RPG Maker: The Next Installment Is Near…
Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!
I’m not sure how many of you use, or even know about, the game development software called RPG Maker, but very recently there was some news released regarding the next installment in the series. While there isn’t a TON of information available about this new version, there is a page on the RPG Maker website that provides a few details regarding some of the software’s features. Allow me to introduce:
For today’s post, I will be discussing some of the new features, the changes being made to features from past versions, and any similarities this version has to previous versions.
Before we move forward, however, I would like to bring something to your attention. It is possible that Enterbrain, the company behind RPG Maker, teased the new version of their software in the promotional video for the release of the official English version of RPG Maker 2003. You can see it within the first 5 seconds of the video. Check it out.
The Major Additions
Side-View Battle Returns!!
A feature making its return to the series as a built-in mechanic is the Side-View Battle System. This allows users to have combat in their games that resemble battles from classic Final Fantasy titles. Users can choose to use this system in place of the mainstay system from previous RPG Maker versions, the Front-View Battle System, which will be making a return in RPG Maker MV as well.
I am happy to see the Side-View battle system make a return as a default feature, because I cannot stand the Front-View system that exists in current versions of RPG Maker. I didn’t mind it at all in RMXP, but in that version I could play animations on enemies, and their target, when they attacked or used a spell. In RMVX, and VX Ace, the battle system is incredibly boring where it matters most, which makes it tough to create imposing enemies when the player can’t see what those enemies are doing (except for the text running across the top-third of the screen). This is a welcome addition, and I eagerly await my chance to play around with it.
Mouse and Touch-Screen Support
For (possibly) the first time in the series, titles made using RPG Maker can be played using the mouse or a touch-screen.
I believe this is one of those features that the community has been requesting for years. I can say, from experience, while playing my RM projects solely with a keyboard has not been absolutely terrible, the ability to use a mouse in place of, or in addition to, the keyboard has certainly been desirable. Now, that wish has been fulfilled and will make playing these titles a great deal easier. The addition of touch-screen support is also a nice touch (snortles).
Multiplatform Distribution & Mac Support
RPG Maker MV users will be able to create games for a variety of platforms. In addition to the traditional Windows executable, users will be able to create games for Mac, Android, iOS, and HTML5. RM MV will also release a version for Mac at the same time as the Windows version.
This is a pretty awesome feature that provides users more avenues for releasing the games they create. Maybe we’ll eventually see some BrowseRPGs made using this software in the future.
I don’t know what this will allow code-savvy users to do, given my limited knowledge of Java’s capabilities, but I’m foreseeing some interesting things that RM users haven’t been capable of before. Online games? Co-op campaigns? I, for one, will be keeping my eyes open for the future.
RPG Maker MV will be introducing an increased scale to the graphics available in the software. In the current version, RPG Maker VX Ace, the screen resolution of games is limited to 544×416, and the tiles used to build the game world (and the scale of the base character sprites) are set to 32×32. The new version of RPG Maker increases the scale of the graphics used by 50%, resulting in a screen resolution of 816×624, and a tile size (and character scale) of 48×48.
RM users who are prone to crafting their own tilesets and character sprites will be able to do so while capturing greater detail in everything they make. Enterbrain, however, has decided to use most of the additional scale to dramatically increase the size of the heads of their base character sprites. Dayum!
The Minor Additions
Automated Map Layer System
RPG Maker MV will feature an automated upper layer, which is intended to ease the creation of elaborate maps. Players will have the capacity to layer images on top of each other with greater ease, which would have been an impossible task in previous versions of RPG Maker.
Personally, I think Enterbrain has been going about this feature all wrong for the last few versions of RM. They need to allow the users to add and remove layers as needed. It would be much simpler than anything they have managed to come up with, and it will allow people to figure out how to use them in their own way. I don’t doubt the usefulness of this new feature, but I feel like there are simpler ways to go about it.
Expanded Database Cap
In RM MV, users will be able to create twice as many items as they are able to in RMVX Ace. The database cap on various item lists has been increased from 999 to 2000.
I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of the database cap is, but it seems unnecessary. I’ve thought that since I started using VX Ace. I have yet to find myself needing to create hundreds of different items, but I did feel crippled when it came to weapons and armor. I appreciate this change, but I don’t quite understand the need for the cap.
If you glance at the image above, it is a glimpse of the streamlined-ish interface that users will interact with for many, many hours while developing their RPGs.
I am bringing this up because it was something I noticed among the various images on the RM MV page. I am mildly troubled by the image above because it feels too similar to the interface that exists in the current version of RPG Maker. There isn’t anything wrong with its appearance, but I was hoping for something more flexible. At least, in terms of how information is inputted into the interface. RM MV is, unfortunately, retaining some of the rigidness in its interface that has persisted in past versions.
New “Types” Tab
Another facet that presented itself in the above image is the addition of the “Types” tab.
I can only assume this is going to be the place where users will define various aspects of their game such as weapon types and armor types, to name a couple things. If this is the case, then the “Terms” tab will have many of its current facets gutted and replaced with a host of new elements to modify.
Togglable Menu Commands
The last tiny feature addition that I will cover that emerged from an image on the RM MV page is the ability to toggle on the numerous default menus used in RM projects without having to do so with a plugin or script.
While none of my game ideas have required a feature like this, there are types (genres, if you will) of RM games out there that could easily make use of this. While this may not have been a mandatory feature, I could easily see this having been requested by members of the community, and I am glad that the developers are taking these requests into account.
Well, those are some of the features, large and small, that will be coming with RPG Maker MV. I’m fairly excited to play around with this new version, because it looks to add several new options to further ease the development of games. After completing my project in RPG Maker VX Ace, I planned to create another title using my own custom art resources, but I may have to rethink the scale of those so that I can implement them into RM MV. However, I will worry about that at a later date.
It is rumored that RPG Maker MV will be available sometime this winter. So, be on the look out for more information.
What do you think of the latest version of RPG Maker thus far? Are you already planning your next title you’ll be building exclusively with RM MV? Will you be rebuilding any current projects with the new version? Which of the new features or changes have you most excited?
Join the discussion below.