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Author Topic: Castlevania RPG  (Read 4320 times)

SunGodPortal

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Castlevania RPG
« on: November 26, 2014, 03:25:53 am »
Okay. I was wanting to do this in the forums at the Castlevania Dungeon but the admin is taking forever and a day to approve my registration (perhaps he's waiting to be resurrected?). I can't wait any longer.

So here's the deal. I've just started work on a hack of Final Fantasy IV to turn it into a Castlevania themed RPG. I've decided on most of the levels/areas that will be included. There will be: the Castle Entrance, The Villa - Maze Garden, Underground Waterway, Chapel, Clock Tower, Castle Keep. I'd like at least one or two more but I'm having trouble coming up with my final selections.

While there is no shortage of level themes in the Castlevania series, not all of them will work in a game where there is absolutely no platforming. Looking cool is not enough. A big factor in my selections so far has been that when I considered those levels I immediately got ideas of things I could do with them. Or in the case with most of the CV64 themes I realized that a number of the ideas WOULD actually translate over into an non-platformer.

So, here's where you guys come in. I'm looking for suggestions for level themes. It's worth mentioning that I want all of this to take place in or under the castle, not outside.

SIDE NOTE: if you have any suggestions for monsters or bosses to include in any of the levels, that would also be appreciated. Though I'm more interested in the levels themselves there's always the chance that someone else may think of something that would never have occured to me. That would only make the game better and more diverse. With regard to this subject and the levels it is worth mentioning that this game takes place in 1450. Therefore there's no room for motorcycle-riding skeletons wielding machine-guns or a gardener with a chainsaw attached to his arm like in Castlevania 64. LMAO I'll never get over that...

EDIT: 11/27/14, took out the part of this post concerning additional use for Alucard.

Your turn.
Thanks.
SGP
« Last Edit: November 27, 2014, 02:49:04 pm by SunGodPortal »
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Grimoire LD

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Re: Castlevania RPG
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 12:21:25 pm »
That is a rather interesting idea you have set up there! My concern is the complications you may encounter. FFIV, unlike FFVI has no graphic tools other than the generic (and for me, difficult to use) YYCHR TileMolester, those sort of tools, thankfully Chillyfeez has several tutorials in regards to replacing monster graphics and portraits and changing the battle and field sprites is not too difficult of a matter if you know where all of the palettes are stored and the like.

For now I suggest you use placeholder graphics like Rydia for Sonia and the like.

Now FFIV is quite difficult to make into a single party experience for several reasons...

Statuses - In FFIV there are 4 bad statuses that takes the character out of the battle for a time. FFIV did have Gradual Petrification though which has always worked fine against actual party members which would work well for characters like Basilisk, Medusa Heads, etc.

Limited abilities - A Single Character has a lot of trouble keeping up against multiple monsters and it may soon become a bit of an annoyance.

Back Row - One of FFIV's most egregious faults is the Back Row, put a party member back there and your defense is increased by x2 and enemy's hit rate cut in half. This may not sound like a lot until you realize how defense is calculated in FFIV, Say I have 16 Defense with 2 Defense Multipliers and an enemy hurts 40 with 3 multipliers, in a normal sense it would deal 40-16 dealing 24 + 40-16 = 24 + 40 = 84 Damage but say that you're in the backrow, suddenly the enemy's hit rate is now /2 and their damage cut in half...

So, 20-16(50% Chance) + 20-16(50% Chance) + 20(50% Chance) = 0-28 Damage, this makes it always desirable to be in the backrow if alone, no matter what. A hack to get rid of the benefits of backrow are a fairly easy matter.

These are a few of the downfalls of the one character approach. I honestly think that you can have Sonia start alone for a portion and then have her meet Alucard (possibly even have several stages where the two are both in the castle and the point of view will switch in between stages before they've met one another) since all of these problems mentioned above only grow in intensity as a normal game would progress, but it can be considered manageable for several parts.

But

chillyfeez

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Re: Castlevania RPG
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2014, 12:57:19 pm »
With only one (or two) actual characters in the game, though, you may be able to do some fun stuff with all of the other character slots... Like multiple "jobs" each for Sonia and Alucard.

Sadly, my tutorial for changing character portraits really only exists on the slick forum. I have the image files, but not the text. Not that I couldn't rewrite the text, but let's give slick some time and hopefully  it'll be back before you need to do any graphics editing (it's also the only place I know of where there is a neatly laid out list of all of the character graphics offsets).
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SunGodPortal

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Re: Castlevania RPG
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2014, 03:32:48 pm »
hehe Thus far I've been keeping most of the details to myself so it's nice to finally get a conversation started.

I've thought long and hard about the one character scenario. I'm still thinking about doing it and perhaps more interested in that since the gameplay would have to be designed around it, thus actually making a big and noticeable change to it. I thought I'd just throw the Alucard idea out there to get other people's opinions. I figured I'd give Sonia "Focus" (Build-up) for help with thougher enemies and "Kick" to help with a bunch of weaker foes. I didn't want to give her magic or anything like that so I thought it would be cool to take one of the ideas from Lament of Innocence and have multiple elemental themed whips that you could find throughout the game. That WOULD actually be feasible, since in battle you can go into the item menu and swap out your weapon in a matter of seconds (which is just as long as it would take to choose a spell). Plus with only one character to manage in that fashion I don't think it would bog it down or get overly complicated the way it would if you had to deal with a bunch of characters

As for the gameplay breaking status ailments, I would just base my enemies on the ones that didn't do stuff like Hold and Stone. I'd just have ones that could do stuff like Poison, Curse, the gradual type of petrification (only things that would be manageable with a one character party).

Yeah, it'll be nice when slick gets up and running again because it sounds like it contains a lot of info that would be handy. I'm pretty sure I found all of the character tiles I want to edit but most of the graphics beyond that is still a big grey area.

Oh yeah. I went through your music hacking doc, Chilly. All makes perfect sense to me but it will certainly be time consuming. LOL In one part I recall you mentioning a "multiple voice effect" (for lack of a better term), I believe what you're refering to here is a "chorus" effect. I don't know if the game or system always you edit the parameters or if they are preset, but a chorus typically has three aspects you can configure: the rate, depth and the balance between the wet/dry signal. It's actually kind of funny that you used the organ as an example in describing the effect. I used to play keyboards in a really weird band and when we started out I only had a REALLY cheap keyboard that I borrowed from someone. I love organs but the organ it had sounded terrible so I ran it through my guitar's FX pedal and of all things, the chorus effect was what I used to make it sound better. It made a big difference with that particular voice.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 03:41:10 pm by SunGodPortal »
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chillyfeez

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Re: Castlevania RPG
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2014, 03:40:07 pm »
Cool. Clearly you know a bit more about digital music than I do. If you figure out some of those "unknowns" as you're playing with music, do let me know.
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SunGodPortal

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Re: Castlevania RPG
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2014, 03:54:16 pm »
As for the other "unknowns", there were a few more I thought I may be able to clarify (like one that I think may be "pan delay") but that was the only one I could say with confidence before actually getting my hands dirty.

I actually know A LOT more about music than I probably do anything else in the world. I guess it also helps that I've used quite a few tracking programs and have a synthesizer (an Alesis Micron) that has to be programmed in a very peculiar and user-unfriendly manner, much like FFIV. :)

I'm probably just as interested, if not more so in writing the music for this game as I am in making the game itself.
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Dashman

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Re: Castlevania RPG
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2014, 04:48:26 pm »
If you're limiting the game to inside the castle, that means you won't have access to shops (unless you have an excuse to put a shop inside the castle, which won't be difficult considering the horribly bad excuses some of these games have used for that). Making at least one town accessible can give you a lot to play with, take Order of Ecclessia as an example.

Anachronisms are something the Castlevania franchise is famous for, and weirdly enough, it's justified implicitly in the latter games by saying the castle is actually some sort of creature of chaos. Not only does that affect the structure of the castle, but also the creatures that you'd find inside it (to a certain degree), so the moment you run into a very weird monster doing or using something they shouldn't, well, that's just chaos. The real life explanation is that the developers love designing monsters on pop-culture stuff, of course. In any case, feel free to put weird stuff in the game, since there's very few "forbidden" monsters in Castlevania.

The thing about platforming not being available in this kind of mod is not necessarily a downer, as some of the later 3D games had very little platforming involved. Making the game turn-based is probably something most Castlevania fans won't enjoy that much though. If it was in any way possible, I'd suggest doing this with a game like Zelda or Secret of Mana (this one even has a whip weapon already), which are much more action oriented. However I'm guessing the reason you're using FF4 as a base is because it's the easiest one to mod because of the existing tools.

In any case, the idea is pretty interesting and I'll look forward to seeing the result :)

chillyfeez

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Re: Castlevania RPG
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2014, 06:09:51 pm »
If the idea is to make a Castlevania RPG, then I think hacking Zelda kind of defeats the purpose. SOM would be more appropriate, plus I'm sure it has a much richer music engine than FFIV. But I've never tried to hack SOM, so I don't know what or how good the utilities would be for such a venture.
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SunGodPortal

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Re: Castlevania RPG
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2014, 06:32:43 pm »
Good points Dash. I am very adamant on restricting this thing to the castle (or directly around it) though. No overworld at all. That mostly has to do with not wanting any areas in this game that are not "levels" except for the Castle Entrance, which I'd like to function pretty similar to how it does in Lament of Innocence. From there you'll initially only have access to the Villa and Maze Garden, once through there you'll have what you need to open up the next "level", etc.

I haven't made up my mind but I'll probably just have a demonic salesman like Renon from CV64 or that one guy from HoD who was like "I can't find my way out, but I might as well make some money while I'm here" or something to that effect. hehehe

That's a good point about the anachronisms and that's something I love the series for. I'm not opposed to that concept but in this context it would just be too much of a stretch (in most cases). Just for example: CV64 had those motorcycles and machine-guns, but those things were either in their infancy in 1852 or they were only a few decades off. Since this story takes place in 1450, that's a MUCH bigger deal. A motorcycle would be just as much out of place as a laptop, GPS, space shuttle or laser-gun. There will likely be some anachronisms but not nearly as obvious or drastic.

And yeah, the available tools is a big plus. Also, because I'm much more familiar with it than the other two SNES FF's I feel I can be more creative with what is available in the game. Someone else who is more familiar with FFVI would probably think of many more creative ways to twist things in that game than I would since I don't feel that I know it "inside and out" (in a manner of speaking) like FFIV. Anyway, my decision to use FFIV as my base is concrete.

As you mentioned, the turn-based part may not appeal to many fans of Castlevania but since this isn't a game that's going to market I don't have to worry about demographics. Right now I'm the only person actively working on this so the only thing that really matters is if I think it is cool.
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Grimoire LD

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Re: Castlevania RPG
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2014, 12:53:37 am »
Hmm, isn't Sonia a descendant of Trevor and Sypha though? I had thought she had some magic-using blood in her? Let me check fast...

Oh no, she was intended to be the first of the Belmonts at the time. Interesting...

Her story works Incredibly well for an RPG opening.

"Sonia Belmont was born in a remote mountain village located in Transylvania. Out of surprise, she was born with the ability to sense the presence of spiritual beings, which cannot be seen by ordinary human beings. Her grandfather, who noticed her ability, told her that her ability cannot only be used for her own purposes.
One night, when Sonia was 17 years old, she encountered a young man named Alucard who was searching his father that he never met. The two formed a bond together.

However, tragedy suddenly struck. — The mansion where Sonia was raised was attacked by grotesque monsters serving Count Dracula. She found her grandfather, mortally wounded. Her grandfather told her it was time for her power to be unleashed. Sonia took her grandfather's whip as a memento, setting out to Dracula's Castle.[1][5]"

I think setting up Alucard as a temporary party member that fights alongside Sonia in the opening acts may better help prepare the player.

Also it seems her official art work has her with a sword, so allowing her to wield several weapons could work and though she's unable to use magic, she did have Soul Weapons which consumed Hearts which could basically be MP. With the way the Summon Magics work you can have four optional "Soul Weapons" and the main ones obtained through defeating bosses (as it was done in Legends)

SunGodPortal

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Re: Castlevania RPG
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2014, 02:29:14 am »
Yeah, for two games that have next to nothing in common it's fascinating how well it could all fit together if I just use a little creativity. So far that's been the most fun, just figuring out how to make things from that game and the series translate over.

I'm still debating on Alucard though. Regardless of whether he becomes playable or not I do intend to include him as he was used in the Legends game itself. Meaning, he WILL have dialogue and he WILL be one of the bosses. Beyond that I'm still not sure. I'm becoming more and more obsessed with the idea of a one character setup because it means I have to REALLY think everything out to ensure that it works and doesn't get awkward or boring. And it would make it very different from FFII. I almost kinda wish I had never posted about whether to include Alucard as playable. LOL It was kind of a last second idea that I feel I almost regret including. haha

The Soul Weapons are another thing. I have a few different ideas on how to incorporate them or at least their themes. The ideas I'm most strongly considering are similar to what I had for the different whips. They would either:
A) be "highly specialized" weapons that you could quickly swap out during battle via the item menu
B) the powers could just come from items that you pick up along the way or
C) they could just be weapons that do certain things when you try to use them like items.
Hard to say on this one because I feel like I'm just gonna have to experiment and play-test some of these ideas to see what works best. If you havent already noticed I'm pretty focused on finding ways to make the combat seem really different than it normally is.
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FallenAngel2387

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Re: Castlevania RPG
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2014, 11:17:51 am »
Hmm... well you have your idea, but when thinking of a Castlevania RPG, it seems like it'd make sense to explore Europe.

On the other hand, if Sonia was born right there in Transylvania, I suppose it wouldn't make sense not to go directly to Dracula's Castle.

As far as playable characters go, one possibility is temporary allies(other vampire hunters, former minions that have turned on Dracula, etc.) that could join you for a mission here and there, with maybe Alucard as the one that joins for the final encounter, if you should choose to use him like that.