If you’ve always wanted to make a game but have absolutely no understanding whatsoever of where you should use curly brackets and where you should use semicolons, the RPG Maker series is a great way to learn about game design and principles of programming without making your head explode. The various entries have long been available in Japanese, but more recent editions have made it over to the West with official translations. Up until now, though, you’ve had to go through the publisher’s website to purchase them.
From today, however, you can pick up a copy of RPG Maker VX Ace, the latest entry in the series, from Steam. At $70, it may appear a bit pricey, but when you bear in mind you’re getting a fully-featured toolset capable of making standalone games that you can then redistribute and sell as you see fit, it’s actually a pretty small price to pay — particularly as you can take full advantage of the various pieces of community-created content scattered across the Internet to improve your work. And for those who are still on the fence, there’s a free Lite version you can try out too — though that link wasn’t working for me at the time of writing, so maybe check back later.
RPG Maker VX Ace is super-easy to use. You can create maps by simply painting with tilesets, generate characters using built-in tools, design monsters, create encounters and easily script an epic plot. Built-in functionality makes it dead easy to work with standard RPG conventions like treasure chests, battle encounters and NPCs, while an optional scripting language allows you to take complete control of every aspect of the game if you’re feeling confident. Then, when you’ve finished your masterpiece, you can save it as a standalone game and do whatever you like with it.
So what are you waiting for? Go make the next RPG classic!