We're gonna do something different here today.
I was rummaging through some old CDs today, looking for the Factory Settings Recovery CD for my Step-dad's computer, 'cause it's acting up to the point of not being able to do anything, when I found something very, very interesting.
Among the heap of old crap I had buried in the corner of my room, comprising of techno music and Sim City games, I found a CD that was labeled "DBZ RPG." This was completely nostalgic.
Back when I was in high school, I was heavily into the RPG Maker scene that was booming at the time. RPG Maker was a video game development software heavily focusing on RPGs, but if you had the coding skills, you can pull off other things as well. The most popular version at the time was 2k3. 2k2 was long before then, and XP was when I got tired of the community. There were console versions as well, but they were incredibly limited, since you couldn't make your own sprite artwork or code special effects and commands. 2k3 was pretty simple to use, but can do a lot if you have the know-how, and you can produce some beautiful looking games.
Specifically, I was part of an RPG Maker community focusing on Dragonball games. The community spread out to a couple different places, gaining and loosing friends, and developing statuses. Many people tried to create Legacy of Goku clones, whether it be ripping the sprites from those games, or trying (and failing) to mimic the beat-em-up style.
Most of the games were awful. They suffered from poorly coded programming, resulting in bad gameplay, people didn't know who to make things look visual pleasing and cohesive, and music choices were ripped off from places that don't fit Dragonball at all (a lot of Final Fantasy and Megaman). People tended to use the same type of sprite work for games, so you'll see a lot of these games looking exactly the same, and even if the sprites were beautiful, people didn't know how to arrange them on the map very well.
And the stories. Oh my, the stories.
I'm fairly certain that 99% of the premises went like this:
"Two years after the defeat of Majin Boo, the Z-Warriors were enjoying their peaceful lives, until Freeza, Cell, and a butt-load of dead villians... FOR SOME REASON... came back to live to exact revenge on our heroes."
I was guilty of this as well. >.>
People rarely finished games. I can't think of a single Dragonball game that was ever finished. It was really easy to loose motivation while working on these games, since they're just crappy fan creations. Either that, or people were overly ambitions (like I was) and were presented with too much than they can handle. There was a really big French Dragonball fangame that was being made by a guy named "Shinji" which was the pinnacle of amazingness, but like every other game, it bit the dust.
I was never the type of person who went into the coding aspect of producing games (and I never will be), but I was good at making sprites, so that's what I ended up doing for our group. The game making community was probably what grew a love of sprite artwork within me and gave me the motivation to work on my own. I still want to work on sprites today, even.
Just to give you a little taste of what I did in the past, here are a couple of examples:
Most of these were modifications of existing sprite work from real Dragonball games (mostly Legends and Legendary Super Warriors). They are not what you would consider good sprite artwork, but they were some of the best in the community. This is what I was able to do.
I did try to make my own games, but most of them are lost forever... probably. I did manage to find one today, which leads us back to "DBZ RPG." I popped this sucker into the Blu-ray drive on my laptop, and loaded it up. Oh man... looking at all of these files sends me back into yesteryear.
So I open her up, click on 'RPG_RT', and we're ready to play some fan-made goodness.
Let's play, shall we?
This is the title screen for the game. I'm pretty sure I took this screen from someplace else. I must have been too lazy to make my own, because I'm pretty certain that even back then, I thought it looked kinda crappy.
I mean look at it, the sprites don't even match each other.
The fact that the game is called "Dragonball Z: After Buu" and there are a bunch of random villains on the screen gives a good indication of what the game is about, based on the little story description I mentioned earlier.
And mp3 of Cha-la-head-cha-la is blaring in the background, which is probably the only good thing about this title screen.
The game starts off with this screen right here. I remember starting a lot of the games I created with standing on a cliff, overlooking the sky. Gohan must either be so far above the ground that the atmospheric perspective is so thick, or that he's upside down.
I also love how Gohan has to explain that he's training. I certainly didn't have the skill to have the sprite doing some training. :P
It might seem like things are moving slowly, but that's because I'm screencapping at every single moment. XD
Goten has joined my party! Huzzah!
Check out this masterful landscaping. There are six bushes placed haphazardly around a mother bush, who is resting on this rectangular hill. If you look really carefully, there is a transparent cloud passing over Gohan.
So, I have reached a part where I need to jump down from this ledge. I placed some weeds forming an arrow to indicate that I need to be in this spot to jump down. This was the extent of what I can do with RPG Maker. I was the coolest kid in school.
Holy crap! It's Freeza and Cell! TOGETHER!
Finally, we get the plot moving.
Goku and Piccolo (who is hiding under the text box) arrive on the scene to stop the evil-doer's "revenge on-ing"
-forn8t i on?!"
I have no idea what is going on with the text in this game. I think there might have been an option to change the font of the text, which I might have done, since the default text was certainly legible. W's come out as blobs and there are weird spaces and gaps between letters.
So, you take control of Gohan again so you can look for the Dragonballs, and you enter the overworld, which was ripped off from a good game. I haven't mentioned the music much, but the overworld seems to have some nice western/cowboy traveling music.
Gohan comes across another town, which was ripped out of an entirely different game. Let us enter...
I must have thought those palm tree leaves floating in the water could double as lily pads.
Let's enter that obviously man-made structure...
Gohan enters, only to find a man who has been living in this cave for many years. What?
First of all, in the overworld, the area is depicted by a house, but it's actually a cave? o.O
Second, why live in a cave? The man looks sophisticated enough to build his own house... or at least find a town to live in. I guess the man is so intertwine with nature that he won't even keep any kind of possessions with him.
And why does the inside of the cave look exactly like the outside? :P
Apparently, I was too lazy to come up with a real background for this map, so I through some defaultiness all over the ground. I think we're about to enter our first fight in the game.
This is what a battle screen looks like in RPG Maker. You have the choice of having battles in either Final Fantasy style (with enemies on the left and heroes on the right) or Dragon Quest style, like in the image above. The battle system is pretty simple. Choose a command and you hit the enemy. Vegeta's theme from Super Butoden 2 is playing in the background: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaKXWFIz5E0
Enemies will typically just blink and an attack noise will ensue.
Like many Dragonball fan games, you'll win Zeni for money, and Senzu Beans will serve as healing items. Not to difficult to come up with your own stuff.
Gohan also picks up two more Dragonballs. Yay.
WHAT THE F*CK?!!!
Apparently, I'm a very masochistic person who likes to design maps where you can get yourself completely lost with no hint of where to go next.
You can go screw yourself, 14-year-old me. >.<
I also spot a treasure chest over there. Wonder what could be inside?
Up until this point, there haven't been any random battles. I guess across the river, there are the random Freeza Soldiers. This is gonna be tedious. =_=
The two books on the ground are supposed to represent how much those soldiers have ruffed up this house. These are some bad dudes we're dealing with here!
Also, I was suddenly thrown into wearing some armor because... I don't know why?!
I guess I blend in or something.
Now, Zarbon doesn't seem to be responding to me to at all. I don't remember what I was supposed to be doing to get him to notice me and fight.
I might have to defeat Zarbon before I can escape this poor town, but that doesn't look like it's gonna happen.
Yeah... pretty anticlimactic, but the game is clearly unfinished, and I went into it knowing this information. The game actually went on longer than I remember it being, which was a surprise.
So, there you have it: a video game that I made when I was 14 years old. You can't really expect it to be good, but it's a nice little piece of history to look back on and frown.
I made more games which might be hanging around the house somewhere, and if I happen to find it, I'll let you guys know about it and it's awfulness.
Hope you enjoyed, and I'll catch you all later! :)