RPG Maker MZ, Preview #5: TPBS, A Closer Look

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Alexandre

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Some questions:
Will there be special additional effects for skills/items to delay/advance target's turn?
If there is, can we precise what fraction of a turn it will be?

How does the TBS speed interact with Agility buffs/debuffs?
For example, assuming A takes a turn in 4 seconds and B needs 5,
if A get a agility buff, does it means B will now take more than 5 seconds,
or that A will take his/her turn in less than 4 seconds?

Is there some kind of 'catch up' mechanism to allow battlers with a really
low agility like enemies from the start of the game to still take a turn at some point?
For example, will 16 agility enemies have to wait 20s vs 400+ agility actors?

Is there an option (some sort of 'Wait mode' / 'Active mode') to pause the filling of other gauges while an actor has his/her gauge full and is choosing his/her action of the turn?
 
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GHNeko

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How possible it is to have TBS's scaling not based off of the faster character, but rather a global value seperate from actors and enemies.

For example, have TBS scale off of a value that is equivalent to the sqrt of 49 as a global/universal value, so that lower leveled/lower speed characters take longer 5s for a turn, while later in game it only takes 2. I like the sense of characters actually FEELING faster in battle rather than having the pace of battle in early game feel similar to end game due to gauge speed being consistently relative.
 

Wavelength

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One cool and underrated aspect of the Individual Turns (which I assume are being used for State Length) is that clever designers could create Follow-Up types of mechanics that require having good AGI compared to your opponents. For example, a Hammer-user could have a few skills that inflict a Stagger state which last only until the opponent's next turn. Maybe the Stagger state does nothing by itself, but other Hammer skills have a bonus effect where they deal extra damage to, or stun, Staggered targets. Then the player can either specialize the Hammer-wielder into Agility to take advantage of these kinds of follow-up mechanics and the extra utility they offer, or spec her into Strength instead for more consistent, reliable damage output.

Listen... I'm trying to find something exciting about this update. Humor me. :LZSwink:
Just think of all the crazy, vivid colors you could have battlers produce as they are charging up a spell!

Hopefully all I have to do is take my MV code for grid battle and just drop it in MZ to supercharge MZ battle system.
Do you mean adding your grid battle to the "default" turn-based MZ battle system, or to the new Time Progress battle system? Because a grid-based, ATB-style system sounds highly manic and pretty wicked B)
 

Tsukihime

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Do you mean adding your grid battle to the "default" turn-based MZ battle system, or to the new Time Progress battle system? Because a grid-based, ATB-style system sounds highly manic and pretty wicked B)

I would assume they're basically the same thing in the code. My understanding is that a turn-based system is just Time-progress system except the gauge fills up instantly instead of us basically sitting there watch it fill up.

So most of the logic like selecting a target, executing actions, etc should be the same. My grid battle basically sits on top of the target selection and stuff, and isn't affected by how the turn orders are determined.
 

Galenmereth

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The API documentation is not very useful since it doesn't document any of the engine's implementation classes, like the MZ equivalent of "Scene_Base" and so forth. I assume and hope this will be added after launch though :)
 

Wavelength

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I would assume they're basically the same thing in the code. My understanding is that a turn-based system is just Time-progress system except the gauge fills up instantly instead of us basically sitting there watch it fill up.

So most of the logic like selecting a target, executing actions, etc should be the same. My grid battle basically sits on top of the target selection and stuff, and isn't affected by how the turn orders are determined.
Ah, yes, you're right. I saw your post here before I saw the video in your status, and I assumed it was going to be a "tactical battle system" a la Fire Emblem or Disgaea, where you manually move your units around a grid one at a time as the enemies do the same. After watching your video I see it's more a Skies of Arcadia-style take on the battle grid, which I absolutely love - and yeah, that style would probably make for a smoother landing spot for a real-time battle system, too.

For example, have TBS scale off of a value that is equivalent to the sqrt of 49 as a global/universal value
Square Root of 49... hmmm... could you possibly mean 7? :guffaw:

I do agree with you though that it would be nice to be able to adjust the "base" speed at which ATB gauges fill up, though, or to set it to a constant so that the game can become faster and more demanding as the player gets used to the system.

I feel pretty confident that this won't be a feature of the editor, based on the way that it was described in this Preview. However, it's low-hanging (and very tasty) fruit for a plugin.
 
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MZFan

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I would assume they're basically the same thing in the code. My understanding is that a turn-based system is just Time-progress system except the gauge fills up instantly instead of us basically sitting there watch it fill up.

So most of the logic like selecting a target, executing actions, etc should be the same. My grid battle basically sits on top of the target selection and stuff, and isn't affected by how the turn orders are determined.

This plugin have an "enchanted arms" feel in it!
Definitively love it!
 

BloodletterQ

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I look forward to seeing how much of a convenience this could be for programmers to provide a CTB or even a Grandia-style turn gauge.
 

Dororo

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I like the sense of characters actually FEELING faster in battle rather than having the pace of battle in early game feel similar to end game due to gauge speed being consistently relative.
This create another issue. Incredibly slow starting characters/combat in early chapters (or, to compensate, inconsistent speed upgrades). That's more true if you want for your characters to act twice or thrice before a slow opponent - this last one should be VEEERY slow on screen (zzz...zzz...).

Anyway, an absolute bonus to charge time will be nice. That way you can actually see speeded up characters act faster than the default cap.
 
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DoubleX

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So it seems to me that the main difference between TPBS and ATB systems is the definition of turn counts, and it's something very innovative, at least for me.
However, I'm still having quite some questions on the TPBS(maybe I've misread and/or overlooked tons of info):
At least in VXA and MV, there's a thing called Action Times+, and I guess the turn based battle system in MZ will also have this, but I'd like to know how Action Times+ will be handled in TPBS.
Right now I can think of 3 possibilities:
1. Simply ignored, like what it's done in many(but not all) VXA and MV ATB system scripts/plugins.
2. The same as that in the turn based battle system - Whenever a battler becomes able to input actions, all action slots must be inputted at once, and the number of action slots are determined by Action Times+(so the battler will input 3 actions in the same individual turn if Action Times+ says a battler has 3 action slots).
3. Adds a concept called "Virtual action slot counter" - Initially the counter is 0, but whenever a battler becomes able to input actions, the counter will be set according to Action Times+, and while the battler will only input 1 action for each individual turn and subtract the counter by 1(that's why it's called "Virtual action slot counter"), the battler bar will remain full and he/she/it'll immediately be able to input action again right after executing the current one as long as the counter's still positive(when the counter becomes 0, the battler bar will become empty and will have to wait for it to become full in order to input another action, and then the cycle repeats).
If you have taken 3 turns and you are just starting a new one, it is your 4th turn.
What does it exactly mean for a battler to have taken a turn? Is it right after a battler has executed an action?
Similarly, what does it exactly mean for a battler to just start a new turn? Is it right after a battler becomes able to input actions?
This turn count is used for most processes, such as status effect durations and enemy action patterns.
Does it apply to all or just some states?
If it applies to all states, then let's think of the paralyze/stun state, which is supposed to cause the battler to be unable to input or execute actions, meaning that the individual turn count will never increase as long as the paralyze/stun state's still effective, causing that state to be never removed on its own(of course, it still still be removed by battle events/another battler, but it won't always be the case without very, very deliberate actions to explicitly exclude this possibility while still keeping the paralyze/stun state).
If it only applies to some states, then I'd assume that the editor will let us set which states are based on individual turn counts and which are based on the battle turn counts in the database, and I wonder if I'd be asking too much for a screenshot in this case lol
The Battle Turn count is equal to the Individual Turn Count of the enemy who has taken the most turns.

This turn count is used for Battle Events.
Let's say you've a party having all actors with very high agi(maybe an intended setup of all speedy grass cannons) who're fighting a very powerful boss despite his/her/its very low agi(something like 1/25 of that of the fastest actor with actor agi buffs and boss agi debuffs), and a slow yet powerful boss isn't anything extraordinary.
Let's say the boss has a skill that can paralyze/stun the whole party for 1 individual turn count after the fastest actor has 5 turns already(as the square root of 25 is 5), and that paralyze/stun state will also be removed upon the next battle turn as an attempt to avoid the issues in the 3rd Question.
Right now, the battle turn counter is the same as the individual turn count of the fastest battler, which is 5 in this case, while the individual turn counter of the boss's still 1.
So after the boss has made 5 more moves, his/her/its individual turn count will become 6, meaning that the battle turn count has to increase by 1 to match that, causing the next battle turn to arrive.
All these mean that, a paralyze/stun state lasting seemingly 1 individual turn of the much, much faster targets can actually last 5 individual turns of the much, much slower caster in TPBS, which can be very, very counter-intuitive and surprising to those not having a solid understanding on how turns in TPBS work in details.
The same issue applies to any battle event in battles involving battlers with very big agi difference and states causing battlers to become unable to input or execute actions being applied to the fast battlers, so one has to be very, very careful when designing battle events when the battle involved can indeed has such a possibility that aren't negligible in that particular case.
The character in a fight that has the highest TPB Speed, is given a Charge Time of 4 seconds. This will be the fastest any character will charge in the fight. Every other character in the fight has their bar fill at a rate that is relative to the highest TPB Speed based on their own TPB Speed.
1. What is a character in a fight that has the highest TPB speed? Is it the one among all battlers or is it the one among all alive battlers?
2. Let's say the character having the highest TPB speed's escaped/hidden/removed during the battle, is the charge time of the character with the 2nd highest TPB speed still 4 seconds, with the rest of the battler charge time adjusted because of that(the same applies to a character with an even higher TPB speed added/appeared during the battle)?
In VXA and MV, there's a thing called party escape, but does MZ TPBS have such a thing a well?
If so, will a failed party escape attempt empties all actor bars, and will the individual turn count of all actors increase by 1?
Question:
Will poison state deals damage based on the battle turn or individual turn?
Individual Turn.
So let's say an actor has been inflicted with a poison state, does it mean the poison state will never inflict damage on that actor if that actor always keep idling and never actually inputting or executing actions?
If so, then there will be a new tactic - An actor inflicted with a poison state can simply wait until another actor removes the poison state of the former to prevent taking any damage from that poison state.
Conversely, when an enemy has a regen state, just slow down the agi of that enemy at all cost, and then remove that regen state when such action's ready, or just spams the strongest attack on that enemy before his/her/its next turn even comes.
Applying this to enemies/actors with autobattle/confusion will lead to new AI options as well, even though it'll mean plugin developers writing AI plugins will need even more effort and time to do their jobs well.
It's a direct follow-up from the 2nd and 7th question - If a battler has inflicted a poison state and that battler uses an action to remove that poison state him/her/itself, will that battler still take poison damage once?
Technically, if an action removes a state and the action execution subject's the same as the action target, does state removal comes first or does state turn count update comes first(I guess it's the former as action effect should take place before the action execution ends but I just want to be sure)?
Of course, if these turn out to be real problems, writing MZ plugins to workaround them(like adding new individual/battle turn definitions) should be easy, simple and small tasks for anyone having written ATB system scripts/plugins(assuming that the codebase's very, very well-written), so I just want to know more about what's really going on under the hood of the TPBS.
Regarding the API, I'm waiting for those letting us manipulate the battler TPBS bar and casting progress directly, as sometimes skills reducing the opponents' TPBS bars/casting progresses can be very, very useful :)

I look forward to seeing how much of a convenience this could be for programmers to provide a CTB or even a Grandia-style turn gauge.
It depends on how well the TPBS is implemented, and assuming that the codebase's indeed well-written, CTB's an easy, simple and small task for anyone having written ATB system scripts/plugins(can be done well within hours), while Grandia-style turn gauge involves tons of work(probably at least days of work especially if the plugin's very, very flexible), but it can still be definitely be done, at least by such scripter/plugin developer.
 
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Maliki79

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I hope there will be ways to customize the gains for regular as well as skill charge meters. I basically peeled back Elly's ATB to do this in my game. If not, I'll just have to find a way!

Also would be nice if states could could against a specific turn type as DoubleX said.

I have a state in my game that actually reverses the atb meter unless charging a spell. Would be great if that could work with battle turns vs unit turns.
 

Dororo

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@DoubleX
4th question: the battle turn counter is the individual rounds count of the enemy that got the higher individual rounds so far.
While effects are timed to individual rounds (and probably you can state who to count: caster or target).
Mind a bit and you'll see your exceptions doesn't trigger.
 
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DoubleX

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@DoubleX
4th question: the battle turn counter is the individual rounds count of the enemy that got the higher individual rounds so far.
While effects are timed to individual rounds.
Mind a bit and you'll see your exception didn't happen.
Then the issue will still be there with fast enemies(like speedy grass cannons as minions) and slow actors(like powerful meat shields/aoe mages) using paralyze/stun state skills towards those enemies, and if all enemies are paralyzed/stunned even for supposedly just 1 individual turn, the battle turn count will never increase and battle events based on battle turns will never be run(besides the issues that those enemies will remain permanently paralyzed/stunned).
Actually, in this case, once all enemies are stunned, the party's already won the battle(unless there's a time limit), regardless of the speed of the enemies/actors, even though this issue can be easily fixed by replacing paralyze/stun states with sleep states(removed upon being hit).
Of course, it's our job to have a solid understanding on how the TPBS works in details before building games based on it without getting ourselves into troubles(I still like the innovations in TPBS after all), but if my understanding's solid, maybe I'd just write some MZ plugins to add some new turn definitions to workaround that, after I've decided to jump into MZ of course.
On a side note: I don't like paralyze/stun states in general, and I won't use it in my projects regardless of whether it's a TPBS, it's just that TPBS gives me an even stronger reason not to use it :D
 
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Drokkkon

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Well, need to say that I'm disappointed.

I expected some option for a real time battle with more action, more fun. Maybe someone will do a plugin for a new battle system.
 
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@DoubleX you are assuming they haven't already foreseen that problem and have not made a fail-safe that treats 'skipped' turns as 'completed' turns for the purpose of tracking turns.

I suppose we'll just have to wait and see...
 

DoubleX

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Well, need to say that I'm disappointed.

I expected some option for a real time battle with more action, more fun. Maybe someone will do a plugin for a new battle system.
You mean an ABS or Star Ocean battle system? In these cases, you may want to place your bets on Moghunter :p
Also, in the case of an ABS, I think the real value of such plugins' to streamline the workflow and reduce/remove technical pains as well as time wasters in building an ABS using events only(it's feasible or 2K3 wouldn't have ABS), so MZ supporting that in default would probably mean a much, much more advanced default event supports(maybe even more advanced than those in 2K3).
While I'd also like to see such a thing in MZ, I don't know if it's a good idea for MZ itself and plugin developers, as I don't know how much more work would be needed on the MZ side to do that, and how much more effort plugin developers will have to digest these additional features :)

@DoubleX you are assuming they haven't already foreseen that problem and have not made a fail-safe that treats 'skipped' turns as 'completed' turns for the purpose of tracking turns.

I suppose we'll just have to wait and see...
That's why I've asked the question, and of course they've foreseen that(but then I'd like to know how the "skipped turns as completed turns" works in details, and especially how "skipped turns" are defined now that both enemy individual turn counts and battle turn counts are frozen), so I'll wait and see as well :D
For instance, maybe if an enemy would become inputable/would have executed an action without being paralyzed/stunned, then there will be a skipped turn, but then it'd demand the TPBS to implement turn predictions or at least estimations, and things can get even more complicated and convoluted there.
Anyway, I'll keep an eye on where this innovation goes, and I'm already liking it at this point, regardless of its potential issues :guffaw:
 
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Ahuramazda

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While I'm no coder on a massive level, I would make it so that if an enemy/actor was inflicted with paralyze or something similar that their turn gauge still goes up while they cannot move, but when it fills it instantly drains and keeps going as if they had done no action for that turn, that way the battle can keep rolling and all turns keep counting. At least that is how I would do it.

As for asking about Action Times+ I was really wondering how that would work of if it would be completely ignored... I would love to see something like if you have Action Times+ 1 it could cut your ATB bar in half (fill at 2x speed), +2 would be 1/3 speed(3x as fast) if at all possible, would make it so a state could feel like a Haste effect without having to modify the actor/enemies AGI value, which might not have the desired effect of making them feel actually FASTER.
 

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grass cannons
Someone draw this NOW. Please! Please, someone draw this. The world needs this.

...if all enemies are paralyzed/stunned even for supposedly just 1 individual turn, the battle turn count will never increase and battle events based on battle turns will never be run(besides the issues that those enemies will remain permanently paralyzed/stunned).
Actually, in this case, once all enemies are stunned, the party's already won the battle(unless there's a time limit), regardless of the speed of the enemies/actors...
I feel confident in assuming that the developers either thought of this in advance or found it could be an issue during early development, discussed a reasonable way around it to make sure that battles don't "break" in this way, and implemented it. When you look through the base code for MV (and even the earlier versions), there are intelligent checks made to handle edge cases that screw up the battle flow.

Since Paralysis states are so common they usually come as sample data in RPGM's new-project databases, I would be astonished if the battle system were designed so that it would completely break if everyone is stunned for "1 turn". I don't think you need to worry on this point.
 
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