It is a great time for people who don’t have game development experience to begin making their own RPGs. Thanks to various localization efforts, lots of Gotcha Gotcha Games and Kadokawa Games programs designed to make RPG creation easy are available to a wide audience in multiple languages. There are so many that, well, it might be overwhelming. You have console programs, PC software and even the 3DS has a tool you can use. Which one is best for your needs? Can you actually make a full game? It is a lot to take in at once.
Fortunately, that’s exactly why we’re here.
What you need to know about RPG Maker in general
The most important thing is that there is a lot of documentation out there. On Steam alone, you could go all the way back to RPG Maker VX Ace and start working with that tool. The community is very helpful. People who have gone before you have made mods that you could use to have a game run the way you want or fit into the genre you would like. Assets are included, and you can often find or buy more. There are even official, free sample games to give you an idea of what you can do. (Those don’t even require you to have the software!)
It is going to be intimidating. Making a game will take time. But, even with the newer games, there are people around willing and able to help.
I want to make the the most professional-looking games that will be played by the most people.
It might be tempting to go with the newest and best application, which is RPG Maker MZ. But, the best way to really get a professional-looking game put together is to go with RPG Maker MV on the PC.
It has been around since 2015, so there’s a very active community and you can find plenty of guides. There will also already be plugins you could tap into for your title. It offers a lot of accommodations, even with its age, as you have different battle viewpoints and you could enable touchscreen controls.
But most importantly, RPG Maker MV’s PC version isn’t limited to Windows and Mac operating systems. While you will need a PC to make your game, you can create a game that could run on a mobile device or in a browser. Now, there may be issues with mobile compatibility due to operating systems changing. But this is the software that included it out of the box.
I want to play around with something fairly intuitive, even if it means many people won’t play my game.
RPG Maker Fes is incredibly easy to use. The 3DS application is limited, but I think that works in its favor. There aren’t a lot of complicated interactions or options, though you can still do things like add a job change system or a relationship system. We even have a whole video series showing how to create a basic game, work with its scripts and show how completed games can look.
I mean, your finished games are locked to the 3DS. Still, they end up being a lot of fun.
I want to make something people on consoles might play.
Guess what? RPG Maker MV is finally available everywhere. You can pick it up on the PlayStation 4 and Switch. Each one also has a free app that those who don’t own the software can grab to play finished games.
I would very strongly recommend the Switch version, if you are going to go in this direction. Mainly because it does support touchscreen controls, which can help with the creation process. (Also, well, you could have the system with you at any time in Handheld mode and work on different game elements.)
I want to make an RPG-like game, but maybe that is more story heavy or uses a more strategic battle system.
With RPG Maker games, even the ones on the 3DS, PS4 and Switch, it is possible to dabble in other genres. It is very easy to make an adventure game or even a visual novel. In PC versions, it is even easier to experiment by using plugins.
But if you really want to make something different, then you should probably avoid an RPG Maker and go with more specialized software. SRPG Studio would let you make a Fire Emblem-like title on PCs, while Ren’py or Visual Novel Maker would be a better fit for a visual novel.