At the suggestion of one Ben Trube, I recently downloaded RPG Maker VX Ace, the latest and greatest in a long line of RPG Maker software that goes back to the late 80’s. It has a powerful, full-featured environment for creating – wait for it – RPGs. Not Rocket-Propelled Grenades, but Role-Playing Games, specifically tile-based games like Final Fantasy VI and its ilk.
RPG Maker is an interesting hybrid, self-described as “simple enough for a child, and powerful enough for a developer.” I’ve found this to be true for the most part. The built-in functionality covers most of the bases of a standard, straightforward RPG, with an impressive amount of content available right out of the box. But if you want to get into some more advanced options, you can write your own Ruby scripts, or download scripts that others have written. The more I play with RPG Maker, the more powerful it seems. I’ve been impressed with the scope of what I’ve been able to accomplish so far.
There’s also a vibrant online community full of resources and question-answerers. Want a script, tileset, or sound effect? It’s out there, often free. Stuck on a problem? Chances are, you won’t even have to ask, because someone else has already figured it out. It’s pretty great.
My own work-in-progress is a little game called The Legend of Hemlock Tower. As the name suggests, you climb higher and higher through a tower, with each room being a self-contained puzzle or adventure. It’s not really an RPG in the standard sense: there’s no XP, HP, or MP, no random battles, no equipment or anything like that. It’s really just an adventure/puzzle game. But it’s been fun to make, and based on the results of my friends’ playtesting last night, it seems fun to play as well.
I plan to make 100 floors, though I may cut that to 50 if it’s too ambitious. I have ten completed so far.
Anyone else out there tried making their own game? What was it like?
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I have created my own games as well, although I use Unity instead of rpg maker. Unity is fantastic in that you can use the program to create just about any game that you so desire, as long as you can write the scripts for it and set up everything else properly. My experiences have been, for the most part, decent. Unity is a very strong game maker because it has a huge range of capabilities that Unity has, but sometimes it can be frustrating trying to get something to work because although there are some built in scripts that Unity allows you to use, there really aren’t very many, and so you have to do a lot of the scripting from scratch. Writing your own script can be . . . frustrating, and so I have started a list of scripts that I have created that work. Adding a new script to this list usually involved a very long and painful trial and error process of creating a script and watching it fail over and over again until it finally works. Usually by around try 20 or 30 I have a working script, but since each try can take around half an hour to set up properly, creating small elements in a game can be very frustrating and annoying. Such is scripting, however, and so onward I go.
I’ve never heard of Unity. Sounds interesting. I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks!
While my husband handles most of the actual RPG Maker usage (and I handle character design, etc), I know he likes its community and user-friendliness a lot.
Alex above talked about Unity, which would be great because then the game could be used on a phone. Alas – for someone with limited scripting ability, RPG Maker’s strong community and easy interface provide tangible benefits.
I checked out your blog a little. Looks cool. When you get it finished, let me know! 🙂
Thanks, dude! Will do!
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