Dabbling With RPG Maker VX

So there’s this new RPGMaker coming out called, strangely enough, RPGMaker VX Ace. It hits the streets March 15, but preorders start March 1. Preordering gets discounts and other intangibles, so I’m considering that. However, I wanted to know what I was getting. I had RPGMaker for the PS One, but that was a lifetime ago. I wanted a potential sample to try out.

So I downloaded the 30 day trial version of the previous installment, RPGMaker VX.  And, using a tutorial, I banged out a quick game.

As you can see, I intended to write an intelligent, thought-provoking game for the masses (i.e. me, the only mass who'd ever play it.)

What I was looking for was something easy to use, but fun.  I’ve been toying with the idea of making (and selling) an independent RPG and this was always an option.  Other avenues had been explored (such as the freeware Adventure Game Studio) but when I learned that Corpse Party had been made with RPG Maker,  I knew I had to give it at least a go.

With thirty days not being that much time in the grand scheme of things, I figured I follow a tutorial, specifically the one provided at the RPG Maker web site.  As it was a cliched “Go kill the Devil King” type affair, I decided to have fun with it, starting with mucking with the dialogue.  Adding a few extra characters.  Giving the stores funny names, like You Stab ‘Em, You Slab ‘Em.  That sort of thing.

Only it grew in the making.

She's totally faking being scared, incidentally. I didn't want you to think I was being sexist.

That scene above?  Besides being one of the more pathetic things I have ever seen?  Wasn’t anywhere in the tutorial.  See, I found the characters there to be, well, absent.  So I would write whole scenes for them as I followed along with the tutorial.

It started out with dialogue, then little cut scenes.  Then minor dialogue trees.  That sort of thing.

Based on a tutorial that really just brushed on the subject.

What I’m endeavoring to show and not just tell is that it was fun making this.  Not only that, it was easy to find and fix my various mistakes.  This was, in short, a neat product.

A Shazamcicle is like a Popsicle, only when you eat it, you turn into a big red cheese.

Couple that with control over stats, the ability to import my art (which I did not do with the tutorial), and a ton of other neat stuff, and I could really get behind RPGMaker VX.  And from what I’ve seen, VX ACE will be even better.

There is, however, a couple of sticking points.

First off, I’m not giggly about the combat system.  I’m not talking about the Dragon Quest style enemies on a blank (ish) screen.  I dig that.  I don’t like the fact players start dealing out damage in the hundreds from the first level.  To me, that’s something that must be earned.  I realize I can “fix” this, but that I “have” to sticks in me craw a little.  Not a lot, a little.

Then there how they handled dialogue.  Which takes a little explaining on my part.  First an image:

Boy.  Get the feeling I need to get out of the house more?

(What’s really going to fry your brain is wondering if I really put this dialogue and the previous “glomp” one in as I made my tutorial?  Or did I just make it up for this post?  And if I did make it up, was it for the humor?  Or because what I had first made was even worse?

(You’ll never know, but me?  I’m laughing right now.)

That digression taken, let me make the following observation.  While this looks complicated, most ever bit of programing involved was done by selecting various option (like the image on right).  Unlike, say, the  Neverwinter Nights 2 Tool Set, where you had to type up whole scripts.

Not that you can’t add your own scripts to the game, mind.  But that was an aspect I didn’t think a 30 day trial was worth investigating with.

Now the problem is, is that, again, unlike with NW2, I can’t redirect the various branches of dialogue.  Which, as you can see from the above example, means that instead of, say, three lines of dialogue and a single redirect, I end up with six lines.  Unless there’s a fix I don’t know about, this will make big dialogue trees a bear to deal with.  Which means just brief bits, fewer dialogue trees, or some other option.

Which I might have thought of, mind you.  But that’s another matter.

Of course, I'm going to have to work on my monster naming skills...

Bottom line, I’m more serious about laying hands on RPGMaker VX Ace.  I think I could make a game that’s fun.  More, a game someone other than me would want to play.

Of course, there’s one more problem.

See, I was working on a plot… and.. y’know… I decided it would work better in one of my novels.

We should all have hobbies that are that helpful…


5 Replies to “Dabbling With RPG Maker VX”

  1. Sounds like a pretty tight game maker there. The problem with built-in dialogue builders is that you’re always going to meet with limitations. You might find, though, if you get into your own scripting, you can do more. Good luck!

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