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Customizing Stats: When is it too much?

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So I'm creating a Project that consists of 4 Actors that will remain throughout the entire game. And although their general roles are set, they don't really have exceedingly high strengths and noticeable weaknesses. The Project is suppose to be fun and the characters are suppose to feel powerful, but at the same time I would also try to design difficulty and variety in the works. This Project is a lot less serious than the majority of others, and is simply a MacGuffin Quest, so making the mechanics of the game is a lot more lenient and forgiving than I normally would create.  


Every Actor has balanced stats (thanks to my obsessive mathematical skills), with 3 of the Actor's have X Amount of Total Stats at Maximum Level and the 4 Actor having 3/4 of that X Amount (the 4th Actor being a child in comparison to his allies, it also helps show the feeling of power given to the other three). I used Tsukihime's Parameters to create pin-point growths of the stats of all the main characters. It followed a simple formula: the sum of the stat increase (across all parameters) is equal to the User's new level (for example, Level 7: +1 All Stats; Level 8: +2 Highest Priority Stat, +1 All Other Stats). Just to give a heads up, I omitted the Luck Stat from the Project, so anything with Stats is comprised of 7 stats instead of 8.




This is what these two max level character's stats look like in comparison. This is what it looks like without modifications with customization.

However, the maximum level is not intended to be reached in both New Game and New Game+. But notice that there is not a DRASTIC difference between the highest stat and lowest stat (also the MHP and MMP are actually proportionate to other stats, Luck is omitted from this Project).





So to get to the actual topic: When is customization too much? I plan for the Player to customize the 4 Actors to their liking, but to remember to mind the already established parameters of each Actor. All 4 Actors have unique High Priority Stats (High Priority just meaning that these stats grow larger than other stats below it in Priority). As of right now, I have about 6 different features that allow the Player to customize each Actor, but they all don't customize the Actor in the same manner. So let's get to it:



"Augment" aka Mr.Bubble's Distribute Parameter Script


This features is straight to the point: Parameter Distribution. The Player is allow to add extra points where allowed (Main Parameters and Ex-Parameter choices). The points each Actor has is equal to their level: Level 20 = 20 Points. But here's the catch, this feature doesn't give any points to be used until a declared level or switch (As of right now it's Level 12, Level 11 and below gives 0 Points). 


1. Main Parameters (HP, MP, ATK, DEF, MAT, MDF and AGI)

2. Ex-Parameters("Courage" +Threat -Inc. Dmg., "Haste" +Skill Speed, -Hit Rate, "Reserve" -MP Cost -Skill Speed, "Savant" +EXP)


This is very straight forward. The Maximum Level is 50, so 50 points are allowed for distribution. However, you can only insert 25 points into a single Main Parameter and 10 into a single Ex-Parameter. (Plus, the game is planned to have an ending Level of 35, 36-50 is intended for New Game+). The cost to increase Main Parameters is 1 Level Point whereas Ex-Parameters will cost 2 Level Up Points. So in actually, it takes 25 Levels to max out a Main Parameter Upgrade and 20 Levels to max out an Ex-Parameter Upgrade.


The features allowed at a Ponder Gem (Save Point):







Using the Augment Option (at default) without reaching Level 12 (will be switched to be Switch Unlocked)





Notice how the Actor is disallowed any points until they reach the current condition: Level 12.




Using the Augment feature when you actually hit the current condition: Level 12





Now the points allowed is 12, equal to the User's current level.




The Augment choice shown when you actually hit the max level with upgrades already being inserted







This feature allows the player to increase already high stats or raise the lowest stats to balance out the character. Also, the upgrades are FULLY CUSTOMIZABLE in means to that you can freely lower already upgraded stats in order to change your layout at any time - the upgrades are not permanently set when you confirm the change.


"Legacy Gem" aka Yanfly's Class System


This is basically a Job System, but instead of overriding what the character does - it adds to it. The Tier 1 Classes (there are 5 of them) must be found within a map. Due to creating the game to progress like Demon Souls (Central Hub that can teleport to multiple areas), each item is randomized (but never gives a duplicate, logic eventing). So it will not always be the same, but you will be able to get all of them. However, this will not matter since these Jobs are carried over in New Game+. The Tier 1 Classes upgrade to Tier 2 Classes when maxed out at Level 10. For example: Fighter -> Warrior ; Scholar -> Priest. Sadly, the skills of the Tier 1 will not carry over to Tier 2, but you do maintain all levels. Every class has a maximum of 3 tiers, summing to 15 basic jobs.


There are also exclusive, hidden jobs for each Actor, like Reaver -> Dark Knight and Bard -> Performer. However, these only pertain to one actor only and are treated as Tier 2 -> Tier 3 instead of Tier 1 -> Tier 2 -> Tier 3. The exclusive jobs in comparison have more specific skills and exaggerated stat rates.


Every job has a stat rate, and the total sum of the stat rates is 700% (100% per Stat). So a Mage may have 150% MAT and 125%  MMP but 50% ATK and 75% MDF. However, for each Tier increase, the total sum increases by 50%. Tier 2 has a sum of 750% and Tier 3 is 800%, this means that the upper tier class will offer more stat rates for the Actor. The minimum Stat Rate is 25% and maximum is 200%.


Every class contains 5 Skills and 5 Passives, each being learned at every other level. Resulting in the maximum level of 10.


Finally, each class tree offers a unique Skill Command discriminate from the Actor's Skill Command and Magic Command. For example, the Fighter/Warrior/Champion Tree contains the Tactic Command while the Bard/Performer Tree contains the Song Command.


The Secondary Classes / Jobs from a Notepad's Perspective:







The Legacy (Class) feature in the game. As of right now, it's not showing the Level of the Class for some reason and the Primary option is something that will be omitted from the Project. Because the Primary is basically the Character's Base Stats since they have no real class. This is the default version of Yanfly's Script which will be modified.










"Synergy" aka Custom Event System


This is exactly like the O-Powers from Pokemon X and Y. However, they last until changed or removed manually. Synergies can

be accessed by Ponder Crystals (save points). A Synergy is an increase to a chosen parameter, whether it be a Main Parameter, Ex-Parameter, Gold, Exp, Item, Etc., and is applied to the entire Party. However, the Synergy's starting level is 0 and must earn enough XP in order to have an effect. It's maximum level is 5, and with each level increases it's effect.


At default, all synergies are unlocked at start since it's a very convoluted evented system.


Choosing a Synergy to apply from the Ponder Gem







Page 2 of the Synergies







Despite the Synergies having no context in the images, they are explained in the text box when you select them.

Followed by a "Confirm", "Go Back", and "Cancel" Choice Box.


"Skill Trees" aka Custom Event System


This is something I'm honestly proud of for completing cleanly. Every Actor has a trimester skill tree, meaning they have three different trees to choose from. It cost 1 Point to Unlock or Upgrade a Node, and 1 point is given upon leveling up. This means each Actor can earn at least 50 Points (5 are given at the start of the game for now).


Every Skill Tree contains 3 upgrade-able skills that have 3 levels, this makes 9 unique nodes for each tree, and 27 total for all three tree. Along with these upgrade-able skills are secondary skills, however, these only have no levels and are only unlocked. There are 5 secondary skills among each tree, summing up to 15 for all the Actor's trees. Then there are passive skills, there are only 2 of these per tree, summing up to 6. Finally, there is 1 Master Skill for all trees, summing up to 3. In order to unlock the Master, you must unlock and maximize every  node within that tree.


So if you've been doing the math, each Character has 49 Nodes total. But the Maximum Level is 50. So here's a little feature I brought up: At any time, one actor can transfer 1 Level Point to another Actor once, and only once. This can be done at Level 5 or Level 50, but it can only happen once. You can have all 3 Actors transfer there 1 available point to the 4th Actor resulting in 3 transferred Level Points or simply give it to an Actor whom's Node you want to unlock now.


The concept template of the Skill Tree


The actual template in the game







"Training" aka Mini-Games


This is basically Pokemon's Super Training.


I planned to have 7 different mini-games consisting of 4 play styles to help permanently increase the stats of the Party. Yes, the Party, I feel it takes too long to focus on one single Actor. However, because of the lower number in stats, the maximum stat increase allowed from Training is a sum of 20 across all stats, with a maximum of 10 in a single stat.


Once you successfully complete a Training Regimen, you unlock the next stage for it that is harder and rewards more Training Points.

There is a maximum of 3 levels. It takes 100 Training Points to reach the maximum of a permanent +10 to a single stat, that's 1 Stat per 10 Training Points. Stage 1 would give 5 Training Points, Stage 2 gives 12 TP, and Stage 3 gives 20 TP. So from start to finish, you would play Stage 1 then Stage 2 then Stage 3 and repeat Stage 3 about 4 more times. Since you can only earn up to a maximum +20 across all stats, you're only allowed 2,000 Training Points.


Sorry for the math, but this is all just Pokemon Super Training. However, there are 2 super secret bosses and one of them requires that you complete Stage 3 of a certain Training Regimen in order to start the chain that leads to that fight.



"Weapon Upgrade" aka Custom Event System


This is also straight forward. The weapons in the project are VERY basic: Original, Fire, Magic, Strength, Speed, Classic, and Ancient.

To not discourage the player from a lack of large array of weapons, Weapons will be upgrade-able. Upgrading Weapons can only be accessed at Ponder Crystals (Save Points) where upgrading costs Currency (Shards). Every weapon has 3 levels (Starting at Level 1, meaning only 2 Level Ups) with each Weapon having different cost rates.


Upgrading a Weapon will increase it's Power and Effects by 50%, meaning a Level 3 Weapon will be doubly effective in comparison to a Level 1 Weapon. Short and simple.


Choosing the Weapon feature in the Ponder Gem







Reading the current information given about Weapon upgrading







Choosing the Upgrade Weapons will direct you to which Actor's Weapons you want to upgrade







Then the more advanced menu that will show the type of weapons of upgrades, at default it will only show the Original choice.

When you gain the new weapons, more will be added to the choice list. This is the list with all weapons.





Actually, the Speed Weapon is not included. That will be fixed.




The message that appears following the weapon to choose, showing the required currency to upgrade it.







The graphic sequence that occurs when a weapon is upgraded







The effects gained are shown explicitly to the player









"Gem Slots" aka Victor's Materia


Every Character is allowed Gem Slots that may have coupled links (This is subject to change) according to their Weapon and their "Bangle". Bangles work like Body Armor but they're not Body Armor, they''re used for carrying Gems to use in battle along with Growth Rates (None, Half, Normal, Double, Triple). In correlation with "Weapon Upgrade", a Weapon's Gem Slots will increase when leveled up.


Gem Slots allow even more effects such as Parameter Boosts and teaching Magic and giving Effects. Gems also have levels and level up through AP, given by enemies. Leveling up Parameter and Effect Gems will further their power, while Magic (Teaching) Gems will unlock new Magic (Poison, Poison II, Plague).


The Gem command in the Menu







The Gem Scene in the game








Equipment Layout Custom Database Approach (+Edited)


The way equipment is handled in the game is different from the typical RPG. With the Weapons already established, there is the other equipment to be shown. The Bangles, they offer no effect except for added extra Gem Slots. But they also vary with one another by the amount of slots they offer along with the amount of links and growth rates (very similar with FVII). With the simple explanation of Bangles done with, there's the accessories. There are 3 types of Accessory: A, B, anc C - very creative. This disallows the Player from stacking the same item over and over, and although this is not explicitly shown, each accessory is separated. The three traits of the accessories are: Head, Body and Hand. These are not shown in the game and have no impact on the accessory, as it's only a placeholder type.


Accessories fulfill very specific things and niches, such as resistance to a Damage Type or immunity to a State. But then there's other specific effects such as HP Recovery upon Attacking or increasing Critical Damage Base. They act a lot like held items in Pokemon with their more specific than general effects.


The Equipment Slots in the game







An example of a "Hand" Accessory that fulfills a very specific thing





So being critically hit while having a "Cherry Blossom" in hand will remove the item and a state add a final modifier to ALL the User's Damage to increase by x1.5 until the battle ends or when they become incapacitated. 




Right now it's all text. Later today I will add images, but despite the huge amount of junk I've posted, would this be overwhelming to a Player or actually welcoming? I don't plan on introducing every method of customization at the start of the game (eg. "Upgrade" already does not initially unlock), but the Characters in this Project are aimed to be able to fulfill multiple roles with great variety and efficiency while retaining the challenge of difficulty from opposing forces.

Edited by AJNR

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I was reading until I realized that all of the mechanics you mentioned are in the game. At first I thought you wanted feedback on which customization mechanic is better  ^_^. And now, I am speechless.




Okay, I am done collecting my thoughts. Its apparent that you've put much thought into this. With all these customizations the player has to do, take care to balance them in such a way that it becomes fun. Well, the thought of your characters getting stronger will always be fun, so this might work to your favor. But I do have a question for the Weapon Upgrading Mechanic. Can you buy the weapons in the game or will each character have a unequipable weapon and you'll just have to upgrade them?

Edited by magic2345

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I read the systems and seems interesting but the amount of options suggests  the game is quite complex.


Having too much choice can be overwhelming for players or areas of development may be more difficult to balance out.


Interesting article regarding choice on marketing can be found here:



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I read the systems and seems interesting but the amount of options suggests  the game is quite complex.


Having too much choice can be overwhelming for players or areas of development may be more difficult to balance out.


As of right now I plan the game to be smooth sailing on it's first playthrough. This excludes the hidden bosses, who are accessible on the first playthrough. Once completed, the game ends but the save file remains. Accessing the save file will activate a New Game+ which changes the AI of Enemies along with moving their "Levels" up by 30 (in regards to stats). Every Enemy has a Power Level (a number that is the sum of the User's Stats put together) that determines the amount of Exp, Gold, and AP given. The image below isn't a script, it's just personal recordings.




Power Level = (MHP / 4) + (MMP / 2) + ATK + DEF + MAT + MDF + AGI

Luck is considered as a modifier for the Enemy, tougher enemies have a higher Luck Value than normal enemies, and bosses have a higher Luck Value than tough enemies.






As of right now the game isn't intended to be difficult, but complex - probably. However, it's not like you need a super specific Proc in order to defeat an Enemy. They're just abilities and passives that help increase the effectiveness of a particular role. The Character's Base Stats are already pretty good, none of them are shoddy, really. The game is meant to be fun, since it's kind of a Fan Project.


I'll post images of the systems and show that they're more easy to understand when you see them rather than read them.



I was reading until I realized that all of the mechanics you mentioned are in the game. At first I thought you wanted feedback on which customization mechanic is better   ^_^. And now, I am speechless.


But I do have a question for the Weapon Upgrading Mechanic. Can you buy the weapons in the game or will each character have a unequipable weapon and you'll just have to upgrade them?


Thanks  :) But to answer your question about weapons, the weapons are technically unequipable. They start with default weapons and cannot un-equip them. However, they will find new weapons that may deal more damage and give different effects. So as of right now, I'm planning that you can't buy new weapons, you will find them among exploring the game. They are not hidden that much, so it will not be missable. But to be honest, I'm not sure yet of how to give the Player these new weapons. I'll figure it out. Here's an image of all the weapons for the first character:







The item window needs to be fixed to push the x of the text contents more further, but that's a technical thing. Every Actor has the same type of weapon data wise: Original, Strength, Magic, Speed, Fire, Classic, and Ancient. These are listed chronologically in correspondence to the image above. The only difference is the appearance of the Weapons themselves, there are 4 types for the 4 characters: Gauntlets (Actor 1), Spear (Actor 2), Whip (Actor 3), and Shield (Actor 4). Surprise! No Swords!


Also, if you look at the item box, there is a second Gem Gauntlets at the bottom, that is actually the Level 2 version. They have upgraded effects from it's Level 1 version. As said before, each weapon has special effects. Fire Weapons deal Fire Damage and may inflict certain statuses, whereas the Ancient Gauntlets have no effects at all but have a much higher damage modifier (I think it's x1.5 or x1.3) in comparison to others, and Speed increases the User's Speed by 10% and increases Skill Speed.


P.S. - I kind of lied, the Classic Weapons are totally missable since they are gained via special Event. The weapons will be handed to the Player in sets instead of individually (eg. Gained The Monk, The Butterfly, The Binder, and The Book!)

Edited by AJNR

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