Simple equipment

I’ve cut the number of equipment slots down to 3.

The game’s systems have plenty of complexity in other areas, so cutting down the variety of equipment is a way to keep the game from feeling unnecessarily complex.

I’ve also made it so bows no longer require quivers to work. It was a cool idea, but the complexity it adds is not necessary, and it would have been a challenge to elegantly communicate to the player that quivers and bows can only work together.

Equipment menu showing 3 items equipped

Assigning Items

I’ve added Galv’s Equip Item script. By default, all actors share the same inventory, and can use as many items as they want from the inventory. This script makes it so actors can only use items that have been manually assigned to them.

With only 6 items available per character, it could add depth to each combat. Or if could add a painful amount of time spent in the menu re-equipping items between battles.

To mitigate the latter issue, I’ve made a script that automatically re-equips items to a character after battle, if the party’s inventory has extra copies of the item.

I’ve also been playing around with making items that are not consumed permanently, but can only be used once in battle. This makes healing functionally unlimited, but the player can’t heal indefinitely each encounter. It’s inspired by the estus system in Dark Souls, but it remains to be seen if my execution is nearly as elegant.

Menu for assigning items to a character

No dialog – pictograms only?

My strength is not writing, and definitely not long-form storytelling.

I’m a designer. I communicate meaning through imagery, motion, and composition.

With that in mind, I wonder if it would be better to have this project be entirely free of dialog. Cutscenes could play out with characters popping up a bubble over their heads with a symbol representing the topic of their thoughts, in the style of The Sims. I would also have to ensure the positioning, speed and style of movement of the characters is on-point, to help convey their personalities.

Bestiary

I’m planning to give players access to a bestiary that keeps track of the enemy monsters in the game.

Random mobs might have to be fought before they’re added to the bestiary. But I think it might be useful to add upcoming bosses to the bestiary before the player encounters them. This scheme will give players an optional heads-up of the next big foe and will let them prepare for it.

Bestiary showing phantom boat boss monster, items it drops and its stats

Project management: Kanban

I’ve been using a Kanban-style board to keep track of tasks for the project. Having labels for each columns lets me prioritize tasks, and I like the kinetic feeling of dragging a task from one column to another.

But even with this system, my willpower sometimes slips, and I end up working on something fun and frivolous instead of the most practical task to actually get the project completed.

Dozens of tasks sorted into columns by priority

Interface tweaks

Playing with interface tweaks!

Battle scene showing skill being chosen from a menu. Character names, HP and MP values are also shown.

  • New battle order tracker (changed from DreamX ITB to Yanfly STB)
  • Multi-tier skill choices for a few select situations
  • Wider MP bar, can show max/min with higher values
  • New base character names – all 4 letter
  • States moved from status bar to above character and foe’s heads

New font

BEFORE:

AFTER:

Menu interface showing tall pixel font

SH Pinscher replaces Minecraftia as the game’s main font. This is mostly due to questions about Minecraftia’s legalities. But it also comes with much wider support for symbols (useful for arrows) and is generally more stylish.

Visual indicators of complex hidden effects

There are multiple abilities in FCQ that rely on complex formulas. For example, Focus Strike is an ability that boosts your physical damage according to how much MP you have remaining.

While you could look at your remaining MP amount and try to calculate the resulting damage boost, that’s impractical. So I’ve started using state indicators to show the bonus damage as a percentage.

Character swinging staff at a slime foe while an indicator shows +20%

The icon art isn’t final, but it’s a good step in the right direction!