What is gameplay?

This is a question that, in general, kind of gets unspoken, but the answer to it informs a lot of design. To me, especially with turn based RPGs: Gameplay = Choices.

If the player doesn’t have choices to make, how to approach battle, what skills to use, how to explore the maps, how to build their characters, then that isn’t gameplay. It is just having a story told to you.

But let’s be honest, no one TRIES to make an RPG that lacks those. Everyone TRIES to make a game with interesting choices. But what happens, very often, either through mistake or design, are choices are limited by their practicality in game, rather than there literally being no choices.

False Choice

Not a real choice. I mean, seriously, who wouldn’t pick the banana?

In the choices you present to your characters, work your best to make them viable. If you are giving a choice and it isn’t viable, either through combination with other choices, or on its own, then it probably wasn’t really a choice.

Think for a moment, if there is one skill that is much much better than all others, and doesn’t have a significant cost, why would anyone use anything else? And if they aren’t using anything else, where is the choice?

For an example of a professional series of games that suffers from a lack of choice in one aspect, let’s look at:

The Dragon Quest Series

First, let me say that I am a huge fan of the Dragon Quest series, and think Dragon Quest IX was probably the best game on the Nintendo DS. Unfortunately, the series has really been known to create nonchoices around one, very specific family of enemies.

Want to level up some? It is time to go Metal Hunting. In most Dragon Quest games, there is almost no other viable way to level quickly. So if you are going after XP, this is your option.

Dragon Quest is a property of Square Enix

Dragon Quest is a property of Square Enix

Get used to those chubby adorable faces.

And Dragon Quest IX, despite my love for the game, brought it to a head. With visible enemies you could dodge, it was easy to fight almost nothing but groups with metal slimes or their family. And if you were lucky enough to get the right extra dungeon maps, you could end up with an entire floor with nothing but King Metal Slimes.

Leveling in any other way makes no sense. It isn’t a choice.

But it is easy to see how stuff like this would happen. For instance, with Dragon Quest Metal Slimes, it was meant to be a “hey you hunted and found one, congrats for killing it.” But as it got easier to kill them with specialized skills, and easier to hunt for them, the reward was bigger than the work to do it.

Or with a skill you have to work really hard to get, you want it to be powerful. But if it completely overshadows everything and is the only thing useful, people will rush for that skill and ignore any other “powerful” skills you made.

Always be wary of anything that is powerful in your game, or gives a huge reward in materials or experience. If you aren’t careful, the players will only end up doing those things, and your game, even with tons of “variety” instead ends up with one or two real choices.

Can you think of an accidental non-choice you made in your games? Can you think of any professional games that build non-choice into them? Do you have opinions on non-choices? Join us in the comments below.



Hello RM Fans, we’ve got three new packs for you!

Characters, tiles, and music, we have a little bit for every user, so find out what you can add to your game today!

Medieval Knights Templar


What kind of medieval themed game wouldn’t have Knights? The Medieval Knights Templar Pack by Pioneer Valley Games, for use with all previous Medieval PVG packs, features two character templates and tons of pieces to make an almost endless number of characters.

You’ll have pieces for walking, running, sleeping, side view combat, busts, portraits, and more! At $4.99, this pack is a must have for all PVG fans.

Medieval Music Pack

And since you are using all of those excellent PVG tilesets and characters, you really need some music to fit the theme.

Joel Steudler has come out with just what you need with the Medieval Music Pack. With 20 themes (5 Battle, 4 Dungeon, 3 Field, 3 Theme, and 5 Town) using period musical instruments, such as the lute, recorder, and harpsichord, this pack really brings out the atmosphere of the times. Learn more!

Town of Seasons


The times, they are a changing, and each year brings many colors and weather around the world. So bring that out in your game, with Sherman3D’s Town of Seasons! This pack contains tiles to decorate your towns in Winter, Summer, Spring or Fall.

Completely compatible with RPG Maker MV’s standard tiles, there isn’t any reason not to pick this up today!



One thing to remember when eventing in RPG Maker, is that there are usually multiple ways of doing the same thing. In a lot of cases event touch and player touch are pretty interchangeable (there are cases where they aren’t though), you can also use event pages instead of conditional branches sometimes.

And inevitably, you’ll run into the situation that there was an easier and more efficient way to do something you’ve already done.

It happens to us all.

No matter how much you use RPG Maker, you’ll almost always be picking up new little tricks to make things easier. And after making an entire game, it is almost inevitable that you will find SOMETHING that you know a better way to do now.

I literally realized there was a batch option only a couple of months ago, and I'e been using RM for 15+ years.

I literally realized there was a batch option in Control Variables only a couple of months ago, and I’ve been using RM for 15+ years.

So what do you do?

Your first instinct is probably to rip into it and fix it… but is that the right thing to do? I think it depends on the situation.

When You Should

There are several situations where it probably is a good idea to fix it. Most of it has to do with one of two things.

Situation #1: It doesn’t work as is.

Ok, if you have a situation where the Event doesn’t even work as it should or fixing it would make it work better for the end user, then that is a good time to recode the event. Even if this is just that recoding it would improve the UI it is a good opportunity to improve the game for the player.

This is obviously a no-brainer.

Situation #2: Leaving it as is will cause more work in the future.

The other situation is one where if you don’t change it, you are making more work for yourself. Say more events tie into the way that event works. Everything intertwined with that event means that if you have to bug fix it later, if the base event isn’t as efficient as it could be, you’ll have even more of a mess to fix.


For instance, a farm system is one with both a lot of possibly interlinking events, as well as events that need to be copied over and over. (Rural Farm Tiles by Celianna)

Or for instance. if it is an event where if you leave it as is, each event like it would need heavy editing to copy and paste to make a new event like it, but if you change the eventing it will just require minor edits. Go ahead and make the changes. Efficiency is important here: Is it going to make my game making faster and or easier to redo?

When You Shouldn’t

Pretty much any other case.

Look, if it works, and its an isolated event without a lot of dependency from other events, there is literally no reason to change it. If you find bugs in it later? Yeah, change it then, but if not, just let it go. No game is perfectly efficient, and the player doesn’t CARE if the game is perfectly efficient, only that it works. The player isn’t going to marvel at your brilliant eventing, because he won’t know it even exists.

I mean, this is what my desk at home looks like all the time. But that doesn't affect how you enjoy my blogs right? Wait, you do enjoy these? Don't you?

I mean, this is what my desk at home looks like all the time. But that doesn’t affect how you enjoy my blogs right? Wait, you do enjoy these? Don’t you?

Going back and redoing and redoing and redoing older parts is the fastest way to never finish a project. Only work on fixing things that are ACTUALLY broke.

What do you think? Am I missing a situation where you should redo an event in a more efficient way? Or are you the type that recodes every event no matter what? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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RPG Maker Trivia!

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The two things I know that all RPG Maker users love are more resources, and free stuff. So we’ve partnered together with Studio Saizensen to provide you both! Two free character packs featuring characters from their games to all owners of RPG Maker MV!

Umihara Kawase Graphic Set

The first of the two free packs we have available is from the amazing puzzle platformer series Umihara Kawase!


The pack features four characters, with walking sprites, facesets, and portraits, covering all the playable characters from the latest game in the series Sayonara Umihara Kawase.

Make your own games featuring the fishing line wielding heroine, or just use them for small cameos: They are perfect for use in almost any game set in the modern day.

Don’t know anything about Umihara Kawase? Don’t worry, you can pick up the whole series for a low low price during the Steam Summer Sale!


Umihara Kawase is a technique based platformer in which you swing, repel, and launch yourself around fantastically designed stages using a fishing hook and line. As the title hero Kawase, can you overcome master the simple yet complex physics of the hook and line?

Code of Princess Graphic Set

But maybe you want something a little more fantasy? Then maybe you need to download the Code of Princess Graphic Set!


This pack also contains the four main characters from the game, the princess Solange, the thief Ali Baba, Zozo the necromancer, and the bard Allegro. With four walking sprites, facesets, and portraits, they too are ready to join your RPG Maker game.

You can easily make a game about these four characters, but they too are great for cameos, fitting into almost any fantasy game.

Code of Princess is also available in the Steam Summer Sale, so why don’t you give it a shot?


Code of Princess is a short stage based beat’em up, but that isn’t all. For all the RPG fans out there, it features all the mainstays of RPG customization. Stat growth, equipment, levels, experience. Build your heroes the way you want to! In addition, nearly everything in the game is playable in online mode, from dragons to little old ladies. Pick it up today!



It’s now officially summer! And that means it’s time for fun in the Sun, lazing on the beach, swimming in the surf (but make sure to be safe, that is why Harold has his favorite Ducky Float!), and of course, buying tons and tons of stuff in the Steam Summer Sale!

RPG Maker is jumping into the water with both feet, with great sales on all our products, like:


All our Engines from 45%-75% off! Whether you are looking to get RPG Maker MV for 45% off to upgrade to the latest engine, or you want to pick up some of the older Engines like 2k3 or XP for 75% off, we’ve still got a deal for you!

But that isn’t all, we also have:


Massive discounts on almost all of our RPG Maker DLC, both RPG Maker MV and RPG Maker VX Ace, as well. Do you need some music? Some Tiles? Some Characters? It doesn’t matter what you are looking for, it’s probably in this sale.

So head out, get some rays, then get back in the shade and hit up the Steam Sale for tons of affordable RPG Maker goodies!


About a year back, using RPG Maker VX Ace, I created a tutorial on making a “Sanctuary” Spell. With this spell, the player could transport their character to a safe location in “another dimension” and then transport themselves back to right where they were when they were done.

Luckily, this tutorial still works perfectly fine in RPG Maker MV, because recently, someone asked me an interesting question about it:


And what do you know, it’s next week!

Well, Alex, you are right, that WAS a great tutorial. But also, making a skill cooldown on an out of combat utility spell (or item) is a great idea. There are several ways you could do this. I’m going to focus on one specific way, that I find the most direct, and least cumbersome.

But first, Oh No!, there was a mistake in my original tutorial. If you used the Sanctuary spell while in your Sanctuary, you would be stuck there forever. Unable to leave. This could be a game breaking bug if left in, so let’s fix this.

All it takes is to first toss the Map ID into a generic count variable (if you need guidance on how to do this, read the Sanctuary Spell tutorial), then use a conditional branch. If the variable matches the Map ID of your sanctuary, have it tell the player it can’t be used while in the sanctuary. If it doesn’t, proceed with the event we made in the old tutorial in the else branch. Remember to use a generic variable, not your memorized Map ID variable, if you use that, it will mess up teleporting back! Also, remember to reset your generic variable at the end of the event. You always want to keep your generic variables zeroed out when not in use.


Now that I’ve fixed up my own mistake (SHAAAAAME), it’s time to move on to the meat of the tutorial. Giving the Sanctuary Spell a timer. What we want is for the timer to start the moment the character teleports back to the base map from the Sanctuary. Then, if you try to cast the spell while the timer is still running, it tells you that you need to wait.

Now, I know what you are thinking: Let’s use the Control Timer event command! Well, we can. It does work, but I’m going to use a different way for two reasons:

  1. The Timer shows up on the screen. I don’t think this is necessary for a single spell cooldown.
  2. You only have one Timer. If you used this for a spell that could be cast at any time, this would tie up the Timer for your entire game.

So instead, I’m going to use A variable, the wait command, and a loop. This will need to be in a Common Event. With most of my tutorials using Common Events, I’ve just been calling them. But now, we’ll use another method. With your second common event, we’ll want it in Parallel Process, to run the countdown in the background, and with the condition of a switch being on, the switch saying you’ve used Sanctuary then gone back to the map.


This means that this event will run WHENEVER Switch 001 is on. No matter what. This is really useful for things you need to run in the background based on specific circumstances, rather than being directly called from an event.

So now, we need to do two things. We need to flip on the Sanctuary Used switch, and set the Sanctuary Timer variable to the number of seconds we want it to run. In Alex’s question, it was 10 minutes, but for mine I’m just going to do 1 minute, for ease of testing. So I’ll put in 60, for 60 seconds. The easiest place to put this? In the transfer event that moves you back to the world after leaving the sanctuary!


Putting it here starts the timer the moment you go back to the main maps and abandon your Sanctuary.

The next step is to go back to the Sanctuary Timer Common Event. Let’s build up what we need. So we have the Sanctuary Timer variable, that is the number of seconds to wait. And then the Sanctuary Used switch, which is what needs to turn off when it hits zero. This is just a very simple loop! Inside the loop, have it wait 60 frames (1 second), then subtract one from the Sanctuary Timer variable. Then, using a conditional branch, when the variable hits 0, break the loop. After the loop is broken, you flip off the Sanctuary Used switch.


I’m sure you are asking, why not just have it do a wait 3600 frames? Well, by having it count down a variable, we can use the message from when you cast the spell and the timer is still running to tell you how long you have to wait.

And adjusting the spell to not work while the Sanctuary Used switch is on is the only thing left to do. Once again, broken down like this, I imagine you’ve already gotten it figured out. Go back to your Sanctuary Spell Common Event. Set a Conditional Branch. If Sanctuary Used is ON, have it give a message that details how many more seconds until you can cast it.


Using \V[n] will replace that tag with the number of the nth variable!

And to finish things off, throw all of the rest of the event into the Else branch of that Conditional Branch.


And that concludes that. This could have been accomplished in several different ways. With eventing, there isn’t just one way to do most things. In fact, this may not even be the ideal way to do this. But it does work. And you can check out the demo here if you have more questions!

Would you have done this differently? Do you see any flaws in my process? Any questions on how to use this technique for other things? Or even how to make the countdown based on something other than time? Join us in the comments section below!



It’s the most common type of RPG Maker game, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good! The High Fantasy RPG!

Whether it’s slimes, gigantic yellow birds, sentient swords, one of twenty-seven powerful runes, or yet another girl named Nina, most of us have nostalgia for those staples of the JRPG genre, and we’ve brought you 4 excellent music packs to bring out that classic high fantasy in your own RPGs with the Karugamo Fantasy series!

Each pack has its own flavor:

Pack 01 features 22 tracks built around dungeons, towers, and travel via land or sea.

And after all that exploring and travelling, your characters can enjoy the tunes of Pack 02, with an additional 22 tracks, this time for castles, towns, villages, and other centers of civilisation.

But evil will never leave civilization alone for long, and that is why you’ll need Pack 03, for battle and hero themes of all types!

And finally, after a long fought battle, it is time for the story to move forward, with Pack 04 you will have tracks for cutscenes. Mystical, Romance, Despair, you’ll be sure to find something for any scene.


All packs are formatted for use in RPG Maker VX Ace or RPG Maker MV. As an extra bonus, each pack comes with a bonus RPG Maker MV walking sprite based on the cover art shown above!

You can also find these packs on Steam! (Pack 01, 02, 03, 04)

And if you buy NOW, before June 24th, on our site or via the Steam Store, you will receive 10% off and these fantastic packs! So level up your high fantasy game, With the Karugamo Music Packs!




This week, we have three new inspiring releases, ranging from the 1500s of Europe, to the 1800s Southwestern US, to the Modern World. Each inspire a different kind of game, and each is a pack we think is worth picking up.

Medieval: Warfare

The first pack of the bunch, Medieval: Warfare is brought to you by Pioneer Valley Games.


This pack, containing both the tools, and the aftermath of Medieval combat, is an excellent addition to any game already using PVG’s other Medieval packs, but it also brings a whole new dimension with its focus not just on war, but the desolation of what comes after.

What it inspires: To me, this pack inspires an epic game that highlights the highs and lows of full-scale war. The joys of escaping a narrow defeat, but also the horrors of the landscape left behind? Will you make a game of high fantasy combat? Or a gritty, dramatic representation of what war leaves behind? It’s up to you.

Fantastic Buildings: Modern

The second pack, is another great tileset from artist Celianna, Fantastic Buildings: Modern.


This pack contains plenty of tiles to bring your modern world game to life, from Skyscrapers to Convenience stores. It’s also completely compatible with the RPG Maker VX Ace RTP style, as well as Celianna’s many other packs, allowing you to slip it into an existing game easily.

What it inspires: There are many directions you could go with this one. Do you want to make an everyday life simulation? Or maybe a modern spy thriller? Or even throw it into a fantasy game through a bit of time traveling? The choices are endless!

Spanish Guitar Strings

From Murray Atkinson, we bring you yet another brilliant music pack, Spanish Guitar Strings!


This pack contains 14 tracks built from the fast paced fingerwork typical of Spanish guitar and other traditional Spanish instruments. With songs that evoke romance, duels, or even a bit of mischief, this pack has everything you need.

What it inspires: This pack brings my mind immediately to Zorro. Swashbuckling adventures in Mexico controlled Southern California. The “noble” outlaw fighting a corrupt government with wit and panache. Outthinking his opponents. Confounding and frustrating them. And finishing the game with a one on one duel of flashing rapiers.

What do these packs inspire in you? Tell us in the comments below!


NOTE: This article will use techniques originally found in the Using RegionID in Events tutorial. So if you haven’t read that one, go do so now.

This is another common RPG Maker puzzle. You have statues/pillars/crystals/boulders or something like that, and you have to push them onto specific spots on the map. Once all the pushed items (referred to as crystal for the rest of this article as that is what I’m going to use in my demo) are all in place, something happens.

There are two types of these puzzles.

  1. Where each crystal has a specific trigger location it goes with.
  2. Where there are crystals, and trigger locations, and it doesn’t matter which crystal is matched to which trigger location, as long as they are all on one.

The first one is a little simpler, so instead, I’m going to focus on the second one.

Not the most difficult of puzzles, but perfect for explaining the mechanics.

Not the most difficult of puzzles, but perfect for explaining the mechanics.

This puzzle will work like this: Once you get the four crystals on the four trigger locations, a treasure chest will appear in the center for you to open.

The first thing to do, is have the Crystals pushable. This is pretty easy. All you have to do is add a move route that moves away from player. You can use Action Button or Player Touch as the trigger. (As a note: remember to turn on Direction Fix in the event’s settings. Otherwise it could change color based on the direction you push it from!)


Just like it was with the player in our last tutorial, RegionIDs are the key to figuring out if the event is in the right place. The easiest way to tag all the trigger locations is to tag them with a RegionID. Like so:


Now, just like we did before, we can trigger something to happen when the Event is on a certain RegionID. Before, we were storing the Player’s X and Y and determining the RegionID from that. This time, instead, the event needs to store its own X and Y and then use GetLocation to determine the RegionID. You’ll want it to check it right after it moves. After the last tutorial, this should be pretty simple.

Now that we know what RegionID the Event is on after moving, we can check if it is on the proper RegionID, in this case 1.

Once we do this, we need to do 2 things:

  1. Record that one more Crystal is in the right spot
  2. Set the Crystal to no longer be moveable.

While you could set each Crystal to its own variable, it’s much easier to just have one variable. Every time we move one in position, we increase the variable by 1. Once it is 4, we reveal the prize. But we still need a way to stop the Crystal from moving anymore. For that, we can just use a Self-Switch to a Blank Page 2. The advantage of doing it this way is we could copy and paste this crystal as many times as we wanted, and we would not have to do any edits to it for it to work.


You’ll notice that as a final touch, I zeroed out the Event X,Y, and RegionID variables. I find this best to do with any variable that is used only within the event. It means every event will start with the variables at 0, which is a safer starting point in the case of using something other than setting variables.

Another extra touch I made was changing the second-page graphic to the Crystal Glowing. Just thought it looked nicer.


With that done, you can just copy paste this event 3 more times to make the 3 other crystals. Everything works, all we need is to make the treasure chest. You can use the quick event creation Treasure to make the base. Just put in the graphic you want and the prize you want to give out. In my case, I selected an absurd amount of gold.

After that, quickly go in and change the conditions on the first page so that the variable of crystals in place has to be 4 or more for it to appear.


And with that, everything is done!

There is still one more thing you might want to address. What if the player pushes a Crystal into an area where he can’t get it back? Do you have a solution? What would your solution be? Have any questions about the tutorial? Think you know a better way to do it? Join us in the comments section below.

Want a better look at this event? Download the Demo HERE! (With a bonus solution to Crystals being pushed into edges!)