New to RPG Maker? Now what?

in Advice

So you’ve picked up RPG Maker MV, and you’ve never used RPG Maker before. Or done any coding. Maybe you just like the idea of writing your own stories. Or maybe you are an artist who is looking for a context for your cool looking characters.

Either way, you’re new. Or maybe you aren’t and you just want to see what I have to say. That’s good too, maybe you RPG Maker veterans can tell me some things I missed in the comments. I mean, I don’t know everything. Which leads me to the first point:

You aren’t going to know everything, and that’s OK

Look, when you first start with RPG Maker, you are going to run into moments where you don’t know how to do what you want to do. I still blank on how to do things in RPG Maker and I’ve used it for longer than some of our users have been alive.

Action Patterns are still a bit tricky to me even now.

Action Patterns are still a bit tricky to me even now.

Now, don’t get me wrong. RPG Maker really IS easy enough for a child, and with just a little bit of guidance, you will probably be able to do most things just by experimenting with the editor. But sometimes you won’t. Maybe its a bit more complex. Or maybe you just learn different and self learning isn’t your thing.

That is OK. Don’t give up.

Your game is still there for you to make. Making a mistake, not knowing what to do next, those aren’t failures. Quitting is failing.

Whenever you need some help, or maybe just some encouragement in RPG Maker, there is a perfect place for you to go: Our forums. The RPG Maker fans are some of the most knowledgeable and helpful crew I’ve ever had the chance to hang around, and I promise that if you need some advice or instruction, its either already on the forums somewhere or someone will be able to point you in the right direction.

So now, you’ve learned how to use RPG Maker enough to make a game. Its time to finish that masterpiece, except…

Your first game will probably be abysmal and that’s OK

RPG Maker MV is an awesome tool for creating your own game. Its simple to learn, with a high degree of power for those that want to dip into coding. But while it lowers the barrier of entry on making a game, it doesn’t lower the barrier of entry for being good at game design.

Look, game design is an art. Its not easy, but no dream worth doing is. And just like drawing, painting, playing an instrument, composing, writing, etc, you aren’t going to be great at it the first time you do it.

Why can I not play this? I picked up the violin 3 days ago. That is so many days.

Why can I not play this? I picked up the violin 3 days ago. That is like, so many days.

What does make you good at it? Study, practice, experiment, tweak.

Pick up a game that you really like. Now, start thinking about WHAT you like about it. What parts of the mechanics work? Why do you think they work? You have to think differently about games to learn game design from them. Read what designers have to say. Maybe pick up a book or two on design.

Then put that in motion. Make games. Do some games just to get in the rhythm. Practice with things you’ve learned from studying. Try to implement them in ways that works for the same reasons.

Then try something new. Implement mechanics in novel ways, or implement mechanics you’ve never even seen. Experiment. Always think about HOW the mechanic you are using will affect the game.

Look at what you’ve done that works, look at what you’ve done that doesn’t. Enhance the parts that work, work on the things that you think COULD still work, and abandon the things that were bad ideas.

Because you WILL have bad ideas. We all do. The only way to learn is to do. You aren’t going to get better by just sitting there. Art takes dedication. But its worth it.

You CAN succeed. And that is definitely OK.

Look. Making a good game takes dedication. It takes learning. It takes being open to new ideas. And it will take time. But you can do it.

The only thing that stops someone from becoming good is themselves. Talent isn’t nonexistent, but its mostly a myth. All those people who are good at things: They worked at it. Yoshitaka Amano wasn’t born knowing how to make breathtaking watercolors. Yasunori Mitsuda wasn’t born knowing how to put together notes that will forever be emblazoned in our minds.

They worked at it. Skill is what carries them through. And skill is something anyone can build if they work hard enough. You can be a good designer. Just don’t give up on your dream just because it gets hard. Keep practicing. Keep learning. Never, ever stop learning.

Want to talk about your experiences with learning game design? Just a newbie who wants to ask some questions? Join us in the comments below, or check out the discussion topic on our forums!

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