Advice you don't agree with?

The Stranger

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@tiabuni Yeah. Just because you have god-like control over your characters and setting, doesn't mean you should force these things to behave in ways that contradict what you've already established. People often use the word realism to describe this, but I prefer internal consistency because realism can also make people think you want something to reflect the real world, our world.
 

Tai_MT

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More advice I don't agree with:

Your game needs to be X hours long!
Maybe there are players out there who want a really long epic game. I don't begrudge them this. But, from my experience, the longer a game is... the more it tends to... drag on. That is... the less compelling it gets over time. The more I don't feel like finishing it.

As such, I don't feel the need to craft games of X hours. I think the advice should be, "your game should only be as long as you have content for".

If your story wraps up in 4 hours and you don't have anything else to do? Great. Polish those 4 hours and let me at it. I'd love to play a 4 hour memorable game I had fun with.

If your gameplay is compelling enough to deliver me 500 hours of Multiplayer content without DLC... FANTASTIC! I'll play for 500 hours and enjoy myself.

I will never buy a game that boasts "X amount of hours of content!". I will never design a game that boasts hours of content. I will boast about my actual game features. I will advertise the parts I think will draw in most people. A story about Y, systems that do Z, Combat that works like A, B, C. How long is my game?

Personally, I would rather play 5 games of 10 hours a piece that were fantastic than 1 game of 50 hours that was great for the first 20 hours and quickly went downhill after that.

Your game needs X amount of sophistication!
This is a general one which will cover a lot of different pieces of advice I've seen and just don't agree with. Things like "combat needs to be challenging!". It doesn't. "Characters need to be deep and have an arc!". No, they really don't. "Villains need to be humanized rather than cartoonishly evil". No, they don't.

I understand the desire some people have of wanting to play what equates to "high brow" games, but it's not advice I ever subscribe to.

Look, I enjoy sophisticated games as much as I enjoy "turn off your brain" games. There are games for every mood and every type of player. My tastes tend to run the gamut.

All I care is that your game is fun. You don't need to throw $5 words at me in the dialogue. You don't need to make a complex character customization with a sprawling skill tree. You don't need a villain who can be sympathized with.

I see no reason people should be gatekeeping with specific forms of sophistication in their games. Gatekeeping that really only serves to allow some devs to view themselves as better than others.

Heck, I enjoyed the crap out of "Destroy All Humans!" and will continue to enjoy it. It's low-brow humor, simplistic gameplay, and cartoonish characters that are obvious parody to the point of being "dad jokes". It's a fun game, so I will play it.

Can't write a story? You don't need one.
Can't create compelling characters? You don't need to.
Can't code an advanced combat system for tactical fighting? You don't need it.

All you need is a fun game.

If your game is the equivalent of a popcorn action flick on Summer Release... I'll be there.

To that end, I don't take advice that ever hints I shouldn't be making the video game equivalent of a Sylvester Stallone movie.

Remove limitations!
Personally, I am a fan of limitations. I will try to code something myself in the engine before I ever go get a plugin for it. If I can figure out how to code it, then I've learned some valuable things about the engine I'm working with that I can use in other places.

I tend to embrace my limitations. They breed creativity within me. "How do I make X work with Y limitations?".

I tend to roll my eyes at people who give a response to a question about how to do something in an engine with, "Here, get this plugin to do it.".

I, personally, find the experience of having to figure things out more valuable than someone just coming along and giving me the easy solution.

I also think it would be a valuable experience for most users to have to embrace the limitations of the engine and try to figure out how to work around them in order to be better at using it.
 

bgillisp

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@Tai_MT : I should point out that in my experience if you don't post how long the game is, you will get spammed with posts asking how long it is. For some players that is critical. So I'd say you should at least post an estimate, but don't make it the main focus.

Plus I can make a really long game just by using the generator for 500 x 500 maps, and 1 step encounters with long battles. Would it be good? No.
 

Tai_MT

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@bgillisp I'll keep that in mind. I know some people want longer games so that they can feel they "got their money's worth". But, since I work for a living, I'm less interested in how long it will take me to finish your game and more interested in whether or not I will even WANT to finish your game.
 

The Stranger

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Yeah, some of the most frequently asked questions on newly released games on Steam are about total playtime. A lot of people are still stuck in that whole many hours = good value for money mindset.
 

Bernkastelwitch

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For me, I don't care too much about play time. Only time I care about it is if I want an esitmate on how long it'd take to beat the game on average when play testing. I want to focus on wanting to tell the story and game I want to tell.

It doesn't matter if my game is five hours, ten, fifteen, or longer. As long as I get it done and the flow is natural, I am happy. No need to artificially extend the length of a game to hit some criteria.
 

The Stranger

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@Bernkastelwitch I fully agree with you. I've enjoyed some extremely short games and haven't regretted spending money on them. However, there's a fair number of people out there who'd look at a five hour game and turn their noses up at it.

"Five hours! You having a laugh? It's barely worth £2.99 for that."

They don't seem to value anything but the amount of time they can put into something. It's really bad for RPGs, where anything less than 60 hours is laughed at for some weird reason.
 
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bgillisp

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@The Stranger Its funny too as they will shell out $19.99 for a 90 minute movie. In fact if someone says that to me I will tell them to not buy another movie then based on that.
 

TheoAllen

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I'm one of the people who value games based on playtime. And by that, I don't mean the actual time to finish the game, but the time I spend on the game, the experience I get from the game, until I get bored of it, whether or not I finish the game. I don't care about finishing any game, to be honest. Mind you, I got bored pretty quick most of the time.

If the game has over 100 hours of playtime despite me replaying the game all over again (because somehow I'm addicted), then I'm willing to pay more.

Despite me being here and using RPG Maker, RPG is not actually my main choice of game to play, and that is probably why.

I don't feel ashamed to have this mindset.

That said, I do agree to make your game as long as it needs to be. No need to artificially extend the length.
 

Indinera

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On the topic of length, I understand a short RPG is unlikely to get enough time to properly develop an interesting cast and story, several characters, all their skills, spells and equipment.
So yeah, in most cases length matters in an RPG. Therefore it's normal and even expected to include playtime in the features list.
 

Mr. Detective

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Just gonna reply here, based on what I've read.

I make the game that I want to be made, for myself, and for other people out there, whoever, whatever, wherever they are, who like the same thing I do. It's my own entertainment, first and foremost, and for other people second. It's like cooking. I like spicy and sour soup-dishes. Of course, when I cook, it's gonna be something hella spicy and sour. Many people will not like it, but there should still be a number of people who likes that same kind of dish. Social validation is good, but be careful when you prioritize it above your personal satisfaction.
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This is not to say you should completely disregard the players' feedback, or not take into account what you make might not be very appealing.

Maybe no one will like what I make. Who knows? But it's a risk that everyone must take when putting their game out there. It's not a job to me. If you are making a commercial game, then maybe you ought to take extra caution. But if not, feel free to go ham.
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Life is short, your free time is also limited. Don't waste time doing something you don't really like and then end up quitting on it. Wanna make a Mega Man fan game with ripped resources? Go for it.

The only thing that allows me to push through these parts, is fantasizing about player's comments when they play the game, and express that they absolutely love it.
And so... I work on my games for myself. And I finish for others, for people who will play them.

I agree. However, if someone doesn't get as much feedback and reactions they fantasized about, at least not enough to keep them motivated to continue, then it can backfire and discourage them.
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Just speaking from personal experience. But I guess this is why you should release demo first. And lower your expectation, perhaps?

Also, "that guy" is more infamous that I thought, lol. Good riddance. This is what we are dealing with. Narcissism
And the forum doesn't lean as much to a certain political ideology as I thought. Heh.
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Not sure if this answers the thread's question, but it's regarding custom graphics vs RTP. If your custom graphics look like they were made in paint or even worse looking than RTP, I don't care for them. Bad stuff is bad, custom made or not. It's a matter of subjective taste, I guess. Some people have custom portraits for their characters instead of using the default graphics. And while that is admirable, I must admit that they are often very... not so good looking.
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If your custom graphics are worse than RTP, maybe reconsider what to use or who you hire.
 
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Indinera

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I make the game that I want to be made, for myself, and for other people out there, whoever, whatever, wherever they are, who like the same thing I do.

Perfectly summarized thank you. And a very sane and legit approach to game making B):thumbsup-left:
 

AphoticAmaranth

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I'm all for making the game you want to play, even if people think no one else will want to play it. After all, that's how some of my favourite games came to be. You'll never know if you never try.

On the topic of advice I don't agree with, replacing RTP is one of them. You paid for RM, which includes paying for RTP. How is that any different from buying/commissioning custom assets separately? Besides, the only people who will know what an "RTP" is are other RM users. If the RTP fits the game's aesthetic, just use it.

It's possible to have good games with RTP, as well as bad games with custom everything.
 

ericv00

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I'm all for making the game you want to play, even if people think no one else will want to play it. After all, that's how some of my favourite games came to be. You'll never know if you never try.

On the topic of advice I don't agree with, replacing RTP is one of them. You paid for RM, which includes paying for RTP. How is that any different from buying/commissioning custom assets separately? Besides, the only people who will know what an "RTP" is are other RM users. If the RTP fits the game's aesthetic, just use it.

It's possible to have good games with RTP, as well as bad games with custom everything.
I'm torn on this one. I see many games that look effectively the same. No doubt, they look the same to anyone browsing a storefront, list, or what have you. I have played many that sound the same. No doubt, audiences for these types of games will hear that too. And quite honestly, many games have very similar story lines.

Without a doubt, good games can be made using the stock materials. Just as good music can be made from heavily used samples.

I am a competent artist/graphic designer/musician, so there is no reason for me to not put my stamp of originality in a project. Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable doing anything else. But it is a LOT of work. And the story for my game is fairly stock standard in a lot of respects, so if it is going to stand out, it kind of requires a fresh visual aesthetic.

I think it is wise to custom a fair amount of stuff so your project stands out. Surely one could get away without customizing EVERYTHING, but enough to separate it from other games is pretty important.

The way I view RTP is as a workable stand-in until you can get things to replace it with. I struggle with it, though, since my characters are an odd size, so the tiles as designed don't work as a stand-in. I have to replace most things anyway to scale with my character designs.

...and those trees. They will haunt my nightmares. They are in nearly every single RPGMaker game I have ever played. And exist in almost every screenshot for promotional material. They're the first thing I edited when I started messing with RPGMaker.
 

SigmaSuccour

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I agree. However, if someone doesn't get as much feedback and reactions they fantasized about, at least not enough to keep them motivated to continue, then it can backfire and discourage them.
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Just speaking from personal experience.


This is essentially what I'm talking about.
Feedback.


It is depending on the feedback we get, that allows us to continue
or not, with what we are doing.
Feedback from yourself.
And,
Feedback from others.


Quick story:
Near one of my game's release, I realized it worked fine on my PC. But it didn't, on other people's PC.
And a small thing the player 'could' do, will break their save.
So I had to spent weeks, fixing this part. (Without much coding/technical experience or know how.)
I had to make sacrifices to my vision, to make the game more compatible, and optimized.

If I'm doing this for myself. There is absolutely zero feedback, for having optimized my game for other people's PC.
And I mean... Absolutely zero.

1. Because doing this sort of thing is giving me no self-feedback.
2. It's not improving my own experience of the game.
3. It's frustrating, and time consuming. (Time I could spend on more content, or another game.)
4. And I don't actually ever see the results of optimizing. (Because it works fine on my PC.)

Imagine working on something like that for weeks.
Where your brain is giving you no reason to continue doing it for yourself.
All while you have this other great idea of a game you can jump to and start working on.

So if you're afraid you're not going get any feedback after finishing your game. And it's going to make you quit.
Then you probably will quit before you even finish your game.
Because of the lack of self-feedback: not getting feedback from yourself.
Because again, there are parts in game making that you will get no self-feedback on. (Because it doesn't make any sense, to be doing them for yourself.)

Where as if you do those bits for others. Hoping for feedback. You actually get the job done.
Didn't get feedback from people after release? Yeah. I didn't.
Had to start and improve my marketing. :LZScheeze:
 
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C64_Mat

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Telling people not to make their dream game. If someone really wants to attempt something, let them. Many here are hobbyists with next to no intentions of becoming full time game devs or getting rich.

Does it really matter if they never finish? Not really. Does it matter if the end result isn't as good as they imagined it would be? Again, not really. However, if they enjoyed the experience then they haven't come away empty handed.

I think encouraging folk to work on things they have no interest in, though it might sound like sage advice, might make them throw in the towel even sooner than they would have if they had just stuck with their dream game. Because who wants to waste weeks or months (most likely of your spare time) doing something you don't care about?
Oh my GOD so much this!

I see it all the time, for every newcomer, and you know what? It's total bull crap.

Screw it. Go right in. Give your fantastic story ideas the space they need to breathe. Use two hundred plugins. Do it all - allow feature creep. Go big and overblown.

Some advice is so counter productive to creativity, and this is the big one.

You absolutely don't need to get something "under your belt". You don't need to make something small and crap before going bigger. You don't even need to learn the ropes.

A year ago I'd never dabbled in Ruby, JS or RPG Maker. Ever.

I went straight in. I didn't even know what an event was. I didn't know where the phrase RTP originated (which, for newbies, doesn't even exist anymore. They mean the default assets).

I now have my dream game well underway, with a great battle system, loads of plugins, artwork and music I've bought and paid for, complete evented sequences which look, sound and work great. I've got 46 weapons per category across six different categories, 48 dungeons, 20 towns, six playable characters, a good world, a great story, some fantastic lore...

Every time I want to do something, I learn on the job. I've thought myself through trial and error how to create cutscenes which work across multiple maps, how to use parallel Vs auto events, I've evented my own mini games, my own pop up reward and notification system, and worked with fantastically talented people's plugins.

If you want to make your dream game, just do it!

It reminds me of when I was eleven and I wanted to learn to play guitar. Everybody said the same thing:

"You have to learn acoustic first, and learn some theory".

When I asked why, there wasn't a suitable answer. So I ignored it. I got myself the electric guitar I wanted. Got the amp I wanted. Played what I wanted.

Now I'm a virtuoso, self taught on everything from tight, clean rhythm to sweep picking. Do you know when I got my first acoustic guitar?

Two years ago.

It was a birthday present.


So if you can ignore one single piece of crap advice just once in your life, it's this:

Start small.

There's enough time for that when you're retired.

Make what you want to make now, while you can make it, while you have the fire and the passion.
 

TheoAllen

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...and those trees. They will haunt my nightmares. They are in nearly every single RPGMaker game I have ever played.
When I play RPG Maker games, I expect to see RPG Maker graphics. So this was never been a problem for me. I put RPG Maker games as their own category, I don't play it as the same league of other games made by other engines, indies, and of course, AAA games.

I'm aware I'm playing a game made in RPG Maker, I'm aware that I might see several default resources, let it be trees, sprites, tileset, or even sound effects. I also expect some in-game interaction and interface that is iconic to RPG Maker games, such as grid-based movement, the iconic window panel, a complete set of the main menu consisting item, skill, etc, in that very order, and every iconic thing you could see in every RPG Maker games.

To be honest, I don't play RPG Maker games to have fun. I play RPG Maker games mainly to see what people have in mind, their vision, their story, and their idea.

Of course, exceptions exist, some people might turn the engine and make a game into something unrecognizable that it was an RPG Maker game, and that is really awesome.
 

C64_Mat

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On the subject of bad advice, there's a glaring piece right here on this thread.

Someone said "Don't make a game that you want to play".

That's just... So ridiculous that I can't even muster the strength to pointlessly argue with it.

All creativity is born by the creator. Artists, sculptors, directors, authors, musicians, developers... You absolutely have to create what appeals to you, what's inside of you.

The minute you try to create for other people first is the minute you lose your identity and your integrity.

Some people will associate this attitude with not accepting criticism, which is very very different altogether.

Creating a game you love and then listening to feedback (whether you choose to act on the feedback or not) is completely different than deliberately trying to appeal to an audience.

Remember, at the start, you don't have an audience. If you create something you feel is great, like-minded people will become your audience. That's what 'fans' are.

You cannot go into any creative endeavour with the attitude of pandering to a pre-existing audience. Those people are already a fan of something else - at best you'll be a distraction. Build your own audience based on what you do best for yourself.
 

Finnuval

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There's enough time for that when you're retired.
Not even then xD

Make what you want to make now, while you can make it, while you have the fire and the passion.
Experience is important but there is only one way to have experience... Trail & error. And it doesn't really matter if that trail & error is on a small project or a big one. Sure the bigger it is the more risk of it getting overwhelming, but that's where the passion part kicks in xD
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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I've seen a fair few people who immediately embrace the "go big or go home" mentality fail spectacularly when they have no knowledge base to start from. It's never bad advice to encourage someone to start small because you can only go up from there, rather than becoming frustrated if things go pear shaped.


A year ago I'd never dabbled in Ruby, JS or RPG Maker. Ever.

I went straight in. I didn't even know what an event was. I didn't know where the phrase RTP originated (which, for newbies, doesn't even exist anymore. They mean the default assets).

I now have my dream game well underway, with a great battle system, loads of plugins, artwork and music I've bought and paid for, complete evented sequences which look, sound and work great. I've got 46 weapons per category across six different categories, 48 dungeons, 20 towns, six playable characters, a good world, a great story, some fantastic lore...

Every time I want to do something, I learn on the job. I've thought myself through trial and error how to create cutscenes which work across multiple maps, how to use parallel Vs auto events, I've evented my own mini games, my own pop up reward and notification system, and worked with fantastically talented people's plugins.
There's a saying in the Fire Emblem community when it comes to talking objectively about things like unit viability: PEMN. Personal Experience Means Nothing. I find that phrase can occasionally apply to life too. Just because you had an easy time doesn't mean everyone will. We're all highly different. I've seen people struggle with stuff I found really simple, and I've seen folks gel with something immediately.

In the interest of ensuring someone can flourish, never tell them to go big off the bat. If they want to, let them make that choice and be a guiding hand for them. But always encourage people to spend time learning the basics first. Tutorials exist for a reason. Some folk just move slower and actually want some visual learning.
 

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