A Beginning

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Posted: 25 Sep 2018 06:42

A Beginning

One day in late 2018, as I was browsing for a new game, I was hit with the mood to play a classic RPG like Ultima, Phantasy Star, Sentinel Worlds, or Space Quest. As I loaded up Ultima IV in Dosbox and coaxed it into running on Windows 10 64 bit, my brief high quickly faded as I saw how badly the graphics had aged. Even so, the game had managed to retain some of its early charm. Games like this still have a place in the world, I thought. But they need to run well on newer computers and while I'm okay with a top-down view of the world that was popular long ago, there is certainly room to improve the graphics without going full 3D.

So once again, like so many times previously, my mind began to drift while considering how to go about making a game of my own. I've always wanted to make a video game, but the sheer amount of work needed just to learn how, seemed overwhelming. I've been aware of the fact, for quite some time now, that there are number of editors that make the job much easier. But even that looked like a bit much, especially for someone with no modern coding experience. But I didn't need anything too fancy, just something that could let me express an idea that I had, in the form of a top-down 2D, retro style RPG.

That's when I stumbled upon RPG Maker MV. It looked so familiar and as I read more about it, I came to realize that I had already read about it once before, over 12 years earlier! Needless to say I was surprised that it was still available, and had been updated with new releases several times. I was very critical of it 10 years ago: "Who plays dated games like the games made with RPG Maker?" but I was starting to appreciate the value it offered, especially for someone like me, with no modern coding experience, and a desire to make a retro RPG. The charm of older games seems to get better with time, so what I thought was cheesy 12 years ago, is better now, in the same way that an old knick knack that used to be worthless old junk, becomes a valuable antique.

So I took the plunge, bought the software, and dived in head first. And what I created during my first week… was terrible. But I was learning, and getting better, and with every hour I invested, I came one step closer to realizing the game that I wanted to make.

Everyone I know asks me the same questions: "Are you going to finish it?" and "how many years is it going to take you?" These are honest questions because the more I learn, the more I come to realize just how much work this is going to be for a solo developer. Will I finish the game? That's hard to answer, I can't tell you how this will end, I can only tell you how this begins… and it begins now. Anything more than that is speculation.