RPG Maker

Last updated
RPG Maker
Developer(s) ASCII, Enterbrain, Agetec, Degica
Initial release17 December 1992;26 years ago (1992-12-17) as RPG Tsukūru Dante 98
Stable release
RPG Maker MV / October 23, 2015;3 years ago (2015-10-23)
Platform PC-8801, MSX2, PC-9801, Super Famicom, Microsoft Windows, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Game Boy Color, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, MacOS
Available in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, English
Type Game creation software
Website www.rpgmakerweb.com

RPG Maker, known in Japan as RPG Tsukūru(RPGツクール, sometimes romanized as RPG Tkool), is the name of a series of programs for the development of role-playing video games (RPGs), created by the Japanese group ASCII, succeeded by Enterbrain. The Japanese name, Tsukūru, is a pun mixing the Japanese word tsukuru (作る), which means "make" or "create", with tsūru (ツール), the Japanese transcription of the English word "tool". [1]

A game development tool is a specialized software application that assists or facilitates the making of a video game. Some tasks handled by tools include the conversion of assets into formats required by the game, level editing and script compilation.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

Enterbrain Japanese publisher

Enterbrain (エンターブレイン), formerly Enterbrain, Inc., is a Japanese publisher and brand company of Kadokawa Corporation founded on January 30, 1987 as ASCII Film Co., Ltd.. Magazines published by Enterbrain are generally focused on video games and computer entertainment as well as video game and strategy guides. In addition, the company publishes a small selection of anime artbooks. Enterbrain is based in Tokyo, Japan, with a paid-in capital of 410 million yen. Enterbrain's current president is Hirokazu Hamamura.


The RPG Maker series was originally released primarily in Japan, before later versions also released in East Asia, North America, Europe, and Australia. [2] It is a popular game development engine, with hundreds of games created using RPG Maker released on Steam every year, including hundreds of commercial games. [3]

Steam (software) Video game platform

Steam is a video game digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation. It was launched in September 2003 as a way for Valve to provide automatic updates to their games, but eventually expanded to include non-Valve games from third-party publishers. Steam offers digital rights management (DRM), matchmaking servers, video streaming, and social networking services. It also provides the user with installation and automatic updating of games, and community features such as friends lists and groups, cloud saving, and in-game voice and chat functionality.

PC versions

RPG Maker is a program that allows users to create their own role-playing video games. Most versions include a tile set based map editor (tilesets are called chipsets in pre-XP versions), a simple scripting language for scripting events, and a battle editor. All versions include initial premade tilesets, characters, and events which can be used in creating new games. One feature of the PC Versions of RPG Maker programs is that a user can create new tilesets and characters, and add any new graphics the user wants.

Tile-based game game based on tiles that can be arranged

A tile-based game is a game that uses tiles as one of the fundamental elements of play. Traditional tile-based games use small tiles as playing pieces for gambling or entertainment games. Some board games use tiles to create their board, giving multiple possibilities for board layout, or allowing changes in the board geometry during play.

A scripting or script language is a programming language for a special run-time environment that automates the execution of tasks; the tasks could alternatively be executed one-by-one by a human operator. Scripting languages are often interpreted.

Despite being geared towards creating role-playing video games, the engine also has the capability to create games of other genres, such as adventure games (see Yume Nikki ) or visual novels with minimal tweaking.

<i>Yume Nikki</i> Japanese doujin adventure game

Yume Nikki is a surreal adventure game by pseudonymous Japanese developer Kikiyama. In the game, players explore the dreams of a hikikomori named Madotsuki, where they encounter a number of surrealistic horror creatures and locations. The game was created using RPG Maker 2003, but has few overall gameplay elements, with the primary objective being to collect items called "effects" to complete the game.

RPG Tsukūru Dante 98

According to Enterbrain, RPG Tsukūru Dante 98, released on December 17, 1992, was the first software of the RPG Maker series, [4] [5] although there were a few versions of RPG making software by ASCII preceding it, dating back to 1988[ citation needed ]. This, along with its follow-up RPG Tsukūru Dante 98 II, was made for NEC PC-9801, and games created with these programs can be played on a Windows computer with emulators called Dante for Windows and D2win, respectively. [6]

Emulator system that emulates a real system such that the behavior closely resembles the behavior of the real system

In computing, an emulator is hardware or software that enables one computer system to behave like another computer system. An emulator typically enables the host system to run software or use peripheral devices designed for the guest system. Emulation refers to the ability of a computer program in an electronic device to emulate another program or device. Many printers, for example, are designed to emulate Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printers because so much software is written for HP printers. If a non-HP printer emulates an HP printer, any software written for a real HP printer will also run in the non-HP printer emulation and produce equivalent printing. Since at least the 1990s, many video game enthusiasts have used emulators to play classic arcade games from the 1980s using the games' original 1980s machine code and data, which is interpreted by a current-era system.

RPG Maker 95

RPG Maker 95 was the first Microsoft Windows-based RPG Maker software. Despite being an early version, RPG Maker 95 has both a higher screen resolution, and higher sprite and tile resolution than the several following versions.

RPG Maker 95 is the first RPG Maker series title for Microsoft Windows. The tool is also the first in the series to receive an unauthorized English translation and release.

Microsoft Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed, marketed and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Microsoft Windows families include Windows NT and Windows IoT; these may encompass subfamilies, e.g. Windows Server or Windows Embedded Compact. Defunct Microsoft Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

RPG Maker 2000

RPG Maker 2000, also referred to as RM2k, was the second release of RPG Maker for Microsoft Windows and is the most popular and used RPG Maker so far.[ citation needed ] While it is possible to do more with RM2k, it uses lower resolution sprites and tiles than RPG Maker 95. However, it does not have a noticeable limit of 'sprites'. Unlike RM95, which can only use one 'set', RM2k can use an unlimited number of sprite sheets with specific sizes for each type. The tilesets also have a similar non-limitation. However, because tiles must be entered into a database, there is a limit on tiles. This limit however is rarely a problem (normally 5000), and even when it is, an unofficial patch exists which can bump most limits much higher at the risk of potential game corruption. It doesn't support text output and can program only 2 buttons, Z and X. There is text in dialog boxes, by manner of overlaying sprites, or maps lain with text. But not plainly on the screen.

RPG Maker 2003

RPG Maker 2003, also referred to as RM2k3, and sometimes RM2k/3, is largely an improvement of RM2k. RM2k games can be ported to RM2k3 (but not back to RM2k, the conversion is permanent), and most resources are interchangeable. The main difference is the introduction of a side-view battle system similar to that found in the Final Fantasy games on the Super NES and the Sony PlayStation. This was the first version made by Enterbrain, which had previously been a part of ASCII.

RPG Maker XP

RPG Maker XP, also referred to as RMXP, is the first RPG Maker which can use Ruby, making it the far more powerful than previous versions programming-wise. However, many normal, simplified features present in RM2k(3) have been removed. Most of these features, however, have been programmed with Ruby, and distributed online. RMXP runs at 1024x768 resolution (though games made in it run at 640x480), while offering four times the playable area of its predecessors. By default, games ran at 40 frames per second, though the game's scripts can be modified to set the framerate to any value. Additionally, it allows greater user control over sprite size (there is no specific image size regulation for sprite sheets) and other aspects of game design. This more open-ended arrangement, coupled with the inclusion of the Ruby Game Scripting System (RGSS), makes RPG Maker XP more versatile than older versions in the series, at the cost of a steeper learning curve. Upon the release of Windows Vista, many users experienced compatibility problems, although the fix was relatively simple.[ citation needed ]. XP used a front-view non-sprite battle system that allowed for the use of Battle backgrounds (Battlebacks). Both characters and enemies had static battle sprites, and the interface was quite simple.

RPG Maker VX

RPG Maker VX, also referred to as RMVX, its Japanese release date was Dec. 27 2007, and official release date in America was February 29, 2008. In this new maker, the interface is more user-friendly, allowing new users to create games with ease. The framerate was increased to 60 frames per second, providing much smoother animation in comparison to RMXP's often-choppy 40fps. The programming language Ruby is still implemented, and the game's default programming has been overhauled to allow more freedom to those scripting in new features. New editor and a new RTP are included, this time in a much simpler "blocky" style. The default battle system is comparable to that of the Dragon Quest series or its predecessor RM2k, with a frontal view of the battlefield and detailed text descriptions of each action taken. One notable disadvantage from the previous version, however, is the lack of support for multiple tilesets when mapping, leaving the player with only a finite number of unique tiles with which to depict all the game's environments. Multiple player-made workarounds exist, but this remains a sore point among many RMVX users.

RPG Maker VX Ace

RPG Maker VX Ace, also known as VXAce or simply "Ace", was released by Enterbrain in Japan on December 15, 2011. [7] It was released in the United States on March 15, 2012 as a digital download. It was later made available through Steam, and is also now available as a physical CD. [8] RPG Maker VX Ace is essentially an overhauled version of RPG Maker VX, and removes the issue with multiple tilesets. Battle backgrounds were re-introduced, and are separated into top and bottom halves. Spells, skills, and items can all now have their own damage and recovery formulas, although a quick calculation method reminiscent of the older RPG Makers is available. The VX RTP was redesigned for VX Ace, and a new soundtrack featuring higher quality techno-pop tracks was included. With VX Ace came a large quantity of DLC Resource Packages offered by Enterbrain, and also available through Steam.

RPG Maker MV

Released by Degica on October 23, 2015, RPG Maker MV includes a large number of changes over previous versions, having multiplatform support, side-view battles, and high resolution features. [9] It is the first engine in the series to use JavaScript instead of Ruby, with the addition of plugins. Completed games can be played on PC and mobile devices. RPG Maker MV also goes back to layered tilesets, a feature that was removed in RPG Maker VX and VX Ace. However, unlike RPG Maker XP which allowed users to manually choose which layers to build on, RPG Maker MV automatically stacks tiles on top of other tiles. [10] It also came out on consoles under the name RPG Tsukūru MV Trinity. It was originally announced to only be on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch but was later announced to also be on the Xbox One. This release was later cancelled. [11] It was released on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 in Japan on November 15, 2018, and will be released worldwide in 2019. [12] [13]

Console versions

RPG Tsukūru Super Dante

Victor Reetz created the first console RPG Maker, RPG Tsukūru Super Dante, which debuted in 1995 for the Super Famicom, as a port of RPG Tsukūru Dante 98. [5] RPG Tsukūru Super Dante was later broadcast via the Super Famicom's Satellaview accessory.

rpg maker gb is the first console [14] portable version of rtp maker

RPG Maker

In 2000, RPG Maker was released for the Sony PlayStation, however, only a limited number of copies were made for releases outside of Japan. The software allowed user-made characters, and monsters through Anime Maker which was separate from the RPG Maker, which required saving to an external memory card. However, there was a limit to how many user-made sprites and monsters could be used in RPG Maker. Also, in Anime Maker, the user could create larger sprites for a theater-type visual novel in which the player could animate and control characters, but these sprites were much larger and unusable in RPG Maker.

The RPG Maker interface was somewhat user-friendly, and battles were front-view style only. Item, Monster, Skill/Magic, and Dungeons had a small limit cap, as did the effects of any given Item, Magic or Skill (9,999). Items were all inclusive; Weapons and Armors were created in the Items interface. The types of items were as follows: None (mainly used for Key Items), Weapon, Armor, Key (up to eight sub types), Magic (for binding Magic created in the Magic interface to an item), Healing, and Food (which raises stats and EXP, or experience points in which this particular software is the only one of the series to do so natively).

Events were a separate save file from the System file, and are referred to as Scenario files. This is how the user could make multiple parts to one game, provided the user had enough memory cards and card space to create the files.

RPG Maker Fes

A version for the Nintendo 3DS was released by NIS America on June 27, 2017. While it remains portable on a small screen, users can create games on-the-go and also download games to play as well. The game received some criticism, with NintendoWorldReport writing that "Ultimately, it’s hard for me to recommend RPG Maker Fes to anyone but the most hardcore of RPG fans that have always dreamed of creating their own game." [15] Games completed can be uploaded to the RPG Maker Fes Player app for those to download and play on their own systems. It is the second RPG Maker to receive a limited edition (the previous one being RPG Tsukūru DS) which includes a CD soundtrack in a jewel case containing all the soundtracks in the game, and a full-color paperback artbook. It is the first RPG Maker on consoles/handhelds to receive a digital release.

English versions

Historically, few early RPG Maker versions had official English releases. Each Windows version has, however, been subject to unlicensed distribution through the internet in some form or other. [16] RPG Maker 95, as well as translation patches for the Super Famicom titles RPG Maker Super Dante and RPG Maker 2, were translated and distributed by a group called KanjiHack. In 1999, KanjiHack closed upon receiving a cease-and-desist e-mail from ASCII's lawyers. RPG Maker 95 was re-released with a more complete translation under the name RPG Maker 95+ by a Russian programmer, under the alias of Don Miguel, [17] who later translated and released RPG Maker 2000. Later versions, RPG Maker 2003, and RPG Maker XP, were similarly translated and distributed by a programmer under the alias of RPG Advocate.

The first official English release of the PC series was of RPG Maker XP on September 16, 2005. The next two versions of the software, RPG Maker VX and RPG Maker VX Ace both received official English releases. Since 2010 English versions of RPG Maker have been published by Degica, who have also officially released English versions of the older titles RPG Maker 2000 and RPG Maker 2003.

The first official English language of a console version was the PlayStation version in 2000, simply called RPG Maker, by Agetec. Agetec also localized RPG Maker 2 and RPG Maker 3.

Reception and legacy

By August 2005, the series had sold more than two million copies worldwide. [4] Later Steam releases are estimated to have sold nearly 1 million units by April 2018, according to Steam Spy. [18]

Since its first release, the series has been used to create numerous titles, both free and commercial. According to PC Gamer , it has become "the go-to tool for aspiring developers who want to make a game and sell it", due to being "the most accessible game engine around". [3] A number of developers who have created notable games via an entry in the series include:

In addition to games, the series has been used for other purposes, such as studies involving students learning mathematics through the creation of role-playing games, [21] and programming [22]

RPG Maker series timeline

Japanese titleEnglish titleDeveloperPlatform(s)Japanese release dateEnglish release datePublisher(s)
Mamirin PC-8801 1988ASCII
Dungeon Manjirou [23] MSX2 1988ASCII
RPG Construction Tool: Dante [24] MSX2 February 8, 1990ASCII
Dante 2 [25] MSX2 February 8, 1992ASCII
Chimes Quest [26] PC-9801 1992ASCII
RPG Tsukūru Dante 98 [5] PC-9801 December 19, 1992ASCII
Dungeon RPG Tsukūru Dan-Dan Dungeon [27] PC-9801 April 28, 1994ASCII
RPG Tsukūru: Super DanteKuusou Kagaku Super Famicom, Satellaview March 31, 1995 (Super Famicom)
April 4, 1996 (Satellaview)
RPG Tsukūru Dante 98 II [5] PC-9801 July 14, 1996ASCII
RPG Tsukūru 2Kuusou Kagaku Super Famicom, Satellaview January 31, 1996 (Super Famicom)
April 22, 1996 (Satellaview)
RPG Tsukūru 95 Microsoft Windows March 28, 1997ASCII
RPG Tsukūru 95 Value! Microsoft Windows November 21, 2001Enterbrain
Simulation RPG Tsukūru Pegasus Japan Sega Saturn, PlayStation September 17, 1998ASCII
Enterbrain Collection: Simulation RPG Tsukūru Pegasus Japan PlayStation November 29, 2001Enterbrain
Simulation RPG Tsukūru 95 Microsoft Windows May 29, 1998ASCII
Simulation RPG Tsukūru 95 Value! Microsoft Windows November 21, 2001Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru 3 RPG MakerKuusou Kagaku PlayStation November 27, 1997October 2, 2000ASCII (Japan)
Agetec (North America)
PlayStation the Best: RPG Tsukūru 3Kuusou Kagaku PlayStation November 19, 1998ASCII
RPG Tsukūru GBKuusou Kagaku Game Boy Color March 17, 2000ASCII
RPG Tsukūru 2000 RPG Maker 2000 Microsoft Windows April 5, 2000ASCII
RPG Tsukūru 2000 Value! Microsoft Windows May 14, 2003July 7, 2015Enterbrain (Japan)
Degica (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru 4Agenda [28] PlayStation December 7, 2000Enterbrain
Uchūjin Tanaka Tarou de RPG Tsukūru GB 2 Game Boy Color July 20, 2001Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru 5 RPG Maker 2Kuusou Kagaku PlayStation 2 August 8, 2002October 28, 2003Enterbrain (Japan)
Agetec (North America)
RPG Tsukūru 2003 RPG Maker 2003 Microsoft Windows December 18, 2002April 24, 2015Enterbrain (Japan)
Degica (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru α [29] Microsoft Windows, Mobile phone December 18, 2002Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru Advance Game Boy Advance April 25, 2003Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru XP RPG Maker XP Microsoft Windows July 22, 2004September 16, 2005Enterbrain (Worldwide)
Degica (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru RPG Maker 3Run Time PlayStation 2 December 16, 2004September 20, 2005Enterbrain (Japan)
Agetec (North America)
RPG Tsukūru for Mobile Mobile phone April 17, 2006Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru VX RPG Maker VX Microsoft Windows December 27, 2007February 29, 2008Enterbrain (Worldwide)
Degica (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru DS [30] Nintendo DS March 11, 2010Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru VX Ace RPG Maker VX Ace Microsoft Windows December 15, 2011March 15, 2012Enterbrain (Worldwide)
Degica (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru DS Plus Nintendo DS December 15, 2011Enterbrain
RPG Tsukūru MVRPG Maker MV Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux December 17, 2015October 23, 2015Kadokawa Games
Degica (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru FesRPG Maker Fes Nintendo 3DS November 24, 2016June 23, 2017Kadokawa Games
NIS America (Worldwide)
RPG Tsukūru MV TrinityRPG Maker MV PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch November 15, 2018September 3, 2019Kadokawa Games
NIS America (Worldwide)

See also

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  7. Archived January 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
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  9. RPG Maker MV Announced
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  11. https://gematsu.com/2019/03/rpg-maker-mv-cancelled-for-xbox-one
  12. Romano, Sal. "RPG Maker MV for PS4, Xbox One, and Switch launches November 15 in Japan". Gematsu. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  13. Romano, Sal. "RPG Maker MV for consoles delayed to general 2019 in the west". Gematsu. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
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  20. "NALE is now part of the British Library's interactive fiction archive!". 2019-05-29.
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  23. Dungeon Manjiro at Generation MSX
  24. Dante at Generation MSX
  25. Dante II at Generation MSX
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  27. "yananayika" (The Tsukūru Museum) Archived 2007-08-23 at the Wayback Machine at the official Tsukūru website ‹See Tfd› (in Japanese)
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