In my previous article I talked about how to create an RPG all by yourself. In case I wasn’t clear enough: the conclusion is that you shouldn’t attempt to do everything by yourself, unless you seriously know what you’re doing.

It’s possible to speed things up by taking advantage of what other people already created. RPG’s seem to be very popular for game development projects, and a lot of people have made their own frameworks or even art available. So why not see if one of them fits your needs?

RPG Frameworks

I’ve assembled a list of RPG frameworks, but there are plenty more. You can always google for more frameworks and specify what details you want. For example which programming language, features, etc… .

  • Sphere: A cross platform, open source computer program designed primarily to make role-playing games
  • vbGore: A powerful, open source, and free online RPG engine that concentrates on performance and features.
  • netGore: A free, open-source cross-platform online RPG engine written in C# and SFML.
  • Marauroa: An open source framework and engine to develop turn based and real time games.

RPG Graphics or Models

Lost Garden Tileset

There is plenty of ready made artwork for you to use in your RPG. You just have to find it. Both free and paying options are available. But even if you have to pay for it, it will save you plenty of time. Here are some resources to get you started:

2D Game Graphics:

3D Game Assets:

Sound and Music

The atmosphere of your game is highly determined by the sounds and especially the music. There are websites that offer you royalty-free sounds and music, where you can probably find something that fits your needs.


There are a lot of resources available if you want to make your own RPG. Just Google for it and see if there is a ready made solution for you. Here are the pros and cons of using RPG frameworks and resources:

1. Speed up your development
2. Learn something from other peoples code
3. Choose the art you like

1. Every framework is restricted in some way or another: programming language, platform, … .
2. You might need to tweak the art so everything fits together.

Tip 1: Check the license

I can’t stress this enough: when using ready made frameworks or content, first check if the license is OK. Some are restrictive for use in commercial products, other just require you to mention them in the credits or your own license, and others are completely free to use. So make sure you’re not breaking any licenses.

Tip 2: Work Backwards

Instead of first designing your game, and then searching for frameworks and content, why not work the other way around. Find a framework you like, find content you like, and see if you can design a game around it.

Tip 3: Don’t be fooled by bad art

A lot of Role Playing Game Frameworks have sample games, but most of them look hideous. Don’t be fooled. Great art and great programming has nothing to do with each other. Check out the things that really matter in a framework, and search for your own art assets.

In our next post, I’ll take a look at how to make an RPG really fast, and without any programming.

The Alternative

I’m currently working on my own tool called RPG Playground, which makes is super easy to create online RPG’s. Why not give it a quick try? Go to

Categories: Koonsolo


Spodi · November 30, 2010 at 02:04

Thanks for mentioning NetGore. 🙂

silicon · December 22, 2010 at 21:21

All the “engines” you linked to are unfortunately representative of what you’ll find if you go out looking for an RPG engine.

VBGore is ancient. Sphere hasn’t been updated in ages. Netgore is in its infancy, and the other one is so lacking in information that it’s not worth looking at.

For all the time you invest trying to make somebody else’s broken project work you might as well write your own.

Which pretty much explains why there are only a handful of indie RPGs on the market. An indie RPG engine might sell pretty well. There are plenty of people who want to make a 2D top-down game, but don’t want to learn more than NPC/AI scripting and tools. It’s too bad that there isn’t one – or that the few that DO exist all cater to making Final Fantasy 4 rip-offs.

Niriel · June 15, 2011 at 12:40

A thing about RPGs is that they all love to use a different system for fighting. Real time in the map, versus turned based on a battle screen, and then come all the weird-ass combos requiring you to change your outfit and put gems between them on a graph. I can imagine writing a RPG engine that will animate sprites on a tiled map and that’s going to be super re-usable. But I have no idea on how to write a battle/fight engine that will be fun for enough people. I have the feeling that whatever I choose, many users will dislike it. So… Only half an engine ? Meh.

mantas · February 28, 2012 at 08:31

For your 3d models needs you can also use

TheBluePineapple · June 17, 2018 at 22:42

There’s a framework called Kiwi.js that is actually quite versatile when it comes to supported platforms. Unfortunately, you’ll still need to program the standard gameplay, such as moving around, fighting so-and-so, opening containers (and in some cases, doors)… (The URL is, and sorry if this sounded like an ad)

How to make RPG’s – Koonsolo Games · November 28, 2010 at 05:05

[…] Use an existing RPG framework and resources. […]

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