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Book-length design analysis on FF6 and Chrono Trigger

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Hey Everyone,

Just sharing some book-length criticism on a couple of classic console RPGs. The Game Design Forum has been working on a project to completely reverse-engineer all the design decisions that went into classic games. The "Reverse Designs" of Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger are already out, and links are below. Still to come in the project are Reverse Designs on Super Mario World, Half-Life, Final Fantasy 7, and Diablo 2.

[url="http://thegamedesignforum.com/features/reverse_design_ff6_1.html"]http://thegamedesign...sign_ff6_1.html[/url]
[url="http://thegamedesignforum.com/features/reverse_design_CT_1.html"]http://thegamedesign...esign_CT_1.html[/url]

These could be a large, useful data resource for design work.

Discuss?

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I get the feeling this belongs in writing, as they're only discussing the story (at least from what I've read on the Chrono Trigger one) Edited by Orymus3

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Hi again! Although the intro paragraph describes a lot of things that have narartive elements, the piece is most definitely about design. For example: "Lead with art! By the end of this quest, the player is finished with 14% of the quests, and 14% of the battles (crazy coincidence, huh?). But in that short span the player has already heard 47.8% of the music tracks, seen 41% of the game’s map tilesets, and fought 34% of the game’s repeating enemy sprites."
Or take a look at these graphs, pulled from the piece
[img]http://thegamedesignforum.com/Sized%20CT%20Images/CT%20Weapon%20Growth.jpg[/img][img]http://thegamedesignforum.com/Sized%20CT%20Images/CT%20Exp%20Per%20Encounter.jpg[/img]

Now to be fair, there's a lot of design dealing with the narrative because it's a JRPG, but this is not a literary critique. At least we hope not.

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Well I'll give you that, there are numbers, but this is distribution of narrative elements through the story most of the time. I find the analysis deeply limited in that regard.
Also, the evidence showcased generally serves the interest of explaining narrative choices, not gameplay ones.
I've seen the term gameplay employed out of context more than a single time.
This is an analysis, but I wouldn't call it a book-length design analysis as this is extremely restrictive and focuses mostly on the narrative aspect.

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If you're interested in much more numerical, much more gameplay-specific ideas, keep going into the document beyond the first couple pages. There are 23,000 and 25,000+ words in those two respective documents.

Highlights include: sytematic analysis of dual tech and gameplay ease. Analysis of the impact of the stat system on character power. A new statistic (RDur) used for scoring dungeon difficulty based on survivability (relative to levels). And a host of other broad-ranging statistics. See below for some abstracted graphs. In the actual document, the are accompanied by extensive explanation and process documentation. And, of course, there's a lot more in there than what we can quote here.

[img]http://thegamedesignforum.com/Sized%20CT%20Images/Tech%20Comparison.jpg[/img] [img]http://thegamedesignforum.com/features/Vigor%20Differences.png[/img]

[img]http://thegamedesignforum.com/features/defense_bell_curve.png[/img]
[img]http://thegamedesignforum.com/features/FF6%20RDur.png[/img]

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Are the links to their two forums sections broken or is it just me? I'd be interested in participating in reverse-engineering FF7 if I could figure out how.

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If you'd like to participate, please send an email introducing yourself to submissions@thegamedesignforum.com and we'll talk!

(Our forums were hacked and generally in disuse; we'll bring them back eventually.)

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Hi again sunandshadow,

We sent you an email, just posting here to make sure that it doesn't get caught in a spam filter (this happens to us a lot) without you knowing. Take your time thinking it over, though.

Cheers!

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