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Two friends and I are planning to make a FFIV-VI style RPG (generally speaking, we have some unique ideas for mechanics, setting, etc.), but none of us are programmers (two of us are otherwise very computer literate) so we were thinking of using RPG Maker VX (maybe Ace when it comes out) to make our first game. Other than that, we have the talents required for the rest of the process (an artist, writer, musician, all avid and thoughtful gamers, etc.).

I have some experience with RPG Maker VX, and I think we could get it to do 90%+ of what we want with some code added from the RPG Maker community. Our goal is to make a 10-15 hour game and to release it for sale on Steam, etc. (they might be adding the option to export to iOS and XBox Live Arcade as well).

(I've thought that if we had some success with it, we could transplant the project over to something like GameSalad i.e. we'd have the mechanics, story, music and art all done, so we'd just need to hire someone to do the work of porting all of that to another program.)

Are there any obvious reasons why this might be a bad idea? Any advice would be appreciated!

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Is there a specific problem you're running into with your decisions? This feels like the kind of question that doesn't do well on these types of Q&A sites: gamedev.stackexchange.com/faq#dontask Specifically: "we are being asked an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?”" –  Tetrad Feb 22 '12 at 19:39
    
It's not a bad idea, but selling it might be a problem (depending on various factors) –  thedaian Feb 22 '12 at 19:48
    
Tetrad - I just thought it would make sense to ask for input somewhere. I thought that someone might have an opinion on whether RPG Maker is a viable option for this project and its end goal (making a game we can sell). –  JoeC Feb 22 '12 at 19:49
    
Thedaian - thanks! Do you have any specific reasons that selling a game made with RPG Maker might be an issue (besides the struggle to get a game noticed, etc.)? –  JoeC Feb 22 '12 at 19:51
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What Tetrad said. Maybe ask this on a forum like TIGS or Gamedev.net? –  michael.bartnett Feb 22 '12 at 23:35
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4 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

If I distill your question down into a very generic version, you are asking:

As someone who can't program, should I use a game making tool I'm familiar with for a first project?

With the sale question aside, yes. Using a tool you are familiar with is always a good choice.

You should make a list of all the items that you are unsure whether RPG Maker can do. Post on their forum and ask if they are possible, you will then have a list of critical issues and what their resolution is. If one of these critical issues is a deal-breaker, re-think that portion of the project. It's better to know up-front than hit a critical issue in the middle of production.

I encourage you to start and finish your project. At the end you will know better than anyone what the strong/weak points of RPG Maker are and whether or not you need a better tool and/or a programmer for the next project. Also you might have an easier time attracting a programmer if you point to a finished project for them to see you are serious.

Considering selling on Steam. First you need to research RPG Maker and possibly contact them to see what their distribution license is - this will guide how you use their provided assets i.e. this faq. IMO, the payoff for the first project might simply be to finish it and attract more like-minded hobbyists (just from personal xp).

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Thanks a lot, that's a really helpful answer! My aim is to limit the scope of the game so that we actually complete it, as you've suggested. Regarding assets, we'd be making our own (one of us is a professional painter, two of us are musicians, etc.), so the game will be 100% original content. Now you've got me thinking that it might be a good idea to start off working with my friends on a much smaller project, like a 2 hour game, just to get an idea of what the process is and what RPG Maker is capable of before we dive into a bigger one. Thanks again! –  JoeC Feb 22 '12 at 20:32
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I'd say you use RPG Maker XP rather than VX, since the maps and tilesets there are unlimited unlike in VX. Also, there are plug-ins or source codes available that you can use for XP to make games like Zelda...(check Hero XAS Edition for RPG Maker XP).

~ I am a RPG maker xp user for years.

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Well if you'd like an opinion i'd go for RPGXP - Rpg Vx is just way more limited. With your knowledge on VX, you can do a lot more on XP.And these limitations will eventually let you down. You can search for games made on Vx and on XP and see the difference. So i'd say Yes at starting with Rpg Maker, but No to RPGVX.

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I to am working on creating my owm RPG game using the RPG for XP but I'm also still learning as I go,..and it will take me a while still even with having past programming experience in basic, vb6, at least this is more on the level of what I can understand, and keep it simple, and actually be able to finish the project at hand?? On the flip side - " the selling points I think in my opinion would be poor, due to the whole CLASSIC style RPG's popularity now a days.." As for people who ever still use Freeware, bareware, Shareware etc..PD sites still have a chance, thats if you don't mind selling your hard making, time consuming, multi-person player game that took almost a year to create from start to finish, and have it sell for $1.00 or .99 cents per download? I suppose you could upload it onto an RPG gaming site that uses primarily RPG maker style games and tools, editors etc,..but then selling it for $14.95 good luck with that one,..

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