Because my co-writer Nicholas Austin Ferrell’s New Leaf Journal leadership resembles something out of 1940s Germany, I will produce a small article on my journey into video game making here.

Despite having no knowledge of programming, I have always been interested in video game design.    I think that this comes from my larger passion for story-telling and narrative, which is reflected in my musical work.  Although I would have been scarcely able to remember this without having been reminded, when I was younger, I would often draw my own video game maps after playing a Game Boy game or computer game. I never followed up on my interest in making video games because that interest was outweighed by my disinterest in learning programming.

After the tyrannical Nicholas Austin Ferrell viewed my obsessive terraforming in recent months in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, he told me that I should try applying that to making my own game through an engine called RPG Maker MV.  While I was hesitant, he assured me that it was his understanding that RPG Maker made it possible to do quite a bit without knowing any programming languages. Soon thereafter, RPG Maker MV was available on Steam at a major discount, and I decided to purchase it and give it a try. 

I was a bit overwhelmed at first by the wealth of options in RPG Maker MV. However, the program fortunately has a large and dedicated user-base committed to producing content to make it easy for newcomers to learn how to use RPG Maker’s many tools. After perusing many YouTube tutorials, I was able to make a series of joke programs to test triggers, variables, and battle mechanics in several sample games.

From Victor V. Gurbo's video game project, Jingzi Jingzi - David's mom expresses concern that David stays up all night playing video games.
Scene from current version of the project. What will become of David?

Having achieved some mastery of the basics, I am now working on a more serious RPG Maker MV project – “Jingzi Jingzi” – to apply what I have learned. I plan to release this project to New Leaf Journal readers and the public at large when it is ready, while providing updates along the way.

From Victor V. Gurbo's video game project, Jingzi Jingzi - what is going to happen at the big festival?
Scene from the current version of the project. What will happen at the festival?

While this current project will still be on the short and simple end of RPG Maker MV games, I am implementing some features and concepts that I hope will make it an interesting game to play. This game will give the player a certain degree of freedom of action on how to spend his or her time. It will take place over the course of seven days and seven nights, with a countdown clock showing the amount of time the player has remaining to avert a disaster. The game will have triggers for certain events to occur on certain days, and the player’s actions will have a clear impact on how the events in the game transpires.

From Victor V. Gurbo's video game project, Jingzi Jingzi - it's funny how certain shops are conveniently closed on the first day.
Funny how that always works.

In my previous test game, I successfully implemented some of these features. For example, my last project featured seven days and event triggers for specific days, but the current project will introduce significantly more complexities.

I look forward to providing details about this project over the coming weeks, and we are aiming to have something available for download beginning around Halloween.