5 Things People Don’t Customize In RPG Maker

in Advice

RPG Maker VX Ace allows for customization of almost every element of your project. For those who have the artistic and scripting resources, you can edit your game to the point that players won’t even recognize it’s a RPG Maker game.

Often developers focus on having custom tilesets, character sprites, portraits, battlers and music. But there are several elements that even the more customized projects seem to overlook.

A) The title screen

The title screen is the first thing the player will see after starting up your game. It should set the “tone” for your game. The last thing you want to do is give the impression that your game is another generic RPG Maker title. It doesn’t take that much to customize the title screen to make it stand-out. Consider the Remnants of Isolation title screen:

Remnants of Isolation

It behaves very much like the default Title screen but the aesthetics have been customized to create a unique feeling for the game. The title and menu have been moved to the bottom left quadrant to allow the picture to take up the rest of the screen space. The window border and background color is customized to match the color palette of the game. There’s also a haunting track playing in the background that tells you this will be an emotional game experience. Overall, it’s a great title screen and gets me excited to play it!

Before releasing your game, consider putting effort into customizing your title screen to quickly get the player in the mood to play your game.

B) Default Menus/User Interface

Considering how much time you spend in menus in RPGs, you would think most developers would put some effort into editing the default interfaces. Unfortunately, that is often not the case.

The default battle menu. Oh, my favorite!

The default battle menu. Oh, my favorite!

In the past it was excusable since if you didn’t have any scripting experience it was difficult to edit the interface. Last year, RPG Maker released the Luna Engine – a series of scripts that would allow anyone to customize the RPG Maker interfaces.

Luna Engine Sample

That’s more like it!

The Luna Engine doesn’t just allow you to make aesthetic changes to the interfaces. You have total control over all the menu options, allowing you to edit them to fit your in-game systems.

The window skin and font are also overlooked elements of the UI. Even if you don’t customize the window skin and border, you can edit the background color in the Systems tab of the Database to fit the color scheme of your game. When choosing a font, make sure it’s readable! A bold sans serif font is usually best. Save the decorative fonts for titles.

C) Sound effects

Even the most aesthetically customized RPG Maker games still seem to feature the default sound effects. While this might seem like a minor detractor, consider how often you hear that cursor sound effect. Quite a bit! And while RPG Maker does come with a rich library of fantasy sounds, it’s lacking in terms of modern and futuristic effects.

Fortunately, our talented staff has picked up the slack. We have a wide array of Music and Sound resources available in our store. You can also find many free sound effects on the forum and through Google searches. Just make sure if you plan on going commercial that you have permission to use them.

D) Battle Animations

The default battle animations that come with the editor are quite extensive and aesthetically pleasing. They’re also used in just about every RPG Maker project! Once you see an attack animation a few hundred times in your own project or others, you rather just turn them off than see them again.

battle-animation

Yes, my projects are guilty of using the default animations too

 

Battle animation resources aren’t quite as plentiful as tilesets and music. If you can’t find custom battle animations to match your game, you can still make good use of the Animation editor in the Database of the engine. It can allow for some visually impressive effects. Pair your custom animations with new sound effects to really make them memorable!

E) Terminology

RPGs have their own terminology that you hear over and over again. Levels and HP are such key elements of RPGs that is hard to imagine one without them.

RPG Maker has its own set of terms and while some of them are RPG basics there are others that are unique to the engine. When creating a project, consider customizing as much of the terms as possible. Go through the database and see what names you can change to make them more closely fit your game world. It will give your world more weight and make it standout from other RPG Maker games.

The Database interface is where you’ll change most of the game terms. You can also change some of the default messages by opening the Script Editor and clicking the Vocab module which stores many of the battle messages.

When naming objects, try to focus on things that already exist. It can be cool to have terms unique to your game but overuse of jargon can confuse or bore the player.

magi-babble

Example of jargon from Dictionary

Small changes to your project can add up to make a huge difference. The next time you look at your project, consider what elements can be changed to make it standout more.

What other aspects of RPG Maker games do you think are often overlooked? Please discuss.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Markus T

    I tend to modify all of these.. i never overlook them.. i personally get sick of the default stuff.
    I tend to work on my own sounds and such though.
    Or i morph some existing sounds to be different.

  • GaryCXJk

    Haha, I never overlook them, because… because…

    … because I only write scripts…

    😐

  • warlock

    The Luna engine and all the sound and music packs are nice, but
    most of us aren’t going to spend money to make a free game, keep that in mind.

    • Aura Odum

      Well if you weren’t a pirate then odds are you already have spent money if you’re using RPG Maker.

      I mean I guess there was a lite version of VX Ace but that’s pretty limited as it is…

  • Power Logic

    I’m more of a gameplay fag than an aesthetic fag… I do think of this things but i prioritize content (game play and story ) than shiny things all over the screen. i’m not saying that aesthetics is insignificant it’s just the last thing on my list. I don’t go commercial anyway i don’t any reason why i would change all of the graphic interface and all of the default art and sounds

  • I find customization just as important as the gameplay and story content.
    Because a game consist not only of game mechanics and text.. Music, Sounds, Graphics, that’s all part of it. And one who truly dedicates and loves videogames, will appreciate a great ingame soundtrack just as much as a beautiful Story.
    Only point I disagree, is the last one. It highly depend on the game itself. One should not overburden the player with new flashy hipster terms, if the game is not focused on that.

  • Tobias Pause

    Well i do appreciate all that stuff but there is a big factor, Time. If your an single person who needs to survive somehow (normally means working) and you have few money or scripting experiance, than creating a new final fantasy with custom graphic annimations, many soundtracks and own menues is hard. Really i´m yust creating an VERY small and basic game and it already takes a lot of time. Because you always get to the point of something which isnt implemented in the core engine. Dmg Reflect?… nope. Counter after beeing hit?… nope, drainlife weapon or stats?… nope. Multiply currencies?… nope. More than 4 possibilities to choose an answer?… nope. I could get on forever with this. If this is your first project and you cant life for at least one year without working, than most of this is quite hard.

    Even easy photoshopping to transform the villain to yust switching his weapon might take hours.

    So as an Beginner it is probably the best to focus on Gameplay, Balance and Story. Makeing a small Game and finish it. There are so many Games out there who had an great Demo, but never finished, i really think this is the better option.