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Author Topic: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack  (Read 79968 times)

zhade

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Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« on: July 13, 2015, 07:14:39 pm »
hi guys, im working on a hack of secret of mana to fix the common gameplay issues/abuses, add new gameplay elements, an option for the difficulty setting and various other things to hopefully make it more enjoyable and different in terms of gameplay.

heres the list of changes I have done so far:

- AI controlled characters don't get stuck
Actually they still do get stuck, but they don't stop the screen movements and get teleported back to the leading player if they go off-screen.

- MP is shown at all time
Still need some work to make it look better

- Binding magic spells to A,B,X,Y (now for all 3 players)
You can now cast spells without interupting the game. Thx to Piotyr for the idea ! First you have to go in the menu, put the cursor over the spell you want to bind, hold R then press A,B,X or Y to bind the magic the the chosen button. Then when in combat, pressing R will put you in "targeting mode" pressing left or right will make you select a target then pressing A,B,X or Y will make you (or the ally who have the chosen spell) cast the spell on the target, pressing R again will cancel. You can only target 1 character or enemy at a time, I still don't know if I'll make it possible to cast on all as it is kind of OP imo.
V0.3 : it is now possible to cast spells from the menu but you still have to pick your target during the action.

- Magic recharging time
After a character casts a spell he will have to wait some time (about 10seconds) before he can cast again. The face of the character on the botom of the screen will flash to show that it is currently unable to cast. No more chain-casting on bosses ;)

- Strong/Weak attacks (now for all 3 players)
There are now 2 different normal attacks for each weapons, attacking while pressing a direction on the D-pad will trigger the strong attack (a thrust with melee weapons) which is 25% stronger than the weak one but takes 25% more time to recharge. In order to not make the game easier and slower it is the weak attack which actually hits 25% less and recharges 25% faster than in vanilla.

Manual blocking (now for all 3 players)
Pressing the L button now makes your character block, he takes a "blocking stance" during a short time in which he will evade any physical attack. Blocking does not affect the power%, it is hard enough to have the right timing anyway. You can also block while charging but it will pause the charging for a short time.
V0.4: Human controlled characters can now only dodge manually.

- Enhanced bow
The bow now shoots twice as far and the power% starts recharging as soon as the arrow hits something. It also has a 99% hit chance.

- Reduced hit-recovery time
When you hit an enemy he will get up twice as fast as he did normally. This is to give a chance to enemies, normally by the time enemies get up you already have your 100% power back so you can hit them before they have a chance to move. This also works for playable characters preventing you to get stuck in a corner getting hit each time you get up until you die.

- Reduced damage/healing time
The time the players/enemies are immobilized as the damage or healing numbers are shown as been split in 2.

- 3 Difficulty settings
At the start of a new game, the player chooses the difficulty setting (easy, normal or hard). The difficulty setting affects how long the magic recharging time is as well as the enemies attack speed and how much damage the playable characters receive when hit by a physical or magic attack.

kown issues:

- Ghosts of dead characters and normally transparent enemies are not transparent anymore, this is not really a bug, it is there because when you are in "targeting-mode" your target become transparent to make it easier to know who you are targeting when characters/enemies are close to each other. Bosses wont flash when targeted tho.
- The character faces used as a cursor when targeting is always on the bottom of the enemies/characters, when enemies are flying it appears on the bottom of their shadow which looks odd. At least the target will be transparent so it is not confusing to know who you are targeting. The face-cursor will also be off if the target is at the edge of the screen or wanders outside the screen while being targeted.

Here is the latest Beta patch : V.10

It should be applied on an hearderless US rom, patching tool included in the zip.

here are some things I plan to add:

- Change the bosses HP at higher difficulty settings
- Reseting charge level to 0 if another character switch weapon with a charging character
(to fix the abuse where you can use charges over your current weapon lvl)
- Make weapons special effects less abusive
Some weapons have special status effect like balloon which are way OP, I would like to make it so the effect has a 20-25% chance to work instead of working all the time.
- Make stats boost spells last longer
- Make the charged attacks charge faster depending on weapon level
- Give a default level to spirits
Undine 0, Gnome 0, sylph 1, salamander 1, shade 2, lumina 2, luna 3, dryad 4
- Charge-locking
Pressing R while charging will stop the charge at the current level to give you time to position yourself
- Elemental weapons only work at random
element effects like snowman will have a 20-25% chance to work while still doing elemental damage all the time.
- Reduce the amount of HP healed by the luna elemental weapon
15-20% of the damage dealt would still be pretty powerful
- Make treasure chest give you another item if you are already full (healing items only)
For example, if a treasure chest would give you a chocolate bar but you already have 4 and have only 3 candies it would give you a candy instead. It will never give you a better item than what it would have given you in the first place. The only items that it could give you are candies, chocolate bar and honey.
- Equipment give stats boost
Equipement could boost some stats to give some stats customization options.

here are some ideas im still unsure about:

- Stat boost depending on weapon
For example the axe (which is just a sword with bad range) could raise the defense when equiped, the gloves could raise the evasion. The javeline could have a higher hit-rate (maybe even always 100%) to make it better compared to the new bow.
- Character dependent fighting skills
For example the girl could block/evade for a longer time (or maybe she could even do a counter-attack after a sucessful block?), the sprite could have an even faster weak attack. And other stuff like this that would give each character a bit of a different play style to make it more interesting.

Tell me if you have ideas of what I could add to make this great game better !
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 11:40:07 am by zhade »

magictrufflez

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2015, 01:53:32 am »
Now THIS is a SoM hack I would be interested in playing!

I like 99% of your ideas--the only thing I would suggest revisiting is maybe some limited stat adjsutment.  I think rebalancing the equipment and spell power/mp costs (these were literally the only things I think the SoM hardtype hack did well) would actually go a long way towards making the game just hard enough so the improvements you have here don't allow us to easily break the game.

I'm glad someone is finally taking a look at all the games mechanics rather than just homing in on the stats--I look forward to seeing the final product!

EDIT:  I don't know if this is possible at all, but it might be interesting to try--as weapon levels increase, it decreases the time it takes to charge lower level charges, but the charge time is progressively slower for higher levels.  So, for example, if your sword level is 6, you might be able to charge lvl 1 pretty quickly, lvl 2 a bit slower, lvl 3 a bit slower, all the way up to lvl 6 which would charge at the base rate.  This might give players more incentive to play pure melee, as charge attacks would be slightly more useful.  Then again, this would probably take a metric ton of hacking depending on how the charging is coded--just something I thought of while reading, so feel free to totally ignore it too!
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 01:58:46 am by magictrufflez »

zhade

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2015, 05:56:24 am »
Now THIS is a SoM hack I would be interested in playing!

I like 99% of your ideas--the only thing I would suggest revisiting is maybe some limited stat adjsutment.  I think rebalancing the equipment and spell power/mp costs (these were literally the only things I think the SoM hardtype hack did well) would actually go a long way towards making the game just hard enough so the improvements you have here don't allow us to easily break the game.

I'm glad someone is finally taking a look at all the games mechanics rather than just homing in on the stats--I look forward to seeing the final product!

EDIT:  I don't know if this is possible at all, but it might be interesting to try--as weapon levels increase, it decreases the time it takes to charge lower level charges, but the charge time is progressively slower for higher levels.  So, for example, if your sword level is 6, you might be able to charge lvl 1 pretty quickly, lvl 2 a bit slower, lvl 3 a bit slower, all the way up to lvl 6 which would charge at the base rate.  This might give players more incentive to play pure melee, as charge attacks would be slightly more useful.  Then again, this would probably take a metric ton of hacking depending on how the charging is coded--just something I thought of while reading, so feel free to totally ignore it too!

I plan on making a stat hack too after im done with this. I want to make it seperate so you can apply other stats hacks like the hard som hack to this if you want to. I consider the game (even with this hack) to be easy so my stat hack would be like a 'normal' mode between the vanilla version and the hard som hack.

If you have some examples of what should be rebalanced without making the game too much harder, I will look into it.
The spells are already balanced diffently because of the 10sec time between each cast. I usually only used the 2Mp costs offensive spells because casting 2x 3Mp spells for a total of 6MP didnt do as much damage as casting 3x the 2Mp spell of the same element, but now that I have to wait 10sec between casts the 3MP ones are more useful against bosses since I want to do as much damage as possible everytime I have the chance to cast.

About the faster charging, I had the exact same idea actually :P I forgot to include it in my list of ideas but I already have looked at how the game process the charges and it should not be too hard to do, I already have been able to make it charge 2x faster. The game normally increases a value by 1 every frames, I could change this so it increases by (your current level less your current charge level) divided by 2 and rounded up for example, so if your sword is level 6 the first charge would charge at (6-0)/2 every frame so 3x faster, second one 3x, third 2x, fourth 2x, 5th 1x and 6th 1x. The only problem I see is that it will increase your damage per seconds making the game easier, I could make the charge attacks a bit less powerful to fix this but I think I will look to see if it is really an issue first.

If you have other ideas, even if they seem impossible to do, don't keep them for yourself, we seem to be on the same page  :thumbsup:

heres a list of things I thought about but still don't know if I will include or if I would be able to include:
- Using the L button as a dodge button, making you do the back-flip dodge animation and making you invincible to attacks during that time and bringing your power % to zero afterwards
- Using the A button to do the alternative attack so for example if you have the spear you would be able to do the thrust with B and the Slash with A so you can choose which attack to use depending on the situation. That would mean you can no longer run tho and might be hard do pull off.
- If I dont do the alternate attack thing, making it so you can change direction while running, this would make it a bit too easy to run past enemies tho.
- using the L button (if I dont do the dodge thing) to make you stop charging so if you want to do the wide area level 6 sword charge to hit a group of enemies you could press L after charging the 4th charge to lock your charge at 4 so you have all the time you want to position yourself properly (this would be even more useful with the faster charging thing)
- making the bow shoot farther. nobody uses the bow, its slow, only hits one target and its higher power doesnt make up for it. Giving it a better reach might help making it a real choice compared to other projectile weapons.
- making the MP appear aside the HP of characters since you dont have to go in the menu anymore to cast spells it would be better to be able to see MP at all time. This might be above my current asm skills but I knew nothing about asm a month ago so with dedication I might find a way to do this.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 03:40:17 pm by zhade »

PresidentLeever

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2015, 06:24:19 am »
I love all of these changes except for the "Reduced speed while recharging power %" point. That sounds kind of annoying, but I guess I'd have to try it to see if I like it.

Regarding the percentage meter, maybe you could make it so that it's actually corresponding to the damage done, meaning if it's at 25% then you do 25% damage? IIIRC the damage is puny until 90-100%. But it might be OP in multiplayer.

The Secret of Evermore balance patch categorized various spells and weapons so that leveling them took less time, a very nice feature in that game. Maybe add something like that?

Finally the hit detection could be polished up a bit.

Other than that, I agree with the above regarding stat balancing (not sure about the weapon charge time though) and really want to play this.


Edit:
I finally got the chance to try this out and I gotta say that while the reduced speed while charging mechanic is fine when you're fighting, it becomes really annoying when you're simply moving around (running) and/or trying to avoid battle (hitting enemies once to stun them and move past). I think the reduced hit recovery and healing/damage times are enough of a balance fix for the fights already, at least in single player.

On the subject of moving around, would it be possible to tighten up the scrolling a bit? Because it's unusually loose in this game so it is likely that you'll run right into enemies and get attacked once in a while, as well as bump into walls here and there which reduces the flow of the game.

I have to agree with the cooldown time on spells being too long as well, IIRC it was set to the time of the power meter recharging in the balance patch for Secret of Evermore and that worked great for me. Otherwise I'd say split the current time in half or so, unless some spell animations need it to be longer.

Regarding the hotkeys, those worked great but I also felt that not being able to cast spells normally would turn into a bit of a chore, at least in single player, because four hotkeys is simply not enough unless you stick to 1-2 spells per sidekick. Would it be possible to also bind keys with the L button or does that interfere with something else? Been a while since I played with others in this one. I also agree that being able to see your MP at all times would improve this mechanic a lot since otherwise you'll often be waiting 10 seconds and then failing to cast a spell due to not knowing that you were lacking MP (or go into the menus which kind of defeats the purpose of having hotkeys in the first place).

« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 05:32:21 pm by PresidentLeever »
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SageOwl

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2015, 03:55:10 pm »
Wow man you are on a roll with these SoM improvements/tweaks. Awesome job ;D.

One thing though: increasing the time post casting magic will make grinding the element's levels SO much more tedious, which already drags on for anyone not into mindless grinding.
My proposal(s): either make it easier to level up the magic (at least just a bit), speed up the animations so there isn't much of an opening to chain spells (like in the Mobile version), or make it so each spell locks the character in place until the spell is finished like when you cast fireball. For the last two, I am completely ignorant as to whether or not they would be possible.

Aside from that gripe this looks fun; it sounds like you are taking some parts of the mobile remake and implementing them, which is a good and bad thing if you ask me.
SoM has needed some Rom Hacking love and here we are finally getting it.

justin3009

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2015, 07:00:23 pm »
Quote
- Using the L button as a dodge button, making you do the back-flip dodge animation and making you invincible to attacks during that time and bringing your power % to zero afterwards

- Using the A button to do the alternative attack so for example if you have the spear you would be able to do the thrust with B and the Slash with A so you can choose which attack to use depending on the situation. That would mean you can no longer run tho and might be hard do pull off.

- If I dont do the alternate attack thing, making it so you can change direction while running, this would make it a bit too easy to run past enemies tho.

- using the L button (if I dont do the dodge thing) to make you stop charging so if you want to do the wide area level 6 sword charge to hit a group of enemies you could press L after charging the 4th charge to lock your charge at 4 so you have all the time you want to position yourself properly (this would be even more useful with the faster charging thing)

- making the bow shoot farther. nobody uses the bow, its slow, only hits one target and its higher power doesnt make up for it. Giving it a better reach might help making it a real choice compared to other projectile weapons.

- making the MP appear aside the HP of characters since you dont have to go in the menu anymore to cast spells it would be better to be able to see MP at all time. This might be above my current asm skills but I knew nothing about asm a month ago so with dedication I might find a way to do this.

1. That would be really interesting, though maybe it cuts power by 50-75%?  I think a full drainage could really lead to some horrible situations.

2. I love this idea, but what about changing it so if you have a spear: A plain would be a slash, but A + Up would be a Thrust.  That way you can keep the B button.

3. Probably keep as is imo.

4. LOVE this idea.

5. Yes, please, please do.  Anything to help the Bow.  Maybe add a possible enhancement where it can shoot two arrows or maybe a more 'rapid fire' type of thing?

6. I might be able to help with that if needed.  I'm pretty sure it's more-or-less just copying the HP routine and altering it so it reads for the MP values.  Though, it'd also have to decrease when spells and such are used and update, which I think SHOULDN'T be too difficult.

As for ideas, I don't know if it'd be good or bad, but what about each PC has their own specific trait that works for them?

Example: The Girl seems pretty darn agile, maybe she's able to dodge a lot more easily with less of a power drainage, but she lacks the power the Boy has.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 07:05:44 pm by justin3009 »
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zhade

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2015, 11:54:07 pm »
Thank you all for your kind words !

1) Regarding the percentage meter, maybe you could make it so that it's actually corresponding to the damage done, meaning if it's at 25% then you do 25% damage? IIIRC the damage is puny until 90-100%. But it might be OP in multiplayer.

2) The Secret of Evermore balance patch categorized various spells and weapons so that leveling them took less time, a very nice feature in that game. Maybe add something like that?

3) Finally the hit detection could be polished up a bit.

4) I finally got the chance to try this out and I gotta say that while the reduced speed while charging mechanic is fine when you're fighting, it becomes really annoying when you're simply moving around (running) and/or trying to avoid battle (hitting enemies once to stun them and move past). I think the reduced hit recovery and healing/damage times are enough of a balance fix for the fights already, at least in single player.

5) On the subject of moving around, would it be possible to tighten up the scrolling a bit? Because it's unusually loose in this game so it is likely that you'll run right into enemies and get attacked once in a while, as well as bump into walls here and there which reduces the flow of the game.

6) I have to agree with the cooldown time on spells being too long as well, IIRC it was set to the time of the power meter recharging in the balance patch for Secret of Evermore and that worked great for me. Otherwise I'd say split the current time in half or so, unless some spell animations need it to be longer.

7) Regarding the hotkeys, those worked great but I also felt that not being able to cast spells normally would turn into a bit of a chore, at least in single player, because four hotkeys is simply not enough unless you stick to 1-2 spells per sidekick. Would it be possible to also bind keys with the L button or does that interfere with something else? Been a while since I played with others in this one.

1) IIRC the game splits the damage in 2 if your power is not at 100% so for example if you hit with atk 100 and power 50% your attack will be 25, and then if the enemy has 20 defense the damage taken would be 5 or 25 if at 90% instead of 80 if you were at 100%.. I agree that this makes attacking under 100% kind of pointless. I think its a good thing that hitting at 90% does not = 90% damage as it encourages you to wait for the 100% but dividing the atk by 2 is too much. Ill look into it, I dont think this would make the game so much easier anyway as long as 2 hits at 50% is still less than one at 100%.

2) I played the SoE balance patch lately and I agree that this feature was great I didnt really notice it for the alchemy but for the weapons it was way better than in vanilla. I think the weapon leveling in SoM is OK but I could make it so when you cast a spell all elements gets the XP (or a fraction of it) so that when you obtain a new spirit it is not level 0.

3) I tried to find the hit-detection areas for bosses (hitting the beak bosses with weapons is really hard) but I can't seem to find it, ill keep it on my list of things to check

4) I agree that it can get anoying, when cutting herbs to clear the way for example, I thought of making it so that it only slows you down when you actually hit an enemy but I might also just remove it completely im still not sure about this one...

5) I had made a cheat-code a while back that made the camera always centered on the boy to fix this issue but it had some weird effects. Because of the way the maps are made this would make it possible to see farther on the edges of the maps because the camera doesnt stop when close to the edge. Using a no-clip cheat you can walk past the edges and see that the maps wrap arounds like if you go left past the edge you get to the far right so if I changed the scrolling you would see the other edge of the map...

6) I have set the recharge time to 10sec to give you the time to make a charged attack in-between casts, personally I would make it even longer, but if ppl think it is too much I could bring it down to 5. Even with 10sec magic is still very powerful against bosses.

7) I wanted to keep the L button for other features (like dodging or charge-locking). I think 4spells hotkeys is ok but I agree that it should be possible to cast normally too mostly because of the crystals.. Else you would have to go in the menu, bind analyzer, analyze the crystal, return to the menu, bind the spell to clear the crystal, cast on the crystal, if you didnt use the good spell wait for the cooldown and try another one then when the crystal is cleared go back in the menu and re-bind the spells you had on those buttons.. in the palace on the sunken continent where there is 7 crystals this could get annoying... Because of the way I messed with the casting routine and all it would not be easy to do, ill keep it on my list for later

1) One thing though: increasing the time post casting magic will make grinding the element's levels SO much more tedious, which already drags on for anyone not into mindless grinding.
My proposal(s): either make it easier to level up the magic (at least just a bit), speed up the animations so there isn't much of an opening to chain spells (like in the Mobile version), or make it so each spell locks the character in place until the spell is finished like when you cast fireball. For the last two, I am completely ignorant as to whether or not they would be possible.

2) Aside from that gripe this looks fun; it sounds like you are taking some parts of the mobile remake and implementing them, which is a good and bad thing if you ask me

1) I think sharing Xp between spirits would help to make it less of a chore to level up elements

2) I didnt play the mobile remake actually, I thought it was the same game but with gfx upgrade (I still prefer the snes gfx tho) and uncensored dialog. What else did they change ?

dodging
1. That would be really interesting, though maybe it cuts power by 50-75%?  I think a full drainage could really lead to some horrible situations.

alternate attacks
2. I love this idea, but what about changing it so if you have a spear: A plain would be a slash, but A + Up would be a Thrust.  That way you can keep the B button.

running
3. Probably keep as is imo.

charge-locking
4. LOVE this idea.

bow range
5. Yes, please, please do.  Anything to help the Bow.  Maybe add a possible enhancement where it can shoot two arrows or maybe a more 'rapid fire' type of thing?

showing mp
6. I might be able to help with that if needed.  I'm pretty sure it's more-or-less just copying the HP routine and altering it so it reads for the MP values.  Though, it'd also have to decrease when spells and such are used and update, which I think SHOULDN'T be too difficult.

As for ideas, I don't know if it'd be good or bad, but what about each PC has their own specific trait that works for them?

Example: The Girl seems pretty darn agile, maybe she's able to dodge a lot more easily with less of a power drainage, but she lacks the power the Boy has.

1) If I decide to include this feature ill look at how it goes and adjust how much power it cuts acordingly. Also I didnt mention it but it would not require you to have full power to dodge.

2) Yeah that would be better as it would save the A button (the B button is the normal attack button actually). Some weapons like the sword have a bad thrust attack tho so you would have to stop moving to do the slash most of the time, ill see how it goes if I include this feature (still have no idea if I would be able to pull this off)

4) I think I will include this one, it will help make the charge attacks more useful

5) I could make it fire faster (as in less time between when you press B and the time the arrow starts flying) but its what makes the javeline unique, making it fire 2 arrows is not a bad idea but hitting multiple targets is the boomerang's job, thats why I thought about the range.

6) I've actually looked into it today because I was trying to do the faster charging thing and found where the gfx of the charging bar are stored (making the charging faster turned out to mess things up in there) and that it is also where the power % numbers are written, I thought the hp would use something similar but it writes directly in the VRAM ,if I understand this correctly (a lot of sta $2118). Since I can write numbers in the rectangle where the charge-bar is I could write the mp there, it has space for 5 bytes so 99/99 would fit :) that would mean that the MP wouldnt be displayed if the character is charging or if his power is not at 100% tho and I have some palette problems too...
I guess I should use something similar to the HP displaying routine instead to make it "cleaner". Ill have to learn a bit more on how VRAM works. Ive seen some of your gfx hacks in the picture thread (pretty neat stuff !) so im sure you could help with this. Ill go read some articles on snesDev but for starters, is there a register to obtain the current VRAM adress ? like to know where sta $2118 will be put in the vram ? or do I have to find the last write to $2116 / $2117 ?

magictrufflez

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2015, 02:19:28 am »
I'm glad someone mentioned the Secret of Evermore Balance hack--I was just about to bring up how that hack made the alchemy spells usable only after you let your guage fill to 100%, and then a cast drains it.  10 seconds sounded a little too long, but if you're going to map buttons for quick casting, I think using the guage might be a bit more useful.  Plus, to be honest, the casting animations in the original kind of already put about an effective 5 second delay on recasting anyways, so 10 might be a little punishing.  Then again, this probably worked so well for SoE because you only ever had 1 charcter to do anything with (since the dog was always just a tank)--it might need a littler bit of tweaking for SoM, where a single player may have to juggle 3 characters with different abilities at once.

if you want to adapt more of the SoE hack to yours, you could group weapons/magic by their similar features for the purpose of scaled leveling (ie swords/axes, boomerang/dart, spear/glove, bow/whip could level in tandem, and the same for Undine/Sylph/Wisp/Dryad and Gnome/Salamando/Shade/Luna).  This could, as mentioned, cut down on grinding skill levels pretty substantially.

Someone mentioned the low number of quick-cast button options, and while I slightly agree this is a bit limiting, I also think it will force players to plan out things ahead of time.  Chances are you won't keep the same 4 spells mapped the whole game anyways (except maybe Cure Water)---although one work around could be the ability to still menu cast spells.  I'm not sure how the hacking works, so I don't know if both options can coexist, but system-wise I think it could work to have the option to cast the old-fashioned way alongside the quick casting.

Another option for the making weapons to different attacks instead of mapping different buttons (since there are already so few free ones at this point) is to make it pressure-related if that's feasible.  Using the Spear example, a lighter tap of the attack button would trigger a swipe attack while holding it down a bit would produce a stab.  I might be wrong (it's been a bit since I fired up SoM), but I believe each weapon has 2 regular attacks, so this could theoretically make this an option without having to take up another button.  Again, provided the hacking is possible for this.

As far as magic balancing---I completely agree about the 3 Fireballs do not equal 2 lava waves problem with SoM magic.  However, I think you could work around thisby maybe changing the effects of some of the spells--for example, having lava wave be a damage over time spell rather than a straight damage spell, or perhaps have it decrease defense slightly in addition to its damage effect.  Then again, the only elementals that really need this balancing are Sprites Gnome (Gem Missile and Earthslide), Sylyph (Air Blast and Lightning Bolt), Salamando (all 3), and...that's it.  Every other elemental with attack spells have those spells do other things along with the attacks to jsutify the MP cost adjustment.  Maybe tweaking how those extra effects work might be something to look at?  Like maybe making them scale better with magic levels?

/endtextwall

justin3009

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2015, 09:48:21 am »
@zhade: I'll take a look today after work and see about the charge graphic issue as well as the MP numbers. I definitely want to see this keep going and improving.
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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2015, 10:23:34 am »
Thanks, zhade for the detailed reply.
4 - I vote for removing it but if others disagree then I think your other solution sounds alright.

5 - That's a shame. Does it cause problems no matter how little the scrolling is tightened then?

6 - I can still choose to make a charged attack and wait so I think ~5 secs is better, though to be fair I've only tried your hack briefly. Let's see what others think.

I like the idea of dodging, actually being able to dodge spells manually would also be kind of cool if balanced right (it should be hard to do). Then you're taking the traditional RPG mechanics away and making a full fledged ARPG out of the game.
Perhaps the charge locking feature could be mapped to pressing the run button (B?) once while charging, since you can't run then anyway, and then you'll have L free for the dodge move.
Magictrufflez has a point about the benefits of a limit to spellbindings, though I would still want to be able to cast normally for cases where I just want to use a specific spell once or a few times and then go back to my previous setup as well as in the situation you mentioned. So I really hope that can be done.

Your solution for spell leveling seems fine, can't say for sure about the weapons as I'd need to play more to refresh my memory of it. Looking forward to the next update!

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2015, 11:52:42 am »
Wow, I like your improvements.
Some ideas for gameplay improvements were posted here: http://acmlm.kafuka.org/board/thread.php?id=7985 Please take a look.

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2015, 06:12:54 pm »
Another option for the making weapons to different attacks instead of mapping different buttons (since there are already so few free ones at this point) is to make it pressure-related if that's feasible.  Using the Spear example, a lighter tap of the attack button would trigger a swipe attack while holding it down a bit would produce a stab.  I might be wrong (it's been a bit since I fired up SoM), but I believe each weapon has 2 regular attacks, so this could theoretically make this an option without having to take up another button.  Again, provided the hacking is possible for this.

I was going to suggest something similar. The way you worded it won't work because the SNES didn't have analog buttons so it can't sense pressure.
However, what I was thinking was for it to do the different attacks based on how long the button is held. So tapping the attack button would use the weapon's first attack anim, and pressing it and letting go before a charge is complete could trigger the second attack anim.
So basically it could be programmed to choose the attack based on the amount of charge.
Something like...

if (charge variable < 5%)
{ execute attack 1 }
else
{ execute attack 2 }

justin3009

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2015, 06:14:00 pm »
Okay, for the faster weapon charging, this is the best method I could fine.

Code: [Select]
$00/B397 BF 1F E0 7E LDA $7EE01F,x[$7E:E01F] A:0000 X:0000 Y:0000 P:envMxdIZC
$00/B39B 3A          DEC A                   A:0000 X:0000 Y:0000 P:envMxdIZC

This is the main portion to look at.  A value is stored there and counts down until it hits the next level.  I had the BF 1F E0 7E moved to empty space and then I added ANOTHER 3A (DEC).  It cuts the weapon charge rate in half.

As for the MP.  It 'might' be possible to have the HP nudged up a block and then put the MP below it but then that's a little more wasted screen space.  Another idea I can think of is maybe cutting the weapon charge icon stuff in half.  Kind of a toss up.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2015, 06:42:45 pm by justin3009 »
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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2015, 06:52:36 pm »
The mobile version changed quite a bit, but nothing really intense like including some of the beta content.
The game play is much more dynamic. Monsters are more aggressive. Your AI companions aren't completely retarded and can be programmed to have much more logical actions in combat (but still have problems). When you hit a monster, their recovery animation isn't nearly as long, and the same pertains to you. That being said, you will get basically "juggled" by some monsters because you have less invincibility frames. There is a little spark animation that shows when you hit a monster which is SUPER helpful, as well as there being a "miss" text animation that shows when you... miss. The magic animations, as I previously stated, are significantly shortened so it is very difficult to chain spells, but I was able to do it with rock slide. The game is much harder because of how aggressive the monsters/bosses are, but it still retains the core level of difficulty found in the original game. An example I can provide is as follows: fighting the Thunder Gigas he would go into his invincibility form, pop back into normal form, instantly cast thunderbolt, and then go right back into invincibility form. Normally there would be extra seconds of animation in between, but the game is streamlined so that everything just goes right off the bat.
That's pretty much the core game play elements that were changed. There others such as: you can run up/down stairs without the simulation stuff, the music doesn't cut out, there are shortcut icons on the right of the screen (they aren't there and are not accessible while playing on my Nvidia Shield TV), sleeping at an inn animation is shorter, and the frame rate is like around 15FPS (at least on the Nvidia Shield TV).

I recommend the original version over this version and, to be honest, it was a wasted opportunity to include some of the beta content that was cut and REALLY fix up the game.
But, hey, that's what rom hackers are for right?

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2015, 01:05:22 am »
I got the bow to shoot farther !
Ive double the reach, it might be a bit OP but it would be easy to change it at this point. The arrow flies faster (thats what actually increses the distance) so it also reduces the time between when you press the attack button and when the enemy gets hit. It also shoot a bit faster because normally the game waits for some time when the arrow hits something or the ground before starting to rebuild your power, ive changed it so it waits only 1 frame.

I've worked on the dodging thing,
ive been able to make the character do his dodge animation when I press a button, but I found out that the game doesnt work as I thought.. The dodge animation is just an animation to show that you dodged the last attack, you are not invincible during that time, the game also has 3 animations (block,dodge and back-flip dodge) which are used at random when that occurs. The block and dodge animations are quite fast. There is no dodge and back-flip animation that faces up/down so having a button making you dodge would look weird when facing up/down. With all that in mind I thought of a different way I could make it possible to dodge/block attacks. Holding the L button would put you in "dodge-mode" during that time you would have 100% evasion making you dodge any physical attack, you would move slower (as if you were charging an attack) and your power meter would slowly decrease. If your power reaches 0 you can no longer dodge and you have to wait for a certain amount of power (maybe 25% ?) before you can start dodging again.

On the subject of buttons:
L : to block/dodge
R (or L) : could be reused to lock the charge because you can not use spells/dodge when charging anyway and its easy to press L/R when holding B on a real snes controller
Alternate attack : I prefer the direction + B method to the tap and hold because when taping the attack would only start when releasing the button so it would be slightly off. Think of how in megaman X when you press the fire button the regular bullet is fired instantly, if it had given you the choice to charge instead and made it so the yellow bullet is only fired when the button is released after a tap, it would always be a bit late depending on how fast you release the button. I still think the A button could be a good choice, (I dont run a lot during combat personally) I could make it so when you are in town A runs but in battle A is the alternate attack maybe ? Anyway, I still havent looked at how the alternate attacks work ill try differents controls when(if) I get it to work.

Casting spells with the menu:
I have an idea for this that could make it easier for me to pull off. When selecting a spell in the menu and pressing B it could, instead of going to the target-selection thing, get out of the menu and automatically put you in targeting-mode and then pressing any A/B/X/Y would cast the spell you chose in the menu instead of the hotkey. That would make it so you still cant cast when magic-recharging, you still have to select your target during the action and let you keep the spells you use the most on your hotkeys. I think I will also make the R button a toggle so pressing it once puts you in tageting-mode and pressing it again cancels it.

PresidentLeever:
I dont know if changing the scrolling only a bit would work but I would have to look at every edge of every maps to be sure and I only have been able to make it auto-center on the boy and it could be alot of work to make it scroll a bit sooner so I don't want to spend time on this and then find out it doesnt work... I agree that it would have been nice tho.

About grouping XP for spells/weapons:
I think it is fine as it is for weapons, I usually change my weapon when I reach the max level to level up other weapons and to make the game enjoyable, then when I get to a boss I take my best weapon to make the most damage possible. When I reach the end of the game my weapon levels are all pretty high.
For spells I think giving a fraction (50-75%) of the XP to all other spirits is the best idea. I, and I guess most ppl, usually only use cure with the girl, maybe some salamando and lumina too, so grouping the spirits would make the spirits grouped with undine level up a lot more than the rest giving you no choice but to grind if you want to level up the others.

Justin3009:
Thx ! your method doesnt screw up the gfx. theres a problem tho, it can only make the charging twice as fast.
http://www.darkwoodinc.com/~enker/banks/som0.txt <-- the bank C0 asm
7EE01F is put to 01 at C0/B3A7
it then decreases each frame at C0/B39B
and when it gets lower than 0 (FF) it is put back to 01 and increase 7EE01A (which is the current charge % ranging from 00 to 2D)
decreasing 7EE01F twice makes it charge twice as fast but decreasing it any more still only makes it charge twice as fast.
Charging twice as fast could be enough tho and its still better than my method which screwed the charging bar :P
What would be the best for the MP is to put it after the HP like "523/523 MP 04", but there is not enough space... even if the characters block would be spaced there is only 1 block to gain so the mp would only fit right after the hp looking like : "523/52304". Putting the hp 1 block higher would make it better but like you said there would be wasted space and the guy doesnt have MP. Cuting the charge stuff in half sounds like a lot of work since the chaging animation and the % would need to be modified. I think the best way would be to have the girl and the sprite hp-and-charge box appear on the top of the screen like in Seiken Densetsu 3 :

that would give space so the mp could appear below the box or after the HP and the charge icons would not need to be cut, only repositioned.
If you want to take a look at the HP VRAM writing routine it starts at C1/E369: http://www.darkwoodinc.com/~enker/banks/som1.txt

SageOwl:
I would have liked to make the enemies more agressive too, I would have to find and change every enemy AI tho and that would be way too much work.

RetroHelix:
Those are good ideas but it is more about expanding the game (new areas, new spells, new items and equiments) than what I am aiming at for this hack. Also, the turtle island IS visitable, its where you get the sea hare's tail to bring back water to the desert village to obtain the moogle belt and it changes the desert village music for "The little sprite" : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv3MiEP-Oo8 as a kid me and my friend always saved at the Inn in kakkara just to listen to that song  :laugh:

Other ideas:
the luna elemental weapon is way OP, I should reduce the amount of HP recovered
Other elemental weapons with a special effect like snowman should only work a certain % of times. The weapons would still have their elemental property so hiting a water weak enemy with a undine elemental sword would still hit more even if it doesnt turn it into a snowman.

EDIT: that turned out to be another huge post..
--------------------------------------------------------------------
EDIT 2:
Ive got the alternate attack thing working !
There are actually 3 attacks for each melee weapons: A vertical slash, a thrust and an horizontal slash
3 different attacks
All 3 attacks seem to do the same amount of damage, only the the hit area is changed
I could make the thrust attacks do more damage since it has a narrower hit area. It would be the "strong attack" I could also make it so the power is cut more than with the "weak attack" so it takes more time to recharge your power. It doesnt have a better reach with the sword and the axe (I think its even worse) so there would no reason to use it if it doesnt do more damage.
The vertical slash is a bit weird, it seems to have a very wide hit area when facing left/right but a small one when facing up/down, I think I might just not use it.
Vertical attacks with the axe
Or maybe it could be the "weak attack" when the power is not at 100% ?

For the gloves, its 2 different punches instead of the slashes and a kick as the thrust (not sure if the hit area is different)
the whip has only 2 attacks, both with the same hit area

the 3 attacks are stored as 0 1 and 2, If I put higher values it starts to make special attacks, putting really high values make some unexisting/messed up combos:
Some look kind of cool
Some are just weird

Oh and heres the bow's new range
« Last Edit: July 16, 2015, 05:56:05 am by zhade »

PresidentLeever

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2015, 06:57:04 am »
Nice, that's interesting about the slash types. I think it's more logical that a vertical swing would do good damage with an axe or sword, and the most balanced to have the one that covers the biggest area be the weakest if it's as easy to do as the rest.
It's weird though how the vertical slash covers so much ground (visually) when facing all directions but south, like the character is swinging vertically and then changing the angle to a horizontal slash mid-way. Perhaps the animation + hit detection could be "cut off" where it starts covering a wider area than the south/down slash if you want to still use it.

Bow looks great now.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2015, 07:07:28 am by PresidentLeever »
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SageOwl

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2015, 05:06:08 pm »
Amazing work Zhade. These discoveries can REALLY flesh out the combat and definitely make it a lot more dynamic. I tried the 0.1 patch and it was pretty fun, albeit the magic targeting caught me by surprise when I cast Freeze on Randi, but it was awesome that you could actually do that (which brings to mind using it to bypass Wall like in Final Fantasy).

Keep it up man, you are giving me hope of seeing this game expanded to what the game could have possibly had.

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2015, 08:33:18 pm »
Okay, for the faster weapon charging, this is the best method I could fine.

Code: [Select]
$00/B397 BF 1F E0 7E LDA $7EE01F,x[$7E:E01F] A:0000 X:0000 Y:0000 P:envMxdIZC
$00/B39B 3A          DEC A                   A:0000 X:0000 Y:0000 P:envMxdIZC

This is the main portion to look at.  A value is stored there and counts down until it hits the next level.  I had the BF 1F E0 7E moved to empty space and then I added ANOTHER 3A (DEC).  It cuts the weapon charge rate in half.

As for the MP.  It 'might' be possible to have the HP nudged up a block and then put the MP below it but then that's a little more wasted screen space.  Another idea I can think of is maybe cutting the weapon charge icon stuff in half.  Kind of a toss up.

I'd say replace the max HP with MP. But I realize that since maybe the point of showing max HP was to know how healthy your character is, can the HP maybe be printed in a different color when its low?
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justin3009

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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2015, 09:26:27 pm »
A custom palette or maybe just a slight palette modification would be needed.  There's no proper color for them to actually change if your HP is low.  I assume it'd be perfectly plausible though.  It seems like half of the selections I tried were pitch black, the other was a decent red but a bit too harsh and the other one was a REALLY obnoxious yellow.
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Re: Secret Of Mana Gameplay Improvement Hack
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2015, 02:08:22 am »
Showing the MP instead of the max HP could work, maybe it could show the max hp by default but show the MP instead when in targeting-mode ? Or switch between the 2 every two seconds or something ? That way there would be no need for palette changes. The mp could be placed in the last two digits of the max HP so there a big space to avoid confusion example : "582/582" would become "582  12". Or it could use the extra space after the last maxHp digit to show a nice "582 MP12" That would require custom gfx tho...

I've got the alternate attacks working now,
the thrusts (strong attacks) do 25% more damage than the slash but recharges 25% slower. In order to not make the gameplay slower and easier, its actually the weak attack that does 25% less damage than normal but recharges 25% faster.
Ive look at the hit area of every attacks with the sword (its easy to see when on grass that can be cut) and the slash does have a wider hit area than the thrust but the same range, the vertical slash is as weird as it looks, a hit left/right does have a very wide hit area but when facing up/down it has the shortest range (and hits a bit on the back..). Since the vertical slash is different when hiting up/down and left/right it would be awkward to use so ill stick with the other 2. The computer players are not affected by the strong/weak attacks, they will have the same power using every attacks and use them as they normally do. Ranged weapons also have a strong attack even tho the animation is the same.

I found something I didnt know about the game mechanics while working on the alternate attacks:
the power% actually recharges faster if you have more agility. Its hard to notice because it increases gradually as you level up, but by switching between a game at the start and one at very high level you can see its almost twice as fast

EDIT: added version V0.2 to the first post and changed the list of things I plan to add and other ideas some new ones and some from you guys
« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 07:33:31 am by zhade »