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Topics - Percival

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“I think it will be a shame if we won’t be able to cry as we play our own games.” – Nobuo Uematsu


If you can create an HD remaster of the graphics, can you create an HD remaster of the story? 

Yes, you can…and in honor of this game’s 20th anniversary, that's exactly what I've done.



Final Fantasy 8: Succession v0.5

Download from the Nexus: Here

Direct download link: Here

- About FF8: Succession –
Spoiler: show

  This is not a gameplay mod, this is a story mod. This mod is designed to be the companion piece to my gameplay mod, Martial Law.

  The goal of this mod was to enhance the overall quality of the game’s dialogue, by improving on the English localization, and enriching the characterization of the main cast. Beyond that, this mod seeks to improve both the plot of the game and how that plot is told.

  This mod is not a fan fiction, or a way to insert speculative theories into the narrative. Instead, it is an attempt to enhance the story that already exists. In that sense, it is closer to an adaptation. Any changes to the story have been made for one of three reasons: to clarify the characters’ motivations for their actions, to eliminate apparent inconsistencies in the plot, or to enhance the themes already present in the original story. The aim was to change as little as possible of the story, while changing as much as necessary to how that story is conveyed.

  With that said, there have been a few big changes made by this mod. The greatest change is in the effects of the Guardian Forces. Let me be clear: in this story, none of the characters HAVE AMNESIA. Many people will be happy to hear that, and I agree with them. But a change as large as that does have ripple effects in the story, and a number of other things have had to change as a result.

  There are several similar, but lesser changes that have been made, and each of these comes with its own ripple effects. I have done my best to weave these changes together in a way that is both believable and compelling.

  The original integrity of the characters has been maintained, for the most part. The characters subjected to the most change have been Seifer, Rinoa, and Headmaster Cid. Each of these characters have had their motivations refined. As a result, their presence in the story is more pronounced, and their effects on the main character carry more weight.

  My hopes for this mod is that it will improve the quality of the game, without taking away anything that made it good in the first place. For anyone who loved the original game, this should only make you love it more. And for those of you who took issue with the game due to its story, this mod is definitely a reason to give the game a second chance.

  This mod was inspired by the desire to have a story worthy of its OST.




- Text Boxes -
Spoiler: show

   Another aspect of the game that this mod seeks to address was the placement of the text boxes. In the original, there were many times when the dialogue box obstructed something crucial to the scene. This was usually some action taken by the characters, or the faces of those speaking. This issue is present in nearly every scene in the game. It can be incredibly distracting, and makes it more challenging to connect with both the events taking place and the emotion of the characters.

  It is possible that this was not as much of a problem in the original Japanese, since the length of the text will ultimately determine how much of the screen it obstructs. It is very likely that none of the boxes were changed following any language translation. But along with edited text, most of the text boxes in this mod have been edited as well, solving most of these issues.

  This change is the sort of quality of life improvement that I believe makes this mod worth having if only just for that.


Original                                                                Succession


- How to use this Mod -
Spoiler: show

  This mod requires the steam version of Final Fantasy 8. It may also work for the older PC version of the game, but I have not tried it for myself. To use this mod, simply copy the three files, field.fi, field.fl, and field.fs to your FF8 steam folder:

  data>lang en.

  Replace the original field files with the ones from the mod. And I always recommend making a backup. That’s it!




- Mod Progress -
Spoiler: show

  This mod is a work in progress. So far, this mod covers the entire game up to the end of disc 2. This has already been a surprisingly large undertaking.

  The original script for this game is around 75,000+ words, and that only includes the main story. That is the size of a small novel. For this mod, I have already personally rewritten over 44,000+ words. And I still have 2 discs left to go…

  My main goal is to finish the main story, but there are several smaller changes I would still like to make on disc 1 & 2. I have not yet made any significant changes to the Laguna sequences. There is also a number of NPCs, especially in Balamb Garden, whose exposition should be improved.

  Look for an update for disc 3 & 4 in the coming months!


  For a sample of the many improvements made, check out the videos:

Youtube Playlist


- A Word to Other Modders –
Spoiler: show

  If you have already played through this game multiple times, like me, and the original narrative is becoming stale, this is definitely the mod for you. It will provide you with an interesting and refreshing take on a story already familiar to you.

  If your goal is speed, and you tend to mash through the text as fast as possible to get to the battles, then this mod is definitely not for you. Due to the many changes in dialogue, the script is roughly 10% longer than the original, and will take a bit more time to get through. (Though I would still recommend experiencing it just once.)

  The changes in this mod are to the TEXT ONLY. No changes have been made to either the game scripts, or the animations. My hope was to minimize any compatibility issues with other mods.


- Tools used -

Deling - by myst6re



2


Final Fantasy 8: Martial Law v1.1

  This is NOT a difficulty mod.
  This is a rebalance mod that primarily changes the Guardian Force Abilities, Character Stat growth, and stat bonuses for Magic Junctions.

  The purpose of this mod is to make GFs and characters more unique, and to reduce the role that magic junctioning plays in trivializing any challenge.

  This mod falls very short of a full gameplay overhaul. I did not edit any enemies or refining recipes at all. That doesn't mean I might not in the future. But for now, I am convinced that other mod creators like Sega Chief will eventually do a much better job in much less time. This mod was mainly meant as a proof of concept, and I hope that my ideas influence the design of future mods.

  This mod was originally designed as a companion piece to my main mod: Succession, which is a total dialogue overhaul for the entire game. That mod is not yet finished, but the first 2/3 or so is currently available. In the meantime, I present to you: Martial Law!

  This mod has recently been updated to v1.1, and includes a redesign of the junction bonuses for all magic. For more information, reference Section 3 - Magic Junctions.

Download from the Nexus: https://www.nexusmods.com/finalfantasy8/mods/2
Direct download: here.


List of Changes:

1 - Guardian Forces –
Spoiler: show

  GFs in FF8 are the most unique mechanic in the game, and the changes here offer the greatest improvement in the mod by far.

  Each Guardian force now has a core stat that governs the nature of their abilities. This was already the case to a certain extent in the vanilla game, but I have made it far more systematic and comprehensive. Each GF now comes with the junction for their core stat already learned by default. There are 16 total GFs, and there are 8 core stats in the game. This allows for each stat to have 2 corresponding GFs.

  Many GFs have very few other base stat junctions besides their primary core stat. The exceptions to this are Quetzecoalt, Shiva, and Ifrit, which all have the ability to learn HP, Vit, and Spr junctions. They do not, however, ever obtain the junctions for the core stats of the other two initial GFs.
  My goal was to make Speed, Magic, and Strength the defining stat junctions, and their presence or absence will determine how that character functions in battle.


GF:           Primary Stat       Secondary Stat

Quetzecoatl:     Speed
Shiva:              Magic
Ifrit:                 Strength

Siren:  (S)         Vitality           Magic    (locked until Lvl 18)
Brothers: (S)     Health            Strength (locked until Lvl 18)
Diablos:  (S)      Evade            Speed    (locked until Lvl 18)

Carbuncle:        Spirit              Speed       
Leviathan:        Health            Strength
Pandemona:     Luck               Magic

Cerberus:          Vitality           Speed
Alexander:         Spirit             Magic
Tonberry:  (S)    Luck              Strength

Bahamut:          Strength
Doomtrain:        Speed
Eden:                Magic

Cactuar:            Evade


  The reason why I have divided the GFs into groups of three is because you will usually have three characters in your party, and I tried to organize the ability distribution with that in mind. They are in the approximate order of how they are introduced in the game, and therefore how you will add them to your characters.

  This mod heavily favors splitting up the first three GFs, like the vanilla game, but tries to increase the ability to customize your loadout with each subsequent GF. The second set of GFs grants another set of speed, magic, and strength junctions. The next set of three does as well, meaning that the earliest time you will have access to one of each for three characters is after acquiring Pandemona. By the time you get Alexander and Tonberry, you will have 4 options for each of the primary stats.

  I also paired the Speed Junctions with the Status Junctions, which helps to increase the value and versatility of speed-based characters, and makes it less likely to accidently set up a character that doubles up on these junctions.

  I recognize that this does tend to funnel the player into creating a default loadout for your junctions, and then simply switching these loadouts from one character to another. I see this as a good thing and as a bad. On one hand, it lessens the individuality of the characters. But on the other hand, it highlights the strengths of the given game mechanics, and reduces the amount of tedium in the menu screen, constantly changing your junctions.




2 - Shield Guardian Forces –
Spoiler: show

  The other feature I added is a concept I call the Shield GF. This is perhaps the most unique feature of the mod, as well as the one with the most potential change to overall gameplay experience.

  Siren, Brothers, Diablos, and Tonberry fall into this category.

  The Shield GF is an attempt to use of the GF HP mechanic in the opposite way of the other GFs. Shield GFs have a ton of HP, more than double that of a normal GF. But their charge time is slow, and they don't attack for high damage (except for Diablos, who remains the same). Their purpose is instead to offer protection for a character if they are about to die, and give them a chance to be healed. To make use of this strategy, a Shield GF's compatibility with a character GOES DOWN, not up, each time it is cast. This is both a blessing, and a curse. It provides you with protection for a progressively longer period of time, but also ties up your character's turns, and allows the enemy more turns to KO the GF.




3 - Magic Junctions – *UPDATED*
Spoiler: show

  For magic, I generally halved the total bonus given by magic to every stat by half. This may sound extreme, but the vanilla game was quite easy, and once again, the increase in character stats help mitigate the loss.

  One of the few stat bonuses I raised was the bonuses to Speed stat. Most early game spells now give a greater bonus to Speed. This is in order to provide greater benefit to a character with a Speed-J, but no Str-J or Mag-J. I also slightly lowered the default speed stat of each character to compensate for this bonus.

  Beyond that, almost every stat bonus was altered either up or down. The main variation I made was to status and elemental bonuses. Now a lot more support magic will offer a variety of defenses, allowing for more options than simply an all or nothing junction with specific status and elemental magic.

  I also lowered the draw resistance of every spell. This will save some time, and prevent you from only being able to successfully draw with the character with the highest magic stat.

!!!!New as of 1.1 update!!!!

  As of the latest update, I have rebalanced the stat bonuses gained from junctioning magic. In order to provide some much needed structure to the overall quality of junctioned spells, each spell is now arranged into a tiered system.

  There are 6 tiers total, and the magic is roughly arranged according to how early you gain access to it, with 1 being the earliest, such as fire and cure, and 6 being the latest, flare and full-life. Generally speaking, a spell of one tier will always be inferior to a spell of a tier above it. While there is a small amount of overlap, every tier 4 spell will almost invariably provide a much better bonus to every stat than a tier 2 spell.

  Within each tier, magic has been further arranged into 2 categories, attack and defense magic, usually with three spells for each category. Attack spells provide a greater bonus to Strength, Magic, and Speed. Defense spells provide a greater bonus to Vitality, Spirit, and Evade.
 
  As an example, in tier 3, the attack spells are Fira, Blizzara, and Thundara. Thundara is the best spell in tier 3 to equip to the three attack stats, followed by Blizzara then Fira. This structure harmonizes with the GFs, who are already divided by these same stats, in order to offer strategy to how you set up your team. Instead of finding the most optimal spell for each stat, you must choose which stat you want to favor most, and which one you favor least. This is also true for the defense magic.

  My goal with this design is to help foster a strategic approach to junctioning, as well as minimize the game-altering junction bonuses from early game spells (such as protect and shell). Also, each spell still maintains a degree of variety and individuality that shouldn't eliminate the sense of satisfaction when acquiring a new spell.


4 - Refining and other Abilities –
Spoiler: show

  I did not make any changes to the refining process. Making any changes to that system is probably the most challenging task of any FF8 mod. What I have done is alter how soon you are able to unlock them. This does not keep you from exploiting the system, but it does keep you from making use of it before you even leave the Garden.

  Most of the abilities are still with their initial GFs. But the level requirements have been raised to anywhere from 8-20, depending on the ability.

  Card Mod has been moved to Siren, and she doesn't unlock it until level 20. The Card command is unlocked after learning Card Mod, preventing you from using it to farm AP without gaining levels. (At least, not right away.)

  I recognize that this is a disincentive to play cards right away. I guess I think that may be the point...I don't know...

  The AP cost for many abilites have been tweeked. The only major difference, however, is the cost of base stat junctions. All of these have been reduced to either 30AP, or 40AP. This will allow you to make use of them within a reasonable amount of time.

  Also, regarding Encounter abilities, Diablos has Enc-Half, and Cerberus has Enc-None. This means that you won't be able to learn Enc-None until the opening of Disc 3.




5 - Characters –
Spoiler: show

  I gave each character one core stat at which they surpass any other character. For their other stats, I made them either more or less well rounded based on their perceived 'class'. I also gave a modest boost to higher level stat gains, to compensate for lowering bonuses from junctions.

Squall:    Vitality
Quistis:   Speed
Zell:         Health
Selphie:   Spirit
Rinoa:     Magic
Irvine:     Attack

  It is obviously more in-depth than this, but this gives you a general idea of how the characters will play.




*Note: While I did not include any instructions on the .exe game file hex edit hacks, particularly how to raise the magic draw limit above 9, I do use them with my own copy. They are not necessarily a part of this mod, but I do recommend them, and will link to a description if necessary.

Tools used:
Doomtrain - by alexfith
Quetzacolt - by alexfilth
Deling - by myst6re

Thanks to all the hard work by the creators of these tools, as well as the combined work of contributors on the Forum!

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