Welcome to a new Godot showcase developer interview to start off the new year! This time, we asked Justin Arnold about his experience developing and releasing his project RPG in a Box. This “engine within an engine” demonstrates that Godot is not only capable for game development, but also for creating applications with complex user interfaces.
Introduce yourself (or your studio) in a few sentences.
Hello! My name is Justin Arnold and I’m a solo developer working on RPG in a Box. I’ve always loved programming since my dad got me interested in learning BASIC on our C64 as a child. As I got older I developed a strong desire to build an RPG-focused tool that would allow others to easily create their own worlds and adventures. This idea has gone through several iterations over the past two decades and I’m excited to finally be bringing it to fruition through RPG in a Box!
Introduce your project in a few sentences: description, supported platforms, release date, etc.
RPG in a Box is an engine that lets you easily create 3D grid-based, voxel-style RPGs, adventure games, and more! I began developing it around the beginning of 2015. It was released into Early Access on August 12th, 2019 for Windows, Linux, and macOS. Games created with RPG in a Box can also be exported to these platforms. A free demo version is available on Steam and Itch.io if you’d like to check it out and get a feel for the current state of the engine! It includes all features found in the full version, with some limitations on map size/count and a splash screen on exported games.
I also have a Patreon for those who are interested in supporting the development of RPG in a Box beyond a purchase of the software.
How did you discover Godot? When did you start using it? Do you have prior experience with other game engines?
I first heard about Godot from a Slashdot article when the engine had reached its 1.0 stable version. I started playing around with it shortly after (around the beginning of 2015) as it seemed to be a great fit for what I wanted to create. I had some prior experience with Xith3D and jMonkeyEngine (alongside various UI frameworks like Swing and Eclipse RCP) while working on RPG Toolset, the Java-based predecessor to RPG in a Box.
Why did you choose Godot for your project?
One of the primary aspects that drew me to try Godot was its built-in UI components, since it would allow me to easily build the various editors and interfaces that I needed while also supporting graphical elements like 3D viewports. The fact that it’s open source and supports multiple platforms, as well as how lightweight the engine is, are all attractive aspects that made the choice even more straightforward.
Which parts of the game development process did you enjoy the most while working on your project?
One of the most enjoyable and satisfying things has been getting to see the community bring their own game ideas to life through RPG in a Box. As programming has always been a passion of mine, coding new features and functionality into the tool and then seeing people use it to make something creative and imaginative is a wonderful part of the process!
Which parts of the game development process did you find the most difficult to apply in your project?
Being a solo developer, I’d say the most difficult part is testing new functionality and changes to ensure they won’t break something else, especially as the tool continues to grow.
How has Godot helped you advance on your project? Which aspects of Godot do you consider to be its strength?
Having access to a large variety of built-in UI components that work seamlessly with the rest of the engine has been extremely helpful. I love the flexibility of the scene system and GDScript, and how the API seems to pretty much always have the specific functionality I’m looking for.
How do you find Godot’s multi-platform support, both for the editor and your final project?
Great! It’s been simple and straightforward to compile the binaries and release the software for Windows, Linux, and MacOS. It’s also convenient since it allows RPG in a Box users to easily export their created games to multiple platforms as well.
Which challenges have you encountered when using Godot?
None that I can think of! Using Godot for my project has been a great experience overall.
Which features would you like to see in future versions of Godot?
Nothing in particular at this time. I believe I will be more than happy with everything that Godot 4.0 is bringing!
Would you use Godot for a future project?
I would definitely use Godot for any future projects! Of course, that’s if I ever get around to it, as I’m quite sure I have enough ideas for RPG in a Box to last a lifetime, haha. And as Godot just keeps getting better and better, there will be even more opportunities to expand RPG in a Box further, which is really exciting!