DON’T THROW AWAY THAT 2K3 JUST YET

Because this old horse still has its ticks

  • Addit
  • 07/16/2014 12:19 AM
  • 33872 views

Alex Fan-Art Created By: kholdy


"Is Rm2k/Rm2k3 a doomed 'platform?' Granted, it would be stupid to 'start' a game in 2k or 2k3"~ Pneumatic


"Good riddance I say. The whole engine is just an awful mess compared to the newer makers. I won't miss 2k or 2k3 at all."~ UPRC


"There is no HISTORY in 2k3, there are only aggravating barriers to success."~ Craze


"I've never understood why there is such a clash among indie game dev engines, especially between RM versions."~ King Of Games


Exactly!


With all this recent talk lately about some of the more prominent members of the RM community that have been long-time supporters of Rm2k3 in the past, such as calunio and TFT to name a few, suddenly switching sides, and with more and more VX Ace games and users coming out of the woodwork like some sort of a cheap American car dealership, it seems apparent that the once, great mighty relic of the past is now slowly fading into obscurity… Let us all now bow our heads in a silent prayer…

Pfft…
- Yeah, right!


Maybe it’s just the red chardonnay going straight into my brain, but I still believe that all of this talk of doom and gloom for one of Enterbrain’s greatest creations is nothing more than pure horse gribble – horse gribble, I say! And although this whole article may be sort of coming off in an backwards attempt to try and convince you all that Rm2k3 is freakin’ Jesus and VX Ace is nothing more but a tool of the devil, well…kind of – but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the new kid on the block, oh no! In fact, I like it very much.

Nah, the purpose of this article wasn’t to start a flame war about which engine you should use (believe me, that’s happened here many times before) but to have an open mind about everything and put all this stupid silliness away and just agree that no matter what engine you ultimately decide on using that it’s just fine with me…and probably with lots of other people too.

The great thing about indie games, and even this community in general, is that we have many different games from many different developers from many different engines from many different parts across the entire world. That’s what makes life interesting around here. If we all just used the same engine and basically labelled everything else and just deemed it unworthy - then everything would probably explode! (Well, not really, but you get the jest.)

So I’m here today to break down all the different taboos about what might be troubling you as of today, Rm2k3 users, about this great piece of software and convince all of you NOT to throw away your copy of Rm2k3 in the recycle bin just yet. Of course, if you’re already an avid user of the other engines, or you’ve already moved on from Rm2k3 already, then just keep doin’ what you do. No one here’s to judge.

- It’s time to reassure the masses!

"Rm2k3 is, like, so old now. Only babies still use it…and probably old people."

Yes, it is old. And yes, a lot of old people still use it. But, surprisingly, there are still a lot of people who continue to cling on to it – and I’m not the only one. If you look around the The Screenshot Topic for a while here, you'll still find a plethora of Rm2k3 screenshots and people who still like to use it. True, not as many as before, but there are still signs of life.

PepsiOtaku, for example, is a prominent member in the community and still uses Rm2k3 and still continues to work on his game, Everlasting Journey, even after all these years with it. Does anybody call him out for still using it? No, and why should they???

Itaju has continued to use Rm2k3, despite his incredible custom spriting and map making abilities that would probably do him more good on something else or even helping out other people with doing more commercial type of stuff, but he still decides to stick around with Rm2k3, despite the limitations.

Xenomic is another guy who isn’t afraid to still show off his Rm2k3 love. There’s also Liberty who still uses Rm2k3 from time to time; Corfaisus still uses it to continue making his Tales Of Zilmurik games; Blindmind, of course; Deacon Batista and NOACCEPTANCE772, and I’m pretty sure there’s a bunch of other users that I forgot.

So yeah, people still use it. How ‘bout that?

"VX Ace has got scripting and full color support. What does Rm2k3 have!?"

Plugin’s!!! And tons of patches to boot. Rm2k3 may not have the fancy pants ability to script your own text boxes or even shapeshift the default menu system like you can do in something like VX Ace – but you can still event your own stuff and even use pictures for them. Sure, it might take a while to make your own menus or even make your own text boxes, but at least you can have the total satisfaction that you made this instead of just fiddling around with a script that someone else made online.

And for some people, scripting is a bit tough. It’s not so bad with a bit of practice, but some people are just…slow, like me. And one thing I don’t like about scripting is that if you make one little mistake in the code, your game won’t simply run until you manually fix it. It will highlight what the screw-up is, but it won’t run properly until you fix it yourself. At least with Rm2k3 and eventing, if you happen to screw up, the game will still run normally, but whatever you were trying to do won’t work quite right, but at least you can still see it in action before making any correct changes.

The full color support, though, does suck, I’ll give you that. But whatever, I guess we’ll give this one point to the newer engines.

"The games are just better on XP, VX, VX Ace."

- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Man, this is subjective, of course, as it’s the developer(s) that makes the games - not the engine - but you can’t tell me with a straight face that some of the best games ever made on here were from Rm2k3.

Hero’s Realm, Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis, Ara Fell, Fey, Phantom Legacy, Final Fantasy Blackmoon Prophecy, Space Funeral, Leo & Leah, Lisa The First and Starless Umbra are just some of the many, many wonderful classics that Rm2k3 has brought to the table over the years. And yeah, while XP, VX and VX Ace have some of their own gems in their own right, including all the other engines on here, like SMBX, Renpy, Unity and the like, there’s just something about these games that are still played today and are often brought up quite frequently on here. It could be because of the nostalgia, but I like to think that it’s because of something else that's much greater.

"You know that in a couple of years Rm2k3 games won’t run on any computers anymore."

Yeah, it’s starting to happen with the odd user here or there, especially those who use Windows 8, but, you know what, there will always be a way to emulate old games and software programs - even in the future. And while technology may change, something's just never change. Besides, retro is still huge, and I would imagine that it will still be even in 5 to 10 years from now.

Also, with things like EasyRPG continuing in the works, along with Wolfcoder’s RPG 20XX, it’s possible that Rm2k3 will be able to run on all sorts of different platforms, including mobile devices and tablets in the future. Imagine that?

"No one supports Rm2k3 games anymore on their sites."

Well, then, I guess they’re missing out. Really, to not host any more games just because a certain engine is supposedly old is just plain dumb. There will always be an audience for this type of stuff, so why then start denying it? Either way, once again, it just comes down to the game itself, not the engine that it was built on.

Besides, places like Gamejolt still accept Rm2k3 games and will gladly host them on the site if enough work and patience was put in to them, just like everything else. Hell, even other indie communities will accept them. Yeah, some of the more recent RM sites may not accept them anymore, but that’s probably because they’re mostly focused and centering on the newer engines now and wanna get away from the much older stuff. That’s understandable. Either way, some of the sites might tip the scales in your favor if you ask them really nicely.

"But it’s so archaic!"

So is RPG Maker 95.

"But Craze will laugh at you!"

Let him laugh. It’s good for him.

Look, there’s no denying that Rm2k3 is an old relic of the past and it should be phased out as soon as possible just like how new Coke was phased out a long time ago, but aren’t we forgetting that it’s the developer that makes the game, not the engine? I’ve been quoting this for a while now, but it’s the truth of the matter. The great thing about sites like RMN is that we don’t harshly judge those that decide to do one thing over the other just because someone else said so. I’m proud to live in a world of personal choice. One person may not agree over the other, but there’s always that one other person that will.

RPG Maker 2003 has been around for over 10 years now, and I can honestly say that it was one of the biggest reasons why I became interested in game development and game design. For such a simple program, it’s unbelievable just how much fun and just how much longevity it’s had over the years. It’s not perfect, sure, compared to the more recent engines, but it’s still a great tool, even by today standards.

So Rm2k3 users, don’t throw that 2k3 just yet! Continue to use it with pride and keep that big smile on your face just like you did when you first got of a hold of this thing back in the day. And for all you people who use XP, VX, VX Ace – or even something like Unity and the such – support your fellow brothers and sisters in arms with their decision, even though it might seem like their just grasping at that much needed nostalgia fix (probably).



Screw the haters!
- Now go out there and fire up that ol’ grey mere and have some fun!

Posts

You wont find a bigger fan of RPG Maker 2003 than me, I've already looked far and wide. But I'm afraid you all need to come to terms with the simple fact that software without support "rots", especially something built on a poor foundation to begin with.

So yeah, people still use it. How ‘bout that?

but, you know what, there will always be a way to emulate old games and software programs - even in the future


The APIs it relies upon predate Windows XP, eventually more and more people will simply be unable to use it. The players. Telling your end users to make lots of little adjustments to their operating system that ultimately may not work is unacceptable.

Plugin’s!!! And tons of patches to boot


You mean the software equivalent of duct tape and bailing wire on an already quirky engine? The newer engines perform poorly too, but they do expose a programming language. I don't think either are good solutions for something that advertises itself as being easy for the non-programmers to use.


This is primarily the reason I came back. I really should finish RPG20XX before moving on despite my original thoughts on doing an entire standalone editor and engine would be too much. You all care about RPG Maker 2003, Enterbrain does not. There needs to be something written by someone who does. There needs to be something finished by someone who does.

The latter remains to be seen. A love for what RPG Maker 2003 could have been drives me.
author=Sailerius
When was the last time you played an RM95 game?


Come to think about it, I don’t think I have. I probably would have at least tried one of them out by now in one of my drunken stupiders - but what do we have on here, like, only 6 RM95 games? And none of them look that very promising to me… Of course, I could be wrong.

Actually, you know what? For my next year’s resolution, since you just brought it up, I would love to try out and review one of the RM95 games that we have on here, just because it will be RM95’s 20th year anniversary since its initial release. So thanks, Sailerius, for giving me something to do next year. :)

author=WolfCoder
You mean the software equivalent of duct tape and bailing wire on an already quirky engine?


Hey, duct tape can fix anything and make almost anything look even remotely new, even the small crack on my ugly white wall that’s staring right in front of me.


It’s nice to hear so many different solid opinions about the matter, mostly against still using Rm2k3, and what not – but at least they’re still some supporters here that still like using it and all.

I’m guessing that Rm2k3 has probably around another two to maybe three more years tops before there’s a Windows 9 (and maybe a Windows 10, or whatever) that will probably officially "shut the door" on it running it anymore on various devices. Oh well. You can’t fight against the change in times…

- But for now, there’s still life in these old bones. For how long, who knows… But at least we'll enjoy it while we still can. :D
Basically, 2k3 is on the last leg of it's farewell tour. Rock on, 2k3. Rock on.
I actually like rm2k3 to be honest. It's good if you want to make a classic style SNES game. I used to make games with it all the time, never released them back then though because my internet was as slow as molasses back then. There are times I actually want to use it. I just haven't even though I still like it and have it on my computer(It actually runs on Windows 8 with no problems). The reason why I haven't released any games I made in rm2k3 is because most people not all are just too dang picky and won't sit down and play a game made in rm2k3. I actually still play games made in rm2k3 if they're good. I wish most others would do the same but they won't.
nhubi
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
11099
Oh heck Rose_Guardian I just played and reviewed one, and I just played an RM2K as well. If you've got something you are happy with, release it.
Hey, duct tape can fix anything and make almost anything look even remotely new, even the small crack on my ugly white wall that’s staring right in front of me.


I'd like to see a previous house owner attempt that argument on me someday.
Yeah... I played an RM95 game just last month. (I was also considering an RM95 game make event a while ago, but decided not to after I was reminded that it doesn't work on a lot of people's systems. That idea evolved into something else that will be around Halloween, but yeah. It's actually a neat engine, despite it's age.)
author=Liberty
2k3 is actually fun to use, though. Yeah, I've had fun with Ace, sure, but 2k3 is FUN to use. And it has graphics up the wazoo, a built-in side-view battle system and did I mention it's fun to use? Also, hello non-square mapping! 16x16 tiles are the shit.

(I like Ace. I like the RTP a lot, but even I think that 32x32 is pretty bad for tiling purposes.)
This. xD

This is a great article! I don't know why I didn't notice it before! ;p

Anyhow, the way I see it, there are two major reasons some people stick with RM2k3:

1.) Age/Nostalgia Factor: This one pretty much speaks for itself! There are still a considerable amount of members who have migrated to RMN from other sites and communities (myself included), during a time when RM2k3 was placed high up on the developer pedestal. In fact, I can even recall on Gaming World that when RMXP was released, very FEW of the developers who had previously worked with 2k3 were very eager to make the jump.

2k/3 ALWAYS had inherent limitations that couldn't be coded-out via scripting, but that in itself is an allure for some people. When you work within boundaries, sometimes you can find yourself being more creative. I myself have used every trick in the book to overstep the color and graphical limitations of Rm2k3.

For other members who have worked so many years on certain projects, it's difficult to let go of that nostalgia and so many layers of learning curves. It may seem like a silly comparison, but it did take several decades for digital photography to truly become the mainstream versus film, etc. I'd say the same is happening here (on a smaller scale.)

2.) Ease of Use: It's undeniable that there's a much smaller selection of graphic material available for VX/Ace's 32X32 resolution. The fact is, not every aspiring designer out there is going to sit down and learn the craft of pixel art (although they should!). Rm2k3 had a VAST library of rips, edits, etc.. that were widely available 5-10 years ago. Because a majority of users therefore use the RTP on Ace, the "look" of those games is much more homogenized than in the past.

In terms of the scripting, it's not something everyone's familiar with or able to learn overnight. It can take months at a time to learn for your average user. It may even be difficult for older members to adjust (versus the newer members) because it's so radically different.

---

xD But with all that being said, contrary to popular belief I'm actually not a Rm2k3 fanatic haha. When my project is finished, I'm pretty sure that I'll be migrating to something fresh and more refined in VXAce. The expanded visual capabilities especially have me excited. In the end it all comes down to your individual creativity. There are still dozens of SNES games from 1995 I'd play to death before I'd touch garbage on the newer consoles. Tools are nothing without the artist.

BurningTyger
Hm i Wonder if i can pul somethi goff here/
1289
author=WolfCoder
Hey, duct tape can fix anything and make almost anything look even remotely new, even the small crack on my ugly white wall that’s staring right in front of me.

Are you sure it won't take a complex space-time event?
Zeigfried_McBacon
I'm not staff anymore, so please don't ask me about that,especially game engine related stuff.
3767
I think it's pretty safe to say 2k3 is dead; at least RM2k3 itself. There is DynRPG, but given all I've heard, I think that'll be dying out if it isn't virtually dead already. I think 2k3's best chances for living on in the end lie in 20XX and EasyRPG, though what will comes of those remains to be seen.
I thought EasyRPG is sort of dead. There is OpenRPG which suddenly woke itself up. The website claims "initial release soon" but 0% engine completion at the same time. It took me the better part of a year to not finish RPG Maker 20XX's RPG_RT replacement so I fear he's grossly underestimating the job.

He's also one of those people who believe in "The Year of the Linux Desktop" despite according to Valve themselves Linux still only has 1.20% of the Steam usage and these were the guys really pushing Linux gaming.

And, let's be honest, you shouldn't have that much faith in me either... but I guess you still have to put yourself behind one of us trying to carry RPG Maker 2003's legacy.
Zeigfried_McBacon
I'm not staff anymore, so please don't ask me about that,especially game engine related stuff.
3767
I think work is still slowly being done on EasyRPG, but again, let me put due emphasis on that last sentence:

I think 2k3's best chances for living on in the end lie in 20XX and EasyRPG, though what will comes of those remains to be seen.
we could argue about which tool is better for a whole lifetime, and in the end everyone will still use the tool that he/she sees better fit for himself. at least smart people will, i know a lot of guys who switch to vxa because someone told him he "had to", and now spends every minute of their time telling people that they have to switch to vxa, because for every person they manage to convince, they convince themselves that they made the right choice.

i'm a 2k3 guy.. always been and always will be, i will do something with vxa somewhere along the line, but i still will prefer 2k3 above others.

fact is (at least in italy where i'm from, even 'tho the rpg maker world is not as big as it was back in 2008/2009, there are still some of us who use rm) greatest games are always been made and still are made with 2k/3, while if you look at vxa games, with very few exceptions, they all have the same crappy rtp graphics, same third-part scripts recicled over and over... sometimes it seems to play the same game.

and my point is?
most likely the problem is with the people who use rpg maker, not with the tool himself.
I thought I was gonna hang up the ol' RPG Maker '03, but then I started on yet another project! Yee haw! Nice article by the way!
I'm glad you wrote this article. It's good to highlight the pros to an old version that can accumulate cons. I look at them more as RM versions for different purposes than chronological updates that unquestioningly replace the former.

Events vs. straight up coding is a great point. I think it's important to emphazise the differences between the latest versions and the legacy versions to new users. It seems that 2k3 offers the most for the old, more accessible approach and VX Ace offers the latest up-to-date features and content for the new approach. There's a sliding scale of how much coding and a priori content creation you have to do, starting with RPG Maker and going into other game makers. 2k3 is by far one of the best places to start on the non-coding end.

author=Addit
Sure, it might take a while...

OK gotta comment on this one... "Reinventing a wheel is worthwhile because you did it all by yourself!" said no one ever. Except up there... We'll just ignore that. The rest of the points are great though.

Porting and emulating is a must! Let's keep RPG Maker games running self-contained on all OSes and, yes, let's even expand to new platforms. That's gotta happen.

In an interview with Enterbrain, Indinera Falls makes the great point that "the Internet is constantly moving" so there will always be new places to go. We just need to find them (or create them).

author=Liberty
2k3 is actually fun to use, though. Yeah, I've had fun with Ace, sure, but 2k3 is FUN to use. And it has graphics up the wazoo, a built-in side-view battle system and did I mention it's fun to use? Also, hello non-square mapping! 16x16 tiles are the shit.

(I like Ace. I like the RTP a lot, but even I think that 32x32 is pretty bad for tiling purposes.)

I like what Liberty said about being a multi-version game developer. Those are some valuable points about what version to select and why for a given project.

Lastly, is there a good link for purchasing the Japanese version? Preliminary googling is not proving as succesful as I expected.

I started with RPG Maker back in 2001, so this is a great first thread to join for coming back to the community and get more involved this time.
I'm glad you wrote this article. It's good to highlight the pros to an old version that can accumulate cons. I look at them more as RM versions for different purposes than chronological updates that unquestioningly replace the former.


..As opposed to a game engine series where each newer version is a more optimized, updated, and overall superior engine that still maintains all the previous features like a good game engine should actually be.

I hear the "but it is to keep them all unique" excuse all the time.
BurningTyger
Hm i Wonder if i can pul somethi goff here/
1289
Maybe wiorking toghether iwe cna show waht 20xx is capable of.
I love RPG Maker 2003 (and 2000).

After my RM2K project I initially planned on making my next game in VXA. What a disaster that was. The mapping is horrible. 32 x 32 sucks. Less eventing options. Way too many limitations that could only be solved by downloading/requesting/writing scripts (seriously, fuck scripts).

The only thing I find VXA to be superior with is the battle system. While I do love the side-view battle system in RM2K3, it's so limited, clunky and buggy. Even with all the DynRPG plugins out there it's still inferior to VXA, unfortunately.

That said, I don't regret moving my project over to RPG Maker 2003. While making the battle system work properly is a never-ending struggle, I love everything else about the program. The program UI, eventing, the graphics (tiles, sprites), the lower resolution, the music, side-view battles, etc. With RPG Maker 2003 I feel right at home, warm and welcoming. VXA, on the other hand, feels like a cold, soulless product in my opinion (I'm not hating on the games made with it, I just dislike the program's UI).

I don't see myself ever switching over to a newer RPG Maker anytime soon, unless they're re-making RM2K3 without the bugs and with the improved battle eventing from VXA.
Honestly, if you really want to advertise RPG Maker 2003, you should list things it can do VX/XP/ACE can't. Your article pretty much only says to me that 2k3 does work, but the newer ones are still better at it.

Plus, you can totally upscale 2k3 sprites to feign a retro look in VX ACE.
Your article pretty much only says to me that 2k3 does work, but the newer ones are still better at it.


OK. RPG Maker 2003 runs smoothly on my machines while, for some reason, RPG Maker VX/Ace lags down to a more "cinematic" framerate. At least RPG Maker 2003 was optimized for the arcane DirectDraw/etc. technology that was still in use at the time.

Also, some people prefer the tileset model of RPG Maker 2003 and XP over VX/Ace.

Most of the features I'm sure you'll list next are achieved through a Turing's mudpit of smashing barely compatible scripts together. However, in this category, I'm afraid RPG Maker 2003 can't win either without all the hacks people put into the engine. While they work, they reduce the overall stability of the engine as opposed to engineering from source code.

Plus, you can totally upscale 2k3 sprites to feign a retro look in VX ACE.


But they still don't look right and the moving objects don't align to the resolution being faked giving it that weird PS1 2D game played via emulator look.