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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperPlaytestingTristan and Iseult - "Advance Wars meets JRPG"
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Sar
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« on: April 13, 2011, 04:44:37 am »

So it turns out I can't read! I was convinced there'd been a 'Feedback' category on this forum for ages, but I was also convinced it was a subforum of something else, so when I came back here after a long [at least partly game-making] absence, I completely missed it up there and posted to Announcements instead because I'm apparently an idiot.

Downloads are available here:

http://www.eviscerate.net/article/tristan-and-iseult/downloads

It's available for Windows, Mac and Linux - although I've not tested that last one. The engine I'm using is generally pretty free of platform-specific problems, though.


The game is probably best described as like "Advance Wars meets JRPG". It's primarily a story-driven (what does that even mean?) tactical wargame, with lots of people stabbing each other with swords and shooting arrows at each other and so on.

Here's some screenshots of the battles:





And here's what the talky ('story development') bits in between look like:





Backstory: a long, long time ago, I'd put forward a little animated-guy sprite for the Assemblee competition and decided to use the second half learning Actionscript/Flixel to make an Advance-Wars-esque tactical wargame using DBB's tilesets and the Oddball/Oryx little-people. Then it turned out that I didn't have any nearly enough free time, and I got dragged off by real-life stuff and never finished. Fast-forward just over a year, and there's another game-in-a-month challenge going on, and I figured I'd do this game for that, instead. I tried to stick to the Assemblee spirit for the battles side of the game, although I went out and scoured Jamendo for different (and more-appropriate) music that I could use, and drew a few extra sprites for particular characters.

I've released, and it's got gameplay and a story and random swearing and everything, but since I'm planning to fix up some stuff (now I have more free time for it) and release an upgraded version sometime in the future, I'm pretty interested in feedback.

Fundamentally, I'd be happy to hear critique and suggestions for pretty much anything to do with the project.

I'm particularly interested in comments regarding game balance and mechanics, 'cause obviously that's something that's particularly hard to get right. I've personally won all of the battles, but I know exactly how the AI works and everything, so my idea of the difficulty curve might be different to other people's. For example, my collaborator also played through them all and tells me that she thinks #4 ('Turnpike') is too hard and goes on too long... and in retrospect, I'm inclined to agree.

I'd also be quite interested in UI-design suggestions. There's some things that I can't do that easily thanks to the way the engine I'm using works - it's actually intended for making visual novels - but it's also the case that I know I use that as an excuse to not do some stuff that's possible-just-not-straightforward, so I'm definitely still interested in suggestions in that regard.

Story-wise, I'm well aware that it's pulp and there's a couple of bits that are dealt with a little too fast and in too shallow a manner... that's partly because I'm not a great writer (and would appreciate tips, obviously!) but also partly because the main focus of the game for me was in making a fun battle game, so I also didn't want any single story segment to go on for too long without an opportunity to run someone through. Not to say that I'm not interested in hearing about it if anyone thinks it would be better to see more of the characters at the cost of fighting.


[EDIT 20110414 - there was a bug which caused the whole game to crash out after the final battle in the second part; this has now been fixed, but thanks to a combination of shortsightedness on my part and the part of the engine author, it's a whole re-download of the game to get the fix. Details here.]
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 01:12:31 am by Sar » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2011, 05:23:00 am »

Wow, this is really well done. It feels very polished, very complete. I let Tristan get wiped out in Battle #3, but I'm gonna go back and retry, for sure.

I have only the following suggestions/complaints, and they're mostly UI-driven:
1. The units seem ultra-pixelled compared to the terrain. And hard to differentiate. The art style doesn't seem quite so coherent - you could try adding bits of shading to the units maybe?

2. I was rather disappointed to find out that unlike the melee units, archers can't move and fire in the same turn. I understand the balance reason, but maybe add a line of dialog to mention this in Battle #2? Smiley

3. Again, for the archers, much like there's a movable-ground highlight, it'd be nice to see a shootable-ground highlight, rather than just lighting up the squares that have valid targets.

4. Chasing the text bubbles around to "wait" when there is a bunch of units in defensive position was kind of arrgh-able. Maybe you could have hotkeys for the actions, or a default area where the commands pop up?


Great work! Hand ClapSmiley
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2011, 08:03:51 am »

The game is probably best described as like "Advance Wars meets JRPG". It's primarily a story-driven (what does that even mean?) tactical wargame, with lots of people stabbing each other with swords and shooting arrows at each other and so on.

This sounds almost exactly like the Fire Emblem games -- not a bad thing! Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2011, 03:13:50 pm »

Wow, this is really well done. It feels very polished, very complete. I let Tristan get wiped out in Battle #3, but I'm gonna go back and retry, for sure.

Glad you're enjoying it! If you downloaded it more than a couple of days ago you should make sure you get the latest patch before going too much further, though, 'cause there was a bit of an embarrassing bug after the end of part 2...


1. The units seem ultra-pixelled compared to the terrain. And hard to differentiate. The art style doesn't seem quite so coherent - you could try adding bits of shading to the units maybe?

This is partly an artefact of it originally having been an abortive entry to the Assemblee contest on this very site, the little-guys sprites and the tilesets both came from there... and since it was more recently another game-in-a-month challenge entry, I didn't want to spend too long on new ones!

I'm seriously considering re-doing the battle unit sprites and possibly the scenery for the updated/cleanup version. In case I don't, though, were there any particular units you found hard to distinguish between?

2. I was rather disappointed to find out that unlike the melee units, archers can't move and fire in the same turn. I understand the balance reason, but maybe add a line of dialog to mention this in Battle #2? Smiley

Yep! I should have done this before, really - good catch!

3. Again, for the archers, much like there's a movable-ground highlight, it'd be nice to see a shootable-ground highlight, rather than just lighting up the squares that have valid targets.

You mean when they're shooting or when they're moving? Since their turn automatically ends once they finish moving, I'm unsure how useful a when-moving one is, it'd certainly be possible to do it for shooting.

4. Chasing the text bubbles around to "wait" when there is a bunch of units in defensive position was kind of arrgh-able. Maybe you could have hotkeys for the actions, or a default area where the commands pop up?

One related thing I'm hoping to change is adding an 'end turn' as well as a 'wait' (and only show actions you can actually do right now), so that you can elect to end turn and reduce your priority disc right back to 0 instead of having to keep waiting every ten seconds or so... I'd also like to fix 'wait' to actually wait 'til after at least one other unit has had a turn.

Hotkeys for the various action-menu choices is a good idea! It would certainly make missions like the 2nd one less tedious when waiting for the enemy to get close enough to shoot.

Thanks for the feedback!
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2011, 07:32:21 pm »

I'm seriously considering re-doing the battle unit sprites and possibly the scenery for the updated/cleanup version. In case I don't, though, were there any particular units you found hard to distinguish between?

The enemy archer/infantry sprites were particularly difficult, as well as noticing which troops included a hero unit, though the only troops that stood out as being particularly distinctive were the player archer units.


You mean when they're shooting or when they're moving? Since their turn automatically ends once they finish moving, I'm unsure how useful a when-moving one is, it'd certainly be possible to do it for shooting.

Just when they're shooting Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2011, 04:59:27 am »

Okay, after having played it: you REALLY need to try the Fire Emblem games! You'll love them.

One UI suggestion would be to enable all the usual Advance Wars-type info, i.e being able to mouse-over a unit to see its attack/move range, attack/defence strength, etc. But possibly this is one of those things you mentioned was impossible due to the engine.

2. I was rather disappointed to find out that unlike the melee units, archers can't move and fire in the same turn. I understand the balance reason, but maybe add a line of dialog to mention this in Battle #2? Smiley

Mentioning it can't hurt, but I think most players will assume that they can't move+attack in the same turn since that is the established convention in both Advance Wars and Fire Emblem.
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2011, 05:12:10 am »

One UI suggestion would be to enable all the usual Advance Wars-type info, i.e being able to mouse-over a unit to see its attack/move range, attack/defence strength, etc. But possibly this is one of those things you mentioned was impossible due to the engine.

It's not so much 'impossible' as 'not straightforward and therefore not done in the first release', since it was a game for a game-in-a-month challenge; it's certainly something I can put on the old to-do list! I guess stuff like that could pop up into the space that's currently occupied by the battle-objectives window, which can be made a fixed size to suit...


(I've played a little bit of one of the /Fire Emblem/ games on a friend's GBA years ago... I kept meaning to buy into the series, and keep forgetting! It certainly looked like my cup of tea, though.)
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2011, 03:43:44 pm »

In a couple of days I'll be releasing a patch with some of the suggestions people have made - thanks to everyone who's commented on things they didn't like and/or suggested stuff. Here's what I have for the moment:

  • Preferences options have been added to turn on and off the animation sequences for movement, for combat and for incidental stuff like the speech bubbles
  • A new 'End Turn' action option to make the difference between "Wait when you haven't moved and just want to delay a bit" and "Wait when you've moved and want to end your turn" more obvious - and allow a unit which is literally just sitting around waiting for a long time to actually delay a whole turn's worth of time without having to pointlessly move first.
  • The game will automatically select your action if it's the only thing you can possibly do - so if you've moved a unit the extent of its move allowance and aren't within attack range of anything, the game will end that unit's turn without forcing you to click 'End Turn' to do so.
  • You can optionally hide all the unavailable actions from the menu, so it only ever presents you a list of things you can do right now.
  • Keyboard hotkeys for all the actions have been added, so you don't have to specifically select the more-common ones like 'wait', you can just hit 'w' instead.

For that last one - the keyboard hotkeys - it happens that the first letters of nearly all the actions are all over on the left-hand side of the keyboard, except for 'Move', which is right the way over on the right. Would people generally prefer 'm' for move even if it's awkward, or just some random spare and convenient key like 'd' because it's near to all the other action keys and the player can keep one hand on those and one on the mouse?

(And of course, if anyone has any other suggestions, now's the time to let me know; this is probably the last patch I'll do for a while unless any other critical issues crop up...)
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2011, 11:36:35 pm »

  • Preferences options have been added to turn on and off the animation sequences for movement, for combat and for incidental stuff like the speech bubbles
Those are the best part!

Quote
For that last one - the keyboard hotkeys - it happens that the first letters of nearly all the actions are all over on the left-hand side of the keyboard, except for 'Move', which is right the way over on the right. Would people generally prefer 'm' for move even if it's awkward, or just some random spare and convenient key like 'd' because it's near to all the other action keys and the player can keep one hand on those and one on the mouse?


Personally, I have no preference. It's turn-based, I can move my hand from the left side of the keyboard over to hit the 'm' key. Others might care, though. . .
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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2011, 01:27:06 am »

In a couple of days I'll be releasing a patch with some of the suggestions people have made

OK, so 'a couple of days' turned into 'about a month'. I blame work!

Anyway, I've now uploaded a new version, unfortunately - due to using a new and non-backwards-compatible version of the engine to get some other fixes, there's no patch available.

http://www.eviscerate.net/article/tristan-and-iseult/downloads

As mentioned in my previous post in this thread, the changes are mostly to do with speeding up the UI - hopefully it doesn't get in the user's way so much any more. Thanks again for all the feedback!



However I think there are a few balance problems, namely, the archers range is so limited that I found myself frustrated. It's fine to have them unable to move and shoot in the same turn, but because their range is so small units can just run past them before they have a chance to shoot.

When you say balance problems, do you mean that you feel they don't actually provide a useful element on the battlefield, that some stages are unbalanced because of their presence, or do you mean that they don't feel as 'archery' as you'd like?

Basically, the intent of the range limitation is at least partly inherited from the obvious inspiration of Advance Wars, and partly because too much range means they're seriously overpowered compared to other units - if they can shoot too far, then it starts to become very very difficult to deal with enemy archers, and your own archers become much more valuable than other units as a result. (This is the same reason that the knights, who are much heavier hitters than regular units and can take more damage, are so slow.)

(I think the only map I know that it's possible to run 'past' an archer unit without them having the chance to shoot you is the second training 'run them down' mission, and in retrospect it might have been a better idea to put a couple of units of archers at ground level. Firstly because it would mean it was impossible to actually run 'past' them, clear in and out of their range in one turn, and secondly because it would demonstrate to the player how useless they are in hand-to-hand combat as well.)

Also, I found cavalry units to move slower than I wanted. Cavalary should be able to move atleast twice as fast as regular units.

This is one of those things where I picked a number that worked well for the first mission with cavalry in (the 'run them down and don't let them escape the top of the map' tutorial one), and then later I adjusted the battles and battlefields to accomodate the unit rather than thinking about changing the cavalry, so while I understand the conceptual problem the user has - cavalry should in reality be able to run much faster than foot troopers - it would probably be too much work to re-do all the battles to accomodate faster cavalry, now. :/

The third thing is that it would be nice to have a way of telling who gets to move next, so you can plan future moves.

Well, the intent of the priority ring was to give you a general sense of this - I realise it doesn't have a very good resolution, of course. If I were to want to present an absolute list to the player, though, I'm not sure what form that information would take on-screen? In - say - Tactics Ogre [PSP at least], there's a line-up along the bottom of the screen of the next few players to move, but in that game many characters have unique sprites, there's not so many units in the same battle who look identical, so it's a lot more readable than it would be if I did the same thing in T&I. Do you have any suggestions?

(To be clear, this isn't a feature I have coded in the underlying battles framework yet, but it's definitely a planned feature, regardless of whether it makes it into T&I specifically.)


Thanks for the suggestions, I'm glad you enjoyed it otherwise!
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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2011, 05:12:04 am »

WOW! I played through the entire first level, killed ALL the units except a single health Irish unit, which escaped the top of the map. Game over.  Cheesy I... don't think I'm playing through that again.

Yeah, I think this could use some serious changes, but overall it has major potential. Here is my criticism:

Story screen
The text boxes are a bit small, and lack names, so I can't tell who anyone is that's talking.

The BG is really pixellated, but I'm sure you know that.

Everyone is on the same side of the screen. If they are conversing, they should both be on the screen at once. Maybe make the dialog portraits smaller and the text box larger.

Battle screen

The units seem incongruous to the map, which is not pixellated as much.

The compass rose thing seems useless. Why not replace it with some kind of turn list? Maybe you could draw a line to/draw a circle around the unit that is about to move when you mouse over the turn list.

The units should show their attack range when selected.

There should be an option to speed up the movement/make it instant.

There should be terrain bonuses and capturable buildings if you intend to make it more like Advance Wars. Didn't see any on the first level, at least. I also don't see any RPG elements that make it similar to a JRPG... it's basically a strategy game without the RPG part.

It would be nice if there were some optional cut screens for battles like Advance Wars/Fire Emblem instead of just some slashy sounds and blood.

Dunno if this stuff is possible in Ren'Py (that you have done this there is actually really cool) but it would make the game better overall.
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2011, 08:33:59 am »

WOW! I played through the entire first level, killed ALL the units except a single health Irish unit, which escaped the top of the map. Game over.  :lol: I... don't think I'm playing through that again.

Yeah... I probably should have made the tutorial levels un-lose-able, at least, if not a bit easier... :/


The text boxes are a bit small, and lack names, so I can't tell who anyone is that's talking.
...
Everyone is on the same side of the screen. If they are conversing, they should both be on the screen at once. Maybe make the dialog portraits smaller and the text box larger.

These two were intentional. The small text box means that the dialogue is divided up into shorter, more-digestible lines, which I liked the idea of; the lack of names is supposed to encourage the player to associate the character graphic instead of their name with the character's dialogue - it also means that a few times later in the story where new characters are introduced and it's not known what their names are, the player isn't given their names either.

(In one instance, there is a case of mistaken identity, for example; if I'd had names on the text box, I'd have to decide whether to give that character an 'unknown' name like '? ? ?' (making it obvious that their assumed identity isn't correct) giving them their actual name (again, making it obvious and losing the effect somewhat) or give their assumed name, meaning I a: lie to the player, and b: force the player to identify with the characters making the mistake.)

As it goes, later in the game there's plenty of cases where the characters are on different sides of the screen; the positioning tends to denote whether the characters are aligned with each other, going in the same direction, etc., or against each other, facing each other, etc. ... if you did continue further into the game, I'd be interested to know whether you continue to find the same thing a problem in later scenes.


The compass rose thing seems useless. Why not replace it with some kind of turn list? Maybe you could draw a line to/draw a circle around the unit that is about to move when you mouse over the turn list.

Having it highlight which unit it's talking about when you hover over the item in the list is a pretty good idea - I'll definitely give it a try when I write the turn-order code for the underlying engine, and if it works I'll have a play with incorporating it into this game - thanks!

The compass-rose is actually pan controls - the window shows you 16x16 squares of the battle, but some of the later maps are much larger - off the top of my head, I think the largest is 48x48. So while most of the time the auto-pan-to-the-current-unit is sufficient, sometimes the player will want to pan around and look at the lie of the land and where the enemy units all are, and that's the controls to do that with.

I did experiment with having the window pan when you moved the mouse to the visible edge, like in most RTSes, but that had two problems - firstly the battlefield doesn't stretch to the edge of the window and it felt a bit odd not panning left 'til you're well over the non-battlefield part of the window, secondly it doesn't really work at all when you're not playing fullscreen (and Ren'Py has some odd issues with inconsistently stretching or letterboxing in fullscreen mode, so I don't want to require it), thirdly it results in some accidental panning when you move to hit the 'cancel' button for attacks or whatever.

The units should show their attack range when selected.

Again - a good idea; in this case I'm still thinking about how to do it in a nice generic manner for the underlying engine, since there are cases (e.g. having more than one 'obvious' attack option) that could come up in that engine which don't come up in this game. I'm half-planning to make a much-nicer version of T&I at some point without the ur-Assemblee constraints (and thus with more congruous unit/battlefield graphics), and this will probably be added in that, once I'm happy with the best way to do it.

There should be an option to speed up the movement/make it instant.

In 1.4, at least - the latest version - there's a preference in the preferences screen (hit escape, choose 'Preferences') to disable movement, combat (melee and arrows) or incidental (speech bubbles, etc.) animations; also, after a unit has started moving, you can also click once to skip the unit to the very end of the movement, both for your and for enemy movement.

There should be terrain bonuses and capturable buildings if you intend to make it more like Advance Wars. Didn't see any on the first level, at least. I also don't see any RPG elements that make it similar to a JRPG... it's basically a strategy game without the RPG part.

It would be nice if there were some optional cut screens for battles like Advance Wars/Fire Emblem instead of just some slashy sounds and blood.

I'm not too bothered about remaining particularly faithful to inspiratory games like the Advance Wars series; they inspired this one, but it's not supposed to be a clone, and personally, I prefer the wargame aspect to the logistical aspect, so I was happy to drop building/capturing/production. The cut-in animations would be nice, but it's a lot of work and would need graphics, so they'll have to wait for the potential 'nicer' release at some point in the future!

(As to JRPG-ness; the JRPG inspiration mostly comes in the form of the story and characterisation, and in the way that the battles diverge from Advance Wars' predictable turn-based system in favour of a FF-style activation system.)


Thanks for giving it a go, and for the advice and feedback!
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2011, 09:39:16 pm »

I've always loved this sort of game. So far I have only played up to the beginning of part 2, but I'm really enjoying it.

It would be really nice to be able to see the stats for units, though. Maybe just a quick little speech bubble type thing with a simple attack/defense rating when you mouse over a unit. This could also show whether a hero is with the unit or not. It would allow the player to get a bit of a gauge as to just how much tougher a knight is compared to a soldier, for example. It would also make it clearer whether heroes make the units stronger or not (I don't think they do, but I'm not certain and maybe haven't played enough to notice). This could also help with judging a unit's priority if you listed their turn number (like by having priority 3/12 or something).
You should also think about allowing the player to see movement ranges (or attack ranges, in the case of archers) when mousing over units. I, for one, have a habit of parking my guys just barely out of reach of the enemy when playing this sort of game. Not being able to quickly check enemy ranges does mean I don't bother doing this, so if that was your intent it works as is.

I really like the unit graphics...they're charming. If you wanted to make the graphics style more coherent I almost feel you should make the terrain more pixelated, to fit with the units, rather than trying to give the units more detail. You might also consider making team colours more prominent, particularly on the enemy units. The calvalry of both sides are too similar, and the colouring of friendly soldiers is a bit too similar to the of enemy knights at a glance.
I think not having cutaway battle graphics works pretty well here; combined with the units being made of multiple little guys on the map it gives the sense of a slightly larger scale to the battles.

I noticed, at one point, that it was a little awkward to have a character change sides of the screen in a single scene. I think this is mostly because of the way characters slide off the screen when done talking (so there's a visual disconnect with direction) and because there's no sense of movement in the scene. Maybe if you had him (it was Tristan who did this in the conversation I'm thinking of) turn around in place, rather than leaving the screen and coming back from the other side, it would work better.

It was a little annoying in the larger battles (of which I've seen one), that when switching to the next unit, they were centered in the middle of the screen, not in the middle of the battle window. In the wider battle, this made it so my units were often too close to the left side of the battle window, so I couldn't see all of my calvalry's movement area (the movement area also gets drawn outside the battle window), or tell what enemies were close, without panning. You might also want to consider allowing the player to pan the camera with the arrow keys, rather than having to use the compass thing.

The final thing is, you might think about allowing two wounded units to combine, like in Advance Wars. Because those strength 1 soldiers running around are bloody useless.

Anyways, I look forward to playing more of this when I get a chance. I'll let you know if I come up with any more feedback when I do.
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2011, 01:32:52 pm »

These two were intentional. The small text box means that the dialogue is divided up into shorter, more-digestible lines, which I liked the idea of; the lack of names is supposed to encourage the player to associate the character graphic instead of their name with the character's dialogue - it also means that a few times later in the story where new characters are introduced and it's not known what their names are, the player isn't given their names either.

That sounds interesting, but my point was more along the lines of the fact that there is not enough whitespace to make it graphically pleasing. Books have margins for a reason - because it's easier to read text when it's not squished into a tiny box.

The name idea is interesting but I don't see why you just put the same name in for the mistaken identity case and then later reveal it wasn't him. That way, the player would be tricked in the exact same way.

The compass-rose is actually pan controls - the window shows you 16x16 squares of the battle, but some of the later maps are much larger - off the top of my head, I think the largest is 48x48. So while most of the time the auto-pan-to-the-current-unit is sufficient, sometimes the player will want to pan around and look at the lie of the land and where the enemy units all are, and that's the controls to do that with.

Ah, I get it now. Personally, I would go about doing it by making the arrow keys/WASD pan the screen, or centering the screen and putting buttons on the top, left, right and bottom to pan it in those directions. Regardless, it seems a bit too large right now (1/4 of the screen). Heck, it could even be transparent and hover near the edge of the screen if the battle screen took up the entire screen.

(As to JRPG-ness; the JRPG inspiration mostly comes in the form of the story and characterisation, and in the way that the battles diverge from Advance Wars' predictable turn-based system in favour of a FF-style activation system.)

What I mainly meant was that the units don't level up as far as I can see, and the plot seems more "western RPG" to me with its attention to period dialect and real nationalities and types of units rather than fantasy. The only jRPG trait that I could see at all was the character portraits, and maybe the activation system you were talking about, but it doesn't really seem like something particular to jRPGs.
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2011, 03:26:33 am »

It would be really nice to be able to see the stats for units, though. Maybe just a quick little speech bubble type thing with a simple attack/defense rating when you mouse over a unit. This could also show whether a hero is with the unit or not.

Stats-display is definitely one of those things I've been considering, but didn't fit into the original release...

(As it goes, the units with heroes are a little bit stronger than the knights, but not so much stronger than the knights as the knights are to the soldiers.)

Maybe if you had him (it was Tristan who did this in the conversation I'm thinking of) turn around in place, rather than leaving the screen and coming back from the other side, it would work better.

You know, that's a pretty good suggestion - I don't know why I didn't consider it before!

It was a little annoying in the larger battles (of which I've seen one), that when switching to the next unit, they were centered in the middle of the screen, not in the middle of the battle window.

You know... this makes sense, 'cause when I wrote the auto-panning code I was using the whole window for the battlefield, but... I'd somehow managed to not notice this at all when testing the game!

The final thing is, you might think about allowing two wounded units to combine, like in Advance Wars. Because those strength 1 soldiers running around are bloody useless.

They're not entirely useless, 'cause you can leave them to slow down the enemy, or help you make sure you get the first hit in, a lot of the time. But yeah, combining units would probably have been a good option.


That sounds interesting, but my point was more along the lines of the fact that there is not enough whitespace to make it graphically pleasing. Books have margins for a reason - because it's easier to read text when it's not squished into a tiny box.

Hmm - you know, it's not something I'd considered at all - I'll have a play!

The name idea is interesting but I don't see why you just put the same name in for the mistaken identity case and then later reveal it wasn't him. That way, the player would be tricked in the exact same way.

Well, at least partly because the player wouldn't be tricked because of their own assumption, the player would be tricked because the game lied to them - it's not the same feeling at all. In fact, if the player had worked it out on their own (far from impossible) then they'd probably find it quite irritating that the game first told them they were wrong, and then turned out to be lying.

What I mainly meant was that the units don't level up as far as I can see, and the plot seems more "western RPG" to me with its attention to period dialect and real nationalities and types of units rather than fantasy.

(It gets more fantasy both in plot and units later on.)




The problem with panning the view with keyboard buttons is a technical one. The player can also use arrow keys to select buttons - which is default Ren'Py behaviour - so theoretically you could play the entire game with keys or a joypad and not touch the mouse... but unfortunately, I'm pretty sure Ren'Py doesn't have such flexible keyboard handling that I can let it use 'left' to move through the available buttons, but leave 'shift-left' to pan, for example. I should look into it more, in case I'm missing something... :/

Making the UI parts transparent and seeing the battlefield underneath them would have two problematic side-effects that I wanted to avoid. Firstly, smaller battlefields like the first one (and some others later on) wouldn't fill the whole screen, so there'd be lots of empty black space around the outside of them. I know other games of a similar ilk just put up with this, but I don't really like it. Secondly, it would introduce more of a possibility for players to try and click on things 'through' gaps in the UI, and get frustrated when it doesn't work or they do something they didn't intend to do.
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2011, 10:36:21 am »

Heh, I think you mis-quoted me in one of those there.

Firstly, smaller battlefields like the first one (and some others later on) wouldn't fill the whole screen, so there'd be lots of empty black space around the outside of them. I know other games of a similar ilk just put up with this, but I don't really like it.

The empty space issue could also be fixed by putting a background there. You can see at the left edge of this screenshot that there is a similar-colored gradient around the edge of the map that makes it more visually pleasing.

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Secondly, it would introduce more of a possibility for players to try and click on things 'through' gaps in the UI, and get frustrated when it doesn't work or they do something they didn't intend to do.

It doesn't have to have gaps then, it could just be a tab instead of a ginormous slice of the screen. I just think that putting the battle screen on one side like that makes it visually unbalanced.
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