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.
User reviews:
Overall:
Very Positive (129 reviews) - 88% of the 129 user reviews for this software are positive.
Release Date: Apr 24, 2015

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Includes 5 items: RPG Maker VX Ace, RPG Maker XP, RPG Maker 2003, RPG Maker 2000, RPG Maker MV

 

About This Software

UNLEASH YOUR PASSION FOR RETRO RPGs


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!

KEY FEATURES


  • 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

    Minimum:
    • 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
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Overall:
Very Positive (129 reviews)
Recently Posted
noamstero
5.3 hrs
Posted: August 25
This is a good software. I like the graphics and interface very much, but this one just isn't my favorite. I also have rpg maker vx ace and xp, and while this one is much better than xp I personally prefer vx ace. a lot of things are the same in each rpg maker title so whatever one suits your personal quirks best. I still give this one 9/10.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jhelton2847
27.1 hrs
Posted: August 25
This software is amazing,it is worth more than 30 bucks.It allows you to create great games
in a much easier way than coding,although making animations and importing graphics can be a bit of a hassle,this software is great.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Rainbow_of_Dawn
61.3 hrs
Posted: August 19
Almost endless possibilities
It can be used for both professional projects as well as personal ones . Of course you'll also find its newer versions useful, but you might want to consider checking out this one if you start off as a newbie to these kinds of softwares and don't want to use scripts yet.


Pros
  • Does not require any programming knowledge
  • Lots of online resources such as video and text-based tutorials, free tilesets, and more
  • Fully customizable and powerful story-telling features
  • Professional-looking tools and results (it can get you into a video game design school if you can present some decent game prototype, or just show off your skills in your portfolio)
  • A friendly community ready to help you and share their own experience
  • Its low price when on sales

Cons
  • Some missing tool to let us use scripts
  • There should be a "follow" event feature in order for one event (i.e character here) to follow another one. Let me explain below:

The most complicated is to make a character/group of characters follow an NPC.
Exemple: In your story, a friendly NPC will be the guide to your hero(es) for some time. This NPC (let's call him A) will thus lead them from a location to another. You have to set up his multiple variables with coordinates and move routes. Once you're done, you repeat the commands process with the character immediately following him, B. Base B's moves on A's (since B follows A), then C's on B's, etc until everyone following A the NPC has received their commands, if that makes sense. Few people master this and tutorials about this method are rare and long to read.


And yes, you can add some moving clouds to your game with "move picture". Just watch some Youtube videos and check out the web to give you an idea of the full potential of RPG Maker 2003.

Overall
This software is a little gem that will make your creativity burst!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Derp Scout
6.9 hrs
Posted: August 18
This thing is awesome. love it. but whenever I try to get into the game it says "set party position not set." like WTF? I made my party but i have no idea what set party position not set means. can someone explain to me what it means please and how to do it? I would love the help.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Sans stop
41.2 hrs
Posted: August 5
Product received for free
This is one of my favorite rpg maker games it gives me a retro feel to me and the sound track is absoulutely perfect although i wish my game is able for cloud save since i dont have a laptop at the momment either way i recommed this to everyone whos into retro
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Zappyjro
16.7 hrs
Posted: July 13
Great for making pretty bad games!
Great fun to use
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Man Of Saturn
286.0 hrs
Posted: July 3
Basically, this is game software where you don't have to code stuff...
per se...

You DO have to put in the inputs and what the events and stuff do, but it's
pretty straight-forward and I've found it's import features great for custom content.

So...

PROS:
-Easy to use
-Easy to put stuff in
-Simple interface
-Loads of customization
-YOU CAN MAKE GAMES!!

Cons...:
-Sort of confusing at first. The game doesn't have a tutorial at the beginning
or anything, it just...opens. Luckily, the game has an in-game help menu and there's
lots of tutorials online!
-Sprite importing is a bit wonky. By that I mean that aside from what you used to make the
sprite (I use MS Paint, wannafightaboutit?) you also need to make sure the sprite is..."validified"
so you can actually use it. Otherwise, it'll import it but the sprite will have practically no shading
(if it had any to begin with) and will look really splotchy and washed out. Luckily, there's free 3rd party
software you can find online (I use PAINT.NET) that makes it simple to..."Validify" stuff...
-Battle system is kinda bare-bones. Basically, the only type of orientation is like in 2D Final Fantasy games (with all
your dudes on the right side of the screen, and the enemies on the left). If you want an Earthbound-like view, you'll
have to do some clever sprite and event work, 'cause it's not supported. And alongside that, there's not many options
to make combat very interesting. It's turn-based, and yes, there are "options", but it mostly just boils down to mashing the "action" button.
-"Final touches" process. Kinda nitpicking here, but if you want to make even the slightest minute
change to a sprite, you have to go all the way to its folder, make the change, save it, then import it AGAIN
into the software! It takes long, but I understand why it's like this.
-No enemy animations. I understand it would be more difficult to do, since the player characters are usually a lot smaller than the enemies they face, but come on! There's people who'd be willing to do it! Mostly, the enemies are just a static image of their sprite, with the option of having them float.

Over all, I give it a 9.5/10. It's not perfect, but for what it is, it's great. I've even been making a pretty lengthy RPG for the past few months... I'm still making the graphics, though.


Oh, but you should probably wait until it's on sale. I bought it for the full price for the sole reason of being impatient. :>
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Mr.Frie Frie ッ
8.0 hrs
Posted: June 30
This game engine is one of the best game engines to make your very own RPG game in. This engine is easy to use and you can run into this engine blindy with no idea how to use it and you can easily start making games.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
uoʞuʎ
10.4 hrs
Posted: June 19
I would pay the full price of the game just for the map building part

's pretty good
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Future Derpy
173.9 hrs
Posted: May 31
Personally, I prefer this engine over any of the others I've used (this includes VX, XP, and 2000). It's not the most convenient, nor the simplest, but once you find your way around it you can create just about anything; it's basically second nature. In just the past couple months I've created some really fantastic work that I'm very proud of! It's hard to grade a software when 100% of the experience is based on how dedicated you are to making something... but I guess that's why I recommend giving it a go!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
187 of 202 people (93%) found this review helpful
13 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 24, 2015
It's RPG Maker 2003. In my opinion, this is the best newbie game engine out there. You don't need to learn ANY coding language whatsoever. At all. Period. End of story. All the coding is done in-engine, you just select the pre-determined options via drop-down lists.

But don't let pre-determined lists put you off, because you are still in full control of your game. Thanks to code like variables and switches, the sky is the limit. I use to use this years and years ago, I'd consider myself an expert at using this engine, and I began not knowing a single thing about it but within a few weeks - to months - I was hooked and had alot of the engine forged into my brain.

If you're looking to make a classic RPG with a side-view battle system then look no further because RPG Maker 2003 especially comes default with that classic side-view, all you have to do is draw the sprites and background (or use the vanilla assets).

Honestly, this is still my favourite engine because of how user-friendly it still is, and the fact you literally don't even need to know a single line of code and you can make games like Final Fantasy 6 without spending thousands of dollars at college and university.

Would I recommend? Hell, I'd recommend this over XP, VX and any other 2D game maker out there!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
110 of 115 people (96%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: April 26, 2015
Be Aware of what you're buying.

As a fan and supporter of the RPG Maker series, I recommend this engine for people that want to make old-school SNES FInal Fantasy Style JRPG's due to it's 2D battle engine and simplicity of use.

However, you have to be aware that all you're getting for your purchase is a 30MB bare bones program. There's not alot of content present for tilesets / level design assets. What this engine does have alot of is monster / battler graphics that you can use as is or customize to suit your needs, and the 2-D battle animations and battle skills designer are decent as well.

Yes, I get that making a "True" project should mean that you're supposed to import and design all your own assets from scratch, but having a strong selection of premade materials would help you flesh out your ideas faster only to be changed at a later time.

Again, just be aware that you're going to have to search and import a lot of external assets in order to have a decent, core toolset before you start making a project.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
107 of 115 people (93%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
26.5 hrs on record
Posted: April 24, 2015
This software is probably my first reason why i have been into game developing so much.

It has been hard at the beginning with absolute no knowledge about anything, but after some easy tutorials on you-tube where some basics were explained i've really understood fast how to use all these wonderful functions of this software. I did experiment a lot with it until i could figure out how to realize everything on this software what my mind is looking for.

It's a very old software of course , where the license was even forbidden at the beginning but now you can even purchase the english version on steam with modified functions which makes your work easier and more well arranged than before.

This program is a "MUST HAVE" for sure if you want to start with 2 D Game Making. i would also recommend the newer version but this one is simply the grandfather of all. After so many years i'm really surprised about the release here because it was sure a nice dream for people who already know this software for years and i can tell that it took so many years and it's still unbelievable:
The community is still active, i guess it's even boosting the activity right now by this release.

I can guarantee that you DON'T NEED ANY KNOWLEDGE OF PROGRAMMING/CODING or anything else , just buy this software watch some tutorials or read the manual which is included and then start being creative on your own.

IT WAS NEVER EASIER TO MAKE A 2D RETRO STYLE GAME.

Let me sum up your advantages of this software:

- No knowledge of programming
- Very easy to understand how to use it
- Very effective and stunning when you make your first experiences
- Still active community after so many years and many helpful tutorials
- If you are an artist you can make your own resources and import them easily
- there are so many possibilities to be creative with this program


Negative aspect:

The only point i remember right now is :
of course there are some limitations since it's a game maker software for 2D Games, but still if you are creative enough with the commands, you shouldn't have many limits.
Any other questions might be answered by the community on their website or on the steam community discussions.

I DEFINITELY RECOMMEND THIS SOFTWARE AND A BIG THANKS TO THE PUBLISHER/DEVELOPER
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53 of 61 people (87%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 24, 2015
I can't believe it's 12 years already.
I remember downloading this when Don Miguel's blotchy, but incredible translation first came out.
We were all amazed at this tool and how it improved over rm2k, and how it was never beaten by any other maker that came after it.
This is the one you want to use if you're looking to make simple RPG games, learn or just fool around a little bit. 12 years of this being used for making amazing games can't be anything but a good indication that you're in good hands.

This piece of software is one of those things that mean something so important to someone on a spiritual level. Some people have a CD, Movie or Book. To me, it is RPG Maker 2003. You have no idea how important it is to me that an official English release finally came out, I remember yearning for it for years on end, just to realize that it was never going to happen. I own the Japanese version, but this closes a cycle. A wish finally come true.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
43 of 46 people (93%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
6.9 hrs on record
Posted: April 27, 2015
It's sad but I felt a little emotional seeing this pop up on the Steam front page.

My first experience with RPGMaker was actually '95, but although i have alot of nostalgia for '95 I have no wish to see it re-released. Same goes for 2000, a great engine but not one i feel has much relevance nowadays. 2003 is different, i have been wanting to see this rereleased for a LONG time, as it is definetly the most unique iteration of the RPGMaker series and one you should buy right now :)
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37 of 38 people (97%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
45.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 6, 2015
While this version of rpg maker does not have as many options as vx ace. It is the only version I know of that lets you have your characters appear on the battlefield without any scripting. So it's up to you. If you want to make a rpg without any scripting, but has your characters appear on the battlefield go with this version. If you want options and the ability to script then go with vx ace. 2003 is better for beginers while vx ace has better tools for advanced design. Either way I approve of this software.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
30 of 32 people (94%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
214.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 25, 2015
I waited 12 years for this day, this is the best piece of news I've seen in years.

RM2K3, along with RM2K, is where it all began and where it all still lives. Truly the best of the RPG Makers together with RPG Maker 2000, its slightly older sibling. <3
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28 of 31 people (90%) found this review helpful
Recommended
19.6 hrs on record
Posted: April 29, 2015
Fantastic engine for learning basic game creation mechanics.

Pros:
- Easy to learn, no coding necessary
- Sideways battles (best RPG maker battle system)
- Easy to make your own tiles and sprites, as they are all 16x16
- Decent vanilla resources available
- Engine still holds up well, even after more than 10 years
- Very cheap

Cons:
- UI has not been updated, so it still looks like it belongs on Windows XP
- Like other RPG Maker engines, it is pretty limited as to what kind of games you can make. It truly is an RPG maker, and that's it.
- Tiles are limited to 16x16, which may cause some distress for those who like to make pretty art.

Overall, a fantastic engine for the game creation newbie. Better than VX Ace in my opinion (Not to mention a lot cheaper!)
9/10
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25 of 26 people (96%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
77.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 23, 2015
This is one of the most significant aspects of my childhood. I've probably dished in almost a thousand hours on this. Of course my projects were of poor quality, but at the age of like 8~10 I was starting to make advanced in-game events and variables.

Right now it's like $4 so if you're the type of bloke who likes creating games / mods and RPGs and classic programs, just dish in the 4$ and f!@$%%ING buy this!
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17 of 18 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 21, 2015
I can fully reccomend this software ! For the following reasons:
1: easy making of faces in textboxes as you have many facesets (in RPG maker XP this is tricky)
2. you have "system2" section, where you can add, remove and rename options from the menu (in XP you need scripts)
3. Charsets are big and look better than the midgets in RPG VX Ace
4. you have the vehicles option unlike in XP
5. attack and defence can be above 0 even if you don't have any weapon or armour equipped --> you can have battles without weapons (if for some reasons you choose to not have weapons in your game).
6. zooming option when teleporting player (fade out, mosaik etc.)
etc.
Everyone sais that you don't need ANY programming skills when using the RPG maker...well, that's not quite that easy. Having programming knowledge is always an advantage. However in RPG maker 2003 you need much less scripting skills than in XP and VX.
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