For the first time ever, RPG Maker 2003 is officially available in English! This legendary game development engine is both highly affordable and easy to use, and it remains one of the most popular RPG Maker installments to date.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (175) - 90% of the 175 user reviews for this software are positive.
Release Date:
Apr 24, 2015

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Includes 6 items: RPG Maker VX Ace, RPG Maker XP, RPG Maker 2003, RPG Maker 2000, RPG Maker MV, RPG Maker VX


Recent updates View all (6)

October 4, 2017

RPG Maker 2003 Update v1.12a

Hi everyone! Just a quick update for RPG Maker 2003!

- Regression from v1.12: Any “Show Picture” command created by an editor version of 1.11 or lower would be handled by the engine as if “Erase on Map Change”, “Affected by Tint” and “Affected by Shake” were disabled, even though they were shown as enabled in the editor.
- Regression from v1.12: The game would appear to lose focus (freeze) after the Video Options dialog was closed.
- Regression from v1.10: It was not possible to enter a space in the actor name input screen.

- Sample Games Mystic Sunrise and Picture Tutorial! They should be in your SoftwareFolder/Sample

14 comments Read more

September 14, 2017

RPG Maker 2003 Update v1.12

Hi everyone! We have a new update for RPG Maker 2003 and it is huge!
The Changelog is over here.

- It is now possible to resize and maximize some of the dialog windows (database, event editor and a few miscellaneous ones). Due to technical limitations, the layout is not always perfect when a window has been enlarged.

- The “This Event” target may now also be used in common events and will refer to the last map event in the call stack. (For example: Map event A calls map event B, which calls common event C, which calls common event D, which moves “This Event”. Result: Map event B will be moved.) The “Erase Event” command behaves the same way, erasing the last map event in the call stack.

- Large picture functionality revamp. The helpfile is updated to reflect this.

* Variables can now be used instead of fixed values for picture ID, filename suffix, transparency and zoom.

* The following point may affect only a certain group of people: The engine (not the editor) is able to understand the format of the unofficial mod “PicPointerPatch” for version 1.08. This means that picture commands with PicPointerPatch-specific data such as fake picture ID 5XXXX will work in version 1.12’s game engine, but in the editor it will show up as “picture ID #5XXXX” and not as variable reference, and when you edit such a command, you need to be careful because the numbers are capped to the normal limits and you would need to manually set the variable references again, but this time in the way the official version does it.

- The Z position (layer) in which a picture is drawn can now be changed (for example, pictures can be shown between the tileset and the events, or even above message windows, etc.).

- Pictures can now be used in battle as well.

- For each picture, it’s now possible to select whether it is affected by screen shake, tint or flash effects.

- For each picture, it’s now possible to select whether it should be automatically cleared on map change and/or on battle end.

- Spritesheet feature: Pictures may get their graphics from a spritesheet with variable size. It’s possible to select a fixed sprite to display or set it through a variable.

- To simplify the process of setting the number of sprites per sheet when selecting a sheet, it’s possible to include “[x,y]” in the spritesheet filename, where “x” and “y” are the number of sprites per row and column (e.g. “my_sprite[5,3].png”). When doing so, these numbers will be automatically set when the spritesheet is selected.

- Automatic animation: A spritesheet with individual animation frames can be used for automatically animating a picture with a user-defined speed. The animation can be run in a loop or once. In the latter case, the picture is automatically erased once its animation is finished. This feature can be used to show picture animations in battle, where no parallel process event for manual animation may be used. Using a spritesheet for animation will also reduce the disk and CPU load compared to manually loading a new picture for each frame.

- “Show Picture” used in a loop with the same picture file will no longer cause high CPU and disk load (which led to lags): When attempting to show a picture with the same filename which is currently already loaded for the same picture ID, the picture loading is skipped and the command behaves like “Move Picture” performance-wise. Note that it is still advisable to include a “Wait 0.0” command in tight loops.

- Displaying a picture with 100% transparency will now skip the drawing step entirely, instead of wasting CPU power on invisibly drawing the picture and calculating effects (if applicable). This means that moving a picture to 100% transparency can be used as a performance-light way to hide a picture temporarily without resetting its properties (effects and spritesheet animations).

- The game volume can now be controlled from the video options dialog. This setting is directly linked to the per-process volume of the Windows audio mixer. For Windows XP and below, it is instead linked to the system-wide master volume.

- When using a gamepad, the D-Pad may now be used as alternative to the analog stick.

- Comments in events can now have an arbitrary length and number of lines instead of being limited to 4 lines with limited width.
- When importing music files, all allowed file types (mid, wav, mp3) are now shown at once.

- The “restart game” hotkey is now Alt+F12 instead of F12. This change was done to avoid frustrating accidental restarts, especially when the user is used to pressing F12 in order to create a screenshot (like it’s done in most Steam games). When F12 is pressed, a message is now displayed instead.

- The default database’s “Poison” state was set to increase HP instead of decreasing them.
- In the help file, information about “\n[\v[...]]” and “\n[0]” in messages was missing.
- On newer versions of Windows, when closing RPG Maker, a temporary folder was not deleted, instead the RPG Maker silently crashed during shutdown.

- On multicore-processor machines, a race condition would cause key states reported to events to be unreliable while a key was being held down (it would appear to “bounce” instead of being reported as continuously pressed).
If multiple events were stacked on top of each other on the same tile, their drawing order would change in unpredictable ways based on the position of other events (including the player). Now, they are sorted by their IDs (highest ID drawn last).
- When the game was launched without focus, e.g. because another window had become active while the game was being launched, and in some other edge cases, the game would accept keyboard input despite being in the background.
- Escaping a backslash in a message with another backslash (“\\”) would not work properly and cause weird behavior when the following character was “n”.
- When an event had changed the tileset on the current map, this change was not preserved after loading the game from a save file. (It was still saved, just not loaded correctly, so this fix will retroactively make it work for existing save files.)
- The current position of the parallax background was not saved in the save file.
- Under rare conditions, the game could crash with an error “List index has exceeded its valid range (-1)” when a vehicle was displayed.
34 comments Read more

About This Software


For the first time ever, RPG Maker 2003 is officially available in English! This legendary game development engine is both highly affordable and easy to use, and it remains one of the most popular RPG Maker installments to date. It is the first engine in the series to employ a sideview battle system similar to the classic RPGs of the early-to-mid 90s. If you have always wanted to create a retro RPG with a third-person battle system, or simply are looking for an affordable but reliable game creation engine, then RPG Maker 2003 is for you!


  • Side-view Battle System
    Most titles in the RPG Maker series center on first-person, turn-based combat. RPG Maker 2003 breaks this tradition by offering an engaging sideview battle system that is perfect for fans of classic RPGs. Creating and managing your game’s combat is as easy as filling in a database and playtesting, with no scripting knowledge required! This departure makes RPG Maker 2003 an excellent alternative for game developers who are not particularly fond of front-view battle systems.

  • Straightforward Tools
    RPG Maker engines are designed to be as flexible as possible while still being user friendly, and RPG Maker 2003 is no exception. Virtually everything in the engine is managed through a simple point-and-click interface. All of your game’s characters, enemies, skills, animations, and equipment are created and stored in an easy-to-navigate database. An in-depth event system contains dozens of functions to help make your story and world come to life, such as custom messages, character movement, player choices, special effects, and more. Plus, RPG Maker 2003’s powerful map editor is extremely easy to master, allowing you to craft your world tile by tile with unprecedented efficiency!

  • Retro Presentation
    Relive the golden age of RPGs with RPG Maker 2003’s diverse selection of 16-bit default graphics. If you’re feeling especially creative, RPG Maker 2003 allows you to import custom 16-bit graphics, including character sprites, tilesets for your environments, battle animations, backgrounds, and more! The engine is also loaded with a variety of catchy midi tracks and sound effects for your game; custom MP3/WAV/MIDI tracks can be added as well.

  • Share Your Game!
    Want to share your creation with the world? You can export your creation in a portable file that can be played on ANY Windows system! Plus, games made with RPG Maker 2003 can be sold as long as you have the appropriate rights and have followed the registration procedure. With some hard work you could become the next great indie game developer!

System Requirements

    • OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP/Vista/7/8
    • Processor: Intel® Pentium®4 1.5GHz
    • Memory: 256 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 1024x768 or better video resolution in High Color mode
    • Storage: 100 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectSound-compatible sound card
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