Final Fantasy IV: The Darkness Within Alpha/Beta Development Topic
16 September 2015 - 12:07 AM
You can view the release post in this topic here.
So as some of you may or may not know, I've been working on a Final Fantasy IV mod for the past few weeks. Well, it's finally out of alpha stage and I'm moving into beta/balance testing. Thought I'd detail a bit about the mod and try to create some interest.
Final Fantasy IV: The Darkness Within
The story is a drastic alteration to the original, but keeps the same premise. I aimed to keep things mostly within established canon while trying to enrich plot development through better dialogue and a different story sequence. Nearly every text box has been altered in some form or entirely replaced. You're still the same Dark Knight serving Baron, although things very quickly deviate from the original game...
Most playable characters now have more than one way to "build" themselves using equipment. For instance, Edge can be used as a frontline Ninja, wielding ninja swords and dealing heavy physical damage, or you can opt for a build that takes advantage of Edge's Ninja magic and wield daggers that increase his magic stats instead. Rosa can be a traditional spellcaster, or she can focus more on her bow skills and be a hybrid. While each character still has a true purpose to the team, most now have at least some slightly differing options.
Character commands are another thing I seek to implement. A lot of the commands are familiar staples to FFIV or the series in general. Dark Wave makes a return as well as Yang's Focus ability. I've added a new command to Cid that fits in-line with his new personality and I think will be more fun to experience first-hand than to explain here. I'm still working on this part as coming up with interesting abilities that are balanced, but useful, can be somewhat difficult.
Enemies have been massively overhauled. Enemies in general have been given a stat boost and some have been given some debilitating status effects attached to their physical attacks. These are mostly based on monster type, so when you see a certain kind of monster you know to expect certain status effects.
With the sequence of game events heavily altered, just about every enemy has been adjusted to reflect their new place in the story's events. Beta testing will mostly focus on ensuring that these enemies are properly balanced to give the player a challenging, but not an over/underwhelming, experience.
Items and Equipment
The individual status clearing items have made a return. The catch-all Heal item still exists, but is far more rare. With the added status-inflicting monsters, carrying a decent stock of these items will be important to effective party management. Don't worry, the Fat Chocobo no longer requires anything to summon, so feel free to make use of one whenever you find it!
All shops have been completely rearranged. New items up for sale are *almost* always complete upgrades. No more worrying about which item to purchase and equip because it decreases your effective damage by losing a multiplier even though the attack power is higher. Shop prices are being adjusted so that the player may have to make some purchasing decisions.
A number of sidequests have been added to the game, roughly around the 2/3 point of the story. These open the game up a bit and offer the player valuable rewards as well as a break from the action.
While I did not set out to specifically make a difficulty hack, many aspects of the game are harder due to rebalancing and the frequency of status effects. My overall goal from the start has been to make the mod about as challenging as the DS/mobile version.
I don't have one yet, so I'll just say "when it's done." Major alterations to the game are complete and the beta phase will mostly be balance testing, implementing some more interesting character abilities, and squashing any annoying bugs that rear their ugly heads.
I have had some people ask to help in testing, but at this time I'm not prepared to release the mod to others. I do appreciate the offer for assistance, and I may look for some additional feedback as the mod gets closer to release.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to ask here or send me a PM. I'll try and respond as quickly as I can.
16 September 2015 - 08:12 PM
So besides what was already asked, will there be a way to change out party members as well?
17 September 2015 - 12:42 AM
This is the US SNES version.
So besides what was already asked, will there be a way to change out party members as well?
Yea, I played Unprecedented Crisis and enjoyed it greatly. The creator of that mod, Pinkpuff, is also the creator of the editing tool I used, ff4kster.
Unfortunately, there will not be party member swapping. The problem with it mostly being that gear is lost when a character is placed into the shadow roster and cannot be retrieved (with one exception that I hope to make use of). There are also very few extra actor slots available as I make use of them to have party members that join later in the game to be somewhat of an even level with you and your party. If I did it, it would likely have to be permanent similar to how UC did it.
18 September 2015 - 01:12 AM
Speaking of testing, I've made it through about the 2/3 point now where the game opens up a bit. I apparently overestimated the speed stat on a lot of monsters and ended up having to slash it back quite a bit on some enemies. Nothing like getting facewrecked before you can react.
I also added/altered some commands for characters today.
Edward had Sing revamped slightly, though it's still mostly only useful for randoms. He did get another ability though that adds a small regen and locks him in place while he "sings."
I gave Rosa a Pray ability that chooses from several spells that cast party-wide, some of which cannot be normally (Blink, Fast, Life1/2). These spells DO consume MP though and it's quite risky to use, but that's why I named the command as such.
Tellah gained a mostly story/flavor ability that ties in with a sidequest involving him later on. It has a small chance (10%) to cast a very powerful spell, but I don't think it'll work unless he has the MP for it. I didn't alter his 90 MP, so I'll probably change that a bit.
Child Rydia gained the Hide ability. It makes more sense that a traumatized child hides when she's hurt rather than a grown ass man. The game freaks a bit since Rydia technically doesn't have a Hide animation, so it shows part of her Call animation. Doesn't look entirely bad, just kind of odd that she turns gold for a second before running away.
I had planned to give Adult Rydia an MP regen ability, but I haven't gotten it working right yet.
I gave Kain an ability that will lower monster defenses, but I may change it to something else. Haven't gotten to test this one yet either. A lot of monsters in the game have little/no defense anyway because of the way the defense rates work. They make you either hit for 40 or 400.
I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings.
18 September 2015 - 07:07 AM
19 September 2015 - 01:03 AM
So Kain and Rydia's commands were a bust. Couldn't even tell if Kain's was working since not many enemies have defense as I stated earlier. Rydia's just broke her MP count completely similar to the MP underflow glitch.
I'm considering revamping the glove/ring slots into relic slots that everyone can use similar to FFVI. I would probably then roll the actual armor stats of these items into the shield/helm/armor slots so the characters aren't lacking. Granted, it's pretty hard to tell in FFIV what something does unless you look it up in an FAQ. If I did this I'd have to steal a page out of BTB's book and make some kind of Printme file so people knew what things did.
I'd also like to place yet more emphasis on using the right tool for the right job. Sure, that 40 attack power sword is nice, but you could use that 30 power sword that the monster is weak against for 2x (elemental weakness) or 3x (racial bonus) damage. It would make inventory management even more of a chore, but in my beta playthrough I only once had to use the Fat Chocobo and it was in the final dungeon using a Whistle.
19 September 2015 - 08:44 PM
21 September 2015 - 12:11 AM
I'm currently running through the game doing bosses only (running from all encounters). I want the game to be accessible to all levels of players, but still provide a greater challenge than vanilla did. I've had to slightly tweak some bosses, but surprisingly, most of them are beatable with the right tactics (albeit they are VERY hard).
Had made it to the 2/3 point when I accidentally loaded a save state like 45 minutes prior and lost a bunch of progress. Will have to pick it back up tomorrow.
29 September 2015 - 09:33 PM
Replaced the removed commands on Kain and Adult Rydia. The commands are more effective now and give the characters a bit of an alternative.
Kain gained an ability called Luck which boosts his critical hit rate by 5% per use. Adult Rydia now has Flirt, which reduces enemy hit % by half of her modified Vitality stat (her Vitality stat is ~15 at level 30). Both abilities are spammable, hence why they don't have greater effects. Unfortunately, the animations for the abilities are a bit silly looking since these characters aren't supposed to use them, so I may need to find a way to change them.
I'll probably start my final self-beta test in the next few days. Assuming everything goes as planned, I'll probably look to release the mod into selected closed beta to get better feedback on balance and any bugs/errors I may have overlooked.
02 October 2015 - 12:11 PM
02 October 2015 - 02:54 PM
Earlier in the thread you mentioned that you wanted to give characters a little leeway with their builds/capabilities, but then said Adult Rydia gained a new debuff move. Will Rydia still keep her Black Magic? Or did you do away with it? Unless it's a spoiler, do you mind sharing what you were going to do with her?
Debuffing via whips and her new ability?
Or am I an idiot an totally misread you and she's still got black magic and summons?
02 October 2015 - 03:28 PM
Whips currently all inflict paralysis and have quite a few racial and elemental bonuses on them. Their battle power is a bit low, so I may look to boost it a bit, but they're intended more for situational use and racial bonuses are VERY strong.