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Pokéngine vs. Pokémon Essentials for RMXP

PlayerJoined 7 years ago
If you're considering making a Pokémon Fan Game, one of the very first considerations is which engine you will use to build it. Other than Rom Hacks, Pokémon Essentials for RPGMaker XP is one of the most widely used tools to build fully playable fan-made Pokémon games. While Pokéngine and Essentials share many features in common, there are some distinct differences that should be considered strongly when deciding how to make your game.
I’ve worked fairly extensively in both Pokengine and Pokemon Essentials so I think I can offer a thorough and unbiased perspective on both engines. This is a rough summary of my thoughts on the pros and cons of each.

Pokémon Essentials
There’s a reason Pokémon Essentials is so popular. It’s affordable, accessible, and feature-complete. There’s very little you can do in a main-series Pokemon game that you can’t do in Essentials. The battle system is fully functional, as are the menus, items, overworld, etc. The kit itself also serves as a great tutorial to learn how to use its features, and there are some pretty extensive tutorials online including a full, searchable wiki.

The flaws of Pokémon Essentials boil down to the fact that it relies on RPG Maker XP, which is outmoded, slow, and incompatible with many major platforms nowadays, including Macs (absent something like Wine). It’s also desktop-only and lacks online multiplayer functionality. It does receive periodic updates and new features from its developers. However, other than upgrading to a newer version of RPGMaker, the flaws are inherent in its software.

Pokéngine
Pokéngine is in many ways everything that Essentials is not. It’s lightweight, fast, multiplayer, runs in browser and on mobile, and is still being updated. The interface is smooth, sleek, and fairly intuitive to navigate. Everything, from building a new Pokemon, creating maps, inserting tiles and sprites, and testing your game is done in-browser. Pokengine also has an active community that will eagerly embrace any new games or regions you create, as soon as they are made live.

However, for all the pros of Pokengine, it lacks some pretty major features, like full battle functionality (move effects, abilities and such). For a MMO, the player-to-player interactivity is limited since there’s no trading or pvp or in-game economy to speak of. The interfaces are less customizable than they are in Pokemon Essentials - all regions use roughly the same pixel art style. There are also server-side bugs which are outside the ability of a region maker to fix, requiring Jext, the admin of the server to do so.

In terms of ease of use, I find Pokengine’s Tilefuser and Mapbuilder to be about the same as RMXP, with both requiring some time to learn the eventing language but not too onerous. However, Pokengine’s tools are not as well-documented as Essentials, and the tutorials are less easily searchable. An on-site wiki or tutorials section would go a long way towards making the creation tools more accessible to the average user.

I think the main reason that far fewer people use Pokéngine is that you have to manually receive permission to use its dev tools. This limits the average person’s ability to pick it up and start learning (even though the tools themselves are free to use.) If it were more feature-complete, and it was easier to access its dev tools, I’d 100% recommend Pokéngine over Essentials every time.Edited 2 weeks ago by Twitch.