What do you look for in an RPGM game?

Aesica

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Let's see! Things I look for:
  1. Custom/interesting battle system. As in, no default front view, or even a minimal-customization side view setup. Whenever I'm scouting for RM games to kill time with, one of the first things I do is try to find screenshots or, better yet, video footage of the battle system. If it looks too default, I'm out. In contrast, if I see a good ATB/CTB setup with lots of custom, interesting skills that appear to be well-designed, as well-balanced party members, and nice-looking player battlers, there's a good chance I'll be giving it a go.
  2. Not using default Yanfly settings for everything. If I see fat HP gauges, I fully expect to see a bunch of other lazy default settings. Yanfly's plugins are super-customizable and a developer can do a lot with them. To me, seeing default on everything leads me to believe the plugins' probably aren't being used to their potential which, in turn, means the game is probably cutting corners.
  3. No default generator chibi battlers. I guess I'm just being superficial, but I find it hard to take a character seriously when their battle sprite is like 90% head. Doesn't matter how deep their backstory is, or how "cool" they might be. In battle, I just see a squat head with a tiny ant body attached.
  4. Good writing. RPGs are all about story, but how can a developer make that story interesting if their writing skills are terrible? I'm not trying to be down on people without decent writing skills, or people who don't speak the game's target language as their first language, but just like with graphics and coding, if a developer lacks that particular skill, they need to find someone who has it.
  5. Decent graphics. Now this doesn't necessarily mean "no RTP," contrary to what others here have said. I'm fine with RTP, but do try editing it a bit. For example, the default grass color is abysmal. The default swamp is...purple? While I'll obviously prefer custom graphics over RTP, but only if the custom graphics are actually good. If not, just use the RTP because it's not terrible. Just do something about those chibi battlers. ;)
 

Eyeball Mouth

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At the very least the art has to be interesting to me or I won't give it a chance. Hearing that the writing and world have a good reputation could change my mind though. And yeah I'm not gonna lie I don't care what battles are like. I play games for the art, the characters, and the world. Fun gameplay that exists outside a battle system is what really matters to me. Only reason I'm making a game with a battle system is because I know people aren't fond of the alternative unless you have some strong writing chops or some real fancy programming.
 

RayGarden7

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As we all know, 95% of RPGM games are uninspired shovelware that hardly even *try* to be original.
What separates a game from the rest for you, personally? What is it you look for?
A good game need to pull you in and you need to be able to experience the same emotion as the characters.
 

duty

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I'm looking for great execution on an idea. It's pretty easy to tell when someone (or a small group) have put a lot of thought and effort into a project.

If the execution is there, originality is not that critical. The "original idea" can be as simple as streamlining a classic formula. I'd enjoy the heck out of dungeon diving in a Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy clone that's just better paced.

I'm not opposed to use of the RTP. It's kinda impressive to see a great build using only the pieces that come in the box. Original art assets may make a better first impression, but unless there's follow through with the rest of the engine, it's still someone's "shovelware".
 

Sharm

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I don't play a lot of RM games, so to get me to play it, something about it has to really catch my attention, and then the rest of the product page has to keep it. Usually it'll catch my attention if it's pretty. Pretty doesn't have to mean no RTP, but it helps a ton, and the longer I stick around, the more it helps. Well done and completely original pixel art with expressive sprite animations and hand drawn face sets are ideal. I have played a few games that had default graphics. In those cases I usually know the creator somehow and the writing or mechanics looked like too much fun to pass on. One time it was the title that caught my attention. These were all still pretty, even with default tiles, usually through some other way of showing polish visually, like original character art or great mapping or use of edits. The screencaps tell a lot about how much effort was put into a game, even if the person making the game can't draw. I'll always read any text boxes shown on screencaps too, they can give clues to the quality of the writing in the game itself, even out of context. Then I'll read the synopsis. I'll automatically leave if I see any spelling errors, engrish, leetspeak, or anything that a single pass with an editor would fix. Seeing these types of errors shows that the creator was being careless, and it's likely to be a problem in other ways, not just in the writing quality of the advertisements. If the synopsis starts with something like "1000 years ago, a great war. . . ." then it loses my interest. This type of opening reeks of world builder's disease and I have no interest in playing a history lesson. I don't have the patience for it, especially when I haven't been sold on even trying it yet. I'll also leave if the synopsis is too long with a lot of large paragraphs. Usually this indicates that the author either doesn't respect my time, or doesn't know what's compelling about their story. Either one is a really bad sign. The rest of the things I'll avoid are all very personal to me, for example I don't like horror, but they'll get me to quit pretty fast as well.

At the end, if it's kept my attention the whole way, I'll still need something else. Basically, some sort of hook that will get me to stop considering and jump in. This will vary a lot. Really interesting gameplay, fun writing, exactly my genre, being friends with the person who created it, or even marketing tricks like a flash sale. Something unique and compelling that makes me desire more than what I'd get from looking at a product page. In this case, art won't be what gets me to take the final step, but since that's usually what brings me in to begin with, I think that's to be expected.
 

Morpheus

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I just want to thank everyone for their replies. It’s very much helping me decide what to include in my game. 100% of my game is custom art, so thankfully I pass mostly everyone’s response of “No RTP”. Keep them coming please!
 

CraneSoft

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Time for an unpopular opinion here:

I only really play 2 kinds of RM game, horrors and 18+ (and only the really good ones) because they are a specific type of niche that provide the kind of unique experience AAA games could not. After all, I had a huge backlog of 60+hour AAA JRPGs that could last me a lifetime, so if a game is visually unappealing to me (and I don't mean RTP here) or someone trying to sell with "interesting" battle system and its related mechanics it's an automatic pass.

With that said, I'll willing to give a chance if a game has an unique appeal and is generally very well polished, and most importantly are simple and fun to play. A good story is a plus but please don't make it like a glorified visual novel where I spend 95% of the time reading than actually playing.
 

Bit By Bit Sound

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Personally for me, an engaging story (that isn't long winded), a simple but rewarding battle system, and an appealing art style. I don't mind RTP graphics, but it definitely knocks things down a peg for me.
 

cthulhusquid

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As a writer, the story and characters is really important to me. I am ok with playing an RTP only game if the writing is good, but will pass on one with custom art if nothing grabs me. Heck, I will even try an RTP game where everything is horrible because the RTP has a special place in my heart, and I will get a good laugh.
Gameplay is secondary, I will play games with long-winded dialogue and exposition. The more I know about the world, the better.
 

Milennin

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Most important of all, I look for an RPG to play. Not any other genre of game that is better done in another game making engine.

Second, I look for a game that has care put into gameplay elements. It doesn't need to be anything overly fancy or a complete overhaul of the battle system, just something that shows there's at least some thought and effort put into making the game fun to play.

Third, I'm totally fine with RTP, because I love that RPG Maker charm on my RPG Maker games. Just have the assets be used correctly and make the maps look like they'd get a pass in the general screenshot thread.
 

ADMtn

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Third, I'm totally fine with RTP, because I love that RPG Maker charm on my RPG Maker games. Just have the assets be used correctly and make the maps look like they'd get a pass in the general screenshot thread.
Honestly, I've been looking for RM games to play and I see people using somewhat unattractive non-RTP for the sole purpose of avoiding RTP. Using RTP well, I think, looks much better than many alternatives I've seen for sale.
 

jonthefox

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-battle system that is clear (actors and enemies walk up to their target to attack) and crisp
-well-balanced (battles are not too easy or hard, resources are not too abundant or scarce)
-atmosphere (good writing, good music selection, cohesive use of tiles, sprites, and battlers)
-the most minimum possible of rng and grinding (this is just personal preference, but these two things turn me off)

Those are the biggest things for me. You can have a very mediocre story/plot, a minimum level of mapping competency, and I'll still LOVE your game if you knock the above out of the park.

-also, I'm not really into modern or sci-fi, so I look for medieval or classic fantasy games.
 

Endafy

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as soon as i see the default rm style i lose any interest. gotta have art that makes your project stand out!
I give it a fair shot, if the story grips me, or if I see original code or hear original music and good mapping. RTP graphics or purchased steam graphics arent an immediate turn off for me. I remember a game made in VX with RTP but it was hilarious with good mapping and good original music.
 

Animebryan

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So, the RTP hate train is real :(
I feel sorry for the noobs who don't possess any talent for making graphics or writing their own plugins, or even composing their own music. With these strict standards you'd think that the only RPG developers welcome around here are talented folks who have a shot at joining the AAA gaming industry or being a successful indie developer.

No wonder so many newcomers who pickup RM lose motivation, burnout & eventually quit. Well, my standards are a little bit lower. I don't care if you use the default RTP or not, because I understand as a developer who has the desire to develop games but lacks the talent for it.

All I ask is that you as a developer, fulfill the original purpose of the earliest RMs, and that's to strive to make an RPG that takes me back to the golden age of RPGs from the NES & SNES era. When your game feels like one of those games, you have succeeded as a RPG developer.

A good example is UPRC's Final Fantasy: Blackmoon Prophecy series on RMN.
 

Mr. Detective

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Personally, I'd rather have decently used RTP graphics than ugly custom graphics. I've seen enough of the so-called "custom arts" that look like they were made in MS Paint. Honestly, they look ugly and that's already enough to put off my interest. I don't care it's custom made or not. If it's bad, then it's bad. RTP looks at least acceptable than some MS Paint self-made craps. It's about how they are used. If your custom stuff is ugly, no matter how you use them, they're still ugly. A mix of RTP and not-so-ugly custom graphics will be the sweet spot.
 

??????

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tbf, its more about how the art is used. it can be used in ways that arent typical :D
 

ADMtn

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So, the RTP hate train is real :(
Seems like there are a lot of us who don't mind RTP and prefer well utilized RTP over poorly made (or poorly utilized) custom assets.

Unfortunately, the early posts on this thread were by people who dislike RTP and makes the community seem more anti-RTP than it is. It's easy to hate RTP and assume the use of RTP is lazy because of the amount of shovelware this community has seen. It's a reasonable assumption until you see how maps are being designed in screenshots; good mapping should dispel the assumption of laziness.

That's why screenshots are important.

You can license or make the best art assets and plugins, but if you can't use those assets to even make a decent map, it would also be reasonable to assume your eventing, writing, and other aspects of game design might fall short as well. Of course, that's also an assumption... but it's hard to bother trying a game if the screenshots already showcase bad maps or dialogue.
 
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orange~

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I don't look for rpgmaker games to play specifically. But for a game to grab me, it has to be doing something differently. Originality really is the key factor. RTP doesn't really matter if it's used with creativity. I remember back in the day seeing some pretty abstract creations done with RPG Maker 2003's RTP that looked really interesting. Very impressive mapping mixed with RTP can be cool too. Originality can come from graphics, gameplay or whatever, but it has to be tangible when you show the game off. Another big thing for me is that the game has to get interesting within first 2 hours or so. I'm not a fan of slow starts and with my backlog of games, I often jump into the next if the game doesn't grab me. (might be just me though with my attention span of a hummingbird)

Game markets are super intimidating really. Just during the time it took me to write this, someone probably released a somewhat decent demo on itchio or Steam. Add that crazy release schedule with crazy big backlog of amazing video games from past 3 decades and no one is short on games to play. It's a tough market. You gotta stand out somehow.
 

Elliott404

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An actual good game..
Honestly, some games with custom graphics can be bad or boring if the story is executed horribly.
Example: Lisa the final season/ep. The story started great from the first season/ep, but it eventually ended badly, and boring when Buddy took the main role.

Cat in the Box. I recognize that it used VX/VXAce RTP, but the story was execute marvelously.

Also, The Cradle of Ruin. I don't know about you, but, I loved it personally. It used 100% of MV default tilesets and sprites, and the story was executed quite well (it gave Higurashi no naku koro ni vibes).
 

Dalph

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Good writing.
Good gameplay.
Good maps.
Period.

RTP stigma is caused by some devs making terrible maps IMHO, all these failed attempts just give bad reputation to the default resources.
RTP is the style with the most add-ons out there, it's not perfect but serviceable enough, also easily editable, that should already say a lot about its real potential.
I can draw my own stuff now but my opinion on the default assets didn't change, it's how you use what you have, sometimes even small edits can make a huge difference.

Not playing an rm game just because it uses the default assets is a lame and superficial way of thinking.
Seriously. What?

I rather play a game with the RTP (well used) than one with terrible custom graphics or overused special effects (any reference to ImaginaryVillain's mishmash of a game is purely coincidental, ok?)

I usually have a lot of patience and enjoyed a good amount of rm games here, like Silver Town, Princess Princess, Subterranean Starfield and some others...
 

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