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Make my RPG

posted on June 9th, 2007 by jay

The RPG Maker XP community can be harsh. Members tend to look down on any game developed using RPG Maker XP that contains the default graphics and music. Not wanting to play a 50th game that uses the exact same character graphics and boss music makes sense.

But then there don’t seem to be 50 finished games. Much of the community expertly ignores a new game if it looks old hat, but games rarely see completion. It doesn’t make much sense why people are so sick of character art they have only seen used in five finished titles, but not wanting to use that character art in their own games is what leads to so few finished products.

I’m afraid their way of thinking is affecting me, too. My RPG Maker game was supposed to be small and contain no original assets. Nothing leads to an overblown, overambitious project like deciding you alone will compose 75 songs, create 50 new environments, and 200 character sprites with full animation. But it’s hard to find the will to finish or even start a game when you have a feeling the community will immediately dismiss it.

I am an artist.

In order to sidestep this existential dilemma, many do what I explicitly set out not to do — they make all their own graphics, all their own music, even script entirely new battle engines. The forums are frequently filled with complaints of, “Not another standard turn based battle system!” so maybe I’m deluded, not the overachievers.

But the overachievers rarely accomplish anything. They move from one “the next big thing” to another, crapping their pants in excitement every time they devise a new clever piece of code. Most in the community have one or two forgotten projects, many half a dozen or more.

“What if night and day cycle, and the battle system changes based on that AND there is transparent fog that displays randomly based on the calendar script I wrote?!? I need to start a new game!”

Even if they rarely finish a project, their points may be valid. If I manage to complete my game, who on earth would want to play it? It looks and sounds SNES era, has a Dragon Quest 1 battle system, and has a terrible name I am unwilling to change because I’m stubborn and would rather call it something clever and unappealing than have anyone play the game.

Perhaps I need some of the other guys’ glam and glitz. Razzmatazz, if you will. If my simple project ever nears completion, then I will pay sprite artists, scripters and musicians to sex the whole thing up. Of course, this will change much of the game so the new battle system will inevitably require modifying plot and level design…

2 Comments

  1. christian said on June 10, 2007:

    Jay you’re certainly not crazy. One of the biggest problems in the homebrew community are primadonnas, folks who like to think big and can’t execute. People always start to slobber when they find out some team is trying to do a remake of a classic game in some form or another, and yet very few of them release a finished product. Though to be fair, it may not actually be too much of a bad thing; an ex friend of mine has been working on his homebrew game for years now, and all he does is tinker with the engine and make mod tools before he even has a f-ing finished game. But, he also works for Firaxis :/

  2. GoldenJew said on June 10, 2007:

    I think part of this is the “digg factor” we discussed. The “community” is often made up of a small, overly vocal minority of pizza faced pricks. On the other hand, I think there might be a larger, quieter group that actually wants to see some innovative goodness. Of course you’d never hear from them. Just the 17 year olds in mommy’s basement drinking coke.

    Part of the problem may also be the medium. If you’re on an Xbox 360, you tend to want the graphics. If you were on the DS or PSP, you might settle for something incredibly engaging, even if the audio/visual display wasn’t as compelling. If I’m at home, I’m gonna want to play something befitting of the platforms. But if I’m stuck on an airplane or metro, you have a better shot of grabbing my attention.

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