RPG Maker 2000 (RPGツクール 2000, RPG Tsukuru 2000) is a computer program that allows for the creation of role-playing video games. It was released in Japan in 2000 and was developed and published by ASCII Corporation. It is the successor to RPG Maker 95, which released in 1997. RPG Maker 2003, released in 2002, is a successor to RPG Maker 2000, and it shares many similarities to this program.
Until 2015 there was no official English translated release, however more than a decade before the official release a man named Don Miguel translated it and began distributing it illegally at no cost. He then took down his copies of the software and discouraged its distribution. Despite this, it has survived and become very popular. On July 7, 2015 the Humble Game Maker Bundle went live, including this program, which is where it was first officially released in English, making it legal to make RPG Maker games using an official release.
Unlike RPG Maker 95 which has its games in a 640x480 resolution, the resolution of RPG Maker 2000 games is 320x240, and its map tiles are 16x16 instead of 32x32 as in RPG Maker 95. RPG Maker 2000 is the first in the series to have number variables for use in eventing, allowing for easier construction of arenas, for example, and the ability to add a secondary currency.
RPG Maker 2000 is the first program in the series to be able to play MP3 files for music and sound effects.
All image resources must be indexed 256 color images for it to be recognized by RPG Maker 2000.
RPG Maker 2000 introduces the concept of the "Runtime Package", which is used to allow game downloads to be reduced in size by omitting the default assets in the game download and allowing users to download and install the default assets separately from the game.
The Steam version of the application has more features such as the ability to fully customize the phrases used in battle for actions such as attack.
Although it sounds paradoxical, the downloading and distribution of English language RPG Maker programs has in itself been a source of controversy within the community. The controversy is largely based on whether or not the distribution is legal or not.
Many, perhaps most within the RPG Maker community feel that RPG Maker 2000 and 2003 are legal, falling under the same category as anime fansubs. There was a myth that stated ASCII (now Enterbrain) gave permission or licensing rights to a Russian computer programmer named Don Miguel to create an English version for free distribution, which is incorrect and false.
However, some in the opposing camp says that the program became illegal once Enterbrain received the rights to it. But this is false, as the program has not been legally downloadable until 2015, far since Enterbrain obtained the rights to the series. However it strikes many as being extremely hypocritical to build a site around providing resources for RPG Maker, tutorials to teach people to use it, and a support community only to "frown upon" people who actually put the site content to work by using the program!
The RTP package in Don Miguel's version of RPG Maker 2000 uses ripped assets from SNES games such as Star Ocean and Tales of Phantasia, which are protected by copyright and thus illegal to use without a license. This by extension makes his version of the application illegal due to using unlicensed assets.
Because of the controversy and legality issues, many sites dedicated to RPG Maker have ceased offering downloads of the program. It was hoped by many that doing this will encourage Enterbrain to continue making English language releases.
Since July 13, 2015, it is legally available for purchase on Steam for the price of $24.99. Using the fan-translated versions of the program obtained for free is still illegal. RPG Maker was never a free program, or intended to be one in the first place.
Definitely Legal RPG Maker Programs
Despite the controversy surrounding English language versions of RPG Maker 2000 and RPG Maker 2003, it is legal to produce games made by a Japanese version of RPG Maker. Since 2015, it is also legal to use an official English version of RPG Maker 2000 or 2003 as the two programs have been released on Steam and Humble Bundle by Enterbrain.
- A Sad Fact for You and I: http://www.enterbrain.co.jp/digifami/sadfact.html
- Despite being an older release than RPG Maker 2003, RPG Maker 2000 costs five US Dollars more on Steam than RPG Maker 2003.