This week’s Smile Game Builder video is the first in a series focusing on Head-Up Displays (better known as HUDs). In this video is a simple HUD based on item collection, where you receive a quest to collect herbs and the HUD updates according to the number of herbs you’ve collected.
HUDs Part 2
The next tutorial will be creating a fatigue/hunger/thirst system (based on a comment awhile ago), and I’ll continue with the HUD systems including HP/MP.
In this tutorial, there is a flaw where if you accept the quest again, you can’t re-harvest the herbs. This is because it uses a Local Switch that is turned OFF but it isn’t turned back ON when the quest is complete. I’ll put a solution in next week’s tutorial, likely at the end of the video.
The Pumpkin Hunt mini-game was created for Halloween 2017 using Smile Game Builder. It’s just a bit of fun, but this downloadable file also serves as a tutorial to see the techniques I used.
You can download the mini-game and either play it or view the techniques used from Smile Game Builder (or both). The file size is around 10 Mb, so is comparatively small.
I’ve included several Easter eggs as well, references to literature, mythology or movies; some are more subtle than others. Unless, of course, you know your stuff! See if you can find them all for an extra challenge and comment them! (Hint: There are 5!)
You can watch the mini-game in action (a walkthrough) on my YouTube Channel directly or the embedded video below.
Smile Game Builder‘s built-in camera control is a very useful feature, especially when it comes to achieving certain map effects during the game.
Camera Settings VariablesIn Advanced Variables, you can store the values of various camera settings into variables and reference them throughout.
In my tutorial on camera control, I comprehensively go through using the camera in Smile Game Builder, so I won’t dwell on that here.
I’d recommend watching the video first and returning to this article afterward.
As usual, an auto-run synchronize event containing the variables needs to be set up and placed on each of the maps you want to reference the camera settings.
All camera settings are set in one of three ways:
- Game Data: Game Settings is used to create default settings that are then used globally across all maps.
- Map Settings: Each map has individual Map Settings (right-click on the map name and select that option) and change the camera settings to whatever values you want. These override the default settings in Game Data for that map.
- Auto-Run Event: You can set an auto-run triggered once event to change the camera settings manually. When the player enters the map, this event will automatically orientate the map to these settings.
Choose whichever method suits your game’s needs, depending on the effect you want to achieve. The first two methods are "fixed", so the map settings are automatically implemented for the maps. The third method, however, re-orientates towards these settings unless Camera Movement Time is set to 0 (which is instant) in the Camera Control command.
As you’d expect, Camera Settings – X and Camera Settings – Y store the X and Y angles of the camera respectively.
Camera X is governed by the keys for up (R) and down (F) and Camera Y uses the keys for rotating the camera left (Q) or right (E).As an example (shown in Fig. 15), in Normal view on Sheet 1, a Variable Box Check is added to check if the Camera X variable is set to -48. If it is (under Yes), use the Camera Control command to change X’s camera angle to -89 for this example.
Similarly, on Sheet 2, do the same to check if its value equals -89 and reset X’s camera angle back to -48.
Bear in mind, however, that the above example (as with all the examples in this article) only applies to Normal view. Camera angles and their corresponding variables work differently when in First Person view, but I’ll cover that in one of the next tutorials in this series.
Camera XY Minimum and Maximum Values
The value stored in the variable for Camera X won’t go below -35 (which is an isometric view) or above -90 (which is directly overhead).
And for the Camera Y variable value, the range is 0 to 360.
Field of ViewThe Field of View (or FOV) is the telescopic distance in and out from the character. In other words, when you zoom in (with the C key), objects become closer and zooming out (with the V key) results in objects becoming farther away.
With the example in Fig. 16, on Sheet 1 is a Variable Box Check where the Field of View variable is smaller than 4. And if Yes, change the FOV to 0.5 in Camera Control to zoom right in.
On Sheet 2, likewise, if it’s equal to 1, the FOV is reset to 3.5 from within the Camera Control event command.
Note that, as with all instances of decimal fractions in Smile Game Builder, they’re rounded down. And, since the default FOV is 3.5, if you were to use that as a variable value, it would be recalibrated as 3. Hence, in the above example, the variable’s value is set slightly higher. With the Variable Box Check, numbers are either above or below, or equal to, their fixed values; they’re not inclusive, so setting a higher value is good practice anyway.
FOV Minimum and Maximum Values
When zooming in and out with the C and V keys, the range is 0 (really close) and 4 (slightly above).
This only applies to the FOV on the map; it doesn’t apply to any other camera settings for FOV because that’s separate.
DistanceThe camera’s Distance only applies to Normal view. It measures the distance of the camera in relation to the character or a position on the map.
In the example in Fig. 17, I set up a Variable Box Check for checking if the Distance variable is "the same as" 71 (1 above the default distance) and, because in this instance it’s not (under No), the camera moves all the way above the scene and rotates as well. If the operator is set to "smaller" instead, this would return true (under Yes) and it just zooms in with the FOV.
Don’t forget that the Variable Box Check operators don’t include the numbers you set in its Value, so they always have to be one above or below the actual value you want to use.
Camera ModeThe final part is the Camera Mode. This is to check whether you’re playing in Normal or First Person mode to create different effects for each.
A prime example of its use – in conjunction with Player Direction – is my tutorial on creating a Compass HUD that correctly moves with the player depending on whether Normal view or First Person mode is used.
As another example, with First Person mode, you can create an event sequence where the camera quickly rotates behind you (useful to add tension to horror games), which would be useless in Normal mode. For Normal mode, therefore, you’d simply create another appropriate camera effect.
To use it, the Variable Box Check would use the Camera Mode variable, set to the value corresponding to either Normal view (0) or First Person mode (1). Use one or the other, but remember the Yes/No order in the branch. If it’s set to either 0 or 1, that condition then becomes true or false when you switch between modes using the B key, so whatever is under Yes will activate, otherwise, whatever is under No will activate instead.
I generally tend to use 0 (Normal mode) to make it easier to reference. That means, I always know that 0 is Yes and 1 is No. But, of course, it’s a matter of preference as long as you know which is which.
If you use any other value, it won’t run properly because there are only two modes and Smile Game Builder will treat the variable’s value as though it’s a zero, i.e., Normal mode.
I haven’t decided on the topic of the next tutorial in this series yet, as there’s still plenty to cover in Advanced Variables.
That said, I may continue with Camera Settings, but using the variables in First Person mode since they work differently than with Normal view. Although I’d like to go through some of the others first before revisiting this subject, it’s going to be one of those "wait and see" things.
This week’s Smile Game Builder video tutorial is another "tips & tricks" video, where I’ve answered some of the how-to questions my commenters have asked.
The topics covered in this tutorial are:
Use Mobile Devices as Gamepads
I also mentioned in the video about Monect, an excellent, easy-to-use program to enable using your mobile device as a gamepad for playing Smile Game Builder games.
Of all the various apps I tested, this is by far the best one as far as ease of use and versatility is concerned, and it’s easy to set up as well if you follow their instructions.
In Smile Game Builder, you can store and reference various character stats via Advanced Variables.
Under Character Information, you can store:
- Experience: A character’s Level and Experience.
- HP and MP: Current and maximum HP and MP.
- Stats: Attack, Defense, Accuracy, Evasion and Agility.
Each stat is stored in a separate variable per character. If you intend on using all of them with a full party, you’d need to reserve 44 variables. And then with each additional recruitable character, you need 11 further variables.
Using Stat Variables
There are many possible applications for Character Information. I’ve already visited several in my Smile Game Builder Tutorials series, but here are a few more.
Creating Stat Based SkillsWhat if you wanted to create stat-based skills, such as Lockpicking or Dodging?
You’d first need to store each stat in a variable (as in Fig. 11) and then create separate skills based on those stats.
I also covered this in Tutorial #29, which deals with using skills with chests.
So, for the first one, Lockpicking, it can be based on Accuracy.
To What? would be the Lockpicking skill itself, How? would be set to the variable assigned to Accuracy, and Do What? would simply be Assign.
The next step for this example would be to create another Variable Box where Lockpicking is divided by the Fixed Value 2 (or whatever number you want for the division). The end result is that Lockpicking is equal to half of the character’s Accuracy.
Using the defaults at Level 1, Sion’s Accuracy is 95. Halved, the Lockpicking skill would be 47 because fractions are rounded down.
DodgeFor the Dodge skill, in this example I’ve based it on Agility and Evasion.
Assign the Dodge variable to Agility (in the same way as with the Lockpicking skill) and add another Variable Box to add Evasion to that.
Evasion is primarily based on armor. Light armor would probably decrease Evasion because it’s easier for weapons to penetrate through. Heavy armor would increase Evasion, as it offers much more protection than light armor.
Thus, Evasion can be a negative number. Cloth armor, for example, since it offers very little protection, might have -3 Evasion. And when this is added to the Dodge skill, it is, of course, subtracted from the total.
You can change the Evasion rates in Stat Modifications for each piece of armor (in the Items tab).
Checking Stats for Success or Failure
Once you’ve set up the variables and skills, the next course of action would be a chance of success or failure.
Smile Game Builder doesn’t have a direct method of comparing one variable with another because the Variable Box Check uses fixed numbers only. This means that we have to use a kind of workaround.Starting with Lockpicking, decide on the percentage of success beforehand. In this case, there will be a 50% chance to successfully pick the lock.
So, Variable Box Check is then used to determine if the Lockpicking skill is greater than the percentage. The Yes branch would, of course, contain the routine for opening the chest successfully. And the No branch would be for its failure.
The events containing this information need to be running automatically synchronized and put on each map you want to reference them.
You can create other stat-based skills in a similar fashion. For instance, Strength could be based on half the character’s Current HP. Or Intelligence could be based somewhat on Maximum MP.
At the moment, you can only store the character stats defined in the Game Data. It’s not possible (yet) to similarly store monster stats, so these would need to be defined separately for each monster on the maps for an ABS or similar system. They would either be fixed values or random numbers and then scaled by multiplying them with character level.
For the next tutorial, I’ll look at variables for Camera Settings and how they can be used for various purposes.
Random NumberEvery game must have an element of randomness to it, not only to add an element of surprise to the game, but also to increase its re-playability.
In Smile Game Builder, assigning a random number to a variable is as easy as setting its minimum and maximum values. So, setting the range between 5 and 100 will do just that and generate a random number between those values.
In fact, you can have negative values in Min., thereby greatly increasing the range and impacting randomness and any operators applied to it.
The maximum ranges are actually between -9,999,999 and 9,999,999, so this gives a pretty good range to work with.
Random Contents in ChestsAlthough there are many uses for random numbers, one notable use is randomizing contents in chests (referencing one of my Tips & Tricks video tutorials, #28, on chests).
You can either use a single sheet with corresponding Variable Box Check branches or multiple sheets with the Event Sheet Conditions set to its variable values. The former is more useful for smaller ranges and the latter is better for a much broader range (as I’ve done in Random Conversation below).
Another use could be for NPCs giving you random items, perhaps as rewards for completing quests. In fact, this same setup can be used as a template for any other event with randomized content.
Random ConversationIn most RPGs, people usually say the same things each time you speak to them. The only time conversations change is usually when certain conditions become true, such as during quest lines.
To add some realism to your game, add randomized conversation snippets. However, to increase the range you can set your "between" values on separate sheets.
Sheet 1 is the "randomizer", triggered once only, with the random number range set in the Advanced Variable Box.
On subsequent sheets, you’d add the conditional minimum and maximum variable ranges with the conversation snippet in its Event Details. The triggers for each of them is When Main Hero Talks; it’ll automatically select the appropriate sheet accordingly.
When you talk to the NPC, they’ll say something more random, based on the randomized number range from Sheet 1.
Random Events or Encounters
For additional dynamic contents, adding random events or encounters will provide an element of surprise, as I did in Tutorial #26.
Doors of Possibility
The random element in games opens the doors of possibility wide open.
"The doors to possibilities are limited only by your imagination and creative flair."
In addition to random treasure, conversation, and encounters, randomness can be used for so many different things; the possibilities are only limited by your imagination and creative flair.
Anything from reading a random passage in a book to displaying a random image to randomizing monster encounters via events can add that uniqueness and unexpectedness to your games. You can also combine random elements, such as using the Environmental Effects Conversation Choices from Tutorial #19 to randomize things that NPCs say about the weather.
I’ll follow this article up with a video tutorial some time later.
In Part 1 of the Variables in Smile Game Builder series, I went through what variables are, the two types of variables (Basic and Advanced) and their roles in Smile Game Builder.
PreambleAlthough I already did a video tutorial on Advanced Variables in Tutorial #11, as a continuation of this series, this is simply a synopsis of all the things you can store in variables, as well as my own findings.
With each section, I’ll try to be as comprehensive as possible in future articles. And I’ll also add links directly to them here as and when they’re finished.
I’m only focusing on Variable Box in the To What? section for now, but will focus on Number Displayed in Variable Box much later. I’m also not going through all of them because these will be covered more in-depth in later parts.
There will also eventually be an index page for all of these articles for easier access to the parts that interest you.
The Fixed Value is exactly that! You can set variables to specific amounts. These can then be manipulated with the operators in Do What?, also with specific amounts.
With Random Number, you can generate a random number between a minimum and maximum value and store the result in a variable. This can then be used in conjunction with the Variable Box Check to randomize contents, rewards, conversation snippets, or even random events.
Unlike the random number operator in Variable Box, which adds a random number to a variable, this gives you the option to create a random number from a range of numbers.
Amount of MoneyExactly as it states, this stores the total Amount of Money you have. You need to set up an auto-run synchronize event trigger for each map you want to check it on.
The money amount itself (in the Increase/Decrease Money section) is a fixed value, so you can’t directly add or subtract anything to or from it through variables.
Instead, you can reference the amount of money you have in messages using \Variable[x], where x is the variable number for the stored money.
Be aware that, as a potential bug I recently found, if you increase or decrease the amount of money in the same event, the variable’s new value may not update to this new value in the message if it’s placed immediately after the increase/decrease. You’ll need to place your message first and then the increase/decrease event command for it to be in sync.
Held Item Number
Store the number of certain items carried in Held Item Number. This is notably useful for any of the Crafting systems I did on my YouTube Channel, where you need specific amounts of ingredients to be able to craft new items.
Character InformationThis allows you to store the values of characters’ stats in variables.
As you can see from Fig. 6, level and experience, current and maximum HP and MP, and so on, can be assigned to variables.
This is particularly useful for some kind of skills system. As an example, lockpicking would be based on Accuracy, dodging traps on Evasion and Agility, and so on. You can then use a comparative percentage variable to check if the stats are high enough.
I’ll go more in depth with math calculations in a future tutorial.
The Map X Size and Map Y Size can be referenced by variables. I have no practical use for this; however, one use could be for a fake windows error message, based on map size.
Map Environmental Effect
Each map can have its own environmental effect (in the Map Settings) – whether rain, snow, confetti, etc. – and using the advanced variables, you can store the Map Environmental Effect.
I did a video tutorial on conversations based on weather. But this can be used for other things as well.
In Part 3
In Part 3, I’ll go into randomization and what you can do with random numbers, including the skill-testing I mentioned before, with a follow-up video tutorial later.
A Variable is simply somewhere to store numbers or values so that they can be referenced later. There are two types of variables in Smile Game Builder: Basic and Advanced.
I’m going to be as comprehensive as possible with this series. However, you can skim through the parts you already know and, as the series progresses, skip to the parts you’d like to know more about.
Basic VariablesBasic Variables are used for simple operations to directly affect the targeted Variable No. with whatever number is set in its Value.
You can assign a fixed value to the variable with Put into variable box as-is. Another value can then be added to or subtracted from this value, or multiplied by or divided by it with another Variable Box referencing it. And this new value is placed into the variable.
Besides the usual math operators, you can also add a random number in variable box between 1 and whatever number is placed in Value up to a maximum 999,999. This does exactly as it states and adds the random number to the variable; it doesn’t create a random number (that’s in the Advanced Variables section).
The basic Variable Box is primarily used for setting up quick, simple variables and manipulating them with the operators.
ALL values are fixed and can’t be directly influenced by other variables. It can kind of be done, but I’ll cover that in a later tutorial.
In the Advanced Variable Box Op. section, you can do much more with variables (as you can see in Fig. 3 below).These are values specific to various parts of the game and they can be stored and manipulated in the same way as basic variables. And we’ll go through each of them over the course of this tutorial.
This is where you set the variable you want to use. The maximum allowed variables in a single game is 999, although you can reuse other established variables on different maps if you’re not using them elsewhere on the same map.
Variable Box is used and referenced the same as in the Basic Variables. There is another option in the dropdown, Number Displayed in Variable Box, but we won’t worry about that for some time.
This section is for selecting the type of operator to use with the variable. In addition to the usual math operators, you (obviously) set the variable’s value with Assign.
There’s one other operator, Substitute Divided Remainder, which divides the variable’s value by the assigned number and uses the remainder as the value. I covered modulo operations already in a previous tutorial.
You can use advanced variables to set "fixed" variables instead of the basic Variable Box. The two are the same and do the same thing.
Personally, I like using the basic Variable Box if my variables are simple values not reliant on anything except for fundamental calculations. And then I use the Advanced Variable Box for more complex operations. It may be just a matter of preference when setting up the basics for more advanced stuff later.
In Variables Part 2
I’ll continue the series in the next article and, over the course of the tutorial, will go through each one in turn. Included will be explanations on how and where they can be used, along with examples as necessary.
I covered Advanced Variables in my video series in Tutorial #11 (as well as some later videos), so aim to expand on that in this series, with additional video references as they crop up.
Although I won’t go into as much detail (except perhaps in a future article), I’ll utilize the event’s Conditions in conjunction with variables. And I’ll share some of the techniques I’ve learned in the process, such as how to properly set up a cut scene using only variables.
In Part 2, I expanded on Automatically Start (Synchronize and Run Repeatedly), which I shortened to Auto-Start Sync, and how it operates in Smile Game Builder.
In this, the final part, I’ll continue with the other auto-run triggers: Triggered Automatically (1 Time Only) and Triggered Automatically (Repeated).
Triggered Automatically (1 Time Only)The purpose of the Triggered Automatically (1 Time Only) (referred to from now on as Auto-Run Once) is to run an event or condition once only on each map. In other words, very time the player enters the map, an Auto-Run Once event will trigger and process its Event Details. While the player is on that map, it won’t trigger again until the next time the map is visited.
A good model for using Auto-Run Once can be found in my tutorial #29: Skyrim Styled Book-Reading. Each page of the books is triggered once only when the left and right keys are pressed to flip between the pages.
When you add Event Sheet Conditions, the Auto-Run Once trigger will only activate once those are true. And you can manually reset them in conjunction with an Auto-Start Sync trigger. They’re reset by default when you leave the map and re-activated when you visit the map again.
To truly activate once only, add another blank sheet with the Local Switch turned ON (not forgetting to place the Event Switch command, of course).
This means that any triggers in events, regardless of their own triggers and conditions, player movement and control, and other things running in the background, will halt until it’s cycled through its Event Details.
By that token, I don’t really consider this as a parallel event trigger, unlike Auto-Run Sync and Auto-Run Once, because it doesn’t run in the background. However, I’ve included it in this article because it was probably intended as such.
And that being said, one very handy use for the Auto-Run Repeat trigger is to display something on-screen where you don’t want anything interfering with it.
An example of this is to display an image (such as displaying the map name) for a set amount of time. A variable can be used in conjunction with a Wait command to add to a timer and then a Variable Box Check for when the variable equals a certain value. Within that branch, a switch can be activated to turn the Auto-Run Repeat trigger OFF.
Using Parallel Events
When you use any of these parallel event triggers, each one serves a specific purpose in SGB.
As a general rule:
Auto-Run Sync is used for constantly checking for changes on the map, notably with variables and, when any of its conditions is true, it triggers other conditions and triggers.
Auto-Run Once is primarily for running something once only, either independently or when certain conditions are true. If these are reset, when those conditions become true again they’ll re-trigger.
Auto-Run Repeat is for when you want semi-permanent loops, disabling all other events and background events until specific conditions are met. Once they are, you can break the loop and continue as normal.
In The Next Articles
The next set of articles, I’ll delve further into variables (more specifically Advanced Variables) and what you can do with them. They will also include how to use and re-purpose them, how to achieve specific tasks using variables, and how to manage variables efficiently.
In Part 1 of this series, I discussed what parallel events are and briefly each of their functions. In this second part, I’ll expand on Automatically Start (Synchronize and Run Repeatedly), which I’ll refer to as Auto-Start Sync from now on.
The Auto-Start Sync TriggerAn Auto-Run Sync trigger starts automatically on the map and runs continuously in the background, processing whatever is in the event’s Event Details. And, while it’s running, other events, actions and triggers can take place as normal.
You’d typically use this when you want to synchronize certain things on maps, such as checking variables, graphics or timers, to name a few things.
Another example use is checking certain keys are pressed, as I did in Tutorial #12: Tips & Tricks (Part 1). Here I featured a routine where you cancel an image by pressing a key.
Using Switches with Auto-Start SyncRather than setting the Auto-Start Sync to trigger right away, you can also activate it using Conditions.
This will then run and synchronize in the background when a switch or other conditions is true. And then somewhere else you can toggle the switch OFF or reset the conditions to disable it.
Note that SGB doesn’t have a "common event", so Auto-Run Sync events need to be placed on each map that you want its Event Details to run synchronously and update from previous maps.
This is particularly useful when you’re using variables to store things like player stats from Character Information or Playtime for timers.
Multiple Auto-Start Sync in Events
While you can have multiple Auto-Start Sync triggers in the same event, bear in mind that order is important!
This is because SGB will go through each sheet to check for its triggers and conditions, and then prioritize any auto-run trigger it encounters. Auto-Run Sync triggers on different sheets will override the previous ones, meaning that you can only technically have one Auto-Run Sync trigger activated in the same event.
Hence using switches or variables to set the conditions under which they run. When these conditions are true, then the sheet on which they apply will take priority over the other sheets until they’re reset or no longer apply.
So, if you’re trying to build a HUD to display stats or the time (as examples), you can either have a single event with conditional auto-run sheets or have multiple one Auto-Run Sync events on each map to guarantee they’re all processed together. The latter is inconvenient and maybe isn’t the best method, but it is the most efficient.
In Part 3
In Part 3, I’ll cover the other two auto-run triggers, Triggered Automatically (1 Time Only) and Triggered Automatically (Repeated).