smallgamedev

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Hello. I'm mostly just a lurker, but I did want to add my 2 cents.

I think one of the biggest issues with RPG Maker is that even the people that use it believe the stigma around it.

I guess put another way, people believe that the engine really is as "bad" and limited as the stimga around it has people believe, and thus sort of psyche themselves out and build barriers where there maybe aren't any. I would say that a much more limiting factor for RPG Maker than not knowing how to code is making your own assets.

With a few simple custom assets, some pre-existing or even no plugins and the event system you can make some incredibly robust features for your game. It just takes time, and a willingness to experiment with the engine. After all, the event system is quite literally just pre-written blocks of code put into a simple and easy to understand format.

The event system is capable of doing things that seem complex, impossible without code even, until you break it down and realise just how straightforward it is. Even things people believe to be intensely complex like custom menu systems and even combat systems can be put together with the event system.

So if I were to break it down even more, it would be:

Issue: Even the people using RPG Maker believe it to be very basic and limiting
Solution: Spend time with the engine, experiment, push it to its limits and understand that is not the case. Sometimes the limitations we believe are unbreakable are things we've imagined.

RPG Maker may not be as flexible or complex as Unity or UE4 but it is still a suprisingly powerful engine, even if you don't know a lick of code.

And, also, of course as a side note, I think its important to not put too much pressure on yourself to match some of the huge commercial projects made in RPG maker. Just take your time, learn the engine, what you and it are capable of, and enjoy the process.
 

slimmmeiske2

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Honestly, the reaction of other developers I speak to when they're like "hey that looks cool, what engine is it in" and I say RPG Maker has been "Ew" or some variation on "Ew" 100% of the time - I'm not saying this to be contrarian, but it's this repeated interaction which caused me to make this thread in the first place.
Oh okay, you're talking about other game devs. I thought you were talking about customers/players, which is where I think the stigma has lessened actually.
I'm not sure how to combat the stigma when it comes to other game devs, but if they've never tried RPG Maker (and most of the time they haven't), their opinion really shouldn't matter that much.
 

Iron_Brew

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Oh okay, you're talking about other game devs. I thought you were talking about customers/players, which is where I think the stigma has lessened actually.
I'm not sure how to combat the stigma when it comes to other game devs, but if they've never tried RPG Maker (and most of the time they haven't), their opinion really shouldn't matter that much.
Broadly, I am thinking of consumers/players (which is why I don't really see the RTP as an issue as most people can't identify it), but it's not just other devs who've had this reaction. I've had reactions from players which range from "Why don't you just use Unity" to "I don't play RPG Maker games, sorry."
 

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@slimmmeiske2 : I'm a little late to the party but yes, I think that is more the issue. Its more people not using the RTP well. When we get maps like this as the first map the player sees on a $19.99 game on Steam that is not going to help anything (note the dev lowered the price since I took that screenshot):

Lovely_map.png
 

slimmmeiske2

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@bgillisp Every time I see that screenshot, it hurts me a little bit more. :(
@Iron_Brew Well, I don't doubt that has happened to you, but in my experience people usually don't care when I tell them. I also spent a lot of my teenage years on a forum that was basically filled with thousands of gamers who love playing RPG Maker games. I've been reconnecting with them this past year and honestly, it doesn't look like many RM games out there market towards them. (Exception being @Indinera and his store). Anyway, that might have been slightly off topic; I just wanted to share my personal experience :)
 

pawsplay

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Problem: People detect it's an RPG Maker game and they become skeptical about whether it's worth their time. Your demo shows little more than that you know how to use plugins.
Suggestion: Hook people early. Some people start with DLC or custom assets, but that doesn't have to be the big selling point. What you want is that in the first 30 seconds of playing the game, the player feels like they are experiencing something new and different. A few ideas:
  • Visual upgrade: Replace assets, change fonts, customize windows
  • First battle or quest: You immediately do something that feels different than the usual FF/DQ bash quest or collection game.
  • Big splash: Title screen, theme music, opening scene.
  • Characters: You meet the main cast and they are immediately fun and interesting. Pretty early on, you learn funny/tragic/intriguing things about the characters.
  • Be sly: You know they can tell you are starting off with a pretty generic framework, so have a little fun with it. You could use parody stilted dialog, or you could be more subtle and have characters comment on the main's amnesia. If you are running a goofy DQ-inspired game, go the extra with monster names: instead of a slime or a flan, it's a creme anglaise or a moist jelly. It's not a wolf, it's a Big Woof. Instead of a skeleton warrior, it's a bone thug.
  • Cute framing story: Instead of being youths entrusted with magic crystals or chronically late princes/students/etc., start the game with something else happening.
  • Little touches: Add sound effects to set encounters. animate things in shops and houses. Mix-and-match tilesets to create unusual looking settings.
The important thing is that if you hide your cool story, cool mechanics, or workmanlike attention to detail an hour into the game, you've already lost your audience. If you can't show in a demo what makes your game fun, you may not have as clear an idea as you thought what makes your game stand out.
It isn't always about being unique, it's about being you. It's about taking an idea that is fun and putting it front and center.
 

smallgamedev

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Suggestion: Hook people early.
I would just like to echo this - even something as simple as a unique menu screen, or unique intro cutscene, or SOMETHING that helps your game to stand out will make a huge difference overall to the perception of your game to your potential audience.
 

bgillisp

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Also having played quite a few RPGMaker games, here are some other issues I have noticed that tend to crop up a lot in the bad ones:

Issue 1: Lack of balance
-This occurs in one of two ways. Its either a case of the dev makes the opening area brutally hard, forgetting it is the opening area of the game and you the player are still learning how to play the game. I actually refunded an RPGMaker game for losing the tutorial battle as the enemy healed itself constantly, debuffed me to the point that I did 0 damage, and there was no way to remove the debuff that I could see. Remember that the opening of the game is to teach the players how to play, not come out screaming Welcome to DIE at them.

Issue 2: Lack of proper player information.
-This is more a case of people trying to imitate old games and forgetting a few things. One is that some of those games they imitate actually are not well designed. I read an interview with one of those old game devs who admitted he never wanted anyone to beat his game, ever. However, a more common issue is we forget that the older games came with 60+ page manuals you were expected to read and digest before you even turned the game on. Too many devs try to imitate how those old games told and directed things but forget about the manual in return, which leads to the player not having key info.

This actually came up in a stream where I asked the dev who was defending this practice "Where is the manual then?" They didn't really have a good answer for that.
 

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I'm more of a casual user so I don't really know how RM games are perceived.
For me as an audience, good game is good and bad game is bad
no matter what engine it was created.
So I think the solution is to make good games.
Having a mindset of creating good games whatever engine we use.

Good doesn't necessarily means that everything have to be custom.
It means that the game is well thought out.
*I do like to use custom assets because I can create it,
but I don't think it's a necessity. :D

Back then I played Hero's Realm, it was an RM2k3 game with RTP assets.
I enjoyed it and consider it good.
The maps are well made, and there are interesting job mechanics.
Everything have a sense of purpose.
It simply feels like playing a good game in general.
I didn't play it with a thought of "this is an RM game."
*Just played the earlier part, because at the time I wasn't really into playing games.

I assume the negative stigma came from the RM games created by
people who have no clue about making good games.
It's not entirely their fault, because I do think the barrier to entry of RM is low.
Almost everyone can mess around with it and create a game (even if it's bad).

Regarding what is good, I want to differentiate between creator's perception of good and general audience's perception of good.
*This is something I learn from comics and music world, but I guess this also applies to games.

Personally as a creator, what I consider good is something "highly technical" and "high effort."
Something like super detailed flashy graphics for comics,
or weird chord changes and melodies for music.
In games it's probably something like super advanced battle system,
advanced puzzles, 100+ hours of playtime, open world, story full of twists, etc.

But once I shift into general audience perspective, what I consider good is something enjoyable.
Enjoyable doesn't necessarily have to be high technique or high effort.
Sometimes it's something very simple but well put together,
people can get along and enjoy the experience.
Take lo-fi music as an example, it's pretty simple.
A lot of people enjoy it, and I do enjoy it too.

Be sure who we're trying to please, so we know our priorities.
The ideal goal is definitely to please ourselves (as creator) and the audience.
Try to find some balance between two perspectives. :)

*I apologize if somehow I bring out unrelated topics or not very specific in my reply.
 

residntevl

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Hello. I'm mostly just a lurker, but I did want to add my 2 cents.

I think one of the biggest issues with RPG Maker is that even the people that use it believe the stigma around it.

Issue: Even the people using RPG Maker believe it to be very basic and limiting
Solution: Spend time with the engine, experiment, push it to its limits and understand that is not the case. Sometimes the limitations we believe are unbreakable are things we've imagined.
Funny enough, I've been using RPG Maker for almost forever as a hobbyist and I definitely have parts of that view, that even I fall prey to the stigma. It's important as a developer or hobbyist using RM is exactly what you said. Play around with the engine, figure out what you can do with the basic systems available to you and you'll sooner than later figure out just how versatile the tool is.
Popular RMXP games like Quintessence The Blighted Venom, Master of The Wind, and many others didn't look entirely different from many other XP games of the time, but had unique systems that were well designed and had great story elements. The people who designed these games put in the work of their best skills to highlight what people should focus on.
Quintessence's battle system is entirely evented and it's simplistic and fun. The music is all done by the creator. The story is very brisk and lots of thought has been put into the feeling of the world.
Master of The Wind has a beautiful world and story with lots of thought put into dungeons and exploration.
More of us should hype up those RPG Maker games that don't look completely different from what people think an RPG Maker game should look like (Omori, LISA, etc). There's a great many examples of good RPG Maker games that are not ashamed to simply be a fun RPG made in an engine that's core focus is making RPGs.
 

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Issue: A lot of RPG Maker games are criticised for repetitive or uninteresting combat.

Possible Solution: Designing more interesting encounters, and seeking testers both for design and usability prior to any kind of commercial release.

This isn't enough, IMO. Classic turn based battle system has been used for way too long that it's difficult to come up with something entirely new.

A few popular examples:

-Elemental weakness: Done many times and it's too straight forward honestly. "Enemies are weak to X, so you do X" lacks variety.

-Make defend worthwhile: Also done many times, and honestly defending for telegraphed attacks in a turn-based system just isn't fun because there aren't skill checks unlike action games. You'll just end up forcing players to defend right before telegraphed attacks, which takes away decision making.

-Make status ailments useful: Done many times too. Although many 90s JRPG didn't use them enough.

-Boss spawns adds: Almost every major JRPG has done it at least once.

-Counters, barriers, break barriers, buffs, whatever: All done in many many games.

-QTE: done in many games and turn based game fans generally hate them.

-MMO holy trinity with tanks and an aggro system: already experienced it in MANY MMOs.

If your player is someone really new to RPG then all these mechanics may be interesting. If you've been playing RPG/MMO since 90s then none of these mechanics are new nor interesting.

If you are aiming for RPG fans as the target audience, fat chance is that they already played enough RPG that these mechanics aren't new to them to begin with.

I think if you want to make combat system truly interesting with RM, you need serious coding skills. Adding things like environment interaction, physics, positioning and spell target range can give another layers of depths to the battles.

Games like Trails series, FF13(I know this game has many haters but I love the combat), Valkyrie profit series, Divinity Original Sin 2 were fun when they released because their battle systems aren't completely traditional turn based. They added a lot more elements to traditional battle system which makes them new and interesting.

Most of the time successful RM games rely on story/art/theme/nsfw content/horror elements to sell because battle system is really the toughest thing to do well in RPG IMO. It requires a lot of coding skill and design/balance to make a very new and refined battle system.
 
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Aoi Ninami

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If you are aiming for RPG fans as the target audience, fat chance is that they already played enough RPG that these mechanics aren't new to them to begin with.

I think if you want to make combat system truly interesting with RM, you need serious coding skills. Adding things like environment interaction, physics, positioning and spell target range can give another layers of depths to the battles.

Or you could flip this entirely on its head: if you're aiming for RPG fans as the target audience, you are targeting people who already know and love the classic formula of turn-based RPG gameplay. Instead of this endless search for novelty -- why not give them more of what they love?

If you're worried about your game not standing out enough, then make the story, world and characters really stand out -- those are the aspects that really should be unique to each game.
 

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(Exception being @Indinera and his store)

Yes, my community and myself just LOVE the classic RPG feel.
I don't mind at all the type of gameplay provided by RM. I find it fun and interesting as long as the game is deep, complex and involving enough.
 

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This isn't enough, IMO. Classic turn based battle system has been used for way too long that it's difficult to come up with something entirely new.

A few popular examples:

-Elemental weakness: Done many times and it's too straight forward honestly. "Enemies are weak to X, so you do X" lacks variety.

-Make defend worthwhile: Also done many times, and honestly defending for telegraphed attacks in a turn-based system just isn't fun because there aren't skill checks unlike action games. You'll just end up forcing players to defend right before telegraphed attacks, which takes away decision making.

-Make status ailments useful: Done many times too. Although many 90s JRPG didn't use them enough.

-Boss spawns adds: Almost every major JRPG has done it at least once.

-Counters, barriers, break barriers, buffs, whatever: All done in many many games.

-QTE: done in many games and turn based game fans generally hate them.

-MMO holy trinity with tanks and an aggro system: already experienced it in MANY MMOs.

If your player is someone really new to RPG then all these mechanics may be interesting. If you've been playing RPG/MMO since 90s then none of these mechanics are new nor interesting.

If you are aiming for RPG fans as the target audience, fat chance is that they already played enough RPG that these mechanics aren't new to them to begin with.

I think if you want to make combat system truly interesting with RM, you need serious coding skills. Adding things like environment interaction, physics, positioning and spell target range can give another layers of depths to the battles.

Games like Trails series, FF13(I know this game has many haters but I love the combat), Valkyrie profit series, Divinity Original Sin 2 were fun when they released because their battle systems aren't completely traditional turn based. They added a lot more elements to traditional battle system which makes them new and interesting.

Most of the time successful RM games rely on story/art/theme/nsfw content/horror elements to sell because battle system is really the toughest thing to do well in RPG IMO. It requires a lot of coding skill and design/balance to make a very new and refined battle system.

I feel you're missing the forest for the trees with this.

Your originality argument is pretty weak as media of all kinds have been played out in several different ways, not just this one specific genre of video games.

There is nothing you can make that's "new" because it's already been done before somewhere else. That also applies to the mechanics you mentioned that aren't traditional RPG fare... and that's fine. People tend to be fans of things that are familiar to them for a very good reason.

What you should instead focus on is fleshing out your mechanics and aesthetics to be the best they can be and to be creative with your use of them. As long as your hook and execution captivates people, it shouldn't matter if the elements that go into them are things people have seen before.

I also feel you underestimate how powerful intelligent use of the attributes @Iron_Brew mentioned can affect even a standard RPG, and how they can be expanded if you have the right mind and programming skills behind them.

Pokemon, for example, lives and dies by its elemental typing system. It influences the decisions players have to make if they want to succeed constantly, especially in challenge runs like nuzlockes and difficulty hacks - it adds a non-negligible layer of complexity to an otherwise straightforward traditional battle system.

Tldr; execution is the most important thing. A good/novel idea can turn sour with bad execution.
 
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Bernkastelwitch

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On the RTP: I don't believe you should be one of those people who'd 100% replace the entire RTP unless you have a ton of money and know where the direction of your game goes so you won't need to get more custom assets or have a lot of unused assets. The issue isn't the RTP in general: It's doing it well. Though editing RTP assets, whether through photoshop or plugins can go a long way to freshen things up.

On mechanics: Everything has been done before. If you try to do something new, you'll realize it is impossible to do something new. But do not underestimate people on mechanics and gameplay: If they really liked a mechanic and you have it in yours, they will keep an eye on it. Instead of focusing on being new, focus on doing what you want well.
 

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@RCXDan I think you've hit the nail on the head there mate. There's a lot to be said for polish, and this is why I think getting extensive testing and feedback done is so imperative! Especially when you consider what @Aoi Ninami was saying - RPG maker might have a "barebones" system by default, but even without plugins, with proper encounter and skill design it's possible to give players a truly superlative experience.

@smallgamedev you are also onto something here. The only limitations we have are the ones we put up - if we all try hard and figure out how to make our games the best they can be I have no doubt that the perception of the engine can change :D
 
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Tamina

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I say RPG Maker has been "Ew" or some variation on "Ew" 100% of the time - I'm not saying this to be contrarian, but it's this repeated interaction which caused me to make this thread in the first place. I love RPG maker games, and I'm just interested in shifting that perception and what can be done.

Truth to be told, there is very little that can be done. From marketing point of view, changing people's perception isn't easy. Most of the time it's easier to go with the flow instead of fighting the trend. Most of the time developers choose to ignore the noise and keep working on better games or ditch RPG Maker as an engine for marketing purpose.

Brand recognition is a thing in marketing and there is a reason why many companies create multiple brands for different product price tiers. If most people view RPG Maker as "hobby engine", it'll need a lot more effort to change such view than simply making a good game.
If you're worried about your game not standing out enough, then make the story, world and characters really stand out -- those are the aspects that really should be unique to each game.

If RPG fans never want new mechanics, why would almost every AA RPG studio add something new to their battle system for nearly all the titles?

Adding new mechanics cost money, reusing old system doesn't. It makes sense to keep reusing the old mechanics over and over if your target audience don't want innovation. But studios choose to invest money on new system, by logic that means the investment is generally worth it.

Look at nearly all of big RPG titles recently:

Persona: Has a one more system and down gauge.
Divinity original sin 2: Lots of Environment interaction.
FF13: Has a real time system with each move having their own cost.
Trails: Movement and positioning on the battle field.
FF7 remake: real time ATB.
SMT: Press turn battle system.

So AA games that don't try to add something new is in the minority. Based on that I think adding new mechanics is worth it.

f you're worried about your game not standing out enough, then make the story, world and characters really stand out -- those are the aspects that really should be unique to each game.

You can do that, and the game will probably sell. But unless you are making a pure narrative game, "game mechanic" is also an important part of RPG.

Yes, my community and myself just LOVE the classic RPG feel.
I don't mind at all the type of gameplay provided by RM. I find it fun and interesting as long as the game is deep, complex and involving enough.
Are you sure it isn't the "feel" (like presentation) that makes the game appealing, but the game mechanics? That's very different from presentation.

There is nothing you can make that's "new" because it's already been done before somewhere else. That also applies to the mechanics you mentioned that aren't traditional RPG fare... and that's fine. People tend to be fans of things that are familiar to them for a very good reason.

I think you completely misunderstood my point. My point wasn't to suggest people completely reinvent a brand new game mechanic. I only said adding new game mechanics based on traditional turn based formula makes the game more interesting. (Which requires coding using RPG Maker)

Adding additional mechanics like positioning and environment interaction doesn't suddenly make a RPG "not RPG". It's still RPG gameplay, just with another layer of depth.

All of the titles I list above still has an element of traditional turn based elements, but they add new mechanics to the system. Which makes the game different and interesting, but they never stay too far from being a rpg.

Edit: About the pokemon example you mentioned: IMO it's actual not "elemental system" that makes it work, but pokemon swap system.

In normal RPG elemental system isn't fun because there are zero decision making. If enemy is weak to X, then you use X. That's very railroad and more like puzzle solve than strategy.

In Pokemon you only have 1 pokemon at once. It's possible that enemy is weak at X, but your pokemon don't have X, so you have a choice to swap them.

That's more choice and additional layer of depth in strategy.

So it's not really elements system providing depth, but having many layers of decision making.


What you should instead focus on is fleshing out your mechanics and aesthetics to be the best they can be and to be creative with your use of them.

Aesthetics is aesthetics, it's not mechanics. That's 2 separate elements in a video game.

Yes, your game can sell with just Aesthetics, but they only last for so long IMO. When I see a very pretty game, it hook me maybe 30 min max. It's generally story and mechanics that keep me playing and continue to discuss it in a community.

You can try to flesh out an existing mechanic. But at one point it's still possible to run into certain idea that needs coding to make it work.

I had this issue with default battle system. I wanted certain skill to work the certain way, but it isn't provided in RM natively. I searched every plugin and asked forum, but I couldn't find a solution. In the end I had to compromise and gave up on such mechanic.

I think there is a limitation on game design using the engine without coding. There are things that you just can't do.
 
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Hey folks!

Something which has come up in a bunch of threads recently (Advice You Disagree With, Things in RPGs Which Annoy You, Are RPG Maker Games Asset Flips) is the undeniable public opinion that RPG Maker Games - which is to say games made with RPG Maker, not the engines themselves - have an image problem. Words like 'shovelware', 'low effort', and 'low quality' get thrown around a lot, but it seems like we all seem to understand and have thoughts on the validity of these criticisms, and opinions on how to circumvent these issues.

The reason I wanted to start this thread was to get a list of these issues together and discuss them in an open and friendly place! I don't mean posts saying, for example: "I hate the RTP, every time I see the RTP I assume a game will be bad." I'm not interested in that kind of bias without a suggested solution - what I'm looking for moreover are things like:



Issue: A lot of RPG Maker games are criticised for repetitive or uninteresting combat.

Possible Solution: Designing more interesting encounters, and seeking testers both for design and usability prior to any kind of commercial release.



That way we, as a community, can look at crowd-sourcing a list of potential pitfalls which creators can then navigate around by adjusting their content appropriately (or even to see which they prioritise as issues personally, and which they are willing to release with).

I do want to make absolutely explicit that I don't want to necessarily see critique of specific projects in here. I don't want to know that you have personal beef with a specific user or project's narrative, or design. The intention is not to have this thread lead to any fights, be they personal or just rehashing the same three points people have about the RTP for the sixtieth time. This is a place for us to look at the stigma attached to games made in RPG Maker and figure out what can do as individual creators to not fall into these pitfalls.

I'm looking forward to hearing what you guys see as the priority issues with RPG Maker games, as well as the issues you see with those same games in terms of their outward perception and how we can fix this! I hope this discussion yields really positive results for everyone! :D
I have actually thought on this and decided part of the problem may be...somewhat manufactured on certain viewers' ends. Every project has a purpose and audience, and if someone outside of that audience gets to experiencing the project outside of its intention, their experience can very well be negatively impacted.

I did a video on this subject dealing with just reviewers. I don't want to be the filthy YTer guy but I will link it here because it expresses my thoughts on this a little better than I am able to at the moment.
- AmalgamAsh
 

Tamina

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- RPG maker might have a "barebones" system by default, but even without plugins, with proper encounter and skill design it's possible to give players a truly superlative experience.

How about let's discuss common design issues from a pure game design point of view, rather than having the goal of "trying to work within the engine limitation". I think it's easier nail down the root many common design problems and see if there is a solution that doesn't involve changing the default system with code.

First, let's define what makes "turn based battles" fun. We can all agree that the fun of turn based system is strategy depth, not reaction speed check(unlike action games).

And here is an article about "depth" in game design:

It nailed down 2 elements that makes a game mechanic deep:
1) It needs clear objectives.
2) It needs a variety of Meaningful Skills(or choices to make during an encounter). Meaningful means every choice has it's pros and cons. If one choice is overwhelming better than it's not really a choice.

Most of the rpg games made has 1) but quite lacking on 2). Many common design advice posted on these forum doesn't completely solve problems with 2) either.

For example:
Elemental weakness: You find the enemy is weak against fire, so you use fire skill. There is very little meaningful choice because using fire in this case is the superior choice. There is no reason not to use fire if your enemy is weak again fire.

Can you make this choice meaningful by resource limitation like MP? Use fire cost MP, so that's a choice with pros and cons right?

But then in most JRPG there is infinite resources to recover MP. You can farm money then spend them in shops to buy MP recovery items. So the entire game become a grinding game where farming as much money as possible for MP recovery items so players can use fire as often as possible becomes THE best choice.

What if you make limitation on items? Like you can carry 3 MP recovery items max so you can't spam fire?

That is more annoying than meaningful tbh. I have a monster that is weak against fire, and I have the fire skill to kill it. But I can't use it freely because the game forced me to use fire sparingly with artificial limitation.

What if you add another layer of choice, such as timing, positioning, environmental interactions?

That might work.

Maybe if you want to use fire, you need 3 turns to charge the spell so you must protect the mage before the spell is done. Because now you are choosing between spending the time on very damaging spell or don't.

Maybe if you want to use fire, you must move your character close to the target because fire spell is short ranged. So now you are choosing between taking the risk by going close for the spell or don't.

Or maybe if you want to use fire, you must first lure the enemy to a gas station so fire spell becomes more effective.....that's quite satisfying to pull off isn't it?

You see, by adding timing, positioning, environmental interactions adds many more layers of decision making, which makes the entire battle system a lot more interesting.

And that requires coding and changing the default battle system.
(Maybe you can implement such features with eventing but I think it's going to be a lot more work than just code.)

There are many more examples. Like "defend for telegraphed attacks" "use AoE spells when multiple enemies are present" are pretty much all one way obvious choice that doesn't require meaningful decision making. Players are only reacting towards the situation with the obvious best skill choice. Players aren't presented with multiple good solutions at once.

If you want to make all of these choices not so obvious and meaningful, it needs more system and features for another layer of depth.

If you look at design problems from a designers point of view, rather than "RPG Maker developer's point of view", you'd see why using customized battle system with code is often a good choice. Because you'll have more flexibility to solve many design problems that makes many RPG Maker battles uninteresting to play with.
 
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ElCheffe

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My two cents:

In a lot of the previous comments the focus was on graphics and gameplay related innovations. I'm kind of sick of hearing about "You need to come up with an innovative new battle system" or "Don't use the RTP as it will brand your game as cheap".

The main aspect that keeps me playing any RPG is a great story. I believe most RPG players can accept an already existing battle system or even the usage of some less brilliant maps if the overall story captivates them.

For me a roleplaying game is always about exploring a world and getting to know its inhabitants. Understand the motivations and conflicts of all actors and finally watch a beautiful story unfold that really keeps you playing. Good writing that can emotionally touch the player is the best way to create a great game. And usually, the high emotional scenes are the ones a player remembers best (sometimes even after years).

Issue: Many developers put too much effort into reinventing the mechanics instead of providing a great story.

Possible Solution: Always try to emotionally tie the player to your story. A good storytelling will motivate a player to even go through some not-so-great encounters or maps simply because he wants to know how the plot continues.
 

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yo i made a post but it hasnt really gotten any answers so uhhhh
Finished switching to a new PC. Now I could potentially start working at projects or plugins again if I feel the motivation to do so.
If you don't read the news, you are uninformed. If you read the news, you are misinformed.
Custom slip rates and custom ailment durations for enemies really opens up the floodgates for status effect use. I can have Poison and Time Stop affect bosses without it breaking their balance! Finally, a healthy middle ground.

(Especially after I cooked up a thing that prevents you from re-applying deadly states more than once in specific occassions.)
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The Voice... They usually show up to talk to you about leaving your mark on the world, which is one of the major themes of my game... How will you be remembered by society.

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