Hey look, a new feature. And it about me?! I answered a bunch of questions, both about my time with RPG Maker, and outside of RPG Maker. Hope you wanted a big Touchfuzzy info dump!
Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Nick Palmer, and I also go by Touchfuzzy in the RPG Maker community. I’m the RPG Maker Community Manager, I’m in charge of the content creation team, plus a bunch of other random hats that need taking care of.
Mostly, if you see it on our Facebook, our Twitter, or our Blog, I’m probably involved in some way. I also manage things like Studio Blue’s RPG Maker Critique streams we do on Youtube, as well as host the Make a Game in MZ Youtube Streams.
And on top of that, I manage the moderation on the official forums. Though to be honest, the mod team there is so good that most of my contribution is telling them they are doing a good job!
What led you to RPG Maker?
From the time I was a child I was always super interested in video games. We got an NES when I was 5 years old, and I never looked back. I play all kinds of games, but RPGs have been my favorite genre of video game since I played Dragon Quest IV (known as Dragon Warrior here in the states) after renting it from a no name rental place (it wasn’t even a Blockbuster, Blockbuster was too high class for me).
When I was ten years old we got our first home computer. It was a 486 windows 3.11 PC (showing my age a bit here). Not long after I learned QBasic and started making some text only RPGs. Once I started using the internet more I ran across more and more programs for making games.
I ran across a fan translated ROM of Super Dante RPG Tsukuru for the SNES when I was probably around 13. Which led to finding RPG Maker 95, which led to all the other versions of RPG Maker!
How did you get involved with the RPG Maker community?
I always was kind of tangentially aware of the larger community, but never bothered to actually join. Especially since I spent a period of roughly 6 years completely separated from the internet (it was an interesting time, ask me about it if you catch me somewhere!). Somewhere around 2008ish I had moved and could finally get high speed internet again. RPG Maker VX had released and there was a forum at rpgmakervx.net.
I kind of hopped on and helped with “translating” the commenting on some JP RGSS2 scripts. It wasn’t really translating, as I don’t know Japanese, but between google translate and the basic knowledge of coding I’d gotten from college, I could figure out how the script was supposed to work and could write new commenting for it.
Somewhere along the way, that led to me getting some respect in the community, and I became a mod. Then a global mod. Then at some point the head admin retired and I was left in charge of it all. I guess people thought I was trustworthy.
And that led to the person who was in charge of the Degica RPG Maker marketing at the time( sometime in 2011 I think?) asking me if I knew anyone who would be interested in writing some blog content and handling the twitter part time. I said “yeah, me” and that was how it all started. (Thanks, Mitch! He’s not with Degica anymore, but I will never forget that he took a chance on me).
And from there my responsibilities have grown and grown until I do what I do now.
What are some of your career highlights?
I’ve run some really cool events I think. The IGMC is probably the largest thing we’ve done that comes from me. The entire judging method for the later years was designed by me personally. It’s a lot of work, but definitely something I really enjoyed.
For smaller events, my favorite ever is probably “Pixel Madness”. It was an idea I got thinking about March Madness (a US college basketball thing), while I was in the shower. It was a Double Elim bracket tournament (or maybe it was single elim?) where each round, the people matched up where given a theme for a sprite, and then users blind voted on each match up. I’d love to bring that back.
I’m also really happy with the current Make a Game in MZ streams. I know I’m still learning how to stream smoothly, there is definitely room for me to improve, but it’s a very different atmosphere and I love the interaction with the community.
And just the content team in general. The current blog and video content team was a project that I spearheaded from the beginning, recruited the current people working on it, and manage now. A big thanks to Steel, Teal, Drifty, Tea, hiddenone, and Avery for all the work they’ve put in!
Tell us about your creation process.
So one of the things you have to know about me as an RPG Maker user is that I’m much more a “journey is more important than the destination” type person. There is a reason that I’ve never actually finished a game.
Instead, I tend to learn how to do things, fiddle around, enjoy the process of creating and learning, and then move on to the next game. So that means that my creation process isn’t very useful for people who want to make finished games.
That said, I have a lot of ADVICE on creation processes. I’m big on proper planning, spreadsheets, and distilling your game into what the core “hooks” are in order to evaluate your ideas.
I could honestly write entire articles about that (and I have!), so I don’t want to spend too much time on it here. If you would like to hear more of my thoughts, you can jump into our Make a Game in MZ streams and ask me!
Would you say you’re the type to binge-create or do you pace yourself when working?
100% I binge-create. I do everything in my life in binges. I’m a very hyper focused person. When I get something in my head I have to work on it. Unfortunately, with large projects like games, this is often not sustainable. Which is probably another reason my track record with finishing games is so bad!
I will very often though, not work on something for 2 weeks, and then pour an entire weekend into a project, only stopping to eat, sleep, and handle life’s necessities. Or just get into a genre or medium. For instance, recently, I’ve gotten back into reading Manga again. I’ve read something like 130 tankoubon in the last 2 weeks (if you want to know about what I’ve read, again, watch the Make a Game in MZ streams, we don’t just talk about making games, you can ask me about anything!).
What version of RPG Maker are you using for your current project, what plugins and materials?
Right now I’m using the latest version, RPG Maker MZ, and I can’t see ever going back to any other version. The return of layering fixed my biggest complaint about VX-MV, and performance wise I’m really happy with it.
For resources, I’m mostly using MZ, but with tiles I’m using the MV tilesets plus the MV Trinity resource pack. I like the older MV style slightly more personally, plus I’m a huge fan of the massive variety that adding Trinity gives to it. Additionally, there is a lot more free stuff out there made for it, and I’m using some pieces from Pandamaru, Bougainvillea, and Avery.
Plus I’m using icons from CazWolf, and I’m planning to use Amysaurus’s emotion faces.
For plugins, I’m using Visustella’s core, plus a couple of more (Gab Window, CTB). I also have a plugin for how I do encounters from coelacanth.
Oh and I'm using some Krachware UI stuff for windowskins.]
What are some of your favorite video games?
There are so many! And so many recent ones. I truly believe we are in a golden age of video games. My favorite game of all time (which I’m sure a lot of people throughout the years who have paid attention to me on the forums have heard, because I was a hipster fan of this game before the second one came out) is NieR: Gestalt. There is so much going on with the layers of information in the story, and how all your actions are recontextualized the further you get in.
Plus it has really well written and likeable characters, and one of the most impressive soundtracks of all time. (I’m also a huge fan of Automata, it’s probably my #2 game).
Other recent games that I’ve loved: Dragon Quest XI, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Shadow of War, Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE…
Talking about older games, my highlights would be Xenogears, Dragon Quest IV & V, Metal Gear Solid 2, Final Fantasy Tactics, the Wizardry series…
And oh, yeah, big fan of Elder Scrolls. I boot up Skyrim every couple of months and binge it for a weekend.
If you could bring one game character to life and meet them who would it be?
Touma from Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE. He just seems like a good, genuine dude who would be a cool hang. Ryuji from Persona 5 and Torneko Taloon from Dragon Quest IV are like my 2 and 3. Or maybe Balthier from Final Fantasy XII if I was feeling like getting in a lot of trouble that day.
The truth is, most of my favorite video game characters would be people I would HATE to actually hang out with. The things that make a cool character don’t necessarily make a cool friend. Also, I ain’t gonna name a female character cause you guys would get weird about it.
Most difficult boss battle?
There are plenty that I never beat. But as far as ones I’ve won...
Hardest difficulty Saturn in BL2. It isn’t DIFFICULT so much as it is just incredibly boring and I want to die while doing it. Mess up for a second and you die, he’s invincible to slag, and solo it is almost impossible to hit his weak points. So super bullet sponge.
Any bosses you’ve ever had to google how to beat?
In Borderlands 2 I remember learning how to do a bloodsplosion chain reaction solo kill on Pyro Pete with Krieg. It is a very funny method. I don’t think I’ve ever solo killed any of the other BL2 Raid bosses.
What hobbies do you have?
I like gaming of all types. I own something like 300+ board games, I have several shelves of tabletop RPGS (and that is actually after I did some pruning, I used to own 1000+ RPG books).
I also read a lot. Comics, novels, manga. I took a week off a month or two back and read 10 novels over the course of 9 days.
And I watch a lot of tv series. We are in the golden age of television, there is so much high quality storytelling in tv nowadays!
Do you have any favorite movies, filmmakers, books or authors?
I’m going to expand this one because I like so many different mediums:
Favorite Movie: Dark City. There is so much right about this movie, and it is criminally underrated. (Runner up: Moon. Another underrated movie, seriously just go watch Moon. It is so good).
Live Action TV Series: Dark. It’s on Netflix. It is a german language show. Seriously if you have not watched Dark yet watch it. It is a masterpiece. (Runner up: Fringe. Look I can actually name something that isn’t obscure!)
Anime: Infinite Ryvius. Lord of the Flies with a giant mecha IIIIIIIIIN SPAAAAAAAACE. It is more about the social structures the teens form when isolated than anything else, and it is superb at juggling a massive cast of relatable characters. (Runner up: Honestly, having a bit of trouble here. Maybe Ergo Proxy? Darker than Black? Re: Creators? It is a jumble at this point)
Book: American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It just is. It’s a book that rewards really paying attention. Incredibly clever. (Runner up: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. Best new novel I have read in a decade.)
Comic series (Western): The Keiron Gillen run of Journey into Mystery that featured Young Loki. Described once as “A comedy in 30 parts, or a tragedy in 31”. It’s incredibly good. I suggest that even non-marvel fans pick it up. (Runner up: I don’t know if I have a solid runner up, but I am really enjoying Monstress by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda. The art is beyond gorgeous.)
Manga: Angel Sanctuary. It’s hard to explain Angel Sanctuary. It is just a messy story about messy situations with messy characters combined with a fantastical and cynical take on biblical mythology. (Runner up: 20th Century Boys. It was between this and Monster, Naoki Urasawa is a genius writer. Ultimately I think I like 20th Century Boys slightly more.)
That was much harder to answer than I thought it would be (Extra, my favorite Author is C.S. Friedman, I just wanted to get her in there since neither of my top 2 books is by her).
What’s your desert island album or CD?
This is hard! Like, I wouldn’t want to take my favorite cds because I love 90s grunge and who wants downer music while stuck on a desert island. I don’t know. Something a bit more relaxed and uplifting.
Favorite sport and / or sports team?
UGA football! I have lived within 20 miles of the University of Georgia for most of my life. If you live in the Southeastern US you either love college football, or you get tired of the traffic caused by college football, or both. I watch the NFL as well and root for the Atlanta Falcons but uh, yeah that has been pain for a while.
On the e-sports side, I also watch Overwatch League. I am a fan of the Atlanta Reign, and, due to no Atlanta team existing in season 1, the Houston Outlaws.
Do you play sports or have you ever played sports competitively?
I really enjoyed playing basketball when I was younger. And I’m a fairly competent bowler. I played in a youth league in bowling, but beyond that not really.
I was more focused on other hobbies when I was in school. I was a member of the concert band (percussionist) and marching band (snare drum), sang in chorus and competed at the state level in the boys quartet (I sang tenor 2, I still have a pretty good singing voice, though I’m out of practice).
If you could time travel to any location and any time where and when would that be and why?
I’d go back and tell younger me to invest everything in bitcoin right at the beginning before it took off!
On a more serious note. Hmm. Ok let me lay down some caveats here.
I have some way to keep myself 100% safe. I’m barely able to take care of myself in the modern day, I need some way to not die.
I would have to be granted knowledge of the language there so I could engage in a meaningful way with understanding what is happening.
I would have to be able to guarantee that I couldn’t spread disease from now to then.
In that case, I would say: Probably go back to the height of the Mayan or Aztec civilizations and observe. It would be interesting because there is just so much about life in the Americas pre-”discovery” that we don’t know about. I’d love to experience it because it would be a whole new perspective that no one now really has.
If Degica was having a BBQ and you were invited and had to bring one dish for everyone what would it be?
The grill, because I grill a mean burger. For a side dish I’d cheat and have my wife make potato salad. She makes hands down the best potato salad I’ve ever had.
Where can people find you online?
I don’t have my own site. But you can find me on the forums, and most Wednesdays at 4pm Pacific for my Make a Game in MZ streams!
MZ’s default animation style uses Effekseer to create incredible animations, but it can be tough to get used to using it. And what if you prefer cell-based animation creation like in previous RPG Makers? Let’s take a look at how to make some MV-style animations in MZ thanks to the 1.4.0 update.