Welcome to my simple guide not only meant for RPG Maker XP, a great software program dedicated to game making, but also for game design in general and how to start. I decided to create this guide with the knowledge I’ve gathered during these years of experience working with this program. I hope you find these tips and suggestions useful for your own projects!

RPG Maker XP is a “kind of” complex program at start, but it gets extremely fun and addicting as you proceed and gain more skills. If you’re big RPG fans like me and ever dreamed of creating your own stories and adventures, this is the right software for you.

Recruiting team members

As you may know, making a videogame requires a lot of time, dedication and patience, as it takes several team members with the most variety of game making skills. I adventured alone when I started my own RPG, Time Break. The basic recommended areas and skills are:

  • Programming (especially Ruby Scripting – RGSS)
  • Design (Photoshop, 3D, etc) – If you’re ambitious, with this specific skill you can add to your game amazing stuff like FMV’s and 3D scenarios.

Depending on your own tasks during the project, you can also recruit members with high levels of imagination, so that they can create one of the most important aspects of every RPG: the story.

Before you even start messing around with the software, release your imagination and creativity and start working on the story, characters and game route. First off, define everything on paper. Write a bunch of ideas of the story and characters, then begin to define their lives and personalities, while you work on the plot itself as well.

I have to say that this is one of the tasks that takes most of your time, but after you move on to the software, you’ll find your hours in this aspect very well spent.

The story

In order for the players to enjoy a good RPG, they need to experience a nice and captivating story plot. You need to pay attention to some details and avoid basic clichés, for example: “The hero meets his princess, go on an adventure together and one of them dies in the end while it rains.” OK, great. You can add heroes and princesses at your own pleasure, but do it in a compelling and innovative way.

Add catchy characters to your story that the fans can relate to, create connections between them that will originate stunning plot twists and don’t add unacessary characters with nothing to add to the story just to “fill” the plot. That’s why the NPC’s exist, those you can add at your own will when you’ll be making the cities/game areas.

Don’t forget this basic tip: Play games! Play a lot of RPG’s to inspire you and gain new and cool ideas!

The database

After you’ve wrote all of your ideas and basics to create a good story, time to move on to the database.

The database, as you can see in the picture, is where the main materials for your game will be saved. Here you can create the characters and change their stats, levels, etc; enemies and their force troops, it’s where you can also change their stats and create them at your own level; abilities and classes, weapons and items; create or modify the current animations, tilesets and scenarios and many more.

Prepare yourself and your team to dedicate a considerable amount of time programming the entire database, because if you want to create a well balanced game, you’ll need a consistent database. However, don’t waste much time wondering how much HP suits your characters better, or how many MP should the hero have. As long as you proceed in your project, you will constatly modifying these stats depending on the results you’re getting.

Time to get started

If you already have a captivating story and a consistent database, time to move on to the “core” of game making. Since you may not have enough knowledge, there are hundreds of useful tutorials throughout the Web:

Maps and scenarios

This was one of the most challenging aspects for me, since when I started doing game design I only had basic knoweledge in desgin. Therefore, I worried in creating simple and user-friendly maps. Don’t worry in creating complex and amazing maps right away, you have plenty of time to practice your mapping and improving it as you work on your project.

forestFor a good start in this area, worry about making enjoyable and simple maps. For example, don’t go making a huge and vast forest, but instead a simple and pleasent forest.

Take this picture as anexample from my game. It’s a simple forest with a path for the player to cross, a couple of items scattered around the area and both entry and exit well identified.

Useful RPG Maker and Game Design related pages

To those interested in creating RPG’s in this great software, I hope you find this simple guide useful and helpful. I want to help those who want to adventure in this “world” and who knows we won’t be working together in a great RPG in the future?

RPG Maker XP Screenshots

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