Thoughts on jRPG / RPG-Maker games?

For a long time I have noticed a trend among the developers of Weight Gaming, which is of course making unfinished, low quality RPG-Maker games with default placeholder sprites (which are sometimes edited to include weight gain).

I wanted to know people’s thoughts about it, because I have noticed a tendency for the projects to be kind of dull, containing placeholder sprites (sometimes with expansion edits) and being overall yet another RPG-Maker game that promises innovative, interesting gameplay, but in reality the project dies after a month or two (recently I’ve noticed about 5 dead discord servers in my server list which were related to development of said projects).

I’m not pointing fingers at anyone. RPG games can be good. I know art is terribly hard to make sometimes, but I think I’m not the only one who is tired of seeing the same formula numerous times.
Game development can be very exciting - but sometimes it’s better to hold on until you have something good to show.

9 Likes

On the other hand, there are great RPG maker games like Apostles. The problem is that the bad games outnumber the good, and that the bad games don’t live up to the expectations their developers set. It’s an overpromising problem, like No Man’s Sky. There’s nothing wrong with using RPG maker, the problem is the people who choose to use it and don’t do what they promise. Developers just need to be more honest about what they can actually do before they lose interest. If a post about an RPG maker game said, “this is a prototype that I plan to add to later” without any description of these hyped features, that’s respectable.

8 Likes

I think that there is nothing wrong with using the default RPG maker assets. Many of these “low-quality” games are the first game the creator has made. It is more important for creators to learn skills like making events, writing characters, writing a story and general game development than spending all of their time making new environmental sprites.

Using the default RPG Maker assets lets creators rapidly prototype their game. While as an end user it can be frustrating to play these unfinished games, it is important to get feedback from people to make sure people enjoy the game.

I feel that we would have a lot fewer good games today if people tried to jump in to making their magnum opus before making a quick RPG Maker game.

8 Likes

They seem pretty easy to make, and from some recent stuff on here, you can do a whole lot with it outside of the norm. Also, I have a nostalgic soft spot for them from when I played RPGM horror games when I was younger, so I may be a tiny bit biased…

2 Likes

Oh yes, absolutely, I agree with that.
Although, I haven’t mentioned that they need to make a magnum opus instantly - it would simply be a bit better to make anything worth playing, instead of a huge environment with a lot of empty testing rooms and unfinished interactions.

It’s more about biting more than you can chew. Why not start a 10-minute-gameplay game and finish actually making it? No need for a big project, just take care of something simple before you lose your motivation.

It’s really ease to dwelve into excitement, overwhelming amount of ideas and plots to write/add

2 Likes

I usually lose interest to RPG-Maker game, if I can’t see progress of character weight gain, which is often because in battle you see only face of your characters.

I’m going to agree on this in that it’s probably a matter of scope and the limitations of the rpgmaker engine. I’ve heard it’s difficult/annoying to mod it after a certain point, and most people think of rpgs as big, multi-hour experiences, which can burn people out really quick trying to make content for.

Whole lotta this. I want to see my character gain weight and see the weight as they move around, not just as an image in battle. I don’t remember ever playing an RPGM game that I liked besides Snail’s game, SFRPG or whatever, even then though I didn’t finish it because it got a bit boring. Making a good rpgm game is super hard, the engine is fairly limited and unless you don’t have super good storytelling or a unique mechanic (Think Mogeko Castle and OFF, my absolute favorite RPGM games), the game is bound to not ve interesting. Even for their first game, I would prefer some super clunky thing in unity over a short rpgm game with a couple fat sprites

2 Likes

I think it’s honestly less about the quality assurance of the project and more about how an RPG within itself as a game genre is heavily combat and story telling oriented and that sort of contradicts what most fat related content would dictate as the norm. That’s why so many bad ends exist within the game, offering fetish content while not compromising story progression, but even then the concept of bad ends rewards the player with fetish content for losing and that’s contradictory to the game playing experience. The story and narrative of the story can’t continue if your main character becomes too fat/is immobile. Also the concept of an rpg implies story telling, world building, detailed and complex characters with growth (pun not intended) and the problem with most of these rpgstaples is that all of this takes time. Not just from the game developer side, but also from the player playing the game. It’s really hard to weave in fetish content while not compromising the integrity of story telling in an rpg gameplay setting.

Essentially, the only way to really stand out as an rpgmaker game from others is to have great writing (art aside) but the more non fetish writing you implement, the less people that sorely play for fetish content will want to continue playing if they’re not engaged.

There’s also the reality that a lot of people aren’t too good at games which leads to some projects ignoring combat entirely which weakens rpgmaker as a base even further because the dev isn’t able to utilize as much of the engine’s foundation. Combat itself as I have found is really hard to balance as well. If you make it too hard or tedious it isn’t fun, but if it’s too easy, it basically might not even be there.

RPGmaker at a base offers a solid entry level platform to implement gameplay and story telling and allows you to plug in fat content and scenes fairly easily, but beyond that entry point, it’s honestly really daunting to balance all of those ideas, not to mention the art assets that I haven’t even touched upon yet.

4 Likes

I point dominantly to Rocketshark’s BFVRPG and Snail’s Super Fatty RPG as ideal examples of proper RPGmaker titles in the expansion circle.

It mostly depends on how much experience and actual “give-a-shit” energy you have when it comes to making something worthwhile with the engine, at least in terms of art.

1 Like

Art =/= a good game though. Look at Apostles. It has few custom sprites but is still amazing.

Good writing can surely make up for a lack of art assets.

I was just thinking about this the other day lol

Game development isn’t easy. Neither is making art. So I can absolutely understand folks using the more generic assets offered by RPG maker itself or the sprite bases I’ve seen floating around here on the forums. And, speaking as someone busting his ass to make his own art assets for his own RPG maker project, trying to make every art asset by yourself and trying to get it to comply with RPG maker’s standards can be a colossal pain in the ass.

Two things about that though: Firstly, the the default RPG maker assets and even the sprite bases I’ve seen floating here on the forums have been used so much that a lot of the games that rely on them can become rather homogeneous, and wind up failing to make any lasting impact on the player.

This isn’t necessarily a huge deal, a lot of these projects are essentially run by single-person, first-time developers. Being generic is fine when you’re learning how this stuff works. But for the folks with at least halfway serious projects, being forgettable can really hurt you.

Secondly, RPG maker, and the JRPG-style experiences it kind of encourages folks to make, very much requires a visual element to them. I’ve played plenty of RPG maker projects where the tiny text boxes get chock-full of highly descriptive writing to try to convey something the more generic RPG maker assets aren’t capable of showing.

And far be it for me to tell people how to make their game, but every time that happens I find myself wondering: if they’re not going to use the RPG maker engine to provide any sort of worthwhile visual element to the story they’re crafting and rely almost entirely on the writing, why didn’t they just make a text game? Text games can be just as worthwhile as RPG maker games, and stuff like Twine’s not that hard to learn. :V

3 Likes

Yes, but most RPG projects lack either.

That’s the case with alot of Rpg Maker games in general. The makers find something new with their time and never finish. Always a shame.

I actually think there are a lot of good rpg maker games on the site, and they are no less unfinished than any other kind of game we have here (there are just 10 games that have the full release badge). And this from someone who isn’t a particular fan of the genre. I don’t have any nostaligic memories of the format (which is reproducing a style of game that was defined by the limitations of the hardware of it’s day - something that no longer applies).

The things that put me off from even trying them are:

  • Loud tinny music from the moment the game starts. I’ve no nostalgia for this, I don’t want it. I know the first thing I’m going to have to do is to get into that options menu and turn it down, and the *-ing beeps.
  • Reading dialogue (and it’s an RPG, so dialog is, or at least should be, important) one *-ing character at a time. I’ve played adventure games on Creed teletypes that were faster. Or trying to double click to at least see a sentence at a time (still painfully slow), but then occasionally missing text because I wasn’t fast enough - and there’s no way back.
  • Ellipsis: You want me to press a button to see a dot, then press it again to see a dot. and press it again to see a third dot. No, just no! Besides an ellipsis means omitted words, not passage of time (or wasteful button pressing).
  • Town maps that would easily fit on my screen, but I still have to walk around to see the whole thing because tiny window for no reason anymore.
  • An insane number of button presses to perform the most simple attack, all with *-ing beeps. I’m not playing this game on a toy with just six unreliable buttons. I have all these other keys, and a mouse, and a game controller for that matter.
  • Oh look, a chest hidden behind a tree, again.
  • Having to cursor key around tortuous paths to avoid (often frequent and unbalanced) random encounters. When I was six etch-a-sketch had this acetate overlay with a maze on it and you had to guide the stylus round with the two knobs. That was cool then (and actually a useful skill if you’ve ever done any freehand milling). Not six anymore.
  • Combat. Endless combat often resulting in game overs. I get it, some people like repeating the same scenario over end over, tuning their use of abilities and party members to finally defeat the whatever. I really don’t have time for this, because working on my own game. For me if it takes more than three goes for a boss then I’ve had enough.
  • Entering names one letter at a time. Seriously WTF? I’m not playing on an arcade cabinet. I have all these buttons in front of me, you know, with a different letter on each one.

All these are general problems with the format for me. For WG games specifically there’s the additional problem that the character graphics are just too small to show gradual gains, and the dialogue too tiny (and slow) to describe it in text.

Then there’s the whole role-playing thing, and for me this is fairly fundamental. If it is supposed to be a role playing game then I need to be able to make significant choices about how the PC behaves. A series of on-the-rails battles and puzzles isn’t an RPG.

But, having said all that, there are some games here I do like, that are good enough to shine despite my issues with the archaic format. I take my hat off to them! I just wish there was an engine out there for this sort of thing that’s not stuck in the past (cough RenPy cough).

3 Likes

I agree with pretty much everything @dingotush said

1 Like