Sunday, January 26, 2014

16 Bit Tactics Progress

+Erik McGrath

As always, layout is the bane of my creative existence. Eventually I hope my skill in that area will improve; if not in quality than at least in time spent. But since this is the 40th birthday of D&D I wanted to be sure I made some progress.

Job Sheets

Here's a pic of the job sheets for Fighter and Black Mage complete with fancy, isometric sprites.

The top part shows the stats and values for each job as well as containing a space to record LV, XP, and AP. The AP box is handy but the LV and XP boxes are redundant since they are the same for each character regardless of job.

I decided to do these two jobs first because they are polar opposites of each other. The Fighter has the highest HP, DMG and ATK stats as well as the lowest values in MP, M.Dmg and M.Atk while the Black Mage is the exact reverse situation. With that said, you may notice that HP and MP are not on the same scale. Everyone gains some of each but HP range from 15-30 and MP from 3-20. DMG and M.Dmg are almost the same scale. Both have a minimum value of 3 but M.Dmg caps at 12 rather than 10.


This pic shows the complete list of abilities for each job. The Black Mage has only one option in both the Reaction and Support categories, and no Movement abilities at all. The Fighter, by contrast, has the very useful "Move+1" Movement ability and a choice of two each in Support and Reaction, though neither of their Support abilities are actually useful when Fighter is set as the main job because they are both Equip abilities.

If you add up the AP costs you will also see that to Master the Black Mage job it costs 200 more points than the Fighter. AP costs, as of now, are taken directly from the video games and that means that different jobs can cost different amounts to master and that is okay. The specific costs will certainly change in order to achieve better balance, but I am not committing to making the jobs all cost the same.

Mastering Jobs

As mentioned above, mastering a Job is easy, all you need to do is buy all of its abilities. As of now, what that does for you is grant permissions to use certain items and unlock additional jobs. I'm considering treating mastery as a bonus level so that when you finally master a job you get all the HP, MP, DMG and M.Dmg of gaining a level while that job is primary. 

There could be other benefits, such as allowing certain equipment in other jobs, but that can't be too much or it makes the Equip type support abilities redundant. In some cases it could allow a boost when using job abilities, so that your Fighter who has already mastered Black Mage isn't choking on a D6 M.Atk die.

But that's a problem for another post.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Job switching in 16 Bit Tactics

+Erik McGrath

My primary goal with 16-Bit Tactics is to create a system that allows players to switch jobs between adventures/battles and still meaningfully impact their advancement. Currently for 16-Bit Adventures there is no special rule for switching jobs, we just switch whenever someone wants to play something different. Since the only real decision point is to pick a job all they have to do is pick up the sheet for that job and then get assigned some gear.

That method is certainly simple, but it doesn't lend itself to mixing job abilities in the way that the tactics series does, nor even how FFV does. It also can't capture the sphere-grid nor license-board methods nor subjobs, etc. In short, it's not good enough.


There are two ways I've figured that will work to allow characters to switch jobs. The first is the FFV method. Separate job level from character level and assign specific stats to each. This would mean that a Level 10 character would have one profile and the current job level would modify that template.

The second is the FFT method and it assigns each job stats and when you gain a level you add the stats from the job you gained the level in to your own stats. There is no recalculating anything when you switch. The only thing that changes in this case is your Primary Job Ability.

The second method is the one I've been working on.


You have two kinds of stats, cumulative and static.

Cumulative stats are the values that change with level: your HP, MP, DMG & M.DMG.

Static stats are always the same and depend on your current job and active abilities. They are MOVE, JUMP, ATK, M.ATK & EVA.

Gear can influence any stat, both cumulative and static. Additionally, gear determines your base DEF & M.DEF. A few job abilities can modify these but for the most part it is the items you equip that govern them.

Here's a shot of the amended character sheet.

The main differences are the addition of Move and Jump, that JAs are no longer a list specific to the job and that items are more customizable. You can still only equip one armor, and still only have 2 hands but you could equip 5 different types of accessory (helm, cloak, gloves, boots, rings...).

Your primary JA is always determined by your current job. Fighters have Battle Tech, Monks have Kung Fu, Black Mages have Black Magic, etc. Your secondary JA can be any JA of any job you have unlocked.  Reaction, Move and Support abilities must be unlocked from different jobs with AP. Once you know a particular ability you may equip it regardless of your primary job.

Each primary JA is an umbrella under which all actions usable by that job are placed. If you have the JA equipped you may use any abilities governed by that JA that you have learned in any job.

Learning Abilities

This is where the other new entry on the character sheet comes in. AP are ability points and you earn them the same way, and often at the same rate, as you earn XP. Unlike XP, which simply tells you what level you are, AP allows a great deal of choice. Each ability has a particular cost in AP and you may spend them freely; you do not need to buy a job's abilities in a set order though you do need to buy all of them to master that job. Your job level is the number of abilities you know from that job.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Squabblin' Corbies

+Erik McGrath

I am participating in a contest at +Will Design a Game for Art . If you are not familiar with this the goal is to design a game based on artwork by +Laura Hamilton . You can see a few of the pieces I used in my design in this post. Please keep in mind that these all belong solely to Laura and that they are not for redistribution. 

If you'd like to see more of her work go here: Laura Hamilton's Portfolio.

You may recognize the ninjas in the top line as those from Sudden Death.

The Game

Squabblin' Corbies is a game for 2 players about two groups of ravens arguing over several objects at several locations near a village. These events are observed by a pair of children as they walk from their village through each location over the course of the day until they return home. 

There are 6 ravens, 6 places and 6 objects of note. All are numbered 1-6, Each player gets 3 ravens and tries to have them collect the items with their number and then get to the place with that number so they can nest for the night.

When rival ravens are at the same location they may squabble over the objects they are carrying. Since a raven can only carry one thing in its beak at a time it's important to know which one they take. Larger ravens take objects they like from the smaller ones (compare their numbers, higher numbered ravens are larger). However ravens don't take things they don't like so they will only squabble for an object if the smaller raven has either their favorite one (same number) or a similar one (number within 1 of the raven's).

Friendly ravens may freely exchange objects when at the same location so long as neither is forced to take an object it likes less than the one it carries. So be careful because that might mean it holds onto another of your raven's favorite objects.

The very smallest raven (#1) gets pushed around a lot but it is so quick that when in a squabble with raven #6 the little one wins. The player who controls #1 also takes the first turn.

The children act as a turn counter. After the second player takes a turn they advance the children to the next location. When the children advance off the last location, the game ends. As there are six locations, this means the game always lasts 7 turns.


Since the contest isn't over yet, Squabblin' Corbies is not available for public play. Once it's finished up though there will be a PNP doc for download. Hopefully it will contain Laura's art, but that is getting ahead of ourselves because I haven't talked to her about the aftermath yet. :)