Want to Make an RPG? Check out RPG Maker VX Ace
Every gamer goes through the phase of wanting to be a programmer, artist, score composer, etc.
If you're like me, this involves putting together some decent tunes, joining gaming groups, but being unable to find any programmers. If you're also like me, then trying to learn to program involves reading through the introduction and first chapter of each C++, C#, or Java for Dummies style book you can find, only to put it down in frustration once the journey progresses beyond the "HELLO, WORLD" phase.
Programming is difficult, but it's hard to give up on your dream when you think you've got a great game to make. Luckily, if RPGs are your thing, Japan's long-running series of RPG Makers has an iteration you can buy through the steam store for $69.99!
Making it Available to a Wider Audience
The RPG Maker series is no stranger to many gamers outside of Japan, but up until the XP release, it never made it stateside as a PC release. Furthermore, it received no publicity and, if you're like me, you had no idea where to buy it. Now that Steam is doing software, they made a wise decision and have begun selling RPG Maker VX Ace.
Prior to it coming stateside, the only way to get the PC versions were through bootlegs and piracy. Back when I was about 10 or 11 years old, I had a cool neighbor who was about 3 or 4 years older than me. He introduced me to quite a few games, but the most memorable experience was when he gave me a disc that had RPG Maker 2k on it. It came complete with a premade game that was translated into Russian and English by the fan who translated it from Japanese and made it available to download for interested parties outside of Japan.
After that, my best friend and I spent countless weekends making games. I was never too good at it, but that didn't stop me from enjoying throwing Kirby, Mario, Sonic, and whatever else custom sprite I could find into a game together, to MIDI files of Incubus and System of a Down. Ah, to be back in the first years of the 2000s, when the internet was becoming more widespread but people still retained a bit of the EXTREMEness of the 90's.
Nostalgic stories aside, I took a brief look at RPG Maker VX Ace.
Ruby Makes Coding Easy(-ish)
Ever since XP, the RPG Maker series for the PC switched over from what they used to use for coding to using Ruby Game Scripting System. Ruby will be easy to learn if you've ever programmed using Perl, as its syntax is very similar. However, if you haven't, or even if you haven't programmed at all ever, Ruby is still a relatively simple to use language.
There are quite a few resources online to learn it. If not, there are plenty of websites that revolve around RPG Maker games in general, so finding one that caters to the ones that use Ruby (with VX Ace using Ruby Game Script System 3), then you can find sample codes to copy/paste in your game with little to no alteration needed.
Tons of Premade Content at Your Disposal
The runtime package, or RTP, is what includes all the preexisting files that you can use to create games with. If these aren't up to your tastes, you can create your own and import them into RPG Maker VX Ace as you please. Since it's being released on Steam, that means there will probably be tons of fan made contributions that you can pick from as the software gets more popular.
One of the first things I noticed when first running RPG Maker VX Ace is that the tilesets are a lot better looking and that the characters are a bit cuter, due to their chibi art style.
All in all, RPG Maker VX Ace being out on steam means plenty of good indie RPGs are on their way. Although the price seems steep at $69.99, when you think about what exactly you're getting, it's definitely worth it.