Hello to everyone reading this, during the last month I made two major changes. First, I turned the game in from a CRPG (real-time combat with pausing) to JRPG (turn-based). Second, I removed the Job system and level up skills system.
CRPG to JRPG
So I want to explain why I turned my battle system from “Pillars of eternity” to “Final fantasy”. There were a few reasons for this. The main reason is animation and enemy variety. Since the game characters are purely 2D it would require me to draw the animation for the 4 cardinal directions, which results in everything taking 4 times longer. Normally CRPG would create 3D models and then make 2D images out of them to use in-game. Maybe for a future project, I will try this method but not for this game. I came to this decision when I spend half a day making the “power strike” animations and realized if I wanted to do cooler animations, I had to remove the north and south requirements or limit the amount of combat skill in the game. So even though the CRPG combat was working it came down to if I want more animation for attack and more interesting none humanoid bad guys, then the combat system had to be turn-based.
Another main reason I change the battle system was due to the effect it has on the environment. CRPG requires room to battle in and my dungeons were all become very open. I could have made it like Star ocean /tales series where it brings you to a battle area that you run around in, but that leaves me with the animation problem like before. So the current system is more like the classic JRPG where you walk around in a threat zone then you get teleported to a room to fight in a turn base style.
Life and Death of my job system and character skills system.
The job system was born out of the idea that I wanted to simulate life on a ship; Star trek meets persona 4. I had jobs like cook, mechanic, treasure hunter, medic, and merchant. Your time on the ship was broken into job responsibility and free time. At the end of the week if you didn’t meet your job quota the ship would suffer and morale would drop. Free time was used to improve traits (which unlock other jobs) and improve social links (similar to persona). This system still exists and I’ll probably rework some of it because even after writing this it sounds like a great game.
The main issue with the job system is it gave you bonus stats, adding to your total combat power. These stats were tied to your job level and your job level increased whenever you upgraded a skill. Skills could be upgraded in 2 different ways, but the higher the level the more job points required for advancement.
The problem with this system is that it encouraged the player to upgrade every skill and spend all your point to boost your job bonus stats. Which goes against the goals of the system. It also made it incredibly hard to balance combat and gauge what power level a level 5 player could have. The enemies also followed the same system, so creating an enemy with multiple skills jacked its power level way up.
Retrospectively I could have made it so skills didn’t level up and the job class would level up independently unlock skills every few levels; the way like most JRPG. The one thing I wanted from my combat system was for the play to choose their skills and grow with them; similar to the Etrain Odyssey series. So I redesigned the system.
The new skill system is equipment-focused. Where the weapon and armor contain all your skills. Your equipment will level up to a max of level 10 and unlock new skills along the way. Weapon skill will primarily be offensive skill where armor skill will be support and healing. This solves one of the issues I have with all JRPG systems; when it comes to replacing skills, I personally always choose the combat skill over the support. This will lock it down so only support skills can replace support skills. Also if you don’t like a set of skills you can easily switch out your equipment and replace it with something you like. This makes it easier to gatekeep and controls the power of the player because their equipment even after upgraded will be good, but not game-breaking good (at least I hope). If they are underpowered, the game will sell them weapons and armor that will boost them closer to the stats require for the dungeon.
Currently, I am working on creating a forged object that will fuse 2 similar typed equipment to make better and more powerful equipment (persona’s system inspired) and a “break down” system that will take the equipment that you have leveled but don’t use anymore and applying the XP to another piece of equipment.