Final Fantasy V Advance Hack + Ancient Cave (v0.5 and v0.a available!)

Started by x0_000, August 13, 2014, 12:12:13 AM

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Download a patch of the current version (0.5) here! A changelog can be found here or at the bottom of this post. This patch is for Final Fantasy V Advance (U), and is a UPS patch. NUPS should work fine with it.

If you want to try the Ancient Cave mode, you can download the patch for that here, and you can find a readme with some basic info to get started here. The Ancient Cave mode is built on top of the above hack, so it's recommended that you familiarize yourself with the changes.

So, Final Fantasy V.  Final Fantasy V is an excellent JRPG in a line of well-received JRPGs, and a few people would certainly argue that it is one of the best. Although III introduced the Job system, allowing unprecendented complexity and personalization in a RPG at the time, Final Fantasy V was the first one to take the concept and elevate it to new heights.

Despite its diversity, Final Fantasy V rarely missteps in its gameplay and unlike III, offers player true freedom in its gameplay, by allowing any combination of jobs to succesfully work in the game. Want proof? See the Four Job Fiesta, an annual event running for four years that challenge its participants to beat Final Fantasy V using only 4 jobs, picked from a possible 20. Of course, despite the robust design, there are a few places where it falls short. That's where this hack comes in.

This hack is a slow-running project with the goal of changing Final Fantasy V Advance to make the experience more enjoyable for these kind of challenge runs, by tweaking various gameplay elements to solve a variety of problems: unnecessarily high difficulty for certain job combinations, making jobs more interesting to use, and changing several in-game algorithms to make the game more dependent on skill, and less dependent on luck. Why the GBA version? Simply because I'm more familiar with the GBA assembly architecture, which makes it much easier to create and manage the required assembly hacks.

Something important to note is when I mention the difficulty, I have no plans to make the game easier, as with the right knowledge it's already very easy to bend the game over your knees. Rather, certain edge cases that come up with unique job combinations can create a sharp bump in the game's well designed difficulty curve, a notable example being the fight against Byblos with a team of physical users and without access to fire elemental attacks (e.g. Monks and Berserkers.) In these cases my goal is just to close the difficulty gap.

Finally, what doesn't this hack do? For starters, this hack is not oriented at players looking to min-max the job system. If you play through this with the intent of mastering every job, you're not going to see much of a difference from the standard Final Fantasy V experience. Secondly, this hack is focused on modifying the job system. Most enemies and bosses will remain the same, with the only planned changes for bosses being the endgame bosses which are traditionally not very difficult, and are broken in really stupid ways. Finally, this hack will avoid nerfing anything as much as possible, and try to keep the existing gameplay elements in the jobs intact. Despite Chemists being absurdly broken, mixes will not be nerfed, and in fact some will be buffed. The goal of the hack is not to make the game more difficult, but more interesting to play. If you feel some element of the game is too overpowered I suggest doing a playthrough without relying on it!

Now, without further ado, here is the breakdown of what's been done so far, and plans for the future:

0.5 changes
  • Regen's rate is increased from (110 - Magic) to (60 - Vitality/2). The minimum rate is also decreased from 30 ticks down to 20 ticks. This effect is about the same as doubling the rate of Regen.
  • The amount of HP recovered by regen is increased to Level*(Vitality + 32)/8, up from Level*Vitality/16. For reference, a Monk will heal ~10HP per level.
  • Knights get !White 3 on their tree.
  • Monks get !Time 3 on their tree.
  • Dancers get !Black 3 on their tree.
  • Red Mages get !Dualcast instead of !Red 3 as their default once they learn !Red 3 (i.e. at level 3.) Note: This is applied when the battle starts.
  • Red Mages get Time 4 in their skill tree.
  • Red Mages Str is buffed to 38, up from 32.
  • Red Mages Mag is buffed to 43, up from 32.
  • Rangers get !Rapidfire instead of !Aim once they're mastered. Note: Like with the Red Mage, this is applied when the battle starts.
  • Geomancers get some new equipment selection! They can now wield Hammers, Axes and Flails (but not Staves.) Armour-wise, they can wear Heavy Armour (but not Shields.)
  • Thieves get innate permanent Haste (the same effect as equipping Hermes Sandals.) Artful Dodger also gives this effect.
  • The Silver Harp now casts !Animals instead of a gravity effect.
  • The Cursed Ring now gives +15 to all stats, protect, shell and haste in addition to its other effects. Obtain great power... for a limited time only!
  • !Focus may execute !Rapidfire 25% of the time. You still lose a turn charging up, though.
Previous versions

0.4 changes
  • The Osafune casts Quick when used as an item, and breaks if you do this. (The Osafune is a Katana available at Surgate Castle in World 2.)
  • The Magus Rod boosts the Water element.
  • Berserkers (and berserked characters) are capable of using certain !Commands in battle if they have them equipped. The valid !Commands they can use are:
    • !Focus
    • !Mug
    • !Jump
    • !Lance
    • !Aim
    • !Rapidfire
    • !Dance
    • !Mineuchi
    Now they can use slightly more abilities!
  • Carbuncle is guaranteed to drop a Reflect Ring.
  • Monks now counter 90% of the time, up from 50%.
  • Monks have a x1.5 damage multiplier at full health (This multiplier should be calculated before defense is subtracted.)
  • Monks have innate Regen. (Both this and the previous monk changes were actually in 0.3 but not documented. Whoops!)
  • Fixed a bug I accidentally introduced with Mind Blast...
0.3 changes
  • !Dance is affected differently by Dancer specific equipment:
    • The Lamia's Tiara replaces Mystery Waltz with Sword Dance.
    • The Rainbow Dress replaces Jitterbug with Sword Dance.
    • The Red Slippers replaces Tempting Tango with Sword Dance.
    That's right, Dancers can now guarantee Sword Dance by equipping a full wardrobe!
  • HP +10% is now HP +500, i.e. a straight +500 increase to your current HP. Similarly, MP +10% is now MP +100. Helpful for low level runs!
  • Whips now deal critical damage (2x base damage, enemy defense reduced to 0) when then enemy is asleep, paralyzed, slowed or stopped.
  • Stray Cats cast Hastega on !Release.
  • Black Goblins cast Megaflare on !Release. Beware their power!!!
0.2 changes

  • New job added: Hero; it replaces Gladiator and appears as a Wind crystal job. Heroes are a physical-oriented job, specializing in a wide variety of weapons. They supplement their strength with the ability to self-buff, either through their main skill !Power Up, or through the abilities they get. They also get two minor magical abilities.
  • Hero ability details:

    !Power Up: Randomly casts one of Protect, Shell and Haste. Avoids casting a buff that already exists when possible.
    Superarmor: Start every battle with Protect and Shell, but this can be dispelled.
    Superspeed: Start every battle with Haste and two layers of blink, but this can be dispelled.
    !HeatVision: Casts Atomic Ray on the enemy party.
    Superstrength: Adds 20 levels, the bonus is treated the same as the bonus from Hero's Rime.
    !Ice Breath: Casts Ice Storm on the enemy party.
  • Oracle and Cannonneer have been edited due to Hero taking some skill slots from them. You can still use them in game, but they have no ability trees.
  • Brave Blade's attack rating is updated from 150 - #escapes to #kills/4, capped at 200. As a warning, kills are not recorded if you escape.
  • The Flame Rod, Thunder Rod and Frost rod give stat boosts when equipped. +2 Magic for Flame, +2 Agility for Thunder and +1 Magic and Agility for Frost.
  • Byblos's MP was reduced from 1000 to 200. Running him out of MP is a viable strategy for teams that have difficulty with his Drain phase.
0.1 changes

  • General stat changes to several jobs, mainly for flavor purposes. For the most part these changes don't impact gameplay negatively in a noticeable way, but you'll notice a few positive changes. The major changes include:

    • White Mages have their vitality buffed 37 to suit their defensive nature. White Magic will pass this stat along with magic, scaled to the level you've learned.
    • Time Mages have their agility buffed to 33, making them the fastest mage job. Like White Mages, their Time Magic skill will pass this stat.
    • Black Mages and Summoners have their agility dropped to 17 and 15 respectively, making them the two slowest jobs. This nerf doesn't affect the gameplay much though, at best you'll notice that enemies are occasionally getting an extra turn every dozen of turns or so.
    • Geomancers have the highest magic score, at 68 magic, along with Gaia passing this stat.
    • Dragoons and Dancers have increased magic scores, to 24 and 29 respectively, to highlight their hybrid skill selection. Dancers also have 34 agility, making them one of the speedier jobs. Equip Ribbons will now pass the Dancer's Agility and Magic score, and Lance passes the Dragoon's Magic score.
    • Chemists have their stats dropped by a nontrivial amount, from 26 to 24 Strength, 27 to 17 Agility, and 30 to 17 Vitality. This is the only nerf I have planned, and let's be honest. It's not really a very powerful nerf. :P
  • Gaia is no longer dependent on the user's level. Instead, it just picks one of the four available spells for the terrain equally at random, and in a nod to Final Fantasy III, there is a 2% chance that Shadowflare (a single target Flare) will be cast instead.
  • Dragoons now innately have the Doublehanded skill (which doubles damage with certain weapons if no secondary item is wielded), and all the spears can be Doublehanded.
  • Berserkers, due to the fact that they only attack, now have their other ability slots freed up like Mimes. You can equip up to 3 additional abilities on them (although most of them won't be useful! :P)
  • Red Mages can now learn two extra skills: Black4 and White4, giving them access to a few more useful tools. Their skill progression is now Red1 > Red2 > Red3 > Black4 > White4 > Dualcast.
  • Fists can be Spellbladed. Yes, now you can have your monks literally punch with fists of fire!
  • Potions have been increased to heal 100 HP, Hi-Potions heal 800 HP, and Ethers heal 100 MP.
  • The Dream Harp now has the effect of Whisperwind (straight damage which heals the party) instead of a weak Gravity attack that puts enemies to sleep.
  • The Gaia Bell uses the Bell damage formula instead of the Axe damage formula (which is more sensible for Geomancers, really) and has a 33% chance of casting Quake (up from 25%.)

Potential future changes (dependent on me doing the research to make them possible)

  • Change rare stealing so that both common and rare steals can be stolen from the same enemy, as well as making rare stealing success skill-oriented instead of RNG-oriented.
  • Change various commands to be recognized as magic attacks instead of physical attacks (e.g. Gaia)
  • Change various Release effects to add variety, as well as giving Beastmasters some more powerful options at various stages of the game.
  • Change Animals to not be level dependent, like Gaia.
  • Improve Monks so they can keep up in World 2 and World 3.
  • Increase the weapon selection for various weapon types, especially Whips, Bells and Harps.
  • Create more abilities, with a focus on passives.
  • Make Shell accessible for non-White/Blue Mage jobs.
  • Buffing Dark Matter mixes.
  • Creating at least one new job ;) (which will replace the GBA bonus jobs)
  • Another new Job is in the works... the capricious Jester!


Looks good, FFV is probably my favourite of the 1-6 games.

Will this be compatible with the sound restoration patch ?

Also it looks like it will do similar things as yours so that varies but what about ?

Edit in response to below, it appears muggins here failed to apply basic reading/logic. Must stop doing first thing in the morning responses as well it seems.


I can answer that first question. At this point it won't be, because the game version is different. The sound restoration is for the (E) rom, this patch will be for the (U) rom. I personally don't care if it is or not, I'm not using the sound restoration. The sound quality is terrible and doesn't match the SNES quality, and it literally hurts my ears at times.

Back to the topic at hand, I do agree that it does sound a lot like the Custom Classes patch. I think that patch already does an awesome job at making the game better, but if you can make it even better, then go for it.
Speedrunner and Let's Player.


Just for info, I'll be releasing a new Sound restoration patch soon, and it'll beat the current version by far. All music/sound effects will be converted directly from the SNES version so no errors/mistakes possible. It will also remove most in game lagging (like the current version does) but with better overall sound quality. (not as good as SNES though, sorry I'm no mage).

I hope to make it compatible with not only (E) but also (U) and (J) versions. But I can't promise that it'll work yet as I haven't tried.

Sorry for highhacking this thread and make publicity for my work but I felt like this was relevant.

As for this hack, it sounds strange that the whole point is to make a "challenge" easier, which goes against the very notion of a "challenge". Although I see why, depending on what the 4 jobs are, this challenge can be terrible, especially if the 4 jobs are hardwired to 4 different characters once you get them (I didn't understand if that was the case or not).

I think someone could confirm this, but I felt like the GBA version was much easier than the original SNES version. I have no idea why exactly though.


I agree with Bregalad on the challenge part. Personally I think the difficulty doesn't need a change. A challenge is, by definition, something difficult. It's all up to the player how difficult they make it for themselves. It's ludicrous to think that a game like this would have a situations where for example a pure physical team wouldn't be at a significant disadvantage.

This same thread of logic can be applied to the original Final Fantasy on NES, having a party of nothing but Fighters is going to be quite challenging, plain and simple. This "Four Job Fiesta" itself reminds me a lot of the game, you have your four characters that you pick their jobs and you're locked into them for the rest of the game (except for the upgrades of course, but those don't really "change" anything). The challenge comes in picking the jobs that will last you through the game, and changing the game to reflect those changes doesn't really make sense to me.

Of course, that's not the only thing the hack does, but that's what it's targeted to, so to each their own. I most likely wouldn't play this patch, I'm more of a "play through with the intent of mastering every job" kinda guy, and according to your article this patch doesn't change much for those people.
Speedrunner and Let's Player.


It's good to hear some feedback, even if it's "I'm not interested in playing this hack" at this stage. I'll admit that what I have to show so far might not interest most people, but hopefully I'll be able to show off some cooler things in the future! :D

Regarding Sound Restoration: If Bregalad ever makes a (U) version of the patch, I can definitely accommodate this as an add-on to his work, but it boils down to his progress :p

Regarding the Custom Classes mod: That hack accomplishes something different from what I have in mind, and a few of what it does doesn't fit into my goals for this hack. The biggest changes it makes are changing all the skill trees (for example, Ranger doesn't get X-Fight/Rapidfire in that hack) as well as changing when you get each job. One of the goals of my hack is to make it a supplement to the Four Job Fiesta, so skill trees need to at least give out the same abilities, and the player needs to get each job at the same point in the hack.

Why play my hack when you can play the Custom Classes mod? Besides the fact that I'm planning to add new jobs (one planned so far), one of the great things about Final Fantasy V, and possibly underappreciated, is that the job system is very deep. There are a lot of fun abilities to mess around with; for example, the Beastmaster's Catch ability lets them capture a monster, which then uses a one time attack when it's released. Some facts about Catch:

  • Goblins cast Flare when released.
  • Sand Bears, found in World 1, deal a 2000 damage physical attack when released, the most powerful option available at that point in the game.
  • Crystelles cast Mighty Guard.
  • Crystelles only have 3 HP, making catching them very difficult. (Catch requires the monster has either 1/8 HP or 1/2 HP depending on equipment.)
Stuff like this is what makes a Beastmaster run of the game possible (and fun!), adding an impressive layer of replayability to the game. Unfortunately, a game where you master all the jobs skims over this depth. Not many players play around with the Beastmaster's Catch ability, or the Geomancer's Gaia ability, because those pale in comparison to the overpowered stuff like Rapidfire-Spellblade, or Dualcast magic, or Zeninage. Players don't use Harps because Harps are useless in the vanilla game (due to their coding, Harps don't even deal damage to most bosses.) My goal is to take these things and bring them up to the point where they're interesting to play with; The Dream Harp now gives Bards a party heal option now, for example.

Regarding difficulty: I'm not going to make the game easier in general. The difficulty curve in my opinion is really well designed, to the point that even challenge runs are possible. However, some specific situations are unnecessarily difficult due to oversights in the design and rely less on skill to overcome and more on tedium/grinding. The best example as I've mentioned before is the Byblos boss fight.

Taking on Byblos without access to fire attacks is difficult for several reasons:

  • Byblos has a chance of countering any physical attack with Protect, which causes all future physical attacks to deal half damage, and there is no way to remove this from him at this point in the game.
  • Byblos has a chance of inflicting Sonic Wave throughout the battle, which halves their level; one of the consequences of this is reduced damage. This effect can be stacked repeatedly to the point that a character has the damage output of a level 1 character. It's also impossible to negate this effect, so once it sticks it's permanent.
  • When Byblos reaches under 800 HP, he has a chance of casting Drain as a counter to any attack, which drains ~300 HP from the target. So it's possible to get stuck in a prolonged battle if you can't outrace his damage at this point.
Now, a physical has two options to beat Byblos with these in mind. The first one is to be lucky, and hope that he doesn't cast Protect early on, as well as dodging his Sonic Waves and outrace his damage. This strategy isn't really interesting because of how much it depends on the RNG. The second strategy is to wait until Byblos runs out of MP so that he can't cast spells anymore. The problem with this strategy is that Byblos has a whopping 1000 MP, an unusually large amount for this stage of the game, and his most expensive spell is Drain, which only costs 13 MP. So outlasting his MP reserves essentially boils down to stocking a lot of healing.

The fix I have in mind to solve this problem is simple: Drop his starting MP to 200 from 1000. This doesn't change any of the strategies that parties have to use to take him on, but it makes one specific strategy, which some parties must rely on less tedious to execute. This is the kind of stuff I have planned for difficulty changes.


One of the things I really liked about the Custom Classes patch was how when you mastered a class, its innate abilities carried over to every class, not just Freelancer. I was wondering if you were planning on doing that, because that would really pique my interest.
Speedrunner and Let's Player.


Sorry, I don't have any plans for that anytime soon.

On the update side, I just spend the better part of yesterday decoupling stat bonuses from weapons from elemental boosts. If you're not aware of what that means, in the original FFV game, the same byte is used to store what stat bonuses equipment gives and what elemental boosts it gives to spells. One problem with this is that no equipment gives a water elemental boost, and equipment can't have both an element boost and a stat bonus. Now with these two things decoupled I can have water elemental boosting gear, as well as equipment with both features! One of the plans I have for this is to add a staff that boosts water spells, and procs Aqua Rake when used as a weapon.

August 18, 2014, 01:23:52 AM - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)

Doublepost for an update on the new job:

The new job is going to replace Gladiator (which is the best fit for what it's going to be), and the base ability is !Power Up: It randomly casts one of Protect, Shell or Haste on the user. As you can see from the screenshot the coding is working!  ;)


More job updates: I made and inserted the graphics for all 5 characters, and I changed the equipment options for the job. I also made the job available from the wind crystal, although the game doesn't tell the player about it yet.

If you haven't figured out the theme, the job is called Hero :P I still need to change the name in-game, as well as make their skill tree and then I'll be done! :thumbsup: The plan for the skill tree is to make every ability a superpower reference...


You know, I am more interrested in the Spellblade enchanted monk fists.
Flare Fists + Rapid Fire are awesome! :D


I have a question for the hack creator. It somewhat pertains to the Custom Classes mod (I keep going to back to that, I apologize), but it's something I'm wondering. How difficult would it be to open up the fourth command slot (items) to be customizable for all classes, and would you consider doing that? I think making the items slot interchangeable would add a little more customization while still having the limits of the original game. I know a bit about romhacking so I could probably do it myself if I knew how.
Speedrunner and Let's Player.


It would take a bit of work to do that. The game has 3 options for ability slots which match up with the Freelancer/Mime/Everything else options: Either slot 3 is free, slot 2 and 3 are both free, or slot 2-4 are all free. Getting slot 3 and 4 free would take some more work. However, it is straightforward to change what skills are assigned to each slot so a lazy workaround would be using the freelancer's setup and changing !item to whatever you want it to be. In either case, I'm not planning on doing that.


Okay, thanks. I was wondering about that. I've actually gone back and started playing the original game and I think I like the limitations of the original better. It makes me really think and strategize, where with Custom Classes I can have one-two super-mages and be set. That's why I was initially wondering about making innate abilities carry over to all jobs, that's my only issue with the original. Is that very difficult to do?
Speedrunner and Let's Player.


I believe the game does a check for the current job for that, so the main difficulty would just be to locate that check and change it to always true if you want every job to get innates, or change what jobs it checks against for a single job to get innates.

August 28, 2014, 05:20:22 PM - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)

A little update: Got all the skills coded in for the skill tree! The Hero gets:

20 AP - !Power Up
50 AP - Super Armor
80 AP - Super Speed
100 AP - !Heat Vision
250 AP - Super Strength
400 AP - !Ice Breath

I'll spoiler the exact effects if you want to discover them yourself ;)

Super Armor: Start every battle with Protect and Shell. These can be dispelled.
Super Speed: Start every battle with Haste and two layers of Blink. These can be dispelled.
!Heat Vision: Casts Atomic Ray.
Super Strength: Start every battle with +20 added to the base level.
!Ice Breath: Casts Ice Storm.


Man, that looks like a crazy powerful skillset.

(Not that I'd complain :P )

Super Strength in particular looks like it would be marvelous for dealing with enemies that reduce your level.



Finally finished all the boring changes needed to complete the Hero job! (that is, text data ::)) Uploaded a new patch with the changes, you can now try this new job out yourselves! There are also a few minor changes, they are updated in the first post.

Edit: Tiny fix for superstrength to make it boost level instead of strength. Whoops!


Bregalad just released the new version of his sound restoration, and it supports the U version, so how difficult would it be to have your patch support it?
Speedrunner and Let's Player.


I don't think it'll be too hard, I just need to find new free space to move stuff. I assume messing with sound didn't mess with non-sound data  :P It looks like there's some issues though so I'll wait until everything gets ironed out.


With the 2015 Four Job Fiesta coming around, I've started doing work on the hack again! There's a new patch out (click click!) with new changes. You can read about all the additions here (click click!). I'm also in the middle of doing some surprising changes with Berserkers!!!

Grimoire LD

Looks like some interesting changes, anything related to Berserkers is very welcome. It seems you've focused on the character's abilities primarily, are enemies unaffected by this mod?