Desiderata uses lots of switches for making sure a cutscene flows properly, and in keeping track of quests and so forth. RPG Maker VX features the incredibly handy “Self Switches” for events, which makes creating treasure chests and a number of other one-time use items incredibly easy.

Self-Switches are great in this regard – except that you can’t reference them outside their native event. Meaning that if you want one or more events to effect one another, you have to use global switches to maintain the proper event and quest flow.

Strowger switches

A quick look “under the hood” of many RPG Maker projects will show you just how important organization can be.

I had this idea though, of breaking down scenes into a series of generic, reusable switches for keeping things moving, then using a master switch to determine whether the scene had occurred yet or not. Think of it like this: a scene has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Set aside three generic switches for these parts.

When you’re coordinating multiple events (such as two or more characters moving while talking), you use one switch to indicate the part of the scene you’re in, say the beginning. Once you’ve relocated the events, set a fire, displayed an animation, or changed some other game state, you throw your “beginning” switch.

Once you’ve done that, you enter the middle phase of your scene, where you move around your characters some more, set more things on fire, flash some more fancy animations, and so forth. When you’re done, you flip your “middle” switch. You probably see where I’m going with my example by this point.

When you’ve finished your scene, turn off all your generic switches, and you can flip one final, non-generic switch dedicated to marking that the scene has played out. The main thing I want to warn you about in using this method is in keeping careful track of which generic switch is which – and remembering to turn them all off at the end.

The obvious advantage to using this method is that you use fewer switches, and you can cut down on overall file size and game complexity this way. The additional advantages are more personal – this will train you to be more efficient in your use of switches, and will help you structure your scenes to follow a familiar narrative.

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