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Why do game designers and players look down on RPG Maker games?


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#1 RATED-RKOFRANKLIN   Members   -  Reputation: 133

Posted 03 July 2013 - 12:50 PM

I've been a member in the RPG Maker community for 4 or 5 years. The community strongly believes that people especially game designers and players look down at RPG Maker games. Why do game designers and players look down on RPG Maker games? 

 

I've heard many stories with players becoming upset because a RPG Maker game is for sale instead of for free. These players do not believe designers who use the program should sale their games. 

 

Do people think the RPG Maker is a walk in the park? It takes alot of hard work to make a game with the RPG Maker. Sure, there are alot of things done for you. However, you must put it all together. That will take hours of making maps, characters, cut scenes, boss battles, etc. 


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#2 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 17035

Posted 03 July 2013 - 01:57 PM

GameMaker and RPG Maker and other such tools (even major engines like Unity and such) have differing degrees of limitations.

The more limited the tool, the more constrained the designer is.

 

These tools are very very good, but, I don't care at all if something takes hard work. Duke Nukem Forever took 10 years to make. That doesn't make it a good game!

Whether the game was hard to make doesn't particularly matter. Whether the game is actually good is what matters!

 

The more focused-in to a specific type of game a tool is, the more identical seeming will be the games that come out of that tool. If two dozen games feature almost identical gameplay and almost identical graphics, players aren't going to be as interested (unless they are part of the same series of games). They may each have really fantastic map design, and really top-notch plots, which is great! But those are only two pieces of a multi-piece puzzle.

 

If Microsoft took Halo, changed the color of Master Chief's outfit, and gave the game a different plot and different levels, but the gameplay is almost entirely identical, players would revolt against it.

 

Games are mixtures of: Gameplay, Atmosphere, Story, Background lore, Level design, Music, Sound effects, Voice-acting, Graphics, and several other components. Saying, "My game has a fantastic plot" (great!). "Oh yeah, but the graphics are almost identical to that used in 20 other games..." (huh?), "...and the gameplay is copy+pasted from those same games." (Uh, I think I'll pass)

 

That's not to say some of those games aren't great experiences. But by and large, most of them aren't. So I'm taking a greater risk, and am less inclined to even bother playing (because time is a non-renewable resource), let alone paying. But if one becomes a huge hit, and everyone (outside of the community from whence it came) recognizes it as a fantastic game, then yea, I'd certainly play it or pay for it! In those cases, it ceases to become common sense to avoid them, and instead becomes snobbery and elitism to not play them.

 

The reason why the opinions about the game has to come from outside the community to be heard is because the people within the community are used to the similar gameplay and similar styles and see only the distinctions, in the same way my brain automatically filters out the similarities of my siblings faces, and focuses on the distinctions. In the same way, everyone from certain ethnicities looks almost identical to me but anyone raised in that culture tunes out the overall same-ness and hones down to the individual uniquenesses to help identify each other. The more time I spend around those ethnicities, the more my brain teaches itself to filter out the generalities, and see the specificalities. I don't drink wine on any regular basis. Give me a five glasses of different red wines, and they'll all taste almost identical to me - I'd taste the overall flavors which are strongest (and shared between all five glasses). Give someone who has drunk hundreds of bottles of redwine in his lifetime, and he'll tell you of their fine details, and ignore their shared traits.

 

If every game used Unreal Engine without any additional custom programming work... it'd also be bad. Unreal Engine is loads more flexible, so it won't narrow things down near as much as RPG Maker, but it'd still force certain similarities on every game. Those similarities would be undesirable - not because they would be bad in themselves, but because the engine would prevent other games from just being different.

 

But again, that doesn't mean GameMaker or RPG Maker are bad. There can still be some great games that come out of them. Ninja Loves Pirate (GameMaker, circa 2006) is one that I've heard is really polished and worth a play.


Edited by Servant of the Lord, 03 July 2013 - 02:33 PM.

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#3 Toothpix   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 810

Posted 03 July 2013 - 02:12 PM

Because statistically having an easier avenue to make a games means that more peopl will go down that avenue and more people who otherwise wouldn't make a game at all would also go down that avenue, but very talented and experienced programmers, artists, and designers don't use game/RPG maker, so you pretty much have just a place where all the beginners and failures go. Or maybe I'm just being judgemental on drag-and-drop.


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#4 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 17035

Posted 03 July 2013 - 02:19 PM

@MrJoshL: Yes, there's definitely the "harder to find the gems buried under the rubble" aspect of it as well. But there are a few gems... they just take more effort to find than I'd care to spend, unless someone hand-delivers them to me. smile.png


Edited by Servant of the Lord, 03 July 2013 - 02:19 PM.

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#5 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3081

Posted 03 July 2013 - 03:31 PM

I'll admit, I've played my fair share of RPG Maker games. Some good, many bad. The sheer numbers are working against you if you do a RPG Maker game. There is an unbelievable glut of terribad games out there, and if you make a good one but it is visually and functionally identical to 4000 bad ones, then you are going to get lost in the crowd. Those 4000 baddies ruin it for everyone. Besides, exactly how many times can you rehash the classic Final Fantasy console JRPG games before people say "enough, already"? It's a pretty narrowly constrained engine that makes it a little too difficult to break out of that tight mold.



#6 RATED-RKOFRANKLIN   Members   -  Reputation: 133

Posted 03 July 2013 - 04:06 PM

GameMaker and RPG Maker and other such tools (even major engines like Unity and such) have differing degrees of limitations.

The more limited the tool, the more constrained the designer is.

 

These tools are very very good, but, I don't care at all if something takes hard work. Duke Nukem Forever took 10 years to make. That doesn't make it a good game!

Whether the game was hard to make doesn't particularly matter. Whether the game is actually good is what matters!

 

The more focused-in to a specific type of game a tool is, the more identical seeming will be the games that come out of that tool. If two dozen games feature almost identical gameplay and almost identical graphics, players aren't going to be as interested (unless they are part of the same series of games). They may each have really fantastic map design, and really top-notch plots, which is great! But those are only two pieces of a multi-piece puzzle.

 

If Microsoft took Halo, changed the color of Master Chief's outfit, and gave the game a different plot and different levels, but the gameplay is almost entirely identical, players would revolt against it.

 

Games are mixtures of: Gameplay, Atmosphere, Story, Background lore, Level design, Music, Sound effects, Voice-acting, Graphics, and several other components. Saying, "My game has a fantastic plot" (great!). "Oh yeah, but the graphics are almost identical to that used in 20 other games..." (huh?), "...and the gameplay is copy+pasted from those same games." (Uh, I think I'll pass)

 

That's not to say some of those games aren't great experiences. But by and large, most of them aren't. So I'm taking a greater risk, and am less inclined to even bother playing (because time is a non-renewable resource), let alone paying. But if one becomes a huge hit, and everyone (outside of the community from whence it came) recognizes it as a fantastic game, then yea, I'd certainly play it or pay for it! In those cases, it ceases to become common sense to avoid them, and instead becomes snobbery and elitism to not play them.

 

The reason why the opinions about the game has to come from outside the community to be heard is because the people within the community are used to the similar gameplay and similar styles and see only the distinctions, in the same way my brain automatically filters out the similarities of my siblings faces, and focuses on the distinctions. In the same way, everyone from certain ethnicities looks almost identical to me but anyone raised in that culture tunes out the overall same-ness and hones down to the individual uniquenesses to help identify each other. The more time I spend around those ethnicities, the more my brain teaches itself to filter out the generalities, and see the specificalities. I don't drink wine on any regular basis. Give me a five glasses of different red wines, and they'll all taste almost identical to me - I'd taste the overall flavors which are strongest (and shared between all five glasses). Give someone who has drunk hundreds of bottles of redwine in his lifetime, and he'll tell you of their fine details, and ignore their shared traits.

 

If every game used Unreal Engine without any additional custom programming work... it'd also be bad. Unreal Engine is loads more flexible, so it won't narrow things down near as much as RPG Maker, but it'd still force certain similarities on every game. Those similarities would be undesirable - not because they would be bad in themselves, but because the engine would prevent other games from just being different.

 

But again, that doesn't mean GameMaker or RPG Maker are bad. There can still be some great games that come out of them. Ninja Loves Pirate (GameMaker, circa 2006) is one that I've heard is really polished and worth a play.

 

I agree there are many games that use the same default graphics. However, users can create their very own graphics or hire someone in the community to create the graphics.

 

Surprisingly there are some games with voice overs. That's right! There are games with voice actors. 

 

There are many different battle systems in the community. Most games have a turn based on system. However, not all of the systems are the same. See the videos below. These videos are for the RPG Maker VX ACE. These are just a few of the different battle systems that have been made by users for the program. 

 

Default Battle System- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXzbzPVva0o

 

Victor Battle System- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zlUrykQYjs

 

Battle Engine Symphony!- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNRayRoKCVw

 

Sapphire Action System IV- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GKpmKBsmwc

Because statistically having an easier avenue to make a games means that more peopl will go down that avenue and more people who otherwise wouldn't make a game at all would also go down that avenue, but very talented and experienced programmers, artists, and designers don't use game/RPG maker, so you pretty much have just a place where all the beginners and failures go. Or maybe I'm just being judgemental on drag-and-drop.

 

That's not  true at all. There are many experienced programmers, composers, artist, and designers who use the RPG Maker. There are some users who create their own graphics for their games. Many members of the community create new battle systems, menu systems, add-ons, etc. 

 

The system isn't completely drag and drop. The only drag and drop feature is the mapping system. You must understand how to use the program's features for creating events. Eventing isn't drag and drop. It is a complex feature that a player uses to create cut scenes, unlock new areas, continue the game's story, etc. Eventing can take hours. 

 

I'll admit, I've played my fair share of RPG Maker games. Some good, many bad. The sheer numbers are working against you if you do a RPG Maker game. There is an unbelievable glut of terribad games out there, and if you make a good one but it is visually and functionally identical to 4000 bad ones, then you are going to get lost in the crowd. Those 4000 baddies ruin it for everyone. Besides, exactly how many times can you rehash the classic Final Fantasy console JRPG games before people say "enough, already"? It's a pretty narrowly constrained engine that makes it a little too difficult to break out of that tight mold.

 

I strongly agree with your point of view. I've seen many terrible game videos on YouTube. Some games should have never been created. The bad games give the community and the program a very bad reputation. 


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#7 minibutmany   Members   -  Reputation: 1471

Posted 03 July 2013 - 04:10 PM


I'll admit, I've played my fair share of RPG Maker games. Some good, many bad. The sheer numbers are working against you if you do a RPG Maker game.

How many games have you played that were written in C++ with Visual Studio? I know I've played a lot. Some were good, but a lot were bad too. 

I think programmers don't like it when they realize the project they just spent three months on could have been done in a week in game maker.

Depending on the flexibility of the engine, it can end up making cookie cutter games, or it could make diverse games.

Gamers also don't like playing games that they feel they could have made themselves.

If you want to make a good game in RPG maker, make it look like it wasn't done in RPG maker.


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#8 Sik_the_hedgehog   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1483

Posted 03 July 2013 - 04:32 PM

As has been said, the problem is that almost every game made in RPG Maker is bad =P That isn't a fault of the tool, it's a fault of the developers (and honestly, it's true of just about every tool out there, even programming). When a good game comes out that was made in RPG Maker, nobody even bothers to point out the fact (which also ends up going against its reputation if nobody knows what good things have been made with it).
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#9 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3081

Posted 03 July 2013 - 04:58 PM

How many games have you played that were written in C++ with Visual Studio? I know I've played a lot. Some were good, but a lot were bad too.


Kind of a bullshit argument, though. C++/VS don't constrain you to a particular type and style of game like RPG Maker does. Do a Google Image Search for games+Visual Studio+C++. Then do a GIS for game RPG Maker. See what I'm talking about? The absolute glut of virtually identical games means that unless you make it look like it wasn't done in RPG maker (which almost none ever does)then you are just categorically lumped right in with the baddies.

I think programmers don't like it when they realize the project they just spent three months on could have been done in a week in game maker.


That's not really the case, considering the narrow solution domain RPG Maker represents.

#10 Shippou   Members   -  Reputation: 1317

Posted 03 July 2013 - 05:16 PM

The system isn't completely drag and drop. The only drag and drop feature is the mapping system. You must understand how to use the program's features for creating events. Eventing isn't drag and drop. It is a complex feature that a player uses to create cut scenes, unlock new areas, continue the game's story, etc. Eventing can take hours. 

 

 

Actually events are "drag and drop" with the hardest aspect being :trying to figure out how many enemies are going to pop out, which map to transition to, or which switches to activate.

 

 Last time I used RPG maker, it was EXTREMELY restrictive on what you could do.

* You want a "kill count" for a specific monster ? - too bad, even hacking the game engine produces buggy results!

* You want custom scripts ? - have fun trying to integrate them !

* Want real time combat ? - hahahahahahaha

* You want a custom opining title ? - have fun hacking the game engine!

* Want a lot of different monsters, events, or switches ? - too bad, there is a hard coded limit, and it's small [*1] !

* Want to use lot of different tile sets ? - oh well, too bad your restricted to a tiny handful of tiles for your entire game !

 

*1 -  I ran out of switches after 3 small maps !


Edited by Shippou, 03 July 2013 - 05:18 PM.

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#11 RATED-RKOFRANKLIN   Members   -  Reputation: 133

Posted 03 July 2013 - 05:29 PM

 

The system isn't completely drag and drop. The only drag and drop feature is the mapping system. You must understand how to use the program's features for creating events. Eventing isn't drag and drop. It is a complex feature that a player uses to create cut scenes, unlock new areas, continue the game's story, etc. Eventing can take hours. 

 

 

Actually events are "drag and drop" with the hardest aspect being :trying to figure out how many enemies are going to pop out, which map to transition to, or which switches to activate.

 

 Last time I used RPG maker, it was EXTREMELY restrictive on what you could do.

* You want a "kill count" for a specific monster ? - too bad, even hacking the game engine produces buggy results!

* You want custom scripts ? - have fun trying to integrate them !

* Want real time combat ? - hahahahahahaha

* You want a custom opining title ? - have fun hacking the game engine!

* Want a lot of different monsters, events, or switches ? - too bad, there is a hard coded limit, and it's small [*1] !

* Want to use lot of different tile sets ? - oh well, too bad your restricted to a tiny handful of tiles for your entire game !

 

*1 -  I ran out of switches after 3 small maps !

 

 

I respectfully disagree about events being drag and drop.

 

What maker did you use? The only legal American versions are XP, VX, and VX ACE. All of them allow you to change tile sets. Many games have costume opening titles. These three latest versions allow users to create and install custom scripts. 


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#12 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 17035

Posted 03 July 2013 - 06:13 PM

I agree there are many games that use the same default graphics. However, users can create their very own graphics or hire someone in the community to create the graphics.
 
Surprisingly there are some games with voice overs. That's right! There are games with voice actors. 
 
There are many different battle systems in the community. Most games have a turn based on system. However, not all of the systems are the same. See the videos below. These videos are for the RPG Maker VX ACE. These are just a few of the different battle systems that have been made by users for the program. 
 
Default Battle System- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXzbzPVva0o
 
Victor Battle System- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zlUrykQYjs
 
Battle Engine Symphony!- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNRayRoKCVw
 
Sapphire Action System IV- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GKpmKBsmwc

That's kinda my point. If there are 20 different battle systems (that are highly polished and functional), and 2000 games, there are 100 games using each battle system.

Yes, there are people who have custom graphic sets. That's almost required for the game to be paid attention to.

So now you have:
- Art (original)
- Tile size and avatar size (same tile size as 4000 other games)
- Camera perspective (shared with 500 other games)
- Maps (original)
- Plot (original)
- Music (some original, some found free online)
- Combat code (one of 20 community-made packs, shared with 100 other games)
- World exploration code (duplicated, shared with 2000 other games)
- GUI (possibly shared with 50 other games)
- Dialog system (shared with 150 other games)
- 2D (shared with 5 million other games)
- Color palette (shared with 3 million other games)
- Tile-based (shared with 500,000 other games)
- RPG Genre (shared with 1,200,000 other games)

So at least that one game, amongst many, won't feel as copy+pasted. The more things it can differentiate on, the better.
The more the game does customly, the less it'll feel cookie cutter. The more the game is probably worth playing.

Note: The goal of a game is not just to be "different" from other games, as my post seems to imply. However, the more you do look like loads of other games, that does reflect badly even if your game is actually really good. This applies to all games, whether they were coded from scratch in raw assembly, or made with RPG Maker VX. The tools used don't matter, but the end result does. If the end result looks like dozens of other games, how am I suppose to know that it is worth my time playing?


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#13 RATED-RKOFRANKLIN   Members   -  Reputation: 133

Posted 03 July 2013 - 06:23 PM

I don't understand why you have a problem with the battle system. Most RPG games in general use a very similar battle system with minor differences. 


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#14 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5752

Posted 03 July 2013 - 06:40 PM

I don't understand why you have a problem with the battle system. Most RPG games in general use a very similar battle system with minor differences. 

 

You need to play more RPGs :)


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#15 latch   Members   -  Reputation: 629

Posted 03 July 2013 - 06:40 PM

If you enjoyed making the game and others enjoy playing it then it doesn't matter how it was made.



#16 RATED-RKOFRANKLIN   Members   -  Reputation: 133

Posted 03 July 2013 - 06:56 PM

 

I don't understand why you have a problem with the battle system. Most RPG games in general use a very similar battle system with minor differences. 

 

You need to play more RPGs smile.png

 

 

I have played many RPGs such as Final Fantasy games, MegaMan X Command Mission, Paper Mario, Super Mario Legend of The Seven Stars, Golden Sun, etc.


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#17 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5752

Posted 03 July 2013 - 07:23 PM

 

 

I don't understand why you have a problem with the battle system. Most RPG games in general use a very similar battle system with minor differences. 

 

You need to play more RPGs smile.png

 

 

I have played many RPGs such as Final Fantasy games, MegaMan X Command Mission, Paper Mario, Super Mario Legend of The Seven Stars, Golden Sun, etc.

 

 

Try a few classic western RPGs aswell such as betrayal at krondor, dungeon master, any of the SSI goldbox games, fallout 1/2, etc and you'll see how varied RPG combat is(Once you look beyond the JRPG subgenre (Which all looks like final fantasy clones anyway)


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#18 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 17035

Posted 03 July 2013 - 08:03 PM

It's not just the battle system, it's how the battle system "feels". Even if two games both implement a turn-based battle system with action timers, both would be implemented differently, and feel different, even if they result in the same output. Two artists painting a bowl of fruit produce two different paintings that have different "feels" to them, even if the result is still a bowl of fruit. If twenty games share what "feels like" the same system, I honestly think it can affect how the game is perceived and experienced.

 

If one game "feels like" another game (because of art style, GUI interface, character art that happens to look similar despite created by two completely different artists, similar storyline, or any of dozens of other things), it can tarnish the original feel of the game.

 

The human mind is designed to note similarities, to help rapidly identify patterns or things it has encountered before. [Warning: pseudo-psychology] The uniquenesses of the game gets tuned out to help you recognize the similarities to other games you've played before.

This is fine! It can actually be beneficial and designers can take advantage of it (Movies do - there are languages to movies, that movie watchers understand subconsciously but aren't aware of consciously).

So similarities between games, and even having components (art, some combat mechanics, some color usage, some audio usage) "feel" like components from other games are fine... as long as one game doesn't have too many of it's components feel like too many of the components from another game (instead of their components feeling like they are from a wide variety of other games). If two games (or a group of games) line up in multiple categories, one game subconsciously reminds you too much of the other game.

 

I'm not saying any one part of RPG Maker is bad - it's a great tool (so is the Source Engine), but that the combination of all those parts (or most of them) feeling similar to the same combination of parts in a wide group of games makes alot of those games "feel like" an "RPG Maker VX game" or a "Source Engine game" or a "Unreal Engine game" or a "Gamemaker game". So games using that tool should work extra hard to make sure they don't "feel like" other games using the same tool.

 

This is me trying to provide words to something I feel half-intuitively and half-theoretically, and is heavily opinion-based. Take with a grain of salt and a teaspoon of sugar, and don't swim for at least an hour.

 

The thread topic title says, "Why do game designers and players look down on RPG maker games?"

One of the "rules" of game development that many developers know is that the average player doesn't care what a game looks like under the hood. They don't care that you used engine X or engine Y, that you used language A or language B. They care about what they have right in front of them. Sometimes, hype-relatedly, they think engine X means a game will be better or worse. "Unreal Engine? Didn't Gears of War use that? I like Gears of War! This fantasy game that has nothing to do with Gears of War, I'll probably like also!" (irrational train of logic, because the things they liked about Gears of War weren't tied to the engine, and use of the same engine won't force the other game to include those unrelated gameplay features).

 

That aside, sometimes people group together wide categories (humans love to categorize, even when it doesn't make sense to do so) of games to help them understand what to expect from a game. We need things to compare it to (marketers are aware of this. "Compare to Vaseline!", "Similar to Saint Ive's", "Chocolate-flavored"). If your game lines up in 15 out of 40 different categories to fifty other games that used RPG Maker VX, people will compare your game to those other games, and come to conclusions before playing your game, or while playing your game. Even if they like your game, if they hated those other games, they might biasedly have a subconscious distaste for your game, because your game reminds them of games they didn't like. (Note: More pseudo-psychology. Just leave the box of salt next to your desk so it's within easy reach)

 

Imagine eating a food product that tastes good, but A) looks like mold, B) smells like raw sewage.

The chef can complain all he wants about how good it tastes and that you just don't understand fine dining, but really, presentation is part of the meal, and he served a meal that wasn't presented well.

 

To be fair, RPG Maker games don't look like mold or smell like sewage... but they look like something that reminds you of one game you didn't like (even if they both looked good), and smells like something that reminds you of a different game you hated (even if they both smelled good). You bring your past experiences of everything you've played before into whatever game you are playing now, and if that game triggers your subconscious biases, you'll bring that into your opinions of this new game.

 

When people look at the RPG Maker VX community (or other communities of sufficiently specific scope) they see the similarities, and it all blends together.

They see RPG Maker games like this:

 

8f1e.png

 

People inside the community have tuned out the similarities, and have subconsciously adjusted themselves to see the differences, and the differences stand out.

You see RPG Maker games like this:

 

kp.png

 

But you, as a game developer, have to recognize and plan for the fact that people playing your game won't have immersed themselves in the RPG Maker VX community before playing your game, and will bring different perceptions that you will. It's part of your job in making a game to be aware of the perceptions they are likely to bring, and to take advantage of it to improve your game by using players' feelings and the "language of movies games" to make a more satisfying experience.

 

This was a bit rambly and long-winded. I'd love for some real psychologists to study this and present their findings in a more layman-friendly way for your average game developer.


Edited by Servant of the Lord, 03 July 2013 - 08:26 PM.

It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.

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#19 Sik_the_hedgehog   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1483

Posted 04 July 2013 - 02:03 AM


Try a few classic western RPGs aswell such as betrayal at krondor, dungeon master, any of the SSI goldbox games, fallout 1/2, etc and you'll see how varied RPG combat is(Once you look beyond the JRPG subgenre (Which all looks like final fantasy clones anyway)

RPG Maker is specifically aimed for JRPGs though, so the only comparisons that make sense are between JRPGs.

 

But yes, more recently JRPGs became much more varied in how they handle battles, some going as far as potentially blending with other genres. Before Chrono Trigger there didn't seem to be much variety though.


Don't pay much attention to "the hedgehog" in my nick, it's just because "Sik" was already taken =/ By the way, Sik is pronounced like seek, not like sick.

#20 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1415

Posted 04 July 2013 - 05:41 AM

I hadn't realized people did look down on RPG maker.  There are some really great games made for it such as the ones from Amaranth Games.   It is fairly limited but then it is heavily focused at developing JRPG games.






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