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Author Topic: Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix  (Read 1387 times)

Kea

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Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix
« on: July 25, 2018, 06:26:56 pm »
After far too long in development, I've decided I have enough progress in this Dawn of Souls hack to start its own thread. This hack is a fairly comprehensive overhaul of the Final Fantasy 1 half of DoS, with the aim of making gameplay more challenging and interesting without sticking cheap shots in there.

This hack takes the game closer to the NES version in some ways - the MP system has been replaced with the old Vancian casting (at more generous allotments of charges), characters and monsters are relatively low-power, random encounters are tougher, that sort of thing. I've cut way back on the encounter rate too, both because monsters are stronger and it was just obnoxiously high to begin with.

The hack is just about finished in that everything up to Chaos has been tinkered with, but I'm looking for beta testers to play through it to give feedback and report bugs. You can't really balance a game just based on your own experience; it'd be helpful to see how somebody without any foreknowledge going in handles it.

For a detailed (though not exhaustive) list of changes, you can check the readme in the download package. The patch can be found here.

And now for some screenshots:

A couple of examples of the new formations, and of the unrunnable battle alert.


I added a item-viewing screen so you don't have to check an external document to see what every weapon or armor does.


One of the edited maps. This was the first map I made with Tiled, and I went a little overboard on the size. Good thing I can adjust encounter frequency by map!

Rabite890

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Re: Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2018, 04:48:52 am »
Nifty. One of my favorite games on GBA with the bonus of finally making it a bit harder. Do you have any influence from Ludmeister's work on FF1 (Mod of Balance)? He had a crapload of info on the code of the game, it might be useful to you if you need it. I hated how easy Squeenix made the GBA version (and all subsequent versions based on it). The EXP table changes were atrocious. I actually looked in the ROM years ago and found the whole table... holy crap they made it easy. Had to get to the bonus bosses to get any sort of challenge.

I'll give it a shot and see how it works out now. Thanks for the time you put into this.

Kea

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Re: Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2018, 07:18:22 pm »
Ludmeister's notes were a huge help when I was starting out, especially for providing a partial key for the text encoding, but limited in scope as they are I ended up doing a great deal of research anyway to figure out how to do things like coding new spell animations, making a new type of spell entirely, reworking the random encounter system, and so on.

As for the design of the hack, his Mod of Balance 2.2 was what inspired this project in the first place, but by now the gameplay has moved pretty far from what you'd find there; there's two spells that are shared with Mod of Balance and that's about it. I'd say my patch is pretty tough, at least later on, but you never know how it will appear to other people.

Rabite890

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Re: Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2018, 07:58:29 pm »
Ah, so this hack has been in the works a long time then. I actually did a bit of testing and idea bouncing with him on MoB while he was still working on it, but I haven't heard from him in ages. I'm actually in the credits :D

I kind of like that in the last version of the patch he separated accuracy from number of hits. That last version really made things a lot more interesting. Years ago I saw someone use the spell animation from FF2 in FF1, but I'll be damned if I can remember who did it or where the video was. I saw your name and tried to remember where I knew it from, then I found that you did the conversion patch from MP to spell charges.

Is it possible to remove those NPCs that force the cut scenes? One specific example I can think of off hand is when you enter Coneria and the guards block all the entrances so you have to talk to them and trigger the conversation with the king. That cut scene always irritated the hell out of me. I don't recall any others like it, but that one really screwed things up.

EDIT: Do you want feedback in this topic or in PM?

EDIT the second: Since I'm new still, moderators have to approve every single message I do. So my first set of feedback is being held back by that.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 12:38:22 pm by Rabite890 »

Kea

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Re: Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2018, 09:13:29 am »
Feedback in this topic is fine.

Separating number of hits from accuracy was indeed interesting, but playing the patch I didn't think that it was implemented all that well; the classes with the most hits tended to have good accuracy too, or at least good enough - few classes had low enough accuracy that it posed a problem. I ended up approaching the idea from a different angle, by allowing weapons to directly add or subtract hits: for example, hammers tend to have high accuracy but reduce your number of hits, while knives are the opposite, offering a greater number of inaccurate swings. It's more transparent than tying # of hits to Agility and a hidden class modifier.

I haven't heard of using FF2 spell animations in FF1! That would be very intriguing if true - part of the work involved with making new spells has been trying to cobble together appropriate animations, or modifying existing ones to function whether an ally or enemy casts it. Like, NulBlaze had an enemy-side animation, since Vampire Lords cast it, but NulFrost and NulShock didn't, so when I introduced AI patterns that use those spells they needed some editing.

Removing those NPCs in Cornelia would be entirely possible; it would likely save on event identifiers too, which could be handy down the road. I'll look into it.

Rabite890

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Re: Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2018, 12:36:21 pm »
The boxes displaying stat changes on equipment when equipping it is VERY useful. Was surprised to see evasion get impacted by weapons.

I noticed you've got your own EXP table done up. I mapped the whole table out for the NES, PSOne easy mode, and GBA versions. It wasn't too bad in PSOne easy mode, but it got ridiculous in the GBA version, especially since you can't pick a harder difficulty. So far what you've got going seems like a decent balance.

Making Fire/Thunder hit all helps a lot with larger groups, so thanks for that. Still not very far but I can see that helping a lot. I'm kind of surprised to see magic do damage ranges like the pre-GBA versions, but magic was pretty powerful before. So that's not really a bad thing. Was kind of surprised to see more than 4 spells per level though. Looking forward to what the spell casting weapons/armor will do.

Does Dia hit "evil" enemies like in MoB? I'm guessing not, but I'll test it in a bit.

I'm really liking what I read of the spell changes. Death doing damage if it doesn't hit makes Astos a nasty customer either way. Good job. Thank you for splitting up Cure and Heal spells. That was always a bad idea from a balance perspective in my opinion.

Found a typo in your spell sheet: Thunder says it does fire damage.

Not sure how much I like the not saving in dungeons. I can understand disabling it completely, it makes the game even easier. On the other hand, it's by it's very nature a portable game. Anybody who is playing it on a computer or via other means of emulation can save state. If playing on real hardware though, you've got times where you just want to advance the dungeon a bit but don't have a lot of time. I don't know how to balance those two.

Garland has a REALLY nasty spell list.

I kind of think that the first couple level 2 spell charges show up too early. I'm taking on Garland at level 4 (could beat him at level 3, but wanted to do level 4) and don't have access to any level 2 spells yet. Maybe give the first charge to the black/white mages at level 4 and give them two new charges at levels 2 and 3 instead of just one?

I might start over though. I've got Warrior/Red/White/Black. And I think I want to try Warrior/Monk/White/Black. Or maybe skip the Warrior and use a Thief. I dunno. I did like the name being changed to Rogue in MoB better. Think it fits the class progression better. Ended up changing to W/M/WM/BM. Shortly after that I discovered that you can't equip weapons in combat. That was an unpleasant surprise.

The change to how the game decides the order characters go in feels a lot more like it should.

Kea

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Re: Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2018, 05:49:02 pm »
The exp scale is tuned so that the first ten levels go by pretty quickly. The Pravoka-Elfheim-Marsh Cave segment of FF1 is always pretty dense so there's no need to add XP worries on top of that. Noted on the Thunder typo, that's been fixed.

If I knew how, I'd love to implement the Quicksave feature the other FF ports have, so you can make a temporary save whenever you want to take a break. Not sure how feasible that would be - of course I could always delete FF2 to make room in SRAM, but I'd rather avoid that kind of extreme measure.

Garland's spell list is probably a little too nasty in retrospect, haha. I'm going to tone that down. The L2 spell charges coming so soon is sort of how it had to be to space things out; I tried to make it so that mages had at least one SP increase every level. As you get further along, the newest spell levels will be coming online at more reasonable times.

Not being able to move around equipment in combat...I mainly did that so I/the player wouldn't feel the urge to micromanage your equipment selections turn-by-turn to always have the optimal gear equipped in terms of resistances or spells cast or what have you. Ideally I'd make swapping equipment simply take up your turn, but for now all you can do is remove gear mid-turn.

Rabite890

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Re: Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2018, 08:28:32 pm »
I've been casting Protect with my WM 3 times to make sure I don't take any deaths, otherwise his physicals are way too strong. Which is good from a plot perspective, but kind of sucks when you have such limited armor options at that point. And please do nerf Garland's spell list. I think the worst part is when he gets to Fira. Sleep was OK, Cura was... annoying but fine, Fire was threatening without being obscene. Saber might have been a bit too much as well. He's already doing obscene damage to anybody he hits. His spell list and base damage put him strong enough to be a mid-game boss that's moderately challenging depending on armor.

I fully support removing FF2 from the ROM (except the weapons and spells, in case you figure out how to use them eventually) in order to use the memory for a quicksave. Unless you're going to work on FF2 also, I don't see a need to have a vanilla version along side your hack. And if you ARE going to do FF2, you can just remove FF1 from that ROM.

I was using Venom every once in a while and it didn't feel like it was hitting that much harder than Fire. I know that the spells will do more damage with INT going up, but it didn't feel like it was as big of a boost as it should have been comparatively. I didn't check to see if Garland resists Poison element, but I wouldn't be surprised if he does. If he does though, it kind of feels like a waste of a spell slot that early on.

The part about not changing equipment in battle kind of sucked when I forgot to equip my weapons for the first fight. Thankfully the staff is moderately powerful for that early on, but still scary.

Kea

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Re: Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2018, 11:58:44 pm »
I went ahead and made some changes based on your suggestions. Garland was a little overtuned, so now he has less Attack power and uses weaker spells. Venom only had 48 accuracy which is way too low, so I bumped that up to 80 so it can reliably double. The download link in the OP links to the updated version.

Garland does resist poison, yes. I think you'll find it useful against high-HP monsters later on; humanoid foes like Ogres and Gigases in particular are weak to Poison, so you're looking at 37-150 damage with a good chance of hitting the upper range of that. But let me know if your experience suggests otherwise.

Rabite890

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Re: Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2018, 12:28:34 am »
Garland sounds like he should be a lot more reasonable. I think I was really expecting the first boss to not resist the only single target attack spell you have at that point, but that shouldn't matter too much since they were doing about the same amount of damage before.

Any chance of making Dia hit "evil" characters? Could help make the WM useful against Garland for more than Protect and Cure. Also it would help make Dia a more useful family of spells.

So THAT'S what the 48 means. I meant to ask about that and kept forgetting. Might want to make that a bit more obvious. I know it's a lot of typing, but having a similar file for weapons and armor would REALLY help.

Are the weapons/armors from the bonus dungeons just left out right now, or have you reworked that stuff to be in the game?

EDIT: I just read the original post again, and noticed the bit about the previous question.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2018, 02:49:25 am by Rabite890 »

Kea

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Re: Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2018, 11:08:55 am »
I've thought about making Dia hit more monsters. But the undead category covers a good number of monsters already; making it more widely usable would be diluting the White Mage's role. The Dia line is stronger than other spells at their level to compensate for only hitting undead.

There are a few items from the bonus dungeons in the main game; you'll start seeing them in Melmond and Crescent Lake. Making a list of all weapons and armor is on the schedule, but I haven't decided how to format it. Maybe a spreadsheet would be best.

Rabite890

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Re: Final Fantasy 1 DoS: Remix
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2018, 02:33:48 pm »
Yeah, I can't say I blame you on Dia. I'd like it to be more useful, but I also understand the idea of making it limited in scope so it can be more damaging. One of those problems with trying to figure out balance.

Do you have a basic outline of what types of weapons tend to act in what way? Like Hammers hit fewer times but are more accurate, swords are generic, axes can hit more frequently for crits, etc. Having that kind of information in the readme could help ease people in before you actually get to the process of writing the equipment guide.

I need to get to Melmond to see how you dealt with the Iron Armor. That's always been a questionable piece of armor. It raises your defense a lot, but lowers your evade right before a lot of enemies start to do nasty things on hit. Fucking Cockatrices. Speaking of enemies with nasty abilities, Goblin Guards (or whatever the blue ones are called) are nasty in large groups. Works well. Makes prioritizing them a lot more urgent.

July 30, 2018, 03:38:01 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Suggestion: Use some of the Soul of Chaos (or whatever they call them) dungeons as sub dungeons inside the elemental dungeons. For example: Take two floors from the Earth dungeon and put them inside the Earth Cave as a side passage with a sign. That way you can use some of the dungeons and their enemies, maybe even put a treasure chest at the bottom instead of randomizing them. Those dungeons were too damn long anyway.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2018, 03:38:01 pm by Rabite890 »