The first idea I actually thought about for a long time. The RPG Maker is still the best choice to make a classic RPG game when I'm not very familiar with Unity or Unreal engines. It is not easy to integrate the concept of “car modification" into a RPG game. I believe the core of pixel RPG games is to describe a complete and heart-shocking story in a simple but dynamic visual effects, therefore I don't want to make an RPG game into something like a "simulator". So it's clear that "car modification" only appears as an element in this game, but it's also an important clue throughout the whole game. In other words, it has played a good role in promoting the development of the plot.
Speaking of RPG games, I personally believe the most representative pixel game in these few years is called "Undertale", in which the player controls a human child who falls into the underground world. Except the story, rich and varied mini games as battles in the main game are interesting. The game was released in Microsoft Windows and Mac OS in September 2015, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in August 2017. The game is highly praised by critics. More than one million copies of the game have been sold and many honorary awards have been nominated. Even obtained the full score evaluation of IGN (Imagine Games Network), an authoritative organization.
Here is a game review from IGN:
I would like to introduce that what I thought and the basic settings of the first idea. The protagonist in the game is a college boy. His father died in an accident a year ago. He and his mother depend on each other for survival. His father used to be a rally driver, so the protagonist knows a huge amount of knowledge of cars at when he was young. Since one day he was provoked by several bad students that bullied him, he planned to take his car and refit it. To win the prize of a race at the end of the year and work hard to realize his father's lifelong aspirations became his dream. But the cost of modifying the car was so high that he even couldn't afford a decent backup tire. His mother advised him to study hard and give up to spend money on the car. However, he decided to spend his spare time doing part-time jobs.
Or we can make the plot more complicated, ups and downs: “Someone invited the protagonist to join in the rally team of the city, after winning the first race. He believes this would be a great chance to find out the truth about his father's accident, however, he discovered an amazing secret of the team…
In the gameplay, it will be a solo player game. Player can interact with the environment and NPC in free mode and get feedback from them, such as talking to mother at home and using a beverage machine to buy refreshing energy drinks on the street. Also, Doing part-time jobs can earn considerable income to buy better cars modifying parts. Players will receive sound feedback when modifying the car, such as to replacing the exhaust pipe, and the game system will play different exhaust sounds automatically. In addition, there is a great possibility that the main characters will participate in various racing events in the form of embedded mini-game. The player controls the vehicle, avoids obstacles, and reaches the destination within the time limit. Once a player-controlled vehicle crashes into an obstacle, the game will be compulsorily finished. Thus it's a good habit to use “SAVE and LOAD” functions regularly. These mini-games are inspired by "Undertale".
From the aspect of game mechanics, players will use “WASD” on keyboard to carry out mobile operations, “SHIFT” to run faster, “Return” key to talk with NPCs or interact with environments, “ESC” key to pause the game and switch to the game main menu. At the same time, game maps will also set up physical feedback and barrier walls in suitable areas. Embedded mini-games operate in a very similar way to the main body of the game. Players only need to use the "WASD" key to control the vehicle on the screen.
USP: An RPG game that includes vehicle modification and racing elements. They would be performed dramatically and properly in the game.
The target audience are mainly people who very interested in RPG games, classic pixel video games, car racing or car modifications. The game may needs slight knowledge in car modification, also may contains slight violence, the use mild bad language, gambling contents. Therefore, it would be better to have a "Pegi 12" label to limit potential possible customer and consumer.
(Pegi: Pan Europe Game Information)
Mood boards below are combined from games that I found, "Zelda: The Minish Cap (2004)" and "Undertale". They are pixel games with classic elements, may inspire and help me to build my game visuals:
Here are several gameplay demonstrations of them :
Perhaps it's difficult to achieve a complete story in a semester. If I decide to do this type of game in next few weeks, I'll try my best to produce a satisfying work to every and myself.
I also made a game playing prototype demonstration below. I used paid texture to built the world and characters, to show the basic concepts and gameplay.