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RPG development | examples and tips

Crocoapps editorial

Crocoapps editorial

Reading time: 15 minutes

The content below is a collection of tips and lessons from many prominent RPG creators. All of this information comes from the great authors and game designers whose work has made it to the podium of the best RPGs in history.

Before I explain what to do, I'll show you what NOT to do.


In order to avoid countless frustrations and humiliations when developing an RPG, and so that you can spend all your time focusing on the project itself, first of all, you need to know what NOT to do:


The fear of failure pushes us to look for the magic formula for the success of our actions. Therefore, we are trying to find out from outsiders what product they would be most interested in seeing on the market. But I'll make it easy for you to find it: there is no such formula. Creating a role-playing game for commercial purposes will never produce results that you can be proud of. In addition, people's opinions are fluid and may change after the final product is released.

RPG development


Make the game you want based on your own preferences. You can find out the price for creating role-playing games at website. If you create a product that you like, you are guaranteed to enjoy the process. And while the public can get an idea of ​​the project from your words and give advice on how the game should be - their opinion should never be relied upon, as it will never be clear enough to understand exactly how they will feel when they play into the finished game.

Let's say you have an idea for selling cereal. Before you make them, you create a box with your own design to sell them in, and then ask people's opinions. How do they know if they like this cereal just because of the packaging? This is silly. But it's the same with role-playing. How do you want someone to think about experiences and impressions they can't have yet? All you do is ask your potential viewers if they think the cereal box looks good.

Role playing gamer

Most of those who are interested in market research and are trying to find out if their role-playing game is going to be fun usually have no idea of ​​the real numbers. Instead of worrying about unpredictable things, ask yourself the following question: "How much should I create: 6,000 or 12,000 copies?"

Don't expect to be a millionaire with your RPG. Just create it. If in the future the game becomes famous and you earn money, then everything was done correctly. And if not, then you will remain who you were at the beginning of the journey, but with a great game on the shelf that you like.

If you have the opportunity to ask people who have already launched their role-playing game about their experience, then by all means do it. Experience is something that is not taught in books and no one can be prepared for unforeseen events. Even large publishers that have been publishing for decades face situations where chance plays a decisive role.

And now the big question arises...

What is the strength of your game?

What is your game about? What is her strength? You must clearly understand what makes your role-playing game special. Usually an original idea is not enough, it is necessary that the product be reasonably new in order to arouse the curiosity of potential buyers. Now there are two extremes:

  • Create a game that is similar to many others and does not bring anything new to the industry;
  • Or create an experimental game so original that publishers are unlikely to accept it, and only experienced and fearless players dare to try it.

You'll have to think about this a lot.


The vision that makes up the game must have global cohesion. You can not mix your favorite ideas into a cocktail. At a certain stage of development, this will be unacceptable. In addition, this is a childish and dishonest attitude.

You should think carefully about this point, because it will affect the entire structure and design of the game. That is why, you will add elements that will support the vision that makes up the game by finding the key to sales. Therefore, before moving on to the next stage of development, it is important that you can answer the following six questions with complete clarity:

  1. What is your game about?
  2. What makes your game different from other games?
  3. What kind of response do you expect from people after seeing your game?
  4. What kind of plot will develop in the game?
  5. What shouldn't happen in the game?
  6. Do your rules provide all of the above?

It's important that the player inside you enjoys creating an RPG, but always maintains a critical and objective attitude. You can't do without self-criticism. A role-playing game is a reflection of the tastes and preferences of its creator, and that is why the author should strive, first of all, to be honest with himself. If you play RPGs, then you probably know what games you like, what genre of games and what settings you like the most.


This ban will help you focus on what your game really is. No need to create a game where the character has complete freedom of action.

As George Orwell put it in his 1984 novel, "Freedom is slavery." In one sense, this saying is fully applicable to the case before us. If you let the characters do everything, the players will be confused. The player of any game, regardless of the format, needs restrictions. They are what define her. Even Minecraft has limits!

The well-known Minecraft game

The inability to make a shape without corners in Minecraft makes it special. And that's where the charm lies. Any group of players with little imagination can pick up a history book and have an adventure in any era. They don't have rules here. "You can do whatever you want" without having to buy the game. With a blank sheet of paper and a pen, I can improvise a role-play in which "I can do whatever I want." In a sense, when a player is looking for an RPG, they are looking not at the possibilities they have, but rather at the limitations.


Any creative project, not just a role-playing game, requires a good presentation. That is, you should be able to express the essence of the game in a few sentences. If someone who knows absolutely nothing about your role-playing game asks HOW to play it or WHAT kind of game is it, what will you answer? If you need half an hour to answer these questions, or if you doubt the answer, then your game is decidedly BAD.


Artists go to museums, musicians listen to music, writers read books. Why should game designers be different? Get to know the world you work in by immersing yourself in it and experiencing all formats and forms. Don't stay in your role comfort zone or what you're learning. You should go ahead and try everything that appears before you.

This is not necessarily a search for inspiration. By trying out new games, you will get a broader idea of ​​what really works and is in demand, which, in one way or another, can have a significant impact on your work. You may even find something that works exactly like the game you have in mind, but in a much simpler way. It's always good to be aware.

Also, don't get hung up on the standard. To break your role comfort zone, you can start with the following:

  • Play a role-playing game with a system that does not have a Game Director.
  • Play a role-playing game that allows players to talk about the results of their actions.
  • Play a role-play game with statistics on emotions and social relationships.
  • Play a role-playing game that goes beyond just killing enemies.
  • Play a role-play that requires interpretation.

Obviously, there are many more game models besides those listed here, but these are some of the simpler ones you should try, whether you're an RPG designer or a video game programmer.

Below are the classic formats you can find in video games:

  • Logic games
  • Platforms
  • Fight
  • MMO
  • Real Time Strategy (RTS)
Game Formats

Knowledge of these game formats is necessary for minimal awareness. You should play at least one of them before thinking about making your own RPG. Obviously, there is a much wider variety of games within the genre, but these are the most basic things that a video game designer, writer or programmer should have experience with.


While technically your game is perfect (or so you think), it requires many hours of testing. In fact, testing is never enough. No matter what kind of game it is, one way or another, crashes always occur after launch. Don't wait until the game is so perfect that you don't need testing anymore, because that day will never come. However, there are ways to make testing as efficient as possible.

Ask other people to try your game.

There are also groups that specialize in RPG testing (and most of them you don't even need to be present). You need to check not only the mechanics, but also the prescribed rules.

Role play tester

That is, are the rules of the game clear to someone who has never played it. If the testing team consistently misinterprets the rules and doesn't understand why something works the way it does, you have a serious problem with the rules.

Many RPG developers agree that the feedback they receive from testers is the most helpful information throughout the entire process. This is what allows them to move forward. And as they say: four eyes see better than two.


How do you know if your RPG is ready to be published? All you need to do is answer the question: is there any aspect of the game that is "lame" and can it be improved? If you don't think you're ready to go out and claim your game, go back and finish it. It's so simple and difficult at the same time. If you think that the game is ready and want to publish it, read on.

As an author, you have to worry about issues that shouldn't be left entirely to the editor. How much money are you willing to risk? Perhaps you're interested in self-publishing your RPG as a PDF? Or maybe you are so sure of your success that it is worth taking a little risk? Everything depends on you. You are the author, don't let the editor make you feel like you're in the business.

Needless to say, common sense would be to patent your RPG. Don't think about posting it publicly until you get the rights to all the content.


Very often, developers want to show off their game to other people. They start with friends and acquaintances first, and then let anyone openly upload a PDF file online. DO NOT DO IT. Appreciate your work, your time and your resources.

If you distribute a product and then regret it and want to sell it, no one will pay a dime for it. Simply because it used to be something you could get for free.


Don't be afraid to ask for advice. Don't hesitate to send an email to authors who have already gone through what you're about to do out of stupid fear. What could be better than talking to someone who has already gone through the same thing. Most authors will be happy to help you. They will inform you about the pitfalls of the market and how they made the sale. In these cases, every piece of advice is a treasure.

What you're doing is not new, you're not revolutionizing publishers to publish an RPG. Don't be afraid of them. Also, the more money you invest in a project, the greater the need to connect with people who can offer advice. Take advantage that the people before you didn't have. I also advise you to read books on this topic: https://crocoapps.com/blog/kod/knigi-po-razrabotke-igr-i-prilozheniy/

Another point in your favor: you are not bound by a contract and do not have to complete the task on time. The good thing about working on something "for the love of art" is that you are your own boss and decide how much time you need to properly move your project forward. You are also not a company that is forced to release a new RPG once a year in order not to lose its audience. Take your time, but also try without long pauses.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 game

A good RPG will sell on a secula seculorum basis, while a trash RPG covering a purely commercial function won't last long on the market. Do something original, high quality, worthwhile, and your work will last forever.


Crocoapps editorial

Crocoapps editorial