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Location: Cowford, FL
DOB: 4/21/1989
Joined: Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 5:48 pm
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My untitled RPG project... a.k.a. Career Fantasy (Post) This thing's still chugging along! I took a couple of weeks off from this project earlier in the month to work on a silly little side project. Don't worry - said silly little side project is silly and little, and it won't derail this much more significant project!

First of all, I made sure that all items currently available in the game are actually equippable. (I have to tell the game that the "JaxBoards T-Shirt" is a shirt and not a hat, for example.) This is a somewhat tedious endeavor... though obviously important.

I made the item/equipment system a lot more polished. Item stacking works now - if you have three "JaxBoards T-Shirt" items in your inventory, the game will show "JaxBoards T-Shirt x 3" instead of showing the same item three times. The items menu automatically eliminates gaps in the list, and you can only scroll down to the last valid item in the list. I've seen different games handle this in different ways, but I think my way is reasonably elegant. I don't currently offer a way to dump or sell excess items in your inventory. However, since your inventory holds up to 200 unique items (a number I can increase as needed), you'll never find yourself unable to pick up an item because you're out of space. These endless-sized pockets sure come in handy!

I also added a message that politely informs you when you can't equip a certain kind of item (for example, the game will nope at you if you try to equip a hat as shoes!). Similarly, some tops are designed to be one-piece outfits - it would be awkward to try to put a prom dress or nursing scrubs over a long skirt or a pair of jeans! If you select an invalid top-bottom combination, your bottom is unequipped and returned to your inventory. I know it sounds silly, but this is one of the things I fretted over when I first came up with this game - I wasn't sure how I'd make one-piece items work!

There's still a ways to go with this, but I spent a lot of time testing the game's balancing. I implemented a debug script for auto-leveling characters. How would a Level 20 Biology major behave in battle with the moves they would learn in the actual game? I also wrote a script for synthesizing random player parties. Some of the possible characters might not actually be playable the final game, but it's still fun to see what kinds of combinations it comes up with. I also wrote a script for auto-leveling enemies to a certain level, though I haven't done much with it yet. (It's possible that I'll let all enemies be a predetermined level, and stronger enemies will appear later in the game as recolored "Underground Monkeys". I'm not sure yet, though.)

Now you can hit the 'S' key to take a screenshot of gameplay! Woo-hoo.

Finally, I fixed a bunch of existing issues, ranging from nasty bugs (like one that could crash the game in battle!) to small irritations like text looking fuzzy (seems a for loop was causing it to get drawn a lot more times than it needed to be).

Here's a random WIP screenshot of the battle layout, since the Club Saturn crew was curious about how this was looking.

The Last Person Standing in the Floppy Disk Business (Post) @Sean Indeed!

@fireball3k That would be cool - let me know if you do anything fun with floppies! I haven't used a real floppy disk in a while, but I bought a floppy drive emulator so I could back up my old Tandy 1000 RLX PC in 2020.
The Last Person Standing in the Floppy Disk Business (Post) https://eyeondesign.aiga.org/we-spoke-with-the-last-person-standing-in-the-floppy-disk-business

This was an interesting read. Yes, there really is a company that's still making money from selling old floppy disks.
Country Moog (Post) This is pretty cool - I wasn't familiar with this! This is an interesting take on some highly analog classics.
Playing Final Fantasy VII (Post) I finally beat Final Fantasy VII yesterday! Did you know that I procrastinate on things? Apparently Final Fantasy VII was released (almost) exactly 25 years ago, although this upcoming anniversary is entirely coincidental to me finishing the game.

Time to mosey down the ol' trail.

I got to the start of Disc 2 way back in January 2017, but then grad school reached its busiest point and I took a break for a while. I returned to the game in summer 2019... and got whupped by Sephiroth. I'd found most of the game to be relatively easy (a whole lot easier than any of the pre-FF6 FF games) and was expecting him to be a pushover.

On Friday I played for the first time in three years and caught up on some of the goodies I'd overlooked in the Northern Crater "swamp" area. And yesterday I finally beat Sephiroth! He wasn't that hard - just make sure you're prepared, because he is a lot tougher than any other boss in the game. Having Ribbons on everyone in my main party is a huge help. It kind of tickles me to imagine the ever-stoic Cloud wearing a girly little ribbon in his hair, though!

I came in with a reasonably-leveled party, though I missed out on a lot of the ultimate weapons and Limit Breaks, as well as a few of the best Materia. Maybe I'll go back and catch up on some of the sidequests, or maybe I'll give this a second playthrough someday (though I hardly ever do that with video games these days).

Final Thoughts
Much has been written about Final Fantasy VII over the years. I probably don't have anything to say about the game that hasn't already been said thousands of times, but I'll say some things anyway!

Overall, playing Final Fantasy VII was definitely a fun and memorable experience, and it's easy to see how this game has had such a huge influence even a quarter-century later. FF6 is my favorite entry in the series, though FF7 is a close second.

I thought FF7 had a strong cast of characters. When you first meet the main characters, several of them seem perilously close to indulging in some rather unfortunate stereotypes! But after a few dozen of hours of gameplay, you realize that each of them is rounder and more complex than first meets the eye.

FF7 has a rather complicated - sometimes bordering on convoluted - story, but in the end it all basically makes sense. (I liked FF6's story a bit better, though.)

I thought Disc 1 was the most interesting part of the game. The end of Disc 1 is an incredibly tough act to follow, and Disc 2 kind of meanders along for a while. Still, Disc 2 has some great moments - for example, I thought the rocket launch was really cool.

FF7 has a LOT of minigames, sidequests, and secrets. On the other hand, it's quite possible to beat the game (without needing lots of level grinding) if you skip the optional goodies.

I liked FF7's battle system. The Materia system gives you an enormous amount of flexibility in setting up your parties, and it's a lot of fun to experiment with the practically infinite number of things you can do with Materia.

I thought the summon Materia were a little half-baked, though. They're visually impressive - I can tell they put a lot of effort into this piece of the game! Unfortunately, the summon animations take a long time to run, and there's no way to skip them. Also, if you invest in the Enemy Skill Materia (one of the best items in the game, incidentally), the blue magic learned from stronger enemies tends to be more powerful and more MP-efficient than the fancy-pants summons. If you're going to send a giant dragon from outer space to fry your foes, you should be doing far more damage than the more "normal" magic attacks!

Most of the characters are based on classic FF classes but are relatively interchangeable, similar to FF6. Curiously, the character with the most clearly-defined playing style (all magic, hardly any physical power) is the one who permanently leaves your party around the halfway point. You know the one I mean!

A lot of FF7 fans feel a lot of nostalgia for playing FF7 when it first came out. In contrast, I never played this game until 2016! I was rather young when FF7 came out - and I only had Nintendo systems - so I didn't pay attention to much of the original hype. With or without youthful nostalgia, however, FF7 is a very fun game.

Not unlike another classic game I recently discussed , you can tell that FF7 had a lot of hands stirring the pot - a big development team, a mammoth budget (especially for its era), and a long development cycle. However, I think the team did a pretty good job of creating a cohesive whole, all things considered.

FF7 isn't quite my favorite game of all time, but it's some seriously good stuff.

Thanks again @Fireball3k for getting me this game on Steam - that was a very nice Christmas present! Maybe I can make you buy FF9 or FF8 for me someday.
My untitled RPG project... a.k.a. Career Fantasy (Post) The past month wasn't quite as big for development, but progress is still happening, slowly but surely.

Lately I've been focusing on adding moves to the game. This is a vital but time-consuming endeavor, considering that there are going to be around 20 classes in the game (as well as some enemy-exclusive moves).

Creating moves is fun but also tedious. I've spent the better part of the last decade brainstorming ideas for moves, and now I finally have to figure out what to add or leave out as I build a coherent moveset for each character. It's tricky because I want each moveset to make sense for that character's class, yet also be fun and balanced from a gameplay perspective.

Some characters can do similar things in slightly different ways. For example, there's a bunch of different moves that boost a character's physical attack during battle, but I try to differentiate these - some might also boost another stat or cure a status effect or whatnot. I don't want to have two moves with different names that otherwise do the exact same thing - that would be boring and redundant.

I've finished programming 96 different moves, including the majority of regular attacks, healing moves, and buffs planned for the game. I still have a few more moves to add, mostly attacks that target multiple enemies (or buffs that target multiple allies). It shouldn't take too long to add those, though. I'll also want to create more sounds and special effects for moves, although that can wait until later.

Soon I'll be able to test how battles will play out with different parties at different levels in different areas of the game. That actually sounds kind of fun - even though I built the game, I don't know what that experience will actually feel like! If other people actually play this game, I'm sure they'll come up with some interesting strategies of their own.
What are you listening to? (Post) @fireball3k Or we can take it to the Mathews Bridge, which is right here in Jacksonville!

"Philosophy of the World" from the Shaggs. The Shaggs were an obscure all-girl band that played with a lot of heart. Unfortunately, they came up short in the execution department - they weren't quite sure how to play music! Still, their music has become a cult classic. This song's lyrics are actually pretty good, and the whole performance is entertaining in its own unique way.

"Eleanor Rigby" from Tony Bennett. "Tony Sings the Great Hits of Today!" was not exactly a critically-acclaimed album, although this is an interesting take on the song.

When I make quirky video games that nobody plays, sometimes I feel like Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear...

"Mass Text" from Tay Allyn. Slightly corny meme-y music from 2013. I'm in your contacts.™

What are you listening to? (Post) "Hopelessly Devoted to You" from Olivia Newton-John. I was sad to hear she'd passed away, and it only feels right to listen to a few of her classics.

Facebook wants to be more like TikTok (Post)
Facebook has almost exclusively fed me ads for the past year-or-so.

Facebook and Instagram have definitely been pushing out more ads lately. Also, Facebook's desktop version has made sponsored posts harder to block using uBlock/FB Purity.

Most friends have moved onto Instagram or Discord.

I've seen a lot of real-life friends ditch Facebook over the past couple of years - some deleted their accounts altogether, and some just stopped posting or logging in. Instagram is more popular than Facebook in my circles, although I'm seeing more stories and a lot fewer photo posts. (At least, as of June - I took a little break from Instagram because they ticked me off one time too many!)

Discord seems to be the most popular way for my online buddies to stay in touch these days. I haven't used Discord much to chat with people I know in real life, although I know some Discord users. Even one of the most senior managers in my work team has Discord pinned to his Dock.

However now Instagram is prioritising 'interest' videos and it's peeving me a lot.

Oh yeah, Instagram is really pushing the "recommended" stuff hard. I miss the days when Instagram was a cute little app for sharing square-shaped photos and seeing what your friends are up to!


TikTok isn't really my thing, but if it was my thing, I'd want TikTok to be TikTok and not have all the other social networks try to converge into the same shapeless mass. I remember in 2016, I had a pretty clear plan for what to post where - Facebook for personal things with close friends, Twitter for staying in touch with my wider circles, Instagram for pictures, and LinkedIn for professional things. Now, all of those networks have tried so hard to copy one another that they've stopped being good at their original missions.

nice food

I know sometimes people make fun of posting food pics on social media as the epitome of banality, but I actually like food pictures! If the poster made the dish themselves, that's really cool. And if it's from a restaurant, I might want to check it out sometime! Plus, food is usually a central part of the interesting things in life - vacations, holidays, parties, dates, and whatnot - that people might share on social media.