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#rpgmaker #indiedev #gamedev

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Let me tell you about the history of #rpgmaker, the underdog of game engines, and how it got its bad reputation.
#indiedev #gamedev
Rpgmaker has been around for over 20 years, and it had been baby's first engine for many young devs.
This wasn't supposed to happen.
Rpgmaker was a Japanese-only engine who got ILLEGALLY translated into English by Don Miguel, random Russian dude.
It spread like wildfire.
(Compare with the Wolf RPG editor, which is very similar, but just got translated too late and never caught on.)
Anyway, devs from all over the world wanted to use rpgmaker to make the next Final Fantasy. Being mostly teenagers, finding artists was HARD
So people started to "rip". They took assets from commercial games (mostly rpgs from the SNES era) to use in their games.
This was, again, COMPLETELY ILLEGAL - but it was the nineties, and nobody cared.
In 2004, rpgmaker XP got released, adding a scripting language to the engine. Finally, people could use rpgmaker for REAL coding!
Too bad it used RGSS, a proprietary language based on Ruby.
If it had a documentation, nobody bothered to (illegally) translate it.
The community became divided between those who already got some programming skills, and took a grasp of the language, and those who couldn't
But custom-made scripts were easy to share, so scripters usually shared their work with the community. Rpgmaker thrived.
Oh, and a little game you might know was made with rpgmaker XP, btw. It's called To The Moon.
2008: the impossible happens. Rpgmaker VX is the first in the series to get an official English release.
With a proper Western publisher the community finally gets official support, patches and official forums.
But also new rules.
No more art ripping from old commercial games!
This means that your standard rpgmaker game goes from this...
(credits: The Fifth Era)
...To this.
Combine this with the rise of Steam Greenlight, and what do you obtain? Hundreds of rpgmaker games flooding Steam, ALL LOOKING THE SAME.
The engine starts getting a bad rep. It's now the bad engine only lazy developers use.
On the other hand there's a rise in strange games from people who aren't interested in Steam, and therefore experiment.
(Credits: OFF)
You may have heard of OFF, Gingiva, Space Funeral, Yume Nikki...
All made in rpgmaker!
In 2015 we get rpgmaker MV, which replaces RGSS with Javascript. It's an incredible step forward!
Too bad nobody cares.
Outstanding features: devloper console, exporting options, open core scripts, titleD integration (through external scripts)
Rpgmaker now finally resembles a "proper" game engine, but its reputation is so tarnished that few devs actually try to pick it up.
What will happen now? Rpgmaker MV is growing well, and the publisher is working hard to connect the Western audience with the developers
But the developers are still Japanese, and their idea of indie is different from ours. Good article on the subject:
Lastest MV updates have been focused on making it more mobile friendly, instead of focusing on the PC market.
On the other hand, rpgmaker 2003 remains EXTREMELY POPULAR, expecially in Japan. People use it as a retro console, enjoying the limitations
that acutally helps solo devs to not overscope their projects.
It also got various hacks that fix old bugs and add new features. is the biggest archive of new Japanese games made with a decade-old engine. Give it a look.
So, in the end, should you actually USE rpgmaker for your indie game?
There are pros and cons. I'll talk about them another time! Hope you enjoyed the journey ✨
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Related: #rpgmaker #indiedev #gamedev