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Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths

Started by PowerPanda, June 01, 2021, 10:05:49 PM

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Ligeia

#100
Quote from: PowerPanda on October 07, 2022, 03:19:56 PMI've thought about it many times. It's the one thing people focus on the most in their reviews, and it tends to overshadow positive things said about the hack. The answer is "no". There were 3 reasons to make Tools breakable:

1. In a lot of playthroughs of vanilla I've seen, people rearrange Edgar's command list so Tools is at the top, because why bother with Fight when you can use a Tool every turn? I wanted people to explore more options with Edgar, as he's got some surprises up his sleeve. For example, he can equip a wide range of weapons that ignore rows, single out flying enemies and do massive damage, etc. He also has a great stat balance, being almost a Red Mage build... good in all situations.

2. Shadow's skeans cost the same as a Noiseblaster in vanilla, and are a 1-time use item. They are similar in strength to Tools, but you get to use one of them once, and the other infinite times. From a design standpoint, that makes Tools ludicrously out of balance with their closest counterpart. Shadow gets additional use out of Throw by being able to chuck old inventory, so rather than making Tools consumable, I gave them a slight chance of breaking. They're still overpowered compared to Shadow's Throw, but they're less overpowered now.

3. There is a really awkward piece of code in vanilla that prevents the player from buying more than 1 of each tool. And yet, Tools are common drops/steals from enemies. Something in that is really off. It makes me think that Tools NOT being consumable was a last-minute addition to the game. Just prior to release, and they threw in a quick line of code to the shops to prevent you from buying more than 1. To me, that explains why there are so many balance issues with Tools.

Taking all of those together, I think that the BEST version of FF6 is one in which Tools break. I knew it might not be a popular choice, but it was the best for the gameplay itself. I offset tools breaking by doing a few things:
1. Halved the cost of all tools. With Edgar in the lead of your party, you can get a Tool for as cheaply as 125 GP. (That's less than half the cost of a Hi-Potion at a normal shop.)
2. Allowed you to stock up on Tools by removing the purchasing restriction.
3. Gave you a free set of your first tools (talk to Mid when you first get to Figaro).
4. Made all Tools unbreakable until after the Doma Imperial Camp.
5. Any time you are away from Figaro for a long time (Ghost Train, Vector, Esper Cave), I increased the number of enemies who have Tools as steals/drops, and in the case of the Ghost Train, added them to shops.
6. Allowed you to recruit Mid to the Falcon for easy re-stocking in WoR.
7. Finally, I made the 2 tools you get from chests (Debilitator and Air Anchor) unbreakable.

If you watch the videos I have on Youtube, or you played version 1.0, I understand feeling like Tools break too often. I had a tough time getting the calculation right. In 1.0, it was still off, and tools were breaking 4x more often than they should have. (I've considered taking down the Youtube videos and starting over for that purpose alone). However, right before writing this comment, I put Edgar and Gogo into a party and TRIED to break a Tool. It took 41 tries.

Thank you for the reply. I understand your points but still disagree with them, for several reasons :

- Tools greatly streamline random battles, which is pretty appreciated when I just want to make progress in the game or grind without taking too much time in them ;
- A lot a grinding is required to max out every esper and Edgar's tools would also have been appreciated to speed up this process ;
- What you say about unbreakable weapons being a last-minute thing is pure speculation. It might be true, but we don't know for sure. Since the original intent of the hack, as far as I understand, was to add content while staying truthful to the original game, I feel this change was uncalled for, is too drastic of a choice and strays too far from the original game.
- Breakable weapons is generally a poor design choice. Very few games are able to pull that off successfully, like the Fire Emblem series. It usually ruins games, like Zelda Breath of the Wild, because it adds nothing but unnecessary tedium.
- Making weapons breakable is already one thing, making them break randomly is another thing entirely and adds insult to injury. This hurts Edgar usefullness tremendously since you can't rely on his weapons and can't plan or control anything. I tried hoarding lots of weapons to use them consistently on random battles, I was baffled at how quickly my weapon stock diminished, so I ended up keeping Edgar on the bench to use more consistent characters. I played v1.3 btw.

Maybe a good compromise would be to make an optional patch that keep Edgar's weapons non-breakable ? Just sayin'.

Please keep in mind that while I'm here focusing on the main negative aspect of the hack, I love it very much and had a great time playing it.

Quote from: Vanya on October 08, 2022, 04:16:49 AMOr if you were to characterize it as ammo being expended instead of the whole device breaking it might change the way players perceive it. It's not like Final Fantasy is a stranger to buying arrows for your bow.

Except nobody ever uses bows on FF games for that reason, do they ? I for one sure never bother. This would just be a cosmetic edit that wouldn't change the fact that Edgar is rendered useless for not being reliable enough. And ammo is not supposed to be random, it doesn't make sense.

PowerPanda

Quote from: Ligeia on October 08, 2022, 07:19:13 AMThank you for the reply. I understand your points but still disagree with them, for several reasons:
And thank YOU for the good discussion on this. Let's dive into it a bit more.

Quote- What you say about unbreakable weapons being a last-minute thing is pure speculation. It might be true, but we don't know for sure. Since the original intent of the hack, as far as I understand, was to add content while staying truthful to the original game, I feel this change was uncalled for, is too drastic of a choice and strays too far from the original game.
Well, I mean, EVERYTHING in this game was last-minute, so it's not TOO speculative. :laugh: (Seriously, read any developer interviews, and you'll be shocked at how close this game came to being a complete disaster.) So much of what I did in Divergent Paths is speculation; looking at what might have been intended and taking it from there.

When you really start to dig into this game, Tools really stick out. If they were not meant to be consumable on some level, then why have a shop for them at all? Why not make them rare items to be found in chests? For that matter, why make them an item and not a key item? Why does Edgar need to collect Tools, but Cyan doesn't need to collect Bushido scrolls? Why is the Auto-crossbow, a non-missable Tool that you automatically get when Edgar joins, available for purchase in shops, and stealable from monsters in the final dungeon of the game? What possible purpose is there for that? So yes, it's speculation, but it's not WILD speculation. There are some game design choices here that just don't add up, and point back to an original intent that was lost, or changed late enough in development that they couldn't go back and clean up the rest of the game.

Quote- Breakable weapons is generally a poor design choice. Very few games are able to pull that off successfully, like the Fire Emblem series. It usually ruins games, like Zelda Breath of the Wild, because it adds nothing but unnecessary tedium.
Funny enough, I actually put in a mod for Breath of the Wild to make weapons unbreakable, and the game really lost something. A few hours into my 2nd playthrough, I switched out the unbreakable mod for one that made weapons 5x more durable. I wanted to be able to get through a whole area of the game with one weapon, but not be able to hold onto it indefinitely. That hit the sweet spot. The problem wasn't that weapons broke, it's that they broke too frequently.

Quote- Making weapons breakable is already one thing, making them break randomly is another thing entirely and adds insult to injury. This hurts Edgar usefullness tremendously since you can't rely on his weapons and can't plan or control anything. I tried hoarding lots of weapons to use them consistently on random battles, I was baffled at how quickly my weapon stock diminished, so I ended up keeping Edgar on the bench to use more consistent characters. I played v1.3 btw.

Maybe a good compromise would be to make an optional patch that keep Edgar's weapons non-breakable ? Just sayin'.

I will not release optional patches for Divergent Paths, unless it's something that doesn't affect gameplay (ie - The MSU-1 patch will be optional). Tool durability just isn't a realistic possibility with this old SNES game, as that requires 8 ram bytes that are backed up to SRAM. If it is, it will need someone far better at ASM than me.

There are 2 possibilities I COULD see adding to 2.0, but both of them would make save files incompatible between versions 1.x and 2.0, meaning anyone who played would have to start a new save file from the beginning. I've been hoping to avoid that.

1. Create a Relic, something like "Safety Goggles" or "Hard Hat", that drops the likelihood of Tools breaking threefold (so a 1 in 96 chance). This would only be possible if I switched the Moogle Charm and Moogle Lure into a menu option, which is code that Madsiur wrote AFTER Divergent Paths was released, based mainly on what I had done with those relics. That would also give me space to add the Genji Glove relic back in, which in DP would be a relic that simply acts like another piece of armor.

2. Turn Tools into items that you find in chests or through events, with any World of Balance missables available for purchase in a shop in the World of Ruin. Divergent Paths already maxes out treasures, so doing this would mean replacing other items found in chests.

Vanya

#102
Quote from: Ligeia on October 08, 2022, 07:19:13 AMExcept nobody ever uses bows on FF games for that reason, do they ?

I wasn't aware there was fandom-wide consensus on the use of bows with tracked arrow resources.
And I don't see why that would be relevant.


Quote from: Ligeia on October 08, 2022, 07:19:13 AMI for one sure never bother.

I do.
I like leveraging the elemental damage and status effects they usually come with while taking advantage of being able to attack from the back row without penalty.


Quote from: Ligeia on October 08, 2022, 07:19:13 AMThis would just be a cosmetic edit that wouldn't change the fact that Edgar is rendered useless for not being reliable enough. And ammo is not supposed to be random, it doesn't make sense.

It would most certainly come with some changes to the way the items are consumed.
Specifically I'd suggest different set number of uses before one "breaks".
It would allow for finer balancing of each individual tool.
I don't know if it would really be viable to program, but it's just an idea.

And even as is, I haven't seen where breakable tools have heavily impacted the way I use Edgar, let alone rendered him useless.

That being said, having optional patches to at least adjust how often tools break may be a good idea.

ZeroXDash

Is there a vanilla mod? One where you keep all the script changes and new characters but omit all of the fiddling with espers and existing move sets? This would be the best compromise.

PowerPanda

Quote from: ZeroXDash on October 10, 2022, 08:21:28 PMIs there a vanilla mod? One where you keep all the script changes and new characters but omit all of the fiddling with espers and existing move sets? This would be the best compromise.

No. This is a complete hack, meaning that the changes to the gameplay affect the script, and vice versa. You can't separate out the 15th & 16th character from the changes to the Espers.

For example, let's talk about Desperation Attacks. 2 more characters gives you 3 options for handling Desperation Attacks: (1) Don't give the new characters a DA, (2) Change the way DAs are handled, or (3) allow the game to crash when they hit a DA. Obviously, I wasn't going to do #3. At the same time, I was using B-Run's SRAM Rewrite to allow 2 more characters learn Magic, and that rewrite allows you to add 10 more spells, if you are willing to overwrite Desperation Attacks. So I chose option 2. There are 2 Desperation Attacks shared by all characters (Limit and LimitBreak), and the remaining skill slots for DAs were used to create 10 new spells (including 2 of the 3 spells from the GBA). 10 new spells means you need to add them to Espers, and you need to balance them out. Okay, well it doesn't make sense to put Flood on any existing Esper, and I also wanted to add Leviathan, so adding Leviathan needed to happen. But in order to add Leviathan I need to overwrite Raiden, and the scene where you would have normally gained Raiden is also where one of the major story changes happens, and now we've come full circle back to script changes. If it all seems like a tangled spiderweb, it is. Separating out the story changes from the gameplay changes would cause the whole web to unravel.

NinjaMarion

I reached the point where you gain control of the airship after getting Terra back, but anytime I try to fly with the B button, it lands unless I'm above tiles you can't land on, in which case it flies forward like it's supposed to. For some reason, the B button is acting as both accelerate and land. I'm forced to use Y to strafe around. Anyone hae this happen or know a fix?

KingMike

It's been so long since I've played FF6, but isn't that how it normally functions? Or was A the normal landing button?
"My watch says 30 chickens" Google, 2018

PowerPanda

Quote from: NinjaMarion on October 12, 2022, 12:08:06 AMI reached the point where you gain control of the airship after getting Terra back, but anytime I try to fly with the B button, it lands unless I'm above tiles you can't land on, in which case it flies forward like it's supposed to. For some reason, the B button is acting as both accelerate and land. I'm forced to use Y to strafe around. Anyone hae this happen or know a fix?
Quote from: KingMike on October 12, 2022, 09:27:49 AMIt's been so long since I've played FF6, but isn't that how it normally functions? Or was A the normal landing button?

It's A to move, B to land.

NinjaMarion

#108
Quote from: PowerPanda on October 12, 2022, 11:48:07 AMIt's A to move, B to land.
Then I got them backwards. I play on a ps4 controller. Either way, both A and B land, except the one that's supposed to move only moves if I'm somewhere I can't land. I've since checked and chocobos are affected as well. In addition, thinking back, it didn't do this at the beginning of the game when you have to escape Figaro on chocobo with Edgar. It didn't happen until later when I got the Blackjack.

I also tried patching both headered and unheadered versions and even trying both headered and unheadered 1.1. The ones that would load right still had this landing issue.

Edit: I guess it was a Retroarch issue. It forgot how to use any controls at all, so I ended up having to switch to snes9x and it's working now. Dunno what caused the issue over in Retroarch.