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Author Topic: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths  (Read 7722 times)

PowerPanda

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Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« on: June 01, 2021, 10:05:49 pm »
PROJECT PAGE: http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/5997/

After 4 years of development, detailed on FF6hacking.com, I am nearing completion and release of Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths. Beta versions of this patch have been played by several members of the community, and a Let's Play was even streamed of the beta version. I am posting here to let people know of the imminent release, and to give a forum for asking and and answering questions about the project.

First off, what is Divergent Paths, in bullet point format?
  • A storyline patch that re-arranges some of the storyline events in Vanilla for better pacing and emotional punch.
  • Adds 2 more playable characters, bringing the roster from 14 to 16.
  • One of the added characters, Leo, gets a full story arc that elevates him to a main character status. He also has his own musical theme.
  • All named side characters receive closure to their story arcs.
  • Adds 1 new Esper, 10 new spells, and restores some dummied Esper content.
  • Tweaks' each characters abilities to make the gameplay smoother than ever before.
  • Incorporates almost every bugfix coded thus far.

What is it not?
  • A retranslation. Woolsey's script is used, with edits only where storyline changes occurred.
  • A graphics patch. Though several graphics have been touched up, and new animation frames have been added to NPCs, you will not notice unless you are REALLY looking for them.
  • A rebalancing or difficulty patch. Though there are some tweaks to abilities (like Cyan's Bushido gauge not taking forever to fill), the enemy patterns, stats, etc. remain mostly unchanged. The only changes are for boss battles that have been shifted to occur at other points of the game.
  • General Leo Edition. Though I owe a debt of gratitude to that earlier hack, I have re-written the events from the ground up

Here are a few screenshots from the game: https://imgur.com/gallery/N8F7o61
And here is a video where I explain in further detail what to expect from this hack. It is part of a playlist of my developer's commentary through the World of Balance: https://youtu.be/ok7fvgVEkzw

Below is the text of the intro video:
Another day, another Final Fantasy VI hack. Why should Divergent Paths be any different than the others?

Divergent Paths is, at its heart, a re-arrangement of the story of Final Fantasy VI. Many people forget what games were like in the 90s. When Squaresoft released FFVI, they had no idea that it would become one of the most beloved games of all time. They had just one year to make the game and get it out the door, and there is evidence in the code that the production schedule got the better of them. Adding the final layer of polish to the story... re-arranging content to flow better and enhance character development... such things were not possible.

The inspiration for Divergent Paths comes from another famous 90s JRPG, Lunar: The Silver Star. When the game was ported from Sega CD to Sega Saturn, the original development team was given a chance to not just port it, but revise it. They took the opportunity to fix what they thought the two most glaring parts of the story were: Luna's lack of presence, and Ghaleon not being sympathetic. So, when they came to the scene where Luna bids farewell to Alex and Ramus at the dock, they rewrote the scene to have her jump aboard the boat at the last moment. From that one small change, much of the rest of the plot fell into place.

What changes would be made to Final Fantasy VI if Squaresoft had been given the same chance? Divergent Paths is the answer to that question. It begins with a simple change. Edgar, reunited with his brother after years apart, sees Sabin knocked off the raft, floating down the river. He doesn't wave goodbye... he does what any sane brother would do: jumps in after him! Thus begins a series of small changes to the familiar events of FFVI that make each beat of the story more in service of its beloved characters. The small changes cascade upon each other, peaking with a very different series of events in Thamasa. Everyone's favorite general survives the attack, and is given a chance at redemption. Even in the World of Ruin, the echoes of the events are still felt, leading to several changes that close off many characters' arcs in a more satisfying way.

Leo surviving in Thamasa will immediately draw comparisons to the famous "General Leo Edition". Divergent Paths owes a debt of gratitude to this earlier mod. FedoraJoe showed that the best way to get Leo on your team was not to revive him, but to change events to keep him alive. However, Divergent Paths has several key differences. First, no characters are demoted to guest status. Leo is added as a fully-playable 15th character, and Shadow remains playable. There's even a 16th character hidden somewhere in the World of Ruin, allowing for a complete roster.

Second, Leo has a fully fleshed-out character arc that is interwoven with other characters. By repurposing existing content that was not tied to any specific character (like the Wounded Soldier sidequest), and stitching it together with a handful of brand new key scenes, Leo becomes as central to the plot as any other main character.

While story is the main purpose of Divergent Paths, it is not the only change. In addition to the added playable characters, it includes almost every bugfix released, and utilizes dozens of other small improvements made by the community to make the game play smoother than ever before. This includes 1 new Esper, 10 new spells, and a lower random encounter rate to smooth out the pacing and keep the players on their toes without altering the base difficulty of the game. Divergent Paths even includes a new song, composed by William Kage, to add to the soundtrack. Each change has been tested wholistically with all of the others to ensure that it never stops feeling like the Final Fantasy VI that you know and love.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2021, 10:15:35 pm by PowerPanda »

kaine23

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2021, 11:24:46 pm »
when this goes live i'd be willing to do a hack showcase stream showing off the redesign of the 3 "divergent paths."

ZE

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2021, 09:07:41 am »
i wish square'd do something like this.....

remake the game, with all the same content, but add in a few changes based off ingame choices.  Edgar could either be confident in his brother's survival, or have genuine worry to the point where he makes an attempt to rescue him based off ingame choices or seeing an otherwise hidden scene. 

not just that, but also things like actually being able to save locke's girl, or leo as in this, a huge stretch would be being able to save Owain as it is a catalyst for the inclusion of Cyan, but who knows.

i'd buy that for a dollar

PowerPanda

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2021, 09:56:46 am »
when this goes live i'd be willing to do a hack showcase stream showing off the redesign of the 3 "divergent paths."

I'd love for you to do that. You may also want to stream the events from the Cave to the Sealed Gate to the end of the Thamasa events, as that is where the bulk of the other storyline changes from the World of Balance take place. There are plenty of chagnes in the World of Ruin as well, but as the WoR tends to be piecemeal due to the game structure, it's harder to pinpoint a section that should be streamed.

kaine23

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2021, 01:56:13 pm »
Once this goes live i can start prepping for it. Normally I'd just play it on my own till i get to those spots, or get save file(s) at those points from one the devs and stream from there, then do my review on my blog (been doing that for ff4 ultima).

PowerPanda

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2021, 04:56:41 pm »
In my playthrough, I have made it to the World of Ruin, where I am re-recruiting all of the characters. This part of the game has been tested recently and extensively, so I'm hopeful that it'll be smooth sailing right to the end.

Vanya

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2021, 11:53:39 pm »
Sweet! I remember when you posted this on FF6hacking.
Been looking forward to it.

kaine23

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2021, 08:53:23 am »
so the one live on the site is the full hack?

PowerPanda

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2021, 09:39:11 am »
so the one live on the site is the full hack?

It's the open beta. I'm fixing bugs that are reported and ones that I find in my own full playthrough, and posting weekly-ish updates. I just found another bug this morning, where the Purify spell is not selectable in the menu. That being said, the version on ff6hacking.com is fully playable from start to finish.

andrewclunn

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2021, 01:56:29 pm »
I had a weird glitch occur when a trooper reached Bannon in the Narshe conflict.  Let it happen again, and nothing went wrong.  Wondering if maybe it's a specific trooper that caused it.  Will report back later, but trying to recreate.

PowerPanda

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2021, 05:29:17 pm »
I had a weird glitch occur when a trooper reached Bannon in the Narshe conflict.  Let it happen again, and nothing went wrong.  Wondering if maybe it's a specific trooper that caused it.  Will report back later, but trying to recreate.

Can you describe the glitch? Did the background start scrolling? Did something just freeze? Did you get garbled graphics? Knowing this will allow me to more quickly find the issue.

As a general update, I am going to start Kefka's Tower within the next hour or so. I've been fixing up bugs as I go, and we're probably a week out from the full release!

andrewclunn

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2021, 11:43:57 am »
I had a party standing right by the spot as a guard so that if anyone were to reach Banon, they'd have to fight that team first.  Somehow the game over sequence fired off first.  I thought, "huh, did the priority change form the normal game?"  So I did a similar set up and it worked without a hitch.

EDIT -
I am trying this multiple ways with fast forward and a game sharked out team to try and see if it's a particular soldier / subset for which the rules work differently.  But I need a block of time free to make sure I check all instances, which I likely won't have until Wednesday.

June 16, 2021, 10:35:27 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Okay, try as I might, I cannot recreate the bug, so perhaps I am just nuts and didn't position my character where I thought I had?  That said I have played through the first section (up to the Narshe conflict) numerous times now and have two bugs and one typo fix to report:

With Cyan when fighting Kefka in the Narshe battle once he had done a retort, dispatch suddenly changed, and now #1 would have him fire off a retort instead of a dispatch at Kekfa.  MUCH more powerful.  Not sure if intended, but this effectively makes getting one counter, then just spamming #1 with Cyan super broken OP.

Also with Cyan, the bracers.  I could not equip two weapons at once.

The last is an original script statement that should be updated.  When the ghost leaves it says, "shall we be off" because there might have been two ghosts in your party.  Now it's always only going to be one, should consider changing that to shall "I" be off.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 10:35:27 pm by andrewclunn »

PowerPanda

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2021, 10:07:29 am »
The issue with Banon sounds like something I don't need to look into. Cyan is only able to use the Bracers with a handful of weapons--none of the Katanas can be dual-wielded. the "Shall we be off" is an awkward line from the original script, as it's never clear who is saying it. However, I don't plan on changing it at this moment. I'm hoping someone merges my changes with a retranslation sometime in the future.

The Cyan bug is something I'll look into. Thanks for reporting it! EDIT: Not able to reproduce this. Bushido is working as it should on my master version.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2021, 03:18:06 pm by PowerPanda »

Vanya

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2021, 11:01:10 am »
Is the hack still compatible with any of the editors?
Just wondering because there are some simple changes I always like making to my personal copies.
There are also, some enhancement patches I like using, are those still compatible? Specifically, patches that change how commands work.

PowerPanda

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2021, 10:17:49 pm »
Is the hack still compatible with any of the editors?
Just wondering because there are some simple changes I always like making to my personal copies.
There are also, some enhancement patches I like using, are those still compatible? Specifically, patches that change how commands work.

Possibly, but I don't claim compatability. You'd need to use an IPS checker to see if they conflicted. That being said, I have made several edits to commands to make them work better. You may want to play first to see what you need.

I'm setting a release date of Sunday the 20th, 2 days from now. I am trying to get documentation together over the weekend.

EDIT: I forgot to note this, but the patch remains compatible with editors. You can view all of the info in ZoneDoctorCE, and make edits in FF3usME and FF6LE.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2021, 06:41:11 pm by PowerPanda »

Sarah Shinespark

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2021, 11:55:59 am »
Ok, I'm gonna try to beat the game tonight. Got all the characters, just gotta raid FT and KT.
I gotta say, Gau learning rages immediately has been a blast and he hasn't left my party the whole time. How long did that feature take to make?

PowerPanda

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2021, 06:43:45 pm »
Ok, I'm gonna try to beat the game tonight. Got all the characters, just gotta raid FT and KT.
I gotta say, Gau learning rages immediately has been a blast and he hasn't left my party the whole time. How long did that feature take to make?

That was incorporated from a different patch, here: http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/1371/

There is another version of this from SilentEnigma that allows you to Leap anywhere, removing Gau from the battle but learning the Rage anyway. However, as you know from playing, I needed Gau to have an open slot on his command list for him to learn Fight. Anyway, thank you so much for your notes as you played through. They really helped me finish strong.

I have just submitted the final version of the patch to RHDN. It should be posted within a couple of days.

Sarah Shinespark

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2021, 07:47:20 pm »
Congratulations! Glad I could be of service  :beer:

kaine23

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2021, 11:26:42 pm »
woohoo!!

8.bit.fan

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Re: Final Fantasy VI: Divergent Paths
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2021, 12:37:17 am »
Hi there,

Just want pop in here to say congratulations!
I've been quietly following this project and anticipating its release. Looks like it's finally here! I'll definitely be checking this out!

Thanks for your hard work! Being able to play Leo is going to be awesome!

Cheers!! :beer:

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