Most of my ideas in creating my ARPGM have come from the last couple months of playing around in RPG Maker VX Ace, and in reading posts in the web forums for other users' wants and needs from the editor and engine; but probably the largest influence is specifically from a thread titled "Suggestions for the next RPG Maker" or some such. While not optimally organized, this huge listing does show what "seems to be lacking" in the modern maker.
Just a scant few days ago, less than a couple weeks ago really, I also managed to come across an interesting video series on YouTube by ForeignGuyMike, wherein he narrates his development of a Java-based "platformer" game. I know, a platformer seems different on the outside from what is required of an "RPG Maker inspired" engine and an editor infrastructure; but examining the more particular aspects, it did have much of what I was already trying to implement. It's not a cut-and-paste drop-in replacement for what I already have; but the general aspects gained from watching the video series and examining others' code does help.
- It is a tile-based engine/game, using tiled images in a number of graphics files, which means it also has a basic manner of parsing the graphic images from a tile sheet and keeping them for the next steps.
- Its tile-based maps are easy to understand how they are implemented; a map in these terms is merely a plain text file with space-separated integer values, corresponding to the tile ID.
- It also has a class acting as a "jukebox" or music manager -- allowing for playing, pausing, stopping, and even looping the sounds. That class has a boolean field for specifying if the sound is "muted" but it isn't actually utilized so much; it is a mere tutorial series, anyway. That's just one single mute-state for the whole game; an improvement over that would be having muting/volume states for several audio aspects -- for the whole audio system, for the main-music channel, for the sound effects, and for various system-sounds like menu navigation and selection. Of course, there's no options or preferences menu to set that; but yeah, um, that might be a little bit useful.... ;-]
- The source code linked at the end of the tutorial produces a compilable, playable game, although there was no graceful way in the pause screen to menu-select to end the game or return to the title screen, like is seen in the competition...
As I mentioned at the start, I have already got the basis for my implementation of an RPG Maker (both the editor and the engine) in the beginning stages; this guy's project does help me understand some more about putting the idea to use, on both counts. Mike's code doesn't have any concept of scripting or eventing in that tutorial, like what is seen in the commercial RPG Maker product, and I do wonder what his take on that would be if he got around to another tutorial series, platformer or not.