Monday, October 30, 2017

New features coming soon - Character Specifier, Tellah's initial magic randomized

The gears are turning in the production of Version 1.07 of The Lunarian Shuffle.  The theme of most of the changes is to follow up on the duplicate characters patch, and include some features that make sense to have because of the duplicates.  Some improvements include:
  •  A Character Specifier and a Character Counter are being introduced as ways to customize your duplicate characters.  If you want only bearded characters, or if you want to do a solo character challenge, your needs are going to be met.
  • All equipment is now going through the "Do you have a character that can use this?" check.
    • Previously, I was exempting things that were usable by 4 or more characters, since the odds you wouldn't have any use for it was so small.  Now with duplicate characters, this is a more likely scenario.
  • Adult Rydia is being introduced to more seeds.
    • She will have a small (~20%?) chance to be an adult when she joins the party at a position where she will not leave the party then rejoin in order to age.
    • Also, if Rydia remains Rydia after Mt. Ordeals, she will at least change her age.
  • Everyone else learns their spells at randomized levels, so why not Tellah?  Now, Tellah's pre-Ordeals magic set will be a random selection of early to mid game spells.
    • I'm not sure whether to allow the level 2 elemental Black magic spells or not.  I can make a few arguments for their inclusion, but it could severely warp the game.
 This is in addition to the usual round of minor bugfixes and balance changes.

While I have your attention, here's a PSA that V1.062 had a major error regarding spell sets.  Update to a more recent version if you have not already.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Small improvements incrementing to v1.063

Various minor self explanatory GUI improvements, bug fixes, and bug fixes to the bug fixes bring us to v1.063 as the current.  Update is live at the usual download location:

Monday, October 9, 2017

Full Experience Sharing

Recently I've had some more players giving The Lunarian Shuffle a try.  A common point of feedback is that they don't care for how much time it takes to grind levels.

On one hand, this can mostly be attributed to the players not being FFIV speed runners; if they were, they would know to simply get one fight that was worth a lot of experience, and then kill off all but one character and win.  This would multiply the experience onto one character, which would then get copied onto all the shadow party characters, making them super powerful when they rejoin.  However, I cannot and should not expect all my players to be FFIV speed runners, so I should accommodate for them somehow.

On the other hand, FFIV speed runners had a different complaint - when a bad character such as Dark Knight Cecil or Edward joins the party, the correct decision was always to kill that character and leave him dead, lest he waste valuable experience and turns.  If I simply multiplied the experience gained by fights, this conclusion would not change, and instead speed runners would simply need to win one or two fights and then the party would have gained so many levels that searching for equipment could be skipped for a very long time.  That does not work well.

I can solve both of these problems at once by adding the option to remove experience division among party members.  When selected, experience gained will always act as if each fight was completed with a single character.  This is a significant change to the game's basic strategy that addresses a frustration inherent to the game rather than one caused by The Lunarian Shuffle, which lands it solidly as an optional feature rather than something mandatory.

And so, that is what I have done.  Version 1.06 is now live, and it features the option described above, as well as a reorganization of the GUI to better support the growing number of build options.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Duplicate characters are go! V1.05 posted.

It took a lot of ASM coding on the SNES side as well as a reorganization of the randomizer's code on my side, but the game can now handle duplicate characters!  This is available as an option, in case you still want the characters simply reordered instead of each individual one being random.

No longer will you be depressed by the knowledge that seeing Edward in Palom's spot means he won't be your FuSoYa replacement.  Now you can have however many bards you get lucky enough to roll!

The main reason duplicate characters were a problem before was the game only has space for 13 spell sets - Rydia alone uses three, so if you have 5 Rydias on the team everything would have crashed and burned.  The solution was to make the game lie to itself about which spells a character knows - the game will now hide the spells an individual character technically knows but doesn't have the level to cast.  With that code in place, I could have two different characters, at two different levels, share the same spell list without major issues.

In other news, I've attempted to alleviate the most common point of complaint The Lunarian Shuffle receives by making Valvalis start with 50% less HP if your party does not feature Kain.  If you roll a bad team (and the worst case scenario just got worse with the addition of duplicate characters!), you still need to devise a way to deal damage and stay alive, but at least the fight won't drag on for so long once you have achieved that.

Get The Lunarian Shuffle version 1.05 here!