My adventures with RPG Maker

I first encountered RPG Maker about five-six years ago when my sister showed the trial version of RMXP to me. At that time I was still deep in Phantom of the Opera craze, so it didn’t really occur to me to use it. I do play RPGs, but the idea of making one was completely over my head.

A year after that, I gathered up my courage and opened RMXP. I spent 10 minutes staring at the screen and scratching my head, completely unable to do anything beyond making a new project. My 14-year-old self was not yet quite aware of the power of internet, you see. It didn’t occur to me to attempt to look up tutorials online. All I knew was instructional books, and for all I know, such books on RMXP do not exist! Not in the country where I live anyway.

It all changed when I finally decided that making games is what I want to do.I have always liked making up characters and writing stories in my head, hoping that some day I can share them with the world. One of my biggest hang-ups was indecision. I cannot decide on one single plot. Then it hit me that games could accommodate multiple plot threads. That’s when I decided that game design is what I want to do. RPG Maker was the only game engine I knew at the time, so I eagerly went back to it and started looking around for instructions. Fast forward a few years and countless hours of looking up tutorials online, I am now quite decent at operating both RMXP and RMVX. I still don’t have the money to buy Ace, sadly, but I’m working towards that!

I can now not only experience other people’s stories, but have a means to create something that belongs to me. My story, my characters, my world. With RPG Maker, I can do many things with limited resources. I don’t have a team of engineers and programmers and artists to support my project. With RPG Maker, I can manage with just myself.

I can make my own little world and feel the satisfaction as I see it come into being. I can make characters and see them “come to life” on the screen, walking and interacting with their surroundings. I can see the story I make unfold before my eyes. It’s a really amazing feeling. I’ve played a lot of RPG Maker-made games, so it surprised me how wonderful it feels when my first simulation map and event worked. It’s so small, and yet I feel so accomplished.

With RPG Maker, I also learned to overcome my own unfounded worries. When I was learning RPG Maker, I was always too scared to try. Most of my time was wasted on worrying over scripts, planning, and more worrying, and in the end nothing actually gets done. All the thoughts over the what-ifs only served to scare me off projects. In worrying about getting everything perfect, I ended up delaying and putting things off with the excuse of “I’ll wait until I know better”, but I won’t ever know better until I actually put the knowledge into practice. I’ve heard this advice time and time again, and I thought: “I’ve heard enough and I know it very well, dangit!” It never really occurred to me how true it is until I do it, and then I go and forget it all over again.

One of my biggest fears was to put together custom tilesets. I made the map above (it’s also my blog’s background image) with a custom tileset that I put together. I did something that I thought I couldn’t.

With RPG Maker I found what I wanted to do and the vast possibilities that exist out there. I’ve discovered all sorts of engines, but my favourite will always be RPG Maker. Simple enough for a child and powerful enough for a developer, just the perfect engine for me.

I’m currently experimenting with customizing assets. I want to know how far I can go with RPG Maker. This is part of a custom sprite I am making for my game:

This little guy here is supposed to be a mix of Mack, half-Kaiser, and my own style.

I am having a blast working on my game. I am moving closer and closer in achieving my dream of creating a good game for everyone to play and I’m having fun doing it! I hope you have as much fun as I did when you Make Your Own Game.

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