Beginner's Guide to Plugins (Part 1 / 2)
Archeia
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Archeia
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February 14, 2021
February 10, 2021

Beginner's Guide to Plugins (Part 1 / 2)

Beginner's Guide to Plugins (Part 1 / 2)
by

Archeia

on

February 14, 2021

A beginner's guide to understanding how plugins work in RPG Maker MV / MZ. Part 1 will include how to download and install a plugin, and how to use plugin parameters!

Do you want to use Plugins in RPG Maker MZ but don't know where to start? This tutorial series is for you! You can click here to read part 2.

If you just need a quick summary of what you can do with plugins and how to use them hiddenone created a great article that can be read over here.

How to Download and Install a Plugin

When you first create your new game in RPG Maker MZ, your project’s files will already contain several plugins. You can view these in your game’s files through *\js\plugins. Each of these files is a special format called .js, which is a JavaScript file. This is the language that RPG Maker MZ uses to make changes to your project. To preview the contents of a plugin, should the plugin creator allow it, you would need to download an IDE. These are applications which helps developers create their own code. If you want to learn or attempt to create plugins this is almost a necessity. Here are some recommended Text IDEs you can download right now!

When downloading a new plugin, make sure to save the file with the .js extension. The link to a plugin’s download may look like an ordinary text file, possibly like this:

To save this as a .js file, simply right click the page or go to File>Save As and make sure to save the file with the .js extension at the end. This file needs to be saved in your project’s *\js\plugins folder. To install the plugin, open your project in RPG Maker MZ and locate the Plugin Manager. You can do this by clicking Tools>Plugin Manager on the top bar, or simply by locating the puzzle piece icon underneath. Your new project’s Plugin Manager should look like this:

Now let’s install the plugin. Double click anywhere inside of the Plugin List, which will bring up a new Plugins Settings page. Clicking the rectangle under “Name:” will bring up a list of plugins in your project’s folder which you can choose from. Most plugins will provide a short description of what they do alongside their name, like so:

Select the new plugin, make sure its Status is set to “ON” and apply all of the settings. This will add your new plugin to the list, like so:

◆ Important Note: You can quickly turn a plugin on and off by clicking the checkbox or pressing Spacebar under Status.

The plugin is now installed and will take effect on your project. Some plugins may require you to change their Parameters, use Plugin Commands or Notetags in order to do what you want.

How to Use Plugin Parameters

Some plugins need to be customized via Plugin Parameters. When you install a plugin, you will find these on the right-hand side of the window. These can be changed by double-clicking the parameter you wish to adjust, which should bring up a new window.

Let’s install a new plugin called AltMenuScreen2MZ by Sasuke Kannazuki and Munokura:

By default, if you just install the plugin and don’t change any parameters, your main menu should look like this:

But the plugin creator has added Plugin Parameters that allow you to change certain elements of the plugin.  There are many different ways in which a plugin’s creator can give the user control over the Plugin Parameters. Firstly, there are boolean (or switches in eventing terms) values. These are true/false values that will usually ask whether you would like something to be enabled or disabled. Here is an example of a boolean Plugin Parameter:


There are also variable values for Plugin Parameters. These will usually accept a number, like this:

By adjusting this value, we can change how many actors will appear in the main menu. Here is what happens when we change this value to 2:

There are also Plugin Parameters where the user can input a text string. This can be used to display information to the player in your game. Here, it is used to show the label for map names under the main menu:

Some Plugin Parameters will ask you to select a file from your project’s folders, by clicking the long rectangle next to the file path. This could be to select a Picture, Character, Face, etc. Here, the plugin uses this Plugin Parameter to select a custom background for the main menu:

By adjusting these parameters to your liking, you can get the most out of plugins and customize your game to look and function as you want it.

It should also be noted that each Plugin Parameter will allow you to change the parameter value via Text. This means that you can copy and paste values such as booleans (true/false) for ease of use if the user needs to duplicate certain parameters in another project.

◆ Important Note: This is very handy since you can't copy/paste parameter settings one by one and has to be the entire plugin. The text function helps you bypass that.

Useful Tips

  • RPG Maker MV and MZ released with a huge plugin library by different plugin developers with your installation. Make sure to check them out!
  • You can reference the RPG Maker MZ Plugin List and the RPG Maker Forum Javascript Releases board to find unique plugins to help you with your game!
  • Always read what Plugin Parameters the Plugin Developer provides. You will be surprised at how some of them have so many options!

For the next tutorial, coming this Saturday, we'll cover plugin Commands, where to find notetags and how to update your plugins. Happy Game Making!

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