Friday, December 27, 2013

Layout and Design


+Erik McGrath

Making 16-Bit Adventures is a beautiful madness for me. The rules come together very easily but the presentation is driving my batty. Not only is layout the hardest part, it's the part I am least proficient with yet I can't seem to stop trying.

I'm sure most of it is due to inexperience with the tools. I'm using PowerPoint for most of it simply because it's what I know and I've been able to get it to do things. Contrast that to Scribus, which I have just started using, and I get basically nothing from it on the screen. I do get ideas though and one day I hope to be able to actually use Scribus to realize them.

For now I have gone back to PP.

No Layout vs Bad Layout

What it comes down to now is that I could have much more of the game posted where people can enjoy it, test it and hopefully point out its flaws if I just dispensed with the layout and posted a wall of text occasionally broken up with pictures.  I haven't done it for a couple reasons:

1) Too much Fallout 2. It was free to DL a couple weeks back and it has eaten my soul.
2) I don't personally like reading plain text and I tend to gloss over parts simply due to optical boredom. I suspect many other people are like me in this regard otherwise layout wouldn't be so important, right?

But it looks like at this point I can't slay the layout dragon myself anytime soon, so I am going to just offer what I have and then work on the rest later. Hopefully someone reading this will be a magical elf (or maybe just good at layouts) and want to join the Inspired creative team or even just help out on this project because they love sprite-art and Final Fantasy.

In the Works

As I have mentioned before, my next 16BA trick is to add the rest of the jobs and monsters and then do a Tactics module. The jobs are going pretty well and monsters are simple once the inspiration strikes. The Tactics bit is trouble though. 

It has cropped up repeatedly that the Jobs just don't all work in both modules as printed, so you really need to redo each for Standard and Tactics modes. Monsters at least work out pretty well. 

It doesn't help that I really want to get Job-switching in place and have it be more than simply taking the new character sheet like it is now. I want your character to be able to swap back and forth while still gaining in base capabilities and have it work out so that one PC could just pick Fighter and stick with it, but another could start with Blue Mage, then be a Bard and maybe then a Time Mage and actually use each of those abilities in some combination like you do in FFV and FFT(A).

It is a pretty big task so far to do that without needing to track lots of minutiae. 

My plan is to try it this way:
Every PC earns AP and XP for each battle completed equal to the total levels of the monsters fought.
Any PC that delivers a KO blow to a monster gains additional AP for that. 

XP will be used solely to increase Base Level and since all PCs get it at the same rate they will always be the same Base Level.

AP will be used to buy Job Abilities and raise Job Levels. Since AP is gained faster than XP this would mean that single Job PCs would have extra AP laying about so to be able to spend that I will be assigning each Job Ability a cost and not requiring a level minimum to buy it. So if all you want from Fighter is Retaliate then you can buy it first; it will be expensive though.

I am also moving to a more loose gear system where you would simply have 5 slots and the restriction would be that you can have no more than 1 armor or 2 held items (weapons and shields) but you could certainly equip an armor, a one-hand sword and 3 accessories if you wanted. Permissions for which items can be equipped will be based on current Job as well as mastered Job Abilities. For example if you master Fighter (ie buy all JAs) then you become a Master Fighter and no matter what Job you use next you can equip Heavy Armor (if that ends up being the Master JA, it could change).

You will also get some extra slots to equip JAs from your other Jobs whether you have Mastered them or not. So you could dip into Black Mage and then use your Black Magic as a Dragoon. 

There will need to be a restriction on AP, probably by making it Job-specific, so that you do actually have to play a Job to buy its abilities. 

As always, tell me what you think and I will get back to work!

Links 


Both are very much under construction, specifically the Jobs have not been added to either document. Since the Job pages are about the only thing I like the format of I am going to retain that and put up a separate doc for each module since the Tactics jobs require additional information to be used.