After some more playing around and thinking about it, I’m sticking with RPGMaker right now. GameMaker is something I want to delve into, but probably later, when I have more mental spoons and time. Right now, for a fan game that I’m essentially making for myself and my fiancé to squee over, it’s just too much.
That said, even RPGMaker takes some hard initial work if you want a good game. To that end, I’ve been tackling my game database in the form of spreadsheets while I wrangle lists of items, materials, variables, and switches. I’ve been days on this and I’m not even close to done. Whew! After this, it will be time to sit down and hammer out plot points. I may just need to fire up my writing program and switch it to script mode to start laying this out.
In terms of scripts, I’ve settled on eventing farming, fishing, mining, and herbalism, and using Venka’s Crafting System for leatherworking, tailoring, blacksmithing, jewelcrafting, and alchemy. Enchanters and inscriptionists, sorry, you’re being excluded because I don’t feel like working out an add on system (much less glyph effects) right now. Still working on which script to use for skinning as I need additional drops for that.
I also finally got the Luna Engine – look for a totally reskinned GUI sometime in the future!
In other scripting news, I feel the need to gush over Tsukihime, who has excellent scripts and very clear tutorials, and has been tremendously helpful with answers for people like me on the forums.