It’s a little passed midnight here, and I’ve been struck with it. A sudden burst of inspiration to work with RPG Maker and make a game.
I’ll be honest. I love RPG Maker. I love what it means to the average joe who wants to make a game. But if you asked me the last time I had actually used it to make a game myself… I couldn’t answer you. It has been that long. It was before I started working for RPG Maker in an official capacity I know for sure. I just had gotten to where I wanted to talk ABOUT RPG Maker and see what other people were making with it more than wanting to make something with it myself.
But here I am. Wanting to make a game again. Now my last serious attempt was ended by a hard drive failure and a failure to backup (also known as the writer is a moron)…
… But I am willing to admit that one of the largest reasons I’ve only finished a single game is because of myself. I lose interest. I wander around and have great ideas and then just can’t get myself to commit enough to actually finish the game (A trait, I share with a large portion of the RM community, to be fair).
In spite of all that, here I am, about to embark on a fun journey once again in an attempt to make a game. And this post is a stream of conscious walkthrough of my decisions to make it and how I plan a game. Will it be useful to you? I hope, maybe. Its always interesting to see an inside look at how other people do what you want to do. Especially someone else who is also an amateur, which I most certainly am when it comes to making games.
The first thing to establish is what is the game about. Who are the characters, what are they doing, and what is their story.
And here is where I am a bit surprised at myself. This entire game idea is an homage to the first game I actually finished. A game I finished and showed to no one (and subsequently lost myself) and thought was terrible. The story was told badly, the mechanics were atrocious, and there was very little that was actually good about it. This game was made probably 16-17 years ago with RPG Maker 95.
I’ve forgotten more about the game that I can remember, which is probably for the best, but at its core was a basic concept, and one that I will utilize in the game I’m making now.
This is a world that runs on six Elements. The classic four (Earth, Fire, Wind, Water) and an additional two (Light, Shadow). A infinitesimally small number of individuals in the world have an affinity for one of the Elements, and are hunted down by six existing schools of magic, one for each of the elements, and trained to become magic users.
The schools themselves belong to no nation, ruled by a ruling council of mages, one from each school. The mages themselves return to their homelands after being trained, becoming advisers, teachers, and protectors.
The sixth school, Shadow, has seen the rise to power of a mage who does not wish to advise the world, but control it. And that is where the story begins. With this powerful mage having executed a coup of the Shadow school, and in a series of surprise maneuvers, leaving the other five in shambles.
Within each school, only one mage survived. Each barely trained, and escaping the culling for various reasons. These are the player characters.
A bit cliche, I’ll admit, but the whole setup is something I want to use, and part of the reason for using it is the way I want to tell the story.
The game will be told in six parts.
First, there will be the prologue. The prologue will set up the background, and take place during the Shadow school’s culling of the others. Here, you will play as several members of the council, letting you learn a bit about the magic system I will put in place, and how the game will play. In the end, this is meant to introduce concepts of the world, how the culling happened, and how to play the game. In the end, none of the characters you play here will be alive, but it will set up some of the villainous characters as well.
The next four sections will star the survivor of the Fire, Earth, Water, and Air schools. They all chronologically in the game occur about at the same time. Things that happen in one section might affect things in another. For instance, in one section you might find yourself caught in the outskirts of a battle, while in another you learn how the battle happened and be fighting directly in it. Or a landslide caused by the Earth mage in his section might cause you to have to travel a different route in another.
Each of these four sections will star its own cast of playable characters, and will have a fairly self-contained story, though it will still end with the world in turmoil, and the Shadow school still in control.
The sixth section will be the main story. In it you will begin with the surviving student of the Light school, who will gather together the other four, who will return as playable characters. The rest of the playable cast from earlier chapters will remain as valuable NPC allies. In this section, players will confront the villainous leader of the Shadow school, and “save the world.”
Each section will play almost as if it is its own game, and you can choose to play, or not play, any section. Of course if you choose to do the main story without first doing one of the previous chapters, you will get a “defaulted” hero from the previous chapter, and will lack some form of bonus you get from having played it.
Overall, I’m hoping this presentation will be interesting for several reasons.
- Its a presentation that I haven’t really seen used much, and I’m hoping that because of that it will appeal to players.
- Because each can be entirely self contained, it allows me to work on smaller chunks at once rather than attempting to make one long game and risk boredom before I’m finished with anything.
- I can release the prologue and get feedback earlier than if I was doing a full game, and I think the feedback can also really help in driving my desire to finish.
Next time, I’ll talk about the preparations I’m going to make to plan out the story, and how the story is going to present some gameplay challenges for me.
Interested in the game concept? Just interested in hearing how someone else walks through making a game? Or maybe you have some suggestions for me on what you think I’m doing wrong? Sound off in the comments section below.