Perfidia Pass

Perfidia Pass is a short RPG that I've spent the last few months working on (ever since Spacefight wrapped up); it has two endings, so I didn't want to spoil anything by going into too much detail here.

You can check it out on here:

What went well:

Reducing scope

I'm not great at controlling scope. The original idea that Perfidia Pass grew out of involved two large towns that were fully fleshed out, a merchant system, a battle system, and a weird shadow economy where you traded valuables between the two villages. I might still come back to that idea, but the scope was way way too large for me to make something that was at a quality level I was happy with in the time I had available. There was a lot of iteration involved in working towards Perfidia Pass's story and structure that it has now and I could have reduced the scope a little earlier, but overall I'm pretty happy with how it worked out.

RPG Maker

RPG Maker MV is the first version of RPG Maker that worked on a Mac; I actually started this project because I remembered having so much fun working with RPG Maker 2k that when it came to OS X I knew that I had to build something with it. There is a brief bit of a learning curve and you definitely get out what you put into it time-wise (for example - Perfidia Pass took 65 hours total, and each room and area was probably at least an hour each to design and flesh out), but it's a great tool for quickly putting together a fairly complete RPG. I even stripped out a lot of the regular RPG trappings in order to just get the systems I wanted, and the tool didn't stop me or hinder me from doing that, which was nice.

Using default assets

I pre-ordered RPG Maker MV in my excitement over it coming to OS X - because of the pre-order, I got a couple of asset packs which were what I used for all of the art in Perfidia Pass (other than Jennifer - I generated her using the built-in character generator). An easy way to not run into art problems is to lock yourself into using one set of art and just never deviate (although it does mean that sometimes you have to create a fairy signpost because you don't have a signpost sprite).


Because I was using a single IDE that was designed for one thing only, it was trivial for me to generate builds whenever I wanted, as well as put the game into different states I needed it in in order to debug. I was also able to export a mobile version of the game so that I could take it out on a phone for playtesting, along with exporting for windows machines whenever a windows friend wanted to try it out. The fact that RPG Maker MV is building nw-js apps helped too; you could easily pop open a webkit debugger and poke around at what was happening at each step when you needed to. Which brings me to...

What didn't go well:

RPG Maker MV's plugin system

RPG Maker MV has a plugin system, where you can attach arbitrary JS plugins to your project. This is a really good idea in theory! In practice it's basically undocumented; most of my customization work came from reading through the source code for their systems and then forcing my code overtop of them. I mostly developed my plugins by reverse engineering other plugins or doing a lot of trial and error work with the IDE's built-in reload functionality (which was a godsend once I realized it existed).

The fact that RPG Maker MV supports plugins is great, but the way that you write and work with them could be a lot smoother and better documented.


I am not the best at writing, and this project was text heavy and really drove that point home. I spent a little bit of time looking for writer collaborators at the start of the project, but when I didn't find any I decided to just roll up my sleeves and do it myself. This worked, but it took a lot of iterating in order to find something that plausibly made sense - I could have moved much faster on the project if I'd had something who was a decent writer helping out from the get-go. I'm chalking this up to an opportunity to skill build, though.

Finding time

Around hour 40 (month 2), my interest in the project started to drop off and I knew I needed to finish it fast. Unfortunately - when you're losing interest in something, you're not typically the most motivated to spend a lot of time on that thing in order to get it out of the door. The polishing phase is huge and takes a lot of time! I'd almost argue that it's where you get the most bang for your buck, so it's pretty important to be able to put a lot of time into it. I ultimately had to buckle down and say "I don't care if I'm happy with it at the end, I am locking this down to what it is and finishing it". This worked, but ideally the project would have been short enough to not run into any feelings of "this is taking too long.."

Closing thoughts:

Overall I'm pretty happy with how Perfidia Pass turned out (and it was cool that Steam tracked how long I'd used RPG Maker for; I can say this project took 64 hours!). It was a good exercise in writing and level and world design, while also absolving any art anxiety by providing enough assets for me to work with (usually without too many speedbumps, other than the fairy signpost). 

I was also pretty happy with RPG Maker; now that I've sunk some time into wrapping my head around the plugin system, I feel confident that writing plugins for my next project will go much more smoothly (and I have some reference implementations now). While my next project might not be an RPG Maker project, it's definitely something I'm happy to add to my toolbelt for the next project that it makes sense for.

On to the next one!

(but if you want to play this one, it's at