My RPG Maker Journey thus far…


Childhood fantasies and the blessed weapon called “RPG Maker”

Who didn’t love playing computer games when they were a kid? As for me, I played tons of DOS platformers, shooters, adventure games, and whatnot on my Windows 95 Personal computer. I remembered playing all kinds and types of games, but little did I know that such a type of game called “RPG” existed back then. Having played Duke Nukem: Time to Kill (PSX), I dimly thought that “RPG” equals some kind of gun. Y’know, yeah… A role-playing gun. Moving on, I recall playing Mysterious Song (2000) by DarkDread as my first RPG. Even though the playthrough only featured a short quest, the game stood out remarkably! Leveling up, recruiting party members, and buying equipment for your party, those gave me a whole new gaming experience. I immediately fell in love with the system an RPG can provide. Since then, I have been dreaming to create an RPG not only I can enjoy, but also a game that can be shared to and recognized by other gamers, like Mysterious Song.

10 years ago, I stumbled upon this RPG making software called RPG Maker 2000, translated by Don Miguel. It’s convenient since it’s free and claims that it doesn’t require you programming skills to create an RPG. Moreover, it also includes a demo game called Don Miguel’s Adventures. After playing the demo, it made RPG making look easy by just using event commands. Then, I searched for other RM2K games lying around the internet to see what else the RM2K program can do. I found this place named Gaming Ground Zero, and the site had a short list of RM2K games ready for download. I tried one of their hosted games entitled “Kindred Saga”. I’m not so critical on what to say about this game, but if I have one figurative phrase to describe it, then I’d say that it had all the icing it can put on its cake. IT’S AMAZING! This single game ignited my spark plug into making an RPG as unique and sparkling as Kindred Saga. Kindred Saga also enlightened me that being satisfied with okay is not actually okay — that one should go over that extra mile or two when creating an RPG. Then, years later, RPG Maker 2003 emerged from the scene. RM2K3 is quite similar to its predecessor, except only that the default battle system has been altered and few event commands were added. After getting a free copy, I simply assumed I can make a visually appealing RPG out of the shiny side-view battle system RM2K3 offered.

Sadly, my Windows 95 PC… died. It refused to boot up after my brother pressed the power button repeatedly like there was no tomorrow. All my DOS games along with my early RPG Maker projects were gone.

Secret cave training!

After losing both RM programs due to PC wreckage, I took a partial break from RPG Maker and entered what I refer as a secret cave which leveled up my RPG Maker skills in the long run. As time pass by, years in that cave became brighter and brighter, while I grew hungrier and hungrier, wanting to get out of that dim cave while developing myself as a… Graphic designer. I specifically focused myself on creating digital art ranging from logos, sprites, signatures, userbars, to image manipulations. At this time, RPG Maker XP and VX were already released into the public like they were cute and sexy allies trying to pull me out of misery. So what’s new? Both features RGSS and RGSS2 respectively as their scripting engine. Both also boasts huge amounts of support and resources from their loyal communities such as RMXP.org, RRR, and rpgmakervx.net. Thanks to the emergence of the Script editor, creating event-based CMSs (Custom Menu Systems) and CBSs (Custom Battle Systems) are now easier to implement than ever. Not having the chance to obtain RMXP, in lieu, I moved forward to RMVX. I signed up at the RPG Maker VX Community (rpgmakervx.net) and attempted to browse some resource requests just to test my skill level. I eventually laid my eyes on a shop named The Graphic Cream lead by Reisen. Without hesitations, I decided to join her quest in creating RPG Maker resources for the community. Then and there I accepted a couple of sprite requests, as well as hordes of logo\title requests.

Also, take a gander on this fan art I made for the community:

The dark side of RPG Maker VX Community! (2010)

(OwO)

Random battles and victories

After The Graphic Cream being featured in a VX Club article, I left my shop stint for another. Believing contest deadlines will push me into finishing my tasks in creating RPGs, I signed up for contests at various RPG Maker forums such as RMVX.net and OmegaDev. Indeed, deadlines truly helped increase my motivation and dedication towards projects. These were the short projects I have submitted throughout various contests: Mistral Gale, The Larcenist, Private Shifts, and Konpeki! Cosmic Drama! I’m proud of myself for creating such short games, and at the same time, I was really glad to share what I’ve done to the RPG Maker community. Although I don’t consider my submitted entries as bona fide RPGs, creating them was a blessing in disguise. Ultimately, these projects helped me distinguish and improve my identity as an RPG Maker user.

Mistral Gale stood out as a short 7-day project inspired by Marx, a friend from The Graphic Cream. I entered a mad adrenaline state while developing it, leaving it unpolished, but I’m still pleased and blissful for what I’ve accomplished nonetheless. This project introduced me to RMVX’s Script Editor. With help from Vlad’s Requiem ABS, Tomoaky’s Snowboarding script, some touch of dedication, and a little bit of imagination, coming up with a script-based Flight Action RPG system seemed like an overnight stroll in the park without breaking a sweat.

GIB MEH COOKEIZ!

Another short project up my sleeve is The Larcenist. The Larcenist resembles a 10-minute cinematic-RPG. It’s an attempt to make a compelling story about a thief trying to make a difference in his homeland, and as the story progresses, the thief realizes that one noble act can change everything. This type of “show and tell” project demonstrates how flexible the RPG Maker engine can be. So far, I’ve seen a couple of RMVX projects with this similar type of RM game, one of which is Celianna’s Slimey, and the other being SugarBell’s Doll.

Can you guess what I'm suppose to do here?

Battle Scene – Event Development

If you thought cinematic projects were already odd, then check this out from me! Private Shifts is a COMIC made from the RMVX engine. The premise is about a transfer student named Renda, who is on a mission to search for exceptional individuals who can manipulate physical objects. He later meets club president Yanagi, and they both set an investigation which involves a rumored ghost story at school for the upcoming Halloween newspaper issue. I’d love to continue Private Shift’s story as a game someday!

“I KILLED HIM”

With a whole new isometric grid-styled-map script by Clarabel coupled with traditional board and RPG elements, Konpeki! Cosmic Drama! showed how inclined I am in creating RPG Maker games that humbly screams… uniqueness! From flight to cinematic, cinematic to comic, now from comic to board game. Despite gameplay flaws, in terms of visuals, Konpeki! Cosmic Drama! received good praise from the RMVX community. Eventually, the support from friends and forum members helped it seize the People’s Choice award.

Isometric Board RPG

Still, I can’t claim that all these projects reached the pinnacle of my RPG Maker dreams. If I’m climbing a tower now, then I’m probably running in circles at the bottom floor.  That dream of creating a simple turn-based old school RPG is far from over! RPG Maker still has a lot in store for me to explore. My next planned project may have come to a halt, but my RPG Maker journey will not meet the Game Over screen just yet. Now that the new RPG Maker engine is out (VX ACE), I’ll patiently wait to get it and start anew!

RPG Maker taught me to be resourceful.
RPG Maker taught me to be competitive.
RPG Maker taught me to be unique.
RPG Maker taught me how to make my own game.
By using RPG Maker, you too, can Make Your Own Game!

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