Monday, March 28, 2016

Where doors close, windows open

Been getting great feedback from my beta testers on the closed beta of Dragon Quest 1 Remake, and I just discovered my oft unstable Equipment you can use as Items script broke AGAIN.

Good news is that I already figured out a way around this issue.

The weapons that were supposed to double as items that could cast spells and skills will instead be modified to provide certain bonuses and resistances, so equipping a Wizard's Staff will provide a resistance to fire attacks.

As for casting spells from items, I plan to partially adapt an idea from Dragon Quest Heroes, but with my own twist: Instead of reducing armor to generic orbs that provide the same bonuses, my version will be "spell orbs" you can buy from shops that allow anyone to use them to cast a free spell (a Blaze Orb lets any character cast Blaze for no MP). The catch is that non magic users will do so much less effectively, like Sarah, but the items can never be consumed, so it balances out.

It fits the Geomancy lore I wrote into the plot, so it works great for lore reasons, and it is based on database changes only, no scripting, so I can reduce the scripting issues, so ultimately it's a win-win, though I'll have to go over the database and fix a lot of stuff.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Another beta test progress report

The beta test is progressing fine yet slowly, discovered all sorts of little goofs I'm having to clean up. I've fixed the UI/combat log issues mentioned in the last post, but at a cost:

The Enemy HP bar feature had to axed.

I COULD have kept them, but they were causing the UI issues in part, and even with edits they made parts of the battle log hard to read, and I decided I'd go with what was more ergonomically feasible.

I've also undummied out some areas and will likely do more before closed beta release, but the story will likely not be finished much further than last build since the changes have been so extensive I want further feedback on the rebalancing before I do that.

In the meantime, while everyone waits, here's a picture of the improved art of Ralph Lowenhertz, Sarah's father:



I got this from a Japanese blog site (which one is specified in the credits), and it's very similar to my old art, except it's not something I dolled up for cheap, this is much better. It also explains the blue-purplish highlights in Sarah's hair.

And here is Sarah's mother, Joanne Lowenhertz:




I already had a faceset of her I upgraded to a full portrait to fit the new theme, and I wanted it to show being a badass warrior woman runs in the family.

Also, with the exception of animals, most monsters, and a select few NPCs, EVERYONE will have portrait art.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Beta test progress report

The test of the latest beta is underway, and I have the Small Medal shop and shop portrait bug issues behind me.

However, my major issue now is UI screwups and combat log issues.

The UI screwups and combat log issues are interrelated, with the Combat Log window not showing all the information it needs to, such whether a steal attempt is successful or not, who is attacking (it just says an attack is happening), and the combat log review option does not display properly.

This is mostly visual crap, which is harmless in the short term, but could pose issues down the road if it causes further display errors, so I'm going to fix that before further playtesting.

The rebalancing seems to be working out slightly better, and now, regular slimes won't kill you unless you are totally naked, but it's now possible to get your ass beat by Red Slimes and higher at Level 1, so on Normal and higher difficulty, do some level grinding. I nerfed quite a few bonuses from equipment, turns out I was a tad too generous in that area, and now Mara is far from overpowered (though her magic is still plenty useful), and while Sara is still a tank, she's not invincible, and Roto is no longer a slightly less powerful Sara (his stats were nerfed to make him more a middle of the line character statwise.

I do have a solution for the UI issues noted above, but it may mean I'll have to remove the enemy HP bars, though my alternate plan is to use a different variation of HP bars if possible.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Beta test has begun, already running into hordes of bugs

The beta test of the latest build of Dragon Quest 1 Remake has begun, and it's already loaded with a ton of bugs.

Thankfully, most have been easy to fix, but I've got three annoying ones that will require some work:

1. Small Medals are still buggy. Even though they "work" with my new variable driven shop interface, it occasionally drops the ball and forgets to count how many are left, leading to exploits where you can buy items even if you have less Small Medals than required. I'm considering just converting the Small Medal shops into standard shops (and jacking the prices up to prevent game breaking equipment very early on without grinding), and since the achievement system works just fine with Small Medals, reworking it so collecting them counts towards the achievements and you get cool swag the more you collect for the achievements.

2. Some shop menus still need fixed to work around the portrait display bug. Easily fixable, but tedious work.

3. Still need to do more game balancing crap. going to lowball stat progression even further for most characters since they can still be OP with minimal stat boosting equipment in some areas.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Why I am adamant in enforcing rules and why I've helped Wikia ban Moleman

I'm writing this post due to recent retardation in which I noticed a notorious ban evader on Wikia evading his ban once again, and I did the responsible thing and reported it.

The ban evader in question, Gabe "Moleman9000" Navarro, is some guy I'm convinced is autistic (I am too, and I'm pretty good at sensing my own), because he has an utterly one track mind about what he is and isn't entitled to do, and that seems to revolve around bossing people around and shitting his pants over trolls and cyberbullies.

I was aware of him long before our paths crossed thanks to browsing Encyclopedia Dramatica (and later the Kiwi Farms), and our paths crossed directly first on Wikia, then Orain/Miraheze, where I was content to leave him be so long as he caused no trouble and just quietly worked on his articles on his own works.

For the longest time, there were no issues, until he got into an argument with some people, including someone named Willow Giovanni and a few others who almost certainly were/are from /cow/ (the 8chan board that loves laughing at lolcows and other internet oddballs), and since I was dreading the drama, I tried to be an impartial party, but Moleman just had to be such a flaming douche I permablocked him from ATT Wikia. To be fair, the users he got into a shitfit with weren't total angels, but they had the decency to be nice to me while Moleman was being a jackass, and I can tolerate quite a bit so long as you don't act like a total asshat.

Moleman flipped out and started stalking me across Wikia, trying to get me to undo his ATT ban, and knowing this guy was on dangerously thin ice thanks to getting multiple bans across multiple wikis several dozen times for doing the same damned thing, I decided the buck would stop with me, contacted Wikia Support, and let them know not only about my hassles with the guy, but also that he was a drama magnet who would likely never stop being a troublemaker.

Wikia informed me he was grinding their patience to nil anyway and were ready to drop the hammer anyway, and sure enough, global ban came down.

But he didn't learn, hopped onto an alt account, and resumed giving me and others grief.

I admit I was annoyed as hell by this, and I started reporting every sock he kept using, and it wasn't until his FIFTH sock did he finally seem to get the hint that Wikia had had it with his shenanigans. It was during this time I promised Wikia if I saw any future ban evasion, I would dutifully report it because it was clear to me Moleman did not know how to respect any authority, would not stop trying to drag me and a bunch of others into drama, and was frankly a loose cannon I and Wikia were better off without.

Around this time, someone wanted to take over one of his wikis, and since I saw no obvious attempts at vandalism, I endorsed it, because even with him gone, I didn't think it was fair to see people posting vandalism, shock images, and other troll bullshit everywhere even if he was no longer around.

Later, said wiki was closed for no reason I'm privy to, but either Wikia decided it was not worth keeping around for whatever reason or he emailed Wikia with a DMCA to destroy it, figuring if he couldn't control his toybox, he'd just break all the toys to spite the other kids. Either way, it died.

Some time after all this, I put the pieces together and figured some of the people who had been at the center of the drama were almost certainly /cow/ members and other people for whom messing with Moleman is some demented sport, and Moleman himself later whined about how I "took their side", to which I responded he was the one acting the most immaturely and causing mischief, so I saw him as the guilty party (and Wikia agreed, to my knowledge). I also told him on ATT Miraheze I would not hold his Wikia behavior against him so long as he caused no trouble on Miraheze, which, to this point, he hasn't. He also got his sixth Wikia sock banned due to a report by me.

However, as for the latest incident, I admit I've occasionally glanced over at one of his still operational wikis because the guy is a chronic ban evading sockpuppeteer, and since I promised Wikia I'd help them enforce their own rules, I reported him again.

He flipped out once more and gave me a ton of grief when I told him his excuse his global ban had expired didn't wash, and he and bunch of butthurt types who didn't appreciate my whistleblowing tried to give me grief by saying global bans aren't logged and all that, but I knew the guy had been globally banned six times, so he was breaking the rules, and a little googling clearly established his latest account was a sock of one of the globally banned accounts, information I also sent to Wikia, where, as I have little reason to doubt, this is sock #7 down, and I also have little reason to doubt he will have learned absolutely nothing and will attempt to ban evade once more.

I know, I probably sound like what ED calls a "bureaucratic fuck", and shit, I probably am to some extent. On the other hand, he caused me a ton of grief, stalked me all over Wikia to give me MORE grief, and continued to blatantly defy Wikia Staff and ban evade multiple times, and thus I have no patience or pity for his BS, and if I can play a role in helping Wikia keep him banished due to all the grief he's shown both me and them, then I'm happy to help them out.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

I've got good news and better news

This post has good news and even better news.

Good news: Almost ready for a beta test run. Need to make a considerable amount of UI changes for optimal readability of text and numbers in all situations, and modify a few windows to show all information they need to while having correct opacity settings, but so far I have no game breaking issues to report.

Even Better News: FINALLY IMPLEMENTED A STEALING SKILL THAT DOESN'T CRASH THE GAME ENGINE!

I'm using Tsukihime's Effect Manager addon that allows for theft of item drops, or items you'd get after the battle. This is similar to how it worked in Dragon Quest, and sidesteps the former issue I had with my "use equipment as items" script by NOT opening an item window (thus avoiding the buggy behavior), and merely attempt to remove an item from a discrete list that would already have a chance of handing it to you anyway at the end of the battle, so it works almost exactly like the DQ engine did.

I have tweaked it so it's easier to steal certain items than it is is to get them dropped and vice versa, so if an enemy rarely drops an item, it may be better to see if Mara has an easier chance of stealing it.

So far, no game crashes. Also, have managed to figure out how damage variable tweaking needs to work so the game isn't too hard or easy. Armor has been made slightly less effective, healing items have been somewhat nerfed, and magic is being made slightly more costly, which should balance things much better than earlier builds.

The RTP has been fully integrated in my game, and I'm throwing out anything I'm not using from it as I go along, so the final release will be bigger, but I'll be trimming as much fat as possible by release.

I also intend on releasing a closed beta before official beta release, and I'll inform anyone who might be interested.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Got most of the graphical crap behind me, as well as most of the scripting crap, now comes the aggravating part

I've been busting my tail fixing up all remaining graphical facesets and converting to portraits, only a few left, and I've finally figured out a patch for my shop window dialogue issue (still an ugly fix, but I'm going with it anyway)

Now, I'll have to work on game balance, and that's the part that's gonna get tedious.

RPG Maker VX Ace is configured, by default, to be more along the lines of a Final Fantasy game stats and formulas wise than geared for a Dragon Quest game, and the formulas used to calculate damage variables are grossly different, so much so I've had to uber lowball a lot of numbers when coming up with player stat advancement and enemy statistics, and while I've gotten a fair amount of things right, some aspects of the engine are still in need of fine tuning.

However, I've got a decent idea what needs to be worked on, so hopefully it won;t take half as long as the graphics overhauling did.

And speaking of that, some more screenshots.

The League of Gamers has a role in my game, and not only is Sir Mark "Grummz" Kern represented, below is a screen of Stagefright, aka Sir Cody Ott, Tantegel Town branch officer of the L4G.


In other news, I've also been dabbling in RPG Maker MV for the first time. While I really don't like the technically hard capped map size limit of 265 x 265 (it's not actually hard capped, but stability of the engine goes out the window if you try to edit the map JSON file with a text editor like Notepad++, so it basically acts likes it hardcapped since it crashes if you edit the JSON in the editor after any resizing above the limit), I have been heavily considering making a game using it regardless, and since having a license to both MV and VX Ace allows me to use their resources in each other, I've backported most of the stock RTP assets from MV into my project, some of which can be seen in the above screenshot.

Assuming I ever do make a game in MV, it will likely be a Final Fantasy style game, any sequel to my current project will remain in VX Ace.

Monday, March 7, 2016

I really, really shouldn't tempt fate.........

Just when I thought my coding problems were over, I get a massive problem with my portrait script. As in, will screw up every shop window scene I ever put into my game on every level.

And the earlier fix I was using doesn't seem to work anymore.

Due to this, progress is effectively frozen on my game until I get it examined by someone with more scripting knowledge than myself.

Friday, March 4, 2016

No more scripting issues, now onto the rest of the graphics and optimization

Now that I got any remaining scripting issues fixed (for now), I'm working on the remaining graphics and optimizing the file size because, yes, I DO plan on including all the RTP assets with the game so that need not be downloaded.

This will bloat the file size of the next beta by quite a bit, so I'm trying very hard to optimize all the PNG and music files and strip out all files that are not being used by the game (thanks to Tsukihime for the Resource Checker script, it's been invaluable for cleaning my project).

I'm also working on sprucing up a bunch of maps and adding more content since some areas like the Great Bazaar were VERY barren of life and activity.

I'm also working on integrating some of the new features I added into the game and beta testing them.

I still can't give an ETA for when it will be out, but I plan on posting more pictures soon of my progress.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Small Medal shop fixed

Instead of a scripted shop, I'm going with a variable driven parallel processed common event combined with an event based shop. So far it works absolutely fine.

The old script is getting completely retired, and next I'll be working on adding area of effect to spells so Mara and Lora aren't "I win buttons" anymore.