RPG Maker: What Does it Teach?

in Education

RPG Maker has been a part of my life for a very long time. Of course, a lot of you have seen me write about RPG Maker for several years now on our official blog. A few more of you might have known me before I was hired and I was running the old RPG Maker VX fan forums.

But almost none of you knew me (hi, mom(I don’t actually think my mom reads my posts… but maybe?)), back when I first started with RPG Maker.

The first RPG Maker I ever used.

The first RPG Maker I ever used.

The first time I used RPG Maker, somewhere around 17 to 18 years ago, I was a young teen.

And being a bit removed from being a young teen, I feel this gives me a great perspective on what learning RPG Maker can teach you to carry on further into life. I’m going to focus on the three things I think it helped me with the most, but this is definitely not the only things to be learned from the program.

Logic

One of the most obvious things I think I learned from RPG Maker is logic. Specifically, programming logic, but with computers being as ubiquitous to life as they are, that is a huge skill.

The Eventing in RPG Maker, with switches, variables, loops, conditional branches and all those things, is a great basis for just understanding how programs work.

Final

Yes, I’m reusing an image from another article I’ve already written. Want to fight about it?

I remember many years later, while I was in college for Computer Science, one of my required courses was a Programming Concepts class, or as I called it, the flowchart class, and I suddenly realized: Everything in this class, I learned in RPG Maker.

I had learned, everything runs on Loops, what you have to store and how for a computer to remember things, and just the general processes involved in getting a computer from step 1 to step 300.

Math

I’ve always been pretty good at Math, and interested in Math (I was a weird kid, I’ll admit), but game making in specific gave me a big leg up on a very specific type of math: Probability.

So much of balancing games comes from figuring out what are the chances of each thing you set up happening. How much damage will this attack do on average, and how much variance do you have based on hit percentage, and the chances of each of the enemies attack happening.

Video Games, powered by: Equations.

Video Games, powered by: Equations.

A lot of balance is just trial and error, but a lot of it comes back to probability. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a giant excel file open that calculates all my attack types, trying to figure out some little detail.

Creative Writing

Despite always having an interest in creative writing, I’ve probably learned more about writing from studying games and using RPG Maker than I have working on short stories or novels.

The thing it teaches that is so much different than freeform writing, is working within a medium. Some things work better for movie writing. Some things work better in novel writing. And some things work best in a game.

writing

Harold is going to write a tell all book about his adventures and travelling companions!

Before I picked up RPG Maker, I only thought of writing in a prose story sense. I never stretched into a medium where I had to consider other things, like mechanics and the flow of the gameplay. The change in constraints has really made me grow creatively in my writing over the years. It has taught me new ways to approach writing, new ways to tell stories.

Why it works

The thing is, there are millions of ways to teach logic, math, creative writing, and the myriad of other things that you can learn from RPG Maker, like art, music, etc.

But what makes it work with RPG Maker is that it makes people, kids, teenagers, and adults alike, WANT to learn more about those subjects. They have an end goal that is exciting. They aren’t just learning for the sake of learning.

Instead, they are learning so that one day, they will have a game out there. Even if they just share it with friends, they will have accomplished something fun. There is a lot to learn using RPG Maker that will be of use no matter where you go in life. What have you learned from RPG Maker? Tell us in the comments below.

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