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Lennart [Posts: 24]
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  • [December 21, 2012, 04:38:49 PM]
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
« on: December 21, 2012, 04:38:49 PM »
Hi all! I'm here to start a balance/difficulty hack for FFTA2. I'm calling this the Grimoire of the Abyss because that's what I assume Illua's grimoire to be called.

These are the current major goals of the project:

Balance/change classes and encourage more 'strategy'.
Remove game breakers and major issues.
Make the game harder. Technically, if we do the above, this is directly implied.

Of course this is all vague since I'm not really sure what a 'better' FFTA2 would entail. This is where all of you come in. Without a doubt, I have not played this game enough to know absolutely everything. I've actually played FFTA for at least twice as long as this game. Anyway, point is, I need suggestions on what changes should be made to the game in order to 'improve' it. This is all very subjective of course but what good is it if we don't try? Besides, everyone loves to have a little banter about what they want. I'm not against a few drastic changes either. I think they can make any game you're bored of replaying suddenly crazy interesting.

Here is what I have figured out how to change:
Text
Jobs
Special Characters (except eg. where Adelle gets Heritor class)
Commands (eg. Arts of War)
Abilities
Equipment
Bazaar
Recruited Units (even vanillas)
Engagements (Enemies, guests, law, max party size, spawn tiles...everything)
Auction Hall Prizes (trash to regional grand prizes)

Darthatron was so kind as to do some assembly hacking and make all units start with max MP and give me control of how much MP is gained per turn naturally.

What I need help with:
Some unknown values (probably trivial) in the data.

Emphasis on CHANGE. Adding completely new data/concepts is currently impossible (like if you wanted a skill that flips the map upside down).
That being said, you have a lot of freedom, especially with abilities. You could make a skill inflict Petrify in a line across the map with 99% accuracy, taking from existing moves. With some further research (by that I mean naming indexes in a table), even monster abilities and effects can be changed/used.

As for stats, I can't change the 999 cap, the annoying quarter issue, variance (minimum +-10%, maximum +-100%), how everyone has at the very minimum 50 base speed, maximum 149 speed and the 99 level cap (ie. if you speed reset you'll have at least 148 speed no matter what). But everything else can be changed, like base stats, unequipped bonuses, growths and equipment stats. Even things like evade and jump can be changed easily.

Anyway enough technical mumbo jumbo. Now for some old fashioned theorytarding.

What everyone needs to do is follow a simple format:
  • Present an issue and explain why it's a problem.
  • Suggest a feasible solution based on what is possible.

As a treat to players who might not appreciate all the fine tuning going on, I will definitely be replacing Al-Cid with Illua, who will serve as the 'broken' character. A kind of reward for beating the game, let's just say. Or maybe her abilities can actually be balanced without destroying her concept, who knows. But I personally think having a pretty much entire roster is enough reason to play FFTA2 again.

If people actually want to work on this with me, I'll be happy to put up the hacking notes somewhere. From what I gather, most people are perfectly comfortable with just chipping in ideas, which is perfectly fine.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 04:43:17 PM by Lennart »
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Eternal [Posts: 3069]
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  • [December 21, 2012, 05:17:52 PM]
Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of Chaos
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2012, 05:17:52 PM »
I would LOVE to see a rebalance for FFTA2, especially since I'm working on FFTA currently. I feel like a lot of changes I made in FFTA: GG would also be needed for FFTA2, but that's just me.

I would start by pointing out a few things that stood out as balance issues to me that you haven't mentioned:

Problem: The Auctionhouse

With just a bit of patience and lots of resting, you can have late-game weapons mid-game. Naturally, this poses a problem on several fronts. Not only are you getting uber gear, you're getting the uber abilities that said gear teaches.

Solution: No idea! The "easy" thing to do would be to totally shut the auctionhouse down, but that'd probably take a lot of ASM knowledge that none of us have.

Problem: Ultima stuff in general.

Solution: Even if you increase the MP cost and reduce the means of replenishing MP, Ultima needs to be limited further, IMO. In GG, I made it act as a normal spell (instead of 3x weapon damage), and made it cost a lot of MP, and made it Nu Mou only. Not sure if that's something you'd consider or not, but that's my two cents.

I know there was other stuff, but I'll add them as I remember them. Also, I would love to see you post your notes either here or on the Wiki.

Welcome to FFH, where all your dreams come true!~

    • Modding version: PSX & WotL
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  • "You, no less human than we? Ha! Now there's a beastly thought. You've been less than we from the moment your baseborn father fell upon your mother in whatever gutter saw you sired! You've been chattel since you came into the world drenched in common blood!"
    Lennart [Posts: 24]
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    • [December 21, 2012, 06:26:17 PM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #2 on: December 21, 2012, 06:26:17 PM »
    I've figured out how to change auction house rewards.
    « Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 04:42:28 PM by Lennart »
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    • [December 21, 2012, 06:36:17 PM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #3 on: December 21, 2012, 06:36:17 PM »
    Nerfing the rewards would certainly be a better option than flat out removing the Auctionhouse.

    As far as Gria/Seeq are concerned, frankly, they don't really fulfill any role that the other races don't. Gria can Fly, so perhaps making each of their jobs based on Archery or other long-range stuff would work. Seeq should probably be bulkier and focus more on melee combat, though that might make Bangaa look less desirable.

    As for adding to the Wiki, I just added a FFTA/A2 section below Notes, so feel free to throw your stuff in there. :)

    • Modding version: PSX & WotL
    • Discord username: eternal248#1817
  • "You, no less human than we? Ha! Now there's a beastly thought. You've been less than we from the moment your baseborn father fell upon your mother in whatever gutter saw you sired! You've been chattel since you came into the world drenched in common blood!"
    Lennart [Posts: 24]
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    • [December 21, 2012, 08:05:54 PM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #4 on: December 21, 2012, 08:05:54 PM »
    Definitely not relevant.
    « Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 04:41:47 PM by Lennart »
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    Eternal [Posts: 3069]
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    • [December 23, 2012, 12:21:53 AM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #5 on: December 23, 2012, 12:21:53 AM »
    No worries, all notes are appreciated! On a random aside, do you know how to change what Hard Mode edits?

    • Modding version: PSX & WotL
    • Discord username: eternal248#1817
  • "You, no less human than we? Ha! Now there's a beastly thought. You've been less than we from the moment your baseborn father fell upon your mother in whatever gutter saw you sired! You've been chattel since you came into the world drenched in common blood!"
    Lennart [Posts: 24]
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    • [December 23, 2012, 02:20:44 AM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #6 on: December 23, 2012, 02:20:44 AM »
    There is a clue. Here's an Action Replay code which supposedly doubles enemy stats.

    920b4fe8 0000ff1e
    020b4fec e1d003b4
    94000130 fcff0000
    020b4fec eafd2c2e
    e20000ac 00000044
    e92d0010 e1a03000
    e1a0600e e3a05008
    e3a04002 e3550000
    e1d373b4 1b000004
    12455001 1afffffa
    e1d003b4 e8bd0010
    e12fff16 e0070794
    e1c373b4 e2833002
    e12fff1e 00000000
    d2000000 00000000

    I know for a fact that enemy stats aren't stored. They're calculated based on their level, which is sometimes calculated based on your average clan level. Hard mode probably has a little bit shifter that ups all the stats on calculation and this code might be derived from that. Of course, it might have no connection to hard mode. I'll have to brush up on assembly and how Action Replay works to dissect this...probably to no avail too. It might just iterate enemy stat tables and shift rather than mess with code.

    On a brighter note, I've made a massive breakthrough with ability effects. I now have mastery over every effect in the game, from accuracy to unique damage calculations. This is all thanks to a epic reformatting of my Excel sheets, which also makes checking edited data easier (testing mods isn't just about booting up the game). These Excel sheets are way more useful than reading off a table in a wiki. Several other useful unknowns have been cleared up, like where Alchemists get their Item ability set from and what makes Zombies 'undead'.

    Speaking of wikis, please note that my notes there are far from complete. I'm going to be focussing on actually hacking instead of wiki editing for now so it might stay that way for a bit. I doubt anyone except you, Eternal, has even seen the page or know of this project anyway. I've pretty much given up hope on a serious balance discussion too. I'll just have to use my own knowledge and research to verify any changes. I never really expected any attention :/
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    Eternal [Posts: 3069]
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    • [December 23, 2012, 02:27:10 AM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #7 on: December 23, 2012, 02:27:10 AM »
    Well, I wouldn't be so keen on giving up before you've even started. A more prudent course of action is to continue your findings, maybe release an editor or something, and then use that knowledge to make a rebalance. A lot of time went into researching FFT and FFTA before rebalances were even discussed, so I suspect A2 will be similar in that regard.

    • Modding version: PSX & WotL
    • Discord username: eternal248#1817
  • "You, no less human than we? Ha! Now there's a beastly thought. You've been less than we from the moment your baseborn father fell upon your mother in whatever gutter saw you sired! You've been chattel since you came into the world drenched in common blood!"
    Lennart [Posts: 24]
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    • [December 23, 2012, 03:30:49 AM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #8 on: December 23, 2012, 03:30:49 AM »
    I'm not saying I'm giving up. I'm saying I'm going to just truck on alone and that it's disappointing to only have one person show interest.

    Also, I just found someone else's legacy. It contains a truckload of data which took me many many many hours to decipher. I am legitimately about to cry. It goes on too, detailing things like name/description data, starting team data, graphical data...even the entire bazaar has been dissected. While his notes are really devoid of, well, notes (and sometimes off by a byte...) they contain valuable information nonetheless. Sadly, he has not cracked how special jobs work or how to modify what jobs are available for switching. Neither has he touched the auction house or hard mode or actually figured out what I have listed as 'unknown' within the data.

    However, one must look ahead. Despite being devastated at how much redundant work I've done, I will be the one to make the first FFTA2 mod. I'm also thinking about making a tool but alas, I do not actually know how to program a tool. It makes much more sense than playing with Excel sheets.
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    • [December 23, 2012, 03:48:06 AM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #9 on: December 23, 2012, 03:48:06 AM »
    I wouldn't get discouraged. It took ages for FFTA modding to become even slightly noticed, and I'm sure it'll be the same case with A2. Once mods and stuff start being developed, there'll be a ton more focus on it. So don't be disappointed! This happens with everything. :)

    I look forward to seeing your work! Once I finish my incredibly long list of projects, I'll be taking a shot at A2 as well.

    • Modding version: PSX & WotL
    • Discord username: eternal248#1817
  • "You, no less human than we? Ha! Now there's a beastly thought. You've been less than we from the moment your baseborn father fell upon your mother in whatever gutter saw you sired! You've been chattel since you came into the world drenched in common blood!"
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    • [December 23, 2012, 04:21:05 AM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #10 on: December 23, 2012, 04:21:05 AM »
    I'm interested as well, just unsure of how to help. I did wanna see what you got done on your own first, and i'm impressed. You put out more effort than I think I ever could for something like this, no matter how badly I wanted it done.
    Lennart [Posts: 24]
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    • [December 23, 2012, 05:32:41 AM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #11 on: December 23, 2012, 05:32:41 AM »
    Blog post? lolwut
    « Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 04:41:15 PM by Lennart »
    Lennart [Posts: 24]
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    • [December 26, 2012, 06:05:10 PM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #12 on: December 26, 2012, 06:05:10 PM »
    I'd just like to bump and point out that I've reached a real big milestone.

    I have found the location of all the data that I feel needs editing in a vanilla-esque mod. I've also dissected all the vital parts of it so it's ready to be edited.

    Check the first post for details. Or you can read my blog tier post above this one.

    The only thing I haven't addressed is hard mode (which I'm sure is all assembly) since if I make the game harder, hard mode will become hard and normal mode will become normal. Thing is, I don't want to turn this into a Fire Emblem forcing a casual player to reset 50 times a mission. I want it to be more challenging yes, but mostly more 'interesting' if that makes any sense. Like making all jobs viable and unique and posing new challenges to the player rather than just making everything 20 levels higher and calling anyone who fails at it a noob (common 'hard game' community attitude).
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    • [December 26, 2012, 06:27:43 PM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #13 on: December 26, 2012, 06:27:43 PM »
    Very nice work! This is a huge milestone, congrats on all your hard work. As far as challenge goes, I think editing items and enemy encounters will go a long way towards making things harder, but still balanced. I don't put much credit in the give-everything-20-levels method. Naturally, skill/stat rebalancing will also be a large part of it.

    • Modding version: PSX & WotL
    • Discord username: eternal248#1817
  • "You, no less human than we? Ha! Now there's a beastly thought. You've been less than we from the moment your baseborn father fell upon your mother in whatever gutter saw you sired! You've been chattel since you came into the world drenched in common blood!"
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    • [December 26, 2012, 06:40:25 PM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #14 on: December 26, 2012, 06:40:25 PM »
    As far as challenge goes, I think editing items and enemy encounters will go a long way towards making things harder, but still balanced. I don't put much credit in the give-everything-20-levels method. Naturally, skill/stat rebalancing will also be a large part of it.

    "Be wise today so you don't cry tomorrow"
    Lennart [Posts: 24]
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    • [December 26, 2012, 09:51:11 PM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #15 on: December 26, 2012, 09:51:11 PM »
    Not relevant.
    « Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 04:40:43 PM by Lennart »
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    Eternal [Posts: 3069]
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    • [December 29, 2012, 06:48:32 PM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #16 on: December 29, 2012, 06:48:32 PM »
    I like your ideas so far. I'll comment more on them probably after New Years sometime this upcoming week.

    • Modding version: PSX & WotL
    • Discord username: eternal248#1817
  • "You, no less human than we? Ha! Now there's a beastly thought. You've been less than we from the moment your baseborn father fell upon your mother in whatever gutter saw you sired! You've been chattel since you came into the world drenched in common blood!"
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    • [December 29, 2012, 06:54:36 PM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #17 on: December 29, 2012, 06:54:36 PM »
    Not a bad start at all. Keep up the good work

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    Lennart [Posts: 24]
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    • [December 29, 2012, 08:28:15 PM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #18 on: December 29, 2012, 08:28:15 PM »
    No longer really relevant, made some serious discussions with formerdeathcorps and I made some fundamental errors in some concepts. Probably not gonna write up another set of notes.
    « Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 04:40:16 PM by Lennart »
    MountainDew~ [Posts: 89]
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    • [January 07, 2013, 04:49:24 PM]
    Re: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Abyss
    « Reply #19 on: January 07, 2013, 04:49:24 PM »
    Looks like items will take over the second command slot once again, especially if normal attacks require MP, elixers/ethers are going to be really important.
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