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FF3j Battle Interface Upgrade

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Hello!

I just finished revamping the battle interface for Final Fantasy III, based loosely on Final Fantasy IV. This has been on my bucket list for a long time, since we never got a 2D remake of this game. So here are the changes:
  • Windows are now FF4-style.
  • Unnecessary battle messages/commentary - the stuff that can be discerned from the animations alone - are bypassed. This speeds up the action a bit and looks cleaner.
  • Battle messages are re-positioned and displayed one at a time.
  • The monster list window on the left stays drawn during the action, updating after each actor's turn.
  • Damage numbers are white, as is the series standard (they're easier to read that way, too).
  • No more mandatory button press at the beginning of non-ambush battles. Rejoice!
  • No more character I.D. numbers blinking on targets during target selection.
  • Critical/status-afflicted sprites for Ranger, Dark Knight, and Sage have been flipped horizontally.
This hack is based on FF3j English translation version by A.W.Jackson/Neill Corlett/SoM2Freak, v1.1.

The patch can be found here. Latest version is 1.5, updated May 19, 2017. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
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  • Binarynova (04-08-2016)

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So happy to see some FF3j love!

I patched up an extra copy of FF3j and loaded it onto my Everdrive! Giving it a playthrough now! Like it so far, though the end of battle windows feel a bit slower than normal maybe? Could be in my head. Smile
Even after just the Altar Cave, I can tell I'm paying more attention to the battle screen; the reduced text boxes do a lot to clear the clutter.

Have you considered doing any other FF3j hacks? The out-of-battle menu could do with a bit of improvement too. Do we need to be forced to remove a piece of equipment before looking at the inventory to replace it? Also, it would be nice if the game let you change jobs while equipped, and just did the unequipping for you. Regardless, your hack is great! I think I'll be using it for all my future casual runs of the game!


Thanks for sharing!
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#3
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I'm glad you like it, Binarynova!

I just checked for myself and did not notice a difference in timing for the end-of-battle messages. ...Not exactly a rigorous response, but I can't remember whether or not I modified the "message order list" that those messages use. (Generally the lists would be reduced, not expanded).

Actually, good eye. There's definitely a slight delay between messages. It's a side-effect of another part of the modification...but I'll have to investigate to make sure it's unavoidable/worth it.

Edit: So it turns out the lag is caused by redrawing the enemy list window after every "turn". It was simple enough to exclude that from the end of the battle. You can check the same link here for the updated version.


Those are some good ideas for later! Both examples are definitely annoying. The first should be an easy fix, the second a bit more challenging but doable. Perhaps I'll look into it when I'm done with my current project.

Cheers!
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  • Binarynova (04-17-2016)

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Hey! Thanks for the quick response! I downloaded the new patch and I'll give it a shot later on today!

Edit: Playing it now and I've noticed that most end of battle message sequences go really fast now, but there seem to be some apparently random times when they still go slow.

I thought of another possible update for the future: in battle, if you select a spell to cast, and then change your mind while choosing a target, pressing B doesn't return you to the magic menu, it kicks you all the way back to the main battle menu. Usually I still want to cast a spell, so that's always been a bit irritating. Also, much smaller thing: making the post-LandTurtle cutscene skippable. Wink

Also, are there any docs out there regarding modifying these kinds of routines? I wouldn't mind digging into it and trying to help out, though I know basically nothing about ASM hacking.
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  • silentenigma (04-29-2016)

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Binarynova, on my current status -

I found a solution to the rarer slowdown case and implemented it along with your magic menu suggestion, but I also want to do the same for the item menu before I release. Unfortunately I won't have much time over the next couple of weeks, but I after that I should be able to finish up.

I'm not aware of any significant documentation for this game (beyond my own sloppy notetaking!). Like you said, it hasn't gotten all that much hacking attention. I've generally just been using the fceux debugger and general 6502 (NES CPU) documentation to glean what I can about the code.

As for assembly hacking...if you ever wanted to get into it, I wouldn't start here (haha). Even with the formal training I've had, given the above, I'm sure you can imagine this project has involved a lot of intuition and head-scratching. But if you have your low-level comp sci concepts down, feel free to fire up fceux and give it a whirl.

Either way, you're clearly a more astute tester than I've been, and a pickier player, so that's already valuable to progress.
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I'm back, and I've released a new version with the following updates:
  • End-of-battle messages are consistently fast
  • Canceling magic targeting returns you to the magic menu, not the top menu
  • Canceling item targeting returns you to the item menu, not the top menu
  • Magic/item window transitions are adjusted somewhat
  • Accessing the command to change rows now only requires one press of the left/right button, rather than two.
See the OP for the link. Cheers!
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Awesome! I'll be giving this one a shot this week! Looking forward to it!
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New version is up (1.4), addressing a number of issues which popped up with more extended testing:
  • Improved message inclusion/exclusion
    > Terrain ability names are now properly displayed.
    > Libra now works properly.
    > No more brief "aslp", "para", or "cured" flashes
    > Some previously excluded enemy messages (e.g. "summoned a monster") are retained.
  •  "Petr " message now reads "Petrified".
  • Fixed a bug in paralysis & sleep recovery animation
  • Fixed a bug which prevented enemies from fleeing
 
Any remaining issues, I believe, should be quite remote.

See the OP for the link. Cheers!
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#9
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Looking great! Trying out the latest version now (1.41).

The only thing that stands out for me is the item window transitions, which feel a bit odd. Since it starts with the equipment pane open, you have to wait for it to slide closed before you can use any items.

Other than that I don't see any problems! This is a great hack! Thank you for all your time and effort!
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#10
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The item transition was actually a part of an effort to minimize how often the bottom windows get fully erased. I've come to agree it's a bit too quirky of a side effect. (Not to mention I noticed a rare bug with it recently.) So I rolled that feature back to something a bit more modest - version 1.43 is up. No telling if that'll be the last revision, but I'm pretty content with what it is at this point.

Thanks! It's been fun!
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