Blizrun

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About a month ago I purchased RPG Maker MV when it was on sale on Steam. I futzed around with the platform since then, just to try and get a hold on the basics of the system. Today, I did enough to think I need to get some feedback.


It's not a finished or completed game, by any standards, nor do I intend to go any further with it. But please, let me know what you think about it.
 
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Aoi Ninami

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Cute intro.

I understand that this just a test project, but I'll approach feedback-giving as if it was the start (or a demo) of a finished game, as that will help you understand what could be done better in your next project.

Neither Alex nor Marian has a visible class. That would give the player a cue as to their intended roles in battle. Looking at their skills, it looks like Alex is the physical fighter and Marian is the healer. All their stats are equal except Attack and Defense, and Alex is superior in both. Even if Marian is a support role, it would be nice to give her some stats where she is better -- possibly Magic, if that factors into your healing formula. Or you could go against cliche and give your healer some Defense.

Heal's description is "Heal large amount of HP". Unless the game is very short, I shouldn't have a strong skill at the very beginning, or there's no room to go up.

Dispel's description is "Remove physical status effects". Which effects count as physical?

Dashing is disabled on the first map. I know this isn't a real map, but never disable dashing without a good reason.

Blacksmith interior is HUGE. Houses with a floor space that large always divide it into smaller rooms -- not least because it's necessary to support the roof! There's a washing-up tub but no source of water. A plate is unbalanced on the dining table and would fall off; you can use GIMP or a similar editor to make small adjustments like this. The bedroom-space, when you split it off into a separate room, could do with other furniture and not just a bed -- the people need somewhere to store their clothes, etc. Finally, I see three inhabitants (and three spaces at table) but only a double bed.

Town map is also too large -- why would the people build so far apart if they're not using the space? You could either move the houses closer, or use that space for gardens/farming.

Potion shop also huge. "Elixir" is misspelled. It's not necessary, but it would be a neat touch if the merchant's closing line is different depending on whether I actually bought something. There are no wares in the shop. This building is also an inn, but there's no sign indicating this on the outside. The attic room is a nice, realistic bedroom, so I'm happy about that.

In case you ever want this to be reviewed by Studio Blue, have an event with some comment when the character looks into the well.

The weapon shop seems to also be a guards' barracks, judging by the four beds. Again, have these separated into a different room from the shop portion, and block it off to the player.

We have a quest! This could be interesting. Not a great first impression, though -- the first two people I talk to repeat their dialogue lines, with no indication that my character asked them anything. Green-haired girl has a new line relevant to the quest. Looks like this might be a deductive puzzle -- figure out which garden belonged to the boss. But there's only one garden in town. Gardening girl has no new lines.

No events for looking at the graves. At least let my character read them.

Small house has no chimney on the outside, even though there is a fireplace. The event when I tried to take the money is a nice touch (admittedly, it's a very common subversion), and I like that I get locked out, don't keep the money, and she has a different line now.

The house's shadow is wrong. The roof is 3 tiles tall, so in 3-D space that's going away from the player's perspective, meaning the house is 3 tiles long, but the shadow is only 2 tiles long. The shadows of the large house and the weapon shop also need fixing.

The mayor's house is also way too large. It should be larger than the others since the exterior is larger, but each room could lose a couple of tiles and would look a lot better. None of the objects in the house are interactive. I suppose the upstairs bedroom is for the mayor's daughter? Where does the cook sleep?

I've spoken to everyone in town and a couple of them had lines relating to the quest, but I don't seem to be any closer to finding the money. Time to leave town and try the dungeon.

Alex's attack animation doesn't look at all like slashing with a sword.

Marian, who has 170 HP, got hit for 69. That means that if both slimes target her, she could take 138 damage in a turn -- and it doesn't take especially bad luck; with two party members, that's a 1/4 chance.

Slimes can also poison, and I pretty much have to take it off rather than just try to end the battle, because they take 3 turns each to kill. After just one fight, Marian is down over 1/3 of her MP and I have no way to refill it.

Poison persists after battle. Even more resource drain, except I have no resources -- I don't start with any items or any money to get them. There's one potion in a chest, but the extra battles to get to the potion cost me more than the potion heals.

First six battles were all against two Slimes. Then I got one against two Bats, so you do have some variety, but the encounter rates might be unbalanced?

After this I came back to town to heal -- at least that's nice and cheap. I have 30G left (I had to run from some battles) so I can't afford any potions or elixirs. Even if I could, it's never going to be worth it to use an elixir (100G) in a normal battle that rewards me 10G, so pretty much the only way to progress will be to go into the dungeon as far as I can, run back and heal at the inn, rinse and repeat until I've levelled enough for my characters to suck less.

Bats can inflict Confuse, which I have no way of removing. This is a much too debilitating effect for this early. If it weren't that I know this is a micro-game and I want to see it out to the end, this is where I would close the game and never look back.

I reached Level 3, and the (first?) stairs in the dungeon, but I have to go back to town now.
Knocked-out characters still get the EXP from the fight. That's good. More games should do that.

Things are going better on my third dungeon trip -- I'm using Alex's skill more, and that helps quite a bit. Reached Level 4 and the chest with the Stimulant. Now that's a good enough reward that I'm happy I made the detour.

With the number of times I have to go back and forth, I am really feeling the monotony of the encounters. I've still only had two different ones. It does seem to be about 50-50, so maybe I was just unlucky in getting Slimes on my first six.

Reached the save point in the dungeon, and the boss immediately after. My characters are drained, so I doubt I'll have much chance, but let's give this a go. The boss has Spark, hitting both my (now Level 5) characters for about half their maximum health... and it can paralyse! So in order to have a chance, I would have to come into this with about twice the HP I have now, so that I could survive until I regain control and heal back up. States that take away control are really not fun, especially when there's a danger of it hitting the whole party and there being literally nothing the player can do except sit there and lose HP.

I'm going to go back and buy an Elixir so I can try the fight one more time starting at full health, and then I'm putting this down. Ridiculous that I can only afford the one after playing for over an hour.

Using Alex's Dual Attack every turn, I defeated the boss in (I think) 5 turns. I got lucky and he never used Spark.

Well, I guess that was a harmless way to pass an hour or so :) Hope this feedback helps you with whatever you decide to do next.
 

Blizrun

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Cute intro.

I understand that this just a test project, but I'll approach feedback-giving as if it was the start (or a demo) of a finished game, as that will help you understand what could be done better in your next project.

Neither Alex nor Marian has a visible class. That would give the player a cue as to their intended roles in battle. Looking at their skills, it looks like Alex is the physical fighter and Marian is the healer. All their stats are equal except Attack and Defense, and Alex is superior in both. Even if Marian is a support role, it would be nice to give her some stats where she is better -- possibly Magic, if that factors into your healing formula. Or you could go against cliche and give your healer some Defense.

I didn't really think about that. The stats were one of the things I didn't mess around with much.

Heal's description is "Heal large amount of HP". Unless the game is very short, I shouldn't have a strong skill at the very beginning, or there's no room to go up.

Understood. Fixed.

Dispel's description is "Remove physical status effects". Which effects count as physical?

I had the idea of separating physical status effects (such as poison) from mental ones (like confuse). It's not something that I'd seen anywhere else, but that might be for good reason. It's back at a default setting.

Dashing is disabled on the first map. I know this isn't a real map, but never disable dashing without a good reason.

My mind was that dashing was good for towns and dungeons, but that the overworld should be normal walk everywhere, to simulate the distance.

Blacksmith interior is HUGE. Houses with a floor space that large always divide it into smaller rooms -- not least because it's necessary to support the roof! There's a washing-up tub but no source of water. A plate is unbalanced on the dining table and would fall off; you can use GIMP or a similar editor to make small adjustments like this. The bedroom-space, when you split it off into a separate room, could do with other furniture and not just a bed -- the people need somewhere to store their clothes, etc. Finally, I see three inhabitants (and three spaces at table) but only a double bed.

Town map is also too large -- why would the people build so far apart if they're not using the space? You could either move the houses closer, or use that space for gardens/farming.

Potion shop also huge. "Elixir" is misspelled. It's not necessary, but it would be a neat touch if the merchant's closing line is different depending on whether I actually bought something. There are no wares in the shop. This building is also an inn, but there's no sign indicating this on the outside. The attic room is a nice, realistic bedroom, so I'm happy about that.

I addressed most of this, but there were some things that I liked to keep as is.

There's a woman outside the building that explains what it is. But, to try and make things more obvious, I added signs to all the buildings in the town except for the one actual house.

In case you ever want this to be reviewed by Studio Blue, have an event with some comment when the character looks into the well.

Don't know who that is, but, OK. Done.

The weapon shop seems to also be a guards' barracks, judging by the four beds. Again, have these separated into a different room from the shop portion, and block it off to the player.

We have a quest! This could be interesting. Not a great first impression, though -- the first two people I talk to repeat their dialogue lines, with no indication that my character asked them anything. Green-haired girl has a new line relevant to the quest. Looks like this might be a deductive puzzle -- figure out which garden belonged to the boss. But there's only one garden in town. Gardening girl has no new lines.

I was messing around when I made the town and didn't want to change EVERYONE's lines, but, in retrospect, I can see how that wouldn't help the player. Hopefully, it's better now.

No events for looking at the graves. At least let my character read them.

Done.

Small house has no chimney on the outside, even though there is a fireplace. The event when I tried to take the money is a nice touch (admittedly, it's a very common subversion), and I like that I get locked out, don't keep the money, and she has a different line now.

The house's shadow is wrong. The roof is 3 tiles tall, so in 3-D space that's going away from the player's perspective, meaning the house is 3 tiles long, but the shadow is only 2 tiles long. The shadows of the large house and the weapon shop also need fixing.

The mayor's house is also way too large. It should be larger than the others since the exterior is larger, but each room could lose a couple of tiles and would look a lot better. None of the objects in the house are interactive. I suppose the upstairs bedroom is for the mayor's daughter? Where does the cook sleep?

Fixed most of these (there was a chimney on the house when viewed in RPG Maker, but at the very top. It wasn't showing up in the actual game, so I moved it.

I had to remove the chest. As much as I wanted to keep it, I did decide to make a single, linked quest/plot for this. Keeping the chest would have made the quest unplayable, so it's gone.

I've spoken to everyone in town and a couple of them had lines relating to the quest, but I don't seem to be any closer to finding the money. Time to leave town and try the dungeon.

Alex's attack animation doesn't look at all like slashing with a sword.

Marian, who has 170 HP, got hit for 69. That means that if both slimes target her, she could take 138 damage in a turn -- and it doesn't take especially bad luck; with two party members, that's a 1/4 chance.

Slimes can also poison, and I pretty much have to take it off rather than just try to end the battle, because they take 3 turns each to kill. After just one fight, Marian is down over 1/3 of her MP and I have no way to refill it.

Poison persists after battle. Even more resource drain, except I have no resources -- I don't start with any items or any money to get them. There's one potion in a chest, but the extra battles to get to the potion cost me more than the potion heals.

First six battles were all against two Slimes. Then I got one against two Bats, so you do have some variety, but the encounter rates might be unbalanced?

I went in and changed enemy and player stats. It seemed more playable to me.

I don't know what to do about the encounters. I have the same issue, but I have their encounter rates set equal. I was expecting it to be a lot closer to a 50/50 encounter, but I guess not. I'll have to play with the settings some.

After this I came back to town to heal -- at least that's nice and cheap. I have 30G left (I had to run from some battles) so I can't afford any potions or elixirs. Even if I could, it's never going to be worth it to use an elixir (100G) in a normal battle that rewards me 10G, so pretty much the only way to progress will be to go into the dungeon as far as I can, run back and heal at the inn, rinse and repeat until I've levelled enough for my characters to suck less.

OK, so, originally, the town and cave were two different projects that I shoved together for this test. The original cave project had an event that gave the player 600G right from the start and had a merchant in the entrance. I nixed both upon the merge without rethinking how that would mess things up. The enemies drop more gold now.

Bats can inflict Confuse, which I have no way of removing. This is a much too debilitating effect for this early. If it weren't that I know this is a micro-game and I want to see it out to the end, this is where I would close the game and never look back.

I didn't know that would be such an issue.

I reached Level 3, and the (first?) stairs in the dungeon, but I have to go back to town now.
Knocked-out characters still get the EXP from the fight. That's good. More games should do that.

I agree.

Things are going better on my third dungeon trip -- I'm using Alex's skill more, and that helps quite a bit. Reached Level 4 and the chest with the Stimulant. Now that's a good enough reward that I'm happy I made the detour.

With the number of times I have to go back and forth, I am really feeling the monotony of the encounters. I've still only had two different ones. It does seem to be about 50-50, so maybe I was just unlucky in getting Slimes on my first six.

I also reduced the encounter steps rate.

Reached the save point in the dungeon, and the boss immediately after. My characters are drained, so I doubt I'll have much chance, but let's give this a go. The boss has Spark, hitting both my (now Level 5) characters for about half their maximum health... and it can paralyse! So in order to have a chance, I would have to come into this with about twice the HP I have now, so that I could survive until I regain control and heal back up. States that take away control are really not fun, especially when there's a danger of it hitting the whole party and there being literally nothing the player can do except sit there and lose HP.

In addition to the player having the opportunity to purchase from a merchant at the beginning, I also had this idea of going full on "Nintendo Hard." While I was playtesting in the Battle Test, I did start having the same issue, but I felt that was a good thing. Guess I was wrong.

I'm going to go back and buy an Elixir so I can try the fight one more time starting at full health, and then I'm putting this down. Ridiculous that I can only afford the one after playing for over an hour.

Using Alex's Dual Attack every turn, I defeated the boss in (I think) 5 turns. I got lucky and he never used Spark.

Well, I guess that was a harmless way to pass an hour or so :) Hope this feedback helps you with whatever you decide to do next.

I really appreciate your feedback (especially since you were the only one who commented). If you're up for it, I made a V2 that, hopefully, is more enjoyable.

 

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