RPG Maker VX Ace – making our perfect game

There are very few things on my bucket list, as I’m relatively unadventurous. One of the major ‘to-dos’ was to start up my own video-game reviews site – check. Another was to create my own game. Sadly, I never quite had the know-how for making my own game. When it comes to computers, I know how to play games, but building one is beyond me. I did once make a ‘Pong’ game in an electronics project that you could run on a TV. That’s about the extent of my abilities, though. A few friends heard about RPG Maker Web and suggested that we give it a go for the website. I was intrigued as to the capabilities of the software, I had grand visions of the game that I wanted to build but relatively low expectations of what we would be able to make with RPG Maker VX Ace. You quite often hear of similar products that make grand statements of game creation, but offer little in the way of diversity when it comes to actually making the game. We’ve been at it for a few months now and I’ve been blown away by the possibilities and pleasantly surprised by VX Ace, you can truly make the game of your dreams.

Ok, so maybe it isn’t the simplest of things to do. If it were simple, the games that you could make would be incredibly basic. Instead, RPG Maker Web have made the process as simple as possible, whilst still allowing you to create your ultimate classic RPG. Once you’ve got the hang of it, the whole process is much easier. We’ve been using VX Ace for the last couple of months to make a short RPG game. When finished, you’ll get around an hour of gameplay out of our short little adventure, with various quests and side-quests dotted throughout the game. We’ve not come up with a title for it yet, but we’ve toyed with ‘The Untitled IM PLAYIN Project’ … I’m sure it will change.

The game itself is incredibly simple, much like the original Final Fantasy games, it includes tasks like, finding a ‘Golden Elixir’ or searching for the ‘Dragon’s Lair’. We’ve thrown in a few references that some might catch on to, for others it might go straight over their head. This really is our creation, and we wanted it to be as true to us as possible. Once you get into the swing of creating the game, your creative juices really start to flow. We found it easiest to imagine what we’d like to do, and then play around with VX Ace to see if we could actually do it. In pretty much every case, we could. It was rare that we hit a creative brick wall, and if we did, it was usually because we weren’t sure how to do what we wanted to. We were restricted by our understanding of the software, rather than the software itself. But, after a few quick Googles, some incredibly helpful forums and some insightful YouTube tutorials, we quickly worked out how to accomplish what we envisioned. Much of the creation process relies on what you’re willing to learn and how much time you want to put into it. It’s taken us almost three months to create a one hour game, granted we weren’t doing it every day. Still, a lot of sweat and some tears, mostly mine, went into our little slice of RPG heaven. If you want a great game, you need to put the work in. Maybe that’s why Watch_Dogs is taking so long? We feel your pain, Ubisoft.

Still, time flies when you’re making your RPG. You would have thought that it would drag, or feel repetitive, but it doesn’t. Every moment of its creation is meaningful, even if it’s slightly fixing something that you’d botched up earlier in the creation process. You will find lots of bugs as you play it through, but there’s an odd feeling of accomplishment in spotting and fixing your own mistakes. And there’s no better feeling than playing a game that you’ve created yourself. Well, actually, make that – there’s no better feeling than watching another person enjoy a game that you’ve created. We’ve had a few people test-run the game so far, and I often find myself watching their expression rather than the game. The odd grin when they stumble across a reference to another game. A smile of surprise when they first meet one of the beasts in the Dragon’s Lair. The stern expression that covers their face as they try to battle a of creatures that’s putting up a good fight. I think that’s probably the best part of RPG Maker, that you can put your finished game out there for other people to play and enjoy. Surprisingly enough, I still found it fun to play a game that I’d helped create, even though I knew what was coming up in most places. It was a weird feeling; knowing what was coming, but being excited for it all the same.

RPG Maker retails for around the price of a standard game, (depending on which one you’re interested in) but instead of getting one game, you’re given the ability to create hundreds. Following through with a project to its completion is a wonderful feeling. We’re almost in touching distance of finishing this game and I honestly can’t wait for people to try it. Even if they don’t enjoy playing it quite as much as we enjoyed making it, I’ll always know that, stored away on a computer hard-drive or floating around somewhere on the internet, the game that I helped create will be there, waiting to be played. And hey, maybe people will love it. Who knows. All that I know for sure is that someone, somewhere, will play something that I helped create. And that’s good enough for me.

We’ll hopefully have the game finished in the next week or so, and we’ll be telling you all about VX Ace once the game is finished. Until then, I’d really recommend downloading one of their free 30-day trials. If, like me, you’ve dreamed of creating your own RPG, you won’t be disappointed. Just remember that it will take some hard work and a lot of dedication, but it’s all worth it in the end. Keep an eye out for our full review of RPG Maker VX Ace in the coming weeks!