Over the past year, I’ve been diving into the world of game development. I’ve dabbled here and there, but could never find a coding language or SDK that I felt was simple enough for me to use. At this time in my life, I just can’t find the time to dedicate to learning a brand new coding language. That’s why I’ve always found Enterbrain’s RPG Maker series so appealing. You can make a playable game in mere minutes, but if you have the time to dedicate to learning every nook and cranny of the software, whole new worlds open up that most people don’t know are possible. I love RPG Maker to death and the fact To the Moon was made with it truly is awe inspiring, but the software as a whole just wasn’t for me. I love classic RPGs, but I don’t really want to make one. That’s where IG Maker comes in. With IG Maker, you can make an action RPG similar to Link to the Past, a side scrolling shooting game, a platformer or even a hybrid of all of them. The possibilities certainly look endless when you start looking into using IG Maker.
Upon launching IG Maker, you are greeted with a helpful New Game Wizard. It asks you a series of questions about the game you are planning on making and then creates a playable template for you. The available genres are jumping action, action RPG, simple action RPG, simple action, shooting and simple shooting. Later on, you can toggle on additional genres such as adventure, novel, puzzle, table, fighting, race, simulation and music. IG Maker uses genre defined plugins to tell the game how to behave. For example gravity and player movement in a platformer will be different from that of a side-scrolling shooter. Plugins can be freely combined, meaning you could recreate A Link to the Past and add a space shooter minigame.
There’s no coding language or scripting in IG Maker. Everything is done through an ingenious flow diagram. Every aspect of your game is linked together using bubbles and arrows. Despite being fun to look at, this is quite possibly IG Maker’s biggest hurdle. It’s no coding language, but it certainly has to be learnt from the ground up. Given the number of tabs, menus and interfaces you have to learn, some inspiring indie game developers may feel that their time is better spent learning a proper coding language instead of IG Maker. That’s perfectly understandable, too. But for what it is, it’s quite logically organized and I found the tutorial to easily break things down and explain each component.
IG Maker requires you to set up the entire canvas before it will run your game. That means you have to have tiles, characters and collisions in the game before you can test play it. This is a shame, really, since most other game engines including Game Maker allow you to view the game regardless of what state it’s in, even if it’s not technically playable.
The tutorial warns that certain items will not be displayed properly if your computer is not connected to the Internet. I’ve always found software-limiting DRM to be a huge deal breaker. To see just how this affects IG Maker, I unplugged the Ethernet cord from my computer while the software was running. Other than not being able to access the product’s webpage from within IG Maker, I didn’t see any problems. I even tried making a new game from the ground up while the Internet connection was severed and I was able to just fine. As far as I could tell, an unstable Internet connect would not impact your work at all, making me wonder why the warning was even included.
When it comes to recreating basic, classic games with a slight twist, IG Maker is one of many choices on the digital market. It brings an interesting new take on game making, but the lack of support makes it feel like the redheaded step child of the bunch. It’s hard to recommend IG Maker to a serious game developer, because the software isn’t made for them. It’s made for people looking to make some simple games without learning years of coding, but this mentality is thrown out the window when the interface itself takes more than a little effort to learn. While I enjoyed my time with IG Maker, I can’t see anyone else wanting to give it the time of day when there’s a lot of better, professional options on the market.