Suggestion 15 years later and too little has changed

starcrescendo

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I'm working on the MZ trial, I only have a few days left, I'm on the fence about paying for the new version vs just sticking with MV. It may have no bearing on anything, but I have to share my (similar) experiences and hope that it might have some effect in the next new maker. Because MZ ain't that new. And MV wasn't really that new. And VX Ace wasn't really that new. And VX wasn't really that new.

When I first heard MZ was released, everyone seemed to write it off as a revised MV so I didn't pay too much attention. I had created several games on MV, but fizzled out on RPG development. Now, thanks to COVID, and having a bit more free time, some of those passions have been renewed, and so I came back to the RPG Maker community. I downloaded the MZ trial, and now that I have actually experienced that firsthand, the classification of "revised MV" it is very true with a caveat; the upgrades MZ offers over MV are definitely well worth the money.

Adding plugin commands into the editor is a game changer. Being able to have simple things like a Name box window without typing various strange \N \i commands over and over is a game changer. Listing all the events on the map in one easy-to-navigate list on the side? We have manual multiple layers again!? Game changer. Changing the screen resolution, better performance, heck even having a full RTP! (I remember when MV came out and there was like 4 default items in the database!)

I found a lot to love about MZ, but at the end of the day, its all things that "make the editor less annoying to use". MZ definitely should have been a free upgrade to MV. I think it was owed to those who supported MV. MZ does not stand on its own as a "new" editor. You can now rearrange maps in the sidebar? It's literally embarrassing that is a "new feature" when it should have been there to start. The only thing that makes it stand on its own is: "surprise - none of your old plugins work" and "hey, by the way, now the most popular plugins are behind a $100 paywall." (I know that's nothing to do with RPGM but still.) The "revolutionary" new feature is the new animation plugin, which I have not messed with yet, but since that is such a small niche part of the engine, and its now being relegated to a 3rd party software is head-scratching.

The next editor NEEDS to be NEW. It needs to be revolutionary. The engine needs to improve with more QoL improvements, but it also needs to introduce NEW features. I'm not going to say 3D, because I think that is outside the scope of this engine. In fact, I'm not sure what those revolutionary features would be, but I think looking at the variety of plugins that are popular and recreated for every single maker since XP might be a good place to start. As for engine QoL improvements, a few suggestions:

  1. Why is the message window NOT a rich text editor in 2021? Why is there even a need for \commands and why can't I preview images in the editor directly? I should be able to write in HTML code since that is the basis for the editor now and switch between a WYSIWYG editor and code view like many other applications. Why doesn't the game have wordwrapping? I gotta manually place linebreaks or "guess" how much space could be taken up by a variable name.

  2. Why are parts of the editor still a frustrating series of modal dialogue boxes when nearly every other application out there has embraced using panels as a best UI practice? If I'm within an event and making a Set Move Route... command, there are 3-4 modal popups covering up everything I'm trying to look at which is even more frustrating when you have to #3:

  3. Why isn't there built-in path finding? Why do we manually have to count every single tile to tell every single character exactly where to stand for a cutscene? Why can't I tell an event to "go here" and then face "this way"?

  4. Why isn't there built-in lighting effects? Shadows? I love the shadow pen, but its glitchy more times than not.

  5. Why does the battler spritesheet have all these great poses, but we cannot access them outside of battle in any way? Furthermore, why can't we specify the amount of frames or choose the region used for actions in any sort of easy way? Customizing side view battle animations is relegated to a plugin since the feature has been introduced.

  6. Why are we missing some very basic features that were in old RPG makers such as recoloring a spritesheet or battler? Admittedly, they old versions weren't good, but why was the feature dropped instead of fixing it and, for instance, integrating the new color pallets?

  7. Why are all of the provided graphics so limiting? Why does the character editor variation of characters look so derpy but the "created" characters have great shading, personality, etc. The generated characters, almost always look like poop. Why can't we get the "parts" of the cover characters within the generator so everything is consistent? How about emotions? A basic generic face, happy face, sad face, and angry face would be a tremendous start. And why do some elements that show on the portrait just not show up on the other sprites/battlers?

  8. Along with that, who in God's creation decided my faces have to be 576x288? Why can't I change the size of tiles, or faces, admittedly to my own detriment because none of the RTP stuff would work, but why is this something so basic but hardcoded into the engine unchangeable without a doctorate's degree in Javascript programming?

  9. Why does every iteration RTP drop the old characters completely instead of building and expanding upon the characters. Imagine if all the previous maker RTPs were included, or even optimized/upgraded graphically, to match the new style? But even if not, I think RPGM should have a "style" choice where you can choose to use the XP character style and tiles and it should just automatically work.

  10. Why can't tilesheets work like the character generator, whereby you can select individual tiles for a spreadsheet by importing/exporting the base tilesheet? It would make it a lot easier/nicer to be able to manager tilesheets from the UI - have one "compiled" tilesheet of whichever tiles you actually want to use. Your tilesheet folder would then be just a folder of each individual 48x48 or whatever tile. Maybe autotiles have a special designation so when brought in the editor it knows to animate that specific tile?

  11. Why can't facesets be mirrored, automatically? Why are the characters still defaulting to looking away from the message they're saying?

  12. Without "Visustella" why is there 0 options or customizations of the default menus? After all these years the best we can do is change the color of the menus through the editor?

  13. In the editor itself, why is there 0 customization of the program at all? I never use the audio manager. I don't need cut/copy/paste icons. The "open" button is right next to the "save button" and I constantly hit the wrong one. Why when every other program allows you to customize the interface, is RPG Maker so stuck in the past with its old architecture that even basic moving of menu items is not allowed. What if I want to add Yanfly's awesome Quest system? Why can't said plugin have permission to create a panel for me that makes seeing and managing quests easier?

Those would be my suggestions/questions to the developers.
 

Aerosys

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Without "Visustella" why is there 0 options or customizations of the default menus? After all these years the best we can do is change the color of the menus through the editor?
Yup, I think that's the reason. The RPG Maker's developers don't need to upgrade the Maker when there are volunteered developers out there doing that for them.

Back to topic, I also think the Maker's Database is too hard-coded. E.g. why are skills either "magical" or "physical"? Why can't I add my own ones? Why are tilesets and the grid fixed? Well okay, 48x48 is okay, but what if I just want more or less?

So, these are things that even Plugin programmers cannot change.
 

JGreene

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I'm sure rewriting the editor code to add more options, features, and flexibility is against the EULA. However, given that Degica/Enterbrain/Kadokawa and whoever etc basically have a monopoly on the pixel based RPG making market, it could be a smart move to open up the editor to be fully customizable. For example, anything you see you can right click and edit properties which brings up the blocks of code pertaining to that element. From there you just change what you want, within reason and proper logic so you don't crash the program. Or better yet, give an extensive list of options to select on making a new project. Pick your tile size, sprite configuration/size, hard-coded types for items, equipment, skills, etc. And for everyone's sake, a larger or expandable "Notes" section. Dunno if that's a thing in MZ, I don't own it.

TLDR: Full flexibility and editing of every line of code including what the developers have access to would be a literal game changer. It's all still copyrighted, they'd just have to pay a little more attention to who's doing what.
 

Frogboy

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And for everyone's sake, a larger or expandable "Notes" section.
They already solved this issue when they improved the plugin parameters with MV 1.5.0 and beyond. I'm surprised that anyone still uses the Notes box anymore. The current method is way more powerful and user-friendly.
 

JGreene

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@Frogboy I was referring to the section that you can put action sequences and such in. Is there a better way to do that?
 

Frogboy

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@Frogboy I was referring to the section that you can put action sequences and such in. Is there a better way to do that?
There is but it's up to the plugin developers to get the data from the plugin parameters instead of the note boxes. When Yanfly originally wrote the action sequences, the 1.5 plugin manager didn't exist yet so he didn't have a choice. I guess he never brought that up to date if it's still using note tags.

The note box is completely unnecessary now, in my opinion. The information is harder for the user to input and harder for the developer to extract. Needless to say, I don't use them for anything anymore.
 

Dev_With_Coffee

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Why are we missing some very basic features that were in old RPG makers such as recoloring a spritesheet or battler? Admittedly, they old versions weren't good, but why was the feature dropped instead of fixing it and, for instance, integrating the new color pallets?
The only part that I really agree with you so far.
You mean saturation and hue right? I really missed this system, it allowed to use a single enemy sprite to create 2 or 3 variations of it.
 

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