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Author Topic: [16-bit] Take Two!  (Read 1123 times)
Evan Anhorn
Member

Posts: 59


« on: December 22, 2009, 07:15:37 PM »

Hello Forgers!  It's been a while.  I'm taking a break from writing some semester papers and thinking about my old concept 16-bit again.  I'm toying with the idea of converting 16-bit to a micro-RPG (that is rules-light and super-focused on what it wants to accomplish, like Mountain Witch but maybe not so narrow).  I'd love to fit the entire game into a small, SNES-style game booklet.  I won't go through the Power of 19 again here, but I will give a quick redux of the game to hopefully engender some discussion.

What's 16-bit About?
In 16-bit, you play a young hero setting out to save the world and in an epic, JRPG-style coming of age story.  You create a character, give him a one-line background, control him in battles and make decisions about character advancement (including choosing Jobs, which are like character classes).

What's the twist?
At the beginning of every dialogue scene, each player chooses a different hero in the party to voice and command.  Thus, you are a spectator to the development of your hero's story (much like in console JRPG's), and by adopting a different hero every dialogue, you are inherently encouraged to cross-invest character development, to keep dialogue innocent and simple and to invent unexpected plot turns.  (One of the original ideas for 16-bit stemmed from the realization that the traditional shackling of player to character actually encourages non-risky, predictable and conventional storytelling)

What do you do in the game?
The game is essentially divided into three parts:  Dialogue Cutscenes, Exploration and Battle.  In Dialogue Cutscenes, each player nominates to act the part of any hero or NPC.  WIthin the dialogue, the players have free reign to add any new plot through the narration or suggesting ideas to other players, and the scene is governed by only a general initial setup.  Here, the referee can play unused parts but generally just guides the dialogue and queues when the scene comes to an end.

In Exploration, the party resolves any newly pressing events that came up in dialogue (including traveling, investigating, purchasing gear and saving the game).  Every session, the party has 3 Save Points which they can use during Exploration to completely restore the party's HP and Mana.  Every Save Point used beyond this 3 gives the Referee 1 Dark Side point, which he can use to advance the Dark Lord's plot (the Referee also begins every session with 1 Dark Side point).  Resolving Battles helps to break down the barriers to enter new zones on the world map, and are necessary if the Dialogue implied a certain battle (especially the case for Boss Battles).  Each Zone is connected in a web on the World Map, but connections may be locked until certain Dialogues take place, or until a given number of battles are fought (for instance, accessing Chocobo Mountain Pass from Capital City may require 3 battles).  Anytime the party wins a battle anywhere on the map, they can reduce any barrier anywhere on the map by 1 battle.

So what does a character look like?
A hero is made up of three stats, PWR, AGI and SPR (power, agility and spirit), which combine with equipment to govern combat values.  At character creation, one stat starts at 20, the other stats start at 10, and the player permanently assigns a d10, d8 and d6 to these stats.  At every new level (including at level 1), each stat gains [die roll - tens digit, minimum zero] points (i.e. a stat of 23 would be boosted to 25 by a die roll of 4).  A hero gains 1 Job Point every new level (including at level 1), which are used to purchase the next level in a Job (so a level 6 hero would have gained enough JP to become a White Mage 3).

What do the Stats do?
Each stat provides a certain die type (and usually two of the next lower die type) for relevant rolls (PWR governs to-hit rolls, AGI governs initiative rolls and SPR governs spell to-hit rolls), based on the stat's level:
Code:
Stat Effect
10+ d4 (d4/d4)
30+ d6 (d4/d4)
50+ d8 (d6/d6)
70+ d10 (d8/d8)
90+ d12 (d10/d10)
To make a roll; roll all the dice and pick the highest result

Each stat also combines with equipment to provide different combat values:
PWR + weapon bonus = ATK (base damage of attack)
AGI + armour bonus = DEF (base damage resistance)
SPR + staff bonus = MAG (base spell effectiveness)
SPR also determines the hero's mana

What does Battle look like?
Each combatant rolls their initiative dice and acts on that number, and again every three segments later (a roll of 9 means the hero acts on segment 9, 6 and 3).  After the count reaches 0, a new turn starts and initiative is rolled again.  To attack, the hero rolls the PWR dice and tries to beat a fixed target number equal to the target's dodge (default is equal to half of their AGI die).  If they hit, they automatically do damage equal to ATK, which is compared to the target's DEF on the Difference Chart to determine how much HP bar is lost:

Code:
Difference Effect
-55 or lower 0%
-25 to -54 10%
-10 to -24 20%
-9 to +9 30%
+10 to +14 40%
+15 to +24 50%
+25 to +39 60%
+40 to +59 70%
+60 to +84 80%
+85 to +114 90%
+115 or higher 100%
The idea for the difference chart was snagged from the excellent RPG "Super Console"

In Boss Battles, the Boss acts on the initiative roll and every two segments later.  Also, bosses take one tenth the damage of the difference chart (i.e. 4% HP bar lost instead of 40%).

What do Jobs do?
Each Job has a core Talent that the hero can use once per turn.  Each level of the Job also grants the hero access to a new special move, which costs mana but increases attack or causes status effects.

For example:
Soldier
Talent: Defender (Ignore one hit)
Lvl 1: Swing (+10 ATK, 2 adjacent targets, 5 MP)
Lvl 2: Magic Break (+20 ATK, damage target's mana instead of HP, 10 MP)
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chronoplasm
Member

Posts: 286

Kevin Vito


« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2009, 07:54:30 PM »

Heh. I like it.
Will the game support Disgaea style gameplay?
What are your thoughts on players using electronic resources to play? At the moment it looks as though the game can easily support PBP games using online dice-rollers like invisiblecastle.com.
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Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 746

roll-player


WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2010, 12:20:43 PM »

Evan,

Nice to see you are still working on this one.

(AFAIK the thread belongs in Playtesting rather than First Thoughts now, though.)

Quote
What's the twist?
At the beginning of every dialogue scene, each player chooses a different hero in the party to voice and command.  Thus, you are a spectator to the development of your hero's story (much like in console JRPG's), and by adopting a different hero every dialogue, you are inherently encouraged to cross-invest character development, to keep dialogue innocent and simple and to invent unexpected plot turns.  (One of the original ideas for 16-bit stemmed from the realization that the traditional shackling of player to character actually encourages non-risky, predictable and conventional storytelling)

If I'm reading you right, your input in Exploration and Battle involves primarily strategic and tactical choices respectively. In what way is that "your hero" then? If storytelling is the game's purpose, it seems to me the players might prove more engaged in the stories of all characters but "theirs", as that's were their creative focus goes.
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Evan Anhorn
Member

Posts: 59


« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2010, 09:26:46 AM »

Hey sorry for the delayed replies, I was in final exam writing mode.

@Chronoplasm, I've never heard of Disgaea, how is that game style different than traditional JRPGs?  Like most RPG's, I suppose it would work fine online as well as face to face.

@Filip, indeed you have it right.  Ultimately every character's story is owned by the group as a whole (including the referee), and is added to by one player at a time (even by the "owner" of the hero, but no more often than other players).  Outside of dialogue, a hero "belongs" to a player in-so-far that he or she makes the strategic and tactical decisions of how to "level" a hero, what the party should do next and how the hero fights in battles.

In a way, this is perhaps not a typical indie-RPG, since the combat is meant to be just as fun as the storytelling element (JRPG's are a "complete package" in this way).  I am designing combat to be fairly quick and simple, with decision-making appropriate to the genre.  There will be a Front Rank and a Rear Rank (combatants in the latter take half damage), but I'm dropping attack ranges so that you can target any enemy.

I've changed the Difference Chart (I basically inverted the rate at which the numbers change between levels of effect, see "diff" below), and it now seems to work perfect.  The referee simply sets his monster's DEF roughly equal to the average party ATK to get a good fight (modify up or down 15 points to change the difficulty).  Here's the new chart:

Code:
Difference Effect
-71 or less 0%
-61 to -70 5% diff 10
-41 to -60 10% diff 20
-11 to -40 20% diff 30
-10 to +10 30% diff 20
+11 to +25 40% diff 15
+26 to +40 50% diff 15
+41 to +50 60% diff 10
+51 to +60 70% diff 10
+61 to +65 80% diff 5
+66 to +70 90% diff 5
+71 or more 100%

I've also tweaked the POWer bonus and MP cost for Job Abilities:
Code:
JLvl POW MP %MP Spent @Character Level(SPR Score) or @SPR Score
1 +30 35 40% @1L(15), 20% @60, 10% @80, 5% @100
2 +35 45 40% @3L(25), 20% @60, 20% @80, 10% @100
3 +40 55 40% @6L(35), 30% @60, 20% @80, 10% @100
4 +45 65 40% @10L(45), 30% @60, 20% @80, 20% @100
5 +50 75 40% @15L(55), 40% @60, 30% @80, 20% @100
6 +55 85 40% @21L(65), 40% @60, 30% @80, 20% @100
7 +60 95 40% @28L(70), 50% @60, 40% @80, 30% @100
8 +65 105 50% @36L(75), 60% @60, 40% @80, 30% @100
9 +70 115 50% @45L(80), 70% @60, 50% @80, 40% @100
10 +75 125 50% @55L(85), 80% @60, 60% @80, 40% @100
(Given a normal fight, the POW is roughly equal to the difference between your attack and the target's DEF on the Difference Chart).

The effect of this chart is that you can generally kill a monster in one hit with one big action, or two actions for a quarter of the MP cost (so it is more efficient but slower).  Obviously, Job Level 10 abilities will be reserved for critical situations (as they use a lot of MP but cause a lot of damage).  Spellcasting characters (who put SPR as their best stat) will have around twice the MP to spend on big moves, but once they run out, the fighter characters will have a distinct edge with mundane attacks.
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Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 746

roll-player


WWW
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2010, 01:11:19 PM »

If so, why the need for fixed strategic/tactical character ownership?
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2010, 05:18:14 AM »

I have to say I love the idea of grabbing someone else's character in cutscenes; it matches the really odd feeling of those games where your character is supposedly yours, but your playing someone else's idea. I reckon that players who own the character should be able to "tone" them by their actions, which governs how they are narrated, but should try to stick to what has been said. In other words, they might declare the character idealistic or ruthless (according to how they play it and the points it gains from that, as well as how they level) which then insures that there is a bit of consistency in the character, but they are still following the goals decided in cutscenes.
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