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Shining Force 2.3

Hirsute's Mod

Discussion about this classic Genesis/Mega Drive game.

Shining Force 2.3

Postby Hirsute » Thu Oct 28 2010 10:18pm

Shining Force 2.3

More than a year in the making, this is my contribution to the world of Shining Force 2 mods. My target audience is the experienced players - have you played the game so many times that you know exactly what to do to defeat every battle? If so, I made this mod for you. Not only have I rebalanced the characters' spells and statistics - I have redesigned every battle in the game!

I have intentionally avoided playing other mods because I didn't want to steal anyone's ideas, but I have based a lot of my changes on the discussions I have read here. The purpose of my restructuring of the character's statistics is that I wanted more specialization in the force. You have some characters that are meant for damage dealing, others that are best for taking hits, and others that are more flexible. I have also in general made the characters worse than in the original game. While not specifically a 'challenge mode' mod, this should be quite difficult. I play-tested this on 'normal' mode and I found some battles quite challenging (and this is while knowing exactly what the monsters would do!). Almost every spell has been changed in some way, all with the idea of balance between characters and variety between spells. My general goal was to make every character approximately equal in terms of how 'good' they are while at the same time making them all different from each other. You should be able to pick any force members and still have an interesting competitive team.

As for the battles, I changed where the monsters are and what they do in every battle. I did not change (in most cases) which monsters appear in the battle or their stats (upcoming in SF2.5). The idea behind these changes was to make every battle more interesting and challenging. In some cases you might find the battles actually easier than in the original, but in other cases they will be much harder. The main idea here is that they are all different from the original

For more details about the changes to the game, click the spoiler below:
WARNING: SPOILER!


The following spoiler contains a chart detailing the force members - approximate abilities at LVL 30 promoted:
WARNING: SPOILER!


The following spoiler contains a chart comparing the force members - new abilities to their original abilities. Gains are shown in red, losses are shown in blue:
WARNING: SPOILER!


The following spoiler contains details of the spells available in the game:
WARNING: SPOILER!


In closing, I really hope that you enjoy this mod. As much as I love Shining Force 2, it can be pretty tedious to play the same battles over and over again with the same force members.
I stood on the shoulders of giants to make this, so I would like to offer huge thanks to Space King and BigNailCow for their amazing editing programs. Also thanks goes to SirHedge and Stordarth for their work on enemy AI.

How to use the mod:
First, back up your original Shining Force 2 ROM.
Next, unzip the file above. Within you will find a file called Shining Force 2.3.ips.
Rename your original ROM "Shining Force2.bin" (if it's not already a .bin file you will need to convert it using SF2Edit).
Using a program such as IPSWin, apply the Shining Force 2.3.ips file to your Shining Force2.bin file.
Play as normal and enjoy!
(credit for most of that description goes to Stordarth)

Disclaimer:
I can almost guarantee that there are going to be bugs in this mod. I will try to fix any I can as they are found, but some things I have no idea how to fix.
Known bugs:
- The opening title screen is very distorted.
- Some battle backgrounds do not correspond properly to the terrain of the battle.
- Some characters may use the unpromoted Bowie sprite for attack animations

Edit #1: For those traditionalists out there, here is a version with all class names restricted to four letters: Hirsute's Shining Force 2.3 (4digit)

Edit #2: In response to Aldur's outstanding review, I have made the following changes:
WARNING: SPOILER!


Please note: If you downloaded this mod before January 13, 2012, you have an old version and should re-download and re-apply the patch.

If you have already started the game, you do not need to restart unless you have already passed one of the battles fixed in the latest update and you wish to experience them in their proper form.
Last edited by Hirsute on Sat Jan 14 2012 4:09am, edited 14 times in total.
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Stordarth » Thu Oct 28 2010 10:23pm

Now this is a mod i'll have a look at some point in the near future.

Right after I finalise the 12 Man Marathon Hack.

Question: I am guessing it doesnt use the survival hack, and the game plays as it did before in terms of exploration?

And I haz Credits?! awesome. :lol:

Code: Select all
Dice Codes
Attack/Marked Target: /roll 8d100
Damage Variance (Rebels): /roll d18 [Blake with Blade], /roll d26 [Other cases.]
Damage Variance (Emissaries): /roll d16 [Zuberi with Blade], /roll d21 [Rain with Katana, Thrald with Blade], /roll d26 [Other cases.]
Magic: /roll d26
Status Effects: /roll d100
Level-Ups (No/Fixed MP): /roll 4d11
Level-Ups (Has MP): /roll 5d11

---
SFCW-A: Durandar
Sunken Castle: Fintan Kahn

Code: Select all
Dice Codes
Attack/Marked Target: /roll 8d100
Damage Variance (Rebels): /roll d18 [Blake with Blade], /roll d26 [Other cases.]
Damage Variance (Emissaries): /roll d16 [Zuberi with Blade], /roll d21 [Rain with Katana, Thrald with Blade], /roll d26 [Other cases.]
Magic: /roll d26
Status Effects: /roll d100
Level-Ups (No/Fixed MP): /roll 4d11
Level-Ups (Has MP): /roll 5d11

---
SFCW-A: Durandar
Sunken Castle: Fintan Kahn
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Hirsute » Thu Oct 28 2010 10:28pm

No this plays as the original game does. I'm a sucker for traditionalism I guess - I still enjoy exploring towns and such. If somebody wants to skip the story, all they have to do is up the frame rate.

And of course you haz credits :p

Edit: I even gave you extra creditz!
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Hirsute's Shining Force 2 Mod
Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
"...the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."
Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

Hirsute's Shining Force 2 Mod
Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Stordarth » Thu Oct 28 2010 11:20pm

Hirsute @ Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:28 pm) wrote: No this plays as the original game does. I'm a sucker for traditionalism I guess - I still enjoy exploring towns and such. If somebody wants to skip the story, all they have to do is up the frame rate.

And of course you haz credits :p

Edit: I even gave you extra creditz!

:blush:

Code: Select all
Dice Codes
Attack/Marked Target: /roll 8d100
Damage Variance (Rebels): /roll d18 [Blake with Blade], /roll d26 [Other cases.]
Damage Variance (Emissaries): /roll d16 [Zuberi with Blade], /roll d21 [Rain with Katana, Thrald with Blade], /roll d26 [Other cases.]
Magic: /roll d26
Status Effects: /roll d100
Level-Ups (No/Fixed MP): /roll 4d11
Level-Ups (Has MP): /roll 5d11

---
SFCW-A: Durandar
Sunken Castle: Fintan Kahn

Code: Select all
Dice Codes
Attack/Marked Target: /roll 8d100
Damage Variance (Rebels): /roll d18 [Blake with Blade], /roll d26 [Other cases.]
Damage Variance (Emissaries): /roll d16 [Zuberi with Blade], /roll d21 [Rain with Katana, Thrald with Blade], /roll d26 [Other cases.]
Magic: /roll d26
Status Effects: /roll d100
Level-Ups (No/Fixed MP): /roll 4d11
Level-Ups (Has MP): /roll 5d11

---
SFCW-A: Durandar
Sunken Castle: Fintan Kahn
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Salibu » Thu Oct 28 2010 11:34pm

Interesting...couple questions...

WARNING: SPOILER!
Annual User ID Battle Creator:
2011 User ID Champion - Stordarth
2011 ToC Winner - Moogie > Stordarth
2012 User ID Champion - Rusty
2012 ToC Winner - Stordarth > Moogie > Rusty
2012 Tag Team Winner - Kaihaku / Noma
2012 Villain Contest - Galm
2013 User ID Champion - MXC
2013 ToC Winner - Stordarth > Moogie > MXC> Rusty
Annual User ID Battle Creator:
2011 User ID Champion - Stordarth
2011 ToC Winner - Moogie > Stordarth
2012 User ID Champion - Rusty
2012 ToC Winner - Stordarth > Moogie > Rusty
2012 Tag Team Winner - Kaihaku / Noma
2012 Villain Contest - Galm
2013 User ID Champion - MXC
2013 ToC Winner - Stordarth > Moogie > MXC> Rusty
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Hirsute » Fri Oct 29 2010 12:13am

WARNING: SPOILER!
"...the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."
Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

Hirsute's Shining Force 2 Mod
Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
"...the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."
Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

Hirsute's Shining Force 2 Mod
Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Aldur » Fri Oct 29 2010 12:44am

WARNING: SPOILER!
MDMG Alex's gay jokes counter: 3

Aldur: Finally it's just us in here
Aldur: lets have wild passionate cyber rp
omega entity: mmm
omega entity: cyber RP

Ri3mannZeta: I LOVE YOU HGUYS BECAUSE YOU ARE ALL HUMANS
omega entity: lol
geddis the hero: Z what
Ri3mannZeta: what up aldur
Ri3mannZeta: you are cool as f**k
Ri3mannZeta): ;,fap
Ri3mannZeta: i love you guysd so much

TheUnknownMarine: Man I don't like the feel of this.
VoxPVoxD: take it out of your butt

**
Kalos Krystalpaw EXP: 57650/66000
59/70HP, 29AC, 15AC flat footed, 18 AC touch, Spell Resistance: 22, Fort+22 Reflex+14, Will+17
Energy Resistance Acid, Cold, Elec, Sonic and fire: 10. DR: 5/magic
24 hour Invocations: See the Unseen, Beguiling Influence, Dark One's Own Luck: Fort

0 personal GP

0th: 6/6, 1st: 9/9, 2nd: 8/8 3rd: 4/6
MDMG Alex's gay jokes counter: 3

Aldur: Finally it's just us in here
Aldur: lets have wild passionate cyber rp
omega entity: mmm
omega entity: cyber RP

Ri3mannZeta: I LOVE YOU HGUYS BECAUSE YOU ARE ALL HUMANS
omega entity: lol
geddis the hero: Z what
Ri3mannZeta: what up aldur
Ri3mannZeta: you are cool as f**k
Ri3mannZeta): ;,fap
Ri3mannZeta: i love you guysd so much

TheUnknownMarine: Man I don't like the feel of this.
VoxPVoxD: take it out of your butt

**
Kalos Krystalpaw EXP: 57650/66000
59/70HP, 29AC, 15AC flat footed, 18 AC touch, Spell Resistance: 22, Fort+22 Reflex+14, Will+17
Energy Resistance Acid, Cold, Elec, Sonic and fire: 10. DR: 5/magic
24 hour Invocations: See the Unseen, Beguiling Influence, Dark One's Own Luck: Fort

0 personal GP

0th: 6/6, 1st: 9/9, 2nd: 8/8 3rd: 4/6
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Hirsute » Fri Oct 29 2010 12:51am

Nope, that was intentional. Wizards and Sorcerers are glass canons now. If you want to use them you'll have to make sure they don't get hit! Same goes for the archers.

This is exactly what I meant when I said the characters are more specialized. If you're planning to use spellcasters (which I highly recommend), you're going to have to also use some characters who can take a few hits. Even so, in my playthroughs my casters tended to die every couple of battles, but even then it was never a problem for them to keep up in terms of levels. The attack strength of the rest of your force is so low now that casters are really powerful by comparison.

Edit: By the way Aldur, I think you're one of the only people here that has actually played version 2.2 :)

Edit #2: I should probably note that if you're the type of player who likes to go through every battle without any deaths, this is probably not the mod for you ;)
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Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

Hirsute's Shining Force 2 Mod
Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
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Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Drakonis » Fri Oct 29 2010 11:11am

Added to the Hack library.
Sounds pretty interesting TBH. I think I'm going to try this one out soon.
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Hirsute » Fri Oct 29 2010 2:31pm

YAY! I want everyone to try it :)
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Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

Hirsute's Shining Force 2 Mod
Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
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Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

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Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Flaming Manakin » Thu Nov 04 2010 2:14pm

Well done. Redesigning the battles is the thing that I've most wanted to see from these hacks, because they mean a very different gameplay experience.
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby conlius » Thu Nov 04 2010 3:10pm

Why are flying units resistant to wind and weak to lightning? As far as physics goes, it should be the opposite. Wind can knock a flying unit off course...but lightning only strike a grounded unit not one that is in the air (because lightning only strikes if it has potential to ground).
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Hirsute » Thu Nov 04 2010 4:49pm

I used the logic that flying units have much more experience dealing with strong winds and would thus be less affected by them. Also, spells like bolt are not natural lighting and thus do not work the same. Bolt seems to appear above a character and strike from above. Since the birdmen are likely high in the air, bolt hits them from point-blank range and this does more damage.
I appreciate the input though. If the general consensus is that it should be the reverse, I will certainly change it.

@Flaming Manakin: Thanks! You're exactly the type of player I was making this mod for :)
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Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

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Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
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Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby conlius » Thu Nov 04 2010 5:49pm

Also, spells like bolt are not natural lighting and thus do not work the same. Bolt seems to appear above a character and strike from above. Since the birdmen are likely high in the air, bolt hits them from point-blank range and this does more damage.


If that is your logic, zynk shouldn't be weak to lightning because he isn't closer to it...The obvious statement you can counter this with is that zynk is made of metal. Why does that matter? because metal is a good conductor and allows lightning to ground easier (and short circuiting stuff inside him). What makes lightning not ground easy? Things that don't touch the ground and things that are made of bad conductors. That logic works both ways and is realistic (why am I being realistic with a video game?). Plus...the icon is a cloud with a lightning bolt coming out of it.

Flying characters rely completely on the wind status. A hurricane will send a bird flying through the air uncontrollably...whereas the turtle on the ground could care less because the wind isn't going to break his grip. Same goes for a plane vs a tank...Flying objects blow around more when it is windy, regardless of their experience.

If you apply your logic across the board (in your character design): Jaro, Peter, all pegasus knights and all flying characters in the game should be weak to lightning. And possibly all short people should be strong against it because they are so far away from the initial blast... :)

Keep in mind that I am only trying to give you some input to help you in your game balance. This is a minor thing and it is YOUR hack. :)
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Hirsute » Thu Nov 04 2010 6:13pm

I appreciate your input - I'm always open to different opinions. And how am I ever going to improve my mod if nobody disagrees with what I've done?

Now, to be honest my scientific knowledge is rather paltry, so I had to go by my own reasoning for character design.
However,
You already nailed my reason for making Zynk weak to lightning - it damages his circuits.
As for Birdmen being good against wind attacks, it may also be the case that they can more easily avoid the worst of those attacks by maneuvering through the air whilst someone like Kiwi has no chance of avoiding it.
I tend to think of the other flying characters as a) flying closer to the ground, because b) they have less experience with flight. Birdmen fly from an early age and are thus more experienced at dealing with dangerous wind conditions. They are comfotable flying higher in the air as a result. Peter before promotion can only fly a few inches off the ground, while the Pegasus Knights only get their wings after promotion. These other classes would not be nearly as adept at avoiding the worst of wind attacks. And since they are close to the ground when attacked by bolt, they suffer no more than those on the ground (who suffer the normal amount of damage)
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Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
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Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby conlius » Thu Nov 04 2010 6:49pm

Alright, lower flying units vs higher flying units and wind resistance could make sense.

I guess my major issue is just with bolt hitting things harder that are in the sky:

What makes lightning not ground easy? Things that don't touch the ground
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Hirsute » Thu Nov 04 2010 7:06pm

I guess I just don't consider Bolt to be real lightning. I see Bolt as a magic spell that acts differently from regular lightning.
Evidence:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6epoKpi3D7s
See 7:27 of the video and you can see the when Bolt is cast, the "lightning" clearly comes from above.
I'm also assuming that the strength of the spell does not depend on whether or not the target is grounded. It causes damage regardless.
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Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

Hirsute's Shining Force 2 Mod
Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
"...the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."
Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

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Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby xenometal » Thu Nov 04 2010 7:50pm

I too have been working on a hack of my own, and up until now have avoided the hacks of others for the same reason that you have evoked. However, I realize that it would be hypocritical for me to expect others to play my hack if I didn't play the hacks of others myself, and thus I've decided to give your hack a try.

From reading the introduction, I initially got the impression that your hack would be similar to my own given the general philosophy behind it, but fortunately it isn't. And even though I dislike some of the changes you've made (mostly aesthetics such how you renamed the classes to use more than 4 letters and yet not going for full class names, or how the generic monster names don't start with a capital letter), I'm actually looking forward to most of them.

So far, I've completed the first 7 battles in Grans Island and I've had a good time. I like how you've made the monsters more aggresive, which not only make the battles go by more quickly, but also causes situations in which you have to fight more monsters at once than usual. More than once, I've been reckless in my positioning which almost cost me Kazin's life.

As for balance, Chester is definitely overpowered and I'm unsure if that was your intention, though he was kinda like that in the original game. I expect that he will average out sooner or later. As for Jaha, it's quite the opposite, as his lack of Attack power doesn't make up for his Defense at all, which is about the same as Chester's. Then, I missed that Slade didn't start as wuss, leaving me not knowing what to do with the Power Water, and with so much HP, Kiwi single handedly broke battle 7. I'm not calling this bad design though, just letting you know how it went and the impression I got from it. I expect that these trends will change soon.

For posterity, I'll include the stats of my Force as it was at the end of Battle 7.

WARNING: SPOILER!
I am made of metal, my Laser Eye is keen. I am perpetual, I keep Metapha clean.
I am made of metal, my Laser Eye is keen. I am perpetual, I keep Metapha clean.
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby conlius » Thu Nov 04 2010 8:01pm

Yeah I guess the real question is whether or not bolt invokes electrical current (I'm an electrical engineer so it intrigues me).

If the lightning strikes created by casting bolt are in fact electricity, it should never hit a flying unit (regardless of whether or not it comes from a cloud or is summoned by a magician or shot from william wallace's ass). This is a being 100% realistic now, given our real world physics model (zalbard video - SF2 does not currently follow the basic physics standards!)

As an example, take Blaze: We can change the way it is invoked correct? We can light a match, shoot a flame thrower, cast it with our spirit fingers, etc. We can change how the size of the flame and how hot it burns...but we can't deny that fire will burn your skin or a dry piece of wood faster than a piece of metal correct (given the same temperature)? It's simply how the element functions...and once you try to tell someone the opposite, they won't believe it.

This style of physics was never used in any of the SF games (too realistic I suppose), but I think it is better to move toward it than away. Basically, saying the OPPOSITE of what is realistic tends to hurt the overall game.
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Re: Shining Force 2.3

Postby Hirsute » Thu Nov 04 2010 8:16pm

conlius, I'm going to have to bow to your superior knowledge on the subject of real life electricity and lightning.
I don't think I'll change my base mod here, but what I'll encourage you to do is use SF2 Edit to remove the lightning weakness from the Birdmen. I'm a huge fan of customization in games, so I want the mod to be to your liking. Also, if you're willing to wait a day or two, I'd be willing to make a custom version for you with the weaknesses more realistic.

xenometal, thanks so much for your feedback! It makes me very happy :)
I felt the same way as you about other hacks, and very nearly played Dark Claw's before I realized that I'd just be too tempted to use his ideas if I did.
I'm glad you're enjoying the new battles and also glad that you noticed my intention of making the battles faster and more dangerous. To be honest, there's not much I could do with the battles on Grans because of the Caravan's limitations. The battles become much more interesting in Parmecia.
In terms of the stats you've noticed in the characters, that's pretty much as I planned it. I was troubled by Chester being too good in my playtests, but decided it was okay, since Jaha was no longer such a beast. Some of the characters may be overpowered at this point, but it should balance out later on.
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Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

Hirsute's Shining Force 2 Mod
Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
"...the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."
Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Aldur wrote:Oh my god Hirsute, you're a sadistic bastard.

Hirsute's Shining Force 2 Mod
Every battle redesigned. Characters rebalanced. Fun increased. Try it now!
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