Those of you looking to try your hand at making an RPG listen up. I’ve got a software here for you that’ll let you make the RPGs you never knew you always could.
It’s called RPG Maker VX Ace, a game design engine for creating 8-bit RPGs, and it’s pretty great. I’ve been tinkering around with it for the past week and I’ve been having a lot of fun. And no I’m not a computer science major or a programming genius; I tried learning Python once but ended up using my printed code to wrap a sandwich for lunch instead. This program requires no coding experience whatsoever, it only asks for the patience to learn how to use the program. If you just give it a little time you’ll soon have a game you can show off to all your couch potato friends.
The software allows you to create your own 8-bit RPG adventure. With a fairly large library of graphics and sounds already installed, there is little else you need to do but put in the imagination. For those who can do their own graphic design and mix their own music, importing audio and images is as easy as can be. Using this prepared library you start by making maps. The editor allows you to place texture tiles such as sand, grass, or mountains through nicely organized tiles. Once you create that beautiful fantasy landscape you’ve been dreaming about since first picking up Chrono Trigger on the SNES, you switch to the event editor and start making the story. You place characters on the map to interact with and treasure chests that contain anything from gil to sandwiches. Their website also has a ton of texture packs for sale at reasonable prices, as well as a membership subscription ($14.00 every three months) that unlocks discounts and unique resources.
After a little exploring you figure out how to edit main characters and then it gets fun. You can choose how leveling will affect their stats, what weapons they can use, what class they can be (or switch to, if you want to go the Final Fantasy Tactics route), and so on. I spent hours creating my characters and not once was I bored or frustrated. Maybe I was a little when I was figuring out how to get started but that’s only because I was too lazy to look at the tutorials on their site. Honestly I didn’t need to though. Here’s a step by step of using the program:
Click. Drag. Hold. Click. Click. Type dialogue. Click. Drag. Click.
Those were the steps I took to create my first area map, change the frequency of monster encounters on the map, and place an interactive character who speaks when approached. It was that simple.
Although you can get almost everything done without any prior knowledge, there are some benefits to knowing some programming. There are a few specifics the program doesn’t come auto equipped with that will keep the nitpicky from being able to fully realize their vision, but that’s why there is a backdoor where you can insert your own code to make up for it. The program uses the Ruby Gaming Scripting System 2 and you can use this to enhance what the program can do. But this doesn’t mean you have to go out and learn RGSS2 to make full use of this program. This is why you’ve gotta love the gamin community sometimes. There are already tons of scripts written by users from around the globe that are sure to be able to get you what you need, all you have to do is find them. Try entering ‘RPG Maker VX Ace scripts’ into Google to get started.
The best part about this program is that it let’s you change your game into a transferable install file so you can send it across the internet. All you need to do is click a few buttons and presto, your friends can now play your game even without having RPG Maker VX Ace installed. It truly is something special, and if you’ve been wanting to get your hands dirty with the mud and muck of video game design then I suggest getting started here. It may not be the platformer you were hoping to make, but you’ll see whether you have the brainpower to string a story together over hours of gameplay.
It’s priced at $59.99 and can be bought from their website or Steam. I strongly recommend it and urge anyone who wants to get started making their own RPGs to get it. I’m probably going to go back and keep building my game once I submit this post, and maybe in a few months you’ll find a link to it in the forums. Look for ‘Ham Sandwiches for Everyone!’ in 2013, all thanks to RPG Maker VX Ace.