Friday, February 28, 2014

Game Design Philosophy: An JRPG with no experience points for character development

So I completed Final Fantasy II last Sunday (out of sheer frustration and a little bit... okay about 11 years worth of procrastination) and I was frustrated with the game design of progressing the characters without the use of experience points. That aside, I wanted to plan out my own design, how I would have developed the same kind of system.


It's a very experimental concept, and I know I wouldn't have the time to develop this idea fully as its own game for quite a while (ever?), so I'm going ahead and posting the idea for anyone who cares enough to see it. Hell, if someone makes the game using this concept, I'd be flattered! 

Inspirations for Idea:

In Final Fantasy II, characters in the game do not have Experience Points or Levels, they level up through the activities they performed in battle. If you lost a lot of HP in a fight, the victory spoils would reward that party member with more HP, same with MP. If you attacked a lot, you would get a higher attack stat. If you used a spell 100 times, it would level up to the next tier (up to 15 tiers of that spell level).

Picture of Final Fantasy II taken from Source.
An issue with this system was that it was prone to abuse using what I consider to be very masochistic methods. In order to exploit the system, instead of aiming for victory against the enemies at hand, players would attack their own party members getting their health low on purpose to have the game reward them with a better HP pool. You could do the same thing with MP and all your other stats by intentionally delaying battles until you got the desired stats that you wanted.
Another inspiration for the design I have is the Pokémon series Generations III and on. In Ruby and Sapphire onwards, Pokémon possess a stat called Effort Values (EVs). Pokémon get EVs when defeating Pokémon specializing in a certain stat. A Chansey being defeated would reward the Pokémon with HP EVs allowing them to get more health. Likewise, defeating a Magikarp would reward the Pokémon with Speed EVs, making them faster.

Pikachu's EVs shown via the Effort-O-Meter in Pokémon X and Y. Source.
The limitation with the EV system is that only an x amount of total EVs can be allocated to a Pokémon at any one time. So if too much of an unwanted stat is accidentally allocated, it would need to be reset, and usually resetting EVs in a Pokémon game is punishing and time consuming. (As of X and Y, certain hard to come berries and "Reset" bags will allow you to delete all EVs, even ones you didn't want to delete.)

My Concept for Character Development:

Instead of being rewarded with stats or skill-ups directly at the conclusion of a battle, different type of monsters would drop consumables related to the kind of stats that they had. The player would then be able to have a choice on how to develop their party members.

For example, killing a wild defensive chicken monster in the early part of the game would reward the player with a Chicken Breast item that can increase their Defense point by 1.

As the game progresses and the players encounter stronger foes, monsters will drop loot that increases the stats by 2 and 3+, ... 

Aggressive offensive monsters would drop loot that increases party members attack power, Monsters that rely on using magic would drop loot that increases party members magic stat, and so on.

In terms of learning spells and abilities, they would be found as scrolls in rare chests throughout the world. The scrolls would then be tied to a party member. They can be untied and retied to another party member at will, but only one party member can use that type of spell/ability at any given moment.


Customizable. The player can allocate their stats freely and develop the characters in the game however they please.

Players are in the know: The players can learn and find what monsters drop what boosting items and can map out the development of their characters well in advance.


Bosses would be hard to design. Many playtests would be needed to gauge how developed the player should be before reaching that point while attempting to at least make it challenging. Would there be an artifical stat cap depending on the progress in the story, do you allow the players to beef and grind their characters up to be able to one shot any thing in the game without the need for limitations?

With the lack of diversity, players can max out stats in every category if they please. Carbon copy maxed out characters everywhere with only differences in name and looks and the abilities they have taught the characters they developed.

Missing Ideas for the System: 

How would abilities progress? Equipment limitations?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Development log coming in a few days!

In the process of writing up a new game development log featuring some new screenshots of Selatria's new monster art style designed by Jennifer Gilliland! As well as some new shots of ANTics! It will be the final log before the launch of our mobile game! Should be posted within the next few days!

Preview shot!


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Final Fantasy II complete!

Had some time to sit down and work on completing my age-old nemesis.

That's right, Final Fantasy II. Turns out I've been fighting the final boss all wrong the past half-decade. I beef up one character, toss Haste/Berserk (buffs stack in FFII. I didn't know that!) and then have Firion go to town with Masamune and Excalibur. Fun times, good game, much death!

Now that it is finally complete, that would be all 14 main series games completed!

Next time in the far distant future when I have some free time, Xenoblade Chronicles I'm coming to complete you!

Friday, February 21, 2014

I haven't updated in a while!

I haven't posted in a little while, sorry about that! We've been crunching on Selatria and ANTics. We're trying to get the demo for Selatria up by March 15 and the first version of ANTics up by March 10. The Kickstarter for Selatria will follow in late-March sometime. Not sure exactly when just yet, but I'll provide details when it pops up.

I'm working on a piece for the blog about an RPG concept I would do if I had more time, but unfortunately that seems to be scarce at the moment! So stay tuned for a Game Design Philosophy related post in the undetermined near future.

More to come!


Friday, February 14, 2014

2014 Valentine's Day Post

Usually I come up with a sappy Valentine's Day post. It's normally a tradition. But I think I'll just leave my feelings about the day up into one post.

"Maybe your first love is the one that sticks with you because it's the only person who will ever receive all of you. After that, you learn better. But, most of all, no matter what, a piece of you forever remains left behind in the heart of the one you loved - a piece no future lover could ever get, no matter what. That piece holds innocence - the belief that love really can last forever. It holds friendship and pain, trial and error, that one kiss you’ll never forget and that night under the stars you can never get back. It holds youth and everything you thought love would be. Everything that was proven wrong." - Unknown