Monday, December 3, 2018

Equipment screen mod is live! V1.124 is the current version.

The next version of the Lunarian Shuffle is live!  It features a snazzy new equipment screen as well as some minor bug fixes.  I have also improved the Android build enough to feel confident in posting it publicly, as well.


Download the latest version from the usual location:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9k5jnZ_x-ijRG5BTE1objljbzQ

Monday, November 19, 2018

Upcoming features: Equipment screen update and Randomized Equipment

Hello, TLS fans!

The main features of the next major update to The Lunarian Shuffle will be equipment related.  In the vanilla form of FFIV, the equipment screen is almost insultingly devoid of helpful information.  Much of what makes weapons or armor useful are the elemental, racial, and status effect bonuses that they possess.  Similarly, the hit rate or evasion granted by equipment often makes it or breaks it (such as the Drain Spear, whose 20% hit rate makes it nearly worthless.)  However, absolutely none of that information has been provided to the player in-game... until now!


This is what a nearly-complete version of the modified screen looks like.  Since that screenshot, I have also added coloration to the element and ailment icons.

Aside from being just generally something players deserve but weren't given in FFIV, the big reason that I undertook this project was to make way for my next major feature for TLS: randomized equipment!"  Whereas the equipment shuffle changes what sorts of items each character can wear, the randomized equipment feature will change what each piece of equipment does.  So, you might open a chest in the final dungeon and discover the One Ring, or you might look in the Tomra shop and find the Virus Rod.  The GUI from vanilla FFIV would leave you completely in the dark as to what that equipment actually does for you, but with the equipment screen modification above, you'll have all the information you need shown to you clearly and quickly!

The rest of the randomized equipment feature will require a lot of work - designing how the items are made, selecting names that can show up for those items, actually coding these things into the game, and finally balancing it so it makes sense on each of Easy, Hard, and Super Hard modes.  If you (yes, YOU!) have any ideas for names of equipment, head over to our discord server (an invite is linked below) and get me as many weapon and armor names as like, and many of them will likely show up in the final build!

You can also keep up with the progress by viewing my Twitch channel every Sunday at 3:00pm Eastern US time:

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Bugfix patches released: TLS V1.122 is the current version.

With a hack as complicated as Lunacy Mode, it should come as no surprise that there were some glitches that were harder to detect than others.  Players on the Lunarian Shuffle's Discord server reported some errors they encountered.  Re-download TLS to update to v1.122 and get the fixes to these errors.

In particular, the Zeromus fight had three separate problems afflicting it, which would either short you a character, or duplicate a character, or the game rarely would outright crash as it attempted to begin the final battle.  The crash was as much Squaresoft's fault as it was my own - apparently, the interrupt that draws the next screen each time the current frame ends will completely fail if their own RNG was in the middle of executing.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Lunacy mode is live! TLS v1.12 is now the current version.

After over a hundred hours of coding and bug fixing (including a few fixed today, so here's hoping there's no more), "Lunacy Mode" is now live!

Lunacy Mode changes the rules of the game.  It makes your party reshuffle itself from among all the party members you have met so far every time you win a battle!  It also reshuffles your party (ensuring the main character is present) just before Zeromus, so be sure all 13 of your party members are ready to fight if they have to!

As always, get the latest version of The Lunarian Shuffle from the Google Drive folder:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9k5jnZ_x-ijRG5BTE1objljbzQ

And here are a few smaller changes in this version:

Balance pass for consumable item prices:
  • Alarm costs 500 (from 100)
  • Level 1 spell items cost 350 (from 200)
  • Level 2 spell items cost 1000 (from 650)
  • Stardust costs 2000 (from 1000)
  • Vampire costs 750 (from 400)
  • HrGlass1 costs 800 (from 500)
  • HrGlass2 costs 850 (from 750)
  • HrGlass3 costs 900 (from 1000)
  • Hermes Shoes cost 1000 (from 2000)
  • Coffin costs 3000 (from 5000)
  • Grimoire costs 3000 (from 5000)
SuperHardMode was supposed to allow chests to contain equipment that nobody in your party could use.  A bug made this no longer the case at some point, and that has been fixed.

Some more names have been added to the "Random Names" flag's options.

Fixed a bug where characters who received Young Rydia's ability set would retain her White magic outside of battle but lose it in battle upon rejoining the party.

Known Issue: trying to talk to Octomamm's tentacles as if the tile to trigger the fight were a desk causes the game to misbehave.  A fix for this was found, but would cause Octomamm's fight to use the wrong background.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Character Tracker has been improved! V1.112 is now live.

The character tracker, which was introduced in the previous update, is now better:
  • It should now automatically handle duplicate characters in a smart way.
  • It can now track dual wielding: click the armor icon to replace it with a pair of swords.
  • The display should now be more streamer-friendly: as you resize the window, it will rearrange the character list in a compact and centered way.
 
Also, a couple stores that were misbehaving and giving equipment for already-gone characters on Normal and Hard mode should be fixed.

Download it at the usual location:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9k5jnZ_x-ijRG5BTE1objljbzQ

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Character Tracker is now built in to TLS! v1.111 is live.

The old character tracker for TLS has become outdated with the addition of equipment and ability shuffles; keeping track of that information has become rather difficult with the tool that was developed for a much simpler randomizer.

Today I have created a new tracker!  It works very similarly to the previous one, but it can optionally have extra slots for the abilities (indicated by a staff) and the equipment (indicated by armor) that each character can use.  It also shows which characters' abilities and equipment sets have already been observed, so you can more easily identify which ones could still be coming in the future, especially in a no duplicate characters seed.

One detail that might not be obvious: to switch between checking if Child vs Adult Rydia's ability and equipment sets have been observed yet, click Rydia's source position twice.  (But not so fast it triggers a double click).

As always, download The Lunarian Shuffle here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9k5jnZ_x-ijRG5BTE1objljbzQ

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Version 1.11 released! Equipment and Ability shuffles are live.

The ability and equipment shuffles of version 1.11 add a LOT of complexity to the game.  Surprisingly good and singularly terrible characters are both fairly common, so be ready to dual wield some Power Staves on an Edward and expect him to carry your team if that's what the situation calls for!  On average, you should expect a seed with these options enabled to be harder to complete, both because it is more confusing and because it is more common to have a weak party in some portion of the game.

Details on how corner cases like Rydia's aging are handled can be found in the Change Log in the Documentation folder.

In other news, The Lunarian Shuffle now has a proper installer instead of being a standalone .exe.  This should make it easier to use for those who were having trouble with overly aggressive antivirus settings giving it a false positive.

The download location remains unchanged:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B9k5jnZ_x-ijRG5BTE1objljbzQ
However, now you will be downloading and unpacking a .zip file containing the installer.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Open Beta for Ability and Equipment Shuffles!

TLS v1.11 is coming soon, and its beta is already here!  For the impatient among you, here's a link:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1TheQIIyVIiFj0ARxl95iSIB18FEuCuKC

The two big features of v1.11 are shuffles for a character's ability set and their equipment sets.  These are independent of each other, and you can use one, the other, both, or neither.

The Equipment shuffle is communicated to the player via the character's "job" title.  For example, in the X menu, the game usually lists that Palom is a "Bl.Wiz".  With the equipment shuffle on, if you see his title has become "YCaller", that means he can equip stuff as if he is young Rydia - this includes Staves and the Tiara, but not the Strength Ring that adult Rydia can use.

The Ability shuffle transfers whole ability sets at once.  So, if your Dark Knight Cecil has Tellah's abilities, he will have Tellah's White and Black magic lists (which will expand at Ordeals), as well as Recall and a fixed 90 MP.

Adult and Child Rydia are considered to be completely separate for the purposes of the shuffle.  If a particular Rydia will age, she may start with MP as a child if her adult form will need it.  Also, because equipment is retained when characters leave and rejoin the team in TLS, an aging Rydia may come back with equipment on her which she normally cannot use.  (This does artificially create some strange but interesting game decisions; if you think this is a bad thing, speak up!)

Another feature in TLS v1.11 is that Dartable equipment will now appear as if it was a lower value item if the proper users are not present, but the character with the Dart command (no longer necessarily Edge) is present in the party.

If you use the Beta, please give me feedback (at the TLS Discord or here or in my Twitch chat are all fine) whenever you see something that doesn't feel right.  If you think something is wrong, it either means you found a bug or that a decision I made for a corner case scenario may need to be reconsidered.

Have fun,
Crow!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Version 1.10 released! "Super Hard" mode is go.

While a lot of the attention for game randomizers lately has been for the purpose of speedrunners having a new challenge they can compete against each other in for a couple hours, randomizers' roots are more closely shared with "Hard Mode" style ROM hacks.  Since its release, The Lunarian Shuffle has made a lot of quality of life changes that favor a quick and reliable completion of the game, with good play allowing you to complete the game faster, rather than good play being required to complete the game at all.

Version 1.10 introduces "Super Hard" mode, which makes the game far more difficult in many different ways.  This is not for the faint of heart, and I do not suggest trying to complete a Super Hard seed in a single sitting.  The details of Super Hard mode are as follows:
  • The game will give you equipment regardless of whether your party has members who can use it.
  • Every chest and plot award for items has a 1 as its "minimum goodness."  Items you find will still be appropriate to the current section of the game, but even the most out-of-the-way chests could contain a Cure2 or some simple ammo.
  • The "cures just one status effect" items are back in the game, wasting a lot of your item drops.
  • Half of all learned spells have their spell learning levels rolled between +0 and +39 levels instead of the usual Hard Mode +0 to +6.
  • Tellah fails to learn 1/3 of the spells he is supposed to learn at the top of Mt. Ordeals.
  • Tellah's replacement joins the party at level 10 instead of level 20.
  • Whereas in Hard Mode, shops will sell between 1 and their original maximum number of types of items, in Super Hard Mode, the most items a shop can roll are between 1 and 4.
  • Gold chests contain less GP.
  • The "Maximum Experience Sharing" option is disabled.
In total, these changes make the game take me between 2 and 2.5 times longer than it usually does to complete.  I suspect there will be some seeds that are absolutely brutal.  In particular, players had been noting that TLS solo character challenges weren't actually that hard because relevant equipment was so readily available when no equipment for other characters were being produced; no such luck in Super Hard mode.


Another feature addition is that more items have descriptions in the Item menu.  The code to make this work is borrowed from B0ardface, who is responsible for the recent Free Enterprise project, though the actual descriptions are my own.

Also, as a quality of life improvement, the program will now remember what base ROM you used last time you loaded one successfully, and will automatically load it when you start the program again.  This makes generating new seeds that much less of a hassle, especially if you keep your source and destination ROMs in different locations.

As always, get the new version from the Google Drive folder here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9k5jnZ_x-ijRG5BTE1objljbzQ

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Version 1.09 released!

Version 1.09 is complete!  Now your Porom can wield the Excalibur staff to her heart's content.
Download it here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9k5jnZ_x-ijRG5BTE1objljbzQ

Check the previous post for more details on the new features.  Have fun!

- Crow!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Version 1.09 features

The Lunarian Shuffle version 1.09 is coming soon!  There isn't as large a set of changes here as version 1.08, but that says much more about v1.08 than it does about this update here.

The biggest change is that the Legend weapon, formerly always a sword for Paladin Cecil, is now exclusive equipment for whoever it is awarded to.  So, if the main character becomes Porom when she receives KluYa's blessing, the weapon will become the Legend Staff, with the same stats and properties as the Legend Sword, but only Porom (and not Rosa or Cecil) can equip it.  This change propagates to the Excalbur, should you obtain it.  Also, the randomizer logic now demands that one, and only one, Rat Tail will get placed somewhere in the world, rather than just usually happening to produce one.

In other news, sleeping in the Inn will now be less time consuming if you are using the shortened cutscenes option.  The poor receptionist desk guy will see you collapse as soon as you pay your money, rather than traveling to the beds.

There are a number of other bug fixes, too - for example, it turns out that v1.08 really doesn't like it if you try to make multiple seeds that use the Randomized Names option with the same instance of the program, and no longer will a seed with Golbez not in your party necessarily have Golbez as the villain.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Version 1.08 is live! Also, we have a Discord server!

The Lunarian Shuffle is now officially at version 1.08.  The inclusion of Golbez, the matching of musical themes to the characters' new positions, random character renaming, and many more features give this release the longest changelog of any release yet.  As always, grab the new version here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9k5jnZ_x-ijRG5BTE1objljbzQ

For a complete list of what has changed, look in the "Documentation" folder, which is a thing that exists now.

In other news, we now have a Discord server to act as our official chat room and meeting place.  Expect either tournaments or a league for regularly scheduled races to come in the near future.  Until then, come in, ask any questions you may have, or share your fun and funny moments with The Lunarian Shuffle!
https://discord.gg/V2pUVGH