Making RPG Maker Games Not Look Like RPG Maker Games

VitaliaDi

Jedi Master
Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2019
Messages
147
Reaction score
125
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Making RPG Maker Games Not Look Like RPG Maker Games

I was wondering who has experience with this or if rpg maker game devs and players have strong opinions on this.
I know some of the attraction of rpg maker games is the typical charming retro look and the more simple approach to game creation.

But I was wondering if there were strong opinions on specifically making a game that doesn't "look" like an rpg maker game.

-VD
 

MushroomCake28

KAMO Studio
Moderator
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
2,014
Reaction score
3,442
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Well the thing that makes an RPG Maker game feel like an RPG Maker game is mostly the RTP. If you change that it will probably not feel like an RPG Maker game. Next thing, you can change the main systems: different battle (YEP battles plugins counts as RPG Maker battles since they are so used), menu, music, etc. But like I said, it's mostly the graphics.
 

VitaliaDi

Jedi Master
Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2019
Messages
147
Reaction score
125
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Well the thing that makes an RPG Maker game feel like an RPG Maker game is mostly the RTP. If you change that it will probably not feel like an RPG Maker game. Next thing, you can change the main systems: different battle (YEP battles plugins counts as RPG Maker battles since they are so used), menu, music, etc. But like I said, it's mostly the graphics.
Yeah I've considered making a side scroller with way different graphics. I know the program is pretty flexible just most people seem to use it with RTP style graphics.

I haven't seen many games around with super unique graphics that make the game feel completely different. I wonder how many are floating around out there.
 

MushroomCake28

KAMO Studio
Moderator
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
2,014
Reaction score
3,442
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Just using third party resources, even if they are in the style of the RTP, is already good. You can find a lot of free tilesets on this forum. Using RTPs isn't bad, but it definitely is associated with a bad stigma. Since most people don't have the means to redo every graphic assets, I may suggest using RTPs with third party resources compatible with the RTPs, and try to have custom graphics for characters (have portraits perhaps?).
 

VitaliaDi

Jedi Master
Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2019
Messages
147
Reaction score
125
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Just using third party resources, even if they are in the style of the RTP, is already good. You can find a lot of free tilesets on this forum. Using RTPs isn't bad, but it definitely is associated with a bad stigma. Since most people don't have the means to redo every graphic assets, I may suggest using RTPs with third party resources compatible with the RTPs, and try to have custom graphics for characters (have portraits perhaps?).
Oh cool I'll check out the resources section and see what I can find. With my last game I made all of the graphics and it just took so long, you know? I want to work on a project where I don't have to focus so much on that this time around.
 

MushroomCake28

KAMO Studio
Moderator
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
2,014
Reaction score
3,442
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Great! Here's a couple of artists I personally use for my projects! All their work is incredible and their terms are pretty generous.

Indrah (dungeon rock and nature expanded): https://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?threads/indrahs-mv-tiles.46838/
CWStudio (nature +): https://rpgmakermv.co/resources/20-years-later.1055/

Those are the only links I could quickly find, but other great artists have resources thread here. Here's a couple one of them:
And there are many others. Have fun looking for resources (it's addicting like shopping).

EDIT: Added some links.
 
Last edited:

woootbm

Super Sand Legend
Veteran
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
176
Reaction score
103
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
In terms of players/customers, I find that not looking like an RPG Maker game is only seen as a positive attribute. Perhaps some dev's have opposing opinions on it, but I find those to mostly to be foolish. IE "you only need RTP to make a good game!" Like, yes, that is correct. But there's no reason to be snobby about it. However, those opinions warning you about getting overwhelmed by your first game are spot on. That is definitely a big deal, and wanting to replace all the assets in the game is quite overwhelming!

But it is a hard goal to assess. I've had people say they love the music in Oni Sellsword. I haven't had the heart to tell them it's 100% default tracks:hswt:
 

MushroomCake28

KAMO Studio
Moderator
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
2,014
Reaction score
3,442
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
There's a difference between the objective quality of a game and the subjective quality of a game.

Objective quality is the intrinsic quality of the game itself, how it constructed, quality of the story, battles, design, etc. It does not take into account people's opinion, it is simply an objective evaluation of the piece of art. The RTP alone is enough to make a truly good game if you look at its objective quality only.

Subjective quality is the quality perceived by people and does not take into account the objective quality of the game. Here the RTP might not cut it simply because there is a bad stigma associated with the RTP. In other words, people will perceived the game badly just because it has the RTP.
 

Kes

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Aug 3, 2012
Messages
21,466
Reaction score
10,866
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
@MushroomCake28 - and everyone else as well.

Please remember that this is a discussion section, therefore it is not appropriate to be recommending this or that resource. Resources are dealt with elsewhere.
 

woootbm

Super Sand Legend
Veteran
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
176
Reaction score
103
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@MushroomCake28 Yes, this is the quandary that the snobby dev I was describing would ignore. Which is why it's problematic. There isn't much merit in making something that is good but absolutely no one would play. You have to draw people in, you have to make it enticing and exciting even at a glance. Like, if you can make a game you're proud of out of RTP, good for you. But if you want to make a game people want to play... you need to make something people want to play.

And "I made a good game only using RTP" is not, to any degree, an attractive selling point. You might as well say "I made this game with one hand tied behind my back" or "with a blind fold on."
 

MushroomCake28

KAMO Studio
Moderator
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
2,014
Reaction score
3,442
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Well it depends on what you want. If the goal is strictly to have the most customers, than the game quality is only a secondary factor. Like in every art domain, quality is not equal customers. In fact it is usually the opposite. Just check the best selling music, books, movies, etc. Pop music is much more sold today, but it pales in comparison to composers like Mahler, Strauss, Wagner, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, etc. These composers sell a lot less music today, but their work is HIGHLY superior if you look at their work objectively (form, harmonization, theme, motif development, etc.). Same for literature, art, etc.

As for the equivalent in the gaming industry, if profits is all we wanted, than we should all make only Fortnite spin-offs.
 
Last edited:

miani

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
77
Reaction score
61
First Language
Portuguese
Different graphics than the RTP;
Pixel moviment;
Custom menus;
Custom sound effects and sound track;
Custom resolution (most RPG Maker games are 4:3);
Custom message system;
Custom "zoom" (since RPG Maker uses tiles, when you change the zoom it makes everything looks a bit different).
 

VitaliaDi

Jedi Master
Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2019
Messages
147
Reaction score
125
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Different graphics than the RTP;
Pixel moviment;
Custom menus;
Custom sound effects and sound track;
Custom resolution (most RPG Maker games are 4:3);
Custom message system;
Custom "zoom" (since RPG Maker uses tiles, when you change the zoom it makes everything looks a bit different).
:o I haven't heard of the zoom customization. What does that involve?
 

woootbm

Super Sand Legend
Veteran
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
176
Reaction score
103
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@MushroomCake28 That is a bit of an extreme analogy.

And there's a difference between being a total sellout and making something interesting to others. All I'm saying is that making your game not look RTP is a good thing, even if you only do it a little bit. Some character art, new sounds, something. It doesn't need to be an overhaul to achieve something that is attractive.

@miani Pixel movement? I'm assuming you mean that the player can move in increments of less than a whole tile? Ooh. I should look that up. I've always thought that would be problematic for the engine.
 

VitaliaDi

Jedi Master
Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2019
Messages
147
Reaction score
125
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@woootbm @MushroomCake28 Throwing my own opinion in here, I have no problem with people who use the RTP. I this it's only downside is that it's overused o there's bias surrounding that use that game devs are lazy. But I think it's more convenience than laziness. If you want your game to stand out of course you'd need to avoid the RTPs a lot, at least for the sprites.

But if you're going for story over graphics of course it's not a big deal. I see the point in both of your sides.
I personally don't like using RTP for my projects since I don't really like the look of the sprites or that they are overused. Plus I am an artist so I have at least the basis skill level to make my own assets, the question is just if I want to put that immense amount of time in to do that.
 

Celianna

Tileset artist
Global Mod
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
10,532
Reaction score
5,539
First Language
Dutch
Primarily Uses
RMMV
You can always use RPG Maker to create a game that isn't an RPG, that eliminates most of the likeliness :D

But mostly, it's just a different coat of paint. Get some unique graphics and people won't be able to tell it's made in RPG Maker (at a glance anyway). If you use the RTP then it's easy to spot of course. The RTP is easy and convenient, but if you don't want people to recognize that it's an RPG Maker game, then you'll have to get your own, unique assets.

Example of an MV game that doesn't look like RPG Maker.
 

bgillisp

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
12,524
Reaction score
12,834
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
One thing to keep in mind too (and part of the reason we suggest using the RTP to a degree) is in my time here (almost 5 years), every single person who has said they need or want custom everything has NEVER finished a game. Yep, 0% of them have made a game. So that is also why we suggest using them at least to a degree.

Plus there was a thread a long time ago (2012 or so) that showed how to use the RTP well. I'm not sure if it is still around though, but what it did was show how to make a scene using nothing but RTP but made it look amazing with creative use of tints, and the occasional fog.
 

VitaliaDi

Jedi Master
Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2019
Messages
147
Reaction score
125
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@bgillisp
I appreciate the advice :) And yeah you can totally make a game beautiful with the RTP. I've seen some really nice work from people, especially with lighting effects.

And I've actually created and finished a game where the only RTP I used was a few included sound effects. I have custom everything else. So you ca beef that up to 1% or something lol
(This is my game if you want to check it out: https://vitaliadi.itch.io/burdenrpg )
 

TheoAllen

Self-proclaimed jack of all trades
Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
Messages
4,645
Reaction score
5,294
First Language
Indonesian
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
It's as simple as not using default resources and a choppy grid movement.

I'm going to be honest, even if you're using custom visual and many things if I noticed that the movement is 32p or 48p grid-based, I probably can tell if it's made by RM.

And imo if you're really going into this route, might as well as use other game engines.
 

Basileus

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
268
Reaction score
403
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
At least in my opinion, I would much rather a game not play like every RPG Maker game than just not look like one.

I've seen a lot of games that look neat with fancy tiles and sprites that just lost me when I saw the combat was completely standard with no gimmicks. Even with all the potential of MV I have mostly seen the same scripts over and over again. I rarely see cool map movement tricks or unique mechanics. Advertising that your game has unique, custom gameplay mechanics would excite me a lot more than a few nice-looking screenshots. I don't even care if you use 100% RTP if that's what it takes.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 3)

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

Brother made thumbnails for my Lets Plays. He's a swood dude.
Since I'm getting so busy (the fact that I'm often here is due to the fact that this is my procrastination #1 destination), I'm trying a new system where everyday I dedicate 30 minutes to my personal game project. That way it won't fall into the abyss.
In today's seminar:
Presenter: In the past, there was a saying, "One who has tuberculosis is doomed for life." But now-
Everyone: *starts coughing in unision*
Gosh... Today seems too much like a good day to do nothing....

I need to keep myself focused...! :kaoback:

Forum statistics

Threads
93,699
Messages
914,743
Members
123,300
Latest member
jamssi
Top