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I know many who plan their rpg down to the last detail, others simply say "screw that" and just start making what comes to mind. How do you plan your game?

When I go to create a game it really depends. If I'm making a decent one I try to plan out as much as I can from the story to the heroes, and major NPCs. When I started with Almora: Online, I started with a simple outline in Wordpad. I didn't have a story I just knew the island of Almora was created by four goddess. I really liked those named but couldn't figure out what or how this online world would come to be, so I moved on to what I wanted the world map to look like, and drew up a map in AutoREALM. I put down what gameplay features I wanted and weapon/armour types. Then came the most boring, and laboring part...every crafting item in the game. I later put down all the classes, and terms used.

Late one night when I was dead tired I had an idea for the background story for the four goddess and wrote it. After that I began to work on the project in VX ace. I planed a good bit out but not every single thing like switches; variables, and all.
The TM is for Totally Magical.
Personally, I'm in the "screw that" camp.
I'll do both. With Veritas, I opened up a document and started typing in the title, general idea, then characters. After fleshing out the characters, I went to the plot and briefly outlined what would happen throughout the game. Didn't take too long. Then, I went into the RPG Maker itself.

I usually get right into the heart of the matter, and I save the introduction segment for later. I like to flesh out the characters, battle systems, get the first area and dungeon going. Then I'll go back and add an intro and cutscenes last. Then I'll move forward from there.

I've got a notebook I keep next to my computer that I'll use to map out dungeons, areas, bosses, weapons, skills, etc. Comes in handy because it lets me easily organize my thoughts, then add it into the game.
Usually, my 'planning' comes after the game gets worked on. Maybe half-way through or something. Though there are occasions where I do plan some stuff ahead, I tend to not follow said plan and proceed to just wing the project.

Most of the time, the plan is: "Point A where we start. And here, at point B is where it'll end. Now get from point A to point B."

So yeah. I'm with the 'screw that' peeps.
Personally, I'm in the "screw that" camp.

Same as him, more or less. I usually have a general idea of how is going to be my game, but I'm more of the kind of guy that prefers to get his ideas while making the game than to think and document everything before making the game.
the world ends in whatever my makerscore currently is
Screw That camp!
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
They say that planning is a good thing, but what parts of the game you end up actually planning out will depend on what parts of the game you care most about. For the parts that aren't as important to you, it's not as big a deal to just make it up as you go.

...For my first game, my planning consisted of writing down like 20 pages of jokes I wanted to include.
Usually I just say "Screw that" and just start creating. Like in my first rpg Demons & Angels I didn't plan out anything on RPG Maker 3. When I went to make it as a novel I started planing it a bit. Never did finish my RPG version of it though.
First you get the ideas, then you get the resources, then you get the game make.

Realistically though for me, it goes more like ideas, ideas, crappy resources, some game make, ideas, game make, more ideas, few resources, more game make, etc.
It's just a jumbled mess. Oh, and let's not forget the inevitable reworking of crap code the previous me made. You can never escape that.
(+1 Team Screw That) It too easy to get distracted by everyday life when your in the process of creating anything. And personally I'd rather have a bunch of disconnected ideas/concepts/projects that I can weave together than one perfectly planned out project that grinds to halt the moment I hit a creative/technical roadblock but that's just me.
I get an initial idea that can be summed up in one sentence, and build the game around that.
You're magical to me.
Here's a couple of links to some posts I found extremely helpful when it comes to planning how you are going to create a game, from developers who have "been there, done that" and created some fantastic gems:

Thanks for linking that, Cash! ^_^ I was just thinking about my post when I read the title of this thread, and Housekeeping's is still completely awesome!

(+1 Team Screw That) It too easy to get distracted by everyday life when your in the process of creating anything. And personally I'd rather have a bunch of disconnected ideas/concepts/projects that I can weave together than one perfectly planned out project that grinds to halt the moment I hit a creative/technical roadblock but that's just me.

This is a good point. Ultimately, people should do what's best for them, and what keeps them motivated. The best plan in the world is of little use if making it kills your motivation or inspiration.
I keep a plan, but more of a loose and flexible one. I generally jump all over the place for the first few months, until I have a strong base from which I can assemble a full game from later on.

What I do is create everything I need for the first 10-15 minutes worth of the game. That is, all the visuals for that portion of the game, the scripting that I need to implement and get done, the general gameplay that I want to pursue, etc. Then I playtest it, release that as a demo for feedback and if everything is good*, THEN I go more toward's Housekeeping's strategic plan: do all of the visuals, then all of the maps, etc, until the game is finished.

* = I don't condone using a public demo as a means to test whether or not a game is worth finishing. Do your best to use the feedback you get to make a stronger game, no matter how harsh that criticism is.
I highly suggest paper-prototyping any idea you possibly can before you start writing code, eventing, scripting, or databasing it! This includes battles, skills, bosses, maps, items... You'll see things that won't work right away - and figure out how to make them work - without having to spend a bunch of time on extra effort that won't make the cut!
Your mom is a hero
I brainstorm ideas while at work during downtimes, and then let them sit for months on end while I fantasize about making time to actually implement any of those ideas, growing increasingly despondent, sometimes succumbing to my desire for validation by creating a gameprofile, and then growing even more despondent as more months go by and no time has been made for it and no progress has happened, eventually becoming resigned that it's not going to happen ('but it might!' my fool mind tricks says) and so I set the profile to Hiatus, and it gets to the point where I have a pile of unrealized ideas and dreams that I pick at sporadically and ever more infrequently as I assuage my fragile state of mind by mindlessly consuming news and articles and funny pictures on the Internet.

And that's how I make games.
How kentona actually makes games:
1. come up with a few (coherent in feeling) ideas, smash your keyboard for awhile, make some imagery, make some sound.

2. realize it's just not really, what you wanted.

repeat 1 and 2 until you realize you wasted your entire life
I have page after page of handwritten and digital notes made first and during the development. If I can get the basics to work on paper/"paper," then I'll develop.
The gameplay idea hits me first, before setting, plot, characters. So I hack together a quick prototype that's still a) playable, b) contains the core gameplay. Then I play it. And either fall in love or scrap it. Bonus points if I pull over some friends to try it, and despite the rough edges, they're wanting more.

Then comes the biggest project killer: graphics. I plan in advance the full scope of the game's graphic needs and determine if everything required is freely available online or if I'm passionate enough about the project idea to pay the huge time investment and make the art myself.

Then it's dive into development and let the pieces and ideas flood in. It's easy to get in the habit of planning each intricate detail in advance, but sometimes it's better for productivity to throw something out there that's a general representation of what you want. Then once it's actually in the game and you've played with that character's skillset, watched that cutscene, and explored that map, you have a much better idea of what it was you were trying to plan in the first place. So refine and move on.
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