The priority of this page is to provide some context to the weird terms used, so think of this as a little handbook guide. It’s likely more boring than thecatamites’ dictionary to the known world however.

RM RPG Maker, though it’s important to consider the context of which product is being referred to. RPG Maker for the PS1 is a very different animal from RPG Maker VX for instance. Most of the blog refers to the 2000 and 2003 products for the PC.

RM2K – A quick way to say RPG Maker 2000. Was released in Japan on April 5, 2000. Unofficially translated by a user named Don Miguel on roughly June 9th 2000. The translation was leaked prior to that, so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when everyone was able to use it. Released officially in English on July 12, 2015. If you see first person battles in a 320×240 resolution, it’s likely made in RM2K.

RM2K3 – A fancy quick way of saying RPG Maker 2003. In true sports game tradition, this came out on December 18, 2002 in Japan. This time around though it was unofficially translated by RPG Advocate on March 18, 2003. There was a big controversy surrounding its release, as people thought RM2K3 might be released if it didn’t get translated and pirated. Due to the side view battles, the demand from rabid internet teenagers was so high, that someone had to push the nuclear button and translate it. Regardless if the consequence were actually real, the next RM (RMXP) did in fact come to the west in 2004, but RM2K3 and RM2K wasn’t officially released until 12 years later.

RM95 – RPG Maker 95. The number is actually referring to Windows 95, the operating system the program was built for. Released in March 28 1997, and unofficially translated by Don Miguel and KanjiHack by around June 21, 1999. There’s a huge story behind its translation that I might get to some day. In the end there wasn’t a whole lot of time for English users to spend with the engine before 2000 came out.

RM2K3 RTP Graphics

RTP – Both a blessing and a curse, it stands for Run Time Package. It contains all of the default assets that’s typically needed to run a default project in RPG Maker. A lot of the time games would require the RTP which makes the game size small but annoyingly requires the user to install the package. There is a way to make a game run without the RTP, but it required some technical know how and including every single asset inside the project (considerate authors would provide 2 versions with or without). In most contexts it’s used to refer to the graphical style that comes with RPG Maker (very negatively at times). The database has names for some of the default characters, (notably Alex) which leads to a lot of in-jokes.

Rips – Referring to graphics taken from commercial games, usually SNES games. The term was adopted from “Sprite Ripping” a process in which someone would cut out images from games directly through an emulator with tools. Most of the time this was already freely available outside of RM communities, but the engine had formats that you still had to tailor the sprites to. There were many different trends of ripped resources depending on what was available.

An exquisite Rudra chipset

Rudra – Graphics ripped from Treasure of the Rudras. A 1996 SNES game that was never released outside Japan. The chipsets became used by prolific mappers due to its versatility.

Mack and Blue / Refmap – There was once a duo of Japanese artists that made SNES quality artworks for RM authors to use. Blue left at some point and the site got renamed to REFMAP or FSM (First Seed Material). Not a ripped resource, but not original either. Was used often due to the variety and quality.

Theodore – Same general deal as above, Japanese created resources that were free to use. Predominately featured in horror games as they have a very drab and contemporary look to them.

Custom – Either referring to originally made art works, or specialized programming. For indie games now you would think that would be the default. It was very rare to see games with originally made art from the ground up in the early days.

Eventing – RPG Maker had a point and click programming interface, although it wasn’t quite drag and drop either. Just about everything from NPCs to mini-games are enacted by events. There were a lot of drop down prompts and clunky typing in variable names, but it worked and is probably the reason its endured so long into even the modern makers.

CBS / CMS – RPG Maker came with a lot of built in “Systems” such as battles or menus. However there was a way to work around that through eventing. The terms Custom Battle System or Custom Menu System were usually touted as features and reasons to play a game. These typically made the games stand out both visually and gameplay-wise, but they were also contributing to the chances of the game never being done (because they took so much work).


DBSDefault Battle System Sensing a pattern yet? This was to refer to any game that stuck with the default battles. The term was likely used a lot when people realized RM2K3’s battle system was super customizable in itself, enacting even the contradictory “CDBS” term to be used.

ABSAction Battle System – When the default battle system is replaced with real time combat. Due to RPG Maker’s tile based nature however, most ABSes don’t turn out the greatest. RM just isn’t designed for it, but many authors still persisted.