Now that it's been a night since the release of my game, I've collected some of my thoughts and decided I'd share them with anyone who is interested. These are things I've thought about during the whole development process of Anti-Adventure.
- I bought RPG Maker MV back in the day because I wanted to make an awesome JRPG. I am NOT proud to say that within the two years of me owning this software, with its numerous QoL updates, and the insane amount of plugins that came out for it, I have not finished a single game until Anti-Adventure. Something had to change to fix this situation and it wasn't the software updates or released plugins. I had to change.
- There's a Jake Birkett video that I've watched which stated that if we spend more than one year creating our game, we are spending way too long. Well, it's already been two years and I didn't even have half a game made. I came to realize just what I'm losing here by wasting time and it wasn't money. It was my motivation and confidence. The moment those are gone, making a game will forever remain an unattainable goal.
- This project, Anti-Adventure, was made for me to prove to myself that with just a minimal amount of time, I can still get something done. It wasn't for money. It was so I could rebuild my confidence, rekindle my motivation, and clear my vision on what kind of goal I want to accomplish.
- When I look back, some channels like Extra Credits are a complete waste of time to listen to. They've never really ever made games or made things for games themselves so a lot of the advice they give hold little to no weight at all. Even though James from the channel made games, I've yet to see them, play them, or even hear about them except from the channel itself. Go listen to GDC instead. It done by real game developers who actually have solid content made. Getting advice from them mean far more than the hypothetical theories that EC spouts all the time.
GAME DEV PROCESS
- This has probably been the biggest game-changing advice I've taken to heart. I used to fall for every single one of these traps and it was depressing to think I've been doing it wrong all of those years. But for each listed trap, there was thankfully a listed solution to it, too. By looking into those solutions, I am proud to say I have finally released a game. It wasn't my dream game, but that's not how I see it. I see it as a stepping stone to something more.
- Not having a prototype of the game was probably the biggest mistake I've made in the past. I used to spend time blindly doing things and what I felt was "needed" at the time. Usually, this looped me into a cycle of upgrading a few maps over and over and neglecting the other parts of the game that I should have been focusing on. Having a prototype this time around gave me a clear direction on how the game needs to move forward. I copied Yanfly's prototype style found in his video and it changed nearly everything: it allowed me to clear the game in a matter of minutes without needing to have the whole entire game experience a million times over just so I could play test it.
- The five folder maps suggested by these comics are also massive amounts of help. It was a constant reminder of what I needed to do in the game, what I was currently working on, and what was already done. It felt like a to do list sticky note was inside my project the whole time and it gave me motivation to continue working as I slowly dumped everything into the Done folder. I was skeptical about the Cutscene folder at first because I thought that could easily be thrown into the Done folder. But once I've started making cutscenes separately, it all started to make sense. There was so much less juggling needed to be done with the real game maps versus the cutscene only maps.
ABOUT RPG MAKER MV
- The map editor is just plain awful compared to how it was in RPG Maker XP. I have no idea why they haven't gone back to that mode of mapping but by automatically layering the BCDE layers onto the map, I've encountered problems like tiles not stacking properly. Or sometimes they would stack properly in the map editor, but inside the game, it's reversed. Come on, Enterbrain. You guys made the same software. Why can't you just port whatever is superior into your latest version of the game?
- The tileset editor in the database is archaic. Changing the passability of a tile requires you to click on a tile multiple times to cycle through O, X, and star. All this does is add extra complexity and unnecessary amounts of clicking to just get some tiles working. The ideal way to make the editor work for something like this was to have four buttons that control passability: Auto, which lets you cycle through the three settings. O, X, and Star which changes whatever tile you click to the currently selected button. This would speed things up so much.
- Why are there only four BCDE tabs that we can add? Why can't we add them endlessly? That makes little to no sense. This is problematic because with tilesets like the FES DLC, there's a lot of empty space in there that isn't used otherwise. Having four BCDE tilesets in a single tileset setting isn't enough to make a decent looking map sometimes. At the end, I had to fire up Photoshop just to add more tiles to the BCDE tilesets just so it can be a bit more complete.
- There needs to be a way to copy and paste passability settings between BCDE tabs from one tileset to another. Even if you've adjusted the passabilities for one tileset using a specific BCDE file, you have to do it again if you want to make a new BCDE with it. This is a needless waste of time and definitely something that can be improved. If it was present, I probably wouldn't have to spend as much time working with the tileset tab in the database as I needed to due to the lack of this function.
- One of the biggest problems I have with RPG Maker MV is the event editor. Why are the events labeled under 1, 2, 3 instead of a more organized fashion? Label them like Message, Game Progression, Party, Actor, Enemy, etc. instead. While I can usually get a feel for where certain events are located after a bit of time of using the software, it's needless time that's wasted. The database already organizes things by Actor, Class, Items, Skills, etc. fine already. I think that format would work perfectly for RPG Maker MV. So why is it used for the database but not some place equally as important as the event editor?
- Despite some of my complaints about RPG Maker MV, I think I'll still continue using it. It's currently the best RPG game engine out there. Whether or not it deserves this is a different question since as far as my knowledge goes, RPG Maker has a monopoly on that standing. It would be great if there was more variety in the market for RPG development.
- Making and finishing Anti-Adventure gave me the motivation and confidence boost I needed. I think that I'll put off my dream game for a while and work on some smaller ones first before I attempt to tackle that.
Thank you all for taking your time to read through this rambling.
~Hands-On RPG Dev