Imani

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Hi Tamina,

I agree with your argument. If we take a developer as a main target group into account then the RPG Maker engine could be more accessible and provide more classes/helpers/frameworks to increase the efficiency in development and flexibility. As I said, I really hope the RPG Maker developers keep enhancing the engine. And compared to RPG Maker 2k/2k3 we already made an enhancement due to plugins.

But that's not the only expectation the RPG Maker engine has to meet because its main target audience aren't developers who want to make everything from scratch for the sake of freedom and flexibility. This type of group should really research what type of game they want to develop and which engine is better suited for their goals.

The RPG Maker's main target audience are non-developers (fact since the beginning of RPG Maker) and nowadays developers who wish to have the basics already implemented to start right away with a 2D (rpg) game (since RPG Maker XP with coding possibilities). To please those groups, you have to come up with ready-to-use functionalities/events per mouse-click. This is the unique selling point of RPG Maker and unfortunately this "may" limit your flexibility/versatility in implementing your game ideas because everything seems so specialized and final. But again, if you have good experience with this engine, there is a lot of room for creativity to do it your way by pure events (see my previous post with the Beat'em Up battle system video). It just takes longer for non-developers (but thanks god there a developers who support this community).

So, back to the main point: Yes, the RPG Maker engine is still capable of creating a successful commercial game within the framework's capabilities. But in general, this engine alone (the same goes for Unity, Unreal and the others) is not a guarantee, because it needs other factors to be successful: in short: story, graphics, interesting game mechanics and music.
 

zXManyRegretsXz

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Personally, I feel that a lot of the issues with making something unique with the standard assets RPG Maker provides is due to the lack of tinkering, the lack of messing around with the system to see what works.

When you mess around with the base system, no plugins allowed, you find the limits of the system and the limits of your creativity. Sure, plugins exist to do just about everything you can do while messing about with default RPG Maker and more, but without the experience of tinkering about to explore the possibilities, you're, IMO, limited in your knowledge on how to make something good.

Tinkering isn't just about messing about with the systems until you make something like, say, a system that synchronizes TP between party members. It's also about fiddling with the textures to make something look nice. Put it in an image editor to change the hue, stitch images together to make something unique, or use it as a base to see what you can make out of it, what have you.

I have a whole project dedicated to testing stuff out via messing with the engine. Some would work well and be a neat thing to add to my game (assuming I don't use plugins that do the same thing anyway), others, not really, but at least I know more about the engine and how it works.

Of course, if you've used the engine for a long time and are a veteran in using it, then your experience in making (and probably publishing) games using the engine is most likely good enough that you don't need to mess with the engine and push it to its limits, so to speak. But still, I do believe in messing with the engine in a personal project that will never see the public eye with some ideas floating around in your head to see how you would approach them with the tools given to you in order to not only gain experience in using it, but also understand the mechanics of the systems better.

(Sorry if this isn't really related to the main topic ^-^)
 
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Some have said this already, but I think it bears repeating because I agree with it so much; I personally picked RPG Maker because it best fit the kind of game I want to make.

I personally believe in general that knowing the limits of what you can and can't do can by itself breed creativity; a prime example would be Pokemon during its hand-held phase.
 

A_Higher_Plane

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Here are just my thoughts on how to make your RPG Maker game "good/better":

  • Never use RTP/default resources. They have been overused and even if you use them well, your will still look like all those RPG Maker games.
  • Always use scripts/plugins. Do not use the default engine. ATB and CTB battle systems are quite popular so use Yanfly's plugins for these systems.
  • Actually put effort into your game. Other games are bad because people do not put in a lot of effort. People want to be able to easily create their own game and RPG Maker allows you to do so. But you still have to put up a lot of effort even into RPG Maker games.
  • Study and learn how to use the engine well. That is what I am doing right now and am working so much towards this. That is why I am asking a lot of questions here. I want to learn and grow in my RPG Maker ability.
  • Be creative and original. Do not do regular, built-in things like Heal and Spark in RPG Maker MV.
  • Consider getting Quality Assurance. They should be able to help you out. I use Upwork and this website.
 

Frostorm

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Short of "Deciga, please give us better tools," do you have any suggestions on how we as developers could get around this?
I'm super late and still only halfway thru this thread, but honestly, the most surefire way would probably just be as fluent as you can in Javascript. I tried to avoid this early on, relying on plugins instead. But the more JS I learned, the more I realized just how much of a handicap it is to not know it. I even decided to take classes this year just as a self-improvement thing.
 
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LittlePIGGY

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The main problem is that amateur games are subject to requirements like professional games. A girl Maria, or a boy Karl at 13-14 years old cannot make a game as well as a development team of 1000 adult professional people on salary. Accept it. Live with it.
This is a children's game builder with non-child commercial use possibilities. Hence such a gap between different games in quality.
This is a great point for applying creative forces, for self-expression. You're all too serious.
 

Imani

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The main problem is that amateur games are subject to requirements like professional games. A girl Maria, or a boy Karl at 13-14 years old cannot make a game as well as a development team of 1000 adult professional people on salary. Accept it. Live with it.
This is a children's game builder with non-child commercial use possibilities. Hence such a gap between different games in quality.
This is a great point for applying creative forces, for self-expression. You're all too serious.
I don't think anyone is asking Maria or Karl to deliver a game with industry standards. We have a situation where Maria and Karl are using this community to ask how they can grow. They are starting early to learn how to design, how to write, how to break down complexity, how to create solutions. It's great that the community takes Maria and Karl seriously with their passion and hobby.

But it's not true that just because it's a children's games builder, you get children's games. Just take a look at this community or Twitter to see what teens and co. are capable of. You won't believe your eyes. That's where things get serious very quickly.
 

ZombieKidzRule

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I don't want to derail this thread, but I noticed quite a bit of discussion around criticism and feedback and I wanted to make a point about that.

One of my many martial arts instructors over the years had a very interesting philosophy about teaching.

Part 1 was to never over correct. When you are teaching someone something, there may be many things that warrant providing feedback on, but most people can't absorb more than 1 or 2 of these feedback observations as a time. Each time you go to give feedback, pick what seems like the most important point at that time and focus on that. Not a laundry list of things where the most important message is going to be lost or ignored.

Part 2 was ALWAYS find at least 2 positive things to say for every correction that you offer. This helps to reinforce things someone is doing right/well (might still need improvement) and sets a better tone for the correction advice that comes next.

I have tried to practice this for many years and it works surprisingly well.

And it isn't just limited to teaching someone something. This also can generally apply to providing feedback. If you want to give someone feedback about something, try to think of at least 2 positive things you can say (even compliment) them on before broaching what you perceive as the most important piece of feedback you want to share.

Giving too much non-positive feedback (even if it is 100% constructive) will generally not be successful in most situations. At least in my experience and observation.

And no, I don't think this is being coddling of someone's feelings or catering to (fill in the blank) generation. Rather, this is a technique to better communicate your feedback in a way that is more likely to achieve a desired result. Feedback is generally supposed to be helpful. If you aren't giving feedback to be helpful, then why exactly are you giving it?
And don't say "because they asked!" Well, you can say that, but I don't personally think that is a very mature answer. Just saying.

This can also be massaged when trying to manage up. If you don't know what that is, it is an interesting and often useful workplace concept.

Again, sorry if this derailed things, but I just wanted to share a perspective that I learned many years ago and that has served me well.
 

LittlePIGGY

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You won't believe your eyes
Oh, I know exactly what teenagers are capable of. I was one a long time ago. I finished my first published book at the age of 19. A girl from a remote province, whose book was taken to publish by the largest publishing house in the country.
We have a situation where Maria and Karl are using this community to ask how they can grow.
And what do they most often get in response? Endless reminders of the engine's bad reputation. This is actually a very demoralizing moment. I often have to tell people that there is nothing wrong with the engine or the built-in graphics. I'm from the generation that played black and white pixels on the screen.
And on the one hand, no one presents anything to Maria and Karl, and on the other - "Fuuu, standard font", "Fuuu, standard music", "Fuuu, chibi". It would be better if the community puts more emphasis on the successful use of the engine, rather than remembering the unsuccessful ones.
 

wilpuri

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One problem is, that in The Interwebs it's not always easy to tell if someone is 12 or 22 or even 52.

I just encountered in the Commercial Games section a game where the thumbnail of the trailer looked like an unfinished first map of a 3-year old. The game didn't look that bad, but the thumbnail did. I don't know the age of the dev(s), but that seemed to be a pretty big flaw in the marketing of a commercial game.

And on the one hand, no one presents anything to Maria and Karl, and on the other - "Fuuu, standard font", "Fuuu, standard music", "Fuuu, chibi". It would be better if the community puts more emphasis on the successful use of the engine, rather than remembering the unsuccessful ones.

I think this is a bit over-the-top. I think it's the Maria and Karl actually who give that feedback, because they are young. And I agree that positive messaging would be better, but you have now come to the thread where people discuss the common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Of course there are the idiots who just insult everyone and are full of negativity, but you can't really talk those people out of it.

If someone is willing to hear what things in these games turn them off, I think giving honest answers is the way to go. I can't say to someone "just use the standard graphics and musics, it's fine", because I will never play that game (doesn't mean you can't use some of it. I use mostly the standard sound effects in my game and that might be a BIG NO for someone else). Of course if they just make games for themselves and not others, why bother asking opinions from the forum?
 
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The main problem is that amateur games are subject to requirements like professional games. A girl Maria, or a boy Karl at 13-14 years old cannot make a game as well as a development team of 1000 adult professional people on salary. Accept it. Live with it.
This is a children's game builder with non-child commercial use possibilities. Hence such a gap between different games in quality.
This is a great point for applying creative forces, for self-expression. You're all too serious.
Too serious? I don't like that train of thought at all.

Just because something may be geared towards kids doesn't mean it can't have any thought behind it.
 

LittlePIGGY

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Just because something may be geared towards kids doesn't mean it can't have any thought behind it.
The engine has no problems by itself. And the desires of all users cannot be satisfied at the same time. There are plugins for this. The problem is that for some reason the community does not want to forgive people for "bad" games according to the community. As if each of them pursues the goal of being sold in steam. Objectively, even if the community wanted to stop the flow of strange and incompetent games, it would not succeed. Telling "don't do that."
It will be more effective to demonstrate interesting and beautiful things created on the engine. Than banter over someone's failures. I really like that the Twitter community has started noticing successful games. This inspires and raises the reputation of the engine.

I can't say to someone "just use the standard graphics and musics, it's fine", because I will never play that game (doesn't mean you can't use some of it. I use mostly the standard sound effects in my game and that might be a BIG NO for someone else).
Someone knows how to draw, someone does not. Moreover... someone has no artistic taste at all. But there is an understanding of the mechanics of the game. And someone has a superpower to compose and tell stories. All people are different. But this does not make the standard graphics bad and unworthy. I've met people who DON'T LIKE drawing maps at all. And for example, I can spend hours moving small cups into a pile of pixels on the table, or hanging a spider web in the basement. This does not turn the creation of games based on standard resources into a taboo!
More chances to finish the game by creating it from standard resources. Without distracting from the creation and performance of mechanics. And after all the battles and mechanics work properly and are tested - add all the graphics and music of the world.
 

Dezue

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What're you doing to get around the limitations of the engine then? :D

Heyho!
I haven't read all of the thread, but maybe my take on this might be interesting to you.

When we used RPGMaker to make our games, we basically did EVERYTHING to get around the limitations and pitfalls of the engine :D Up to the point where people asked 'Was this even done in RPG Maker?'

The point was not to fight against the engine or something (RPG Maker is a nice engine overall for the games it's designed for), but to make sure our games are unique and stand out not only in the RPG Maker space, but also in the wider indie gaming space.
Here's an LP to show the game in question (the only one we ever made with RPGM haha)


So, my advice (if you want to be a full-time dev anyway*) is to make your games as unique as possible!

Don't think about it like "what are the limitations, and how do I get around them?", instead try "how can I make my game stand out?"

Hope this helps!
Stay funky,
Dez

*If you just want to have fun making games, however, I wouldn't worry too much about anything haha
 
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@LittlePIGGY

Well yes, some people can and do go overboard. Hence what I said earlier regarding criticism.
But a reason the stigma is being talked about constantly isn't the fault of the community by itself; one can even argue it's both parties at play.

Perhaps some people are trying to satisfy an audience that doesn't wanna be satisfied, and they incorporate that into the advice they give newbie RPGM users. And at the same time, perhaps it's the players that started/perpetuate the stigma who play RPGM games that...probably already have underlying issues that'd be outside the scope of the topic.

Regardless, I don't think it means that any talk of "what not to do" is in anyway a waste of time, even if it may not apply to everyone.
 

ts50

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Back some years ago, when I wasn't even a teenager yet, my parents were taking some video game course. The lecturer was apparently really bad (according to my parents). So my parents started each making their own respective video games. My dad made a top-down dungeon crawler. My mom made a platformer based on a book she wrote with me a long time ago.

The problem is, my mom's game got nowhere at all because even though she did fantastic art, she didn't write any code. They were making the games in Unity (much more complex than RPG Maker, to be sure). My dad wrote a little code but again prioritized art too much.

I on the other hand did the project with them just for fun, to see what I could do. Using Unity, I created a real working platformer with a player who could jump around on various platforms, shoot a gun, bounce on enemies, get hurt and die, and eventually go fight a boss. (The player was a red alien with a laser gun, with the enemies being yellow snails with purple shells.) That was when I was twelve.

I am not saying this to toot my own horn but simply to emphasize a point: I did not focus on a game that looked fancy. I created my graphics in GIMP with a mouse never having even used GIMP before. Naturally, they looked very... bad. But I focused on mechanics and getting the base game together completely.

Once I had done that and succeeded, I then sought out making the game look better and polishing it. I found much better graphics online and a good background music track too. I improved mechanics and collision.

But I definitely did not do this on my own. I looked up tutorials online. Though I've always had an enjoyment (dare I say a gift) of coding, writing a platformer from scratch in C# as a twelve-year-old was not something I could do without help.

More chances to finish the game by creating it from standard resources. Without distracting from the creation and performance of mechanics. And after all the battles and mechanics work properly and are tested - add all the graphics and music of the world.

I absolutely agree with this statement.

The stigma with RM games is very real. But focus first on your mechanics, on getting everything working. Then make it unique. And do not work alone.

It's like when you're writing music. (I play the bass guitar btw.) You need to make sure your songs are in the right key and that all the band members are playing in harmony. There are certain rules you have to follow, like a consistent beat. But what makes your songs unique is what you build from those bases.
 
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"And do not work alone."

Definitely a nitpick, but what if you do want to work by yourself? There are lots of indie devs that ride solo. Is it alot of work? Yes. Probably.

But is it worth it? Yes. Most likely.
 

ts50

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"And do not work alone."

Definitely a nitpick, but what if you do want to work by yourself? There are lots of indie devs that ride solo. Is it alot of work? Yes. Probably.

But is it worth it? Yes. Most likely.
Let me clarify. Most indie devs will still look up things online. I am an indie dev but still regularly ask for help with various things. When I created the platformer, I worked "alone" in a sense that no one was there with me working on my specific project, but I was with others in the tutorials I watched and the resources I used.

It is a lot of work. But it is not just a lot of work, it can often be draining and depressing. No one is there to hold you up when you fall. There are ups and downs. If you succeed it is worth it. But not many do.
 
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I say the degree that it can be depressing depends on one's social prowless maybe, or whether or not they even want to socialize; this aside though, fair enough. It certainly can be an undertaking at points, and I say so from experience.

But I will also state that the one thing that still keeps me going is what can be summarized as bragging rights; imagining myself being able to one day say "yep, I totally made this cool thing mostly on my own with the help of outside resources and some feedback from friends" is a helluva drug.
 

ts50

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@TheMeowingFox Absolutely that keeps me going too. I mean, that was why I made that platformer. I wanted to one-up my parents. :guffaw:
 

wilpuri

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This is an interesting discussion, but it’s a bit of a sidestep from the topic.

How to make a good game is a bit different thing than avoiding the (real or imagined) stigma of this engine. That’s why I have pointed out the graphics, because I believe most of the stigma lies in there, not the quality of the game.
 

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