NamEtag

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If this thread becomes a hugbox for creatives, I'm all in for it. :kaojoy:

We must help each other, comrades
Excuse me. I'm uh, extremely confused by this.

I thought "hugbox" is a derogatory term, not too different from echo chambers, to refer to communities that are unwilling to be critical of each other and only allow positive reinforcement after venting negative experiences.

I have never heard of it being used as a good thing.
 

RCXDan

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Excuse me. I'm uh, extremely confused by this.

I thought "hugbox" is a derogatory term, not too different from echo chambers, to refer to communities that are unwilling to be critical of each other and only allow positive reinforcement after venting negative experiences.

I have never heard of it being used as a good thing.

Pretty sure it is derogatory.

Yeah, count me in as part of the confused party cause this don't smell right. I'm all for helping spread the love and tolerance, but I'd rather we keep our minds open to criticism and differing perspectives so we can grow as people. :kaoswt:
 

lianderson

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Hug everyone! Power to the hugboxes!

*pulls out whip*

Now get back to work! These games ain't gonna make themselves! Everyone here requires enhancements to their game make! Praise be to the altar.

Good day mortals.
 
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There needs to be a clear distinction between commercial and hobbyist when it comes to discussion about RPG Maker stigma.

There also needs to be an understanding that there are different groups of potential gamers to attract when seeking players or customers for a game, with different ranges of interest.

If selling a commercial game (to the general market), of course looks matter. Looks are part of what marketing uses to sell a game.

If just trying to get people to play a free game, then looks won't matter so much as how one approaches people to play their game; in this case, your potential player base is potentially much, much smaller but also potentially much, much more forgiving.

There should be no qualms about the unfairness of superficiality when it comes to selling on the market, because the time and/or money of customers is limited, and they don't have to just take the developers' words on faith when they have so many other games to look at.

As such, if you're trying to sell a full RTP game (commercially) that looks like all the bad games, you will not be able to convince people who shop around and read reviews unless you have amazing reviews or reputation to begin with, and to get amazing reviews and reputation, you need people to buy/play your game to begin with. Your challenge in that case is the problem of the chicken and the egg. In this case, you have to target people who have no idea about the glut of shovelware RPG Maker games on the market, which in turn could potentially give you a really bad reputation if your game doesn't meet customer expectations.

Keep in mind that people who DO know about the glut of shovelware might tell others not to even give your game a chance by explaining about the glut problem.

Also keep in mind that no matter how good your game might be, that won't erase the many bad games not only floating in the ocean with you but joining you much more frequently than the good games because of how low the effort needed is to make shovelware.

Consider that if selling on the market, what people want is good quality, even top quality for their limited time, and they won't care how much effort went into making the game as long as the final product is actually worth THEIR time, not the developers' but the customers' time. There is already such a mindset thanks to the AAA companies spending millions of dollars on ads and whatnot to monopolize the play time of consumers.

This means that if going commercial, you are not just competing against other RPG Maker games, but also the likes of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Frugal customers might not even care if you offer at lower prices because they might be saving up to buy a Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest game instead. They might not even look at your game if you can't grab their attention through marketing.

That means you're either relegated to a niche market for people who specifically enjoy RPG Maker games or you get ready to market your game to the general consumer pool as being worthy of competing against existing games that have won awards and defined the genre.

Getting people to buy your game is what marketing is for, where superficiality and harsh critical analysis is the norm. The stigma can not be ignored and it will not change for you unless you get all bad RPG Maker games removed from the market somehow. This means jumping through extra hoops or spending more time/effort/money whether you like it or not.

Getting people to keep your game instead of returning for refund is what quality is for, where actual skills and effort matter.

For commercial game success, everything matters.
 
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Excuse me. I'm uh, extremely confused by this.

I thought "hugbox" is a derogatory term, not too different from echo chambers, to refer to communities that are unwilling to be critical of each other and only allow positive reinforcement after venting negative experiences.

I have never heard of it being used as a good thing.

Wait a sec, slow down, I didn't know people used "hugbox" negatively-

I would've never used it if I knew. To be very honest, I despise people that use "safe space" negatively, unless referring to people that wanna plug their ears to any complaint.

And on that topic...

Pretty sure it is derogatory.

Yeah, count me in as part of the confused party cause this don't smell right. I'm all for helping spread the love and tolerance, but I'd rather we keep our minds open to criticism and differing perspectives so we can grow as people. :kaoswt:

I'll be even more honest. I'm not a fan of the "you need critique to improve" thing. Never have been. Feedback of any kind is inevitable, sure. And we can all agree that it is annoying when there exist those that would rather do nothing for the better than to slow down and listen.

But the idea that critique is necessary to improve bothers me. What about self-taught people? What about people that learn these things on their own without strangers yelling at them with their sage "advice"

If the person asks for critique and welcomes it, only to backpedal at the first sniff of it, that's different. But what about people that never ask? Is it necessary to say the people that don't desire it are somehow worse off?

Forgive me in advance if it seems like I'm presuming alot; as an artist that has lurked in certain areas of the art community, I've seen entitled stan after entitled stan proclaim that it's fine to shove unwanted comments down their throat because "lol it's the internet scrub", even when the person recieving all this is...a kid trying to have fun with their sparkledog.

I say, let them make mistakes, let them grow up, and I assure you, they're going to hit a point where they look back at it and go, "oh ew" and do better.


Edited to add a TL;DR: I don't think criticism is bad. It is something that could and should exist. I just don't trust people to apply it correctly due to all the times it's been applied incorrectly to the point where they're just violating that person's boundaries and being mean for the sake of it and then hiding behind it being "critique". At that point they should've minded their business.
Something like how you think someone's art should look because you prefer it or like it better than the way they do it is not critique; telling them a better way of doing what they want to do is.
 
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RCXDan

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Wait a sec, slow down, I didn't know people used "hugbox" negatively-

I would've never used it if I knew. To be very honest, I despise people that use "safe space" negatively, unless referring to people that wanna plug their ears to any complaint.

From my time on the internet, it and hugbox have been exclusively used to refer to people that reject anything negative that doesn't conform to their worldview.

Of course I'm also not a fan of the term As Used since I've also seen it being negatively used to describe a community who, by all means, were just nice people and didn't want to cause trouble with each other. You know, like normal people.

I'll be even more honest. I'm not a fan of the "you need critique to improve" thing. Never have been. Feedback of any kind is inevitable, sure. And we can all agree that it is annoying when there exist those that would rather do nothing for the better than to slow down and listen.

But the idea that critique is necessary to improve bothers me. What about self-taught people? What about people that learn these things on their own without strangers yelling at them with their sage "advice"

See, I get you. I find it pretty annoying when people chime in with an opinion that isn't warranted, especially if the presenter is taking it way out of proportion. Re: sparkledog kid.

If the person asks for critique and welcomes it, only to backpedal at the first sniff of it, that's different.

That's the thing. This is mainly what I was talking about. People who slither away at the first sign of real constructive criticism probably are never going anywhere to begin with.

But what I don't want to see are people who think saying whatever rotten thing because they don't like you or your work is acceptable behavior. That's not critique, that's destructive.

So you know, I gotcha. I was just worried at the phrasing of that first post, cause I didn't know if we were going down that route. Guess we both did a bit of presuming.:kaoswt2:
 
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Of course I'm also not a fan of the term As Used since I've also seen it being negatively used to describe a community who, by all means, were just nice people and didn't want to cause trouble with each other. You know, like normal people.
For real, though

That aside, apologies for nearly derailing this again, whoops. And uh, thanks for not yelling at me XD

I feel better knowing that we ended up on the same page.
 

Helen1701

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When it comes to criticism, I'll listen if it's constructive, otherwise disregard. Like, if someone points out that gameplay might have been better if I'd done something different and makes a suggestion of how it could be done differently, I'm willing to listen, and perhaps implement their suggestion next time. If I try it out for myself and see the improvement in action (if the change doesn't make things any better I can feel free to keep things as they are originally). If however all someone has to say is basically 'your game sucks' peppered with ad hominem attacks then I am going to be far less open to listening to that person because their frame of mind is not going to help me to improve my work and instead would only serve to drag me down to their level. What I am saying is that there is a whole world of difference between constructive criticism, which everyone should bear in mind if they're trying to become a better dev, and personal attacks, which don't aim to help you improve and only serve to make you feel ****ty. The latter should be completely ignored because the commenter obviously doesn't have your best interests at heart.

It's an unfortunate truth that some people hide behind a computer screen to be vile to people, behaving in a way they never would face to face. Basically the people issuing personal attacks aren't worth your time, they're nothing more or less than internet trolls and they obviously have nothing better or more worthwhile to occupy their time. That is not your problem.
 

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I'll be even more honest. I'm not a fan of the "you need critique to improve" thing. Never have been. Feedback of any kind is inevitable, sure. And we can all agree that it is annoying when there exist those that would rather do nothing for the better than to slow down and listen.

But the idea that critique is necessary to improve bothers me. What about self-taught people? What about people that learn these things on their own without strangers yelling at them with their sage "advice"

If the person asks for critique and welcomes it, only to backpedal at the first sniff of it, that's different. But what about people that never ask? Is it necessary to say the people that don't desire it are somehow worse off?

To be fair, this I can't agree with. "What about self-taught people" - well, they'll get better after receiving feedback. People learn things on their own, sure, but a person is always going to have blind spots and things that they don't notice, so when people say "hey, I didn't like X", or "why don't you try Y" that's not an attack, that's a service.

I'm a strong believer that feedback helps to illuminate weaknesses you didn't know you had, so yeah I do think that people who don't seek feedback and to improve themselves through the lens of other peoples' experiences with what they make are worse off. Like sure, there's a difference between constructive and non-constructive criticism, but some of the things I like most about my games have been the things I changed because people have been like "this mechanic is dogshit" with no constructive element to it.

It was a jumping-off point for me re-examining the mechanic, but more importantly for seeking more detailed feedback to see if the feedback was unwarranted.

TL;DR - If you close yourself off to critique, you weaken yourself and your game.
 

Indinera

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"When it comes to criticism, I'll listen if it's constructive, otherwise disregard"

Nothing is ever constructive enough if you flat out disagree with what's said.
Personally I'll listen only to people who like my games at least to some degree. The others are probably not compatible with my own vision which I'm not willing to sacrifice in a (probably futile) attempt to please as many people as possible.
 

Bernkastelwitch

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Honestly all the stuff I hear for critique from some people is to "Make your game as less-RPG Maker in your RPG Maker game as possible" which doesn't really help. The instant people will figure out the engine, some of them will be turned off regardless.

It's still a bit funny how RPG Maker's main selling point is for someone who doesn't know much art, coding, etc can still make something if they want to but you either need to be very rich to commission all the plugins and artwork or you need to be multi talented in writing, art, coding, level design and be an expert from the get go to make something that doesn't alienate people according to these people.

It's just a thought I had.
 

Indinera

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"Honestly all the stuff I hear for critique from some people is to "Make your game as less-RPG Maker in your RPG Maker game as possible" which doesn't really help."

Exactly. I like the style of game rm produces so this is the kind of advice I can't follow.
 

Bernkastelwitch

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"When it comes to criticism, I'll listen if it's constructive, otherwise disregard"

Nothing is ever constructive enough if you flat out disagree with what's said.
Personally I'll listen only to people who like my games at least to some degree. The others are probably not compatible with my own vision which I'm not willing to sacrifice in a (probably futile) attempt to please as many people as possible.

And this usually goes with the discussion of commercial sales versus creator vision and why you need to pick the right audience to market and get critique from your game. You ain't going to let someone who only plays games like COD or Overwatch review a Visual Novel or RTS game, after all.

And sometimes your vision of a games story or plot goes against what people assume is a "Commercial success". That's fine. To me, it's better to make how you vision your game than make something cookie cutter and generic for better sales.
 

Indinera

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"To me, it's better to make how you vision your game"

I have no motivation in making something I personally do not like.
I think an indie venture is or should be about expressing yourself not try and cater to the most common denominator.
 

Tamina

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Now, onto the battle system... it's an issue, a whopping big issue. Turn based battle systems can work sometimes, they certainly work just fine for Pokemon, but it is very hard for someone to make a game stand out when the battle system is always turn based. An action battle system in which enemies are fought on screen (okay, it would need a weapon swinging/firing animation, but couldn't those animations be included in the sprite sheet system?) is the kind of combat that is most popular in 2D games in general because it is more immersive for the player.

If you think turn based battle has no potential, then I highly encourage you try Slay the Spire and hopefully that would change your mind. It has a traditional turn based battle system, with very mediocre graphics and zero fancy animation. All the battle is just numbers flying around on the screen.
But the battle system is done so well that I ended up playing for many hours a day non stop.

To quickly sum up what makes it good:
1) Every move is relevant: Defend isn't useless, buffs are game changing and it can save lives. Every single time when I make a move I have to think really really hard. It's not just brainless attck attack heal heal do elemental weakness damage like most JRPGs.

2) All the informations are displayed very clearly which helps decision making. You know exactly what buffs and debuffs everyone has, and when they'll wear off. If enemy wants to attack you know exactly how much damage they'll do during your turn, so you can plan ahead.

3) Death is punishing: You'll have to restart if you die. Which forces player to strategize. In most JRPG I can run into dungeons with stacks of potions, then win any fight with resource spam. In Slay the Spire, you can't potion spam which makes planning defend and buff stacking far more relevant.

4) Many moves interact with each others in an interesting way. Some moves are more useful if you do other moves first. So making decisions on the action order is very important too.

I think the fun and depth of a turn based battle system comes from how many choices (different actions) available every turn, and how relevant they are. It also needs a lot of testing and planning to carefully balance every move. Many JRPG battle system suffers from the problem of certain skill aren't useful enough so players ended up spamming their strongest attack(which includes elemental weakness) then heal when they run out of HP. And that's why it's boring. Because the optimal choice is way too obvious this way.

By the way, Slay the Spire sold 1.5m copies 1 year after release, with very limited marketing budget (they only sold 2000 copies in their first week). Most of the sales came from streamers playing the game and getting more people interested. Safe to say if your gameplay is good, even with mediocre graphics people will enjoy it.

In the end, as a game designer playing games in other genre for inspiration is important. Slay the Spire is deck building/rogue-like, but with some tweaks their battle design concept should work well in JRPG too. I think most JRPG dev never push the potential of turn based battle system far enough, instead they focus on story and aesthetics. So if you only ever play JRPG you probably will feel "turn based battle is boring".

So here it is:
Problem: Turn based battle system is boring.
Solution: Play games from different genre, analyze what makes them fun, and ask yourself "can I implement this mechanic in my own game"?

And yeah, learn different tools or learn coding so it's possible to implement better game mechanic too. :)
 
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Helen1701

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If you think turn based battle has no potential, then I highly encourage you try Slay the Spire and hopefully that would change your mind. It has a traditional turn based battle system, with very mediocre graphics and zero fancy animation. All the battle is just numbers flying around on the screen.
But the battle system is done so well that I ended up playing for many hours a day non stop.

To quickly sum up what makes it good:
1) Every move is relevant: Defend isn't useless, buffs are game changing and it can save lives. Every single time when I make a move I have to think really really hard. It's not just brainless attck attack heal heal do elemental weakness damage like most JRPGs.

2) All the informations are displayed very clearly which helps decision making. You know exactly what buffs and debuffs everyone has, and when they'll wear off. If enemy wants to attack you know exactly how much damage they'll do during your turn, so you can plan ahead.

3) Death is punishing: You'll have to restart if you die. Which forces player to strategize. In most JRPG I can run into dungeons with stacks of potions, then win any fight with resource spam. In Slay the Spire, you can't potion spam which makes planning defend and buff stacking far more relevant.

4) Many moves interact with each others in an interesting way. Some moves are more useful if you do other moves first. So making decisions on the action order is very important too.

I think the fun and depth of a turn based battle system comes from how many choices (different actions) available every turn, and how relevant they are. It also needs a lot of testing and planning to carefully balance every move. Many JRPG battle system suffers from the problem of certain skill aren't useful enough so players ended up spamming their strongest attack(which includes elemental weakness) then heal when they run out of HP. And that's why it's boring. Because the optimal choice is way too obvious this way.

By the way, Slay the Spire sold 1.5m copies 1 year after release, with very limited marketing budget (they only sold 2000 copies in their first week). Most of the sales came from streamers playing the game and getting more people interested. Safe to say if your gameplay is good, even with mediocre graphics people will enjoy it.

In the end, as a game designer playing games in other genre for inspiration is important. Slay the Spire is deck building/rogue-like, but with some tweaks their battle design concept should work well in JRPG too. I think most JRPG dev never push the potential of turn based battle system far enough, instead they focus on story and aesthetics. So if you only ever play JRPG you probably will feel "turn based battle is boring".

So here it is:
Problem: Turn based battle system is boring.
Solution: Play games from different genre, analyze what makes them fun, and ask yourself "can I implement this mechanic in my own game"?

And yeah, learn different tools or learn coding so it's possible to implement better game mechanic too. :)
It's not that I think ALL turn based battles are boring, I think that they have more potential to be boring than other battle systems, especially for minor enemies. It's not necessarily bad if turn based it used just for the boss battle, but when it is every little enemy it can get really boring really quickly for the player. Even in pokemon games this is an issue because the battles do get boring, but you need them to level up the pokemon if you want to actually beat the next gym. You can't beat having a L100 gengar as your main, but it is a pain to get it there.

Most of the games I have enjoyed throughout and never gotten bored are the games with an action battle system, whether they be RPGs, platformers, sandbox or whatever else. Like, how do you kill an enemy in Zelda, whack them with a weapon, how do you kill an enemy in a sonic game, you target them and jump on their head, how do you do it in Mario, you jump on them, spin attack or fire at them depending on the game, and in Minecraft (currently my favourite game) you whack them with whatever tool you have at hand, preferably an iron sword or better (Netherite being the best available since the nether update). What do all these massively popular games have in common? Action battle. Minor enemies can be fought quickly and efficiently, with bosses needing much more thought and preparation.

Knowing that the battle system is the weakness in this engine, I do seriously plan on checking out those scripts, and if they work as intended that is brilliant and I can do an action game. If not, I accept the limitation and focus more or storytelling and graphics because that is where I know I can really shine and still make a good game that others are going to want a little of their limited money on. Do I expect it to become the next big hit? Probably not, it is my first game and I still have a ton to learn. Do I expect some level of success, yes if I get it done right and produce gameplay that others are going to really enjoy.

You see, I've been thinking about gameplay a lot, what I do and do not enjoy in games. I've been playing a lot of games, both old and modern, in order to determine how I would define a good game. I actually agree with you on graphics being less of a potential issue than we would imagine. I used to play space invaders as a kid and the graphics on that were extremely basic, and yet it was a fun game. Even the other games I enjoyed as a kid had quite basic graphics by modern standards, yet they were fun. I determined that the fun came from a few things:

1. Action battle
2. Puzzles to solve
3. Obstacles to overcome
4. An element of surprise
5. Good story
6. The right amount of challenge (too challenging is frustrating, but too easy is boring)

Not all points apply to all games (for example, tetris doesn't have ANY story), but the games I loved the most had at least one of these elements. Now, even if I can't get the action battle script working, I can still implement numbers 2-5 on this list and make a game worth playing... I'm just a bit of a perfectionist sometimes. I just need to get the balance right.
 
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I'm a bit late to the discussion, but I'd just like to second the somewhat-pessimistic opinion that people are right to think this engine sucks. RpgMaker is like training wheels for programming. It does the hard parts for you (menu system, mapping software, etc) but in exchange you lose a large amount of ability to fine-tune how those systems look and feel. This leads to most of the games feeling too similar.

With some JavaScript knowledge, it's possible to fix these problems. But without that, you're sorta just doomed to be compared to the thousands of other games whose movement and menus feel exactly the same.
 

Tamina

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It's not that I think ALL turn based battles are boring, I think that they have more potential to be boring than other battle systems,

This is because a fun turn based battle system is fundamentally tougher to design and balance due to large amount of meaningful choices required. Games like Slay the Spire has like 30+ playtesters and in EA for years just to balance the skills. So it's not easy.

but when it is every little enemy it can get really boring really quickly for the player.

This probelm is relatively easy to solve if your underlying mechanic has depth. Just reduce the encounters and make every fight as much of a brain excercise as boss battles, but with lower stats.

Slay the Spire handled random encounters very well, there are people who invested hundreds if not thousands of hours just to master the battle system in that game. It's worth taking a look if you want ideas to create fun and meaningful encounters.

Most of the games I have enjoyed throughout and never gotten bored are the games with an action battle system, whether they be RPGs, platformers, sandbox or whatever else. Like, how do you kill an enemy in Zelda, whack them with a weapon, how do you kill an enemy in a sonic game, you target them and jump on their head, how do you do it in Mario, you jump on them, spin attack or fire at them depending on the game, and in Minecraft (currently my favourite game) you whack them with whatever tool you have at hand, preferably an iron sword or better (Netherite being the best available since the nether update). What do all these massively popular games have in common? Action battle. Minor enemies can be fought quickly and efficiently, with bosses needing much more thought and preparation.

Turn based battles have somewhat different design philosophy from action battles. In action battles players generally have smaller amount of choice available at any given time (like move, jump, attack 1, attack 2, attack 3, dash or block etc), but the timeframe to figure out and execute the optimal choice is shorter. Therefore action battle system test player's reaction speed.

A turn based battle system can give player larger amount of choice to make, and players have unlimited time to find the optimal choice. Which is the advantage of turn based battles. If game designers give players 20 available choice in an action battle system, as a player I wouldn't be able to properly decide on the best choice if I have 1 second to think. But in turn based battles I have unlimited time to think, therefore there are more rooms to give players even more choice to make.

Another good example is chess. Chess is turn based battle, but it's not boring nor repetitive since there are people who play chess professionally. The reason why chess isn't boring nor repetitive is because every choice is relevant, and there are tons of choice available. so the most optimal choice isn't as obvious.

Not all points apply to all games (for example, tetris doesn't have ANY story), but the games I loved the most had at least one of these elements. Now, even if I can't get the action battle script working, I can still implement numbers 2-5 on this list and make a game worth playing... I'm just a bit of a perfectionist sometimes. I just need to get the balance right.


If you enjoy action game more, then yes you are likely to make better action games. A good turn based system is definitely very hard to create, and if you don't enjoy them then you won't get enough experience from playing them.

1. Action battle
2. Puzzles to solve
3. Obstacles to overcome
4. An element of surprise
5. Good story
6. The right amount of challenge (too challenging is frustrating, but too easy is boring)

1 and 2 is more genre specific IMO, 3-6 can be applied on most genre. :)
 
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Iron_Brew

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I'm a bit late to the discussion, but I'd just like to second the somewhat-pessimistic opinion that people are right to think this engine sucks. RpgMaker is like training wheels for programming. It does the hard parts for you (menu system, mapping software, etc) but in exchange you lose a large amount of ability to fine-tune how those systems look and feel. This leads to most of the games feeling too similar.

With some JavaScript knowledge, it's possible to fix these problems. But without that, you're sorta just doomed to be compared to the thousands of other games whose movement and menus feel exactly the same.
What're you doing to get around the limitations of the engine then? :D
 

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