First off, I just wanted to write a post about my experience with RPG Maker MZ. While there is plenty of content about RPG Maker MZ out there, I wanted to share something from the perspective of a Developer with a commercial game on Steam.
When I first installed RPG Maker MZ I was not impressed. I uninstalled MZ and had it refunded in less than two hours. At that time, my stance was that the platform was a waste of money.
However, a bit later, I saw a video from Echo607, who is an RPG Maker content creator on YouTube. She opened her existing RPG Maker MV project on MZ and found her game ran much better.
I’ve always loved Echo607’s content so I decided to try and employ the same treatment on my game, Familia. This is the result.
What Went Right and What Went Wrong
What Went Right
1) The game is faster (usually)
I have experienced considerable speed increases on my Windows and Mac builds when testing with my computers.
My game does not use ‘Effekseer‘ animation. From my experience, Effekseer animation does not work well with slower computers and mobile devices. RPG Maker MV utilizes sprite sheets for animation.
“Effekseer is a tool that allows easy creation of beautiful particle effects for games and movies.” (https://effekseer.github.io/en/)
The poor performance seen in animation is not an issue if you are working with a game that was originally made with RPG Maker MV and ported to RPG Maker MZ. My game was originally on RPG Maker MV and now is updated with RPG Maker MZ so I didn’t see an animation performance decrease.
2) You can open an MZ project in MV pretty easily
My expectation was that my game would crash, followed by my computer exploding while my credit card and social security number were sent to the Russian mob. However, it wasn’t so bad.
Most of my plugins worked pretty well.
Surprisingly, the game worked pretty well. Now, I don’t want to go too deeply into the how-to move your game from MV to MZ here but I’m sure you can find that with a quick Google search. I do want to make that point that MV games will likely work in MZ.
2) Forward compatibility with newer plugins
RPG Maker MZ plugins are coming out all the time. RPG Maker MV plugins are not being released regularly at all. My game will be releasing DLC for years so I will need to implement newer plugins as I go.
3) Additional art, usable by both engines
While there will always continue to be debate over which version of RPG Maker had the best RTP art. RTP is short for run time package and it describes the assets that are baked in with the version of RPG Maker you buy.
One thing that isn’t commonly known is that if you own the associated version of RPG Maker, you can use its art in another version of RPG Maker. I have to emphasize that you have to own each version of RPG Maker which you are using art from. It’s also worth mentioning that you can’t use RPG maker for a commercial game built with unassociated engines.
In short though, even if you do not use any of the bundled assets, it’s still nice to have more options for placeholder art.
1) A few plugins broke
I had two wonderful video background plugins that I loved. Said video background plugins were not compatible with RPG Maker MZ. I had to change my main title-menu background and an in-game cutscene to accommodate the change. This was a bit of a disappointment, but it didn’t affect the game too drastically or detrimentally. As a side benefit, now that I’m not using videos I substantially reduced the file size of my game.
2) Speed made certain things load in a different order, which broke the game
Familia was my first game, so I improved as a developer along the way. While my general practices are much stronger, some of my old methods were a bit amateur.
With the game increasing in frame rate, much of my programming was dependent on frames and no longer worked properly. I learned the hard way that too much speed can break a game. It’s like driving too fast in your car.
This was a subtle problem and didn’t seem overly consequential at first. However, over time it was one of the most difficult issues to overcome. I had to rework countless events.
It’s worth stating that many of the issues I’m dealing with would have not been an issues if I used best practices when I first created my game. I’ve learned that when programming, make sure to know when to trigger events from frames, and when to trigger events from time.
3) Certain Camera sequences needed to be reworked because of higher frame rate
I know I’m going on about game speed being a problem. Many of my cutscenes would naturally slow down, which made them seem smooth. Now with every camera movement running at warp speed, I had to rework lots of programming.
4) Game file size increased because I accidentally imported too much art
If you do import your RPG Maker MV game into RPG Maker MZ, I recommend, you spend some time organizing your assets. Ultimately, this means you would have to go through all of your sounds and images. Only keep assets in your game folder that are being used by your game.
With a Steam game like mine, you don’t want unused assets on your game. Download size is a substantial factor for my users. If a game is bigger than it should be, it can create a negative experience for the people who buy your game.
To give you an example of what I mean, when I first dropped Familia into RPG Maker MZ, the file size increased from 0.9 GB (gigabytes) to 1.6 GB. Yes, my file size increased by 0.7 GB. It took me about 30 hours to go through and remove all the unneeded assets.
Currently, my game size stands at 0.9 GB on Windows and 1.2 gigabytes on Mac. As a side note, it’s worth noting that migrating over to MZ will change a lot of the default sounds in your database and a few other places. This means that you may think you are not using a sound in your game, only to find out that a sound or image you deleted is baked into the default settings of the game.
Should You Migrate from RPG Maker MV to RPG Maker MZ
What you do next really depends on your project. I think for the most part the migration to MZ was beneficial but this is a case-by-case call. Look at my wins and losses with my migration, and figure out what your priorities are.
Anyhow, thanks for coming by and reading my article all the way to the end. If you would like to continue this conversation, feel free to go start a discussion on my discord channel. I’ve disabled comments on my site because of spam so if you just want to let me know you have enjoyed this article, I really appreciate it. The info in this post was hard-earned