If there is one thing that artists trying to make materials for RPG Maker ask me the most, it is this:

Magnets… I mean… Autotiles, how do they work?

Miracles man. Ok, no not really. It can be really easy to misunderstand the system, that is why I’m going to break it down to you, by breaking down one of the A2 style autotiles into its component parts to show how the editor assembles them.

First, let’s start with what the auto-tile looks like in the sheet:

Snow-Sand

Note: All tile images are increased to 2x their normal size for ease of view. Actual tiles in the sheets are 50% this size.

The first thing I want to do. Is tell you to completely ignore the top left tile. This tile is ONLY used as what is shown in the tile selection part of the editor. None of it will ever be used in your actual maps. So we’re just going to delete that section from the further images here.

The second thing is: Stop thinking of the auto-tile as sets of 48×48 tiles. Instead, each tile is made up of 4 mini-tiles of 24×24 pixels. So let’s break down the autotile in to 24×24 sections:

24x24

This is how the editor thinks about autotiles. But how does it pick the components it needs to assemble a tile? This is important because knowing how it picks the individual tiles will make it super easy to put together your own pieces.

So first of all, there are 4 types of minitiles. Each one ALWAYS goes specifically in a specific corner of the combined tile the editor makes. I’m going to mark the four types with colored squares in the corner so that you can understand what I mean:

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From now on, I’ll refer to any 24×24 minitile with a red square in the corner as a red piece, and the same with the other colors.

A 24×24 minitile in the position where it has the red square on it above will ALWAYS be used as the upper left quarter of the tile. Green will always be used as upper right. Yellow as lower left, and blue as lower right.

So for example, if we were placing an autotile, and all the tiles around it were using the same autotile, the editor would pick the following 4 pieces, then, the important step, it would place them in the correct corners of the combined tile:

Combine

Notice that the selected bit from the lower right, in red, despite being to the lower right part of the autotile, and to the lower right of the rest of the pieces, but as it is in a red piece position it is ALWAYS used as the top left of the combined tile.

This means for each top red piece, the right edge has to match to every top green piece left edge with matching features. for instance, this 24×24 tile piece:

redstraighttop

It’s right edge, should match every green piece left edge that has snow on the upper edge on the left side. The two pieces that match this description: the green piece with snow running along the entire top and the green piece with the snow forming an inside corner. Its left edge should match up with the right edge of any green piece with snow on the upper edge on the right side, the green piece outside corner, and the green piece with snow running along the entire top edge again.

EdgeMatch

And you can follow this logic to find all the pieces that need to match with each edge. The top edges of every blue piece needs to match the bottom edge of every green piece with matching snow features. It’s bottom should match the top. And so forth on so on.

With this information, you should be able to make your own autotiles, but if you are still having issues, in next week’s tutorial, I’ll walk through making a standard autotile by making one myself!

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It’s time for another RPG Maker Web release, and this time, we’re going back in time, to the 16 bit era for some old school sounds!

Inspired by a certain series from the early 90s where you gotta go fast, composer Snowy Fox has used the same synthesis method used back in the 90s era of games, ensuring that the music will take you back in time.

The M-Drive 16 Bit Music Pack is the thing you need to bring out the nostalgia for any retro styled game. But it isn’t JUST background music. Also included are music effects and sound effects created using the same process, to give your entire game a consistent old school sound!

You can buy this pack in the RPGMakerWeb Store, or on Steam through the links below!

RPGMakerWeb Store
Steam (RPG Maker MV)
Steam (RPG Maker VX Ace)

And with your 16 bit music, you’re going to need some graphics to match! The Time Fantasy series is the perfect counterpart to these retro sounds! So grab the Time Fantasy base pack for 50% off this week!

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As RPG Maker users, I imagine a lot of us have a lot of nostalgia.

We have a lot of games that we played as kids that we loved. A lot of games that inspired us to want to make our own 2D RPGs. The Final Fantasies, the Dragon Quests, the Pokemons, the Phantasy Stars, Chrono Trigger…

Our games are always a product of our influences... though try not to be THIS obvious.

Our games are always a product of our influences… though try not to be THIS obvious.

There are a lot of games to learn from. The problem is that when learning from something, you have to think different than when you are just enjoying it.

You have to be able to put your emotions aside, and look at it from the perspective of people who have no connection with the game. Because that is what they will have with your game. You will have to look past the things that you love to understand what could possibly prevent someone else from loving it. You love the game. But you have to learn why someone could hate it.

You may love the story and freedom in character customization in Final Fantasy Tactics, but if you didn’t, would you be able to deal with the lack of challenge and game balance?

You may even love something specifically because of the impact it had on you at the time. Dragon Quest IV (the Dragon Warrior IV NES version to be specific) is the game that made RPGs my favorite video game genre. It’s hard to be objective about a game when you have that kind of connection to it. But if you want to learn from the design you HAVE to be able to. Because if I just copied the style of Dragon Quest IV in RPG Maker, I’d end up with a game that doesn’t really fly with a modern audience.

... I should probably not copy THIS closely.

… I should probably not copy THIS closely.

The battles were mostly about hitting attack. Character customization was pretty much nonexistent. After the characters joined in Chapter 5 they stopped talking entirely and stopped really being characters.

There are a bunch of flaws that I shouldn’t copy. They didn’t bother me then, but if I played a new game, they would definitely bother me now.

And some games, have flaws that you would never notice as long as you played it the way the designer intended.

Take Final Fantasy VIII. As long as you just move along, level roughly how you should, add junctions abilities as they come available. The game works out fine.

But underneath, it has a leveling system where the enemies outpace the heroes in stats, which can only be made up by proper junctioning. So if you grind a lot just for levels, but don’t take good advantage of the draw/junction system, you will make the game much harder. On the other hand, if you avoid leveling as much as possible, the game oddly becomes easier! This is entirely counter-intuitive to how leveling should work.

Good thing we avoided all those fights on the way to the Dark Lord's castle, otherwise we might have learned something and this would have been harder.

Good thing we avoided all those fights on the way to the Dark Lord’s castle, otherwise we might have learned something and this would have been harder.

You may have never noticed that because you played it in the way it was designed to be played. But the system breaks down very easily, and that is a flaw.

You have to learn to not see the games you love as perfect. Because if you don’t, you aren’t learning all that you can from them. See what other people are saying about the game. Think about it without your emotional attachment to the game being involved.

Sometimes, it just comes down to flaws that certain types of players don’t care about, or perhaps is a boon rather than a flaw! If you were trying to appeal to gamers who enjoy learning and manipulating the math of a game, Final Fantasy VIII’s odd leveling and junction system actually may be a good idea. The key is to always be AWARE of the effects of the mechanics you are implementing, and its hard to do that when you are blinded by nostalgia.

But be sure that what you are creating doesn’t have flaws you can’t see, because you are copying too much of the games you have nostalgia for.

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Hello fellow game devs,

Do you ever feel that manly manliness is not enough to carry your RPG? Do you ever feel you need something, more? Then do we have the thing for you:

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Available now on the RPG Maker Web Store, the Heroine Character Generator Pack!

This pack includes a ton of new pieces for the RPG Maker MV’s built in Character Generator, focused exclusively on female protagonists (or really pretty male protagonists), with:

  • 20 new outfits
  • 10 new pairs of eyes
  • 4 new front hair styles
  • 4 new back hair styles

With these additions, millions of new combinations are available for your Heroines! Bring variety to the look of your heroines with Heroine Character Generator today!

Also, a new addition to our RPG Maker MV Steam DLC: the classic and beautiful Rebel Rapture Music Pack!

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27 music themes from Murray Atkinson that bring the power of voice and orchestra to your game. The perfect music to accompany your holy sites or even a boss battle.

What will you do with these packs? What do you want to see released in the future? Tell us in the comments below!

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THE END IS NIGH! The end of the Golden Week Sale that is.

You have only one day left to get fantastic deals on your favorite makers and all those cool resource packs!

And remember, not only do you get fantastic deals, like 44% off the Modern Urban Tileset

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…the more you spend, the bigger discount coupon you get for a purchase in the future! At the end of the sale

  • You spend $30.01 – $50.00 –> you get a $5.00 OFF coupon
  • You spend $50.01 – $100.00 –> you get a $15.00 OFF coupon
  • You spend $100.01+ –> you get a $30.00 OFF coupon

That means the next time we release a pack, you won’t even have to check your budget before adding it to the cart!

So if you want to get deals like First Seed Material’s Town of Beginning for 20% off, you need to act now…

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… cause this sale is almost over!

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It’s that time of year again! The annual Golden Week sale!

While in Japan, they are getting a nice break from work, everyone gets a great break on all Makers and every Resource Pack!

Pick up RPG Maker MV for 56% off!

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Or Visual Novel Maker for 17% off!

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Need some new resources for your game? No problem, you’re Golden!

Want some spook for your modern horror game? How about picking up the fan favorite POP! Horror City for 33% off!

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Want some new dramatic bosses to spice up your game? Katakura Hibiki’s Lords of Darkness at 23% off!

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Or maybe you just need some sweet backing tracks for your Steampunk game, Boom: Emporium of Copper and Steel for 25% off!

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But the discount is not the only thing you are getting in this sale! At the end of the sale, you’ll receive a coupon to pick up packs in the future with based on how much you spent!

  • $30.01 – $50.00 –> you get a $5.00 OFF coupon
  • $50.01 – $100.00 –> you get a $15.00 OFF coupon
  • $100.01+ –> you get a $30.00 OFF coupon

That way, next time a pack drops that is a must-have for you, you won’t even have to reach for your wallet!

So join us in enjoying this stretch of Holidays in Japan by getting what you need to make your latest game idea a reality!

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I write a lot of tips on designing games on the blog.

We have an entire forum of people who also have a lot of tips on designing games.

Now, we aren’t always right. And sometimes, we are just talking about from our own perspectives. But there is one defense that I think needs to die.

That defense is “But [insert super popular game from a high-end studio here] did [idea being criticised here] and it did great!”

Castlevania: SotN started with a giant scrolling text!

Castlevania: SotN started with a giant scrolling text!

Ok, well, maybe it did! Maybe it has a legitimate reason why it worked in that game. And if that is so, tell me WHY it worked, and why you think it will work in your game. It isn’t a good idea because x game did it. Try to understand why it worked in that game. Then look if that reason is the same reason you want to do it in yours.

And you know, sometimes, IT DIDN’T WORK in that game.

A specific example of this is Dragon Quest VII. I would suggest you always try to get to the action in a game as early as possible. Dragon Quest VII instead had a several hour prologue with no combat. You just walked around and talked to people and found stuff. And it was slow and boring. And the only reason I ever got through it was that Dragon Quest means a lot to me and I knew once I got to the actual game, it would be good.

But you don’t have the pedigree of Dragon Quest to fall back on. I don’t have the investment in your game that I do in that series. If the beginning of your game was super slow and boring, I’d probably quit.

And low-key stealing the title won't help you.

And low-key stealing the title won’t help you.

On the other hand, there are games with slow beginnings where it DOES work. The slow buildup at the beginning of Persona 3 is a great example. This works because the story itself is captivating enough to carry it, and it regularly drops hints of the supernatural weirdness throughout to draw you in.

If someone says: Don’t do X. Don’t just use a game that does X as your defense. Tell them WHY it is going to work. Don’t just mimic a game you like, understand why you would want to mimic it.

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AN EVENT! But didn’t the last one just end!? Well yes, but this one has no deadline, it isn’t so much an event, as it is a challenge. You can do this whenever you want. You can do it next weekend. Or next month. You can even do it next year if you want!

So what is the challenge? First, let me give you a little background about this challenge. One of the things I see a lot of people do when they jump into RPG Maker… and well us veterans too, is that we tend to have our games accidentally sprawl. We say “This is just going to be a short game right, just a simple story and… oh, look at that, it has 108 characters, 30 towns, and a story that sprawls through three notebooks.”

This challenge is about the opposite of that. This challenge is about completing a game. A small game. and there are a few restrictions to keep it small:

  • 1 map
  • 10 events (common and map)
  • 10 variables
  • 10 switches
  • RPG Maker MV, 2000, 2003, XP, VX, or VX Ace

Plugins/Scripts are allowed, but can’t be used to bypass the above. Remember, the spirit of the contest is to make something small and finish it! So no bypassing the restrictions through clever tricks to simulate multiple maps. We understand events will probably have to do multiple jobs sometimes, but keep that to a minimum.

Submit the game on our forums in the completed games forum, and then post a link in the challenge submission thread here!

You can also find the discussion thread for this challenge on our forum through this link.

Anyone who finishes will get a cool new event-badge for their forum account. Have fun everyone and we hope to see you complete this challenge!

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Our Japanese forums for RPG Maker have been open for one year! And to celebrate the anniversary, we’re holding a contest!

What kind of contest are you asking? Wait, you aren’t asking? Because the banner already told you…

Well, I’ll tell you anyway! We’re holding an Original Character Contest!

MV-Generator

Make your own OC in the Character Generator, and give them a name, a backstory. Breath life into your character!

Then, everyone will get the chance to vote on their favorites!

For full rules visit the thread here on our forums! Contest runs from now until April 21st! Good luck on your characters everyone, see if you can win a prize!

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Lately, I’ve been replaying a lot of my favorite RPGs, and a single thing popped out at me over time.

Once you’ve played the game once, the mechanics are usually super simple at the beginning and super boring.

Hey look, I have one character, with one skill that isn’t attack. Maybe a heal. The first boss is just a cycle of attack, attack, attack, heal, attack, attack, attack, heal. Character customization isn’t completely unlocked yet. Maybe the ability to change classes isn’t unlocked until after the first few dungeons. Or you learn new skills from weapons, and you don’t have any new weapons to buy in the beginning.

Thank god, some party members

Thank the gamedev, some party members

Basically, the mechanics are on rails until you escape the “learning” period of the game, and then you finally get to that fun meat. Where you are making character customization decisions left and right. Do I master this class or that class? Do I use this rare ingredient to alchemize this weapon or that weapon? Which skills should I prioritize first?

Usually, at this point, customization is at its most fun. You are consistently learning new skills/powering up your heroes, and you are actively engaged in how it happens.

Then, you reach a new point. That point where you start maxing everything out. Maybe there is new stuff to learn, but it is all redundant or not as good as what you have. Or you’ve made all the decisions and all that is left is a linear “keep grinding” bit. This is usually also the point where you are probably powerful enough to beat the game already anyway.

"Where do you even GET a +500 Sword of Ultimate Annihilation. Screw this I quit."

“Where do you even GET a +500 Sword of Ultimate Annihilation. Screw this I quit.”

This curve is seemingly endemic to RPGs. And the reason it exists is actually perfectly reasonable. In the beginning, with a new player, you don’t want to overwhelm them, you want to teach the game more slowly. And near the end… well, it is hard to make a game that is endlessly customizable. And if you do, it sometimes makes your player feel like they just got started when the game ends.

So how do we fix this? To be honest, I don’t really know. It’s a hard nut to crack. Give too many options in the beginning, and new players don’t understand the context in which they are making those decisions. Perhaps you could drop them in with a bunch of decisions, but have “suggested” options?

With the ending, you can always make your game end before the customization does, but how do you fight that feeling of incompleteness? Perhaps with strong post game content?

It feels so common in RPGs that it feels almost unavoidable. What ideas do you have to fight this problem?

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