RTP VS. CUSTOM GRAPHICS

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I always have used the RTP for every game and experiment I've made with rpg maker, it's simple and easy to use, but now I think is time to be more original and do something different, because basically, most games made with just the RTP end up being generic and boring, it doesn't stand out too much, even if it got lots of new ideas and mechanics, it would be kinda hard to remember it... so I decided to make my own custom graphics!... But I just can't sprite for shit

Yeah, there are other options, like buying assets in the store, but I don't have too much money for that, or maybe ripping graphics from another game, but to be honest, I hate doing that, because many times you can recognize the characters, and in the end, the game could look like a mess if done wrong

So hey! I decided to give a try at making my own graphics, but...



This what I managed to do when I tried to make a Red Mage in a pixel/blocky style, I know it looks kinda awful and needs lots of work, but that's why I came here, I'm not asking for tutorials about spriting (although a few would be useful) but I wanted to know...

- Should I keep trying to make custom graphics? (Keep in mind that I plan to replace most of the RTP with this style)
- Even if they suck, it would be better than simply using the RTP?
- Maybe I should try something different?
- What is your opinion about games made using only the RTP? Or about games with ripped graphics?
- Post your experiences with these kind of problems

Thanks for reading!
- Should I keep trying to make custom graphics? (Keep in mind that I plan to replace most of the RTP with this style)

Yes, always. It will help you grow as an artist and designer as well as help you appreciate the limits of the artistic assets you are using.

- Even if they suck, it would be better than simply using the RTP?

For the experience, always.

The RTP assets are amazing, and they are made by talented people. But in the end you should consider using things that reflect your own individual game. I would suggest using RTP as placeholders, and reflect on how useful they are and how great it is that someone made these for you to learn from, but the finished game should lean more on unique assets.

- Maybe I should try something different?

Maybe, maybe not. So long as you keep trying and keep getting better you'll never be unsatisfied. :)

- What is your opinion about games made using only the RTP? Or about games with ripped graphics?

Experimentally, I approve. But as a consumer I don't trust a game that uses stock assets, RTP or otherwise.

- Post your experiences with these kind of problems

Art is hard. That's the problem. XD

RTP is easy to use and works as a great set of training wheels, but I decided long ago not to use them and it's been for the best. I hire artists now, and I think I have learned to appreciate them more because of my experience trying to craft my own assets.
There's no shame in using RTP, however if you want to create a distinct look and style for your game, custom is definitely the way to go.

That said, you can always start out by editing RTP tiles to fit what you need. Take them to bits and put them back together - it's a good way to build up skill and give a unique look to your game.
RTP is great for practice and learning the engine, and there's no shame in making a few RTP Games before you tackle your big one.

That said, try to draw yourself away from RTP the more you learn and grow. You probably don't want an RTP-heavy game to be your magnum opus if you have the means to use custom visuals.
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7655
As the king of all things rtp dragongame, I think there's no problem with using it. Sure, custom graphics sound great on paper, but who's got the time? And if you aren't any good at it, it'll never sell.

You've got a thousand people to compete with that take the "it's old school, guys" approach, but these just come across as lazy more than anything. VVVVVV isn't winning any awards for its graphical prowess, I can promise you that.
Marrend
Guardian Ghost of the Description Thread
19664
The good majority of my games use RTP, so, my opinion is skewed in that direction. The point that Liberty makes about editing might be a good idea, regardless.
author=Corfaisus
rtp dragongame


This made me smile. I actually want to recommend Corfasius' Feral Soldiarity as an example of really good RTP usage (especially with caves) as well as Luiishu's Castle Oblivion titles. Liberty also has useful advice about editing RTP, which is what I did for Dungeon Crawl: Party of Four: all of the graphics have been edited and resized to fit 1-tile tall walls.

Still, custom graphics make your game really stand out, just don't expect to be able to put out awesome graphics like Pizza until you're a few years experienced.

There's a term for a lot of what we non-artists make: programmer art. Basically, we're not artists but we try. You will get better over time, but it takes constant effort to improve.

Another possibility is commissioning an artist to create all of your assets for you. I would only recommend this, however, once you've already completed your project (with stand-in RTP) and are ready to spend money to make it look really good.
author=Corfaisus
You've got a thousand people to compete with that take the "it's old school, guys" approach, but these just come across as lazy more than anything. VVVVVV isn't winning any awards for its graphical prowess, I can promise you that.


That's an interesting example, but even if you recognize that RTP looks artistically better than VVVVVV, and even if VVVVVV were arguably worse than every RTP-based game, the custom assets it has gives it identity, and a highly recognizable one at that. There's tremendous value in seeing Captain Viridian's simple visage.

When people look at a unique character, they make an association to the games or the franchise. When people look at an RTP asset, they make an association to a game engine. I don't think VVVVVV would be doing itself a favor if it used Ralph as the main character. So it may not be getting any awards in graphical prowess, but it's certainly more distinguished.
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
6615
author=El_WaKa


Whatever it is, it certainly is red.
I'm on this with DeStilj. You can make a nice looking community game with RTP and RTP edits, but in the long run, you want to stick with customs. And I like RTP. The one bundled with 2k, 2k3 is almost purfect. The one from ace is currently drastically overused by games you've never heard of.
I'm currently suffering over my results and what helps me a lot are other games. It may be good to start with some rules, black and white, low-res or editing assets. For inspiration check out playlist I made. My first attempt is included.
Your skills can be terrible and your game can still look good.
I am working on my first RPG Maker game now, and I am going custom for the graphics. I want my game to stand out and be unique. I am using a few of the RTP elements, but ALL the tilesets, characters, and many of the game world objects are my own creation.

I spent months learning pixel art and how to make proper tilesets. It was definitely a lot of learning and work, but I am so glad I did it! Just keep at it and you will get better in time. Pixel art is fun and rewarding, and can be profitable too (selling your artwork packs or doing commission work for others).

You're off to a good start.

I HIGHLY recommend this guide: http://finalbossblues.com/pixel-tutorials/

It's what I used when I was first getting started. It's an excellent guide that covers everything you need to know, and it's written in an easy to understand format.




Thanks to everyone! So... what I got from this is that is ok to use the RTP when I'm starting, but I should start using custom graphics as I get better with the maker, Hmm... The thing is, the idea I was working would have been ten times better with new graphics... so I guess I should put it aside and try to make something else while I familiarize even more with Vx Ace... oh well, I think is for the best

(My plan was making an idea I had for long while, make an FF1 remake kinda thing, expanding many things of the original game... yeah, it probably would have been too much work for only one person)

author=Corfaisus
You've got a thousand people to compete with that take the "it's old school, guys" approach, but these just come across as lazy more than anything. VVVVVV isn't winning any awards for its graphical prowess, I can promise you that.

Yeah, I had that in mind, even though the RTP is kinda boring, my blocky graphics wouldn't have been too original either (And I have to admit, I choose that style because I could make characters without too many headaches)
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
6615
It doesn't have to be original. People who prefer using RTP are often far more skilled with RM than the originals. However, you need to earn your fame first and it is easier with customs. Folks will comment on a game using ASCII or any other original form, which doesn't require hundreds of hours with graphic editors. With the attention, it's easier to focus on gameplay.
And If you're not willing to make your look yourself, there are free resources hidden in chests of internet. Some of them are profound, some are dreadful and some are gems.

The other thing is, choose your assets in relation to your game's mood. Is it gonna be witty? Wicked? Or dark and deep? You can use RTP for classic fantasy stuff and it looks nice, but dare you go beyond it and you find yourself with empty hands.
Honestly? I still use the RTP and I've been gammaking for upwards of 15 years now. It's not just a newbie thing - some of us quite like the resources themselves and find them a lot of fun to work with.

If it suits you to go off and create custom, do it, but if you want to use the RTP for your games, don't let others tell you not to. That's a choice you have to make and one that is wholly up to you.

I've had people tell me a lot of times that I could do really pretty stuff with non-RTP graphics, and I have used Mack/REFMAP before to great success, but I return to the RTP because I like it, even with it's issues. I enjoy the style. X3

Of course, I do a lot of edits so... >.>

Really, you just do you.


@Cap_H - I think The Longing Ribbon wants a word with you about the idea that only generic fantasy can use RTP tiles. ;p
LockeZ
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.
5363
The default graphics are exactly like the default heroes, the default skillsets, and the default monsters. They make acceptable placeholders to help you test your game while it's still in development, but you should never actually use them in a game.
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
6615
author=Liberty
@Cap_H - I think The Longing Ribbon wants a word with you about the idea that only generic fantasy can use RTP tiles. ;p


Downloading.

Your two best rated games are Noble Quest and Dungeon Crawler by the way (I know I'm cheating and I know, I don't have two games to talk about).
I'm not against RTP by any means. I adore Corf's work, which would be worth an RTP Studies diploma. And Hero's Realm of course.

I'm just sayin that it is easier to stand out even with shitty customs made in MS Paint. Cavern of Doom would be solid if it was created with RTP. 15x20 resolution makes it a classic. From trillion of Halibabica's Spelunky clones the one using ASCII is the most notable.
author=Cap_H
For inspiration check out playlist I made. My first attempt is included.
Your skills can be terrible and your game can still look good.


Wow. This was inspiring. Thanks for linking it.

Encourages me to get back to my own pixel art. It's a relief to know it doesn't need to be the best.
I'm actually surprised nobody just makes an RTP game and then just replaces the graphics as they go along.

As for my opinion I actually don't mind playing games with RTP graphics. Making you own stuff will definitely help it stand out more but be aware of the time it takes to do so.
I'd definitely rate custom graphics higher than RTP graphics, even if they don't look as good. But they still need a certain level of quality. Needs to be recognizable that effort was put into creating them.
author=Liberty
That said, you can always start out by editing RTP tiles to fit what you need. Take them to bits and put them back together - it's a good way to build up skill and give a unique look to your game.


Pretty much came here to say this. I started off editing/recoloring sprites. Combined with tutorials, it's not a horrible way to learn, I suppose. But even if you're not looking to learn, I still say try editing the RTP sprites if you're going to use them, at least for plot-important stuff like characters and McGuffins. It feels a bit weird when what's supposed to be a game-specific character or item looks exactly like something from another game.
I'd definitely go for custom for the long haul. Every spriter on this forum ( including myself ) started off with horrible, horrible sprites in the beginning when we tried our hand at pixel art. Just don't use first-attempt sprites for your magnum opus, epic-length RPG though. People will dismiss your game before they've even played it ( since we're all graphic whores deep down inside ).
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