A completely free and open source game creation tool!
Designed to be accessible and easy to use. New game developers will be able to make their first games in Rhythos and grow, while experienced game developers will find a lot of flexibility and extendability to create what they want!
Some basic functionality is already done, including a battle system you can play right here!
Dual-scripting system in Haxe: visual eventing requiring no coding knowledge + ability to directly edit code if desired.
Exciting music and sound effects from Robot Horse Productions: listen here!
Cross-platform (Flash, PC, Mac, Linux - and with a stretch goal: HTML5, iOS, Android, Ouya).
Extremely flexible and expandable, with a powerful plugin system for adding more export targets, battle systems, assets, and much more!
Rhythos.com: a community website where YOU can post your own content, chat about the project, and request features!
Rhythos RPG Builder is a free and open source game editor inspired by RPG Maker, and based off of Rhythos Arcade BETA, an action/rhythm battle game I released at the end of April that can be played here: http://fancyfishgames.com/rhythos/ or on newgrounds here: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/616768 . My goal is to create a full-featured, easy to use editor that can customize and create full RPGs on top of the Rhythos battle engine and export games to a variety of platforms, such as Flash, HTML5, Native Executables (PC, Mac, Linux) and potentially many more. Rhythos is being designed with extendability in mind, so it will be easy for the community to improve the editor, allowing it to evolve along with it's user base. It will be accessible for those who want to start their game development career, but also flexible enough for experienced game developers to take advantage of.
I have the skills and the drive to make this project a reality, and with the support of the Liberated Pixel Cup and Dean Bigbee's Robot Horse Productions , this project will have experienced coders, artists and musicians working on making an ideal RPG Builder!
Rhythos RPG Builder will be free, open source, expandable and cross platform. This means the tool will continue to improve and stay up to date with future platforms and features, as well as allow you to create one project and deploy to many platforms. With people like you contributing new functionality and export targets, Rhythos RPG Builder will be future-proof!
In addition to being able to grow, the starting point funded by this Kickstarter project will include many useful features (see the features section, above) that other RPG making tools do not. The battle system is also a new and interesting system that will be balanced and tweaked using feedback from Rhythos Arcade BETA. And of course, new battle systems can be developed and integrated right into the editor in an accessible and user-friendly way (no more difficulty integrating community written scripts).
With all of the features and extensions integrated into the editor, the Dual-Scripting system, and lots of base content, new developers will be able to easily create entire games without having to write a single line of code or add any art or music. It is my goal to make this a great entry level game builder like RPG Maker was for me, but also provide a lot of more complex features and functionality to accommodate more advanced developers and give newer developers room to grow! To help teach new developers how to make games with Rhythos, I plan to release free video tutorials, and would be interested in doing more.
In short, Rhythos RPG Builder will have a great base set of features, be easy to use, and will only get better as the community (including myself) contribute new plugins and content.
Yes! Both the completed RPG Builder and its full source code will be available to everyone, for free. This means everyone will benefit from the completion of this project, and both myself and the community can expand and improve upon Rhythos RPG Builder for years to come, keeping it up to date with new features and release platforms!
The Map Editor and Rhythos game code are already available for free on Github here: https://github.com/davidmaletz/rhythos. While it does not yet have the features and usability that this Kickstarter is meant to fund, it already has a decent base set of code from Rhythos Arcade BETA and an old map editor I wrote.
The RPG Builder and plugin API are licensed under the GPL, meaning any modifications or improvements to the editor must also be licensed under the GPL and shared with everyone - this is part of the spirit of Open Source software!
However, The client libraries compiled games link with is licensed under the LGPL, meaning that games you make in the editor do NOT have to be open sourced (and can even be sold commercially), although I encourage people to open source their games made in Rhythos!
The art assets are from the Liberated Pixel Cup, a great free and open source asset licensed under the GPL and CC. This means that any modifications of the LPC sprites or tiles need to be released under the GPL and CC as well (and project files like maps that make use of them).
The Rhythos Game Code - includes the battle engine along with several general purpose UI functions like Choice Dialogs and Dialog Boxes. The Dialog Boxes come with features similar to RPG Maker, like custom symbol support, changing colors, adding pauses, and auto-closing. Also includes character customization, equipment, and shop screens, along with the enemy selector which could be used as a bestiary.
The Map Editor - includes several useful tile editing tools and supports up to 20 layers. The layers are dynamic, and allow the player to move between layers. This works by having the player interact with the first non-empty tile on the player's current layer or below. Anything above the player is rendered on top of them and doesn't affect them. This allows complex bridging and flight systems with only a simple event to move the player up or down a layer.
Project Manager - includes a tree view of all of your project resources, and allows you to drag, drop and edit maps, tilesets, images and sounds (with additional database and script resources planned). Supports .wav and .mp3 audio files, and .png, .jpg and .gif image files. Support for more formats is planned.
SWF Export Target - exports maps and tilesets to an SWF file that will run in Flash Player 10 or later. Future export targets are planned.
The editor is being written in Java and will run on any device with Java 1.6 or later. Java is free and many computers come with Java already installed. You can download the latest version of Java here: http://java.com/en/download/index.jsp .
Below is a video showing me creating a simple house interior map (at 2x speed) using the current version of the editor.
Eventing and Dual-Scripting System - will have both a visual block editing mode (like RPG Maker) and a text editing mode that will allow you to directly modify the code. This will give experienced programmers full functionality and flexibility over events, but also offer an easy to use system that requires no prior coding knowledge. My hope is that this dual-scripting system will accommodate for the strengths and weaknesses of different game developers, and even help beginners learn how to code. The language of the event system will be Haxe as it has the most support for all potential export targets.
Flexible Database Management - will allow you to edit, copy, drag, and paste database elements just like other resources. Database elements will allow you to customize all options, such as enemy types, player classes, races, equipment, spells and so on.
Auto-Tile Support - will automatically select the correct tile to place based on neighboring tiles (for grass, water and other special auto tile graphics). Auto-Tiles will update automatically when the map is edited.
Powerful Plugin API - will make it possible to add future export targets, battle systems, database types, resource types and scripting types. Switching battle systems and export targets will automatically refresh your database entries and scripts, ensuring that they are compatible and notifying you of changes needed to fit the new systems. Of course, since everything is Open Source, the entire plugin API can be expanded upon, allowing new types of plugins as well!
A Script Editor - an integrated script editing IDE that will be context sensitive and provide common auto-complete functions.
Error Handling and Debugging - will allow you to easily locate problems with your scripts and resources while testing.
Export to Native Executables - On top of flash, I will be adding export targets for Windows, Mac and Linux native executables! Since the game code is written in Haxe, it can cross compile to many future platforms as well, and more export targets can be added by the community and a stretch goal!
While there is a lot of base code already finished from projects I've worked on over the last few years, there's still a lot to do - including integrating all of the code, and all of the features outlined above. If I want to focus on this full time and really polish and fine tune it into a stable, user-friendly editor, then I'll need your support to make it happen! The initial $12,000 goal is to fund development time and costs for the 6 months of full-time work I will need to finish everything planned. I've already put a lot of time into this project and the projects it was spawned from, and I really want to see it happen, so you can be certain that I will also be putting in a lot of overtime and my own funds as necessary to make it happen!
Additionally, I strongly encourage people to get involved and support the project in non-monetary ways as well! Part of the beauty of being open source is that you, the community, can contribute code, art, music, plugins and all sorts of useful features and extensions! With the $12,000 goal, I will make sure that this project is complete, stable, and well maintained. But with your continued contributions, the project can go far beyond my own vision - this is truly a tool for everyone, and a combined effort of a talented community!
Rhythos RPG Builder, when complete, will be freely available for everyone, both backers and non-backers. But to show my thanks to those who helped make this dream a reality, I have included several special backer-only rewards!
A special badge in the official Rhythos community website designating you as a backer of the project! Let the entire community know that this project wouldn't have been possible without your support! Includes a small icon and level designation (Apprentice, Adventurer, etc) and a special thanks in the about dialog of the Rhythos RPG Builder (sorted by backer amount).
Three awesome downloadable Rhythos wallpapers created by my wife Natalie (who drew our mascot)! The wallpapers will come in a variety of resolutions and aspect ratios. The design of the wallpapers are not yet finalized, but I'll post an update when we have them!
A Rhythos postcard shipped directly to you that you can mail to your friends or keep as an awesome memento! In addition, for backer levels at $100 or more, the postcard will be signed by the developer! The design of the postcard is not yet finalized.
Access to a live Rhythos Webinar where you can learn how to use the tools and ask me questions about the project! A video recording of the webinar will be available to everyone (backers and non-backers) to encourage learning the tools, but only backers of $45 or more (including the Warrior level) will have access to the live version.
The full downloadable Rhythos Arcade BETA soundtrack from Robot Horse Productions, including several tracks that were meant for a larger RPG campaign and never heard in any game before! You can hear a preview of the soundtrack here: http://robothorse.bandcamp.com/album/rythos-arcade
An 11x17 glossy paper poster featuring designs from my wife Natalie (who drew our mascot)! The design of the poster is not yet finalized, and we may offer multiple designs to choose from in the kickstarter survey!
A full color Rhythos T-Shirt featuring designs from my wife Natalie (who drew our mascot)! The design of the T-Shirt is not yet finalized, and we may offer multiple designs to choose from in the kickstarter survey!
You can contact me to request one of the following:
Custom Feature - integrated support for mini games, battle systems, AI, networking, special map/tileset handling, menus, resource types, export types, tools or whatever else you can think of!
Custom Art - new characters, animations, tilesets, equipment, spells or monsters, you name it!
Custom Music - new background music, battle tracks or sound effects to support your games and stories!
Game Development Support - I'll personally help you learn to use the editor, integrate your assets and assist you in getting your game running.
All of the above (except for game development support) will also become available to everyone open source once complete, however it will be tailored and customized especially for you. As for exactly how much you can request, that depends on your backer level and how difficult the requests are, but I'll work with you to figure out something awesome and reasonable! If you have questions about whether a specific feature or asset would be possible, feel free to contact me! Some requests may require additional development time beyond the 6 months to fulfill.
Due to the complexity and cost of international shipping, all physical rewards are US only. However, if you live internationally and want a physical reward, feel free to contact me and I will see what I can work out on a case-by-case basis!
Once the funding goal for RPG Builder itself is reached, I would be very excited to fund more art and music! Not only will this improve the base set of assets you can use for making your games in the editor, but it will give back to the Liberated Pixel Cup which was a big part of making this project possible! If we reach this stretch goal, we plan to add:
A tropical environment & terrain, including tilesets and autotiles
An icelands environment & terrain, including tilesets and autotiles
Tilesets and autotiles to make world maps
8 new spell animations
4 new enemy sprites
4 new animated equipment sprites
4 new animated weapon sprites
8 new music tracks
Double the library of sound effects
An auto-animate tool which places static content (like hair, equipment and expressions) into the best guess location on all character frames
Of course, all of this content will be free and open source, and usable in both Rhythos RPG Builder games and other projects as well!
One of my goals for this project has always been to allow you to make the game once, and export it to multiple platforms and devices without having to worry about compatibility issues or different input devices. This stretch goal will achieve that, with added support for HTML5, Android devices (including the Ouya) and iOS devices. Even though Haxe compiles to all of these platforms, there are a lot of compatibility issues that arise (believe me, I tried this with Rhythos! Arcade BETA). If we reach this stretch goal, I will work out all of the compatibility issues, test and debug all of the above export targets, and work out a usable control scheme for touchscreens, making sure that all of the export targets simply work out of the box.
This project was designed to be easy to expand and improve, so there are plenty of options for improvements beyond $25,000. But before I set more stretch goals in stone, I want to hear from you - the future users of Rhythos, about what other features you would be interested in!
Risks and challenges
While I am confident that I will be able to deal with any problems that arise during development, there is a risk that some feature or other ends up being a lot more difficult to implement than I expected, causing delays and the project to run out of funds. While I tend to be good at estimating the difficulty and time required to keep to deadlines, setbacks could happen, especially given the complexity and possible points of failure for this project.
If setbacks do arise, as stated in the project description, I plan to work overtime and use my own funds to make sure that this project happens - I want to see it done as much as you do! The development process will be completely open - I will post commits (source code changes) to github frequently and updates to the forums, so you will be able to track my progress and even help out!
So even if a delay does occur, you will be able to see it coming and be updated about what happened, and I have high hopes I will be able to push through and finish this project regardless of what problems arise!
Yes! Postcards we'll ship internationally, but other physical rewards we'll handle on a case-by-case basis. This is because some countries have a lot more fees and complexity than others. Just let me know if you want a reward shipped internationally, and I'll look into shipping to that country!
Yes! Rhythos supports sprites of all sizes (tilemaps and movements are fixed on a 32x32 pixel grid, but small and oversize sprites are allowed). While imported sprites may not be compatible with the Liberated Pixel Cup weapons and equipment sprites (wrong body shape), you can certainly import your own sprites, equipment, weapons, hair and accessory customizations. You can do it in the editor by simply importing the image and specifying the frames (walk, attack, death, etc), and Rhythos will combine layers, perform color modifications and animate the sprites as desired! "Invisible" equipment is also possible if you want the sprite to always look the same, regardless of what equipment the player selects!
DEFENDER - You are the defender of our cause! Includes everything at the APPRENTICE level, plus a DRM free copy of Level Up Labs' game Defender's Quest, including a steam key and soundtrack! Defender's Quest will also be included in all pledges above $12 (see update #1).
BARD - A song for our cause! Includes access to a live Rhythos webinar (included in all rewards over $45), the downloadable Rhythos soundtrack, a Rhythos RPG Builder Postcard, downloadable Rhythos wallpapers, special thanks in the editor software, and a Bard Backer badge on our community website!
MAGICIAN - Spreading the magic! Includes an 11x17 poster of our mascot, access to a live Rhythos webinar, the downloadable Rhythos soundtrack, a Rhythos RPG Builder Postcard, downloadable Rhythos wallpapers, special thanks in the editor software, and a Magician Backer badge on our community website!
WARRIOR - Armor yourself with the right equipment! Includes a full color Rhythos RPG Builder T-Shirt, the downloadable Rhythos soundtrack, a signed Rhythos RPG Builder Postcard, downloadable Rhythos wallpapers, a special thanks in the editor software and a Warrior Backer badge on our community website!
HERO - You are out hero! Includes everything at the BARD level, plus you can request a small additional feature, custom art, music, or game development support - we can talk and figure out what sounds reasonable!
CHAMPION - You are a champion of our cause! Includes everything at the WARRIOR level, plus you can request an additional feature, custom art, music, or game development support - we can talk and figure out what sounds reasonable!
LEGEND - You are a legend! This includes everything at the WARRIOR level, prominent special thanks in the editor software, an 11x17 signed Rhythos poster, plus you can request a large additional feature, custom art, music, or game development support - we can talk and figure out what sounds reasonable!