Should I use rpg maker or renpy for an rpg featured image

To make it simple: there is no better option than the other, only preferences. 

Both will allow you to release your game on several platforms.

So you should always choose the one with whom you are the most comfortable.

But sometimes, you still have to pick one option between Renpy and RPG Maker due to other factors like the time allowed for your project, tutorials, assets, development and graphic costs, etc.

It’s always a difficult decision as many factors can influence your choices.

In this article, I’ll try to guide you as much as possible in selecting the right engine to build your role-playing game.

6 Points to Consider Before Choosing The Engine

Allowed Time For Your Game

A battle phase with a lot of opponents in Hearbeat
A front view turn-based battle system in Heartbeat ©Chumbosoft LLC

An RPG is a complex style of game.

You’ll probably have to work on many elements to make it stand out from the rest.

A good story plot with events, characters’ sprites, a battle system, inventory, a party management system, items effects, and so on.

These elements require time to implement and often to adjust, lot of time.

RPG Maker MZ already offers a wide range of default features that will help you reduce development time.

For example, you won’t have to spend time creating a battle system from scratch or coding event triggers.

Renpy doesn’t come with such features, and it could take more time to implement everything you need.

But some of the features from Ren’py are not available to RPG Maker too.

Which ones?

Let’s take a look.

Native Game Engine Features

A custom renpy battle system in Lauren the amazon princess
A custom battle system in Lauren the amazon princess ©Winterwolves

If both options are an excellent way to build your RPG from scratch, you should also consider the plus value of each one for your own use case.

Here’s a list of some native features that I found building my own games on both game engines:

RPG Maker MZ

  • Battle system (front view and side view)
  • Inventory
  • Party management
  • Experience system (level-up management)
  • Events
  • Quests
  • Animations
  • Transitions

Renpy

  • Events
  • Skip dialogues
  • Fast-forward dialogues
  • Rollback
  • Multiple dialogue boxes (NVL mode and classic visual novel box)
  • Live2D support
  • History log
  • Hide the HUD

As you can see, for a pure RPG, the dedicated engine has almost everything that you need to build your own.

Especially if you are looking for a battle system with Final Fantasy game looks.

Still, sometimes your could fancy more flexibility, and that’s here where Renpy can fit your expectations.

Be sure to learn some Python basics if you choose this last option. 

You will have to know at the minimum about Python lists, arrays, mathematical operators, and probably even to understand how to read a file with a different extension like a CSV or JSON file.

Engine Tutorials and Documentation

RPG Maker MZ comes with a wide range of tutorials that are easy to follow, even for beginners.

It has excellent documentation, is always up-to-date, and a vast community is here to help beginners.

This is an important point because new versions of the game engine are released each 2 to 3 years and come along with updated documentation.

Ren’py doesn’t offer as many tutorials as RPG Maker, but the available ones are excellent and easy to understand.

But Renpy is also an engine in active development.

That means some previously learned features can be broken in the latest build.

It could be something to consider as the learning curve from a new version is easier with RPG Maker than Ren’Py.

You’ll also find a lot of tutorials made by the community and available online. 

Some are even advanced to help you build your own custom systems.

Game Assets and Materials

A battle phase from Ara Fell an rpg made on rpg maker
A combat scene in Are Fell Enhanced Edition ©Stegosoft Games

When it’s time to look for assets, you can find almost everything available for both engines.

Some game assets marketplaces provide everything you could dream of for your video game.

You can actually find:

  • characters sprites
  • backgrounds
  • tileset
  • special effects
  • maps
  • music
  • sound effects

And all of them have been made with love by their creators.

Be sure to properly read about licenses when you make purchases on these game asset marketplaces.

There are also a lot of available free assets that you can mostly find in communities.

Of course, you could use your own assets instead or pair them with some royalty-free game materials.

Platforms Supported

RPG Maker MZ comes with a lot of official extensions that allow you to export your video game on many platforms:

  • Windows
  • HTML5 for browsers
  • Android
  • iOS

Ren’py comes with a complete set of available platforms too:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • HTML5 for browsers
  • Android
  • iOS

An interesting point to know: your released game could be sold on the most famous video game platforms like Steam, GoG, and Itch.io.

Development Costs and Budget

A battle scene from Target Valentino a renpy game
A side view battle phase in Target Valentino ©Sendo

Ren’py is free and an open-source software maintained by Renpytom.

It costs nothing to use to build your game and also nothing when it’s time to compile your build.

That allows most independent developers to start with few funds or use those to get assets instead.

But as we see previously, time is also money.

So depending on what features you have to build with, it can be most expensive to build your role-playing game on Ren’py than on RPG Maker.

The entrance fee for RPG Maker MZ by Degica is around $50. 

It can be costly for new indie developers but should be considered an investment.

In fact, with so many features available out-of-the-box plus ready-to-use assets at this price, it can’t be beaten.

Personally, I think that both options cost nothing to try. 

Sure, it will take some time, but you’ll be able to see limitations from these engines compared to your initial expectations. 

And you’ll even maybe adapt your requirements in a very early development stage, which can save you a lot of time and money.

And that’s it!

Ren’Py and RPG Maker MZ are both excellent video game engines for creating RPGs.

The second one is a more friendly solution for beginners and comes with all the required features to build a classic role-playing game.

Renpy is harder to learn but has more features, active development, and zero-fee entry costs.

It’s also a flexible solution to make an RPG.

In the end, it depends on what you want from your video game.

Well, I really hope this article helps you a bit in your decision, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments or via Instagram which option did you finally choose!

Thanks for reading!

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