As some may have noticed I had abruptly disappeared from the RPG Maker scene for a couple years now. Got a bit bored making plugins and couldn’t really think of anything cool to make that I enjoyed working on. There were definitely a lot of ideas out there, but they weren’t too exciting to me. Also didn’t really feel like making any announcements or anything cause that’s just not my thing.
Recently I received an email asking to do a commission which I unfortunately turned down, but then I was informed there was a new maker coming out?! So I had to check it out and indeed, RPG Maker MZ has been announced though information has also been quite sparse.
Which isn’t actually that surprising to be honest; I think when MV came out it was pretty much hyped up the same way, with information slowly trickling out over-time.
Anyways, a post about Frequently Asked Questions for MZ has appeared on the official forums which you should definitely check out if you’re curious to know what’s coming in MZ. It’s not too comprehensive at this point but here are some of my thoughts:
- Layered Maps
Layered mapping disappeared after XP, but guess it’s coming back? If you’re not sure what layer mapping is about, basically in XP you had three (?) layers for your mapping: bottom, middle, top. This was purely aesthetics, but it meant you could create things like underpasses and stuff where characters would disappear under the textures. Without the need for workarounds like pictures or scripts.
The layered mapping system was purely aesthetic though, and maybe some function? Like passing under a bridge vs walking over the bridge depending on which direction you approached, don’t remember. Some of the scripters in the community had written plugins to address this problem in MV. I had also attempted to address this problem in Ace with a script called Overlay Maps which basically let you load multiple maps onto the screen, effectively creating layered maps.
So for example let’s say you were in a mansion and you walked to the second floor; you could actually load the first floor, have it “scaled down” a bit to make it smaller and blurrier to create an illusion of depth, and you can see a maid on the first floor walking around without actually being on the first floor! Here’s an example:
This screenshot contains three different maps all loaded into the scene, each with a different scale to represent depth. Of course this was purely aesthetic and you couldn’t interact with the events on other layers (never figured out a good way). Also the script had really poor performance cause I don’t know how to write performant code, so it was just not suitable for real games unless you were working with really small layers I think.
Anyways so MZ appears to have layered mapping, which should be nice.
- MV Project Import
Currently there’s no information on whether you’ll be able to convert your MV project into an MZ project.
As a gamedev you’ve probably had this experience before: you’ve started building your game, getting scripts and resources together, set up your database, fleshed out your maps. And then 2 weeks later a new RPG Maker is announced with all these cool features.
And then you’re wondering, do you continue with your project, or do you wait and switch. From Ace to MV, I think there was considerable value to switching. First, Ace was primarily windows-only. There were some projects that tried to give it mobile support, and I think people could get it to run on mac/linux, but for the most part it was a game engine for building windows games.
MV was the first of its kind that promised support for online games and mobile devices. You know, modern stuff even by 2015 standards. This was a huge sell, because now you suddenly had access to a huge market.
But what about MZ? Well, hard to say at this point. Not really much information. I think there will definitely be unofficial tools developed for project conversion for MV to MZ (I might be interested in making or contributing), but if you’re already well underway with your current projects, you might as well finish it and then think about whether you want to try the new engine for your next project.
- MV Plugin Support
That said, I had also noticed that Yanfly had also retired recently this year which is definitely a huge hit on the community because Yanfly’s work really pushed RPG maker engines forward as a viable solution for gamedev in the face of other excellent game engines like Unity or Unreal, all of which are free, have extensive community support, and also support both 2D and 3D.
At this point, I’m not sure what the state of the scripting community is like for RPG Maker. I took a look at RPGMakerWebs MV Plugins board, sorted by start date descending, and saw there were about 100 plugins released since the beginning of 2020. Looks like there’s a couple plugin developers that have released multiple plugins as well, so it looks pretty good, new/better things are still being built.
That said, if anyone is interested in some of the plugins I’ve written for Ace or MV and would like to have them in MZ, I may be interested in porting them over to MZ. I’ll be putting up some kind of document where people can suggest what they want to see whether it’s a specific plugin, or just some idea they want or need.
For my patrons, actually I’m kind of surprised I still have patrons given that I haven’t done anything for like 2 years and never gave any explanations. Lol I’m not sure if you just forgot you had a $1 or $5 or $10 monthly pledge going on or perhaps you’ve successfully released commercial products and wanted to share some of your earnings with me.
Either way, I am grateful for all of the donations, really helps to keep this website around since I had decided to release all plugins free-of-charge for commercial and non-commercial use. I used to charge a “licensing fee” to use them but I mean, everyone’s spending their own time, money, and effort to make stuff with the hopes of making a little (or a lot) of money in return and I didn’t particularly enjoy the feeling of being yet another one of those business people that tried to siphon as much money as I could off you before you even saw a single return on your investment especially if it’s just like a 10-line plugin or something that I wrote 3 years ago.
I will be revising the patreon model shortly to better reflect my participation in the RPG Maker and gamedev community.
Anyways so those are my thoughts. Hopefully MZ will be good, maybe bring back some familiar names. It’s always exciting to see a new product come out after all.