Sunday, July 31, 2011

Selatria -- Battle System Alpha Test Phase II : Now Online!

The new version of Selatria is now online. It will be up until the end of August.

Current Issues:

-Selatic Stones have no effect.

-Commander fight has an issue where the spell name doesn't disappear during the fight unless Mage or Melodia casts something to overwrite it.

-When casting "Bolt", it does not appear as a title header.

-In some cut-scenes, leaving the area and coming back will cause Melodia to return but not do anything.


--Taken down 9/1/2011. Stay tuned for Phase III on 9/17!--

Phase II: (July 31st-Late August)

New Features:

Smoother battle animations
New monsters on Overworld
Inclusion of cut-scenes in battle
Secret 'Wanted Species' on World Map
Map/Menu fixes
Changes to healing items
Save gates are now usable

Phase III: (Late-August/Early-September)

Testing arrow/ranged attack animations.
Voice acting in battle (*NEW)
To be announced

System Requirements:

Operating System:
Windows® XP / Vista / 7

PC with 1.0GHz Intel® Pentium® III equivalent or higher processor

: At least 256MB of system RAM

100MB available hard disk space - Other 1024x768 or better video resolution -

Test Screen-shots:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Nintendo: What the deuce?

See also: Xenoblade Chronicles (European Website)
See also: Nintendo 3DS Price Drop / Game Announcements

Some good and bad news coming from the Nintendo world. :| Being a hardcore Nintendo fan-boy for the longest, I always buy their newest consoles and hand-helds. I'm a very loyal person in that regards.

Operation Rainfall:

As I stated in a blog post at the beginning of the month, Nintendo of America is refusing to release The Last Story, Xenoblade Chronicles, and Pandora's Tower state-side. Now that Xenoblade is about to be getting a European release, I feel shafted big time. :( Kinda wished Wii didn't have their consoles region locked. This guy says it best.

His voice kind of reminds me of Seth MacFarlane.

Nintendo 3DS:

A few days ago, a massive price drop for the 3DS was announced, from $250 to $170. I really, really, ... REALLY want to get one now. And for the people who feel that they got shafted, they get 20 free games for their 3DS.

...And if that wasn't enough, GBA and NES titles are coming too. The gamer in me just died and went to a far better place. I will literally have no more reason to have a DS Lite (or a GBA for that matter) if I can get the entire library to my 3DS... eventually.

I've never beaten the original Yoshi's Island for SNES/GBA, and I would like to. I got to the final area before my save file was deleted. (Battery fail?) -- But yet, Nintendo has no plans to release it outside of people who have or buy a DS before August 12th. Frustration!!!

You can see the whole GB/GBA Virtual Console list here.

I will most likely get it in October. (Or before then?) I'll be ready to buy this. Excitement!


(I was expecting this blog post to be a little longer.) Anyway, what the deuce, Nintendo? You wait until your sales to start lagging before actually listening to what their players want? :| It's no mistake that the 3DS launched with an unprepared Virtual Console lineup and it's just now getting titles from the GBA generation onto the device.

Then there's the whole 3DS lineup. Street Fighter IV is fun, sure, but where's Kid Icarus: Uprising? Smash Bros 3DS? Mario Kart 7? Super Mario 3D Land? All of these were just announced, but they should have been launch titles. Very disappointing. I'm not going to buy a handheld when all of the core titles aren't out for it yet, that's just dumb.

Not to mention the whole Operation Rainfall. I really want to play those role-playing games, and they didn't even get E3 time earlier this month because of their "perceived" sales failure here in the states.

You guys want to appeal more to the real gamers, the hardcore crowd, yet are making no real effort to do so. To that I say: You're only shooting yourself in the foot. (And I'm still getting a 3DS -_- )

-Rant from Heartbroken Gamer


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pokémon Trainer Johan

I'm feeling confident about this one. I laughed all the while editing it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did filming it. I only make a small cameo in the skit itself, but I wrote some of it and came up with the skit concept.

There are some more BETACinema skits coming in the near future. Damn, I love this group.

Anyway, most of this blog entry was focused on editing of the actual skit than writing a new entry.

Next big project will be Phase II of alpha testing for Selatria, and that will be posted on Sunday's blog post.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Title? This blog entry needs no title!

I'm honestly not sure what to write about today, but I feel like I should write about something... so here it goes.

My Saturday:

Saturday was a pretty busy day. I woke up very early in the morning (7AM my time would be the equivalent to 2AM for a normal person -- I normally don't get up until at least 12.) I took some of my friends to Frank and Son Collectible Show in the City of Industry and they had a blast. It's always fun to take someone new to that place, it's seriously the place for nerds.

I'll probably go by myself, but I think I may make it a monthly thing in the future. But still, even getting there at 9AM, traffic was still hell and getting a park was almost impossible. I remember years back when it was unknown, you could get a park near the front. Not anymore!

On that topic, I need to go back to going to swap meets and video game hunts. I used to do it often, but I have so many games on the palette that need completing that I took a break from it.

I went there thinking I wouldn't get anything, and I left with a hard drive for my 360. Time to fix up the Xbox and actually update it to 2011 standards. Maybe I'll get Xbox Live too.

After, we all enjoyed lunch, played a quiz game called "You don't know Jack" (I really don't know Jack), and then had the BETA Meeting!

We filmed a new skit, and it'll be up soon. By soon, that may depend on if I wait for Ryan to edit the parts, or if we actually work together to get this up in a reasonable manner. Meh, we'll see. It's funny, to the point where I laugh about it. You know when I write these scripts, I worry that the skit is going to be bland or lack humor, but I'm glad to have such creative friends and we really expand the interpretation and go way off the script. I guess you can say that's what makes us so awesome. Hence the 'A' in 'BETA'.

In the topic: I also made this movie out of boredom. Well, actually Ryan did the visuals. He had the whole interview with the song "What is Love", but I much preferred this theme. So, here's my version:

Anyway, did I mention how much I enjoy the BETA meetings? If I had a say in the matter, I'd like to film more skits outside of meetings, but everyone has conflicting schedules (yay work/school/commitments) because if I could, I'd do it every week. ...Probably would if got revenue for it, but then that'd take the fun out of it.

..That rant aside.



The game is on track for a July 30th public alpha testing. I put some of what I'm working on in a nifty 30 second YouTube video.

I'm going to upgrade to a full version of Fraps before I start doing any real trailers. Ugh, that's going to take a while.


Final Fantasy XIV:

Changing topics, the rank 45 dungeon in FFXIV is damn near impossible. Well, at least our methods aren't working. I stupidly suggested we charge through and let the aggro run back. When we got to moles and had to start over, we had to fight through them again, and it would have just been smart to do that in the first place. In any case, I'm going to stop derping around and actually do some hardcore runs and find a worthwhile strategy for completing the DD dungeon.

It reminds me of Einherjar LS leading, only this is more predictable. I know what to freakin' expect, so not learning anything between runs would be stupidity. In Einherjar, it would be random and you'd not know what to expect, but here I at least expect improvement, and that's what I'm shooting for.


Until next post!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Patch 1.18: My thoughts.

So it's finally here. (And some people thought we never would see the day.) Final Fantasy XIV starts to see some of the new features and reforms of the new development team since they were brought in place December of last year.

Anyway, this post - what I think of 1.18 so far.

See also: Patch 1.18 Notes

See also: Maelstrom in Ishgard
See also: Letter from the Producer, XIV
See also: Introducing Settlements

I was kind of surprised to see some original music for the game: Here is the themes for the three companies. I'm guessing they were composed by Uematsu, but I'm not 100% positive.

Order of the Twin Adder:

The Maelstrom:


Doesn't it sound very Final Fantasy Tactics-y like to you? I really like the new tunes. I was personally expecting some recycled music, but they spent no expense on coming up with something new for this.

Speaking of which, that was the very first thing I did when playing. I went to Gridania and put in my application for the "Order of the Twin Adder". Upon zoning in, I noticed that the city has a giant increase in the number of flags showing in the city, there's a new sense of pride, if you will.

I was given a quest to do the company quests at the table. Had to go to Camp Tranquil and do a task and come back. When zoning into The Black Shroud, I noticed that that too had new music. In fact all the zones have new music... Well, correction, it depends on the area of the zone. When you get near one of the new encampments, it plays a different theme, and plays a different theme when you're on the field. Only zones that I've seen that doesn't have new music is the towns, Coerthas, and Mor Dhona.

Anyway, long story short the quests (there are three main ones for each company) go on to show this man at the ending.

Don't recognize him? It's (highlight) Cid .


Probably the biggest aspect of the patch in the 'fun' department, the dungeons. I ended up trying the rank 25 dungeon twice and the rank 45 dungeon twice.

One thing I immediately noticed is that theres a cutscene when you enter that shows the area name in really fancy letters with some of the monsters lurking around, and then this epic theme pops up:

On top of that, it dramatically changes to a different key when you get into a battle, it's pretty interesting how they did that. I was skeptical that the theme would match with the very epic feel of going through a timed dungeon.

As for the dungeons themselves, I'll split it up by the zone:

Rank 25: The Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak

This dungeon is very easy in terms of the monster hoarde, though it seems near impossible if one were to do it with strictly rank 25 adventurers. Anyway, the dungeon is capped at four party members and you can't have more or less. What the linkshell and I did on my clear is that we went in as rank 25-27 classes and got decent SP and changed to higher levelled classes when we got low on time.

It seems that everything aggros (even at rank 50) so running through trying to wing it when low on time means that I had monsters from all over the damn place chasing me all over.

These blue teleporters are used to open up gates in the dungeon. In the case of the R25 dungeon, you need four of these magitek pieces to open it up further. A boss was at the end, and they even implemented victory dances (with appropriate FF theme) that play at the end ala FF7-10 and 12. That made the nostalgic side of me really happy.

Rank 45: The Dzemael Darkhold

This one was undoubtedly much harder than the 25 one. This had aggro everywhere and a floating eye that used AoE on occasion. I was under the impression that he chased you if you were going too slow from the trailer, but nope, he goes back and forth. Even worse, he can't be damaged any.

I admittedly screwed up this run big time for my LS mates. I had connection issues and ran into mobs that haven't popped up on my screen almost killing the group four times.

In the future, I'm going to lead strategies more from the sidelines and tank only after mobs are claimed. I don't want to screw up things due to my bad connection. (You can tell from the red rings near my name, I was constantly on the verge of d/cing. They call it 'Groving'. LS joke, if you will.)

Haven't won the raid yet, but I'm going to give it another go on Sunday evening. No rush to complete it. I'm just taking my time and going with the flow. What bugs me about the dungeons though is that you can't mark mobs, so it's hard to communicate with the party on what to kill first.

Battle System:

I'm iffy on the changes to the battle system. There has been a lot of outcry everywhere because the usability of magic got DESTROYED in this patch. Thaumaturge went from the best healer in the game to borderline useless in the healing department. While I agree with this, THM shouldn't have been a better healer than Conjurer, S-E made this perfectly clear. They split Cure from being single and area spells to Cure and Curaga (just like how FFXI is). And removed Sacrifice to be AoE and only single target.

MP costs for spells also skyrocketed, so it's much harder for everyone to solo mobs that used to be, so a Conjurer in the group is probably going to be much more vital to success in the future... at least until Black and White Mage is released.

As for Auto-Attack, the way they implemented it is a little awkward, it's hard to tell and know if I'm actually attacking or not, there's no button to start an Auto-Attack, you just go in active mode and get near an enemy and it just...happens. I don't know if they tried to make it like Final Fantasy 12 in those regards, but I'm just not used to it, maybe I just need more time.

Oh, and new battle animations.


In conclusion, I think the game took a giant leap forward, but some steps back. I'd have to say the game is clearly going in a positive direction. I've seen the population shoot back to a decent size in a few days to check things out. LS members I haven't seen in forever have popped in and said hi, and I'm looking forward to 1.19 in September where we see more changes such as Airships, Chocobos, and the like.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

YTMND: The 10th Anniversary

You're gonna like the way you look. I guarantee it.

YTMND was recently re-launched with a new site look for its 10th anniversary. Being one of the biggest sites I used to frequent in my younger years (before YouTube), this post is going to be devoted to some of my favorite posts in the last ten years. I remember frequenting this website way back in middle school. Damn, how time flies. I also blame this website for creating my very surreal sense of humor!

One of my favorites of all time is 'We didn't start this website' which appropriately explains what YTMND is in one fitting song.

Anyway, on to some of my favorites. If it has adult material, I will tag (NSFW) at the end.

Miscellaneous Funny Stuff:

Mentos, the messagetaker

Breakup letter, dramatic reading

The YTMND Football Season Begins

a-ha helps Snape kill Dumbledore

The Critic: But first, something for the CHICKS

Darth Vader on "Wheel of Fortune"

Olmec guides through the YTMND Temple

Nobody's gonna break MY stride

Judge Wonka throws the case out

Jean Luc-Picard meets Bill Nye

Professor X had ONE weakness!


Carmen Sandiego:

Carmen Sandiego has been found at last!

Andy Richter has been found at last!


Conan is Freddie Mercury

Conan is Raiden!


Cosby Bebop

P-P-P P-P P-P-POKEYMAN (Cosbeastie Boys)

Dr. Dre ft. Cosby


Cuppycake Gumdrops


Conan is Zeromus!

Beastie Boys meets Final Fantasy VI

What is Asiacopter?

Final Fantasy X (NSFW)

FFXI DRGs have a wonderful time LFG

N**** stole my bike (65,000,000 BC) : Chrono Trigger

Bill Nye joins your party!

Mario Gear Solid

Snoop's new producer: Nobuo Uematsu

Snoop Dogg's Dreamland

Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Call of Nature

So, Monday morning on my lack of sleep decided to go finish up the current Conjurer storyline in FFXIV.

I was sent near Humblehearth in the Black Shroud to go rescue this guy. He's kind of helpless. You'd think the NPCs in this game would have a little more spunk. But nope, he sits there and takes hits and makes me do all the work.

As you can see, he's kind of a pansy. This part required guiding him in an instance through a path in the forest to The Black Shroud-Coerthas zoneline. While keeping him alive. I learned the hard way (since I ended up having to do this twice) that you fail the escort if Morys gets to 25% HP or lower, and not if he dies. Ugh, how annoying. Did I mention I hate being healer? I can't wait to be a Black Mage!

After this whole escorting fiasco, I had to use the powers of the Echo in which I was treated to another boss battle, only now I'm in a flashback of when Morys is a little kid. He was clenching to this golden statue and four wolves came up to attack him. I had to keep his helpless self alive in that battle too.

And with that, I was sent back to the Conjurer's Guild where I was rewarded with 3000 Marks, and completion of the CON storyline, for now. I guess you could say these quests are equivalent to the AF storyline for FFXI, only that these are far more cutscene intensive. If it's one thing this game got right at the beginning, it's these. But only three for each class right now, is kind of depressing.

Anyway, now I need to get Conjurer two more ranks for Raise.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mid-July 2011 Updates: Cats, Time-Warps, Auto-Attackers, Games, and Relationship Affairs with Mathematical Concepts! Oh My!

Today's blog entry: A rant about stuff, and goals. And stuff.

Final Fantasy XI:

So I recently looked back into one of the MMOs I used to play (Yay, Final Fantasy XI), and I saw all these changes coming to the job system.

I noticed one thing in particular with respect to Summoners. They're getting Atomos and Cait Sith as summons!? That makes me mad, I spent so many months trying to work and keep together a WoTG static and none of players (save for a very select few!) even remotely gave a damn with the storyline, which is a shame because it had some of the best missions in FFXI. Almost as good as Chains of Promathia.

Anyway, I hope that gives people incentive to do them now. Now that I've gone and have no intention of going back, good luck trying to get my help. LOL! (Yay, FFXIV.)

You get your cats and time warps and Abyssea. I get instanced dungeons and fighting off a Garlean empire with the help of a company. Eh, fair trade. :P


Final Fantasy XIV:

Speaking of which, Patch 1.18 is hitting later this week! Maybe I can go actually bug my real life friends to play now that the game is improving. ...Nah, they wouldn't care. But who would care is the linkshell, we're planning a big LS raid event on Friday, and I'm trying to get CON to 38 in anticipation!

I also need to remind myself to set class switching macros for abilities and gear. That'll take some time. I really hate macros. I hated them in FFXI, and I hate them here, I'm so used to doing everything manually, and with the laggy equipment interface, I really need to adjust to macros, and fast.

Also, auto-attacking. I'll definitely need a day to understand what the hell is going on.



I got around to finishing Final Fantasy VIII last week, it was a very sweet ending. Squall and Rinoa... well I'm not going to spoil it for you if you've never played it. It's one of those stories that really hits the soft side, but I don't have one of those, so I was left with a very o_O feeling.

I find it funny that just gathering GFs from bosses early on in the game makes it so much easier. Incredibly easier. I intentionally gave Squall like 9999 HP from GFs, made him go to yellow (4000 HP or so) and every turn spammed triangle button until the "Attack ->" came and used his Limit Break over and over until the boss was dead. Broken if you ask me. It took me two tries to beat the final boss.

Now the list of games to be completed...

Chrono Cross (PS1) = PRIORITY
Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (GBA)
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light (DS)
Vagrant Story (PS1)
Dissidia: Final Fantasy (PSP)
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (PSP)
Final Fantasy II (PS1)
Final Fantasy XIV (PC)
Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)
Yoshi's Island DS (DS)
Wild Arms 3 (PS2)

Chrono Cross is the main game I'm working on. I think that's the best series my friend has got me on. I finished Trigger last year, so I feel it's only appropriate to finish Cross this year.
After I finish the list of these games, I want to move on to new titles: Like Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, Dragon Age 1-2, The Last Story, Xenoblade, Pandora's Tower, and Fallout. I also want to play Breath of Fire 1, 2, 4, re-do Breath of Fire 3, Lunar Silver Star Story, finish Lunar 2, and try Xenogears, Xenosaga and Golden Sun 1-3. And have them all beaten before the end of 2012! It's a long shot, but whatever.
My friends also warned me not to play Blue Dragon or Xenosaga, so I suppose I'll have to find copies of those under $20.


BETA Cinema:

We have a new skit up. Actually, it's been in development hell a couple of months for various reasons. The concept came up in a total random conversation in chat, and I went on to write it. It's kind of out there, but I like it. It also may be the last skit I'm editing for a while, I want to focus more on Selatria for now. Though I won't hold myself to that statement...

Even already got one comment asking what the hell I posted. (To put it lightly.)

That's about it for my rant. On Tuesday, I'm going to post stuff on the Conjurer Rank 36 class quest.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Naoki Yoshida "Yoshi-P" Part IX

If you're lazy and don't want to read the Q and A and the whole long blog entry, here's what's coming. (TL; DR Version)

-Repairs being simplified being added in 1.18
-Introduction of Grand Companies coming 1.18
-Battle System Revamp coming 1.18
-Instanced Raids coming 1.18
-Fatigue system being dropped in 1.18
-Guildleve changes coming in 1.18
-Raise is being lowered from Rank 38 CON to 14 CON in 1.18
-Resurrect is being lowered from Rank 38 THM to 14 THM in 1.18
-New Spells "Raise II" and "Rebirth" coming for CON in 1.18
-Death is going to be changed. Penalties will be incurred for using Return while dead in 1.18
-Return cost is going to 0 anima in 1.18
-Return going to have 15 minute recast restriction in 1.18. (Doesn't count when KO'd)
-Ifrit Battle coming 1.19
-Materia System coming 1.19
-Chocobos coming 1.19
-Airships coming 1.19, will require a quest and a fee afterwards.

-Physical levels being removed in 1.19
-Jump coming TBA
-New original armor models take approx. 6 months to create.
-Massive zone redesigns coming soon.


I just want to say before this whole blog entry, that Naoki Yoshida remains to be one of my top influences when it comes to game designers. When I started Part I of this back in January, a lot of us players didn't know what to expect from the relatively-then unknown Yoshi-P. He put in place some well-received changes that were also implemented in sister-MMO FFXI. Such as massively increasing EXP earned from mobs, making the game much more casual friendly, and the biggest change he implemented up until upcoming patch 1.18 is the open-communication and the forums for FFXIV (which also expanded to FFXI as well).

I greatly admire him as a game designer and his personality for being so dedicated (as well as his unwavering enthuiasm) to the project and doing whatever it takes to get the job done (As you'll see in the interviews below.)

I really hope Square-Enix puts him on the forefront of more well-known series titles in the future. It's shameful that Yoshi wasn't put on FFXIV earlier, it could have been a radically different game at the beginning, and I say that in a good way.

Anyway, on with the post... From here on out my commentary will be in italics.


See also: Introduction of Grand Companies (7/15)
See also: Repairing Repairs (7/15)
See also: Patch 1.18 Miscellaneous Adjustments (7/14) - Regarding Revival/Death Revision
See also: The Community Teams interview Yoshida in Japan! (7/12)
See also: My post on Final Fantasy XIV - Patch 1.18: Dirty Deeds, Dzemael Darkhold Dungeon (7/11)

The official community team on the FFXIV forums (English, German, French) went to Japan went to interview Yoshida about his work style among other things. To the left is Youmukon, the middle is Yoshi-P, and the right is the English community rep, Rukkirii.

The community teams did the following Q and A below. Credit goes to them for the questions and answers.

English Q and A:

What role do you enjoy playing the most in a party, tanking, healing, melee damage dealer, or ranged damage dealer and why?

Yoshida: I prefer damage dealers and tanks. The former gives me a sense of watching over the battle and 'wearing down' the enemies, which I enjoy. A damage dealer on the verge of death appeals to me when playing PvP, too. Tanks on the other hand are aware of hate levels and their surroundings which allows them to be strategic and adapt their play style. I tend to play as all the classes though! (laughs)

If you were taking a stroll through the deserts of Thanalan and a trio of NM Goblins flying on Bomb Balloons attacked you from above, what would you do?

Yoshida: I'd probably burst the balloons and bring it down to the ground! (laughs) I'd like to gradually make these things on my mind possible in the future.

What is your favorite Final Fantasy monster and why do you like it the most?

Yoshida: The term 'monster' can cover quite a wide range of things, but if I had to choose I'd say the great Malboro. They just create so much impact when you see them. My second choice would probably be chocobos!

What is your favorite zone in FFXIV?

Yoshida: Central Mor Dhona, where the remains of the fallen airship can be seen. The place oozes with a sense of adventure. I'm hoping to create more places like this when we revise the map - and make sure there's plenty of content to compliment them!

Yoshida hints this many times in the forums, letter from the producer and other translated articles. The "copy-pasted" maps and geography in Eorzea is going to change radically. Free cataclysm, perhaps?

If you could be any of the races in FFXIV, what race would you choose and why?

Yoshida: If I could be any race but stay as myself in the real world, it would have to be Hyur. I just like the idea of doing my best as an ordinary citizen, although as a player using a character...I would pick Lalafell. (laughs) They're hard to target in PvP and have tons of charm, too. (laughs)

Upcoming content that you're working on that you're most excited for players to see/play?

Yoshida: At the moment? Instanced Raids. After 1.19 comes out, I'd have to say Materia crafting and the Ifrit battle!

The instanced raids look pretty awesome. I'm a noob when it comes to other MMOs, so I don't know if they have cut-scenes or not, but from what I saw in the trailer on Monday, if they plan on releasing more content like that, I'm interested in doing more of these kind of raids.

What's the hottest debate going on amongst the development team right now? (that you can tell us about!)

Yoshida: That would be our new 'conductor' plan. The point of our discussions is to consider fundamental revisions such as how characters access each part of the game content and how they develop after they're created, the level they need to reach to obtain mounts, etc. We're also planning the mount system based on this idea so I suppose this 'conductor' approach is our current hottest topic.

It seems they're proceeding with doing fundamental revisions of the game. The first team must have not gotten much of anything done with their plans...

Jump. We've pretty much confirmed it is coming. What further details can we wrestle out of you about it?

Yoshida: All I can say is that we are not emphasizing jumping with the jump key as a means to cover vast distances on the map or an element that must be used during battle strategies... Maybe it's easiest to say it will just be like the jump you generally see in MMO's.

I'm worried about this, personally. Well, at least I was worried. I have played free MMOs in the past that have the jump key, and it was a broken feature where everyone would just spam it in order to jump wide distances which made it farther than running.

Can you run us through the typical creation of a new piece of armor/weapon, etc.? Where does it start, then who does it go to, and where does it end up. Basically from start to finish.

Yoshida: The process of commissioning new equipment/weapons is largely split in two. The first is 'what's required from a game design point of view', e.g. it goes without saying an ultimate weapon players can only get when reaching the maximum level for a certain job should look unique. The other side entails 'equipment in the form of a reward' for 'content' that players must aim to clear. For both cases, a full time Item Team was established and they are accepting offers from the whole project. As there are so many unique designs that are essential to game planning, the production costs really add up. We then proceed with commissioning reward-based equipment after we decide whether it should be made with existing adjustments + parameters built-in or by redesigning the look. The character design team are the ones who get the actual request. Akihiko Yoshida's team creates the artwork used for character modelling and then modelling work starts based on this. Work proceeds to sculpting and when it's ready, it takes about 6 months to create one full set of equipment that maintains FFXIV's high standards of graphics. We can't get a good supply of these items ready if we don't establish a long-term plan for creating them. This is the most important part. Finally, the staff responsible for each content adds the items to the in-game item database and we're done!
Wow, yeah. That sounds about right. When working in a team, it always takes a lot of work to get from start to finish and coordinating it all together. I can see why job designs and job system we were teased with months ago are just coming into fruition.

How about the same as the above, but for quests/missions?

Yoshida: Just like creating items, there are also two processes for quests and scenarios. The flow is different for quests that form the basis of the game. The series of scenarios and quests that we call main quests are designed to be directly related to the plot. The person in charge of the scenario scripts the plot, and after I check and make further adjustment requests, this step repeats itself. The content staff then commission what quests are needed for the patch update and the World Settings Team also provide their ideas. Everything is mapped out and work on the script begins once I decide what order to prioritize the work. In the meantime, the Scenario/World Settings Teams get the text ready for what will become the actual script and the Quest Team continues to implement it. Once the text is done, the Localization teams handle the translation in tandem with the work flow and the content is released after tests and debugging on actual equipment. The workload progresses mainly as 'per-diem management'. Incidentally, we're currently getting planning and plot details organized for patch 1.19!

Have we decided on "Materia" being the final name for the upcoming system?

Yoshida: While not 100% definite, we're probably going to go with Materia crafting.

Personally, I hope it wasn't called that. Final Fantasy VII was a revolutionary RPG, but still...

What in-game related feature/item do you wish you could use in the real world?

Yoshida: Definitely teleportation. Commuting to work is such a waste of time...

What's the latest longest stretch you've been in the office while finishing a deadline, or before a major milestone?

Yoshida: If we're talking about FFXIV, then 22 hours straight. I can get by on 2 hours sleep, but if I don't sleep in a bed I'm exhausted the next day. By the way, I sleep 2-3.5 hours on average - it's been like that since taking this job. (laughs) If we're talking about since I started working in the games industry, then I once had a 96 hour marathon. At that time, I didn't sleep a wink for 96 hours. (loud laugh)

This is what I find most inspiring. And how can he go by with that much sleep!? I only get 4-5 hours myself, and I still find myself very tired and not looking like myself.


French/German Q and A:

Can you explain a typical day for the FFXIV dev. team?

Yoshida: The dev. team is made up of various teams such as Core Members, Scenario, Quest, World Settings, In-game Economy, Battle, Grand Companies, The Lodestone, User Interface, Tool, Character, Backgrounds, Art, Animation and so on. The day varies depending on the person.

As an example, I come in to work at 10:00 a.m. The day starts off with morning meetings regarding operation and new tasks. From there on, various meetings are scheduled all the way up until 9:00 p.m. I check the game specifications, plot, design, etc. Then I reply to emails (around 230 per day) and then, get back to working on game specification if necessary. During work, I check forums and post various comments, so I usually leave office at around 2:00 to 3:00 a.m. This has been going on for past 6 months... (laughs)

What type of games do you like?

Yoshida: I like various kinds of games including RPGs, action, FPS and fighting games. I like the Fallout series, Red Dead Redemption and the Assassin's Creed series, as well. I often play Street Fighter IV during my break. I really love MMOs and some of the online games that I still regularly play are Diablo, Diablo II, Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot and World of Warcraft. I believe DAoC is what I played the longest, playing it for nearly 6 years. Right now, I am interested in checking out Rift.

What is your favorite MMO?

Yoshida: Oops! I accidentally just answered this! I still cannot forget the excitement of realm vs. realm in Dark Age of Camelot. In Ultima Online, I was a major PK (player killer) player. And for now, I am quite interested in Rift!

Do you prefer console or PC gaming?

Yoshida: I spend quite a time in online games, so I believe the total hours I have spent on each are about equal. If it's entertaining, it doesn't matter whether it's on a console or PC.

Do you play FFXIV as a personal player or only for testing/work purposes?

Yoshida: Since my private hours are close to null, I can only play it while I'm in the office. But on my free time, I wander around Eorzea so some players may have walked right passed my character. (laughs) If things calm down a bit more, I'm thinking about playing from home. Of course, my identity will have to remain hush-hush!

If yes, what race is your character?

Yoshida: Oh, I do have my own character! A Lalafell!

Tell us, just how much do you like Lalafells?

Yoshida: I really love them! They are so adorable, and surely anyone would simply die being around that much cuteness! Also what I like about them is that once the PvP is implemented, they are hard to target and can easily hide from others! (laughs maniacally)

Due to all of the conferences and meetings abroad, are you less afraid of taking the plane now?

Yoshida: Actually, things haven't changed at all... I have been a frequent flyer way before I became the Producer/Director of FFXIV and flew around 30 times a year. However, I still can't overcome my fear of flying. I usually wear shades while I'm on board but even with that the cabin attendant will often ask me "Sir, are you alright?" so guess I'm still not used to it...

Any plans for Mog Houses?

Yoshida: Not sure if it will be a Mog House, but a private space and housing are in our plans for the future. We are planning to work on it along with a major revamp of the map.

Another mentioning of the map revamp. And confirmation of plans for private housing. And he's right, Mog Houses wouldn't make sense in FFXIV context given moogles role in the storyline.

Will male Miqo’te and female Roegadyn be available with the PS3 release?

Yoshida: That’s the plan!

When will more means of transportation made available?

Yoshida: We are planning to implement both airships and chocobos in patch 1.19. I believe I'll be able to provide more details in August!

So it seems 1.19 will come late-August or early-September. No arguments here. Almost means I got a free year of playing. How about that?

Do you still manage to get enough rest despite all the long hours you put in?

Yoshida: Well, not really… Though I'm a light sleeper, I’m able to get rest when I can, so I'm doing fine. Thank you for your concern! ^^

Tea/Coffee/Hot Chocolate, what does the dev. team prefer?

Yoshida: Everyone has their own favorite so it's hard to say but I believe the favorite would be coffee. Personally, I sometimes feel that 1/3 of my blood is made out of caffeine… (laughs)

How many sugars do you put in your coffee?

Yoshida: No sugar for me, as I like my coffee black. But around 7:00pm, I start to get a sugar craving. At times like that, I add about two spoonfuls of sugar.

Are you planning to make cities more “lively”?

Yoshida: Yes, we are planning to work on this as part of the revamping of the map!

What are your work hours? Do you usually get to go home on time?

Yoshida: Generally, everyone starts their shift at 10am. However, in my case, I have a fairly chaotic schedule. There may be days where I would to attend a meeting at 9 am, skip lunch and continue to attend meetings, while also performing various checks. Due to my chaotic schedule, I'm rarely at my desk. From 9pm to 11pm, I read and reply to emails (around 230 emails per day). From 11pm, I create documents and hammer out designs while checking the forums. I leave the office at about 2-3am. I do some stretches, read a book and watch some videos at home. So, it will be after 4am when I go to bed. Then I wake up around 7-8am.

Tell us more about your daily life. For example, what is the work environment like? Is it more of a relaxed environment or a serious environment?

Yoshida: The office is much more lively and relaxed compared to what it was before. Since I am a heavy smoker, I do make frequent appearances at the designated smoking area. Everyone at the office gets along with each other.

What's the most exciting thing you have experienced while developing FFXIV?

Yoshida: Hmm, that's a tough question to answer. I think it may be chocobos as we are currently working on the specifications. (laughs) Since a lot of effort has been made for their implementation, I feel a major sense of accomplishment regarding it. Although it's been taking quite a long time, please be patient and look forward to it!

What's the worst thing you have experienced while developing FFXIV?

Yoshida: Hmm, I would have to say when players get angry at me in the forums… Pointing out mistakes and lack of information is one thing. However, it gets to me (along with the rest of the team) when the players start bashing my personality ^^; Please don't be too hard on us!

What do you do in your spare time?

Yoshida: I play FFXIV, watch movies or play basketball. Sadly… stress does build up as I hardly ever have any spare time these days! (laughs)

Do you play FFXIV on your spare time?

Yoshida: Even when I don't necessarily have the time, I play FFXIV.

How many hours do you work a day?

Yoshida: I would prefer not to disclose this to the public, but I generally work 14 to 16 hours a day.As commuting takes one and a half hours for both ways, I don't have much time to sleep. (laughs)

Will you continue to monitor the Q&A threads on the forums?

Yoshida: I will continue to check the forums and the reports from community reps each and every day. So, please keep posting your comments!

Are there any plans to implement a housing system for players and linkshells?

Yoshida: Yes, as it's on the plan, it will surely be implemented even if it takes time. It will be implemented gradually with several phases. Please be patient until it's unveiled!

Are there any plans to implement chocobos and/or airships?

Yoshida: Both of them are planned to be implemented in patch 1.19. Cheer the dev. team on so that it will be ready by 1.19! ^^

If there are plans to implement chocobos and/or airships, will players be required to complete a quest? For example, completing a quest to obtain an airship pass.

Yoshida: Yes, that's the plan! Airships will also require a fee after the completion of the quest.

Are there any plans to implement a system where players are able to inscribe their names into the crafted items?

Yoshida: This is currently being discussed; however, we must wait for the server-related adjustments before we can get our hands on it. I'm very sorry for the time it's taking for us to address these types of requests.

You previously mentioned that you guys are working on redesigning the areas. Are you more focused on changing the geography or the design?

Yoshida: Changes will be made to both the geography and the design of the areas. Some areas will be changed rather drastically, so I'd love if you all could discuss how you think the changes will be made while you're all looking forward to it.

I'm really hoping this would be applied to the Black Shroud and parts of Thanalan. Some of it is just so repetitive that it's montonous.

Currently, there are only 3 class quests per class. Are there any plans to add more?

Yoshida: There is a plan to add more but there are many other things to take care of first, so I assume it will be after the job system is implemented.

Are there any plans to implement new monsters?

Yoshida: Yes, new monsters will be added along with the implementation of the beastmen strongholds. Other than that, we are considering adding more monsters that are FINAL FANTASY-like. Due to the high quality nature that we strive for in FINAL FANTASY XIV, it's going to take some time until they are implemented but I can't wait 'til you're all able to tackle them!


You know, it kind of angers me when I read on the forums and people troll on about how the development team is all talk and no do, so to say. People will go great lengths (and this doesn't just apply in games) to criticize and then not realize they can do it any better themselves. Game development is a VERY slow process, and I wished the original XIV development team took their time with the game, but this team is fixing and improving and not making the same mistake twice. I strongly believe that if a game is fun, people will play and word of mouth will spread. While Final Fantasy XIV is not quite there yet (it needs 6 months to one year more in my opinion), it seems that the development team is wanting to get it right this time, and rightfully so. PS3 release is their final chance at getting a stable userbase and a change in opinion about the game.

Anyway, I say keep it up Yoshi-P and team, and get some sleep!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Selatria and My Game Design Philosophy


I have been working on Selatria (almost) non-stop the last few days. I want to be done with all of the main cut-scenes by the end of the month... hopefully. Most of August and September will be spent making them look pretty, swapping graphics and appropriate animations in as they're finished...

The goal is to have chapter 1 done by the end of the year. I am planning on releasing Chapter 1 for free, and the whole game for sale via digital distribution. It'll likely be sold for less than 10 dollars, nothing too extravagant, but I at least want to use this project for funding for some licenses in the future. (As well as compensate the team, obviously!)

Although Mage is technically the main character, his best friend Melodia cares for him and has more of a cold-hearted/beat-them-up personality than other role-playing game female archetypes.

While Mage is naive and overconfident, Melodia is very intelligent and often taunts her enemies (and even friends) if she feels that they aren't worth her effort.

These particular cut-scenes I'm working on is in chapter 1 when Mage and Melodia return home. They come to see that their home has been taken over, and unsure of who or what has done such a thing, they charge through their town of Availia trying to find answers.

Game Design Philosophy:

Selatria is the second game project that I have worked on and the first of which I actually worked on a team with. Dojo Adventure I primarily developed by myself, and I felt like there was a lot of things I could have done differently. And I still may revamp the whole game after I finish Selatria, depending on if I am motivated enough or not...

Going off that tangent, my main motivation for Selatria was to have a really classic RPG experience mixed with somewhat of a new feel with games that come out now. (Like a lack of excessive punishment for example.)

I remember playing Lufia for the first time in the mid-1990's and watching the Sinistrals in battle die epically in the beginning scene. It wasn't a FMV or anything like that, you got to control the battles and everything in the opening sequence, prophecy, whatever.

The only problem was that there required an excessive amount of grinding and walking back and forth, I hate grinding. And I think I developed a good alternative to it, but without making the game feel short because of it. I'll have to explain that in a future blog post! (If the design and plans go as intended.)

Downloadable Content:

I don't really believe in DLC in the form of having to spend money on new outfits or anything like that, but I wouldn't be against the idea of designing bonus chapters at the end of the main story and sell them off. It depends on how the game is received when it's completed.


Perhaps I should go try and get some sleep now. On Friday, I will post my next write up on Naoki Yoshida. I have a lot I want to say about FFXIV's future.