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May 21, 2022, 06:13:07 am

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Use of ePSXe before 2.0 is highly discouraged. Mednafen/RetroArch is recommended for playing/testing, pSX is recommended for debugging.


FFTA Mod: Final Fantasy TicTacs Advance (FFTTA)

Started by ScarletMagi, May 30, 2021, 09:42:08 am

ScarletMagi

May 30, 2021, 09:42:08 am Last Edit: January 15, 2022, 12:07:41 pm by ScarletMagi
Hi everyone, I'm new here, but I thought it would only be time to come out of my shell since I had something to show.
I've been working on and off on my mod for the last... maybe 8 years? I figured it might be time to show what I'm working on.

I decided to call the hack Final Fantasy TicTacs Advance mainly because I find it vaguely funny, but also to signify the hack kinda twists FFTA on its head, without fiddling with the aesthetics.

A vast number of things have been recalculated from scratch and follow a new logic for balance.
  • All strategy balancing is based on the fact that MP starts at 0 in battle and characters gain 10% of their MP every turn.
  • Abilities have been recalculated so that minor or unpredictable effects cost way less than skills with major effects. Almost every class (especially magic classes) has a few skills and spells that cost 0 MP, but do minor effects (often at good range or supporting allies), while the vast majority of abilities have an MP cost, and certain powerful effects have been relegated to high MP costs (regardless of whether the ability is in any way "magical").
  • Magic attack spells and magic classes are balanced to be played very differently from physical classes. While high physical attack classes can consistently do high damage every turn with normal attacks, magic attack classes will need to "load" for some turns by doing minor 0 MP abilities that don't do magic attack damage (or by waiting), then unleash very powerful magic damage spells on the enemy
  • Stats are based on the idea that the game should start somewhat easy but with fast "rocket-tag" battles(allies and enemies all die quite quickly), while slowly becoming more difficult with much more defensive characters and slower battles. Attack starts somewhat high but tends to grow very little with level ups, while HP starts somewhat low but tends to grow a lot with level ups.
  • Defenses and Speed are more bound to equipment than job stats, Speed can be increased very little, while Defense can be increased by equipment quite a lot.
  • Characters have a selection of equipment and movement/evasion/jump that tends to match with their stat bases and growths.  For example high attack growth for classes with high attack equipment, high HP growth for classes with high defenses equipment and/or high evasion. MP, Speed and Movement have been lumped together as a "Utility" stat, so a class with high MP growth will have high Speed equipment and/or high Movement.
  • Various abilities have been banned or made much harder to use in order to ensure gameplay stays defensive but not endless. For example it is extremely difficult to bring units back to life if they are knocked out. Which means some battles can be tense due to leaving both parties down to very few characters.
  • AP costs are much lower. Most active abilities require 50 AP to learn, and most R/S abilities cost 100 AP, with the exception of Learning which requires 999 AP (more sabers teach Learning than usual). Ultima abilities are just 100 AP.

The number of things I changed is massive, but what I have avoided is the creation of new classes. Gadgeteer and Morpher skills have been completely reworked, and skillsets for all classes are generally very different, but you can expect to see all the familiar names and have a general gist of what they do (with some surprises here and there).

I find it hard to explain the changes without showing the data directly and I have probably forgotten a few major things, so I have made this Google Sheet file to show all the changes in a hopefully somewhat understandable manner:
VERSION 2021-09-24 (current)
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14Fw5QU31gST2XFv7f7BN2HkUjYZAbFHlsae_tvs4g54/edit?usp=sharing
Skill explanations have NOT been edited at the moment, so please use the Skills sheet to know the actual effects of skills!

You can also find an absolutely incomprehensible and massive working file here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10p1xE9qXRNOOo4UZWaEoVQGvJ-GKHLO-2JAyMA30yxo/edit?usp=sharing
It's filled with weird balancing formulas and it lays bare some of the frankly bizarre logic I used in a number of places.

Please note that the current product is unfinished because I haven't really worked on enemy formations past Thesis Hunt yet. I'm not sure when I will have time for such a gargantuan task. All I've done so far is shoot up the levels in mid and late game using an exponential formula, but the game still gets too easy against non-monsters in the mid and late game, because they are still using vanilla equipment selections and their skill selection is pretty much random (vanilla skill selection, but since the skills have been moved around, they might have whatever). If you want a general idea of how I will handle enemy equipment and formations in the future, you can check out the battles until Thesis Hunt (keeping in mind I want the game to have a difficulty curve, so that's supposed to be the easy part), but after that, it's a bit of a toss up. On the other hand, some monster battles might be nigh impossible.

Known glitches and possible balance problems:
  • Skill explanations are completely wrong 90% of the time
  • Formations haven't been adjusted past Thesis Hunt
  • Some classes might show a star when all available abilities were learned, some won't. This is because not all skills are available but they are still in the list for that class in the background
  • Some abilities have minor graphical glitches that don't affect the gameplay and don't freeze the game. It's a bit annoying but not game breaking.
  • {could not replicate in 2021-09-07 version onwards, seems solved) Sometimes zombies freeze the game but I can't understand what's causing it
  • (WORKAROUND IN 2021-09-07 onwards. Could not resolve, so I have removed the knockback effect for Rush in favor of Immobilize status) It seems Rush can occasionally freeze the game, even though I haven't messed with the animation or the knockback effect at all.

Feel free to leave any comments and if you do play it, please let me know how it went!

Changelog 2021-06-11
Changed monster skills that morpher and blue mage can learn to not bypass silence.
Red Mage attack spells changed from -ra spells back to base spells (due to how MP work in this mod, this is not exactly a nerf)
Reduced Cura MP cost to 24 and power reduced to 53
Fixed molboro's bad breath (it was failing all the time due to an error)
Nerfed Llednar defense/resistances (design decision) and Battle Queen speed (due to an error she had 6 times the speed she was supposed to have)
Readjusted AI use of items (might need additional tinkering in the future)
Evil Gaze was set to range 5 by mistake, changed to 9 as by documents

Changelog 2021-09-07: Not compatible with previous versions.
Stats calculated completely differently.
Altered skills and skillsets in a variety of ways.
Changed AI priorities for skill use so that they will use skills more often.
Main thing to note is that attack variation is lower, monster defenses are lower, character hp are lower, but monster hp can reach higher values for boss-like enemies. Also poison, demi/quarter and lowering defense are more expensive effects.
I suggest to simply consult the spreadsheet linked above for a full view of this version.

Changelog 2021-09-24: Same as 2021-09-07 with some changes on the skills and skillsets, plus with strong increase in monster stats.
Increased the cost of skills inflicting the following statuses compared to previous version: slow [significantly], poison [massively], quicken.
Decreased the cost of skills inflicting the following statuses compared to previous version: immobilise, sleep, disable.
Increased the cost of skills with demi effect.
Changed various skills and skillsets to adjust around these changes.
Decreased the cost of white wind.
Monster defense increased significantly.
Various monsters had their speed increased.
Other monster stats increased and modified.
The changes in this versions make it more difficult to fight monsters in late game. To kill monsters either defense reduction is required, or use of poison/demi, however either these effects are costly.
Quicken cost was increased to avoid a late game exploit where two moogle gadgeteers or jugglers with time magic were able to cast it on each other indefinitely, for infinite turns (and therefore infinite MP).
Slow was too easy to consistently rely on at cost 0.

Changelog 2022-01-15: changed to a ups patch and added early way to check for patching. IPS patch seemed to be having a problem. Other than that, 2022-01-15 is the same as 2021-09-24.



HOW TO KNOW YOU HAVE PATCHED CORRECTLY
In the snowball fight at the very start of the game, all the characters will have at least 250 HP and 250 MP, instead of the vanilla small pool of HP and 0 MP.
  • Modding version: Other/Unknown

matchet

I agree with all the points explained at the beggining and that you are trying to achieve. Will follow your project with interest, looks promising.

Hope you find out the gamebreaking bugs. Perhaps another mod has encountered similar problems in the past and writes you back a possible solution (?).

Good luck and greetings with the formations. Is a gargantuan work indeed
  • Modding version: Other/Unknown

Reshki

Having fun so far. Love the ideas behind magic, almost feels like Cantrips in DnD.

I was just wondering, will the tooltips/spell descriptions and what not ever be editted to be accurate??
&&
Has Control been removed from the game?? I couldn't find it in your Speadsheet. How will someone go about getting skills for Blue Mage without monster controlling?

EDIT: I misremembered how this game worked in regards to beastmaster ignore the strikethrough comment lol
  • Modding version: Other/Unknown

ScarletMagi

Quote from: matchet on June 13, 2021, 04:54:31 pmI agree with all the points explained at the beggining and that you are trying to achieve. Will follow your project with interest, looks promising.
Hope you find out the gamebreaking bugs. Perhaps another mod has encountered similar problems in the past and writes you back a possible solution (?).
Good luck and greetings with the formations. Is a gargantuan work indeed
Thank you! I'm glad you are interested.
The game has been freezing a lot less and so far it seems to be mostly just Rush that has an issue. Aside for freezing, I wouldn't consider most issues game breaking, even the lack of those two dispatch missions seems to keep the game finishable so far. I'll probably need to ask in a separate thread about the dispatch mission issue.
Thanks again for the good luck, I'll need it :D

Quote from: Reshki on June 23, 2021, 01:25:37 pmHaving fun so far. Love the ideas behind magic, almost feels like Cantrips in DnD.
I was just wondering, will the tooltips/spell descriptions and what not ever be editted to be accurate??
&&
Has Control been removed from the game?? I couldn't find it in your Speadsheet. How will someone go about getting skills for Blue Mage without monster controlling?
EDIT: I misremembered how this game worked in regards to beastmaster ignore the strikethrough comment lol
Happy to hear you are giving it a go! I've played a lot of 3.5 and 5e dnd, so there's a non-zero chance that it was the inspiration for the 0mp spells while waiting to get back bigger spells to cast. I'm glad you are enjoying that aspect!
I will tackle the tooltips once I'm 100% sure of the skillsets, costs and effects of skills. To give you an example... at the moment skills are decently set, but I keep running some calculations around late game attackVSdefense, poison, quarter, demi and defense break, and I'm pretty sure I'll have to lower non-monster attack growth, keep attack base the same, lower monster defense, and then make all the skills with those effects a whole lot more expensive to use, which means I will need to reorder the skillsets. So as you can see skills are still a little floaty for me to be setting the descriptions in stone, and I find text manipulation in roms a bit flimsy, so I'd rather do it only once at the end.
Glad you sorted the beastmaster :D you might be interested to know that Dragon Force and Mighty Guard have been locked out of the blue mage skillset by being changed to be caster-only skills, and Guard-Off is annoying to learn because beastmaster can't control dragons anymore.
  • Modding version: Other/Unknown

ScarletMagi

September 07, 2021, 09:31:32 am #4 Last Edit: September 24, 2021, 06:35:26 pm by ScarletMagi
Hi all, I have uploaded a new version of the mod (2021-09-07) Characters generated in the previous versions are not compatible with characters generated in this version.

See OP for more info on changes.

Please let me know how you find it.

Update 2021-09-07: New version, completely overhauled. Not compatible with previous versions.
Stats calculated completely differently.
Altered skills and skillsets in a variety of ways.
Changed AI priorities for skill use so that they will use skills more often.
Main thing to note is that attack variation is lower, monster defenses are lower, character hp are lower, but monster hp can reach higher values for boss-like enemies. Also poison, demi/quarter and lowering defense are more expensive effects.
I suggest to simply consult the spreadsheet linked above for a full view of this version.
  • Modding version: Other/Unknown

ScarletMagi

Apologies for the double post if not allowed. Made new version 2021-09-24.

I removed 2021-09-07 for download from OP as it's very similar to 2021-09-24 but without various improvements. I kept 2021-06-11 in OP since it's very different and incompatible with 2021-09-24.

Update 2021-09-24: Same as 2021-09-07 with some changes on the skills and skillsets, plus with strong increase in monster stats.
Increased the cost of skills inflicting the following statuses compared to previous version: slow [significantly], poison [massively], quicken.
Decreased the cost of skills inflicting the following statuses compared to previous version: immobilise, sleep, disable.
Increased the cost of skills with demi effect.
Changed various skills and skillsets to adjust around these changes.
Decreased the cost of white wind.
Monster defense increased significantly.
Various monsters had their speed increased.
Other monster stats increased and modified.
The changes in this versions make it more difficult to fight monsters in late game. To kill monsters either defense reduction is required, or use of poison/demi, however either these effects are costly.
Quicken cost was increased to avoid a late game exploit where two moogle gadgeteers or jugglers with time magic were able to cast it on each other indefinitely, for infinite turns (and therefore infinite MP).
Slow was too easy to consistently rely on at cost 0.
  • Modding version: Other/Unknown