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ReCast FF3: War of the Magitek

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(05-31-2020, 10:58 AM)Lockirby2 Wrote: Alright, I made it to the end!

From what I can tell, the spell Aurora is the only percentage-based attack that the party can use (other than BumRush, which is fair) that doesn't deal poison-based damage.  Not only that, but it attacks all enemies and pretty much heals the caster to full HP too, making it even more broken than Onyx.  I'm not sure if it's a bug and you intended it to either be Poison-element or if it was supposed to have a different effect (I'm willing to look in the ME since I'm finished the game, so I see that the Blow Fish effect is set on this attack, but this appears to do nothing).
It doesn't do percentage damage (or rather it wasn't supposed to), it just does 1000 HP damage to all enemies (the blowfish effect, or at least that's what it was supposed to do).  I wanted pearl-type attacks to do damage based on the caster's HP but I was struggling with Aurora.  Perhaps it should work like Efflux, but only on the enemies (caster's HP in damage divided by number of targets).  I could try making it a revenge-style attack, but players would cast it at full health and assume it was useless.
Alternatively I could drop the redirection from it so that it's strictly an attack spell.  But... if I do that it would almost certainly be better to cast Pearl instead of Aurora in all instances.
That might work, though... if it keeps the redirect it would work like a personal white wind.  Using it below half health would have quickly diminishing returns, making other healing spells (like Drain) a better choice in those instances.  ...Yeah, I like the sound of that.  I think I'll make that change next time I open the editor.

"Hound" is a free step-mine.  You need to walk the dog to make it better.  The longer you play, the more powerful that command becomes.  Clyde's magic is admittedly bad because he starts with status magic and he's slow on learning Aero spells.  Aero does have the advantage of being mostly undefended from enemy resistance, but Clyde's magic stat is lower than the other natural casters so it's possible that's making him mediocre.  I'm not sure what I should do to make him more effective as a caster... I could increase his magic power or decrease the learn level for his spells, but changes like that would necessitate players starting a new save (particularly the former, which is bad after a hack has been released).
I suppose I could make Hound more powerful by decreasing the divisor that the Step Mine effect applies to the step counter.  If I recall correctly, the spell's power level is inversely proportional to the damage the ability inflicts.  I think Hound is currently set to the same ratio as his dog-block counter; I'll look into increasing the damage so that it is more significant relative to his automatic responses.

With regards to the sea horse, I debated shrinking it and decided instead to use it as a 'dragon' sprite.  The mythical hippocampus is roughly that size, so I thought it would be an okay sprite to leave.  Perhaps if I change the name "Latimera" to "Hippocampus" it'll make that intent clear... it was a fluke that serpent's trench was completely vanilla as sprites go and I understand why that would be jarring to the player.

I'll agree with you on Malboro; I ran into a scrambling graphic issue that forced me to shrink ALL enemies into the 64x64 moulds, and some of the shrinks were more frantic than others.  Malboro was among them, as were the cranes.  The Triad also got caught up in this problem; originally they were going to remain 'romance painting' styled, but the graphic scramble forced me to scale them down to their field sprites.
The culprit?  You guessed it, the status monster.  There's a reason it's named "Fight", before I reduced the rage menu Gau could use it as a rage, and it wasn't like I could avoid putting it in formations.  When it didn't start with "Clear" status, it would make an ugly smear on the screen before vanishing.  When it did start with "Clear", Gau would be able to get a free Vanish anytime he wanted.  To fix the smear, I had to make sure there was a mould slot set aside for it in EVERY formation, which meant switching most formations to mould set 4.  When it was still causing problems in fights like Chardanook, I decided to limit the rage list so I could set it to be 'clear' at the start of a battle, but by then the monsters had all been shrunk already.  Oh well!


I appreciate your constructive review.  Admittedly I wasn't trying to be definitive with this hack; I knew the general impression would be that the graphics were silly and my audience would be resistant to them.  I did try to make the story more coherent and I suppose it reveals my writing weaknesses (though I don't think Gau writing letters is silly, because he's trying to culture himself and Mobliz was right next to the Veldt).  You also picked up on spots where I struggled with the sprites: I had tiling issues with Relm and I had to revise Gau's WoR sprites several times because I learned his growth spurt would conflict with battle animations pre-programmed for the Veldt.  By the time I had Gau to a point where he was bearable, he kinda had an "oversized jacket and tiny arms" thing going on.  I was eager to put the hack behind me, so I decided it was good enough.


I'm not sure how anybody would go about adding more challenge to the hack, but I know that I'm not going to be the one to do it.  Increasing difficulty in a JRPG means either constricting leveling opportunities or tailoring battle scripts to specific puzzle scenarios.  Since most of the monsters in ReCast don't even have scripts (and just run off their colosseum code), it's out of my league to build a puzzle battle experience.
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(05-31-2020, 12:12 PM)C-Dude Wrote: "Hound" is a free step-mine.  You need to walk the dog to make it better.

That's good to know.  I didn't pick up on that at all.  That said, other than the fact that it can be turned into a disk-one nuke if you run in circles for a few hours, the attack still isn't as interesting as what most of the other characters have at their disposal.

(05-31-2020, 12:12 PM)C-Dude Wrote: With regards to the sea horse, I debated shrinking it and decided instead to use it as a 'dragon' sprite.  The mythical hippocampus is roughly that size, so I thought it would be an okay sprite to leave.  Perhaps if I change the name "Latimera" to "Hippocampus" it'll make that intent clear... it was a fluke that serpent's trench was completely vanilla as sprites go and I understand why that would be jarring to the player.

Honestly, I didn't even realize that the hippocampus was a mythological creature until you said it here.  I always just thought that name was just FF6 being FF6.  The other serpent trench enemies looked fine to me after a second's thought since jellyfish can be pretty huge and corals are variably-sized.

(05-31-2020, 12:12 PM)C-Dude Wrote: Admittedly I wasn't trying to be definitive with this hack

Yeah, I feel like this came through from what you've said in the past.  Statements like that were mostly aimed at the RHDN review readers so that they know exactly what they're getting into when they play this hack.  It was less about giving a qualitative "rating" to the hack and more about describing what it is and isn't so that the reader can make an informed choice about whether the hack is up their alley.

(05-31-2020, 12:12 PM)C-Dude Wrote: I did try to make the story more coherent and I suppose it reveals my writing weaknesses.

To some extent, I'll admit that I'm so used to FF6's regular inconsistencies that fixing those inconsistencies and adding different inconsistencies will make me think it's more inconsistent.  I'm a bit biased. Tongue

(05-31-2020, 12:12 PM)C-Dude Wrote: (though I don't think Gau writing letters is silly, because he's trying to culture himself and Mobliz was right next to the Veldt)

It was less the fact that Gau could write at all and more about the details:

-Unlike Cyan, Gau doesn't really have a strong personal reason to go as far as impersonating Lola's boyfriend to console her. He maybe kinda knows the boyfriend and is generally a well-meaning person, but that rationale isn't nearly as strong.
-It doesn't feel like Gau should be as embarrassed when violating social norms by making flowers or writing poorly thought out letters
-I can buy that Gau has learned to write, but it feels implausible that he is proficient enough to impersonate Lola's boyfriend when he still speaks and writes in sentence fragments
-Sudden flawless poetry in iambic pentameter: "The world before the fall, Lovely is the light of dawn, Noble is the heart of man..."; this doesn't seem like the kind of thing somebody can write in what may as well be a second language.

(05-31-2020, 12:12 PM)C-Dude Wrote: I'm not sure how anybody would go about adding more challenge to the hack, but I know that I'm not going to be the one to do it.  Increasing difficulty in a JRPG means either constricting leveling opportunities or tailoring battle scripts to specific puzzle scenarios.  Since most of the monsters in ReCast don't even have scripts (and just run off their colosseum code), it's out of my league to build a puzzle battle experience.

Fair enough.  Again, this was less of a complaint and more of a note to the review reader.

That said, I don't think it's necessary to restrict leveling opportunities (or go the drastic extent of creating puzzle bosses) to build difficulty into a JRPG.  Some JRPGs, like Octopath Traveler, are successful at making smart decisions more important than grinding without turning any bosses into a puzzle with only one or two specific solutions.  In the realm of FF6 hacks, Brave New World also achieves similar results.  I think ReCast is an improvement over vanilla in this department.

Personally, I tend to see leveling in a JRPG as a sort of granular difficulty switch.  When I want to play on "Normal" difficulty, I play through without running or grinding.  If somebody wants to play on "Easy", they can grind to level 70, and if somebody wants to play on "Hard", they can fight everything at level 6.  So when I describe ReCast's difficulty, I'm specifically talking about the first scenario.  Even if a player can grind out of a situation, I still consider a game more challenging if it requires a bit of strategy and optimization to win at that "Normal" setting.

In summary, I think that if strategy impacts the game far less than level (like the original Dragon Warrior), then battles can only be a grindfest or a cakewalk.  If the tuning on the "Normal" setting is wrong, then the intended audience either won't need or won't understand how to make the right decisions to win.  Under this paradigm, I'd just conclude that I'm just not in your target audience.  But if (for some reason) you decided that somebody like me should be the target audience, I think that these would be the best methods of tuning the balance to fit me rather than restricting leveling or making battles a puzzle.


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  • C-Dude (05-31-2020)

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(05-31-2020, 09:19 PM)Lockirby2 Wrote: That's good to know.  I didn't pick up on that at all.  That said, other than the fact that it can be turned into a disk-one nuke if you run in circles for a few hours, the attack still isn't as interesting as what most of the other characters have at their disposal.
I doubled the damage of it in my latest build and it hits about as hard as a single Edgar jump (my test save's outside Setzer's tomb).  I think it needs to scale a little faster than that, but that means it'll be stronger than the actual Step Mine spell.  As I think of it, though, that's not such a bad thing because Strago has versatility that Clyde doesn't.

I also thought hard about TetraSlice and replaced it with a new move OniBlade that has an awesome animation but questionable effect.  I was torn between having it work like Debilitator or Rasp.  Since it hits the entire enemy party, I settled on Rasp, as there aren't a lot of "attack MP" options as compared to the original and draining MP can really de-fang bosses if a player is struggling.  It's not a hard-hitting move like (7)QuadraSlice was in Vanilla, but if you're looking for that effect against bosses you can front-row Cyan and give her an Armlet or Hero Ring to use with (4)QuadraSlam.

I actually tried a LOT of things with TetraSlice today... I tried making it hit all enemies but the animation was too slow, I tried making it do 8 attacks with the launcher effect but that made it do nothing, and I even considered making it do fixed damage like 4 Blowfish casts, but I couldn't combine the two effects.  The only thing I didn't try was making it a huge single hit like Bum Rush, because the input for that Blitz is too intense to allow a similar action just by waiting for a meter to fill.


(05-31-2020, 09:19 PM)Lockirby2 Wrote: It was less the fact that Gau could write at all and more about the details:

-Unlike Cyan, Gau doesn't really have a strong personal reason to go as far as impersonating Lola's boyfriend to console her.  He maybe kinda knows the boyfriend and is generally a well-meaning person, but that rationale isn't nearly as strong.
-It doesn't feel like Gau should be as embarrassed when violating social norms by making flowers or writing poorly thought out letters
-I can buy that Gau has learned to write, but it feels implausible that he is proficient enough to impersonate Lola's boyfriend when he still speaks and writes in sentence fragments
-Sudden flawless poetry in iambic pentameter: "The world before the fall, Lovely is the light of dawn, Noble is the heart of man..."; this doesn't seem like the kind of thing somebody can write in what may as well be a second language.
I hadn't thought about the poem.  I should change it to something else, possibly a Shakespeare quote.  "Taming of the Figaro Lizard" was intended as a pun, but I could grab a quote from its source material.
One is a good fit for this situation:
"Sit by my side, and let the world slip: we shall ne'er be younger."
Or more to his misinterpretation: "Fly from my side, for the world slips_ it shall never be younger"
thereby inverting the meaning to 'get on with it, pigeon' instead of 'stop and smell the silk flowers'.

I needed Zozo for the pace of the Relm scenario, but I needed Doma for the pace of the Terra scenario.  It didn't make sense for Cyan to be in both, so I was left with a recruitment slot for Gau, Strago, or Banon.  Since Gau got so little characterization in the original World of Ruin, I thought it would be a good opportunity to show just how much someone can change in a year.  I did try to make his WoR statements more grammatically correct, while still remaining laconic.  Perhaps I needed to press that point a little harder.  I'll start with the quote, at least; it certainly works better than him composing poetry.


EDIT: You don't have to give input on any of my ramblings; I'm just thinking out loud (or rather, in long boring paragraphs). I'm thrilled that you played and reviewed my hack and I'm grateful for all the input you've given me over the past few days; it would be greedy to want for more.
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I just thought a bit more about the following note:

"Siegfried will now only switch to boss mode once your average party level is 32 or higher."

In my playthrough, I wasn't level 32 when I finished the Phoenix Cave, so the upgraded fight wouldn't even have triggered for me (seven of the characters I brought were level 31, and the last was level 29). I think that this needs to be lowered to somewhere between 25 and 28 if you're going to do it based on level.

I believe the game crashes after Kefka@Narshe if you don't put Mog in any of the parties. Even if that's not the cause, I did manage to trigger a crash around there (I can give you a save state if I'm wrong about the cause).


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  • C-Dude (06-11-2020)

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(06-10-2020, 08:41 AM)Lockirby2 Wrote: In my playthrough, I wasn't level 32 when I finished the Phoenix Cave, so the upgraded fight wouldn't even have triggered for me (seven of the characters I brought were level 31, and the last was level 29).  I think that this needs to be lowered to somewhere between 25 and 28 if you're going to do it based on level.

I believe the game crashes after Kefka@Narshe if you don't put Mog in any of the parties.  Even if that's not the cause, I did manage to trigger a crash around there (I can give you a save state if I'm wrong about the cause).
I was worried about the first one; I had that same problem, cake-walking through him in the Phoenix Cave, which is why I initially lowered his level trigger.  Then I ran into the same problem Alby did, where he was wiping me out on the Veldt (I started having Gau leap him every time he showed up, just to avoid the fight).  I think 29 is a good balance for the check; I want to leave him level-swapped because it lets me use the same encounter set-up in all three locations (Train, Phoenix Cave, and Veldt) and lets you get Siegfried as a rage early if you address him on the train and play Terra's scenario 2nd or 3rd.


As for the crash, I've found the culprit and it isn't our moogle.   Confused
It's the samurai's fault.  Or rather, it's Edgar's fault and our samurai is taking the blame.  Edgar's object gets initialized twice in the event script and Cyan's never does, so if Cyan is not in any of your parties the game will freeze after Kefka is defeated.  This is a big problem because many players think Cyan is bottom-tier and will avoid using the samurai in their parties.  I've fixed the problem and I'll push version 1_11 to RHDN today.
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There's a random grass tile sitting in the middle of the water:


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.bmp  ReCast FF3 v1_10 (UH)_00000.bmp (168.03 KB, 14 downloads)


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Huh that's strange, I'm not seeing that either before the Sealed Gate is removed from the map or after. Which part of the game are you at exactly? I thought it might be a misplaced artifact left over from the Sealed Gate or some other tile swap event, but I have not a clue.

I did notice a stray pixel on the minimap though after the Sealed Gate is off the map, looks to be a mistake of the minimap generator after a test on a clean ROM. It's no big deal but stray pixels annoy the crap out of me so I figured I'd report it! Pic below, pixel is circled in red. It's definitely far enough away from the actual land where it shouldn't be.


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.png  pixel.png (29.32 KB, 11 downloads)


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Looking at Lockirby's screenshot, that grass square seems like it is meant to appear between the Sabil rapids of the Lete river and the isolated triangle island in the northeast corner of the world. When I open the ROM in FF3LE CE, though, there's nothing but water there.

I'm inclined to believe these are compression artefacts. Unfortunately that means I don't have any way to fix them, because I don't understand the compression algorithms and the only way I was able to edit the maps at all was with the editors.
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I had already entered and left the Floating Continent when I saw that.

After defeating Chadarnook, you can walk around during some of the shopkeeper's text. Once he says "As I was saying before you beat the snot out of me...", you can walk around.


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The Ogre Nix's description says that it uses MP for a Mortal Blow, but it actually randomly cleaves instead.


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