Learning to make a RPG Barney Style

Adam Laston
5 min readApr 2, 2018


I have been working on making a RPG for about forever using the drag and drop game engine called Stencyl. Some of this is taken from what I have documented on my blog.

I tried to learn how to create RPGs just by doing and it only got me so far (nowhere) so I decided to do research on how others created their RPGs.

I looked into and somewhat disected many of the final fantasy games trying to figure out how everything came together and if their are underlying uniform rules that are used from game to game.

Now I am not the best at grasping things quickly like others so I have to approach everything “Barney Style”.

So I started with resolution…


I did a lot of my own leg work but this chart by Cyangmou made things easier.

I was looking at the remakes for final fantasy 5 and 6 on the Gameboy advance for reference to start making games.

I found out the GBA uses the 240x160 resolution and I decided to look even further into the tile and sprite sizes.

Tile and Sprite Sizes

below are the tile sizes the NES, GB, and SNES use:

  • NES tiles are 8x8 or 8x16
  • GB tiles are 8x8 or 8x16
  • SNES tiles are 8x8 or 16x16

I loved playing the zelda games on the Game boy Color and decided to use that as reference to understand how sprites and tiles relate to each other. Later I realized that Final Fantasy utilizes tile based movement unlike Zelda so I made sure to keep my focus on analyzing the formers assets but still looking at the zelda tiles helped.

Below are four 8x8 tiles together.

The four 8x8 tiles are put together and create a block level tile that is 16x16.

This Link sprite is 16x16, so when placed on the tiles…

…The sprite covers most of the surface area of the block level tile.

Simple and a no brainer, I know, but it blew my mind when I figured it out. haha Barney style indeed.

So I came from this learning a lot but putting my focus back on final fantasy I noticed the art was a bit different in the 6th installment, It was a bit distorted.

This brought me to learning about game perspectives.

RPG Perspective

Action- adventure and classic RPG games like…

Final Fantasy VI

or Legend of Zelda : Link to the past …

…both have a 3/4 perspective, sometimes called RPG perspective/view.

RPG perspective is a type of Orthographic projection.

Firstly, Orthographic projection is a means of representing a 3D object in a 2D space.

Now, for the classic RPG, the top and front planes of an object are shown at the same time without perspective.

This creates the illusion that the Y and Z axis are one (Z represents depth and Y represents height)

Also, objects are always the same size regardless of their distance from one another due to the lack of perspective as shown below

No matter how far away the poke balls are from each other, are the same size. This is true for every object within a game that utilizes RPG(3/4) perspective.

The top and front of the object are seen at all times and the objects X axis (other horizontal lines included) maintains a perpendicular(90-degree angle) relationship with the Y axis.

The sides and bottom are never seen with this type of projection(though many games break this rule)

An object with orthographic projection does not get any smaller as it moves closer to the horizon line because it is not attached to one(nor does one exist) and it maintains it’s 90-degree angles. (The lines are always parallel as well)

I’ve used a cube as an example but orthographic projections are in no way unique to this specific shape.

For example, you can see the top and front of…



These are just a few things I have learned in my endeavors to create a RPG.

I have more to say but I think it would be better to dedicate certain aspects of RPGs that I have found to be interesting to another article.



Adam Laston

Novice at everything.