One of the things that a lot of fans internationally were really demanding running up to the MV release was the inclusion of a sideview battle system.

Many sideview systems existed in XP-VX Ace, as scripts, but what was really needed was a single unified sideview that could only be done by a default system built in.

So luckily we have the choice now, Frontview or Sideview! And plenty of cool battlers to use with it.

Seraph Circle Sideview Battler Pack 1

Seraph Circle Sideview Battler Pack 1, Now available on our store and Steam!

Technically, from a pure gameplay perspective, frontview vs sideview makes no difference.

Both offer the exact same decision space. In fact, both also offer the exact same decision space as a pure text RPG. But, that doesn’t mean there is zero difference.

So how can sideview enhance your game? Well, first of all, it just generally looks better.

Frontview is a more simplistic setup. You never see your characters, you only see your enemies. Most of the screen stays static. It is, well, honestly, despite growing up with many games that use it as my favorites, pretty boring.

Sideview adds a kind of dynamic look to the screen, with characters jumping forward and attacking. You feel more like your characters are actually doing something.

But not just that, sideview gives you more options for expressing status effects. A character that is raging can be red. A character that is blind can be tinted black. This is a much more efficient than symbols next to your health bar. There is much more room for the UI to be blended with the art of the game itself.

But that doesn’t mean sideview is the only choice. Yes, it is probably superior to frontview, but not every game has to take every superior option. Sometimes you have to sacrifice based on your skills, or those of your team.

Sideview is just more work. Animating sprite motion is more work. Creating battle sprites is more work. Creating different stances/etc for status effects is more work.

If you are doing a lot of custom art, frontview still might be better for you, as sideview will create a load more work. But only you can decide if it is too much work for the reward in your game.

In addition, some games, for instance, those that are intentionally imitating older games, might do better with frontview BECAUSE it is a simpler system.

So which do you use in your game? Why do you use it? Join us in the comments section below.



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School’s Out, but our sale almost is too!

Don’t miss out on your chance at these fantastic deals! 60% off RPG Maker MV! RPG Maker MV DLC 20-50% off!

(for the full list and coupon codes go to the sale page here)

Pick up SAKAN Tileset Builder for 30% off! Build your own tiles and tilesets easily from component parts!


Or get one of our prebuilt tilesets for great prices, like the Medieval series, ranging from 20-40% off!

But we have more than tiles, there are music and sprites, and battlers and, just head over to the sale post and figure out what we have that you need!

And while you are making those maps, don’t forget to enter our School’s Out Screenshot Contest! Only about a day left to enter, so get on that now!


You can win $25 in store credit with your masterful mapping skills. Or maybe just with your ability to make us laugh. either way, be sure to hit us up on Twitter with your entry!

Just remember the clock is tick tick ticking. The sale is almost over, and so is our contest.



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So for all you students, you are out for the summer (Don’t miss out on the School’s Out Sale!). No school, you can chill and work on your game 24/7! You’re going to get EVERYTHING done in days right?

Ok, ok, ok, sloooooow down alright.

Game making is a marathon, not a sprint. I know you have all the time in the world now, but don’t burn yourself out. Let’s look at a few ways to keep from burning yourself out and then getting nothing done.

Make Reasonable Goals

Make an outline of what you need to get done.

Then, spread those things out across your summer. Make sure you aren’t expecting yourself to do too much in one week! “Make battle system” if you plan on coding it from scratch is not a 1 week job, even for experienced coders.


Now try to meet those goals. If you find that you are stressing out a little bit, that is probably fine. All goals should push us to try a little harder than we would otherwise. But if you are stressing out a LOT, you need to readjust. You expected too much out of yourself that week.

And that is OK. We don’t always know how hard something is going to be. Just adjust your goals and move on.


You can’t just do game making all summer. Seriously, you are going to need to take breaks occasionally.

Take a break every day. Go out to eat. Play a video game for a while. Hang out with some friends. Don’t just sit on your computer and game make for 18 hours a day and sleep 6. You will get really tired of seeing your game.


And take some big breaks, too. It is summer! Enjoy your vacations with family, or friends, or whoever you head to the beach with. Or maybe the mountains! Or maybe just a few days off from making a game to beat that new game that just came out.

Breaks are good. And you can come back to your project relaxed and with a new perspective.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Ok, look. I don’t know about you, but I know some crazy fast brilliant RMers on the internet.

Some of them can put out a game in one week that I couldn’t put out in one year.

You can’t compare yourself to that. Most of those people have TONS of experience. They’ve been doing this for a long time and have developed a ton of skill.


Or they are just a wunderkind, either way, everybody can’t do that.

It’s ok to work at your own pace, to work in a way you feel comfortable. Just make sure you are going forward with your game, and make sure you aren’t burning yourself out, and your pace is good.


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Awwww yeah, the summer is here, and that means for all the students out there, it is time for us to get out of the classroom and… probably sit behind our computers working on our projects more, let’s be honest here.

Whether you are a student that has a long break coming or just a curmudgeonly old man who is happy all the college students are going home for the summer so he can finally drive around town without traffic, what summer break does mean… is freedom!

And with all that freedom to work on your projects, you’re going to need more power, more graphic, more music.

But you don’t want to hear me wax poetically about how glad I am to see the students gone, you want to know what is on sale!

RPGMakerMVRPG Maker MV is at 60% off!
Coupon Code: mvschool60

50RPG Maker MV DLC at 50% off:
Samurai Classics Music Pack
Frontier Works: Futuristic Heroes and BGM MV
Skyforge Battlepack
Coupon Code: schoolhalf50

40RPG Maker MV DLC at 40% off:
Japanese Character Generator Expansion 1
Japanese Character Generator Expansion 2
Japanese Character Generator Expansion 3
Festival of Light: Japanese Resource Pack
Call of Darkness: Japanese Resource Pack
Twilight Shrine: Japanese Resource Pack
Katakura Hibiki’s MV Monsters Vol 1
Katakura Hibiki’s Lords of Darkness
Medieval: Town & Country
Medieval: Interiors
Medieval Town Bundle
Coupon Code: 40schoolgo

30RPG Maker MV DLC at 30% off:
(new) SAKAN Tileset Builder
Future Steam Punk Collection
Animations Collection II: Quantum
Medieval: Warfare
Medieval: Knights Templar
Town of Seasons Tiles Pack
Coupon Code: out30school

20RPG Maker MV DLC at 20% off:
Karugamo Fantasy: Vol. 1
Karugamo Fantasy: Vol. 2
Karugamo Fantasy: Vol. 3
Karugamo Fantasy: Vol. 4
Karugamo Contemporary BGM Pack 01
Karugamo Contemporary BGM Pack 02
Samurai Classics: Temple of Darkness
Hiroki Kikuta’s The Calm Music Pack
Hiroki Kikuta’s The Fury Music Pack
Hiroki Kukita’s Calm and Fury Bundle
FSM: Town of Beginnings Tiles
Fantasy Heroine Character Pack
Medieval: Dungeons
Medieval: Bosses
Elemental Dungeons Tiles
Use coupon: yay20school

This offer is valid from 12:00(noon) PST on 5/25/2017 until 8:00AM PST on 5/30/2017.
One coupon per order.
No rain-checks.


Retro-styled games are super popular right now. Make it look like an NES game, or GBA game, and you get a look that brings out that nostalgic feeling in fans.

In fact, we just released some new tunes for retro-styled games, the 8-bit Perfect Collection!


You can get it here on Steam, or here from our store. Check it out on our store for some sweet samples. But enough of the blatant advertising, let’s look at two things you need to keep in mind if you are going Retro with your game.

Retro is Not Easier

Sometimes, people get this idea into their heads. That retro-styled art and sprites are really easy to make, and anyone can do it.

No, just no. Old school looking sprites are tricky, the problem isn’t in getting all the details right like it is with larger formats, the problem is that you are trying to communicate a LOT of information in a tiny amount of space.

Not only that, but your palette is even MORE important than with painted or even larger pixel styles. Just look at how much Jason Perry conveys with just a few pixels with his Time Fantasy Pack.

Pshht and you thought the blatant advertising was over. Check out the Time Fantasy Pack on Steam or our Store.

Pshht and you thought the blatant advertising was over. Check out the Time Fantasy Pack on Steam or our Store.

At this level of detail, every single pixel matters. Don’t pick a retro-style just because you think it is “easier”.

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency!

Ok, another thing we need to talk about is consistency. If your graphics look like they are being pushed out by ’92 hardware, and your sound seems like it is coming out of 2017 hardware… well, it is going to seem kind of mishmash and not cohesive.

Make sure every part of the presentation of your game matches the style you are going for. The whole thing needs to be retro. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your gameplay more modern, but the look, the sound, those should all be cohesive.

So that means, all your graphics, sprites, battlers, tiles, parallaxes, animations, etc, etc. All your sounds, SFX, Music, etc.

Personally, I would even suggest getting a retro-styled font.

... This time I'm not even going to try to put it into the flow of the article. Just check out Old School Modern on Steam and our Store!

… This time I’m not even going to try to put it into the flow of the article. Just check out Old School Modern on Steam and our Store!



Every time you design something in your game, it should exist for a reason.

Now, that doesn’t mean that it has to have a grand purpose, but nothing should be there just because.

Let’s look at Dungeons and a number of reasons they should exist.

First, let’s define what I mean by Dungeon. I don’t mean a literal dungeon, I just mean any location that you have to travel through or into in a game that is self-contained and contains challenges, encounters, and goals. The goal can be as easy as “reach the other side of this forest”. Or it can be to retrieve something. Technically a city in your game can also be a dungeon if it contains enemies, challenges, and goals.

So here we go, reasons Dungeons can exist in your game:

1. It Moves Forward the Plot

"We can't let the Dark Lord drain the magic crystals from the Sky Holds!" (Elemental Dungeons Pack)

“We can’t let the Dark Lord drain the magic crystals from the Sky Holds!” (Elemental Dungeons Pack)

This is the simplest one. By doing this dungeon, the plot goes forward. You fight a villain and stop them (or don’t stop them) from doing something dastardly, which opens up your next move. You find a MacGuffin in the deeps of the mountain that will help you stop a great disaster. Or just something like that.

Just to get to the other side, with no real development isn’t moving the plot forward. It’s just filler. But if every dungeon in a game only moves the plot forward, that might turn into a pretty short game. Now, not that there is anything wrong with that, but maybe we should have a few dungeons that exist for other reasons, what could they be?

2. It Helps Build/Develop a Character

"It's him! The dragon that destroyed my home!" Medieval Dungeons

“It’s him! The dragon that destroyed my home!” Medieval: Dungeons

Some Dungeons can exist to help flesh out one of your characters, without directly moving the plot forward. Maybe you discover the secret of their long lost brother there. Or it helps them overcome a flaw. Or the dungeon somehow challenges one of their flaws and you have to rescue them from their failure to overcome it.

All of these types of developments don’t necessarily move the main plot forward, but they can make your characters feel more real, more complete. Well developed characters are, in my opinion, the key to a successful game, so make sure you use this a bit, too.

3. It Helps Build a Sense of Scale

"It's a long trek through the Frozen Forest, but if we don't take this shortcut, we'll never get there in time!" Ancient Dungeons: Winter

“It’s a long trek through the Frozen Forest, but if we don’t take this shortcut, we’ll never get there in time!” Ancient Dungeons: Winter

Sometimes things in your game just need to be far apart. And if you can travel almost instantaneously between them, it cheapens that feel of distance. And this is an ok reason to put in something in between! Just remember, you need to be doing it on PURPOSE, not doing it just to fill space. It isn’t about making the game longer, it is about communicating the length of the journey. It is about getting the right pacing for the plot.

There are many more reasons for a dungeon to exist in your game. Sometimes it is just because the challenge is interesting and engaging! Or maybe it is a mix of all of the above. You can be really efficient if you always make scale building dungeons also build a bit of character (my opinion, you should ALWAYS be building your characters), or even throw in a bit of main plot at the same time.

The main point is: Do what you are doing with a purpose and carry that into all parts of your design.

1 comment

Note: This article is addressing a fairly standardly designed RPG. There are possible design spaces where some of these will not be true.

Many people, when designing a game, look at enemy stats and PC stats and skills, and then they think of them the same way.

This is a mistake.


The purpose of each is completely different. A PC is running an endurance race. They have to fight multiple battles, with the enemies fighting one battle each, waging a war of attrition on the PCs resources.

This alone makes a huge difference. Skills that would be overpowered in the hands of the PCs, would be fine for monsters, and skills that would be fine for monsters might be overpowered for PCs.

A skill that costs 0MP and TP but attacks two random targets? With a monster that 0MP will not be a big deal. Monsters, unless you build them with really low MP, generally don’t last long enough to run out. But that same skill on a player character would double their damage capabilities for no cost.

A skill that drains all your MP to do a massive attack on all enemies based on the percent you had left? That is a powerful, but fair, attack for a player to have, as it requires a large expenditure of resources. On the other hand, a monster with that ability… well monsters are only around for one combat each anyway, so the resource expenditure means nothing to them.

Also, enemies come in different numbers. If you have 4 PCs fighting a single boss, then that boss needs more ability to do absorb and take damage, otherwise, he will go down super quick. Or if your PCs fight a group of 8 enemies, and each has the damage output of one of your characters, then it can easily be a TPK.


Always keep in mind the context that mechanics fit into a game. Symmetry sounds like a good idea sometimes, but usually, the context is NOT symmetrical.

Can you think of more situations where symmetrical PC/Enemy design would not be a good idea? Can you think of an overall design that would make it work? Tell us in the comments below!


It’s golden week here at RPG Maker Web, which means the JP office is enjoying time with their families and trying to avoid Golden Week crowds, and I’m left to my own devices. FUFUFUFUFUFU… Ok, this doesn’t change the blog that much but it has been a relaxing week!

So that got me to thinking about one of my favorite bits in video games, Plot Downtime.

Those points in the plot where things slow down, and the characters can goof off and do something unrelated. If it was an anime, I’d call it the beach episode.

Ok, got my drinks, got my boat, time for a wonderful time on the... wait, I forgot my swimsuit...

Ok, got my drinks, got my boat, time for a wonderful time on the… wait, I forgot my swimsuit…

A lot of people see this kind of stuff as filler. Something to pad out the time to keep the game from being too short. But me, I think this is the perfect time to do something important. Establishing what your characters are like outside of crisis.

A lot of games occur at what feels like breakneck speed. The characters are dealing with one thing after another. Villages burned down, mentors killed, saving kidnapped nobles, saving kidnapped children… the characters never get a chance to breath.

The Dark Lord is burning down a church AND kidnapping a kid! Why? Cause EVIIIIIIL

The Dark Lord is burning down a church AND kidnapping a kid! Why? Cause EVIIIIIIL

All we ever learn about characters in these situations is how they react to crisis.

I always like to see what characters are like when left to their own devices. If they have a week in a mountain cabin. Or the beach, or wherever, you get a chance to explore this.

Maybe you find out the serious soldier who only thinks about the mission actually loves fishing. Or that the hyper, excited character that you expect to love a week at the beach actually just gets bored because nothing is happening.

Either way, downtime for the plot can be great for fleshing out your characters. Have you ever used lulls in the plot this way? How do you establish who your characters are outside of crisis? Tell us in the comments below!

In the meantime, I’m going to go enjoy a few more days of no coworkers!



The brand new Love and Sorrow pack from Richard John S made me think about Romance in games.

Romance makes it into a lot of game stories. Either in a choose your own adventure style, a la Dragon Age, or just connected to the story, like Xenogears.

And well, it should! Romance is a part of the human condition for most people, and dramatic times (like, you know, saving the world) can force people into very close relationships.

But, you know, there are three tips I would suggest when writing those relationships, and here we go!


#1: Make Sure Characters Exist for their Own Sake

Look, if you want to include romance in your games, sometimes it makes sense to just create characters for your other characters to be interested in. Whether this is an RPG, or a visual novel type game, this happens a lot. What is the purpose of this character in the story? To be a love interest!

But resist this urge. Write characters with their own problems, with their own connection to the plot… then think about if they would be romanceable or if their romance with another character would feel organic. Don’t make characters that exist just to be a romance option. It makes them feel fake.

#2: New Romance Isn’t the Only Romance

Ok, maybe this is a pet peeve of mine personally because I’m a bit older than a teen, but make sure to include more than just “just about to get together” relationships.

As anyone has been around should know: The drama doesn’t stop when you get together! Write characters who have been together for a short while, write characters who have been together for a LONG while.

I always liked Clive Winslet of Wild ARMS 3, and one of the really interesting things to me about him was finding out he was married and had a daughter. His side quest of collecting children’s book stories for his daughter was one that stuck with me a long time.

#3: Add things outside the plot of the main story.

Ok, we know that the main story is going to be the primary focus of the game. If it isn’t, perhaps it doesn’t need to be the main story.

But if the only time we see two characters who are supposedly in love interact is during that high drama/high stakes stuff… well it doesn’t bode well. Feelings in those situations are like pressure cookers, they are all heightened, everything seems more extreme and dire than it was.

So instead, show them hanging out in down times. City with a casino? Maybe show them having fun out there. Maybe a quiet time during travel through a quiet wood. A good example of this is the Gold Saucer dates in Final Fantasy VII. They let you see the characters in a context other than life or death struggles.

Cause if the only reason they get along is life and death struggles, that is going to be a lot of thrill seeking necessary to keep that relationship going!



With our recently released Elemental Dungeons Pack (also available on Steam), I felt it was a great time to look at making Elemental Dungeons feel… well more elemental!

At this point, Fire, Water, Air, Earth Dungeons, well, it is a bit cliche, but they are still fun to play with. But the thing is if you are going to make an elemental dungeon, you really need to add something to make it more than just wallpaper.

Think about some mechanics that would fit that style of dungeon.


Water Dungeons can give you lots of ideas. How about a diving system? So much time to travel underwater to get to the next section. Or you could do the traditional raising/lowering water levels with rafts.

Or maybe you could find ways to freeze the water, and then do sliding puzzles on the ice that remains.

How would you make a water dungeon feel like a water dungeon, rather than just being a dungeon that has water in it?


Or a fire dungeon! Cooling an area to then walk on, much like the ice in the water dungeon works. But what about areas of noxious gas? Maybe a heat mechanic where you have certain areas you have to move through quickly to prevent overheating?

Another option is forming a puzzle around a limited amount of some kind of resource for putting out fires blocking your path, and trying to figure out how to use that limited amount to get where you need to go.

The main thing is you want your dungeon theme to feel like something more than wallpaper. So how would you do a fire dungeon?

What about an air one? Or an earth one? How could you make it unique and thematic mechanically?