RPG Maker

Titled RPG Tsukūru in Japan, the RPG Maker series are very easy to use RPG making programs mostly for Windows, and sometimes for consoles and Japanese PCs. The Windows versions became (beginning with RPG Maker 95) popular outside Japan due to fan translation1), eventually leading to them being released in the west commercially, beginning with RPG Maker XP in 2004-05.

People wanting to play games made with the Windows versions will usually have to download something called an RTP2) relevant to the version of the program the game was made with. The RTPs are the collection of assets provided with the program, and come included with the softwares' downloads. They can also be downloaded as free, standalone, archives.

The software is generally very easy to use. 'Programming' is done selecting commands from a menu (though XP, and VX, users can also use Ruby. Resource editing is possible in some of the console versions, but on Windows graphics, music, and sound effects, must be made in other software. Though, as mentioned, there are plenty of resources supplied with the software.

  • thecatamites: I remember most of the fun of RPG Maker games being the way they were played half in and half out of the editor as you could poke around to see where you were meant to go next or reconstruct the plot from scattered dialogue fragments or change the start location to play the good bits and secret rooms or steal all the midis. Kind of weird that to my knowledge the artier RM games are the ones that do the least with this, whereas I remember a bunch of dragonwarrior things where the creator would have weird landscape messages buried in the map listing on assumption that someone'd be poking through.

English releases

RPG Maker 2

The second SNES version was unofficially translated into English. There's not much reason to play it instead of the other releases, but it's interesting. The games play a lot like the earlier Dragon Quest games; there's even menu based searching, and stair using. The game comes on a Super Game Boy-esque cart, which takes Satellaview memory packs, allowing resource data to be downloaded, but not swapping of games. The prequel was compatible with the Turbo File Twin, which allows game files to be kept off-cart.3)

RPG Maker 95

Often called simply RM95, this is the first Windows version, and, unlike the next two on the platform runs in 640×480 resolution. Otherwise it is quite similar to use.

RPG Maker

RPG Tsukuru 3 in Japan. The first version for the Sony PlayStation. It's still 2D, and not that much different than the second SNES game, though it added the ability to make your own graphics, and included more resources.

The sequel, RPG Tsukuru 4, also a PlayStation game, was never outside Japan, and is untranslated. Apparently it's the top of the 2D console games, and features Final Fantasy-style combat.

RPG Maker 2000

RPG Tsukuru 2000 in Japan, and usually RM2k elsewhere. This is where the series really got popular, with Don Miguel's translation. The community, at the time, also revolved round his website. The program runs in 320×240, which makes graphic creation mostly easier. It also means a lot of people rip graphics from 16-bit era games. Battles are still Dragon Quest-style, but people have found ways to get round that using events. Results are mixed.

RPG Maker 2

RPG Tsukuru 5 in Japan. Not to be confused with the translation of the second SNES game. This was made for the PlayStation 2, and while the graphics are crude, the program difficult to use, it is really flexible. It works unlike anything else in the line.

RPG Maker 2003

RPG Tsukuru 2003 in Japan, and often goes by RM2k3. A tweaked version of RPG Maker 2000, really. Unfortunately it seems a bit rushed, as some features that are added aren't as flexibly controlled as in 2k. There's a side-view battle system, though its ATB4) is a bit of a mess, even when turned off. So, some people still prefer RM2k.

RPG Maker XP

Runs in a higher resolution than the 200x programs, and was officially released in English.

RPG Maker 3

Just RPG Tsukuru in Japan, suggests a relaunch, or sorts. Much more focused the the previous PS2 version. Easy to use, though aimed at making only 'medieval' games, with no ability to make resources yourself, though terrain can be modelled, somewhat.

RPG Maker VX

Games

A few notable examples are able to be found among the Final Fantasy Fan-game Drivel.

    • A fascinating adventure through dreams. Perhaps somewhere between Earthbound, and LSD: Dream Emulator.
    • L: It takes a concept that I can only find sparingly in other games — in this case, the deliberate refusal to establish the usual 'game patterns' by which the player's analytical mind can gain some purchase on the game world and its design, and the subtle, gradual sinisterness that results — and brings it to its apogee. I can't really think of any game that rebuffs the player's pattern and structure senses, while simultaneously possessing a bare, incomplete, uncanny semblance of structure that seems to perpetually fail to be completed or comprehended. (I refer not to the game's “collect effects” pattern that sits above the entire game world and provides the player with a meagre impetus to explore, but the many incomplete sub-patterns inside it.)
    • In a similar vein to Yume Nikki. A game about exploration, mystery
  • Dragon Fantasy II (RPG Maker 2000) - download
    • A simple RPG very much in the Dragon Quest mould. It gets it right though. It does that very rare thing of not feeling like an RPG Maker game.
  • Paradise Blue (RPG Maker 2003) - download
    • Takes obvious influence from the 2D Final Fantasy games, but uses that influence effectively. The world is rich, as are the graphics, and the whole thing has a charming warmth, and spirit. It doesn't entirely get past its RPG Maker-ness, but it gets close.
  • Grave Spirit (RPG Maker 2000) - download
    • Has a somewhat sparse atmosphere—almost Ueda-like. It's also an adventure game with very little combat.
  • Push! (RPG Maker 2003) - download
    • A picross game made in RPG Maker 2003. If you are interested in RPG Maker, then the novely should make this worthwhile. If not: it's picross.
  • The Longing Ribbon (RPG Maker 2000) - download
    • q 3:It's an attempt at doing psychological/survival horror a la Silent Hill using the RM2k engine, and the surprising thing is that it actually almost works! The default, generic graphics that are included with RPG Maker have been remixed, so to speak, to become more and more eerie and disturbing as the story develops, and the mansion has a really great sense of aesthetics and a truly warped sense of space. It's still marred, of course - most notably by the onslaught of boring random battles that starts about halfway through and by the excessively ironic (post-modern?) sense of humor that (while often hilarious) all too often completely undercuts any suspension of disbelief that the game had managed to cultivate. But for the first couple of hours it's far more terrifying than many commercial horror games, even with its technical limitations, with quite a few innovative ideas on how to build suspense.
    • The Blueberry Hill: Yes. I think it's worth playing until the combat starts. I felt no shame giving up at that point, but was glad I had seen the game leading up to it.
  • Space Funeral (RPG Maker 2003) - download
    • costel: This is easily one of the most stylish and demented indie games I have ever played. It's like a really demented Mother meets Monster Party.

See Also

1) RPG Maker 95 by KanjiHack, and later again Don Miguel, who would also translate RPG Maker 2000; RPG Maker 2003 by RPG Advocate
2) Run Time Package
3) RPG Tsukuru 2 may actually be compatible with this, sources conflict.
4) it works like the Final Fantasy games
 
 software/rpg_maker.txt · Last modified: 2014/05/28 01:13 (external edit)
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