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RPG Maker, known in Japan as RPG Tsukūru (RPGツクール - sometimes romanized as RPG Tkool) , is a game creation engine first released by ASCII, then succeeded by Enterbrain. The Japanese name, Tsukūru, is a pun mixing the Japanese word tsukuru (作る), which means "make" or "create", with tsūru (ツール), the Japanese transcription of the English word "tool".

The very first version was RPG Maker 98, but the first version to be released for modern Windows PC was RPG Maker 95 (released after 98). It was succeeded by RPG Maker 2000 and later 2003, both of which increased the limits of the game engine, though had lower screen resolution than 95.

Starting with RPG Maker XP, the game engine was coded in the Ruby scripting language, which made the game engine somewhat harder to learn and use (since many of the preset events in the game now had to be manually scripted), but allowed great flexibility.

It was succeeded by RPG Maker VX, and it's updated revision, RPG VX Ace.

The latest version is RPG Maker MV, a rewrite of the engine to use Javascript instead of the Ruby coding language so the program can be used on and code for multiple platforms, released by Kadokawa.

Tropes used in RPG Maker include:
  • 2-D Space - Default standard for the game engine, being two dimensional and not three dimensional by default, though an illusion of depth was achievable in XP through the use of "overlays", and while this feature was removed in subsequent engines, it was still possible to re-implement via some scripting.[1]
  • Attract Mode: Addable via scripting from XP onwards.
  • Cherry Tapping: Does not exist as a stock engine rule, has to be scripted in. Otherwise, it's possible for stats for the players and/or enemies to be so high no damage will ever be incurred by anything.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Inherent to the game engine, but a novice game designer who accidentally sets a battler to be resistant to death will render that enemy effectively immortal and thus defy the trope.
  • Copy Protection: Exists in a rudimentary form for the more modern makers (save MV), encrypting the game data in an archive file, though it can be decrypted and does not encrypt audio data. Some utilities exist to further strengthen the encryption.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Jumping from/to RPG Maker XP to VX/Ace created games can be confusing since they use different default keyboard key inputs.
  • Divide By Zero - If this sort of error occurs, the game engine will instantly crash.
  • DLC: Available via the Steam release of RPG VX Ace, which includes new game tiles, music, and other resources. VX had a Samurai DLC, and RPG Maker MV has it's own DLC.
    • It's possible to add DLC to a created game via the game engine (in XP and higher), though this more a form of patching than DLC, though it has have the same intended effect.
  • Game Breaking Bug: Can be self-induced by bad event or scripting work.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It was designed as game creation engine for RPGs, though a talented programmer could possibly make other types of game depending on their programming skill.
  • Fanon: The "default" characters of the game engines (as in, the stock characters and names they are assigned in the game database) are often given added characterization and meta details even in some official creator works, with "Ralph" (the default Vx Ace Hero character) being a semi-official mascot.
  • Fan Translation: Every version from 95 to XP has gotten legally questionable game translations, though all versions since (XP included) are now released with official English versions.
  • Obvious Beta: RPG Maker MV shipped like this.
  • Super-Deformed: The default art style of most of the engines save for XP is in this style, with RPG Maker DS taking this trope as far as it can within the limits of the game art style. This can be averted in VX and later engines by using XP sized sprites, commonly referred to as "Mack Style" sprites, after the original creator of character sprite edits of VX/VX Ace art that was given an XP like appearance.
  • Video Game Geography: Depending on the design choice of the creator, maps can be torodial (loop around) or flat and rectangular. Certain scripting allows mapping to defy physics, such as going to the extreme east end of the map dropping you at the north end if scripted to do so.
  1. Overlays refers to graphical layers superimposed atop another, so one could make a bridge one could go over and under, done in XP via a separate map layer (one of three on any standard map), and done in VX and later engines by taking the information from another map entirely and superimposing it on another map, thus achieving the same basic effect. Playing around with passibility settings in VX and later engines allows for a more limited form of overlay effect.
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