RPG Developer Bakin Editor Early Access Review
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Creating a New Project
- 3 Map Editor
- 4 Resource Manager
- 5 Database
- 6 Game Definition
- 7 UI Layout Tool
- 8 Camera Tool
- 9 Variable Labels
- 10 Sprite Tool
- 11 Event Editor
- 12 Expanded Features (Custom Code)
- 13 Conclusion
RPG Developer Bakin is the "new" RPG Maker-esque engine on the block. I say "new" because it's actually created SmileBoom, who made Smile Game Builder, another RPG Maker-esque engine. They're no strangers to what an RPG needs and it shows with Bakin. However, the question is, does Bakin do what RPG Maker MZ does better or is there some work to be done?
Now that Early Access is out for Bakin, let's take a look at what Bakin has to offer. Keep in mind that since this is Early Access, it means that not everything is finalized and that's potentially more to come.
Also keep in mind that this is a subjective review formed off my own opinions.
I have used this software for roughly 14 hours today. The software was released last night. This is my experience.
Creating a New Project
When creating a new project, we're greeted with this screen. By answering the questions asked of the guide, it helps kickstart your game dev experience. This can become potentially tedious but overall, I like it when using the program casually.
Here, we enter the game's title, subtitle, and the name of the creator. Sadly, there's a limit of 18 characters each. This may or may not be a problem for some games, but I know for certain languages (ie. German), this can become a big issue. For other languages like Japanese or Chinese, this is a very small issue.
Thankfully, you can change this in the Game Definition tab and go past 18 characters, but still, why make the limit here?
Here, we decide if we want to use assets provided by Bakin or just leave it empty. For those coming from RPG Maker, this is where you decide if you want the RTP (Runtime Package) aka default assets. This can be a time saver for those who want to create a minimalist project or a project with completely unique assets and don't want to waste time having to remove everything.
RPG Developer Bakin is interesting in how it handles the player character. In RPG Maker, the player character is determined by the first character in the player's party. In Bakin, it's a separate entity.
This can be either a blessing or a curse.
It can be a blessing for those who wish for more autonomy with a "leader but not fighter" type of playstyle (akin to Pokémon). Or it can be a curse for those who swap out their party members constantly (akin to Octopath Traveler).
Characters in Bakin can be either 3D models that turn as the camera moves or 2D stamps that will always appear flat on the screen to the player's camera angle.
This is where things get interesting. You get to choose your camera angle that's best fit for your game. There are four of them and they can all make for some very interesting gameplay decisions.
Having the ability to pick and choose from these is absolutely fantastic in my opinion.
The Operation Method determines how controls are handled.
I think giving these control schemes to the player is great and opens up a lot of game genre possibilities.
You're seeing it right! The ability to jump and run with inertia is innate with Bakin and doesn't require external plugins like RPG Maker! Huzzah!
However, keep in mind it's very basic though.
Jumping will launch the player a set height and you cannot adjust the height based on how long you hold the jump button. Think of it like jumping in Super Mario RPG or jumping in Disgaea's base or the awkward jump height and arm flailing like in Minecraft.
Inertia feels kinda weird imo and is best left off unless you're planning on doing an action game. Going up a minimally slanted cliff kills your momentum more than a speed bump near an elementary school zone.
I think both of these features can use some tweaking.
And finally, the last page before going to edit your game.
You can decide to test out the camera and control scheme for your game here. It's a high quality of life feature that makes me glad the Bakin developers added in because there are 12 different camera and control schemes you can use.
Doing a test play here won't give me much to talk about as it's just an empty map so let's start editing the game.
Score Rating for Create New Project
I think Bakin almost nails it with asking the right questions to create a new game project.
RPG Maker can learn a few things from Bakin in regards to this such as not having to load a new project full of assets, different control schemes for different types of games (because let's be real, not everybody uses RPG Maker to make RPG's), and the like.
If I were to give this a point score from 0 to 10, it'd get a 7. The reason why it doesn't get full points is because somethings don't sit well with me. Things like the 18 character limit for titles, subtitles, and creator names (I know you can go past 18 with the Game Definition settings but why make the limit here?). Things like setting up a separate sprite for the player character. The jump and inertia settings are too basic and require tweaking, too.
Improvements that can be done would be to remove the 18 character limit. Give the game developer an option to decide if they want to separate the hero and player sprites or to tie them together. Also make jumping and inertia feel better.
Get those right and I'd give it a perfect score.
Immediately, we're taking to the map editor. Makes sense. It's where RPG Maker takes you too after creating a new project. And quite frankly, it's the easiest place to start.
The "Map List" tab allows you to add maps and map folders. Yes, you heard that correctly. You can now create map folders and dump those maps into said folders for better organization. This is a feature that RPG Maker desperately needs so that we don't have to create empty maps to function as pseudo-folders.
Now this is where I have some issues:
The "Map List" button tab is hidden away quite well with a vertical context bar. I'm not sure what the design decisions are behind this, but it's incredibly easy for a newcomer to miss.
I don't understand why they couldn't just add "Map List", "Placed List", and "Common Events" to the Master Menu selection to the left. It's not like they are lacking in room there. Also, the buttons to close the tab are confusing, too. The pin button will send it back to the tab while the X button will erase it completely from the vertical tab. To get the erased tab back, you have to go the View context menu and bring back "Map List". It's a very awkward way of handling the window.
Why is the shortcut key for cut the T button when it's always been the X button?
Paste being P instead of V???
The "Placed List" is also on that awkward vertical tab. Here you can view the structure objects and events you've placed on the map.
It's very similar to RPG Maker MZ's Event tab listing, except RPG Maker MZ's event tab does a poor job of actually giving you control of the event on the map. With RPG Maker MZ, you can select the event but you can't delete it from the list, you can't cut/copy it from the list, nor can you center the editor on the event from the list to view it properly. Bakin lets you do that with ease and even lets you convert structure objects to events.
However, I still have to dock points for the awkward placement of the "Placed List" as it can be hard to find.
Common Events are handled on the map editor, too, which kind of strikes me as odd since there are also "Battle Events" on there.
Yep, that's right. There are now Common Events and Battle Events. The Battle Events function similar to my Base Troop Events where there are global battle events for every battle. This is a great addition and something that RPG Maker needs to consider.
Common Events function the way they do with RPG Maker and I suppose that should be no surprise. However, both Battle Events and Common Events have a new bonus to them and that'll be something I'll cover later in the Events section.
Unfortunately, just like "Map List" and "Placed List", the awkward placement to access the "Common Events" tab leaves much to be desired. I said it before, I'll say it again. It needs to go the list on the left where it's easy to see.
Hopefully, that'll change once Bakin is out of Early Access.
Terrain editing is quite easy to do. You just pick a texture and paint the texture onto the map. This can be done via brush or paint bucket, just like RPG Maker MZ. You can raise or lower the level of the terrain or turn them into slopes or stairs.
In regards to slopes and stairs, it's not really obvious how to use them from the get go. Slopes and stairs can only be applies to already raised terrain. I'm still unsure of how to create diagonal cliffs and I think you can't.
Under the "Stamps" tab on the right side of the map editor, we have the "Objects" tab where we can place things like buildings, particle effects, trees, plants, rocks, roads, stairs, furniture, and even character sprites that don't do anything event-like.
This is basically what RPG Maker MZ uses its tileset for from ABCDE. The big difference being that RPG Maker doesn't have particles for you to place down nor can you put down event-free sprites. You gotta either event those particles or just make zero function events for the roaming sprites.
The tab here works great.
On the "Events" tab, you can select from a template list of events to add. This is essentially a section of "Quick Events" from RPG Maker that are found for a variety of uses. You can later convert these templates to fully customizable events, too.
I think the template selection is large and fantastic. It covers a huge range of things from adding characters to the party to speaking with NPC's to touch encounters. You can create a quick shop or inn with it, too. There are also traveling merchant templates. Treasure chests, finding items in dressers, beds to rest on, inspecting graves. There are even pushable event blocks.
The biggest thing in my opinion are the more dungeon-esque event templates. There are basic things like stairs, doors that send you to another map, warp gates, etc. But on top of that, there are more interesting mechanics like giant switches you can step on to open specific types of doors.
For example, there's a blue switch event. It opens the blue door event which was locked before.
While for the RPG Maker veteran, eventing things like these are super simple to do. However, for a new developer, such tasks may be daunting. Bakin simplifies this process and eases new developers into creating more complex gameplay.
RPG Maker can definitely learn a lot from this.
I honestly did not know this tab existed until I was told it by some friends. It was so incredibly easy to miss. On the far right of the screen, there is a "Map Settings" tab, which if you push, opens up this little bit. It's located on an awkward vertical slab just like "Map List", "Placed List", and "Common Events".
Here, you adjust the name of the map and other settings like size, bgm, weather (aka Environmental Effects), and if the map should be pre-loaded. You can even call some events before fully loading the map, too.
Oh, and for those asking, the max map size is 256x256x256. When a map is too big, it'll be cached in chunks, or as Bakin calls it, clusters.
The other tabs let you adjust things like the sky's color, skybox model, light source, and other post processing effects like bloom, exposure, contrast.
You can choose to have battles appear as random encounters or random touch event spawns.
Enforcing specific camera angles is also done through here.
Vertical Tool List
The toolbar is what you expect.
Selection variants, drawing, bucket, terrain up/down, positioning, rotation, and adding light sources.
Not much is different here from RPG Maker MZ aside from the specific 3D management tools which obviously wouldn't be in RPG Maker.
However, there are some things that don't make much sense to me like a lack of randomize angle thing. This adds a tedious nature to having to manually select each plant object and adjust their rotation one by one. Hopefully, this aspect gets changed later on.
These are found at the bottom of the screen.
The buttons here alter how the map editor in the center of the screen works, ranging from filtering the selection type to terrain or objects or both, how movement works when doing drag/drop, angle manipulation, snap to grid, showing the grid, and toggling different camera perspectives.
The odd one out though is handling regions here. Which I personally think is better off as a separate tab similar to how RPG Maker does it. The region handling is very bulky which can make it odd to use for those who aren't used to it.
I do think that the buttons could be a bit more vivid as they're still pretty easy to miss.
Score Rating for Map Editor
Bakin has a good map editor with lots of potential. I think the strongest points are the object placement tools and event templates. Otherwise, everything else is very standard according to what you'd expect with a 3D map editor.
However, most of it is stunted by some awkward UI decisions like those weird black vertical tabs which can be very easy to miss. "Map List", "Placed List", "Common Events", "Map Settings" could all have easily fit in the "Master Menu" on the left side of the screen and there would still be room left over. Yet, the UI decides to make them harder to see. The functions at the bottom of the screen also need to be more visible as they're very easy to miss.
There are definitely some missing tools that would add some quality of life aspects, such as the randomize angle tool. If there is a way to make diagonal or rounded cliffs, it's not obvious either and it'd be a great way to get rid of the overly blocky look.
Regions also being awkward and bulky to manage isn't ideal either. They're not as simple as RPG Maker's ability to just mark certain tiles as regions.
But as this is early access, things can definitely change for the better.
For the Resource Manager, I'll be judging both the resource manager UI and the assets that come with Bakin.
The terrain textures come in two types: 128 resolution and 64 resolution. Without having to guess, the 128 resolution looks better. 64 resolution can look better for more pixel-esque games though.
I think the terrain texture blocks look great. The textures that come with them are finely made. They're not ultra pixelated like with Minecraft blocks that everybody seems to say and associate voxels with.
Some of the terrain textures even have a shine to it like ice blocks. Magma blocks are also animated. Poison terrain also has liquidation effects.
I do think the water textures could be a bit better made, but I wouldn't hesitate to use them regardless.
If I'm to compare them to RPG Maker MZ's tiles, I would say Bakin's textures and such dwarf MZ's.
MZ's tilesets are strong colors that do not balance each other out. The color schemes do not work well with one another as they conflict heavily between background and foreground objects. Sprites on top of them also have conflicting contrast, making it hard to discern which object belongs where. Floor tiles have the same exact color scheme as their related ceiling tiles, making it hard for players to tell apart. There seems to be no rhyme or reason behind the color choices picked. The default tiles are probably poorly made to help MZ sell more tilesets, but that's still a point in Bakin's favor.
3D stamps come in a bunch of varieties:
The basic set contains "particle effects" which range from raining effects to fire effects to thunderbolts. It also has "natural" models like plants, trees, rocks. "Outdoor" models like background objects, buildings, building parts, stairs, and roads. "Indoor" models for furniture, small goods, kitchen, food, and ruins.
The objects that come with Bakin are the full package. There's a bit of everything ranging from different types of chairs to window types to huge varieties of trees. While the models aren't highly detailed, they aren't half-assed either. The quality is something you would expect from the B Team of an AAA company and that's not a bad thing at all.
The "Models" section allows you to adjust the textures used for the material and the material texture type. This allows for things like different lighting reflections to luster quality.
"Motions" control inherent animations for certain models like buildings with doors or just plain ol' door frames.
"Physics Settings" control collision hitboxes and where things can be interacted with via event.
For "Particles", which use Effekseer by the way, you can add sound effects, environmental effects, shaders, screen shaking and more. In a sense, these are the "battle animations" for RPG Maker. However, it's not just limited for battle use. Particles are also used for weather effects like rain, snow, storms, lighting, confetti, fireworks, wind. Some are even used for environmental effects like poisonous gas, magma, fairy light orbs, waterfalls, mist. On, and the one thing every RPG Maker mapper loves: Godrays. Yes, godrays are here, too, as particle effects.
Not only that, the particle effects look GOOD! They're very high quality in comparison to what RPG Maker MZ's battle animations have. Here, let's compare RPG Maker MZ's earth spell to Bakin's:
Below is RPG Maker MZ's Earth spell:
Below is Bakin's Earth spell:
MZ's Earth spell just puts monotone brown splatter marks on the screen while Bakin summons entire mountains with earthquakes and explosions. Comparing these two just isn't even fair. It's like comparing a microwaved beef patty to a fancy Michelin restaurant's best steak. RPG Maker MZ most likely gave us low tier assets to help sell the DLC packs from their store, but come on, don't make it that ugly. Have some pride.
If there was a downside to Bakin's animations though, it's that there aren't enough of them to create a truly full library of spells. However, I do think the quality more than makes up for it.
"Materials" and "Textures" are staples for 3D modeling These are basically "skins" or "flat images" depending on the model and use. From what I can tell, these are rather high quality.
Also, these icons? They look so crisp and clean! It's easy to tell what they are! They're just miles above RPG Maker MV and MZ's icons. MZ's default icons look like hot garbage from a mobile device sent through a deep-fried meme image generator.
The other nice thing about Bakin's icons is that you can have multiple icon sheets! This gets rid of the icon sheet management nightmare that happens whenever your icons grow past a certain quantity. It's also a lot easier for new developers who aren't familiar with image editing to add new icons, too. Great move by Bakin.
The "2D Stamps" refer to the 2D assets that Bakin uses.
Now this is where I start to have some reservations about some of the assets that come with Bakin. I'm not the biggest fan of the default sprites that Bakin uses for its characters. They're not the worst, but they're far from the best. And if I were to develop a game project with Bakin, these sprites would be the first to be replaced. There's nothing inherently wrong with them, but they feel incredibly out of place with all the other high quality assets that Bakin brought to the table. These felt massively underwhelming in comparison.
I am, however, a fan of how the sprites are the full package. What this means is that the sprites are useful for both maps and battles. They also inherently have more animations to work with, ranging from walking, waiting, running, using items, using skills, guarding, taking damage, getting KO'd, winning, and bunch of attack animations. The best part is that they can also be used on the map in any direction, not just sideview.
The bust art that comes with them are all beautifully drawn, too. However, there just isn't much variety to them, only 11-ish. Meanwhile RPG Maker MZ comes with around 120. Many of which are full body with one of the DLC packs, too.
All of the monsters that come with Bakin are animated! Not completely, though. They're only animated in the sense where their idle stance is animated. However, that's already incredible.
The art style does look a bit goofy for some monsters, but I suppose that's to keep things more light hearted.
There are only 25 monsters though, not including the recolors. This is a pretty big contrast to MZ's inherent 105 monsters. To be fair, those 105 monsters aren't animated. But they still have a lot of life to them!
Overall, where I stand on this section is kind of mixed. I feel like the 2D sprites for Bakin have stronger foundations in that they have more motions and animations. Their face graphics are also animated, too. But the problem is the variety and the variety doesn't offer enough to make the experience different enough. I assume that'll be fixed with the DLC packs that Bakin comes with but we'll have to see.
Sound quality is decent for Bakin. It's a bit on the generic side, but that's not a bad thing. However, there just isn't enough of everything, but I assume this is due to the product being in early access.
So far, there are only 8 BGS tracks, 15 BGM tracks, 5 ME tracks. Sound effects, however, are plenty as there are 295 sound effects spread across SE and Sound. And from the numbering scheme, it seems like there are more to come for all of the above categories.
Now, I did say the sound quality is decent for Bakin, but how does that hold up for RPG Maker MZ? Strangely enough, I always found sound quality and control to be excellent for the RPG Maker series. MZ is no exception to that.
RPG Maker MZ's default BGM tracks number around 48 and they're all very pleasant and memorable. For the other categories, there are 29 BGS's, 27 ME's, and 345 sound effects. All of which have considerable quality to them.
Though, Archeia would argue against the sound effects since she's heard the same sound effects for decades now.
I want to say the UX for the Sound Resources tab could use some work, too. It's not as easy to test play sounds as it is in RPG Maker MZ. In RPG Maker MZ, all you need to do is just select the name and press play. Here in Bakin, you have to select a sound be it a BGM or Sound Effect, open it up, then hit test play. There are no settings to adjust the pitch or pan of the sound, too. There is only volume control. RPG Maker MZ gives more control by allowing changes to the volume, pitch, and panning of the audio objects.
There's literally nothing here, and it's the same with RPG Maker MZ.
Bakin supports WEBM which is probably the most widespread format for the modern internet era. WEBM has good compression rates while maintaining good video and sound quality.
However, RPG Maker MZ also supports WEBM as well as MP4. Yeah...
This tab is where we setup the sound effects for Bakin's game.
There are less instances for sound effects to be played when compared to RPG Maker MZ but I suppose that can be changed later.
You also adjust the menu windows and the images they use here, too.
Score Rating for Resources
While the score would have been definitely higher for the assets in general, I do believe that the lack of variety for some of the 2D assets is holding Bakin back. This could be a temporary thing as I am testing this out in Early Access, but if the numbers remain the same, it's gonna be hard to compete.
The things like the textures and particle animations are all miles above RPG Maker MZ. They're leagues ahead of the tilesets and animations found in RPG Maker MZ. But RPG Maker MZ still wins in things like character variety, monster variety, sound quality and variety. And while the tilesets and animations don't exactly look the best, their quantity allows there to be more variety. Sometimes for a game like a JRPG, variety matters just as much as quality.
Testing out audio is also tedious in comparison due to having to enter the "edit mode" for each audio file in order to even test play it. The lack of pitch and pan also hurts the score a bit, too.
Once again, I reiterate that I know this is Early Access and that the quantity and variety numbers are bound to change. But this is just the score I happen to give Bakin due to its current Early Access state.
"Casts" in Bakin are probably what most people think are the "Actors" for RPG Maker. However, this is only half right. You will find NPC's here, too. You will also find enemies here. In other words, "Casts" are just a different term for "prefabs" and you'll see why soon.
If you look under "Name", you'll see "Custom Event Settings". It's exactly what you think it is. You can essentially assign custom events to each cast character. And whenever these casts are spawned on the screen and you interact with them, it will run these events.
What this means is, for enemy casts, you can turn them into random touch encounters. Or if you're creative, you can turn it into ABS monsters to fight while on screen.
The same for actors and NPC's. You can use the custom events to further improve the interactivity between them. A wandering mercenary actor can be asked to join your party whenever you stumble upon them for a fee. A traveling merchant can sell you goods whenever they spawn on a map.
This, in my opinion, is what makes "casts" more versatile than RPG Maker's actors. And it's something RPG Maker can really take a page out of. By creating template events, which essentially are what casts are, RPG Maker can expand its usability tenfold through this feature alone.
However, outside of the custom event settings is where things start to look more bleak.
Now, I assume this is a byproduct of Bakin being in early access, but clicking "Fixed Skill", class, and subclass sends me to the resource management window before transforming its entry into a drop down. Fixed skills allow characters to have a dedicated skill on them regardless of their class, but only one. I'm not sure why only one, because it would be nice to have two or four even.
Classes are pretty obvious in what they do and so are subclasses. But this is where things start to get a little odd. You see the "growth" factors? That determines the various parameter growths of the actor. Simple enough, right?
The beauty is that you can set the initial value and the growth value. However, past that, you see a Growth dropdown box, giving five different options:
What values do those even stand for? How are we supposed to figure out and plan ahead what kind of actual growth happens here? There are no core scripts to rummage through to get exact values, so the only way is to test play and find out.
The other problem with this kind of system is that you cannot make late bloomers or early rush characters that plateau later on. Growth is essentially linear with this kind of growth system.
After that, we look at "Attribute Resistance". Here, you can select an attribute type and its resistances to follow. But what if you want something that's outside of that norm? What about a dual attribute system? That kind of stuff isn't possible through here.
State Resistances aren't much better either. For each drop down, there's only 5 options instead of exact numerical values you can insert.
Why use a drop down window when we can insert numbers instead? It's not like number input entry is impossible because we have exactly that with the Growth Factors.
This is where RPG Maker MZ shows its expertise. It's done this stuff before in past iterations and got blasted for it. So what did RPG Maker do? With RPG Maker VX Ace, it introduced "traits" that allowed the game developer to set fine tuned custom values for the trait aspect of choice. This meant that the dev can adjust exact numbers for elemental resistances across multiple types, status resistances of values other than 100%, 50%, or 0%, and more! RPG Maker VX Ace also tied stat growth to classes which allowed you to craft a curve of your choice. These choices are purely custom allow you to do linear growth, early growth, late growth, your call!
When we go to the next "Casts" tab, we see the equipment and abilities tab.
Initial Equipment is what it says. It's the initial starting equipment that a character starts with. You can even "lock" the equipment they have worn, meaning they cannot unequip it or change it manually.
However, there's limited equipment types and two accessory slots. To my knowledge, there is no way to expand the equipment types or even give different characters different equipment loadouts. RPG Maker MZ added equipment types that can be modified through its types tab. This allowed for different loadouts across different games though not across characters without the aid of plugins. RPG Maker MZ also didn't allow double accessory slots without the aid of plugins either.
Under "Initial Equipment" are the "Skills to be learned". In Bakin, both characters and classes have this. When a character levels up, they can learn from both their individual character and class. Cool! That's one way of making characters more unique from each other even if they're the same class.
However, after that is where Bakin starts to show signs of sloppiness.
The "Usable Items" tab is a giant mix of generic items and equipment that the character can or cannot use. Worse off, there's also a class version of this. If you disable the individual lock, then you'd have to select either the class or fully disabled switch. If you wish to tie everything to the class, you have to flip these switches ONE BY ONE. You cannot mass select items to mass disable them. The closest thing you can down is spam down + space bar on them.
And the worse part about that? None of these items are enabled by default in the classes. There, you have to manually enable them ONE BY ONE, too. So get ready to spam down + space bar on that, too.
But wait! It gets worse!
For some reason, this list also includes unusable items. Things like "Bronze Key" cannot be actively used in battle nor worn as a piece of equipment. So why is there even a toggle for it in the first place? Well, we'll answer that in a later section, but you won't like it! Especially since this is forcing you to manually toggle everything ONE BY ONE.
The following tab is the "Battles" tab, which determines properties while in battle.
The Battle Command menu allows you to determine actions can be selected. These allow you to create custom commands that can attack guard, charge up, open up the skill list, open up the item list, or use a skill directly. The problem I have with this is that there are only 5 slots for you to insert commands, not allowing enough room for customization.
Also due to the lack of traits, you cannot have things like equipment that change the normal attack of the command.
The lack of skill typing also means any and all learned skills will be available at all times. If characters switches from Fighter to White Mage, the White Mage would still be able to use the Fighter skills. This is another aspect where Bakin shows inexperience compared to RPG Maker MZ.
All casts can behave as enemies, which means you can setup battle AI for them. However, the battle AI is just as primitive as RPG Maker MZ's so I don't know what to really say here. You get the usual turns, conditions, action types. The only thing different I see is something that RPG Maker MZ does a little bit better and that's the Rating system. The rating system allows for higher priority settings for certain actions over others. Bakin lacks that. Instead, what it lacks, it makes up for in a better selection of Action Conditions.
Also, beware of how you adjust the columns for this section because you can permanently move away the "Cont" tab. What "Cont" does is it enables the use of continuous actions following the turn. I'd have to play around with what that actually does, but only if I can somehow get back the tab. Even shutting down Bakin and reloading it doesn't bring it back. Sigh.
"Effects" tab are the attack animations for barehanded attacks and the animation to be played when the cast dies.
That's about it.
RPG Maker MZ doesn't have this stuff, so it is a step above MZ in that sense.
The "Others" tab are full of miscellaneous effects that would be otherwise added via the traits section of the RPG Maker MZ database sections.
But you might notice here is that it suggests event spawning. And yes, that's correct, Bakin has even spawning. You can spawn casts via event commands or through the map settings!
Now this is pretty neat in my opinion.
The "Items" section of the database is what you expect. Kinda. Items merges general items, weapons, and armors together. Personally, I'm not a fan of this, but I can somewhat understand why they did it. And I assume it's for a more streamlined inventory structure. However, this makes it very unwieldy and chaotic to navigate.
You have to set whether an item is a consumable item, weapon, armor, or none of the above. Items can be both consumable and weapons. They can also be both weapons and armors. Or hell, even consumable and armors. Why not do all three even? That's also possible.
However, just toggling them won't change what can be altered. Instead, every property remains there including weapon specific settings for non-weapons. It would be nice if this can be disabled to reduce the clutter, but I digress.
We also start to see semblances of RPG Maker XP here with Attack Attribute and Attribute Attack Power. An obscure stat that is only handled by weapons and only weapons. Yeah, can't say I'm a fan of this, but I suppose it's better than XP in the sense that we can adjust the damage formula at the very least.
You can launch a Common Event with the item being used. Typical, but always welcome to see.
When used as a consumable, there are specific things all over the place. The healing recovery amounts are towards the middle. The state removal aspect is towards the bottom right. There are no fields to add states, meaning you cannot do cool things like Poison Bombs or items that give your party a barrier. I suppose you can tie it to "Assign When Handling Skill" but that feels extremely wasteful when the functionality should already be present here.
For equipment, we see similar problems to the state resistance aspect in the "Casts" section of the database. There are six options here in the drop down.
Once again, you cannot insert numbers here. You can only pick from a drop down list their values and settings. Absorption is a thing, but why does it have to absorb at 150%? Why not 50%? Or even just 100%? It makes no sense to me why this cannot be a number with an "Absorption" flag on the side.
State Resistance has the same problem here as it did with the "Casts" tab. In other words, it's a drop down with 5 options.
There are no number fields to insert into.
A lot of these would be fixed by Traits and Effects that RPG Maker utilizes. I know it's unfair to compare, but if Bakin's to surpass RPG Maker MZ, that's what it has to do. Otherwise, there's a heavy limit on what these items can and cannot do.
Also, these shortcuts are an abomination.
Cut, Copy, and Paste being anything other than X, C, and V bother me more than it should.
Just the item's usage animation and the motion associated with it.
Pretty nice to have.
Create your own damage formula here! It uses RPG Maker's structure of a.atk - b.def where a is the user and b is the target. Variance has to be manually done via Random Number.
I feel like there can be more things added here like MaxHP and MaxMP, but oh well.
Here's the "Basic" tab for the "Skills" section.
Sets up the HP and MP costs of the skill. This suggests to me that there's no third resources. At the very least, HP is at least usable as a resource. You can also make it consume items when used, but I don't know if that makes the item required, too.
You can toggle its usability in maps or battles.
Other things that aren't so obvious is that "Recover Self with Damage" just basically means "Drain Damage". You recover a portion of the damage you dealt as healed HP.
KO after Use is self explanatory. It can be used for self-destruct-type skills.
Damage Attribute should just be a drop down the with the element list, but nope, brings up the resource assets window.
This is the "Effect on Allies" tab.
Determine how much HP you recover for allies, or MP, or HP by a percentage of one's attack power or magical power.
Here, you can also apply buffs in flat numeric amounts. I don't know why flat numeric amounts since for the majority of most JRPG's, it's always done as a percentage. But Bakin wants to do it differently, I guess.
In the middle, you can also adjust the damage formula for the skill if you don't want flat amounts of recovery.
You can also manually pick out which states to remove and which to add. This section would have been a lot cleaner if made with RPG Maker MZ's "Effects" section.
Now, this upcoming section is what sets me off. "Raise in Resistance" for a specific element. You get to raise the resistance amount by a numeric amount. Why are you able to do it HERE but not for items or casts? There is no consistency here.
This is the "Effect on Enemies" tab. Same thing as the "Effect on Allies" tab except instead of healing, you deal damage and reduce parameters and resistance.
Here's where things get weird.
There are separate sections for the effect on allies versus the effects on enemies. Theoretically, one can assume that you can toggle this between actors and enemies, right? So that way, you can use a healing spell to heal your ally and damage an undead enemy? You know, the one you guys always suggest for us and why you want Selection Control made for MZ?
You don't get it here either.
Just like with items, it lets you create your own damage formula here! It uses RPG Maker's structure of a.atk - b.def where a is the user and b is the target. Variance has to be manually done via Random Number. Missing some buttons like MaxHP and MaxMP.
Under the "Classes" section and the "Basics" tab, we see more questionable aspects of the database.
Initial level? Fine, cool. But "Growth Speed" and it's a drop down menu? Its options are the following:
This tells me absolutely nothing about the growth speed. It tells me nothing about the EXP needed either. There is no way to handle the EXP curve in Bakin as far as I can tell.
We also see a redundant property that was found in "Casts". "Growth Factors" when leveling. It's the same exact stuff you see with the characters in the "Casts" section, except I guess when leveling up, growth occurs from both classes and characters separately? The "Growth Type" is also just as unhelpful as the "Casts" section's. The same five options are here:
And those same five options tell me nothing about how the stats grow.
Also, why is "Attribute Resistance" here again? How does that work when there are two properties to handle now, one from casts, now from Classes? And do things change up when there's a Subclass?
The same problems from the "Casts" section are here with the "State Resistance" section, too. To reiterate, for each drop down, there's only 5 options instead of exact numerical values you can insert.
Why use a drop down window when we can insert numbers instead? It's not like number input entry is impossible because we have exactly that with the Growth Factors.
Just feels bad, man.
Now, the section with the Abilities/Spells/Skills are replicated here from the "Casts" section. Cool, I can get behind this where a character can learn individual skills that are separate from the class skills. This helps characters that are the same class differentiate themselves from one another.
But here's where things get weird again. Remember what I said about the usable items in "Casts"? Well, the same problems are here.
The items, if they can't be used by the individual, will fall back to the class. My question is, why is there a need for two columns here? Enable and Disable. You can't have both of them on. If you turn on one, the other gets shut off. But what does it mean when both are shut off? It's all very confusing.
And the same problem is here from before, you can only toggle these settings ONE BY ONE. So get ready to spam Down + Space.
Finally, once again, the lack of traits is what makes classes in Bakin far less malleable than classes in RPG Maker.
We now visit the "State Definition" section of the Database and its first tab, "Influence of State Change."
But before that, lets look at the more basic settings.
The success rate of the state is predetermined by the state. In RPG Maker MZ, this is predetermined by the skill. The RPG Maker MZ version gave you a lot more control in regards to this. For example, you can make a high MP cost Poison skill that lands Poison 100% of the time. And you can make a low MP cost Poison skill that lands Poison only 25% of the time. You cannot do that here.
The "Multiplexing" trait is a welcome one. It determines how reapplying the state is handled. The results can be ignoring the reapply and just keep the state and its turns the way it is. Or it can overwrite the state turns. And the third option is to add the state turns together for an extended state.
I'm not sure what the terrain assignment does and its tooltip doesn't appear too helpful either. My guess is this is supposed to be the overlay used.
Removal conditions are pretty self-explanatory. They don't do anything new.
Now that we're done looking at the "Basic" settings, let's look at the "Influence of State Change" settings. The majority of these are the types of things you'd see from RPG Maker MZ's state settings, too. Ranging from making the character unable to act, attack in a berserk fashion towards a specific group. Automatically take damage (ala Poison).
An interesting thing though, is that you can force a state that automatically applies when a character falls below a certain HP threshold. If they fall below 20%, they get the "Less HP" state, which is in my opinion, poorly named. This is the "Crisis" or "Critical Health" state that most JRPG's refer to. The same is used for the "Instant Death" state when HP falls to 0%.
Now, here's the part where things get weird for me. Things like stat boosts are typically multiplicative in the vast majority of JRPG's. You see it in Final Fantasy. You see it in Persona games. You see it in the Mario and Luigi RPG's. But here, the stat changes are flat additive changes. It doesn't look like there's a multiplicative version either.
States can also "lock" equipment slots or "disable" them. I'm assuming "lock" works like Curse in most Western RPG's. "Disable" probably means their stat influence doesn't work.
There are some other properties that could be normally added via Traits in RPG Maker MZ. Really feels like a missed opportunity to not add such a field here.
In this section, you determine the motion used when afflicted by the state. Also the bubble icon that appears over the characters. The messages that mention the state changes are also altered over here. Pretty standard stuff.
In this section, you can assign compatibility multiplies between different states. This section also makes no sense to me because I have no idea what numbers are supposed to represent what.
I assume 0% means neutral. But then, where do I go from there? Does 100% mean weak or resistant? And is that for the character is the user or when the character is the target? Also, why can we adjust actual numbers here, but in all the other places that alter elemental resistance, it has to be by a very limited drop down box? There are no helpful tooltips in this section.
Score Rating for Database
This is where I have to be ultra harsh. Because depending on the game, the importance of the database can range from important to very important. The amount of setbacks here in the database across its many sections is far from ideal. These setbacks range from the tedium of having to manually disable certain items ONE BY ONE, categorizing all items into one section instead of splitting them across items, weapons, and armors, as well as the redundancy of classes. Let's not forget how some database entries are dropdowns when more control could be given to them via number inputs. The lack of control needed for EXP to next level up is also greatly missing. Items being solely able to only remove states and not apply states also greatly limit their potential. The unclear functionality of elemental attribute compatibility leaves much to wonder, too.
The only reason why Bakin doesn't have a score near the floor is that it did something incredibly well. That something is that you can assign custom event settings to "Casts", effectively turning them into prefabs or event templates.
While "Cast" events are extremely useful, it doesn't really offset the setbacks the rest of the database has.
Version 1.1 Update
Update link. It seems that some of the database input entries have been updated to allow for numeric values as opposed to just drop downs. This makes a lot more sense for things like the aforementioned state effects.
It's not a big improvement, but it's important enough to shift it from a 3 to a 5 for me.
"Game Definition" is kinda like the "System" tab of the database for RPG Maker. Here, you adjust the things that normally would be done there, like the starting location, which party members are with you at the start of the game, and the number of followers displayed following you. You are also give a maximum amount of reserve party members, which may or may not be something that players want, but I suppose that's not a terribly big problem when you can just set that to an absurdly high number like 999.
Rules and Operations
Here's where things start to get interesting. You see things that normally are hardcoded in RPG Maker MZ, but in Bakin, they're capable of being edited here.
Max item caps can be determined here instead of being a hard set 99 in RPG Maker MZ. Bakin has it set to 999 by default.
Save files are also determined here, something that RPG Maker MZ automatically gave you 20 of and only 20 (19 if you count the Autosave slot).
Now, this is where things get kind of odd, the EXP calculation formula. No, it's not calculating how much EXP is required for each level up. Instead, it's how much EXP is distributed to the main class and the subclass.
Other things involve control schemes, camera operations, inertia for movement, jumping, button controls and mapping. All of these are features that RPG Maker MZ lacked despite having the ability to set up some of them in their own system's tab.
Good work on this tab!
This is a tab that is potentially underappreciated.
Here is where you can go past the 18 character limit that the title and subtitle and creator name field imposed on you upon game creation. You can also insert copy right notices here and game descriptions.
You can also change the game icon used here. I think of all the things that are the most important, the game icon has got to be it. It lets you see all the icons in their various resolutions allowing you a good idea of what it looks like to various screens.
Here you can also set the resolution of the game client.
Good stuff here.
This is where you adjust the vocabulary used in the game. It's the stuff you see in the "Terms" tab of the RPG Maker MZ database.
However, the real MVP that might be hiding from view here is the "Localization Tool" button.
Here, you can alter all of the strings used in the game and change them to a different language. Exporting and importing is done via CSV files or TXT files. The important thing here is the CSV file as it's in spreadsheet format for maximum localization efficiency.
Very good stuff here.
Score Rating for Game Definition
No complaints here. The settings found here are great, contribute to the game in very meaningful ways, and give the game developer control over much needed aspects that RPG Maker MZ never gave.
More importantly, the localization tool is one of the most important features that's missing from RPG Maker and Bakin provided it!
UI Layout Tool
This is probably the most needed feature for RPG Maker. For decades, we never received this feature. That's why for Bakin to provide the ability to control the UI Layout, Bakin gains massive points for it.
Here are the UI scenes you can control:
However, editing the UI isn't as easy as one would think. For some reason, the UI window properties are all disabled on the right side of the screen initially. To resolve this, you have to duplicate the layout, uncheck the original, check the new one, and then you can alter all of the UI properties properly.
Unfortunate, the elements contained in the UI are flat exact values. This means that even if you expand or contract the size of a window, the elements found inside of it will stay exactly where they are unless you manually adjust each of them. A small price to pay, but it sure would have been nice to have some of these features be automatic.
It doesn't look like you can add new menu scenes, either. You can only edit pre-existing ones. While this isn't a bad thing, it does mean there are missed opportunities. One thing I'd have loved to add would be a Class Change menu, but there's no way as of now to add a new menu scene.
Another thing that's a bit unfortunate is that you cannot use code to determine the X and Y locations of certain windows. In other words, once decided, they'll always be there in a specific location. Making things like the Battle Command Window appear dynamically next to the inputting character isn't possible currently.
You can add new parts to a scene, too. Though whether or not you can get those parts to work the way you want is a whole different story in and of itself. There's a large action list for each command item that can be selected and not all of them can do exactly what you want. There is no place to insert a custom command nor is there code insertion. This can be problematic in creating truly creative scenes.
Score Rating for UI Layout Tool
A much needed feature for RPG developers out there. It's the feature we asked RPG Maker for the longest time and never received. However, Bakin delivered!
Not everything is perfect though. Some of the restrictions like having to dupe a scene before being able to modify its windows feels like an unnecessary step. Being unable to create new menu scenes is another big bummer as it forbids creativity.
Yet, the sheer fact that there's a UI Layout tool makes me extremely happy.
General Camera Settings
For this section, we adjust the way cameras behave throughout the game. Ranging from the default map angle to various battle angles, and custom camera tracks.
There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to creating camera paths especially for those coming from RPG Maker. However, that's expected as there was never anything like this. All in all though, it's still very easy to pick up.
That's the standard stuff when it comes to 3D game dev.
There is one thing that I do have some beef with. There aren't many easing options for the spline interpolation either. This means that camera panning can't use cool easing techniques like bouncing or in-outs.
Now, the more interesting stuff is this, being able to straight up preview whatever post-processing effects without having to boot up your game at all. Seems like something small, but this is probably the hugest time saver of all. Having to boot up a game to just test out and see if a post-processing effect is a good fit for that map is a huge time sink. The more time saved from having to do that, the better. And then, you can just straight up apply that effect. Real nice! This is a massively welcomed addition and I wish more 3D game engines had this.
Score Rating for Camera Tool
Great and cool tool for camera manipulation. It's simple, it's to the point, and anyone who isn't familiar with it can pick it up in a short amount of time.
The only thing I have to deduct points for is the lack of easing options. I hope that by the end of Early Access, there will be a larger number of them available.
You might not like it but this is what peak variable performance looks like.
Both switches and variables are stored as variables. Seems confusing but that's kinda how computers work. Game engines are no different either.
Now, what's important here is not that they're interchangeable, but instead, the type of information you can store in them. You can store numbers in a variable, that sounds about right and expected.
You can also store a boolean (ON/OFF, true/false) state in a variable, too. No, booleans are limited to just switches. Variables are the ones that typically have them.
You can store strings (aka text) in a variable. Wew, that's awesome!
And now, you can even make your own local variables! Aka, self-switches. Aka, self-variables. Aka, custom self-switches and custom self-variables.
How awesome is that? But wait! There's more! There are also array variables! These are a bit more advanced and to be honest, they're the ones I'm the most excited to use.
Oh, and variables are no longer bound by their variable ID's. Instead, they're bound by their variable name/key/whatever you want to call it. This makes it waaaaaaay easier to manage.
This section also lets you quick jump to the map and event that houses that variable, too. Makes it really easy to figure out which is what.
Score Rating for Variable Labels
This is how I would love to see RPG Maker handle variables and switches. RPG Maker is constantly held back by pointless limitations, such as only four self-switches, the lack of self-variables, and what have you.
General Sprite Tool
This is where you create sprites for the game to use. You can animate them, set their anchor point, make them change frames, flash the screen, flash the target, play a sound effect, etc.
However, something about this section feels a bit off from the rest. A lot of it has to do with the lack of organization found in this section. For some odd reason, there's no group/folder tool here where it was present throughout the rest of the editor. Instead, we have to wade through countless sprites just to find the one we want to edit and eat up time.
The animation settings are similar to the the camera controls in where we control the frames, then the frame number, and any other special effects. However, this feels a lot less intuitive than it did for the camera. I think part of this has more to do with the way you select frames and having to position the child sprites. Things like eyes and mouths have to be positioned independently and it gets weird.
Score Rating for Sprite Tool
This is how we get custom sprites and sprite animations made for the game.
Organization options would be delightful for this section. Some of the controls to add and incorporate new layers and frames don't feel as intuitive as the rest of the game. Streamlining the animation aspect could be done better, too.
Main Event Editor
Here is the main event editor.
You can access this screen through creating unique events on the map. You can also access this screen through creating Common Events and Battle Events. As well as applying custom events through Casts.
You can create multiple pages in the Sheet List (where the highest sheet number has the highest priority). There is a limit to the number of pages, however. That limit is 20, which just so happens to be the same page limit as RPG Maker MZ.
However, where things start to differ would be at the Sheet Conditions. You can add a seemingly endless amount of conditions for the event page trigger conditions. Event Switches can be required to be ON or OFF instead of just ON like with RPG Maker MZ. You can set variables which can use "is equal to", "is not equal to", "greater than or equal to", "less than or equal to", "greater than", or "less than" (where as RPG Maker MZ only allows for "greater than or equal to")! The same can be done with the amount of money carried, or items in the party. You can also check if specific casts are in the party or not in the party. There are also coordinate options!
And finally, the condition we've all been waiting for, event collision! That's right, you can determine how the event collides with the player, another cast, a monster, or even an event. And not only that, from the top, side, or back side of the event, too. This is absolutely huge if you want to create something like an ABS (Action Battle System).
Other than that, you might also notice that the eventing structure is now more visual. You can see where the events are, how they branch out, and how they branch back in. There are points where you can insert new events, too. This visual representation is great for newcomers as it'll help describe the flow of an event way better.
But for the veterans, fret not. You can still access your line by line event guide in a tab over. Personally, I prefer to do it this way as that's how I'm used to programming. But I am still highly appreciative of the visual representation of an event for everyone else!
There is also the ability to import and export event pages. The exported event page exists in the form of a TXT file. The contents are in Japanese, which may or may not be a problem for some users. It would be nice if there are English equivalents of these exported event pages for the ever growing English community.
Except for this.
This is unforgiveable.
The event commands here are almost the full package. It's what you would see and expect from RPG Maker MZ and Bakin has it all here, too. The thing I think that's nicer about this is how the event commands are all categorized. In RPG Maker MZ, they're lumped across 3 event pages and it doesn't seem to have any kind of coherence to it.
Something I did find interesting is the ability to generate events. Or spawn events as we called it in RPG Maker MV and MZ. Spawned events come from casts, which serve as the prefabs for events. For those that don't know, this is a huge step forward.
The only thing that would be missing would be the ability to utilize custom code. There's no way to insert code into a variable control nor is there a way to just run custom code via an event command period. You can assign C# code, but that just takes over everything. Sometimes we don't want that. We just want to launch a little bit of code at the desired time.
Also, based on the way these event categories are structured, it looks like new events can be added at any time. I certainly hope this is the case especially if plugins can add them in.
Score Rating for Event Editor
Does sooooooooo sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many things right. My personal favorite are the new sheet/page conditions. The amount of control you can have from those opens so many new opportunities for the types of games that can be made.
The visualized event flow chart is also fantastic for newcomers. Providing a line by line event list is also great for veterans. I have very little to complain about here.
But if there is somewhere I have to dock a couple of points from, it's due to the lack of ability to insert code where needed. RPG Maker XP kickstarted the usage of script calls and made RPG Maker games suddenly massively more accessible. This is what Bakin needs for its event editor to be a real powerhouse.
Seriously, don't underestimate the importance of on demand script calls. Not even a near perfect event editor can be saved from missing it.
Expanded Features (Custom Code)
Score Rating for Expanded Features
Version 1.2 Update
With the version 1.2 update, Bakin has been given access to plugins! Awesome! The plugins are quite limited right now in what they can affect but the important thing it can affect is the battle system! That's right. The sluggish battle system that was in Bakin before can now be fine tuned to your liking as long as you know code (C# at that).
There is also support for Event Scripts, which allow events to utilize code and perform in ways different than what event commands allow them to do. This is absolutely fantastic.
With how flexible nearly everything else is for Bakin, the battle system and events gaining scripting/plugin access is wonderful news. The battle system and on-map events are the two most important things in an RPG that need customization. Menus are a third option but there are already ways of manipulating the menu from Bakin itself.
While I cannot give Bakin a full score for the scripting/plugin support, I can definitely give it a high 8 for prioritizing the two aspects of what makes JRPG's unique. And what really shocks me is that there's even a whole wiki dedicated to all of this. Might be biased here, but I think the presence of a wiki changes absolutely everything!
Soooooooooooooooooo, what are my overall thoughts on Bakin?
I think this is probably the first time that an RPG-specialized game engine has ever gotten me this excited. From the 3D structure to the assets to the events to the cast system, they're all really well done. The camera and control schemes allow for many different types of games to be made and not just JRPG's. The eventing system is extremely clean and I love the ability to use Casts as prefabs. Bakin most likely knows this, too.
Unfortunately, the database drags Bakin down by a considerable lot. Databasing, as boring as it is, it's the core aspect of creating an RPG. I seriously hope the setbacks found in the database will be fixed by the time this software is out of Early Access. Because some of those setbacks can make some games types completely fall apart.
I think the lack of ability to add custom code to the project is another area where I have to deduct points from. I mentioned it in a previous section, but the ability to add custom code is what truly lets some games stand out from another. Just having it through an event's C# override isn't enough. But as this is Early Access, I hope that the ability to utilize custom code will be added eventually down the road.
Overall Score Rating
I put more importance on certain things than I do for others. For example, I value the Map Editor more than I value changing the terms and definitions for a game. So for this section, I'll tally up the score along with a multiplier of my perceived importance of that aspect. As one would expect, the things that should hold the most weight are the Map Editor, the Database, UI Layout Tool, Event Editor, and ability to utilize Custom Code.
Let's tally up the score:
246 / 330 = 7.45/10
Overall Score: 7.45/10
Version 1.2 Score Change
With the version 1.2 update, Bakin has broken out of a 5.9 to a 7.45 for me! To me, this is NOT a bad score at all. This already puts it in roughly the same league as RPG Maker VXA/MV/MZ. And even if you consider it to be a bad score, what this update tells me is that there is promise for Bakin.
The fact that Bakin addressed the plugin/scripting as a major aspect hindering its growth so early on (as a version 1.2 update of all things) tells me that the developers take their product very seriously. The database update for version 1.1 allows for numeric entries for certain database settings and that's already a step in the right direction. But I never expected the 1.2 change to suddenly have this.
I'm very impressed. If Bakin keeps this up, it will surpass RPG Maker as a whole very soon.