Where Do I Begin?
As I said in the post a few days back, trying to classify this as a “game” isn’t really right. This is gonna be a tough one. If you’re unfamiliar with the RPG Maker series, it’s a series of game creation engines, RPG Maker VX Ace being the third in series. It takes out the programming (mostly) and makes it easier for people, without the knowledge, skills, or understanding, to make their own game.
That’s not to say that you don’t have to learn anything or pick up a few tricks and get creative, though. No, you’ll definitely need to put some effort into this awesome program to get something out of it. Thankfully, you’re never alone in your quest for creating that perfect RPG. The community for RPG Maker is great.
What Kind Of RPGs Can I Make?
Well, the best way to describe them is like something you’d see on the SNES. The games, generally, use isometric camera angles, but with some engine tweaks and scripts, you can really bend it to your will. I personally enjoy making games with all the old tropes, you know – save the princess, the world, and stop the big baddie from destroying everything.
That’s the beautiful thing about RPG Maker, you can make any story you want. Any tale you want to tell, you can! You can also make and RPG Puzzle game if you feel so inclined.
One of the great things about being able to create your own game, is being able to create your own characters, which you can do. The engine has a character generator you can play around with. As you build your characters, the engine will actually create sprite sheets for them so you don’t have to use generic characters!
When you start out with RPG Maker, any of them, it can be daunting to try and figure out just how you’re going to get that idea from your head to your game. Unfortunately, not everything is explained fully, or as clearly, as I’d prefer it to be. It was extremely difficult coming back to it after not using one for over a decade and trying to figure out how things worked in the new version. Like I said before, though, the community is wonderful and incredibly helpful, so they make it a million times easier to get things done. With a plethora of guides, tutorials, and walkthroughs, you can find the answer to almost any question.
When you start RPG Maker and begin a new project, you’re met with a blank map that you can fill in with tiles of your choosing to create part of your world a la MS Paint on a grid. Once you get your map set up, you can start working on events, which are NPCs, cinematics, just about anything that has a function. This is the most basic function of the engine, but with some practice and understanding, you can create some really cool stuff.
Like I said, trying to actually review this isn’t easy, so I think we’re going to turn the focus to how easily you can dig in and get working.
“So Easy A Child Can Do It!”
That happens to be one of their tag-lines for the series. It’s definitely true, so long as you have a bit of help, unless you spend a lot of your time reading FAQs and things of that nature. As I said before, most of the engine is pretty easy to get the hang of, but you’ll definitely want to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the UI. Knowing where everything is, how the tiles work together, and how to create and work events is crucial to making any game in RPG Maker.
Without understanding those basics, you’re gonna have a bad time and probably wind up frustrated. I sure as hell did when I started back up, but after fighting with the engine for a few hours and obtaining more understanding, it became very easy to get what I wanted out of the system.
What To Do
Honestly, the best way to get into RPG Maker is to just jump right in and play around with it. There’s actually a free version that the developer provides. While it’s limited, it gives you a great look at the engine and how it works. If you have any interest whatsoever in using it, give the free version a try because RPG Maker runs $69.99USD on Steam. It does go on sale on occasion, so if you enjoy it, I’d suggest grabbing the full version.
The free version, RPG Maker VX Ace Lite, is available on Steam as well, along with the horde of DLCs you can purchase for a bunch of new world settings and character sheets. These range from medieval themed to futuristic in both cases. There’s even a set to get Nintendo DS styled graphics for your game!
Did That End Well?
I think I’m gonna wrap this up here. I’m not quite sure how I feel about having tried to review something like this. After all, it isn’t really a game, but if this piqued your interest, check it out. The price tag is pretty hefty, but if you’re looking for someplace to get some lite experience in game development and just how daunting it really is, give it a shot.
Well, that’s all from me for now! I think I’m going to go back to having my face pounded in on Street Fighter X Tekken.
You folks have fun, take care, and I’ll see you next time!