I made an RPG for my class. Here’s how it went down:
- I downloaded the free trial of RPG Maker VX Ace back in early January. I made enough of the game to know what kind of functionality RPG Maker had. Knowing that some of my favorite games were made on it gave me confidence in the tool.
- I bought the real version.
- I completed the main story and brought the game up with my English teacher / supervisor. He liked the idea enough, and saw how much there was to the game, that he helped me talk to my vice-principal about it. In a stroke of good luck, he approved the game for the school, but cautioned against outside distribution. (I need to change the names before I do anything public with it.)
- In a stroke of better luck, the English teacher told me he wanted me to have all the classes come down to play during class time.
- The night before the game was to be played in class, I added a leveling component to the game. It was one of my better ideas.
- The morning the game was to be played in class, I got an amazing save script to better the game.
- Seeing the game so well received convinced me to finish up the secret areas. Before the game’s reception, I’d decided I’d worked enough. The secret areas would have to remain secret, I’d thought in weakness. As of this post, two are complete (the two most easily found) and two still need creating (the harder-to-locate ones).
- Students love it—at least in the short term, they’ve been talking about it nonstop.
- Naturally, many students skip through long conversations, especially if there is a lot of text in an individual box.
- Some of my favorite conversations flew over students’ heads, but that’s alright. They were more for me in any case. :p
- At the end I mentioned that you can befriend all the students. I followed up by saying that the current max level is 50. Both comments elicited collective gasps from the audience.
- While the teacher likes the game, and wants to play, he encouraged the students to try and complete the story first. I’m fine with either approach (exploring the school, making friends).
- Only one student (two students working together, actually) made it close to the end in the 45 minute time they had. I wonder if the storyline needs to be more compelling… (I’d created the main story before I got a good grasp of how the program works. I figured out a lot on the way. When I made a lot of the side quest stuff, it was a lot easier to do cool things.)
- I got to give my big, “here’s what I do” speech: guess, search, skip
This was an awesome project to work on. As an RPG enthusiast, it didn’t take a lot of work to convince me to go through the effort of learning the program. I’m not sure how long it took to make this game, but I’d guess somewhere in the range of 30-50 hours, all things considered. In the end, that’s not a huge amount of time. I could probably recreate this game from scratch in a week vacation if I needed to, which is probably a testament to how much time I spent learning the program itself.
Seeing them enjoy it was wonderful though. It helped so many students realize how much English they actually did know. If this game keeps students coming back and studying English after they’re done with middle school, I’ll be happy. I mean, I’m already happy. This is a way bigger success than I ever imagined.
I’m already thinking of making this a yearly thing, for the time that I’m here: my present to all the graduating third years. It feels good to give back in a tangible way.
Since they graduate on Friday, I need to spend the rest of this week working to finish it. I’m aiming to have another blog post this Friday, but on the off chance I can’t get around to it, I apologize in advance.