Let's Make Something Awesome
Published on May 16, 2019 By ScottTykoski In The Video Game Machine Dev Journals

Greetings, and welcome to the official forums for The Video Game Machine - the Game that Makes Games!

If you've ever wanted to make a video game of your own, then you're in the right place. The goal of TVGM is to make the ultimate sandbox game where the making and the playing are combined into one fun, creative experience....but for that we need YOUR help, beta tester!

First and foremost, the current build of VGM is pretty early and kind of rough. If you join the alpha that starts on May 29th, you'll have access to the first two genres: platformer and adventure. As you play, we'll be looking for feedback as issues arise and things don't work as expected.

Second, The Video Game Machine is begging for all your best ideas about things to add: mechanics, heroes, enemies, rules, etc. In this regard it's the perfect game for beta testing - nowhere else will you see an design so open to new & creative suggestions.

So, with that in mind, I encourage you to dust off those old video game ideas that you dreamed up as a kid, get excited, and get creative!

We can't wait to see the awesome adventures you all make when the alpha becomes available on May 29th!


Comments (Page 1)
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on May 16, 2019

hey i love your games, but I also love RPG's.  Is this 'game machine' able to do tactical rpgs?  aka final fantasy tactics.

on May 17, 2019

I am 42 years old and have been playing computer games since I was 7 years old whem my father used a CP500 with green phosphor monitor and taught me the first command lines in BASIC, since then it was love at first sight, and I hope to see in VGM the opportunity to portray some drafts of that time witch, with the passage of time, were only in memory.

Among other engines like Game Maker, Construct, Unity and Unreal, I hope to see a more artistic and less codified way to put my ideas into practice...

I look forward to the launch !!!

on May 17, 2019

chengsta2: I don't know if we're going to specifically have a 'Tactical RPG' Genre to pick from, there will be several Gameplay Rules that should get you close.

BadJackDaniels: Agreed! As much as we all love coding, we don't want it to be this hurdle players have to overcome to enjoy making games. While more limited than code-heavy engines, we're hoping that VGM lets them get creative and make something they're proud of with as little frustration as possible. Making games should feel like a game in itself!

We look forward to your feedback once the Founders Build goes out! 

on May 17, 2019

Will it be possible to code something complex or even rewrite the whole engine like in Maker series?

on May 18, 2019

SomeFire

Will it be possible to code something complex


Early on in the process we decided to prioritize Ease-of-Use over everything, so unfortunatly (for those of us that like to code) this will be a code-free experience.

Our intention here is to take the most common video game tropes and systems (Shops, Player Movement, Combat Numbers, Camera Movement, Save Points) and expose those in the most simple way possible. There's literally a Rulebook where you can toggle major features on and off and play with dials, so there will still be a ton of design possibilities...instead of driving them via function calls you'll just do it in the UI.

on May 18, 2019

ScottTykoski

chengsta2: I don't know if we're going to specifically have a 'Tactical RPG' Genre to pick from, there will be several Gameplay Rules that should get you close.

BadJackDaniels: Agreed! As much as we all love coding, we don't want it to be this hurdle players have to overcome to enjoy making games. While more limited than code-heavy engines, we're hoping that VGM lets them get creative and make something they're proud of with as little frustration as possible. Making games should feel like a game in itself!

We look forward to your feedback once the Founders Build goes out! 

 

As another tactical RPG fan, I am hoping we can eventually get really close. I signed up for the founders program today, because it seems a low risk for a potentially high reward. Anyway, I at some point I hope we can create a stealth adventure game like Metal Gear for the NES, along with traditional turn based RPGs (Final Fantasy I, Dragon Warrior/Quest 3/4, hell even Pokemon) instead of just Zelda clones. 

One question, is about enemy AI, how much of it will be in the game and how much control will we have over it?

on May 18, 2019

killswitch469

Metal Gear for the NES


VGM is a few rules away from letting you do this now A big part is hooking up a proper hero-creation system so you're not limited to our pre-made selection (we currently lack a hero with the gravitas of Solid Snake).

killswitch469

...traditional turn based RPGs (Final Fantasy I, Dragon Warrior/Quest 3/4, hell even Pokemon)


You're certainly talking my language - I love old school JRPG's, and have kids fully addicted to Pokemon, so I can see the appeal.

Right now, however, we're looking for gaps in the Game Creation landscape. There's a LOT of amazing stuff that Mario Maker does that we're not going even TRY to touch, simply because players have Mario Maker if thats what they want to make. I feel the same thing about RPGs and the super flexable 'RPG Maker' series. Being able to pick an 'RPG' gameplay genre sounds amazing, but I worry the best we could do is "It's cool, but not nearly as useful as RPG Maker".

It's already come up a bunch (lots of requests for Tactical RPGs, actually) so we'd never say "No", but I want to be honest about the process: we want to be very careful about who we go toe-to-toe with. If there's another easy-to use tool that does something better, we want to be sure we're bringing something unique to the table.

Hope that makes sense. Once we get Alpha 1 out, perhaps you guys will give some great ideas on how to implement a RPG genre that's easy and does something unique.

Really looking forward to that stage of feedback   And thanks for the support and preorder - I can't tell you how much it means to the team!

 

edit: Totally missed your question on Enemy AI. Right now they all have a default AI, but the plan is to expose that information to the player so you have the ability to customize/override it.

on May 18, 2019

ScottTykoski


Quoting killswitch469,

Metal Gear for the NES



VGM is a few rules away from letting you do this now A big part is hooking up a proper hero-creation system so you're not limited to our pre-made selection (we currently lack a hero with the gravitas of Solid Snake).

Quoting killswitch469,

...traditional turn based RPGs (Final Fantasy I, Dragon Warrior/Quest 3/4, hell even Pokemon)



You're certainly talking my language - I love old school JRPG's, and have kids fully addicted to Pokemon, so I can see the appeal.

Right now, however, we're looking for gaps in the Game Creation landscape. There's a LOT of amazing stuff that Mario Maker does that we're not going even TRY to touch, simply because players have Mario Maker if thats what they want to make. I feel the same thing about RPGs and the super flexable 'RPG Maker' series. Being able to pick an 'RPG' gameplay genre sounds amazing, but I worry the best we could hope for is "It's cool, but not nearly as useful as RPG Maker".

It's already come up a bunch (lots of requests for Tactical RPGs, actually) so we'd never say "No", but I want to be honest about the process: we want to be very careful about who we go toe-to-toe with. If there's another easy-to use tool that does something better, we want to be sure we're bringing something unique to the table.

Hope that makes sense. Once we get Alpha 1 out, perhaps you guys will give some great ideas on how to implement a RPG genre that's easy and does something unique.

Really looking forward to that stage of feedback   And thanks for the support and preorder - I can't tell you how much it means to the team!

 

I appreciate your honesty, and understand why you would want to avoid competing with Mario Maker (The recent Nintendo direct for Mario Maker 2 make it look like it will be really good, and a beast to compete with), or RPG maker. However, maybe your niche could be genre mixing, like an RPG but if your party runs into a monster on the overhead screen maybe it could shift to a traditional turn based RPG menu combat screen, or a tactical RPG combat screen or a Mega Man boss battle, or a Metroidvania ministage, or maybe not. Anyway I wish you the best of luck.

One thing I hope we can see in the side scrolling shooters are Blackthorne like rules (Assassin Creed Chronicles would be a modern similar instance), instead of just Mega Man or Contra/Super-C rules.

on May 18, 2019

killswitch469

However, maybe your niche could be genre mixing,


Actually, one of the rules we'll be implementing is "World Map", where you can have landmarks and random encounters that throw you into a level of the specified genre. Just from that I bet people will make some crazy genre mashups that have a "RPG with a twist" feel. 

I think you nailed it though...VGM's spot in the DIY gaming market is that you'll be able to mix-and-match elements from different gameplay styles to make something unique.

I'll have to remember that as part of the pitch   Actraiser is still talked about this day for that very reason.

Ok, off to enjoy the weekend!  Cya killswitch!

on May 18, 2019

I really hope we can easily build RTS civ like game. got so many idea, cant wait to try them.

on May 18, 2019

I'm really stoked about this, I have messed with RPG Maker and a few others and never quite got the feel of it. I think this time around it may be different. I look forward to seeing this progress.

on May 19, 2019

So a few things in this mindset that I'd really like to see:

Cross genres. Think Zelda 2 The Adventure of link having an overworld that is akin to the top-down adventure style of Zelda 1 or 3, but then you go into dungeon/combat areas that are side scrolling. You mention this somewhat above, but genre mixing would be SUPER cool. (As mentioned, Actraiser is still one of the most awesome things on the SNES)

 

Genre wishes:

  • Open Map side-scrollers: Think Metroid, Castlevania: SOTN, etc. Honestly I think that just becomes if you can implement an inventory system in your side-scroller genre and how large maps can be.
  • Mega Man style platformers: this is basically your standard platformer stuff, but with the ability to revisit levels and set up boss weaknesses from powerups you obtained
  • If not necessarily all RPGs, what about action-RPGs? There is nothing out there right now that'd let you make Terranigma and/or Illusion of Gaia right now.
    • Your top-down adventure genre seems to cover most of the movement stuff, just adding an inventory and the ability to level up to that would accomplish this.
    • (I'd also die for a way to make tactical RPGs as already mentioned, but not like most people thing. While FFT-style would be great, I want to make a Shining Force style game with cool battle scenes and top-down perspective/transitions)
  • A lot of people mentioned similar ideas above, but some kind of tactical/strategy game would be cool. Something like Sim City, Civ, or even something more small scale like Into the Breach? (This one's probably hard because of how much custom logic you'd have to have per enemy, I guess?). This would be needed to make Actraiser's strategy layer. Doesn't have to be turnbased, could be real time. 
  • Full-blown adventure game? Like Kings Quest/Monkey Island style? Not sure how easy that can be adapted.
  • Probably my least desired genre, but still cool: Old School vertical/horizontal Shooters (1942, Gradius, etc) would be great, too.

Edit: 

One other thought, what about a collectible card game genre? Maybe not something too complex, but you could take any of your hero/monster icons, slap them on a card, and give them cost/attack/defense values (and maybe some kind of simple skills?). I don't know of anything like that out there, and that could be a lot of fun for people to mess with. Doesn't necessarily have to be Magic the Gathering style, as there are a ton of solo CCGs out there now.

 

I'm really excited to see where VGM goes, as I've messed with GameDev a few times but still see big value in alternatives:

  • Could never get into my very costly GameMaker Studio 2 license because simple things (Making a title screen) couldn't be done with their drag and drop system.
  • I've messed with (and love) GDevelop 5 due to how simple it makes things, even though it still requires a bit more knowledge (compiling, event logic, etc). Actually made a "game" (more like demo) with it that was decent enough that people want to use it as a tutorial for using GD.
    • However, my young nephew (who is also really interested in gamedev, and is the one who reignited my own attempts) isn't able to wrap his head around GDevelop. Looking at VGM it seems like it might be the perfect fit for him (and even me), and would allow us to work on stuff together.

That said, if this huge post doesn't already indicate it, you can likely expect me to throw tons of suggestions/feedback out of the alpha when I can.

on May 19, 2019

Silver-Streak: Love the long idea posts Can't wait to see more of them!

I'll try to hit on a few of your items...

Silver-Streak

Open Map side-scrollers:


We're pretty close to this right now.

Much of the interactivity in the game is done with objects called "Gizmos". They're special interaction rules that you place on the map. For the Adventure genre we have the Gateway Gizmo, which will link two level maps together via the side of the current room.

This works perfect now for a TopDown game, but to get it Sidescroller-compatable (for a Metroidvania style game) we'd need a few more camera options to get it feeling right. But yeah, 100% on our radar


Silver-Streak

If not necessarily all RPGs, what about action-RPGs?


There's a rule in VGM right now called "Numeric Damage" that reveals the numbers behind attacks, giving it a very Secret of Mana/Illusion of Gaia Action RPG feel. I think we'd need an Equipment system to really make it work, but this is anyother one that is pretty close.


Silver-Streak

Probably my least desired genre, but still cool: Old School vertical/horizontal Shooters (1942, Gradius, etc) would be great, too.


That is actually the next planned Genre for VGM. It's hit or miss in terms of excitement, but man - you can totally tell when you've met a SHMUP fan   They get super psyched at the idea of making their own game in that style.


Silver-Streak

I've messed with (and love) GDevelop 5 due to how simple it makes things, even though it still requires a bit more knowledge (compiling, event logic, etc).

Yeah, coding and advanced event logic won't be needed here. Mario Maker is definitely our inspiration for simplicity and fun. If it's not fun to make the game, then we're doing something wrong. One of the cool mechanics is that you can actually play while you create - imagine testing and building your jumping platform area at the same time. It's very useful, and I think it helps to make the "Making" a lot more fun.

And yes, this would be great for team-up situations with younger kids. I have many co-workers that have played with their kids, and I'm constantly getting ideas watching my family play, so hopefully it's an experience that can get anyone feeling creative!

Thanks again for the list, Silver - Tucking those ideas away for future reference!



on May 19, 2019

Thanks for the quick reply. As mentioned, super excited to mess around with VGM, so seeing you already thinking about future enhancements is great.

ScottTykoski

Much of the interactivity in the game is done with objects called "Gizmos". They're special interaction rules that you place on the map. For the Adventure genre we have the Gateway Gizmo, which will link two level maps together via the side of the current room.

This works perfect now for a TopDown game, but to get it Sidescroller-compatable (for a Metroidvania style game) we'd need a few more camera options to get it feeling right. But yeah, 100% on our radar 

Yes, this sounds near of perfect. Even if the scene transition using a Gateway Gizmo isn't "Scroll the camera right/left to the new scene" akin to a Metroid, even a fadeout/fade in gets you 99% of the way there in a platformer. 

Although I suppose if you allow for maps that are big enough, you could get to Castlevania 2 style where the main map is moderately huge with no transitions, but then each "Dungeon" area or shop has a distinct transition to a smaller map.

(Simon's Quest overworld map: https://nesmaps.com/maps/Castlevania2/Castlevania2CompleteMapB.png)

Or maybe if the transition is fast enough (no fade out, almost instant cut), you could make it work by stringing together a bunch of maps and having the "Town" areas just be where the outside area stops scrolling, then you cut to the town area as you pass the threshhold?

Obviously, you may already have all of this or are already planning on other items like you mentioned above, so I don't want to bog you down too much with stuff while you're working hard to get the alpha ready.

ScottTykoski

There's a rule in VGM right now called "Numeric Damage" that reveals the numbers behind attacks, giving it a very Secret of Mana/Illusion of Gaia Action RPG feel. I think we'd need an Equipment system to really make it work, but this is anyother one that is pretty close.

Yeah, an equipment system is really useful for any genre, and could easily be used for powerups and such in genres you already have?

(e.g. You could use an equipment system for Gradius for the powerups, basically. Or in a platformer, your equipment system lets you store extra powerups you get in the world map, like Super Mario Brothers 3, or Super Mario 3D World, etc. Equipment is mandatory for Metroid style games just from a weapon select perspective, I think? Definitely required for Mega Man style games.)

That said, the inverse could also be true, if you just have a pure power-up style system currently, that might be easily adapted into an equipment system depending on how it lets you tweak it?

Also, to clarify/avoid hurt feelings from anyone: I listed scrolling shooter as least desired genre because I have no good ideas around one and it is lowest on my personal priority list.  

I'm excited to see and play what others make out of it, and will be happy to poke around in it as far as testing.

on May 19, 2019

please allow us to make action rpgs with AI controlled companions.

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