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Zygen

Want to Make an RPG, Not Sure What to Use

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This is my first post here, so apologies in advance for my noob demeanor. 

Recently I've had more of an interest of trying my hand at game creation. I am currently a college student involved in Computer Science, but still a freshman who has not had much in the way of college computer science classes yet. 

I did, however, take a Java course in highschool, which was some basics, and I have dabbled in a few other languages, but I can't say I know anything at all really about those languages, especially lacking experience in actually implementing them.

I have been watching and a bunch of different videos on game design and other things related to game creation, and so my creative spark has been itching recently.

Another thing of note is that I am into music as well, I have for the past year been studying some music theory on the side, and messing around with a program titled Musescore to create little incomplete thus far pieces. 

But anyways, enough about me. My question really boils down to is I think I want to make an RPG of some sort, i'm not really sure with it. But i'm curious as to what software I should use.

I have done some stuff with RPG maker VX ace, but honestly while I know some things about that program, i'm not confident I'll be able to create something unique enough. 

I have also heard about Unity and Unreal Engine, but both of these I know next to nothing about really, and I'm a bit worried I won't be able to create anything at all. 

I probably won't even create something particularly lengthy or anything, just something small to hopefully finish, but I feel completely lost with where and how to start.

So tl;dr, what software should I use for making a RPG stylish kinda game I guess?

Thanks in advance.

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Hi Zygen and welcome!

I echo the above and encourage you to use RPG Maker. If your goal is to make something small and finish, RPG Maker will get you off the ground much faster than the other engines (like Unity). As a result, you can spend more time thinking about game design than about coding, and it sounds like that's what you want to do. 

I caution that it's incredibly difficult to make something commercial viable in RPG Maker (not impossible, just very very hard) because it has a "look" to it. But it does allow you to import custom assets, including music - which it sounds like you might want to do. And there are several web communities that will play your RPG Maker game for free and give you feedback for the next one.

Good luck, and if you're ever in NYC make sure to check out my RPG design courses ;)

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The above is excellent advice and I'll throw my 2 cents into this as well.

 

Unity and Unreal are great engines, and imo not super difficult to learn. However, making an RPG in either engine could take time depending on what you're aiming for. Both engines do quite a bit, but do still require quite a bit on the dev/coding side, even if you're doing 2d. RPG Maker, from what I can tell, seems to abstract away a lot of the stuff you'd probably have to code yourself in Unreal or Unity. I don't want to discourage you at all from either engine: both are great engines and I personally believe, not super tough to learn. However, RPG Maker does do a lot more for you in some ways.

 

That being said, like Razbury said, if you're looking for building something commercially viable, it's pretty tough to do that with something like RPG Maker, mainly because there are ways in which it does limit you. It's not impossible, just stupidly difficult. At that point, it's better to use Unreal or Unity (imo).

 

It really boils down to what you're aiming for. Do you want to just make cool stuff for fun and not be commercial? Stick with RPG Maker. If/when you feel limited, move on to Unity/Unreal. If you're aiming for commercial, 3d (tho I don't think you're interested in that just yet), or something like that, I'd recommend starting off with Unity and Unreal. 

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If you game is at least in the same style as the ones made with RPG Maker, I'd say it is a fine fit.  It has a little scripting language that people have used to make lots of custom mechanics, so unless what you want is really far-fetched, I would think it would be fine.

I'm a fan of Gamemaker Studio(just released version 2.0).  If your game is 2d, and 2d only, and especially if it is tile-based, it is difficult to beat Gamemaker.  It isn't just the drag&drop toy people think it is, rather it has a nice C-ish based scripting language that is generally easy to pick up, that can do about anything other languages can do(though not always in the same way).

Unity is great as well, and has the free version that is fully featured.  But for 2d games it doesn't have the same feature-set as Gamemaker.  But, if you feel in the future you may want to work with 3d, then Unity may be a better choice despite having less 2d features, as you can get a head start on the IDE and C# scripting that you would need for 3d.  But if you will never want 3d for anything, then this doesn't apply as a benefit.  But having the 3d side brings a lot of power(and a lot more overhead too).

A top-down RPG is something that generally can be done in almost any engine these days.  The trick is whether the one designed for it is too specific to customize to your needs, and the time it would take to make a more generalized engine do what you want.  Generalized engines can do about anything within the limits of design, but you have to code the things that make your game, your game, like your top-down movement and tile collision, data structures for your items, weapons, etc...  your battle scenes.  But something made for RPGs like RPGMaker already has lots of those things done and you can likely just script whatever you need customized.

Yeah, i've used RPG maker a bit, not finished anything, but seen a lot of scripts and messed around with stuff, and they can push the engine quite a bit. And considering that I haven't ever finished anything, I wonder if using RPG maker to simply create a short something or a few could be helpful and maybe when I feel restricted I could move on.

I have Gamemaker studios(the free version) 1.4 or something, and it's actually surprisingly good and versatile, but not too crazy overwhelming compared to some more complex engines like Unity and Unreal Engine. I watched a part of a tutorial on making an RPG in gamemaker actually, and I got started with the very basics and it was going decently well. But of course I haven't got much besides simple movement thus far.

Maybe I will eventually move on to more 3d things, but for now it's not in my priority.

I guess that's probably true, and I think that I may start off with RPGmaker potentially, just to get a little experience, but maybe move on to more advanced stuff to mess around later. Especially if I run into limitations

Thank you for your insight by the way!

 

Hi Zygen and welcome!

I echo the above and encourage you to use RPG Maker. If your goal is to make something small and finish, RPG Maker will get you off the ground much faster than the other engines (like Unity). As a result, you can spend more time thinking about game design than about coding, and it sounds like that's what you want to do. 

I caution that it's incredibly difficult to make something commercial viable in RPG Maker (not impossible, just very very hard) because it has a "look" to it. But it does allow you to import custom assets, including music - which it sounds like you might want to do. And there are several web communities that will play your RPG Maker game for free and give you feedback for the next one.

Good luck, and if you're ever in NYC make sure to check out my RPG design courses ;)

Hello! Thank you for your warm welcome!

I suppose for the moment my main focus is in the design of the game overall, more than just the programming. Sure, I do know a bit of programming and am enrolled in a Computer Science program at my university, but that has yet to get started with programming, and I think i'd get more from simply focusing a bit more on design. 

And yeah, I hear a lot about RPGmaker being not something commercially viable, or incredibly hard to make so, and I definitely don't expect to be making any games that I sell anytime soon with it, if at all really. I kind of just wanted to get started with something short and finish it, both for a confidence boost, and experience among other things. And even just for fun!

And yeah, especially after getting the hang of things I definitely would want to use custom assets for anything I make with RPGmaker, except maybe for something just to get use to using it's systems and not really to make a game.

Thank you for your warm welcome again! And while I don't think i'll be in NY anytime soon(i actually went there a few years ago for a high school trip, but I digress) but I will keep it in mind! Thanks again!

 

The above is excellent advice and I'll throw my 2 cents into this as well.

 

Unity and Unreal are great engines, and imo not super difficult to learn. However, making an RPG in either engine could take time depending on what you're aiming for. Both engines do quite a bit, but do still require quite a bit on the dev/coding side, even if you're doing 2d. RPG Maker, from what I can tell, seems to abstract away a lot of the stuff you'd probably have to code yourself in Unreal or Unity. I don't want to discourage you at all from either engine: both are great engines and I personally believe, not super tough to learn. However, RPG Maker does do a lot more for you in some ways.

 

That being said, like Razbury said, if you're looking for building something commercially viable, it's pretty tough to do that with something like RPG Maker, mainly because there are ways in which it does limit you. It's not impossible, just stupidly difficult. At that point, it's better to use Unreal or Unity (imo).

 

It really boils down to what you're aiming for. Do you want to just make cool stuff for fun and not be commercial? Stick with RPG Maker. If/when you feel limited, move on to Unity/Unreal. If you're aiming for commercial, 3d (tho I don't think you're interested in that just yet), or something like that, I'd recommend starting off with Unity and Unreal. 

Yeah, I have both Unreal Engine and Unity, but have only lightly dabbled in them both, and both are a bit intimidating on first glance for sure. And they definitely seem more focused on 3d games, as I didn't find a lot in the realm of help with making 2d ones comparatively. 

And yeah, I feel like from what I know of RPGmaker, it'd be quite difficult to make a commercial game with it, and I don't know if in the future when I have some experience and ideas, that i'd want to make a commercial game in it anyways. 

Since I think I am going to focus on more fun projects to start, and not anything I plan on selling for sure, I think I'll take your advice likely and start with RPGmaker, to get some experience and make things generally easier on myself. 

While I don't know when/if i'll want to make 3d games, I imagine I will start to feel a bit limited with RPGmaker at some point, and then I can start to dabble in something more complex like Unity or Unreal Engine.

So thank you for your advice! 

 

Thank all of you for your advice and warm welcomes! It has been very helpful in helping me decide where to go with things! Apologizes for not replying earlier, i got caught up in some things, thank you all again!

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The one thing I kind of disagree with the above posters on is the commercial viability of games made with RPGMaker.  It is true that there are tons of them that have the same look, and therefore aren't commercial ready.  But that is the fault of the creator, not the fault of the software.  There was quite a while that the same thing was said of Gamemaker.  In both cases, there are commercial successes(maybe less with RPGMaker due to it being specifically for RPGs), but there is so much shovelware out there that it makes software look bad.  Some people think the same about Unity when they see the Unity splashscreen in a game.

 

The key to making a commercial effort with RPGMaker would have to be 2 things.  One, you can't use much of anything that it comes with, or that gets generated by the character generator thingy.  It all has a certain look and style that gets recognized instantly.  And two, you need to make your own game.  If your RPG is obviously a basic RPGMaker game with renamed database items(mana instead of MP, etc...) it likely won't succeed.  But if you pull out the scripting and make something unique that can't be done just by changing the database, it makes for more commercial viability in general.  This applies to anything though, except shovelware game clones on the mobile marketplaces(Android and iOS).

 

This is the part where what I was discussing earlier comes into play.  How well can you learn the scripting language RPGMaker uses to make something nice and custom the way you want?  Doing so would likely save you time on this specific project because of all the stuff that RPGMaker has already done for you.  But, for future nonRPG projects, having learned that scripting language will be kind of useless(not totally due to learning coding concepts in general).  So, if you would say you know for sure you want to make games later on that aren't RPGs, you may be better off spending time learning something like Gamemaker, or Unity if you are interested in 3d(which it seems you aren't).  It depends on your priorities, finish this project soon, take longer to learn something else for other projects, or take longer on this project due to coding it more from scratch, but have a head start on knowing software that can do something that isn't only RPGs.

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The one thing I kind of disagree with the above posters on is the commercial viability of games made with RPGMaker.  It is true that there are tons of them that have the same look, and therefore aren't commercial ready.  But that is the fault of the creator, not the fault of the software.  There was quite a while that the same thing was said of Gamemaker.  In both cases, there are commercial successes(maybe less with RPGMaker due to it being specifically for RPGs), but there is so much shovelware out there that it makes software look bad.  Some people think the same about Unity when they see the Unity splashscreen in a game.

 

The key to making a commercial effort with RPGMaker would have to be 2 things.  One, you can't use much of anything that it comes with, or that gets generated by the character generator thingy.  It all has a certain look and style that gets recognized instantly.  And two, you need to make your own game.  If your RPG is obviously a basic RPGMaker game with renamed database items(mana instead of MP, etc...) it likely won't succeed.  But if you pull out the scripting and make something unique that can't be done just by changing the database, it makes for more commercial viability in general.  This applies to anything though, except shovelware game clones on the mobile marketplaces(Android and iOS).

 

This is the part where what I was discussing earlier comes into play.  How well can you learn the scripting language RPGMaker uses to make something nice and custom the way you want?  Doing so would likely save you time on this specific project because of all the stuff that RPGMaker has already done for you.  But, for future nonRPG projects, having learned that scripting language will be kind of useless(not totally due to learning coding concepts in general).  So, if you would say you know for sure you want to make games later on that aren't RPGs, you may be better off spending time learning something like Gamemaker, or Unity if you are interested in 3d(which it seems you aren't).  It depends on your priorities, finish this project soon, take longer to learn something else for other projects, or take longer on this project due to coding it more from scratch, but have a head start on knowing software that can do something that isn't only RPGs.

Hm, I can understand that I guess. I suppose the fact that RPGmaker is fairly easy to start with program leads to a lot of pretty bad games.

I don't think i'll be making something commercial for awhile if at all still, but I can understand your point for sure. 

I might alternate a bit between Gamemaker and RPGmaker to kind of decide things, since while right now I have no real intention of making any 3d games, I can't say I don't have any interest in trying sometime. 

So I think I'll work with both for a little while and see how things go. After recently trying gamemaker a bit I will say I have started to like it in a lot of ways, although I am sure it'll take awhile to really get an RPG basis going for it even.

And especially with RPGmaker VXace using like Ruby or something, which as you mentioned isn't particularly useful in most other software, makes it in a lot of ways seem a bit of a waste to learn. 

Although Gamemaker does have its own little language it seems, but it feels like based on my limited knowledge it may be a tad more useful to learn.

Plus Gamemaker does feel more free in what you can do (Which i guess it is)

Anyways, thank you for your input! It has really helped me to get some thought into things. Right now I think i'm going to be debating and switching between RPGmaker and Gamemaker a bit to see how I feel. Maybe i'll make a little something in both and see how I feel.

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It's not impossible to make a commercial game with RPGMaker, I won't debate that. It's just that it's tougher to do if you want to implement things that fall outside of its 'mold' so to speak. RPGMaker is geared towards building a very specific type of game. There are limitations in some ways, in my experience.

I personally prefer having a more open ended engine like Unity or Unreal. Though, like I said, it's more preference than anything else beyond a point. If all you're ever going to make is RPGs, of the type that RPGMaker is geared towards, then yea, I agree, there's not a ton of difference in using RPGMaker and Unity, and you're maybe even better off with RPGMaker. If you want to change to something beyond that (like an FPS RPG, or a non RPG game in general), then you're definitely better off using some other game engine in general.

Again, there's no reason to not stick with RPGMaker for now. You've already got some experience with it and more experience with it will go a ways towards helping you in general with game dev. You're currently studying Computer Science, and as you learn more, you'll be able to move on to other engines also. You'll get more experience in general, so that should make it easier to decide a): what direction you want to go in and b): what tools you want to use. Remember, this isn't a decision you can't easily reverse in the near future should you feel compelled to do so. 

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