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The big list of recent changes (current and upcoming).

  • UPRC
  • 09/18/2014 12:37 PM
  • 12645 views
The amount of changes/improvements I've been incorporating this week have been pretty extensive, so I thought I'd share with everyone just what I've done. I have most of the changes/improvements posted online already, but they're scattered around in different blog posts, game page posts, Tumblr posts, etc. so I figured it would be nice to have them all right here in one blog post. So, here we go!



Bestiary
I've thrown a bestiary into the game since it was requested a few times in the past. Everything you encounter will be in the bestiary aside from a few encounters such as the artificial dummy monsters Hautley makes you fight. All stats, item drops and resistances are shown. The battle backdrop behind the monster mirrors the area they are found in, and music will play for each monster in the bestiary that corresponds to what kind of encounter they are. The standard battle theme will play for a goblin while the boss theme will play when you're viewing Ifrit or Phoenix.


Bolt's New "Thievery" Battle Command
Recent script changes rendered steal unusable in the way I had added it previously, so I made up for this by changing Bolt's selectable battle command to Thievery. Within Thievery, players will find...

Steal: Bolt starts with this, of course! We know what this is, so moving on.
Peep: Bolt’s version of Libra. He learns it at level 20, so 99% of those playing the game will likely obtain it after Carina’s Libra spell.
Dash: Inflicts damage to an enemy based on Bolt’s speed stat. Since he has the highest speed in the game, well, this will be a good ability.
Rescue: Heroes must rescue the helpless! This ability will restore HP to an ally based on, again, Bolt’s awesome speed stat.
Nostrum: Removes status conditions. May inflict regen as well.
Warp: Escape from the current non-boss encounter.


Improved Encounter Rates
The encounter rate for all dungeons were previously set between 30 and 55. This has now been increased to 45 to 65. The larger the map, the higher the number. One optional dungeon is even set to over 100 steps!


Increased Gold Gains
All enemies now reward more gold. In most instances, the increase is between 10 to 30. On the other hand, defeating a boss will now feel like you've won the lottery, as I'll probably go and double gold gains from bosses later today when I get home from work.


New Reiner & Zephyr Starting Abilities
In order to give the two Augurers a little bit more versatility in the face of DNA strand changes, they each have three starting abilities each instead of just one. In addition to Sonic Dive, Zephyr now has Hunter Instinct and Numbing Gaze. To go along with Subathe, Reiner now has Osmosis and Pipstrike. Here's what they do:

Hunter Instinct (Lobo) - Removes blind and silence from a party member.
Numbing Gaze (Hecteyes) - Inflicts slow on target. May inflict sleep as well.
Osmosis (Hazer) - Absorbs some MP from the target.
Pipstrike (Pipsqueak) - Inflicts physical damage based on Reiner's HP. Improves drastically by leveling.


DNA Strand & Monster Summon Changes
I wanted to eliminate the grind for DNA strands since, even with a drop rate of 1/4 or 1/5 for some strands, you can't always rely on the game engine to give them to you in a somewhat quick fashion. What I've done is reduce the drop rate of all Imperfect DNA strands to 1/2 (easy money for garbage loot!) and the drop rate for ability teaching strands to 1/3. Players no longer need five strands to learn an ability either. Now? They only need one strand. When you attempt to use a DNA strand, you will have to decide which Augurer learns the ability... and then that's it. You cannot learn the ability for the other Augurer (which the strands also dictate before you use them). As such, it will be easy for players to assign "builds" to each Augurer.


Tankentai Escape/Run Glitch Fix
Tankentai acts a little wonky sometimes with Fomar's ATB compatibility script. One issue that had been plaguing the game for some time was that players were unable to run from battles if a character was knocked out or asleep. Attempting to run under these conditions would cause the battle system to lock up and players would be unable to act at all. I've seen added a fix for this, so players can now freely escape from battles even when half of their party has been defeated.


Materia
To further improve character customization, Materia has been added to the game. It does not level up like in FF7, but rather is equipped underneath relics on the equip screen and grants the use of spells while also increasing one or two stats slightly. Each character can equip up to five pieces of materia. Several spells that are typically exclusive to one or two characters, or aren't permanently learnable by any characters, can be used by equipping materia such as Darkwave, Manafont, Magitek, and more. White magic, which cannot be learned via magic tomes, can be used through materia. This does not take the spotlight away from Carina though, as white magic materia really can't compare to the likes of Carina's White Wind limit.


Level 18 Abilities
The "tier 2" skills and spells will start appearing roughly at level 18. Carina's Cure 2 shows up at this time, and Hautley's level 2 spells (Fire 2, Ice 2, etc.) aren't far behind either. My favourite level 18 spells currently belong to Edric, Jasmine and Trigger.

Edric learns Empower, which increases a party member's magical and physical defense values. Basically, they have the power of berserk in attack and magic power but they remain 100% controllable.

Jasmine's level 18 ability is Revive. It cannot be used outside of battle, but it only costs 3 MP to cast and restores plenty of hit points.

Trigger's ability is Silver Bullet. It simply throws holy damage at the enemy and may inflict burn. Nothing terribly special, but it's worth having since the only other holy attack that the party has at all thus far is Carina's Dia limit.


Further Balancing
I'm replaying the game since some script changes made old saves incompatible and unreadable. I'll be tinkering with damage values as I go, since I personally feel that Bolt, Carina and Hautley can die fairly easily in some situations. If there are any particular encounters that felt way too intense with far too great of a damage output, I'd love to know!



A few things I'm going to try and add this week and over the weekend include...

1. Achievements! They'll start small and I haven't nailed down potential rewards yet, but I'll get to that when achievements are implemented.
2. X-Magic command. I need to play with Tankentai a bit, because I think that only the "Magic" command has casting animations, but I'm not 100% sure. We'll see where this goes, but I guess it all depends on Tankentai.
3. Making sure various abilities cannot miss. It was reported that some Blitz, Gallant and Gunner abilities have been missing. I'm going to peek at the database today after work to fix this.
4. Removal of crafting tokens. They were a holdover from the scripted crafting system I originally had, which I had scrapped because I wasn't fond of the way it worked. It's pointless to have to pay for crafting tokens and then pay a further fee to craft a weapon when it would make more sense to just, you know, pay to craft and that's it. With crafting tokens being given the boot, I won't be increasing the cost to craft weapons. That will remain exactly as it is.



Here are a few things from what I am going to call The World of Brandon. That's the guy who is composing the original tunes that can be heard in the game for those who are unaware. He's also the main tester for the game and has been a huge source of design and development ideas as well. Some of his ideas haven't gelled with my design plans while some of them were ideas that I leaped upon in a hurry. Below, I'm going to present what he's been working on and/or what he'd like me to relay to RMN (but he can do this too now that I think about it, he has developer access to the game page and I'll remind him of this). So here's what he has been up to!

1. Composing more music, as always. The quality of his stuff just keeps getting better and better, I'm seriously lucky to have him onboard for music. One thing he's working on that I'm really excited about is an original victory fanfare theme to go with the battle theme. Anxiously awaiting that one!

2. Brandon says he's looked at Ruby and says he's figured out how to do a few things. He's often expressed his dislike at how Triple Triad/Tetra Master offers no in-game rewards and has long asked if he can try to play with the scripts to enable the player to acquire some form of rewards for playing. He's suggested having tournaments before, which led me to deciding that a "ladder" style tournament could work out well. This would see the player enter a sort of tournament in each town against specialized AI decks that they CANNOT win cards from, but rather earn actual item rewards based on how far they can get. Beat all opponents and the player will get an item that will be considered very good for that point in the game. A gold payout would also be extremely likely. I told Brandon that, if he can get a working prototype of this, I'll add in.

3. Brandon wants to be able to turn off random encounters at will, saying it was a feature in Bravely Default and he liked the feature a fair bit in that game. I haven't been too keen on the idea because it would make Winter's Saddle feel less important and some planned relics, like the Moogle Charm, would become irrelevant and likely prompt me to reshuffle the database a little to remove the items that would become redundant. I'd also be wary of adding this, as it could allow people to miss Augurer abilities and useful drops that can be used to make weapons (and the very best weapons in the game will require these). I told him that I will only add things I don't personally like to my games if there is support from several people, because it's counter-productive to go and add everything that is requested/wanted by single individuals. Features and ideas need to be requested by multiple people for me to cave and add them, so I'm asking... despite my own worries regarding making some items/skills redundant and lesser skilled players possibly abusing this sort of feature, is there support on RMN for Brandon's idea?

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I'm replaying the game since some script changes made old saves incompatible and unreadable. I'll be tinkering with damage values as I go, since I personally feel that Bolt, Carina and Hautley can die fairly easily in some situations. If there are any particular encounters that felt way too intense with far too great of a damage output, I'd love to know!

Personally, the only fight I felt was a bit too much so far was Fenrir. He is crazy fast, and with all of his AoE attacks, I had a tough time keeping up.

On the other hand, I found Leviathan far too easy.

despite my own worries regarding making some items/skills redundant and lesser skilled players possibly abusing this sort of feature, is there support on RMN for Brandon's idea?

Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes. (If I say yes multiple times it counts as multiple votes, right?) I can understand your concerns, but missing things like drops and DNA strands is, ultimately, on the player.
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
7380
Fenrir too hard, Leviathan too easy. I'll take a look at them for sure. Fenrir was supposed to be very difficult, but I'll give him a hard look when I reach him on my new file to decide if he's too hard since I'm trying to play like the average player would.

If enough people want control over random encounters, I'll just add the Moogle Charm to the start of the game in the chest in Ezra's old bedroom. The Moogle Charm was intended to be obtained from Mogtopia later in the game, but I can add it early on if need me. It will work exactly like it did in FF6, equipping it will turn off random encounters.
As for Fenrir, I got him my first try, so it wasn't like, obscenely difficult or anything, but it was definitely the hardest fight in the game (so far, at least) and a lot of that was the fact that he was getting about two attacks for every one of Carina's. And that was with her decked out in +speed stuff so I could see him getting 2.5-3 attacks for someone that has her in +Magic gear.

edit: Actually, thinking on it, Carbunkle's difficulty was right around where I think Fenrir should have been. It was challenging, but not in an "Oh my god you're going again!?" way.

As for Leviathan, my biggest issue with him was that it was really easy to get him stuck to the "Fire!? You'll pay for that!" attack, which was pretty weak. I never even saw his other attacks, actually. I'd suggest either making that one a counter (if possible) or upping the damage on it.
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
7380
I haven't used counter attacks in VX Ace yet, so I'll have to take a peek at those to see how they even work. That's a good idea though, I'll definitely look into making it a counter!
I'm very happy with the addition of white magic materia as I rely on Carina too much (after all she's my baby) when it comes to healing.

Yes, Fenrir was way too fast and dished a lot of damage due to his high damage output in his skills, and Leviathan felt like a real pushover.
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
7380
I need to get off my butt and give the other characters their healing abilities! Jasmine's Revive is in, which is super handy. It's pretty much the best life spell in the game. Bolt's Rescue abulity needs to be added and I need to get on top of Edric's Bloom 2 which will be better than Cure but not quite on par with Cure 2.
Haha, I didn't even know Edric had a healing ability! I should really try going through with the characters I didn't use much (Edric, Reiner, Sapphire, and Bolt mainly. Bolt's new skills at least will definitely make him someone to try out!)
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
7380
Yup, Edric has Bloom. It's a decent support heal prior to learning Cure 2 on Carina. What was your main party? I always like to know what characters the players are using.

Also, added the following to the blog post:
Level 18 Abilities
The "tier 2" skills and spells will start appearing roughly at level 18. Carina's Cure 2 shows up at this time, and Hautley's level 2 spells (Fire 2, Ice 2, etc.) aren't far behind either. My favourite level 18 spells currently belong to Edric, Jasmine and Trigger.

Edric learns Empower, which increases a party member's magical and physical defense values. Basically, they have the power of berserk in attack and magic power but they remain 100% controllable.

Jasmine's level 18 ability is Revive. It cannot be used outside of battle, but it only costs 3 MP to cast and restores plenty of hit points.

Trigger's ability is Silver Bullet. It simply throws holy damage at the enemy and may inflict burn. Nothing terribly special, but it's worth having since the only other holy attack that the party has at all thus far is Carina's Dia limit.
I used Zephyr, Hautley, Carina, and Jasmine/Trigger. Usually Jasmine for bosses and Trigger for random fights. Love the ability to change your party on the fly, BTW.
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
7380
Pretty good party then! Most people seem to report using Carina and Hautley, but it's easy to see why. I personally roll with Edric, Jasmine/Sapphire, Carina and Zephyr most of the time. So far, I haven't heard of anyone neglecting any characters other than Bolt, but I can understand why when his only draw is the steal ability (and I guess X-Aero if you need it). Thankfully the addition of his Trickery command will see him used more often.

Edric is a wonderful character since his HP is so high, he's extremely tanky! Pretty sure he has the highest maximum HP in the game, but I'll have to double check that. Silas might be able to go higher, which wouldn't surprise me in the least since he's going to be the a mighty good character (very high HP, stamina and vigor). Potentially highest HP and probably third best attacker after Jasmine and Trigger (Jasmine's got the double attack and Trigger just hits like a beast).
Yeah, I was able to take out most encounters in one round, after finally giving Carina tomes. It was pretty great. I can see myself using Silas, and maybe Sapphire too after she gets better equipment. I remember not being too hot on Nobumasa at first, too, and then he became the cornerstone of my endgame party haha.
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
7380
Nobumasa definitely started slow, way slower than Sapphire. At least she comes with a one hit KO limit and a hit all blizzard limit. She also learns a new ability upon every single level up until roughly level 22 or 23 if I recall.

Did you manage to find the Blossom for her? It's incredibly well hidden and can be permanently missable. If not, you should be able to spot an upgrade for her in the Lindblum City pawn shop if you poke around in there often enough after returning from the Citadel.
I did! I agonized for a while over whether I wanted to armor or weapon, then finally decided on the weapon. It was definitely a nice upgrade!

The biggest problem with her abilities I had, that the increase in gold will almost certainly solve, is the cost of the scrolls. Sure at one point I had 10000 extra gold and could have picked up 20 of them...but then I decided that buying ethers, potions, and status cures was a better use of the gold.
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
7380
I contemplated lowering the cost of ninja scrolls to 200 or 250. 500 is indeed a little steep. When you have lots of scrolls, her abilities are wonderfully spammable.
It's a tricky one to balance, that's for sure. Especially considering gold gains later in the game. I can understand not wanting them to be too cheap, but then if you compare it to an ether, for example, that will let Hautley or Carina use four or five spells (at that point. Again, later in the game it would likely only be one or two) for half the cost of a scroll. I think 250 would be a good price. Especially if later skills take multiple scrolls, that I don't know. 200 might be a bit too low.
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
7380
250 it is then!

What you say is especially true since, once the player travels to Lenadia (which immediately follows Ivalice), turbo ethers even start to appear more regularly. Hell, I even threw the first hyper ether into the game.

Hyper ether is basically the ether version of a mega potion. It restores 250 MP to the entire party. Very dandy item.
Hyper Ethers sound beautiful and I want them in my life.
Jasmine is by far my favourite physical hitter: Hyper Wrist + Light Boots do wonders, especially if you have a better weapo further with the game. And the fact she strikes twice can make her a real kickass. (If we're talking about kickass Jasmine: we'll we get a 'date' scene with Jasmine and Cid where Cid ends up doing something stupid and they have literal fight which Cid doesn't take for serious? Also, it'd be cool to see an enemy Augurer in an actual battle.)
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
7380
Throw a Berserker's Band on Jasmine if you have any!

Also, ha! I should totally make Cid's infatuation with Jasmine return, especially since he accompanies the party to Lenadia.
Nah, Berserker's Band is too hampering for Jass. Bolt has it (yes, I used it a bit to steal but the items weren't nothing peculiar).
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