Posted: December 13
After having used this software for over a hundred hours, the best piece of advice I can offer anyone is to scale your expectations back - and I mean way, WAY back. No words can describe how disappointed I am with RPG Maker after spending countless hours watching tutorials, reading guides, experimenting with concepts, editing with GIMP, all to create nothing useful or something just barely functional. I simply did not realize how limited the software was. Even after I discovered what it could do (or more accurately, could not do) I scaled back my expectations constantly only to hit a roadblock again and again. By far my biggest critique of the software is the bare-bones nature: you can make a Final Fantasy game with it, and by that I mean the FIRST Final Fantasy, aka the one that is probably older than you are. The mechanics are all at least 25 years old, resulting in:
-No in-house method of creating a game map (as in, a reference map you can press a button to show where you are in the world)
-No in-house method of editing Sprites or Tiles (I had to use GIMP software for that)
-a mystifyingly limited number of tiles you can use to build a map with (after using GIMP to put together a custom tile set, I exported it to the game only to discover i could only use a fraction of the tile set because Enterbrain imposes a limit on tile sheet sizes…when I discovered that, I swear a small part of me died.)
-Needlessly complicated methods to get around the tile limit (like parallax mapping and some outside scripts)
-No in-house clock
-Way, way too heavy reliance on outside scripting to do even the most basic of things that RPG's have already been using for decades.
-Arbitrarily small limits on things such as stats or item amounts (true, you may not use every slot to create items, but why take the chance to limit the developer? Go ahead and set the limits sky-high, it is not that hard)
Think of an RPG, any RPG: what mechanics did you like about it? chances are, RPG Maker cannot do that. Did you like the Psynergy or Djinni system of Golden Sun? Too Bad. Did you want to make a game with multiple skills in it to level up without the use of scripts, as per Runescape or the Elder Scrolls? Nope. Did you hope to implement a monster capture system like Pokemon? Not Happening. Did you like the flashy Summons from the early Final Fantasy games this software is failing to live up to? Not a chance. Do you like to actually watch your characters on the battle screen fighting the enemy like in…almost every RPG ever made? Without scripts, you will be stuck in a soulless first person mode and will never see your characters sprites in battle. Are you awed when your enemies use your own nuclear attacks against you, or unleash their own unique abilities to show you that you are not the only person with show-stopping special effects? Enemy sprites are static and use utterly no animation when they attack. Want to change the default walking or running speed?... Actually, I still have not found a script that could let me do that.
This software may be useful for veteran programmers, but for those new to the field, stay far, far away. Now, admittedly the community has made incredible scripts that dramatically improve the experience, but fans had to do that, not the developer. I might even go so far as to say that I think some of the fans put more effort into improving RPG Maker than Enterbrain itself did actually making it. Ultimately, I cannot recommend RPG Maker VX Ace to anyone.
Do not buy (or at least wait for a sale), you will be disappointed.