We all love playing RPG games (I do!) but what about creating them? You could start taking programming classes, browse through the interwebs getting snippets of code here and there, and spending hours at a time just getting the base elements together. Why would you would want to do all of the ground work when there is already an easy and fun tool you can use?
RPG Maker VX Ace is an amazing tool for anyone looking to create a simple or complex RPG game. There’s really not much limitation to the tools or the engine itself as it uses RGSS3 based off of Ruby 1.9.2. You don’t have to dive into the script files but you can if your heart so desires.
The Staff at GemtriX usually takes a look at games in the more personal sense. How does the game make me feel? Am I connected to my character or if they were to get slaughtered in the next battle would I care? Is the story funny, amusing , dramatic, heartbreaking, or just downright dull? This is completely different in the sense that it depends on how -you– want to create your story.
Let’s dive right on in shall we?
RPG Maker VX Ace
Release Date: March 15, 2012
Link: Official Website (English Version)
This is the first window you will see after you select a project folder name, location, and game name. On the left you’ll see tilesets that are used to put your map together along with your first map that is automatically generated in the list. On the right hand side of the screen you’ll find the map editor.
It’s extremely easy to get up and going. You can simply grab a tile and paint it on to the map area. Layering can get difficult at times with large and intricate maps but overall I’d have to say it’s a very simplistic process.
If you aren’t a “guru” or you’re getting started you can load a sample map (image: right) to get up and going. I personally started using the sample maps to see how the layering process worked and to get my feet wet.
There are a huge variety of sample maps to choose from and to be honest the list of sample maps they include is almost daunting at first. These sample maps include towns, ruins, camps, swamps, shops, houses, caves, etc. I spent a good 20 minutes of my time going through some of the sample maps looking at item placement, layering techniques, and getting an idea on how to best layout my first map.
Sample maps are great and all but what if you want to get down and dirty in a dungeon and you are stuck on how you might lay it out?. You could create a new map, start painting the ground and walls that you want to use, and hope that your layout is both challenging and flows nicely, but there is a simple way. The Generate Dungeon option allows you to select tileset options for your dark abyss and quickly generates a map even the boogie monster would be proud of.
As an addition to this version of RPG Maker you can also setup regions on your map. These regions (in total 63) allow you to setup specific encounter areas for enemy groups.
An RPG wouldn’t exist without characters. You’ve got your hero, damsel in distress, old gentlemen, crone, and the nasty little thugs always getting in your way. This is one of the features I was the most excited about in the new version of RPG Maker. It has been really well implemented and it shines through as an amazing addition to the series.
Using the Character Generator you can change everything about your character. As you can see the possibilities are nearly endless. I gave our female character here blue hair, red eyes, changed her skin tone and kept the other options at the default settings.
After you’re done with your character you can export your face and character images. By default the save dialog window appears in the correct folder and automatically imports it into your resource database, after you save the image, so you can use it in your game right away.
As RPG Maker VX Ace has just been released I wasn’t able to find extra parts for the Character Generator. You can, however, add and use new parts to create even more impressive / unique characters. Definitely a win-win for those of us not artistically inclined.
So we’ve got the maps covered and the Character Generator but what about all the other information you’ll need to make your game unique? This is where the Database comes into play. There a ton of options in here and, at first, I had a moment of sheer horror until I geeked out and found out just how much could be tweaked and bent to my every whim.
There are a total of fourteen tabs within the database. These include:
Actors – This is where you add characters to your game. Including options to name, add a nickname, description (bio), select the class, starting level, max level, starting equipment, and change character graphics.
Classes – This is where you can add classes to your game. In this tab you have the following options. Name of the class, experience curve, curves for specific statistics (MHP, MMP, ATK, etc), Skills at specific levels, and features of said classes.
Skills – This tab contains all options in regards to how you want to setup your skills. The options in this tab range from the skill name and description to the in-depth formula and effects used during the skill being used. You will want to take your time in this tab as this affects nearly everything in your game.
Items – This tab contains, you guessed it, all the options for items. It’s pretty straight forward and uses a similar layout to the skills tab. Even the formula section of the skills tab found its’ way here.
Weapons and Armors – I love me some weapons and armor! Sorry, got excited there for a moment. The options here are basic yet effective. They share nearly the same options with the only exception being animations (weapons) and equip type (armors).
Troops – How many enemies do you want to attack? This section allows you to setup special battle events, number of enemies, and change the battle background.
States – These are the states your character or enemies enter throughout the game / battle sequences. You can set the restrictions, if the state is removed at the end of the battle, and a host of other options.
Tilesets – The heart of your map creation abilities. In order to use the tileset resources you import into the resource manager you’ll need to set them up here first. You can set specific tiles to passive, non-passive, set a direction they can only be passed from, etc. A new feature here is the ability to have more than one tileset active at a time (Tabs A-E on the map creator).
Common Events – This allows you to setup events through your game that you use most often and then call them later.
System – From this tab you can setup the most general settings for your game. Included options are initial party, game title (if you need to rename it), currency unit, window color, vehicle graphic (boat, ship, and airship), music, sound effects, starting positions, and title screen. I’m personally in love with the title screen option as it allows you to create your own title screen based off of a few changeable options.
Terms – Think of this tab as the dictionary behind your game. From here you can rename everything involving the games basic systems. For example you can rename the “Escape” option in the battle system to “Run”.
Ok, so we’ve got your map, characters, and game options setup. Now what do you do? You can run around your first map but other than that there isn’t anything going on. This is where the event window comes into play.
When you create a new event the window (image: left) appears. From here you can change the graphic of the event. If you want to walk up to an NPC and hit the action button (default space) then you’ll want to add a graphic to the event. Options also include conditions, trigger, priority, and movement. If you want to get into more advanced events you can add additional tabs.
The main area we’re interested in is the contents of the event. When you double click on this area the event commands window will appear. There are three tabs in this window that can affect and produce amazing results. You can move your event (automatically), change the map (say for instance you’re entering a shop), change screen effects on the map, start a battle, play a movie file, as well as show on screen text. This list goes on and on.
If you want, for example, to start telling a story as soon as your player enters the game the events command window will allow you to set this stage by allowing you to add compelling text that guides your reader to the starting line. It can be easy to get lost in the event commands window and luckily the help file included with the program is really thorough on what these event commands do.
Earlier in our review I mentioned that RPG Maker VX Ace engine uses RGSS3 based off of Ruby 1.9.2. I also mentioned that while you do not have to get down and dirty with scripting, as I’m sure you can tell, you do have the option to open up the scripts editor and change nearly anything. Personally, while you’re getting started, I would stick with the basic functions as these allow you to do so much already.
There are custom script repositories out there, amongst the RPG Maker fan sites, that offer great additional functionality. The scripts from RPG Maker VX do not work with RPG Maker VX Ace as there are quite a few changes and improvements in the script engine. The scripts from RPG Maker VX need to be re-written / converted to work with the latest and greatest RPG Maker VX Ace.
The last version of RPG Maker I’ve used, prior to picking up RPG Maker VX Ace, was RPG Maker XP. There were some definite limitations in RPG Maker XP that I wish I could have worked around simply rather than using custom scripts and complex events. RPG Maker VX Ace is what I could only have dreamed of back in the RPG Maker XP days.
We’ve given you a good look at the basic functions and features this program has to offer. What you create with it is completely up to you. Are you going to create a story where the hero is fighting to save the princess? Are you going to create a game where you’re this mysterious and hated wizard who is collecting the souls of innocents?
The one tip I can give you is that you need to sit down and plan out your story line, character names, and have an idea of the maps you’re going to need. You could go in with a great idea and have it come out poorly executed. I’ve played many games created with the RPG Maker series and have run up against great ideas that were just heart breaking and confusing to play.
So what will RPG Maker VX Ace do for you? Simply put, the only limit is your imagination. Let your heart guide you and others will have an emotional tie to the characters and events in your story. In this reviewer’s opinion the best games are made by those who put their soul and tears into it.
You can find more information on RPG Maker VX Ace and download a 30-day trial on the official website: