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Hey guys, finally submitting a page here so my game is more accessible. TLDR: project is largely on hiatus, but I do plan to finish the bombing mission.

A little about me:

I graduated from a Bachelor of Engineering majoring in Software Engineering (2011), and I'm currently working as a developer for a startup (web, Android, iOS).

When I started my degree I decided to experiment on a high level with the programming concepts I was learning in something I was familiar with; RPG Maker 2003. Over the years I've seen many people attempt a 2D remake of FF7 and fail, so I thought I'd try do it right.

About the remake:

My core goal is to make the FF7 that would've existed if it was developed in 2D instead of 3D. We were so close to living in this reality, so I find it an intriguing idea that I'm almost writing this love letter of a game from an alternate dimension. To that end I'm really fortunate that FF7 was designed, albeit unintentionally, in such a way that it's very easy to relate back to 2D.

The game itself is made in RPG Maker 2003 (rm2k3), however the only built-in feature I'm really using is the tiled movement for the field. All the other systems (menu, combat, message boxes/text, etc) were built from scratch using rm2k3's event scripting. As a game engine rm2k3 is extremely restrictive so I'm using quite a few hacks to make it more bearable (special thanks to Cherry, who is well known for his RPG Maker hacks).

The bulk of the time spent developing the remake has been reproducing the menu and battle system in excruciating detail, which was my starting point before I even touched the art assets. 95% of the game mechanics are well documented, thanks to qhimm.com, such that my remake also plays exactly like the original as well as looking like it (this is why I say remake instead of demake). Even though my remake only has a few scenes, the menu and battle system are functionally able to handle all the mechanics in the game (I even use the exact same enemy AI). What isn't well documented is the behaviour of the interfaces, which I've spent a lot of time studying to make sure mine are 99% accurate.

Another part of replicating FF7's feel was in getting the art style right. If you look at the pre-rendered backgrounds in FF7 they really do look like crap - you can tell the artists didn't know how downsampled the renders would be in the final product, so there's a lot of blurry things-that-you-aren't-quite-sure-what-they-are everywhere using way too many colours. I translated this feeling to my sprites by using really rough dithering that gives it that same shitty feeling that is very FF7. I also use the exact same colour palette, such that if you reverse image search screenshots of my remake, it will return results of the original game. To make sure Cloud's battle animations felt the same I recreated them frame by frame in 2D (not rotoscoped).

I'm probably the only person who's glad the PC version of FF7 used midis because I was able to dump them, add flags so they loop properly and use them in rm2k3. Similarly I was able to dump all the sound effects as well (sadly there's over 700 of them and they have no file names - that's been fun). My remake wouldn't feel nearly as authentic without these, so a special thanks really has to go to the folks at qhimm.com who have done fantastic job reverse engineering FF7.

Where I am now:

The real FF7 has over 700 scenes, and the process for replicating each one takes me at least a week (I don't use tiled graphics - each background is drawn by hand, pixel for pixel) - you just need simple math to work out how long it would take me, and this is ignoring the additional time needed for character and enemy sprites. My personal goals have already been satisfied though - I gained experience designing/implementing complex game mechanics, and I answered my question of if you can really make a 2D game feel like its 3D counterpart (hint: it's yes!). I still want to finish the bombing mission to make a complete package of "what it might've been like", but my progress on this is glacial - the work left on this is Barret's battle animations, a few enemy sprites and about 7 more scenes.

What I didn't account for when I started the project was my own personal development, and I've moved beyond it being time well spent working on this project. I'm a full blown software engineer now and I'm capable of much more than a remake in rm2k3. I used to have insane amounts of free time, but now am married and work full time so I'm very particular with what gets to occupy the remainder of my time. I want to start developing my own games that I have the rights/ability to release on Steam or Android/iOS, so my remake is on hiatus, although I do return for it from time to time when the motivation strikes.

Intro demo (Midgar opening is still WIP)


Battle demonstration

Latest Blog

Unencrypted Game Files

There seems to be a lot of people struggling with the old Molebox exe, rather than repackaging it I figure it's about time I released the game files so people can inspect the insanity I went through to make this in rm2k3.

The game uses a hacked RPG_RT.exe with Cherry's Pic Pointer Patch, so it will crash if you replace it with a different version. Also I was using a hacked rm2k3 that raised the max variable limit. It should be safe to inspect the events in a regular rm2k3 copy, but if you change the variables you may not be able to set them back.

Enjoy!
  • Hiatus
  • Vanit
  • RPG Tsukuru 2003
  • RPG
  • 12/06/2013 03:00 AM
  • 04/22/2020 02:54 AM
  • 07/27/2099
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I've always thought that a demake of FF7 for a portable console, like the GBA or DS, would have been an awesome and very profitable idea for Square Enix.

In any case, this is quite impressive so far. I understand that the level of detail you're going for in the graphics slows down progress tremendously.

I'm looking forward to playing the finished bombing mission.
Tau
RMN sex symbol
3210
I still remember the GW topic of this game, shit was amazing. I always thought you just moved on from this but it's nice to see you're still going with it. It's a tremendous undertaking to pull off.

All the best.. Oh and I guess it kinda has been done now with that NES styled demake some guys made for it.
I remember this game from oh so long ago and being completely blown away by it. It’s finally nice to see a gamepage of this on RMN - finally!

Man, the amount of pictures in your picture folder must be at a staggering amount, probably more than 5000+ since you even emulated your own text instead of using the default one. That's just pure insanity! Even I wouldn't go that far.

If you could finishing the bombing mission and just call it a day, that would be great. Again, great to see a gamepage of this.
I know a lot about Final Fantasy VII and this is amazing! Seeing the battle video blew me away. It plays just Like FF7 would in 2D. All the animations were correct and the battle system works just like it should. I am very shocked with this and this is the best attempt of FF7 demake ever. That's coming from somebody who has played the game 3 times through and spent a lot of time studying the game's animation.

Are all of the graphics custom made? I know that would take a while because FF7's areas range from completely natural areas to modernized towns and cities. I can believe I didn't notice this game before and subscribe. I just changed that:) Good luck on the project!!
JosephSeraph
奇跡なゲイパワー♡
7283
RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD
THIS IS STILL UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY
Thanks for the support guys!

author=Addit
Man, the amount of pictures in your picture folder must be at a staggering amount, probably more than 5000+ since you even emulated your own text instead of using the default one. That's just pure insanity! Even I wouldn't go that far.
Pretty close, it's currently at 4242! The bulk of it is item and materia names/descriptions. Surprisingly the text system is rather simple; you just need a single picture for each possible character (I'm using 83) and a call event for each one to print out the character with the correct width spacing (and a few extras like space, newline). This is made possible by Cherry's Pic Pointer Patch, otherwise it'd be nigh impossible and I'd have to individually place each character for every text box.

author=XBuster
Are all of the graphics custom made? I know that would take a while because FF7's areas range from completely natural areas to modernized towns and cities.
Mostly custom! I was able to rip all the battle effects from FF7, so I've tried to reuse things that still work well in 2D. All the backgrounds, charsets, tilesets, etc are mine though. Before this project I had never done pixel art and have just picked it up as I've gone along, but I think I'm getting better.

Here's a preview of the 3rd area:

You should make that a blog post XD
author=Vanit
Pretty close, it's currently at 4242! The bulk of it is item and materia names/descriptions. Surprisingly the text system is rather simple; you just need a single picture for each possible character (I'm using 83) and a call event for each one to print out the character with the correct width spacing (and a few extras like space, newline). This is made possible by Cherry's Pic Pointer Patch, otherwise it'd be nigh impossible and I'd have to individually place each character for every text box.


Oh yeah, I keep forgetting that you can have more than 120 pictures on the screen at any one time using the patch, so things like making custom text boxes are possible to do – but doesn’t it lag sometimes with that many pictures on the screen, especially on slower machines? I recently tried making something which had more than 70 pictures on the screen at once without too much of a problem but I always worry about anyone with a slower PC. Still, 4000+ and only on the first bombing mission, wow… O_O

If this game ever gets completed, the amount of pictures in the picture folder is going to be some sort of a record, probably around 50,000+ since you already got all the menu stuff done.
you're still working on this? Man this is crzy..
Looks fantastic. I hope you come back to this :D
I doubt this will EVER get done, it's way to ambitious. I've seen games half as good as this never get completed. As good as it looks, I didn't even get to excited for it. Given the history of the RPG Maker community, lots of big games never get completed. A project of this scale, in my oppinion needs a dedicated and decent sized team. Seeing as it's made with RM2K3, makes it even less of a chance. This would have been leaps and bound easier in XP or above.
author=Jparker1984
This would have been leaps and bound easier in XP or above.

Not really. The battle system is already complete. What takes time is recreating the graphics, which would take a long time on any engine. And from what I remember, and take from the description, is that he doesn't plan on finishing this entire thing. The only thing he's committed to is finishing the bombing mission.
I have to agree; content creation is the number 1 drain on time for games. Creating the underlying framework for that content is the fun part.

A customized battle system is easy to make in RPG Maker 2003, just not as convenient as straight coding done in the later RGSS RPG Makers.
Heh, you guys are like 6 years too late to the conversation around the best engine for this. The answer is obvious anyway, any real programming language would've been better (including RGSS/Ruby in the newer RM's), but it's a moot point. At the time my decision to go with RM2K3 was one of pragmaticism and familiarity.

Having said that, there's a difference between better and easier. FF7's battle mechanics differ so widely from the built in systems in VX that I would've been forced to start from scratch anyway. So although I would've definitely benefited from using RGSS as opposed to eventing, I really doubt I would've found the task "easier".

author=Zachary_Braun
I have to agree; content creation is the number 1 drain on time for games. Creating the underlying framework for that content is the fun part.

A customized battle system is easy to make in RPG Maker 2003, just not as convenient as straight coding done in the later RGSS RPG Makers.


Quoted for truth.
Final Fantasy 7 is awesome! And so is this remake. The menu graphics look pretty spot on. Also, I've seen this video before seeing it on this site.

Their is a video of someone that has worked a materia engine. I was pretty impressed.

I really like RM2K3. The battles are fantastic. I used some sprites (and the cloud sprite you used) to make battle sprites. It reminded me so much FF6 style. I even had Red XIII do a flip. Even though I love it, I would not die for it. I would rather use the latest model. They have some scripts already made for RM2K3 sprites, but reading that stuff is like Chinese to me. I will end up doing and not being lazy.
i am way more interested to see ff7 recreated in rpg maker than i am seeing it in remade in 2D. so i dunno.
I don't know if there's anywhere to report this but...
the download is Malicious, as can be seen here:

Edit: image disappeared for whatever reason, and I don't have it any more...
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.
5236
Well, I see a malicious prorgram running in that screenshot, but it's not the game.
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
24323
Hmm...yeah, RM games can sometimes look like viruses to some anti-virus programs. I've got a ton of RPG Maker games on my anti-virus ignore list: Phantom Legacy, Shadows of Evil: Wings of Time, Vindication, VorlorN, Legend of the Philosopher's Stone, and a few others. I'm pretty sure none of them are viruses though.
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