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So, I've done a lot of thinking and devving while my computer has been half-done, basically tinkering with things that if they got lost wouldn't be a big deal. One thing I've noticed while trying to implement the systems I want in Binding Wyrds is...well, I'm doing a lot of grinding uphill against the maker itself. I also feel like I'm doing a lot of -extra- work in order to work with the standards of the system and including things I don't want, IE more encounters/maps to make things feel more RPG-like and interactive.

So after a lot of thought, I'm considering switching my engine from RPGMaker VXACE to Ren'py. I know Ren'py is primarily a visual novel engine, but I've played a lot of games made in it that have implemented RPG elements. Given my game is more about proper distribution of characters to missions and doing the best with your roster, as opposed to epic boss/dungeon slogs, I feel its a better fit to have a design thats visual novel/story first, RPG second, as opposed to the other way around.

I have only looked at what others have done with the system, and the basics of Ren'py itself, so I could use some advice and other's experiences with it. Currently my pros/cons for it are thus:

+Can freely define various stats without much extra effort, so I can have more granular stats that aren't just combat (IE, investigation stats, diplomacy, crafting, etc).

+With the above, more stats and a more visual-novel esque design for missions would allow me to have different checks, and missions that aren't just 'kill x amount of monsters'. Instead of varying degrees of that, I could have missions where the team could be diplomatic and talk the enemies down, or sneak through without incident, with different results.

+No need to design maps. This has felt like a major burden, since my game really is the opposite of dungeon crawling/monster fighting, at least in theme.

-Have to build the RPG system from scratch.

-Can't use RTP stuff, which means stand-in black squares until I pay an artist.

You know how some artists opt for pixel art to be able to make a greater quantity of artwork in a shorter time? Why not do that?

Also, you should be able to use dollmaker programs as an alternative for figures.
You highly over-estimate my artistic skills. The closest I've been able to do is very very basic sprites for a GB-esque side project, and they still (personally) look like shite. I don't have much aesthetic training, so its like pulling my own teeth when doing art :P

A doll maker program would be good for stand-ins until I get proper art though, any recommendations?
You're magical to me.
You can easily do a visual novel style in VX Ace, here's just one example of a game that has done so. Just have one picture as the background, and pictures of the characters over that.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if there were scripts out there for additional stats that you could use for diplomacy or sneaking, etc. Otherwise, you could re-purpose MDF (have all defense come from a single DEF stat) and LUK, perhaps?
Actually, if I'm not mistaken, all stats except speed and luck have no set purpose in VXAce because of the custom formulae.
Any of both alternatives are the same, I think. It depends more on which one you're more proficient with, or you want to invest into learning it. Python is easy. Ruby is too. In both you are able of making custom GUIs. Both have a part you'll need to rework (custom stats in VXA, and the battle system in Ren'py).

If it was me though, I'll probably pick RPG Maker because I'm very familiar with it, and I know myself. I know the times I've tried to make battle systems in non-RPG engines like Ren'py and Adventure Game Studio. Though I made something in AGS for my own delight.

But this is about you, so pick the one you feel has the higher success rate. Trust your gut!

Hey Rine.

I would strongly advise against using Ren'Py for a RPG game because while in the beginning it seems really straight forward, you will soon find out that you have to do everything from the scratch.

With that said, if you are comfortable with learning programming (or already know Python), go with Ren'Py. Otherwise, stick with RM.

Source: My experiences working in both Ren'Py and RM.
Live we shall, through moments both fleeting and eternal.

Having used both engines...

If you want anything but straight dialogue then you should use Ace.
While getting the engine set up for visual novelness might be a bit time
consuming, it will nowhere compare to the amount of coding Ren'Py would require.

Though if you're just doing a straight text visual novel, then Ren'Yy is a definite yes because the menus are just nicer and stuff.

Edit: If you own anything from Pioneer Valley Games made for RPG Maker you can use it in any engine, including Ren'Py.

Just to reassure I didn't ask out of the blue and dissapear (many work issues + PC issues lately).

I also actually did some more thinking on the subject and decided to go all Judgement of Solomon on my baby. IE, the game I have already done the work on in RPG-maker will be converted to a mission based RPG with choices for missions, upgrades and the like, but the tactical portions such as assigning characters to research/maintain other areas and the like will be excised and reserved for another game set in the same setting, that I will design with Ren'py. Hopefully best of both worlds, get to keep the varied character designs I have and save the more tactical approach for a different game.
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