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GrayShadows

WIP Project: Final Fantasy VI Tensei

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Introducing: Final Fantasy 6: Tensei
Latest Update: 27 November 2017

A large-scale hack, FF6: Tensei is an attempt to rebalance both the game and the world. With a smaller cast of characters -- nine playable main characters, with three hidden secondary (non-plot) characters, compared to the original games twelve-and-two -- a revisited and revised equipment list, and a massively overhauled ability system, FF6: Tensei is be a brand new experience to fans of the original game, while still maintaining a familiar, nostalgic framework. It's built around the basic story structure of the original game, with the same major story beats, but with a number of updates to individual characters that help the story take on a new form -- with a few additional surprises along the way.

New features!

  • Random Stat Increases at Level Up: Instead of using the Esper system, characters have a chance at a stat increase at each level -- the higher the stat, the greater the chance it'll increase, favouring a character's primary stats over their secondary ones. Of course, if you're unlucky, the wrong stats will increase -- or no stats at all.
  • Stat Bits, Golden Apples, and Soma Drops: On the other hand, you can permanently increase your characters' stats through items! But be careful, there are only a few in the game... Unless you know where to look.
  • Costumes: An entire set of battle sprite-changing gear! Will your characters go around dressed as a Soldier or a Merchant? Will they dress up as an Imp or a Moogle for Hallowe'en? Or will they be perfectly lazy and be a white sheet Ghost?
  • New Town and Dungeon Maps: Some will be altered only a little, some will be redrawn completely... And some that are otherwise unchanged may have a few new surprises.
  • New Spell List: With the rebalanced ability system, the spell list will be divided evenly between Black, White, and Time magic -- but only certain characters can learn given spells, and most won't have access to the spell list at all.
  • New Abilities: Sabin now uses the Mantra ability to protect his allies; Leo wields Breaks to debilitate enemy spell-casters. There's an entire new set of ways to heal and to harm.
  • Third Slot Abilities: With magic restricted to certain characters as their primary ability, the third ability slot remains empty -- that is, until you start finding relics to expand your skill-set. Will you use the Gear Brace and grant your characters the Magitek ability? Or will they use the Blaster Gem to Ravage their foes with elemental physical strikes?
  • New Characters/Revised Character List: The cast is smaller, some familiar faces are nowhere to be found, and some new people are joining your team -- General Leo will be a permanent playable character, and newcomer Amelia -- Relm's mother -- is the resident dancing geomancer.
  • Defined Character Roles: By limiting characters' access to certain skills, there's a certain level of strategy involved in planning your team, as each character's ability is useful in different circumstances.
  • Hidden Characters: Say goodbye to Gogo and Umaro, and say hello to a few old friends... But just who is it who wandered through the Dimensional Rift? Spoilers, love. Spoilers.
  • Brand New Script: A necessity with the other changes, much of the dialogue will be either heavily revised or completely new.

I'm attaching an old 'preview' image that has a little bit of my in-progress Walkthrough (which I'm writing as much as an outline of the game, as a planning tool, as it is an actual walkthrough) over top of my Items spreadsheet, as well as a screenshot showing off one of the basic new features -- an expanded Skills field menu, with an additional working entry. (... And possible even more entries in the final game, depending on how I develop a couple of characters' skills.)

1st Preview Image.png

FF6Skills-20161215-000538.png

Edited by GrayShadows
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Sounds great. But the stat system is like those grind fest MMO equipment enchantment, interesting but still would prefer a progression rather than a random number, maybe lower the chance of getting a very bad roll? Or better yet no rolls of 0?

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There's definitely been some concerns raised about the stat system over at FF6Hacking as well. At the moment, I intend to go forward with the system I have planned until I start getting into playable betas (or at least alphas) -- I want to see it in action before I make some final decisions on it. Although I do like the idea of lowering the chance of a bad roll -- maybe halving the random number. (The current system pulls a random number and compares it to the stat in question; if it's lower than the stat, the stat increases, and then there's a 50/50 chance of a bonus increase. With the right amount of luck, you could get +2 to all four stats on a level up.)

I do have some another system I'm considering that would be less random, with some customisability, but I'm not sure yet if I'll be able to code it, because it'll involve some pretty heavy work in the field menu (and also an additional... 52? bytes of SRAM, although I can probably shuffle some things around to make that fit...).

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People are quick to jump complaining when they have no control over the outcome of their characters, but if that's the true nature of the gameplay that you're aiming with that system, then players should probably just try the system before jumping the gun to say it's probably bad. The project sounds well rounded and interesting (and needless to say fresh). I'll be playing it in the future.

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Hee, thanks. I'm hoping to get something playable released by the New Year, to start testing things out -- something up to, say, the 3 scenarios divide, or possibly up to the battle at Narshe right after them -- and then I'd like to get a 1.0 RC out sometime next year, although I'm realistically a long way off from that still. (I need to stop coding shit for other people and start focusing on my own project. ;) )

I fully suspect that some of the things I have planned are going to turn out to be enormously stupid ideas from a gameplay/balance standpoint, but I'm hoping that some of the ones that look stupid will turn out to be genius instead. 

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22 hours ago, Hart-Hunt said:

People are quick to jump complaining when they have no control over the outcome of their characters

Well yeah this, but still like the idea of random stat gains since its like you were a kid again not caring for min/maxing shit.

 

19 hours ago, GrayShadows said:

I fully suspect that some of the things I have planned are going to turn out to be enormously stupid ideas from a gameplay/balance standpoint, but I'm hoping that some of the ones that look stupid will turn out to be genius instead. 

Well if it works its not stupid. Its better to give an idea a shot rather than not trying at all.

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On 28.11.2017 at 5:39 AM, GrayShadows said:

Random Stat Increases at Level Up: Instead of using the Esper system, characters have a chance at a stat increase at each level -- the higher the stat, the greater the chance it'll increase, favouring a character's primary stats over their secondary ones. Of course, if you're unlucky, the wrong stats will increase -- or no stats at all.

Stat Bits, Golden Apples, and Soma Drops: On the other hand, you can permanently increase your characters' stats through items! But be careful, there are only a few in the game... Unless you know where to look.

I'd like some clarification on the "the higher the stat, the greater the chance it'll increase" point; it does read like a slippery slope.
Do you really mean that if I had good luck on my stat so far (got an increase from lv1-10 every time) I'll have even greater odds later on?
Does wearing stat enhancing gear factor in this as well?
Or do you mean that the chance is relative to the character's base stat?

Either way, be careful with this.
Not only may it hurt some players but it also hurts your ability to know what a player can "do".
E.g. how much damage can they take from boss XY?
Just as extreme scenarios:
A lucky player (got every HP and defense bonus) could easily eat 3k raw damage hits and laugh it off, while the unlucky player (got bare minimum) will have a game over from a 1.5k hit already.
A lucky player may be able to take 2-3 turns per boss turn with "max speed", while the unlucky player can't even muster enough turns to keep up with healing.

I'm not saying that random stat growth is necessarily bad, just that there should be a limit as to how bad it can go.
And an ATB based game gets hurt even more from this thanks to how powerful "more turns" via higher relative speed is.

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1 hour ago, praetarius5018 said:

I'm not saying that random stat growth is necessarily bad, just that there should be a limit as to how bad it can go.
And an ATB based game gets hurt even more from this thanks to how powerful "more turns" via higher relative speed is.

This is what I am dreading from random stats. But if it has no zero rolls then the problem could be avoided I think.

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So, this is the current stat-at-level-up code (It's... something of an outline and not currently tested, for the record, but unless I've missed something it should work as intended):

Spoiler

fka_60C2: PHP  
fka_60C3: INC $1608,X   ; (increment current level)
fka_60C6: STZ $FD
fka_60C8: STZ $FF
fka_60CA: PHX  
fka_60CB: TDC           ; (Clear 16-bit A)
 
NewStatsUpFunction:
LDA $161C,X        ; get character's current Stamina
JSR $4B53        ; random number generator, 0-1 (carry clear or set)
BCC .noDoubleHP        ; if the carry is clear, don't double our Stamina, otherwise...
ASL            ; double our stamina for a bonus HP increase this level
.noDoubleHP
STA $FC            ; and save it to be added to our max HP
LDA $161D,X        ; now get character's current magic power
JSR $4B53        ; again, carry clear or set (50% chance)
BCC .doubleMP
LSR            ; halve our magic power
.doubleMP
LSR            ; and halve it again (1/4) -- 1/2 magic power if 50% bonus chance
STA $FE            ; and save it to be added to our max MP
 
REP #$21        ; set 16-bit A and clear the carry
LDA $160B,X        ; get character's max HP
PHA
AND #$C000        ; isolate the top bits, which govern equipment boosts to HP/MP
STA $EE         ; and set the aside for the moment
PLA            ; get our max HP again
AND #$3FFF        ; isolate the bottom 14 bits, i.e. max HP without equip boost
ADC $FC         ; and add our stamina (or stam*2)
CMP #$2710        
BCC .under10k        ; if we haven't exceeded 10000, branch, otherwise
LDA #$270F        ; set HP to 9999
.under10k
ORA $EE         ; combine with equipment bonus bytes
STA $160B,X        ; and save it  
 
LDA $160F,X        ; now get our max MP
PHA
AND #$C000        ; and isolate our bonus bits
STA $EE            ; and set them aside
PLA
AND #$3FFF        ; get our actual max MP
ADC $FE         ; add 1/4 magic power (or 1/2)
CMP #$03E8        ; is it over 999?
BCC .under999
LDA #$03E7        ; if so, make it 999
.under999
ORA $EE         ; add back our equip boost bits
STA $160F,X        ; and save new max MP
SEP #$20
 
PHY
LDY #$0003        ; this is our loop index for boosting stats
.getStatsUp
JSR $4B5A        ; get a random number for this level
STA $FC
LDA $161A,X        ; $161A is Vigor, and we'll increment X through Speed, Stamina, and Magic Power
CMP $FC            ;  
BCC .noStatUp        ; if our stat is lower than our random number, don't increase
INC            ; otherwise, increase our stat by 1
STA $161A,X        ; and save it
.noStatUp
INX            ; increase X to get our next stat
DEY            ; and decrement our Y index
BPL .getStatsUp        ; loop back if we haven't done all four stats
 
PLY : PLX : PLP
RTS

 

For those who don't read SNES assembly, what this does is a) increase HP by a character's Stamina stat and MP by 1/4 a character's Magic stat, with a 50% chance of a double increase (2xStamina, 1/2xMagic) per level. It then b) runs a loop where it grabs a random number 1-255, checks it against a character's stat, and increases that stat if the random number is lower than the stat in question (favouring a character's primary stat(s) over secondary stats). I may halve the random number (making it 0-127), which essentially doubles a character's chance of an increase, and I am probably going to cap stats at 128 rather than 255, because if you hit 128 you're ALREADY going to be pretty damn close to OP. I am also lowering the level cap (proooobably to 50?), which will decrease the total number of potential increases, although I intend to code it to run at level averaging as well so that you don't lose out on stat gains if joining later, etc.

I need to check the base code, because my intention is that it does all this against base stats for Vigor, Stamina, Speed, and Magic, and I honestly can't remember offhand if the stats in the $1600 block take increases from equipment into account or not. I'm also planning to poke BTB and Synchisi about how they handled speed in BNW, because I know they did some coding to help mitigate the effects of excessive speed without making it a useless stat.

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Ok, so it is indeed a slippery slope (e.g. bad luck once has much more bad luck following OR good luck once increases chance to get even more good luck, imo not a good thing for stats)

Example as I understand it:
level up to lv30, you had a lv1 stat of 30
1) has gotten every increase to the stat, so has currently 59, making the chance to get an increase 59/256 or 23%
2) has never gotten the stat increase, still sitting at a 30 stat; chance is 30/256 or 11.7%

 

do you have access to the level 1 stats during that formula?
I'd suggest a more complex formula for the chance to increase that incorporates the "intended average" stat or something.
Though that depends on the data you have access to there.

Edited by praetarius5018
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I mean, I'm defining the level one stats, so I guess that means I have access to them?

There's no real intended average stat, because stats are weighted differently for different characters -- each character is supposed to be better at certain things. The intention is the reduction of homogeneity, in comparison to vanilla FF6. So the idea is more, like, characters who are good at a thing have a stronger chance of getting even better at it, and a weaker chance of getting better at other things -- that latter comes into play with the Third Slot/Command Relic abilities, where if you're lucky on rolls on a character's secondary stats, they can become more effective with selectable commands/ability sets that their primary stats aren't any use for, in contrast with a character's individual, primary command, which is tuned around their primary stats.

One thing I'm hoping the random stat increases will do is actually improve replayability, because you may need to change strategies if a character's stats grow in a different way than you expect. The Stat Bits are intended to help make up for shortcomings if you get a bunch of shitty rolls, and I'm planning on tuning late-game gear around either covering for shitty rolls on a character, or for boosting secondary stats even further if you want to build a hybrid character, or even turn, say, a physical character into a caster.

And I want to reiterate, I don't know that this is going to work out the way I intend it to, and I understand the concerns that are being brought up, but I'm not just throwing this system into an otherwise vanilla FF6 -- there are enough balance changes being made overall that we're not going to know how well it actually works out until I hit playtesting, and that's a long way off. I have backup plans that offer more flexibility and less randomness to the player, I just want to try this first.

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I have the same mindset regarding initial reactions with stat gains being a slippery slope as above, but regarding speed:
 

And a 2nd one:

 

Edited by Nowea
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Hah, thank you. Those are exactly the things I was going to be looking for, yes.

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2 hours ago, GrayShadows said:

And I want to reiterate, I don't know that this is going to work out the way I intend it to, and I understand the concerns that are being brought up, but I'm not just throwing this system into an otherwise vanilla FF6 -- there are enough balance changes being made overall that we're not going to know how well it actually works out until I hit playtesting, and that's a long way off. I have backup plans that offer more flexibility and less randomness to the player, I just want to try this first.

Yes, see it through.
But just remember that with the proposed design there's an insane gap between those that play normally (stats are close to mathematical average), those that save scum (stats way above par) and those that have little luck (relevant stats +0). That's what worries me a lot.

Dunno, maybe treat it like intended level for the final boss is around 40-50, cap is level 99 for those that get screwed over by RNG too much and cap stats without equipment very low, like even as low as 70.
Don't mind me, just my 0.02$

 

2 hours ago, GrayShadows said:

I mean, I'm defining the level one stats, so I guess that means I have access to them?

If FF6 is so nice, good, but in FF5 finding those values starting from a random stat block is an adventure and a half...

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I understand most of the concerns, but it is still an interesting idea that definitely is worth trying out to see how it works in real life. If it works at all, it's a pretty fresh approach. 

Side-note: save scummers gonna save scum. Never design to try and block that. Only worry I see being, from my perspective, invalid. 

Edit: OK, the worry would be having to deal with those people on the forums/chat... >.>

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Well, technically you can relatively simply "prevent" save scumming for better stats:
have a separate RNG only for the level up stats meaning it only advances when someone levels up
or even simpler make stats soft capped by level, e.g. lv1 stat + 3 + level/4 (assuming way below 25% chance)

Does it have to be addressed - maybe, probably not.
I just wanted to show a potential pitfall which might make it less enjoyable than it could be.
Also it seemingly contradicts another of his stated goals:
 

On 28.11.2017 at 5:39 AM, GrayShadows said:

Defined Character Roles: By limiting characters' access to certain skills, there's a certain level of strategy involved in planning your team, as each character's ability is useful in different circumstances.

Dumb question from my side:
how can roles be defined, how can I plan my team, when the stats are purely random?
If a role boils down to a magical nuker and RNG comes up with mostly non-magic stats that falls a bit on its head.

Unless I'm mistaken FireEmblem is similar with the stats but there you have a gigantic cast, so a couple bad cases can just be thrown out by the player; with a small cast, every bad egg hurts more.

Sorry I'm dragging this point on and on, still curious...

 

On 28.11.2017 at 5:39 AM, GrayShadows said:

New Spell List: With the rebalanced ability system, the spell list will be divided evenly between Black, White, and Time magic -- but only certain characters can learn given spells, and most won't have access to the spell list at all.

forgot to ask this:
is this only how the vanilla spells are distributed among the characters or does it include changes to spells themselves, maybe even replacements?

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Going to try to cover all the questions, let me know if I miss anything. :) 

Finding the starting stats isn't an issue for FF6, the entire game is really well documented -- we've even got editors for that shit! ;) Some of the codebanks are still something of a work in progress -- C1, which governs graphics in battle, is still something of a mystery -- but data and data structures are pretty well all decoded. 

The defined character roles comes into play primarily with a) skill and equipment sets and b) starting stats, which is partly why I'm weighting a character's primary stat(s) more heavily in the algorithm -- physical fighters start with higher strength than magical nukers, nukers start with higher magic than fighters. The idea is that some characters start out doing one thing really well, probably get to do it even better, and maybe end up being able to do something else really well, as well.

Defining the character roles also comes through limiting magic to three characters, and those characters having defined lists, as opposed to all characters having access to all the spells all at the same time, like in vanilla FF6. It's also not a small cast -- there are fourteen playable characters (12 story PCs, 2 side PCs) in vanilla FF6, and twelve playable (9 story PCs, 3 side PCs) in Tensei. I believe the Final Fantasy game with the next-highest number of characters is IV, with twelve, and they're not all available at the same time even in the FF4Advance-derived games, since neither Tellah nor FuSoYa can be switched into your party at endgame.

Which leads to the question about the spell lists: massive changes to the spell lists. Rather than 24 attack, 9 healing, and 21 effect, it's 18 each of Black, White, and Time, with Terra getting Black, Celes getting White, and Relm getting Time (which is going to be primarily buffs/debuffs, includes DoTs and HoTs, and has a few other reality-warping aspects to it). This is part of the ability system overhaul, which is extensive.

Also, no one character is going to end up useless, even if they get a lot of shitty rolls at level up -- players are just going to have to get creative about how they use them. That's not a problem with the feature, that's the feature working as intended. (And, as I said, I don't know that I'm going to be able to pull that off, and you have brought up some valid concerns, but this is the kind of thing that we're not going to see succeed or fail until I'm actually testing it.)

 

Edited by GrayShadows
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Well I wish you luck on the stat system and hopefully we'll get some kind of a demo when everything is in place.

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Are the level 1 stats random as well or are they fixed?

Can I expect the "jack of all trades" to always have 25 in all stats or could (s)he have sometimes 25/26/24/25 or 23/24/27/26 as well?
I don't know your character-to-role idea, so I use a general term, sorry.

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I haven't planned on making changes to that coding, so they're fixed. (Although, again, they're fixed to what I set them at, not to what they were in vanilla.) I could code in random variance, but I don't think it's worthwhile.

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