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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!

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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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Hello, gamedevs!

The last few weeks may have been light in number for RPG Maker DLC releases, but the two tile packs that came your way don’t lack one bit in quality!

Brought to you by artist Sherman3D, both packs this week are ready to brighten up the maps in your game!

Steampunk Town Tiles

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The first pack ready for your game is the Steampunk Town Tiles! These tiles are a perfect compliment to the previous Steampunk Tiles MV, mixing Victorian architecture with gears, pipes, and steam. If your game is steampunk or gaslamp fantasy, it needs this pack!

RPG Maker Web Store
Steam: Coming Soon

Wizard Castle Inner Tiles

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Tomes, crystal balls, pointy hats, all things you would expect to find in a wizard’s castle, and all things you WILL find in the Wizard Castle Inner Tiles! Dress up your wizard’s castle or tower with all the arcane decorations and runes that really scream out “MAGIC!”

RPG Maker Web Store
Steam: Coming Soon

Whether you are putting the steam tech or the magic into your world, Sherman3D and the RPG Maker team have got you covered this time!

Keep making those worlds, keep filling them with wonder, and we’ll keep helping make that happen!

 

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Recently, we released Sherman3Ds Steampunk Town Tiles!

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But that isn’t what this article is about, that is just the thing I’m tying this article to because it fits the topic and the higher-ups like it more when I also mention our products. (As an added bonus, it also makes adding images to the blog article a whole lot easier, but let’s just pretend I’m not lazy…)

Anyway, the thing that this tileset made me think of is, well, why Steampunk? It just suddenly took off all at once. And I’m not gonna lie, I like it a lot myself, too. It has a whole lot of style.

But I think another thing that drives us to Steampunk over the most traditional of RPG settings: Generic Fantasy, is that first word. Generic.

There are a million games out there that with a Generic Fantasy setting. But let’s be honest: We’re getting to that point with Steampunk, too.

Just look at all those pipes. That's where the steam goes!

Just look at all those pipes. That’s where the steam goes!

I’m not saying don’t use Steampunk (If you do, you know where to go for the tiles…), I’m saying that alone is not going to make your game memorable. You still need that little twist to make it something more. Anyone can do gaslamp fantasy, steampunk with an added side of magic, but what are you doing beyond that.

As much as I like Steampunk, even Generic Fantasy with a twist is better than Generic Steampunk.

How about a gaslamp fantasy that explores the horrors of British Imperialism and the Industrial Revolution, securing England’s foothold throughout the realm with powerful machines, or even replacing the workforce with undead slaves.

Or a steampunk world that explores the pressure cooker of a corrupt society with nowhere to run, a city huddled inside a massive magical barrier protecting it from the horrors beyond.

(First person who can name the above settings, not from video games, gets a no-prize!)

The Steampunk Town Tiles go perfectly with Sherman 3D's early Steampunk Tiles MV!

The Steampunk Town Tiles go perfectly with Sherman 3D’s early Steampunk Tiles MV!

Give your game something special. Don’t settle for just the basic trappings of a setting, come up with something to put a whole new twist on the old tales. Whether you start with Generic Fantasy, or Generic Steampunk or even Generic Scifi, don’t let it stay that way.

Don’t settle for just generic with your game.

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A lot of talk in video games lately is about difficulty. About making the game difficult because “modern games just hold your hands” and the developer wants to appeal to what he calls the “hardcore crowd”.

And I personally am not averse to difficult games. I love games that challenge me. But too often, I run into games that decide to challenge the player not by being difficult, but by just not explaining the rules.

It isn’t enough to hand the player all the tools, you also need to explain them as well. If you can do stun attacks, the player should know they can do stun attacks. If there are 8 stats in your game, your player should know what those 8 stats do.

To be fair, RPG Maker even gets this one wrong in one case.

To be fair, RPG Maker even gets this one wrong in one case.

If once a player knows how the mechanics of your game actually work, the game is easy, your game isn’t difficult, it is just opaque. Oh, now I know that stun attacks exist, I now realize that I can stunlock this boss entirely, making it trivial. That isn’t difficulty. That is just hiding a mechanic from the player.

And if I’m wandering around an area because I don’t have a clue where I’m supposed to go, that isn’t difficulty, it is just wasting time through again, opacity. But I’m sure you are thinking: But what about puzzles? That is a situation where your lack of knowledge is what is holding you back! AHA, YOU ARE WRONG!

Even in a puzzle, the rules should be easy to figure out, it is how to use those rules to achieve your objective that should be difficult. I shouldn’t be spending more time thinking about WHAT I need to do than HOW I need to do it. HOW is the difficulty, not the what. I should be asking myself “How can I arrange these conduits to supply power to that door?” not “What do I need to do to get out of this room?”

Honestly, this isn't even a workable puzzle, but I felt like I needed an image here.

Honestly, this isn’t even a workable puzzle, but I felt like I needed an image here.

If most of your game is about finding the challenges rather than engaging the challenges, that is again, not difficulty.

Do you have any pet peeves in regards to artificial difficulty? What are they? Tell us in the comments below.

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EM

Hello, Gamedevs!

Wanted to try out RPG Maker MV before making the jump? Interested in Visual Novel Maker, but didn’t want to buy it without trying it first?

Then this weekend we have the deal for you! Try out RPG Maker, along with the full suite of MV tools, or try out Visual Novel Maker for the whole weekend on Steam, free of charge.

But that isn’t all! If you decide you like either Engine, you can also pick them up on sale! 75% for RPG Maker MV, and 25% on Visual Novel Maker! This way, you can continue making the game that has been locked in your head waiting to get out.

Find out you like both engines?

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We still have you covered with our new Maker Series bundle, featuring Visual Novel Maker, VNM Live 2D Support, RPG Maker MV, and all three RPG Maker MV Tools, at an even BIGGER discount!

Trying out Visual Novel Maker? Then please also fill out our Visual Novel Maker Survey!

Now, get to work on your games, we’re looking forward to seeing what you make!

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