LOOKING BACK: VAPORWARE SPECIAL PART ONE

A look back at some classic Rpg Maker games

  • Tau
  • 11/20/2012 11:40 AM
  • 20030 views

What is Looking Back? A series of articles talking about those classic Rpg Maker games from the past.



It's been a while hasn't it.

Vaporware: A computer-related product that has been widely advertised but has not and may never become available.

Through out the many years I've been around this Rpg Maker scene I have witnessed & enjoyed games of all kinds, some amazing, some horrible. Though from time to time there would come a game so promising, so beautiful and inviting that it would wow the entire community into craving more information about it, more screenshots, anything to quench that hunger and want. So to have these promising individuals delivered on these claims and showings.. But were not here to talk about those great people, were here to showcase those games that have left us with years of waiting to no avail.

Here is part one of those forgotten yet oh so promising projects that even today continue to haunt us with their beauty. Some of us are still awaiting word while others have just given up. Here are five brilliant yet cancelled games :(



Created by: Arulon.
Made With: Rpg Maker 2003
Reason: Was the next big thing, had it's thread with many pages in G&D, was supposed to release in 2008. But when GW fell apart, so did this game apparently. Arulon just disappeared and no word since really.

With fire and ice it begun. And with fire and ice it will end. But the seed of life will refuse to let go, and give birth to a new and better world....

Midheim lies peaceful as it’s been for the last five centuries. All since the first and the last war ever fought ended. War, a word that brings forth grim looks on people’s faces. Though the War of Grungir was fought for a greater cause, it’s still looked upon as a dark era of human history.
At that time, chief Haraldir, future emperor of Midheim, battled against the many clans who all sought to gain more power than the other. Haraldir on the other hand, sought to unite all the clans, to bring and end to all the bloodshed. And united them, he did. Thus, Midheim were formed.

Midheim is a rather new to life, as the first recordings of human history is no older than seven centuries. Still, there are questions to be raised about the findings of ruins, artifacts and other things, which seem to be far older than 700 years. And by far more advanced than what is likely for such an early stage of life. The monarchy of Midheim has decleared these findings as blasphemic. They are either built by the old kings of Midheim, or they are fake.
If we are though, to belive some of the eccentric historians and their dusty old books, the world suffered a drastic change not too long ago. Great empires fell, miraculous constructions crumbled, rune magic and creatures vanished. All lost in the mists of time, it seems. Rune magic however, does exist, but those who can practice it are hunted down by the Order of Kremm.

What is true and what’s not, may never be fully proved. Not that people really cares either. They live a good life. A happy life. These matters are for the emperor and his loyal servants, his ministers and knights.

In the realm of Caldor lies the Knight’s Temple, where the knights who get to serve the emperor are trained.
It is here our tale begins, with two young men honing their skills towards knighthood.





Created by: Badluck.
Made With: Rpg Maker XP.
Reason: Ara Fell: First Light was not planned to exist in the same game universe as Ara Fell 2k3, let alone act as a sequel to it. It is a new game with a new setting and a new story. Sadly it has been put on hiatus. It hasn't been officially cancelled by BL I don't think but it is safe to say no one is currently working on it.

"The texts that chronicle the Avari Epoch are few and far between. The better part of what we have uncovered are damaged beyond restoration. We know very little of the Avari language and even less of their culture. What we do know, however, is that they died out shortly after Ara Fell descended into the Ice Age. Why or how this happened is something that still baffles us, but while it precedes our own history, we cannot deny that it happened. Now archeologists and sages work to uncover and translate the hidden texts of the Avari, but so far, they offer little insight as to the true history of Ara Fell."

"The texts we have been able to translate, however, seem to have a recurring theme; something the Avari called the 'Sunstone'. A source of unimaginable power that was used to conquer the whole of Ara Fell until the day they were 'proven wrong and punished'. We can only assume this is connected with the Ice Age and their disappearance."

"Why do we choose to study them? Is it to learn and grow from their history? Pehraps to learn from their mistakes and avoid repeating them? Or is it just a thirst for knowledge to satisfy our own curiosity? If nothing else, the Avari predicted the fall of the Second Epoch. It is in that time we now live. Will our civilization vanish in the same way as the they did? Is it nothing but superstitious nonsense? If it is true, it is the most important information we will ever read. Perhaps our research will reveal the answer..."

As their world crumbles around them, three ordinary people must stand together to reverse the hell that has been unleashed upon Ara Fell. What begins as a task to reseal a great and mystifying power has become the most epic journey Ara Fell will ever know. There is no destiny, and they are not guided by fate. Emerge victorious against impossible odds or die. Enter a beautiful world filled with magic, adventure and danger. Uncover lore and treasure, while fearsome enemies stalk your every move. Lead the heroes of Ara Fell to rediscover the secrets of this world, as well as the only means through which to save it... This is the story of Ara Fell: First Light.





Created by: Inoran.
Made With: Rpg Maker 2003.
Reason: Probably one of the most prettiest games to ever come out of the GW community and also most controversial. Inoran hyped this baby up for years spouting great things about it. Even managed to get Faroz Flare who in my honest opinion is the best 2k/3 mapper around to lend a hand. To this day it is unsure if the end product was just Faroz beautifully made maps or if Inoran had an actual game wrapped around them. All I know is I still consider it a gorgeous game to look at & have no clue of what it's about.





Created by: Neophyte
Made With: Rpg Maker 2003
Reason: I was very much looking forward to this game. Not only was it starting to look very enticing, but I trusted Neophytes capabilities seeing as he was such a knowledgeable and nice member of the community. Even so I honestly couldn't say what this game was about. It's been way too long for me to remember and from what I gathered through google, no real information on the game is out there. Oddly enough I don't even remember a thread being made for it but just enjoyed seeing updates on it through out the screenshot topic and word of mouth. These screenshots are all that's left.





Created By: The Evil Resident
Made With: Rpg Maker 2003
Reason: Again, game was looking fantastic then all of a sudden, creator disappears leaving no word of this games progress or download behind. This was a game coming up around the time Release Something just started for the first time. It appeared to have a great story with dual protagonists within a split storyline. Great use of theo and a truly inspired sci fi noire look. I really can't remember much of the game except it's cool look and the giant signature that TER had for it.






(It wasn't that these games were very good, more nostalgic then anything for me, plus they are both complete games deserving some recognition.)

"The first installment of this space odyssey RPG. Has nice custom facesets. Facesets aside, this is the most perfectly average Rm2k game ever. Meaning if your game is better than this in any area, it's good in that area, and if your game is worse than this in any area, it's bad in that area." - Iishenron

Download!


On a side note I know it's been a while since the last one but of all the things in my life I have to cut out to keep everything going properly, Rpg Maker is always the first. Things are just hectic right now for me, not just personally but financially as well even having to get a second job again to keep up so sorry guys might be another long gap between installments. But hope you've been enjoying them so far :D

Posts

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as an old school gworlder, your failure to mention finding forever eden/realm of souls...displeases fugue.

compared to its pinnacle of non-existence, these 'vapors' of ware are positively solid. edit: wait, nvm, i am being unfair! this is just part 1!

space opera noir still looks zomg amazing after all these years.

On a side note I know it's been a while since the last one but of all the things in my life I have to cut out to keep everything going properly, Rpg Maker is always the first.

i feel your pain acutely.
Wow, these are some excellent screens. No wonder there's still so much praise and sadness over the loss of these games. The only one I knew of here that I'd been waiting for was Ara Fell, but most of these actually look even more impressive.

Still, as a creator, I respect makers who come up with finished products more than ones who come up with a few really good looking screens here and there. A beautifully crafted game is great, but it doesn't mean shit if no one ever gets to experience it.
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18257
author=sbester
Still, as a creator, I respect makers who come up with finished products more than ones who come up with a few really good looking screens here and there. A beautifully crafted game is great, but it doesn't mean shit if no one ever gets to experience it.


I very much agree with this. To the point where I've never really understood this community's fixation on vaporware of ages past.
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4011
Those are some pretty screens. These games look promising but I'll admit I haven't heard of many of them. I'm curious to know why they disappeared (if anyone even knows). Some of these games seem like a lot of custom work went into them and from my own experience I know that can really kill motivation.

On a somewhat related noted, Derek Yu said something that rang with me: "Treat finishing a project like a skill". Someone linked this article a while back and it gives some great advice for making/finishing games: Finishing A Game
author=Soli
I very much agree with this. To the point where I've never really understood this community's fixation on vaporware of ages past.


Let me help you. People like to brag when they have a big project on their hands (this is how people validate themselves). Video games are usually a big project. They require teams of people even if an engine is already made. The bigger the bubble, the higher the expectations. You combine all of this with final fantasy starved 12 year olds and you get a clusterfuck of screenshot topic nostalgia collapsing in on itself.

At least there's something to take from when it comes to demos tho.
edchuy
You the practice of self-promotion
1624
Probably should mention for Part Two, the biggest vaporware (although there used to be a gamepage according to http://rpgmaker.net/forums/topics/8360/, somebody has screenshots?) of them all (IMHO): THE LINE'S END

I'm pretty sure there's some (including myself) that had been hoping Lysander86 would finish it someday.
TFT
WHOA wow wow. two tails? that is a sexy idea...
368
well, i think neo is still working on his game. like, it's still a work in progress so i would not consider it vaporware. fact is people still enjoyed when he posted content on the gw screenshot threads.

i didn't like badluck much but i always respected his work. he is a good designer. he makes enjoyable stuff. he put the work into it, and is a reliable creator. i don't know much about the dude last i heard he wanted to make a shmup.

people give inoran a lot of shit. i remember brandon abley blasting him once for having like, no game. it was pretty hilarious. i don't blame him though. to be fair when i first saw the trailer he did it was pretty inspiring. i mean, even if the game didn't exist the amount of work invested in the trailer is enough for me.

i think it's weird how stuff becomes vaporware simply because effort is inserted into the formula. vaporware, sure, but guys like that set the standard for a lot of people to base quality off of. myself included.

i'd like to think people are a lot wiser to know whats fake or not (yeah right)
Wow, I don't even think I have those screenshots of my game anymore. Those screenshots look terrible. Granted, they were probably from around 2005, but they are still terrible!


This was one of the last thing I created. Also from a few years back.

author=TFT
well, i think neo is still working on his game. like, it's still a work in progress so i would not consider it vaporware. fact is people still enjoyed when he posted content on the gw screenshot threads.

No, I stopped working on my project in 2009. I got sick of using RPG Maker, none of the versions were able to keep up with my goals. If I ever start on a project again, it wouldn't be targeted towards the RM community (no offense). The reason I stopped visiting here and other communities like this one was because I grew out of RM, and was looking towards broader goals.

author=Solitayre
author=sbester
Still, as a creator, I respect makers who come up with finished products more than ones who come up with a few really good looking screens here and there. A beautifully crafted game is great, but it doesn't mean shit if no one ever gets to experience it.
I very much agree with this. To the point where I've never really understood this community's fixation on vaporware of ages past.

There is a lot I have to say about this, but I agree to an extent. I can't speak for the other projects listed, but my game has almost 300 maps and about 4 hours of gameplay. Half of that could only be played if you hopped around in the editor. It crashed and burned because I spent too long making it. Ideas changed, concepts and designs were altered, and was just a huge mess! It was a failed experiment, but it was something I learned a lot from.

author=Darken
Let me help you. People like to brag when they have a big project on their hands (this is how people validate themselves). Video games are usually a big project. They require teams of people even if an engine is already made. The bigger the bubble, the higher the expectations. You combine all of this with final fantasy starved 12 year olds and you get a clusterfuck of screenshot topic nostalgia collapsing in on itself.

At least there's something to take from when it comes to demos tho.


I think the only person who has bragged about their project would probably be chains of fate when he was making some Chrono sequel. It is usually not the creators intent to brag about a project (if they are, they are a fool). But if something looks cool, or if the work looks to be at a level higher than what surrounds that individual, it is often perceived as coming off as bragging.

btw the first rpgmaker game I played was Epoch. I'm glad someone remembers classics such as these...
chana
(Socrates would certainly not contadict me!)
1584
author=Neophyte
There is a lot I have to say about this, but I agree to an extent. I can't speak for the other projects listed, but my game has almost 300 maps and about 4 hours of gameplay. Half of that could only be played if you hopped around in the editor. It crashed and burned because I spent too long making it. Ideas changed, concepts and designs were altered, and was just a huge mess! It was a failed experiment, but it was something I learned a lot from.
I'm very happy to read this, I have very longly wondered why quite a few of the funnest, prettiest, most innovative and inspired rpgs I've played were demos, I now have at least one explanation : in a way, too good for the engine...
Tau
RMN sex symbol
3278
@TFT - Oh I'm with you. When everyone was saying Inoran had no game and he was always referring to that trailer you posted as his proof. Problem I had was that was proof of the older version, I just wanted to see those pretty new maps in action haha.

Also same thing with me, I saw how good these games looked and strived for better in my own. They have indeed set the standard that's in place today.

@Neophyte - Woah, didn't expect to see you pop up. I have more screenshots of that particular version if you're interested? Also your story is exactly like mine with my last project. It was a mess in the end but was oh so pretty and ambitious.
Ciel
an aristocrat of rpgmaker culture
243
fates of alerha was real, inoran used to send me videos of it and i have the project folder, the battle system functions etc

great article btw, it really makes me miss the old days. i want to play a bunch of rm games now
Fates of Alerha
Inoran actually released the full project folder on GW. I remember downloading it and playing it, though I can't seem to find it right now (which is bewildering given that I've never deleted anything RPGMaker related and instead just place it in a "trash" folder). Maybe it's just oddly named.

Anyway, Fate of Alerha had at one point a working battle system and a functioning game (as Ciel said) but driven by over ambition Inoran decided to scratch the whole thing and rebuild it so that battles occurred on the maps rather than in a separate area. While the game folder he released show cased this to some extent, on the whole it had taken a pretty big step back from some of his trailers. Building an entire custom battle system wears on anyone. Building two pretty much guarantees failure.

Luxenith
You made me sad Neophyte! I, too, had hope you'd complete your game and it was one of the major reasons I periodically return to these forums! Ah well, at least we all know now. I have to ask though: how did the battle system end up? Is it playable? It'd be really fun to have a short demo just showing off the work you did in that.

Fambul Winter
I found it really funny that this was listed first given that I was briefly involved in the project as the programmer. Ultimately all that existed of the battle system and menus were the screen shots you saw. There was nothing functional. My side of the story basically went like this:

I had two menu screens to work with and virtually no other details. So I coded cursor movement, all of the number displays (arg!), switching between the screens, and some of the more basic items (portraits displaying, saving, quitting, and some debug functions to see the alterations). After this I PM'd him back with my progress and requested more graphics to work with. He wrote back that he was more or less overjoyed and that I made his day (presumably prior to viewing my progress) and I never heard from him again. I don't know if decided he didn't want to take the effort to pull the graphics together or if, after seeing what I had done (and likely having zero progress on the battle side of things) he realized he was overly ambitious and canceled the project. Either way his project folder contained 90 maps, a few cut scenes, lots of pretty graphics, but no real game play (well, at least that was the project folder he provided me).
Tau
RMN sex symbol
3278
Upload please :D & thanks Ciel.
TFT
WHOA wow wow. two tails? that is a sexy idea...
368
i remember neo showing a screenshot of the battle code once and it was literally 300 pages of events. it was pretty bonkers.
author=chana
author=Neophyte
There is a lot I have to say about this, but I agree to an extent. I can't speak for the other projects listed, but my game has almost 300 maps and about 4 hours of gameplay. Half of that could only be played if you hopped around in the editor. It crashed and burned because I spent too long making it. Ideas changed, concepts and designs were altered, and was just a huge mess! It was a failed experiment, but it was something I learned a lot from.
I'm very happy to read this, I have very longly wondered why quite a few of the funnest, prettiest, most innovative and inspired rpgs I've played were demos, I now have at least one explanation : in a way, too good for the engine...

A lot of times demos can be a death wish. Most people are fueled by that "first time" release of their product. That's why screenshot topics are so popular, creators need a way to release a little bit of whatever they're working on to fuel themselves. Once you release a demo though, there's a lot less fuel you can go on. Based on feedback and hype level afterwards, this can lead to a lot of people giving up their game, regardless of how good it is or can actually be.

author=Tau
@Neophyte - Woah, didn't expect to see you pop up. I have more screenshots of that particular version if you're interested? Also your story is exactly like mine with my last project. It was a mess in the end but was oh so pretty and ambitious.

Haha, no I don't want anything to do with that version. I am glad it is dead.

author=hedge1
Luxenith
You made me sad Neophyte! I, too, had hope you'd complete your game and it was one of the major reasons I periodically return to these forums! Ah well, at least we all know now. I have to ask though: how did the battle system end up? Is it playable? It'd be really fun to have a short demo just showing off the work you did in that.

The battle system was playable. I had 5 dungeons done, 3 of which were complete with battles, puzzles, story, etc. But the battle system...ran into a plethora of issues. I might possibly do a video of what I had done.

author=TFT
i remember neo showing a screenshot of the battle code once and it was literally 300 pages of events. it was pretty bonkers.
Well, RM2K3 is terrible. No human being should be forced to do the amount of workarounds needed to create a stable battle system in that engine.

I started off creating the project when there were no RM2K3 patches. So a lot of the animations were done using battle animations and a lot of the code had to be done through battle events. Cherry came along and created this great thing called the picture patch, which reduced the amount of work I had to do by 99%. It changed a lot of core mechanics of the battle system. But at this point, my game already had a lot of gameplay done. I would have had to literally remake the entire game (which I started to do, and quickly conceded) for things to work again.

A lot of it though really came down to how RM2K3 was constantly fighting back at every little thing I tried to do. I was a defender of the product for a long time, but even I have come to the conclusion that it's terrible. The default battle system doesn't even work correctly if you have 3-4 party member or set it to ACTIVE. Not to mention it can't even do basic math correctly. I think Neok said it best after he finished AAG and talked about the frustrations he came across in RM2K3 and ambitious games in general.
I don't know, these are vaporware but they still inspire people. I would honestly look forward to play any of these games really. I trolled Neophyte for like a year to release his game even in part, but really I just wanted him to work on games again.

I think these games were learning experience regardless, should ask what the game designers have to say about it. I know Neophyte did a few things that weren't done by anyone else at the time.

I'm sure most of these guys have playable content as well, however having playable content does not equal a a complete experience. Perhaps their vision wasn't met? There are lot of development pitfalls that occurs.

Believe it or not, these kind of games are what inspired me the most. Every new gem fueled me and I'm sure many others as well. There was this weird level of competition that existed in GW and abroad around that time. Sure, some people were just looking for fame but other designers were only really trying to express their creative ideas.

"Vaporware" titles and hype in general can be generated from a few screenshots lol. It's often not even the intention of the creators to over hype their game.

Melly and friends created a pretty cool archive of some vaporware vids:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4BBAB8079C8ACF2A

Might want to check that out Tau.
TFT
WHOA wow wow. two tails? that is a sexy idea...
368
don't worry you'll be up there soon enough. infact, you could very well be the king.
So..aside from Epoch 1-2, are any of these downloadable somewhere, or are those screenies all that's left of 'em? :o
Ciel
an aristocrat of rpgmaker culture
243
author=TFT
don't worry you'll be up there soon enough. infact, you could very well be the king.


so how's your battle system coming? i heard it's one of the things funding will help make. clicking events is a costly process
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4011
So here's a critical question: why are these vaporware? What leads a project to never be released?

I can only theorize about these games as I don't know anything about the creators or the process, but if I had to hazard a guess, it'd be overscoping/poor pre-planning. I know it's haunted a bunch of my failed projects, and it's a huge and frequent killer of motivation on indie and AAA games alike.

I'd love to hear more about this from Neo or the creators if they're still around.
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