The Tower of Dogrock

I finished the two floor demo with a Shaman/Fortune Cat combination on Hardcore. All rooms cleared, King's Trials completed, second floor boss completed. Thoughts, in no particular order:

I learned Rejuvenation and Mind Drinker at the end of the first floor, and from then I pretty much stacked +Int and rolled the game with those two skills alone. He did workable physical damage, his active healing was okay in a pinch and his starting thunder spell was great for when things really needed to die, but regeneration outpaced enemy damage quite quickly and he could restore his MP faster than he used it.

Mindstrike was theoretically useful for its ability to proc Mind Drinker, but despite his high intelligence, I had no interest in his purchasable elemental spells -- his thunder spell fulfilled most of my burst damage needs and any turn where he wasn't using Rejuvenation or attacking was a turn he wasn't restoring MP to fuel the perpetual motion machine. Even if they were free to purchase, I probably wouldn't have used them much.

Elenya's Shadowpriest class was pretty cool. Mortify's instant-cast ability makes her an incredible damage dealer even before her other spells are considered. Two problems: 1) I don't think I ever saw her "chance to refresh duration" ability actually activate on Mortify. 2) She had great burst damage, but she had no way to refill her MP. That meant that she spent most random battles as an accessory, tapping enemies with her wand while the Shaman did all the actual work. Sure, she was great for boss battles, but giving her something to do in randoms would be nice.

Two of her skills should be replaced, though. Mind over Matter is actively detrimental and should be replaced. Consuming Dream is a bad idea. If MP is easy to restore, it's overpowered; if it's difficult to restore, then it's useless. There's no in-between, and that's a bad sign. I'd replace it with a damage spell that restores MP when it kills -- that makes her much more useful for random battles. The other four are great.

I don't think I ever found any parts very difficult. The first King battle was slightly problematic, largely because I went into it without knowing the plants had Bad Breath, but I had a stockpile of items. If the third battle was any indication, then knowing that would have made it pretty easy. (If I'd checked their Shift description, for example.)

I didn't use Rhox much. I didn't realize the trigger for recruiting him was stopping right in front of the boss, so I beat the King's Trials and cleared the floor without recruiting him. He got no skills and no additional equipment, but he seemed okay. I managed to kill the boss without ever figuring out chain skills. If his 100 gold Conviction skill is "if TP is below 50 after battle, then TP=50," then he's much more useful.

From a purely theory-crafting perspective, Fortune Cat beats the pants off of the other two items. Money is incredibly important in this game, especially early on; getting more money means more skills, better equipment, and more items. The first two compound the third advantage, since greater combat strength means better resource efficiency.

From a story-telling perspective, you should probably be more subtle about Elenya's thing for Rava. Or, alternatively, go the complete opposite direction and have Elenya and Rava address her interest more openly. The problem is that Elenya is a controllable ally, has a much larger screen presence than Sarah, and is in a more sympathetic position. I don't know about anyone else, but it sort of immediately deinvests me in actually rescuing Sarah. I'd rather the character I know and who produces big damage numbers be happy over a character I haven't really seen.

You should probably look into whether you can make the game autosave when you close the window, or at least pop up a warning window before it lets you. I opened the completed save file to check some things, closed it when I wasn't paying attention, and lost the data. I was trapped inside a room anyway, so it doesn't make much difference, but that'd be painful if I was further into a more complete version.

I'll probably try the game with the other class and see what the game is like when you're not invincible. However that turns out, I've already subscribed and I look forward to more! If you want someone to bounce ideas off of, I'd be happy to do so; I've played enough dungeon crawlers and RPGs that I think I'm pretty decent at breaking games.


First bug, and it's a nasty one: http://imgur.com/Jq1oJdk

I'm getting this off a fresh new game. I fought one or two battles, won two Bat Souls, gave one to my first party member and shattered the other. Went back, slept, saved, loaded, and then winning souls me this error and crash the game. It happened twice (Serk, then Sahagin) and then never again. Which is intensely aggravating, because I spent half an hour working on reproducing it with no luck. Argh.

Edit: The actual crash happened when I tried to open the Souls menu, I believe.


Oh, nice! It's been long enough since I played that I've forgotten pretty much everything, so I'm looking forward to going through it again. It sounds like a large update.

Star Stealing Prince

Ah, okay, I was missing one of the skeletons. Problem fixed!

Star Stealing Prince

How am I supposed to get the Brown Cat Doll in Chapter 6? I missed it at the start of the game, and I've talked to everyone in town now with no luck. I'm pretty sure I can't progress without it.

Vacant Sky Vol. 1: Contention

have a question during the kagrin park festival whats the right order of gifts

so far i've figured out its...
Vel - teddy bear
Ray - cologne

but everyone else i'm a bit stumped any ideas??

Vel: Teddy Bear
Ray: Cologne
Zaqris: Watch
Seri: Journal
Blaise: Tie
Vanquish: strategy game set (I forget the name; it's in the Orkan shop)
Mia: Music Box
Rien: Orkan Wine (look for her after talking to Mia)

Act II+: Seeking beta testers!

Act II+: Seeking beta testers!

I'll help.

Vacant Sky Complete Edition: Act I+ Now Available

Finished it with all sidequests and Auria's special accessory. I didn't notice any bugs, though I did notice two speaker tag errors (the chest in the cave with Kasch has his speaker tag after talking to him, the second conversation with the farmer in Montagne has his last piece of dialogue use Auria's speaker tag). I'm looking forward to the rest.

It seems a little odd that the Oltram and Garas entries are still in the journal, though. You don't visit them on-screen in the revised Act 1, they're never mentioned outside of the journal, and the journal doesn't explicitly say that Auria, Seri and Zaqris passed through them on the way to Barette. Songuil explains itself, but unless the player played the original Act 1, they won't know what these places are or why they're there.

With no game profile to post this on, and a desire to gather commentary, why not post this here? [comments]

Thoughts by section:

Gameplay Goals

Prediction on skill) I've always thought that Suikoden handled it best with scaling experience. If each level is out of some set number, like 1000, then it's easier to get a feel for how much experience is scaling and how much you're actually getting per level. "I'm gaining 95 experience and need 1000" is much simpler than "I'm gaining 3212 and need 34000," even if they're both eleven battles.

I dislike level systems. Primarily, they serve as a kind of psychological reward, providing a smaller progression marker than the larger scale of bosses and dungeons. On the other hand, you generally only notice your level when it's insufficient. While keeping a player motivated and engaged is important, this compromises your ability to offer the player a fair challenge. You make assumptions as to what resources the player has based upon their assumed level and what items you expect them to have picked up. If they're too high-level, they have more than you expect; if they're too low-level, then they have less. Levels allow you to be wrong. If you eliminate levels from consideration and tie player strength strictly to story progression, then you have a much better idea of what they'll have available at any given point.

Levels do allow players to grind past parts that aren't well-adjusted to player strength, but if that's the case, why not allow players a certain ability to 'dial up' their expected strength themselves? It accomplishes the same thing with less irritation. Ditto if a player wants to avoid being overleveled; there's no need to run from encounters if there's no permanent effect on your options. This also provides players the choice to "dial down" if they want, providing a natural difficulty setting. Dial-Up is easy, Dial-Down is Hard.

(I realize I'm in entirely the wrong genre if I'm complaining about something as fundamental as levels! I find it irritating regardless.)

Convenience of names) I'm not that familiar with the icon options in the ability menus (it's been ages since I've used an RPGMaker for anything other than playing), but it strikes me that if naming simplicity is your goal, it'd be easy to use standardized names and icons as a kind of keyword system. This icon means "fire elemental magic," this name means "second level of intensity." The result is Fire 2. Change the icon to "ice elemental magic" and you have Ice 2. Or reverse which part means effect and which means intensity; the idea is the same. Or make it so "fire elemental" and "magic attack" are separate parts of the icon, which sets you change the "magic attack" part to "magic shield" and get NulBlaze.

Less immediately intuitive, more ultimately intuitive. Or so the theory goes, anyway. You'd have to experiment with it.

Predictable schedule) This is why even games with "save everywhere" features should have save points or some close equivalent. Regardless of shape or what other options come attached to it, I've yet to find a clearer means of communicating that "something starts or ends here" than a save point.

Battle set-up) Movement is fine so long as it doesn't obscure information.

Intelligent foes) As a random observation: It's problematic when enemies start to focus fire. There are essentially two settings for focus fire: 1) too powerful (kills / irresolvably outstrips healing) and 2) insufficient (cannot kill / outstripped by healing). This is why "focus your fire and take them down one-by-one" is very, very rarely deviated from as a strategy. Meanwhile, forcing some degree of dispersal of enemy aim creates more of a "putting out fires" triage mentality, more prone to sudden unplanned events or exploitation of ill-preparedness.

Also, if "Run" works 100% of the time, I will like your game more. I hate unreliable Run commands. Sometimes I just don't want the fight right at that moment!

Narrative goals:
Organic characterization) Good.

Serve small and frequent helpings) If you're incorporating a logbook with scene replay, you could just have all scenes go to the logbook with a "new scene, view now?" notification. Mark some as more important, mark some as less, and have a "current objective" area in the menu for those that don't care about the story or want to read it later.

Characters over events) I'd say this is the wrong way of putting it. Rather, I'd say "events should be made to serve and drive characterization." It should be equally true the other way, though. The divide between the two should be a thin one.

Multiple arcs) Good. There should always be a single greater plot arc. If it's resolved, the story is over.

Integration with the experience) Good.

One thing I'd recommend for Narrative Goals: "Have a central theme." The story needs to be fundamentally about something, and that theme should play into it at multiple levels. It should be explored at a variety of depths, from shallow to deep, and through a variety of characters. In a sense, it's the thematic equivalent of the greater plot arc.

Aesthetic goals section is all good.

Random thoughts. Good luck with your project.
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