Most of us have, at some point or another, indulged in a little JRPG goodness. But have you ever considered the possibility of creating one yourself? Thanks to RPG Maker XP, you have the tools to do just that.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to create a basic room, an event encounter, and your very first battle with some baddies in a classic JRPG world. This may sound horribly complicated, but don’t worry: the standard package of characters, enemies, animations, and tilesets means that you actually have to do very little work to get yourself started. You can take advantage of this to see how things tick without figuring everything out from scratch.

First of all, grab the trial version of RPG Maker XP from this download page. It’s free for a trial period of 30 days, after which you’ll need to fork out some dosh to continue using it. That should be more than enough time to decide whether or not you want to stick with it.

After downloading, you’ll want to open the ZIP folder and run the setup. There are two components that you need to install: the support files for the software (your clue here is a hideously long acronym: don’t ask us what it stands for) and the toolkit itself. Once you’re done, fire that bad boy up.

You’ll be confronted with a rather blank screen. Let’s change that by going to File > New Project. Here, you’ll be presented with your greatest challenge: setting up the game properties. Don’t worry, you can get through it.

Once that’s sorted out, you should be presented with this:

openingscreen

You are the artist, and this is your canvas.

RPG Maker conveniently sets you up with not only a nice, friendly map canvas, but a few default tilesets as well! Have fun and place a few tiles by clicking on them in the left window and putting doodads onto the right-side map. To make your life easier, take note of two things:

(1) You can select multiple tiles at once by clicking and dragging in the left window. This spares you the pain of building a large structure block by block.

(2) Tiles are laid down in three layers. You can flip between these layers by checking the diamond-shaped icons at the top of the window. Use this to put a tree onto grass, for example.

Once you’ve built something you like, try it out by clicking on the playtest icon at the top. You’ll see that the game provides a menu system and characters for you already! Fiddle about with the sample. You’ll see that you can’t do much just yet, so exit once you’re satisfied and get ready to check out the database.

menu

The default in-game menu. Characters, stats and a whole lotta blue.

Once you’re back in the editor, press F9. Whoa! That’s a lotta stuff to take in. What you’re seeing right now is a summary of every object, graphic, character, enemy, and just-about-everything-else-thing that will appear in your game. Have a look at some of the tabs and mess around if you feel like it. RPG Maker kindly provides a lot of default entities to populate your game with so that you don’t have to create your own.

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