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Post-Post-Post Game

  • Strak
  • 06/18/2022 10:55 PM
So in my continuing efforts to create a game that someone can basically play forever, I've been working on a little something. This game already has a New Game Plus mode, which allows for several playthroughs, allowing you to have all your characters hit max level, with the best possible gear, and scaling difficulty. There's even a superboss that's only available when you've hit level 99. But where do you go from there? You've got the best gear, all spells have been mastered, you've beaten every boss, your characters can't gain any more levels, so now what?

I noticed a little while ago that there isn't much point in random encounters after you've hit max level. You likely have all the gold you'll ever need. You've most likely obtained 99 of every type of droppable crafting material. And you certainly don't need any more EXP, since you can't gain any more levels. Really, at this point in the game, the only real challenge comes from boss battles, and there's no real incentive to continue fighting mobs. So why bother with them?

These are all issues that basically give this game an involuntary shelf life. Honestly, the reason I started making this game in the first place was so that I'd have something that I could play when I'm bored, a game that actually catered to most of what I wanted to see in a classic RPG. Nowadays, I don't even really play other games. I simply don't have as much time as I used to when I was a kid. So this game has turned into a way to pass the time during my work breaks. If I wanted this game to continue to be fun and playable even past this point, I would need to resolve these issues. So I looked towards several other games for inspiration, and how they resolve similar problems.

Ever played Final Fantasy VII? Of course you have. If you're a hard-core gamer, you probably looked up guides to master every type of materia, get your characters to max level, then absolutely obliterate the optional superbosses in the game. If you were REALLY hard-core, you'd even go as far as maxing out the stats of every single character using a method called "source farming." I looked at this and thought "Huh. Maybe hitting level 99 doesn't have to be the end of that characters growth." Diablo does this in a similar way, using Paragon levels.

So to that end, I decided to create a special set of items. In this game, there are items called Tonics that will boost a characters stat by 10 points, based on the type of Tonic. I thought about making these items droppable by enemies at level 99, but thought that might be a little too much. So instead, I created six new items called Leaves. These items have the same effect as Tonics, but at 1/10 the potency. These Leaves will drop from any random enemy once the main character has reached level 99, meaning that stat growth can continue even past max level.

There were a couple issues I needed to address in order to make this work. For example, I needed to completely rewrite the script that generates monster drops. This took place in multiple phases, but I'm satisfied with the end result. Now, if a monster or boss has an item that they'd normally drop that SHOULDN'T be replaced by a leaf, it won't be. They'll still drop their specific loot at the normal drop rate. But if a monster would normally drop nothing, or drop something insignificant, that monster's drop rates would be overwritten, giving them instead a 1/3 chance of dropping a random leaf. Each monster can drop up to 2 leaves, and the drops are completely random. RMVX normally only allows for a monster to drop two specific items, but with this script those same monsters have an exponentially larger potential loot pool. I thought about modifying this script and sharing it with the community, as a way of creating highly customizable and massively expanded loot pools, but who really uses RMVX nowadays anyway?

But this didn't feel like enough. What's the fun in just grinding out for a minor stat increase with each monster killed? It would get monotonous, and fast. So, I looked towards two other games, and how they break the monotony. Those games were Diablo and Borderlands. What do you do in those games when you've hit max level? Is there a point to farming enemies? Absolutely! Why? Because every enemy you kill, no matter how weak, has a chance to drop something truly special, something worth grinding for. Legendaries.

Now, this isn't a game that can really emulate that same mechanic, but the new script I'd just developed had an interest perk. Variable drop rates. I could, in essence, create a special item that would only have maybe a 1% chance of dropping, and would be far more valuable and useful than any of the other drops. Something fun to watch for while still being rewarded along the way. So that's exactly what I did.

I created the Celestial Leaf! A special item that literally only has a 0.5% chance to drop from any given enemy, although every enemy does have the potential chance of dropping two of them. This item combines the effects of all the previous six leaves, but has five times the potency of any of them! Will you see these often? No. But when you do, it's exciting, and rewarding! With these improvements, you can continue playing at level 99, and continue improving your characters, while getting the chance to customize their growth past this point!

So yeah. I can't seem to put this game down when I come across another new idea I want to implement. This isn't live yet, but I'll be releasing an update relatively soon with this mechanic introduced, as well as some other minor improvements and bug fixes. Keep an eye out for Bloodstained Hands v5.9.4 in the near future, for all you hard-core gamers that simply want to keep on playing!