With the RPG Maker MV, the traditional construction kit series has finally made it to PS4 and Nintendo Switch. This is a tool that has been promoting the creativity of its "players" for decades. It allows you to create your own role-playing adventure without having to resort to an arsenal of programming knowledge. Simple enough for a child and powerful enough for a developer, that's the premise.
(As good as) unlimited possibilities!
In order to be able to set up your own role-playing game, you need a lot of material and tools, of which the RPG Maker MV (buy now € 48.49 ) fortunately has enough to offer in both cases. One of the main focuses here is the map editor. This map editing mode is your tool of choice when it comes to building a pretty world out of the ground. Various assets, i.e. design elements, are available for this.
Regardless of whether you want to create a steampunk adventure or a fantasy world dripping with magic, you will get a selection of different styles here. Nevertheless, you have to be aware that the possibilities are more than sufficient for the beginning, but cannot be expanded with your own assets in the long term, as in the PC version from 2015.
Source: PC Games
The second core is the database. There is an overwhelming number of options to use, especially at the beginning, which deal with the most diverse mechanics of your game. For the most part, it's about the gameplay, which is why, in addition to possible opponents and items to be discovered, you also take care of various parameters acting in the background. In addition, information about your game and settings for the system itself must be specified here.
Last but not least, as a link between the previous tools, so to speak, is the Event Editor. This event processing mode is responsible for ensuring that anything happens in the world you have just created. It can be a seemingly simple walk through a door as well as a complex cut scene. In order to manage these events, you have another, initially somewhat overwhelming menu with its submenus.
If you were last in touch with an RPG maker a few years ago or if you have never come into contact with the games, the extensive tutorial will help you get started, at least in theory. This explains some aspects in a comprehensible way, but releases you too early into the modular wilderness. You get the tip of the iceberg and maybe stick your head in the water, but you have to work out most of the functionality yourself. There are also some confusing instructions or unclear names here and there, which are likely to cause problems, especially for laypeople. As soon as the initial hurdles have been overcome, it is best to follow the motto "Try is better than study".
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Source: PC Games
There is a whole lot to try. Hours of preparatory work such as creating the figure can pass before you even press a button in the map editor. This trial and error can be exciting and frustrating at the same time. There is always something to discover and even small successes make for a satisfying feeling, but it is all the more frustrating when something does not go as it should. Even things as simple as installing a functioning door pose problems if you don't know that this door will not be inserted via an asset, but via the event itself. Doesn't it all sound logical? Well, assuming that programming language is also felt to be logical, that may be true. But that will only apply to very few potential clients. Even a beginner will grit his teeth at this.
Balancing also causes problems. This is only partially a problem in the game, but finding the right mix of stats, power of opponents and other parameters is anything but easy. It is not without reason that "real" game developments always involve extensive playtesting with hundreds of test subjects. That is omitted here and the greatest, self-made game may ultimately fail because it is completely unbalanced. Nevertheless, it is of course a pleasure to test different configurations and approaches before expanding your world step by step. Perfectionists are offered numerous adjusting screws which they can turn.
Wake up the explorer in you!
Source: PC Games
Thankfully, one of our concerns about the Switch's handheld mode has not been confirmed. In view of the sometimes complex menus with increasingly smaller labels, there was great concern that they would no longer be able to recognize anything. The concern seems unfounded, because the fact that you can make changes on the go and in every little break proves to be a strength.
However, that does not comfort the clunky menu navigation itself. Not only is it annoying that you constantly have to wait pauses due to frequent loading times, but also that the simplest commands require several inputs, as you often switch through the various menus with just one button. This inconvenience, coupled with the aforementioned loading times, turns out to be a real time-waster, which can quickly become tiresome in an already time-consuming undertaking like developing your own video game.
If you have managed to create your very own game to your satisfaction, you will even get the opportunity to make your game available to the community for download. Regardless of the paid RPG Maker MV, you can get the RPG Maker MV Player to play these creations can be downloaded for free from the eShop and the PS Store.
Could the RPG Maker be any less cumbersome? Oh yeah. Is it still fun? Oh yeah!
My first experiences with previous RPG makers came in my youth, which justifies my anticipation for the new console version. However, the RPG Maker MV clearly lacks the necessary comfort that I know from the PC versions. Even if experimenting is still fun and is great for on the go, it always seems cumbersome and tedious. Not to mention the idea of having to face this as a completely unsuspecting newbie, because countless hours will be wasted here just looking through forums for help. Despite these shortcomings, this RPG Maker decoupling is and remains a great tool with a large selection of options to give shape to your own ideas. And once you get warm with it, you lose track of time very quickly anyway.
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