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The blessings of the 108 are upon this game.

  • Marrend
  • 05/20/2019 10:36 AM
  • 1738 views
As promised, the game has been updated on it's two-year anniversary. The main download should be stand-alone, with an alternative download for those who have VX Ace's RTP. I now largely consider it...

COMPLETE!





In case you missed it, I've put up a page detailing recruitment info for characters that are not recruited automatically. I'm a nice guy. Or try to be.


Probably the most difficult part of the making of this game was Unites. Some of the things I had to do for it to work at all:
checking that each member of a given Unite were in the party
each character that had a relevant Unite skill in the context of the active party could access the Unite skill
they all had to be able to act for Unite to be selectable
when the time came for the skill to be used, all members had to be able to act
selecting a Unite skill for the "skill leader" meant that other involved characters had to be skipped over when entering actions
cancelling out of a Unite skill meant that all involved characters could act normally, unless Unite was re-selected

Man, I still feel like I'm forgetting something. However, I hope I made my point to how complex this was to set up. ;_;


There were a few moments where whatever troubles I was going through to make this game was worthwhile. Obviously, seeing Unites actually work. Putting together the party-window for shops (thanks for reminding me of the window in Wyrm Warriors, Liberty!). Showing a six-person party in the main menu, and in battles. Hell, even something as simple/small as the "<Character> recruited!" window made me a little bit happier.

However, I think among the biggest moments was achieving the 108 Bonus of the game during my test-plays. I'm not going to say what that bonus is for now. I'll keep that a secret for a liiiiittle bit longer. However, it still feels like a big accomplishment, even though this game is only 2-3 hours long. Whereas a typical Suikoden game takes me around 30-ish hours to complete? Depends on which Suikoden we're talking about, I suppose.


So, what's next on my gammak plate? This is an excellent question. I don't know if I have an answer. There have been times when I've considered taking Uchioniko, and applying a new set of paint (Celianna's Modern-Day tileset), with maybe a few more touch-ups. However, my inclination to actually do anything about that game has been a solid "meh".

Posts

Pages: 1
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
I sometimes wonder if it would be a good idea to contact Suikosource, and/or the Suikoden Revival Movement to get more exposure for this game? I don't know. On one hand, these people should be my main audience. I would like to think this humble little game at least has the feel of a Suikoden game that they appreciate. Even if I can tide some people over just a little bit until (if???) Suiokden VI comes to light, I feel like I've done my job.

I guess what worries me the most is that the game doesn't have the look of a Suikoden game? I dunno. I'm a hobbyist gamdev. Certainly not a pro gamdev, by any means.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
Bit of an update. First, swapping party members via the party menu has been implemented! Playtesting indicates that Unites are present when they should be, and not present when they shouldn't.

Another little add-on is bath scenes. These are small-ish cutscenes that feature characters that can be placed into the party for a Unite skill. Note that the characters in question don't have to be in the party to get such scenes. You just need to recruit them. What cutscene you trigger is random, and if the RNG lands on a Unite you don't have the characters for, it will just fade in and fade out.


As a friendly mid-year reminder, this game should be available to nominate for this year's Misaos. As such, I would appreciate it if you considered nominating this game!
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
Acra has been sharing with me something of an LP through PMs, and pointing out some potential issues with this game.

While the game has 108 recruitable Stars of Destiny, none of them are particularly well-developed. Part of this was my own decision-making process to not include characters with hard-to-achieve requirements. Like, I'm legit scared of not being able to recruit Murad in Suikoden 5. He's a character that's introduced relatively early, but, I don't know what his breakpoint is for war-battle casualties, and if the amount I have is low enough to recruit him, until it's time to actually recruit him. I decided I'd much rather have recruits that have easier-to-parse requirements. Such as requiring a certain number of other recruits, play a mini-game, or pay money.

I think I might have been stuck on the thought-process of "this game absolutely, without fail, must have 108 recruits", and did not give too much thought as to how they might be developed, as people, in-game.

The Rune Shops needing the player to pay for the service of attaching and removing Runes was questioned as well in the context of pure inventory managment. It didn't occur to me to question it, because even in the Suikoden games, Jeane had you pay money to attach/remove Runes after recruiting her. This game's Rune Sage does not have you pay money for that service when she is recruited. Which I thought was a nice benefit. Still, it might not hurt to have that service free as a general rule.

There was also a point raised about the functionality of the Rune Shop, and simply not knowing that Page Up/Page Down could cycle through characters. Possibly not knowing that they could cycle through characters in the equipment window using that method as well. This is more a quirk of this being an RPG Maker game, but, I can't outright ignore the complaint that this kind of stuff would be nice to know through a help file, or something.



The issue raised of character development is one I'm very much conflicted with. Fixing it would mean either making the game bigger to fit the size of the cast, or making the cast smaller to fit the current size of the game. Either choice would mean a wide-sweeping revision that I'm simply not prepared (or, frankly, inclined) to make. The other matters listed here are certainly simpler for me to fix, but, I think I will want to wait on them in case the LP continues, and finds other things I might want to consider.
author=Marrend
The Rune Shops needing the player to pay for the service of attaching and removing Runes was questioned as well in the context of pure inventory managment. It didn't occur to me to question it, because even in the Suikoden games, Jeane had you pay money to attach/remove Runes after recruiting her. This game's Rune Sage does not have you pay money for that service when she is recruited. Which I thought was a nice benefit. Still, it might not hurt to have that service free as a general rule.

This defeats the purpose of even having a rune shop that equips/removes to begin with. I ran into this same problem with Legion Saga DX so I made Orbs just equipped in the equipment menu while utilizing the Orb Shops for purchasing the Orbs and upgrading them.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
Like, put Rune management with the "Equip/Remove/Optimze" selection? Might be something to look into. I can definitely set it up via an option in the main menu.

If there is one benefit to having the Rune Sages manage Runes, maybe it's that they can attach/remove Runes from all characters that have been recruited, whereas going through the main menu, or whatever, would only look at the current party? The game's recruitable Rune Sage already has the functionality to mess with manage Runes on an all-recruits basis, and that option appeals to me so that Rune Sages aren't just a place to buy Runes from, or get a record of what Runes can be bought from the Armorer when he's recruited down the line.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
Okay, moving the Attach/Remove Rune functionality to the equip screen wasn't as bad as I thought. I'll have to do more playtests to make sure all the Rune Sages can manipulate Runes on all recruits, but, it doesn't seem to much of an issue to fix if I find a mistake.

What I'm pondering over is how to best relay what Unites players have access to. While it's possible to check via the Skills option in the menu, it would probably be best if it that info could be relayed in the Party Swap menu. The "No data" screen that would pop up when you have an empty slot selected might be my best bet here. It kinda looks like the window could fit 10 lines of data, and I have 12 Unites.

Well, I probably need more like 24 lines of data. Knowing the name of the Unite isn't enough. Displaying who needs to be in the party for it to be selectable/usable would probably consist of another line of data.

*Edit: So, I'm looking at the code for Yanfly's party system to determine what it does to display just the character's face in the party listing. It uses the character's sprite as a base-line, and somehow cuts off the rest. What I'm seeing looks a little something like...

class Window_PartyList < Window_Selectable
  def draw_actor(actor, rect)
    buffer = YEA::PARTY::ACTOR_Y_BUFFER
    draw_actor_graphic(actor, rect.x + 16, rect.y + rect.height + buffer)
    text = actor.name
    change_color(list_colour(actor), enabled?(actor))
    draw_text(rect.x+32, rect.y, rect.width-32, line_height, text)
  end
end
....this. Which baffles me because I'm not seeing an over-write, or alias, of draw_actor_graphic. When I try to do it...

class Window_PartyStatus < Window_Base
  def draw_actor(skill, index)
    buffer = YEA::PARTY::ACTOR_Y_BUFFER
    i = 0
    while i < skill.unite.size
      actor = $game_actors[skill.unite[i]]
      rect = Rect.new(30*i, index*line_height+line_height, 16, 16)
      draw_actor_graphic(actor, rect.x + 16, rect.y + rect.height + buffer)
      i += 1
    end
  end
end
...I get the entire graphic. I don't understand how the heck Yanfly does it when we're using the same code to display the character sprite. Like, we're not passing the bounds of the rectangle to draw. We're putting in the coordinates in which the graphic is drawn. Yet, Yanfly's code is able to cut to just the face, and I just cannot figure out why.

*Edit2: I still have no idea how Yanfly managed to display just the face of the character graphic with the code at hand. However, I did a bit of a workaround, and have come up with...




...this. It might be nice if this kind of info could displayed while selecting characters, and not just on am empty slot, but, I'm pretty satisfied with this. For now.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
So, I shared a more complete version of the above idea on the site's Discord channel. There was a suggestion to, instead of just throwing a list of possible Unites, add an icon on the character status screen to represent that a character can Unite rather than a list like this.

While I don't have a screencap of it at the ready, I was able to have a character that has a Unite have the Unite's name printed below the character's class. The text is grayed out if the Unite is not "complete", and normal if it is. Well, that's how it's supposed to work, but, it's not quite updating properly. Like, the text denoting the Unite skill is still grayed out even after completing a Unite, but, the coloring fixes itself to normal if you move slots? Not 100% sure what the best move there is.

I tried using the "empty slot" screen as a place to relay what characters you might still need to fulfill what Unites you might have access to with the party that you currently have. However, my attempts so far have ended in failure.

As a point of observation, Unites have been nothing but a pain to me. I wanted to challenge myself, and find my own solution to the Unite mechanic. However, I'd be lying if I didn't wonder, at times, if there is a script out there that I could use that would make my life easier? I have no idea. However, if I can get it together, and relay the information I want, when I want it and where, maybe all the pain will be worth it?

I guess, in the end, I just want to know that me tearing my hair out, figuring this stuff out, is appreciated. Something that almost anybody can point to and say, "Ya did good, kit. Ya did good."
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
So, it's been suggested to cut magic damage, and increase physical damage. Cutting enemy defense values and/or HP may also be a consideration. I don't think abilities on Weapon Runes should trump Level 2 spells. However, keeping the cost of the abilities in mind is important, too, and will be the focus of this post.

The cost of casting a Level 1 spell is between 1 and 3 MP. At level 1, a character would able to cast somewhere between 1 and 11 Level 1 spells before needing to recover MP, depending on their exact MP value, and what spell they are trying to cast. The base damage of these spells tend to be either 50 or 60. The Condemnation Rune serves as an exception with a base damage of 100. One must keep in mind that it also deals 30 damage to the user on top of it's regular MP cost.

Weapon Runes do not have an MP cost. However, the cost to use them is inducing the "Stun" status onto the user for the rest of the turn, and the next one as well. Damage-wise, their base is between 16 and 25. However, it's still technically more effective to use a Weapon Rune than to perform two normal attacks in a row because of how damage is calculated. That fact doesn't make this option any more attractive, however, if the character can Unite.

That is not to say that Unites do not have their own cost. Their cost is not in MP, or in stunning characters. It's in speed of action: they are slower to pull off than a Weapon Rune, or a Level 1 spell. By having a speed penalty, there is a chance one of the Uniting members might fall unconscious before it is performed, cancelling the action. Also, if you just look at the base-damage, they don't seem all that more useful than a Weapon Rune. However, the base damage that is listed does not necessarily indicate a Unite's overall power. As the name may indicate, a Unite skill combines the attack powers of all of it's involved members, and that number is compared against the defense. The result of that comparison usually favors the attack, making the skill deal more than it's listed value. Thus, the option to Unite is a lot more attractive than choosing to use a Weapon Rune instead, and certainly more attractive than using a standard attack.

Still, if I alter the damage values of Weapon Runes and spells so that people would actually consider using Weapon Runes over spells, or Unites, I am inclined to alter the damage values of Unites too. I'm just not sure where I need to have these base damage numbers to be at to have at least a semblance of balance.

I feel Weapon Runes and Level 1 magic need to be about equal in terms of base damage? I feel spells should be slightly more effective, though. Also, I have to keep in mind that Balance Runes and Turtle Runes are not available for sale until Trygh Forest/Parltron Citadel. That makes the stun mechanic for Weapon Runes relevant for most of the game.

I can understand the merit in rewarding a player who discovers crafty little holes in the game's systems. But these aren't that. Party XP hyperfocusing and using magic at all are extremely simple concepts. Mina could basically wipe encounters with a single cast of her 2 MP spell (which is, uh, 7 MP on the lesser Water Rune?), something she could do, I dunno, about 20 times when you first get her?

I get Mina's a pretty big outlier, but with how easy it is to swap party members and fall back to heal (or just grind with Oharu's enemies, which, I now realize, are never fought elsewhere), MP is not particularly valuable in this game. Especially with a lack of bosses where endurance is something you need to keep in mind. One character losing a whole second turn is a much bigger penalty than them losing a quarter of their MP pool. I think, conceptually, your balances for Weapon Skills / Unities / Spells are fine enough, but the current numbers just don't align at all.

As for party XP softcap change, well, yes, changing the cap would require a complete re-balance of later enemies and likely shift the recommended endgame level way down. But that's only like a dozen enemies, so I don't think it's honestly that bad. Skirmish battles are also completely unaffected by level (as far as I could tell), so it wouldn't alter them.

I'm just gonna throw this out there, but do the physical runes have to be limited to a single action? Why not give them a second skill that takes MP, and perhaps have different properties? The staff's Pixie Rune is particularly worthless right now. As things sit, all physical characters are completely worthless by the time of Wal Pinnacle. On a similiar token, do all Unities (or at least all I saw) have to be physical offensive skills? Maybe some combos (like, uh, Mina/Ash or Mina/Olivia, I think it was), could just free-cast a pre-existing spell, or something.

Lastly, something came to mind re-reading your last post. While I'm not convinced it's a good idea, you could limit level 3/4 Rune spells to require TWO slots be filled with the same Rune to get access to them. That is, both the left and right hands need to have a Wind Rune equipped to get access to, um, whatever the level 3/4 Wind spells were. Sacrifice versatility for more power, y'know?
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
The proper Suikoden games limit Weapon Runes to one skill, so, I reasoned that this game shouldn't be too much different. I'm not sure how much I actually want to reexamine that particular decision, though. However, limiting spell availability is something I may want to reexamine. The Suikoden games uses tiered levels of MP, akin to Dungeons and Dragons. I'm pretty sure the script I use for the Rune system allows for that kind of MP system, but, of course, I don't exactly remember what I did to disable it in the first place! Still, if I can revert that change, I think the functionality is there that the most any character could cast of any given spell level before resting would be 9.

*Edit: The main drawback of going to that system would be a need to reconfigure the MP curves of each party-able character to account for... however it takes an actor's Max MP, and turns that into the four tiers/levels of magic. To say nothing about the Stone of Mana's functionality within that system!

*Edit2: I'm not 100% sure why I decided to have one MP pool, rather than the tiered system. Maybe because there were some spells that I just never used in a proper Suikoden game *stares at Wind of Sleep*, and wish I could transfer Level 1 slots to Level 2 slots. Or some like exchange. Doing so would probably incur some cost, in it of itself, but, coding that felt like two-and-half headaches, and I've already have plenty of headaches when it came to Unites!
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
I took a look at the demo for Estriole's Suikoden rune system. I thought it had a system to delinate MP levels, but, it was actually using Victor Saint's MP Level script to do it. Importing that script, and the required VE Basic Module, doesn't seem like a problem. Initial tests indicate that the positioning of the display could be adjusted. However, as noted, the Max MP values will need to be adjusted, if I go this route. Or, I could adjust the formula that translated Max MP values into MP Levels. Though, it's also true that I haven't quite gotten to testing how this system might affect the monsters in the game that use spells.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
Right! This game! I was completely distracted by MZ!

I haven't quite taken a second look at spells yet. I'm pretty sure I referenced Suikosource in regards to the effects/damage of the spell Runes. Though, that, in it of itself, might not have been a good idea for this game. Like, Final Flame might deal 900 base-damage in the original Suikoden, and this game has it at 700. Which, incidentally, is where Suikoden 4 has it. However, even that might still be too much for this particular game, if a regular attack has a base damage of 10, and that value was initially used as a basis for the Weapon Runes, Unites, and Rush.

I'm pretty sure I want to keep regular attacks to deal 10 damage as a base, and that Weapon Runes, Level 1 Spells, Unites, and Rush should fair better, and be... roughly equivalent. Scaling back on the damage basis of Levels 2, 3, 4, and 5 (ie: level 4 spells on upgraded/advanced Runes) spells is going to be necessary, but, wherever those numbers lie should have some kind of reference point to the Level 1 spells, I figure.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
Right! This game! I wanted to double-check how ethers work under Victor Engine's MP level script!

The short answer is that they do not. Not the way I thought they would work, anyway. I originally wanted Ethers to restore 1 MP in each level, and Mega Ethers to restore all MP. While the intended effect seemed possible in battle, trying to use the items outside of battles proved more difficult. I kept getting the "buzzer" SFX, and unable to use the item. Any changes I tried to make didn't seem to apply unless I restarted the game from scratch, which made things more annoying to check. I don't know if this is typical of working with Victor Engine, or not. However, I am reminded of my time in GTBS, and the fact that it uses Victor Engine as a base.

Fast forward, I dunno, two or three hours of testing and research later. What we'll have are Ethers that restore all MP to an ally, and Mega Ethers that fully restore the MP of all allies. The costs of these items will be increasing, of course.

As for Weapon Runes, I'm honestly a little weary of increasing their damage values, and I can't quite pinpoint why. I think a part of me believes that if I modify those values, I would "need" to modify the values for Rush and Unites as well? Which would probably lead the game right back into this situation were Weapon Runes would be largely disregarded, even with Balance or Turtle Runes.

*Edit: The one thing I worry about is that I've only tested Ethers after leveling up. I'm not sure what would happen if players try to use an Ether out-of-battle, and the game considers the target to have "full mp".

To clarify, the script does not overwrite the MP, or MMP attributes. They still exist. What VE's MP Levels does is make new attributes that can be (and are, in the case of this game) used in lieu of MP and MMP. What I did for Ethers and Mega Ethers is set them to "MP restore", and gave them a formula that calls...

def ether(obj)
  obj.mp = 0
  obj.setup_mp_level
  return 1
end

...this function. Which could mean you can use Ethers even on an actor that has, as far as VE is concerned, "full mp" when out-of-battle? My head's a bit achy from trying to make Ethers work to begin with, so, maybe I should make the return value "obj.mmp", and just see where that leads me.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
This may be a double-post, but, it's an update on Ethers, and MP wonkyness.

So, I was able to confirm that casting a spell depletes VE's mp values, but not the mp value that's already there. I suppose this makes a certain amount of sense. However, an item that restores MP will, for most practical purposes, never be able to be able to target anyone.

I considered two options. One option was to scrap VE's MP system entirely, and make one of my own. Yeah, no. I might be crazy, but not that crazy! The other option was to reconfigure the game's spells so that they deplete it's users "real" mp. The cost would be subtracted from whatever relevant level from VE's MP, after all. This worked, though, I had to re-test all the spells to make sure they did their thing properly, debug what the hell was going on when they didn't, etc.

Ethers and Mega Ethers still do what I said they did last post. At least as far as I can tell. I might want to test that a bit more. For now, though, I could definitely use a break!
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
You guys. This is so incredibly frustrating.

So, you might remember that I was reconfiguring spells, and making sure they worked yesterday? There was one spell with special processing I forgot to double-check. Divine Intervention. The fourth-level spell on the Goddess Rune. The last few hours have been trying to get it to work to no avail, and I just cannot understand why.

To help share my pain, I've uploaded three screencaps into my locker. The first details the skill specifications. The second is the script the damage formula calls. The third is a script that script calls. For whatever reason, the console will print "the hell?", and the value-check. Yet, it will never print "what the Futch-and-Bright!?" It doesn't seem to call the "damage" script at all. Or if it does, it ignores the result, or otherwise escapes from the function???

*Edit: The weird/funny thing is if I change the script call from "rune" to "damage", insert a "a.mp = 0" line, and move them just before the return line, the spell will resolve as intended. What I don't quite get is that calling the "rune" script should do exactly the same damn thing as calling "damage", and setting "a.mp = 0" at the end. Yet, it somehow does... whatever it's doing?????

I mean, I'll probably end up switching to the version that works. Since, you know, most players nobody will care about what's going on behind the scenes. It's just supremely baffling to me why it could only work the one way, but not the other. I simply don't perceive any reason.
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