Games & Design > RM[XP/VX] and Game Design

Where to Start?

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Andri:
So lately I've been playing around with RPG Maker XP and VX. I'm a complete noob and I don't really know where to start LOL. Since this forum is filled with talented people, may I ask for advice of where to start in my adventure of video game design? I don't have experience at all with programming or designing, but video game is my passion and I've been playing ever since the days of Nintendo.  :)

Question, Mark V:
Seeing as it's an adventure game, I'd suggest starting with the story. Get a quick rundown of it. Who are the main characters? What is the story about? What happens to the story? (e.g. short bullet-point version of the entire story)

From then on, you can probably decide on what the core gameplay mechanic's going to be like. (i.e. if it's a zombie thing, you'll probably go with the limited items and scavenging for starters) Do mind that I didn't say that the story is fleshed out yet. You just had enough story material to come up with the accompanying gameplay. From then on, change/edit/refine/tune your story and gameplay as you develop it, coming up with new, better ideas while trashing out those that no longer fit as your project evolves.

P.S. Just a little advice from my personal experience. Video game passion isn't enough as a motivator for projects. As your project drags along, you may become disillusioned, your project becoming a task rather than an enjoyment. I'm telling you this now so you could come up with something to keep you really interested in your project. Is it a specific passion to level design? Writing? Gameplay design? Come up with something that can be your forte in your RMXP project. The reason why my projects couldn't leave the alpha stage is because I have no forte (nothing I can say that I really like doing in my project) and loses interest from time to time, each task (level design, writing, etc.) becoming a task than something I would be really fond of doing. It may not happen to you, but I'm just throwing this around for the sake of helping. It's pretty sad when projects by other people that I've become interested on suddenly comes to a halt because the author loses motivation or disappears or something.

Andri:
Thank you for the two cents Question Marker. I understand that to make things come true, you will need commitment. I just hope I can go make progress in this area of my life, aside from just being a regular gamer. Hmm how about starting technically? What basics do I need to learn first and where can I get the learning materials?


Question, Mark V:
For the technical stuff, I'm not so sure myself. Though you're using RPG Maker XP/VX, right? It's really up to you. Since RM has simplified most aspects of development, you may want to decide if you will learn Ruby or not. Just in case you aren't aware, Ruby is a scripting language in RM that can create new features and what not. For me, I stuck to just using freely available scripts even though I understand Ruby (due to my previous (and unusable) basic C language classes). If you want to learn Ruby, here's my recommended tutorial site: http://www.youtube.com/user/gubid/videos

I'm using that guy's custom battle system (Final Fantasy Tactics-esque) and I have also forgone the leveling system in my game since I suck and hate balancing levels (remember that graph thing in RMXP? Holy LOL).

It's also up to you to decide which RM you're going to use. I have forgone XP for VX since combining tilesets have become too cumbersome for me so I accepted VX's blockiness for easier mapping.

Also, you mentioned that you've been playing around in RMXP/VX, what features have you learned? I can't really point you to any particular site as I've scoured the net for RM tutorials back in 2008 (Christ, is it really 4 years ago?), I'm not sure what sites are still up (been staying here since I got here), though try checking rmrk.net and hbgames.org. I used to lurk there.

I suppose you may want to ask something about how RM mappers make gorgeous maps (like Reives' outdoor maps), I think that comes down to how creative you can get with manipulating the mapping editor of RM. Mapping in RM is of course, easy to learn but the tips and tricks that I've learned to making my map look more than just a big box of boxy things is by looking at other people's maps. Try admiring some of how other people exploited the limitations of RM to create beautiful maps, like the ones in this screenshot thread: http://freebirdgames.com/forum/index.php?topic=886.0

Also, in my previous post, I didn't mean to pressure you to make your first project a success. :'( Just informing of what I've personally been through (though it sounds kinda dark and gloomy haha). One of the mappers in the Source engine community that I lurk on told us about how even though he has managed to release a campaign that garnered a 9.0 something rating, he has a ton more of unfinished maps dating all the way back to between 2004-2006, the first two years he started mapping for that engine.*

*details may be incorrect, but that's the gist of it

EDIT:
Also,  if you think you want to post a thread about your project, do so. Of course, since it's your first time doing so, you may not cover all the stuff that are usually expected by users (let's say screenshots, enough details for the plot, character). But don't worry! We don't bite anymore and we'll keep throwing feedback at your direction to keep things going. :D

EDIT:
Yyyyeahhh, I didn't really give out much about technical stuff. The other members should step in this thread at some point and give you their advice and stuff.

Squall:
To get familar with the RPG Maker, I would advise you to think about the things you want to do and explore the functions of the RPG Maker a bit. You want a door that can be opened? A man who gives you a quest? A weapon shop? Appealingly presented dialogues? A monster that moves around the map? A plate that makes you jump forward once you step on it?

See what the RPG Maker can do, and ask yourself what you want to do. Naturally it will take some time until you are able to great an appealing presentation of whatever you want to convey, so don't expect to be exceedingly good at everything right away. Learn to design maps, to create simple and later more complex events; to create a certain atmosphere by changing the screen color tone, adding weather effects, background sounds and music. You will progress fast in the beginning, but it takes quite some time to hone your skills. If you need references, try other RPG Maker games. Reives' games are for example excellent examples for great presentations (you may want to analyze a scene or two to learn a couple of things after you have figured out the basics).

Whenever you have questions, we are always here to answer them.
Oh, if you still wonder which Maker you should choose: The RMVX is generally easier to use because it is more clearly arranged and has some convenient little functions, but it is also limited in some ways. The RMXP is great, but somewhat less beginner-friendly (although there should be no problem with that either). I think that it is much easier possible to use the RMXP to create games that have a lot of atmosphere (any kind of atmosphere, actually) while the RMVX makes it hard to convey e.g. a really serious or dark atmosphere.

Personally I like both of them but use RMXP more often.

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