Advice on What to Do When You Don't Know What You Want Your RPG Maker Game to be

Anthem

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Agh. Just thinking about all the things I want to do with my game really frustrate me to no end.

Right now I'm trying to make a VX Ace game where an OC has to travel with a few Video Game characters on a mission. The problem is that I don't know what I even want to do with it or how I want to go about it at all beyond that and every time I think that "Yes this might be what I want.", a few hours later I think "No. This isn't it. Nobody would like this crap." I keep thinking I have characters I want then I realize I want some other characters instead. I keep having a series of skills and then I think that's way too much and they'd be too similar. It's really something that is demotivating me HARD and making me want to just give up. Not helped is the fact that I have no experience in making my own sprites. Please. I beg everyone here... What should I do!? Should I just give up and just stop trying because I feel like that's the best option right now.
 

ravenhood

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select the idea that you want to do the most and spend 3 days to work on it. After that, if you still feel like you want to go with that idea, go for it, if not, repeat the process with another idea
 

mishakoc

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I know exactly what you're going through. If you feel like you have no direction, you just make stuff along the way ect., I'd suggest you take a small break from this game until you know what you want from it. For now, you could try to make a smaller game where you set the scope. You could even try the one map challenge where you are only allowed to use 10 events, variables and switches. Or set your own restrictions. You could give yourself a time limit for finishing. 2 days? 14 days? You can limit other things as well. Using only 5 maps 17x13, 2-3 skills for each character, or you only use one main character, 5 items... And do your best to plan everything beforehand. It doesn't have to mean you need to have literally everything planned. What happens in the beginning, middle, end? What items are you going to need? What are they for? What monsters are going to be in the game? What are their special skills? What are the NPCs saying, etc.
This will teach you have to have better focus and won't overwhelm you as much. If you have problem with brainstorming, just write anything that comes to mind down. It gets easier.
Just remember to have fun with it. You won't want to continue if game making is not fun anymore. :)
 

Soulrender

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Search Inspiration in books/movies/animes/tv series that have similar setting you like the most.

I like fantasy setting, so in my project I combined few things from anime, character personalities from books I read and entire world I created was based on combinantion of everything else.
 

mchangin

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You could consider reading this comic by Yanfly, I think it's great advice

If you start creating your game through the antagonist first, you get to create the conflict that your characters have to tackle from top to bottom; That way you might just be able to get a rough idea of the progression required of your characters to reach the boss, and find ways to highlight how your new party members can shine while tackling said problems.
 

Dororo

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Flame away everything from your mind and go back to the roots. It happen to any creator everyday.
It look like an overboost of inspiration, but is the exact opposite: you're mind is assembling ideas on top of a missing concept.
Focus a bit and go back to the roots.
"My game is about a girl lost in a forest..." and adhere strictly to this. It can be simple like that. Most great stories are even simplest.
Don't expand vertically, but horizontally. The girl is...? The wood is...?
Focus on what could make this girl interesting. Focus on what USUALLY make ANY girl interesting. The same for the forest. Why people are so fascinated by forests, or scared by?
Rock solid concepts.
If the core concept can't stand on his own legs, go even deeper.
What's an RPG? What's a game?
Probably the ending thing will be very far from your starting idea: that's good. Starting ideas sucks.
Mechanics come later. Even TETRIS start from a concept, and not by his own mechanics.

And stop asking yourself if other people will like the thing. Is not your responsibility. As a creator, your duty is to create the thing the better you can, not to satisfy people. Once you devote yourself to devise strong core concepts and delivering them the better you can, you'll focus more on making something than waiting for validation.
 

Milennin

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Just don't think about whether or not other people will like it. Think about what you want to see in your own game. Unless, of course, you plan on selling it...
If you got too many ideas, you could always plan on doing different parts, so you don't have to put in everything at once.
 

Wavelength

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Step back. Close your game for a moment. Right now you have too many ideas and not enough direction. Think hard - and take hours or even a few days if you need to - about what you really want your game to center around, the one single thing you really want players to be able to experience when they play your game, more than anything else.

I am not talking about the overall concept or summary for your game, but rather something more specific - it could be a rich game mechanic, a specific emotion players will feel the whole way through, a single plot point that is rich enough other plot points could build up to it, a relationship between two characters, a twist on an existing genre convention, or an especially cool aspect of the world you've created that affects the way everyone in it lives and thinks.

That's a really good first step. Now that you've figured out the core of what your game should be about, you have a "north star" - something to give you direction whenever you're not sure about whether to include something or where to go next. Take a few more days without opening RPG Maker, and write down (either on paper or on a computer document) the different story points, mechanics, places, characters, and game dynamics that would play well with this single focus you came up with above. Don't take too long stuck in design - within 3-5 days you definitely want to be starting to construct the things you've come up with in RPG Maker. You can continue to do some additional design on the side as you come up with further ideas that this north star inspires and to write them down, but don't take too long away from the engine.

Depending on how much work you've already put into your game, it might be worth starting over in RPG Maker so you can build this idea up instead of trying to retrofit something that already exists. I'd say if you've put less than 200 hours in to building your game, start from the ground up, and rescue certain elements from your existing file that do fit your new design. If you're already more than 200 hours in, do a very thorough review of everything you have created already. Be honest with yourself about whether it still fits your new design. If it doesn't, copy it to a blank "reserve" project you can draw from in the future but delete it from this project. If it does fit well, keep it around and work it into your game.

Finally, as you work, remember the power of the idea you came up with. Remember why you wanted to share it with people, and why you believed they would love that thing. Keep that in mind, and don't doubt yourself anymore. Doubt is a strong force that can creep in as you toil away at something for a long time. It can make you believe things that aren't there and disbelieve things that are. As long as you stick close to your north star - the killer idea you came up with when you asked yourself honestly what you want the major appeal of your game to be - people will end up liking your finished game more than you think they will.

You can ask for the opinion of friends that you trust along the way, but remember that your game will keep getting better and better even beyond what you show them, so if they give you tepid opinions or constructive criticism, take that into account and just keep banging away at making it better. Because it will keep getting better and better as long as you keep focusing it on that killer idea.
 

Anthem

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Thanks for all the advice... but I think I'm just going to call it quits on trying to make anything with RPG Maker... mainly because I can't do anything at all. Can't script. Can't sprite. Can't make good maps. No point in trying if you're just always going to fail.
 

Wavelength

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The problem is that I don't know what I even want to do with it or how I want to go about it at all beyond that and every time I think that "Yes this might be what I want.", a few hours later I think "No. This isn't it. Nobody would like this crap."
Thanks for all the advice... but I think I'm just going to call it quits on trying to make anything with RPG Maker... mainly because I can't do anything at all. Can't script. Can't sprite. Can't make good maps. No point in trying if you're just always going to fail.
Are you sure that you're not just getting down on yourself, while you actually have some good ideas or game elements in there?
 

TheoAllen

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This happens when your expectation surpasses your skill. Take a look back at when you were young. You were happy with everything you did because you didn't expect anything. Now, you grew up, you realized that thing was suck and you embarrassed to admit that it was yours or your deed. You can not do it anymore because you know the better and your current skill simply can not do it.

To be honest, this is fine. This is normal. I believe many people struggle in this phase as well. Some people tried too hard to learn so that they could meet their expectations and standard so they learned a new skill or improve their existing skills. Some give up because they believe it wasn't their field and they seek a better alternative.

If you want to call it quits, that is fine too. Perhaps you perform better in another field. Perhaps you have another hobby that makes you happy other than struggle to make the game you never satisfied with. I will just put an emphasis on one sentence. Don't make this as a source of your depression.

If you still want to continue, perhaps you want to take another approach. Forget about making a game you want to make. Forget about whether people are going to like your game. Completing a game is not a mandatory deed you should do as an RPG Maker user. Take a step back as to why doing RPG Maker is fun. Perhaps you could try to discover something, like making scripts or making plugins. Maybe challenge yourself to make something. Maybe try to start to try how to make sprites out of curiosity. Maybe try to write a novel or try to make a movie from RPG Maker out of pure eventing. Maybe try to compose your own music. And all the things you could do ...
 

KakonComp

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I'd take some time away from it, focusing on other things in the meantime.
What I personally do is get a feel for a game idea that manifests based on my passions in life.

One example could be listening to music in general, and you hear something that illuminates the light-bulb over your head; suddenly you're inspired enough to make a game that invokes the same feeling you just felt from simply taking the time to listen to music and unwind.

Of course, my example works for me because I've always loved music and am rarely without it in my day to day. Think about something you definitely wouldn't want to live without, and allow that something to inspire you.
 

bgillisp

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Remember everything comes with practice, all of our games when we first started out had many places to improve. Maybe focus on improving one skill and leave everything else a placeholder for your game? Then once you get good at that, then try to improve another?
 

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