Questions About Party Size

doctor-squared

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Hi Guys, Happy Thanksgiving! I purchased RPG Maker MZ a few months ago, and have played around with it, but I am still writing the script for my game. My dream has always been to have an RPG with all of the party members battling. Not just 3-4 party members at a time. I actually am writing for 8-10 battle party members. Growing up playing JRPG's, I always wished I could utilize all members. What are y'all's thoughts? Is 8-10 battle party members too much? Or does it sound like fun?
 

Trihan

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This is something you'd have to be very careful with. Sure, it *could* work...but what you have to keep in mind is that if you have 8-10 battle members, you have to input actions for 8-10 characters. And remember skill lists for 8-10 characters. And keep track of the status of 8-10 characters. And as the developer, you need to provide enough of a challenge for 8-10 characters, otherwise a lot of the actions are going to end up being redundant when enemies don't even last long enough for half of them to act.

But the other side of the coin there is that if you have enough enemies, or strong enough enemies, to content with 8-10 characters, that's potentially *huge* chunks of incoming damage if they all act at once. So you'll need mitigation/healing abilities that offset that possibility.

It's going to be a very, very tight balancing act, and frankly with my years of experience I don't think I could do it. I'll be perfectly honest: were I a player of that game, I'm not sure it would hold my interest for long. But if you decide to go for it, I wish you luck!
 

Milennin

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Cons:
  • The player turn takes ages because you have to select 8-10 actions per turn.
  • Monsters have to be able to withstand an onslaught of 8-10 attacks per turn, taking animations into account, making a kill on each monster a very slow process.
  • There aren't enough unique roles to justify 8-10 characters in combat at once, so you get role overlap on like half of the cast.
  • With multiple characters covering a role, designing monsters to hinder the player party will become much tougher than it would be with a smaller party size.
  • You're going to have to choose between making the HUD a nightmare to look at, or you're not going to be able to have all the information on screen at all times.

Pros:
  • ???
 

Spaske

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Hi Guys, Happy Thanksgiving! I purchased RPG Maker MZ a few months ago, and have played around with it, but I am still writing the script for my game. My dream has always been to have an RPG with all of the party members battling. Not just 3-4 party members at a time. I actually am writing for 8-10 battle party members. Growing up playing JRPG's, I always wished I could utilize all members. What are y'all's thoughts? Is 8-10 battle party members too much? Or does it sound like fun?
Tbh, i would not like round based battlesystem like the vanila mv/mz and to have 10 charas...
Those before me said almost all there is to say, alot of cons but almost nothing for it, maybe with a different battle system aproach, something like a grid based bs but even then it would be a pain to play all 10 of them... I think there is a reason why in almost all rpgs there are limits to the battlers and its almost always 3 or 4. Maybe a completely different bs where more battlers make sense?
Try looking more into suikoden series, seems they got it somehow right or so... never played it.
Or a real time bs where the other members attack freely like in the tales series and you give them comands they can do.. but im sure this would be alot of work to code.
 

ScorchedGround

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I don't think that many party members would fare well in most battle systems, including the default battle system and all of its deviations.

The reasons have been already stated by the people above this post.

The only option where I could see that many characters working is in a tactical RPG
(basically units and enemies moving on a grid-based battlefield, which is inherently more strategic and slow and also lends itself to a more compact skill-set for each character)
 

Cythera

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One way I think you could make this work is to have the actors act by themselves.
Here's my thought:
You can choose a leader character, and that's who the player controls in combat. The other 9 members act on their own.
For all 10 members, you can select their skills (limited skills or skill learning or even class/equipment). The 9 you aren't controlling, you choose their AI.
You know the gambit system from FF12? Like that! You designate each character how you want. So you can assign healing skills to a character with high Magic Attack, and set their AI to 'healer' so they'll focus primarily on healing other characters that are at low health. An AI set to 'opportunist' will attack enemies that are defense or magic defense down. An AI set to 'killer' will attack enemies that are low on health that the character could kill. Things like that.
Or you could have the player-controlled character call out commands - like 'focus on this enemy!' and all characters will focus-fire on the target. Or 'brace for damage!' and all characters will guard/buff for an incoming enemy attack.

If you want all 10 members to be player-controlled in battle, then I'm going to simply refer to the points others have made already :yswt: It's too much input for one battle. And your enemies will either have to be really strong(never a good idea; RNG, player frustration, stat-loading, etc), or be really high in numbers (also not a good idea; now I as the player have to keep track of not just 10 characters, but 10 enemies too?) You'd be appealing to a very limited number of players in this case - likely TRPG players. And in that, why not make a TRPG battle system? They work well with larger numbers.

On top of the balancing side, you need to consider the visual side as well. Milennin mentioned a battle HUD; how will you design that? Or just use HP bars? What's your battler size and screen resolution? Will everyone fit on the combat screen and not look super squished in? What about your menus?

I'm not going to say if this is inherently a good or bad idea, but there will be a LOT to consider if you choose to go this route. Good luck with your game!
 

The Stranger

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I think it'd be too much for more traditional battle systems. I mean, it could be done, but would it be enjoyable for anyone involved? Would you, as the dev, enjoy creating so many characters, creating their skills, etc? Would a player enjoy managing so many party members in every single fight? Iknow what the answer is to both of those questions for me - no.

Breath of Fire IV allowed party members not currently active in the battle, but who stood in the backline waiting for you to swap an active member out for them, could sometimes use skills and attacks to help out. It was kinda random, though. Maybe something like that could work? Still, it's a lot of work for 10 individual party members.

You could also create squads that function as a single party member, but which are made up of multiple characters. You'd give simple commands to the squad as a whole (attack, defend, etc), and they'd use their individual skills to carry out those orders. Not really sure where you'd even begin to create something like that, though.
 

LordOfPotatos

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this actually isn't unheard of, for example in FF14 the standard party size is 8 all at once.
that game works based on active battles so to make it work you probably need either an ATB system or a CTB system (since they basically work the same way). default rpg maker battles will be a huge mess of trying to predict the order of 16 turns per round, guaranteed.

big party sizes usually mean smaller status effects too, since players will stack lots of effects with 8 characters. instead of protect reducing damage by 50% you'd need multiple effects that reduce damage by 10-20% (you can still go with big status effects but it's a lot harder to balance).

also try to use an AOE plugin instead of abilities that target everyone, targetting 8 characters multiplies value to insane levels.

and you have to make sure action economy (AKA the proportion of player vs enemy turns) is well tuned, a solo boss vs 8 people can be cheesed in many many ways if you make it too slow or give it too little HP. seriously those need a LOT of HP to do anything.d

Yanfly has everything you need if you have access to those.
 

AphoticAmaranth

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If you want to use many party members at once, I think an SRPG might be more suitable.
 

TheoAllen

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Everyone already said what I wanted to say, so I would add this.
Here is my personal rule for the battle system based on party size.

1 ~ 2: Action / Real-time / Timed Hit / QTE/ Anything that requires reflex
2 ~ 3: Time-Progress / ATB / Default / CTB
3 ~ 4: Turn Based / Semi tactical / Free Turn Battle / Default
5+: Tactical battle
 

Mr. Detective

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Well, it depends...
053.gif


Somebody asked a similar question before, what's the optimal party size or something along that line, and the best answer was 17. But even that was for total number of party members, with only 4 being active at once in mind.

The more party members you have, the more time consuming it is to balance the game. The characters also have to stand out and be distinguished from each other, both personality and playstyle wise. What I didn't like about FFX was that some characters felt boring to use and/or only useful in a handful of situations. I think Riku was my least used member. What's the point of using the 6th and 9th characters if they are inferior than the 3rd and 4th members in every way? Besides to chip down the enemies' HP, of course.

If you are making a turn-based game, and you have 8-10 party members fighting in a single battle, how long will a typical battle take? Making the player choose action for 8-10 members in one turn means it shouldn't take more than 2 rounds to end a normal encounter. If we are talking about action games like Tales, then it might be more interesting. And what if the enemy has an AoE skill? Imagine trying to heal all 8-10 characters at the same time.
23


It's not that this is a bad idea, but it's hard to execute it properly. This part is up to you to handle. I think this would be fun to a brief part of the game, but not the entire game.
 

FirestormNeos

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When it comes how many party members the player controls at once, I'm of the opinion that you should either Go Big (ie let the player have a wholeass army like the way Sid Meier's Civilization does) or Go Home (aka only one Party Member active at a time, a la Pokemon).

RPG Maker's default of a measly 4 utterly bores the crap out of me. If you're gonna make me worry about controlling multiple characters, allow me as the player to mentally trivialize the individual in favor of the bigger picture.
 

doctor-squared

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I have read everyone's replies and appreciate all of your input! Are there any RPG Maker games with more than 4 characters in the battle party? If so, I would like to see how they work. I know there is a java attachment that supposedly allows more than 4 at a time, but I haven't gotten a clear idea as to how it would look. I am 40-50% done with the script. I have been writing for a larger than 4 battle party, but if max of 4 is most realistic, I need to start revising the script.
 

Mr. Detective

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More than 4 at once? Not many comes to mind. Not the best example, but see here.


Also, your script of the story shouldn't have much to interfere with your party size. That has to do with gameplay and balance. Max of 4 is not realistic. It's just the way most developers prefer to have on screen at once.
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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I think Riku was my least used member.
First, I can't ever see this without correcting it. Riku is Sora's best friend in the Kingdom Hearts series. Rikku is the FFX and FFX-2 character.

Secondly, did you not like her various Mix results? She could do cool things in that game.
 

lianderson

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If you think that many party members is a hindrance on the player, then have some auto-battle! (especially if they're dogs, zombies, or zombie dogs)

Power to the large parties! And someone get this mutt off my foot! I'm trying to do a keg stand.
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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If you think that many party members is a hindrance on the player, then have some auto-battle! (especially if they're dogs, zombies, or zombie dogs)

Power to the large parties! And someone get this mutt off my foot! I'm trying to do a keg stand.
Honestly, if your party is so large that you need to use auto-battle just to ease up the management issues, you have too many people in the active party.

That's not even taking into account that you would be putting several members in the A.I's control, which could be annoying.
 

Iron_Brew

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Man, keeping 10 characters geared appropriately and skill customized if you go down that route sounds like a drag, and to be fair with rpg classes being what they are chances are you'd never find 10 unique ROLES for them to fill. Which I imagine would make fights quite tedious as you try to select commands to double and triple up on damage output et al.
 

Vis_Mage

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Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but I think something like that could be a lot of fun, and would definitely act as a stand-out point towards your project, so long as you take the effort to cater the rest of the game around this central mechanic of large-scale combat.

A few random bits of advice, that I would probably use if setting up a similar project:

- Make large-scale combat available from early on. If you'd like to base the game off of this unique mechanic, don't make the player wait 20 hours in to actually use it.

- If you don't want to rush all 8-10 party members right away, but still want to have a full team in combat, temporary allies such as pets, golems, summons, familiars, etc (possibly even AI controlled) could help give you some wiggle room early on.

- Don't bog the player down with needing to jump through a lot of hoops to keep the party equipped and battle-ready. In most games, you'd only really have to worry about 3-4 party members at a time, not all 10. Lowering the number of equip slots (Perhaps just 1 weapon, 1 armor, and an accessory, for 3 total slots), and opting not to use management-heavy skill learning/equipping systems would help this a lot.

- On the topic of equipment, you could even ease that requirement further. Perhaps have each party member join with their "signature weapon". Instead of finding and equipping new weapons, they instead are able to "upgrade" their weapon through story and side-quest events. (By upgrade, I mostly mean replacing their currently equipped weapon with the new "upgraded" version through event commands. Having to worry about gathering and crafting upgrades for 10 character's weapons is a bit more daunting.)

- Don't just leave the large party idea to the player only, have some large enemy groups to go all out on!

- I would highly suggest using some form of battle system that allows you to choose your action one at a time, instead of all 10 at once.

- Perhaps also adding some form of positioning grid on the battlefield would help, too.

- Make multi-target attacks more common. If you want to get fancy, perhaps look into some plugins that would allow you to hit an "area of effect", to give you more flexibility than just one or all targeting.

- Make sure every party member plays a different role in combat. Something I do when creating skillsets for a character is decide 1 primary role (be it healer, magical damage dealer, aggro management, etc), possibly 1 secondary role, and a motif to theme the skills after (such as music, alchemy, plants, etc). If you're using everyone at once, no need to worry about giving toolbox-y skillsets to characters, because you'll always have access to everyone's skills.

- This last one will mostly depend on how you're planning to structure you game, but since battles will likely last a lot longer than usual, perhaps going the route of specifically placed battles at certain points in the story would help prevent fatigue. In the very least, have enemies able to be seen on the overworld, just PLEASE don't go for random encounters.

Those are just the ideas that jumped to mind from reading the thread. Didn't actually expect to write that much, haha.
 
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