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Progress Report

Another Calculated Hiatus


The game is still technically in production, but I changed the status to "Hiatus" because I am converting the game into VXAce. The amount of time I'm going to save on RGSS3's simplified scripting will be massive. Also, I want to shoot myself in the head for struggling with RGSS2 all these months, but I learned a LOT and accomplished a lot of self-scripted features, so I'm really looking forward to putting them back in twice as fast (and then making the rest of the game twice as fast, as well).

The only thing that is really going to hold me back on the project is graphics - editing the Disgaea sprites has been painstaking enough that I have a distaste for it now and have been avoiding it, and obviously you can see in the gameplay videos that the spriting is still very patchy. If anybody is willing to help out, I'd be forever grateful :>


RSD Video

I know the spriting is incredibly patchy. The "Unknown Proctor" turns into like three different people. Any walking animation is just turrible. I also know the compression is awful. D: I feel like it's pretty obvious what's just unfinished vs. poor judgment, but feel free to mention it if you don't. There's some tileset errors here and there during the "dark hour" segment as well... And yes, the sprite for the big shadow boss will be more intimidating than the dinky little VX RTP one. You'll see what I mean. XD Anyway, it's SOMETHING. :B


Progress Report

Plugging Along

This project is still very much alive and being worked on! I have decided to focus on this project while I sharpen and self-teach my scripting skills. It's really a waste of time to put so much effort into a project I'm not at all as passionate about. So, I shoved up a slew of screenshots.

This is a script that I wrote with some help and corrections from Craze and Raitzeno. I've removed some of the parts that are specific to my game (such as the Moon Phase being calculated based on the date). Replace the number of "$game_variables(###)" with the number of the variable you're using to keep track of it in your own game. I like to put stuff like this into $game_party. The first thing the game does is a script call: $game_party.date_roll

VARIABLES: Set these to the date you want to start at.
Month = 1 - 12
Date = 1 - 31
Day = 1 - 7
Total = Start this at 0. Keeps track of the total number of gamedays ever passed, if you need that.

def date_roll #  Automatic calendar
  month = $game_variables[101]
  date = $game_variables[102]
  day = $game_variables[103]
  total = $game_variables[104]

  date += 1

  lastday = 31  # last day of the month is 31st
 case month
 when 2 # except February
  lastday = 29
 when 4, 6, 9, 11 # and April, June, September, November
  lastday = 30
 if date > lastday # if yesterday was the last day of the month
  date = 1
  month += 1

  month = 1 if month > 12 # if December is over, make it January
  day += 1              # Advance day of week
  day = 1 if day > 7    # If Saturday is over, make it Sunday
  total += 1            # Total number of days ever passed
  $game_variables[101] = month
  $game_variables[102] = date
  $game_variables[103] = day
  $game_variables[104] = total
end # date_roll

Now at the end of every day, I just $game_party.date_roll and the calendar automatically adjusts itself. Hooray.


Calculated Hiatus

It has been pointed out to me that I have (or appear to have) taken an unannounced hiatus from gam mak. This is not altogether true! I am certainly on a hiatus from Pe:Re. However, I am working on another, much smaller project in the meantime. I am using this as an opportunity to practice my scripting while offering several advantages: I can be more experimental with game features and possibly learn more, I avoid bugging out my 'real' project, and I avoid the pitfalls of the familiar long-term project scenario (end of the game is obviously better than the beginning, older stuff needs to be redone). This project is very dear to my heart and I am in no way abandoning it. I want to be confident that I have the knowledge and the skill to pull it off and make the project what it deserves to be, and to do that, I'm going to need a bit more practice first!


New Who Is? format: Who is Blaise?

First of all, for those of you who clicked, SECRET SPRITE LEAK:

This Persona belongs to an unreleased character. Oooo~!

Anyway. I'm going to break from exhaustively explaining how skills are used. You've played RPGs! You can figure it out for yourself once I tell you what spells actually do! With that in mind, I'm going to put up a description of a character's Arcana as well as the mythology behind their Persona, and allow you to draw connections and conclusions for yourself. This is also a good opportunity to talk about strategic status ailments.

A note on status ailments.*
I don't need to explain why many status ailments suck in many games. We all know this. instead, simply consider these things:
- Status ailments work on Pe:Re bosses, including Charm:
- Charm gives enemies a chance to act normally, but with reversed targetting. A Shadow who heals its allies, and is charmed, might heal the heroes. This is also true for bosses, although at lower probabilities.
- Panic makes victims unable to earn a Bonus turn. Additionally, when used on allies, it damages Sync. When used on enemies, it lowers their AI.
- Base success rate for any ailment is 60% - which means they succeed more than half the time. Bosses do not resist them down to 10% or some ridiculous number that makes it possible but implausible to use ailments on them.
- Any status ailment will remove any other status ailment. If you cast Sleep on a Poisoned enemy, it will put them to sleep and cure their poison. This prevents enemies from wrecking you by stacking too many statuses, as well as protecting Boss monsters from this same strategy.

Name: Blaise Geoffries
Devphase Nickname: Homoghey
Arcana: Lovers
Native Sync: Impassion - The recipient is guaranteed to critically hit with their next attack.
Initial Persona: Orihime
Orihime Sync Role: Sympathizer - You gain sync when allies are damaged.
Orihime Sync Skill: Chains of Love - For 3 rounds, deals magical damage to all enemies. Deals additional gravity-based damage to enemies suffering status ailments. Instant
Orihime Stat Approximations: 3 ST, 3 EN, 6 MA, 6 AG, 4 LUK
Also Learns:
Garu: 1 enemy: Wind damage
Rain Dance: Randomly hits 4 targets with Water or Lightning damage
Marin Karin: 1 enemy: 60% chance of Charm*
Pulinpa: 1 enemy: 60% chance of Panic*
Charmdi: 1 ally: Cures Charm

In a scenario where you manifest your inner self for all to see, it's quite possible to imagine the teasing that must occur. It's not unheard of for users to have personas that are of a different gender, but Orihime is a rather distinctive, flowery Princess persona. Blaise is embarrassed to use Orihime in front of people for the first time, and often avoids participating in conversations about their Personas. Blaise is often teased for the idea that he "wants to be a girl" or is thought of as having a weak power level because of his Persona; yet on the inside, he is quite sure in his own gender identity and sexuality. Orihime reflects this by being able to Charm any enemy, male, female, or otherwise, as well as Panic those less comfortable with her self-confidence. However, she is still unable to speak, and crying...

The Lovers Arcana:
The Lovers represents those forces that bring people together in interpersonal relationships. These relationships are not always physical, as The Lovers also works within ideas, movements, events, and groups. The Lovers also confronts those personal beliefs (as opposed to communal beliefs from the Hierophant) that shape their values and how they will make the important choices in the world. It's easy for the Lovers to get bogged down when their choices take them further away from who they want to be. Sometimes, some might find The Lovers shallow or concerned with unimportant things. But The Lovers can find a way to establish strong bonds with others when they finally decide what is truly important to them.

KEYWORDS: Love relationship, Union, Passion, Sexuality, Pleasure, Humanism, Desire, Personal beliefs, Individual values, Physical attraction, Connection, Affinity, Bonding, Romance, Heart, Choice, Doubt, Difficult decision, Dilemma, Temptation.

Orihime (Weaver Princess), daughter of the Tentei, wove beautiful clothes by the bank of the Amanogawa. Her father loved the cloth that she wove and so she worked very hard every day to weave it. However, Orihime was sad that because of her hard work she could never meet and fall in love with anyone. Concerned about his daughter, Tentei arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi (Cow Herd) who lived and worked on the other side of the Amanogawa. When the two met, they fell instantly in love with each other and married shortly thereafter. However, once married, Orihime no longer would weave cloth for Tentei and Hikoboshi allowed his cows to stray all over Heaven.
In anger, Tentei separated the two lovers across the Amanogawa and forbade them to meet. Orihime became despondent at the loss of her husband and asked her father to let them meet again. Tentei was moved by his daughter's tears and allowed the two to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month if she worked hard and finished her weaving. The first time they tried to meet, however, they found that they could not cross the river because there was no bridge. Orihime cried so much that a flock of magpies came and promised to make a bridge with their wings so that she could cross the river. It is said that if it rains on Tanabata, the magpies cannot come and the two lovers must wait until another year to meet.


More on Learning RGSS2

One of the topics I wanted to make sure I hit on was how I'd been progressing in learning the VX editor and its scripting language, RGSS2. My first post was extremely basic and general in that regard, and showed off some similarly basic blocks of code; I'll take at one of those as an example here, Aisling's Fencer role, and show you how it has progressed.

Let's look at Aisling's Fencer ability. This should earn her some sync whenever she does a weapon attack, or a physical attack skill, and should earn more than usual if she gets a critical hit. Here's what the old version looked like:

(I'll dissect these lines for you in a moment.)

As you can see, she gains 4 Sync ("rage") whenever she does an 'attack' or a skill tagged 'physical.' However - what happens if the enemy is immune to physical damage?! She might not actually DEAL any damage, and would not deserve any Sync for that action! Additionally, she might have activated Llyn Llydaw, which turns her physical attacks into Water attacks ... that should still give her Sync, because it's a physical attack, but if the enemy absorbs Water ... well, it's the same problem. So first, I used the magical Ctrl+Shift+F key. This searches for every instance of the given text in every possible script. I looked for "damage" and I found some lines using something called hp_damage. So I tried sandwiching the fencer code with this: if hp_damage > 0. That way, it would not trigger if she did 0 or less damage. However, this threw me some kind of error; "unknown method > for nil(nilclass)" or somesuch. On closer inspection, I realized that for whatever reason, you must attach hp_damage to a constant to be able to use comparisons like ==, >, <=, etc.

A constant is a lot like a game's variables. Switches contain data (either ON or OFF); Variables contain data (Any number); Constants also contain data (any word or number). I can make up the name of a constant on the fly. If I suddenly want to say that something called "Shamalamadingdong" exists, and that is has a value of "Purple People Eater", I can do that. It's as easy as typing Shamalamadingdong = "purple people eater" into the script. I want to keep mine related to HP damage, though, so I used

hpdmg = hp_damage

If this were a game variable, you can visualize it this way:

I set my "hpdmg" constant to be the same value as hp_damage. Now I swap out hp_damage for hpdmg in the original formula. No error! Success! If Hpdmg is > 0, then Fencer works properly. Score!! VICTORY DANCE!! But wait! I still have to deal with critical hits. Back to our old friend CTRL+SHIFT+F and the word "critical." Gosh, that gives me a ton of results! Well, some browsing shows me script using target.critical. It LOOKS like this means "if the target has been critically hit." (Digging into other script confirms this; it looks like the 'critical' flag gets attached to an enemy when they get critically hit. You'd think it might be "user.critical" since you're the one doing the attacking, but since the thing whose HP is actually being -changed- is the victim of your attack, all the calculations revolve around them.) So let's toss in a check for target.critical. I do some database trickery to make sure Aisling has 100% critical rate, and... success! She gains twice as much sync for a critical hit!

All done, right? Wrong! I noticed that when applying a buff that raises how much sync you get, it doesn't actually do anything. Hmmmmm. Looking at gain_rage, I see this line: value = rage_modifiers(value). Hmmm! I see what's going on here - I specified the value already, as a flat 4. See that in gain_rage(4) in the original screenshot? Instead, let's copy what gain_rage does with the modifiers.

On the last line, we create a pop-up that shows how much sync Aisling gained. Sort of like a popup showing the damage when you attack enemies. "RAGEGAIN" is just the name I gave that popup template; I have specified that RAGEGAIN-style popups are a specific color, etc. Much like HP damage is a different color than HP Healing; I could use "HPGAIN" style popups, but I want to make sure you know it is Sync gain. (Instances of sync are once again, by default, modifications of the 'rage' system.)

Well, it's not any kind of in-depth tutorial, but I hope this is helpful or interesting to someone out there! It shows how an extremely basic block of scripting evolved into a more mature one over a couple of days of experimenting and practice.


Who is Lysander?

You know the drill.

Name: Lysander (Oops, Lysander has no last name yet)
Devphase Nickname: Tech Buddy
Arcana: Hermit
Native Sync: Soulspring - 3 rounds: Recipients of your support spells regain a percentage of their Max SP. Instant
Initial Persona: Callimachus
Callimachus Sync Role: Tactician - You get sync when allies obtain bonus turns.
Callimachus Sync Skill: Retribution - The recipient takes 1/2 damage from the next attack and they will counter with Hama.
Callimachus Stat Approximations: ST 3, EN 5, MA 5, AG 3, LU 6
Also Learns:
...Zio, Mazio, Dia, Sukumai, Tarukaja...

Ahh, Lysander. You appear at a glance to be a dedicated healbot. But is that the case? Starting with his Sync Role, Lysander is a master Tactician. He is able to exploit a weakness himself by casting Zio ('lightning 1'); however, he benefits even more by a careful tactical choice of OTHER characters' abilities! An important note to interject here is that, with offense not being any of his primary roles, he will never learn Mazio ('lightning-all 1'). Conversely, he begins with Dia, the lowest-level single-target healing spell. When he learns Media, in Callimachus' unique case, it actually overwrites Dia. He'll never have single-target healing again.

Lysander is able to use both single- and multi-target lightning spells now. At higher levels he can use Elec Break to remove the enemy's resistance. Additionally, he will now learn only single-target healing spells; he learns upgrades to these spells earlier than any other character. This encourages a more efficient use of SP and synergizes better with Sukumai, which encourages single-target damage. Gaia Link allows him to get a multi-target benefit out of this if necessary, meaning that intelligent use of your main character should allow you to overcome his lack of Media. I can foresee complaints about effectiveness in boss battles when lacking multi-target healing, however... layering Aisling's Diamai on top of a character affected by Gaia Link and casting Dia(rama)(ahan) on that character should be a very powerful survival strategy in a highly-damaging boss battle. His single-target healing should definitely fall out of efficiency in these situations, because it is powerful, but the system is designed to force you to rely on other party members to make up for your weaknesses.

Ahh, Sukumai... so many uses for just one skill! This ability can stack up to 3 times. It lowers the recipient's evasion, and draws enemy aggro toward them. This can be applied in quite a few different situations, mostly illustrated in the blogs about Rylan and Aisling. For some general examples: Use this to help designate the current tank, use this on characters who have counterattack abilities, use this on characters with buffed evasion! Obviously, they'll be taking more hits, but you're able to better direct the flow of combat.

Compare and contrast to Rakumai, which raises the target's defense but lowers their offense. This can be stacked with Sukumai, or used to beef up a weak character while someone else is busy tanking for the duration of Sukumai. It works nicely for Lysander to use on himself, as well, for you'll notice that he has no physical attack skills. Eventually, Rakumai becomes Tetrasaka, which is commonly known as "thorns" in other incarnations; it reflects a certain amount of damage back upon anyone attacking the recipient. This is not as effective a defense as Rakumai, but it actually boosts your offense as well, by turning damage back upon the enemies!

Rakumai is garbage. It has been replaced with Tarukaja to raise an ally's damage output. Its upgrades have also been replaced with Matarukaja. Tetrasaka and Tetrakarn will appear on a different persona in his pool.

Retribution also synergizes with Rakumai/Tetrasaka and Sukumai. Layering them all together will almost guarantee Retribution will trigger quickly. (Hama is a basic Light magic spell; it attempts to instantly KO the victim.) Retribution is not an Instant sync, and Hama is not completely reliable, but it has a reasonably cheap sync cost and combines with Rakumai for excellent damage absorption. Retribution is also useful even if the enemy is immune to Light. Data Dump should be pretty self-explanatory; Lysander is your early support member, so you'll have to rely on him to get information about enemy resistances if you don't want to guess and check! (It is very cheap, and Instant.)

Lysander's sync affinities are short and sweet. He has one positive and one negative, and works on a neutral level with every other party member.

Retribution is still quite excellent when combined with Sukumai, though Rakumai is now out of the picture. The point Einhander raised that I wanted to address was that Lysander does not help you win a battle any faster. Tarukaja raises attack damage; Retribution is a defensive spell yet it also has a chance to help end the battle faster; he can eventually tear down enemy resistances; and, finally, Soulspring makes you feel less guilty about your party expending SP on attacks.


Who is Aisling?

This one's for you, InfectionFiles!

Aisling is an offensive attacker, proficient at both physical and magical damage. Aisling is a very self-sufficient fighter, having a balanced spread of attack options, as well as abilities that allow her to juggle her HP, SP and Sync efficiently. However, she has poor Sync Affinity with the party overall (1 positive, 2 neutral, 3 negative) so you should think carefully before placing her into a particular party formation.

Sync affinity: when party members who get along well are in the same party, they gain more sync from their actions, and visa versa for party members who dislike each other

Name: Aisling Adaire
Devphase Nickname: Sword Girl
Arcana: Magician
Native Sync: Flash of Steel - Until your next turn, counterattack any damage with a critical hit.
Initial Persona: Vivian
Vivian Sync Role: Fencer - You gain bonus sync when dealing physical damage, especially criticals.
Vivian Sync Skill: Lifespring - Absorb HP whenever you deal water damage. Instant
Vivian Stat Approximations: ST 6, EN 3, MA 5, AG 4, LU 3
Also Learns:
...Cleave, Aqua, Twin Fang, River Dance, Balzac, Diamai...

Perhaps because of her poor affinity ratings, Aisling doesn't necessarily interact with others' sync roles directly. Her Sync Role is focused on her physical damage, meaning she isn't gaining much Sync if she isn't attacking, and she doesn't rely on anyone else for her sync. When she does attack, you'll want to use Cleave for its high critical rate or Twin Fang to hit multiple enemies. Balzac inflicts Rage and draws the attention of enemies. It's great to draw the heat off someone else in battle, or follow it up with Flash of Steel to rack up even more Sync with those critical hits! If Aisling overspends her HP on her physical attacks or is taking too much damage from enraged enemies, Lifespring is a sync that she can use without spending her turn (instant). Essentially, Lifespring is allowing her SP to serve two purposes when casting Aqua or River Dance - dealing damage AND restoring her HP. A later sync, Llyn Llydaw, enchants her sword with Water damage. This will trigger her Fencer role AND Lifespring if it is active! However, this water damage extends to her physical skills as well, so that is an extra consideration when invoking it. For a look at how Lifespring interacts with Rylan's abilities, check out Who is Rylan? where Aisling's name is bolded.

Note that Aqua and River Dance follow the same pattern as Cleave and Twin Fang, for the most part: Aqua is single-target water damage, whereas River Dance will strike multiple enemies at random. Vivian's attacks will always follow this pattern; any AoE attacks will stipulate that they strike X random enemies instead of true AoE. This is another extra consideration included to encourage swapping Personas or party members. No one person can be good at everything, and Aisling is no exception! She excels at dishing out damage, and her abilities help her balance her three resource pools to avoid relying heavily on other party members. However, she has unreliable AoE attacks, and Diamai (regen) is her only healing spell. If she is taking damage from enraged enemies, and spending HP on strong attacks, she may not be able to outheal the incoming damage with just Diamai and Lifespring. Fortunately, she has neutral affinity with Lysander...

Next week: Who is Lysander?!


Who is Rylan?

Rylan is your main character. If Rylan is KO'd at the start of the enemy phase* then it's Game Over for you! Obviously, you want Rylan to turtle as much as possible, right? Well, I decided to play with that instinct by giving Rylan an unusual sync role: he works around the idea of taking damage.
(*Unlike previous Persona titles and other games that end instantly upon the MC's death, you have until the end of your current Ally Phase to revive him. Which is really not very much, but should also ease outcries of "BUT MY SUPPORT CHARACTER WITH A FULL REPETOIRE OF HEALING AND RESURRECTION IS STILL ALIVE!!").

Name: Whatever you want, baby / Rylan (default)
Devphase Nickname: M.C. (Main Character)
Arcana: Fool
Native Sync: Gaia Link - All allies regain some HP whenever the target does. Lasts the entire battle, useable once per battle.
Initial Persona: Mnemos
Mnemos Sync Role: Martyr - You gain bonus sync when taking damage.
Mnemos Sync Skill: Briar Skin - When physically damaged, you attempt to Poison in response. 3 rounds
Also learns: -Dormina (60% chance of Sleep to one)
Mnemos Stat Approximations: ST 5, EN 5, MA 4, AG 5, LU 4

Let's talk about the risk/reward scenarios of your main character being encouraged to take damage, as well as strategies among even this limited skillset! I've dropped Rylan's learnable skills entirely to focus on cross-linking and codependency of mechanics as opposed to zooming focus in on just Rylan himself. There's no way to segregate one character from the rest when discussing their skills, because nobody can truly stand alone in every aspect; Rylan especially relies on triggering, and being triggered by, party members.

First, we can see that Rylan uses his sync in two ways: Gaia Link helps economize your healing efforts - it doesn't reduce the amount of healing the target receives, as though you are 'sharing' the healing; you independenty gain some HP whenever they gain some HP. Additionally, this will be available to you for the entire game, as it is Rylan's native sync. If he uses this on himself, healing him will then heal the entire party, greatly economizing what is your standard course of action anyway (healing your hurt party leader).
Briar Skin helps you turn taking damage into an offensive tactic - not only does Poison deal damage over time but it cuts Strength in half. Briar Skin is a very nice ability all around - it can deal damage and also reduce incoming damage. However, Rylan himself has no form of manipulating enemy targetting. There is no guarantee that USING Briar Skin will make you the target of attacks, which is key to its success; additionally, it is only triggered by physical damage.

How can we get Rylan to take damage? Our other two starting party members, Aisling and Lysander, can help!

Aisling also has some abilities that hinge on her being the target of attacks. Her initial Persona Vivian learns the spell Balzac. This attempts to inflict Rage status, but also incurs some Grudge, causing the victim to prefer attacking Aisling when targetting odds are calculated. How does this help Rylan? Well, it won't help him trigger Martyr if Aisling is the one casting it - she'll be the one getting attacked! However, she can draw attention away from him, and then Lysander can heal Aisling. If you've intelligently set up Gaia Link, this will also heal Rylan! Aisling herself can cast some healing spells, but this illustrates the point of the Sync mechanic - Aisling CAN cast healing spells, but it is a much more efficient use of time and resources to set up Syncs like Gaia Link and use them cleverly.

Lysander's initial Persona Callimachus has an interesting tactical spell, called Sukumai. This spell targets one ally, lowering their evasion, and making them a more likely enemy target. (Up to 3x stack) The tradeoff is twofold - you are being targetted more often, and ostensibly, you are being successfully damaged more often. However, Lysander also has healing spells. So there's that.

Additionally, Rylan's special ability lets him equip anyone else's unused initial Persona. This means that once Aisling has another Persona to use, Rylan can switch to Vivian, cast Balzac, and switch back to Mnemos. He could also switch to Callimachus, use Sukumai on himself, and switch back to Mnemos. Of course, you can only switch once per phase. If Rylan switched to Vivian and cast Balzac, he is stuck with Vivian equipped until the next full round.

When I said Rylan had no forms of manipulating enemy targeting, this wasn't entirely true. Dormina - a useful spell in itself - lends some complimentary applications here. Putting an enemy to sleep means they are not actively attacking the party; Dormina combined with Sukumai can be a good way of drawing attacks to Rylan while paring down the sheer number of incoming attacks.

So, as you can hopefully see, I've worked quite hard ensuring that otherwise vanilla skills like Dormina and Balzac interact with the system in interesting ways, and on what I consider to be a novel risk - encouraging your delicate flower to take damage. You shouldn't be terrified every time your precious MC takes damage; you should have prepared for it and have arranged your party and Syncs in such a way that you have myriad recovery and mitigation options. Failure to use these options will swiftly result in death.

I'll eventually post more about Aisling and Lysander. STAY TUNED!



Blog Installment the second! Welp. I'd like to talk a little bit about my decision to work on a game based on an existing mythos (or a "FANGAME" if you will). I have, in fact, discussed in the past my general puzzlement of the slew of RM* games that style themselves "Final Fantasy ______" ... A majority of them have very little to do with the FF series, other than having that familiar generic RPG gameplay style. My point is: Why? Why do this? What is the point? Why make something that is associated with a standing series instead of breaking off and making something completely new?

Why I like Persona.
First, what I love about the Persona games is the running themes. They focus very heavily on personal issues, morality, difficult choices and the hardships of life. Everything is character-centric; in fact, what could possibly be more enchanting and personal than the very concept of a Persona? Your Persona is your other self, the sum of all your hopes and fears, your idealized self. The character Yukari from Persona 3 starts out a little wary of you, somewhat distant and withdrawn. She might seem standoffish at first. But look at her Persona - Io, the same Io of Greek mythology who was turned into a cow and cursed to be stung by a gadfly over and over because of her forbidden love affair with Zeus. In P3, Io appears as a crying girl chained to a throne in the shape of a bull's head.

This immediately reflects a level of depth onto Yukari - she has some romantic issues perhaps, and is definitely distant because of some kind of hurt in her past or entrapment in her present. I'm a sucker for mythology, but I'm an even bigger sucker for personalizations of this kind. His Dark Materials is a series that appeals to me on that level (amongst others); the concept of your soul being externalized as an animal that matches your personality is a romantic one laden with symbolism. Add to this that as they deal with their personal issues - that is, as you actually watch characters GROW and DEVELOP! - their personas will eventually grow into a new form. This is a completely new layer of associations with the character, especially drawing links between the two. Persona takes this several steps further, with the Major Arcana of the Tarot being associated with characters who match that card's representation/s. Io uses Wind spells and healing magic - definitely suited to someone of the Lovers Arcana. I'm very familiar with tarot cards and their symbolism, so this made me salivate and froth even further, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Why I like RPGs and Roleplaying.
In general, I'm also very interested in RPing. It all goes back to immersion and what I really love about RPGs: painting the picture of a world that draws you into the game, instead of just having buttons that are fun to push. Good gameplay rocks, good gameplay in good gameworlds rocks harder. Would FF7 have worked if the role you took in the game was that of a Shinra soldier? You would spend the entire game doing more or less the same type of gameplay - battles, stealing materia, commanding army troops in an RTS minigame - but the story and the world would have suffered. It was just cooler to be Cloud, fighting off that corporate army, and trying to save everyone from Meteor. Who hasn't thought about something that would be a cool addition or change to their favorite series mythos? "Oh man," you thought. "I invented the COOLEST FINAL FANTASY SWORD." (Insert your fan invention here.) Or even, "Man, I really love Pokemon. I'm totally gonna replay Pokemon Silver right now!!!" (Insert your media of choice here.) With roleplaying, I simultaneously satisfy both urges. I really love Viera, the bunnygirl race of Final Fantasy lore. Not because they are bunnygirls, although that helps. I love their culture, their stoic nature and deliberate style of speech... You might be aware that a Final Fantasy tabletop RPG exists (it's by The Returners or somesuch). Working with Raitzeno, we revised it into something more entertaining, and added new races such as the Viera, which required thinking up unique new racial abilities. Despite working within an existing system AND existing world mythos, we came up with a remarkable amount of concepts that were both fresh to the setting and interesting to the gameplay mechanics. This experience was pretty rewarding in itself. Also, I am a fucking nerd.

Why it can still be original.
On that note, I'd like to bring up Persona's gameplay. I don't need to go into every detail about how it works, but I really enjoyed playing Persona 3 and Persona 4. However, the more I started to compare them to other games, and talked about them more after studying more advanced game design, I began to see the flaws. You can date any number of girls at no significant penalty nor any significant effect upon the game's ending/s. Dungeon healing is eventually (or quickly) trivialized. Certain spells are wildly unbalanced. More of these flaws began coming up amongst the good traits, and we began to realize what kinds of opportunities we felt were missed. In fact, a post-apocalyptic futuristic setting had been the setting of a game by a previous GM friend of ours, and we'd RPed some plots set loosely in the Persona world. Keyword loosely - Personas exist; Shadows exist; the 'Dark Hour' or the 'TV World' exists; but we never mentioned any characters from the original games. We never talked about the Kirijo group or The Fall or the Midnight Channel. This was a different setting, our setting, repurposing Personas; one of the most fun things to do was to take a character from one of our other settings and say "What would this person's Persona look like? Let's roleplay them as a student, and see how they'd act in this setting." It really pushed our creative boundaries. In fact, it spawned a short series of drawings I did that I think are pretty cool. Not only did we have fun playing a game that was dripping with our original creations, but we also managed to simultaneously enjoy that sweet, sweet Persona flavor AND I was artistically stimulated.

After this, when I took over as the GM, I began to work in more strict gameplay elements; added things like Weapon Upgrades, repurposed Social Links... in short, we made our own game. After that, why not move on to the real thing? In fact, we started over with a completely blank slate of cast members. We didn't want to include anybody we were already overly fond of and would favor, conciously or not; we didn't want to fanboy over ourselves by putting our own TOP FAV! original creations into the setting. Instead we set out to let the cast grow along with the plot and the rest of the game.

I know some people feel like making a Fangame is a misuse of one's talent or perhaps a waste of it. I think this goes back to a basic assumption that a Fangame is going to be a repetition of one of the series' earlier games by an uncreative fan zombie. After all, most FF-inspired games are pretty hard to differentiate from FF5 or FF6. Cosplay Crisis, another game on RMN, is an example of doing a 'fangame' perfectly. This game is not based on any Final Fantasy; rather, it draws from all of them. Additionally, it takes place in a world entirely of the developer's creation, using Final Fantasy's mythos and gameplay tropes in an interesting and amusing way to enhance the game. In this vein, Persona:Reverse is first and foremost a game of our design. Raitzeno and I have worked together closely to make sure that we could accomplish everything we set out to do with this game, and many times, that meant changing the basic game's rules and functions to suit our goals. It is a Persona-style RPG only as a secondary rule. As you can already read in the BATTLE MECHANICS and YOU! and the SYNC and YOU! areas, we deviate heavily from the systems of previous Persona games, and our setting is completely original. To answer my original question:

Why make something that is associated with a standing series instead of breaking off and making something completely new?

We have come up with something completely new.

Get ready.
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