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  1. freakytapir
    Latest Entry

    The grind

     

    Why do we grind ? (Not the dance, or the dating app)

    Why do we kill trash mob after trash mob to get those levels, those crafting components ? Why do we inflict ourselves with this ?

    There are 4 reasons as far as I see it.

    1. Because we like it
    2. Because we want that reward
    3. Because we have to
    4. Because we feel like or think we have to

    1. Because we like it

    Sometimes the grind is fun. There are entire games based around killing monster X , just to get the better gear, to kill bigger and better creatures.
    Examples of these would be Monster hunter and Diablo 2 and 3. There is no grinding to get to the gameplay, the gameplay is the grind.

     

    2. Because we want the reward

    Sometimes the rewards are worth it, even if the grind is a bit dull. Grinding points in the battle arena to get that omnislash, collecting 20 dragonscales to get that dragon armour,
    capturing 10 of each bird, so we can fight some special boss. Killing a 100 dragons to get an achievement. We don't necessarily want the grind, we want what the grind gives us.

     

    3. Because we have to

    We just killed the boss of the first dungeon, we're all level 3, but the next area has all enemies at level 7, so grinding we have to do. The boss wipes us in one turn , so a grinding we go.
    The recommended level for the next storyquest is 10, but we're at 8 ? You got it, the grind (or badly constructed sidequest time). I have to collect 3 broken keys, but the rats only drop them 1/5th of the time? That's a grinding.


    4. Because we feel we have to.

    The enemies are kicking our ass? Better start grinding,(instead of learning the game mechanics) no matter that we're already overlevelled for the current area.


    I ranked them because I really feel that there is a descending order of desirability here. As we move down the list, we start to remove player choice and enjoyment.

    What separates the first 2 for example? The difference between intrinsic and extrtinsic rewards. 
    An intrinsic one is where we do something for the sake of doing it, an extrinsic one is where we do something because we get something else from it. 
    It can make the same activity feel vastly different from eachother, just by virtue of why we do it. 
    It's the difference between playing tennis because I like playing tennis vs playing tennis because I'm trying to lose weight.

    The difference between #2 and #3 is one of choice. If I chose to grind for that better sword or whatever, I won't actually feel resentment over it, but if I need that sword to progress, I now HAVE to grind.
    If it is possible but hard to finish the quest underlevelled I feel as if I chose or did not choose to grind, and I will feel better doing it if I do it.
     
    Now the distinction between 3 and 4 is one of communication to the player. If the designer really intended me to grind between each main story mission , and is upfront about that, sure, I might be able to stomach that.
    But if I grind from level 10 to 15 only to later find out I wasn't supposed to go there yet, or there was some hidden weakness to all these enemies I had no way of finding out on my own, you can be sure I will be pissed off.


    Now we have looked at it from the player side, how about we put or developpers hats on , and look at it from our side.

    Why and when do we want player or do not want players to grind ? A couple of points and counterpoints:


    a.    + If we designed our game around it
        - Artificially lengthens game time
    b.    + Each combat is fun to play
        - We eventually buttonmash through each combat.
    c.    + It smoothes out our Difficulty curve
        - Can make the game too easy

    I feel like each of these sentiments can be classified along 2 axes
    A. How much we want to allow the player to grind
    B. How necessary it is.


    It leads us to 4 situations:

    1. We want to allow players to grind, and we require it
    2. We don't want to have our players grind, but it is also unnecessary
    3. We allow our players to grind, but it is unnecessary
    4. We don't want to have our players easily and convenently grind, but it is necessary

    Not all of these lead to equally fun gameplay, but I'm going to discuss what a designer might do to facilitate these kind of games.


    1. If we require them to grind, and want to enable them, we should make the grind as accessible as possible, and eliminate down time.


    A quickly back to town skill/item, a lure skill, some places with intentionally high monster density, some Hard, but very rewarding enemies (think metal slimes).
    Maybe have a training arena where the player can just pick an enemy and fight it. Or maybe just an actual arena, like in kingdom hearts. It cut most of the story beats for just a neverending onslaught of enemies in everchanging troop composition.
    Have the grind be part of the fun.

    Now there are some pitfalls here. I do not advise to make the grind brainless and easy. Convenient? Yes! Easy? No! 
    My solution to this is simple: have rewards for enemies below the characters level quickly drop off, either with exponential XP curves, or an actual reduced XP recieved if the enemy is too low level. 
    Maybe even rewards for grinding against higher level enemies.
    A big enemy and troop variety is a big must too. If I'm going to be fighting a 100 battles in this area, I want to have at least 8 enemies in at least 25 troops/configurations.


    2. If it is not necessary and we want to discourage it, there are multiple solutions. 


    One is the presence of only a limited number of enemies per level, but this then becomes a game of find all enemies before continueing, making the player grind nonetheless.
    A slightly better solution is to only give a slight boost per level gained, combined with a steep xp curve. If it is not worth it, they will quickly stop doing it.
    Having the enemies level along with the player certainly discourages levelling ( looking at you FFVIII!), this will often lead to player frustration.

    A good solution, if used in moderation is to have regular enemis give very little xp, and the boss then give a very large amount. If the enemies give 5xp, but the boss gives 500 xp, I'm not going to waste my time.

    A slightly different solution is to have a time limit to your quests.

    A clean solution is to just have the player quickly reach maximum level (like in guildwars), or gate level progress behind game progress(FF XIII style).

    Whatever you do in this situation , you have to be fair to the player. If you don't want him to grind, then he should be able to beat your game without grinding.


    3. If grinding is unnecessary, but you still want to allow the players to do it, you have mainly the same things as in situation 1.


    But, there is a question. If they do not have to, why would a player grind in your game ? 

    One reason is that they want to choose their own difficulty in the game.
    Why don't they just lower the difficulty then ? There is player pride : I beat the game on hard! (after overgrinding each area, untill the game was as easy as it was on normal)!. It is the reason I stopped picking the harder difficulties in persona. The only thing they make me do is grind more. Instead I just play on normal, but avoid overlevelling. My experience is better then going on very hard and just grinding.

    It is also often the result of locking achievements or good endings behind a difficulty level barrier. 

    A good reason I find are optional bosses. The ultima and omega weapons of final fantasy, the elizabeth/margaret/twins of persona, the high level hunts in FF XII/XIII, the battle arena in FFX.
    If the player makes the main game too easy on himself by grinding, but he still knows where to find a challenge when he wants one, thats better.

    Another fine one might be comsetics. I did not have to grind for that teddy bear armour, or the pink armour paint, but I wanted to.

    In short, If grinding isn't needed, but you still want to reward the player for it, give them a nice reward to go for. 

    Final fantasy often falls into this camp? I dont have to grind to finish the main game, but the grind is there if I want it.

    4. The grind is/looks necessary, but I don't want the player to do it easily.


    This is a weird case of it either being intentional, or the result of bad gamedesign. Let's split the 2 cases.

    a. I did this intentionally.


    Sometimes, grinding makes a character way stronger, and is necessary to progress, but you don't want the player to have an easy time doing it. 
    This often results in the game directly fighting the player, trying to kill him. The most known example I could give are roguelikes, where each enemy you fight could be your last, but you still have to level up to fight the final boss.
    A nice example of the oppressive system this entails is seen in darkest dungeon. A game where you have to level your heroes, but each one also has permadeath, and even if you don't die, you might wind up paranoid, sadistic, or suicidal permanently.

    b. Oops, an accident


    This is mostly caused by wrong playtesting, or just wrong design decisions.


    Some examples:

    You limited the encounters in an area, but the boss is actually unbeatable at the level you can get, because of a last minute xp per enemy change.

    You make the enemies level along with the player, but you also insert random chance based "collect 10 bear asses that drop 10 % of the time" quests in there.

    You have weapon durability, but encounters don't cover the repair costs


    But whatever you choose, make sure you gave it some thought. Do I care if the player grinds, do I want him to, what happens if he does ?


    In my current game, I'm going for the grinding optional, but if you do, I want to make it as easy on you as possible.

    I'll have the hunt/safari/battle royal skills, that spawn 1/5/10 random encounters in a row, with rewards if you finish them all, but no healing/resting in between, so grinding is convenient if you want to.
    I combine this with a custom xp curve that takes a heavy jump after each chapter end, so players can grind a bit, but are still doing the final dungeon of each chapter at the desired difficulty. for example, lv 8 to 9 costs 90 xp, lvl 9 to 10 costs 100 xp, but 10 to 11 costs 150 xp and 11 to 12 costs 200, 12 to 13 is 300 xp. The xp per enemy has equivalent jumps. Level 9 enemies might give 5 xp, but lvl 12 enemies give 20 xp. So staying at the right level is actually the best way to level up.
    This combined with an ever flattening power curve means that every level is worth less than the one after it, percentage wise. level 1 to 2 sees you getting from strength 1 to strength 4, increasing your damage 4 fold. level 20 to 21 increases the same stat from 400 to 441, a 10 % increase in stat, and a 20 % increase in damage. At level 50 this is 2500 to 2600, and a damage increase of 8%.
    For clarity, my stats are level(+/-1)², and damage is about att²/defense, so against an equal level enemy, this amounts to damage=attack stat (or lvl²).
    This means that I can have a tight control over player progression in the beginning, but later on I can allow the game to open up, and to have a bit of non linearity.


    Leveling will also only get you so far. The customisation options for the characters are locked behind dungeon completion, and not raw levelling.

     

    Anyway, opinions ?

  2. Asharonapaul
    Latest Entry

    A few years back, a friend (then more of acquaintance to me) saw my early comics and stories, and mentioned something about Webazines. I hadn’t heard of one, or had memory of the name/word so he kindly explained what he was talking about for me.

    I have created a channel on youtube, for the purpose of telling stories in a webazine format, with sounds, oration, art, and music. I have planned 34 episodes for this year, so I can take a rest to work on more works. Not every year will be as often or as many episodes.

    For 2018, my schedule makes it so every episode is released on every Monday. I am using my collection of Fairy Tales, which I created for a world building exercise of a planet which is within my universe/collection of manuscripts.

    The first 5 episodes are already on the channel. Story Time With Wookie. So far there are no hangups for creating the content, but I try to keep subscribers updated if I can’t meet my deadlines for the channel.

    The process is basically, edit the manuscript, no matter the draft its in (especially these works, as they are my earlier ones and I can’t say I was as skillful an author as I am now, just happens). Record the audio for the story (basically reading the manuscript). I have started doing each paragraph in takes which I had not been doing earlier. It has helped a lot with consistency and reducing mishaps in reading. Then I spend the rest of the day I record, drawing the story art, going as long as I am able til I need to sleep. The next day I compile it in Vegas Pro 14 which I received from a humble bundle and haven’t regretted the cost yet. Generally I have enough time to find a listener for feedback before I release it on the channel.

    The format has gone through changes. For instance, the first episode has no Title nor credits. It was just oration and pictures. Thanks to some kind viewers from around servers on discord and twitch, was given some suggestions for the content, which greatly helped in the end. Not all of the 34 stories were ever critiqued, I only showed maybe 11 of them to anyone for edits/critiques. So it’s a bit of a process for some of them, which I imagine will be fun either way.

    Some of them were however shared on places like FWO (Fantasy Writers .Org) which is a great community that works on reciprocation. One particular individual gave me a promotion on their blog and I was so thankful, it is the reason I believe, that any of my writings made sales at all.

    This also means, I am no longer distributing works through Ebook or Carbon Copy. For whatever reason, my last ebook I wanted to publish, my self publisher gave me a hassle and I had no idea how to resolve the issues they brought up. So I closed my accounts, deleted my content from their servers and started the channel on youtube. There are still some stories on the writer’s forum. I haven’t posted all of them, but basically you just need a free account if you really want to see the written words.

    I plan on doing some more complex type works in the future. 2019 is likely going to be featuring 3 mini series, and perhaps a four story collection. It’s a toss up with the collection and another shorter collection. But my plans for the art are a lot different from the 640p works I am doing for this year.

    To give you an idea for what I mean, voltan-mach4.png.9dc8337a49e8ccfd7196ef73b9c10615.png

    This is the latest character I have introduced into my universe, and the style of the art I want for his story.

    This means I will be going a lot slower on the episodes. likely the season will go as long as the 2018 one is planned for, just with more time for the works. That’s just one scene of a paragraph and it took 4 days to get to that point, and I’m still not 100% satisfied with it. I’ll find out if it’s possible with a monthly release. If anything I could do 10 scenes in a month’s time of work, it’s likely to be only 7 or 8 scenes, as I will need more time for other things.

    Aside from the issues with my self publisher, I have made the decision to publish all current and future works on youtube for a few reasons. One is mostly the way the domain works for content and revenue. People would not have to purchase any of my works, and still enjoy them, and I have the opportunity to earn based off views and subscribers, so that’s something I consider a lot more fair to content creators and fans.

    There are some issues with hosting it on youtube that I could see arise. For instance, I wouldn’t want the younger audience the ability to consume my more mature audience type of works. Of coarse I can warn about it and use age restriction for them. But I just imagine some parent’s account subscribed and a child watching thinking its safe for them. I have no intentions of drawing the really demented scenes, especially any that could be traumatizing to victims of sexual assault.

    I currently don’t have plans to use my art created for older works. Basically anything drawn before winter of 2017 is not going to be used in the episodes. There is going to be what I hope are major improvements in my art.

    I did recently purchase some books on traditional animation, so I have plans for some animated features in the distant future. I really don’t want to recycle the stories for that sort of thing, so it will be a new story or set of stories.

    I hope you enjoy the works should you decide to surf-in and check the stuff out. So far it’s a very fun process with much enjoyment for me as an author and artist and musician.

  3. **log taken from the gamejolt page**

     

    hi i forgot to update the devlog while working on things

    major updates

    • fixed timothy’s sprite flicker glitch after reworking and condensing some common events
    • the phone is longer required to change classes, and instead it can be done directly from the esc menu (the phone will probably be removed)
    • the Photographer class is functioning but needs more skills and work
    • the first recruitable party member is in the works
    • new damage sounds WOAH
    • the book at timothy’s desk used for saving is now a desktop computer

    planned

    • reducing the size of the apartment to feel more like a college dorm
    • adding a form of ‘quick class help’ to get more info on timothy’s current class (menu option, button press, etc)
    • making a more interesting title screen

    misc

    • a composer has gotten in contact with me and has expressed interest on working on insomnioid’s soundtrack yay
  4. Deer, it's me Perang Cemen, I'm here because some or lot's people get troubled with IMBA, IMBA mean Imbalance, IMBA what I mean is bug, example: when Mira join you at Kaelo her Agi was so low, you know why? because Cecila cast freeze spell  at her and the only way to make her Agi return to normal by meet with Cecila  again at Zukaru, the problem is what if you can't find her and skip it, Mira will stuck in her low Agi and you will be in trouble since you may need her help, there also side quest that make Lexar MaxHp drop to 1 and return to normal after quest done, the same problem is what if you can't finish the side quest and skip it? Lexar MaxHp will stuck in 1 and you're done for, that's why I create a patch to remove those include some quest and story.

     

    I know it sound's silly but at first I didn't think that someone would be so stupid to take side quest but didn't finish it ASAP, instead of clear it ASAP they just go to main story and then stuck or you can say can't go back to clear the side quest, the problem is when the side quest lower your stats and you go with that and trapped in a main story where you must fight boss or something like that, this will be a big problem, so I... remove those side quest, and anything related to lowering stats or these IMBA.

     

    I'm Really sorry if you have download it before 30/04/2018 since you may need this patch to make your lowered stats return to normal.

    (You don't have to download it if you wish to play full version, it will be automatic fixed, but if you want try Mira at Demo, very recommended to download it)

     

    Thank you for your attention

     

    ~Perang Cemen

  5. I'm sure people are aware of things going down because of that jackass in the White House.

     

    If things go down the way I expect them to, I'd like to say good-bye in advance, because I won't let my demise be by the hands of anyone else but my own.

     

    Where I currently live, is well within the blast range of a primary target for nuclear strikes. Even underground, my chances of survival are low, and there are no shelters of any kind within a few hundred feet. So, I'll be taking care of things, and buying rope.

     

    I know what I'm saying is brutal, and may be ridiculous to many, but to Hell with the idea of allowing anyone to dictate what happens in any part of my existence, even the end of it.

     

    Some will try to run, or to hide, and I can only wish them the best of luck. Surviving the initial strike is only one part. Once the initial strike happens, further strikes will have no warnings.

     

    This is no conspiracy theory, no fear mongering nonsense. All this is, is the throes of someone whose life went from fantastic, to garbage, to futile effort, with no known fault of her own in the equation. Not saying I have no fault in anything that occurred, but to say I do have fault when I cannot think of anything I may have done wrong is just as bad as lying about it.

     

    ...If you've read this far, then I hope you're able to forgive my emotions as they run rampant. I don't want to end it all, but unless something happens that changes the outcome of this act of stupidity by the jackass in the White House, it will come down to those two options.

     

    In advance, fare all thee well; maybe we'll meet in Asuria...

  6. I took a break from my project and went to my secondary project, but now I'm back to my primary project. ^_^ 

     

    PLANS

    Side Quests: Going to focus a bit on side quests

    Drawing: Trying to learn how to draw for the project

    Enemy Graphic Reform: Redoing enemy graphics once I get good at drawing.

    Leveling rewards: As we know, there are some games that gives you rewards based on you level. As a result, in some of these games, people don't do certain quests until they reach the desired level to retrieve the best of whatever it is. In my project, I will attempt to test the idea of reward items (such as weapons and armor) scaling with you as you level up.

  7. First of all: I'm not dead, just extremely lazy to post here. It's jsut something that always happens with me and blogs. I like blogging but I am too lazy to keep one updated. Anyway, time for an update on the game. I have introduced a set of changes that I am going to describe below.

     

    Skills

    I had a small set of skills for each character. As I was developing the game and creating enemies and dungeouns, I quickly realised that they weren't enough so I decided to further expand the skillset for each playable character. Everyone will have three skill types: one with the main skills, those which defines them as being from one job or another. A second skill type with secondary skills and finally a third one that includes exclusively skills gained through "job quests", which I explained in a previous post. For example:

    Araken now has:
    -"Feints", which are dodges, either just a regular "dodge next attack received" or a more complex "dodge then counterattack" or a "block then counterattack".
    -"Hunter techniques", which are his main skills. Attacks targeting one or more foes that cause states, buffs and debuffs. Every skill is quick, consumes low TP but deal average damage.
    -"Bolts", which include both his normal crossbow skills (special attacks that deal damage and inflict a state) and his elemental bolt skills that he gains through job quests.

     

    Blocking

    I have introduced, thanks to Ramza's shield block plugin, a new stat: Block. The plugin offers two characteristics: block chance and block rate. The first one refers to the % of blocking an incoming attack and the latter refers to the % of damage reduced. Additionally, I have added small chances to dodge attacks to represent in gameplay terms the ability to parry/deflect attacks, which is different from blocking. Tinkering with the plugin's notetags I have managed to adjust the new parameter to all characters that have shields:


    -Araken wears shielded bracelets, a specialty of the people from the Northwest. They are useful for protecting, blocking and deflecting attacks from the enemy, whichever weapon they use. As for gameplay, shielded bracelets have less block rate than a proper shield but good block chance. Furthermore, all bracelets provide a small dodge chance.

    -Narissa wears round shields or bucklers made out of wood, iron, steel and other materials. Some are blessed or provide unique buffs. All of her bucklers offer average block chance and block rate, with one of them being specially made for working with spells only. Bucklers do not provide dodge chance, as Narissa only uses her shield to block.

    -Asher uses targes, small round shields are employed in battle more to parry attacks but not so for blocking. In terms of gameplay, targes have a high dodge rate, low block rate and good block chance. Targes have a good chance of dodging, to represent their unique parrying nature.

    -Heidek uses greatshields, big and heavy shields that protects the user but reduces his agility. In-game, greatshields have the highest block rate and block chance, but Heidek won't be able to dodge attacks.

     

    Formulas

    Introducing damage formulas! Not only for skills, but also for weapons. Thanks to Hime's Weapon Damage pluging, different weapons have different formulas that are included into the damage formulas of skills. Furthermore, some skills have unique formulas and magic attacks have also their own formulas.

     

    Multi-language

    Thanks to SumRndmDde Translation Engine plugin, I will be able to translate the game from Spanish (original language) to English and have a multilanguage game. It will be hard work, but worth it.

     

  8. I've been dealing with a lot of garbage as of late, so progress has slowed to a trickle.

     

    I'm actually still figuring out story and locations related to story. That part has been difficult to do.

     

    Also, I keep running into bugs with syntax, a lot of times in battle due to some sort of conflict or NoMethodError nonsense or a number of other things. Some of it I've been able to correct, some I've had to disable scripts to avoid, and some I've come across due to Game_Interpreter being stupid, that of which I've decided to avert by doing some really shoddy backhacking.

     

    I've also been testing out some of the modifiers I've made to existing scripts, and I recently made a fix to one of my own.

     

    I made a scriptlet that changes the Dash button. I made it so that one could bind it to a switch, or to a variable (I've not written that out as of yet but I know how to write it).

    However, if one uses Yanfly's System Options, my scriptlet breaks Autodash, if one changes the Dash button (it works fine if left unchanged).

     

    So, I figured out exactly what runs Autodash, and incorporated it into a scriptlet. Took me about ten minutes. It works.

     

    Well, other than scripting...I've progressed very little elsewhere. I'm trying to cobble together all the possible summons, but to be honest, I kinda wanna go further into the game and see where that goes before designing those further. However, until those are done, I won't be able to redo the skills for each one.

     

    I have a few NPC characters done, and I've also resized some small battlers so that they can look like they're not meant to be on a Game Boy Advance screen.

     

    I'm getting there; unfortunately my excursion with MV was a big distraction, and it did kind of take from my creative energies towards this project.

    Well, anyway, until next time, true believers...

  9. ShinNessTen
    Latest Entry

    *reads last blog entry

     

    oh my... that's a lot.

     

    Anyway, I'll keep it short this time. I'll be recreating all 3 of my not-so-great-hits TOD the Grim Reaper, TOD the Grim Reaper 2 and TOD the Grim Reaper 3 into actually fully developed big Projects.

    I'll aim for the first Game to come out this year, if my Composer is fast enough. 

     

    I had the same things in mind for the first 2 Games:

    -They are (still) going to be liniar

    -Because of the liniarity, I made up for it in some unique and twisted ways. I.e. You can miss your Party Members, but they will still join you regardless later on. You can miss out on great Treasures that will make it easier for you to go from area to area. Areas change dramatically after the Boss is defeated and opens up new paths for some other secrets.

    -Literally had 7 modes (of which 3 are basically just copy pasted) in mind for additional Challenges once you beat the Game, since they are so short and mind as well.

     

    In addition to Normal and Hard mode, the new modes are going to be

    - Lvl 1 (Normal)

    - Lvl 1 (Hard)

    - Time Attack (Normal) aka. Speedrun this under 1 hour

    - Time Attack (Hard) aka. Speedrun this under 45 minutes

    - Lvl 1 Time Attack (Normal) aka. Speedrun this under 45 minutes on Lvl. 1

    - Lvl 1 Time Attack (Hard) aka. Speedrun this under 30 minutes on lvl. 1

    - Ultimate Mode

     

    All are pretty self explanatory, except for Ultimate which I won't spoil the surprise for. (Which is probably the only thing I won't spoil from the Games)

     

    Since TOD 3 is another thing entirely, It won't have these fancy things at all, since it's multiple path based and this could just be an enourmous amounts of work, considering I'm planning to make sometihng even better than all these modes combined.

    But yeah, TOD 3 is basically just going to be another choose your own adventure with twists and turns and yadda. And it's also going to be the regular formula of "There's towns in this game you can chill out in!".

     

    ^^^^^^^^

    if this is my definition of "I'll keep it short", then I will be hopeless in the future... :(

  10. Since I have become a bit more serious about making an actual game I might as well explain a bit about what I intend to do with it. So, here are my current plans about what I am doing.

     

    First what I have already done:

     

    • I have a pretty okay random dungeon generator script and several existing dungeon 'themes' which all look a fair bit distinct and decorative.
    • I have a basic roguelike combat system in place. The kinks need to be worked out, but it works. For a one actor party anyway.
    • I have a inventory system with features such as equipment enchantment and roguelike style item identification.
    • A fair bit of different monsters, skills, and items.

     

    Here is some stuff I am going to need to do:

     

    • Right now the only thing the player can really do is roguelike-style bump attacks. I need to redesign the menus/interface to allow for skills and items to be selected and targeted.
    • Monsters chose skills from an enemy moves list, but I may need to think more about how I choose skills and how range works. Perhaps I should use visible projectiles even?
    • Rebalance the hell out of everything.

     

    Here is some stuff I may or may not do:

    • Add support for multiple party members. I have been trying to write stuff in a manner so this is possible, but I may need to totally rewrite how I handle inputs if I want to allow the ability to take full control of the party (which if I am adding party members at all, I absolutely do).

     

    You might notice I haven't mentioned much about the story/setting yet. Partly because I want to get the full gameplay system worked out before I bother that much, but also party because I am still not sure about some of the details yet. That it will be heavily based on lots of the things I have said about fairies over the years here is not in question. The setting will definitely be fairyland... or a fairyland anyway. Perhaps more then one.

     

    The simplest basic plot outline I have in mind probobly is that the player character is a human who was abducted by fairies and perhaps transformed into a fairy. I might want to allow the player to create a character, but that might be tricky to do in way I am happy with. If I can get one of those visual equip script things working, perhaps I will use that to let you choose what the player looks like. Perhaps I could even have transformations and stuff. It might be fun to make it a bit like Corruption of Champions actually. <3 I mean not necessarily the naughty stuff (though I would be tempted), but the way items can change your body parts. And hey, mutation is a thing in some roguelikes anyway.

     

    But it would probobly be a lot easier if I just used a set character, at least for now. Right now the one delving in those dwimmery dungeons is me! Kayzee the fairy! Hehe... I am not sure I want to be the main character though. I think if I show up I am much more suited to be a sort of trickster mentor who helps guide the main character. Though I could also tell my own story, it might be interesting to tell how I became a fairy in the first place, if a bit embarrassing.

     

     

     

  11. For those that aren't aware I've been inactive on the forum for a while. I'll hopefully be getting the ball rolling again with some cool stuff.

    Got to get back into game dev after a long hiatus.

     

    Also, keep an eye out for a shop I'm opening in the forums.  Soon, no ETA.

  12. Read through a previous blog post from around this time last year and feel like doing a followup of that socially conscious type stuff.

     

    So, life's still pretty messy right now, eh?

    We keep seeing everything Brexit and Trump touch getting worse, yet we don't stop them. Granted, props to the yank's courts and some politicians for taking firm stands against Trump at times; they deserve a lot of respect for standing up against someone as downright dangerous as that dotard :3

    I guess its weird for me to see people dig their heels in rather than just concede making mistakes. Remember when people considered recognising errors and learning from them to be a positive trait?

     

    For people who aren't keeping score with Brexit it currently looks like this:

    -We pay a tremendous divorce bill that will likely range between £40-£60 billion. Would you like me to write that out with zeros?

    Remember that a huge campaign point to leave was all the extra money we'd save by not contributing to the EU.

    -We will continue to be aligned with the European Courts.

    ...But we'll have sovereignity* ofc (no, not that rad card game). Even, if this wasn't the case, sovereignty would have minimal impact on a layperson; it just means some other asshole rules over you...and its not like we've got any particularly competent people in office atm. And that applies to both major partys.

    *You will not have sovereignty. No substitions or refunds.

    -We're begging for access the single market and customs union.

    And ofc we would. Unfortunately, see above. The overwhelming majority of EU policy is for the purpose of harmonious trade. Wont oblige? Then you don't get access to the single market. And all that legislative nonsense about worker's rights. Well, why do you workers want that anyways? You've got just enough sovereignity so that companies can eliminate H&S standards for marginal profit (but hey, its not like you can put a price on human life otherwise).

    -Immigration has been reduced. Or, the 'no-one wants to live here anymore effect'.

    Aww ****. Now who's going to toil the fields while I play xbox? Don't be surprised when the same legal migrants we belittled and shoved out are given a golden handshake in five years to return. Guess who foots that bill.

    -Inflation is ballooning.

    Y'know how before Brexit people were saying, 'Mannn, the acceleration in inequality is really problematic.' Yeah, that's not better now.

     

    Sorry, I don't want this to be too Brexit-centric (although, obviously I'm more informed on UK politics). One of the most interesting aspects of it though is the refusal by both major parties for a second referendum. I kind of agree since the alternative is to regularly revote on this topic in case the consensus ever generally does favour leaving again. My main issue though is that 52-48 is not a clear enough result and we should have set a threshold figure, say 70%, to warrant this would-be massive change; if there was a genuine majority politicians wouldn't have to pussyfoot around issues to avoid damaging re-election prospects.

     

    Sorry again, its really hard not to get dragged into this ¬.¬ So, we're still seeing a raise in the political far-right. Jeez, we still might lose Merkel. She's really the last, best hope for humanity right now. One of the more amusing things about this is the British general populace's inability to recognise what the far-right is. Recently, its a become a catch-all insult used by airheads if someone says something they disagree with. Same as snowflake. As a literary man it saddens me to see language become the casualty of politics.

     

    Actually, one more fascinating thing about Brexit. A lot of people who voted for it admonish Trump; "Trump is racist, Trump's an isolationist, Trump only puts his own interests first.". Its phenomenal to me that they can say this with a straight face.

     

    Climate change is still, well, changing the climate. We're actually seeing some improvement in that regard when it comes to infrastructure, but the attitude of the general populace is still the issue. What's crazy is we're really seeing effects, even here in mild-weathered Britain. When grids go down businesses lose money. Those wildfires in the states aren't free for governments to put out. No-one benefits, people almost universally recognise it as 'man-made' climate change yet we continue to behave this way. Its unfathomable to me. Amusingly, someone actually tried to scold me at work this year for turning the lights off in rooms that weren't in use (naturally I reminded them they were not my line manager and that other's shouldn't have to suffer because they're too lazy to raise their arm when entering an exitting a room; Mama Nature's a milf folks, lets help her maintain her youthful exuberance).

     

    Automation scares were a big deal a this year; Heck, 'they took his jooob' was practically a campaign slogan for Trump back in '16. Here's the funny thing about automation and any form of universal basic income; they'll almost definitely never happen (or, at least, in such a watered down form as to be unrecognisable). And its largely because of the people these systems would benefit. Now I'm not talking about the truly down-and-outs like the homeless, the beggars or the otherwise unemployed; they have zero to lose. Its the working classes and smaller merchant classes. And yes, these people would overwhelmingly gain from such social advances but they would lose something, and that something is purely cerebral; they would lose the perceived meaning of the labour (and all the associated struggles of just getting by) that they've performed 'til now. Perhaps more importantly they would lose a level of distinction; out-earning others provides a sense of accomplishment; from this we can gather that some level of inequality is actually desirable by some (to an extent, myself included I suppose).

     

    My observations have been that the outright racism that sparked last year's entry has largely cooled down. In fact, everything kind of has. Maybe its the emptier bellies lowering motivation. Maybe the reduced immigration figures means we see less supposedly objectionable people. My view is that people are pretty regularly engaging in complete disassociation with the world; we read about Kimmyboy in Korea, how we're Putin up with the Ruskies, and that Trump's always got something funny to say. And then we just go about our day. I suppose its kind of necessary; its out of our hands anyways right? But it feels like people are really sincerely trying to find happiness now, to force it, because who knows when the bomb is going to drop.
     

    Well, I've been at this a while now and more will probably follow in the comments so now here's Tom with the weather...

  13. Let's talk about the apocalypse! It's kind of a scary thing that a lot of people are way too worried about, but if you're into action-fantasy entertainment, you probably know about all the creative things that people have done with the idea. It's an artistic and stylistic way of wiping the Earthy slate clean and present the world we know and love -- or knew and loved, I guess? -- in a different light. The muscle-bound, anarchic power struggles of Fist of the North Star. The desperate and seemingly futile wars for survival of Mad Max. There's something inherently fascinating about the end of the world, and what surviving the end would do to people and culture.

     

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    ... oh!

     

    Welcome to the other end of the spectrum. Say hello to Girls' Last Tour, which I can only describe as a post apocalyptic slice of life??? It follows the journey of two girls, Chito and Yuuri, as they explore dead landscapes and abandoned cities in search of food and fuel. That's it. That's the plot. Occasionally, they'll see something interesting in the distance and decide to head in that direction. The show is less about the journey and more about the bizarrely philosophical conversations between these girls.

     

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    Chito is an analytic, tactically-minded girl. She's knowledgeable of the old world, but has little to no understanding of it. She seems to prefer quiet, but will always humor Yuuri's boundless curiosity with the best answer she can muster. Her expression doesn't change much throughout the show, and her look in general is plain and uninteresting, which work well to reflect her thoughtful, introverted nature.

     

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    Compare that to Yuuri. The way her eyes are drawn suggest a carefree, possibly vacant personality. And, indeed, she is a little stupid. Unlike Chito, she is illiterate, and struggles with understanding simple concepts that, to us, would be common knowledge. However, it's this same lack of knowledge that makes her curious, and her curiosity is what drives almost every conversation and discovery in the show.

     

    These two work well with each other. Chito is smart, but physically weak. Yuuri is stupid, but isn't afraid to take risks. Putting their strengths and weaknesses together, you come to understand that these two need each other, because without one, the other would be unable to survive on her own.

     

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    The world these girls explore is a character in itself. It's long dead, indifferent, and, as the show progresses, it becomes more and more bizarre, almost abstract. It gives the viewer a sense of unease and confusion; just what happened to this world? Why is the city built like this? It creates a stark and terrifying backdrop to the cute and philosophical explorations of the foreground, and adds a feeling of urgency to the adventure. Danger is real. Food is limited. There is no destination. There is no hope. And the city doesn't care.

     

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    It's cute, charming, and funny, and it's easy to forget just how bleak and terrifying the setting really is. The world is dead, and there's no fixing that. It's a strange and surreal environment for such a light-hearted adventure, to be sure; when we think about the end of the world, do we usually stop to consider the world we'll leave behind? What if society never rebuilds? What if what's left of humanity doesn't know how to rebuild? It's scary to think about the world we understand and, frankly, take for granted being stripped down to a search for essentials, where humanity is given a time limit based on how much food is left. Pop culture has made us see the post apocalypse as an anarchic fight for survival, jam packed with explosions and gunfire, and it's partly in subverting expectations that Girls' Last Tour really gets it's message across: cherish what you have, because nothing lasts forever.

     

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    In a less literal way, Girls' Last Tour is also a show about growing up in a world that truly doesn't make sense. I can relate to this, personally: it's been a struggle for me to learn and understand how to simply live on my own, let alone understand how our societies, governments, and laws got to be so confusing. If you've ever struggled with life, be it little things like paying bills, or big things like finding a job without a college education or finding your place in a demanding and unforgiving world, it's easy to put yourself in the shoes of these girls: truly understanding how the world around you works is a herculean task, but in the grand scheme of things, that doesn't really matter. What matters is the moment. If you know enough to get by, and you can find joy in little things, even simple, aimless conversation with a loved one, you can be happy. There's beauty in the world, no matter how bleak it might seem.

     

    At just twelve total episodes, Girls' Last Tour is easily digestible, and it gets its' message across without taking too much of your time. Honestly, this meager blog entry hardly does this show the justice it deserves. This show had my full attention from episode one, and it didn't let me down. It takes it's time, has no action whatsoever, and consists almost entirely of conversation between just two characters. If you're okay with that, then this is definitely worth a watch. Also, the show gets gay at the end, and I'm a sucker for cute gay things.

     

    This is why I like the thing! Girls' Last Tour.

     

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  14. I've been making one-shot comics for each of the characters in my game. Each comic will feature two characters! You can see more about them here.

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    Oh man.

     

    Oh fucking man.

     

    This was a joyride, a rollercoaster of emotions that had me biting my metaphorical fingernails until the very end of the presentation. No other game has had me as captivated as this game, and Square Enix did a miraculous job with this title. I'll break the game down into several segments, consisting of story, gameplay, quality, and replayability, and judge the game on all of these criteria.

     

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    Story:

     

    "Everything that lives is designed to end. We are trapped perpetually in a never-ending spiral of life and death. Is this a curse or some kind of punishment? I often think about the God that blessed us with this cryptic puzzle...

     

    ...And wonder if we'll ever have the chance to kill him."

     

    NieR: Automata follows the story of two characters, androids who are fighting machines on the surface of Earth several thousands of years into the future. The story follows 2B, a combat model, and 9S, a Scanner model. Their target: a large massive machine that is classified as a Goliath-class Unit. Being led by several other relative Units, named YoRHa Units, 2B commences a strike on the Goliath class Unit, striking at its weakness.

     

    Afterwards, you meet 9S and team up with him to scavenge the abandoned factory for the large Goliath class Unit. The true enemy is swarming all over: machine lifeforms. After quickly dispatching them, 2B and 9S make their way to the very top of the factory where they fight and seize the Goliath class Unit.

     

    NieR: Automata actually has a really strong opening that gives you a sense of danger and loss immediately, which pulls you into the gameplay that much faster. It's executed very well, and from that, keeps you on a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. That, combined with storytelling from multiple fronts (we'll go into detail about that later in Replayability, as there is a lot to cover in that one). As you progress onward, you'll see that the machines start to form feelings of hatred, wanting to have families, conceptuality; almost akin to human emotion. With you, the player, as an android, you are sent to strike down these machines, but you wonder along the way...How did these machines start to develop feelings? Or should they even be allowed to develop feelings at all? Or to even understand what it means to have emotions and feelings?

     

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    As humanity was wiped out several thousands of years ago, the inhabitants were launched onto the moon and were forced to live there while the fighting between androids and machines continued on the surface of Earth. Remember that as we go along.

     

    Yoko Taro blends so many references together in a congruent fashion. You'll soon discover as you play through 2B's "route" (again, refer to the Replayability section), the machines soon become deranged, wanting to fell others to become Gods in their own right. And the mastermind behind this large scale attack? Two machines named Adam and Eve. Yes, the very same names from the Biblical reference. Eventually, before long, you kill Adam in order to quell the machine uprising, which however, throws Eve into a maniacal state and going on a rampage.

     

    And that's the end of Route A.

     

    And yeah, that's what I thought, too. That's it? That's the whole story? But then the game tells you to play it through again to experience the game from someone else's point of view.

     

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    Now, you play through the game again as 9S. The very same character that made his first appearance helping out 2B. You play through the story again, but as you play through the game...you realize that machines want to become human, more and more, displaying emotions that machines shouldn't exhibit. 9S however often reports that "machines don't have feelings" and that "the things they say aren't supposed to make sense". You'll see more development coming from Adam and Eve as characters than you did when playing through 2B's route, which gives Eve his motive for...you know, being an asshole. You also discover as you wake up from a strenuous fight one day while repairing your system as 9S that there is a confidential Bunker notice. It is explained throughout the game that YoRHa was established in order to fight the machine threat on the surface of the Earth. A separate subfaction, known as the Council of Humanity, was created to lead YoRHa along the right path. However, in the records established, there is no such thing as a Council of Humanity. Meaning that once 9S has access to this knowledge, he begins to become aware that something heavy is going on with YoRHa and the Bunker in general. 

     

    I for one personally had a problem with the fact that if something is supposed to be that confidential, what is it doing sitting in 9S' memory banks but whatever.

     

    You then kill Eve again, and unlock Route B.

     

    And then...whew, the game takes you for a wild ride.

     

    Route C, D, and E, are probably where you are going to get most of your "feels" from the game. Route C, D, and E lets you play as the rogue YoRHa Unit, "A2", a defective combat model who was originally in YoRHa, but left. Originally, when playing as either 2B or 9S, you run into A2 during the course of your travels, fight briefly, then she leaves with a very cryptic message. "Command was the one who betrayed you."

     

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    Now, Route C starts off with 2B and 9S acting as a guerrilla tactical Unit providing support to other squadrons throughout the city, who have gone on a rampage ever since Adam and Eve were destroyed. Their rampage, however, isn't caused by them dying, it's actually from being disconnected from the network, a vast port where machines reside. At least, in theory, it's never really explained that well in the game aside from Archives (refer to Gameplay section). After wiping all of them out, a group of machines comes in, and, to pretty much sum up about ten minutes of backstory, fucking wrecks your shit, infecting the YoRHa battalion and all the androids in the vicinity, leaving 2B with a viral infection that, you, as 9S, have to solve. However, it's not enough and 2B is ultimately left to the fate of becoming corrupted by the virus. She isolates herself by slowly walking her happy ass (refer to CTRL + F and then "pacebreakers") all the way to an abandoned commercial facility where she is ambushed by several corrupted YoRHa models.

     

    And this is where you take control of the rogue YoRHa fighter A2. By fighting them off, you are alleviating 2B of the responsibility of being a badass main character and shoving all of that on A2. Oh yeah, also, you kill 2B in the meantime because she doesn't want the virus to contaminate any more androids. 9S, however, is in the distance, and notices A2 killing 2B, and now he swears revenge on all machines and A2 for killing 2B.

     

    So edgy.

     

    After 2B's death, a giant tower struts up from the ground, mechanical in origin, which is explained later on as an "ark that is used to transport the memories of humanity to space to preserve their knowledge". Now the game gives you options: To fight either as A2 or as 9S. Both of them lead to the same conclusion, it's up to personal preference on how you want to complete it: 9S first of A2 first.

     

    On A2's path, you discover machines attacking other peaceful machines who have no desire to fight. A2 originally thought, same as 9S, that all machines need to be destroyed because they are the enemy, but she then quickly realizes and changes her stance when these peaceful machines want to help androids. A2 is a character that comes off as incredibly jagged, almost careless and only pursuing one goal, while 9S however deteriorates into a manic being bent on revenge on all machines and A2 for killing 2B. As 9S, your responsibility is to acquire "keys" which are needed to get inside the monstrous tower. As you do, a girl in red, called the Red-Girl Assassin in the game, calls out to 9S, stating "We cannot be killed. We are infinite, yet we are finite. We are the collective consciousness of all humanity. We are the embodiment of the perfect being."

     

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    As you play along, A2 and 9S eventually meet up, fight a large Goliath class enemy. The game rapidly switches back and forth between A2's and 9S' perspective in dealing with the huge threat, and eventually the two team up and destroy the Goliath together. I use the term "team up" loosely, because after the fight, 9S wants nothing more than revenge for what A2 did to 2B. And then, depending on who you choose, you get to see two different endings, with humanity's thoughts and logic being launched up into space. 

     

    As you play through 9S' route, you discover that there is no more humanity. Nothing at all. Not even the people on the moon are real; their collective thoughts are stored on a consciousness on the moon. 9S begins to question the meaning of their existence if there is nothing to protect, as androids were tasked with killing machines and protecting humanity as their only values. Which...becomes the focal point of the story as you play as 9S. What is the meaning of life if there isn't something to protect?

     

    Yoko Taro does an excellent job blending so much together in a cohesive fashion, even if the first ten hours or so of the game felt like filler and then playing through Route B again made it all completely impactless and pointless. At the very, very end, though, once you struggle through the entire game, you start to understand and empathize for all the characters: machines because they want to feel as human as possible in a desolate, lonely world, 9S because there is nothing more to protect since his concept of revenge has been shattered, and A2 because she goes from being narcissistic and angry to caring about machines, and even 9S, to protect and preserve his memories.

     

    Overall: 8.5/10.

     

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    Gameplay:

     

    Alright, let's get the negative out of the way first.

     

    YOUR CHARACTERS ARE THE CLUMSIEST DUMB SHITS EVER.

     

    And what I mean by that is they trip over every single object that they can find, or they just run through bushes at 200 miles per hour and stop for no reason. Now, this is one of the biggest gripes I had in the game: Pacebreakers. I didn't care at all about the fact that when I'm trying to get from Point A to Point B that my character that I was controlling stops ALL of their momentum and trips over a bit of rock or sand or goes into a bush and stops all forward momentum. It's irritating. I want to play a game to get immersed into THE GAME. I don't want to have to be constantly watching my feet to jump over every spot of what might be considered a trip spot or a pacebreaker because that's not fun. I didn't want to have to walk at 2 miles per hour when I was controlling 2B when she was infected by the virus because it breaks the pace of the game and makes it much slower than it needs to be. I don't want to be able to lose all my forward momentum when coming off a Glide because that's also a pacebreaker.

     

    The world of NieR: Automata isn't as big as I had imagined it to be. Considering we are in an age of JRPGs with notoriously big areas and cascading plains, mesmerizing forests, and big blankets of snow areas, it disappointed me that the world of NieR: Automata only consisted of a few largely inhabited zones, but nothing really more grand-scale beyond that. I would have liked to have just a slightly more tad bit of variety with the maps. The Desert Area, however, was easily my most favorite area, tied with the Forest area.

     

    Alright, now that all the negative is out of the way, let's focus on all the things the game does well.

     

    The game can be split up into three different types of areas: 1. 2D top-down Flight Unit sections that function similarly to games like Galactica or Space Invaders, 2. 2.5-D Flight Unit Sections that function similarly to twin-stick shooters by using the Left Stick to move and Right Stick to Aim and fire, and finally 3. The RPG aspect of the game, where you are running around killing badass machines that are the size of skyscrapers.

     

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    And in those RPG sections, you can get 2D environments like this (which I didn't really care for), and other 3D environments which are gorgeous as hell.

     

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    The amass of enemies you can fight are incredibly vast, ranging from bipedal enemies to large cylindrical enemies that shoot out of all sides, to enemies that crawl around 2D environments like snakes. And then you have chances to fight insanely huge Goliaths in flight Units, making combat exceptionally large-scale.

     

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    Each character that you play as in the game has their own skillset and moves that you can utilize. As 2B and A2, you have a second weapon which you can equip that you can use with Y to keep your attacks going, and as 9S, you can hack into enemies with the Y button and get into a 2D top down twin-stick shooter portion, where you have a certain limit of time to defeat all the enemies in order to hack the enemy, dealing a shit ton of damage to them.

     

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    Unfortunately, I didn't like these sections too much because I'm horrible at twin-stick shooters. Don't expect me to be playing Metroid or any other twin-stick game in the future from now on. And the bullet hell when unlocking Route E....uggh. Never again.

     

    As for the actual RPG portion of the game, it's quite robust. There's a multitude of Side Quests you can do if you're ever bored out of your skull and want to kill some time. Given the size of some of these quests, some of them take literally like five minutes to do. I think the longest Side Quest was still Emil's Determination, and that only capped out at about thirty minutes give or take.

     

    You have a weapon selection system, ranging from Short Swords (Katanas), Large Swords (giant ass Katanas), and Spears (duh). I found Spears to be rather fun to use, but also clunky in some regards when fighting as 9S, but as A2 and 2B, Spears were incredibly fun. Short Swords are all around balanced and Large Swords favor more damage and swing really really slowly. Duh.

     

    The kick though is, each weapon comes with its own backstory that you can view in the weapon information tab of your Main Menu.

     

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    This adds a really flavorful portion to the game and making weapons have sentimental value, instead of them just being static icons with damage values and combo values. I really appreciated that little touch.

     

    There's a skill system in the game where you can apply chips to your characters to augment their combat abilities. But to be honest, once you have all the required chips, all of the other ones seem pointless. This is your chip setup for about 99% of the game once you get these chips: Deadly Heal, Vengeance, Anti-Chain Damage, Overclock, and any of the Maximum HP, Short Range, or Long Range Attack Up chips. Deadly Heal makes it so that you heal a certain percentage of your total HP after defeating an enemy, and since the game is pretty much a horde mode game where enemies come at you by dozens, except during Boss Battles, Deadly Heal is pretty much an auto-include. Vengeance reflects all damage back to the attacker, so it's also an auto-include. Anti-Chain makes it so that when you are hit, you are invulnerable afterwards for a brief moment. Overclock is whenever you execute a perfect Dodge, time stops for a brief amount of time, making everything trivial in said horde mode game.

     

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    All of the other chips are pretty novelties you can collect, like EXP gain, Offensive Heal (where you recover HP when you deal damage), and Auto-Collect Items (Hey, Warframe fans, there's your universal vaccuum). You can also remove your OS Chip and get a bad ending. And the hilarious thing about the chip system is that it works with flight Unit sections as well, so each time you destroy a dinky little ship after taking essentially 2 hits, you recover 50% of your HP, completely trivializing the game.

     

    Of course, however, this is all for a Normal Mode setup. On Hard Mode, enemies become much much tougher, and Lock-On is disabled, and in Nightmare mode, you die in one hit.

     

    And yes, I'm ballsy enough to try and do a Nightmare Mode run.

     

    There's also online functions in the game. For example, if you are connected to the Network, you will find the corpses of all your YoRHa buddies scattered all over the world. You can pick them up and get their goodies, which augment you with certain abilities for a time, depending on what they were wearing when they died. Or, you can alternatively repair them and they can become your ally for an extended period of time. Which is cool.

     

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    The combat is very fun paced and I thoroughly enjoyed the combat in some regards. The beginning of the game is much much more challenging than the end of the game because enemies scale with you. It reduces the need to grind basically and lets you gather chips you may need in order to completely roflstomp the game later on. Oh yeah, and you also get to fight a huge colossus later on in the game in a sort of 2D fighter fashion- MAN YOKO TARO IS A FUCKING GENIUS.

     

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    So the overall consensus: The game difficulty is just about right for what the game presents. Fast fluid combat is balanced by expertly dodging and tactfully taking out opponents as they come at you. Or if you have Deadly Heal just go apeshit and kill everything in sight. It nails down some portions of the game completely right, but misses in actually immersing people in the game and WHY they want to play a game: to be able to run around fast and not be distracted by clutter on the ground.

     

    Overall: 7.5/10.

     

    4420193440dc8b1309524d5b5373d31b.jpg

     

    Quality:

     

    Compared to probably about 99% of the dumbass Steam populace that can't seem to get this game to work, I actually had zero problems with running the game.

     

    I just wanted to get that out of the way. You all have seen my computer specs. It's a fucking rig. And yet, I'm happy to announce that I had zero problems running this game at 60 FPS. The only time where my game would hiccup is during the City Ruins because it's a high foliage area, but otherwise, I ran everything at max settings and had zero problems. So...git gud.

     

    The quality of the game is probably THE BEST part of this game. The game is fucking beautiful, the script and deliverance of the lines in said script is amazing, the characters feel alive with intentions, and the best part is...

     

    THERE ARE NO SPELLING ERRORS IN THE SCRIPT.

     

    Compared to the last two games I've played, not seeing any errors in what the characters say versus what the game shows us as text is relieving.

     

    d825e17a1a8c2333279202ce28561c2d.jpg

     

    Each zone you go to feels so alive and beautiful that words like "mesmerizing" and "beautiful" don't even begin to describe it. Especially in the Forest Zone where you see giant castles and giant waterfalls cascading the landscape. You can definitely tell work went into this one, compared to the two previous shitty games I've played that were probably released within two months after the first idea was conceptualized.

     

    546a53f6964b2fd11cb82ebd727ab22a.jpg

     

    And here's the kicker.

     

    If any of you have watched the first twenty minutes or so of the recently hosted Game Awards show on Twitch, you will have seen that NieR: Automata got the award for the best OST for ANY game out of the year. And rightfully so.

     

     

    Regarding Voice Actors for the game, Kira Buckland completely nailed the part of 2B, Kyle McCarley fluctuating between a respectable Scanner Unit to a ravaging husk filled with revenge and yelling, screaming even, to get the full inflection of his emotions, and Cherami Leigh nailing A2 in it's most professional form.

     

    This is the first time I will have ever given a game 10/10 for its quality. Everything it does about Quality, it does right.

     

    Except for the people who can't get this game to work. But they should just git gud instead.

     

    Overall: 10/10.

     

    05bd714d22d36c7641baef739c27156a.jpg

     

    Replayability:

     

    Alright, so, I mentioned before that Replayability was going to be the key of this playthrough. This game forces Replayability on you, and it blends in with the story exceptionally well. So while it's not a replayability versus story thing per se, there is absolutely a reason to go back over and play through the game again. You get a Chapter Select so you can easily go back and clean up any side quests you may have missed. On your first playthrough, you'll probably be playing just for the story, but on your second playthrough, you can go back and get any side quests you may have missed as 2B, plus a few extra on top of that. And on your third playthrough, you finish everything humanely possible.

     

    cc0a36b47b9232b5ac247956dc09d27c.jpg

     

    You can pretty much get 90% of what you need done in a single playthrough. The other 10% you need a guide for, since there IS a missable achievement/ending that you can't get one way or the other. And filling out all of the Archives takes patience and time. My finally tally was getting all the endings except for that one missable ending (because I played through without a guide) and getting about 75% of all the achievements? Give or take.

     

    But yeah, in terms of Replayability, there is A LOT to have.

     

    But be warned if you're trying to 100% the game, the game will force you to delete all of your save data, so if you want to 100% everything, you have to do everything else first before you do that. Just a word of caution. You can go to the fextralife wiki and look up NieR: Automata if you ever need to confirm the location of something, or to get that side quest you need, or that one ending you need, before trying to clear your Save Data.

     

    Overall: 8/10.

     

    Now, it's time for the final wrap-up. In this section, I'll detail if this game is truly one for you, and if you should decide to play it or not.

     

    Would I recommend this game?:

     

    Umm. Yes.

     

    Just yes.

     

    Overall: 8.5/10. Amazing.

     

    While definitely not high enough to give a Game of the Year medal or anything like that, this was definitely one of the better games that I was waiting to get my hands on, but wanted it to go for a reasonable price because of all the intense negativity on Steam and not getting the game to work.

     

    Also, yes 2B's ass is good. Become ass gods.

     

     

  16. Hello, everybody! Everybody's favourite ghostie here! I'm sure you're all wondering what I mean by "new and improved Aftermath: Gears of Hope".

     

    Long story short: I wasn't happy with the project. It didn't seem plausible, the more I thought about it. I wasn't happy with the fact that I had part of a certain fandom telling me to stop "copying" another game. So, I redesigned the idea, combined a few new ideas, brought back a few ideas from an earlier world design and started a brand new project.

     

    As I like to say, "Sometimes, you have to take a good long look at your project, think about it and realize that maybe you were right the first time."

    (Okay, I just barely said that, but it's good advice.)

     

    What's changed:

    The game no-longer has anything to do with a school or campus town. It takes place in a futuristic city.

    The protagonist has a set gender, name, nationality, past and personality.

    The game has been somewhat scoped down, so as to avoid being stuck in DevHell for years on end with little to no progress.*

    The game will now have pre-release builds to give fans ideas of what the game will be like once I begin getting stuff implemented.

     

    What hasn't changed:

    The game is still about being a cyborg spy.

    There is still an information broker.

    All characters will still be interesting and be able to be interacted with in an interesting way.

    The game is still heavily mission-based, but with player freedom.

     

    I don't really know how to describe it, but think about it this way - the game will have a lot in common with Mass Effect... Without the changes being saved between entries in the series and heavy player customization on the character. (When I release sequels, you'll have to answer questions on certain things. However, due to limitations, the sequels will follow a "canon path".)

     

    * - Don't worry, there will still be most of what originally got the game an audience.

  17. I still have a lot of work to do, but I think it's a good time to show off some story bits of chapter 0. ...Or, in this case, the whole thing. It's not entirely finished yet and there are still some bugs that need to be squashed. However, I'm quite happy with how it turned out regardless. I seem to enjoy making cutscenes look the best they can thanks to Galv's Camera plugin. The gameplay is every basic and I haven't gotten around to making any actions sequences, yet. This is mostly just to show off some bits of the beginning story. I might also try to get my topic back up again since I have some new stuff lined up, but I want to wait a bit longer just to make sure.

     

    Anyway, here's Chapter 0!

     

     

  18. It has been a long time since I have done a proper blog post.  This one is the first part of a multi part series of importing Tiled maps to AGK.  I use AGK in Tier 2 as a game framework using C++.  This is the real draw to AGK for my use, as I have the simplicity of AGK with the power of C++.  However, this tutorial is written using an AGK Tier 1 snippet as there is no need for any added complexity.  I will eventually write a C++ variation that is more flexible, but none the less, let’s start part 1 of this tutorial.  It is important to note that this does not only work with Tiled, it can be used to load any tileset/atlas image easily, but Tiled is my motivation for making it.

    Tiled.png

    Tiled is an open source tile map editor for use in any engine.  I will be making maps using Tiled and bringing them into my AGK Tier 2 project.  The first step to doing this is to import the tileset images individually using the same ID’s that Tiled does.  If you select a tile in Tiled, the ID in the property menu is always 1 lower than it’s exported ID.  This makes ID 0 equal 1, ID 2 equal 3, etc…  What this means is that the top left sprite ID = 1 and counts up going from top left flowing to the right then down.  Something like this:

    1  2  3  4
    5  6  7  8
    9  10 11 12
    13 14 15 16

    Using this code snippet, there are 4 variables of interest to turn all uniform tilesets into an AGK compliant file.

    002  tileWidth = 128
    003  tileHeight = tileWidth
    004  numHorizontalTiles = 16
    005  numVerticalTiles = 16
    • tileWidth — Change this to the width of a tile.
    • tileHeight — If the tiles are square, leave as is.  Otherwise, set to the height of the tile.
    • numHorizontalTiles — How many tiles are from left to right.
    • numVerticalTiles — How many tiles are from up to down.

    From there, just run the script and a file will appear in C:/Users/<<UserName>>/AppData/Local/AGKApps/<<AppName>>/media/myfile

    Copy this file to the same directory your tileset is and rename it to “<<TilesetName>> subimages.txt” and you will be able to load the tiles in just fine.


    Just to prove it works, I will demonstrate loading the tileset in AGK Tier 2.

    Blog Post Image 1.png

    Tileset and Subimage file side-by-side

    Once the generated file and tileset image are both in the same directory, you can then proceed to load the image and subimages to AGK.  I included a very simple example code of loading in all 256 images (in my case).

    std::list<g::Sprite*> s;
    ...
    unsigned int image = agk::LoadImage("media\\Tilesets\\Grassland\\Grassland.png");
    for (int i = 1; i < 256; i++)
    {
    	s.push_front(new g::Sprite(agk::LoadSubImage(image, std::to_string(i).c_str())));
    	agk::SetSpritePosition(s.front()->GetSpriteID(), (i-1)%16*128, (i-1)/16*128);
    }
    

    This code makes a list of a Sprite class that I made for my project and loads up all subimages of the tileset into the list and places them from left to right, top to bottom.

    Blog Post Image 2.png

    Tileset loaded and placed, one tile at a time. Link to tileset.

    There we go.  Tilesets and Atlases made and loaded into AGK far easier than slowly typing out the subimages file manually.

    Part II in progress, I will link to it here when done.

    -Maindric


    211 b.gif?host=maindric.com&blog=38476006&po

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    (Dredges up old review blog to prevent people spending money on junk)

    Good. An unbiased intro.

     

    So, I just want to preface this by saying this is a review of the re-release and not the original game. So the review is going to be pretty short and, hey, I do actually love the original release; To me, FFIX is pretty much the peak of the JRPG genre; it handled equipment/skills with more thought than its predecessors, had excellent side-content, and an iconic villain that, amazingly, is barely cringeworthy considering his near two decades old flamboyance. And since its just a re-release all that great stuff is still there. Its just everything else that's bad.

     

    So, to address the elephant in the room, how does the game look? Actually, pretty darn good. Or, the bits they touched at least. Which is just character models, and most of the cutscenes and most of the battlebacks I've encountered have been worked on too. Now, that sentence already provide two issues:

    Firstly, yes, I omitted the maps from that. Square would have you believe that Zidane and co. have selective cataracts where all sprites and objects of note (ie. chests) are in startling clarity against some blurry wasteland. I considered providing examples of the most offending maps but as this has been a subject of much controversy I'd imagine finding screenies of this shouldn't be too taxing.

    And secondly. not even the entirety of the cutscenes and battlebacks have been upgraded (a vast majority, but definitely not all) which at first notice provides shock and outrage followed by bitterness as not only did Square only do half a job of updating the graphics but they didn't even fully complete that half.

    Heck, the game still runs in 4:3 so I'm not sure if it even can be classified truly as 'HD' although in fairness it does not officially market itself as such (just in spirit ;) )

    Now, credit where its due, the character animations, in battles specifically, are wonderful. And a lot of on-map animation and design is much easier to notice, although part of that is no doubt in virtue of playing on a screen approximately three times larger than my eleven year old self was privy to. Oh and the Tetra Master cards have been touched up too which is nice.

     

    As far as the UI design. Well, they changed the menus. Can't say they're functionally, or even asthetically any better. Square clearly felt obligated to act but I just don't see why, particularly since they don't seem to have been too interested in it themselves. The cynic in me thinks the devs just wanted something you're constantly confronted with, and in confrontation with, to say 'hey, look we did do stuff so that's why you paid money'.

    There are a few much bigger afronts that overwhelm that inner voice with, err, another louder inner voice. And they're all to do with the on-map exclamation mark alerts. Firstly they are everywhere. Like, for reals. For some reason Square thought it would be a good idea to provide an alert to let you know you can talk to NPCs. It actually provides you with two so that you also know which ones are available to play Tetra Master with. Both are obviously something that sounded good in principle to somebody but should have immediately been noticed in testing as a terrible idea as you wander around Treno in a swarm of irritating bubbles. Oh, and interacting with one of these bubbles now leaves a negative of it for a few frames. Sexy ¬.¬ .

     

    The gameplay additions were actually pretty interesting, I thought; The ability to move faster, remove random encounters, and all of that. Square showed an excellent awareness of the fanbase even if they failed to understand them. See, all these features are geared towards the players who go for different kinds of perfect saves and, often, need to reach Memoria within twelve hours for Excalibur II or remain at level1 for the majority of the game. A considerable amount of the appeal of these playthroughs, ofc, being the challenge. Which these features strip away from an otherwise very easy game. In fact, Square seem to have done this compulsively, making the theatre swordfight easier to max for the first Moonstone and...a couple of other things I've forgotten in this thirtyish hour blur. You're not obligated to engage these features so there's no real harm in their addition (except that if you were to accidentally activate one you're unable to turn it back off) but its just disappointing that what is arguably the best addition with excellent intentions is inherently flawed.

     

    I'm going to end by disregarding a rule of reviewing for me. Or adding a clause to it perhaps. I hate when people bring the price into a review of a game; its an aspect that is entirely external to the piece. However, since what I've been writing about here is the disparity between two packages of the same game and not really about the game itself I'll come out and say that this is not worth the money. It just isn't. If you don't own an existing copy of FFIX then I'd say its an incredible game and you'll enjoy the heck out of it; if the re-release is the best way of accessing the game for you then so be it. But if you do own an original copy this version brings so little to the table for the price that Square is asking for (it is also rarely on sale and, so far, never generously so) that you might as well continue enjoying Kuja Trance and Steiner x Beatrix, the Lifa Tree and Chocobo's Lagoon, on your original disks because that's what the game is about, not a couple of redone character models.

     

     

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    I just wanted to post and say I completed a simple sewer valve puzzle. I'm pretty proud of it.
    :D

  19. Purple Phantom
    Latest Entry

    The test subject in question was a girl of about 15. Due to an incident involving some bioweapons rather recently, she'd lost the ability to walk. She'd been taken into the underground facility and put into lockdown, in case any other symptoms arose. Charlie glanced at her colleague.

    "Are you sure about this?" she asked him. He smiled that daring smile of his, brushing his nearly white hair back with his fingers.

    "I'm sure," he replied charismatically, "This girl will no-longer be wheelchair-bound once this kicks in."

    Charlie sighed, hoping he was right. She watched as he strode into the room and talked to the girl, then injected her with the syringe of liquid. Nothing happened...

    ...Minutes passed...

    ...And then, the girl stood up.

  20. Hey nosy blog reader~

     

    Just found my old concepts for one of my main charries from Tales of Eadris and wanted to give you all a laugh.

    This also shows my lack of creativity... ToE is a medievil-esque fantasy genre RPG.

     

     

    This was my first ever concept for Leina, a quiet girl. Very meh.

     

     

    _old__leina_by_takeo212_d88g5je_by_takeo212-da103yp.png

    _old__leina_by_techkit_d891ld6_by_takeo212_d8brs6g_by_takeo212-da103yg.png

    ^ ABOVE IMAGE DRAWN BY TECHKIT ON DEVIANTART ^

     

     

    Okay, yea, bad design haha.

     

     

    My next design was;

     

     

    _old__leinaref_by_takeo212_d8cqokf_by_takeo212-da103xz.png

     

     

    I like this design to be honest, but considering the game type/genre... this outfit doesn't really fit in...

    Also, can you tell I like Tomb Raider? xD

     

     

    My final design was;

     

     

    leina_farronwood_by_takeo212-da103ya.png

    leina_sketch__by_techkit_d97lql2_by_takeo212_d9bkd_by_takeo212-da103y6.png

    ^ ABOVE IMAGE ALSO DRAWN BY TECHKIT ^

     

     

     

    Her entire design changed, as well as her race. She originally was a simple human, but became an Elven hunter/thief.

     

     

    I also had a similar... phase... with Faeona. Her original design was stupid. I don't have the old file anymore, but trust me on it. She looks better now.

    Marina's design came so nicely. I got her design pretty well based for her first design and her final was just a detailing of the original. I love Marina <3

     

     

    What similar stages did you guys come across?

    Are you still developing your characters?

    What characters are you having most trouble with?

    Is there a favourite amongst your cast you just can't help but like more than the rest?

    Find out next time, on Dragon Ball Z!

  21. BY READING PASS THIS, YOU AGREE YOU ARE MATURE ENOUGH TO HANDLE THIS!

     

    Harmony is a new robot/doll that came out. It's main purpose is to be Sex Bot or is also referred to as Sex Doll. However, the company took it up a notch (well, maybe a lot of notches) as it now has artificial intelligence that's actually pretty cool.

     

    "Harmony smiles, blinks and frowns. She can hold a conversation, tell jokes and quote Shakespeare. She’ll remember your birthday, what you like to eat, and the names of your brothers and sisters. She can hold a conversation about music, movies and books. And of course, Harmony will have sex with you whenever you want."

     

    1492371671fqQKWfBkrQ_1_1.jpg

     

    Worlds-first-speaking-sex-doll-answers-questions-has-18-different-personalities-and-even-remembers-your-favourite-food.jpg

     

    This is how she looks. She will be on the market for $15,000.

    The reviews for it (from what I was told) are a lot of people who are...

    1. Guys not good in social skills

    2. Friendzoned guys

    3. Guys who gave up on dating

    4. Mentally Ill people

    5. People whose girlfriends/wives have died and they can't get over it

    6. Couples who want the fantasy threesome

    7. Lesbians

    8. Straight women who want to experiment

     

    I am for it; I feel if yo want it then you can have it. One complaint was that rapists would use this to cope with their "rapiness" (idk how to explain) which is kinda dumb because I would rather a rapist have sex with a robot/doll then doing it to an actual person.

     

    Another complaint was that it reinforces the idea that women are just there for their bodies. I will make the argument that people will always cherish relationships with other people, even other women (unless they are sexist). And you can't act like women don't have dildos. Yes, they don't talk, but if they did, I doubt that argument would be made again. Considering Harmony is really new, it will be time before they make a guy version.

     

    While on this argument, the add-on argument was that its the "perfect date" and men can pretend to care for human interaction with a woman. Let me tell you, Harmony could be everyone. What that tells me is that you can't hold a conversation, can't be talked to about music, movies, etc., you won't remember his birthday, you never remember what he likes to eat, and you won't ever have sex with him. Any boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, or husband can be that. Heck, best friends have most of that except for sex (usually).

     

    Like anything, off-topic subjects always ends up somehow getting into everything. For example, the argument I just told you about came from a Feminist, so therefore, the Anti-Feminists came in. Part of what the Feminist said was that feminism is to show women don't need men. Anti-Feminists said "and men don't need women." Generally, the Anti-Feminists (including women) were saying "keep your dildos, you don't need men; do what you do. We will do what we do." And, I'm not going to lie, I don't even know what the Feminists are trying to do. Women got sex machines, vibrating dildos, squirting dildos, so I don't get how there is no outrage on that. *shrug*

    So there is a social and moral question to whether the Sex Bot is right. I believe, in both counts, that it is right and that it should be in the market. Now, I'm not saying put it in the bread section of Walgreens; if I had to guess, it'll be order online only because I don't see a store putting that in public with a sign like "Sex Doll for $15,000!."

     

    With all of that, are you for or against the idea of sex dolls to this extent? Explain why on the moral and social standard. Then, if your closest friend had one, how would you react? What will you say or do, and why?

  22. Lord Vectra
    Latest Entry

    One problem I have with certain people is when they wrongfully use the term, "Anti-Black."

     

    As a black man, I'm not against blacks. I go for the side of which I believe is right as should everyone. I am totally against riots, unnecessary behavior, and the killing of anyone no matter the race.

     

    Recently, there has been chaos within a particular college. I said their behavior was completely unacceptable. They cornered faculty members, threatened teachers, ganged up on school officials. The thing that triggered all of this was an email. Some black guy sent an email to create an event that was made to stop whites from coming to college on a particular day. This was sent to a white guy and he said he will not be participating because he views it as an act of oppression. He was branded racist and all this stuff started happening,

     

    I said their behavior was unacceptable. I was branded, by my own father, as Anti-Black. Apparently, I was against my race because I was against blacks who ran around a college terrorizing teachers and faculty members. Apparently, I don't being black anymore and I'm proud of it all because I say its unacceptable.

     

    I've been called Anti-Black, White-lover, and Cracker-lover. I don't like whites who hate blacks just like how I don't like blacks that hate whites. I don't side with blacks just because they are black. I side with who is right no matter the color. If a bunch of blacks rioted and killed 6 people, I'm against it. If a bunch of whites rioted and killed 6 people, I'm STILL against it. I don't differentiate my judgment based on skin color. If I am Anti-Black for saying the black rioters' behavior was unacceptable, then so be it (The blacks in the college didn't riot; I was just using riots as an example).

     

    So for anyone who is like me, and not just Anti-Black but anything else that has a similar effect, stand for what YOU believe in because, at the end of the day, you have to be happy with who you have become. If you are the only person on Earth that believes what you believe, then I advise you believe in it even if it means you are standing alone. Any great idea, any original idea, and especially any unpopular ideas need to backed up by you.

  23. May 31, 2017

    • Finished writing and coding the states (mostly inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics). We categorize all states into three: positive, negative and neutral states.
      • Positive states benefit the user.
        • Regen heals 12.5% of Maximum HP each turn. Characters with this status will be tinted bright cyan.
        • Protect reduces physical damage taken by 33% of the expected damage (the damage reduced is the expected damage, that is, the damage that is sent to the keyboard input window for modifying, not the damage after being modified by the input window)
        • Shell reduces magical damage taken by 33% of the expected damage.
        • Haste increases the speed of the character by 150%, re-arranging their turn in the game's internal action list order. Hastened characters animate faster.
        • Manaregen heals 12.5% of Maximum MP each turn. Characteres with this status will be tinted bright orange.
        • Manasave reduces MP cost of magics by 33%.
        • Manashield substitute MP instead of HP when taking damage, happens when MP > 1, (Bravery)% of the time.
        • Bubble doubles the character's maximum HP as long as the character is affiliated with this status.
        • Defending is automatically applied when you select Guard from the actor action menu. Reduces the expected damage from both physical and magical attacks.
        • Invisible will render your character unseen and prevent them from being targeted by the enemy. Aside of that, while invisible, any keystrokes sent to the keyboard input window will be considered correct, further supporting 100% action success rate while invisible.

        [*]Negative states harm the user.

        • KO basically is the state applied to anyone dead/knocked-out.
        • Poison decreases 12.5% HP at the end of each turn. The character sprite will be toned dark green.
        • Blind will make the text we need to input at the input window invisible (meaning that you'll be presented by a blank input window and have to figure out the keys by bashing keyboard letters).
        • Silence will hinder you from using magics, speechcraft, bardsong and basically anything that involves speaking, including ACTing.
        • Confusion will make your character act deliriously and attack anyone.
        • Sleep will hinder your character from getting a turn and increases the damage taken.
        • Paralysis will prevent your character from acting. His step animation will be stopped.
        • Stun is when a shock damage is applied and the character is temporarily stunned to the ground. The character's step animation will be stopped.
        • Vampire is also considered a death state. Once a vampire, the character will drain anyone's HP, either enemy or ally, and inflict them with the Vampire status. A party loses if all of the members are vampires. The character will be tinted pale magenta.
        • Charm allures your unit, forcing them to attack allies instead of enemies.
        • Oil doubles fire damage taken. The character will be tinted slightly black.
        • Stone means your character is petrified. A party loses if all of the members are petrified. The character will stop animating and stand still while its sprite is tinted completely gray.
        • Slow downs your movement speed to 50%. The character's walking animation will slow down.
        • (to be continued)

        [*]Neutral states neither benefit nor harm the user. [To be written tonight]

      [*]Re-wrote the weapons (some description errors and some imbalanced formulas). I've also added dual wielding capability to some projectile weapons (four crossbows, all types of handguns and sub-machine guns). Projectiles can only be dual-wielded with melee weapons or other projectiles of the same type (you can dual-wield knife and bowgun, but you can't dual wield bowgun and pistol). Furthermore, dual-wielding two projectile weapons will use two bullets (and more if you're using a machine pistol) each time you launch an attack.

      [*]Started concepting the armors.

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