the page are met.

Action Button - The hero clicks the action button on the event.

Player Touch - The hero touches the event.

Event Touch - The Event touches the hero.

Autorun - The event starts instantly when the player is on the same map as it, freezing the heroes movement and overriding other events.  Commonly used for cutscenes.

Parallel Process - The event starts instantly when the player is on the same map as it,but allows the player to still move.  It does not override events but works in parallel with them.  Multiple parallel processes can be used and can also be used in conjunction with autostarts.


PART 3 - Event Function Tutorial


So now we want to start making an event.  First we have to have a good understanding of the functions at our disposal.  There are a lot and not are all needed straight away or even throughout the whole game but I'll briefly summarise what they do.


1 First Events Page


Show Text...

This shows text inside a message box like we've all seen in RPG's on screen.  The Event halts processing while the message is displayed and continues when the message box is closed with the press of the action key.

Show Choices...

This allows the player to make a choice using the same message box as the message displays in.  You then need to event different outcomes depending on the answer, or more often than not leave one outcome blank.  An example such as 'sleep in the bed?' is a common one.  In this  case if the player chooses yes you'll need to event something but if he says no the event will just end.

Input Number...

This allows you to input up to an 8 digit number.  This is then saved in a variable slot of your choice.  It is quite a complex function for newbies but can be used to enter a password or an amount of gold to donate etc.

Change Text Options...

This allows you to change the position of where the message box is displayed as well as whether or not the message box is displayed or invisible.

Button Input Processing...

Another one of the more complex options, this lets you check which key the player is pressing on his keyboard and saves it to a variable.  It can be used too add extra functions to keys or have timed button presses in your game for puzzles.


This makes the processing of the event  wait a certain amount of frames before continuing to the next part.  On average 20 frames equals 1 second in real-time.  Common uses are pauses between speech and cutscene timing.


A comment simply lets you add a note inside the event - it is ignored in the processing of the event.  Useful for complicated systems for future reference.

Conditional Branch...

A very nifty function thats allows you to check if a whole host of conditions are met or not.  Imagine a fork in the road where the event can go one of two ways from now on.  If you simply want to check something is true but not provide an alternate route, untick the "else" option.  THis then effectively works like an event condition checking if the condition has been met for the event to process.  There are many, many uses but they are often puzzle or quest related.


Loops are rarely needed and are fairly hard to work with.  Used incorrectly they can also add fatal errors to your game.  They begin a complete cycle of what ever is in the loop until a condition is met and/or effectively freezing the game until it is met.  I have often used them to display a tutorial picture until the player presses enter to break the loop and fade out the picture.

Break Loop

Once a condition is met inside a loop, use this to break the loop and carry on the event processing.

Exit Event Processing

If for any reason you need the event to instantly stop processing, this event will do that.

Erase Event

This deletes the event at this point until the player leaves and re-enters the map.  Commonly used for defeated on-screen enemy sprites.


A label allows you to make a marker within your event that can be jumped back to at any point.  Imagine an angry mayor who asks you if you are sorry for burning down the village, you have the option to say either yes or no.  If you say yes he forgives you, but if you say no the event jumps back to the label and he asks you again forever until you say yes.

Jump to Label...

The trigger for jumping back to a  label inside the event.

Control Switches...

This allows you to either turn a single or group of switches ON or OFF.  Commonly used at the end of an event to ensure it doesn't restart at the end again.  For more see All about Switches...

Control Variables...

Allows you to change the numerical value of a variable based on a variety of options.  Used for many reasons.  For more see All about Variables...

Control Self Switches...

This allows you to turn on a self switch for the event you are in.  It is like a normal switch but can not be used from event to event, it can only be used inside the one where it is turned on.  There are 4 premade self switches per event.

Control Timer...

This allows you to set / start a timer.  It can be set in both minutes and seconds.  To check the time it should be used in conjunction with a conditional branch.

Change Gold...

Change the amount of money the party possesses.  This can either be done via a set number or a number you have stored in a variable slot.

Change Items...

Add/Remove/Change the amount of a particular item the party possesses.  This can either be done via a set number or a number you have stored in a variable slot.

Change Weapons...

Add/Remove/Change the amount of a particular weapon the party possesses.  This can either be done via a set number or a number you have stored in a variable slot.

Change Armor...

Add/Remove/Change the amount of a particular armor the party possesses.  This can either be done via a set number or a number you have stored in a variable slot.

Change Party Member...

Add or Remove a hero character to the party.  They can either retain their development or start as they are set in up in the database.

Change Windowskin...

Change the skin of the message box in your game.

Change Battle BGM...

Change the music used in your games battles.

Change Battle End ME...

Change the piece of music that plays when you win a battle.

Change Save Access...

Change whether you can save from the menu or not.

Change Menu Access...

Change whether you can access the menu or not.

Change Encounter...

Change whether random enemies encounters occur or not.


Second Events Page


Transfer Player...

Allows the hero to transfer from one place to another, either on the same map or a new one.  You can either select the direct tile or assign it through the use of variables.

Set Event Location...

Change an events location as opposed to the hero.  Unlike the hero an event cannot transfer to another map.

Scroll Map...

Pan the camera across the map whilst your hero retains his position.  Can be used to simulate looking forwards or as part of a cutscene.

Change Map settings...

Change the tileset properties for the current map you are on.

Change Fog Color Tone...

Change the hue of the current fog.

Change Fog Opacity...

Change how transparent the current fog is.

Show Animation...

Show an animation from the database on the map screen and select a target.

Change Transparent Flag...

Make the hero character either invisible or visible.  Useful for cutscenes.

Set Move Route...

An in depth method of moving events around the screen.  Commonly used for cutscenes and moving multiple events during it.

Wait for Move Completion...

Make the event stop processing until all events with evented move  routes have finished moving.

Prepare for transition...

Takes a screenshot of the screen and halts all movement in preparation for a transition.

Execute Transition...

Change from the previously captured screen to whatever has been processed in between that capture and this execution.

Change Screen Color Tone...

Change the color of the hue on the screen.  By default it is 0,0,0,0.  Useful for making nightime scenes etc.

Screen Flash...

Flash the screen with a hue of your selection for a given time of your selection.  Can be used to simulate lightning.

Screen Shake...

Shake the screen at varying strengths for a given time.  Can be used to simulate an explosion.

Show Picture...

Show a picture on the screen.  Multiple images can be displayed on the screen.  The larger the number, the higher it's precedence.

Move Picture...

Move the picture or edit the characteristics of the displayed pictures on the screen.

Rotate Picture...

Turn the picture on the screen.

Change Picture Color Tone...

Change the hue of a picture on the screen.

Erase Picture...

Remove a picture from the scene.

Set Weather Effects...

Change the weather on the screen.  This will carry over to the next map until removed by setting this to none.

Play BGM...

Play or change the background music on the map.  It will stay this way until it is changed either through this method or a maps properties overrule it.

Fade out BGM...

Fade the background music out at a given number of frames.

Play BGS...

Play or change the background sound effects on the map.  It will stay this way until it is changed either through this method or a maps properties overrule it.

Fade out BGS...

Fade the background sound effects out at a given number of frames.

Memorize BGM/BGS...

Remember the background music / sound effects playing and it's properties.

Restore BGM/BGS...

Play the previously memorized BGM and BGS.

Play ME...

Play a Music Effect.  A music effect is a BGM that only plays through once and does not repeat.

Play SE...

Play a sound effect.

Stop SE...

Stop the playback of a sound effect.


Third Events Page


Battle Processing...

Automatically force a battle to commence.

Shop Processing...

Call the shop menu as well as deciding which items are available within the shop.

Name Input Processing...

Allow the player to change the name of a hero and set the maximum amount of characters for the name.

Change HP...

Alter the hit points of the party or a single member of the party.  This does not refer to the maximum hit points but the amount they have from their maximum.

Change SP...

Alter the skill points of the party or a single member of the party.  This does not refer to the maximum skill points but the amount they have from their maximum.

Change State...

Alter the state of the party or a single member of the party.

Recover all...

Fully restore the party or a single member.

Change EXP...

Change the experience points of the party or a single member.

Change Level...

Change the level of the party or a single member.

Change Parameters...

Change the parameters of a single party member.

Change Skills...

Add or remove a skill to a single party member.

Change Equipment...

Add or remove equipment to a single party member.

Change Actor Name...

Change the name of a party member.

Change Class...

Change the Class of a party member.

Change Actor Graphic...

Change the sprite and battler of a party member.

Change Enemy HP...

Alter the hit points of an enemy.  This does not refer to the maximum hit points but the amount they have from their maximum.

Change Enemy SP...

Alter the skill points of an enemy.  This does not refer to the maximum skill points but the amount they have from their maximum.

Change Enemy State...

Alter the state of the enemy.

Enemy Recover all...

Fully restore an enemy.

Enemy Appearance...

Makes an enemy spawn in battle.

Enemy Transform...

Transform one enemy into another.

Show Battle Animation...

Show a visual animation during battle.

Deal Damage...

Deal damage to an enemy or actor during battle by force.

Force Action...

Force a battle action from either the enemy or actors.

Abort Battle...

Immediately Cancel out of battle.

Call Menu Screen...

Automatically open the menu screen.

Call Save Menu...

Automatically open the save menu.


Force the gameover.

Return to Title Screen.

Yes... return back to the title screen.


For use purely with scripts. be continued

Ancient Mummy
Level 90
very very very usefull to beginners!