Tag Archives: Game Development

Why All the Hate for RPG Maker Games?

I love RPGs, anything with an amazing story that will grab me I’m glad to sit down and play through. One big problem with RPGs though is that there seems to be far too much time in between the great ones, that or if you’re like me you’re too poor at sometimes to buy all the ones you want. That was especially true for me when I just got out of High School. Fortunately I happened to find the RPG Maker Community back then. At the time it was not quite like it is now, RPG Maker games were all made using programs that had been translated to English and thus 90% of the time not legal to sell even if the developers had not primarily reused sprites /music from other games.

That said, the things that some of these people did with their games were just positively amazing. Anyone who has played any of the old RPG Maker Games is familiar with “A Blurred Line” and the sequel “A Line’s End” that will likely never see the light of day. There are a number of other greats from those years that I could mention, but that’s not the purpose of this article. Eventually, about the time of the release of RPG Maker XP, Enterbrain realized they had a vast untapped market in the West. So they translated the software officially and made it available over here. Now people outside of Japan could create their own games in RPG Maker and actually sell them commercially.

Now, over the years the community has grown, and as communities grow they start to become more visible. To the point that you even start to see RPG Maker games on Steam. That’s right, now we’re coming around to the point of the article. All the hate on RPG Maker games. Why does everyone hate them? Most of the time when you see someone bashing an RPG Maker game, they’ve never actually even played the game itself. Often they have not even looked at the screenshots or the videos, they simply bash it exclusively for its connection to RPG Maker.

The reasons I’ve come across vary, but mostly it comes around to people thinking that RPG Maker is the “easy and lazy” way to make games. That the developers don’t have to put any time, passion, or work into making the games. Those people are so very wrong. Are there RPG Maker games out there that were released simply for the chance to make a little money? Sure, but honestly they’re the minority, not the majority. RPG Maker is an Engine, just like any other. It’s the same as Unreal or Unity, it’s just geared toward creating two-dimensional RPGs.

The most recent version of RPG Maker, RPG Maker VX Ace actually has rather in-depth scripting capabilities using Ruby, although technically Ruby has been in it since XP. If you go into the Engine and start looking at the scripts the sheer amount of things you can change and add is overwhelming. Just start browsing around the community, oh and yes there’s a HUGE community. The RPG Maker Community is more helpful and available I’d say than any of the communities for any other Engine out there that I’ve seen.

You have people who have created custom battler scripts, custom characters, maps, all sorts of things. Sometimes they just give it away to anyone who wants it, but it also offers them an opportunity to market their skills if they so choose. People can buy these things from others or even hire them on and work together to develop games. There are a number of amazing games in the works, and yes some of them are being sold commercially, but most of the people who make RPG Maker games are not making a living off of it. They’ve just found a way where they can tell this story that they had inside of them.

A way that they can share their world, their game, their characters with other people. Is it worth giving them a little money for the insane amounts of work they put into it? You better believe it is. They spend just as many hours, months, and years in some cases developing the games as any other developer does. They’re Indie Developers, just because the graphics might look a little old-school, don’t let that fool you. Most of the games have demos or videos available, take a look at it and immerse yourself in the game. You’ll see the passion the developers have for their games and you’ll see why you shouldn’t hate RPG Maker games, you should embrace them.

Lunar III – Or How a Game That Does Not Exist Made Me a Game Developer

I’ve had this article written for a while, but I was holding off on posting it since I thought it was going to be posted on another site. Since I haven’t heard back from them in a while and the time they said it was going to be posted has come and gone I figured I would go ahead and post it here. If they still want to use it after they’re welcome to, but I don’t see any reason I shouldn’t put it out there for others to read in the meantime.

The year was 2000, a friend of mine and I were chatting online. We were talking about a series of games that had just found a new audience a few years ago. The Lunar series, a game I myself had been exposed to back in ’94 on the Sega CD. There was nothing like it. Sure, there were a number of other great RPGs out there, but nothing was the same as Lunar. Nothing was able to blend humor and a deep and sometimes tragic story and make it flow so perfectly. Humor wasn’t just for comic relief, it really gave depth to the characters and situations.

(If you have not played this amazing series by now though, what are you waiting for? Go play it now, then come back and finish reading this. If you’d rather finish reading the spoiler-less portion of the article before playing Lunar, it continues past the next two paragraphs.)

For me there were few villains like Ghaleon, yes he was a megalomaniac and he had the intention of destroying the world, but he had every reason to want to. The Goddess had asked his best friend, one of the few people he cared about to lay down his life to save her people. Since the Goddess had taken Dyne from him, he wanted to take the world from her. You get a glimpse of the real him when you see the fairies inside of his tower and the sanctuary he created for them. He doesn’t hold them culpable for the fault of Althena’s children, humanity. So he is kind to them and protects them from the death he has planned for the rest of the world.

Of course in the course of the game you find out that Dyne is not dead, he simply lost his Dragonmaster abilities in order to defeat the Black Dragon. When Ghaleon finds out that his friend was still alive it was too late though, he was too far gone. He makes up for it in the second game in the series though. He guides Hiro, and saves him on numerous occasions. He helps Hiro and his friends become the heroes they had to be in order to defeat Zophar.


There had been talks and rumors of a third Lunar game since before Lunar Silver Star Story Complete was re-released on the Playstation. Nothing had been seen of it though. My friend and I started talking about what we would want to see in the game. It started with just throwing back and forth ideas, but eventually it moved from just
conversation to actually developing and fleshing it out. We had the story, we had the characters, we had the entire structure for a game laid out before us. One of us jokingly said we should send it to Working Designs, I don’t remember if it was him or me.

Then it was not so much of a joke. This was really a game, I mean sure, who were we? I had just graduated High School not long ago, and he was in his last year. We certainly didn’t have the experience of all of these developers, but what if they actually took it and made a game out of it? What if sending this to them brought out Lunar 3? So I actually looked up an e-mail address and put together the information and sent it off to them. I’ll tell you the not so shocking news, we never heard anything back from them. We didn’t really expect to, but we had designed a game regardless.

It was the spark that started something though. At that moment I knew I wanted to make games, I wanted to be a part of making something that could make someone feel as strongly as I did about Lunar. I had always loved games of course, to me they had always been an escape just as much as a novel. Except that with a game I could be a more active part of it, I was a part of the story and had a real effect on it. Now I felt that I could give that to someone else, make something that hopefully they could enjoy as much as I had.

Many years later, life has slowed me down a bit, but I am working toward my dream to be a game developer again now. I want to make games, games that people will love, and maybe someday I’ll get an e-mail from someone telling me about a game. About how they had sat around and dreamed it up. I probably won’t make their game, but I’ll reply to them. I’ll tell
them what I think of it, what could be better, and that they should keep it up.