Max McGee
My name is Legion: for we are many.
Hi, my name is Max McGee. I have a mood disorder, an anxiety disorder, moderate to severe Crohn's disease, and way too much free time. I make tabletop roleplaying games for a living and RPG video games for fun. I have over ten years of experience with the latter. It hasn't always been easy--plenty of the time it's straight-up sucked-- but I'm never going to give up.

"To the quitters and the complainers,
if we never meet again, remember when.

They lost their nerve
They just went straight
They didn't have the balls to hold it down and they brought everybody else right down with them.
While clowns must stand.

We'll make a toast to absent friends and better days,
To remembering and being remembered as brave
And not as a bunch of whining jerks!

Don't lose your nerve.
Do not go straight
You must testify (or I'm going to come to your house and punch you in the mouth)
cause clowns must stand."

And uh, I can't believe it's come to this, but: Ahem.
There are three sides to every story. Your side, my side, and the truth.



Yellow Magic wants to LP your games

I'm just posting so the next time you posting it isn't four persona casuals in disguise in a row. I'm midway through video...6, I think, btw. I am slowly catching up.

What does persona casual in disguise even mean?

Looking for tips to make a horror game that doesn't suck

i want to emphasize that graphics can be a huge pain but rtp is not the style that will help you out in a horror game. It's very cutesy and bright and colorful and that's tough to work with. the dreamer in me wants to say that it's possible, but idk man I'd figure something else out for graphics. You could try for something more abstract, try to dig up available free-for-use resources, sink all your lunch money into commissions, take a a text-based approach... there's options that don't involve cute chibis covered in red pixels.

the longing ribbon is widely considered the best horror game made in RM and uses mostly RTP graphics.

Iron Gaia Review

HOLY SHIT. I'm aware of the Iron Gaia TV Tropes page, have been for years, and ironically I was about to link you to it. So it's very interesting that you've solved that longstanding mystery of who made the TV Tropes page. I've been quite curious about that for a while. Other fans of the game have made edits to it if I'm not mistaken.

I'm not sure what was going on with the link to my reviews it just kind of appeared at the head of your post without context.


I'm going to omit a rant here on bla bla bla IGV is better than IG. Save that for your review of it I guess. Generally speaking I think it has a lot of objectively observable improvements and innovations, i.e. better graphics, writing, and certainly mapping, better music and sounds, better directed cutscenes, on-touch encounters instead of random encounters, a fairly in-depth character customization system, a better save system, a better battle system, on-map gameplay, etcetera. All of these things are things I've iterated on in subsequent projects, so their implementation definitely wasn't perfect in IGV, but it's a big step up overall beyond IG1. Believe it or not that was the short version.

Anyway I'm looking through the Magnum Opus Dissonance TV Tropes page. Generally speaking--there are many glaringly obvious exceptions, too many to list--I consider creators to be smarter than consumers, particularly where their work is concerned. The exceptions are in cases where the creators themselves are idiots, i.e. the George Lucases and Dennis Dyacks of the world. Other exceptions are works from a long way in the past when consumers were less dumb. In the film category, for instance, the "dissonance" given is often that a project creators thought was their greatest didn't do well at the box office. I think we all know that how much money a movie makes means literally nothing besides how much money that movie makes. Even in the literature category, a work being "well known" is often what creates the "dissonance" with its creator's expectations.

Anyway, true fact: I don't consider any of my complete RPG Maker games to be my magnum opus. Or for that matter any of my written works. Anything that might attain "magnum opus" status in my mind is still incomplete.

Mainly; when you create these games, what is ultimately more important to you: your artistic vision/integrity etc. and ensuring that it remains unaltered, or is it acclaim and/or popularity? If it's the latter, then I just want to give you the example of Shakespeare. As we all know, he's one of the greatest playwrights to have ever lived, and yet he had re-written his works in response to feedback from his audience, and sometimes he did so dozens of times. If that kind of compromise was acceptable for Shakespeare, then why do you have such a commitment to keeping gameplay and/or story elements that have proven to be unpopular and to hold your games back, even in your own estimation?

Ok, so here's the thing in my thinking. I don't get paid for doing this, so I don't want to have to compromise between artistic integrity and popular acclaim. I want the games to be true to my vision, yes, and I also want them to be beloved and showered with praise. That might even sound selfish or entitled...until you think about the hundreds and thousands of people paid literally millions and millions of dollars in our culture to make things that are obviously, screamingly, objectively worse than Iron Gaia. I mean if I wanted to really depress us both I could look up a long list of games that just about anyone would agree were worse than IG and then figure out approximately how much the people involved were paid to make them. But that's a lot of research just to confirm the obvious tautology that life isn't fair.

I don't think it's unusual to want both. I think it's a mistake to phrase it as an either or. Just about every creator wants to have the integrity of their artistic vision preserved--although most have a price at which they will compromise that and I don't doubt that I do as well. And every creator wants to receive the acclaim they deserve and to have their work reach the widest audience possible.

Anyway, most of the things that are "wrong" with the Iron Gaia series have nothing to do with the purity of my artistic vision (I feel the need to append an lol to that so, there: lol). They're just mistakes of being a young creator. The reason I don't go back and fix them has nothing to do with this perceived dichotomy between preserving my artistic vision and seeking acclaim. The reasons are completely different and in some cases much more mundane:

As a creative, at a certain point you have to declare something done and then walk away to other projects. At least that is how I feel as a creator. A text cannot be 'living' forever. At a certain point it has to be done, out the door, closed. Way back in 2004, I made the decision that Iron Gaia was done. Not perfect, but done. I've never reversed a decision like that. I think in the modern internet-saturated culture there's a sense that things are never 'done', that projects are always 'living' and the creator is always beholden to them. But I am a bit older than most of my fans I think and in any case I know that my MINDSET is much more old fashioned than my contemporaries and peers. I come from a writing background and that is very much an arena in which a work with all its flaws can be declared finished and done and the creator can move on to other projects.

I am very busy. I am basically half of a two-man tabletop roleplaying game publishing company that is trying to create, publish, and promote about half a dozen distinct game lines. Being a small company means that we handle everything on the creative end, all marketing, all business stuff, and production and shipping. Then there are the dozens of more current RM projects I am still gamely trying to finish. Oh, also I run a LARP for about half of the year. Then there is real life and all the complications it brings. Then there is the consumption of media (i.e. PLAYING videogames) necessary to preserve my basic sanity in the face of all of the above. With all of that, I really just don't have the time to go back and REMASTER Iron Gaia (which would AGAIN be completely unpaid labor which is hard to put yourself down for as a grown-ass adult unless it's something you're really passionate about).

And I'm not really sure what the result would be. I mean, the game has been available since 2004. That's 11 years it's been out. I just don't see myself getting a big audience boost when I announce "check out this new version of an 11 year old RPG Maker game. It's now 30% better!".

Then finally there's the fact that Iron Gaia is made in an ANCIENT engine that I literally am not even sure if I have anymore, am sure I don't know how to get anymroe if I don't have it, that I am not even sure would run on my current, modern computer, and that I am POSITIVE I don't *really* know how to use anymore.

tl;dr the reaosn that IG and IG:V remains unaltered isn't related to the purity of my artistic vision. it's due to time constraints, an unfavorable cost/benefit analysis, technical issues and the fact that sometimes, things have to be over and done with.

I hope that answers your question. : )

What are you thinking about right now?

By the way, I disagree quite strongly with most (almost all) of the things said by most (almost all) people on the last page of this thread. That's...astonishingly vague, I know...but I'm afraid to go into any more detail because my beliefs obviously do not match the site's prevailing, overriding cultural positioning and the deafening roar of the shared social consensus and also out of the fear of being misunderstood (of course, I realize that clarifying and explaining absolutely nothing makes the chance of my being misunderstood about 100%, but now I can say as a blanket statement with certainty that I have explained my position SO LITTLE, virtually WHATEVER you think I think is GUARANTEED to be a misunderstanding because I have explained nothing).

And, in the end, I absolutely want to minimize the time spent arguing on the internet. But in spite of that I can't bring myself to just continuously smile and nod in the face of positions and attitudes I find pretty abhorrent: doing so feels ethically lax.

What are you thinking about right now?

IDK, it just seems silly to mock a game for being inspired by / sort of like another game when we're all already making Dragon Quest clones.

I don't really *get* Yume Nikki and I never really have but I definitely don't share the raging vitriol being expressed up thread towards this style of game.

Also I guess I am echoing Pizza when I say that some of us (like ME! do you get it, I'm talking about ME!) aren't making Dragon Quest clones or Yume Nikki clones but some things that are completely different. But I am pretty sure you know that.

What are you thinking about right now?


Iron Gaia Review

I should add my general purpose disclaimer: if any of the above post comes off as at all dickish in any way, I am sorry, I really didn't mean it that way. I need to post things like this because the internet does not have tone-of-voice or the nuances of facial expressions.

Looking for tips to make a horror game that doesn't suck

Before you even start work in the editor, I want you to think long and hard about WHERE your game takes place, about WHY your characters are there, WHAT that says about WHO they are, and HOW you want the pace of the game to flow. In most shit horror games I've played, all of these things were obviously given FAR too little thought by the creator.

Iron Gaia Review

I sure do love arguing on the internet.

Actual inspirations for Iron Gaia were the movie Deep Impact, the book Lucifer's Hammer, and the videogame Xenogears -- opening cutscene only, did not play rest of game. I have a feeling that the Aether stuff was inspired by Final Fantasy VII too.

I personally feel that ABL > Iron Gaia: Virus > Iron Gaia I. While I think it's slightly subjective re: the relative merits of ABL and IG, I can't help but feel some informational authority on the matter of the relative merits IG:V and IG1. When I say that IG:V is a substantively better game than IG1, that certainly feels like objective fact, especially since I created both games and know their ins and outs and particularities better than anyone.

I mean obviously you have some strange tastes when you've said that the graphics of ABL were good. That is not a popularly held opinion. I didn't notice the lack of enemy skills in ABL because I was too busy crushing on the delicious Aura system. I saw enemies more as a source of skills for me via absorbing their delicious auras than as entities that may or may not have skills to use themselves.

Anyway if you're going to post a scathing review of Iron Gaia: Virus I might as well be fully candid and transparent and ask that you just not. Send me a PM instead. The game has been available for the better part of a decade and has reached less of an audience than games available on here for less than one year and that fact already fills me with total despair. However you may feel about it as a sequel, the last thing I want is for it to have an even lower score and reach an even smaller audience, making the act of unpaid game development seem like a stupider and more fruitless waste of time than it already is.

Oh, one last important clarification (albeit kind of random): it is pretty essential to understanding Iron Gaia and all of its subsequent spin-off works to know that, officially speaking, BOTH the Dream ending and the Escape ending are considered canon. All subsequent and derivative works proceed from that (strange) premise.

ATTN: Scripters, will you beautiful fuckers please stop making crafting scripts for VX Ace. I've already had to download like six just to see which one I like best, and that's not even counting all the ones I immediately hated.

Actually, Coelocanth's is the one that I've decided to go with for the time being. That definitely doesn't mean it's the BEST, it just conforms to my personal biases nicely. Glasses' simple crafting script for instance has some additional functionality, but I vastly prefer to set up crafting recipes using notetags in the database to setting them up in a config array in the script itself. I also like how Coelocanth's script can limit specific recipes by specific switches. That creates a lot of flexibility for a veteran eventer like me.

This is another thing that's not for any game in particular, I'm just messing around with what Ace can do functionality wise.