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SteelGolem

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since i don't have long enough time blocks for the next bunch of days because of holiday visiting, the following is all i have to post about. can't code when you can't put in 3-4 hours, unless its something simple..

ff1 dawn of souls.

anyways, i went up and beat tiamat. she was a massive pushover, like she had no chance at all. i was boosting one of my wms with saber and she fell before i even attacked with that character. i almost felt bad for her. i figured i'd run the third new dungeon again, for another judgement staff.

then i got to the bottom and decided to take on omega. wow, he hits hard. he's got four attacks: earthquake (always misses everyone), lightning (~200lit-all), wave cannon (~150-all), and some kind of beam (~750-one). he probably has a physical attack too, i don't remember it being brought out. that beam really beats the shit out me. my guys are 800-900maxhp so everyone can survive a shot if they're near max, but a lightning or wave cannon next round will finish the job.

gotta run the numbers. life brings them back to 1hp, and curaga/healaga restores 250hp-300hp, so even with two people dedicated to healing, you're still only bringing back 600hp max to everyone each round. he's got first-attack every round probably due to his agility being way higher than mine. the only way i can do this is if i healaga with 3 people every single round and anticipate that he'll continually be using that goddamn beam. that leaves one wm to do... something.

if i have that wm focus on flare-ing, thats only about 400dmg a turn, and we're going to run out of mp for healaga long before that wm can take omega down. so the only option left is to have that wm saber for a loooong time and get their attack up to do 2000 damage or something a round, if thats even possible. gonna try that.

what was that all about?

i figured i'd throw that stuff in there because i actually enjoy that kind of thing from time to time. omega is an optional boss, and i'm certain he's the most powerful boss in the game. i could probably go take on chaos right now and beat him.. though i'm not positive, i didn't beat him with my white wizards yet >_>

anyways, i don't want to find myself trying to guess at the kinds of things i want in my game. i figured that i should take pleasurable experiences i'm having with games currently, and write them down so i can examine them from an actionRPG perspective. let's see what i come up with.

bestiary.

ideally i would have a bestiary, and as soon as i hit omega with something that it was strong or weak against, that information would become available in the entry. as soon as there was any interaction with the boss, it would be - but every interaction we would have that would show information about the boss would be revealed in the bestiary upon discovery. so even if omega beat you, when the team was resurrected they could look in the bestiary and see the new entry and check out information about him.

Omega - new!
[pictar]
[pictar]
[pictar]
hp: > 5473 - new!
????
????
strong vs fire - new!
absorbs lightning - new!

(i made this stuff up, i didn't look the info up)

i wonder if any of the ff's provided this level of info? well they should. would their attacks be listed, as well as attributes and damage? should you be able to tell their defense from a series of physical attacks? (and so on.)

boss encounters

is the boss experience better when its focused solely on the boss? in many games, i've found the designers sealing the player in a room with the boss, leaving only two options: kill or be killed. in FF they simply deny you the Flee command 100% of the time. the other side of the coin is to let the player come and go as the game would normally allow, and to treat the boss as a "more significant" mostly-regular foe. which is better?

if you seal a room off, you wind up with a few results you wouldn't necessarily have otherwise. in a sealed room, you can anchor the camera in the center and ideally show the entire battle space for the entiretly of the battle. you can keep an eye on the boss more easily this way, and you won't miss anything cool it does. there's more of a sense of urgency when you don't have an escape route, as well. there tends to be better rewards when you defeat a sealed boss, though i'm not sure if the two things go hand in hand - or if it's just an expectation on the part of the player. sealing a room with a boss often helps to signify the importance of the battle, as well.

while i'm not against sealing you into boss rooms, i still like having the freedom to fight or not fight, or the ability to run away midway through a battle. minibosses or roaming super-tough non-boss monsters are always a pleasure to encounter. i think of diablo unique monsters and ff12 marks, or even the gold monsters from minish cap. ideally you're going to wind up with extra loot or fatter exp returns when you kill them.

i guess there's a place for both situations in the same game, in my opinion. there are lots of ways to seal exits, though, aren't there? from scripted "we can't risk bringing this too close to town!" and being forced back away.. to literally dropping physical barriers in the way of every exit. in the end, a healthy balance of sealed and unsealed bosses will suit actionRPG best.

hit or miss.

one of the things i'm making sure not to put into actionRPG is a "miss" roll. i HATE it when games put that in an action game. if your sprite or attack model visibly collides or passes through your target, then you can't deny the player that. its so damn aggravating! I HIT SO REWARD ME! anyways, so how then should i do AI regarding that?

obviously there are going to be some AI with terrible aim, and some with awesome aim. the simplest case is a missile weapon: the AI has a target they want to hit with some kind of projectile like an arrow or fireball. in many cases games tend to give perfect aim, and you just have to move aside a little bit to avoid it.

so what about that? i get to thinking about doom with this. in doom there are a few different monsters with missile attacks that don't track - cacodemon, imp, those fat demons, and so on. when they throw their missile, you just need to do a little sidestep and you're free and clear of it. i call that "missile management".

now, there's a "powerup" in doom called "partial invisibility" that screws up the monsters' aim so you can stand still and have a chance not to be hit. i put the word "powerup" in quotes for a reason. because of the random nature of the projectiles while you've got partial invisibility, you can't manage them reliably. in this situation i actually find it harder to predict where the imp is going to throw the fireball. is the powerup actually a powerdown in my case? i avoid the things like the plague unless i'm playing multiplayer.

with that in mind, i need to think to myself that perfect-aim is an easier AI to play against than random-aim. so if i'm going to make a boss with a projectile attack, and i want to make it harder, i would want to randomize its targeting somewhat - let it have perfect aim and then add on a little random angle that might throw it offcenter by a little, just enough to keep the player guessing. omega's beam weapons would be harder to deal with in an action game if it were to fire in a slightly random pattern.

etc.

the stuff was kinda out of nowhere, wasn't it? well it was just some of the thoughts i had after rereading the ff1 bit. thats kind of the idea, i post something i'm doing or thinking that i'm enjoying, and reread it to try and get a different perspective on it, for use with my game (as i said before). guess it worked out this time. [grin]
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I don't get the "You missed!" thing either. It can't be so hard to make a defend or dodge animation, sometimes they've got special animations for a single stupid point in the plot, what the hell? If I actually saw the enemy defending or dodging it would be easier to accept it. If you think about it, *any* battle in *any* game looks totally ridiculous: they slash each other like crazy and never even blink.

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