When you realize what you're converting stinks?

BishoujoHelper

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
54
Reaction score
46
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I had a sneaking suspicion years ago, when I was doing the first try at converting somebody else's game to another very similar game system, that what I'd gotten was a turkey. But I really was working only with the script files of events (to put it in RPG Maker terms), and the monster, skill and items parts of the database, and the general arrangements of the maps. There wasn't an easy way to go and actually play the original game, so a few things escaped my notice. And when that conversion didn't work out, and I recently tried again with RMMV, it was because I was familiar with the material and didn't want to do a lot of original design, so I picked this conversion as my first project.
So, now that I've gone and redone all the maps in RMMV, and input the monsters and items (the 70 spells are to be done), I finally fired up DOSbox to try out the old game, and I'm horrified. I already sort of knew that, because I'm using a D&D-inspired combat system, of course the level 1 characters can't hit the broad side of an armored barn. And there was one little line in the readme for the old game: watch out for the wolves, but once you gain a few levels you'll be able to handle them... The wolves are actually supposed to be stray dogs on the streets of the starting city. But either the original author was a sadist, made some changes and didn't test them, or just really wanted to make it nigh-on impossible to have a starting party beat a group of what should be the easiest monsters in the game. I've had to resort to a cheat program to resurrect the party 3 times already, because they have yet to make it down the street to the only store to buy basic gear with their starting funds - they come with nothing equipped when generated. The math says that they have a 5% chance to hit a dog for 1-2 damage, and the dogs have a 30-50% chance for doing 1-10. Dogs have 1d6 HP, characters have 16-19, but the odds are such that I have yet to kill one dog or even run away from them successfully.
In my RMMV testing, I've been noticing much the same thing, but I set up a tester character with a "kills everything" skill so jumping to later points in the game with level 1 characters isn't a problem.

So, here's the question for the community: When you realize that what you've been converting has serious problems with balance, what do you do?
I've considered tweaking stats for early monsters, giving the characters starting equipment and less gold, or just letting things be and chalking this up to a learning experience with a bad role model.
 

Shaz

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
42,103
Reaction score
14,635
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Is this something you're doing for yourself, or for the other person? If it's for the other person, just let them know. Doesn't sound like the whole project "stinks" - just that they've got to do some work on balancing, and show me someone who doesn't.
 

gstv87

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
2,353
Reaction score
1,375
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
So, here's the question for the community: When you realize that what you've been converting has serious problems with balance, what do you do?

it can go one of two ways:
if you want to go ahead with the conversion because of gameplay, story or art design, you'll have to fix the balance.
you can rebalance the game within its mechanics, or come up with a completely new one.
coming up with a new one is by far the most rewarding.... because it enables you to change at the same time gameplay, story AND art design, if you want to.


the other way is just to cut your loses and give up.
if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, and you'll probably won't fix it the way you want.

I'm working on a game that mixes several features from games like Diablo or WOW, and D&D.
I had to scrap a few things, I had to reshape some others, kept many things I liked, and came up with new ones I hadn't planned..... and I keep going because everything I do seems to fit, and I know which features must be kept no matter what. (also, I first stripped everything main feature down to it's basics, and tested if the engine could handle it or not.... just to be sure)
I can make compromises with the rest.... so far, I kept most of what I redesigned.
 

BishoujoHelper

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
54
Reaction score
46
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@Shaz This is just for me. I can't contact the original author, last tried years ago and checked again recently. They made their game scenario freeware too, so any loyalty is just to the idea that this is a conversion, not an "inspired by".

@gstv87 I mostly want to keep going because otherwise it'll be just another abandoned project, and I don't think this one has gotten me the knowledge needed to get the original idea(s) that I have to fruition.

Could be I'm also just venting, and wanted confirmation that this has happened to others too.
 

kaukusaki

Awesome Programmer Extraordinaire
Veteran
Joined
Jun 27, 2013
Messages
722
Reaction score
554
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
If you still want to use it so the work don't feel wasted tweak it a little. If you're using D&D rules I have gobs of formulas for ya depending on edition you're running with. Just hit me up...
 

BishoujoHelper

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
54
Reaction score
46
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@kaukusaki It's a scenario for the Bard's Tale Construction Set, so I have formulas, just implementation is needed. The D&D thread is long on ideas but short on "how to".

Tweaking parameters seems to be the only way to salvage this, it'll just be more things that I write in the game design/checklist/todo document to capture what I change.
 
Last edited:

kaukusaki

Awesome Programmer Extraordinaire
Veteran
Joined
Jun 27, 2013
Messages
722
Reaction score
554
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
I have 20 pages of formulas Lol but it depends on how you inmplement it all XD
 

BishoujoHelper

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
54
Reaction score
46
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Also realized - around the same time that I posted originally - that the grind is horrendous.
For example, those "stray dogs" give 26 XP each, but it's supposed to be divided among the active party, so about 4 XP per dog in a party of 6. Fighter-types need 2000 XP to go up to level 2, where they get 5% better to hit but unlikely to do more damage. That's over 462 dogs (if in groups of 6), more likely up to 500.
So, I'm seriously considering a "Grind Difficulty" option to multiply the XP gained, using some script code to access the last sp-parameter "Experience" (aka .exr) and change it: 100% for "Old School" (default), 1000% (seems to be maximum that Database will let me set it to) for "Less Grinding". Should even rescale all the monster XP values by a factor of 10 so 10% is "Old School" and 1000% gives effectively 100 times that. I've seen several blogs and tutorials on balance that suggest something around 10 fights per level is normal nowadays.
 

VideoWizard

Dragon Kingdoms Series producer
Veteran
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
512
Reaction score
418
First Language
English
462 enemies to level up?! Not even Dragon Quest games were ever that bad. (No, really, you can fight just Wyverns in DQ1 and level up faster than that. Max you ever need for a level in DQ1 is 4000 EXP, so in theory you can level up on enemies that only give 9 EXP and still come out better. Heck, this is very nearly just fighting Ghosts (8 EXP each) to get to a higher level.

Since the experience is divided and monsters come in a party, Dragon Quest III is probably a better comparison. But even then... Three Darth Bears (Ursa mega?) give around 2000 EXP. AND they often come with Metal Babbles (Liquid metal slimes) which you can Confuse the bears into hitting easily. Most you need to level up in DQ3 is around 100,000 EXP. And this was about the WORST DQ ever got about grinding, DQ8 just feeling like it because of PS2 load times. Worst case is that you'll level up in about 80 battles! DQ3 through 8 are grindy to get from levels in the 40s to 99, but you're intended to beat each game around level 50.

Breath of Fire gets a bit grindy, too, but since you can beat the game with levels in the mid-30s, it really doesn't matter that much. Its sequel is quite similar, changing the endgame levels to around 50. Breath of Fire 3 makes it so easy to level up, by comparison, that you'll barely max the in-game timer (at 99 hours and 59 minutes, so not THAT bad) to get all the way to level 99.

I don't think I've ever played a game where you needed >100 battles to level up*, nor do I think I'd want to. So this game is worse about grinding than Dragon Quest, Breath of Fire, and Final Fantasy- combined.

*In a turn-based RPG. Action RPGs and Metroidvanias are a different beast.
 

bgillisp

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
13,783
Reaction score
14,577
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
@VideoWizard : The old D and D games needed a LOT of battles to level up. Most characters needed 1500 - 2500 just to get to level 2, and fights could easily give single digit EXP.

Blade of Destiny was also another slow leveling game You needed 5000 EXP to get to Level 2, and fights in that game gave 57 EXP per 3 monsters in the party unless it was your first time fighting them (then it was 285 EXP per monster).

However, the thing to remember is in both of those games, you were expected to beat the game at level 6 or so. So since you only went from level 1 to 6 in the entire game, it makes sense that the level ups would take a long time to achieve.
 

VideoWizard

Dragon Kingdoms Series producer
Veteran
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
512
Reaction score
418
First Language
English
Guess level 6 in those days became what level 60 was in the NES/SNES days, and what level 600 is now.
In the future, you will level up with each and every battle! How exciting!
 

BishoujoHelper

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
54
Reaction score
46
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
In this one, a mid-story boss requires you know a spell that can only be obtained by getting a starting spellcaster up at least 4 levels (but better to go to level 13) and switching to another class, then going up another 6 levels. Takes from 90,000 to 310,000 EXP depending on what level they change. While the experience does get a bit better as you progress, you only pick up thousands of EXP as one-time bonuses for killing bosses. But after that one spell, you could theoretically get through the rest of the scenario at that level. I have to test...

So, I've implemented a "Change Difficulty" that starts at "Old School" (experience x1), then goes to "Recommended", "Spoiled Brat", "Millenial", and "Ludicrous Speed" for increasingly higher experience multipliers. Doesn't do anything for gold rewards, which does become a problem when your spellcasters need to buy new spells...
One side benefit of killing the original 462 monsters while getting to level 2 is that it would give you more than enough money to afford buying new spells at level 3. At a high experience multiplier, you find yourself grinding to get money instead.
 

gstv87

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
2,353
Reaction score
1,375
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
just throwing this out there:
how many new mechanics does X monster present to the game the first time you face them?
how many new different outcomes would result from adding those new mechanics to the existing array of choices, during battle?
there's your XP gain.

for example, let's say you *can* hit an enemy with a regular attack.
if that doesn't one-shot them, you'll have to hit again.
you hit as many times as needed, then you get as many XP as hits you had to do, in the perfect scenario.
how many combinations of that enemy are out there? 1-enemy scenarios? 2-enemy scenarios? 3-enemy scenarios?
now, add a new enemy.
how does that modify the total account?

adding new enemies, new general combinations of enemies, factors that decide wether or not you will eventually face those enemies at all, factors that will prevent you from actually hitting and landing damage onto an enemy in battle, and all the possible combinations of factors you can have in a game, will determine the difficulty of the encounter, and the total XP gained.

that, is game design.
 

BishoujoHelper

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
54
Reaction score
46
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@gstv87 The source material has a known experience formula for monsters already, and although I disagree with its simplicity, I'm also unwilling to tinker with it beyond a simple multiplier. What you're talking about is the kind of thing that goes into the design of a second project, where everything is open to change.
 

VideoWizard

Dragon Kingdoms Series producer
Veteran
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
512
Reaction score
418
First Language
English
Problem with XP based on hits you had to do to the enemy, is that you could easily abuse the system (so, I guess not much different?)
Say you have an enemy that gives 6 XP per hit (for the entire party). If it takes the party 6 hits to kill the enemy, they get 36 XP. They level up after a while, kill the enemy in 4 hits, get 24 XP. After long enough, they one-shot the enemy for 6 XP each battle.

What happens then? Well, the party de-equips their weapons while going for the strongest armor. So at level 10, let's say, they would still be getting 36 XP per battle with this enemy, if not more, if they do only 1 damage per turn. Even better (worse?) your healer could heal the enemy so more hits could be incurred. Suddenly, you get 1000 XP and a level up- every battle. (Assuming the FF8 model)
 

gstv87

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
2,353
Reaction score
1,375
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
hen you get as many XP as hits you had to do, in the perfect scenario.

not as many hits *as you do*, but *as you would have to have done*.

always speaking from the defined scenario here.
if you provide the means for the enemy to be defeated in three hits, then that's what it will take.
it is up to the player to find the means to achieve that scenario's goals.

if they can't find the way to defeat it in three hits and it takes them five, then they'll expend the amount of resources they would be expected to, divided by 3, multiplied by 5.

math.
also, planning.
(also also, a bit of structured trolling by the developer. :D )
 

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

If it gets 6 degrees hotter we've reach 100
I am finally done making the 'superbosses' in my game!
I'm happy because oh my gosh they were a lot of work, but I'm also sad because I love database work... And also because I loved making stupid powerful bosses ._.
Question for anyone who reads Slip into Ruby or Jump into Javascript: do I sometimes get too "explainy" with the methods/functions? Would it be more useful if I stuck to explaining what the code is doing rather than also delving into minutiae of the technical side of it?
That moment when you try to figure out a color scheme for an alien ship so that it's something other than "Grey on Grey".
It's up for viewing! See what happened when EquestriAlert got tested in 1997... or was it a test? Did somepony hack the system? Or did somepony push the wrong switch? Even Adagio Dazzle (the owner of the channel) has no clue.

Can you put the pieces together? Don't worry, the game isn't over yet! There's more pieces to add on!

Forum statistics

Threads
111,118
Messages
1,058,459
Members
144,338
Latest member
shadowsoul
Top