Jan 132011

I just finished writing an article about some of the thought processes I go through when developing our RPGs. You can read it here.

 Posted by at 6:04 pm

  4 Responses to “On JRPG Design”

  1. I think CSTW was subject to some of the same problems listed here. Don’t get me wrong, I adored both your games but random encounters were more often than naught just me mashing on the A key (or in tougher random encounters Id still just spam the same AoE spells). I don’t think your power increase in between each round made an as big difference as you think, with Dacre in the party for boss fights I never dropped under 75% full HP. Your ideas were good and well implemented and I hope to see each of your games evolve from the previous 🙂

    My only real gripe with both your RPGs has to do with the story. (the comments above arent really gripes because I love even grindy jRPGs) In BoD7 the story was almost non existent and in CSTW it felt like an afterthought. I still have no clue who the final boss was or what his purpose in the story was. Initially I thought the big bad was the mysterious stranger and that he was using Cthulhu’s powers to cause all those problems you solve but nope… They were just coincidences. And in the end you defeat an Old One who wasn’t even a real threat until he was introduced at the end. It felt like you came up with witty dialog (which was great BTW) and then came up with filler to tie it all together.

  2. I greatly enjoy how you attempt to tackle the frustrations brought about by old-school jRPGs. One thing I will mention is that you don’t HAVE to implement a “enemies power up every round” to head off a “Healing = win” strategy. Giving enemies status attacks, charge-up attacks, and so on can get around that without having what amounts to a time limit on every fight. And the game being “short” is really a matter of style. A game can have tremendously fun and engaging combat while taking a decent time to build the characters.

    As far as CSTW goes…

    CSTW was a bit too easy after a certain point on Normal mode, true. It was relatively simple to go “MT insanity -> MT damage -> Collect victory” what with Umi and October rocking face at hurting all enemies. Boss fights weren’t too scary either, with the exception of the Ape Princess and a few of the optional-dungeon bosses.

    Highlander mode (cute name, by the way) was a lot of fun. I got to see everyone’s individual strengths and weaknesses. Cthulu could heal while doing damage, Sharpe had whoamg offense, Umi was both a randomsmasher with boosted MT water damage and a boss-smasher if the bosses were weak to seal/Blind (and Prey on the Weak/Poison/Thor’s Call/Cute Pose/Siren’s Call resulted in “sweet mother of god” levels of damage). October… was good at crushing randoms with MT damage! When she wasn’t slaughtered before she got a turn! She wasn’t worth anything for bosses and until the very end that “not killed before she got a turn” bit was pretty rare. Paws wasn’t much of a boss OR random fighter. Dacre had MT damage for randoms. Ember just sucked.

    I had a lot of fun with the game.
    http://www.rpgdl.com/forums/index.php/topic,5578.0.html (I was hoping Cthulu would be a Godlike fighter. Oh well)

  3. Nice article, was fun to get an inside look at what you think about for your games. I love the random encounter limit system, and the speed of fights. My only problem nowadays is difficulty in most jrpg type games.The truly difficult games kind of went the way of the dinosaur after the ps2, all for making games more accessible to the public. Most games don’t give you a hard mode, and the few that do don’t do it correctly. I like how you mentioned Nocturne in there, that is one of those games that made me smile with its difficulty.

    Do have one thing to ask though. I like your power up strategy for monsters in fights, but in most fights in Cthulu, things were dead long before they ever got to high enough powers to threaten me. I played normal, and even the final boss never hit close to 200 percent power. Maybe for future games, you might want to bump that power up phase to 20 percent a round, to add more urgency, and more planning, making buffs more important, and so on.

    Oh, and thank you for those random mini boss fights, they were fun. Running into one monster with 4 to 8 times the hp of normal trash monsters, and had power up abilities themselves, was nice. Not sure if you want criticism, but never know unless you tell me, so one thing I would like to recommend is to either make fights with multiples of the mini bosses where they can buff each other so a single one doesn’t die before it ever gets a hit off due to spending one turn powering up, or up the single mini boss at least 20 times a normal monsters hp. I was at a point where I was dishing out 40 percent of those guys hp’s in one hit with cthulu and the third character I think it was, so they weren’t much in the way of a threat to me.

    Same goes with a lot of the actual bosses in the game. I think the final boss fight should take a good 20 rounds, give him time to power up, or give him a boost to power gained per turn, to make him a very real threat that requires paying attention to as the fight goes on. I just hope I am not talking out my rear end and that hard mode takes care of everything I said, though I will find out about that after I finish a few games I am behind on.

    Anyway, have a good morning, and thanks again for the awesome games, especially in a time where these types of rpg’s are failing miserably. I have zero issues if all your future games are in the same vein as breath of death and cthulu, i will still get them, play them, and enjoy them. I just figured I would offer a few view points of a fella who has been playing since the days of Final Fantasy 1 on the nintendo to go with that “every person plays differently” idea.

  4. I love your diagnosis of hating random battles as be a symptom and not a problem. However, I don’t think that spicing up combat is the only way to make those random battles more bearable, there is also something to be said for content in between battles. For example: I am far more likely to put up with (and even enjoy) a few random encounters between puzzles in Golden Sun than I am to endure the endless barrage of them between the slow emptiness that is Final Fantasy 4 Heroes of Light.

    Great article! Keep up the good work!

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