Sunday, July 13, 2014

Nino & Jaffar: A Tale Reluctantly Told

When I originally started planning Elibian Nights, I decided to cut several characters from the cast. They'd have cameo appearances, perhaps, but no major story roles. In the initial drafts, Bartre and Karla were confined to a house scene in Lyn's Tale, Dart was only referred to by Fargus, and Nino and Jaffar were completely missing.

I didn't really much care about their fates, and had no interest in chronicling it. However, as the project grew, it eventually encompassed the entire cast. It came to the point where Jaffar and Nino were the only characters (save Athos, who had died) that didn't have a story role. So, Jaffar and Nino were reunited in the second part of Pent's Tale, and that fulfilled my duty to somehow incorporate every member of the FE7 cast. I'll admit it, they were initially simply thrown into that tale because they needed to appear somewhere. That tale needed a few more playable characters, so I made it work.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Boss Profile: Medeus

He is thoroughly unamused
by this biography.

Long ago, the world was inhabited by dragons and humans. Mankind and dragon always cooperated, and peace reigned as the dragons shared their wisdom and power with the humans. There were five types of dragonkin, each distinguished by their appearance and abilities.

The tribes lived in harmony with each other, save for a few minor quarrels (none of which ever devolved to full-scale conflicts). It was well known throughout the world that Loptyr, leader of the Earth Dragons, had a disdain for Naga, leader of the Divine Dragon tribe. Naga was looked upon by all as the leader of the dragonkin, he was king and his word was law. Despite personal grudges, the world continued to move forward. Mankind and dragon shared their home. The dragons bestowed upon man their miraculous inventions, and mankind, in return, shared everything they had with the dragons. Eventually, however, the dragonkin began to decline. Although blessed with incredible lifespans, the dragons drew their power from another world - as time went on they began to degenerate into feral beasts. To avoid destroying mankind, the dragons would join mankind. King Naga, leader of the Divine Dragons, decided it best for the dragons to seal their dragon forms into “dragonstones” and assume human forms instead, to allow the dragons and mankind to continue their coexistence. These sealed dragons were called “manakete.” With the use of their dragonstones, the manakete could become dragons, but only for a short periods of time. All tribes followed Naga’s lead, except for the Earth Dragon tribe. Loptyr, refused to sacrifice his power to protect the weak men who sought to conquer the world. Medeus, a trusted disciple of Loptyr, urged the Earth Dragons to follow King Naga and seal their forms, doing so himself as an example. The Earth Dragons, however, refused and continued to degenerate.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Next Frontier: An FEXNA Remake

Exalted Legacy
  • This, but on FEXNA.
  • Tactical Mastery system; think Elibian Nights-style achievements, with a focus on pulling off difficult strategies for reward. An optional flexible difficulty system that modifies the difficulty mid-game based on the number of tactical masteries you've completed.
  • Revamped story that explores the characters and world of Archanea with new depth.
  • Paralogues, unlockable in-game cutscenes that explore the background to this classic story.
  • Awakening-style level up skills, determined by character instead of class. No reclassing.

  • Level-up magic system retained; also adding tomes and staves, which allow units to cast spells without having learned them (at the cost of limited use and weighing down the spellcaster, these items are uncommon and expensive). Learned spells cost HP to use.
  • Revamping gaiden's maps into full-fledged chapters; adding dialogue, updating the story, and redoing the often bland and repetitive maps.
  • Obviously, massive character rebalancing and cast additions to improve class representations. Villagers replaced with specific T0 classes.
  • Expanding on the split party system, with certain points in the story where the parties meet and can swap units and items. You can send items to the other party by talking to an NPC in the villages. Part 3 alternates the parties, and I wanted to possibly add a merged section in Part 4 if it makes sense.
  • Bringing the game into the 21st century of Fire Emblem.

Thracia 776
  • “Class Skills” system revamped; as members of the same group of classes gain levels, their “class level” raises; 5 levels total, with each level unlocking a new assignable class skill. Class skills can only be assigned to one unit at a time, but can be reassigned at will.
  • Improved fatigue system, with more ways to offset fatigue naturally mid-map (instead of just the S-Drink item, which just reset the fatigue count to 0).
  • Fleshing out the game; possibly including some of the beta content that was cut. By and large, the biggest "issue" with FE5 is that it feels unrefined. That's simply the reality of developing a game with minimal distribution on an outdated console.
  • Including an easier mode, making the game more accessible to players put off by the game's renown difficulty.

Binding Blade
  • Expanding the game's route splits, adding to the replay value and making each playthrough potentially distinct. Going beyond simple Ch10A/10B, and adding a real element of choice to the game's progression.
  • Obvious plot enhancements that bring the original Elibian epic into context with the games that came afterwards. This game needs to be less boring.

Blazing Sword
  • A new "orders" feature, increasing the tactician's gameplay presence without resorting to a self-insert unit. Orders impact the battle directly. Offense, for example, gives all allied units +2 Str and +5 Hit, at the cost of -1 Def & Res. The momentum order gives units a small chance to act again (think FE5's movement stars). 15 orders total, with 5 available per playthrough based on the tactician's affinity and obtained by gaining rank stars.
  • Adding skills, updating the game engine with many of the new features developed for BwdYeti's Immortal Sword (that's where the majority of improvements will come from).

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Announcing FE4AR!

Time to check in on how things are going in Grannvale.

Okay, so what is FE4AR? For those of you not in the loop (or just don't remember), my first major project was FE4A, which ended in an April Fools' release prank. You can see all of the mock screenshots here. I've also released (recently lost and recovered) the project's event source. And of course we've got a wonderful collection of mugshots designed for the project. But with the recent reveal of the FEIV project on Serenes forums, I realized that I've never actually constructed a "final build" of my old project. Hence the FE4ARevival. Okay, so revival isn't perhaps the right word. I'm not going to finish the game; this new guy's hack is poised to blow my old junk out of the water anyways. Maybe he'll play mine and steal a few ideas though; a man can only dream. Instead, I'm just planning on piecing together everything that I have and going over it with one last coat of paint. The patch will go up to Chapter 6, which corresponds to the end of Chapter 2 in the original FE4. 

Many thanks to Duchess of Freege, who fortunately had saved the FE4A event source. You're my hero, and I wouldn't have been able to start this little nostalgia project without that help. A thousands thanks.

So currently I've added The Blind Archer's armor animations. The knights have been split into just two classes: the Phalanx (Axe/Sword) and the Sentry (Lance/Bow). They promote to Generals that use all four weapons. The map sprites come from Agro, who's also planning to import some FE4 songs for this little project. Finally we've got the Horseman animation from eCut, a more typical medieval version of the Nomad class. Many thanks to everyone for their contributions. The final patch is still going to be glitchy and incomplete, but with the help of others, I can work to make the project the best it can be. Maybe that new kid will take pity on me and lend me the working Str/Mag split? ...I doubt it. If anyone's got ideas, contributions or feedback, I'm always open to it. This is just the first bit of work, there's quite a lot to go (it was a rough project; lil' 2008 Archibald was still a tenderfoot).

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Gameplay Concepts & Enhancements

With Elibian Nights winding down its development, I thought I'd take the time to reflect on some gameplay concepts that haven't seen fruition. There's always a chance I could come back and add them, but after the v6 release I'm essentially calling it a finished product. Still, here's four ideas I thought I'd share.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Boss Profile: Tybalt

On a snowy Ilian night, Marshal Tybalt fell . The young champion Zealot (or Jerrot, as some call him) exposed a classic case of corruption; the good marshal ordered his men, under the guise of banditry, to steal back the supplies rationed for the villagers by the Knight's Union. Tybalt would then supply the goods to merchants—at inflated prices, of course—by selling from the union's "excess supply." He gouged the impoverished, starving citizens for every speck of gold; it never really bothered him too much, either.

With Zealot's victory, justice . It came, however, with a price; before his death, Tybalt managed to land a strong blow at Zealot's leg. He could no longer walk. Poetic, almost, considering that Tybalt himself endured a similar fate in his earlier life. Tybalt famously used a Bernese wyvern as his mount. A heated room was kept for the creature, courtesy of the homeland guard's small mage corps. The beast was fearsome indeed, but Tybalt trained originally as a footsoldier. During a year abroad in Bern, Tybalt sustained a critical hit to the right leg, a crippling injury.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Boss Profile: Onslow

As a young child, Onslow often dreamt of princedom. He grew up in Worde's poorest village and envied the luxuries afforded to these privileged elites.

Onslow, determined to escape the trap of poverty, eventually became a Lycian merchant. Nothing extraordinary. His business was average; it paid bills, but provided nothing more. With the birth of his son, Onslow resolved to create something worth passing on.

Discontent with the life of an ordinary merchant, Onslow began to explore other avenues for profit. This led him into his first dealings with criminals; he specialized in distributing black market goods to ordinary sellers. What good is theft, after all, if it doesn't translate into gold?

Unable to keep these secrets from his wife, she soon left him outright. At first Onslow despaired, but eventually he found solace by investing himself further in his criminal career. He maneuvered himself from selling the goods to stealing them himself. Bandits aren't typically an intellectual lot, and Onslow, although no genius himself, was smarter than the average brigand. He drew up the plans, his gang carried them out. His right-hand man, Warner, was in charge of the muscle.