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ReCast FF3: War of the Magitek

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PowerPanda asked about bringing Leo closer to his concept art by adjusting his color.  I wanted to reply with an attachment in that discussion, but users of my rank are only allowed to attach files to their own project threads.

Still, it is a relevant question here as well.  I really don't want to update ReCast FF3 again, but this sprite is pretty good and may fix a graphic garble (Leo never actually rides in my hack, but I screwed up importing his new sprite last time and so his riding sprites are likely wrong in 2_56).

Take a look at the sprite and tell me what you think.  It marginally changes Palette 0, but not in a way that I was able to notice.


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  • Robo Jesus (08-02-2021), Sarah-ga (06-06-2021)

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Was going to post a quick patch to fix a critical issue, but I decided hey, why not share a beta build?

Version 2_90 fixes two critical bugs, the Vargas Moogle Jump (which is actually moogle jumps in general) and the Recruitment Magic Crash (which players may run into if they reach abnormally high levels).

This version also features several mechanics changes.

Sad Imbue has been changed to a spellblade action.  It will change the element and spell proc of physical attacks, and set the proc rate of said spell to 100%.  Thanks to Serity for engineering this code in Lua, which I then transformed into ASM script.  Imbue's change will make the early game more difficult, but should scale better into the late game.  You can use CleanEdge to remove its effect from a target, or you can cheat to clean the edge by opening the item menu and selecting either weapon (this will force the game to reload the original item properties, even if you do not change weapons).
HealBlade will correctly target party members once it is applied (Thank you Synchysi).  Because it is a physical attack, it is still subject to blocks and retorts: Edgar will retort it if covering someone.
I haven't had a chance to test the difficulty impact of this mechanic as I am working on other aspects of the project, so you all will be my guinea pigs.  Let me know what you think of Terra's new command.

Angry Level Cap has been reduced to 50.  There will be no effect if you have characters above this level, and you may be able to get a few up past it anyway with level averaging (if they have a positive modifier).  I have not looked into that... it may lead to removal of level bonuses down the line, we'll see.  This change was done to set a reasonable goal for max level and to make learning ultimate natural magic more reasonable.  It was also done to address wildly huge damage numbers from Hero Ring and its ilk, which were overflowing Hatzen's fair hit formula because of the multiplier.  Serity told me to put in a damage cap protection, but I'm lazy so I did this instead.

Confused MP Growth has also been halved.  This will make spamming spells more difficult, which should make them feel better to use overall.  ReCast's MP economy was far too generous in earlier patches.

Surprised Town palettes have been standardized so that every character will look okay in every palette.  This includes NPCs, and several of them have been nudged to different palettes to emphasize this change.  Some characters look slightly worse than they used to, while others look significantly better.  I believe the overall outcome is a net positive, but feel free to share your own opinions on the matter.  A monster graphics overhaul to similarly standardize their palettes is underway but incomplete.

Objection! The Gambler has been nerfed, or rather gambling weapons were inadvertently nerfed by a change to X-Fight.  X-Fight now only strikes twice, but allows the player to pick a target.  This makes it more like dual-wielding, with the advantage of being able to equip a shield as well.

The readme in the zip is a bit out-of-date; I've been meaning to split it into several documents (Credits, Patch Application, Q&A, etc.) but I haven't gotten around to it.
Anyway, enjoy!
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New beta version available, version 2.999.  You can find it in the first post of the thread.

Level cap remains halved at 50, but HP growth has been doubled.  I made this adjustment to devalue Cure 2 and also to address difficulties I encountered with the Final Kefka fight, but its effect is felt throughout the game.  The game should now feel roughly vanilla easy throughout the story; in fact it may even be TOO easy in some places (being overleveled is very apparent, and Gau eats enemies in the early game Hmm ).
I have... frustrations with the battle and reward structure of ReCast, but... addressing these would involve an entire overhaul of the game's item system and stats function.  I've decided to take Serity's advice and instead fork the project, so that this version can maintain its mostly predictable and familiar battle system.

Battle is a lot more animated than it was before.  This also means there's more animations to let your ATB gauge fill up with.  This too impacts the difficulty; if you find the game too easy you might want to turn the battle speed up or even turn off wait mode.  Hopefully these animations make the game more fun to play.

There are a few new scenes to find... nothing major, but they might pull at your heartstrings. Sad  

This version is not compatible with saves from earlier versions as it uses event bits in different ways.  Since stat growth was changed too, I feel it's appropriate to ask that players start a new save if they want to play this version.

Barring any major bugs being discovered (and fixable), this version will be promoted to Version 3 in January 2022, and I will discontinue support so that I can focus on a combat overhaul fork.
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  • Gi Nattak (12-10-2021)

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Alright. It's next on my list! I should be able to start within the next week or so.


Projects:
FFVI: Divergent Paths (Completed) - a complete storyline and gameplay hack of FF6 that adds Leo as a playable character
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Encountered a moderate bug that needed fixing: the Ifrit and Shiva Fight was not using a mould appropriate for their 'step forward' attack, resulting in garbled graphics when they try to cast their higher-tier spells.

I would have waited to push another build, but there were other things I addressed that I felt couldn't afford to wait.

> Mog's Equipment
I overhauled Mog's equipment structure to make him a more appealing character.  His neckwear has all been moved to the relic slots, but they maintain their impressive defense capabilities.  This allows the player to very easily get Mog to a very high defense and evasion rating, rendering him a tanky-style character to make up for his lackluster dances.
Mog's unique armor is now his FoxHunt cap.  If your save file is past the moogle defense, you can acquire this item in Jidoor's armor shop.
Mog feels much better as a party option with this change, especially on Battle Speed 1 (which I'm testing on for the first time and finding quite challenging).

> Party Fan-Outs
I greatly underestimated the impact having the party fanned out on screen has on a cinematic event.  It's night and day difference if the character is on screen to deliver their lines.  Scenes that I added or tweaked for character-specific dialogue previously overlooked this component, but I've done my best to add them in.  Scenes altered include the Magitek Cart dock, the Lone Wolf North Cliff scene, and basically every cutscene in Relm's scenario.

> Slot and Weapon Graphics
I finally got around to opening up the game in YYChr and futzing around with the graphics.  This allowed me to change the cape dodge animation, several weapons (to add axes, hammers, and staves), and the icons for the Boko slot commands.  This change makes the skills feel a little more deliberate and helps convey that the slot spells are indeed different.

Saves from 2_999 will be compatible with this new build 2_AAA, save perhaps a Gil hit to adjust Mog's gear.  You won't be able to see any party fan-outs you've already passed; any save before Magitek Research Facility is early enough to see all of the additions.


EDIT: Happy new year!  Version 3 added to the first post.  I'll get around to putting it on RHDN later.
If you were playing 2_999 or 2_AAA, the saves are compatible.  Only difference between those and this release are a few typo fixes and a Lore animation.
This version also has an eleventh-hour fix to a scene in the Imperial Camp.  If you were holding a walk direction while the cutscene was playing out, then the game would lock up when trying to fan the party back together.  This problem should now be fixed (I tested and confirmed the bug on emulator as well as the fix).
You also can no longer double-rob Mog.
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  • PowerPanda (12-16-2021)

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It's been almost a year, and I've been working on this off-and-off to address some of the problems I had with Version 3.

So, now, here, in December of '22, we have version 3_15.  What's different?  Well, lots of things are different and lots of things are the same.

I've reworked and simplified field palettes to allow for more NPC variety.  As a result, the NPCs in towns will be more colorful and more varied.  I also combined Draco with Zhisu to give the late Doma King more poses, as well as give Cyan a more appropriate call-back to the failure at Doma during the Opera.  Additionally, Ultros is now using Sarge's sprites, which freed up another NPC sprite slot that I used to add a 'teenage boy'.  You'll see them used hither and thither throughout the game, including Relm's friend and Duane.

I've also removed the jump hit animation.  It never worked the way I wanted anyway and it was wildly unpopular.  Enemies now animate by showing weapon swipes like the players do.  Some of the weapons they animate with might seem strange for the monster in question; I wasn't super-careful about adjusting which enemy used which weapon attack.  Many of them will still be attacking with brushes, too, which were used to flag ranged attack animation (albeit incorrectly and with stale RAM) in Version 3.

If you open the Config menu, you'll also notice that Battle and Message speed are gone.  These have been replaced with an Experience and Gil slider which dictates the multiplier of rewards gained at end of battle.  Enemy drop values have been adjusted to account for this: the x4 multipliers are equivalent to Version 3 drop rates and the game defaults to x3 for both, which should help to increase the difficulty rate for players who felt the previous versions were too easy.

Which brings us to combat.  I have to say I'm dissatisfied with the feel of the combat engine in this version.  There were pressing bug fixes which have accelerated the need for this release, but the lower experience gains have thrown into sharper focus just where my combat changes fail.  Commands and Magic are both in need of a dramatic overhaul, and equipment is going to need some serious changes too.  I played through the hack using no equip menuing and relying explicitly on event optimizes and the optimize dialogue of the airship.  I was able to make it through the whole game without ever equipping a single relic, which... honestly, is proof of a very big problem.  As the playthrough went on I came to rely on swiss-knife characters like Cyan, Sabin, and Strago, while tabling more utility characters like Terra, Banon, and Edgar.  Edgar in particular is in need of a serious buff, though the code I have on hand which would help is tightly coupled with a Runic nerf and I didn't have time to restart the playthrough and sort that out.  Additionally, I found that some character commands were useful everywhere while others only helped in random encounters and still others were only worth bothering with during boss fights.  Gau also severely underperformed during the playthrough.  While I would like to address these issues, the bugs and the jump-hit removal are too pressing of issues to await months of tinkering.

Any which way, this version comes with some much-needed quality-of-life adjustments, such as automatically equipping characters that are forced into the party and automatically unequipping everybody after BOTH sets of scenarios (instead of strictly the WoR scenarios).  I may seem overly critical of this version but it IS an improvement over Version 3... so if you're looking to play ReCast soon I recommend using this version.

Saves between Version 3 and Version 3_15 are compatible.  When I get around to doing a combat overhaul for Version 4, they won't be, so we'll call that another pro in the 3_15's list.  Character palettes were changed and will be funkified for a while when you load; you can fix the palettes on all of the characters by touching a field save point (the world map doesn't have this repair code, so those saves will have to wait until you can get into a dungeon).  I know the new portraits are a little funky; I was trying to standardize their palette indices to allow for palette change mechanics in the menu down the line (stuff like petrify and zombie).  I didn't get around to actually CODING those mechanics, though, so... it's more baggage of features that were radically dreamed but not realized.  Oh well!

Hope you enjoy, and have a happy holiday season!
-CDude

EDIT: Download link in the first post of the thread. I'm going to wait to push this to RHDN for now, just in case. I think I got on their nerves with the Wrexsoul fix last year.

EDIT 2: There was a new bug introduced in the South Figaro basement, this time during Locke's Scenario. It wasn't game-breaking but it was annoying; the Wind song got locked in until another song was triggered, which... if you didn't get Clyde, could be the whole basement escape. I've changed the wind hint mechanic to sound effects to fix this, and updated the first post with release candidate two. I've also removed the spoilery screenshots, sorry about that. QnA and Credits are now combined in the Readme too.
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  • Gi Nattak (12-02-2022), jack5881 (12-06-2022), PowerPanda (12-03-2022)

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The jump hit animation was what did me in. I made it to the Magitek Factory, and always MEANT to go back to finish it, but never did. I look forward to booting it up soon.


Projects:
FFVI: Divergent Paths (Completed) - a complete storyline and gameplay hack of FF6 that adds Leo as a playable character
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A catastrophic bug has been found in Version 3_15.

When I added a subroutine to unequip everyone at the end of the World of Balance scenarios, I accidentally removed two important instructions to delete the Cyan and Gau actors before the next scenario starts. Because of this, if you play Sabin's scenario FIRST, you will be hounded by Cyan all through Locke's scenario and the game will lock at the start of Terra's scenario.

Version 3_16, updated in the first post, fixes this issue. You can redeem your save if you have one in Sabin's or Locke's scenario, as the problem is cleaned up upon the start of the Mog's Explanation screen. A save on that screen with only Terra's scenario to do will be stuck, however, I apologize for that.
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