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Final Fantasy IX: David Bowie Edition - A gameplay mod (May 24: 1.15)

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Clem Fandango:
Going forward I will also list smaller updates at the top of the OP. Each version of the mod will also include a listing of changes in previous versions. You do not need to download older versions of the mod, simply download and install the latest version.

1.15 Notes (May 24, 2021)

Version 1.15 contains some a variety of changes as well as a number of bug fixes, particularly related to enemy behavior. There are a variety of tweaks to treasure locations and enemy specs, in some cases to make things a bit more challenging (though hopefully still fair). Also several major bugs have been quashed, like the Kraken fight should actually be winnable now. Woof.

Of particular note is that the Virus status is now gone, since it doesn't really add much to the game and is more a nuisance than anything. It does still exist within the game, but all references are gone; if in the unlikely event that you either install this version while already under Virus or I've made a mistake somewhere and something is able to inflict it, Holy Water will still cure it.



- Memoria has been completely revamped, with new monster formations. The encounter rate has also been raised slightly, closer to what it was in the PS1 version. This is partially due to self-indulgence since I made a bunch of new fights, but also because I found it was kind of weird to be able to pretty well just sprint through the final dungeon with like two random fights total. Every area with random battles will have at least one new monster formation. I won't lie, some of it is a wee bit janky, but it's all playable and I think the new fights are fun to figure out.

- Skills have been changed for some characters, with a few new skills and some others shuffled around. For instance, some Thief Swords have a variety of buffs for their status effects and you can use Soul Blade to buff party members.

- There are a variety of equipment and item changes, some minor, some major, some more for flavor.

- A bunch of bugs and oversights in previous versions have been fixed, for example it's now possible to actually target dispel tonics on enemies, something that has been bothering me for weeks now! Hopefully I have not produced too many more issues.

So have fun, let me know if there are any bugs.

Spoiler: showAnd watch out for Warmech!

Final Fantasy XI: David Bowie Edition

What is this?

Final Fantasy IX: David Bowie Edition (DBE) is a gameplay mod that is meant to function as a rebalance, or better yet a remix of the original game. This mod includes new skills, items, enemy behavior, Chocograph locations and a number of smaller tweaks. I've been working on this on and off for around nine months.

What's with the name?

There's two reasons. First is that Zidane has a physical resemblance to a young David Bowie and that's always been hard for me to ignore. Early on in the planning for this mod I wanted to double down on the resemblance as much as I could, to the point that there are minor references to Bowie's music and associations in the mod and more overtly, all of Zidane's basic skills are named after different songs by Bowie.

Secondly, I also just really like David Bowie. Also I found it funny to name the mod after what amounts to a tiny part of it.

Is the mod complete?

Pretty much! There's a handful of things I might add in the future, but otherwise it's more or less complete, barring any bugs I probably haven't noticed.

Is this meant as a hardmode mod?

Not at all, though it is definitely meant to be a bit more challenging than vanilla is. I wanted DBE to be less Final Fantasy Tactics 1.3 and more Final Fantasy 7 New Threat, so accessible, but not something you can necessarily sleep through the whole time. The objective is for it to be engaging.


- All characters have been looked at and rebalanced, with more of an emphasis on buffing characters rather than nerfing them. Abilities that range from "mostly useless" to "literally does not work" have been either improved or completely replaced. Character skill sets in general have been reworked, with an emphasis of characters having a wide variety of possible uses at all parts of the game, for instance I didn't want Steiner to just turn into a Shock-bot like he does in Vanilla (although it's still possible to do that, albeit a little bit harder).

- Some characters can actually play quite different from they do in vanilla. For instance, Dagger now has Red Magic and Amarant has a particular focus on his Trance abilities that he never had before.

- Almost all enemies are modified from vanilla. For the most part, enemies are more powerful than in vanilla, but not to a dramatic degree, just enough to keep you on your toes. These changes include stat changes, but it can also include changes to enemy behavior, what attacks they can use as well as the properties (status effects) of those attacks too. There's a few enemies that go unchanged, largely early game story battles that don't have much options available to the player yet. Also Tantarian, because frankly I think that fight is perfect already.

- Random encounters are designed around some of the unique features of the Steam version. Because the encounter rate is lower in the Steam version, I wanted fights to feel more substantial since the player will be having fewer of them overall. This means that you're not going to be having lots of single round fights against individual Skeletons in the middle of no where, instead fights will be a bit more involved than that. I wanted the fights to not exactly be super difficult, but more something that you do have to think about.

- Weapons and armor have been modified, sometimes with different stat changes, other times with new names and effects. The abilities learned by equipment have been changed quite dramatically as well. End game weapons have been changed quite a bit, since I wanted there to be multiple potential options for a character to use at end game. I didn't want it to be a case of Zidane getting the Ultima Weapon and having no reason for him to use anything else, for example.

- Support abilities have different AP costs and characters don't necessarily have the exact same options as in vanilla. For instance Quina can learn Long Reach and actually learns it far earlier than other characters, which can give them some unique options should you want to gamble with their physical attack. Additionally the effect for some skills has changed, for example Stone Killer is now gone and replaced with Armor Killer, which now applies to various enemies with natural armor like shells and carapaces, which winds up being a much more numerous crowd than the three monsters Stone Killer works on in vanilla.

- Ability Up is now available much later in the game. However, the AP costs for skills are now much lower than in vanilla. I did this for a couple of reasons, the first being that I imagine most players slap on Ability Up on all of their characters as soon as it is available (thereby robbing the player of some magic stones for the sake of convenience). The second reason is that I wanted the player to feel more free to switch between different pieces of equipment as the situational called for it, rather than thinking to themselves "I'm 10 AP away from learning Beast Killer, I'll stick with this terrible Broadsword a little longer."

- Incidentally the Broadsword is actually gone.

- Chocographs now have different rewards, with them largely being more incremental improvements rather than the sometimes over the top upgrades that they can be in vanilla. For the most part, a player getting Chocographs as soon as they can will be better off than a player who is not playing the mode at all, but it's less "Freya gets the Holy Lance early and now skips like three of her spears" and more "Freya gets a really good and cool spear, but it's not going to be a total blow out."

- The specific Chocographs that allow Choco to change his form are available at different times. Basically what this means is that Choco is no longer able to go from his Mountain form to his Sea form over the course of like, ten minutes, instead this can only occur if the player has already completed the events at Mount Gulug.

- There's a number of little quality of life changes to make parts of the game feel a bit better. Dagger no longer has performance issues half way through the game (although I admit I like that whole thing as a concept). Vivi no longer asks for a card during the festival of the hunt and asks for something that's actually worth getting. If you're catching frogs you only need to get 69 frogs to finish the end of the sidequest, which is Nice, and also makes the whole thing drag considerably less than it normally does. Frog Drop is not a thing anymore so you don't really need all of those frogs anyway.

What is next?

Not really a whole lot. I think I might at some point overhaul all of the equipment in the game, but it's a massive undertaking and a balancing nightmare so I'm not really sure I will wind up doing it. On top of that, there's a couple more optional fights I have in mind, but I'm not sure when that will come about.


The mod can be found at the following link:


To install, you need only copy the StreamingAssets and x64 folders to the root of your FF9 directory. The download also contains documentation to help with installing the mod, provide some basic gameplay tips, and also some much more detailed lists of character changes. Only basic US English is supported at this time, you might be able to run the mod in other languages but descriptions changes and such won't be updated.

I'd recommend starting a new game entirely to play the mod. You can install it and play with a pre-existing save but it's definitely not intended. It's also only meant to be played in US English, any other language settings and the descriptions of various things will look a little strange.

If you notice any bugs (and I highly doubt I've been able to make this free of those), please let me know in this thread with as many details as possible (where were you, was it in combat, what were you fighting, etc).

Special Thanks

I just want to throw out a shout out to Tirlititi, for not only developing the Hades tool and its various documentation, but also for answering the mountains of questions I had while I was working on this. None of this would be possible without Tirlititi's work. Also thanks to Caledor for providing some solutions for some issues with Chocobo Hot and Cold, it was a huge help.

Clem Fandango:
I'm still mystified by Gighee existing, easily one of the weirdest monsters in FF7. I didn't ever know there was a connection until maybe a couple of years ago.

Well done! I'm lucky I stumbled in here today.

From reading your documentation, I like your thoughtful take on balance over all. Multicast Protect, Shell, and the efficiently-simple earlier Power Up and High Jump seem like especially good ideas. From what I can tell there, my favorite idea is your giving Healer to David Bowie. I was interested to imagine him doing focusing on party support and Soul Love crowd control. If only Healer healed through Trouble!

I wonder what is "Lightbringer," which you mention in Steiner's writeup? I must have overlooked it.

Clem Fandango:
Lightbringer is gone, it seems I missed that reference in that part of the documentation. Basically it was a holy attack that was replacing Iai Strike, could be obtained in the later stages of the game. I wound up scrapping it because it didn't bring much to the table, I was feeling like Steiner already had a lot of potential elemental options in his kit and that it really just became a "use this on undead" button for him, which is fine, but other characters already had that kind of thing but in more interesting ways.

So that instead got changed into Shadowblade, which is a totally different idea (self-heal that can maintain combat momentum) and way more niche, but in practice it felt much more interesting to play with. I think that might actually have been the very last ability change before I posted this.

Good show.


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