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Cipher3D

elements of a final fantasy clone

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can anybody list their opinion of what they think are good final fantasy elements, and bad final fantasy elements. Note that I italicized opinion, so, do not rebuke each other for differing opinions =). i''m thinking of what elements i want to include in my RPG design, but I want to avoid at all costs a cut-and-dry FF3 clone.

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By FF3 do you mean FF3 or FF6(aka FF3 in the US).
One of my favorite FF elements was the job system seen if 3,5 and tactics. You choose the characters job, and they acquire exp and Job Points in battle. The characters job determines what bonuses they get at level, and when JP reaches certain levels you acquire a new skill.

The item skill system of FF9 was good. Basicllay the items your equiped with have skills and abilites that they teach you, when you aquire enough Item Points.

The Materia system would also good.

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Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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I hated the item skill system. It doesn''t make any sense at all, except maybe for magical spells. You get an item that casts a spell, and after using your Third Eye to watch it weave the energies for the spell a dozen, or a hundred, or a thousand times (depending on the spell''s complexity) you learn how to do it yourself. For things like "counterattack", forget it. I don''t need a hat to teach me how to hit a guy back.

FF6 had a very good storytelling system, at least in the second half. The ability to go on side-quests and learn about the characters and the world was a great feature, because it provided rewards to the player, as well as to the characters.

The job class system was good, but not great. I''d rather see a game where you can "train as" something instead of "becoming" it. Why is it that when my supermonk puts on a white mage''s robe he forgets how to take a punch? A level eight ninja becomes slow and clumsy just because he''s dressed as a summoner. It''s silly. You can divide skills, and even equipment into classes, but don''t make characters "lock into" one. But I really liked being able to specialize my characters, and maxxing out the various jobs and skills adds replay value for the hardcore gamer.

I''ve never really been a huge fan of the FF combat systems, even though tthey''re pretty much the standard. Something more like Star Ocean or Final Fantasy Tactics or any of the other systems that allow characters to use distance and cooperation in a more fluid way would be preferable to me. With the FF systems you generally just stand toe-to-toe with the bad guys and exchange blows, which is a little too much like rolling dice around a table for me.

I dislike linearity, which most FF games have in spades. FF6 broke it up a little in that second half, and that was nice, but the other games generally just leave you one way to go.

I like the ability to "swap out" party member, although FFX''s system of doing it mid-battle was a little weird. If they were standing right there, why weren''t they throwing bricks or something?

Splitting the party up so you can go through a dungeon in more than one way is alse nice. FF6 did this in a few places, and did it well. Later games used it, but less elegantly.

An overworld map is a good thing. FFX got rid of it, and that sucked. Definitely use an overworld map, even if it''s just like the one in FFT, with locations connected by little dotted lines.

Be careful about random enemy encounters. I''d rather see three pretty tough fights on my way through a forest than endure fifty skirmishes with rats or bugs. Watching the little intro animation and then watching my guys dance after the fact often took more time than the actual battle, and after about a dozen such fights I''m not interested in any more poisonous beetles.

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i think random encounters are ridiculous, but some people justify them as a good way to level up...why not just actually place the enemies where you can see them (instead of just encountering a spot on a flour and this big huge wolf comes out of nowhere).

yes, i am definitely thinking about a overworld map. no sense in creating one huge map =).

Also, for a battle system, i''m going to incorporate some strategy elements in it, aka a radius based system where melee fighters are more heavy armored, but they stick close to their enemies, while your ranged characters are on the outskirts, attacking from afar. The player can move characters about to eitehr get them out of harms way or to place them in a more strategic point. I haven''t perfected this yet, just an idea.

I really don''t like FF battle system that much, I was going for a chrono trigger style approach - it doesn''t zoom in this different background, it just stays in the same world setting but in battle mode. This complements my strategy approach above.

haven''t come up with a good skill system yet...

thanks for all the replies!

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walking in a 4-tile "circle" to kill orges repeatedly (for about two hours), so you don''t die in the dark elf''s dungeon.

oh, and METEO!


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I remember doing that, back when I was playing Final Fantasy on my nintendo.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Favorite fantasy element: half-naked sword-fighting chicks!

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quote:
Original post by Cipher3D
what is you guys'' take on charge meters?


As in the active time system? I don''t like it. Give me turn-based-affected-by-character-speed system of FFX and Tactics.

I like it when the characters have distinct skills. 7 and 8 were awful about that. Every character played the same because they could all be taught the same skills. FFX was pretty good about that until later in the game when the sphere grid opened up.

I don''t like how magic and special skills often become unnecessary in the end-game. If your regular hit is doing 9,999, why should you bother using magic?

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The crack about the ogres in FF is a good one. Make sure there''s no point where you can''t do anything until you raise fifteen levels. That was the worst game-balancing error in the history of RPGs. The worst part of that is that you''re also trying to save up the 4000 GP you need for the damn silver sword (or two if your party has two swordsmen, but I always went with the Black Belt, since he''s so economical, and at the end he punches harder than the masamune), and there are asps everywhere that poison you, so you''re burning funds on antidotes, which you can only buy one at a time, and the ogres are tough, but not worth much money or experience, and damn, that game pissed me off so badly.

I thought "charge meters" was referring to things like limit breaks, or the various incarnations of that idea in the FF games. I think it''s a difficult thing to justify. The "Trance" system in FFIX sucked, because you''d just trance out at the end of a battle against slime mold and then your meter is empty at the boss fight. But the system in FFX, where you could use the special skills at will after the meter fills convolutes the explanation for what it is. I can get super pissed in a fight, so I can unlock my killer move, but then I can just hold on to that rage for a few days until I meet an enemy worthy of it? Nah.

I have a complex suggestion that is mostly predicated on different ideas from a variety of systems. In FF6, when your HP got very low, you would randomly do a super-move just using the "attack" command. In FFIX, when Zidane went into "Trance" mode, his various thieving skills turned into "Dyne" skills, and so every time he learned a new thief skill, he''d unlock a new Dyne skill as well. In Secret of Mana, when you got your magic levels past level 8, you could boost them as high as 8:99 (there was no level 9), and the closer you got, the better your chances of invoking the super version of the spell, which was considerably more powerful, and prettier besides. Bear all these systems in mind while I tell you what I think would be a great new kind of charge meter system.

Have each character learn a number of different attacks or special moves. Either straight attacks with different properties (penetrating attacks, poisoning attacks, mugging, etc) or a variety of different special moves (healing, buffing, hiding, etc.), so that the player can choose from a number of "core" moves each turn (no MP cost, just special moves intrinsic to the character). Then, make a "powered up" version of each ("one-inch punch" for "punch", "loot" for "steal", "riposte" for "guard", etc.) and have the super-version become more probable as their HP dwindles. If you have over 50% HP, you''ll never see these super moves, but as you get more and more beat up, you''ll use them more and more frequently.

This way, the player gets to choose which kind of move he wants to use, his "hidden rage" is justified by HP loss, and the moves are acquired (or maybe even levelled up) through the course of the game. That''s the sort of thing I''d like to see.

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Iron Chef, just out of curiosity since you've criticized many aspects of the FF series, what's your favorite console RPG? Judging by what you've said, that you don't like random battles, or the FF battle system, or linearity (among other things), I can't really think of any RPGs you'd like.

[edited by - a_zircon on March 28, 2004 5:28:57 PM]

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well, I''d say the best console rpgs are with out a doubt. CronoTrigger(snes), and Persona 2: eternal punishment(psx)

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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I happen to like the FF series, but I wand to dump on what didn''t work. FF7 was my favorite game incidentally.

"World Maps" as in the place where your player wanders around alone with all of these tiny little city icons, nope, bad idea. Tactics, MarioRPG, Xenogears, Legaia Dual Saga, Legend of Dragoon. All better ideas as far as thats concerned. Its not so much that the maps are a bad idea, just that they''re so sparse and fileld with random battles. Xenogears at least gave you cities to wander around in from a birdseye view.

On that same token, Random Battles suck. We''ve progressed enough that we can afford to have the monsters waiting for me on the field, and I can walk around them, or strategize my fight with them.

Active-Time ... Hrm... Its almost a good idea, just I''m not to keep that stealing from an enemy and scanning him, and using an item, all use the same Time quantity. Also, prioritizing needs to become an important factor. Quite often I''ve selected an elixer from a menu item, waited, watched an enemy killed who I was going to use it on, and then watched my character use the elixer on the dead guy. I mean, if I tell someone to do something, and I had to wait for his turn, he better do it as soon as I press the confirm button.

FF9''s Trance was irritating. I trance out on the minor enemies and have an empty meter on the boss. FF8''s version of it just meant if I had the time, I could keep hitting triangle until the option appeared. FF7''s was about the same as FF9''s, except that I could save it for a turn. FFX, the same. I think its all a bad idea anyway, so lets move on.

MP is a bad idea. .hack//infection has a better way where it (SP) recovers every second, and thats a vast improvement as far as I''m concerned.

FFX''s equipment options was stupid. 99 antidotes to get a poison-proof option, yeah, I got your option right here.

The Job systems are an interesting idea, but the carrying of skills across needs to be considered. Changing WhiteMage to Fighter shouldn''t mean I lose the white magics.

The Sphere grid was sorta interesting, but I think there was an error in it''s execution. I may be inclined to want to see it again, if they tried it another way.

FF8''s junctions were a terrible idea. Personally, I would of had the magics as part of the GF''s skill set, and then had some abstract item system give the stats.

On that same token, Squall was a mistake.

Umm, thats all I can think of for the moment.

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hm...this is not exactly 100% related, but are there two subgroups in RPG games: final fantasy clones (prevalent), and phantasy star clones?

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Good ones:
  • (FFX-2) Dress-sphere, basically you can switch your characters'' class (D&D term) from fighter to mage to thief anytime you want even during battles. And each character has points accumulated in every dress-sphere. You get more skills if you acquire more points.
  • (FFX-2) Two items (that you get in early game) that let you to have more battles (if you seriously want to level up) or not at all (if you want a free-battle game). Compared to FFX, you only get this item at the end of the game. Must have for random battle RPGs.

    Bad ones:
  • 100 Hi-Potions, 100 Elixir, 100 Potions, 100 etc etc etc. Basically to have 1000 items in your inventory.
  • That thing costs 10000000 gil and I have 500000 gil.
  • Too many mini-games, and many of them are trivial. And the prize is 100 Mega-Potions.
  • I see shop-less shopkeepers everywhere.
  • Weapons, armors, and items that don''t have pictures.
  • Lengthy battles due to the amazing-breath-taking superb animations!
  • A boss that has 999999 HP and deals 3000 damage, and a character that has 5000 HP and deals 99999 damage.

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    IMHO there''s a big difference between FF1-6 and FF7-current. I only like the second batch of these. And all of them would be improved by reducing the random monster battles by 30-40%, making the writing a bit more literary and mature, and having fewer playable characters but developing each more.

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    alnite draws attention to one of my pet peeves, the incredible inflation of critical numbers in a game. Some RPGs don''t have a single price in the shop that doesn''t end with at least one zero. Why not just divide all those prices by ten, and do the same for whatever gives you money? Instead of a robot dropping a thousand gold coins and a magic sword costing ten thousand, have that robot drop a hundred gold coins and charge a thousand for the sword. Adding zeros all around the board does nothing.

    Same thing for HP, MP, and anything else out there. And the 9999 thing needs to go. It''s a silly limit to have, and it''s equally silly that you can do that much damage. Making the numbers so huge and variable draws attention to the dice-rattling ancestors.

    S&S, I disagree with you on the FF point. I agree that they can be easily divided into two categories, pre- and post-FFVII, but I for one prefer the older models. You''re a writer, and I understand that things like cutscenes and character development are important to you, but I thought FF6 was the best of the series, and FFVII represented a deviation from a system that was becoming highly refined. Graphical shifts are good, but too much focus on character development inevitably forces the designer to make a more linear game.

    a_zircon, don''t get me wrong. I like just about every RPG out there to some extent, and have played as many as I could find. The critical nature of this thread leads me to be a bit more opinionated, is all. To answer your question, I don''t think that I can choose a favorite. FF6, Secret of Mana (assuming it is a valid RPG choice, which is subject to some debate), Chrono Trigger, Fallout (a strong candidate, but I''m a little biased because I just went through it again), and Tactics Ogre are all excellent games. Tactics Ogre especially, but I was playing that recently as well.

    Of course, my favorite RPG is the RPG that I would make if I had the time, resources, and devotion to do it. That would naturally be teh best gaem evar. It is out of my respect and compassion for the gaming industry that I refrain from revolutionizing it. I wouldn''t want the mass suicide of all game designers on my super-talented hands, now, would I?

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    quote:
    Original post by TechnoGoth
    well, I''d say the best console rpgs are with out a doubt. CronoTrigger(snes), and Persona 2: eternal punishment(psx)


    Was persona 2 graphically and in game design better than personal 1? Because I just attempted to play persona 1 recently and it sucked.


    If we''re making a list of RPGs worthy of being imitated, I would add crono cross and vagrant story (my all time favorite RPG, just above FF7) to the list

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    My biggest pet peeve for all of the FF games is useless spells. The most common ones are spells that have good effects except 90% of the monsters are immune to them. These are usually spells that would make fights simple if they actually worked, Sleep, Mute, Death, Stone etc. I always try to use them and most of the time they dont do anything. Either make them work on 90% of the enemies or dont have them at all.

    "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, drown a man in the water and the fish will eat for a week!

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    I would have to agree with many of the things said here. Some more ideas/rehashed ideas:

    - I also like the idea of set classes. I like each of my characters to have a defined role that they are good at. I think the FFT system where you can have a primary class but use the skills of a second makes for a good amount of strategy. At the same time, I don''t like faceless characters either. FFT had faceless characters; I''d prefer to see a class-change system with predefined characters (like FFX-2 as best I can tell; I never actually played it)

    - I don''t like the useless spells often found either. I never use spells in ANY RPG like sleep, poison, silence, etc... I really like the idea of them, though. Some games make better use of these spells by having a) increased success or b) regular damage to go along with a possible effect.

    - Repetive, maze-like dungeons are very annoying.

    - Don''t make spells too complicated or annoying to use. The Guardian system in FF8 was so intricate and complicated that it was a real turn-off. Sometimes simplicity works a lot better.

    - If your RPG has money, it shouldn''t become a worthless comodity half way through the game. I think a lot of the fun I have with money in RPG''s is running my team on a shoe-string budget and having to save up for the next sword or piece of armor.

    - Easily maxable characters as others have pointed out is a big no-no.

    - I like the overworld map, because I like to explore and find new things. I don''t like the feeling that I''m on a train that only stops at certain places. Of course, having to run all over back and forth on a huge map isn''t fun either. It''s definetly a balancing act IMO.

    - Definetly a variety of skills or spells is a plus, especially if I can''t have all of them. One thing I like about many MMORPG''s is that I am offered a large number of skills and spells, but I can only choose some of them (ie: I have to specialize) Asheron''s Call 2 for instance has a tech tree system and it''s not possible to master ALL of the techniques; you have to choose a branch of specialization that fits your playstyle.

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    quote:
    Original post by sunandshadow
    Was persona 2 graphically and in game design better than personal 1? Because I just attempted to play persona 1 recently and it sucked.



    I never played persona 1, but I saw some screen shots and I would say yes. It has a very interesting story, that begins with a reporter looking into a recent string of serial murders involving a criminal called the joker, who started out as an urban legend, according to rumor if you call your own cell phone and say the name of the person you hate they will be killed by the joker.

    It also has a good combat system that gave you the option to interact with the demons and try to illicite aid from them rather then killing them.



    -----------------------------------------------------
    Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
    Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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    Vagrant Story was okay, but it used the skill atrophy system that I''ve always hated. I also didn''t like the weapon modification system, because there was no justufication for it. Why is it that using this axe to kill wolves makes that axe kill them more effectively than this other axe? If it''s my skill then it should be transferrable, and if it''s the weapon''s skill then there should be some metaphysical explanation for why a lump of iron has a thirst for animal blood.

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    hm...nice and thanks for the replies!

    i think i''ve good a good idea what to include and not to include:

    NOT TO INCLUDE:

    9999 ultima spells.
    a phlethora of spells, but 99% of them are useless.
    way too many random encounters.
    random mazes.
    class switcheroos
    Stuff that shouldn''t ever happen, such as lowly enemies carrying bagfuls of gold.

    TO INCLUDE:
    focus on character development, and not have easily maxed characters.
    spells that have strengths and weaknesses, i.e. there is no massive crushing spell that destroys all.

    UNSURE:
    overworld maps

    what about story development? I want to avoid at all costs cliches. I want an original story, so what are things that are cut and dry?

    Here''s stuff i can think of:
    1. Oh nohz! There''s this 1337 mage that''s going to kill us all!
    2. The inevitable "Wake up!" scene in most RPG games I''ve played.
    3. Most RPGs I''ve played involve teenagers as the main character, and they gain super 1337 experience and kill all these enemeies.


    This is all i can come up at the moment

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    quote:
    Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
    I also didn''t like the weapon modification system, because there was no justufication for it. Why is it that using this axe to kill wolves makes that axe kill them more effectively than this other axe? If it''s my skill then it should be transferrable, and if it''s the weapon''s skill then there should be some metaphysical explanation for why a lump of iron has a thirst for animal blood.
    Some are dull some are sharp. Some weapons can be used more effectively in certain situations. However if the difference is like +10 and +100.... :\

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    quote:
    Original post by Cipher3D
    3. Most RPGs I've played involve teenagers as the main character, and they gain super 1337 experience and kill all these enemeies.
    Oh how could I forget that one, that's my biggest pet peeves. C'mon, all heroes are teenagers...and they are only seven of them, start as newbies who can't even hold a weapon, on a journey to kill the worst enemy in the world? What are the other 1 million ppl doing? Walk around and tell the current weather condition? Where are the 40-year-old knight veterans who have had more battles than these teenagers?

    [edited by - alnite on March 29, 2004 9:40:22 PM]

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