Sunday, December 6, 2015

New Project: Unnamed RPG Maker MV Game!

It's been a while since I last posted anything on this blog and a lot of projects have come and gone in the meantime. The simple fact of things is that I've been busy (getting a new job, moving, having a baby, etc). But it's time to start a new project, this time in RPG Maker MV!

RPG Maker Again?

When I was a kid, I went over to my buddy Drew's house a lot. One day, Drew showed me some weird, half-translated program he'd downloaded somewhere called RPG Maker 95. From there, my life was changed forever.

This past October, Degica released the new RPG Maker MV! It boasts a number of improvments over previous iterations, most notably replacing RGSS3 (their proprietary Ruby build) with JavaScript (something I'm much more familiar with as a web developer) and mobile app export capabilities (though as it turns out there are some significant downsides to this).

To get used to the application, I've decided to make a small game in it. If possible, I'd like to release it on my new (upcoming) website. I figure I'd like to document the steps I'm taking as a way of thinking through things a bit more.

Oh, So The Game Makes Itself For You With RPG Maker?

No. No, no, no, no, no. It vastly lowers the barrier to getting started, sure, but making a good RPG Maker game is hugely more difficult than what people typically expect when they hear about this tool for the first time. With this lower barrier to entry, lots of people pump out low-effort games and perpetuate this other weird perception that games made with RPG Maker can't be good (some Steam releases sure haven't helped with this). It would be more accurate to say that games made with RPG Maker can more easily be bad. If you look at good RPG Maker games you'll see that not only are they possible, but they can be downright amazing! They just take a lot more effort.

What Makes Your Game So Good?

The games I linked above are both VERY customized. They have custom art assets, custom music, and a lot of time and effort poured into their mechanics. As evidenced elsewhere on this site, I am not great at spriting or drawing and it may surprise you to discover I am not good at making music either. The most I can hope for is to make a game with some interesting mechanics and then to make it available for little or no money (this is a complicated topic that I'll expand on later as the game draws closer to completion).

What Mechanics Are You Offering Then?

I'm going to be combining things I've learned from past projects documented on this blog and elsewhere to create a short, open-ended adventure with the following neat ideas:

  • Multiple paths story paths
  • Class based skill system
  • Monster ecosystem and population modelling
  • Light supply & demand modelling

This is all subject to change, of course, and I'll be expanding upon these ideas more later, but I think this is a good starting point. Please look forward to my next entry where I'll discuss the game's critical path.

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