Centrenauts: The Beauty and struggle of RPG Maker

Hello everyone!

The main goal of The Centrenauts, was to make video game and to do that we need software that could help us. RPG Maker was what we picked, and it has been one of the most frustrating but also rewarding learning processes. For all of the limitation of RPG Maker, there are so many cool things that can be done with the program. From the small victories such as learning how to add a new map, to the huge victories of having intricate dialogue, it’s been a step by step process.

The program is extremely overwhelming at first, and honestly, it still is even after sinking hour after hour into it. The first step was to learn how to create a map and design it. I remember getting excited when I randomly right clicked on something, and the “new map” option appeared. It seems almost laughable now that I struggled with that, but I still find issues with the most trivial things. Tilesets for example are still a pain. Tilesets are the sets of blocks and design options for the maps. There are hundreds and hundreds of “tiles,” but you must assign the sets to a map when you start it, meaning that you cannot just pick and choose any tile you want to use. It took me a while to figure out that you can mix and match the sets to fit your needs, which was a major victory. With this, map design finally felt more manageable. Jordan did most of the map design and did a great job. He quickly learned how to take advantage of what the program offers and exceeded my expectation of what we could do. Now with map design down, we had to learn how to add events.

Adding events to our game has proven to be the most difficult learning curve for us. Once again it took randomly right clicking something for the magical word “insert” to pop up. With this we could now get our character to teleport somewhere, have dialogue, and a ton of other things. The problem is to correctly order all the events, making sure they flow together, and to not crash the game. Recently, after a couple hours of frustrating trial and error, I learned how to get an NPC to lead our character somewhere. The problem is, I cannot get the NPC to stop! Every time our character talks to the NPC, he exclaims “Follow me!!” and then leads us right into a wall, making the game freeze. I’m positive that it is an easy fix, but like everything else in RPG Maker, you have to figure it out. This has been frustrating, but when I do finally figure out that small thing that’s been oh so annoying, its incredibly rewarding.

Looking back now at everything that’s been a pain and struggle in RPG Maker, it makes me more appreciative of the game that we have made. The game is not even close to being a full game, but every time I move our character and play what we’ve created, I’m proud of it. I know what went into every aspect of its creation. Through all of the struggle, I am proud to say that we made a video game.

 

Alex Wright

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