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nothingspecial Devil Boy Quest Dev Stuff!

Let fill my blog yeah! Awright! Awright! (First of all I'm sorry of my bad anglish) Deer! (Hi there) it's been a while, for now I'm focus on one game that is DBQ, actually I have lots game but most of them use a resource from a web with this ToS "Free to use if link back" the problem is their web gone so how the hell I link back? since I didn't link back then I couldn't use it freely... yeah forget about that.   Now in this Project I havta to buy some pack, paid some people, and use some free resource with better ToS (Free use but credit for com is also Ok) even the web gone I can still use it but in the end I havta to sold this game. (Actually I don't want to but I don't have money to paid my team, so I tell them I'll paid them after this game release, I hope lots people like and buy it else my team will kill me)   Let's forget about those not important reality stuff! Now what happen to DBQ? they're fine they still in development. actually almost done! yay! but I need to check lots thing and might take 2-3 month (My target release is 04/04/2018. (If I didn't pay my team after 01/06/2018 they really kill me) Anyway.... when I check I found some bugs but I have handle them. (Handle with care lolz)   is there something crazy or weird happen? of course! it always happen! "Strange opinion about DBQ"(I spoil it maybe you don't want to read it) "Sorcery" this has nothing to do with game dev but whatever "I'm not much of a writer, so don't ask me about it" "Victim of a nasty translation error..." "Re-use" "Old fans of DBQ" (Only those who know Devil Boy Quest that made in Rm2k are allowed to open this) "The bosses" Special Note Is there something else? Oh sure what do you want to know? just leave comment if you feel like to say anything. Anyway thanks for read the title, why the title and not the post? I'm sure you read the title since you click it but I doubt you read the whole or even the post, you might read some important part or part you like anyway thanks to if you take your time and read the whole post.   Want to chat with me? just PM me! I'll gladly to talk with you about my games or anything. (if you want to hear fast answer PM me when I'm online)   ~Perang Cemen The Best Game Developer Ever (Self-proclaimed)
   

Perang Cemen

Perang Cemen

 

blurb Entry 00B: Memories Trickle In (but certain others are lost)

"00B? What's up with that, mang?"   0123456789ABCDEF == hexadecimal math, dumbass.   "Ummm..."   I don't have time for you, get lost.   *cricket chirps*   Anyway...   I've recently watched various videos on YouTube, covering a broad range of subjects, which has triggered memories of my true life. Nothing too special or ceremonious, and the majority of them are from when I was still being homeschooled (explanation after I share my memories), but it does bring to mind the realization that I went through experimental phases myself...   I honestly remember the first time I ever tried on makeup. It was a disaster, however, with my then very pale complexion (as pale as my mother's at the same age-but hers never deepened), the blue lip paint actually looked good on me once Phyllis corrected all of my mishap. For the record, one could say I was the equivalent of five when this had occurred, and my mother was a very busy woman at the time, drilling soldiers in her own armed faction so that they could one day, function under the guise of another leader because she was looking to step away from the battlefield, hopefully forever, hanging her glaive, armor and polearm up for good. At any rate, I went through the 'rainbow phase' and by the end of that, I knew that I wasn't like the other girls.   I want to take a bit to explain how education works at home before going on.   First off, education is not a systemized thing; most parents are going to take the homeschooling route, because a lot of the lessons/experiences can only be taught by the parent, which includes their own education. If the parents/guardians do choose to implement early academic learning, it often requires an in-house tutor, unless they wish to send their children to a suitable academy for the young (which in Asuria there is not one since the closure of Esan'noyuzan Academy due to the entirety of the region being deemed uninhabitable after the last freak storm that ravaged the already softened ground making all structures built on the land unstable). Since such usually invokes a rather high cost, it isn't suitable for most parents (education is free in Asuria, but there are costs involved in sending children to other nations as well as the possibility that the academy does require payment). Most parents go the homeschooling route, with tutoring intermittently, until their children are able to take the 'Secondary Exam' (the exam all people are required to take in order to move forward in their education as well as life in general).   My next memory is actually a painful one. It involves the aforementioned 'Secondary Exam' (I put that in quotes because the translation to English actually removes most of the meaning but the exam itself is very trying and exhausting...)   I was always one of those 'intelligently curious' types, meaning that I wanted to know more, and more, and more, often times taking under flights of fancy when I should of been making sure I knew the basics and could handle them aptly. This alone made the exam that I was to undergo very soon quite taxing. I never worried about it myself, until I was given a tour of the examination arena (the entire exam is done in one large area but is sectioned off into several different sub sectors). I could hear metal clanging, people screaming, in battle cry and in agonizing pain, I heard bubbling, sizzling, more screams of agony, among other frightful things, including what sounded like a monster eating people (actually this wasn't true at all-just an auditory illusion that was also a part of the exam), and a couple fighting over whatever, in which that ended with one of the two biting it.   That wasn't the worst part. No, it was the nightmares that ensued, knowing that I'd be faced with that exam. What I didn't know, was the tour was one part of the exam, and though I clearly had hidden the fact that it was all very damn scary, I couldn't hide the fact that it had ended my distractions, and allowed me to focus on passing it. I passed that part just for that.   When the time came for me to take the exam, I had just started developing (you know what I mean), so there was even more potential for me to give into the fear, turn tail and run. However, my intelligently curious mind came at this exam strongly, and the fear, while there initially, started to fade, and by the time that part of the exam had concluded, I was face to face with the same monster from the auditory illusion, and I still remember what I said... "You think you're so powerful, so strong, so much higher than I, but you're wrong. I know how to hurt you, so try anything. I dare you." I was poised in a fighting stance I had observed my mother take so many times, and that was it. It all vanished, faded to white, and I awoke in my own bed. That's how the exam concludes for all that take it, pass or fail. Believe it or not, I failed the exam, not because I didn't face my fears, but because I faced them in a manner that invoked the idea that I was behaving like a twat. Yep, I showed my immaturity, by allowing myself to be exposed to unnecessary risk. However, I knew that if I took the exam again, that unless they completely wiped my memory of the first exam and presented different challenges, that I'd fail to meet their standards time and time again. This realization forced me to consult my mother, and my auntie. It was painful, because I knew that I was better than their standards, yet I couldn't pass their standards. So, after receiving their advice on taking the higher road, which involved petitioning the exam committee on revoking their failing marks, I decided to seek the advice of another, just to see if I could perchance a balance of opinions. I went to Liusya, who then was just a really close friend, but someone I admired a great deal, despite the fact that she to me was like one of those emo chicks that has the habit of cutting herself with large razor blades (excuse the stereotype nonsense) as a comparison, but you know what they say about how opposites attract...Liusya was a very dark, very mysterious woman, and still is, though her look would be more comparative to Dark Victorian than Emo. I went to her, and asked her about this. She told me that she passed her own exam after shaming the committee for using fear as a double standard mongering board. I weighed my options, and decided on taking the advice I was given, and made it into my own. I authored a short narrative on how I felt the exam was favored towards fear as a double standard, and included how I felt about each member of the committee, as well as any individual who showed their truest merits, only to be discredited. I gave it to the press to mass author, and within a short time, I received a response. My failed mark remained intact, and I had been barred from retaking the exam. I chose to not allow this. I took the pain I had been unfairly burdened with, and one of the swords from the armory, and in my righteous fury, I slashed the entirety of the exam arena. My fury and inner power went through the blade, causing some of the parts to ignite. After my fury was exhausted, I knelt and rested on the blade, burdened by fatigue. One could say that the amount of damage I did would be more than a hundred mortal men could do, in a fraction of the time. For me, one so young, to perform this feat at all was amazing, to have it not kill me (well, to evaporate my life energy anyway), was beyond incredible. My brother, whom had also failed the exam because of his ineptitude at understanding primal fear (he's even more analytical and skeptical than I), came to my aid, and carried me home. I never passed the exam, however, said exam was to be rebuilt with more than just grounding fear in mind. I and my brother are still barred from the exam, however... There is a silver lining to this. While said exam is required to enter some of the higher qualified academies, the nearest one to my hometown had no such requirements, and my exam results were very pleasing, as well as my capabilities in destroying the exam arena. I didn't have to take any pre-qualifiers, I was admitted right away. I guess the most painful part is the hate I was shown, because it was unearned. Like the hate I've been burdened with while imprisoned on this planet...ironic, isn't it? Only I don't have the power to destroy the hatred I was shown now, at least, not in the same way.   The next memory actually ties into the previous, because it occurred not too long after I started at the Academy. One of my favorite things to do is sample food from various cultures and walks of life. I was intrigued immediately about this thing called 'barbecuing', and asked the one organizing a group around this type of thing, a boy about my level of academic growth and two others. "It'll be messy, gritty and down to earth; make sure to dress the part." I signed up, knowing that I was already into that kind of thing (given extracting ingredients for alchemy often requires getting very dirty if not covered in filth, sweat and blood and I love it). One of the features of the group's itinerary was the nearby beach; we'd often go there for our barbecues and such, and we'd bring our own stuff for the feasting fun times. I was one of two girls that would bring along the med kits we made ourselves, just in case; this would become useful as we got into rounding up certain types of jellyfish to be barbecued. Yes, one of our frequent ventures would be the barbecued jellyfish, smoked cockatrice tail and red wine, a cultural meal from the Andoboraji region, about a comparative three days' journey from Asuria by sea, about a whole lunar phase if one walks there by using the sandbar trails when the tides are low. We were the Beach Barbecue Squad, and though it was myself, seven other girls, five boys and four non-binary people, mainly from the Academy and otherwise living very far apart, they were like a second family to me. Even Liusya was a part for a while, though her skin wasn't too fond of spending a lot of time in the sun (can't blame her for that), so she would end up joining a group whose activities were mostly indoors or under the moonlight. The Moonlighters. I too was a part of their numbers, so I was around Liusya a lot, and that is how we became very close.   I miss them, the Beach Barbecuers and the Moonlighters.   But I also miss the times when I actually got to leave Asuria and go to another land, often to try their cuisine and/or activities.   There's this video online that has a catgirl catching and swallowing a live goldfish. I watched it and it reminded me of the next memory.   I once traveled to a land whose delicacies were quite eccentric. Yutai is an island chain nation, and it is very hot for most of the lunar season. Anyway, I was still in my rainbow phase, and blue/purple was my favorite ensemble at this point, as were purple foods and drinks, like the live perch I'd get at one of the inns I stayed at during my trip to Yutai (I was part of an exploration group at the time). They had all sorts of live fish and other such delicacies, but the goldfish were far too expensive at 40 Raijin a piece (I had been afforded 100 Raijin total which was to last me the whole trip with no exceptions), so I went with the local perch, which was 2 Raijin. You get three of the perch, but I gave the other two to the boy I was sitting with, because I swallowed one, and was put off by it. I bought a bread loafette later and some apple cider. A good memory, but of bad flavor. I'm sure the goldfish would of been better, well, maybe...   There is one other memory, but my first experience at Paulina's, a dress-up parlour that serves anyone, is NC-17 at best, so I'll just leave it at that.   One issue with memories from my true life coming back, is the cost of memories of this fake life I've been forced to live. I don't remember a lot of things, and most recently, that included someone that recognized me, that I don't remember at all. Like, not even a 'familiarity' thing. Limited memory capacity? The throes of mortality...damnation.

PhoenixSoul

PhoenixSoul

 

dwimmerdelve Dwimmerdelve: The current plan.

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.      

Kayzee

Kayzee

 

Ambition for a Long While

Oh wow. It's been a long while since I've blogged here. It's been a long time too, since I've belonged to an academia, or even dared to dream of university. Back in highschool, when geometry honors and pre calc were easy and full of joy to explore, I wanted to go to MIT. Everything I kept up on, was happening in MIT. AI, Robotics, all the things that were cutting edge were seemingly happening at MIT. Brilliance was what I thought of them. Fastforward and I'm a community college drop out with school debt living on government benefits struggling to understand the basic concepts of ACE or really any Object Oriented Language assisted Engine (like Unity, and so on). I had known about MIT open coarse-ware since I was enrolled in physics at a community college. I would watch a lecture on Electromagnetism every night, amazed with the content, thinking how cool it would be to use the information to build an electronic device never before seen. I ended up making a aluminium foil capacitor that held 2 volts for .25 seconds   Now I'm here, finishing some reading on a MIT press book, Introduction to Algorithms.   It's great. It talks about how the book is meant for not only a student teacher relationship, but also a reference manual for professional programmers, to help in creation/learning to create algorithms that always produce a given output from a provided input, are time efficient based on the resources available to execute the information, and without error. It's also a huge plunge into parts of math that remain unexplored for me. Like Weirmer functions, or newtons method, and some of finite math that's since slipped my mind after having tutored university students in the field.   The first hurdle was getting the text book. It could not just be an ebook, I want to read it anywhere, and the entire planet isn't guaranteed to have the internet. And as I have learned, it may take me a long while to read all of what the book has to offer, the coarse I am following only has 25 lectures that cover a handful of chapters, wheras the book has a lot more chapters to offer. mainly the exploration of mathematics in it is of firm intrigue to me, should it suffice to be able to construct a method in ruby of it's principles, I should have no problem with the contents.   Mom got me the book for an early birthday present. It's very well over 1200 pages. Just the preface alone was cause for me to desire to read chapter 1 the very next morning. All with the delighted hope of learning to craft algorithms that could solve and explore new aspects of reality for me.   I began reading, and writing the exercises.     I couldn't help be so excited about the idea of learning once more, in a field so vastly unlearned and yet so rewarding, that I upset a contact in a discord server. They ended up giving me a link to another discord server that focused on programming in general. I couldn't help but ignore the feeling of total devistation in having pissed someone off, for having found people that could help me grade myself as I progressed, so that I could correct myself and better apply my knowledge on the subjects in the book.

Things checked out on my end for the answers.   Such a short section with so much useful information, I had to keep going.     after more principles, I had failed to realize something that should have been obvious, involving the direction of the book.   regardless, I did my first problem of the book: I probably totally failed it, in that microsecond does not constitute 1000 of itself into a second. Had I paid attention in the non-existent weights and measures class they call elementary science, I would have known. But that's kind of a scaling issue as I found out from my implications. So one of the functions of f(n) was f(n) = log2(n) It wasn't so easy to solve. My first assumption was to create real values for n, and not some representative formula. My first attempts did not posses efficiency, because I am so under-educated about RUBY for one. After talking it over with ruby programmers on the server, I had arrived at this method for the solution
  My first thoughts are, why does that work. I still don't know. but if t is say, 2, the answer is 4, and so on, until we have a value where t = 1 second, it becomes large quickly. For a day the number n1 became so large that it was unmanageable for modern RUBY, so I had to introduce a factor. and being a decimal starting with 1 and having no other digit seems to have worked perfectly, scaling according to the t value. I did this sort of process for all 64 cells of the 8x8 table.   Then I woke up and read chapter 2. And immediately was presented with a real world application for insertion_sort. An algorithm that mimics taking a handful of cards, and aligning them in a sequential order such that the elements are from least to greatest or greatest to least. It was also the first time I had seen pseudo code and attempted to use it as a structure for RUBY code.     I toyed around with it for ages. Before reading the book further, and had hit a dead end. All of my debugging techniques couldn't make sense of the garbled mess of the array my method had made. When I read further, it explained that i = j = e. And its use of A[1..j-1] was saying what would happen in the next loop.   def insertion_sort(an_array)
  size = an_array.length
  i = 0
  while i < size
    current = an_array
    j = i
    while j > 0 and an_array[j-1] > current
      an_array[j] = an_array[j-1]
      j -= 1
    end
    an_array[j] = current
    i += 1
  end
  return an_array
end def insertion_sort(an_array) size = an_array.length i = 0 while i < size current = an_array[i] j = i while j > 0 and an_array[j-1] > current an_array[j] = an_array[j-1] j -= 1 end an_array[j] = current i += 1 end return an_array end this produced this result: And what I had mentioned earlier, of this being so obvious now. I had made this function before when I was making Classical Age World. It was my sort method for arranging the NPCs in a 2d array into family trees with relationships. I know on my walmar machine it will bog down on 10K entries. It might be more efficient now with the latest RUBY. the time coefficient being defined as: * insertion sort – c1n2 Just from the table I had made, I know that N**2 is really not that great, but isn't the worse efficient coefficient algorithm. The worst on the table being, N! I went and did the method in GML, and it worked eventually.   Now I can happily say I know an algorithm with it's application and relevance in programming. The book had me write an algorith to return Nil when a value is not in the array. To be honest I am not sure I understand the problem thorough. this was my guess at it Linear search: For j = 0 to A.length V = A[j] If A[j+1].defined? j = j + 1 else V = nil Break Anyways, I thought people would like to know about this particular journey as it develops.

Asharonapaul

Asharonapaul

 

What I have been up to lately.

One thing that I haven't been very shy about admitting is even at my most active I have never been that serious about game development here. I like to code neat scripts sometimes yes, and I do like to experiment, and I love to discuss and theorize, but sitting down and actually trying to make a real game by myself always struck me as kind of too much work for me. Mostly probobly just cause I am lazy, but even so when it comes right down to it I am not sure I ever had a really good solid idea for one. Oh don't get me wrong, I have plenty of ideas that I think are neat, but most of them are either random mishmashes of ideas that don't fit together in any real way or are just too overly ambitious to really get anywhere on. Every once and a while I have this 'big project' I want to work on but don;t end up really doing much with. The one time I tried to team up with some other people didn't turn out that well and I am not sure I am cut out for teamwork.   That being said, I still have been ever so slowly chipping away at my own little block of stone. For all the years I have been on this site I have maintained a RPG Maker VX Ace project that I occasionally fiddle with, adding more and more experiments and random ideas to. It's more of my own personal script testing bed then anything else. I know I probobly should have moved on to MV ages ago but... there is just so much I have done with VX Ace! And bit by bit I think it's starting to pay off. It's still a mess of experiments without much underlying theme or idea behind it, but I am slowly seeing more and more a shape emerge that I might be able to refine.   One might remember my old dungeon demo thing. I have added a ton to the scripts there since I bothered to update it, and it seems like I added another ton jut with in the lat few months. I just more or less managed to finally get a roguelike-style battle system (or as I like to call it a 'one-step tactical battle system', since it's basically like a tactical RPG battle system only things can only move one step per turn, or one could think of it as a 'turn-based ABS' perhaps if that idea doesn't make your head explode) working properly. Now I have wanted to do a proper roguelike for a while, and I basically have all the major parts needed to make one from the random dungeons to even the item identification thing. I have a number of interesting tweaks to the generator to produce what may be some of the most pretty dungeons I have seen from similar style dungeon generators, and a number of dungeon types already done. I have a fair variety of different critters too that move and behave in different ways. Imps that can fly over gaps, Sea creatures that can swim, Bats that can fly and move quickly but erratically, Spiders which are slow but can suddenly jump at their target, Ghosts which phase through walls, and so on.   But if that were all I would still probobly end up with a bit of a disconnected mess of ideas. As much as I think gameplay is more important then story or presentation in games, I can't really deny the importance of theming at the very least. Just blindly programing in whatever idea I can think of without some overall hook to the design to tie it all together probobly will just leave me with what I have been doing for the last few years: Just throwing stuff into a pile and poking it to see what it does. Ah, but fortunately I do have the perfect thing to tie it all together I think, and I didn't even really have to go far to find it! Just look at all the stuff I have been telling people about fairies over the time I have been here. A lot of the details could fit right in with a roguelike actually. Even my older abandoned team game had a big focus on that kind of thing.   I even have a name picked out! How about "Dwimmerdelve: Adventures in a Phantasmagorical Fairyland"? What do you think?

Kayzee

Kayzee

 

I'm Back, mostly.

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.

charlesthehurst

charlesthehurst

 

Red Sky at Night: Killozapian Boogaloo

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...

Tarq

Tarq

 

World of Chaos Progress and Plans XIX

FINISHED Unmentioned Plans In-Battle Enemy Dialogue: Certain enemies will have dialogues during battle. Also, to avoid the large blocks of dialogues, in some cases, parts of it was integrated in the battles.Conventional Enemies: I noticed I inserted a lot of undead/demon/angel/spirit type enemies of which   Harder Bosses: One of the complaints about my demo (which was very long ago, I know), was that the bosses were a little too easy. That has been changed.   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.

Lord Vectra

Lord Vectra

 

depression Entry 00A: Just a blurb mostly

I really just want to get a few things off my chest, however, I don't really expect anyone to care, but to those who give pause, and don't troll, thank you in advance.   So, first off, I figured I'd mention that though I was truly born in the Spring, by the 'legal' piece of paper I'm damned by, I've been imprisoned on this planet for 32 years, as of 12:57 this morning. Yeah, yeah, yeah, on my details I have it set as a date far more recent; I won't lie, the facts are that I have almost completely separated myself from my 'legal bs' identity, however, there are some things that I cannot do as of yet, given the risk of perjury. But make no mistake, there is no one that can tell me who I am without being biased; only I know me, and I shame those who would say otherwise.   Next, no, I want no birthday wishes. I kept this to a blog post for that reason. I have nothing to celebrate; I'm NOT going to go get drunk or go party or whatever, I'm not that kind of girl and to many, I'm just a mentally ill man who wishes he were a woman. My middle fingers to every single one of them and I hope they all get what they deserve, nothing good I assure you.   I'm also sick of this 'fantasy land' nonsense. I know some mean it as a joke, and I often laugh with you on that; it is when it is taken into serious consideration that I'm 'off my rocker' for having memories far more clear of my homeland than of the pain and suffering I've been through here AGAINST MY WILL, that I am absolutely offended, and how dare you.   As much as I wish to sunder this mortal flesh, it would be better to reverse the evil deus ex machina's whole plot, so that the mortal flesh may actually have a mortal soul as an occupant instead of being a torture chamber cell for a non-mortal who was obviously a threat someone's evil plot as far as I can tell. Reversing said plot would be a lot easier if I knew where to start looking for any information that may lead to how it was done, but even searching for a local Pagan group online has net nothing, though I blame Google and Ajit Piefacefart for part of that.   As far as gamedev goes, I'm still running into Syntax snags, but I'm working on it, mostly alone this time. Nothing further to post so no updates as of yet (they'll be in my Game Cabinet blog if I decide to actually post anymore updates at all).   Honest, hand to Odinn confession: I've never felt so homesick than I do now. I don't know what to do, other than let time pass me by at this point, while doing my best to remain occupied...   You see, most of what I say online, if I dare talk about it offline...just causes issues. There's an empty seat at the table, an empty lab station at the academy, an empty bed at my house...all because I am imprisoned here...and I am so sick of being treated like I know nothing. It boils my blood, insults my intellect, and is like a knife in the back being twisted day in and out. Gross.   There, I've gotten that off my chest. Back to...something. Likely Discord.

PhoenixSoul

PhoenixSoul

 

Entry 002: Throes of Damnation (updates and such)

If you've NOT read the first post, you can do so here. In fact, I recommend that you do because I'm NOT going to recap the first post.   Anyway, since then, I've made some progress, got more resources, and I have Unity from RPG Maker NET (if you have an account here, I'd like to know your moniker so I can mention you properly), for a tileset that she has allowed me to use (and I will as soon as I get to that point in map creation).   Progress I've made: *One full emotion set for the female character *Working transfer events *A few working cards (with restrictions working as well) *Weapon Damage Formulas are working (though the random damage tends to fall either high or low for some odd reason) *Found a bunch of different Game Over screens (however I've run into another issue which I'll get to in a bit) *Found a decent Windowskin (thanks to @Amysaurus for letting me use the one she made for MV - still not sure if it will be the one I use for game release but it does well for what is needed) *Settled on default Battle, Victory, Game Over themes (for now but those may change) *Decided to use actor slots for monster summons (currently, the monsters are using RTP faces but that will change though to be honest the first one I created actually fits well with the RTP face I chose so when the time comes I'll be sticking with that idea for the creation of a new face) *Figured out the way to make a restrict evaluation work with Yanfly's Skill Restriction so that I can have it read specific conditions (still working out some of the kinks but I've got the syntax down) *I've created two of the four demo maps (three floors, two rooms in one odd demonic like castle), and have fleshed out walking paths to my liking *I've made all the dueling disks (there's only ten different disks and there's very little difference among them other than number of card slots and a few other minor things) *I've altered the TP (known as CP or Charge Points-see first post for full info) so that the Duel Disk equipped changes how much one can have max (right now I've no decided on the max nor progression of CP and all Duel Disks have a cap of 40) *I have a partial storyline written down, but I've not progressed far enough to implement it as of yet *I corrected a small error with the layering of clothing for the female character in GCH: PE (skirt/shoes was not showing up before and it made her look like she was simply walking around in white stockings and a purple blouse) *I've decided on the number of cards that will be available to collect (there will be one hundred and ten in total-though ten of the cards will mainly be Easter Egg type candy and have little other useful function) *Adding to above- @lonequeso I don't know about using Tom Cruise but I can see about recreating his face for the Hell of it   Issues I'm facing: *Game Over screens (right now I've decided on @Tsukihime's Game Over screen script but when I use the script call associated with the script I get an invalid Game Interpreter error (just Ruby being uncooperative and throwing a fit like usual - @Kayzee could be of some help here but I'll let her enjoy her Nintendo Switch) *RPG Maker MV Kids DLC being locked behind multiple paywalls (yeah, I'm going to need this to be able to use that DLC in GCH: PE) *Running low on Steam Wallet funds (I bought the Casino Tiles for VX Ace at full price when I should of waited for the sale and saved $6-but I had no way of knowing) *Having an issue deciding where to drop my demo that won't be a long and arduous process (you all can forget Steam because I don't have $100 nor is there any justification to spend that kind of money on a game that I'll be releasing for free) *I'm having other Ruby syntax issues that are just a minor burden that I'll eventually figure out   That's all everyone.

PhoenixSoul

PhoenixSoul

 

I Like the Thing! Girls' Last Tour.

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.   ... 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.   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.   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.     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.     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.     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.  

SpookyMothman

SpookyMothman

 

Entry 001: Throes of Damnation

I've decided to start on a smaller side project, and I plan to pursue this to its' finish.   As for the title, I do believe it is going to remain the same, though it may change, but I'd like to keep the tone of the game as much of a match to the title as possible.   Not going to spoil many details here, as a good portion of them are still being hammered out, but basically, the character you play (you can choose between male and female though the choices are not going to be directly indicative of the character's gender) is dead, or so the character believes, with ample reason.   The main idea of the game is to survive harsh battles using mainly your wits and what the depths of the Void (as the character will describe it by sight sound and feel) provides, namely a weapon of some kind, as well as Soul Cards that are inserted into a pseudo Duel Disk. These Soul Cards are designed much like Duel Monster cards, in that, once used up, must be discarded (in this case, unequipped).   EDIT: The usage of these cards may or may not be limited, as invoking these limits is not easily done.   One will have the three following things to worry about in battle: VP-Vitality Points This is how damage one can endure before the battle ends, favoring one's opponent/s. Mana This is what is used when using Spell Cards, Spawning Trap Cards, and for SOME of the Force Cards. CP-Charge Points This is what is used when using MOST of the Force Cards, and when Summoning Monster Cards.   At the end of any given battle, win OR lose, you're fully healed, though there will be cases that a loss will be grounds for a Game Over. Usually, these will be attached to a cutscene (actually all Game Over sequences will be attached to a cutscene but not all cutscenes will be related to losing a battle).   Speaking of battles, there are both random encounters and event battles, but only event battles will have potential Game Over cutscenes. Also, take note that one can flee any given battle situation, unless the event battle calls for some special scene.   In-Depth Functions: Direct Attack-The player can invoke a direct attack with their weapon, but only against their opponent/s (if the player's opponent/s summon defenses, the player must quell those first before a Direct Attack is usable). Also, summoned Monsters can also use a Direct Attack in addition to their abilities with the same restriction applying. Summoned Monsters-If the player has at least one Monster summoned, the player cannot be attacked directly. The inverse is applied when an opponent summons a Monster. Spell Cards-Unlike Duel Monsters, these are equipped and the associated spell is instantly usable. However, there will be a limit to how many times the Spell is usable. Trap Cards-Basically the same functionality, only difference being that the effect may remain, but the card is usable only once. Force Cards-These cards are designed to enhance the player's own abilities, including attack power, and so on. They may also provide skills that can be used, but usually are meant for further enhancement of the player and/or any of the player's summoned monsters. There are some Force Cards that will have an effect on opponent/s and/or opponent's Monsters as well. Monster Cards-Basically, like summoning friends to battle to assist you. They will always be your shield.   Vitality Points-This will start out very low, and increase as you become more experienced with battles. Mana-This will also start out very low, and increases as you become more experienced in battles. Charge Points-This starts out at a low amount each battle, and increases as the battle goes on. It also increases whenever you use a skill that costs Mana or a Direct Attack. The maximum amount of Charge Points allowed will depend on the Duel Disk you have equipped.   Plans for graphics, and so on... No RTP wherever avoidable, and I have plenty of decent music already from the DLC I got through the Humble Bundle sale (thanks to @Plague Docteur who bought the Steam keys for me-I won't forget your beautiful deed!) I also have plenty of graphics because of said sale, so I intend to use those as well. I have no intentions of using the default sprites, since the main characters are made with Second Story parts (bought that DLC myself but thanks to @Kayzee for getting me GCH: PE), I'll be making the sprites for all characters with these, well, short of anything requiring tentacles or wings or whatever else.

Well, anyway...onto the icky parts. What I need help with.   Card Slots: Mainly, what needs to happen is this. The amount of card slots will be determined by the Duel Disk used. If the player has no Duel Disk equipped, this becomes zero. I have a script tool made by  Ninjamida that allows one to add and remove equip slots, however, the method used to invoke these removals would require I use common events to determine which slots to add and remove and it would ultimately be very messy.   EDIT: I found one of Fomar's scripts that allows me to do this in a very clean manner.

Weapon Formulas: I'm using Kread-Ex' Weapon Formulas script so I can emulate weapon damage ranges like how one would find in games like Adventure Quest. Currently, I'm having issues as I continue to get a zero damage result.

Formula Example from the notebox:
  <formula>
(a.atk * 3) + ((1 + rand(3)) - 1) - b.def * 1.5
</formula> <formula_variance: 0>   This appears to be valid, but am not getting a valid result for damage.   EDIT: Damage Formulas are working (unrelated issue causing a miss).   Monster summons and disabling direct attacks against the player/opponent if monsters are summoned:   I'm actually not sure if there are scripts out there for this, but it would certainly be easier than trying to invoke states that carry a 0% TGR because sadly, a 0% TGR actually does NOT deter attacks.   Edit: I've decided to use actor slots for the monster summons. Still looking for the player protection though. I'd use @Tsukihime's Untargetable States, but that would prevent a summoned monster from healing the summoner too.   Well, that's about all. I'll update this as things come up. I actually have the creators of Labyrinthine Dreams (another game I bought myself) to thank for part of my inspiration. It is a game I do recommend, though to be honest, it is not meant for the hardcore gamer.

PhoenixSoul

PhoenixSoul

 

Gold

I'm not contuing my encounter balance article from last week, because I don't feel ready and have more questions than answers on the topic. Now economy, that's fascinating! *Crickets in the background*
Ok, Ok, ... I kid.
It  might not be fascinating, but it is important. Because like in real life, gold, or Gil, or Yen, ... makes the game go round.
It is a reward , a reason to gind, and most of all the ultimate fungible currency and thus a wrench into the fine gears of balance. Because somewhere there is a way to convert gold into anything the player needs, it is a way for the 
designer to give the player a small pat on the head ands say: good kid, here's some spending cash, spend it however you like. But there are problems that lurks in most jRPG economies. 
I'm generalising, off course.
1. There is an infinite amount of money
2. The prices are weird
3. It is easily translatable into any type of power.
1. There is an infinite amount of money but no inflation.
The player is for al intents and purposes generating gold out of thin air. Even if you go the sellable loot route, that just adds an extra step.  Even if we substract upkeep costs, like sleeping in an inn, potions, and damage to equipment ( if you do that in your game), every combat leaves the player richer then the one before it.
This usually escalates into the player having quite a sizable cash supply.  Ahah! you think , I'll just let the player buy some gear in the next town, so he'll be back to being broke.
Now even if you calculated exactly how much encounters the player will have had, and the amount of gold he will have earned, most of the time it doesn't really work. If the player has earned more than enough to buy all the upgrades, the problem isn't solved. The player still has too much gold. When he has just enough to buy everything, why have the gold ? The player had no choice in anything. It becomes a chore : new village, new visit to the shops, incrementing the gear by one. And a curious thing happens when he does not get enough gold. You would think : ooh , he'll have to choose what to prioritize, creating fun gameplay, but nope, 
he'll just go for a jog or 2 around the village and grind untill everybody has the new gear. 
Too many old games required and reinforced this behaviour, instilling in the player the feeling that if they did not have the best gear available in every slot, they might just as well not bother.
So eventually they still wind up with all of the gear, but by now they are overlevelled for the content, unless you accounted for this, but then it becomes a forced grind, antoher one of the crutches of the old jRPG's. Personally I solve this by not having the gear grind, remember: my game has no straight upgrades in terms of weapons and armor, 
and just let gold be for consumables :potions, grenades,  ...  Choosing between some healing potions or encounter ending grenades, maybe some repel powder feels like a choice, and players are less likely to grind for them, since they feel like extra's and optionals, in ways that the gear upgrades do not.
2. The prices are weird.
Because they do no result from any internal process, all prices in the game are arbitrary. There is no supply and demand, just the price that you'll pay.
No link between prices. Why does the potion cost 50 GP and the antidote 25 ? Who knows. Why does the potion that heals one character for a 100 HP cost as much as a visit to the inn ?  Once you realise that all your prices are arbitrary anyway, you can start to see the big picture : Gold cost is a balancing mechanism anyway, so why not embrace it. If gold can buy both permanent upgrades and temporary items, everybody will be buying the permanent upgrades, because that is what games have thaught us up to this point. Even if the sword+1 is 1000 gp and the potion is 10, we will still save for the sword +1.
3. Gold is power.
Gold earned is a second axis on the balance scale. A player that can somehow gain extraordinary amounts of gold without gaining levels means that you cannot just balance for what level the player will be. The amount of gold he had to spend is a  factor in his powerlevel.
Except it is way more eratical. 1000 GP on grenades is not the same amount of power 1000 gp on remedies represents. It is a weird axis of balance, unless you as a designer have a perfect idea of what the amount of gold in to power out is. 
But  even that does not solve the stockpile problem. You can't stockpile xp to spend it in one burst, but gold can be used in such a fashion. The answer to this, in my mind, is to assign a basic unit of power to 1 gold piece ( or gil, or ...) and equate it to an equal MP cost, and prize all items according to that. This combined with a separate permanent/temporary upgrade currency split, should kind of solve this, I hope. Another solution is incomparables. Is healing 50% HP the same as raising everybodies defence for 2 turns? Who knows, but it is a player choice.
Realy long story short, buying long and short term upgrades from the same pool will lead to weird results.
 

freakytapir

freakytapir

 

savefiles Devil Boy Quest Demo Mode

Demo Explanation:
In demo there Normal and Demo mode, only save files from Normal mode can carry over to full game.

Demo mode:
You can chose to start with 99 level or with lot's of money,
or both of them.

Normal mode:
you start at level 1 with nothing but your save data can be used
for full game.

In previous demo there a bug where this option didn't appear and auto lead to begin with 99 with all, but it has been fixed.

Over-used save file:
Saved data from Demo (You start with 99 level/lot's of Money) can't be used for full game else you will have an error message.   I try to use Demo Mode save file in full game that I still working on and... That happens...   If you got any question feel free to ask.

Perang Cemen

Perang Cemen

 

Arin's In Depth Reviews: NieR: Automata

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.     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?     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.     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."     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."     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.     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.     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.     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.     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.     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.     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.     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.     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.     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.     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.     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.     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.     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.     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.    

Radiant Arin

Radiant Arin

 

Encounter Balance part 1

The impossibility of perfect encounter balance.   Or maybe just my failure at it.   Now that I've finished bare bones mapping for most of my act 1 dungeons, I was thinking to myself : Why don't you make some nice 
encounters so you actually can get some playstesting done? I open up the database, create some basic enemy types (Skirmisher, Artillery, Soldier, Brute,...), give my characters some basic skills (fire, ice, darkness), and try them out. Now, I have been pretty anal about getting my stats right ( see my previous blogs), with HP's and so forth being determined by the amount of hits 
I want the enemies to take before dying, and the amount of hits a player will take before dying.   It all seemed so perfectly balanced on the spreadsheet, until I started playtesting my encounters.
Which shows again , numbers are no substitute for raw playtest data.   All went well until I tried basically anything beyond a basic damage spell or attack. Then the balance shifted into weird directions.   After giving it some thought, I think I have found the 4 biggest disruptors for encounter balance, in rising order of complexity :  Multi-Target/Hit skills Status effects Randomness Interactions Today, I'll be tackling the first 2, the other 2 are for another time. Maybe next week. Because for these first 2 , I have found a simple tool to balance these out.   1. Multitarget spells For a starter, Multi Target/Hit skills, abilities that hit 2 or more targets, cause problems because they are damage multipliers.
Unless the damage is nearly neglectible, or the cost is excessive, any multitarget spell is just an order of magnitude better than any single target spell.
Any small boost or debuff is felt way harder than with single target skills.   An example : At level 20 the player is supposed to do 400 Damage per attack. 
Now, as I am working on a one enemy per player character system, there should be about 4 targets.
So easy, you say, just let the multi-target spell deal 25 % damage, so 100 per target.   That's nice, but that means it is now useless in any stituation with less than 4 targets. Now, most enemies will have 4 players fighting them, so this solution works nicely for enemies. Obviously that does not work for Players, so in comes my good old friend : limited resources.    Any multitarget attack should just cost a certain amount of MP/TP, even if the single target version does not. How much MP/TP ? The easiest solution I could find was to just give each MP point an amount of damage it could deal. After long debate, I came to 50 % damage (or healing) per MP point spent.
So assuming I use a multitarget spell when I have 3 or 4 , so 3.5, opponents, I deal 350%-100%= 250% more damage, so a multitarget spell costs 5 MP.   What about high levels, you say ? Seeing as I don't believe in straight upgrades ( no Fire 1,2,3), I have an additional solution: Monster HP escalates way faster than player damage, 
so by the time he can spam fireball, enemies dont take 2 hits, but 4 hits to take down, and he will need all the fireballs he can get. 
It allows the player to grow without needing to replace his basic skills, as I combine it with a small MP pool, topping out at 110 MP for mages at lvl 100, and rising MP generation, topping out at 10 MP per turn at lvl 100.    Instead of casting fire (0MP) and saving his MP for the fireball (5MP), he can alternate between the 2 the moment he regenerates enough MP, maybe even casting regular fire a couple of turns, to save up for the big guns (25 MP/shot). Now, in the case of TP using skills, how do we balance this ? That is something for another chapter.   2. Status effects, buffs and Debuffs.   The core of combat: Action economy.   In combat, in the rawest sence, players and enemies trade actions for damage. Given the way I balanced my game, equally levelled players and enemies recieve an equal amount of damage per spent action , it is just the HP's that differ.   So in the strictest sence, the opponent has to spend a certain number of actions to win , and the player has to spend a different amount of actions to win.
In a basic combat, the 2 cavemen beating eachother with clubs until one falls down kind, aka the attack spam battle, the players will allways win or the enemy will always win, with, outside of criticals, no variance inbetween.   But that is not how real combats work. In a combat with multiple characters on both sides, both sides generate actions each turn , and spend them to kill the other side. Once one side has spent enough actions , that side wins.   An Example: A 4 heroes against 3 rats scenario at level 5. The rats deal about 20 % of the players hp in damage each action they takeand can take 2 hits.
So the rats generate 3 actions per turn, and need to spend 20 actions to win, the players generate 4 actions a turn and need to spend 6 actions to win. So however you slice it, the rats always lose in 1.5 turns, having dealth at most 4.5 actions worth of damage, but if the player focus fire having dealt only 1-2 actions worth of damage. 
The worst case scenario is that all the rats hit the same guy, and he dies.
This is a nice and safe encounter even if the player just divvies up his attacks evenly instead of focus-firing (which is pretty dumb for the player).   Now, let's replace the rats by snakes. Suppose they have a poison attack, that deals no initial damage, but poisons with 20 % HP per turn damage , and a regular attack.
How much more dangerous is this than the rats ?
Assuming the same encounter, 3 snakes vs 4 players, equal level.
The players still generate 4 actions per turn , and need to spend 6 actions to win. The snakes also need to spend 20 actions and generate 3 actions per turn. Supposing the snakes have basic AI and do not attack already poisoned players, is this encounter more dangerous than the rats one?
Looking at it hrough an actions generated/spent lens might give us an answer.
Nothing has changed on the player side, so were ignoring that for now, but the way the snakes behave is totally different than te rat behaviour. After poisoning the players, suddenly the snakes are generating damage on the opponents turns, in effect generating actions.   A little turn by turn :
Snakes spend 3 actions , to poison 3 players. The players take 3 actions worth of damage because of the poison. The players spend 4 actions and kill 2 snakes.
The final snake attacks one player, the party then mobs him, but still takes poison damage twice.  So grand total : The players take about 6 actions worth of damage before winning, therefore this encounter is about 2-3 times as difficult as the rats one, but still nowhere near a danger for the player.   Now interesting things happen when the number of snakes or rats changes. Suppose we have 3/6 rats, and the player focus fires to kill rats as fast as possible, and tries to kill a rat before it takes a turn, and the rats attack randomly: Round 1: Players spend 4 actions and kill 2 rats, rats get 4/1 actions. Round 2: Players mow down 2 rats, rats get 2/0 actions Round 3 : All rats die.   Suddenly the 6 rats get off 6 actions, in opposition to the 1-2 actions if there where 3 of them. So the encounter with twice as many rats is not twice as hard, but up to 4 times as hard. Notice also how the 3 rat encounter is actually 3x easier if the players focus fire. From this we can conclude that encounters do not scale in a  linear fashion, and even adding one enemy does nasty things to an encounter.
As a bonus the same situation with 6 snakes :
Players focus fire on the 6 snakes, and the snakes spread poison as fast as possible, to a player that still has to take its turn.
Round 1 : 2 Snakes killed, 4 players poisoned. 4 actions worth of damage.
Round 2: 2 Snakes attack, 2 snakes killed. Snakes deal 6 actions worth of damage.
Round 3: 0-1 snakes attack, 2 snakes killed. Snakes deal 2-3 actions worth of damage.   So the snakes deal 12-13 actions worth of damage. So the 6 snake encounter is still twice as dangerous as the 6 rat one, and might actually heavily damage a party, seeing that 20 actions by the enemy kills the player.   If the player spread his damage instead of focus firing, he would take : Round 1: 4 Players poisoned, 2 regular attacks, no snakes killed: 6 actions for the snakes.
Round 2 : 4 regular attacks, 4 poison damage actions. 8 actions by the snakes.
Round 3 : Kill 4 snakes.1 attack by the snakes. 4 actions worth of poison damage, and 1 regular action.   For a grand total of 19 actions worth of damage by the snakes. The players might actually lose this encounter if they are really dumb and just attack spam to random targets.  Now why this whole explanation about rats and snakes ? Because they demonstrate that nearly all things can be calculated in an actions worth of damage, and to show that he who generates the most actions wins.   This is an important factor in encounter balance. It shows that the more enemies you add, the more turns each enemy gets, so you have a near quadratic effect on encounter difficulty.
It also show the importance of debuffs and buffs and status effects, once you start to see it as trading your turn for theirs, and why status efects are annoying if used by the enemy and useless if used by the player. "Wait what ?" You might say, but it is true. As we see in the 6 rats scenario, the players have to spend 12 actions to win, but the rats have to spend 20. 
So each action for the players is 1.66 times more valuable than one from the enemies. Even if the player had a 100 % accurate stun it is only worth it if the rat would have lived 2 additional turns. And this is the best case scenario. 
And forget the classical blindness spell with a 70 % succes chance and a 70 % accuracy reduction. That would only generate on average 0.7*0.7=0.49 actions per turn. Meaning, in our rat case, the rat would have to live 3-4 more turns before it becomes worth it.
I easily solve this by having the player cast blindness spell also deal damage, but cost 1 MP. As I established earlier, 1 MP gets you 50 % of an actions worth of damage/effect/healing. 
So with the same reasoning, the ice spell that deals regular damage and freezes for 2 turns with a 50 % chance costs 1 MP, as it negates a full enemy action (that's about 1/1.6= 62 % of a player action). Now when used by the enemies, it suddenly does become worth it. If an enemy action costs a player an action , he has traded up, seeing as the player actions are worth 1.6 times as much as the rat ones.   It also poses a floor for healing spells. If a healing spell does not heal at least, in our example, 1.6 x as much as the enemy would deal, that healing spell would have better been an attack to end the encounter faster except when that character would otherwise die, then you're trading an action for an action.   Buff spells suffer the same fate. A single target buff spell that raises another characters attack by 50 % is only worth it if the combat lasts 2 more turns to break even, and 3 turns to be better than a standard attack.  Meaning that I find that a single target buff should cost 0-1 MP (probably 0 to encourage buff use), but a partywide buff should cost 1 MP if it lasts 1 turn ,because you spent an action to generate 1.5 actions (3*50% more damage), gaining you half an action. 
Any turn after that should cost 4 MP, so a 3 turn party wide buff should cost 9 MP. Now, to encourage buff use, because 90 % off players will still always go for the straight damage spells, I might just reduce this to 6-7 MP.   Now comes the difficult part : The exchange rate between player and enemy actions shifts at higer levels. This is because at higher levels, the balance is different.
At level 5, enemies deal 20 % of the players HP in damage and take 2 hits to kill, while at level 100 they deal 60 % of the players HP and take 7 hits to kill.
So the players need to spend 28 actions to kill the enemy, and the enemy needs to spend 8 actions to kill the player. Suddenly the enemies turn is worth at least 3.5 times as much as a player one.
This means that a player is spending at least 5 MP a turn (+250% Damage) to make his actions on par with the enemies actions, and should probable be spending about 10 MP per turn if he wants to win(By coincidence, that is what he regenerates in MP each turn). It also means that status effects become really important for the players to use, as each stunned/silenced/frozen enemy is worth 2-3 player turns. And I am ok with that. It just means that abilities that unlock later should be balanced for use at that level, and that some low level abilities become better as the levels advance, thereby keeping them relevant.   So what I'm saying is to not stare yourself blind at the numbers in this article but maybe to try and see combat in terms of an action economy, with both players and enemies generating and spending actions, with a certain exchange rate between these 2 actions, and an MP cost to generate what amounts to extra actions.   It simplifies the numbers to simple actions spent, and allows you to quickly mentally simulate important battles, and balance skills.   This is most valuable in boss encounters, where you can actually start to see it on a timeline, and thus balance the boss way easier.

freakytapir

freakytapir

 

good turned bad Entry 009: Disrespected and Humiliated

Yeah, I could write out a long post, but I won't.   What happened before will never happen again.   I'll make sure to archive everything I say from here onward.   Meant to do that for the lighthearted post but ultimately didn't think it was necessary. I was wrong for thinking so. It won't happen again because I won't let it. All my blog posts from here onward I will archive, and if such an issue arises, it will be mitigated and invalidated.   May the Divine Twenty-Four guide the benevolent to their light...

PhoenixSoul

PhoenixSoul

 

darker times coming Entry 008: The Throes of Censorship, Avarice and Greed

With each passing day, I find the following to be more and more apparent...   There's this thing going on within the higher levels of societal classes, mainly the wealthy, and governing classes that disturbs the living sh*t out of me, and that is this massive censorship model that very few seem to even know about, let alone speak/act against.   Of course, I am talking about online and offline censorship, the former examples being Google, Facebook, Twitter and such, but also on the latter, with the police being allowed to use unnecessary force against people whom have done nothing wrong, against those who are exercising their rights, and the government and corporations fueling these things with their own manpower and most importantly, their own damned, blood-covered silver. (There are numerous other examples but police are really high on the list and frequency of occurrence is impossible to ignore)   It saddens, angers, and enrages me to see this happen, not only to people who don't have a clue, but to people that speak/act against it.   I personally am not fond of certain freedoms because of how badly they are abused, but f*ck all if they are to be taken away by the very same mortals, MORTALS who swore an oath to PROTECT the very same rights.   Of course, there are some parts of the world where such natural rights are either restricted or even completely obliterated by blasphemous religious regimes and/or avaricious and greedy governmental factions, in which, my only wish is for those who suffer undeservingly to either have their pain ended swiftly and mercifully, or for their oppressors to be brought to their overdue end.   'Tekasshuroten'   Roughly translated to English from my native tongue, it means 'made to speak falsely' which is synonymous with 'censorship'.   One quick tidbit about Parolian context... -ssha/-sshi/-sshu/-sshe/-ssho/-ssya are secondary prefixes which are indicative of negative context accenture (meaning that the phrase will always sound like the person is speaking vilely of the context). In other words, censorship is seen as a bad thing in my native tongue (and logically so).   Anyway, moving on to the next thing and that is how the greedy, avaricious model of censorship has filtered down into various areas of general society, such as public places, online forums, among others. There's a system in place that does allow at the discretion of the higher ups of any given public place, forum and so on to censor the lesser masses, regardless of whether those involved in the censorship process are right or wrong. Of course, that is really no fault of the higher-ups, though allowing oneself to feel right in censoring another regardless of whether the act was right or wrong is a massive character flaw, and that is something I have seen and been a victim of, time and again.   That said, more often than not, this is something most don't even realize that they're doing, and the reasons why list potentially in the hundreds if not thousands, and since I'm no thorough expert on the inner workings of the mortal mind (though I'm an expert at predicting actions but that just takes practice and an unchanging redundancy), I won't really get into that since that is a bit beyond the scope of this blog (not to mention there are many things I do not know well enough about to bring my thoughts into the matter forward).   For those that are guilty of this, but are unaware, I do hope that one day, you do catch it, and reflect on the potential negative influx you're creating, so that one can be more balanced in making decisions that affect others.   For those that are the opposite of the unaware, the ones that do this for the sick pleasure of it (fortunately I've only run into a small handful like this in recent times and never more than that), if you ever run into me, no matter where or when, I won't let you off easy. You're in for a painful reality check.   Now, you might be wondering why I wrote this blog post at all, especially here of all places.   Well, for one, it is good to let people know what is going on, no matter where the information is placed, as long as the balance is as close to equal as possible (I don't think I need to explain this further-hopefully). Two, there are some issues with language barrier censorship that I've come across rather frequently as of recent (and no, not just here but the little blurb about not 'liking the rules of the forum' was the final straw; either I get this off my chest or something bad would happen-likely offline because this is the kind of thing that does tend to set off my stress and unfairly at that), and I used to actually be guilty of this sort of thing myself. Of course, when one doesn't understand what the other is saying, naturally, that frustration will occur, but saying 'speak English pls' is a really bad way of going about it, not to mention quite disrespectful. It is better to ask for someone to translate, or for that person to try to speak more clearly, rather than throw up a false language barrier.   I get it, this is an English-speaking forum, no further commentary on the subject needed, but how many of us have English as a first language, or even a second language? Hell, how many of us rely on the rather unreliable Google Translate for English translations? I can almost guarantee that quite a few of us rely on some form of a less-than-reliable translator just simply because of that restriction. I mean, yeah, sure, the restriction does make some sense, but to have it shoved in our faces, it is just not okay and sets a bad example.   I mean, this is not an 18+ site, there are people here that are potentially impressionable; let us not set that example for them to follow, or even let that even be a possible mindset.   Of course, let us also let them think for themselves, which also means that the censorship model is even worse to have, in the case of free thinking and expression.   Not saying that we should abandon having certain restrictions, but for those of us who do not speak English (or for a Spanish forum, do not speak Spanish or -insert language here), don't admonish us just because we don't know the language. That is all we ask. And if we're feeling good and we say/sing/shout something in our native tongues, don't kill the vibe by saying 'speak English pls'. We wouldn't do that to you (or at least I would like to think we wouldn't but I cannot truly speak for everyone).   As a race of beings designed to coexist, we're currently doing one Hell of a job dividing ourselves, and one of the ways we're accomplishing this is through the current censorship model, whether on purpose or not. Let us unite and end this. Together, we can end the throes of censorship, greed and avarice.  

PhoenixSoul

PhoenixSoul

 

Puzzles and Failing 

Puzzles and Failing    Something has been on my mind in the last couple of weeks, as I am laying down the basics for each of my dungeons. 
It was puzzles, and how they are implemented in RPG maker style engines.   Short aside, this is the definition I am going to be using as a puzzle: an obstacle in a game that cannot be overcome through brute combat or manual dexterity.   My biggest problem was with how much work they take if you want them to be Flexible, Resettable and Solvable   Now for a little story time. I come from a heavy Tabletop RPG background, and have 18 years of experience as a Dungeon Master in D&D. 
My second favorite part ( apart from the actual face-to-face role playing) is handing my players a difficult 
puzzle and seeing them trying to solve it in a creative way. Now, could this be frustrating as all hell if your players are having one of their Duuuuuuuuh moments? 
Yes, but I solve this by having 2 things :    1. THE solution of the puzzle doesn't exist. Or more specifically, the puzzle doesn't have a definite solution. Now, this is exceedingly easy to do in a Tabletop game, where you are, as a DM,
can actually hear them working it out, and when they actually start doing things that should work, I can say :"Sure, That works". I call it the room full of tools approach.
Give them the obstacle and a lot of ways to interact with it.
The player feels clever, their creativity feels rewarded, and I didn't have to sit there waiting untill they found my "one true answer."  Now, while this is easy as pie in a tabletop RPG, this is by far the hardest to do in a digital RPG, as each possible solution has to be specifically put in the by the developer/deigner. 
But there is a middle of the road approach:
While you can't have puzzles with no solutions, you can still implement the room full of tools approach (or the all ways lead to rome approach, whatever), 
and have multiple answers to your puzzle. My favourite puzzle to do this with is the push a block puzzle, or the scate along the ice into rocks puzzle, or the teleporter puzzle. Spatial puzzles, not dialogue puzzles is what I'm talking about here.
I sprinkle the adequate blocks/teleporters around, and keep trying to solve it myself until I get A solution, and then start trimming the ones I did not use. If there are more possible solutions, great, but I am sure there is at least one.
Cross the broad river is another one that works kind of well with this. Or as you might call it, the find 3 out of 5 keys approach. There are more interactables then are needed, with the spares either unlocking a bonus treasure,
or some of them are locked  behind additional obstacles.
The key to make this the least bit workable is to have a lot of common events that do the things you want. 
I have a stockpile room, with a pile of interactable objects that just need 1 or 2 variables changed, and a boatload of common events.   Now for the next Piece:   2. Allow the players to "Fail Forwards". This was especially relevant in tabletop, but our cRPG's can benefit from it too I believe.   Imagine : the players are investigating a murder in a dwarven city, and they find Gunpowder on the crimescene. Instead of thinking "Gunfactory" and them going to the Industrial district,
they interpret it as cannons, and go and look in the Harbour district. Do I let them waste their time and present them with a roadblock ? Off course not, you give them a hard encounter 
with no treasure, have them find a note specifically indicating the Gun Factory, and maybe a tighter timeline for the rest of their mission.
The heroes are trying to climb a wall, and they fail their skill check, do I let them plummet to their death ? Off course not, have some damage, and you attract a simple encounter.   Don't let failure be a roadblock, but just another obstacle. Now this is again easy to do face-to-face, and harder to do in a computer RPG, but there are lessons that can be drawn from this. 
a. withold extra reward   Once again the example of a block pushing puzzle. Maybe the solution is really easy to just pass the puzzle, but off to the side is a treasure chest, and getting that one will be way more difficult. 
Maybe if he usus only 3 out of 4 keys, he might still have one for the bonus room
The player can advance anyway, even if he fails, but that treasure chest is there; shiny, shimmering, splendid.   b. give hints if stuck   Another aspect of this is getting the player back on the right track if he is wrong or stuck. I'm not saying solve the puzzle for him, but maybe have an interactable object start blinking
after the player is just standing there with his finger up his nose for 2 minutes. Maybe give a hint, or give him the first step of the puzzle , maybe have the hint be delivered by a partymember who would see such things.    c.penalties, not roadblocks.   A final aspect of failing forwards is to have failing the puzzle to just apply a penalty to a later event. Concrete example: Somewhere a third through my game I have a 7 Sins Themed Demonic Dungeon, with each sin being represented by a different permanent status effect.
There are seven Bosses, each removing one sin from the party, until only one is left, then there is a final boss battle. Depending how you do it, the final boss, or any boss in between really, can be a breeze, or an absolute (but still winnable) nightmare.
So even if the player just does the bosses in a random order, he could still possibly defeat the dungeon, it would just be insanely hard.   Now, on to a totally different topic:   Resetability and Robustness.   Sometimes a player fails a puzzle. He pushes a block into an inescapable corner, he drinks the poisons in the wrong order, ... 
Basically he screwed up and cannot continue. Now, how much do we need to plan for this ?
While there are certainly ways to foolproof a puzzle, and we should do this to as many puzzles as we can, 
doing this to each and every one would, in my opinion, be enormously laborious.   I have found a simple way around this, but most of you are not going to like it : The player is going to have to sometimes reload. 
When a player has to do this, I feel not the player, but the designer has failed, but limitations on the engine are what they are. Now to soften the low : Use autosave. Have the game save at the beginning and end of small local puzzles. Having to redo just the puzzle stings a lot less. 
It almost mimics the table top puzzle solving in that you can try and interact with the object to find the right solution, instead of being stuck if you fail.   Ah! You say, what about your promised big puzzles ? Your 5 skills required dungeons ? Those are actually also solved by very careful use of when to autosave.
Here the autosaves are at the beginning of the dungeon and at each convergence point; the choke point in the dungeon each of the possible paths has to take, where you put your minibosses, Story Cutscenes,...  Because you know that if they made it that far, they are not halfway a broken puzzle.   Of course I still allow manual saves, but the autosave is there to say : you're allowed to experiment and fuck up, we've got your back.   Is this an enormous Hack ? Yes, Yes it is, but so are most things in RPG Maker   Because resetting a "shove the block into the right hole" puzzle might be easy, a "push te rock into the river, 
so you can cross, then freeze the river under the block, so it floats off, and blocks the river further downstream slowing it down so you can make a bridge out of ice so that you can melt the block free and push it into some other river" might be slightly more difficult.   One final thought : there is no reason to have random encounters during a precision puzzle, unless the puzzle deals damage on failure and thus the encounters are part of the puzzle design.   So, what are your favourite kind of puzzles ? Push a block Teleporter/Sliding around Riddle/coded message Sequence of levers. Entire minigames (Mastermind, ...)

freakytapir

freakytapir

 

Weaknesses and the False Player-Enemy Equivalence.

Weaknesses and the False Player-Enemy Equivalence.   Back for another round of my opinions in game making. I'll start with some theory before getting to the point , so please bear with me. The word for today is equality.   More specifically in player character and monster design, and how they need not be designed the same. Somewhere there is an underlying feeling that the game we are playing should be fair, and that they should be playing by the same rules as us. 
But should they ? While nothing is as infuriating as a cheating AI, the player and the AI serve wildly different purposes.
While certainly some of the AI cheating is there due to  limits in technology, because an AI will almost never be as good at adapting as a human player except in some discrete systems.
That doesn't really matter, because the player is there to win, but the AI is there to lose entertainingly. So to answer the question "Why does the AI/Enemies sometimes get to follow different rules than the player ?", the answer should be because it leads to better gameplay, or because of technological limits,and not for any other reason , because no-one likes a cheating AI, and yet, sometimes letting the AI cheat just a little leads to way better gameplay.   The same can be said for how each sides game pieces are built or function. Every case of enemy-player inequality should have a solid reason. Why can the boss spam the high MP spells almost turn after turn , while I can't? (Because then that's the only thing you would do, heavily reducing your variety in gameplay.) Why are bosses immune to instant-kills ? (Preventing Anti-Climax and reducing RNG as a factor) Why does the boss get 2-3 turns ? (There are 4 of you and only 1 of him, so he still only gets 2-3 actions vs your 4) Why doesn't the enemy have to worry about building up TP ? (Because the game engine doesn't track enemy TP)
Now all of this was a small snippet of my thoughts to explain my reasoning in the next bit.   Let me make a bold and broad statement (that will probably be misinterpreted) : I do not believe in player character weaknesses. With weakness I mean a glaring defensive weakness , not an offensive one. I'm fine with the mage not doing physical damage, what I am not
ok with is the same mage folding over like a wet paper towel to an attack that barely scratches the armoured fighter, or the fire mage dying to even a light ice spell. "But ..." I hear you think "why didn't you put the mage on the back row then ?" Because the back row is a hack, a cheap patch designed to hide an obvious design problem.
In theory it sounds nice, put your mage on the back row, trading physical attack for defence. My problem with this, is the no-brainer deciscion this is. 
There is never any doubt the character should be in the last or front row, so why don't we just up the mages defence and get rid of this hack. (Warning, some numbers up ahead are exageration for effect, used to prove a point, please do not take them as absolute law) I'm fine with the mage taking 20 % more damage, given equal health pools, but usually the mage takes up to 40 % more damage, and has only 70 % of the fighters health pool, quickly making any hit that endangers the fighter an insta-kill for the mage. On the other hand, no player character should have complete (passive) immunity to a certain element (I am ok with skill usage granting temporary immunity), because then each encounter with that element is just a roulette to see who gets hit , 
or in the case of Good or cheating AI totally useless as the character will never be attacked with that element.   Now, to be nicely controversial, I believe enemies should have glaring weaknesses and blanket immunities. Why? Because from the beginning the enemy and player are not on equal footing and are not playing the same game anyway. The enemy is there to provide 2-3 rounds of resistance and then fall over. It's loss rate should be 95-99 % (excepting boss battles).
The other reason is choice and gameplay. Having your fire mage just die to Ice spells rarely creates interesting deciscions, outside of the binary "do I bring him or not?". Giving him an amulet of ice protection isn't a choice, but a must at that point.
But deciding wether to use your fire mage to finish off one enemy, or do a big chunck of damage but not killing a second fire - weak enemy, that is a deciscion point.   To use persona 3/4/5 as an example : Hitting the enemy in his weakness and chaining them up to eliminate a though encounter feels great, but getting surprise attacked and wiped before you even get a turn feels horrible and is one of the most controller smashing moments in an otherwise very good series of games.   This also nicely touches on another problem with for example mass insta-kill spells. Say there is a spell that has a chance of killing an enemy 50 % of the time, and it targets all enemies. Is this spell fair in the hands of the player ? I believe yes ( at an appropriately high MP cost). 
Is it fair in the hands of an enemy ? Unless it is heavily telegraphed and able to be countered, no, I do not think so. Suppose you cast it against 4 monsters, there is a 1/8 chance of ending the encounter right here. If it works, fun , but nothing special. Now the same spell cast by an enemy you encounter regularly. 
Giving the party a 1/8 chance to just game over without counter-play is just nasty. To add on top of this, if a surprise attack by your encounter can defeat a fully healed party without ever giving them one turn, even if rarely , then maybe tone down the encounter slightly (or eliminate surprise attacks).   In summary, what I am saing is : enemy weaknesses lead (or should do so anyway) to gameplay and choice, player weaknesses leads to random blowouts or nothing. 
Because players get way more affected by randomness than monsters. A monster is there for the one battle, the player is there for at least a 100, so the 1 % chance to be randomly buttfucked will eventually happen.   Now how I'm doing it in my game: Players: Small weaknesses ( up to 20 % more damage) Medium Resistances (up to 50 % less damage) Many resistance granting spells and abilities, but no passive immunities. Enemies: Glaring weaknesses (up to 500 % more damage) Above and beyond immunity (Reflect , absorb, immune , ...) Reacting to certain elements with counterattacks, so the right choice isn't always the right choice. For example : Fire does 100% more damage, but gets you counterattacked. Having a weakness not necessarily be more damage, but inflict a debuff, having lightning inflict stun on turrets, fire inflicting enrage on beasts,...   And on a final note : balance your (random) encounters not for the average , but the edge cases. What if the encounter turns into a total shitstorm (all enemies randomly select their strongest move and/or all enemies crit in a row), do the players have any chance? Even if it is only 5 % likely, because that 5 % will eventually come up.
 

freakytapir

freakytapir

 

HM Mules

Field Skills and the HM Mule   Today I'm going to try a shorter piece, about field skills,their quirks and how I want to use them in my game.   With field skills I mean things like the classical pokémon HM moves like surf, fly and cut, but also skills like lockpicking, or step by step regen.   Basically these fall into 3 categories: Key skills : Cut, Strength, Whirlpool, ... Convenience Skills : Fly, Step by step Regen. Reward Skills : Lockpick treasure chests   Today I want to mostly talk about the first category.   Key skills are skills like surf, or cut. They are required to physically acces or complete areas. 
They might as well be replaced by a key somewhere in your inventory, or a boat item, yet at the same time they feel better. Maybe it is because it feels like the character is being awesome. 
The feeling of a character smashing a rock wall does conjure other images than the same character just turning a key in a door, while it is functionally the same.
  On the other hand, in games with a numbered amount of skills per character, they feel like a skill tax, leading to the HM mule : a character that is not actually part of the team, but just is there for his key skills. This is, I find a big design flaw in those type of games, as they constrict player choice for no good reason.   I have made these type of skills a key point in my game, but with a slight difference:   Each key field skill is at first unique to one character, and there is no limit to skills known. 
This seems like it solves the HM mule problem, but as my party size is a small 4 characters, 
chosen out of a possible 20, it is actually still the same, filling up one of your 4 party slots without your choice.   This I have attempted to solve by:  Keeping the dungeons short, under 30 minutes short, so you are never stuck with someone you dislike using for long, and by making character swapping as painless as possible. As there is no strictly better gear, there is no need for the equipment shuffle. Just toss the required character some gear he can use, and you are ready to go, no need to rob another character first. The balance is also more and more forgiving for a slight level difference, a gap that widens as the game continues. As the game progresses, eventually characters start learning other characters field skills, allowing you options, making the requirement sting less. Especially because eventually dungeons might require up to 10 required skills, necessitating that the player actually spends a little while puzzeling together a party. Because walking into the dungeon and realising you brought the wrong team, and making you walk back to the party select zone (or in pokémon, Bill's PC in the pokémon center), to go get that one character that can crush rocks is not something that I need in my game, I am being pretty explicit and forthright about my required skills for a dungeon, having the player find Enemy Intelligence on the next dungeon beforehand, to make it part of the puzzle the player can solve. It feels less like you are stuck with a character if he is there because he is part of a solution you thought of yourself, probably because it puts choice back in the hands of the player.  Having an obstacle have multiple solutions. The poison gas rooms might be something for the Air mage, or the Poison-immune cyborg. The energy fields can be bypassed by either having the magic nullifying character, the electronics overloading one, or the hacker. Once again , player choice is preserved, while not negating the uniqueness of characters and the necessity to change up the party.  Have them also be combat abilities.    Things I am trying to do with this:   As I said before, it allows me to make party composition a puzzle that needs to be resolved over and over again. I like optimisation , but not of the set-it-and-forget-it kind. Give each character his moment in the spotlight. If I make a dungeon aout a characters abilities, he remains in the players mind throughout the dungeon. Easier cutscenes in dungeons , as I have a pretty good idea of who out of the 20 characters will be there. Make complex dungeons that are actually fun and intuitive.   Some examples of Field skills I am using: Air Bubble (Water Breathing, Smoke Screen, Survive Vacuum, reduce wind speed ...) Freeze (Create steppable ice, make ice boulders, ...) Absorb Magic/Energy (Bypass energy Barriers, destroy magic wards, ...) Shock (Overload electronics, stun guards, ...) Fire (burn bushes, melt Ice, ...) Move earth (Push Rocks, ...) Mind Control (Remove Guards, Have big beasts smash boulders, ...) Weather Control Radiation Immunity Hacking Give Light   What are your thoughts on these types of moves, and are you using them in your game ?
 

freakytapir

freakytapir

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