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RPG Maker XP is the fourth PC version in the RPG Maker series of programs developed and published by Enterbrain. It is the first PC version to be officially translated into English and released outside of Japan. There have been problems reported by users regarding "RPG Maker XP" on Windows Vista, such as being unable to open the program and playing games created with this program.
RPG Maker XP integrates the Ruby programming language, allowing for greater flexibility of development compared to the purely command based system of its predecessors. As Ruby does not directly support graphics or audio, the Ruby Game Scripting System is included to provide an interface for these as well as basic data structures used by the editor. The program's EULA allows games to be sold.
This version is the first RPG Maker since RPG Maker 95 to feature a resolution of 640×480, compared to the 320×240 resolution of RPG Maker 2000 and RPG Maker 2003. The program's resolution can be raised through the program's scripting system, though this requires modifying the RGSS.
RPG Maker XP uses graphic resources for title screens, game over screens, character sets, tile sets, transition effects, battle animations, battle icons, item icons, backgrounds, and window skins. New graphics can be created by users through image editing software. The program can accept virtually any graphics extension such as PNG, BMP, and JPEG. However when using GIF animation images, a script must be input into the database for the animation to display, otherwise the image is inanimate.
The battle system for RPG Maker XP is by default first-person perspective and turn-based. Users may create new attack animations and import images to use for battle backgrounds. The battle system can be edited by the user, within the limits of the program, because it is scripted in the database using both RGSS and Ruby.
Characters are displayed in sets (named "Character Sets", or "Charsets"). Each animation is displayed in a square 1/4 the height and size of the file, which makes 4×4 = 16 animations for each charset. The way their animation is designed gives them the illusion that they are actually walking.
RPG Maker XP comes with predefined classes and modules which are included in the Script Editor, but some of these are hidden: RPG, Audio, Graphics, Input, Tilemap, Table, Window, Sprite, Bitmap, Viewport, and Plane. Some of these hidden classes are available in the help file, found inside the program itself, but others cannot be accessed unless the program is altered.
In addition to the game related classes and modules, Ruby's own Win32API class is included allowing dramatic extensions by way of directly accessing the Windows API. An example of this is network support through the Winsock API.
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</noinclude> Mapping is the name given to the creation of the characters' environment and surroundings by using tiles that contain eight 32 by 32 pixel frames lined up horizontally. According to Enterbrain:
These files contain tiles for map making. Each tile contains at least one block of eight 32×32 pixel frames lined up horizontally, but can go on to contain as many blocks as necessary. There's no limit on the file's vertical size.
These tiles can be placed in any order to pattern such as a field of grass or a desert depending on the tileset. The resulting graphics are displayed on the game screen.
RPG Maker XP has a way of identifying certain tiles and how flat or tall a specific tile is going to be. For example a tileset that contains trees and grass both have different heights. A tree is typically tall and must stand above the player, and grass is usually below the player's feet. Two important features RMXP uses to identify these are passability and priority. Passability tells the system where the character can pass and where he or she cannot. For example if a rock has a passability of X that means the character cannot pass through the rock; on the other hand, if the rock has a passability of O the character can seemingly step through the rock.
Priority is what tells the system how tall something is and how much higher it is than the character. A priority of 1 tells the system that the specified tile is just above the player. A good example would be a table. A table is usually not taller than a person, therefore it would have a low priority. The higher the priority the taller the tile would look. A tree which tends to be taller than a character would have a priority of 5 (the highest priority) because it is the tallest tile out of the set. With this system, players might look as if they were stepping through trees or moving under tables.
Mapping also uses four layers: the three tileset layers, and an event layer. There is also a fog layer, which adds an alpha compositing effect to the game. This can be used to create fog, or the shadows of trees or clouds, for example.
Most games have a graphic file that holds text. Text can be displayed on this graphic file called a windowskin. This graphic file typically measures 192 by 128 pixels. Windowskins carry the basic window which will house the text written by the user for the character. A second part is the windowframe which notifies the player of the game that there is more text to be displayed through 16 by 16 arrow icons. A command cursor which notifies the player of what has been selected, a pause graphic is also present, to notify the player that they have stopped cycling through the text of the character. It contains a four frame animation which makes it seem like its moving. Finally there are arrow cursors, very much like the ones used in computers. These are used to make to point decisions when a player is faced with multiple options.
Transitions are graphic files which transition a player from one scene to the next. Typically transitions are used in the program to transfer the player from their map environment to a battle. The sign of the transition is usually used as a notification to the player that there is an upcoming battle. However, transitions can be used for anything, such as transition to a bed or from one place to another.
Images can be displayed in-game. Images are kept in a image folder and must be directed in x and y coordinates to tell the system where to display the image. Images can be any size and can be any format -- including JPEG, PNG and GIF -- allowed by the program. A 'image' is displayed about the 5th layer -- it has higher priority than any other game effect, including text windows.
RMXP can accept MIDI, OGG, MP3 and WAV sound formats. This is an improvement over the RMXP predecessors such as RPG Maker 2003 (which could only accept MP3, MIDI or WAV sound formats, or RPG Maker 2000 which could only accept MIDI or WAV sound formats).
Also, if one has a codec pack such as the K-Lite Codec Pack installed, then the user can play a wider variety of formats like FLAC and M4A, though not much, converting audio to M4A not only has the added benefit of better quality, it also takes up less space and thus, loads faster.
RMXP features 4 different types of music, BGM, BGS, ME, SE. BGM stands for background music, which is the music that plays over the course of the game. BGS stands for background sounds like the sounds of a cricket at night. ME which stands for musical effects, like a short effect, such as horror, SE stands for sound effects, a quick sound such as a dog barking.
Events are a method of causing a wide variety of automatic or interactive elements within the game. The vast majority of things which occur outside of battles are controlled by events designed by the game's creator. There are 90 event commands, allowing the creator to perform actions such as movement of characters, special effects such as music or color tones, and complex mathematical calculations. Such events can be intricate or simple. Variables can store information such as numbers or text to be used by events. Up to a total of 5000 variables can be created. Events are executed as Ruby and RGSS code which can be read through an interpreter in the program's database which then executes the code.