What could be good ideas to make RPG Maker games' gameplay a more pleasant experience to the player?

pawsplay

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I like it when what happens in the story is closely tied to the actual game play. Any time there's an animated cut scene of a fight, and it's a game with combats, I'm like, Isn't this a fight game?
 

C64_Mat

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I think some kind of quest log, journal or event history is imperative.

There's nothing worse than playing, say, FFVII and then going back after a year and not knowing what you're doing next or where you're going because there's no record of events anywhere.
 

Twempie

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Reading through this thread was one hell of an experience, I have to say.
 

velan235

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As someone who is tinkering RPG MAKER since 2000, biggest point I would give to RPG Maker games are the one that (unironically) looks not like a RPG MAKER games, especially removing all the overhead in the base RPG MAKER combat if you want to use it. (like extra layer of Fight/Run, clunky skill selection and targeting etc.)

seems counter-intuitive for using RPG Maker to create your games, but RPG Maker games that I tend to stay are those who break the RPG Maker tropes.
 

Twempie

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As someone who is tinkering RPG MAKER since 2000, biggest point I would give to RPG Maker games are the one that (unironically) looks not like a RPG MAKER games, especially removing all the overhead in the base RPG MAKER combat if you want to use it. (like extra layer of Fight/Run, clunky skill selection and targeting etc.)

seems counter-intuitive for using RPG Maker to create your games, but RPG Maker games that I tend to stay are those who break the RPG Maker tropes.

I need to actually rework the GUI on my project but hooboy, that's a can of worms I've never delved into and I'm far too terrified to tryy.
 

Conflictx3

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I'm very late to a party i would have really enjoyed with this thread but skimming through i have to say to OP, your asking the right questions but to the wrong people and with the wrong expectation.

based on this and the 6 other threads you posted its clear to me your trying to do something called "sampling", thats when a new company or service go to a crowd of a likely interested group of people, tell or show them a product/service/idea, get their OPINION, and then tally up the similar opinions. the easiest idea of this is when you go to the mall and a place in the food court offers free samples and ask if you like it or not.

to me this works best when you have an actual product or demo in hand as far as game devs go, but even then you, as a game dev, are asking other game devs what would be best for the PLAYER experience.

thats like Atlus (creators of persona) going up to Square (Final Fantasy) & CC2 (Naruto/Dragonball/ .Hack) and asking them which graphic style is more appealing for players, cel shaded 3D or full on graphic card breaking semi-realism 3D with top tier particle effects. Atlus themselves would admit they like cel shading and CC2 would agree but Square would say semi-realism. Now what?

I say you should start making your game, maybe try building a little circle on instagram and other social media pages where your more likely to find other PLAYERS as well as Devs and when you ask your questions, simply tally up the opinions, if 10 people love exploration and 3 people hate exploration. then by jolly you might want to include some exploration. but always make sure YOUR vision for YOUR game comes first, don't tack things on that YOU don't like because you will put 0 effort into it and it will show.
 

FirestormNeos

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  • Cutscenes & Dialogue Conversations: Make them skip-able and make them pause-able. No game is playable until it has skippable cutscenes. Kingdom Hearts has been doing this since 2005. I'll admit that RPG Maker is a nightmare to implement cutscene skipping with, but it is possible, so if you intend on showing your game to other people, then you might as well put in the extra work into making it as good as possible. And a huge part of that will always include the implementation of cutscene skipping.
  • Unskippable Corridor: If I had to pick between Metal Gear Solid 4's hour-long cutscenes, or walking down a linear hallway while the characters delivered exposition for five minutes, I'm grabbing a beverage, kicking back, and picking the damn cutscene. Neither are imaginative ways of integrating story with gameplay; at least with a cutscene, I can just skip it if I don't feel like watching it. Similarly, if I had to pick between Sonic 06's load times where it's just a static image for several seconds, or walking down a linear hallway that's masking a loadtime, GIVE ME THE STATIC IMAGE LOAD TIME. Deus Ex: Human Revolution's DLC, The Missing Link, masked its load times with a biometric scan sequence. At the time, this made sense, but here in the year of 2022, I have a computer that could theoretically finish loading an entire 1:1 recreation of New York City in Minecraft on max settings faster than those f**king Biometric Scans at Rifleman Bank.
  • Subtitles: Put them in your game or GTFO... Although with RPG Maker, you'd have to actively go out of your way to not have subtitles. Including this here anyway because of the next part:
  • If you have Voice-Acted Dialogue during gameplay, please make sure to either subtitle it, or have it like most Sonic games where the lines being spoken during gameplay are kept short and simple. tl;dr don't have anything important and complicated hidden in there, like character or setting explanations.
  • Tutorials: By skipping a tutorial, players enter an unspoken agreement not to complain about things that were covered in the tutorial. Sure, Game Grumps has had a troubled history of violating this agreement, but they are an outliar who are mocked by the gaming community as a whole for doing so. Final Fantasy 14's playerbase is filled with a vocal minority of morons who insist you keep playing through hours of awful, grindy, unbearable content, but they HAVE to do that because Final Fantasy 14's tutorial and beginning leveling process are such a colossal ABOMINATION that only a madman would be willing to put up with. Actually, while I'm on the subject...
  • The fun part of your videogame: Get to the fireworks factory NOW. Not in one hour. Not in five hours. Not in ten hours. Not at Max Level, not at Level 10, not at Level 5, not at Level 2. Get to the fun part of your game NOW. Playtest your game and get a stopwatch. The player needs to get to the first fight or the first puzzle or the first open-ended area (or whatever it is you feel will make your game fun) in One Minute. Thirty Seconds. Fifteen Seconds. Ten Seconds. Five Seconds. Look at Super Mario Bros 1: the player reaches the part with the first jump within seconds of entering World 1-1 the first time. If Super Mario Bros had the same broken, addiction-based, aimed-at-people-who-already-played-WoW mindset that allowed Final Fantasy 14 to exist in the current condition it's in, Super Mario Bros would be just 60 hours of running to the right with no jumping. People who say they want slow-burn games or stories already have endless amounts of media, and whatever you as a designer make will not tickle their fancy as much as they think it will.
  • A player stunned is a player NOT playing your video game, and is therefore a player NOT HAVING FUN. Accuracy Systems, Player taking hitstun, etc. are a game design TOOL, to be used SPARINGLY or in VERY SPECIFIC situations for certain types of games. They have ZERO BUSINESS being omnipresent in singleplayer games intended for children (like Pokemon or Kingdom Hearts) or singleplayer exploration-focused story-based RPGs (*COUGH*MASS EFFECT 2*COUGH*).
  • Stay off Twitter. Please. This isn't really "game design" advice as much as it is "general mental health" advice. A happy game designer will always make a better game than a miserable game designer, and not just because the audience won't feel guilty enjoying it.
  • If you intend for me to develop an emotional attachment to something-- whether it's a loadout, cosmetic appearance, a character --it is imperative that you respect that attachment. The Mass Effect Trilogy is a positive example of this; as much as I despised how combat in Mass Effect 2 felt, I went out of my way to do every last optional "Loyalty Mission" because I didn't want these characters to die because of me. When [ISPOILER]some of those characters went on to die anyway in ME3[/ISPOILER], I was okay with that because: [ISPOILER]1) the deaths in question were not preventable, which is made abundantly clear as early as the little kid in the first mission (or at least I think they weren't preventable... wait, Mordin's supposed to die in the tower to cure the genophage, right? and Thane's supposed to die protecting the councilperson from Cerberus!Sephiroth during the January 6th insurrection during Udina's coup attempt? I didn't screw those two over, did I? ._.), and 2) the condition to their survival is easily communicated in a pass-fail system (do the loyalty mission and don't do anything silly during the suicide mission, and they live to ME3. don't do the loyalty mission, they f**ked lol)[/ISPOILER]. By constract, the Pokemon franchise scrapping the national dex is a catastrophic misunderstanding of what makes Pokemon so beloved to begin with; that no matter who your favorite Pokemon is, you can take them with you to ANY of the various core games in the series (provided it existed when the game was made). If your favorite pokemon is Bibarel, then you should be allowed to import that dopey mfer into any core game released after Diamond & Pearl.
  • Games with NPCs who are homeless beggers (or just plain ol' poor), please. just let me give them the 999999 gold I'm not using for anything else to fix whatever financial problem they're having. Don't need to make it a side-quest, I don't even need a thank you from the NPC itself. It's always my least favorite part of replaying Deus Ex: Human Revolution-- okay, second worst by a slim margin; that game's radios not having an "off switch" of any kind is a war crime --that I run around with thousands of credits weighing down my wallet from stealing credit chips left on people's desks "commandeering unused corporate funds" and selling unused weapons/items, yet I'm surrounded by completely destitute people who would absolutely put whatever I give them to better use than I would (I only need money for the finite # of items sold at the finite # of shops; and the amount I need for those is way less than what I usually end up with by the end of the game).
  • I'd also give an honorable mention to colorblindness, photosensitivity options, and features discussed here & here, although they are not all necessarily features I would personally use when playing a game they're in.
your first question should be "pleasant for whom?"

No, that should not be the the first question, because the answer to that should be painfully obvious to people participating on a social forum; "Me."

Not "Me" as in me, @FirestormNeos. "Me" as in "whoever is reading OP's question and posting a response."

Everyone on this website is nothing more than an anonymous wall of text to one-another. Our jobs are to regurgitate our personal, biased opinions on videogame design to eachother, not to remind eachother about painfully obvious s**t that should've already been covered in high school.

"There is no universal answer to this"
Then just give YOUR answer. OP's not asking for you to rewrite the declaration of human rights; they just want your personal opinion on vidyagaem! :kaocry:

Edit: after reading a bit further... really? y'all couldn't extrapolate (or guess/assume in good faith) "quality of life functions" from "a more pleasant experience"? smdh
 
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ZombieKidzRule

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Ok, I think I can provide a few examples of things that might not be deal breakers for everyone, but I think most players would probably appreciate them.

  • Attention to detail and consistency in the game.
  • Attention to spelling and grammar.
  • Extensive play testing and deploy a game with as few bugs as possible. This is also attention to detail.
  • Making sure that things make sense in the game. A little suspension of belief is fine in a game, but the player shouldn't be distracted by something that screams THIS MAKES NO SENSE!
  • Ability to save whenever you want, with limited exceptions. This might just be personal to me, but I never know when I might need to pause my game or stop playing. Therefore, games with only Save Point systems don't work well for me.
  • No instant death events, encounters, whatever, unless it isn't a game over.
  • Make sure the game is balanced.
  • Give a variety of ways to accomplish something. For example, unless there is a lore friendly explanation for why a chest can only be opened with a specific key, why can't a strong character break it open, a rogue character pick the lock, a caster open it with magic, etc.?
I think these are things that apply to every game and I think they can equate to making a game experience more pleasant. This might not be what you are looking for and might be considered as baseline requirements, but to me they are more important than including some specific feature of game play.
 

LordOfPotatos

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it's always good to make the game flow well.
for example:

-make battle animations fast if they aren't hugely impactful. a normal attack or spell animation shouldn't take more than a second or 2 to play.
same for casting animations. either make them half a second long or don't use them.

-make the game's text go fast so the player is never forced to slow down their reading or mash the forward button all the time.

-make sure the game doesn't lag. some ATB and map related plugins can cause lots of lag if you use them for complicated things.

-make maps intuitive if they aren't meant to be confusing. use shop signs. use signs for everything the player might want to locate.

-keep the help window helpful. you can use it for flavor but always tell the player what the item or ability actually does so the player doesn't have to stop to figure it out.

-if you use levels and money make sure the player never has to stop everything to grind if they don't want to. give enough exp and cash to progress.

-don't have too many meaningless encounters. if the player feels no threat from enemies fighting 20 random battles is just boring.

-make dialogue flow well. there are whole books on that but for starters make sure you don't repeat the same information in one conversation unless it's extremely important.
-on that same note, avoid long monologues unless you absolutely can't think of another way to convey that info. a character talking to himself means nothing is happening, so keep those at 3 text boxes or less or the player WILL start yawning.

there are more but those are enough for one post.
 

freakytapir

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Things to make an RPG more likeable:

Generous saving.
Clarity in combat.
Clear sense of where to go next.
A good Journal
Less reliance on RNG.
 

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