Shikamon

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From what i saw back in the early MV release, Most rpg games that got bad stigma because they use same plugins ( mostly yanfly plugins ) because it have some tons of feature and probably easy to use/accessible. With just basic graphic RTP and bad mapping,
that sure make a lot of games feel like same.

If commercial games something like that, probably I can't blame public opinion about how low quality of RPG maker games. as for free games, they can be anything developer want i don't really care, but for something commercial product, RPG maker expected to have better quality and quite polished rather than free games one.
 

Tamina

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I know that FPS games can offer unique takes on certain things, but in the end, the game is an FPS game. What makes them different, at least from my perspective, is the story, graphics, setting, concept, etc. Not necessarily the game play.

I'm not a FPS fan so my opinion is probably not exactly accurate, but isn't FPS more of a control scheme than actual game mechanic?

For example, Deus Ex or Dishonored is FPS, but at heart it's more of a stealth game. Counter strike is more of an online competitive game, Destiny is loot shooter.

In other words, "first person control" is control scheme, and "stealth", "Online PvP" "get procedurally generated weapons" are different game mechanics.
Make the game into 3rd person control and the same game mechanic can apply (with tweaks).

None of these are relevant to story, graphics nor settings.


Or maybe "same old game play" is more obvious in the RM game series?

Even within JRPG genre there are wide variety of battle system and gameplay that is different from RPG Maker system.

It's more obvious in RM game because changing the core system in RM is extremely difficult for none coders.
 
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wilpuri

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Out of curiosity what do you consider to be the ”basic battle system” people dislike?

I have no battle plugins, but I’ve changed the numbers (everything is a lot lower than in samples), there is no magic it’s willpower and it has different effects (something between stamina and sanity meter).
It’s not a battle with swords, but hammers, wrenches and some guns and the enemies are mutated animals. Is it still in the framework of bad basic combat or is there enough of difference to make it interesting (if the skills, weapons and attributes work and are balanced)?

I ask because I haven’t oversaturated myself with this type of games and I’m pretty satisfied with the battle system. I’m not sure what people mean when they say the battle system is part of the ”stigma”.
 
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AphoticAmaranth

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Out of curiosity what do you consider to be the ”basic battle system” they dislike?

I have no battle plugins, but I’ve changed the numbers (everything is a lot lower than in samples), there is no magic it’s willpower and it has different effects (something between stamina and sanity meter).
It’s not a battle with swords, but hammers, wrenches and some guns and the enemies are mutated animals. Is it still in the framework of bad basic combat or is there enough of difference to make it interesting (if the skills, weapons and attributes work and are balanced)?

I ask because I haven’t oversaturated myself with this type of games and I’m pretty satisfied with the battle system. I’m not sure what people mean when thay say the battle system is part of the ”stigma”.

Personally, the things about the default combat system I dislike are:

  • Random encounters every 30 steps
  • Having to select "fight" or "escape" every turn
  • 10% chance to miss (default accuracy is 95% and default evasion is 5%)
  • Damage variance; by default variance is 20%, which I think is a bit too extreme. You could do anywhere from 80%~120% damage. And then there's criticals which deal triple damage.
  • Agility variance, which makes turn order unpredictable and kinda defeats the purpose of turn based combat.
Other than that I think the default battle system is actually not bad, just needs a bit of polishing.
 
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Out of curiosity what do you consider to be the ”basic battle system” people dislike?

I have no battle plugins, but I’ve changed the numbers (everything is a lot lower than in samples), there is no magic it’s willpower and it has different effects (something between stamina and sanity meter).
It’s not a battle with swords, but hammers, wrenches and some guns and the enemies are mutated animals. Is it still in the framework of bad basic combat or is there enough of difference to make it interesting (if the skills, weapons and attributes work and are balanced)?

I ask because I haven’t oversaturated myself with this type of games and I’m pretty satisfied with the battle system. I’m not sure what people mean when they say the battle system is part of the ”stigma”.
I'd say the bigger issue is when people neglect balancing their enemies. More often than not, making them so hard and/or tedious that of course people hate random encounters and such for it.

It's not fun to almost die to what the game treats as a BASIC ENEMY. In every. Encounter.
 

wilpuri

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Random encounters every 30 steps

I don’t have any traditional random encounters (few surprise ambushes) so maybe I’m dodging this.


Having to select "fight" or "escape" every turn
Hmm… not sure if I understand this. Is it usual that the battle system asks this? I have the escape there just one of the things you can do besides attacking, using skill or using item.

EDIT: maybe I have a plugin because I don’t remember this, have to check :D


  • 10% chance to miss (default accuracy is 95% and default evasion is 5%)
  • Damage variance; by default variance is 20%, which I think is a bit too extreme. You could do anywhere from 80%~120% damage. And then there's criticals which deal triple damage.

These I’m still balancing. I try to make the small creatures more slippery that force you to use more accurate weapons, but even small changes sometimes throw the fights off. I can see people can really ruin their games with these.


Agility variance, which makes turn order unpredictable and kinda defeats the purpose of turn based combat

I have to look into this. Didn’t realize agility can be varied. Shows my n00bzness.


Very helpful post, thanks!

It's not fun to almost die to what the game treats as a BASIC ENEMY. In every. Encounter.

I can see the big problem with difficulty. Hard = Good is a common mistake. Dark Souls is not good because of the difficulty, but because the combat, exploration and character progress is rewarding and the world is interesting.

In my game I try to balance the difficulty to the point where you die without appropriate gear, but not when you have good stuff with you.
 
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TeiRaven

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Personally, the things about the default combat system I dislike are:

  • Random encounters every 30 steps
  • Having to select "fight" or "escape" every turn
  • 10% chance to miss (default accuracy is 95% and default evasion is 5%)
  • Damage variance; by default variance is 20%, which I think is a bit too extreme. You could do anywhere from 80%~120% damage. And then there's criticals which deal triple damage.
  • Agility variance, which makes turn order unpredictable and kinda defeats the purpose of turn based combat.
Other than that I think the default battle system is actually not bad, just needs a bit of polishing.
I really appreciate seeing this written out! So many times I've heard that the default system is "bad" but no one has ever taken the time to break down why they think so. Thank you!
 

Tamina

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Out of curiosity what do you consider to be the ”basic battle system” people dislike?

I have no battle plugins, but I’ve changed the numbers (everything is a lot lower than in samples), there is no magic it’s willpower and it has different effects (something between stamina and sanity meter).
It’s not a battle with swords, but hammers, wrenches and some guns and the enemies are mutated animals. Is it still in the framework of bad basic combat or is there enough of difference to make it interesting (if the skills, weapons and attributes work and are balanced)?

I ask because I haven’t oversaturated myself with this type of games and I’m pretty satisfied with the battle system. I’m not sure what people mean when they say the battle system is part of the ”stigma”.

To me it's the one dimensional decision making that often comes with it due to limited amount of stats and skills effects.

For example, you can deal more damage with certain elements/damage type. So that elements will always become the obvious correct choice when you face the enemy. And that gets boring after repeating it for 100th times.

Or you have certain defensive buffs like reflect/counter and using different elements to bypass it becomes the obvious choice.

Each character always move once per turn so the best choice every turn is almost always whatever move that deals the most damage, or heal HP if HP gets low.

You can play with the wording of each skill and make them sound cool. But fundementally your main mechanic isn't going to break away from the above repeated pattern unless you modify the core system.

Most modern turn based games have more complexity than just "use A move in X situation". Many modern games have positioning or environment interaction as another layer of strategy.

For example you can lure enemy to a narrow passage and use ranged attack from above taking 0 damage. Or you can gather enemies together and blast them with AoE spells. Some game uses AP system so each character can move several times per turn, so you can choose to attack twice per turn, buff then attack once, attack once then defend, move then attack or move then defend.

Some modern turn based games have buffs/debuffs with a more complex mechanics. For example in Slay the Spire you can stack poison every turn until poison deals MASSIVE damage per turn, or you can choose to simply attack multiple times. That's decision making because each choice has pros and cons.

It's tough to do meaningful decision making with complete default battle system, IMO.
 
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ts50

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Most modern turn based games have more complexity than just "use A move in X situation". For example, many modern games have positioning or environment interaction as another layer of strategy.
For example you can lure enemy to a narrow passage and use ranged attack from above taking 0 damage. Or you can gather enemies together and blast them with AoE spells. Some game uses AP system so each character can move several times per turn, so you can choose to attack twice per turn, buff then attack once, attack once then defend, move then attack or move then defend.

Some modern turn based games have buffs/debuffs with a more complex mechanics. For example in Slay the Spire you can stack poison every turn until poison deals MASSIVE damage per turn, or you can choose to simply attack. That's decision making because there are more choices available.
In default RPG maker you land poison then it deals set amount of damage per turn.

Your post reminded me of how back in one game I worked on for a little while I had Pokemon style battles in that each character only had four skills, and if a new skill was learned, it would have to be abandoned or an old skill abandoned. That resulted in very different builds depending on the player and their preference - making lots and lots of skills available but only allowing for four of them to be chosen. Could be quite different from standard JRPG battles.
 

wilpuri

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Most modern turn based games have more complexity than just "use A move in X situation".
Divinity: Original Sin would be my goal if I had the skills, but I’m solo devving on RPG Maker so there’s still few steps. :D

Repetitive simplistic battles can easily turn a player away from the game. I think I agree that if the focus of the game is fighting, then the vanilla tools are pretty limited.
 

ericv00

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Personally, the things about the default combat system I dislike are:

  • Random encounters every 30 steps
  • Having to select "fight" or "escape" every turn
  • 10% chance to miss (default accuracy is 95% and default evasion is 5%)
  • Damage variance; by default variance is 20%, which I think is a bit too extreme. You could do anywhere from 80%~120% damage. And then there's criticals which deal triple damage.
  • Agility variance, which makes turn order unpredictable and kinda defeats the purpose of turn based combat.
Other than that I think the default battle system is actually not bad, just needs a bit of polishing.
Aside from the "fight/escape" thing (which I don't understand and hate), these are just settings, all adjustable or even removed entirely with no need for plugins.

I think it is confusing to call the thing you dislike the "default combat system". It's more accurate to call it the default battle settings or values. And yes, every dev should polish these settings for the experience they wish to create.

Someone somewhere had to shove some numbers into the adjustable settings the engine allows in a way that generally functions, and that is all that is. I would say it is a basic assumption that people would and should adjust these values to, you know, actually make a game. It's not the fault of the engine. It's the fault of lazy devs.

For example, you can deal more damage with certain elements/damage type. So that elements will always become the obvious correct choice when you face the enemy. And that gets boring after repeating it for 100th times.
If you think that is as complex as the battle system can be, I think you should mess around with it more. Specifically with 'states'. You can do a lot of interesting things with 'states'. With enough messing around, you can make quite a dynamic system.
Each character always move once per turn so the best choice every turn is almost always whatever move that deals the most damage, or heal HP if HP gets low.
I use no plugins. I've hardly messed around with my battle system and already this is not true in my project. I can make characters perform multiple actions in one round, and there are abilities that are not attack or defense that are almost necessary to complete a battle successfully. Creatures' weaknesses have a set of weak, mild weak, neutral, mild strong, and strong against certain types of attacks. Playable characters are the same. And different actions adjust these weaknesses/strengths while also having other effects that are sometimes positive and sometimes negative. Sometimes you might want to brute your way through, and that is possible. Sometimes you want to finesse your way to a clean victory, and that is also possible. For me, the hardest part of making a dynamic system in RPGMaker is making it easy enough for players to digest.
You can play with the wording of each skill and make them sound cool. But fundementally your main mechanic isn't going to break away from the above repeated pattern unless you modify the core system.
What do you mean by the "core system"? All the basic adjustable parts in the engine are more than enough to create all kinds of interesting mechanics.
For example you can lure enemy to a narrow passage and use ranged attack from above taking 0 damage. Or you can gather enemies together and blast them with AoE spells. Some game uses AP system so each character can move several times per turn, so you can choose to attack twice per turn, buff then attack once, attack once then defend, move then attack or move then defend.
It takes work, but literally all of this is possible in the default RPGMaker engine. It may not visually look the same way. You'll have to frame it with how the graphics work in the engine, but it is possible.
It's tough to do meaningful decision making with complete default battle system, IMO.
Creating that is hard, but possible. It's kinda what the devs job is.

Sounds mean, but I have to blame lazy or inexperienced devs for lackluster battle systems, not the engine itself.
 

Tamina

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If you think that is as complex as the battle system can be, I think you should mess around with it more. Specifically with 'states'. You can do a lot of interesting things with 'states'. With enough messing around, you can make quite a dynamic system.

Without actually seeing the result I can't comment on how well your game mechanic works.

Feel free to share your game and get players reviewed, otherwise it's tough to discuss if this works well or not. :)

I can make characters perform multiple actions in one round, and there are abilities that are not attack or defense that are almost necessary to complete a battle successfully.
How does this gives player wider variety of choice, if certain move is necessary to complete a battle?

Creatures' weaknesses have a set of weak, mild weak, neutral, mild strong, and strong against certain types of attacks.

How is this different from other weakness system? Because it sounds like players would just choose "weak against" attack type over everything else.


Playable characters are the same. And different actions adjust these weaknesses/strengths while also having other effects that are sometimes positive and sometimes negative.

I think this is an interesting mechanic! The idea of using water magic on the enemy so they are more vulnerable to lightning sounds fun.

But I also feel it needs customized scripting for really good execution. For example as a player if I did something that increased the vulnerability of the enemy, I'd like to be informed. I'd like to see a mouse on hover text right beside the status icon that tells me "Lighting damage taken +200%" after I used water magic. If this isn't present then I'd be confused about the consequences that I made, which makes the system less fun to play with.

Which requires scripting.

Just because the default system can do something, doesn't mean the execution can support the idea without scripting. And sometimes execution is everything.

For me, the hardest part of making a dynamic system in RPGMaker is making it easy enough for players to digest.

Exactly! You have an idea about a system that is potentially fun, but have difficulty for better execution. This can probably be solved easily with scripting or simply different UI.

I can make characters perform multiple actions in one round,
I actually searched if there is a way to get such result, and here is the result, but none of the thread mentioned any good none plugin solution.



If there is a secret way that's never shared on forum then I'd like to know it. :)

It takes work, but literally all of this is possible in the default RPGMaker engine. It may not visually look the same way. You'll have to frame it with how the graphics work in the engine, but it is possible.

And that makes a HUGE difference for playing experience.

If I'm a player and "lure enemies into a narrow passage to blast them with magic" is a choice in the battle system, I expect it executed in an intuitive way. And that means the entire terrain system, enemy behavior system, and how different attack affected by the terrain needs heavy customization for the best result.

Sounds mean, but I have to blame lazy or inexperienced devs for lackluster battle systems, not the engine itself.

RPG Maker has been out for decades with countless games made, if there is an universally highly praised title with strong commercial success that is well known because of it's battle system(instead of story and art), I'd like to play them. :)

All of the very successful RM titles that I know of, such as Lisa, Omori, To the moon, Witch's house, One shot are more highly praised because of the story and setting, none of them are well known because their combat system is amazing. In fact most of the negative reviews about those games complained about the battle system being weak compare with story/art/settings.

I agree that good game design is very very hard to do, IMO much harder than art and coding. But I don't think it's fair to blame the RPG Maker devs for being lazy. It's one single aspect in game dev that's the hardest to get right.

Truth to be told, most of the devs with a strong battle system in mind probably won't use RPG Maker anyways, they'd build their own in other engines, it's faster and more flexible that way.
 
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CraneSoft

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While alot of developers tend to focus too much on how lackluster the battle systems in RPGMaker games tend to have and trying to make their own twist on it, the real issue is that alot of RPGMaker games simply don't have any substance besides the fairly standard RPG gameplay loop.
It gets extremely repetitive when all you do is the same "kill enemies, level up, learn skills, defeat boss, repeat" with similar battle systems, reused/recycled battle animations, enemies, locations etc.

Unless you are an experienced coder that can create a completely unique battle system not already used by 50 other Yanfly plugins games (eg. Undertale back in 2015), a developer will have to focus on other gameplay elements and come up with their own interesting concepts to avoid this stigma.
 

RCXGaming

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The idea of using water magic on the enemy so they are more vulnerable to lightning sounds fun.

But I also feel it needs customized scripting for really good execution.

No. It does not. It's literally just "apply state to enemy". If you really need information that tells you what this "Soaked" state is doing to the enemy, you can make a short tutorial fight that explains how it works.

That is how you do it without scripting.
 
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Tamina

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No. It does not. It's literally just "apply state to enemy". If you really need information that tells you what this "Soaked" state is doing to the enemy, you can make a tutorial fight that explains how it works.

You can, but that means players will have a lot of info to remember.

And what if you have 15 different states with different vulnerability, or each "soaked" stat has different level like "lighting +50%" "lighting +100%", how can player remember all that?

Personally, if I'm a player paying for a game I would expect tooltips. Almost every turn based game have it these days, no reason not to include them.
 

wilpuri

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You can, but that means players will have a lot of info to remember.

And what if you have 15 different states with different vulnerability, or each "soaked" stat has different level like "lighting +50%" "lighting +100%", how can player remember all that?

Personally, if I'm a player paying for a game I would expect tooltips. Almost every turn based game have it these days, no reason not to include them.
I have to ask are you yourself making games with this tool? For me it feels that this is not the tool for more strategic turn based combat where you move around in the environment have elevations, ranges etc.
Someone can do it with this, but most likely it’s easier with Unity, Godot or maybe even Game Maker.

This is a retro engine for games like old Final Fantasy games or Paper Mario.
 

bgillisp

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I'd say the bigger issue is when people neglect balancing their enemies. More often than not, making them so hard and/or tedious that of course people hate random encounters and such for it.

It's not fun to almost die to what the game treats as a BASIC ENEMY. In every. Encounter.

Or you die in the tutorial as the first fight debuffs you to extreme levels, heals itself for 3000 HP regularly and you are so baldy debuffed you do 0 damage to it. Oh and you get no way to remove the debuffs?

That actually happened to me on a commercial RPGMaker game I played on Steam. I refunded it.
 

Tamina

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I have to ask are you yourself making games with this tool?

Yes. :) Therefore all the experience with the default battle system is very real. Very frequently players will provide feedback on what design works and what doesn't, but it's very difficult to address those design issues without coding.

Sometimes it's possible to have a slightly interesting idea with the default system, but only after implemented it I quickly learned that certain design needs more tweaking for better execution, which requires coding.

IMO coding or plugin is very hard to avoid for a polished game once you decided to make a battle system or gameplay loops. It's probably avoidable if your game is pure narrative.


For me it feels that this is not the tool for more strategic turn based combat where you move around in the environment have elevations, ranges etc.
Someone can do it with this, but most likely it’s easier with Unity, Godot or maybe even Game Maker.

This is a retro engine for games like old Final Fantasy games or Paper Mario.

This is a discussion about RPG Maker stigma and how to avoid them. And since the stigma often came from the same old repetitive gameplay that's been used for many many times, the only solution is coding, or deal with the stigma and ignore it, or make a pure narrative game.

I'm not seeing a quick and easy way to avoid the stigma that doesn't involve coding/plugin.

Or yeah, you can use other engines as another way out, like Undertale mentioned above is made in GameMaker. But that would off topic here. :)
 
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ericv00

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Without actually seeing the result I can't comment on how well your game mechanic works.

Feel free to share your game and get players reviewed, otherwise it's tough to discuss if this works well or not. :)
Sure. But the point wasn't to express that my battle system is really great. The main takeaway is that these things are absolutely possible. Actually, they aren't even that complicated to do. ...They might be complicated to balance, though. Haha!
How does this gives player wider variety of choice, if certain move is necessary to complete a battle?
What I mean is that aside from attack and healing, you must pay attention to other developments in battle. That gives you the 'things to do'. Even defense isn't a straight-forward thing. Since each character has different attributes, different kinds of defenses are necessary for each character and in each battle against each different type of enemy. And all of this is done with 'states'. Some states give players different skills and others take them away. Some states change resource acquisition and that plays directly into what skills are used and in what way.

Again the thing I'm actually worried about is keeping it easy enough for a new player to pick up without getting frustrated.
How is this different from other weakness system? Because it sounds like players would just choose "weak against" attack type over everything else.
Because, as an example, lets say you are fighting a fire-based enemy... It is weak to ice attacks. It is slightly weak to earth attacks. And neutral to strong against other attacks. Now, to use ice attacks, a character might need to enter a 'stance' lets say. That stance gives them ice abilities but also makes them weak to fire. If they are already weak to fire, this may compound the effect, and that puts the character at much more risk. OR, the player might enter a fire stance which is strong against fire attacks, keeping them safer, but their attacks are much less useful in dealing damage to the fire enemy. OR they can enter a stance that gives them earth-based abilities that the enemy is a bit weak to, and the cons of the stance don't greatly put the character at risk. Now imagine these changes in abilities and weakness applied to healing spells, support spells, and whatnot.

Imagine then, a troop of baddies that includes creatures of various affinities and navigating through that battle.

This isn't exactly my setup, but it gives you an idea of how I have built certain aspects of my battle system. Brute force CAN work, but many other options are available. And cleverness is rewarded.
I think this is an interesting mechanic! The idea of using water magic on the enemy so they are more vulnerable to lightning sounds fun.

But I also feel it needs customized scripting for really good execution. For example as a player if I did something that increased the vulnerability of the enemy, I'd like to be informed. I'd like to see a mouse on hover text right beside the status icon that tells me "Lighting damage taken +200%" after I used water magic. If this isn't present then I'd be confused about the consequences that I made, which makes the system less fun to play with.

Which requires scripting.
It really doesn't! Explore all you can do with 'states'!

All you really want to do is make several different states, each with a host of attributes, and create abilities that apply certain states and removes others.

And as far as enemies, I haven't bothered changing states on them yet in a way that requires that to be communicated to the player. So I won't comment, but for characters it is certainly doable.
If there is a secret way that's never shared on forum then I'd like to know it. :)
What I have done is a bit rudimentary, and I will probably adjust it with plugins later, but I simply have a state that applies "Action Times +100%". There is probably a more correct way to do it, but it works. That character gets 2 actions when they are in that state.
RPG Maker has been out for decades with countless games made, if there is an universally highly praised title with strong commercial success that is well known because of it's battle system(instead of story and art), I'd like to play them. :)

All of the very successful RM titles that I know of, such as Lisa, Omori, To the moon, Witch's house, One shot are more highly praised because of the story and setting, none of them are well known because their combat system is amazing. In fact most of the negative reviews about those games complained about the battle system being weak compare with story/art/settings.
Just going to put it out there that a game that is visual sludge might have a fantastic battle system, the best ever!, but almost no one is going to play it to find out. Naturally, the most impressive well-known games are known for their aesthetic and story. Battle systems would only ever be a bonus... or a game breaker.
I agree that good game design is very very hard to do, IMO much harder than art and coding. But I don't think it's fair to blame the RPG Maker devs for being lazy. It's one single aspect in game dev that's the hardest to get right.
Okay, but attempting something different is standard for creativity. Lazy is exactly the way to describe devs that use the pre-entered values and stats. RPGMaker can do a whole heck of a lot. The tools exist, and people should explore it more than not at all.
Truth to be told, most of the devs with a strong battle system in mind probably won't use RPG Maker anyways, they'd build their own in other engines, it's faster and more flexible that way.
I dunno. Seems pretty easy, fast, and flexible to me. There may be other engines that make it easier, but I honestly don't see any major need to streamline the process. The point is that the engine can absolutely do the things you were criticizing it for lacking. Seriously, explore states and mess around! You might be surprised just how crazy you can make things
 

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Hey guys, do you wanna see who dominated the competition in our last game jam?! Stop by while we play Pinky by @Wumbohek Starting at 4:20pm EST.
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Looking for someone that can create custom-made balloon pop-ups for Escalia! Now posted in Classifieds - Requests
So, uh... I have to work on the MZ beta for one of the games to be made in Unite (since it's not out yet) because I'm planning to put it on Kickstarter. It involves escape rooms, twisted animatronics, and the SCP Foundation. Plus it takes place in a theme park, and it's NOT a "Five Nights" game. It's got virtual escape rooms, secret notes, and a twisted secret only the SCP should know.
Going live in 10 for Rise of the Third Power! Come and join me for ridiculous and inconsistent character voices, banter, the drinking of Irn Bru, the eating of cookies and wine gums, and possibly a dog! Twitch

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