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ReCast FF3: War of the Magitek

#81
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Cool! I have been looking into some of the balance issues you raised in your previous playthrough, so this will be helpful information. I'm working on a version 2 with some big changes, like adjustments to Lores (sorting, abilities), fewer % based attacks, and a big change for Terra... I'm looking into making Terra a spell-blade instead of a walking MTek suit, the biggest variances being that her status applications will work like Stunner (in that, much of the time they don't try to apply at all) and her absorption is limited by the enemy's max HP (so no full-healing off a 15 HP enemy).

I'm also going to try to address some of the problems I'm seeing in your comments, such as making enemies occasionally cast Purify or Soothe on their party during the fight (or the new lore Esuna, which removes all statuses + or - from the field, both sides), or making Vargas dispel the player party after his heal script so that Haste is out of the picture. You might encounter some problems with this particular style of run with the new patch, though, because I'm changing Cyan to set Retort after her first action in battle, regardless of what you do (did this to open up an 8th Bushido, which will inflict the damage-reducing status Fearful). Maybe not, though, as I'm also considering removing the Sleep status from it to compensate (since it won't be calling Pummel's spell code anymore). With bosses, it may be necessary to make them explicitly pick on Celes (especially the Magitek Facility fights) to kill her and drop that runic absorb. I might also start giving some enemies the runic status like Bit has, so that certain fights can't be solved by magic spam... or have them use Terra's new spellblade attacks to bypass the runic protection.

I like that you're picking up on some of the subtleties I introduced to the engine, like the non-permanence of relic status effects. I might consider nerfing EXP in version 2 to make this more apparent to players, either by lowering it across the board or removing/flooring it from human enemies (so that they're the gil sources, and monsters are the strength sources).

I'm also giving Rages another look, both to reduce the list to a more interesting selection and to make Jujitsu a little less erratic. I'm eliminating any rages that have 0 MP death from the mix, because it's awkward when Gau gets hit by Rasp and is permanently killed for the fight.

Your challenge does kind of break some of the boss battle strategies, particularly the two you thought were hardest. You're supposed to Slash at the stooges with Cyan to cut their health in half, and you're supposed to poison the tentacles by having Sabin use his newly learned ShadowBox (though at low levels, maybe he doesn't know that one yet...)

Pearl inflicting regen is a mistake; I will look into that. Probably a flag that didn't get flipped when I reordered the spells.

The video hasn't loaded yet, but I look forward to watching it. Based on your comments, it looks like you've put a lot of thought and effort into this, and I'm moved by your enthusiasm.

EDIT: You can prevent DoomGaze's banish by blinding him. Of course, not in a run like this, but just as a note for future reference.

EDIT EDIT: FYI, I'm nowhere near close to done with all I just described, so your challenge run will be the gold standard for a very long time.
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#82
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(07-04-2020, 10:43 PM)C-Dude Wrote: I'm looking into making Terra a spell-blade instead of a walking MTek suit, the biggest variances being that her status applications will work like Stunner (in that, much of the time they don't try to apply at all) and her absorption is limited by the enemy's max HP (so no full-healing off a 15 HP enemy).

I think the spellblade concept works better with ReCast's damage formulas (since physical attacks are actually useful), so I think this would be fun. Smile

(07-04-2020, 10:43 PM)C-Dude Wrote: I'm also going to try to address some of the problems I'm seeing in your comments, such as making enemies occasionally cast Purify or Soothe on their party during the fight (or the new lore Esuna, which removes all statuses + or - from the field, both sides), or making Vargas dispel the player party after his heal script so that Haste is out of the picture.

For boss fights, I almost think it would be cool to have a second version of the status monster that can cast something like "Healed" (instead of "Asleep" or "Stunned") on bosses to remove the strongest ailments.  This wouldn't prevent the player from simply casting it again, so bosses like final Kefka could easily be stunlocked regardless.  Having bosses cast status healing on *themselves* is only so helpful because the worst status effects would prevent them from doing that.  This would discourage using more moderate status effects without preventing any big cheese.

(07-04-2020, 10:43 PM)C-Dude Wrote: You might encounter some problems with this particular style of run with the new patch, though, because I'm changing Cyan to set Retort after her first action in battle...

This actually doesn't matter much.  The only bosses that might trigger a Retort from Cyan in this run are the train and Larry, and they are both conveniently immune to sleep.  That said, if you remove sleep, this is arguably a downgrade because it means that Cyan will use Retort instead of counter-attacking with her weapon, and Retort isn't very strong (it doesn't even beat the Ashura, let alone the Render).

(07-04-2020, 10:43 PM)C-Dude Wrote: With bosses, it may be necessary to make them explicitly pick on Celes (especially the Magitek Facility fights) to kill her and drop that runic absorb.

The statues and the Atmas are probably the biggest candidate for this IMO.  Though I suppose that Celes would only shut down one of the statues in a regular playthrough since you'd only bring her in one party.  Be careful that you don't accidentally set up some cheese where the boss can just get into a loop trying to kill Celes with an attack that will always fail.  That cure would be worse than the disease.

(07-04-2020, 10:43 PM)C-Dude Wrote: I might also start giving some enemies the runic status like Bit has, so that certain fights can't be solved by magic spam... or have them use Terra's new spellblade attacks to bypass the runic protection.

Unlike vanilla, I didn't find magic spam to be the best option for most of the game.  It's only once you have Mog, Celes, Terra, and Relm's unique Relics that magic really takes off, and by that point you're already pretty much in the final dungeon where you can't use them all at once.  I feel like the auto-Runic would be cool for Spectre and Girl since it's thematically appropriate for both and the latter needs a buff, but I'm not sure that it's necessary for earlier fights.

(07-04-2020, 10:43 PM)C-Dude Wrote: I like that you're picking up on some of the subtleties I introduced to the engine, like the non-permanence of relic status effects.  I might consider nerfing EXP in version 2 to make this more apparent to players, either by lowering it across the board or removing/flooring it from human enemies (so that they're the gil sources, and monsters are the strength sources).

Sounds cool.  Maybe this will help with bosses getting overpowered easily too.

(07-04-2020, 10:43 PM)C-Dude Wrote: Your challenge does kind of break some of the boss battle strategies, particularly the two you thought were hardest.  You're supposed to Slash at the stooges with Cyan to cut their health in half, and you're supposed to poison the tentacles by having Sabin use his newly learned ShadowBox (though at low levels, maybe he doesn't know that one yet...)

Hehe, he doesn't even know *Suplex* yet (Slash is also unavailable).

(07-04-2020, 10:43 PM)C-Dude Wrote: Pearl inflicting regen is a mistake; I will look into that.  Probably a flag that didn't get flipped when I reordered the spells.

Good to know.  I thought it might be a misguided attempt to make Pearl better at slaying undead, but it was clearly a drawback, especially since the best use case for that (Dullahan) is immune to Regen.

(07-04-2020, 10:43 PM)C-Dude Wrote: The video hasn't loaded yet, but I look forward to watching it.  Based on your comments, it looks like you've put a lot of thought and effort into this, and I'm moved by your enthusiasm.

Thanks a lot. Smile I like doing these challenge runs, and this hack has a lot of potential like the vanilla game does because they are around the same difficulty and there are plenty of routes to victory.


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#83
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Quick question, do you remember which mid-size monsters were particularly 'smudgy'? I know you said Malboro looked bad, and I'm trying to make adjustments, such as using smaller enemy sprites from the later GBA entries.

The ones that stuck out to me:

* Malboro
* Dragon
* Harpai
* Zone Eater
* Gilomantis (maybe)

EDIT: I watched your video, by the way (I watch most things in x2, so it was like a feature-length movie). Wow... just... wow. It points out a lot of flaws I need to address in the boss and character design. I'm going to have to fine-tooth those scripts, even more than I intended.
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The Suriander/WartPuck and Vulture could also be improved IMO. It's pretty obvious from looking at them that they're downsized images. I took a glance at the others in the ME and I think they're alright.


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  • C-Dude (07-07-2020)

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It's funny that you mention Suriander, I've had a lot of trouble with that enemy.  I originally replaced it with the wild boar from FF5's <Friends> command, but I felt it clashed too much with the enemies it usually appeared with.  So my second attempt was a direct shrink of the original Wart Puck monster, with a few porcine adjustments to the face.  I thought it was a better fit, but I guess that it was a miss.
For its third attempt I'm making a splice of enemy parts from FF2J to replace the Suriander entirely with a small minotaur (well, small-ish, it's still about twice as tall as the players).

As for the Vulture, I'm making some adjustments to its beak, but I couldn't find anything in the other 2D games that came close to what FF6 originally had, or the look I was going for for that enemy.  Hopefully the beak changes are enough, but if not it'll have to stay the one shrunk monster that looks funky.

EDIT [7/25/2020]: I'm working hard on a new version, which will hopefully improve the experience all around (even for challenge runs, though Terra's getting a nerf).
In the course of this pursuit, I've encountered a potentially dangerous data bug with Mog's learnset.  The spell he learns midway through the Level 60s is set to $51... I imagine I meant for it to be d51, since $51 is SparkPlug.  Needless to say, this might cause something weird to happen once he passes said level.  The benign outcome (and hopefully what actually happens) will be that upon gaining that level, GAU will learn some random white-magic spell.  The worst outcome, though, could be a soft-lock or some kind of data/savefile corruption triggered by picking a number out-of-bounds.
The level in question is Level 62.  The game is easily beatable by level 40, so hopefully this won't cause an issue for anybody playing through.  Version 2.0 will fix this problem, but save files won't be compatible.

EDIT [7/29/2020]: Progress report!  I've fixed the Relm event 'bug' that lets you wander around the weapon shop while the guy is telling you about Lola.  I've also fixed the event in Mt. Zozo so that you cannot trigger the Tsepmet fight during the scenario.  Locke and Relm will comment that the switch is dangerous and they should come back after they've found all their friends.  I made Relm say All since finding Gau will not enable the fight, but you can trigger it as soon as you have the airship to return, if you so wish (though Tsepmet will trounce you!).
I've moved all "Stop" effects to "Freeze" and repurposed the Stop status for Runic.  This will let Runic clearly display whenever it is active, and this also allows me to both dispel Runic and to grant it with an Esper (Ragnarok now gives Runic to the party).
Running a full play-test now, currently at the first scenario split (I know, it's really early in the game.  Takes a while to find all the stuff).
Oh, and I also fixed a tile update bug in South Figaro Basement: by moving an exit location one tile down, I prevent the player from refreshing the screen once the door has been opened.  Thanks to Fathlo for pointing out this bug, which was apparently in Vanilla.
FYI, when 2.0 comes out, if you get stuck on the South Figaro secret bridge, press A!  Something will happen!

EDIT [8/4/2020]: After looking into the Veldt situation with Gau, I've decided there's a serious snag there, especially with the difficulty of the fights (and particularly when you've only got Terra and Banon to fend them off!).  I've reverted "Wilder Randomness"'s changes to the Veldt formula back to vanilla (so the Veldt will cycle through the enemies in order, starting at a random spot).  I may remove the random element entirely and have the Veldt start on the Lobo fight each time you load a save... haven't decided yet.
I've also greatly reduced the count of formations in the Veldt.  Since Gau now only has 24 rages, there should only be enemies that give him rages there (there are a few exceptions but this was the goal of the change).

EDIT [8/13/2020]: March of the menu features!  After investigating the hex of Brave New World (Grayshadows' code?  Synchesi's code?  BtB's code?  Seibaby's code?  I don't know), I was able to implement descriptions for the Rage and Dance menus!  I've also taken their lead and replaced the 'Reequip' option in config with Run/Walk.  As such, Hiking Boots no longer toggle auto-run, and instead reduce the encounter rate.
This leaves the only menu feature I have as-of-yet been unable to implement as Magic Order sorting the Lore menu.  I'm okay with that, though, because Strago's lores are anachronistic of older games by design and being unable to sort them like the rest of the spells fits with the character them.  It is my old mantra, "It's not a bug, it's a feature."
***Also!
Fixed the Cranes fight music bug.
Nerfed the magic defense of the Vector abominations and the Magitek Research Facility residents.  Magic should be more useful in this section, as was originally intended.

EDIT [8/21/2020]: Boss Script testing is past the scenario split in the WoR.  Was going to have Edgar say something in the tentacles fight, but Seize/Discard is precariously dangerous and prone to crashes when poked... so no scripting magic there.  Also fixed a bug of which I was previously unaware... if you saved between an actor drop-in and their removal and re-loaded, said actor would disappear.  This affected Mog during the Opera (if you succeeded at the song but failed against Ultros), Biggs at the Banquet, Banon in Thamasa, and the poker game in Kohlingen.  These problems have been fixed with new conditional entrance events, except for the opera whose failure conditions post-Act 2 were replaced with game-overs. If Ultros drops a weight on Celes, it SHOULD be a game over!
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#86
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Hack updated to Version 2. You can get it at the usual place:
http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/5144/

Lots of changes in this patch. Some that made the old save files invalid, sorry. If you start playing Version 2, you'll have to start from the beginning.

The hack is slightly harder, in part because now only monsters give Experience (humans are the only ones with gold as before). If you're going at a steady pace (not running from fights) things will be harder than your previous playthrough simply from the lack of Exp... if you're struggling, take some time to level up.
Rage and Dance now have menu descriptions. Auto-run can be set in Config; hiking boots no longer influence run speed at all. There are a bunch of other changes too, check the read-me for more info.

Special thanks to SilentEnigma for the soft reset and continue prompt code, it was a very welcome addition to this version.

And special regrets to Lockirby, as this patch probably changes the strategies for all of his low-level boss fights. Sorry!

EDIT: I made a tremendous oversight in the readme; I forgot to credit Catone for the "Possess 8 Command Menu" code that I used to make Terra's new command "Imbue". I've submitted for him to be added to the credits on the RHDN page, but I can't change the readme without updating the zip file too (which I'm not sure I can do without a new version). I'm terribly sorry for this mistake, Catone.
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#87
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This hack will soon be updated to version 2.2.

2.2 saves are compatible with v2 saves.

Endgame saves from v1.11 are apparently not compatible, as confirmed by CasualTom.  I don't know what could be happening as I tested most of the new features using a 1.11 save before my full play-test, but it is best to start from Version 2.


Version 2.2 adds more inventory icons by Gi Nattak, originally inspired by Pandora's Box.  It also changes the appearances of Sabin (no more sleeveless jacket), Mog (wearing his little school uniform), Biggs (slicked back his hair), and Celes (portrait only).  Enemy levels in the early game have been reduced by 3-6 to make them inflict less damage on your party, the difficulty should ramp up a little more tolerably now.  This version also applies SilentEnigma's wonderful Auto-Indent patch.  As a result, some dialogue has been revised and truncated to fit within the ROM limits.

REVIVIFY HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE ITEM LIST!
This is important.  You can now only remove Zombie with remedies, Tent, and spells (all three healing status spells remove it).
You can remedy a zombied wounded ally in battle so that Fenix Downs will work, or you can use Mend2/Phoenix as before.  This was intended behavior I could NOT get to work with Revivify, so the item has been replaced with MiniMallet (which removes Reflect status).


EDIT: Version 2.5 hides the purple text intro and changes the opening music.  It will not play the Snowfields cutscene before a game is started, so if you're streaming it's best to leave the screen on something else until you start.
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