Just as the RPG genre itself is forever evolving, constantly incorporating new elements and original concepts into gameplay, the fairly recent development of RPG-creation titles is growing as well. Bringing RPG fans the tools with which they can create their own worlds and stories, innovative titles such as RPG Maker for the PlayStation helped would-be designers jump directly into the art of game creation, without requiring the complex knowledge of coding that goes into the game's most fundamental levels. Now, as RPGs become increasingly complex, the development of a new RPG creation kit is underway: Ambrosia Software's Coldstone.
Although Coldstone is still in the midst of development, further details on its incorporated game engine have emerged. As with other RPG tool sets, the title will allow users to create their own RPGs, and compile them into stand-alone programs. What sets Coldstone apart from its predecessors in this RPG niche is an extremely impressive and versatile game engine, as well as the amazingly professional appearance of the resulting product. Every single element of the game can be modified or left to default by the user, and can also be edited again at any point. This means that such game materials as world maps and locations, scripted events, tools, items, non-player characters, enemies, skill tables, spells and sprite animations can all be tweaked and compiled indefinitely.
The game's engine allows users access to a full step-by-step tutorial, or to simply jump into the RPG creating process. All necessary game files are stored in appropriate folders, and can be opened directly from the desktop. Opening a file, whether it is the terrain layout or monster ability chart, will bring up the appropriate tools and editors for that game element, allowing simple and quick modifications. As well, all game files come in templates, which can be modified as far as the user desires. Maps can be reordered, weapon statistics can be altered, and even character animations are subject to adjustment. As well, any sound, image or movie file can easily be dropped into the program and used within the game, allowing for infinite personalization. The game can make use of such files like never before, providing the incorporation of effects like ambient sound and complex scenic animation, such as trees blowing in the wind. Through the use of scripting timelines, users can also create beautifully animated character graphics, which the engine renders seamlessly within the game. Even computer-controlled characters can be set into certain walk patterns, or given roaming boundaries. One must keep in mind that such details are accomplished in seconds with Coldstone, whereas they would have taken hours to code manually.
In short, anything that can be imagined can be placed into the final build of a user's RPG, as Coldstone aims to offer tools with unlimited customization. While the interface is extremely detailed, and will certainly require some getting used to before it can be fully mastered, it remains very simple, and easy to learn. With a bit of practice, this product offers the potential for anyone to create an extremely professional-looking RPG, with stunning graphics and sound, as well as a completely customized plot and gameplay environment. While it is not yet known if this title will be released for the PC, it has been announced that the final compiled game will be capable of running under both the Macintosh and Windows operating systems. Coldstone is truly a milestone in developmental tools for the RPG genre, and RPGamer will be keeping a close watch on the title's progress.