Opinion: Your game is already bad if you use all default graphics.

Riazey

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To be honest, it seems the original post's screenshot is indicative of someone who didn't put a lot of effort into building a solid mapping foundation. I saw an rtp map earlier that was beautifully built, better than many parallax maps. While having completely custom graphics is a HUGE boon just having a wonderful looking rtp game is not impossible, but it requires knowledge and practice.


Regardless, it's going to be marred a bit by the sheer amount of weekend thrown together rtp based games with little effort put into them. However custom graphics aren't reasonably something can invest into easily, money or timewise. Learning how to map well is something I truly believe ANYONE can do if they put their mind to learning it though. Putting some irl skill points into learning screen effects and how to use animated events is also a bonus.

Throw in some custom faces or a menu/battlers at the very least if one can for they can marginally increase the number of people willing to try out a game. Someone can find people who will do reasonable art for free or cheap. Point being a game will only be as good as the foundation you build it on. People can custom graphic/parallax maps terribly and be worse off than someone who RTPs well.
 

LNDRdev

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You say this is your 'opinion'. But your opinion is objectively, incorrect.

Do you have credentials to otherwise suggest that your opinion is based on expertise?

Or are you just throwing words at your screen for the sake of getting a rise out of what is largely a younger demographic of users making (for many) their first foray into Game Development who will undoubtedly feel offended at what you've said?

I run a Record Label as my primary job. Your opinion is kind of like me telling people that if they only use the Stock Plugins in their DAW; they can't write good music... it's objectively false. You, the user, are responsible for using whatever tools you have in front of you to deliver a final product. That's it.

It's not really the journey, or the tools, or anything that matters from an End User perspective. It's the final product that people care about. There are many objectively crappy games that have diehard fans due to other elements which outshine the graphical elements of the game.

To highlight; if I release an album, no one gives a crap that I used Alicia's Keys as the Piano for Track 1, 5 and 9. No, simply, they care if the songs themselves are good, enjoyable and nice to listen to.

Stop trying to goad people on the internet Mr. 'Veteran' it's not a good look.
 

LNDRdev

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'Veteran' is a title automatically assigned to members who have 30 or more posts. You don't get to choose whether it appears or not beneath your name.
Lol, only 30? Damn. Well, call me silly but the rest still stands I would think.
 

Restart

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I run a Record Label as my primary job. Your opinion is kind of like me telling people that if they only use the Stock Plugins in their DAW; they can't write good music... it's objectively false. You, the user, are responsible for using whatever tools you have in front of you to deliver a final product. That's it.
to use a record analogy, a lot of people see it like someone sauntering in with this on a cassette


and saying 'hey sign me'
 

Frostorm

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Here's a reminder of what I said:
If you don't have decent graphics, you need to make up for it with gameplay or story. And if it's interesting enough, it will. It's just a fact. Look at Undertale, Stardew Valley, Minecraft, and so on.
I would argue Stardew Valley has really good graphics actually. I also don't consider Minecraft to have bad graphics either. These are stylistic choices. Just check out this screenshot of Minecraft (w/ real-time raytracing):
minecraft.jpg
Note: not even full resolution, scaled down for size purposes.
 

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LNDRdev

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to use a record analogy, a lot of people see it like someone sauntering in with this on a cassette


and saying 'hey sign me'
Except it's not. You probably know it's not too. I really hope this is just you trying to counter for the sake of arguing.

Though on this occasion, sure, I'll bite.

Let's dive into this further; the Demo Song on this Keyboard (and any keyboard of similar build) exists solely to highlight the capabilities of the Sound Engine within the keyboard - to demonstrate the sorts of things that you can make using this Keyboard. I used to sell Keyboards just like this, working at an instrument store and that's exactly what we'd do when someone would ask "But what can it do?" - the answer is "Whatever you want it to; within the confines of the logic and sounds embedded on the sound chip.".

RPG Maker's RTP is exactly the same. You are given a set of assets - Sprites, Tilesets, BGM, SFX & more, all of which you can use as part of a larger, much more powerful engine able to deliver a solid end product. Sure they're not AAA Assets - there are tons of AAA games which have crappy assets! People can use the RTP to whatever extent they desire - and should not be scrutinised for doing so!

Grand Theft Auto 5 (which has sold millions of copies & has just been announced as getting ported to PS5 looking exactly the same as it did on the PS3) was bashed to high heavens and beyond for the fact that the graphics weren't that great compared to other games on the PS3 / PS4 - but the gameplay is both fun, addictive and the online elements make it pretty fun for very literally, thousands of people, the story was OK, and all of these elements combined make up an example of a Finished Product - the thing people actually buy and none of these people care for the steps Rockstar took from beginning to end creating it!

Much like using that Casio Keyboard to compose a Jazzy Bop akin to the Demo Track on there and then submitting said Jazzy Bop to a Record Label looking to bag a songwriting gig, or to be signed as an artist with said Label in the hope of making money as a musician.

So remind me again, what is the point you're actually trying to make here? Because, I guess I'm too dumb to see it.
 

fluffymonster

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@staf00 Vanilla Minecraft without mods/texture packs doesn't look good. Even with your picture, there's some sort of mod to let you do that with the light. Otherwise, it wouldn't be doing that. This isn't to detract from the appeal Minecraft has. I grew up with it and its ability (and allowing) of modding definitely helped with its appeal. It also has the unique capability of expressing stories and making worlds/modes for others to enjoy.

All this is building on the game. And as I said: If you don't have decent graphics, you need to make up for it with gameplay or story. Building is attractive to a lot of people and Minecraft allows for a lot of possibilities. Its graphics are sub-par at base, but you can use texture packs made by the community if you'd like.

Stardew Valley has some nice character portraits and it's cool how your sprites are animated, but it's still not the best, graphic-wise, when it comes to said sprites. Their pretty small and basic. Most people aren't playing the game for the sprites, but for the story and the other features the game comes with. This is the point I'm making. It's drawing you in in other ways.
 

rue669

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There's been a lot of great comments on this thread. I agree with what a lot of people are saying.

Just my two cents -

I'm fine with RTP. My only issue is that people don't know how to use the RTP properly and don't make use of lighting or overlays to really make a map shine. I see a lot of RM devs making huge maps to start off with. Don't do that! Start small, learn to make a really beautiful small map and then, if you want to, make larger maps (I tend to always stick to small maps because that's just my style).

I would say that RPGs aren't just about story and character. That's a big part of it, but if you're only making a game for the story and characters, you're missing the point. If that's what you want to do, write a novel. An RPG is a game. It needs gameplay. And story and characters aren't going to be the thing that makes people buy or play your game. It can be what makes people continue to play your game and be happy with the purchase, but it's not a "selling" feature. If a game advertises as having an amazing story but looks like garbage from a design and gameplay perspective, good luck. This is why people look to trailers and screenshots, which don't show off story. People rarely read the blurbs of games until they're actually interested in it. I think about some of the games I loved because of their story (Xenogears, Horizon Zero Dawn, Shin Megami Tensei) and it's always the gameplay and the design of the game that gets me first.

And when it comes to marketing your game that has RTP versus all custom...I mean, does anyone really know how to market a game successfully? Probably not. There's some strategies to use but there's no guarantee. Some of it, maybe even a great deal of it, is luck.

And just on Stardew Valley--the real draw for me on that game was the fact that the creator did EVERYTHING on his own. He learned how to write music and make pixel art and program all on his own to make this game. That's super impressive. His backstory alone made me want to buy and play the game.
 

Frostorm

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@staf00 Vanilla Minecraft without mods/texture packs doesn't look good. Even with your picture, there's some sort of mod to let you do that with the light. Otherwise, it wouldn't be doing that. This isn't to detract from the appeal Minecraft has. I grew up with it and its ability (and allowing) of modding definitely helped with its appeal. It also has the unique capability of expressing stories and making worlds/modes for others to enjoy.

All this is building on the game. And as I said: If you don't have decent graphics, you need to make up for it with gameplay or story. Building is attractive to a lot of people and Minecraft allows for a lot of possibilities. Its graphics are sub-par at base, but you can use texture packs made by the community if you'd like.

Stardew Valley has some nice character portraits and it's cool how your sprites are animated, but it's still not the best, graphic-wise, when it comes to said sprites. Their pretty small and basic. Most people aren't playing the game for the sprites, but for the story and the other features the game comes with. This is the point I'm making. It's drawing you in in other ways.
I look at games the same way I look at cars. I treat potential upgrades/mods/etc as part of the game because the capability is there. Just as I think of cars as a blank canvas for me to modify to my heart's content. Games like Minecraft and Skyrim that allow for modifications beyond stock should be treated as a feature of the game itself since the developer didn't have to include such capability in the 1st place. See things for its potential, not simply as it is.

Besides, the communities of those respective games wouldn't be as large as they are if such mods weren't possible. It's yet another aspect of a game you can tout as a feature!
 

JosephSeraph

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All this is building on the game. And as I said: If you don't have decent graphics, you need to make up for it with gameplay or story.
As much as I disagree with Theo's statement that "you make up for bad gameplay and story with graphics" i.e. a crutch, I also disagree with this. You're not "making up" for anything you're just making a game lol. Sometimes it's about visuals. Sometimes it's not. However this is just me being annoying; I do agree that one will make up for the other in a lot of scenarios, I just don't think that's their purpose xD

the answer is "Whatever you want it to; within the confines of the logic and sounds embedded on the sound chip.".
I wholeheartedly agree.
RPG Maker isn't a composition, it's a set of instruments. It's up to you to use those instruments to compose something. And it's up to your knowledge of music theory. your ability to perceive pitch, tempo, and just overall your artistic expression to.... paint a picture with these instruments. (I know, I'm going overboard with analogies)

The thing is, the RTP DOES NOT come with a premade melody or composition. The RTP does not come with a story. You can argue it comes with melodic snippets -- premade maps, database in the cases before MV. That's true. It's still up to you to properly insert and harmonize the snippets into a full song, much like, idk. LEGO.

There's no equivalent to selling a demo song because RPG Maker doesn't come with a demo song.
 

fluffymonster

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@JosephSeraph Which do you think is the one to often make up for the other? I think it's story, personally, or gameplay. I think a lot of people like gauging stories or fun gameplay a lot. I don't really think it's an active thing people think about, but it just kinda happens.


@staf00 I was never saying modding wasn't a feature of the game. I was saying modding is unrelated to the graphics of the game and can draw interest.
 
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Milennin

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RTP graphics is like at the bottom of my list of things to look for when determining whether an RPG Maker game is good or not. I've played a lot of games with custom graphics that felt just as shallow to play as RTP-made games, and have yet to see evidence of custom graphics contributing to creating a better game, unless you're the graphics > gameplay type of player.
 

rue669

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I will say that I think there's lots of stuff that a fellow RPG Maker can do without paying a cent.

You can change sound effects, you can find free music, and you can find a whole bunch of free graphics (edits and whatnot) on this forum. It is an absolute PAIN to go through, but it can make your game just a little bit more different. You know what's really easy to change? The default sound effects for confirm, click, and cancel. I cannot stand when they are the same for every single RPG Maker game. Put in the effort to make it different. That small change can make your game seem more yours and less "just a regular rpg maker game".

Oh, and play around with fonts. Don't go overboard with garbage unreadable fonts because you want to seem like your game has old English...no. Just no.
 

Tai_MT

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On the subject of "graphics are bad" for games like Stardew and Minecraft. I'm going to quote Ross Scott here, because I've held the same belief for a long time and it universally applies to the mindset of "bad graphics" for people.

"Here's the thing about graphics snobs. They're kind of hypocrites and they don't even know it. Think of the most realistic game you know of, today. It looks amazing, right? Well guess what, graphics snobs? That game you think looks so great right now? I guarantee you is going to look lame in 20 years compared to what you can play on your Holodeck. In fact, I bet you've played games that looked great in the past, but don't look so hot now. So, when you regularly bash games for dated graphics that at one time you would've liked, that makes you a clockwork hypocrite. Evolving graphics are just a treadmill. So, if you can't even appreciate them in different flavors like this, what are you doing with your life?"

Graphics don't matter.

AESTHETICS matter. There's no such thing as "bad graphics" only "poor aesthetics".

If your version of "good graphics" is "how realistic something looks", then I hate to tell you... but Real Life has crappier graphics than True 4K Television does.

Quite frankly, it's silly to say a game has good or bad graphics. Only the AAA industry cares about graphics and only because they've invested all their cash and capital into making them as 'realistic' as possible.

Meanwhile, as players complain about how shallow and boring these graphic powerhouse games are...

Dwarf Fortress with a different mindset and next to no graphics... is the most robust and feature driven game to ever exist that simulates the real world far better than basically any other game on the market. Likewise, it has an amazing cult following with people who have been playing it since it's inception. Can't claim that of the "most realistic graphics" on the market.

Minecraft has it's own aesthetics. If you don't like them, there are options to change them. Stardew Valley has it's own aesthetics.

Here's how you can tell if graphics are good:

"Can I tell that X is X?" If Yes, you win, graphics are good.

That is literally how low the bar is. That's how low it'll remain until the end of time.
 

JosephSeraph

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AESTHETICS matter. There's no such thing as "bad graphics" only "poor aesthetics".
Finally a topic where we can come together and agree LOL

Graphics = how many polygons can the game run at once, what sort of processing the game uses to render and stretch images, the color depth of the images, software used to create the artwork of the game, etc... It's rather objective, but also technical and matters more to the developer than it does to the player. Graphics are a tool. When people say that [good] graphics don't matter, i agree to an extent -- technical specs don't matter, it's what you do with them.

Aesthetics, or the deliberate creation and manipulation of [visual] aesthetics known as Art Direction, on the other hand, that's an essential piece of the toolset of any well versed creator. Through the use of Art Direction you can shape and control the flow of communication between the player and the game, paint a mood, make them play a certain way or perceive things a certain way. It's essential and definitely not irrelevant. It's possible to make a good game without giving too much deliberate thought to art direction. It's also definitely true that such a game has a lot of unachieved potential sitting in that channel of communitation, which may be severely hindering the player's perception and enjoyment of the game. No, not because "graphics ugly", but because the player is receiving non-deliberate signals from your non-art direction which is muddying the experience of the game.

What if every asset in the game was a deliberate choice with a purpose? that's art direction, and it's an important thing that everyone should consider. Nobody needs custom artwork to think about art direction. You can direct the RTP itself in several ways without opening a graphics program once, just by using the palette of (somewhat limited) possibilities that the different RM RTPs offer.

edit:
@JosephSeraph Which do you think is the one to often make up for the other? I think it's story, personally, or gameplay. I think a lot of people like gauging stories or fun gameplay a lot. I don't really think it's an active thing people think about, but it just kinda happens.
I honestly don't know. A lot of people may be avoiding to try RTP games altogether because of "bad graphics" and when they finally do they're surprised and the story and gameplay "make up" for the "bad art". A lot of people may download games because of beautiful screenshots and be disappointed, too. But I don't know. And as mentioned in my latest post, a game with good gameplay and story and mediocre art direction is a missed opportunity. It could be so much more. Even within the constraints of the RTP.
 

KingKraken

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As someone who tries to use as much original content and assets as possible, and also is generally turned off by the engines default assets and the games that use it....

I think OP's take is a completely awful one. and it's mostly flawed by using concepts like "laziness" while completely ignoring how relative that is. Every dev does not have the same schedule, the same livelihoods, or even the same physical and mental state of being to create any kind of standard of what's "lazy" and what's not. You can only measure that on a case by case basis.


AAA game studios have enough trouble pushing out projects and experiences, even with 20+ people working on them. There are so many moving parts in game development. That's why it's so expensive to invest in game development. And now you're saying if someone decides they want to take on a task with so many moving parts alone, they are lazy, because they don't

At the very least, developers that put things together, all on their own to make completely original products, should be looked at, as the exception, not the standard. Lots of them have privileges many folks simply don't. And we shouldn't shame people for not throwing everything in their life to the curb for the sake of making a game. The ends don't justify the means there.
 

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While I have no problem with RTP and RTP-derived graphics, I'm actually going to agree with the title, assuming the following are true:
  1. No modified RTP whatsoever. It's not hard to recolor a table or rug in a paint program, and since some of the RTP colors (hi grass) are absolutely abysmal, it's worth taking a few moments to customize even just a few things. At the very least, hit up the free resources section where there's tons of free RTP edits that require little more than a name in the credits in order to use.
  2. Only default skill animations. Come on, there's a tool built into the editor to make your own. Don't be lazy!
  3. Chibi generator battlers for actors. It really doesn't matter how good your storytelling, combat, etc are. Watching giant-head-tiny-body marshmallow people attack big scary monsters is changing the tone of your game whether you want it to or not.
  4. Please do not use Theme 6 under any circumstances.
 

JosephSeraph

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No modified RTP whatsoever.
I find that HARD to do and often that just whip something up from pre-existing tiles is a lot easier... which is to say, i would enjoy challenging myself to make a game with the RTP and the RTP alone. I know quite a few titles that did very well with it. Archeia's VXA Sample Game Princess Princess comes to mind. Not groundbreaking mapping but within the context of a trial game it uses the RTP very well!

But, well, I'd... love to make a game with Sample Maps only...
 

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