A look at analying one's creative work / goals and selecting the best medium.

  • Ghost
  • 05/02/2012 05:22 PM
Hihi, shake shake!

I believe the words above will suffice as an introduction from yours truly. Hopefully this article / rambling won’t be too long and to prevent that from happening... I’ll jump right into the topic!

Alright so a few thoughts were spurring in my head for quite sometime now. This article is intended to shed some light on some important factors I feel one should always consider, remember, and NOT forget when they first approach their creative project.

What are these important factors? One factor is Selecting the right medium and the other is Working on things you TRULY enjoy doing.

How do you know what the right medium to select is for your project? Well, one must ask themselves what their goals are and what they wish to accomplish. Questions, even geared towards yourself will yield answers eventually, even if you can’t decide in the present time. The more art, writing, and different mediums / forms of expressions you explore and the more questions you ask yourself the more you will learn about yourself. The more you learn about yourself the more you learn about what you truly want. There are things we verbally say we want, then there are things we subconsciously, and truly want in life.

Sidenote for game designers
Again let me reiterate, if you want to make games as a hobby or even for profit then please, I urge you, read books, watch movies, make friends, study art, learn to program / scripting languages, listen to music (instrumentals, harmonies, orchestrated, vocals, etc), DON’T JUST LAY TILES.

Now submitting this article to an amateur game dev community. Most of us would probably immediately contest that they know what they want and that is to to make a game(s). A lot of people however overlook something pretty important. The process is almost as as important as the end result. Like games a lot? Hate actually MAKING the games? Yeah, exactly what I meant by the process is as important as the desired end result. Some people also do not realize that they are working with the wrong medium, or aren’t truly reaching their potential of creative expression because they aren’t focusing on the elements they truly want to explore.

Why am I blabbing about all this anyways? That’s a good question. It’s actually what I want to do make people do more often, ask questions. Question their actions and be conscious or aware of their actions. What I hope to shed light on is simply to help people improve their creative work. Intrinsic work is ALWAYS the best.

So why is selecting the right medium important? It’s actually the first step I think people should always consider after one comes up with a concept they wish to explore. Do I actually want to make a game? Or... A traditional game? Some people, myself included enjoy story writing a lot more then taking my pen and drawing. I also feel music has the power of making any medium more tangible and real. Music and writing basically define me entirely. Does that mean I don’t enjoy visual art? Visual art is probably just a nudge under music for me in terms what I enjoy most. Though I’ve learned various forms of art that can help me make a game, I’m just stating a point that the game medium requires you to do basically everything.

I are ZUN (Touhou):

Knowing what medium you want to work with allows you to further break down what you specifically want to do. If you want to do art and write you could do a lot of things. Make a game, comic, animation, etc. You must also look at your concept, your idea you want to explore. Then you can further break down what you actually want to make and where the focus will be.

Unless you’re committed, you’re not really going to achieve your desired results. So, if you’re like me... And TRULY enjoy a story with depth... Why not just write a novel, short stories, or just plain write?

Fanart Of Mistborn Series (Novel)

Perhaps work with an artist on a visual novel? A comic? Perhaps you’re shy about your writing capabilities but have great ideas! Writing is a skill that can be learned. It's not a skill that's easier to learn then making a game in engines, however if your writing then the work put into learning how to write better (and explore your ideas) is much more rewarding.

An original game requires you to everything. Sure you can use rtp, rips, free resources but I’m just talking about completely original work here, the next step beyond creating games as a hobby or exploring other mediums. I’m looking outside the box here. Outside the small world that is RM communities it’s a comfy refuge I know!

I mentioned how important picking the right medium is for a reason. For those amateur game designers that try strive to make a 50-100+ game or huge “epic” games. One must understand that these endeavors usually never see fruition without following a structure, plan, and committing to to it and despite the game length there will be huge amount of “bad” littered all over the project. Take Final Fantasy Essence for example. The game had a lot of potential and a lot of original artwork and an original soundtrack. End result? I would be lying if I said it was not underwhelming. But their team can improve their game for sure. I fully support dev teams because each person would (hopefully) be working on things they enjoy and are possibly skilled at. It takes more management and organization for sure, that’s a skill in itself but the end result is usually a solid product - Especially with regards to game making.

There’s no need for 100+ member teams (FF13 LOL), a small organized team with a vision and everyone intrinsically working on their tasks would yield better results. See below...

Hawken Online:

Again, if your focus is primarily story, why not just write a novel or actually just write instead of launching an editor and trying to do things you probably don’t enjoy?

About that 50-100+ hour game, a lot of these games focus on story and character development as most rpg games tend to focus a bit more on story. These ideas / world could be explored abstractedly in writing form with almost no limitations. Games have to be streamlined and “epic” games usually will be summarize compared to the depth a novels have. Have you ever seen a movie adaptation of a book? They are usually much less accurate and not as interesting.

I remember when Neok announced that he wanted to work on a comic or visual novel of his game world instead of making another RM game. A lot of people contested to this, but I actually applauded him and I still commend him for that sudden realisation. He could even learn how to use flash and create an animated comic. His decision probably made his project more fun for him and the end result would be able to explore his creative world without it feeling like it’s a chore. He would also be drawing a lot more and would perhaps improve his skill.

Carbon Grey:

One of my friends enjoys landscapes a lot and played with RM for years making cool maps. He now does photography as a hobby a profession.

There’s a distinction between enjoying something and actually making something. I enjoy games as much as I enjoy novels or animations. Humans generally love to put walls around themselves, it’s in our nature. This same nature makes it HARD for people to respect work despite not particularly liking the end product. Games are often seen as a childish form of entertainment and is hardly ever seen as a piece of art or literary masterpiece, when they definitely can be. There are limitations in live action films that can easily be surpassed above and beyond in the games medium. But I digress~

I’m not telling anyone to give up their dreams, aspiration, or the simple enjoyment you may have making games for fun. God knows I’ve spent hours doing basically nothing but still had fun in rm. But maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what your goals are and what you hope to achieve. If you like making games and specifically like making art why not just focus more on the art rather than the time you would spend in an engine laying autotiles? Perhaps team up with a writer and a coder and make an actual game you can market? Perhaps study scripting language and see what you could do with them, write your own script? Learn to program? I’m not trying to denounce game engines, I’m just trying to point out that exploring your true desires will yield better results. If you’re willing to learn how to do everything yourself, then that is fine then sure you can make a game. If making a game is what you truly want to do then there are many ways to achieve this.

Selecting the right medium and working on things that TRULY make you happy will be time well spent. In the end you’ll probably like yourself and your creative work much more. And you know what? The fact that you develop your writing, art, composing, and general skills more. You would actually become a HUGE asset to a game making team or you'll be more skilled and perhaps can work on your own explore your own game concepts better now.

I felt the above words were worth mentioning. I kind of feel that there are a lot of ideas waiting to be explored. Abstract concepts, real life adaptations, art, great stories just waiting to be told. I feel that RM can be used for amazing things but I also feel it is limited if one is not consciously aware of their actions.

This is sort of some food for thought, hope you enjoyed it.


Pages: 1
Perfect Cherry Blossom...think I played that one. Leastways I'm positive I've been subjected to screens that look exactly like that one.

Anyway, concerning the topic, I think the fact that you can make a game on Rpgmaker without everything having to be original is its appeal. A generic battle system is provided for you. A generic player interface is provided. Generic sprites are provided. Generic sound effects, music, animations, etc. You should want to replace as many of those things as you can, but the fact that you don't have to is what allows hobbyists to actually complete an RPG. You don't have to do everything; that's the beauty of it.

The engines do have some limitations that can limit one's creative goals. The longer you work with RM the more apparent these limitations become! Most RM engines have some drawbacks I agree. I think VX Ace is probably the best one out so far but I haven't truly used it yet. There are other engines out there that are more flexible. I don't know if you were referring to those as well Karn.

Well, imo all RM games are roughly the same. When you flesh out your universe too damn much, the universe will no longer be compatible to any RM engines due to its awesomeness. If you still want to make the story into a RM game, it will lose its awesomeness due to limited character interactions, boring cutscenes (this includes CG cutscenes), fight scenes replaced by battle systems, generic tilesets, etc etc

The only workaround for this is to make a less epic story + world and reduce the amount of characters, but still maintain your seriousness in creating the game. All of my ideas for my RM games eventually outgrew their shell. I was thinking about making comics out of them, manga style. Corny ideas that were implemented in their RM version were systematically wiped out
Pages: 1