What to make as a beginner

Something that's often talked about is that if you're new to RPG Maker, you should do a small game to get started. However, I think that alone isn't enough help by itself. It's important to know what the game should contain so you don't overwork yourself or just fill a single map with grass and call it a day.

Note: This disclaimer assumes you know how to use the basic functions of the maker of your choice. I'll also not describe how to do these things right - if you want to be better at mapping/writing/designing/scripting, you can find specific tutorials on these.

While you should aim your game to be short, it should also explore what your Maker is capable of doing. For this tutorial, I assume VX Ace or MV (either one works fine), but most hints should work for other RPG Makers as well.


Maps are the places where your game takes place. In projects, you can either plan out all the maps beforehand or keep making maps as you need them. In this case, we'll structure out a total 8 maps, enough for a good start:

-The World Map
--A town
---The player's house
---An item shop
---An inn
-Dungeon Entrance
--Dungeon Puzzle Room
--Dungeon Boss Room

No NPCs needed yet, just use quick events to add doors and warps to link the maps together.


For this one, it'll be a bit more freeform, but I'll put up some ideas that could make for more interesting games in the future.


You should make 2 actors for the first project. You're free to pick any default actor or make some yourself in the character generator. What's important is the next step:


Make sure that there's a good distinction between what the characters can do. For starters, make one focus on physical and the other on magical stats or have one use damaging skills and the other supporting ones.


HP Recovery, revival and status recovery are the essentials - use about 4 slots for playing around with different types of items (ideas include attacking items, keys and stat boosters).


No need to get fancy here - Just make some starting equipment, a few equips for the shop and some loot for the dungeon. If you want to play with features, though, go ahead.


In my opinion, the most important part of the database. This contains all the actions your characters can perform in battle (other than Items and running away). Leave the first two skills alone for now - the first is the skill you use when selecting "Attack" and the second the one you use when picking "Guard". What's important is that you add some skills that allow the actors to fulfill their role. You may also want to have a skill or two where you use a custom formula.


This one's just as important as skills - it allows them to have unique effects and lasting impact. The default states are alright for a starting game, but you may want to make one yourself and get ideas what kind of states one could make.

I'll go into two more tabs later on. There's a few more tabs, but they can be left alone for a first project.

Eventing: Town

First of all, set the starting position into the player's house. Place an NPC into the Inn (for obvious Inn services) and into the shop (no need to have seperate shops, you can give her both equipment and consumables). Feel free to add a few more NPCs for dialogue. What you should also try is putting your other actor somewhere, who'll join when talked to. If so, make it impossible to leave town without that second actor.

Eventing: World Map

You'll only want to go into map properties to set up random encounters. About this, let's go into the two relevant tabs:


This is whom you'll encounter. For starters, 1-2 enemies for the world map, 1-3 dungeon enemies and 1 boss will do.


You can group your enemies here. Generally, you want more troops than enemies. Since you only have 2 actors, you shouldn't make more than 3-4 enemies per encounter.

Eventing: Dungeon

The first room can have random encounters. It's also a good place for making quick event chests.

The second shouldn't have random encounters to make the puzzle more bearable. For this room, think of some puzzle that needs to be solved to get to the next room. Block pushing, Ice sliding, Switch handling, Path following and many others are typical puzzles found in RPGs.

The third room should have an NPC representing the boss. To be extra fancy, start a dialogue and the battle with an automatic event that runs once you enter the room. The boss should have those features:

-Give them a special death animation.
-Have the boss use a different battle BGM.
-They use a skill under a certain condition.
-Some dialogue mid-battle, perhaps at the start.

After the battle is over, set switches so the battle doesn't occur again.

That's already enough for a good start - here's some ideas to expand if you're willing to make more:

-A means to track progress on the main quest
-A bigger town with some random houses, maybe even a castle
-More dungeons obviously
-Further actors, which should fulfill further roles.
-New items and equips
-Access to vehicles
-Non-boss cutscenes
-Common events
-Apply scripts/plugins

Have fun RPG Making!


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I have been creeping around the RPG Maker community since 2013 or so and I have never, NEVER, gotten into finishing a game or even worse, a single map! I have always tried to work on a game but I have always been very unsucessfull. I believe I'm being too ambitions and I keep thinking about what other people will think about my game and whether they would like it or not.

It's time to stop with these insecurities, get me some discipline and finish a darn game!

I'll follow your guide tomorrow and see what I can come up with. This time I'll do it for real and, if you wish, I'll show you my progress!

Nevertheless, thank you very much for this article! As simple as it may be, I feel like it has illuminated me and it fills me with determination!
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