A Look At: Simulation RPG Construction (SRC)

SRC IB

SRC (Simulation RPG Construction) is a Japanese freeware program that’s specifically designed to create Super Robot Wars-like games. I’ve been looking at it recently and it’s kind of interesting.

It does do a few things differently from SRW for whatever reason and I think there’s a whole bunch of “Classic” timeline holdover mechanics, like apparently all Range 1 attacks are inherently P and uses the Melee stat while ranged attack are non-P and uses Ranged, unless you intentionally override them with specific weapon properties, which tends to make weapon lists look like a mess. Also there’s no Defense stat and instead it’s replaced with the “Reaction” stat, which I definitely believe was only in Classic.

There’s a crap-ton of weapon properties too including those that don’t show up in “regular” SRW like Knockback. I keep running into new ones I’ve never seen and having to look at the manual. Some of them, I still don’t know what they do, like a bunch of elemental weapon modifier (Fire/Water/Electricity)… are there supposed to be units with elemental weaknesses? I sure as heck don’t remember any in any scenario I’ve seen.

Also there’s a bunch of new Spirit Commands, including some that manipulate enemy Aggro/AI, and a lot of times units tend to be designed with a very old mindset in the dark ages where Gundam Beam Rifles weren’t post-movement. I guess it’s because SRC maps tend to be smaller in general so range tends to be “compressed”.

Anyway, I probably can’t note down every single change they made to the system so I won’t but I will note that a lot of mechanics are apparently scriptable/customizable so don’t be surprised to see some mechanics working differently in certain scenarios. For example, the built-in Unit Upgrade system for SRC only allows you to upgrade all unit stats in one shot instead of choosing which stats to focus on, but I’ve seen certain scenarios replace it with a more traditional SRW Unit Upgrade system.

It’s too bad the program isn’t very intuitive. You got to do just about everything outside of map creation in text files instead of a nice GUI, and have to cross-reference the manual every 5 seconds, which is made even harder because my knowledge of Japanese isn’t good enough for that. RPGMaker this is not. Oh well, even though a bunch of fans have made lots of free art assets to use I guess I probably won’t be able to do anything with it.

Well, even if you aren’t interested in putting together your own SRW, there’s actually a lot of fan-scenarios out there and amateurish as they are, it’s really a breath of fresh air to play them when you’re freed from the limitations of liscense owners and can do whatever the heck you want.

Though I guess if you’re the sort of person who only plays SRW to watch pretty animations then… yeah, you’re not getting any of that. I guess I’m a weirdo though, because I don’t care about that. The interface also isn’t the best, bringing  back memories of the old days of Win 95 shareware programs.

Now just to be hypocritical, something I do care about is music and the handling of midi in fan-scenarios is just weird. They usually don’t include any in the download and just give you a bunch of links and file names and go “Here, these tracks are coded to play in the game itself but you have to go download them” and since some of these are pretty damn old… yeah, lots of dead links and way too much effort, so I end up playing most of them in complete silence.

SRC PPZ

Anyway, since I probably shouldn’t just throw people to the wolves on which scenarios to play, here’s a couple I’ve tried out and my thoughts on them. To run them, download and install the main SRC program and run SRC.exe. SRC defaults to opening .src files which are its save files, so you have to change it to open “.eve” files instead (events). Most scenarios are started by opening “スタート.eve”

UPDATE: I’ve been hearing reports about people who can’t get the program to run, so I’m going to see if I can write a couple of troubleshooting steps. (Be sure to read edit3, which has the most up to date information. The rest is here for historical purposes)

First off, this is a pretty old program, so I have no idea if it’ll work on things like Win8, but I can confirm it works on older OS like Win XP. Win 7 and Vista seems to have a “use at own discretion” disclaimer.

You may need to install the libraries that SRC requires in order to run it. I believe you really only need the Visual Basic 5 ones but the list of them is here if you wish to be through. If using Vista/Win 7, you have to “Run as Adminstrator”, apparently.

Finally, you need to set your computer to Japanese system locale in order to use the program and this is probably where most people are running into issues. If files are showing up in incomprehensible squares and gibberish characters instead of Japanese text then you most likely haven’t done this step. It’s simple and the process is reversible so you don’t have to agonize over it.

You can do a Google search for instructions on how to do so, but here’s the first result I found for the lazy ones. Don’t use Applocale, it’s buggy.

Whenever you unzip any files, make sure they maintain their folder structure and try not to shift them around because SRC scenarios requires very specific folder structures to work. This should be the default with any good ones like Winrar but try not to use Window’s built-in unzip programs or something.

edit2: Windows 7/8.1 users have commonly reported a “Run-time error 5: Invalid procedure call or argument” error when running this program. At the time being, I have no solutions and can only suggest picking up an old XP laptop or perhaps running a Virtual Machine. If anyone has additional information on how to fix this or have successfully run the program on a Windows 8.1 computer, please notify me.

edit3: A solution to Run-time error 5 has been found – this error occurs when the OS “Format” settings is not set to Japanese (Japan)

To reiterate, here are the basic steps you need to get SRC running on non-Japanese OS.

  1. Install the Visual Basic 5 Runtime Dependencies – 1 and 2 (Msvbvm50.exe)
  2. Make sure both “Format and Standards” and “Unicode” settings are set to Japanese (Japan) – if your system time/date isn’t display “Japanese style” (e.g  2008年12月31日), you haven’t done this step
  3. If the filenames of the engine files are not in Japanese and instead in gibberish, reinstall the program after completion of step 2.
  4. Reboot for good measure.

Note that the specific method of completing step 2 depends on your specific OS. For example, here’s how you would do it on Win7

1- Open Region and Language by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Clock, Language, and Region, and then clicking Region and Language.

2- Click the Formats tab, and then, in the Format list, select the “Japanese” locale to use for the display of the date, time, currency, and measurements.

3- Click on Regional and Language Options

4- Click the Administrative tab, go to “Language for non-Unicode Programs”, and select “Japanese (Japan)” from the drop-down menu.

This should solve the majority of the issues running the program.

SRC Taisen IB – Holy poop, I love this one. I think this must be the biggest “you know what, screw canon” scenario pack there is.

The wild ride just starts the moment you load it up. Your starting SEED representative units? Yzak and Dearka. Your battleship captain? Flay captaining the Dominion. After a while, some surprise pilots shows up as reinforcements and it just gets crazier and man I really recommend not spoiling it for yourself but highlight the spoiler paragraph if you really need to.

– Yzak’s mid season upgrade unit? The God Gundam.
– Stellvia of the Universe characters are the “tier 2 support characters” squad. They spend the entire game stealing hand-me-downs from other series, starting in Ginns and going up to Macross Valkyries, Tauruses, Strike IWSP and so on.
– Macross’s Kakizaki eventually pilots a Spazer, finally managing to put his Super Spirit set to good use by combining with Grendizer.
– The “5-man robot” representative for this scenario pack? All 5 Gundam Wing boys packed into a “Wiseduck” from Tech Romancer.
– Oh yeah, Tech Romancer’s a series in this, did I mention that?
– Kamille shows up on the enemy side a lot as a boss surprisingly often in an ironic Yazan sort of manner.
– Kira shows up as a pretty scary boss so now you can face the fear of going against Mr God Mode. Zeorymer also shows up… on the enemy’s side. Luckily, Kira is nice enough to decide to defect and hold him off for your team to escape but gets blown up into a billion itsy bitsy pieces for his efforts with a Meioh MAP.
– ULTRASEVEN AS A UNIT.

This particular scenario pack is actually really challenging which might be a problem for some people but I like not having to sleep my way through missions. One really interesting part of the difficulty is that the AI actually seems pretty intelligent and bosses seem to actually use Spirit Commands unscripted: I’ve seen them use Hot Blood and then go straight for the throat to one-shot my support units.

They actually also use defensive commands (Defend/Evade) rather than counterattacking if they feel like the tradeoff of countering isn’t worth it and use Spirit Commands like Flash to protect themselves. And they actually do use up SP for casting those Spirits, so trying to wear their SP pool down becomes part of the strategy for fighting bosses.

SRW Cross Destiny– Kind of like OG with liscensed series, down to the original character being scouted from being good at playing mecha videogames and then getting Bullet as her mentor.

Like OGs, they actually scripted in an “equippable weapon” system for this one, although it’s very clunky since it’s trying to brute-force something the engine probably isn’t suitable to handle, which makes it kind of prone to crashing. Mechanics like PP and Mastery Points are also implemented, so I think this is a pretty good choice if you want a scenario with a more “modern” design feel.

X to X– Xenogears! People still love that right? The “choose your main character” thing is done using either Fei or Elly as the male and female choice. Elly starts out getting rescued by the Crossbone Gundam people, so extra cool points there.

This one seems to have a traditional SRW upgrade and PP system implemented too, so if you want something that feels more modern… The rest of the series list seems to be things that people always salivate about like Gunbuster, Gaogaigar and G Gundam so points for that.

SRW Alternative– Hmm, it has Alternative in its name, I wonder what series it focuses on? I bet it’s Zambot-3.

Pretty well-balanced missions, although not much frills in this one. Also this is one of the two scenarios I’ve played so far where the creator actually created their own originals for it. Funny, I would thought more people would jump on that chance, guess spriting’s too much effort.

Eternal Wing– This one’s written as an Alpha Gaiden sequel, I think, so a lot of the series list is similar (although the Getter representative is changed to Shin vs Neo, yay).

Starts off strong by implementing things like Skill Points in the starting scenarios but for some reason they seem to forget about that mechanic… Balance is way too skewed on the player’s end (Isamu is practically invincible even before casting Focus.) Still, I do like seeing Braiger and Victory Gundam and original Macross and…

ARBZ/Kineiden – These are actually themed around Tokusatsu works like Kamen Rider rather than Mecha just to show that you can do whatever the heck you want with the system. It’s actually pretty hard due to the nature of trying to represent Toku shows, since just about everything is a Real that can’t reliably dodge and there aren’t any Repair/Resupply units or Battleships, so once you spent your resources that’s kind of it.

I listed both together because Kineiden is the sequel to ARBZ. It goes pretty damn crazy with the series list including Powerpuff Girls Z and Touhou characters. (Edit: The website hosting these scenarios seem to have unfortunately gone down, so I’m mirroring them to preserve them)

The sample tutorial scenarios included with SRC is pretty cool too and it’s only like 4 short scenarios total.. The first mission is basically “Shin Getter knockoff + Realy McRealington Vs Chinese Counterfeit Masoukishins.” The second is kind of a puzzle mission against a giant, multi-tiled boss in space which I’m ashamed to say I have no idea how to solve.

6/9/2014 Update: Looking for more scenarios to play? Check out part 2 of my SRC Scenarios coverage right here.

14/1/2016 Update: Yet another SRC Scenario Round-up update – Read Part 3 of me covering more SRC Scenarios over here

And here are some resources that I find helpful (all Japanese, obviously)
Scenario Database – If you want to search for scenarios with your favourite series, you can use this.
SRC Review site – Once you found something you think is interesting, maybe read up some reviews to see if it isn’t actually a stinker.

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6 Responses to A Look At: Simulation RPG Construction (SRC)

  1. Orpheus says:

    I found this old site with ane english scenario too.
    srwcf.blogspot.com

    • Davzz says:

      I know about this, and I think it would be an interesting thing to showcase…

      However, all of the links on the site are unfortunately dead.

      Still, if anyone who ever worked on it in the past comes across it and gets in contact with me, I guess I’ll be happy to write about it. But that’s a really long shot.

  2. I am sorry to disturb you, but I’ve got a problem with SRC and I don’t know how to fix it since I don’t know japanese, I assume you do, since you’ve figured everything out with it, well, the problem is that every time I try to open any SRC related file, be it an .src or .eve, this pops out http://sta.sh/01h836t5t87r and I just don’t know what to do with it, I hope you could help me out with my problem. (I’ve windows 8 btw)

    • Davzz says:

      The error message is saying that an ability called “Pinpoint Barrier” is incorrectly set-up… but that most likely has nothing to do with the issue you’re having.

      Are you sure you’ve set your computer to Japanese locale? It seems to be in Russian or something

      • Thanks alot for the reply.Also,I have, it couldn’t read japanese writings before that, it only showed them up as weird versions of english texts mixed up together in the most odd ways possible, but now it can do that and that’s the reason I was able to even launch the program to begin with because it couldn’t see the bitmap and other folders before the change was made.About this problem, though, is there any sort of way to fix it? Because this message windows pops up every time, no matter what SRC project I try to open and it doesn’t let me do anything at all.

      • Davzz says:

        I honestly don’t know how to fix it – try moving the entire folder to something more simple like “c:\src” and making sure you run the program in administrative mode and that all files are not read-only.

        If it doesn’t work, then sorry, I’m out of ideas

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