PAX West 2018: Pixel Game Maker MV

Monday, September 10th, 2018

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Making my own games is something I’ve tried to do in the past. Namely I’ve tried using GameMaker and RPG Maker MV, as well as having reviewed RPG Maker FES on Nintendo 3DS. Now, at PAX West this year, I visited Playism’s booth and took a look at Pixel Game Maker MV, the latest entry in the long-running Maker series that includes the many editions of RPG Maker. The bulk of my time with Pixel Game Maker MV consisted of a member of the localization team walking me through the editor, in significant detail. I won’t go into the same level of detail here, mainly because it would make this much longer than I want it to be, and I’ll focus more on what I see its potential as being based on what I saw.

Pixel Game Maker MV | Scene editor

The games I saw being shown off were all side-scrolling, but it seems like the engine could be used to make any kind of 2D game, even ones that transition from top-down to side-scrolling view if you use your assets correctly. The engine seems very in-depth, at the expense of being very complicated, and without someone walking me through it I would’ve been extremely intimidated and lost just looking at it for the first time. Fortunately there are also tutorials online, with the team planning to incorporate in-engine tutorials as well to help people get started. Until then, though, people are more or less on their own to explore the engine and see what they can figure out and put together. Such is the nature of any game creation software, where even if it’s trying to be user-friendly it will still be very complex just by necessity.

Pixel Game Maker MV | Object editor

With the sheer amount of open-endedness that Pixel Game Maker MV offers, I can imagine it would have a lot of potential for people who are willing to take the time to fully explore and take advantage of what it offers. Similar to RPG Maker MV, as well as the earlier Maker games, Pixel Game Maker MV includes the ability to directly edit game files in JavaScript, further increasing utility (and complexity) for those who know how to code. There are also plugins as with other Maker software, including one to use RPG Maker MV assets with the new software. It looks like it could offer a lot of depth for those willing to fully explore it, even if it means it’ll inevitably have a very steep learning curve.

Pixel Game Maker MV | Tileset editor

Pixel Game Maker MV seems like an incredibly robust tool if you’re willing to learn the ins and outs of using it to its full potential, but it’s not for the faint of heart, especially considering not everything seems to be fully translated yet. If you want to make your own game it seems incredibly versatile, and skilled users could probably figure out how to use it to make any type of 2D action-based game. If you want to take the plunge it’s available now in early access for $85 USD (although the price may increase when it officially releases); the engine itself and editor are generally complete, with coming updates to add plugins, the in-app tutorials, and general fixes and improvements according to feedback from its users.

About Chris Melchin

Chris is a computer science student who has been gaming ever since he knew what to do with a Super Nintendo controller. He's a fighting game player, with a focus on BlazBlue and Under Night In-Birth games. His favourite games include Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Persona 5, and Little Busters. He started watching anime in high school, and his favourite series is Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. He also writes Vocaloid music for his personal YouTube channel, and has a (slight) obsession with Megurine Luka.