All done! (sort of)

Well, these past couple weeks I’ve been knocking out all the final stuff I needed to actually have a real, functioning game. It started off with fixing the last stuff in the battle system (which I talked about in my last update). I was able to fix Mason’s (old name Thorman) targeting for when he was supposed to be dodging, so now he’s actually targeted the way he’s supposed to be targeted. After, that I worked on fixing a lot of the Talent Areas and decided to adjust Mason’s third talent to ‘Courage’, which is essentially a skill that allows a player to potentially break out of any negative status when their turn rolls around. For instance, if Mason has maxed out Courage (50%), he’d have a 50% chance to break out of a Stun that had been applied to him earlier. If he breaks out, his turn continues as normal (as if he were not stunned). If he doesn’t, he just goes through the turn as if he were still stunned. When he gets his final weapon, the Aeon Staff, his Courage spikes up to 100%, meaning it’s impossible to land a negative status on him. I thought it was a more interesting ability for him, so I just went with it. I also gave Mason a new ability, eliminating the ‘Disable Protection’ ability. Originally, it functioned as if you had 100% courage if you had the ability cast on you, but I felt it lacked flavor and I felt like Mason (and enemy supports) needed some form of offensive ability outside of the ‘Attack’ choice and ‘Bolster’ (which doubles attack strength). For this reason, I replaced ‘Disable Protection’ with ‘Shadow Mark’. I always wanted Mason to use abilities that were partially shadow based (stuff like Shroud, for instance) because I wanted him to be partially based in Shadow and partially based in Light, while Lela and Toma were 100% based in Light. Adding in the ability Shadow Mark made it a little more prevalent that he balances between the two worlds exceedingly well, able to understand the differences and importance of working these things together. In addition, it gave him an offensive ability with support undertones. Essentially, the ability deals damage to an enemy, then marks them. The Mark results in 20% increased damage from all abilities and last a few turns (lengthened by Mason’s Duration Talent). I felt this was overall a much more interesting and interactive ability (which was something I’ve been gunning for since I first began designing this game) that would increase the synergy between characters, as well as making Mason stand out more and provide him with a real offensive ability.

After all of that was finished up, I worked on introducing a lot more clarity to the battle system. As I mentioned in my other update, I had to find a way to make it so when Toma used ‘Shield Bash’ the player would actually know the ability had hit, and when the enemy’s turn rolled around, they could actually see the enemy was stunned. I was able to get this to work – in addition to a bunch of other random statuses – and it made the entire battle system about 100000x better. I was ecstatic when I got it to work (and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be). At that point, I was more or less all finished up with the battle system and decided to compile a list of everything else I needed to finish to make it a real game. Here’s a general list of what I did (without too many details).

-Correct items in shops and naming items: Yeah this was fun, pretty simple. Had to name all the equipment and figure out what each piece did. I like what I ended up with, though.
-Design bosses: I’ve been saying this for like 1-2 months now, but I finally got it done. They all have a variety of move sets and talents, and some of the ability to move twice in one battle, which is cool. Overall makes them a little bit harder to manage. I don’t think they’re super balanced, honestly, but that’s more a matter of play-testing than anything.
-Item drops: Basically I wanted bosses to drop certain items (mostly weapons and such), as well as have basic item drops for regular enemies. I got that all working, but it’s kind of boring and something I want to expand later.
-Adjusted the shop so it could only sell certain items (like it can’t sell maps, or plot items, etc.)
-Fixed scene transitions: These were acting a little wonky, but I figured out what the problem was in about two seconds and I just had to un-comment a couple things in my code.
-Made some of the images look a little better and more manage-able as far as playing the game goes. I still really need to go find someone to do graphic work for me.
-Named enemies, but still need to name villagers (I missed something on my list!!!). Named both the basic enemies and the bosses.
-Adjusted the menu a little: Made the various things you can select provide a lot more information for what they do and all those shenanigans. I also re-worked the inventory (again) to make it a little more usable and friendly (I hope).
-Made sure to note when the party leveled up in battle
-Fixed some issues with chatting
-Reduced the frequency of battles by a little (it’s a lot better now in my opinion)
-Fixed the talents upgrade function
-Punished the characters when they died and actually made it so they could die
-Adjusted how you start a new game a little (just have to pick a save slot at the start)
-Added in an automatic save feature to the game
-Fixed the Title Screen issues with saving/loading a game
-Adjusted basic enemy move-sets a little, so supports would actually be threatening when they had no allies.

Anyway, knocked all those things out which was fun. I then sent it off to my buddy, and had him play for a little while. He pointed out a few things (fixing the movement so you can hold down keys, fixing the inventory so you could actually use potions and it wouldn’t crash, fixing the map display, reducing some of the early XP gains from enemies). There were probably a few others things, but I’m forgetting them now. Anyway, there’s a lot of stuff I want to do going forward (as well as probably starting to plan out a new game. I’m thinking something with cannibals and/or zombies). Here’s some of what I’m thinking as far as making the game better going forward.

I think I’ll probably end up reducing the size of the first couple of levels, just so the story can become a little more prevalent and enticing (although there is value in developing it slowly initially because anticipation). I think I’d like to expand on some of the characters a little more (particularly Toma and her time in the Light Army). I’d also like to expand the item repertoire, adding in ‘teleportation stones’ that essentially allow the party to jump from one place to another (that they’ve previously visited). This allows the player to get back to places without having to backtrack all over the place in the most annoying fashion possible. In that same vein, I want to add another type that would allow the player to warp out of towers/ruins they’ve been exploring, instead of forcing them to back out of the places going the long, long way. Beyond those items, I’d like to add in more weapons that do more interesting things. I left it pretty basic in the weapons category because I didn’t want to cause a huge mess putting it together, but now that it is together I shouldn’t have too much of a problem putting in newer, more interesting versions of the weapons (I want to add in something that has the old regeneration talent as a passive). I want to add in more ruins (places to find treasure chests) and I want to add in more interesting drops from the enemies (extra gold, experience, weapons, etc.). I could even add in special resource drops, where the player can travel to a blacksmith to create new weapons. I’ve had at least one extra house in every town I created, so turning it into a blacksmith would be seriously cool and actually make it useful (beyond just being a place to store NPC’s and have them talk about stuff, which I can do with a blacksmith hall anyway). Anyway, there’s a lot I really want to do with it to make it better. The journey really only feels like it’s starting here, because now that everything is put in place I can really start using my creative juices and putting out insanely cool things. Make sure and go play the game and give me your feedback! Until next time.