So now that we’ve gone over a few of the main basics, now would be a good time to go over the database. This area is arguably the most important area in the entire game maker though let’s go over as to why I say this.
(RPG Maker 2003)
(RPG Maker XP)
(RPG Maker VX)
(RPG Maker VX ACE)
(RPG Maker MV)
So here are five different version of RPG Maker all of which tend to be relevant to the current community. Between all of these, there are certain things that do not change, and some that have. So beginning with the first image we see there are two layers of tabs Terms, System, System 2, Common Events, Actors, Classes, Skills, Items, Enemies, Troops, Elements, States, Animations, Animations 2, Battle Screen, Terrain, Tilesets. This seems like quite a bit, and to be honest it always feels this way when getting into a new project unless you’ve had some kind of ungodly amount of experience with using the engine to it’s fullest extent and even then with some of the more recent additions to the (currently) newest MV edition. For now though let’s break down the main functions of these tabs and how they contribute to the creation of your game.
Terms - The terms tab is where you can edit key words to your game, for instance, At the beginning of a battle, you can have a message that declares (Enemy unit) challenged (player) to a duel! Or if a unit attacks another unit and the attacks fail or miss, you can call the failed attack a fumble. For a victory (unit) emerges triumphant! This area is also good for changing the shop messages in the 2003 edition, in xp this was transferred over to the system tab and has reduced key terms.
System - in the system tab, this is where you can change the party members that you start with. So say for instance you want to start with just two instead of four if they’ll be joining your story later on, you can edit them to be so. This also allows the change of graphics, sound effects for various actions, The title screen, game over screen, window graphics, vehicle graphics, battle music, end battle music, so on and so forth. There are a lot of things that can be done in just the system tabs alone, though since I’m currently working with 2003, I will continue with the second tab for the system. In the second tab, you have the options to add and remove things from the players menu such as the save feature, if you do not want your players to be able to save whenever they feel like it, you can disable that in the menu. (Just a quick dev note, if you plan to play through and test things out yourself, I recommend leaving it on until your game is finished so you don’t have to go back to the beginning every time.)
Common Events - Okay, when I first picked up the RPG maker series, this to me was the most intimidating tab (well, at the time it was kind of scary looking and I think it growled at me…) though it’s not as bad as it looks. This just allows for repeating functions to happen. So for instance, if you’d like to have a specific sound effect play as you find an item or talk to someone, instead of retracing back and editing each one to have the sound effect you want, this just helps to reduce time spent doing such. Though this isn’t the only thing you can do with common event, if you want a specific function to happen with an item for instance, you can set the item to call back onto the event and add something like a text to a potion bottle (You feel rejuvenated). Or if you have a genie lamp in your game, you can edit a common event to add a genie to your party. This area has a lot of possibilities. To add a common event to your items, you can go over to your item list and change it to fit specific items. Which can seem more immersive and in depth as small as that seems.
Actors - This is where your characters and battlers are stored. The face set area is where you place the characters face for when they’re talking or in a menu to help give a little profile to them. Charset/character set, this is where you come to drop your character sprites for moving around the maps. Animations/battlers/sv battlers, these are all the same thing, they are the avatars in game you use to fight. If you want side view battles that is.
(Take note of this image, it comes very handy as to how classes should scale and give ideas as to what other classes there can be for your game.)
Classes - This is self explanitory, this is where you set up your classes such as the warrior, knight, thief, so on and so forth, but you can make them literally anything, and give them different parameter curves based on the class you want your characters to be. This is also where you can set up your heroes (or villains too) to gain skills, give state rates, elemental effects (these will come in a little bit here), abilities to dual wield weapons, auto battle, set battle commands. All in all there’s a lot to do here, and you can play with how many classes you have and what you can do with them. I highly encourage it.
Skills - The long awaited skills tab. This is where you can completely customize your skills used in the game ranging from the basic attack to special skills that put enemies to sleep, or just deal damage of any type you can possibly dream up. You can customize animations and change what the skills actually do. For special abilities that inflict or heal certain states, you can change that in here as well. Same can be said for the elements panel.
Items - Yet another big one, you will want to have this menu very organized because you can have so many different items in your game. This is where you can edit them, create completely new ones, edit prices if you have a shop or merchant, decide if it’s consumable or not, if it’s a key item that can be used or not, etc. Though since it is almost completely infinate with possibilities, it’s a good idea to at least keep them organized (other wise you’re me from three years ago looking for a potion with a formula to change among thirty types of weapons). One thing to note, do not dis the power of place holders. Place holders can help you stay organized with how just about every piece of your game is laid out. I use them a lot now since it’s easier to keep track of what is where and under which area groups best together.
Enemies - This is where you can put all your baddies into the game, though let’s go over the areas laid out for us. There’s a list of all the enemies you currently have (or don’t if they’re blank… or place holders). These are what your characters fight through your game. Next to them you can give them names, change the base stats such as health and mana etc. You can change what they drop and how frequently, how much xp they give when defeated, what states they can be affected by and what elements they are attuned to. Such as lava slug… you’d want to make that relate to fire, unless you feel devious.
Troops - Another very important area. If your game has battles (yes some do not), this is where you go to assign what kinds of enemies will be battled against, and what kinds of enemies are grouped together. You can always edit how many enemies are in a single troop and to make sure they work right for you, there is an option to test out your battle. This comes handy to figure out how strong an troop is against your character (I don’t like to call every character a hero, because it’s possible to have anti heroes, villains as your mains as well).
Elements - (Image above used for inspiration) Edit the elements, or in the realm of 2003, this is also where weapon types are stored. These are handy. I recommend playing with them for a bit.
States - Not to be confused with territory, these are things such as death, sleep, poison, burn, so on and so forth, also fun to play with, though you can edit these to affect the targets at different rates through some scripting.
Animations - These are where your images for fights are stored, so when you land a hit, it gives a small effect to the ability. This works for normal and special hits as well as elements, so on and so forth.
Battle screen - This one isn’t used as much anymore though it comes handy to at least know about, this allows you to make changes to your battles, such as giving a window or taking one away, commands that can be used in battle.
Terrain - This is where you can test out what backgrounds fit into what kinds of regions. Unless you’re strange enough to leave a basic grassland background in an ice cave or a lava background in a swamp. Yeah, something about that doesn’t seem right.
Tilesets - This is my favorite areas to have fun with, this allows the dev to edit what kinds of tiles can be walked on, or not, as well as switch up what kinds of tiles are used where. This is just one of my favorite things to tinker with and with the version of MV that is left open with quite a bit of option to it. If needs be and you need multiple tile styles onto a single sheet, it’s easier to do that rather than try to cram five tile sets into different pages without much avail and a lot of wasted pixel art. If possible and you have photoshop or know someone who has photoshop, you may be able to cram the tiles you absolutely need into one page rather than waste space.
So there we have a rundown of the database and what kind of importance it has in each tag. My apologies for taking a while to post this, my internet sucks. Anyway, have fun rpg makers and devs.