Author Topic: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.5)  (Read 1602153 times)

UematsuSan

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.5)
« Reply #7475 on: Yesterday at 06:49:28 »
I just wanted to provide a combat-related suggestion. I'm not sure how possible it is to tweak these mechanics, but to me, they're some of the major issues that have plagued the (original) game for a long time: Wait mode is doesn't really wait every time it should.

Bear with me on the details, this is a bit technical and hard to explain.

How Wait Mode is intended to work:
In vanilla FF7 (and this mod at this time), Wait Mode is intended to lock ATB while players are choosing their command. It's also meant to wait while animations are playing in order to keep relative balancing between a simple 3-second Potion item command and a say 8-second Cure ability. I understand this can come down to personal taste, but I think anyone NOT playing in Wait mode is most likely experiencing a relatively broken balancing between short and long commands, making the former usually more powerful just because they are quicker to complete.

How it actually works:
Right now, when casting any ability, you'll notice a lot of inconsistencies when using Wait Mode.

For starters, it doesn't seem to wait while selecting a command (top menu, if you will). Both ally and enemy ATB keep going, forcing any "hop" into that top menu (when going from selecting a magic ability and back out to select Attack, for example) to push ATB forward. In reality, the enemy wins with this one, as the player is simply trying to select a command to be executed.

Next up is while a character is "prepping" a cast. By "prepping", I mean that roughly 3-second-long animation before the spell comes out. ATB just keeps going during that time, making spell-casting detrimental, especially at a high frequency. When factoring fights against multiple enemies, then all of their ATBs will rise, resulting in an even more penalizing situation. This creates a wildly inconsistent experience with balancing depending on the player or the builds being used. i.e. Caster-centric builds are limiting. For example, when casting a simple spell like Cure, all ATBs will keep moving along for about 3 seconds until the spell is prepped and in effect. Only at this time will the ATB truly stop.

Another issue I've seen with this is how any countdown ability behaves. While a character is under the effect of say Death Sentence, casting any spell with prep time will keep the countdown going, essentially shaving off ~3 seconds off of the timer. In order to be less penalized by this mechanic, I guess players can play at a faster combat speed so more actions come out before the character's time is up, but that might be pushing pacing into an unwanted or uncomfortable speed for some people.

Lastly, in order to circumvent this issue, I've noticed a very degenerate behavior in FF7 speedruns where players select a command (like Attack) and leave their target selection cursor active while all the casting is being completed. This is the only way currently to really STOP any ATB (from both allies and enemies alike). That means they also always try to have 1 character in a menu selection in order to be able to lock the ATB. I'm going to go ahead and say this wasn't really the intended way to play the game. As a side-note, Limit Breaks also seem to stop ATB completely as soon as they start casting, which gives me hope that this could potentially be resolved.

Recap of issues with Wait Mode:

1) AI will take more turns than they should
2) Players are deterred from casting spells against large (2-3+) groups of enemies
3) Overall inconsistent balancing
4) Any ability with a countdown-timer goes faster than intended (ex: Death Sentence).  Players need to play at higher speed, changing pacing to a potentially less enjoyable state
5) Degenerate "cursor hover lock" exploit

I played another amazing mod a while ago for FF6 (called Brave New World) and since the game also suffered from this issue, they ended up fixing this same issue somehow. Again, this might be a lot to ask, but I think all the awesome balancing that's been done in this mod would be a lot more consistent with this fix.

I understand this goes really deep into combat mechanics, and like I said earlier, this can also be of personal taste/preference. I'm not really here to debate which one is best for whom, but I only wanted to provide my own personal point of view on what I think would make the combat (again, arguably) a lot better.

That being said, this mod is by far the best one I've seen for FF7. I'm about a third of the way in and it's making me experience the game in a whole new way, and I'm extremely thankful for the work you've done. I also registered on this forum just to post this, since there still seems to be quite a bit of support for this mod. Keep up the awesome work!

UpRisen

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.5)
« Reply #7476 on: Yesterday at 10:46:23 »
Beacause is a field script overhaul. NT also HEAVILY adjust field scripts. The amount of work to make them compatible is astronomical if not impossible.

Sega Chief

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Re: [FF7PC-98/Steam] New Threat Mod (v1.5)
« Reply #7477 on: Yesterday at 17:24:37 »
.

This is the situation with combining BC and NT:

Both affect event scripting and dialogue, and the automation tools we have aren't able to discern what is a critical script and what isn't. That means we have to take a field's script in its entirety when combining mods. So that would mean some fields would be using only BC scripts, and others would only be using NT scripts; besides the technical problems that could cause with mis-matched variables, etc. it would also be an incomplete experience of both mods.

Same goes with dialogue; even if we took all the BC text and ported it in, some of it would be mismatched due to NT's custom field scripting and a lot of the item pickups would likely display the wrong item (as these are unfortunately written as regular field text and not retrieved by the game based on the acquired item's ID).

However, all that only applies to automation. The process can be done manually and could probably be done so that both mods work seamlessly together given a tweak here and there. Best approach is to take the BC mod as a base then apply the NT scripts onto it; I'd likely be the best bet for that because I know where most of my scripts are and how they behave (plus it'd give me a chance to clean the older ones a bit and make them tidy).

So here's an idea; I was going to make a NT 2.0 after I was done with FF8 NT's Disc 1. What I could do instead is use a finished BC as a base for that and kill two birds with one stone. I'd also be able to set up the NT text in such a way that porting between BC and NT dialogue can be done without issues via touphscript to avoid issues with wrong text/out of context dialogue.

As for right now, you'll need to decide to either wait on that (could be months), or to play BC or NT. NT does have a text overhaul but it's not based on the Japanese or anything (though I referred to the translation whenever I hit a scene that I was struggling with).


.

If the top menu froze ATB, then you would be essentially forced to act with that character in order to get it moving again. When playing I'll sometimes delay on a turn to let an enemy act and see what he's going to do while letting the other character's gauges fill up.

There does seem to be inconsistency with certain cast animations though. I think it can happen with Limits that it keeps running under certain conditions but I'm not sure what the exact circumstances were; it might be different for each animation file if the game locks/unlocks ATB based on what animation frame its on.

I think the countdown timers go slower on slow speeds but faster on fast speeds so adjusting the ATB speed would probably work against you in that case. Gauge speed is a potential problem when paired with ATB behaviour because it can make status effects resolve too quickly; this is particularly problematic when Barriers are being taken into account with balancing.

Didn't really see the wait trick as too big a deal. Its benefit depends mostly on speed differences and it's mostly only used in speedruns or challenge runs where the mechanics need to be pushed and the fights tightly controlled.

FF7 could benefit more from such a patch than FF6 due to the longer attack animations, but it's not my preference. I found it made things restrictive and clunky when I was going through BNW's ATB patch; in my mind balance is fine so long as it doesn't impede the fun or the flow. I don't want to sit and wait on every single animation, I want things to be moving along.

If such a hack does come up though then it'll (probably) be compatible with NT out of the box as the game is split into separate files unlike a ROM. I'll ask people about it on discord and see if they know more about the inner workings of the ATB system.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 17:26:35 by Sega Chief »