This is my first interview with a game developer, I had a chance to sit and speak with Drassray about the RPG he’s currently working on. The interview follows and within the next few days I’ll be posting a review of the game at its current development stage.
You don’t make a living making games. So what do you do for a living?
I work for a company called “Trinity Technologies.” I’m fairly new to the company and I work as a Technician. The company is a provider of Aloha Point of Sales systems. We build the servers and install the network components and help maintain those systems for the future.
When did you get started playing games? What was the first game you remember playing and what did you love about it?
The year was 1989, I was only three at the time, and my parents got my older brother and I a Nintento Entertainment System (NES). I don’t honestly remember the occasion but that was my really first experience blaying video games. My first game was Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt on the same cartridge. All I remember, since I was so young, was how cool is was to control a little character, Mario in this case, and make him jump and get to the end of levels, or at least I tried. My brother was six at the time and was much better than me at it.
That’s awesome, got my Nintendo when I was four, which was in 1986. Mario and Duck Hunt were my first games on it but the game I really remember on it was Final Fantasy.
We got that game a little later. My first RPG though was Dragon Warior. I played that game for hours on end. That’s when I discovered I loved the RPG genre.
How did you get started with making games?
I was always a gamer. When we got a PC with Windows 95 when I was around ten years old, I got into games like StarCraft. I would play with the level editor a lot. I didn’t really know what I was doing but I had fun. By then, I was playing games like Zelda and Final Fantasy and really enjoying those games as well. But, I would think to myself, why don’t they make a level editor for those games? Well in 2001 and during a search for SNES games online I discovered RPG Maker for PC. Back then it was RPG Maker 2000. I downloaded the demo and played with it some but never really committed to making anything significant. But that’s what sparked my interest.
Oh yeah, I remember RPG Maker 2000, that’s how I got my start with RPG Maker, too. What was the first RPG Maker game you played?
Well, to be fair, I didn’t really play any until the last few years because even though I knew the engine existed, I didn’t think about playing games made by it. But one of the first I remember playing was the free Crystalis game. I remember thinking how polished it was and was incredibly inspired by it. That was almost 3 years ago.
For those who don’t know, what game are you working on right now?
It’s called The Magi Chronicles, it is a fantasy RPG.
Why are you working on this game?
I call it my first game, but to be honest, it’s not entirely my first game. I had a project that I started when I first bought RPG Maker VX ACE, called Legend of the Dragon Temple. Shortly after I started it, I scrapped it because I started working on The Magi Chronciles. I knew I had something so I went to my friend, Corban (saberwolfcdw) and showed him what I had. We started bouncing ideas off eachother, he helped me balance enemies and characters. And here we are today!
How did you come up with the concept for your game?
Writing. Which is ironic because I suck at writing. I don’t remember exactly when, but one day I was just really frustrated with LoTDT and was really discouraged by everything about it. I sat down and came to the conclusion that I need a good story. So I started writing Daryls’s back story and the lore of Rhaethol.
What inspired you?
It’s really apparent to those that play RPGS that a lot of my inspiration comes from other games, such as The Legend of Zelda. A lot of our puzzles and some of the lore share similar themes. I also look at other RPG Maker games now for mapping ideas a lot of the time as well.
Do you take any inspiration from anything outside of gaming?
Anime… That’s probably the other big one. I love most Japanese anime art styles and plots/tropes. I watch way too many to think of anything other than maybe Twelve Kingdoms that I found some inspiration in.
When did you start working on this game?
It was in April of 2012 that I really started putting lots of work in it.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve run into while working on this game?
Limitations of the engine. Corban would get a really good idea with the battle system and ask me if something was possible. Most of the time we would have to turn to scripts. And sometimes there’s not really a feasible script for something we would want to do but most of the time we found one. Neither of us code. It hasn’t been an issue recently though, I think we are at a point where we are happy with what we have!
Given that you’ve run into issues like that, have you thought of working with any other engines for any future projects you might work on, or would you stick with RPG Maker?
Right now, RPG Maker is really the only thing I know how to use, but I’m open to trying new things. I’ve looked at other engines, but one thing is for sure, if we want to make a really good action rpg we’ll probably look at new engines.
What have you learned from working on this game?
I’ve learned… That it is HARD to make a game. Good lord, why do I put myself through all of this? Haha. But seriously, it’s a lot harder that I first imagined but I’m so happy that I’ve made it this far and It’s really taught me a lot of patience.
What would you say to someone who is dismissive of RPG Maker as an engine and believes that any game made in it is not worthwhile?
I’d first let them know that there are good RPG Maker Games, I’d give them some examples and tell them to try them for themselves. I can’t change everyone’s opinion but if they dismiss a game purely because it’s made in a specific engine then they are arrogant to not even give that game a try. I know games get pumped out a lot by people from RPG Maker, so it can be overwhelmed by ones that are just not that good. On the other hand, if there is evidence that a certain RM game is good, then it should at least be worth a try if you like the genre. It’s not for everyone, so it does depend on the person saying that.
What’s your favorite game?
That’s too specific. I have many “favorite games.” The two games that have been the most influential in my life? I’d have to say The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and FFVII. Those games literally changed my life. But there are many many others that I love almost as equally.
Anything else you’d like to add?
An encouragement to those who may be making their first game: Stick with it! I’m not done with The Magi Chronicles, BUT I will be! Nothing is more fulfilling than having other people play your game. Take feedback with a grain of salt but absorb it, let it guide you. Most people just want to help you make your game better! Nothing wrong with that. Lastly, have fun of course!
For anyone interested in looking at Drassray’s game themselves, here’s a few links to where you can find the game and more information on its development:
RPG Maker Web Forums