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Demon's Gate is an RM2k3 game.

LAY THAT AMAZING PLOT ON ME
A long long time ago it was happy times for everybody where peole could live in peace without fearing of spilling hot coffee on their crotch or breed specific legistation against their belly rubbing loving pit bull pals or
in general. Of course then some hoodlums had to go fuck it all up. These guys were the Demons and they decided to wreck shit up because hey! That's what Demons do. After a lot of orphanage burning, puppy kicking, and stealing candy from babies the cheif of the world aka God aka The Creator (ps she is a
because that is how all these kinds of games roll) decided to quit being a complete bitch and magically seal all the Demons in a place called Tartarus using plot magic. Now all those orphanages have bene rebuilt, puppies have been given lots of loving, and babies their candy replace but the Demons don't go down for the count that easily and they're plotting to escape and reclaim the world. (this is argued to be a bad thing)

LIST OF DEEP CHARACTERS THAT WILL TEACH YOU TO LOVE AGAIN CHARACTERS THEIR AGE HEIGHT BLOOD TYPE AND EYE COLOR
Characters?
Yes this game has them.

THE MEAT AND BONES OF THE GAME
It's a dungeon crawl! You have to travel from one end of the world to the other to accomplish your goal and there are a mess of jerks who just don't want to have your way. There's about 110 of these bastards all unique from the others with their own moves, AI (alright some several share "do whatever seems like a good idea at the time" AI), and elemental resistance arrays. To deal with Rm2k3 limitations add more variety each one has their own unique moves/skills, and they never use any paltry default Rm2k3 attacks. There's some puzzles here and there (largely in the form of mazes to fuckoff mazes) and plenty of nooks and crannies to check out, usually with rewards (~100 chests total)!

One of my goals was to make battles less button mashing but without forcing the player to use a bunch of skills. My solution was to give weapons elements and enemies a variety of elemental weaknesses. Paying attention to what element damage your characters do and what enemies resist what helds, IMO, add a strategic element to regular attacks. Of course this game still comes with a bunch of skills (of varying usefulness)

Equipment is like Diablo and JRPGs collide. It's all premade but there is a large variety of stuff with a bunch of different effects. Not crap like "base item + 1 damage", but for one tier of gear one will be the clear damage dealing, another will boost your intelligence and cause a status affliction, and the last one attacks twice. All with different attacking elements. Planning out your gear is important than whatever gives the most ATK/DEF+. (sometimes its what gives the most AGI+! This is still RM2k3 after all!)

There is, get this, a CLASS CHANGE SYSTEM! Each character can become any one of the classes you've unlocked, all of which have different skills to learn and attribute growth rates. You can control how the characters grow by setting their class. There's no restriction preventing you from making everybody master every class and become gods. You only start with one available but it doesn't take long to find one of the nine other classes.

There's some other features (redid the Rm2k3 encounter system to prevent "finished battle take a step whoops there's another one and to allow for unlockable encounters), loot (enemies drop loot instead of specific items and opening loot gives a random item from the area) and some other stuff that I don't entirely remember.

tl;dr a dungeon crawler that tries to be a decent game without crazy fancy systems that makes the Rm2k3 systems do little kitty dances. (it is also complete)

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36k Characters of Nonsense

I've been meaning to do this sooner but I've been pushing it back over and over again, largely thanks to getting distracted by other games projects. I've almost (thank god) forgotten everything about this game but before I do I figured I really should push this out and get the "You Might Also Like" page done too.

First, a warning to anybody interesting in playing this game. This post is chock full of game mechanics, design decisions, how things in this game work, and spoilers (which are completely unimportant). If you want to give this game a spin blind, turn back now!






Still here? Then I'll start his postmortem with the back story of the game.


Wait, This Was Starting how Long Ago?

Anybody remember War of the Magi? Yeah I don't really remember it either. It was 'yet another rm2k3 site' ran by Magnus and later taken over by Amdoran. During its twilight years way back when before everybody was guessing what the Wii is a mod, Big Kev Sexy Man, ran a small game creation contest: "Make a dungeon crawler in one week". Here's the rules as I remember them:

* You have one week (extended to two later on)
* No more than 25 floors
* No more than three characters in the party at one time
* You can use graphics from Phylomortis.com, music+sounds must be RTP

Given the small population of the site and that hardly anybody there used any RPG Maker anymore it isn't surprising that there were only two releases: Big Kev's Deep Dungeon and my Demon's Gate (shitty demo edition). Deep Dungeon was done in RMXP and about Some Guy and... somebody else in the party who I'm going to assume was the Best Friend to Some Guy chasing after some crazy religious cultist types who kidnapped Some Guy's Girlfriend and you had to find her at the bottom of nearly a score of pretty simple dungeon floors. Along the way there was some plot and you took pictures to earn cash since abstraction of cash drops from enemies was is still a ways off back then. In fact that was the only INNOVATION/FEATURES part of the game. Everything else was simple and not filled up with over ambitious features which would've been impossible to implement in two weeks. Instead Deep Dungeon was a finished game that could be beaten in an hour or so that didn't have atrocious balancing or any serious bugs. It was something that could've been and was finished in two weeks.

Demon's Gate was a sorry form (well, sorrier) of what's now available. Being my first serious attempt at a Rm2k3 game demo, it ended at the exit of Tartarus and while a quick glance makes it look like not much was changed: All the enemies still look the same and have the same core behavior, everything but F3 (which was completely overhauled and its second name that can show up is a reference to the original F3) didn't significantly change, weapons had elements and they had huge damage multipliers for even huger number, and everybody still started with that shitty Dark Shot. Given that it was only the first area there really wasn't much of a game in here. Potential? Well, since the final game is out I'll let you decide that. There were quite a few INNOVATIONS/FEATURES in the game though which really didn't belong in a two week project which I'll cover as they come up. Needless to say I spent far too much time with stuff that could 'enhance' the gameplay but the game didn't have any solid gameplay to begin with. It suffered from RomHack-itus where difficulty curves are more like brick walls or playground slides where the only hard part is the climb to the top of the slide. Tartarus was brutal, not knowing enemy weaknesses could turn a fresh party into a nearly dead one. Then there were the power enemies. I don't know what I was thinking.

Oh, I knew what I was thinking with the ass backwards difficulty curve. I'm sure it was something along the lines of "THIS IS TOO EASY FOR ME THE CREATOR I SHALL MAKE IT HARDER UNTIL PUBBIE TEARS ARE WEPT FROM THE SHEER THOUGHT OF IT / ALL THE BEST FIGHTS IN ANY GAME EVER WERE ALWAYS THE HARDEST SO I WILL MAKE EVERY BATTLE HARD SINCE HARD == INTENSELY AWESOME!". The Power Enemies on the other hand don't belong in a game that is supposed to be made in two weeks with five areas because it doubles the amount of regular enemies, and oh boy there are a lot of regular enemies in Demon's Gate. Never mind that I also had to make an event to do random encounters since the RM2k3's build in random encounters couldn't do what I wanted. Then I decided that there should be CLASS CHANGING. It was all implemented for the original release albeit in a way that felt like choosing a class was about as intuitive as guessing which mystery door holds the surprise you want. Too bad you couldn't class change because you never got the items for it!

Picture the toilet flushing and you've got what happened with most of the time I spent on the original Demon's Gate. It was the classic over ambitious project that ended up being as good as a green soggy hot dog you found under your bed. There was more content that I did which was never seen in the original release, such as an earlier Arcadia. I went for a 'do the first then the end and then fill in the inbetween because that's easiest to cut corners with'. Not a bad plan if you know you're not going to make it as a decent start can get people playing and a good end means people finish with a high, but that plan assumes you'll actually get something resembling the middle of the game done.

I wish I still had it, but I like to do really stupid things once in a while and I don't have it anywhere anymore. Mostly for history and how the game changed and whatnot, not for anybody to actually subject themselves to torture by playing this.

Eventually I decided that I wanted to have a finished game under my belt (and no, The Most Pointless Game Ever doesn't count. As anything) so I loaded up ol' Rm2k3 and decided to finish this. For a two week game it took forever to release a finished product, but I decided to go crazy trying to make a decent Rm2k3 game without worrying about the two week limit. I shifted my goals to obey most of the original rules but now focus on making a decent Rm2k3 game without any overly different features. I'd use random encounters like the original, but at the same time improve it. There's no crazy character builds or skills linked to battle events (for the player at least). Too bad I still took ages to do it all!


Putting a Bunch of English Words In the Grammatically Correct Order Is Not Writing (And I Can't Even Do That Right)

So all of a sudden I agreed to make a dungeon crawler. I had barely touched RMXP back then (and VX was still at least a year from being announced) so Rm2k3 was the obvious choice. Plus I thought RM2k3 was still cool, capable of doing anything neat without being an absolute chore, and the battle system didn't give intense migraines. I needed a concept for the game to get started so I hit up Phylomortis.com and checked out the resources to see what came to mind, saving anything I had half an idea for. I was up for just about anything until I saw some Demon's Crest graphics ripped and set up as Rm2k3 battle characters followed a bit by Bigeau's cat form from Seiken Densetsu 3 and an idea was born.

That was the most effort put into the writing in this game. I'm not a good writer and in the first iteration of the game I tried giving the demon's ridiculous stereotyped personalities that was about as subtle as a sledgehammer. One was stupidly violent, the second was all about beauty, and the third was supposed to be thoughtful or something. It was incredibly painful to read without feeling embarrassed that I actually wrote the dribble. Eventually I went though every line of dialogue and rewrote the demons. One was to change all hard coded names to their \N counterpart and the second was to make the demon's personalities less like something you'd find in a children's cartoon show, all during the Rangerider Episode of the A-Team. The end result wasn't much better; There isn't much personality left in the demons but at least its an absence of something you'd expect from a monkey and I'd rather have nothing than a pile of burning dog shit on my doorstep.

I didn't put much effort into any other character. The Underlord quotes one of those CD-i Zelda games, becomes the obligatory boss, and poor-logics his way out of harm. The Hero is a little subversion of the quiet nameless protagonists by being overly wordy but cut off (because everybody hates wordy pre-boss cutscenes). The Guardian is nothing but "well a boss should go here", and the Creator was cocky god that gets curbstomped. Not a memoriable or even interesting cast to say the least, but given that I was just trying to make a decent dungeon crawler I don't mind. I might've been able to make the characters more interesting but running that with my writing skills probably would've hurt more than it helped and it wouldn't have improved the actual game that much even if successful. On this note I have no idea how I got a 2.5/5 for Characters from Solitayre's review.


Graphical Consistancy? Who cares about that?

The standards for quality graphics in a RPG Maker game have changed a lot since I started (either RPG Making or Demon's Gate, take your pick). People didn't care much for graphical consistancy where I hanged out and I certainly didn't think much of it back then which is pretty evident. When hunting graphical resources I targeted graphics that fit what I wanted for that part of the game, never giving any thought to how it would fit with the rest of the freaking game. For example, I picked the Tartarus chipset because it has that cool 'fade into darkness' walls but it didn't look anything like anything else in the game. This lack of foresite resulted in, well, a very inconsistant game and if I cared I could have just used Mac & Blue chipsets, have the same effects I was looking for, and have it look consistant. All it took was some effort and its unfortunate I didn't do it. Enough at least. The first versions of Tartarus (the town area) was actually another chipset but thankfully I remapped it to use the same tileset as the rest of Tartarus. When I was finishing the game I didn't want to redo maps or hunt down new graphics so I'd have a chance of finishing this game and if I did drop all the maps I might as well have restarted the game from scratch in RMXP/VX. I'm not happy with the result, but I think if I did choose consistant maps I'd still be working on this damn game.

I didn't have the same problems with other graphics. I was happy with having demon battler graphics that weren't all the same (ripped from Demon's Crest) even if it was inconsistant. I did put some effort into matching enemy groups to use the same graphics. All Tartarus enemies came form FF1, Underworld enemies came from Breath of Fire 1+2 (small inconsistancy problems), and Arcadia was from Lunar. The other two had a lot more reckless abandon. I couldn't find a single source of sprites that I wanted for Zikurat and there were certain enemy graphics I liked and those poor suckers got thrown into Lycaeum. I'm not a big consistancy stickler like some so it really doesn't bother me too much with enemy graphics being different across areas but I think I could've bit the bullet and picked a single style for Zikurat and Lycaeum. No apologies for the World Wreaker Wrecker though!

One trick I learnt from Rue669 to making maps look slightly better was to use screen tints with loops to keep them changing. Add a glow or make rooms filled with lava glow red. I'm not the shining paragon for how to use screen tints effectively but I think it is a easy way to making maps look better than without. Of course that lead to a small problem in the Underworld where things got too red in fights and you'd end up starting at a very red screen in battle. I'm glad I did it though, it really helped my poor maps look a bit better.


It Took Until RMVX Was Released and I Didn't Use a Single Track From It

The music selection was easy. Use whatever you can from the various RPG Maker RTPs. This made music selection real easy as opposed to a bajillion midis just from vgmusic.com (never mind taking the sensible approach and finding free original music) my selection was much smaller and thankfully whoever composed the music for RMXP was surprisingly competent compared to whoever did the rest of the RTP music. Most of the music came from RMXP and besides Arcadia (which I almost replaced but I couldn't find anything better) I felt that the music selection was decent. The battle music got old but that was due to my own poor pacing of a dungeon crawler. There's never a real break from the battle music since there's no significant cutscenes or towns to speak of that would break up the constant fights. If I was smart, I would've alternated the regular battle themes between dungeons at least. Rm2k3 has a good battle theme that I never used and looking back at it now I regret ignoring it. I also could've taken a random battle theme approach like in Visions and Voices but I feel that it ends up mixing the battle themes worth listening too that get you pumped for battle with the boring ones which there are a lot of across the multiple RTPs.

I bent the rules a lot when picking music. I'm sure that people who have played RPG Maker games from 95 to XP wouldn't recognize all the music I used because while the original rules probably meant 95-XP, I read them as 'feel free to use Simulation/Network RPG Maker music too!'. The main Lost Frontier theme and Naming Characters used music from these two respectively, and I love that Lost Frontier theme as much as I love Field4. Besides I'd rather have cool music than obey the rules too strictly!

I also slipped in my own personal homages to my older games. Back when Rm2k was new using the title theme in Demon's Gate was the standard and I certainly didn't deviate. It's the best title music from the Rm2k RTP in my opinion and when you're stuck with lemons you pick the best lemons to make lemonade (wait that isn't the right saying). I also had that completely goofy shop music play when you used the Shop in my Pocket because I did the exact same thing in my first released Rm2k game. Plus I love how out of place it is when wandering in Arcadia to suddenly hear that theme. Completely meaningless to everybody else who played the game? Yes, but I wouldn't change it for any immaterial reason.

Now if you ever made it to the postgame you'd know that I broke the 'RTP Music Only' rule since I used two tracks that weren't from any RPG Maker game: The Ancient Temple of Light and the King of Sadness Song Yong+Ren fight (the ones you probably don't know are from SimRPGMaker, NetworkRPGMaker, and RM95). The first is an indirect homage to Kentona's Hero's Realm. The cave theme in Holdana's chapter plays a remix of 'Alone in the Town' from Silent Hill 2 and it is a perfect match for caves dungeons so I stole it and put it in the ruins because it conveyed the theme I wanted in that dungeon. Kudos to you Kentona for finding an incredible match and whenever I hear that music I always think of the Dilithium Caves in Hero's Realm. The other theme is 'The Final Countdown' by Europe. A fitting battle theme for the only boss who can give a Game Over: Song Yong. I suppose it is my own 'farewell' to Rm2k3 at the same time.


The Shit That's Worth More Than Two

Finally! The gameplay! This is what I focused most of my efforts on. For me I can endure poor writing if the game is fun, but I won't be playing a bad game just for the writing. I wanted to deal with all the stupid tedious parts of RPGs while also trying to remove, or at least hide, various issues with Rm2k3's default battle system. I'll tackle my FEATURES (that I remember consider discussing) one by one:


Random Encounters: Encounters Every Other Step Is NOT Fun

I hear how a lot of people hate random encounters for a bunch of bizarre reasons, but I think they all stem from one problem: Frequent encounters. Pokemon uses random encounters and by god I hate wandering though caves because all it takes is turning to trigger another encounter with, surprise! Another Zubat or Geodude! You don't get anywhere before yet another forced encounter that you can't avoid. Rm2k(3) does this same thing: You take two steps between one encounter and the only way to prevent this is to have such a low encounter rate encounters never happen. The solution was to just make my own random encounters where the player would get a certain amount of free steps between encounters and the player would get items to adjust the encounter rate. The player can also adjust the encounter rating to predefined constants so the player can grind or explore with the appropriate encounter rating. It doesn't fix the issue of getting in random encounters in areas where the enemies pose no challenge until the player got the item to disable random encounters though.

While it didn't need a fancy encounter system, I also adjusted the enemy parties you could encounter. On the first floor of each area you would fight two enemies per encounter while on the last two you wouldn't find any of the two enemy encounters. I wanted to guide the player into new enemies and give them an idea of what they are up against without throwing the party of four enemies at them as their first encounter. Plus given the poor balancing of regular enemies in new areas it is really helpful to only deal with two overwhelmingly powerful foes giving the player a chance instead of getting fustrated as they get sent back to Tartarus from defeat. I also did this with Power Enemies: You only fight one at a time, but suddenly unlocking all of them at once probably wasn't the best way for them to show up in force. At least it's easy to power up, but relying on that crutch is just a sign of how terribly balanced this whole game is.


Power Enemies: Beware the BLUE FLIES! They Are More Dangerous Than Their RED Counterparts!

Something else I wanted out of the random encounters was a chance to fight the Power Enemies: Pallet swaps of regular enemies with more power and new moves. These guys were to keep the player finding new enemies as they got stronger in an area. They employed a similar gradual appearance: You'd fight one power enemy with their original selves at a time. This means you get a chance to see what the power enemies can do and they aren't a complete pushover by going solo like in earlier versions of the game.

I'm a bit torn with how I handled Power Enemies. Instead of being more powerful versions of their non-pallet swapped originals they are (mostly) a completely different enemy meaning everything you knew about an enemy was largely irrelevant. This is offset by how you only encounter one at a time but if you get a lucky shot off and kill them right away the player knows little about what the power enemy can do before they start showing up in force. On the other hand just being a more powerful version of themselves could result in boring encounters and be part of the problem people have with pallet swaps: The BLUE FLY takes twice as long to kill as the RED FLY but that's it. I think they were successful in keeping the enemies fresh so I'm happy with how I handled the concept.

The balance however wasn't as good. Power enemies were the real challenge in the game and once you could beat these guys you were good to go the next area. This reduced the boss to becoming a small speed bump on the way to the next area with their regular and power enemies. I should've made the power growth of enemies less steep, making power enemies optional instead of a requirement, made the next area enemies easier so they weren't as hard as the boss, and turned bosses into actual opponents. Gimmicks for each really doesn't work well when they die in two hits anyways.

Also fuck blue birdknights. In fact, fuck the entire Great Palace.


I've got 99 Problems But a Bitch Ain't One of Them (Just Space Pirates, Mummies, Hussars, Planes, and Wrestling Golems)

One problem I wanted to avoid with other RPGs was fighting the same small set of enemies over and over again. Going into a cave filled with just Bats, Rats, and a Gnats makes random encounters turn stale quickly. One solution was to have a ton of enemy variety and not just through power enemies. I put aside about 25 enemy slots per area, one for a header, one for a boss, and the rest for enemies and their power upgrades. I didn't meet the quota for all areas but there are still at least eight base enemies per area. So at least there was graphical variety (along with me partially ignoring enemy graphic consistency!) for each area.

The next step was to make them do unique things. Not just with AI, but with attacks. I never wanted to see a generic Rm2k3 monster attack (so I settled with self destruct instead). Each enemy has a few skills, usually two or three, they can do. This meant I can do more than just make attacks do damage. An enemy's regular attack can inflict statuses, have an element so players can resist their attacks, and have named attacks with different animations for variety's sake. While some enemies are incompetent, bugged, or just plain uncreative I think the enemy variety helped keep the fighting fresh. It also made finding all the solo power enemy encounters a pain since you had to defeat one of each type of enemy to unlock them. I wouldn't add much more variety to each area for their given size but I don't think I would reduce the variety much even for small dungeons. Discovering what each enemy does and how to dispose of them can be as much fun as actually exploring maps as long as they are interesting.

Making every enemy use skills as attacks did result in some Player-Enemy differences. Enemies can hit you with Blind (low accuracy) and Lock (no skills), but using either against enemies would be either useless or overpowered respectively.

(there are actually 98 regular+power enemies, but I counted Two Mind twice for the elusive 99)


I Class Change: Power Increases Two Fold!

The worst FEATURE of the bunch. I had originally wanted the player to be able to build their own party from prebuilt classes with the bonus twist of combining them to make hybrid classes. Too bad the implementation didn't work in any way, shape, or form. Since the player goes back to level 1 when they class change, it is ridiculously easy to abuse class changes as a way to basically score a score of easy levels at the end of the game. It also let every character become everything ruining any chance of any diversity between the characters. Plus, due to the poor difficulty curve and how obvious this exploit is I imagine most players abused it. Not that I blame them, in the final testing of the 1.6 patch I was tempted to break the game too. Linear stat growths didn't help. Going from level 1->2 in one class is the same as 9->10. Each class has its own growth rates but two levels in Healer gave more than one in Brute in every way except giving newer Brute skills and its cheaper if you leveled the Brute class up.

The whole problem comes from the choice of doing it right (which would require a fair bit of effort; I couldn't use anything RM2k3 gave me, it would be decoupled from the battle system, and I'd have to redesign stat growths and skill allocations) or the way I did it. It comes down to 'finishing the game' and 'doing it right' but this time I'm not so sure I made the right choice. One possible patch up job would be to reduce the levels for each class from 20 to 10. Give each level up give a skill, increase the cost, and the problem would have a poorly made "NO PROBLEM HERE" sign with running paint on it, but at least there wouldn't be 190 stat gains with most of them requiring two seconds of effort to acquire.

Honestly doing it right would've been a lot easier with RMXP/VX/Anything with teeth with better design decisions earlier on but oh well. Live and learn. Being able to power up shouldn't be absolutely piss easy, customizable characters should have more distinction (or at least making them gods of everything shouldn't be reachable halfway through the game), and there has to be a balance between power up frequency and power up gains. Getting ten levels in two minutes with the same power as every other level throughout the game isn't very smart design.


I Hit You With a Plane: You Explode!

Regular equipment is boring. Oh boy +2 attack with this sword! One thing I liked about FF10 was how you could get weapons with a variety of effects besides just Strength+5%, like elemental affinities or a chance to inflict negative status. When I was making equipment I wanted a similar variety of effects on weapons. I avoided making too much equipment that was just attack/defense increases. What I did wasn't perfect, the balance wasn't great, the scaling got out of hand, and current equipment against what enemies did didn't match up very well I'd still take it any day of the week over less interesting straight attack boosts.

One problem was to make the weapons different from each other was giving each weapon a different element than other weapons in the same tier. This lead to exploiting elemental weaknesses being important which lead to classes that can hit weaknesses without relying on their weapon becoming overpowered in the early-mid game. It did make weapon management somewhat important as you didn't want to give your party a bunch of weapons that did the same type of damage but a Magician doesn't need to worry about his weapon's element since he can just pop most weaknesses without issue anyways. The issue generally went away as weapons become ridiculously strong ans RM2k3's native way of making skills and the user's stats completely separate made magic skills fade into obscurity even after abusing the various INT boosting equipment to get max INT.

One missed opportunity is using the empty fifth equipment slot as a means to making more interesting skills. Something, anything could've gone in there and used that slot. Even a buff that say, just increases attack by 20 instead of x2 since RM2k3 can't do much else on its own. It's unfortunate but I won't be crying over that spilled milk; I've already got a mess with everything else I missed out on.

The SAW Does Exactly What the Description Says!
Don't be fooled by what the SAW is a homage to!

Too bad I didn't think of it as a temporary OHKO weapon against the Creator. Sorry Tonfa :(


God I hate RM2k3

I hate RM2k3 with all my being. Opening it up to check game information for this made me cringe. There's a million problems and the best you can do about it is to try your best to hide it.

The Number One Cause of Bugs: Variable operations. If you bet a dollar that a random bug was caused by a fucked up variable option you'd get your starting dollar out of this game. In the original release Song Yong went down like a bitch because of the way the game calculated damage to him (it was 'SongYongDamage += (SongYongMaxHP - SongYongHP)' per RM2k3 turn and SongYong dies when SongYongDamage hits a certain threshold. Whoops!)I found plenty of bugs that were due to my own inability to read Rm2k(3)'s variable operation page. I'd often overlook the operator if I wanted an assignment since Rm2k3 defaults to it unless you had a variable operation with a different assignment. I can't blame RM2k3 too much for this but I still don't like it. Plus the window for battle events is four lines tall and reading event code in it is really annoying.

Mass Enemy Turns: Enemies with the same agility will always act at the same time. Individual enemies simply do not have their own ATB gauges. To prevent this annoying spontaneous mass damage is to avoid making enemy parties with the same type of enemies and making sure every enemy has a somewhat distant agility stat from all other enemies. It isn't too concerning since I never planned on having a fight with four of the same enemies beyond the initial stages of the game but its annoying all the same.

Interrupted Turns: I always play on Wait. Active can go jump in a bonfire. Especially the way 2k3 handles actions while you are telling a character to do with the spontaneous loss of control while enemies are taking turns and the likelihood that the character you were about to heal spontaneously dying between moving the cursor from "Attack" to "OhGodHealRightNow".

Enemy Stats Meaning Something: There's a silly limitation where enemy stats can only go up to 999 (and player stats too but I couldn't find a way to bypass that). One way I could make enemy stats mean something is to make them insane so the Attack/Mind influence equation will pull most of its damage from the enemy's stat instead of the skill's base damage so that (de)buffed enemies would actually have a noticeable change in attack power. It wasn't the best solution which was use RMVX hack the elemental influence so an element can do more than the 2k3 max of x10. That would mean the attack/defence of targets would get a huge multiplier so they can contribute a meaningful amount of damage to a skill while the skill base damage can be set to trivial values so it doesn't affect the skill at all. Unfortunately I found this too late and changing the multipliers would require changing everything so I did the quick fix in this situation.

Player Stats Are Meaningless (Except Agility): See above, but worse. One mistake I made is that I knew Rm2k3 had an effective cap on stats at 1998 instead of 999. Except I thought that this cap was applied when base attributes and equipment were combined. The 1998 cap is applied to (Stats + Equipment) * State Modifiers. For Stats + Equipment the cap is 999. I had balanced more than half the game before this neat discovery. And of course the solution for Rm2k3 is to change equipment, stat growth, and enemy stats! Thanks Rm2k3!

Also lol agility, defense is next to useless followed by intelligence (despite magic damage modifiers which were also applied to everything and not just magic so that didn't help) and attack is in there but is meaningless with Berkuts. Three cheers for stat balancing to equations I can't do anything about!

2k3 Bugs (or Misunderstanding): If a character changes class into its own class and it doesn't change its level, "Add Skills up to Current Level in New Class and Delete Old Skills" doesn't work. No I can't test it now and I might've been missing something but a loop that just nukes every skills did work and I certainly didn't have that loop with the initial full release.

I also got a weird bug to occur once where a character (Nishan) hauled ass to smack an enemy and decided that he spent enough effort getting there and decided to sit his ass down until he got a new command (where he decided that teleporting was the new fad). To be fair, bugs like this aren't exactly game breaking or anything. Isn't that right Mr. ICan'tBeRevived Fugger?

2k3 Things You Can't Do: Embargo. Storing each item has to be hard coded. As in 'Store # of Dark Souls into the variable pointed to by TempVar1, increase TempVar1 by 1, Store # of Demonic Auras into the variable pointed to by TempVar1'. Restoring items is what you'd expect 'Give the variable pointed to by TempVar1 quantity of items specified by TempVar2 to the player, increment TempVar1 and 2'. One is tedious as fuck, difficult to maintain, and scales like a tower made of wet shit. The other took about five minutes of work and if there were any issues it wouldn't take any time to fix them. This is why Embargo doesn't wipe your entire inventory like I originally intended, but just the usable items is good enough for 2k3 (which is a terrible train of thought and a reason why I hate RM2k(3)).

Of course it didn't help that I fucked up when Embargo gets called which could result in inventory wipes. Whoops!

TORG REFUSES TO BE EJECTED: So I changed Dragon Chimeras to do an Eject attack. Except I forgot to copy battle events and it only worked in one encounter! So since I can't make any changes to the battle system and the only way to have any somewhat different skills in the battle system involves copying a painful amount of battle events to a painful amount of encounter parties which results in, using Big O notation for complexity, a giant FuckYou. Making changes once and having that propagate across the board is an infinitely better way of doing things and I won't be missing copy&paste hell.

You Can Tell What States Enemies Have But Not Your Characters: Well, you can see one. And they have a habit of overwriting each other if the priority of one is more than ten than another. Should've accommodated that better (fewer states) except then I'd lose enemy variety. I like my script that cycles through all the states a character has so the player can actually tell what states are on their party more than what Rm2k3 does.

Also x2 stat multipliers are ridiculous. Does any commercial game uses such insane multipliers?

MEMORY STREAM ERROR: Still a mystery (?)

RM2k3 Says I've Got 30 Classes: Which are the same ten copied twice but with different battler animations because class determines battlers! ps I enjoyed making change to one class and then having to propagate that change to the other duplicate-but-with-different-battler-animation classes.

DEMON LEVEL 3: Okay now I'm reaching.

GAME OVER

I can't think of anything else to comment on. I commented on every major aspect of the game I thought was at least marginally interesting and each significant feature that will hopefully help you with your own games. All that's left is a proper credits for the game besides a single Thank You from Song Yong:

Thanks to:

Ark - For promising to shoot me if I ever do anything about this game ever again.

Big Kev Sexy Man - Hosting the competition, no matter its success. It got Demon's Gate started no matter how much I hate it now. I don't know what I would've done if it wasn't for the competition but I doubt I'd actually ever consider a game like this.

The Ghostlight Crew (Particularly Tonfa and VPrisoner) - Song Yong lives forever in our hearts


Kentona - Being a suave guy. I stalked him to Ghostlight because Hero's Realm was so damn cool (and he invited me :) ) and I ended up following him to RMN after that disaster known as Township Gaming.

The RMN Crew, both the forums and IRC - Being a bunch of cool guys to chat and hang out with

RPGAdvocate - Hosting phylomortis.com for such a long time, my favorite resource stop! Also for translation RPG Maker 2003

Solitayre - Reviewing the game with feedback helpful to making the 1.6 version of the game. I still don't get the 2.5/5 for characters though

Tonfa (again) - For Missile Punches and his own review, even if it was after the final version of the game (which I don't blame him for, the earlier versions weren't as good and really needed polish)

WIP - For making RMN so I could put my game up and actually have people play it! (Chrono Stasis rest in obscurity peace)

Posts

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Hey I'm stuck on level four of the Underworld. The hint demon isn't being very helpful; he's still giving out hints for Tartarus for some reason. Can someone help me out here? Thanks in advance.
Here's the quick and dirty way of how the hint demon works:
Tartarus is the bottom level, floors 1-5. Simple enough. Now the Underworld has its own floors 1-5 but since the Underworld is above Tartarus, those floors are regarded as Floor 6-10. So the Underworld F4 is floor 9 for the Hint Demon. This was so that the hints for previous areas are still buyable despite where the player is in the game. Not the best implementation and it isn't properly described in the game which is me dropping the ball.
That doesn't work; when I try to get the hints for floors above five he gives the "I don't know if that floor exists" line. I dunno, maybe my copy of the game is bugged or something. :/
Damn there is a bug. I'll upload a patch and update the download.

The Underworld F4 hint is: Left, up, up-left, left, down-left, down, left
kentona
I am tired of Earth. These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.
21217
MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
I liked how the elements were actually very important in this game, but after everyone I had learned missile punch and I got the mystery meat, I just punched my way through the game.
My Impetuous Style weapon inflicted Song Yong with Locked, effectively making him the most boring optional super boss ever. I still killed him though.
God damnit the player shouldn't be able to inflict locked (since every enemy action is a skill and Locked prevents any skills from being used). Scorch the Land also does it after checking all the weapons. I'm not sure how these bugs got in

It doesn't help that a large chunk of HP is just buffer HP and he's supposed to kill himself after taking so much damage which would probably make him tedious as hell. (he's supposed to start dying after 120k damage and he has 800k damage as a buffer from buffed-Berkuts)

I guess I should fix Missile Punch too so people don't go overboard with it, but Mystery Meat is meant to be absolutely kick ass like that
I am stuck at Zikurat 5th floor. There's no where to go.
haha, sweet, I figured it out so never mind.
kentona
I am tired of Earth. These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.
21217
This game is officially RMN SNEWS #6's Wavemaker. Congrats! (More people play this now!)
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13581
I am playing this after I finish Hellion!
Wait for 1.6 unless you really like your inventory disappearing (whoops Embargo and Game Overs don't play nice) and Guts Tanks taking about half an hour longer than it should to kill them among other silly late-game bugs. It'll be out first week of September since the nausa and cross-eyed vision from opening Rm2k3 is finally going away.

It'll still be unbalanced as hell (but slightly better than before) but that is what you get for making a game on a bunch of fundamentally flawed design decisions
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13581
I've been playing it a little bit and I just got to the Underworld.

It is one of my favorite RM* games ever so far.
I'll just say that the fourth area and on will be the main target of bug fixes and balance issues since that is where the game really starts to fall apart (due to playtesting the second half of the game in about two hours and
issues). And all patches are made to be as backwards compatable as possible.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13581
I still love this game.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13581
Tonfa and I have been chatting about DG on IRC for over twenty minutes now. I'm going to start replaying today!
For some reason the tips guy is broken. I pay him and he says nothing. Then if I ask about the floor, he tells me that he already told me that hint.

I there a way for someone to list the floor/hint for each level?
Tips guy you useless bastard! You weren't supposed to be broken!


I'll post the tips for each floor later tonight when I get home from work.
Oh, I see how the hints work. Getting a hint gives you an item where the description is what the hint is. For example buying a hint for floor 3 gives the item Tartarus Note 3 where the description is the path through the ladder maze (Middle-right, left, left, right). Buying floor 10 gives Underworld Note 5 (each area is 5 floors).

If you're still having troubles with hint guy here's all the hints:
(oh god reading them now I'm embarrassed by what some of these are)

Floor 1: Gates of Tartarus F1: Abyss of Despair
Not where you start. (Embargo->Lock->Murder!)

Right, the game starts you on Floor 2: Path of Solitude. This is just a bonus boss area and the Embargo->Lock->Murder is the enemy AT. It starts with Embargo (disables items), Lock (disables skills), then attacks. Except it's a late game boss so it's easy to overpower and wreck him.


Floor 2: Gates of Tartarus F2: Path of Solitude
Return after slaying 100,000 foes!

This is a hint to get past the big red crystal that blocks the way to F1. You don't have to beat 100,000 enemies, just go to the crystal while you have 100k souls and it'll shatter. No souls consumed.


Floor 3: Gates of Tartarus F3: Depths of Eternity
Middle-right, left, left, right!

Ladder puzzle solution. Like all mazes in RPGs the wrong paths usually have goodies includes the first class change items though.


Floor 4: Gates of Tartarus F4: Passage to the Light
Makes a convienent change in floor 2.

The switch here creates a ladder in the middle of F2 so you can get through it quicker. Before long it'll just be direct warping via Dark Portals to return to Tartarus because it's a million times faster.


Floor 5: Gates of Tartarus F5: Gate of Judgement
Surrounding golden plates change the path

Because nothing can ever be easy the hint is the indicator of what big plates you can step on to make the bridges between the platforms appear and disappear. If there's a small golden plate around a big one then stepping on it will makes the bridges appear/disappear.



Floor 6: Underworld F1: Realm of the Damned
Right, right.

Underworld F1 & F2 form a bigger maze. The right way through is when you first enter take the path on the right after you cross the bridge. Then when you return to F1 from F2 hang a right again.


Floor 7: Underworld F2: Purgatory
Up, left, up, left.

The second half to the maze solution. When you enter F2 from F1 the first time go up when you hit your first branch (right away after crossing the bridge). When you reach F2 the second time take the left bridge, top bridge on the next branch, then the left bridge... when there isn't even a branch since a giant head statue blocks the way to the right.


Floor 8: Underworld F3: The King of Sadness
Revenge can wait until after rock 'n roll.

... I don't know. I assume it's some dumb vague hint that the door in the middle of the room opens after beating the two bonus bosses to open the postgame area.


Floor 9: Underworld F4: Path of Deceit
Left, up, up-left, left, down-left, down, left

Oh boy, another maze! It doesn't help that the map in this area loops in both directions so it's easy not to get a real feel for the place. Basically you'll loop around the room through the open doors and passages not blocked by crystals and end up where you started except the exit door will then magically be opened.

Yeah it's dumb. It also isn't the dumbest maze in the game!


Floor 10: Underworld F5: Hand of Death
Flip the bird.

It's a boss room kinda shaped like a right hand palm up. Guess where the exit portal is. Yeah.



Floor 11: Zikurat F1: Beacon
Same grid for every floor

Every floor in Zikurat is basically a 3x3 grid, although some rooms combine two cells. Stairs in each cell take you to the same cell in the next floor. It's basically to hint the player that there's secret rooms in Zikurat in cells that you might not be able to get to basically. Yeah, Zikurat has hidden passages and iirc the only hint that they exist is that you have to buy hints. This is NES Game logic here.



Floor 12: Zikurat F2: Secrets
Only Knowledge can find the Secrets.

There's two cells of the grid that you can't get to from Zikurat F1. Instead you find stairs going down on F3 to them in F2. There's a chest with the hint notes for Arcadia 1-4, it isn't exactly worthwhile.


Floor 13: Zikurat F3: Knowledge
It is always behind the green next to the wall!

Like I said in Zikurat F1, there's secret passages. The only indication where they are is that they're behind plants that are adjacent to the left/right side of walls. Like to get to the stairs leading to F2 are in the bottom left cell and the secret passage is in the bottom middle cell and there's a plant you walk behind and through the wall.

There's a branching path here too. Thankfully it isn't technically required to exit Zikurat but it leads to an item that lets you save anywhere in the game including Arcadia which has no save points. So it's basically required.


Floor 14: Zikurat F4: Wisdom
Two seperate paths for the price of one!

Basically a hint that there's two paths through this floor that started on F3. One leads to the exit, one leads to a secret item that lets you save anywhere.


Floor 15: Zikurat F5: Ascension
The wrong way has the hidden path.

The path that doesn't lead to the exit has treasure at the end of it! Surprise! It's also behind a secret path taken to find the wrong path. Also looking at the map now there's plants next to the left/right of walls that don't have a secret passage. what the hell?



Floor 16: Mt. Lycaeum F1: Winder Wonderland
Take the path not travelled by men.

Winter Wonderland is another maze. At each branch if you take it and see a snowman it's the wrong way. Usual treasure at the end of wrong paths still applies here. The correct path is:

From the entrance go right. There's two sets of stairs, take the left one. Go under the bridge and up the stairs ahead of you and cross over that bridge.


Floor 17: Mt. Lycaeum F2: Slippery Slope
I'll take the high road, you take the low road.

It's a teleporter maze! The hint is trying to poorly say that the way through is to just take the teleporter closest to the top of the screen to advance and you'll get through.


Floor 18: Mt. Lycaeum F3: River Itoi
You can't comprehend what the note says!

Much like my design process!
I think this was the last map I made and I didn't know what to do with it so it ended up just bring a small bridge maze too inconsequential to consider. (right, left, left, but there's an item on the left that calls a basic shop when used that's good to have)


Floor 19: Mt. Lycaeum F4: White Noise
Follow the true direction, right when you can't.

Another maze, when you hit a branch go up. If you can't go up then go right. Except for one bit where going up takes you to a chest and going right is the way forward, but at least it's barely a screen there.

ALSO the Sneak Step is here! The Sneak Step when used with the Noise Maze disables random encounters! From the entrance go right, up, then keep going up at every branch and you'll find a brown chest next to a snowman with it. Disable random encounters and cruise to victory! (because the final area's random encounters are downright silly bullshit)



Floor 20: Mt. Lycaeum F5: Bewildered Sky
Items won't help you here! Teleportation might...

?????
I think this is an awful hint but for Lycaeum F4, the tree maze floor. There's a chest the player can see but there's no way to get to it normally. Instead the player has to teleport to that floor using the Underling lv20 ability Teleport and it'll dump the player in the same area as that chest. Thankfully it isn't mandatory or anything unless you try to go to the post-game area that'll replace your text with wingdings unless you have the item in that chest.

I'm pretty sure I was inspired by La-Mulana or something when I made some of this shit.



Floor 21: Arcadia F1: Gaze Unto God
Find the statue of Death then check the door.

Two doors in Arcadia are sealed until you find a big ol' statue of Death and interact with it. Doing so opens the door.


Floor 22: Arcadia F2: Warp of Confusion
Count lights or just teleport past.

Remember when I talked about the dumbest maze in the game? It's this one! It's a randomly generated looping maze and the way to know you're making progress is that the lights will count up in base 2 (think binary) as you find your way through the correct room! Taking the wrong path will send you back rooms. If you use the Underling lv20 ability Teleport it'll warp you to the last room in the maze thank god because fuck that.

Also one of the strongest classes in the game is found in this room. Christ I was an asshole.



Floor 23: Arcadia F3: Demise
Beware walking where you can be seen!

The hint here doesn't even help with the puzzle on the floor! The puzzle is find a statue of death to open the door except there's four of them and only one opens the door and it's random which one it is, set at when you start the game I believe.

The hint itself just talks about the wall faces. On Arcadia F1 the light up eyes just push you back. Walking through where the eyes are open but there's no eyes will basically start a random encounter unless you have the Sneak Step on to disable them.

Also yeah, this floor is rude.



Floor 24: Arcadia F4: Tower of Decadence
MLMLLLMMRRRLMM

Another ladder/stairs maze. Each 'level' can be thought of having a left, middle, and right stairs. Sometimes they're blocked by statues or rails or a glowing eyes face is in the way or sometimes there's just no stairs. The way through this maze is take the middle stairs up, left stairs up, middle stairs up, left stairs up three times, middle stairs down twice, right stairs up three times, left stairs up once, middle stairs up to the top of the tower.


Floro 25: Arcadia F5: Crucufixion
Heaven to Hell. Let's rock!

I don't remember if you can even get this note. But Arcadia F5 is just the final boss battle, there isn't even an arena to explore. Punch that final boss!
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