RPG Maker is a long-running series of game creation tools. It was originally released in Japan and then pirated and translated to the Western world. Eventually, official releases would make their way ourside of Japan. Over the course of its life, it has allowed RPG creation on PC, Nintendo consoles, PlayStation consoles.
A Brief (and Scattered) History of RPG Maker
Most of the entries on this page are dedicated to the versions of RPG Maker that are currently for sale. However, it is interesting to look at how the tools have evolved over time. If you like to read long narratives on “quick and easy” recipes, then this is probably the section for you. Otherwise, use the table of contents at the top of the page to skip ahead to the goods.
The first tools available were created for the PC-8801 and MSX2 computers in Japan in 1988. These were called Mamirin and Dungeon Manjirou. The tools were combined into a more complete tool called RPG Construction Tool: Dante for the MSX2 in 1990. Gradually, it was upgraded to Dante 2 in 1992.
RPGツクール Dante 98
The first major RPG Maker release that would influence the formal direction of the series was 1992’s RPG Tsukuru Dante 98. While some of the previous entries were tools to create a specific view (Dungeon Manjirou for example was oritented toward dungeon crawlers like Wizardry and Bard’s Tale).
Even though the games needed to be created on a NEC PC-9801, there were players for Windows named Dante which would allow games to be played on Windows, greatly expanding the playing audience.
At this point, many of the tools were still separated out with individual purposes. But a uniform creation tool was the next step.
RPGツクール Dante (Super Famicom)
The first major RPG Maker release that would influence the formal direction of the series was 1992’s RPG Tsukuru Dante 98. This port of the Dante system to the Super Famicom allowed creation of games on one of the most popular consoles in Japan.
A follow up (Super Dante 2) was released two years later.
RPG Maker 95 was the first iteration of a Microsoft Windows version of the engine. It had a higher screen resolution and solidified a single-tool interface on computers.
RPG Maker (PlayStation)
The next major milestone was the PlayStation version of RPG Maker. It included a huge amount of content, even if the games created took up an massive amount of memory card space.
Of course, there were numerous iterations, including some branching into simulation and strategy role-playing games along the way, but these titles would lead into the next-generation of RPG Maker engines which are currently available to purchase today all over the world.
RPG Maker 2000/2003
RPG Maker 2000 and 2003 were enhancements over the RPG Maker 95 generation of toolsets. While they did have lower resolution sprites than 95, they also included an unlimited number of tilesets (or at least limited by the database rather than other arbitrary limits). There is a patch to up the limit as well.
2003 introduced the side-view battle system similar to Final Fantasy.
WHERE TO GET THEM
RPG Maker 2000
RPG Maker 2003
RPG Maker XP/ RPGツクールXP
RPG Maker XP was released in 2005 and added Ruby as a scripting language to extend gameplay in exciting new directions.
Check out the Ruby Game Scripting System (RGSS) documentation: rpg-maker.fr RGSS Reference Manual
WHERE TO GET IT
RPG Maker VX/Ace / RPGツクールVX/Ace
RPG Maker VX was released in 2008 in Japan. It included a more user-friendly interface and could hit 60 frames per second for smoother animation. It also featured an upgraded Ruby Game Scripting System 2 which included more functionality. VX removed the multiple-mapset functionality, but it was restored in the VX Ace version.
WHERE TO GET THEM
RPG Maker MV/MZ / RPGツクールMV/MZ
WHERE TO GET THEM
RPG Maker UNITE/ RPGツクールUNITE
RPG Maker Unite is the next-level of the RPG Maker game engine. This version of it makes use of the Unity Game Engine, leveraging the engine’s featureset in an RPG Maker way. It is still in development and not available for sale yet. However, there are several feature videos and the manual is available on their site.