Guest Post by Molly from iD Tech

Education has come a long way since my K-12 days over a decade ago. When I roamed the beige-bricked walls of my secondary education, “computer” class was an elective—my best friend informed me he was going to be “Microsoft certified,” and I nodded along as though I had a clue what he was talking about. Certification, neat! Despite my lack of interest in certification, I was a computer enthusiast: I played online games and used Photoshop for my art.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but there was a lot going on in my quest to keep myself entertained: I was learning, and I was having fun doing it.


One of my favorite software to use is RPG Maker VX Ace—I fell in love with it several years ago—and I was hyped when RPG Maker MV was released. Unlike many game creation tools on the market, RPG Maker MV allows the user to jump right in and start creating with no art or programming skills required. It’s approachable, intuitive, and the best part? It’s got enough depth for an advanced user to make a great game.

Pretend you’re eleven: it’s Monday morning, your first day of camp. Your outfit is on point, and you’re excited for some tech awesomeness.


And maybe this is how you expect camp to go:


Of course, it’s not that simple. When designing a game, there are countless elements that go into it: story, visuals, game mechanics, character design, level design—the list goes on and on. The journey from idea to game usually looks a bit more like this:


Because of the complexity of game design, producing a game is rarely a straight and narrow path. With RPG Maker, a lot of mechanics are handled for the first time user, so the curriculum for Role-Playing Game Design with RPG Maker is tailored for the student to meet objectives beyond hunkering down to learn JavaScript.

Quick student engagement is what our curriculum is all about—remember, you’re 11. You don’t want to sit around and read, you want to create! Right from the start, students are jumping in the software to meet specific objectives—the first of which is to create an environment for their game.


Maps are made with tilesets, or small images that can be laid together to create an entire map. Grass, trees, cafe signs, buildings, rivers? RPG Maker has it! Students spend time Monday morning planning the player’s path through the game and evaluating how to use the environment to guide the player along; right from the start, students are utilizing their abundant creativity and critical thinking skills to cater the map towards a goal.

The core of games built in RPG Maker use events and switches, and here’s where the magic really happens. Think of an event as a container for all of the actions that happen in a game: dialogue, quests, puzzles, animations, the like. Switches add an extra degree of control to events, allowing you to have many paths for how the game plays out.


Events and switches are really the bread and butter of RPG Maker. Students will spend most of their time here to complete objectives, from creating a unique boss battle to writing and organizing events to doing ‘cinematic’ style cutscenes.

Let’s look at a student project in action. In a world where cats are disappearing, it’s up to one person to bring them back to their owners! But first—we need a companion. Someone strong. Someone cool. Someone who likes cats.


To add flavor to the story, we can get creative with switches. We can write our event so that the character will only join us if a condition is met.

What this event boils down to is a simple form of logic, one that’s used in programming: if I wear sweet new hat, then they join our party, else do nothing.

If I was going to program my game in Java, it would look like this:


The function above says, “If the player has a cool hat, then the second character joins the party.”

You can see this below in RPG Maker: a switch, “hasCoolHat” is turned on, and in the Contents, “Change Party Member” adds our second character.


image 6

Learning this logic early on is a great STEM skill (science, technology, engineering, and math). This logic can even make understanding more robust skills—like JavaScript—easier to achieve. Other programs that include this simplified approach towards programming are Scratch and Tynker, and just like those programs, we can go a lot more complex.

A switch has two options, ON or OFF. What if you wanted to have more? That’s where variables come in. A variable can have an infinite amount of options. This is another programming concept: a variable stores a value, which RPG Maker will call when the event is executed. The variable can keep track of gameplay: if you have a quest that needs to know how many cats have been rescued, this is where variables shine.


Math is one of many components of programming; in RPG Maker, character damage is determined by formulas like the one below:

a.atk * 4 – b.def  * 2

These formulas can be made up of different operators, +, -, *, /, %; these are, of course, also used in programming. Not only do students do a bit of simple math to determine how their abilities perform in gameplay, they’re learning bits and pieces of programming to put towards their STEM education.

Phew! That was pretty intense, and that’s not nearly all there is to RPG Maker—in fact, we’ve barely scratched the surface. Students can choose a variety of paths when working with RPG Maker. From skill and event creation heavily rooted in logic and math, to world-building and character design to explore their craziest (and coolest) ideas! And because RPG Maker is approachable and intuitive, they’ll learn some great 21st century skills—like problem-solving and innovation—that they can take with them to university and beyond.

The hardest part about RPG Maker, I think, is to stop creating with it. If 16-year-old me had this tool at her disposal, I can only imagine what kind of awesome worlds she would have created.



With this week’s releases, we want to focus on bringing new sounds to your game. We have two new packs to enhance the audio quality of your game, so let’s check them out!


Our first new sounds will bring your monsters to life. With Creature Features SFX, Joel Steudler brings you 235 sound effects covering growls, snarls, roars, attacks, and more!

A variety of monsters are included, from insectoids to aliens, from creatures of the deep to powerful land predators.


For our second new pack, Murray Atkinson delivers more excellent tunes with Epic Strings!

Epic Strings features 14 fantastic pieces built from the cello, violin, and harps to have a superb orchestral sound. This pack contains plenty of pieces for battle, exploration, horror, and many more situations.

Murray Atkinson and Joel Steudler continue to be the one-two punch of RPG Maker sounds. Make sure to check these packs out!


Manga Maker ComiPo! is the easy way for anyone to make comics, and it is about to become even better.

A major update is on the way, and we’re going to look at two cool new features in this preview.

If there has been one thing plaguing Manga Maker ComiPo! It was a lack of diversity. Well that lack is now gone. Now you can create your own Manga version of an Andy Warhol painting.


This update makes changing the skintone of your characters super duper easy. All you have to do is select the piece in your frame and open up the change skin color box. From there, you can quickly choose one of the presets, or really get into it and adjust the tone manually with RGB sliders.


With this new, easy to use tool, bringing the diversity of the world to your comic has never been easier!

And for the second new feature: ComiPo now includes a quick way to create animated GIFs and AVI files from the frames of your comic!


All you have to do is click File => Export to Movie and pick a few simple options!


And you have a GIF ready to go. You can also quick tweet GIFs out using the existing tweet feature.

This opens up a lot of creative freedom to make comics in ways that are unique to the digital medium.

This update is coming soon for existing owners of ComiPo! If you haven’t had the chance to check out ComiPo! this is as good of time as any to jump in. Learn more on Steam!





So one of the things  I told myself I would work on, is improving my skill with battle eventing. I’ve never really used it much, even though I’ve been using RPG Maker for longer than some of our users have been alive.

Battle events handle much like normal events, most of it is just basic logic.

For this tutorial, I am going to make an event in which if Harold is still alive, and all his other party members are dead at the end of a turn, he powers up, because all his friends are dead.


I really should have grabbed an emotion faceset, he looks surprisingly OK with it all.

You could use this same event for a transformation skill. Or maybe when everyone else is knocked out, it adds a skill that lets the character transform into a superhero now that no one will see them change (This was used by Red in SaGa Frontier). The basics of this event, though, can be used to learn how to do many other battle events. So let’s get started.

The first thing we need to do is make the State that will be applied to Harold. This is pretty simple. Just add a state, give it an icon, and add all the bonuses you want it to give. I’m going to have it increase all stats by 50% and give him 10% HP and MP regeneration.


I also set it to remove at the end of the battle. Don’t want him gaining permanent awesomeness from it happening one time.

The next thing we need, is a skill that Harold can use to put this state on himself.

A quick, very important note: DO NOT GIVE THIS SKILL TO HAROLD! This skill will instead be triggered by the battle event.


This skill is also pretty simple. Scope: the user, set an animation, Add State: All My Friends Are Dead. No costs. Certain Hit, and then write a use message.

After this, we just need our Battle Event. Battle Events are created in the Troops section. Each Troop has their own set of battle events. If you want something to happen in EVERY battle, you will either have to copy it across to every Battle Event, or use a Plugin like this one from Yanfly. I highly suggest the use of Yanfly’s scripts, though I will not be using it for this demo.

The first thing we need to do is change the trigger for the Battle event to “Turn End” this will have it run the event at the end of every single turn of combat.


The next thing I need to do, is start thinking: What all does this event need to check?

This event should have him use the skill if ALL of these conditions are true:

  1. Harold is in the Party
  2. Harold is NOT dead.
  3. Harold is NOT already under the effect of All My Friends Are Dead.
  4. There are other people in Harold’s Party.
  5. All of the other Party Members are Dead.

So, the first thing we need to do is make some Conditional Branches. We’ll need to use the else branch for some of these, to indicate that it only happens if it is NOT. Let’s set up for the first three conditions.


We’ll be working the rest of the event inside that Else Branch. With the nesting branches, all of this will only happen if Harold is not already under the effect, he is in the party, and he is alive.

The next thing to check is, how many people are in the party, and how many of them are KOed. We can do this very quickly. The first thing to do is to set a Party Size variable to the number of characters in the party. You can find this under “Other: Party Members’ in Variable Controls. The second is to create a variable that when it is equal to this number, the skill will go off.

Since we won’t be counting Harold (he needs to be alive), we’ll set the trigger variable to 1. Now, we can reference each party member and ask “Is he/she in the party, if so, is she dead, if so, Add 1 to the Trigger variable.”

Do this for all party members you have.


Now we just have to check and make sure that Harold isn’t alone, and if all the other party members are dead, by checking if Party Size > 1, and if Party Size == Dead Friends Trigger.

And for a final touch, add in a message and have it force Harold to use the skill (Random target is fine, as it chooses from only one valid target, the user)!


And that is everything. Now our Hero powers up when all his friends are dead. Want to learn more? Check out the demo for a closer look.

How have you used battle eventing? What tricks have you learned? Have any questions about the tutorial? Join us in the comments below.



Medieval Fantasy is great, but perhaps there are just a few too many fantasy games in the RPG genre? Feeling like you want to try something else?

Well, we have 3 new packs that will take you into the modern era, and beyond!


First up, we have the Sci-Fi Battlers 2 Pack by Michael Rookard! This pack adds 19 battlers matching the style of Rookard’s previous Sci-Fi Battler and Sci-Fi Battleback packs. Created in a brilliant painted style, these battlers will bring your world to life.

Buy all three packs, and get a large collection of Sci-Fi combat pieces to create your entire game!


And that Sci-Fi game is going to need some atmosphere, so bring it out with Joel Steudler’s Futuristic Atmospheres Vol 2! A sequel to Futuristic Atmospheres, this pack adds even more ambient music, drones, and soundscapes to complement your game.

Whether you need the background sounds of an alien landscape, a spaceship, or a quiet trip through hyperspace, this pack has it.


If one thing is overlooked in a lot of games, it is SFX. There is an entire background to our lives: doors, cars, cooking, birds, bugs, and more. And Joel Steudler is here to bring that to your game as well with the Modern Day SFX pack!

This pack contains 450 sound effects to bring your modern game to life formatted for RPG Maker VX Ace or MV.

With these three packs, you’ll be well on your way to bringing your game to the 21st Century, and beyond!


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!