Sale-Bn

We’ve been having a great time celebrating RPG Maker’s 26th birthday, with things like our Game Making Challenge, and its accompanying article on making short games, but now its time to REALLY break open the piñata and get out all the awesome shinies inside!

And that means its time for an RPG Maker Birthday Bash SALE!

Starting today and continuing until March 1st, we’ll be having a store wide* sale with discounts as high as 80% off!

This includes our versatile RPG Maker Engines themselves…

salemaker

… our beautiful graphics

salegraphics

…and of course all the stellar music you need.

saleaudio

Get everything you want today!

And make sure to check in on all the cool games being made for the challenge… and hey, why not make one yourself? Join the fray, get that game done, and get your free exclusive pack! Everyone who finishes is a winner!

*Sale Excludes: RPG Maker MV, RPG Maker MV Essentials, RPG Maker MV Cover Pack, Medieval Town and Country, Medieval Interiors, Medieval Town Bundle, Pop Horror City Character Packs 1 & 2, Egyptian Memories, Asian Empires, and the Fantasy Historica Music Pack.

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By: Lunarea

Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting out, there’s a particular sort of challenge when it comes to writing for a short game. As a developer, you find yourself walking a narrow line between creating a world rich enough to draw the player in, but simple enough to be conveyed in those few minutes of game-play. It’s treacherously easy to fall onto either side – a story that’s just too ambitious or a story that leaves too many questions unanswered. So, how exactly do you write for a short game? Read on for some of my favorite tips and tricks!

Write-write-write

Find a new starting point

Starting your game planning with the plot and story can often lead to a story that’s far too complex for your short game. So, let’s challenge ourselves and start with something very different – like, say, the number of maps?

Pick a small number of maps that seem like a good and sensible amount for a short game – I recommend something between 5 and 10. There should be enough for the player to explore, but not so much that they’d have to rush through a ton of locations. Then, think about what kind of story you can tell inside just those few maps. Will your story progress in a linear way, with each map being a different experience? Or will you have the player back-track to find a detail they missed the first time around?

Want to challenge yourself further? Write a story that happens on just one map. You could write a horror story about being trapped in a small space. You could write a slice-of-life comedy about hiding in your girlfriend’s closet in your underwear because her parents came home early. Or how about a surreal puzzle trying to figure out your lost identity?

And let’s not stop at the number of maps. You could start with a music playlist, a puzzle number or even the number of character sprites you want to use. Sure, it seems limiting, but…

Limitations

Embrace the limitations

Sometimes, we’re afraid that limitations are going to end up robbing us of our creativity, but – more often than not- it’s the opposite that happens. Having a limitation can be a great way to boost your creativity, as it forces you to consider new ideas and approaches that you would have dismissed before. Instead of being major obstacles to overcome, limitations can become landmarks that help you navigate through a million and one ideas to find the one that best fits your game.

In fact, you might find yourself slightly addicted to limitations and inspired to keep wondering “What if?”. What if you limited yourself to telling the story from a single perspective – and that perspective wasn’t the main character’s? Or what if your main character was only limited to speaking in movie titles?

Be an editor

Of course, not all crazy limitations and ideas are going to work. And if you’ve landed on a particularly exciting idea, maybe you were a little overzealous and found yourself with a novel-length story…

This is where editing comes into play. You would look at your story with the critical eye and whittle away all the unnecessary trimmings until you’re left with a story that does what it’s supposed to – draws the player in and keeps them playing. But that’s easier said than done, right?

One tip I have for you is to write out the story as a whole. Then remove a detail and see if the story still makes sense. Keep going until you’ve removed all the extras. This should leave you with a list of absolutely essential events. At this point, you can go back through the story again and see if there’s any areas that need to be fleshed out more.

Then rinse and repeat until you’re happy with your story.

Friends

Get some feedback

Even with your most brutal editing, sometimes you’re just too close to the story and you find it impossible to tell how a player would perceive it. This is where a tester or two can really help. You can force let your family and friends try out your short game and see what they think. Or you could post it on our friendly forums and let fellow developers check it out.

And, of course, remember to return the favor and play a project or two when you’ve got some free time. If you’re lucky, you’ll discover a great source of inspiration – or make a new friend or two.

Do you have any tips for writing short stories? Let us know below!

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So every once in a while, while browsing our forums, or just out and about on the internet reading about game design, I run into a single question. A question I’m sure that you, too, have heard before.

And I’m sure that the title has already spoiled what that question will be, so let’s just get to it:

How long should I make my game?

And at first glance, this seems like a reasonable question. But then if you think about it for any amount of time…

It’s a bit infuriating.

It’s the WRONG question.

It’s putting the cart before the chocobo.

It only works if you hook it up this direction, everybody

It only works if you hook it up this direction, guys.

The question isn’t “How long should I make my game?” it’s, “How long does the experience I want to create take to deliver?”

Now, in some cases, this is your story. How long can my story stay? What is overstaying its welcome? What is the perfect amount of time to deliver this story? Unless you have some other considerations (and sometimes you do, but we’ll talk about that later), that is how long your game should be. If you go under that time, it will feel clipped. If you go over that time… the player will start to notice that things are stretched for no reason. NO ONE WANTS A GAME TO WASTE THEIR TIME. Adding 30 minutes of unnecessary grinding makes your game LONGER but it doesn’t make your game BETTER, it makes it worse.

And that doesn’t mean you can’t add MORE, it just means that any more you add needs to be optional. Take a look at a game like Dragon Age: Inquisition

I have no choice but to look at it, My wife seems to be playing it every day.

I have no choice but to look at it, My wife seems to be playing it every day.

The main story is not really that long. You can knock it out pretty quickly if that is what you want to do. BUT, there is a lot of other stuff to do. It’s optional. You can go explore tons of stuff that you never actually HAVE to touch to win. Players are OK with wasting time, as long as they get to make the decision to waste time, not the game making it for them. The game is only as long as it needs to be to tell the story. Sure there are the power roadbumps, but those are there to give the game the proper scale, to communicate the setting as part of the story.

And then, even if it’s not the story that is the experience you want to deliver, even if it’s a mechanic. How long until that mechanic gets old?

How long does it take to get the full experience of that mechanic or structure?

It isn’t about a set amount of hours, it’s about what works for the EXPERIENCE.

There is a small indie game that I’m pretty fond of, called Atom Zombie Smasher. The entire game is the mechanics really. Go to location, save civilians from zombies with a group of units and a helicopter. Assess how that changes the map, repeat. It’s fun, it’s got a bit of strategy. And the game is a few hours to play from beginning to end.

... that helicopter better get there fast.

… that helicopter better get there fast.

The game isn’t longer than it needs to be. It plays through in a single afternoon. It’s replayable, so I’ve played it multiple times, but it doesn’t take 30 hours to beat because we’ve decided that 30 hours is how long a game should be.

Games should never be about length. Games are about the experience. Think about your experience first, and the length will come naturally.

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Battlebacks are quite ubiquitous when it comes to RPGmaker.  Throughout VX and before, they were pretty easy to figure out.  A floor and wall graphic, and you’re set.  Well, the floor and wall are still quite necessary, but there are a few new considerations to take into account when creating your own battlebacks for RPGMaker MV.

Here is a handy graphic I’ve created as a quick guide for you battleback creators out there, which I will go over in depth.

MVbattleback-documentation_tall

Overall size 1000×740: This is the overall size for your document, it includes the live area and the overflow regions.  This has increased considerably from VX and previous versions of RPGMaker.  It should still be made up of floor and wall .png files.

Live Area 816×624: This is the section of your battleback that will be viewed the most during a battle sequence.  As you can see, depending on your sideview battler selection, this area changes.  With sideview battler turned on, it prioritizes the floor, and with sideview battler turned off, it prioritizes the wall.  When designing a custom battleback, you should keep in mind what setting it should be used for.

Overflow/Camera Shake Area: MV introduces camera shakes and pans during battle for a more visceral experience.  The overflow areas are required so the game engine does not display black bars around your battleback.  Keep in mind, these regions of your battleback will rarely be visible and will mostly be used simply for movement transitions.  Don’t put anything TOO detailed that you want the player to see in these areas.

Horizon: this is simply a rough guide to where you should place your wall imagery, you don’t want your sideview characters standing on it; it looks super weird.

My suggestion would be, take a screenshot of the battle mode and build off of that for your MV battlebacks; or just grab the below image as a guide and screen it back on another layer of your document.

Side view demo

backgroundtesting

Front view demo

backgroundtesting2

Good luck with your battleback creations!

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2015 is winding to a close. In a matter of hours, it will be 2016, and in some places, it already is.

And with the year closing, it feels like the time to talk about the year that has passed. What has it meant for RPG Maker? What has it meant for us? Retrospection is important. To figure out where we go, we need to know where we’ve been.

When thinking about 2015 for RPG Maker, I think one thing undeniably comes to the forefront.

RPG Maker MV

header

Without a doubt, nothing has changed the landscape of RPG Maker this year like the release of MV. With a completely open code in the games it exports, it has abandoned the restrictions that clipped the wings of some of the more ambitious projects being made in RPG Makers from the past.

Not only that, but MV has finally opened the door on making games in Android and iOS.

I don’t think anyone can argue that RPG Maker MV will effect the landscape of the RPG Maker scene for years to come.

But that wasn’t the only thing we released in the last year. We released a huge amount of resource packs, with a few fan favorites standing out, such as:

Ancient Dungeons Base Pack

ancient-dungeons-base-pack-right

Celianna’s Ancient Dungeons Base Pack was the clear graphics favorite out of all of our packs this year, and its obvious why. 1. Its absolutely gorgeous. and 2. Its the base set for a series of upcoming matching tiles, so will be perfect for making a full game.

Khas Ultra Lighting

On the scripting front, Khas Ultra Lighting really kicked up a lot of people’s projects. If you are still using VX Ace, you owe it to yourself to grab this. If you are using MV… a little birdy told me there might be something coming for you in the future.

Inspirational: Vol 4

In music, JDB Artist brought the adventure again, with Inspirational: Vol. 4. Using MV or VX Ace, you can definitely use this pack to spice up your music. You can also grab the other volumes to have a large collection of awesome music for your game.

But you know. Releases aren’t the only things that mattered this year.

The biggest thing, I think, that I looked at this year, that made it different from every other year, is a simple thing

Public Perception

For many, many years, RPG Maker has been looked on as a toy by the wider Indie Game scene. There were always exceptions. To the Moon for instance broke onto the scene several years ago and made a splash. 2014 though, was the year that RPG Maker as a serious engine hit it big, with Skyborn, and Lisa, and A Bird Story, and Always Sometimes Monsters.

Skyborn

Lisa

A bird story

alwayssometimes

And this was a huge change coming into 2015. In 2015, when someone mentioned they were going to make a game in RPG Maker, there was still skepticism, but the end result wasn’t immediate and widespread dismissal. Now it was obvious that Indie games with RPG Maker could be a big deal. It had been proven.

Now is the time for RPG Maker. Now is when we can continue to make a great impact. Moving into 2016, I hope to keep seeing games like this. But now on iPhones and tablets, and maybe one in a browser somewhere. The future of your game is in your hands now more than ever before.

MV has unlocked the potential and some visionary RM gamedevs have taken huge chunks out of public perception. The speedbumps that you used to face have been shaved down tremendously.

This year has been amazing for us. Great new tools. Great new resources. The community is as welcoming as it has ever been, and the community outside of RPG Maker has never been more welcoming.

What do you look back on for your year in RPG Maker? Do you see the same bright future that we do? What were the highlights of your year. Join us in the comments below.

6 comments

So the Holiday times are wrapping up, and its time to buckle back down again.

You had 80 family things to go to, or you had to spend too much time finding that perfect present. Or maybe your kids are just home all the time now and its slowly driving you insane.

The net result is probably about the same right: You got very little work done on your game.

Maybe you booted up RPG Maker a couple of times, messed with a few maps, but how can you possibly get anything done with all the plans everyone has, and then your day job and/or school on top of it.

So its time to get going again. Pick that project back up, and make some progress, but you just open and stare. Or you get distracted looking at endless funny cat picks on the internet.

Aww, look it thinks its people.

Aww, look it thinks its people.

You’ve run into Newton’s Third Law: the Law of Inertia. An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. Your progress got stopped by all that stuff you had to do, and now you have to be the unbalanced force that gets it going again.

So what are some methods to doing that? Let’s explore a few.

Examine what you already have

Sometimes, what gets lost is is that you’ve lost the excitement for the project itself. Try to refresh yourself on what made you love it to begin with.

Play through what you’ve made. Read all your notes. Find that part of the story or gameplay that made you work so hard to get that bit done.

That is what we do this for. To work out our own creative obsessions. You have to find the hook that made you put in so many hours. Was it a mechanic you implemented in a specific way? Was it a character whose story you felt you had to get down on paper? What WAS it?

Examining what you already have also gives you better insight into what you have left to do. How can you get any work done without knowing where you are going? I know that after a few days away from a project, I can barely remember my outline for it. What was I trying to say? What was I trying to convey? Clear notes will help you remember where you were going and what you were doing. Granted… you probably needed clear notes to begin with and if you don’t have those now, you will just have to play through what you have until you can remember them.

Avoid distractions

I’m sure you all got some awesome new games/toys/books etc in the last few weeks. And your brain is stuck on those.

Comic courtesy of the Meatly

Comic courtesy of the Meatly, make sure to check him out!

At some point over the Christmas holiday, in the moments I could get away from family, I got stuck in XCOM: Enemy Within again.

And my productivity on everything took a dip. Its easy when we have EASY entertainment like video games and movies at our fingertips that don’t REQUIRE us to constantly be creative. We can just blow off a bit of steam and play a game. I mean, lets be honest, working on a game is fun. Its exciting, but its also draining. You have to constantly be thinking and planning and testing.

Its a lot of mental effort. I’ve had jobs that were less mental effort than the hobby of making games (kneed pretzel dough. roll pretzel doll, spin and make pretzel shape… pretzel making is a zen experience guys). So sometimes, its HARD to do it instead of some other bright shiny fun and possibly brain stimulating… but not brain draining hobby.

So put those things to the side. Maybe hold them as rewards. If I finish this section of my game, I’ll play a couple of hours of Fallout 4, or whatever you kids are playing nowadays. (True Story: I have a book I plan on finishing reading as soon as I finish this article. That was my reward)

Do the parts you enjoy the most first

What part of making your game do you enjoy doing the most? My favorite is writing. I enjoy game mechanics, I enjoy mapping, but always and forever, the reason I got into RPG Maker was to write stories in a game space.

So instead of just picking up exactly where you left off, build up your excitement again by picking up the part you enjoy the most. I’d probably sit down and write some dialogue. Maybe you would prefer to sit down and make a map. Or create a new sprite.

I’m sure Yanfly would just start coding something.

Doing the part you love the most is the easiest way to get back in the flow to then hit those harder parts.

When you hit the flow, don’t drop it

I know I said give yourself rewards, but if you suddenly hit a flow… don’t stop. I mean, don’t work yourself to death, but if you hit a stopping point and your fingers just don’t want to stop working, don’t stop working. Praise whatever higher being you feel necessary to praise and keep on trucking.

Dedication is what finishes games, but flow is what gets the most done. Without dedication, you would probably never finish off those last little bits, but without flow, you wouldn’t have even gotten to those last little bits.

The Flow is what gives a Dev his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the game together.

Star Wars has maybe been on my brain a lot lately >_>

Star Wars has maybe been on my brain a lot lately >_>

So how do you get back into making your game? What methods do you use to get back into the swing of things after a long break. Tell us what you think in the comments below!

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Ahhhhh, its time for Force Awakens guys. Ok, yeah, maybe not all of you are as much of Star Wars nerds as me, but I suspect that there are a good many of you that are just as excited about this as I am. I know that it has been buzzing among the staff how excited we all are to see it.

So since my mind is on Star Wars anyway: Let’s talk about Star Wars. So what is it, that we as Game Devs, can learn from Star Wars.

#1: Always make sure your first game stands on its own.

Look, we understand. Everyone wants to make a franchise these days. Everyone is always thinking about their sequel even before they get done with the first game.

BUT, but but: You have to make sure your first game stands on its own as complete.

Yeah, leave some room for those sequel hooks. Have Vader flying off still alive at the end. Have the Empire still around. But you need to not spend the entire game as setup.

Ending

All climaxes don’t have to include exploding moon sized Space Stations, but when they do it’s cool.

You need a climax, not a cliffhanger. You need to have accomplished something. Your heroes need their Death Star.

Because you don’t know if you will ever make a game two. Your job is to make game ONE good. And if no one is interested in game one because it doesn’t have a satisfying ending, because its all there to set up game two…. you probably will lose a lot of motivation and never finish game two.

#2: You can always use a different perspective.

So now, let’s talk about the prequels. Now… yeah, I know. I know. They suck. Well, sort of. Honestly, they aren’t THAT bad, but they certainly aren’t very good either. The worldbuilding in them is still interesting. And the overall story still makes sense… but the execution is just…. lacking.

Lucas had gotten to the point where he was writer, directer, producer: He had so much money, he didn’t HAVE to see anyone else’s perspective. And what we learned was… well maybe he should have. His writing is a bit stilted, and his directing somehow manages to get bad performances from great actors like Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman. I’m still not sure whether Hayden Christensen was actually a bad actor, or if it was just good old George direction.

I dont like sand...

I dont like sand…

And while maybe you aren’t as singularly bad as Lucas is at writing and directing, you can still always use someone else who can tell you when your game is doing something stupid.

Bring in friends who will be brutally honest. Don’t get a bunch of yes men for playtesters. You need people to tell you when you have written something like “I don’t like sand.”

#3: Sometimes, the Setting isn’t the Genre.

So what is the genre of Star Wars? I know what you are about to say: Sci-Fi. Or maybe if you are a bit more discerning, Science Fantasy, or soft Sci-fi.

But this reminds me of a talk I got to go to that was being held by Terry Brooks. Terry Brooks is the author of the Shannara series, the Magic Kingdom For Sale series… and most importantly for this discussion, the novelization of Phantom Menace. Which by the way, is better than the movie. But that is irrelevant to this conversation.

Just being able to read his lines rather than hear them grate down my ear canals was a great improvement.

Just being able to read his lines rather than hear them grate down my ear canals was a great improvement.

Anyway, part of the Q&A section of the talk, someone asked him about what it was like writing the novelization of Phantom Menace. And in it, he discussed a conversation with George Lucas. And it went something like this “paraphrased, I can’t remember the exact words”:

“George, I’m glad you thought of me to do this, but I’m not sure that I can. I mean, I don’t write sci-fi books.”

“Thats OK, I don’t write Sci-fi movies.”

Which of course led to “bwuh?” And really, they both write the same genre. They write ADVENTURE stories. Fantasy, sci-fi, that is all just trappings. The important part is the adventure, not the trappings surrounding it. there are other stories where it DOES matter. Star Trek for instance, is much more sci-fi, because the science part matters to the plot.

And generally, with our games we can see the same. Maybe we should be mindful what genre we are actually writing in when we start, because the setting, is not the genre. And adventure and scifi definitely have different tropes that define them.

#4: You Don’t Have to Explain Everything

Do you have sections of your game that are just there to dump info on your players?

Is it too long? Does it make your audience roll their eyes at the length… or maybe it just makes them roll their eyes because its stupid?

Guys. guys. Midichlorians. *sounds of rioting*

Guys. guys. Midichlorians! *sounds of rioting*

You really only have to tell your players as much as necessary to get the story and make informed decisions. Sometimes you shouldn’t even give them that much, if you are planning on tricking them into a course of action and reveal it was dumb later.

You can include extra information that players can read. Like the books in Skyrim or the Encyclopedias in Bioware games. But the player should be able to learn what he NEEDs from the game portion, and all that is just for if they are interested.

And some things, don’t need to EVER, EVER have real explanations. You should leave a bit of mystery in your world. You don’t have to explain fully all the origins of the gods, or how they give powers, or how a mystical energy field is able to be interacted with by a STUPID SINGLE CELL ORGANISM THAT INFECTS YOUR BODY GOD MIDICHLORIANS ARE SO STUPID.

So what do you think we can learn from Star Wars? Or just want to talk about the series, or the new movie? Join us in the comments section below. But remember, NO SPOILERS. For every spoiler I see for the new movie, I will ban you.

5 comments

Now, its time to talk about the most difficult thing in all of making games. Harder than coding. Harder than art. Harder that eventing or mapping. The most difficult thing you will ever encounter.

No matter how many methods I’ve come up with to do it, I’ve never really mastered it. Naming things.

Why is it so hard? In all my years writing stories, making games, making RPG characters, the one thing, that has always alluded me: Names. The whole story flows into the outline. Complex characters with goals and desires and flaws… but all of them are written in the outline as “Adventurous Guy” “Ninja Girl”.

So, let’s walk through some steps to maybe overcome our inability to name characters/places/etc.

Method 1: Baby Name sites

So I have my character, its a Ninja character right? So I know, I’ll just look up Japanese names in a baby name site.

I know, Ichiro. No wait, that has a boring name, and I can think of like 8 anime characters with that name and I hate using names that I see other places…

And a baseball player, but seriously, who watches baseball?

And a baseball player, but seriously, who watches baseball?

Or what about Yasahiro. That means calm and knowledgeable. That is a pretty cool meaning. But it doesn’t roll off the tongue really well. Or it does, I don’t even know anymore. Why is this so hard!?

Method 2: Random Name Generators

Fine. Fine. I’m just going to go to a stupid site and just click a button and have it tell me what I should name this character. Maybe this Elven Archer, I can get a name for that one right?

Túchanar: As opposed to one chanar, or three chanar
Tunnor: Two, nor three, nor four.
Daedhrogon: Yes, the Day Dragon.
Arahaelon: “Whats the weather like out there?” “It are a hailin’!”
Loenor: “I’ll have to give my name back eventually.” “Why?” “Its a loaner.”
Aeglosson: Better than a matte son I suppose…

These names are awful too. I’ll never be able to do this. Fine. Fine. I’m going to get desperate.

Method 3: The Keyboard Smash

Beloved by renowned writer HP Lovecraft, let us just smash our hands into our keyboard and see what comes out.

Seriously, how else do you explain the Old Ones?

Seriously, how else do you explain the Great Old Ones

ewfbecipdfkldjkemcueienmoxeconewoferuafoduifegasndfarpekbgeumounjnbqhyeoi

Ferua?
Becip?
Duifeg?
Xeco?

Nope. Nope. Nope. I’m doomed. This is terrible.

Method 4: Cry, Accept Your Fate.

AdiBPrO

Auuuugh, I’ll never get this game finished. It will sit eternally on my hard drive with a bunch of placeholder names because I can’t figure out what to name them.

Fine. Fine, they are all named Bob. Just an entire world of Bobs. Wait wait. I have to name locations too. Fine. Bobland. Bobtown. Bobville. Bobian Empire.

And the name of the game: The Bob of the Bobs.

I don’t even know. I have no idea how to name characters, places, or games. How do you do it? Tell me about your naming schemes in the comments below. Or just tell me about your own woes when it comes to naming things.

15 comments

One of the things that I think you really, really need to make a good game in RPG Maker, is a well rounded skillset. But, it’s really easy, when working on your game, to just avoid parts you aren’t good at, put them off til later. Or just avoid parts that you hate.

Well, I don’t have to balance weapons right now, I’ve got plenty of mapping left to do.

I don’t need to work on eventing that system, I have plenty of dialogue to write.

Meh, I’ll just map this section tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes.

The "best" time to do that complex event system.

The “best” time to do that complex event system.

Its not that we aren’t working on our games. We may work on our games for hours every day. But its so easy to never finish because you NEVER do the parts you aren’t good at, and you never improve the skills.

Every RPG Maker user should be able to event, map, do database work. All the parts of the program itself. If you can’t do some part of that, practice. And not only that, when you step into arts, and music and plugins. Look, not everyone has to be an artist. Not everyone has to be a coder. Not everyone has to be a musician. But you have to be able to know how to do the basics.

Can you recolor a sprite? Can you identify when two pieces don’t match stylistically? You NEED to be able to do this.

Can you identify good music for the mood of a scene? Can you time a scene to music? You NEED to be able to do this.

Can you find the plugins you truly need? Do you know how to implement them, and implement all their options? You NEED to be able to do this.

If you are just here to mess around and have a bit of fun, and you don’t care about completing anything, that is fine. But if you are in the hobby (or if you want to make that hobby a profession), then you need to learn everything, you need to take it learning every part of the process a priority.

Now, you don’t have to be perfect at everything. A game can survive being mediocre in some areas as long as it excels in others, but what you can’t do, is have a part of your game be BAD. There are some games that have cool story, great visual style, and amazing music, but if it fails in various mechanics areas, its going to be bad, and no one will want to play it.

I still have not gotten over how much the gameplay of this game made me sad.

I still have not gotten over how much the gameplay of this game made me sad.

So today, I have a challenge for you. Over the next couple of weeks, you are to identify the thing that you struggle with in RPG Maker. What is your weakness? Then spend a chunk of your RM time practicing that thing until you can see a difference. Don’t put it down. Keep working at it. Make yourself work on it.

Want some inspiration? Join me live on our Youtube channel Wednesday, December 9th at 6pm Eastern time, while I work on making myself better at monster attack patterns and AI. Make sure to subscribe to get updates on this and any other stream we do!

In the comments below, tell us about what your weakness is. What are you going to work on the next few weeks to improve YOUR RPG Maker skills?

3 comments

So you’ve gotten RPG Maker MV, gotten over the initial “What am I even doing?” and are ready to start building a game.

You’ve written out your 20 page story outline and you have an honestly unhealthy amount of junk food and energy drinks at the ready to get you through the dev time.

Red Bull, it gives you wings. calm down Icarus.

Red Bull, it gives you wings. calm down Icarus.

But maybe, just maybe, you are biting off a bit more than you can chew.

Sometimes, less and more. And all of the time, less is more likely to even get done.

“But, Nick, I have this epic story in this epic world, with these epic characters!”

Yeah, I know, man. I do, too. I have an entire notebook devoted to one story. But you know what that notebook is doing? Sitting there. I pull it out and write more in it occasionally, but its not something I’ll probably every finish. And unless I had like, 2 years of time, no worries, no bills, groceries to buy, etc., to do it, I don’t even think it would be feasible to try (All you millionaires out there, if you wish to front the money, I’d be willing to make the effort).

And if its your first game? Even more reason not to go with your magnum opus first. You are going to learn a LOT in your first game. And if it is a long sprawling epic, by the time you get to the end, you are going to groan out how much you need to redo in the beginning when you were just learning to waddle.

So what should you do instead?

Identify the One Thing that is the center of your design.

What is it, that ONE thing that you are most excited about with the story you want to tell? It can be a part of the story theme, a character, the world?

Then build a small game around that one thing.

Feature the World. Or the character. Build the whole game around that one thing, and have it be maybe a couple of hours. Get experience FINISHING something.

For example, the sprawling epic in my notebook, the key center of it, is the idea of sentient swords that are magical focuses, in a world where magic without one is very very limited. It leads to a culture of magical knight type people. I could make a small game that focuses specifically on that culture. Pick a time period in the storyline, make a small, more minor character, and write a shorter story that introduces everyone to the world. This could make a great small game.

Now, the important thing:

Avoid Story Creep

Its so easy, so, so easy to start with something small, and then you think of a new idea that enhances it. And then another new idea that enhances it. And another new idea. And another. And eventually, you are back to having an epic again.

You have to avoid doing this. Now, one idea, two, isn’t a problem. Implement the ones that are the best and try to ignore the ones that don’t enhance your game, or enhance it only very little. You can’t do everything.

skyrim-over-encumbered

Its a similar idea, but you can’t just equip +50 encumbrance boots in real life.

Do you have experience with starting small and finishing a game? Do you have experience with starting large and… well never finishing? Some other experience with your first game? Tell us in the comments below!

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