Hub vs Adventure


Could you talk more about an open world being lots of levels that you replace over time?

I was wondering if something simple like Zelda giving the player more tools to interact with the environment, the hookshot for instance, and opening up shortcuts would count as doing that. Or were you thinking more drastic changes to the environment as the game goes on?

Hub vs Adventure

The always going forward linear style can often become exhausting if it starts to feel too much like "go here do this, now go here and fight this battle!" and your sort of just running from cutscene to cutscene. Still, I can see the appeal for player who really just want to experience the plot. Of course, the other extreme can become exhausting if it asks the player to tediously travel back and forth over the same areas. That can be relieved a bit with some form of fast travel.

I would define the structure of the earliest JRPGs as being about mastering the world as your traversal options increase. You start off in a small corner of the map and just getting to the next town over can be a dangerous trek. As you go, you get a spell that lets you teleport back to previously visited towns, you get the boat to reach new lands in any order (DQ3 turns into an open world treasure hunt at this point), and finally you get the airship/dragon/ramia/hot air balloon where you can freely travel anywhere without encounters. The dangerous large world you faced at the beginning has now become a little garden you have full control over. The player has conquered the map.

This is something you obviously lose with the point of no return linear style (and I'm including games that don't literally roadblock your way back but still give you no reason to go back despite allowing it). On the other hand, I do get what the OP means about linear games feeling more epic than something open world. With a linear game you can create smaller areas that give you a taste of different regions and cultures and it's easier to sell that their farther apart with fades between areas. That's mostly a problem in games where everything is meant to be the same scale especially in 3D games. Pixel art can sell abstraction better. I can believe most SNES RPGs have more towns than what's portrayed on the map. In Dragon Quest 8? Not so much. Though you also have the issue of zoomed world maps being less interesting to explore, but that's another topic.

My personal preference is for things to be more open than not. That doesn't mean I want everything to be open world - not at all - rather I just want some room to experiment, poke around, and have some choice over what I can tackle at the moment.

In regards to what defines an adventure, in D&D terms, your whole journey from starting the game to the end credits would be the campaign while the adventures would be the smaller episodes along the way. In Baldur's Gate, defeating Bhaal to avenge Gorion and save Sword Coast is the campaign, while going with Minsc to save his loved one in the Gnoll Fortress is an adventure. I've been thinking of the term in that way lately and I also feel those adventures don't exactly need much story either.

An adventure can be something as simple as stumbling on a fortress that the main story never asked you to go to. The enemies may be a little out of your range but not impossible. A player can become curious about what treasures are inside and decide to tackle the fortress now with a mixture of stealth and whatever tools they have at their disposal. In this way, the player might feel like they made their own side adventure inside your game (even though you technically created the circumstance intending to make them feel this way) because the motivation for doing so was entirely in their hands and not because a quest NPC or the main story told them to go there.

Of course not everything needs to be epic either. The Xenoblade remaster had that Future Connected episode and Pokemon had those Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra DLCs. Lately I've been fascinated by the design of these bonus episodes for creating mini-open worlds. People in general don't seem to like FC, but the pokemon DLC has gotten a fair amount of praise with people saying they wish the actual Sword & Shield were like it. So there's definitely an audience okay with the idea of an RPG having a tiny non-epic adventure in exchange for more freedom.

Whatchu Workin' On? Tell us!

Maybe not puzzles exactly, but CRPGs like Larian's games ask the player to utilize the environment to gain the upper hand. Stuff like spilling oil and setting it on fire. I imagine there's a lot of potential to build something more puzzle like out of those ideas. The Last Story used the environment in some pretty interesting ways from what I remember and had a neat way of incorporating a cover system into a JRPG.

My interest in on-field battles is just making the exploration and combat feel continuous. For my purposes, I mostly wanted field encounters to chase you. In the Chrono Trigger style you need to carve out specific areas to be that encounter's arena. Enemies have to stay put and sneaking involves just hugging the wall. Deltarune had such an elegant solution to having battles exist in their own space while still feeling more connected thanks to the player characters being on screen during the transition - I'm surprised it's never been done before (at least that I'm aware).

Anyways, yea, at it's most basic single hit arts are simply more attractive to use against enemies that block and multi-hit are more attractive to use against evasive enemies or non-block-able enemies if it deals more damage. But most arts have some effect attached to them. Like Heavy Tackle inflicts stun on the second hit. The frog boss's tongue lash move it uses at full TP is three hits with stun on the third hit. In the video, I defend when I saw the frog had full TP so only the first hit went through.

So, the game would never really ask you to choose between Power Smash (1 hit - 4 dmg) and Double Slash (2 hits - 1 dmg on first hit, 3 dmg on second hit). I figured there would be times when it's worth the risk to attempt the two-hit stun move against an enemy that blocks. That's also why I like it being chance based since it leaves the possibility of success instead of just saying your multi-hit arts are effectively unusable until you put the enemy into a certain state.

I imagine the player's primary reason for picking an art is it's effect and then how many hits it has and if the effect is applied to all hits or only one is just something extra to consider. I wanted to avoid making the combat feel like it's overcentralized around any one mechanic, but rather it would feel Dragon Quest-like up front but with an extra series of interesting little considerations if that makes sense. On the other hand, I'm starting to see how it could look like a mess of needless convolutions if the system isn't more centralized around the differing hit counts.

I'm not even entirely sure how magic fits into this system yet. Corum is a rogue with some support arts, Astra's the tanky warrior, and the third and last party member is supposed to be a mage. I've got it setup so that magic can be blocked but it won't deflect the rest of the attack if it's multi-hit. Part of me feels like magic attacks don't really need to be a thing in this system though.

I was not familiar with Slay the Spire, and only now looked it up when I read your post. Cosmic Star Heroine was a game that came to mind with a similar way of handling debuffs: each time you attempt a status it reduces the chance of the status until it finally hits. I was planning on make the break status work this way. Stun resistance can be removed by inflicting break, but enemies would also have break resistance. Every time you attempting to inflict break, break resist is lowered and resets after recovering from break. I had in mind that your first break art is three hits with break only on the last hit then later on you get a two hit break move with break on each hit. It would have a much higher TP cost (and/or cooldown?) but would reduce break resistance quicker.

Thank you for taking the time to watch the video and for the compliments.

Whatchu Workin' On? Tell us!

Hey, been working on making an RPG from scratch in Game Maker Studio 2. Thought I'd share a vid of what I've got going after about three weeks of work. I have a lot of basics up and running with cutscenes, NPCs, treasure chests, and of course combat. There are no animations yet and all graphics are just placeholders right now.

The combat is what I've spent the most time on and what I wanted to talk about. Here's the current direction of it:
- Sliding in and out of combat as well as the battle background are pretty much shamelessly taken from Deltarune. I liked having the characters slide from the field to battle position. The background was simply easy to do. Making actual battle backgrounds is beyond my skill level. I also ruled out encounters being continuous with the field (like Chrono Trigger) for a number of reasons. I'd like to get this project done in a reasonable amount of time so there needs to be some shortcuts.

- The style of turn based is very simple one turn per round, not CTB or anything fancy. I chose this direction for its simplicity both in putting it together and planning battles in my head. There will be a visible turn queue, I just haven't made it yet.

- When attacking, all units that are neither the attacker or the target have a shader applied to them that makes them transparent red. This is something the DS demake have Xenosaga did (see here: It seemed a good way to help the player focus on what's important. Let me know if it looks bad though.

- Whenever an enemy uses anything but a basic attack, they have a charge up with some energy particles. This is mostly to give the player time to read the name of the enemy's skill. The particle effect was made in Pixel FX Designer and I'm happy with the result. I'll be using the same tool to create spell animations.
- There's a small screen shake effect when attacking. I'm wondering if there should be some more visual impact like making the target's sprite flicker or flash red.

- When exiting combat, the player character flickers and can't get attacked by another on-field encounter while it lasts just like Xenosaga.

- A while back I made a topic on here talking about Paper Mario combat. I liked the multi-hit vs. heavy single hit in a system with subtractive defense, and wanted to utilize that in a game with more traditional stat growth that PM lacks. Nowadays, I'm less crazy about that threshold-focused design but I still wanted multi-hit attacks to be meaningfully different.
In what I've got now, there is no defense at all but enemies have a block rate (think Dragon Quest 9 or Xenoblade). There's a chance an enemy will block only taking half damage. If a multi-hit attack is blocked, subsequent hits are canceled. So arts that deal heavy damage in one hit are still more useful against defensive enemies than multi-hit arts even without subtractive defense (especially since the damage ratio per hit is uneven - later hits deal more damage for most multi-hit arts). For demonstration, the rock crab's block rate is set to 100% in the video but no enemy will actually have 100% block rate. I should probably include a status effect that makes enemies unable to block as well. Player characters can block by defending.

- Every time you stun an enemy, they gain more resistance to stun. The rate is dependent on the enemy. The frog boss gains a whopping 50% stun resistance after he recovers from the first stun. The break status will reduce stun resist to zero but that's not in the video.

- Enemy placement in battle is janky. There's an invisible 9x9 grid. The horizontal space of the grid had to be stretched out to fit the slimes with the much larger frog sprite but now the crab is way too far from the action. I may need to make personalized coordinates for each enemy formation.
- Enemies charge up TP (blue gauge) while attacking. When it's full they use a special attack. I might need to find a way to make this more apparent to the player. Later you'll get moves that deplete enemy TP. I like the idea of having a tug-of-war over enemies' skill resource.

I think that's all I have to say about it right now. Any feedback is greatly appreciated especially early on while it's still easy to change stuff. I'll probably move on to actually working on sprites and tiles. I'm thinking enemies won't be animated all. I thought I might get away with giving player characters only one attack animation. I'm a complete beginner to pixel art and I've been procrastinating on it.

What are you thinking about? (game development edition)

Thanks for the response! I like the idea of a battle gauntlet. My initial concept for a small RPG was a short adventure on a floating island with two towns, two caves, a forest dungeon, a tower, and a final dungeon, but I see the need to think much smaller.

Now, I'm leaning toward the idea of structuring a game around a tournament like the Glitz Pit chapter in Paper Mario TTYD. So I'd just have the arena to fight through the gauntlet and then a small town surrounding it to walk around in and buy accessories with your winnings inbetween bouts.

I have to say, FF7 without materia does not sound very fun, but that's mostly because there isn't much going on in the actual combat in that game. So if I put a lot of focus into giving enemies interesting things to do and give the player just enough skills to have interesting interactions with what enemies can do, then I think it's possible to skate by without any customization beyond two accessory slots, especially since all the battles would be one-time boss fights if I go with the gauntlet route.

Best of luck in building your Grandia style system!

What are you thinking about? (game development edition)

Hey, I posted on here a little over a year ago about making an RPG in Game Maker Studio. I ended up getting overwhelmed with the project and other things going on, but I'm getting back into it now. I'm still going to use GMS, but starting fresh, I understand the need to significantly reduce the scope of the project.

I've identified three main things I want out of this project:
1) The game needs to be small, and I need to make and release it in a short amount of time. I want the experience of actually finishing a game and going through the release process. I've been looking at Final Fantasy 2's bonus campaign Soul of Rebirth in the GBA version and Xenoblade's bonus campaign Future Connected in the switch version as some examples of how to do a short RPG adventure.
2) I want to learn and make sure I grasp the fundamentals of making an RPG both design wise and coding wise. I want to make sure I walk away from this project with an understanding of the basics and good practices of coding an RPG from scratch.
3) In its simplicity, the game still needs to be fun. In spite of how short and small scale the game is, it still needs to have enough going on mechanically so that someone can have a good time with it. If I'm going to throw it out there for other people to play - even if it ends up only being an hour long and only one person ever plays it - it's important to me that I'm not wasting an hour of that person's life.

Where I'm at now is balancing these three things. For example: to fulfill the first point, I was thinking a three-person party and you only get three characters. But to fulfill point 2, I wonder if I should go ahead and put in a fourth character to get experience with swapping out party members from the active party (especially in battle where I need to worry about keeping track of buffs/debuffs for a character when they get switched out). But that could come at the cost of fulfilling point 1.

Same with gameplay. RPGs are very system heavy games, and that's the appeal for a lot of people. So where do you draw the line for what to include? I'm thinking no character building mechanics on top of no swappable party members. Just have three character who each learn six non-upgradeable skills and always have those six skill equipped. They'd each have their own weapon type similar to Chrono Trigger but without all the time travel and other things that make CT great. Each have two accessory slots and accessories are all side-grades. No passives. Is that too extreme though? Should I strive to have some character building mechanics even if it hurts point 1, but helps points 2 and 3. Part of me feels I should at least try to make a very basic skill tree for each character where they can learn passives.

Same with whether or not I should have a world map. Soul of Rebirth's one town with three teleportation gates and not actually connected areas falls to far in the opposite direction for my taste. I could write a whole other post on my many mixed feelings about world maps so I'll refrain here.

So, I'm just going through process of figuring out how big is too big for a first RPG and how little is too little to actually be worth anyone giving it a glance. If anyone's got some good rules of thumb on making an hour or two hour long RPG adventure, let me know!

FF7 remake. It's a thing.

I'm a little concerned about how long the game is, though. I seem to recall reading an article in a GameInformer that each "episode" is supposed to be equivalent to one main-line entry in the series? I don't pretend to know how many "episodes" they are planning, or how far into the game the first "episode" is. However, the statement irks me a little bit, and makes me a bit worried about the remake's future, if that is their aim.

I think I found the source for this:

So if we're just looking at each of these parts, one part should be on par with the scale of one Final Fantasy XIII game.

FF13 games were around 30 hours if I'm remembering right, so I'd expect individual parts of this new FFVII series to be 30 hours in length. Although there is a question as to whether that would be 30 hours to rush through the story or only if you do all the side content. From the E3 footage, we already saw a new side quest where you have to escort Jessie on a motorcycle with a piece of materia as a reward.

I think most the increased width of the remake will come from trying to get the world of FFVII to feel like a real place. Square really backed away from abstract concepts at the start of the PS2 era with FFX ditching the world map. It seems they want to maintain that lack of abstraction of a modern game while maintaining the scope of the original. That's the vibe I'm getting. I imagine they want to give the world an actual sense of infrastructure. In episode 2 we could see actual roads throughout the world outside Midgar with farmlands around Kalm and trucks carrying produce in and out. I'll be impressed if they pull it off.

Overall I'm still pretty positive about the remake and loved just about everything we saw at E3. The combat has me really excited, the guard scorpion fight looked incredible. I like the stagger system (it actually looks more like Xenosaga 3's break system than FF13's stagger), I liked how the boss had different stances that asked the player to move around it (it's weak spot being it's anus was... something), I liked how debris fell to constantly changed the battlefield, add cover, and just how important the environment was to the fight. I like everything I saw combat wise.

Story wise, it looks like they're adding some weird stuff. The ghosts tormenting Aerith looked a little goofy without context. I'll admit I don't care much if it's truly honoring the legacy or anything like (I think FF15 already killed the legacy), FF7 just isn't sacred or special to me. I want to be clear I'm not trying to invalidate those that do feel that way, however, just explaining why I personally am not that concerned.

What did excite me about the story stuff was that scene with Tifa questioning what they were doing and expressing a feeling of being trapped. If they really take the increased length to flesh out these characters and add more of these quiet human moments like this new Tifa scene, I'll be pretty satisfied with the game as whole.

Marrend plays Xenogears!

I adore Xenogears (and all Xeno games without the number 2 in the title). I've seen people dismiss it as the epitome of that try-hard edgy anime where teenagers kill god like a poster above mentioned, but it's so much deeper than that. It's depth, use of subtext, and the way it delves into actual philosophical and psychological theories gives Xenogears a literary quality seldom seen in JRPGS. Sure, there's plenty anime-ness and the typical hallmarks of Japanese media are there as well, there's even some eyeroll-inducing instances of slapstick, but as a whole it's an incredible work.

As time passed, I think Takahashi learned how to tell more marketable stories that work better with games. The Xenoblade games, by comparison have a better sense of pacing and have a central narrative mechanic also function with the gameplay (Shulk's visions in 1 or the driver-blade partnership in 2).

Notably Shulk and Rex are quick to find motivation that will drive the plot at the beginning of their stories. In contrast, Fei wanders aimlessly contemplating suicide for a while before coming to a wishy-washy non-committal resolution that he'll help rebuild the village when tensions cool down. It isn't until they're making plans in Nissan when Fei agrees to partake in the border skirmish you could argue he has a goal, but even then it's just fulfilling what others want of him because he has nothing else. For a long time, Fei has no long term goal. He just wants something based on the circumstances at the moment. Most 'how to write a novel' guide you'd find around will tell you to do never do something like that, but the fact that Xenogears goes against practical writing advice is why I love it.

While Takahashi's newer stuff tells more marketable stories, and I enjoy Xenoblade as a game more than gears, it's how raw of a passion project Xenogears is that makes it Takahashi's best story. It's a messy yet inspirationally ambitious work about broken people picking themselves up and finding a way to move forward with philosophical musings on everything from substance abuse, mental illness, and the strength of family to organized religion and plenty of ontological musings that fascinate me endlessly. And on top of that, Mitsuda's soundtrack with some Celtic and Bulgarian inspirations is gorgeous ranging from warm and rustic to otherworldly and divine, the icing on the cake.

Unfortunately Kaori Tanaka (aka Soraya Saga) never really collaborated with her husband and Monolith Soft or wrote much for videogames in general after the first Xenosaga. Her only other credit afterward is Soma Bringer (Takahashi's DS game - it's Diablo 2 with a cheery anime skin) in 2008. I always assumed the difficulties of Xenosaga 2's development caused her to lose interest.

Anyways, I thought you or others enjoying your let's play might be interested in some supplemental material on Xenogears and it's development. There exists a website called the xenogears/xenosaga study guide that's extensively researched behind the scenes ongoing with Takahashi's work. They have a great write up on the history of Xenogears and saga:

in addition to some other interesting articles. The site went away for a while and recently came back a year or so ago with less stuff. I will say, the guy running it absolutely hates Xenoblade so if you like blade, be warned of the occasional trashtalking. Also, this Xenomira blog has been doing a lot translations for stuff regarding Takahashi and Monolithsoft. They have a collection of interviews for Xenogears, some as recent as 2018 with Takahashi and Mitsuda at the Xenogears 20th anniversary concert:

Reading all of your posts really make want to revisit this game now as it's been a few years. I do however have some gripes regarding the deathblow system and combat in general, it's one of the few games I like in spite of the combat.

Whatchu Workin' On? Tell us!

Hello, I've been working on getting everything for my combat system programmed in GMS2. I'm using arrays to create a Final Fantasy XII inspired gambit system to handle enemy actions in battle. I'm going back and forth on when I want the enemy to recheck the gambits though.

For a while now, I've wanted a way for enemies to emote skills before they use them. I planned to have an icon above an enemy's head when it's preparing any skill other than a basic attack, and then the player could react accordingly. This made sense when the battle was traditional turn based and had the player and enemies queue up commands at the start of a round. Now that I've changed the system to be CTB, this ability to see what the enemy's planning makes the battle less dynamic. The enemy needs to set their gambit at the end of their last turn and can't change it again even when the combat situation changes. I'll show what I mean, here's a video testing out my game (the player character has no animations and it's all very rough and early, so bare with me):

The slimes have one gambit to heal a fellow monster if their HP drops under 75%, if the gambit check is untrue, they do a basic attack. The green clover icon above the slimes' heads means their preparing a healing spell (different icons will represent different skill types).

In the video, everyone's HP is full at the start so all slimes set their skill to the basic attack. The player damages one slime before their turns start but their gambits are already set to use the basic attack. After they perform their basic attack, then their gambits check the damaged slime and they all prepare for the heal skill, then they all heal the damaged slime even though just one heal was enough to top him off. You see the problem?

They could check their gambits again at the start of their turn but then I'd lose the predictability that this whole icon thing was made for in the first place. It feels like a traded in too much dynamic enemy tactics for predictability and I'm unsure if I should continue in this direction.

I was thinking that the enemy skill prediction thing could be that core unique mechanic for my game so I'm apprehensive to ditch it. On the other hand, you can see an enemy's mana beneath their health and there's a general idea that the higher the MP, the more likely they are to use more potent abilities. So I would still have some element of being able get a handle on what the enemy is planning. I also sort of hate having icons all over the screen all the time.

I'm thinking maybe just have the icon and unchangeable skill decision for really devastating attacks instead of EVERY skill bar the basic attacks. Regardless, I'm happy with myself for programming a gambit system, so that's nice.

What Defines Grinding

Thanks everyone for your replies! You've all given me much to think about, I'll try to address as much as I can.

Hi, I don't know if I'd entirely agree on the first Dragon Quest. Grinding is more important than most RPGs but there's still an emphasize on finding the right 'counter' to an enemy. I think Final Fantasy conditioned people to never use status effects but they've always been reliable in DQ. A lot of heavy hitters like the golems and the green dragon guarding the princess don't have too much resistance to sleep and magic castors can be shut down with stopspell. It's all very primitive as it's the first JRPG but there's some basic tactics with crowd control and weighing your MP against your survivability to know if it's worth ending a fight sooner with a hurt spell while also conserving just enough MP to use the teleportation spells when needed. There's more to it than just grinding. It's possible to beat the Dragon Lord at level 19 when you finishing learning all the spells despite the various guides that tell you to grind up to level 30. I've personally beaten at level 19.

I say DQ3 is when the series as we know it really started though (DQ2 was made under a time crunch and no one on the dev team could finish a full playthrough before release so we'll ignore it). That was still in the 80s and has quite a bit of strategy. Just look at the encounters you face before even getting to the next landmass away from Alihan. Most enemies have some gimmick that makes you think differently about your strategy. The moths in the tower of Najima can blind you, the anteater things in the cave to Romaly ignore your formation and pile on one party member, the spiked hares have high agility and are likely to attack before all except maybe your fighter, and it keeps going from there. There's just enough going between enemies gimmicks, different enemies arrangements with different synergies between their strengths and gimmicks, and your own party's abilities and individual strengths to get players thinking a little on to who target first, how to spread out your targets based on character speeds, and what spells might be worth using (not to mention spells are useful and fulfill some niche - even weird stuff like ironize/kaclang).

Tactics have always been there to some extent. Not every game should be Divinity: Original Sin, I would hate that, but I do think most RPGs should strive to have a decent level of tactical thinking without being exhausting.

The thing about about MMO-style quests definitely falls into the "what IS grinding?" blurriness. I don't play MMOs but the Xenoblade games are heavily influenced by MMO design. I remember watching my sister play the first Xenoblade and she had a very positive reaction to the sidequests saying they made grinding fun and not really feel like grinding. But then you can find reviews talking about how awful and grindy the side quests were (the Kotaku review is particularly savage).

I don't want to make a game ABOUT grinding. I just want to give that sense of progression, of collecting power. If I start a game playing as the cobbler's daughter fighting rats with a kitchen knife then it'll be all the sweeter when she's taking on eldritch horrors decked out in crystal plate mail.

Hi! You say that players would eventually figure out how many touch encounters they should regularly be getting into, but several reviewers for DQ11 sure didn't. I think just learning that you fought too few encounters can cause enough frustration to make a player want to quit rather than learn to get it right. And in spite of those reviewers feeling they had to go back in grind, you look at forums like Dragon's Den and you see a lot people talking about how 11 is the easiest in the series (which I agree with) and that normal encounters are practically optional.

This is just like with MMO-style sidequests that Darken mentioned. It's difficult to predict just how a player will react to a lot of this stuff. It's wild to me that two players can have such drastically different views on if a game is grindy or not. I understand what Sooz said about it being a fool's errand, but I feel the ideal design would be one that does manage to predict these reactions to make sure the fewest amount of players possible walk away feeling the game is grindy.

I worded my post poorly when I said 'players who don't enjoy the game'. I was thinking more along the lines of people who could enjoy the game but there's something keeping them back, if I could figure out what that was, I could sort it out. Like if the golden-path reviewer was able to have a better understanding of how many touch encounters to battle (like if someone told him to fight one of every new thing) then maybe he would've enjoyed DQ11 more. Which leads me into...

Hello! So, about the convince thing. I've been thinking about the designer of game as being like a host desperately trying to entertain their guests. It's not so much that I want to be all "you're playing it wrong!!" it's more like "oh, your not enjoying that particular activity? Well, don't worry that's just for that one group, we have other fun things you can do over here that might appeal to you more."

What I see often is players who say they feel the need to grind and that the game is too easy - two things that seem contradictory outside a poorly designed game. When I say convince, it's that I want to assure them that the thing they find unfun isn't necessary and help them find a way to do it that is fun for them.

I guess that mostly comes down to play conditioning and placement of touch encounters. However, I worry that just the mere presence of optional content will put a thought in the back of the player's mind that they should be doing more. If they struggle against a boss they'll start thinking "I guess the game WANTED me to do those sidequests" and I want say "N-No! You don't have to do any fighting you don't want to, you can figure out a strategy with the stuff you have!"

Most of you mentioned making the encounters fun and varied. I feel it goes without saying, that's certainly what I hope to achieve. It is somewhat subjective though. There are action games where I don't find fighting common enemies as fun as some turn based battles against normal encounters. Fighting hoards of heartless/unversed in Kingdom Hearts games can sometimes feel like chore, and, like I said, I often do the bare minimum to remove a threat in Zelda games (despite being my favorite series).

I'm sorry if I didn't address you directly, I still read and appreciate your comments. Been a little down lately and feeling indecisive so thanks again to everyone for the replies! Sorry my posts are behemoths, I'll work on cutting down.
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