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Shining Force Mod: Ite3

v201802 (last updated Feb 2018)

Discussion about the original classic Genesis/Mega Drive game. Posts about the GBA remake belong in the forum below.

Shining Force Mod: Ite3

Postby Siel » Mon Dec 18 2017 6:37am

v201802
Patch download

How to Use
1. Acquire patch via download link above
2. Acquire IPS patcher (e.g. Lunar IPS)
3. Use patcher to apply patch to US version of SF1 rom
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About this mod

I fiddled with rubixcuber's editor from time to time, but never actually got anywhere until more recently. I was on my third reiteration of spreadsheet planning when I decided to just roll with what I had and actually make something, which is where the not-so-temporary name of Ite3 came from.

I disliked the slow pace of the outdoor battles that often had characters spend several turns crawling 2 tiles at a time across heavy terrain, so partially deforesting the maps is a step I took in an attempt to change that. In a similar vein to up the pace, starting positions of the Force were often moved closer to the action and many maps were given higher enemy density.

I aimed for some difficulty, but it might still be on the easier side, at least in the middle portions of the game. I did my own playtests without using Egress (except to recruit Gong) or buying consumable items. The mod is tentatively complete up to the end of the game.

Progression's been tweaked to have the recommended level for promotion be 20. It's possible to promote earlier (15), but it's likely not ideal.

Here's a more complete list of changes/features:

WARNING: SPOILER!


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Changelog and older versions
WARNING: SPOILER!

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Data

Characters
WARNING: SPOILER!

Weapons
WARNING: SPOILER!

Spells
WARNING: SPOILER!

Chest changes
WARNING: SPOILER!

Screenshots
WARNING: SPOILER!


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Known issues
WARNING: SPOILER!

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Many thanks to rubixcuber's editor. The new features and fixes were provided by it and most edits were made through it. The rest was done in a hex editor.

Edit 20171218: Added some screenshots, added another issue, updated download link with minor item equippability changes
Edit 20171220: edited issues, updated download link
Edit 20171221: included changes in promotion
Edit 20180126: added new screenshot, updated download link, added download link to an older version
Edit 20180204: added new screenshot, updated download link
Last edited by Siel on Sun Feb 04 2018 7:15am, edited 20 times in total.
Siel

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Re: Shining Force Mod: Ite3

Postby Morath » Tue Dec 19 2017 9:37pm

I'm playing through this; just got into chapter 2. The differences are meaningful and sometimes subtle. You can tell some thought was put into the numbers. I'm especially enjoying the redesigned enemy teams in battles. The difficulty is tuned so that an experienced player can have a romp through the game. In other words, not so hard that you have to stock up on herbs from the shop and grind battles for experience and not trivially easy; you are kept on your toes.

Excellent mod, so far!
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Re: Shining Force Mod: Ite3

Postby Siel » Wed Dec 20 2017 8:58pm

Thank you for playing and for the comment!

That's sort of what I had in mind for battles. I ended up lessening the difficulty on some of the battles as I tested them out. For example, the goblins in the third battle were originally more dwarves and knights, but I found healers didn't have enough MP to keep up with such long battles yet, so they were demoted. As the game went on, though, I worry I might've started rushing to completion and gotten lazy with the redesign.
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Re: Shining Force Mod: Ite3

Postby Morath » Thu Dec 21 2017 4:40pm

... and after playing half of it: I'll use 2 paragraphs for the 2 different stages of the game (early, middle):

I really enjoyed attacking groups of enemies. Continually just picking off stagglers in shining force games is a major reason the unmodifed versions get old. Nice job on spell AoEs like prison. As far as the mages redesign: I'm totally with you, mana costs are well-chosen and which spell from which mage does matter, great job! Couple small issues I found:
  • Casting detox on gort wielding the blood axe removed the curse effect but the item was still wielded; not sure if this is intentional.
  • Shield spell doesn't seem to do anything (learned the hard way ;p).
  • Fortress before balbazak, the artillery on the left can't move more than 2 spaces up, not sure if this is intentional.
The battle in the quarry is well done; using amon and balbaroy at the first opportunity provides definate utility. The elliot battle in unmodified game is one of the best because of the enemy coordination and I congratulate you for making battles more interesting using the same principle (waves of organized enemies instead of isolated monsters).

Then after 3 fun battles (forest battle after picking up zylo, breaching the fortress battle, balbazak battle) the game becomes grindy. To be fair, it is also the case that in the unmodified game the first ship battle is where the game starts to feel grindy as well, but the room for improvement exists. Getting promoted levels is one of the most fun things in shining force (because of the big stat gains), especially with how this mod is tuned, and in anticipation of that fun I tried to stick it out through a couple battles without getting experience. Not being able to gain experience and enemies being less organized around this point killed it for me. I stopped playing at the ring reef battle. There were monsters levels 12-20ish when most of my characters were already promoted. I would suggest tweaking the monster levels up so that there is a jump in their level when there is a jump in the player character's levels (at promotion) since when promoting a level 15 character, suddenly they are treated as a level 20 character for experience gain purposes. Because of this I was forced to switch out characters I was having a great time with (ex. tao, anri) because they couldn't gain experience for a few fights (there were a few exceptions: I could level domingo, jogurt, earnest). I can't speak for other players, but one of the main reasons I play an RPG is for the character development (in this case, mainly leveling) so the combination of enemy teams being less organized and not getting anything interesting by leveling made the middle part of the game hard to get through. On the plus side, I like what was done with shop prices and weapons so that having the latest weapon is not always a formality (since the prices force the player to make choices) and not giving overbearing damage boosts (a character could still use a cheap weapon and be somewhat effective).

This mod has the potential to be great, I already consider it better than the unmodified game for many reasons (new items, redesigned characters, interesting battles that make you use all the potential of your characters). Well done!
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Re: Shining Force Mod: Ite3

Postby Siel » Thu Dec 21 2017 10:47pm

Thank you for your impressions and feedback!

Detox: I wasn't aware it could remove curse (and without deequipping???), so that wasn't intentional at all. I'm not too sure what the different versions of detox do, but I definitely wanted it to be able to remove sleep and whatnot, so I had it set to the highest level. I guess I'll have to look into this more.

Shield: Its effect should be to block spell effects (including healing spells), and not to increase defense against physical attacks, in case that's what you were expecting. I suppose it's not exactly obvious since mages aren't too common in this mod and it was a really late-game spell in the original. I'm considering having it block breath attacks as well, but I'll probably forgo this (unless it already does...?).

Fortress: It looks like I forgot to change that tile above the artillery's setting from "wall" to "ground" again. I actually had to rebuild this map multiple times due to data corruption.

Prison: I had originally intended it to be a ring around the caster, but it turned out it wasn't possible (unless I made it also target the caster and allies, but that'd screw up EXP at the very least). The cross pattern sort of retains the idea of hitting closely around the caster, so I settled for that.

Promotion: I intended for promotions to be done at level 20, which is why I also raised the promotion level modifier from +10 to +19. I nearly always wait until 20 to promote anyway and so completely forgot to even mention that change in my opening post. I made the minimum promotion level 15 to allow some choice on when to promote, but since there's no inherent advantage to promoting in this mod (except as a requirement to equipping endgame weapons) and mostly only disadvantages to promoting early, there's pretty much no choice and it just ends up being a trap. I'll either raise the promotion requirement to 20 (or 18~19?) or at least mention that 20 is the recommended level.

If you have a desire to continue playing, I'd recommend resuming from a save before promoting. If you don't have such a save anymore, I should probably be able to depromote the characters if you send me your current save file. I should warn you that growths don't have a massive boost post-promotion though (but there is somewhat of a jump in leveling pace later).

Battle monotony: This is what I was worrying about in my previous post. It's around this point in the game that I started getting busy with other things and trying to squeeze in time for modding. I was also stuck on the Balbazak battle for a while, retuning it to not be too overwhelming. I was also thinking that since I just had a battle like Balbazak's, I'd switch to less aggressive battles for a while. Before I realized, I had changed to mostly only adding onto and modifying what the original had instead of coming up with new formations and making map edits. To top it off, the enemy variety sorta drops in the original too around this point. The ship battles only have two identical enemies (plus bats) and everything is melee-ranged except for the mage guarding the door. I made one of the shells ranged and added underleveled archers to mix it up, but now that I know how many unused enemy types I have left, I could probably redo those parts to change them up some more.

I'll also admit the stat curves I had originally planned failed to properly take into account the timing of weapon upgrades (and slowing down the pace of leveling after-the-fact further messed with this). Player offense ended up a bit higher than anticipated and enemies would die too quickly against a team of 12 which, although I tried to rectify with more HP, might also have contributed to the feeling of them being less organized.
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