Friday, July 5, 2024

RPG Maker: History & Games A look at the last three decades of this legendary indie dev tool

 (Cool retrospective on RpgMaker History and it's various communities)

 (from Felipe Pepe - June 30th, 2023)

It was common in Japan to have magazines and game publishers create design contests for their readers/gamers — that’s how many industry legends began, such as Dragon Quest’s creator Yuji Horii.

In 1995, ASCII released RPG Maker: Super Dante, a version for the SNES / Super Famicon, and held a game design contest to celebrate it.

They received 3,447 entries. Yes, over three thousand Japanese in 1995 made a game in RPG Maker and sent it to a contest!

The winner was Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, which got around the severe limitations the tool had by making a comedy RPG where you play as Pal, the pet rooster of a rich boy gone broke. Together with a cat (that calls himself “God of Death”), you must work to help the kid recover his finances, alternating between the three characters.

Arguably the first noteworthy RPG Maker game, it was distributed for free using the Japan-only Satellaview modem for the Super Famicom. Later it was remade for RPG Maker Dante 98 (released in 1992 for the Japanese PC-98 computer). You can use this Dante 98 Player to try it on Windows computers.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

(Archive) - Necropolis - RM2k3

(Secretly re-uploading cuz this game was cool and deserves to be remembered.)

 - January 13th, 2014)

Obviously I stopped updating this blog a long time ago, because I hate blogging. Also, I hate Necropolis and haven’t worked on it for almost a year to the day.

(Mirror Download)
(RMN gamepage )

(...I couldn't find a decent review so I'm piecing one together.)
(if you can write a better review, please contact me)

(from Orias_Obderhode - September 23rd, 2011)

You follow the story of a man named Marcus, turned zombie, who has no initial recollection of who he is. As you progress to find the one called "The Master" who resides in the Necropolis, Marcus' memories begin to return to him.

As you grow in level, the battle system gives you, the option to increase three stances: "Basic", "Finesse", and "Power". Each level you put into these stances, teaching you new abilities. Each of these new abilities have different chain properties, allowing you to create more finishing moves. For example, the "Slash" ability is a Basic move, that will chain into a "Power" move. So as long as you use a power move after "Slash", the chain will continue. There are multiple combinations of finishers you can use.

Games created with RPG Maker need to have something special to keep me playing. With the custom battle system and handmade retro NES-style graphics and sounds, the game has a lot going for it!

(...something something, Jude the creator, put a careful amount of effort into not just recreating the NES-retro style, but emulating and understanding it's limitations - to the point where on top of having this engaging story, funny characters and really interesting battle system, I was curious to see what other twists and turns this game would take through this 8-bit retro macabre world he has created.

It's been about 10 years since Jude has worked on and released this demo. A lot of things have changed, mainly, being able to create and sell rpgmaker2003 in a official commercial capacity, which no one was able to do when this demo was originally released. Hopefully one day, Jude might return to this and we'll see what happens next, maybe not.

Eitherway, great stuff here.

Definitely worth playing through.
Necropolis is one of those games that makes me wonder if there's anything rpgmaker can't do.

This is a must play.)

Saturday, January 27, 2024

(Archive) Final Fantasy ? / (Hatena) - RM2k

(Never thought I'd see this get translated. Thank you.)
(Will revise later, wanted to post before I forgot about it.)

(from catbox description; included in link below)

Four crystals of power govern the world's elements and bless the earth with prosperity. One day, the peaceful village of Mysidia awakens to find that their earth crystal has been stolen by forces who seek to abuse its power. Now, hoping to seek their stolen crystal, three friends set out on a quest that will take them around, and beyond, the world before it's too late? This lovingly-crafted fan game features many familiar faces and locations from Final Fantasy and and other golden age Squaresoft titles, a custtom battle system that feels true to classic FF games of yore, challenging boss battles, and around 15-20 hours of gameplay.

Now available in English.
Special Thanks to /vrpg/
Main Download - CatBox Collection 

 (from Andes Chucky - June 30th, 2023)

RPG Maker has a long and storied history with Final Fantasy fangames. Final Fantasy Blackmoon Prophecy (finally released in 2012 after years of development) sought to capture the look and feel of the SNES titles. 2002's Final Fantasy: Endless Nova repurposed Final Fantasy II's "learn by doing" system within a science fiction story. Maranda ignored gameplay entirely to tell a short story within the world of Final Fantasy VI. Then of course there are countless unfinished demos such as Final Fantasy Empires and Final Fantasy Discovery. It's extraordinarily difficult to make games of this type in the RPG Maker engine. But that hasn't stopped folks from trying.

One of the more impressive projects I've seen in this vein is Final Fantasy ? (also known as Final Fantasy Hatena), developed by Norikarn. Like Blackmoon Prophecy, FF? borrows graphics and music from the SNES trilogy as well as the NES titles. Unlike Blackmoon Prophecy, though, the story is an afterthought. You begin the game with three main characters: a dragoon, a white mage and a black mage. They develop in power over the course of the game, but not in personality.

Despite being made in RPG Maker 2000, FF?'s battle interface is comparable to SNES-era Final Fantasy. The dragoon Ryuno has a Jump command that works directly from the menu, normally an impossible feat within the default RPG Maker battle system. Even better, the game lets you change a character's equipment during battle, use elemental staves from the item menu, and switch between single and group magic targeting. These feats would be impressive in a modern RPG Maker version like VX Ace or MV. They are truly remarkable in an old engine like RPG Maker 2000.

As you'd expect, FF? references many of the NES/SNES Final Fantasy titles, often in a playful way. Ryuno and his friends encounter Final Fantasy VI's famous talking octopus Ultros in a waterlogged cave; weakening him in battle leads Ultros to call on Final Fantasy IV's Octomammoth for help. Later, Ryuno visits Baron and meets the hero of Final Fantasy IV, Cecil. Ryuno can even visit Cecil's archrival Kain, who brags that he has mastered white magic to become a "Holy Dragoon." There's a fair number of Dragon Quest gags, too. I laughed when I found myself fighting Slimes at the very beginning of the game. There are Metal Slimes out there as well, if you can find them...

FF? is also notable for being a Japanese RPG Maker fangame, translated in 2022 by 4chan's /vrpg/ board. As a result, its cultural touchstones are subtly different from those of English-language Final Fantasy fans. An early quest pays homage to Final Fantasy III, which didn't recieve a legal English release resembling its NES iteration until 2021's Pixel Remaster. English language critics insist to this day that III is a minor entry in the series, despite the game's influence upon later titles. FF? reminds us that cultural exposure, as much as the games themselves, determine how video game history is written.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

(Archive) Velsarbor by Lachsen - RM2k

Now available in English

Special Thanks to WatDubHekBro. 
Main Download - GitHub
Mirror - MediaFire
Prepatched English Download Beta - MediaFire

Will update with more info later.

Richard Honeywood helped the house of Final Fantasy go from incoherent to incomparable - (FFIX's hallmark translation)

(from by Jeremy Parish - April 28th, 2011)

(on webarchive, when prompt, "click continue to 1up", on the top right corner to advance to the next page)

...With a successful translation of Final Fantasy VIII under their belts by September 1999 and Chrono Cross ready to go in August 2000, Squaresoft's localization teams had only one last PlayStation masterpiece to tackle: Final Fantasy IX.

The lush fantasy world and medieval cities of Final Fantasy IX marked a return to tradition for the series, which had grown increasingly modern with VII and VIII. But tradition hardly meant simplicity: As a celebration of the Final Fantasy series, IX packed a dizzying number of references to past characters, locations and themes, all wrapped up in a charming adventure that pushed the PlayStation to the limits of what it's hardware cound handle. A host of changes made the game feel like an interactive fantasy storybook or stage play: The return to cartoony superdeformed characters, the Active Time Events that introduced secondary plot elements, the allusions to Shakespeare. Even the simple addition of quotation marks around dialogue, first appearing in VII, gave the text a more literary air.

Though many of IX's allusions were present in the Japanese version of the game, they weren't there at the beginning -- when Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi delivered his original script, it barely resembled the full game that would later appear.

"I can remember receiving an initial draft of Sakaguchi-san's script early in production to review as preparation for our Loc Dept," Honeywood said. "I was surprised that it didn't really have any structure or even grammar to it. The plot was just a series of nouns. 'Darkness. Matches. Light. Candle. Boy with tail....' It made me laugh as I tried to imagine how a dev team would make a game out of this, and how much the planners would flesh out that basic story draft to have a very involved plot."

Final Fantasy IX's references range from the obvious to the obscure. Garland, Mog, Vivi, and "No cloud, no squall shall hinder us!" all make overt references to fan-favorite series elements, while Trance, the Dwarves of Conde Petit and the Princess Cornelia of "I Want to Be Your Canary" could easily sail over the heads of all but the most devoted fans. And that's not even counting the pop culture references packed into the script, with allusions to Star Trek ("Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a miracle worker.") and Monty Python ("Bah! Only only a flesh wound!")

Perhaps it was the wonderful source material, or perhaps it was the strength of the localization department by the year 2000; either way, Final Fantasy IX's translation remains one of the strongest scripts Squaresoft has ever produced. The improvements in technology helped, too, of course.

"FFVIII was the last game that forced the translators to submit their text in Shift-JIS double byte letters. I had written a tool that converted the text for them (along with line-width-checkers and a few other tools). On FFIX we convinced the dev team to allow us to use extended ASCII from the get-go, helping them implement that encoding into the program along with better fonts."

By the time Honeywood and the other localization producers were working on FFIX, they had hired translators capable of converting Japanese straight to FIGS (French, Italian, German, Spanish) rather than translating the script to English first. As a remarkably lively translation and a technical accomplishment, Final Fantasy IX was a fitting homage to the series and a hallmark of what was to come in future Square titles, when localization teams would work more closely with the developers than ever before.

"At FFIX's stage, we weren't too involved on a daily basis with the Japanese version...FFX, FFXI, FFX-2, FFXII and onwards we had the translators move to sit within the dev team at an earlier stage, and there was more collaboration. Over time, some dev teams became very good at choosing product and character names that work in all regions by discussing them with us."

In some cases, that close working relationship resulted in the English translations feeding back into the Japanese scripts -- FFX-2's developers liked the term "machina" that was developed for Final Fantasy X's English script so much they added it into their game in Japanese. And because American gamers cared far more about lip syncing in cut-scenes, some games like The Bouncer were recorded with English voices first and later dubbed into Japanese.

Via (webarchive)

Sunday, May 16, 2021

(Spotted) 海賊ウォーク"Pirate Walk(?)" - RM2k3


left/right - rotate camera
shift - run
z- talk/move red guards
x-rotates camera faster

*Uses Maniac Patch to achieve 3D effect in rpgmaker2003
(Bad recording, download and play for better performance)

(Spotted) (60fps twitter vid) (nico video vid)

Via VIPRPG12代目作品保管庫 (Japanese)

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Hironobu Sakaguchi and FF programmers' try to rival DQ [Game Designers in their'early' days] - Keiichi Tanaka

(from Denfaminicogamer by Keiichi Tanaka - July 21th, 2017)

The 1980s and 1990s was the “adolescence” of the game industry. Wanting to find out more about the passionate, young, overeaching past of the game designers that struggled during that time, this report manga was created. The first guest is Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of “Final Fantasy”!

Via Denfaminicogamer