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(Please press "back" on your browser to avoid reading more aimless mental masturbation about creativity and rpg maker.)

Also I'll say from the outset that "you" is not anyone personally. It refers to all of us to some degree or another at some point in our lives as amateur game developers. It's just easier to say "you" when speaking in the hypothetical. Also I have been inspired by reading Mellytan's writing to talk about... Things.

So... for some reason you've landed yourself in the position of slaving away over a hot event editor and you're working on the 50 hour rpg epic with magic and spikey haired teenage protagonists and a cast of implausibly pretty people of every conceivable gender (or maybe not, but whatever). It's RPG maker right, isn't that what it's for?

I dunno, is it? I'm going to avoid value judgements as much as I can here though. What I was getting at is this:

Did you stumble across rpg maker and think "I'd like a piece of that action" and start planning an rpg because rpg maker is rpg maker or did you think to yourself "wow I'd love to make an rpg, I even already have an idea I'd love to realise" and search for "rpg maker"?

Something doesn't sit right with me when I consider the former option. Essentially in that situation you set out to contrive something that fits the mold of the tool you have at your disposal. If you had an idea for a cool rpg you wanted to make beforehand then more power to you (although I'd probably say that wanting to make a thinly veiled ff6 clone doesn't count). However I somehow don't think most of us come to rm that way. I know I didn't and I think this may be the single biggest root cause of developer burnout and rm vapourware. In order to make a game within that model you have to contrive every single aspect in order to make it work and you soon realise there's not much inherent motivation to even bother continuing to make the game once you get past he novelty factor (waheeey, I'm making a game!). Did you even want to make an rpg before you found rpg maker? Really?

I once read about an article (yes, read about an article) called something along the lines of "the immense relief of quitting golf" which, in a nutshell, was about a dude who quit playing golf as a hobby and how he wished he did it years ago because the hobby did nothing but introduce a set of arbitrary self-imposed concerns, venacular, standards to adhere to and additional pretense into his life and stress him out and how something he was meant to be doing "for fun" caused him nothing but strife his entire golfing life (see also: the things you want most in life are most likely the things that will end up killing you, metaphorically speaking).

Now I'm not saying that everyone should quit :> I'm just trying to stimulate discussion (also I'm stuck with my game right now and needed a distraction and to ramble and irc is dead) and get down to the nature of what makes a good game and what makes a crappy derivative market-stall-quality FF knock-off (people who make full-on FF fangames/remakes/demakes/whatever are excused from that judgement simply by virtue of their sheer honesty) So I'm positing that a good game is a good game before it even exists and that a bad game is a bad game before it even exists (or is inevitably cancelled) due to the motivations, or lack thereof, that underlie its conception and how those motivations will be tangible in the player experience. Making a game for the sake of making a game, although it may be a starting point for bigger and better ideas that actually have some genuine inherent motivating force and vision behind their production, doesn't seem, to me at least, to be a motivation that can be relied upon as a functional imperative if you're concerned with making something that:

a) You actually will be able to give a shit about in a few weeks/months/years time.
b) Is genuinely a rewarding experience in-of-itself to make (not for the imagined or real accolades you will recieve that prompt you to release a demo as soon as you have enough content to pass the project off as worthy of playing. OR just to be like "LOOK HOW COOL I AM!" which is a cheap high that wears off pretty quickly or because you've invested so much time and energy into your game that you just can't bring yourself to let it go, leading to either a seemingly-unending grind of grim determination or stagnation and eventual abandonment of the project and maybe even turning-in your amateur game maker's gun and badge.)
c) Won't be a highly-derivative, transparent and contrived game.
d) You can be genuinely proud of.
e) Is fresh, original and generously gives to the player rather than simply taking away their time and trading it for an experience of little value where the only thing that benefits at all is the game developer's ego. (this one is really subjective and will vary from person to person, obviously. But I'm still listing it because I think that games made with some intrinsic motivation are at least more likely to provide a mentally and emotionally "nourishing" experience than those made on a foundation of contrivance and bare-faced derivation).

I, for one, honestly don't care much about dark elves, iron swords in the item shop, magical villages and elemental crystals which is why I don't make games about those things and I find it hard to believe that every single person who gets into this actually genuinely gives a shit about those tired premises either (feel free to exchange with tropes and cliches from the genre of your choice). They just "want in" on the action.

So, long-ass ramble about nothing much, but what do you guys think? Do you have any similar experiences or insights about it? Do you like turtles? Am I your bro and is this a cool story? Any good image macros lately?
I like this topic. Yes, I did have a similar experience, pretty much I was searching around for videos, and I found some RPG maker videos, and was so awesomized by the experience I just had to get when I realized the fucking thing costs money(yeah, I'm talking to you VX, and XP, I'm not through with you yet!D:< ), I like tutles, your not my bro and this is cool, macros, what the fuck is that? Anyways, lately I haven't been able to finish any games...I'm a sad,sad kid...
if i had an allowance, i would give it to rmn
Wow. Anyway, yes I want to make games, and I have loads of fun doing it. That's why I do it. Newblack, you put a lot of thought into that.
Well, I might be in the minority, but RPG Maker is absolutely perfect for what I want to do. I want to make a game that's very old school, with anime cutscenes, epic world-spanning plots, lots of dungeons and items, front-view combat and a great 'synth' score. I want to use all of these conventions that I love to create something wholly original, for people like me who love retro RPGs and would like to play a new one. I almost feel bad for not wanting to customize the system more, but if it isn't broke there is no need to fix it, imo.

In my opinion, I think people can get too caught up in their hobbies, setting increasingly high standards for themselves for something that IS supposed to be fun. We do it to ourselves, really; all too often we obsess over small details and forget the reason we took up the hobby in the first place, as your golfing analogy shows.

One thing that puzzles me is why more people don't seem to use IG Maker for creating games other than turn based RPGs:


I mean, that program is designed for making action games, so why go to all the trouble of coding action games with RPG Maker? I haven't used it myself, but it looks like it would be an easier way to do what you want.
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.
First time I saw RPG Maker, at the tender age of 14, I became immediately interested. I was previously not aware that there was any way to create an RPG without being part of a major game development company. Upon seeing it, I was made aware of this fact, and as a result I decided it would be fun to make an RPG. Wanting to make an RPG beforehand never crossed my mind because I didn't really know it was possible. I actually searched around a little to see what other similar programs there were, but there weren't any others because it was 1999 and RPG Maker 95 was pretty much the only usable one that existed. There was Fighter Maker, but I had no interest in fighting games. I did want to make an RPG, I just didn't know I wanted to make an RPG until I learned how "easy" it was (spoiler: not actually all that easy).

These days when I make a game it is definitely because I have an idea that I want to make. My current game percolated in the back of my mind for a good year before I got enough of an idea together to make it.

I have a pet turtle. His name is Shiver because that's what I always named the turtle in Shining Force 2. Because when you found it, the game says, "He's shivering. What will you name him?" I had a second one for a while named Timber, that I rescued from the highway, but they didn't get along and I let Timber go in the woods.

I don't think the idea of "did you want to make this game before you knew about rpg maker" is really a meaningful question, because if you didn't have any idea that there were amateur game design programs, you wouldn't be planning out games to make. Even if you did, the question definitely is irrelevant for any game after your first one - at that point you've been making RPG Maker games for a year before you start designing it. So does any game you make after your first one somehow have less integrity and less quality? Typically I think everyone's first game is a pile of shit, so I sure am glad people keep going after that.
whoa You guys are hi-chaining without me? That's just not right. :<
You kept saying rpg maker so much I was starting to think this article wouldn't be relevant to me.

In my case I was actually told that there were programs that could /make games./ So I went looking for programs with the intent to make games.

Now I've forgotten what I was actually going to say.

Guardian of the Description Thread
I ended up using RPG Maker because it's easy to use (mostly) and the RTP means that I don't have to make my own graphics. Well, that was what I thought before coming here, anyway. Some of the posts on the screenshot thread just make me feel like I'm in little league.

*Edit: Oh, I've known I've wanted to make a game for a while. Sure, it was |crappy|, and I was about ten years old, but I made a game with the Shoot 'Em Up Construction Kit on the Commodore 64!
Well the title of this thread was meant to be at least partially rhetorical and to imply that we, as amateur developers, all to some degree, at times deceive ourselves with regards to our projects until time, pressure and/or apathy cause us to finally stop holding on. Or something we can actually really give a shit about enters our life (the classic RM-dev-gets-girlfriend/rm-projects get-cancelled syndrome) and the dead weight of these projects is cut loose.

But if you genuinely love and enjoy making straight-up RPGs then that's absolutely perfect and great and I couldn't possibly fault that motivation.

When I first saw RM I was like OMG THIS IS SO COOL! too, and wanted a piece of the action - Did I finish the AWESOME, EPIC games (that actually sucked) that I planned to make back then? Of course I didn't. But exactly what I'm saying here is that that alone is not enough to produce and finish a worthwhile rpg/game because, to paraphrase and corrupt the merovingian from the Matrix Reloaded:

(I can't believe I'm doing this ._.)

Spirit of Gams: "But this is not a reason, this is not a why... The KeyRPGmaker himself's very nature is means, it is not an end, and so, to look for him is to be looking for a means to... do... what?"

Neo the RM Newcomer: Neo - You know the answer to that question. (to make games, duh)

Blah Blah Blah

Spirit of Gams: "Why is what separates good games from bad, finished games from vaporware. Why is the only real source of power, without it you are powerless. And this is how you come to me: without why, without power, another link in the chain of generated VX serial numbers. But, fear not, since I have seen how good you are at following orders, I will tell you what to do next. Run back to the drawing board and find the intrinsic motivation you need to make a game you care about. Now, I have some real business to attend to, so I will bid you adieu and goodbye."

Well, that was different

So in normal language- often there's no real reason behind it aside from the blinding enthusiasm that burns out as quickly as it appears.

As for IG Maker, I heard it was atrocious and a complete flop but I've not checked it out myself. Also there's an aspect of challenge and a hobby in-of-itself in using outdated rpgmaker software to do things it was never intended for, I guess.
I don't think the idea of "did you want to make this game before you knew about rpg maker" is really a meaningful question, because if you didn't have any idea that there were amateur game design programs, you wouldn't be planning out games to make. Even if you did, the question definitely is irrelevant for any game after your first one - at that point you've been making RPG Maker games for a year before you start designing it. So does any game you make after your first one somehow have less integrity and less quality? Typically I think everyone's first game is a pile of shit, so I sure am glad people keep going after that.

This is a very fair point Lockez. But my point was that knowing something is possible isn't a serviceable motivating factor in the long run and most certainly isn't conducive to projects you wish to stick with, care about etc.. or conducive to games anyone would want to play or be able to get anything out of. My tirade was hypothetical and meant to encourage a more "stop and think" attitude to game making. In short, just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

"Now you know you can make games, fucking awesome!" - Most people stop thinking critically about this at this point. When we start out that's all the motivation we need, and it takes a long time before we actually bother to reevaluate.

I'm suggesting - "Guess what - you can make games, but now what are you gonna actually do here and will it be worthwhile for you and your potential players?"
After spending a year or so lurking on this site and downloading random games, I eventually stated playing around with RM2k3. I was bored one night and threw together a world map from one of my fantasy universes. This became my first attempted game Home on the Vann (which was somehow accepted on RMN.) I had a huge world with an epic plot that would have taken a 40 hour to do properly and absolutely no idea what I was doing.
I got two towns and one dungeon done. The first town is hilariously bad.

I've had to repeatedly scale down my projects ever since.
In my case, RPG design is pretty much a life-long obsession.

(Life story alert)

The first 'RPG Maker' I ever used was TSR's Unlimited Adventures, released back in 1993. It was a program for making 'Gold Box' adventure games like Pool of Radiance (anybody remember that? Wow I feel old -_-).


I recall making dozens of games back then at the age of nine, each of which was several epic hours in length (THE SOILDERS ARE ATTACKING! XD) Throughout my childhood I was always being the Dungeon Master in D&D games, playing JRPGs, inventing my own pen and paper game systems and generally being a complete and total nerd. No matter how many random encounters I fought, how many contrived cutscenes I sat through, or how much inventory micromanagement I had to do, I just never got tired of RPGs. Mine is a terminal illness.

So yeah, that terrifying story is where I'm coming from, lol.
The first rpg I made was in rm2000 called Battle of the Continent. Which was ultimately a piece of crap with everything 100% RTP. But it was finished, with beginning, middle and end. So in that, it was a complete game and I highly doubt it exists...anywhere now. I certainly don't have it anymore. If anyone actually still has this game, I'd seriously put it up on my profile for kicks and giggles.
Then I decided to get a bit serious about RPG making and created Land of Dreams. That was my first official RPG released. It was pretty basic and influence heavy from many commercial games. (as those who have played it can attest) But again, it was a complete game from beginning to finish.
I then started in on Amulet of Fate...and stalled hard. This was to be my epic-spanning RPG. And I simply couldn't do it. I moved onto Megaman Tournament, a RPG fighting game that I recently came back to and updated it heavily. Much to the enjoyment of those who liked the original version. It was merely a side diversion to get my mind off of how bad I was roadblocked with Amulet of Fate.
5 years later, I finally restarted Amulet of Fate. Scrapped basically EVERYTHING I had and started fresh. The Amulet of Fate story plot point is no longer the central focus of the game now, but since I had title screens and other resources with that name slapped on it, I decided to work it into the new story and make the RPG more into a free-form type, similar to the sandboxes you get from the Elder Scroll series. Even without the epic-spanning story arc that I originally had planned, AOF still is a monster of an RPG to create. Especially with 26+ areas to create, each with at least 5-10 sub areas to boot. It is gigantic. But what is keeping me going is the positive views and comments of players looking at it. This continued interest is really helping my motivation. I'm still making it for myself (and ultimately for my kids to enjoy), but knowing that others like my work is still satisfying. Yet no one has reviewed any of my games! *sniff*
So there is my story.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
shit dude, i made so many (and not just the pixel kind) i sure hope retroactively that i wanted to.

: P
Wow. Anyway, yes I want to make games, and I have loads of fun doing it. That's why I do it. Newblack, you put a lot of thought into that.

This. When I was really young, I would always make up "sequels/prequels" to movies or video games and act them out. As I got older, I began to write some ideas down and wished I could do something about it. So when I first came across RPG Maker, I was immediately drawn to it. It has influenced what I wanted to do when I grow up - Using it has made me even more interested in computers and made me think that my ideas could actually become a reality. Everything that happened since then has made me want to get better. Now, I'm going to go to college for Computer Science and possibly work in the game industry. So basically RM served as the crawling before walking. Of course, it doesn't necessarily show if I'll be successful or not, but I'd like to think I will.
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.
I'm one of those dudes whose first game was an epic 40 hour long traditional fantasy JRPG (also a buggy juvenile rtp piece of shit) that took a year and a half to make and was probably subsequently played by about 50 people. The catch is that I actually finished it. Did not abandon my first idea or start over at any point; spent a year and a half and made it a reality.

Mind you, the game was awful. But all things considered, it came out way better than one would probably expect. And I think that the fact that I actually finished it is, almost certainly, what caused my interest to move from "making an rpg maker game for my friends and myself to be able to say we made it" to "making amateur rpgs for people out there to download and enjoy". Being able to hold up a finished product of that scale, however flawed, was an extremely powerful motivating factor in future works. It suddenly felt very worthwhile and meaningful; I realized I had done so much more than just make an interactive story for my friends, I had made an entire goddamned epic video game, and it felt really really good and I could totally do it again and do way better next time.
Quick story~ I quit my job, wanted to make a videogame in my spare time. Was aiming to find a way to make a 3D hack and slash composed entially of scantily clad women, found rpgmaker... I end up compromising =/

To be honest, a rpg isn't my preferred gerne at all. Sure I like some of its elements like leveling up and exploring towns, but things like grinding, medieval settings and the chosen one cliche really hits a nerve with me.

As I'm constantly trying to do everything as custom as possible, I do at times wonder why some people who use rtp or ripped graphics can take up to 3 or 4 years to finish their games.
Guardian of the Description Thread
The first 'RPG Maker' I ever used was TSR's Unlimited Adventures, released back in 1993. It was a program for making 'Gold Box' adventure games like Pool of Radiance (anybody remember that? Wow I feel old -_-).

I was, originally, going to go off on this huge blat about what makers I've used over the years (Which includes Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures!), but I wanted to spare the forum the sob story.
Well then, it's a good thing I've already depressed everyone then.

Very true, and I think it's likely that, however bad you may feel you first game was, there is some commercial RPG out there that is objectively worse.
Your mom is a hero
I wanted to make RPGs before RPG Maker existed.

my first engine was one I coded myself in QBASIC. (I strated making a game called Hero's Realm with it...I hit some weird ceiling in filesize or something and couldn't continue making the game. This was back in grade 9 I think)

before that, i filled binders with RPG ideas, plot outlines, storyboards, equipment, enemies, heroes, worldmaps (lots of worldmaps!), etc... I wrote a few pen & paper rpgs even.

after I finished playing FF6 I had a great idea that, what if you could play RPGs with other people and form parties and go on quests together all in a real time persistent world. I doubt this idea would have ever panned out!

before that I used to pretend I was a hero, and went off on adventures in the fields with my wooden sword and hockey stick scythe and slay all manners of ogres, dragons, demons and evil wizards. (this back when LARPing was called playing pretend). sometimes I was a ninja turtle.

I didn't discover RPG Maker until I was in university and I was all "fuck yeah!" so I gradually winded down my Red Alert modding and moved on to making RPGs. I am now trying to secretly take over rpg maker network from the inside.

So yeah, I wanted to make that FF/DQ knockoff very much.
I wanted to make games since I was 7. Back then, I began planning Neo Lescia in exercise books and on notepad when I was on the computer. I sort of forgot about it for a few years, but then it hit me again, and I became hooked on the idea of once more.

That was when my cousin told me about RPG Maker, after seeing me writing down weapon names and characters and so on. I got RPG Maker 3 for the PS2, and for some reason didn't try to make NL, rather, I made a game called Earthquest instead.

After that I found out about RPG Maker 2003 after finding videos of Seraphic Blue on youtube. I downloaded it, and now, 5 years later, I'm here.

Sorry to ramble, but thats the jist of it.
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