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Wow! What an exciting day for RPG Maker MV! There are so many things going on, it is hard to figure out where to even start.

This week is the March MV Midweek Madness! Starting today and ending in 7 days, we’re having a huge RPG Maker MV sale on Steam! So if you haven’t updated to the latest version yet, or you have a friend or family member who you think really needs MV in their life, now is the time to pick it up!

The sale is also a great time to grab some resources to round out your current project, or maybe start a new one, with RPG Maker MV DLC discounts as high as 60%!

But that isn’t all. We didn’t show up just for a sale, we’ve shown up with some awesome updates.

First, RPG Maker MV is now for Linux!

Screenshot from 2017-03-21 09-14-50

This means you can both use it on our Linux computer to make games, and deploy to Linux for other people to play from PC, Mac, or Linux editions of RPG Maker MV.

This update brings a bigger audience, both for RPG Maker MV, AND for its users. Your games can now be played by more people than ever.

But we didn’t even stop there. We are also introducing RPG Maker MV Tools, DLC that adds new toolsets to the RPG Maker MV editor. We added the MV Tools menu into the latest update, and the first MV Tool, SAKAN -Tileset Builder-, is launching this week.

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SAKAN -Tileset Editor- is exactly what it says on the tin. This tool will let you quickly cut together tilesets using pieces of existing tilesets, a whole bunch of extra pieces added in SAKAN, or even possibly make your own.

While it won’t include all the power something like Photoshop does for making tiles, it will make organizing a tileset and making small edits faster than ever before, and right from RPG Maker MV itself, making your workflow simpler and easier.

So all you Linux Users, jump on the sale to pick up the new Linux RPG Maker MV. And everyone be on the lookout for the release of SAKAN, and more tools in the future!

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Ok. So a lot of you, and hey, myself as well, not gonna lie, want to one day make a giant epic game.

You want to make your magnum opus. A giant, sprawling game filled with adventure and meaning and clever gameplay and…

Now that I've traveled the land, explored the 8 dungeons of fate, I discover the evil lord that burned down my village is my own brother, lost in the time warp when we were children, and now, knowing this, I must defeat you, so that I can escape, travel through time, and make sure you never become this! (or some other convoluted storyline.)

Now that I’ve traveled the land, explored the 8 dungeons of fate, I discover the evil lord that burned down my village is my own brother, lost in the time warp when we were children, and now, knowing this, I must defeat you, so that I can escape, travel through time, and make sure you never become this! (or some other convoluted storyline that will take another 20 hours now that we have 20 down.)

Sometimes, though, I think we forget the small games. Games that have small scope, that have simple mechanics, a short story line, and done with existing resources.

That epic game? Maybe you’ll finish it. Maybe you’ll be the minority that actually puts out a massive RM game that is good. And if you do, kudos man, that is amazing! But maybe, before tackling that, let’s look at doing something small first. And here is the thing, small doesn’t have to mean meaningless!

Take part of the game, and make it the games raison d’etre.

Look at a game that has a simple story. Maybe it is about a hero saving a princess. Or a heroine saving her prince. Or a hero saving his prince. Or a heroine saving her princess. (We don’t judge).

Story

Even a simple story can have a twist to make it memorable. Maybe the savee isn’t actually in trouble! Maybe the savee is actually manipulating events. Or maybe, you can hint it throughout the game, but the rescuer isn’t actually that at all, and they are just trying to rekidnap their obsession (“Are we the baddies?”).

The important thing here is that: It doesn’t significantly change the effort needed for the game. It can still be a short, small game, but you have a memorable little twist, something players will remember.

And you can do the same with gameplay. Use the default for the most part, but maybe change it up a bit. Like for instance, get rid of the generic attack command. Doing so would make the game feel a lot different. Every attack costs resources, so now it is about balancing them rather than hitting attack thousands of times.

I mean, I could hit down but it is so much trouble, and attack seems to kill most random encounters.... snooooze.

I mean, I could hit down but it is so much trouble, and attack seems to kill most random encounters…. snooooze.

And of course, you can make a few pieces of custom art to enhance your game. But the main focus should be… try a small game. Just once. See how it goes. You may surprise yourself with how much you like those simple, short games.

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BLEEP BLOOP. -Community Manager ERROR- Reboot.

Hey, guys, and welcome back to the blog! Whew. It has been a while hasn’t it? Unfortunately, we had a malfunction with our Community Manager (… me), but things are fixed and the blog is back!

And when I'm down, Harold does nothing. Lazy bum.

And when I’m down, Harold does nothing. Lazy bum.

We still have our Challenge Solution post coming up later this week, but today, I want to talk instead about some of the biggest beginner mistakes I see when people go to make their first project.

First. First. Let me tell you something about your first project. It is going to be seriously, seriously flawed.

It might have some charm. It might have some really interesting ideas and it might have “soul”. But it will also more than likely have serious flaws that are going to make it. Well. Not good. I’ve almost never seen someone’s first game be good. Expect it to be bad. It is a learning experience.

The first time you write music, you aren’t going to compare to Mozart. Or even Nickelback. Game design is an ART and you have to practice it to get good.

So, your first game is going to be pretty bad more than likely. So what mistakes should you avoid?

Recruiting a Team

I see this a lot. Guy just made his forum account, he has an idea for a game. It’s going to be the best game. You’re gonna love it. Everyone say’s its great.

And to get it done, he just needs a mapper, an eventer, a writer, an artist, a coder, a musician, and a guy to massage his feet. I mean, I exaggerate but this happens a lot. And it always begs the question: What is it YOU are going to be doing?

You men go northwest! You men go southwest! I'm gonna walk around right here in a circle.

You men go northwest! You men go southwest! I’m gonna walk around right here in a circle.

“Oh, I’m the idea guy”. Look. Idea guy is not a job in game design. Yes, there are directors, but when we are talking small scale indie games, those directors still need to get their hands dirty. And in the big leagues? Those guys have worked their way up from being writers/programmers/etc.

Also, as we already established: Your first game is going to be bad. Don’t drag others into it. Work with what you can get around the forums. Grab some plugins you may need. Grab some sprites and tiles. Go pick up some DLC from our store or on Steam that could help. Then LEARN the program. You should at the least be able to event, map, and write. You’ll never really make a game without learning those skills.

So buckle down, and MAKE a game yourself.

Not Sticking to the Basics

You have to walk before you can run. Don’t try to build up a custom everything for your first game. You don’t need a custom battle system, a custom leveling, custom everything!

I need all these servers to hold my custom plugins.

I need all these servers to hold my custom plugins.

All you are going to do is cause yourself to never get anything done. You are going to get frustrated cause you can’t do what you want to do, and you are going to throw your project at the wall and you aren’t going to learn the basics of the program that you need to learn in order to work up to all that custom stuff.

Now, I’m not saying don’t pick up a few premade plugins. Plugins are great. But try not to pick up ones for your first game that are super complicated to set up. And try to make sure you know what is possible with events and in the editor first! There are plenty of people I’ve seen demand plugins for things the editor can already do, because they never paid enough attention to realize it was there.

Basics first. Then build on that.

50 Hour Epic!

Once again. And I know I’m beating this into your head. But your first game. IS. NOT. GOING. TO. BE. GOOD. You will still be learning. And for that matter, the stuff you work on last, because of what you’ve learned, will be better than the stuff you worked on first.

In a 1-3 hour game, that amount of unevenness is minor. In a 50 hour game… that unevenness will be massive. Not only that, but the amount of time necessary to make a 50 hour game… is huge. You’ll probably hate your game, and yourself by extension, by the time you get half done.

You either die the hero, or live long enough to become the Dark Lord.

You either die the hero, or live long enough to become the Dark Lord.

Let me tell you a little story. When I was in middle school, I thought I’d grow up to be a writer. Not like I’m doing now, writing a blog, but a novelist. I was going to write best selling science fiction and fantasy novels! So, then, at 12, I decided to start writing a series of novels. Not just one, but a SERIES. It was based on a weird board game thing that my brother and I had made.

About 300 pages in, I realized something. I had gotten better. What I wrote at the beginning, it was trash. What I had wrote near the end, it was… less trash. But I was no where near done. I had so many plot lines hanging. And also I noticed just how derivitive it was of one of my favorite novel series at the time, and I just… tossed the whole thing.

It was years before I ever wrote again. Look. Work on something small. Keep it manageable. Work on it alone, or with a single existing friend who is also just learning. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. And don’t expect your first game to be good. Learn. Make something. And maybe one day, you’ll bring that charm and soul of the first game you made and build a solid game around it.

But it is not this day.

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It is finally time to announce the winners of the Calm and the Fury Art Contest!

There were many, many amazing entries, and both our staff and Hiroki Kikuta were incredibly impressed with the creativity of our fans. After much thought, he finally was able to select the winners.

3rd Place:
Joseph Seraph/Fury

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2nd Place:
Stoic Seraphim/Calm:

bb5c9ddb-annaresize

1st Place:
Ekkoberry/Calm & Fury:

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Thanks to everyone for their entries, and their interest in this contest! We are constantly amazed by the artistic talent and passion of our fans. Every person who finished an entry is a true winner, take that accomplishment, and carry that dedication into making your own games, and we’re sure you’ll finish something special.

The Calm and The Fury Soundtracks will be available soon, on Steam and our Store! So be on the look out for these wonderful cover images adorning the great pack by Hiroki Kikuta!

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From A to Z – FSM: Japanese Character Generator Expansion 1

Japanese Character Generator Expansion 1 is the first in a line of generator expansion DLC that comes straight from the artists behind RPG Maker MV’s RTP – the standard resources distributed with the RPG Maker MV engine. One of the big draws of having a generator is the ability to create a vast variety of characters that can play any role in your projects – from the main heroes and villains to the one-liner townsfolk NPCs.

I like to think of a generator as one big building-block set – you’ve got all these bits and pieces you can put together in many ways to end up with hundreds of different combinations. With that metaphor, generator expansions like Japanese Character Generator Expansion 1 are the specialized mini sets – they have bits and pieces that are more uniquely-shaped. They may not always fit your project as a whole, but you will still find details that will fit perfectly and make character generating faster.

Japanese Character Generator Expansion 1 is described as “temple-oriented”. As such, it’s perfect for the classic Japanese temple environment. It pairs particularly well with Twilight Shrine: Japanese Resource Pack, which contains tileset and music you could use to create an authentic environment. Beyond that, Expansion 1 features parts for an iconic Ninja character – which is a fantastic addition to those of you who are looking for a new hero class.

j-ch-g-00

Japanese Character Generator Expansion 1 contains the following:

  • Front Hair: 3 Male, 3 Female
  • Rear Hair: 3 Male, 3 Female
  • Beard: 1 Male
  • Ears: 1 Male/Female (common to both genders)
  • Eyes: 2 Male/ 2 Female
  • Eyebrows: 1 Male
  • Facial Mark: 1 Male/Female (common to both genders)
  • Wing: 1 Male/Female (common to both genders)
  • Clothing: 4 Male, 3 Female
  • Accessory 1: 2 Male/Female (common to both genders)
  • Accessory 2: 6 Male/Female (common to both genders), 1 Female
  • Glasses: 1 Male/Female (common to both genders)

Total: 38 parts

One of my favorite things in video games is when the characters change their costume – whether the change is due to a special event or due to the player acquiring a new costume. I feel that the change makes the character feel more dynamic and realistic, which goes a long way to enhancing the player’s experience. Even a short scene of the party taking a vacation from their adventure can be a great opportunity for character development. With this in mind, I created alternate costumes for a couple of characters:

j-ch-g-01 j-ch-g-02

It’s not a big change, but it immediately inspired me to create a hot-springs scene where my party is taking a well-deserved break in between two major quest hubs:

j-ch-g-03

I used a combination of RPG Maker RTP and the tiles from Call of Darkness: Japanese Resource Pack to make a dual-screen map, with a few edits to keep the details proportional to the map.

Although we always encourage you to use your own creative ideas, we wanted to share a few settings Japanese Character Generator Expansion 1 can be used in:

  • Casino for mini-games. Since casinos tend to be exotic, having a traditional Japanese setting and costumes can be acceptable – regardless of your project’s usual setting. RPG Maker RTP has a couple of game tables that can help with the casino setting.
  • A classic tea-room or hot-springs tourist destinations. A place for your party to rest and relax might be just what you need to help manage the story’s narrative. A break in the action is a great way to develop characters, in addition to giving your player a little time to stock up on consumables and equipment upgrades.
  • New hairstyles can be used to make unique NPCs, or a way to give your hero a new hairstyle. It could be as simple as putting their hair up/down or as complex as giving them a disguise as they’re sneaking around the evil guy’s headquarters.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this in-depth look into Japanese Character Generator Expansion 1. We’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions. Chime down below or join in the discussion on our Facebook page or our Community Forum.

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Hi there, it has been a while since the last entry in our Challenge series, but we’ve decided to bring it back. So how does it work? We put up a post, challenging you to figure out a way to do something in RPG Maker. We include how it should work, and then some restrictions, and let you go. Then roughly a week later, we come back, and show you how we did it.

The point is to teach people to think outside the box, to learn new things about eventing and manipulation of the engine.

So today, for our challenge, we’ve got an easy one. Remember our Ordered Switch Puzzle tutorial? Well you are going to do the same thing.

map

4 switches. The door opens when you flip them in the right order. But I can hear what you are saying… well we already know how to do that right?

Here is the challenge:

No switches. No self-switches. Only 2 variables allowed. No scripting/plugins.

And that is it. The whole challenge. Can you do it?

Extra bonus: Can you do it with just 1 variable?

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What is better than DLC that add new characters sprites/faces for you to use?

DLC that give you new GENERATOR parts so that you can make an almost endless number (I mean, I’m not going to count) of new sprites and facesets for your game!

And that is what we have. Straight from KADOKAWA, we have three new packs that feature traditional Japanese clothing, accessories, hairstyles, and more!

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The first pack focuses on Temples, featuring 38 new pieces to make your characters from. My personal favorites from this pack include an eyepatch made from a tsuba (the handguard from a katana), as well as the ninja hood.

See in our Store.
Visit on Steam.

header (1)

The second pack focuses on something a bit more sinister. Curses and darkness. Of the 35 parts included, I’m a fan of the third eye, and the curse preparation candles on head piece.

See in our Store.
Visit on Steam.

header (2)

And the final pack focuses on the excitement and spectacle of festivals with 45 new parts! My favorite is by far the oni mask, but every piece has its place.

Pick up the pieces you need, or buy all three packs for a total of 118 new pieces to make your characters more unique!

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LoveContest-02-7-02-21

Here at RPG Maker headquarters, one of the things we’re always happy to work on is new ways to help and nourish the RPG Maker community. From sharing exciting news to creating contests and competitions, we love to see your feedback and your participation – and with it, your support and love for RPG Maker products.

We recently converted and updated our official RPG Maker Forums to function with new software – in a way that’s familiar to our long-time community members as well as a way that’s fresh and fun for our new fans. The update includes some great basics such as BBCode Editor and post preview, handy help page, brand new custom smileys and user awards. In addition, we are planning to implement several new features, such as free user blogs, fun new trophies and several surprises you’ll see pop up over time.

One of our favorite parts of the new forum software is that it will help us get directly in touch with you faster and easier – so we can share exciting news that need your feedback or organize special events, competitions, and deals that are for community members only.

We’re celebrating our new forums with such an event – a mapping competition that’s sure to inspire you. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, we’d love to see you take part in this fun community contest. We want to see how love inspires you. Will you make a romantic scene? Or draw inspiration from that favorite setting you love?You can read all the details right

You can read all the details right HERE. Come chat with us, get feedback and support from your fellow developers and just plain have fun.

Oh, and be sure to keep an eye on us here on the blog! We’ve got an exciting piece of news we’ll be sharing very soon.

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I’ve always been of the opinion that the forums are one of the greatest single resources that RPG Maker has. A collection of fans who are knowledgeable, helpful, who share the passion to build, and to see others build, games they can be proud of.

This help expresses with wonderful graphics, music, or sometimes just a fun but of conversation.

There are a few threads though, that condense a whole lot of helpfulness into solid gems. Let’s look at a few of them here!

First, we have the Game & Map Screenshot thread. This is where fans can post a screen of the game they are currently working on so others can critique or just generally appreciate the visual wonders you have created. Make sure to give others feedback as well! And since most threads aren’t so visual, we’ll be showing off some shots from the latest thread for the rest of the article.

For inspiration and keeping on track, there is nothing like the Monthly Goals & Progress threads! The January thread is almost done now, but you definitely have time to jump in for February. Say what you want to get done this month. Read about what other people are doing. And track your, and their, progress.

But what if you just need a little feedback on a character. Or a twist in your plot. Or maybe a design idea you had. If you don’t have a big subject to discuss, making a whole thread for it seems a bit much. Well we also have the perfect place for this as well.

Two threads, the Plot and Character Feedback thread, and the Features Feedback Thread are great for quickly getting a bit of advice on your current project. And just like the screenshot thread: Make sure to give feedback to others as well. The forums are a community, and you should give at least as much as you receive!

And finally. What if you’ve found the perfect tile, the perfect sprite, the perfect song made for RPG Maker. But it is on a Japanese blog! You can’t read the terms of use, so you’re sunk. Well, why not check out slimmmeiske2’s Translated Terms of Usage of Japanese Blogs thread. She has translated a large number of terms of use, and more than likely, the one you are looking for is in there.

Have you used our forums? Are there any threads you find particularly handy we didn’t mention? Have you used any of the threads above? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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Replayability.

It is often seen as kind of a grail in game design. Everyone seems to be looking for a way to make their game infinitely replayable. A game that can be replayed many times, a game that can be played many more hours, is clearly more valuable right?

If, with a 5 hour game, I can play it 5 times through. That makes it 25 hours of fun right? Rather than just 5 if I could only play it once. Well. Yes. Sort of.

The Math Checks Out.

The Math Checks Out.

But is that necessarily better. Should you chase replayability, even if it doesn’t necessarily fit into your core design?

My personal opinion is: Well, no not really.

Now, I’m not saying replayability is bad, but it certainly isn’t the be all and end all of game design. I love games like Skyrim, where each play can be so massively different that I’ll see completely different things.

I say that, but then I just make a smithing character again and stare at this thing for hours.

I say that, but then I just make a smithing character again and stare at this thing for hours.

That is a great feeling, and we should definitely have these types of designs out there. And maybe that is what your game needs to be.

But there are other games on the other end of the spectrum. Take for instance Metal Gear Solid. The game is around 12 hours long. While you can play it again, and I certainly have over the years, there isn’t really any mechanics to really make you want to. I just play it again to do the exact same things, in the exact same order, with the exact same character.

But it is STILL a good game. It is a fantastic single playthrough experience. And sometimes, that is just what you need.

Let’s be honest. We all have a near literal uncountable number of games we could be playing at any time. If you are like me, you have at least 100 games in your Steam account that you got on sale you still haven’t touched and the number of free games available online is practically infinite.

Even just every game published by Degica is multiple pages long.

Even just every game published by Degica is multiple pages long.

This isn’t like the early 90s when I bought a Sega Genesis game (yes, I’m aware, for an RPG fan I picked the wrong system), and it had to last me for a month, cause I wasn’t getting another game for at LEAST that long. We all have so many games to pick from at all times, that single playthrough experiences are really more valuable now than they have ever been.

So if replayability mechanics, things like branching storylines, strong character individualization, etc., don’t fit in your game… don’t worry. Just make sure that your game delivers a solid gameplay experience for the first play. It isn’t like most people are ever going to actually play most games more than once anyway.

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