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Author Topic: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Lunar 2)  (Read 87522 times)

noneother

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #60 on: January 22, 2017, 08:05:57 pm »
I just want to second Exile 2 (Wicked Phenomenon). Working Designs famously destroyed the game balancing by attempting to up the difficulty, to the point where's it said to be impossible to finish without exploiting some glitch. I've always wanted to play it, because the prequel's pretty great. The Sega-CD Lunars and Vay were just fine. I played them a few years back and don't remember struggling with them or grinding at all. It's okay if a character dies every now and then or if you worry whether you can make it, it makes things more exciting. You don't have to buy all the latest equipment or be so overleveled that nothing can hurt you.

They DID hurt Popful Mail, I'll grant you that, since enemies took so many hits to kill. But Exile 2 is the only game they legit broke.

arhesbranwin

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #61 on: January 24, 2017, 12:21:13 am »
I played through all of these on the Sega-CD (and before on the TG-CD from Working Designs).  Never found Lunar or Lunar 2 too difficult, but don't bring up Vay.  Even with over-leveled characters, only your lead party member could do any real damage to the final boss.  The only thing the other three could do was boost his strength and/or heal and otherwise just sit there since they were so useless.  Dragon Slayer (Legend of Heroes 2 on the TG-CD) had the same issue with it's bosses for the most part, but at least I really enjoyed the cheesy dubbing they did.  I can still recall lines from it 20 years after playing it.

Cosmic Fantasy II had similar issues, especially when you fist play as Babette alone.  I'm lucky I found some exploit...I mean item...called the Magic Duster in the initial dungeon she goes through that can used as many times as you liked and did decent damage to all enemies 50-60% of the time (the rest of the time doing none).

Now Vasteel, that was a masterpiece.  I want more games like that.

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #62 on: January 24, 2017, 10:33:00 pm »
Looks like I'll be finishing the Epilogue of the "arguably unplayably, frustratingly difficult" Lunar Eternal Blue for tomorrow's broadcast.  :thumbsup: Got to that last dungeon and heard that Star Dragon tower  track and could feel how close that ending was.
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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #63 on: January 25, 2017, 12:18:29 am »
After a crazy week where every time I thought I was done, some even more wild and inexplicable new change I had to fix popped up, I'm happy to finally release the v0 patch for Vay, as well as the v1 and v2 patches for Lunar: Eternal Blue and Popful Mail!

Vay (Sega CD) -- patch v0 (1/24/17)

Tested all the way through, hopefully problem-free.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* Enemy stats are restored to what they were in the Japanese game.
* Spell MP costs are reduced to their original values.
* Stat bonuses given by equipment are restored to their original levels.
* Inn costs are reduced to the original 4g.
* HP and MP are no longer restored on level up.
* The chest in the hidden Lorath Castle vault that contains 1,500g in the US version now contains 1,000g, per the original.
* Lynx's bar tab has been reduced from 20,000g to the original 1,000g.
* The US version inserted an event that caused an instant game over if Sirufa's teleportation was used without having all party members equipped with "Filtration Masks". This no longer occurs.
* The "Gold Vortex" chest in Vaygess has been replaced with its original contents.
* The US version moved the intro cutscene to before the title screen and made it unskippable if no save data exists. This patch leaves it before the title screen, but makes it skippable.

Lunar: Eternal Blue (Sega CD) -- patch v1 (1/24/17)
Popful Mail (Sega CD) -- patch v2 (1/24/17)

The new Eternal Blue and Popful Mail patches are unchanged in terms of content, but per the feedback in this topic, I've overhauled the patching procedure. In addition to using modern xdelta and bundling a working bchunk.exe -- big, big thanks to elmer for discovering this issue and providing the fixed binary -- I've bundled xdelta and added some .bat files that should make patching as easy as a drag-and-drop on Windows. See the "Automatic Patching" section of the readme files for details. All of this should fix the errors people have been reporting, so if you've been having patching issues, download the new versions.

Now, to talk about Vay for a bit:

You'll notice the changes in this game are a mixed bag -- the equipment was noticeably weakened, but often the buy/sell prices were also slashed, sometimes by a lot (e.g. 500,000g to 110,000g for God Blade/Odin's Blade). Arguably, the ultimate effect is basically the same (you're grinding for money in the Japanese version and levels in the US version), though the US version is still much harder due to the enemy stat changes and massive, massive increases in MP costs. (Balm: 2->10 MP, Restore: 18->80 MP, Healall: 30->140 MP!)

I changed back everything I could find, but I have a feeling there's stuff I missed. Particularly, a treasure chest at the very beginning of the game was changed (1000g to 1500g), and I doubt that was the only one, but my spot checks didn't turn up any more differences. If anyone happens to know of any other gameplay changes, give me a shout, since I went to all the trouble of writing tools to handle the script file compression and I might as well use them.

Oh, and while I was working on this, I found a cheat code that Working Designs added to the US version of the game but apparently never released, as it doesn't seem to be documented anywhere. At the start of the game, enter the hidden vault (from the starting room, go through the door in the north curtain, then go to the northwest corner of that room and walk east through the invisible passage). Go to the room with the three treasure chests and stand here:



Now, on controller 2, press A, B, C, and Start simultaneously. This leads to an "animation test" room where you can inspect the walls to watch the game's cutscenes, and get typical Working Designs commentary like this:



Interestingly, two of the cutscenes are labeled "outtakes", and appear to actually be literally cut scenes -- they're never played anywhere, even in the Japanese version. They weren't dubbed for the US version and instead play a very nasty buzzing noise, which I suspect is why the access code for this was never released.

Anyway, thanks to everyone in this topic who's provided feedback. I haven't decided what to do next yet. Maybe Silver Star, maybe not. I'm seeing a lot of requests for Exile II, so I guess I'll look into that at some point, although working on a game for a system even more obscure than the Sega CD is probably going to make doing the patch more of a challenge...
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 12:27:03 am by Supper »

lexluthermiester

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty
« Reply #64 on: January 25, 2017, 07:16:42 am »
After a crazy week where every time I thought I was done, some even more wild and inexplicable new change I had to fix popped up, I'm happy to finally release the v0 patch for Vay, as well as the v1 and v2 patches for Lunar: Eternal Blue and Popful Mail!

Vay (Sega CD) -- patch v0 (1/24/17)
Lunar: Eternal Blue (Sega CD) -- patch v1 (1/24/17)
Popful Mail (Sega CD) -- patch v2 (1/24/17)

The new Eternal Blue and Popful Mail patches are unchanged in terms of content, but per the feedback in this topic, I've overhauled the patching procedure. In addition to using modern xdelta and bundling a working bchunk.exe -- big, big thanks to elmer for discovering this issue and providing the fixed binary -- I've bundled xdelta and added some .bat files that should make patching as easy as a drag-and-drop on Windows. See the "Automatic Patching" section of the readme files for details. All of this should fix the errors people have been reporting, so if you've been having patching issues, download the new versions.

Hey thanks for the new patches! The Popful Mail patch was giving me hell. Thought it was something I was doing wrong. Hopefully this works better! Will chime in to confirm later.

Spooniest

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #65 on: January 25, 2017, 08:07:15 am »
My post is for these purposes: subscribe to the thread. I am for it. Express my opinion. I would like to. Enjoy myself. I always try.

Working Designs is a little bit strange, to say the least. The voice acting in their games was brought up by someone; yes, it's not Lawrence Olivier, but to be honest, it kind of is compared to the acting in other games at that time.* Fuck, it's practically Freddie Mercury compared to the acting in other games of the time, with the exception of probably Wing Commander (gotta love them Kilrathi. Also, Luke Skywalker! Lordy McGordy). I kind of enjoy the pop culture/crude jokes sometimes, but not all the time, and frankly, I do not want to take a class in how to understand Japanese culture and humor, I want to play a European High Fantasy story that is moderately challenging and has something to say about life.

The Japanese Culture in RPGs is there for Japanese people who either do not get or wish to make fun of Europe, where the games are sort of set...well, their settings are based on Europe.

To treat these cultural references as something that the Japanese are trying to hide from the world is to misunderstand why they used them; Japanese did not grow up in European culture, they wouldn't get what the game is saying or doing otherwise.

Let me put this in real world context; How many countries and cultures are present in Japan? That's right, exactly one. How many countries and cultures are present in Europe? A shitload, you guessed it. Take it to a physical level. How big is Japan? Like, if you just walked, how long would it take to basically walk across all four of the big islands? Now, how big is Europe?

See where I'm going with this? The Japanese cultural stuff is so that Japanese kids will get what a European Fantasy Setting is all about. WE DON'T NEED IT, WE GREW UP IN EUROPEAN (Or European Colonial) CULTURE.

:) I understand that nostalgia can be a bit of a sacred cow for people, but it is important to know your audience above knowing yourself.

*Just in case you don't believe me, actually...

Uh...what was the actor who played Alex's name? Ashley Angel?

He sounds like he just shit himself.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 08:22:46 am by Spooniest »

ze10

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #66 on: January 25, 2017, 08:40:44 am »
I've beaten Vay a few years ago. The difficulty was really bullshit and the game ended up not being fun at all... the MP cost for spells really bothered me. This patch should make things more interesting :D

Kallisto

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #67 on: January 25, 2017, 12:08:36 pm »
I always liked the 2nd to last final area music, and final battle music in Vay.


thainferno305

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #68 on: January 25, 2017, 02:52:24 pm »
just tested lunar u did a great job this is much better then the psx version

Spooniest

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #69 on: January 25, 2017, 04:34:29 pm »
I hope my post didn't come off as too abrasive?

I said in the start of it; I am for the project.

I had no idea that the difficulty was so amplified, and in such a perfunctory way. The numbers by which certain things were raised or lowered suggest that they wanted it to be an easy, quick programming edit.

:/ Points off for laziness.

Anyhow, I'll be eager to see what these games were supposed to play like. :D

Furluge

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #70 on: January 25, 2017, 08:16:24 pm »
Uh...what was the actor who played Alex's name? Ashley Angel?

He sounds like he just shit himself.

Yeah Ashley Angel is Alex in L:TSS and L:SSSC. For more lulz look up "O-Town" XD

Quote from: Now imagine if you will this scene...
Magic Emeperor: Tell me Alex, did ol' Victor Ireland tell you what happened to your voice actor.
Alex: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!
Emperor reveals helmet to reveal Ashely Angel
Ashley Angel: No Alex, I am your voice actor.
Alex: That's not true, that's impossible!
Ashley Angel: Come with me Alex, join O-town!
----- Furluge
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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #71 on: January 26, 2017, 01:55:56 am »
Against my better judgment, I decided to look into the Exile games, read over some PCECD docs, and somehow wound up writing my own little HuC6280 disassembler when da65 wouldn't do what I wanted. (I know there are better tools available, I really just wanted to give it a go). Since PCECD games don't use a standard file system like Sega CD games, this will probably be more challenging to work with, but I'm really getting ahead of myself since I haven't even played the game yet.

I've beaten Vay a few years ago. The difficulty was really bullshit and the game ended up not being fun at all... the MP cost for spells really bothered me. This patch should make things more interesting :D

IMO the Japanese version is better, but still not a stellar game. I'm not fond of the high encounter rate, especially since this is one of those games where no matter how much stronger you are than the enemy, you always have the same fixed chance of escaping. The equipment prices get really out of hand toward the end of the game, too. But I've fallen out of love with JRPGs these days, so maybe you'll enjoy it more.

I always liked the 2nd to last final area music, and final battle music in Vay.

Yeah, anywhere they let the composer do that techno-dance stuff is great. Shoulda scored the whole game that way.

just tested lunar u did a great job this is much better then the psx version

Thanks, glad to hear it's working for you! I'll have to try the PSX version some time once I've detoxed from the SCD patch...

I hope my post didn't come off as too abrasive?

I said in the start of it; I am for the project.

I had no idea that the difficulty was so amplified, and in such a perfunctory way. The numbers by which certain things were raised or lowered suggest that they wanted it to be an easy, quick programming edit.

:/ Points off for laziness.

Anyhow, I'll be eager to see what these games were supposed to play like. :D

From what I've looked at so far, the Lunar games are actually some of Working Designs' least edited as far as gameplay goes. They didn't add in instant game overs or edit equipment stats like in Vay, and the enemy stat boosts are really quite tame compared to what they did with Popful Mail. On the other hand, it's pretty sad that "all enemies are at least 25% stronger" is their high-water mark.

vivify93

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #72 on: January 26, 2017, 09:15:33 am »
I also got Lunar 2 to work and recompiled it into a BIN/CUE with Daemon Tools and ImgBurn. It works amazingly; I love that I can save at any time I want to. Thanks for all your hard work. When's Lunar 1? Kidding on that last bit. :p
All my life I've tried to fight what history has given me.

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #73 on: January 27, 2017, 12:32:54 pm »
I also got Lunar 2 to work and recompiled it into a BIN/CUE with Daemon Tools and ImgBurn. It works amazingly; I love that I can save at any time I want to. Thanks for all your hard work. When's Lunar 1? Kidding on that last bit. :p

There's a new moon tomorrow night? :D

Lunar was the first time a game threw a girl at me that I thought was worth saving. Luna is a fully fleshed out romantic interest in a video game. Name one that came before it and I'll give you this cookie:  :cookie:

butane bob

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #74 on: January 28, 2017, 02:43:50 am »
Lunar 2 froze a few hours in, right when I spoke to Ronfar for the first time. First it showed a few empty dialogue boxes then it just outright seized with a bunch of garbage text characters randomly placed on screen. Using win7 x64, Genesis Plus core via Retroarch.

lexluthermiester

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #75 on: January 28, 2017, 06:30:08 am »
Lunar 2 froze a few hours in, right when I spoke to Ronfar for the first time. First it showed a few empty dialogue boxes then it just outright seized with a bunch of garbage text characters randomly placed on screen. Using win7 x64, Genesis Plus core via Retroarch.

It's likely that you used the wrong ISO. Did you check the MD5?

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #76 on: January 28, 2017, 02:58:42 pm »
So how much did Working Designs tamper with the Arc the lad games? I remember those games having less pointless jokes etc. It was later in the companies life so maybe they took it more seriously?

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Re: Un-Worked Designs: Working Designs minus bullshit difficulty (Latest: Vay)
« Reply #77 on: January 28, 2017, 06:41:38 pm »
Alright i got a new copy of the game. Patched it manually this time (before and after patching md5's were correct), and it still crashes at the same part. :\ Has anyone gotten past this point in the game where you speak with Ronfar?

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Exile patch is out, but first let me address this:

Alright i got a new copy of the game. Patched it manually this time (before and after patching md5's were correct), and it still crashes at the same part. :\ Has anyone gotten past this point in the game where you speak with Ronfar?

It's not a problem with your ISO, it means I screwed up editing the script. Sorry for the issue, but thanks for finding it. It should be an easy fix, so sit tight -- I'll take a look right away and hopefully edit the new patch version into this post within an hour or so. I've been putting off doing a full run through the game, but I guess I need to...

EDIT: Fixed this issue. Here's patch v2. Sorry for the trouble, but it's hard to test everything when the game just has tons and tons of dialogue like this.

That said, the PCE CD turned out to be easier to work with than I feared, so here's Exile:

Exile (PC Engine CD/TurboGrafx-CD) -- patch v0 (1/28/17)

Tested all the way through, hopefully problem-free.
Changes:
Spoiler:
* All enemies have their stats restored to what they were in the Japanese version.
* The "Warp" spell that returns Sadler to the start of the current dungeon has been re-enabled.
* The two chests in the game that contain gold have been restored to their original amounts (900g -> 500g, 2000g -> 2500g).

This is an early Working Designs effort, and it shows. The script isn't nearly as heavily rewritten as in later games, and the difficulty edits are a bit less all-encompassing.

For this game, I can at least see why WD wanted to change up the enemy stats, even if it doesn't sit well with me philosophically. The game balance is definitely off in the Japanese version, with most enemies doing the minimum 3 damage to you as long as you're even decently equipped. There's very rarely any need to use magic. Unfortunately, the game's flaws go significantly beyond that -- you're constantly backtracking and/or running around the overworld instead of playing the more interesting action sequences, and in the end it would take more than a few tweaks to make this a good game. (Sorry to anyone who likes it.) For me, the US version ends up being the same thing, but with even more tedium.

Removing the Warp spell was just plain ridiculous, though. The last thing this game needed was more backtracking.

Also, there's a hidden cameo from Valis that I can't find documented anywhere, though I can't believe I'm the first to find it. Anyone seen this before?



Go to Mosnee Pass, stand here, and go directly north. There's an invisible path through the forest.



You'll reach this clearing, where Valis shows up and talks about how she's Yuko from Valis and came to France because she got tired of fighting. Except in the US version, where she talks about how "Exile 2: THE REVENGE" is going to be on the Super-CD. And there's a needlessly elaborate animation of her changing from her school uniform into bikini armor. Whatever.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 08:49:11 pm by Supper »

Spooniest

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:|

Did you just find a secret in a game that nobody ever played really except die hard Turbo CD fans? That is decades old?

This has to be some sort of singularity level obscurity, goodness.

I did play Valis 1 all the way through though I believe, about 4 years ago?