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The Legend of Zelda: Forgotten Gates is a Zelda fan game with Final Fantasy-style combat and a dash of Rogue-like. It is inspired by and uses characters from the online roleplaying community Triforce MUCK.

Join a merry band of roleplayers as they weave a tale of adventure in the world of Hyrule. Monstrous forces stir in the land, kidnapping various individuals and leeching their innate magic. As the heroes rescue their friends and gather clues about the incidents, they uncover a plot to reopen long-lost portals to distant lands where powerful artifacts lie hidden. Can our heroes beat the sinister hordes to the legendary relics? More importantly, what can our roleplayers do if the guy who started this campaign has to take a night off? Guess somebody else could take over for a bit, but the story (and the gameplay!) could turn out a little different depending on who's telling it...

Forgotten Gates is currently in a very rough, barely-playable alpha stage, but it boasts procedurally-generated random quests, complex enemy behavior, and heroes both familiar and original. The final game is expected to feature a unique interactive narrator system, support for creating your own quest generation rules, and over a dozen playable characters.

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Gameplay balancing

This design post is going to be more of general musings than a description of some aspect of Forgotten Gates itself, although it definitely is related to work I've been doing in the game project. One of the things I undertook to do for the new release (yay again for that!) was to improve the statistical gameplay balance a bit. The main thing which tipped me off that things were a bit off was the fact that once Link reached level 2, he could shrug off a basic attack from a lizalfos with no damage at all. e.e; Now, Link does have a defense stat towards the higher end (the highest period out of the heroes currently available in the game demo), and the fact that he uses a shield gives him a bigger multiplier for that stat than most, but still, being all but invulnerable to a mid-tier baddie is a definite warning sign.

So, obviously this needed to change...but how, exactly? I could decrease Link's defense of course, but I should probably decrease everybody's defense too then, though perhaps not directly proportionately. I could increase monsters' attack power, which would have a significant impact on the survivability of the game...although frankly, the way things were, the heroes were barely losing any health to anything but the strongest monsters, so that would probably be a good thing. And even once I decided which variables to tweak, there remained the question of how much to alter them by. I spent quite a bit of time on these questions, mostly just paralyzed by mulling over the options and reluctance to lose track of what the numbers were before. e.e;

In the end, I ended up significantly increasing the attack power of all weapons, for both heroes and monsters. After that, I also gave the HP of all monsters a pretty big boost, so that the weakest heroes can't just wipe them out with a single hit at level 1 (although the very weakest monsters kinda are still in that range). I think the gameplay does feel better now than it does before; in general, it takes less time to chew through enemies, but at the same time, fighting enemies does tend to knock off a meaningful amount of health from the party. I wouldn't say I've really reached a good balance yet though, let alone professional-quality. And that worries me a bit, because I don't see a clear road to achieving it.

There are some basic principles to gameplay balancing, and doubtless you'd be really in the soup if you ignored them -- things like comparing the most extreme possible cases and making sure they still provide a satisfying experience, asking yourself how many hits it should take for a typical hero to take out a particular monster and vice-versa, etc. Even if you can firmly decide these goalposts, however, there are a lot of different variables you could tweak to try and make the game line up with them. It gets even more complicated when you factor in things that don't conceptualize neatly as pure numbers, like the effect had on combat by various status conditions. I imagine professional game developers have worked out some techniques and formulas for dealing with the nitty-gritty, but I haven't really run across much advice on such. Part of the reason for this could be that different games require different approaches, so you mostly hear about the stuff that applies broadly -- the aforementioned basic principles.

So how am I going to handle this? Mostly, I suppose I'll just resolve not to worry too much about getting the balance really good. As a (mostly) one-man-band on this project, it's virtually inevitable that there will be aspects that don't play to my strengths. I've already accepted that the art and animations will be simple and flat, and the music and sounds will be the RTP plus whatever similar stuff I can scrounge. Why should I expect that the gameplay balance will be finely tuned enough to win awards? That's not to say I won't put an honest effort toward ensuring it's fun, especially since I'd like to think design is one of my stronger points. I just have to hold myself to eventually saying "Good enough for a fangame that's already taken way more of my free time than I probably should've given it." X)

Of course, if you have any tips, articles to point to, etc. regarding the more advanced details of balancing an RPG, I'd be pleased to hear about them.
  • Production
  • AubreyTheBard
  • RPG Tsukuru 2003
  • Adventure RPG
  • 03/11/2015 03:10 AM
  • 09/02/2021 02:41 AM
  • N/A
  • 63658
  • 16
  • 428

Posts

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While I agree that this project has potential the current build really doesn't feel ready for release. I realize that the release was probably pushed a bit for the Release Something XIII event, but it really feels like it should have been held back for a bit longer considering how prone this game is to crashing.
author=thesacredlobo
While I agree that this project has potential the current build really doesn't feel ready for release. I realize that the release was probably pushed a bit for the Release Something XIII event, but it really feels like it should have been held back for a bit longer considering how prone this game is to crashing.


Wow, an actual video for my game, wasn't expecting that, especially so soon. :) Thanks for that, and thanks for finding those bugs, hadn't seen those before.
Your welcome.

Though I would have had this posted sooner if my upload speed to youtube wasn't so slow right now. I've been waiting almost five hours now for the next part of my Let's Play for Wild Arms 5 (PS2) to clear.
I like the look of those battlers. Mapping is a little square.
Thanks, it's encouraging to hear someone express an interest. :) Unfortunately you'll be waiting a while as this project is currently on hiatus, but I do intend to get back to it.
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