RPG maker game engines review

Role Playing Videos Games, commonly referred to as RPG, is a type of game genre where the game player controls all the actions of a character in a game fantasy world. It was created by the Japanese by a group called ASCII. When the RPG maker first came out, it was designed for Japanese and Asia users only. But as its popularity grew, new versions were created that accommodated the Americas and Europe. RPG maker is responsible for the creation of millions of games worldwide, with thousands being commercial games. RPG game engine releases all its games through a platform known as Steamer.

As a game engine and game maker,RPG maker consists of a few components that support it to work. These components include: a tile based map editor, a scripting language that the developer has to use while coding and a battle editor. There are also characters and events in all versions that are used when creating new games. Although the RPG game maker is tailored to create role-playing video games, the game engine also allows the developer to create games of other genres such as adventure games. The most amazing thing about RPG maker however is that there are no coding skills or art required to create a game. This is why it is a great match for beginners as they can also make something. It is a great step towards learning game development.

The following are the different versions of the RPG game maker.

RPG Maker MV

The RPG Maker MV is one of the latest releases by RPG. It was released in 2015 as PC version RPG maker. The RPG Maker MV is known to improve on a lot from previous versions. It supports more platforms, it allows the developer to create side view battles and provides high resolution features for the game. It is unique among the many versions of RPG maker as it uses Javascript rather than Ruby that was used in all previous models. This was done because of new additional plugins. Games made by the RPG Maker MV can be played on both PC and mobile (Android). It also uses tile sets which had been abandoned in previous versions such as the RPG Maker VX and VX Ace. These tile sets allows the user to manually choose the layers which they want to build on. Recently, the RPG Maker MV announced that there would be a PS4 and Nintendo Switch version of the game engine. Both these versions was released in 2018 whereas the Xbox One release date was pushed to 2020.

The RPG Maker MV allows the developer to test battles and do prototypes during development. This is a great feature as issues such as balancing can be corrected.

Pros

  • It has a ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) editor which is very convenient and efficient for game developers
  • It has one of the best title editors among the popular game engines
  • Simple to use and understand making it a great engine for amateurs and beginners who want to learn game development
  • Has an online community where other game developers share solutions to problems, plugins and have a well-organized documentation
  • RPG Maker MV is a great game engine for artsy developers
  • There is no genre limitations unlike in previous versions of the RPG Maker

Cons

  • It cannot export for all platforms as it is mainly limited to PC and Android mobile games.

RPG Maker VX

The RPG Maker VX, also referred to as RMVX was released in 2007 in Japan. In other countries and continents, it was released in 2008. With this new RPG Maker, they focused more on making the interface as friendly as possible to allow game users to create games with ease. It also came with an increased framerate of 60fps for the shaky movements of games to be smooth and the animation to look more realistic and better.

RMVX is implemented in Ruby. However, it supports various scripting languages such as Python and C++. It also features a new editor and a new RTP that use a block style. For the battle system in battle games such as Dragon Quest which is a mobile game, the frontal view of the battlefield is more detailed and more text descriptions have been added. The only issue with the RPG Maker VX is the fact that it lacks support for multiple tile sets when mapping. This leaves the developer with a limited amount of unique tiles. This means that although there is multiplayer support, it does now work well for RPG Maker VX users. The following are the pros and cons for this game engine.

Pros

  • RPG Maker VX has a very friendly graphical user interface loved by many game developers
  • Allows ease of making games making it the best choice for amateurs and people who want to learn game development
  • It has an online community where other game developers share solutions to problems, plugins and have a well-organized documentation
  • Has an increased frame rate of 60fps that provides smoother movement of animations without jitters

Cons

  • The RPG Maker does not support multiple tile sets when mapping meaning that the developer has to work with a limited number of tiles
  • Although there is multiplayer support, it does not work as well as other versions or other game engines for that matter

RPG Maker VX Ace

The RPG Maker VX Ace is also referred to as VXAce or Ace. Ace was released by the Enterbrain Company in Japan in 2011. In the Americas, it was released in 2012 as a digital download. Like all other RPG Maker versions, it was released through Steamer. It provides the developer with the necessary tools needed to make the make game you want with the following features: a powerful map editor, built in character generator, event options and a character database for your game characters. The Ace was released to improve on some of the shortcomings of its predecessor – the RPG Maker VX. It especially improves on the VX’s main problem which was lack of multiple tile sets. It also adds battle narratives, special skills, spells and items such as damage and recovery for the characters you will be controlling in the game. Its RTP was also redesigned for the Ace. Audio was improved with high quality tracks included.

Pros

  • It is easy to learn and can easily teach a beginner the basics of coding
  • There are multiple tile sets for faster mapping
  • Supports both 3D and 2D and allows the developer to create games so good that it would be difficult to differentiate between the high level ones and simple games
  • Introduction of battle backgrounds allowed more game genres to be developed
  • Has higher quality audio compared to its predecessor. The audio database is also bigger to accommodate more songs.

Cons

  • It cannot export for all platforms as it is mainly limited to PC and Android mobile games.
  • Although there is multiplayer support, it does not work as well as other versions or other game engines for that matter

RPG Maker 2000

The RPG Maker 2000 is also known as the RM2K. As the name suggests, the RPG Maker 2000 released in 2000. It is the second release if the RPG Maker game engine versions and is by far the most popular RPG engine to date. It was released for Windows and this might be the reason for it wide popularity. Since it is older, the RM2K uses lower resolution and tile sets. Unlike its predecessor, the RPG Maker 95 which uses only one set, the RM2K has the ability to use an unlimited number of sprite sheets. Its tile sets have a similar lack of limitation. There is however a limit on tiles since they have to be logged on to the database. This limit however does not pose any problem to since the limit is high (5000) and because the patch bumps this limit even higher. This may however cause the game to corrupt and should be avoided. This game engine model does not support text output and only allows the game developer to program only two buttons on the joystick – Z and X. The following are some of the perks and downsides of the RPG Maker 2000.

Pros

  • It has a very high limit on the tile sets required. The exact figure is 5000.
  • It has a ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) editor which is very convenient and efficient for game developers
  • Is one of the best title editors among the popular game engines
  • Simple to use and understand making it a great engine for amateurs and beginners who want to learn game development
  • Good for simple games

Cons

  • The RPG Maker 2K does not support text output which such a bummer since all games require some form text to communicate with the player
  • It only allows for programming in two buttons which would not work for games today.
  • Due to its old release date, it is somewhat outdated and has limited features compared to where games are right now
  • It does not support smartphone games or any other games except for Microsoft Windows games
  • The RM2K uses low resolution even compared to its predecessor, the RM95.

The RPG Maker XP

The RPG Maker XP came after the RPG Maker 2003. They therefore share a lot of similarities although the XP boasts a couple of improvements. It was the first RPG game engine to use Ruby programming language making it powerful than all previous models. However, to do this, they had to remove a lot of simplistic features from the 2003 version. This was also the first RPG game engine to support a 1080p resolution games although then, most games ran below this resolution at about 640p. Its design ensured that there was more play area as the screen was not filled by a lot of stuff. Games here ran at 40fps but allowed, through scripting, for the games to run with higher framerates. Here, there is no size limit for sprite sheets and other design issues of the game. The clean design together with the implementation of Ruby Game Scripting Language made the XP much more versatile than all the previous versions.

The main issue with the XP is that when Windows Vista was released, there were a lot of compatibility issues being reported. The fix was released by RPG and was relatively easy. The RPG Maker XP has a clear cut simple design interface. The following are some of the pros and cons of this game engine.

Pros

  • The XP was the first RPG game maker to support 1080p resolutions for games
  • The interface was well-organized to provide four times the size of the play area of all its predecessors
  • Was the first RPG game maker to implement Ruby programming language which made it a lot more powerful
  • It offers a great amount of versatility
  • Allows better user control since there is no limitation for sprite sheets
  • The user interface is easy to understand and provides a lot more play area space

Cons

  • It had an incompatibility issue with Windows Vista
  • It is currently somewhat outdated.

Conclusion

For any game developer, it is important to have basic knowledge on how RPG game makers work because it is widely used to create a lot of games, especially smartphone games. It is only a great platform to learn as it is made to be easy and not require coding knowledge. If you are looking to learn game development, we recommend that you use an up to date RPG game maker.

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