A year ago I finished an introductory demo of an RPGMaker Adventure video game, Through the Cracks. It was the story of a dozen people who woke to found themselves in a seemingly abandoned scientific facility, with no memory of how they’d gotten there.
It was a lot of fun to make, but ultimately I decided that my inability to create the art assets myself was a big obstacle. RPGMaker assets have a very particular *look* to them that I was unable to replicate, and commissioning sprites for everything I needed was a lot more expensive than I can handle. And, sadly, games using the stock assets have a bad reputation for poor quality and laziness.
So I wrapped up the demo and turned my eyes to the Unity engine instead. Now, a year later, I find myself turning back to the game, with a new title.
Let the World Burn
The issues that led to the project’s abandonment yet remain: I cannot create RPGMaker style art, and I cannot afford to commission it. While I have improved my pixel art skills over the last year, I still can’t replicate that RPGMaker style, and replacing all of the art would take me a long, long time.
My solution is to just not worry about it.
For now I’m just going to work with the stock assets and focus on story and gameplay. The concept is one that keeps drawing me back to it, and while I considered remaking it from scratch in the Unity gamebook framework I’ve been developing, decided that the large cast and exploratory nature does lend itself well to what RPGMaker has to offer.
The RPGMaker art will serve as a placeholder until I’m done, and at that point, if the project’s turned out the way I want it to, I’ll either begin the process of developing an artistic style of my own, or see if I’ve raised enough funding to commission what I need.
If you’re interested in the demo – re-released with a new title screen and copious bugfixes – you can download it here.
I’ve started a game development patreon. This is separate from my general author patreon, simply because the people who read my books might not care about the games, and the people who like my games may not read my books.
The way it works is like this:
- Supporters at the $5/month level get new development builds of each project first.
- Supporters at the $3/month level get new development builds a month later.
- I’ll release the development build to the public one iteration behind what my patrons are seeing.
So, if I release v 0.2 on October 1st, $5 patrons get it right away. $3 patrons get it November 1st. I’ll post it publicly, free, when my $5 patrons get version 0.3.
And that’s it. Right now I don’t have any patrons, but I’ll be following this release pattern anyway. Best to build new habits early, right?
So if you want to help me raise the money to commission art and music, support my growth as a game developer, and want to get what I’m working on before everybody else, consider becoming one of my supporters.