Zett is a high school student who loves reading light novels, web novels, and manga.
Most of us have probably imagined or dreamed of someday creating a video game. However, many of us lack the resources, time, or motivation. But most importantly, we don’t understand computer codes and programming. Still, that obstacle shouldn't make aspiring game creators lose hope. The good news is, you don't need to read a thick book entitled "Computer Programming for Noobs." Apparently, one excellent type of software out there solves this problem and makes RPG creation easy for beginners. It's called "RPG Maker."
RPG Maker is a powerful tool in game development—especially for aspiring game developers and individuals who are not tech-savvy or programming-oriented. The software's variety of features make it easy to use. It breaks game creation down step-by-step. RPG Maker walks users through the tasks of designing the story setting, creating events without any prior knowledge of programming, and utilizing the database to manage the game’s data and control aspects such as actors, enemies, items, etc.
In order to make a simple game using RPG Maker there are five primary steps users need to complete to successfully create a functional game.
1. Write the Story Plot and the Character Script
A game starts with initial planning. As such, you must have an idea of the type of game you want to create; particularly with regard to the story's plot.
You must write up an initial draft of the game's story. This includes the most important elements, characters, and events within the game. Though a concrete character profile (e.g., the name, race, age, and other information about a character) and setting are not necessary to have planned at this stage in the game creation process, it is recommended to establish these significant elements in your story plot sooner rather than later. Generally, the plot merely describes how the characters’ actions may influence the flow of the events.
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You may use a flow chart to clearly manage the sequence of events. As for games with more than one ending, this method can certainly be useful.
As for the character script, this requires a lot of time and effort since the overall data of the game will be dependent on the characters' journeys. A completed script will include the characters’ conversations or dialogues, a detailed sequence of events, scenes, and the sound effects for every event.
If you have not planned the characters' profiles and the setting, you will not be able to progress with making your game because these aspects are required before moving forward.
For convenience, focus on the character’s dialogue and actions before adding the sound effects of the story. I recommend highlighting the dialogue, actions, and sound effects in different colors to avoid confusion.
To avoid any pointless stops in your game's development, it is also crucial that both the character script and the story plot undergo proofreading and editing. If you do not want to take on the tedious task, it is advisable that you let your trusted friends and acquaintances read and evaluate your plot and script.
2. Gather Your Resources
Once you’ve got your story flow done, you should begin gathering resources.
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Since the internet provides most of the necessary materials, this a simple task, but it requires some time and effort. Try to solely download high-quality content from your preferred sites.
- For the pictures, you can use Google Images since it is the most simple and unproblematic resource to use.
- For audio, on the other hand, you can visit several sites by simply searching specifically for your music of choice.
- As for your character or actor graphics, you can use RPG Maker’s Character Generator, wherein you can make a character of your own design. This feature only comes with the VX Ace and MV versions of the RPG Maker. If your RPG Maker version does not currently have the Character Generator, try searching "RPG Maker Character Designs" and you should get a few images to inspire you.
- For the tilesets, you can either manually download each picture from different websites or download/buy a resource pack. The resource pack itself is filled with tilesets, background music, sound effects, etc. based on the pack’s theme.
- On the other hand, the scripts and a set of programmer’s code that helps you customize your game's details can be beneficial to use during the development process. The scripts could be copied and pasted to the materials section under the script editor in RPG Maker. Find some functional and handy scripts that could be used in your game and download them.
Any materials you have gathered that are not entirely your intellectual or creative property should be acknowledged in the credits in your game to avoid any copyright issues. List specific references citing the original sources of your games' content.
3. Create the Maps and Set Events
Now that we have our plot planned and resources gathered, we will start laying out the setting of our game.
First, set your default tile set, if any, on the database after you’ve imported it using the resource manager. Using map mode, try to make your desired map of your game. Make a map based on your story plot for easy management and try to construct the bonus or extra areas later after you’ve finished constructing the significant ones.
Once you’ve set all the maps, move on to the event mode. First, try to connect all the maps together through "transfer for fields" or "door for interior" under "quick event creation." Then, follow how the story plot goes. You can use variables, switches, self-switches, etc. to carefully manage autorun or parallel process events. Finally, add the extra characters, enemy, or neutral on the map (particularly in villages or other populated places).
Testing the game after inputting every major story event is recommended to avoid any mistakes and confusion, especially with regard to handling self-switches, switches, and variables.
4. Implement Other Data
Now that you’ve set your story plot data into the RPG Maker game, the next step in the game creation process will be changing the general visual design and layout of your game.
Modifying the design and layout includes replacing the title screen, game over screen, the window, the background music, and anything else that you previously have not altered. You can use your gathered resources and alter those resources using editing applications such as Photoshop. Furthermore, scripts will also be useful in improving your game’s animation. Make sure to change the font depending on your game’s theme.
5. Test and Play
Finally, it’s time for you to test your game! Make sure to note every bug you’ve encountered and change it after every test. It would also be better if other reliable people could test the game to give you some opinions on correcting and enhancing the game's functionality and design.
After you’ve finally revised the faults within, export the game. If you’re using a non-default font, make sure to include it in the game’s package.
Making a game is not an easy task. Making the storyline, gathering the required resources, and making it all function requires a lot of determination, time, and effort. The game you're making might not be the best and it may not end up being well-known, but the best games released are the ones that come from continuous edits and heavy collaboration, so don't lose hope. Keep trying, practicing, and enjoying your time spent creating games!
You can download RPG Maker with a selection of different versions on its official website.
K on January 23, 2018: