Search Unity

  1. Check out our Unite Austin 2017 YouTube playlist to catch up on what you missed. More videos coming soon.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Unity 2017.2 is now released.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. The Unity Gear Store is here to help you look great at your next meetup, user group or conference. With all new Unity apparel, stickers and more!
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Introducing the Unity Essentials Packs! Find out more.
    Dismiss Notice
  5. Want to see the most recent patch releases? Take a peek at the patch release page.
    Dismiss Notice
  6. Unity 2017.3 beta is now available for download.
    Dismiss Notice

Could an FF game work today?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by ShadowK, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. ShadowK

    ShadowK

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Posts:
    4,495
    Got burnt out again with my last project so I'm thinking of ideas I could whip through quickly.. The major problem with my previous attempts has been animations / characters and voice acting.. It's costly / time consuming and a real drag..

    So just as an idea could a modern take on something like FF7 work? Using a similar battle / customisation system and keeping all conversations as text?

    I'm a little concerned that with update graphics it might look a little bit off as they just randomly flail about as opposed to doing the standard voice acting spiel.

    If nothing else though, it seems like a fun project.

    What do you think?
     
    GarBenjamin and theANMATOR2b like this.
  2. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Posts:
    1,376
    ???

    You'll need to specify a bit more. 3D RPG with turn-based combat? Turn-based where you don't actually interact with the enemy? What specifically?

    Variations of this are definitely still around.

    Child of Light | Cosmic Star Heroine
     
  3. ShadowK

    ShadowK

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Posts:
    4,495
    Have you played FF7? It's a turn based 3D RPG.. I thought it was somewhat self explanatory ;). There were quite a few JRPG's at the time that followed this formula, I was thinking about giving it a modern pass..

    I loved FF7 and I believe they got away with a lot of things because of creative use of the camera, which makes it tricky as with a modern take it would be more semi-open world than set pieces with camera transitions..

    Not an easy task by any means, just not quite the mammoth I'm currently dealing with..
     
  4. Habitablaba

    Habitablaba

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    Posts:
    105
    When I think of FF7, I don't think of anything smaller than a mammoth.

    I was actually just playing it again over the weekned, and was struck by how the 3D characters, when scaled up to fit on a modern TV, look an awful lot like the pixel-forward sprites that are pretty popular right now.

    Than being said, you'd have to be a whole lot more specific about what you mean by a "modern take" on it. Making it more "open world" doesn't really ring true with me, either, since you spend a large portion of the game just wandering wherever you want on the world map.

    And EternalAmbiguity is right, there are loads of modern games that use the same (or similar) menu-based combat system that FF7 did.

    FF7 got away with a lot because it was a huge game with a compelling story to tell, involving many characters. To me, it feels like game play came second to telling the story.
     
    EternalAmbiguity likes this.
  5. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Posts:
    1,376
    If you want to include AAA, take a look at Final Fantasy XIII. Or more recently, the Dragon Quest games or other S-E games.

    Indie (or "indie"), you've got stuff like Wasteland, Pillars, Divinity Original Sin...technically those are all turn based 3D RPGs.
     
  6. ShadowK

    ShadowK

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Posts:
    4,495
    It's definatley smaller than what I've been working on, it's nowhere near as time consuming and / or complicated.. With FF7 the map world view was limited to a certain amount of places, sure there were some nice hidden areas like round island but it was constrained to say the least..

    Also you ran around via a low detailed "external" map as opposed to a standard massive open world with detail everywhere (the likes of Witcher) so on.. Although it's not the open world bit that's the problem TBH.

    The "Modern take" is going to be a graphics update and a more standard Skyrim type of exploration / travel, but I'd like to use the battle system where you woosh into combat with a quite similar set location turn based setup.

    I always found the upgrade / materia system better than most of the FF games and TBH better than a lot of takes on RPG's period so I wouldn't say the gameplay as such was lacking.. The summon system was cool as well..

    The biggest thing is to cut down or remove entirely the amount of animations / voice actors etc.. When you start getting into the realm of "thousands" to tell the story it just gets way too much for a small team to deal with. The actual game part is the least time consuming bit of it all..

    So if I could change it to a text based / general expression (with creative use of camera's) it would cut the workload in half.. In this day and age though it's almost expected to go down the route of facial recording / voice actor etc. systems etc.

    Might be worth doing a 40 minute demo and see how it goes down.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  7. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Posts:
    1,376
    So are you wanting an overworld or an open world? Still not sure. Sounds like open world.

    Sounds like you're going for not true turn-by-turn but turn-based combat. I'm only one person but I'll just say I despise ATB (outside of FF XIII, where it's very different for reasons I'd be happy to say but won't unless prompted), because the player is stuck fumbling to find an appropriate attack while enemies just instantly move when their timer is up. The player is at an artificial, controls-caused disadvantage.

    The materia system was indeed interesting, but it was fairly meta or high-level. Almost nothing of that (upgrading, combining effects) was required to do anything within the main progression of the game. The actual gameplay of the game - pressing "Attack" or "Defend" or "Enemy Skill > Big Guard" or "Materia > Fire" or what have you is incredibly simplistic. You don't have things like positioning like you would in other games. You don't really have things like timing an attack (outside of a couple of very rare, horribly mistranslated "attack while the tail is up" moments). You have fairly limited resource management. It's really not that great overall.

    I could certainly understand no voice actors. Though I hope you wouldn't be getting rid of all animations. FF 7 level would probably be okay.

    I'd certainly be interested in such a demo.
     
  8. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2014
    Posts:
    2,109
    As far as combat goes, the systems are still around. There ends up being a ton of tweaks to it, but the basic shell of a combat system is still there. It still sucks as much as it always has.


    For dialogue and the like, I would highly suggest trying to scrounge up some of the low budget jrpg type games that have come out recently. There's probably a good exercise in trying to play one for anywhere from an hour to four, then playing a random squaresoft (explicitly soft) game for the same amount of time, and then trying to compare on story and storytelling.

    Voice acting isn't really the issue. It's nice and all, but it's not important. Presentation, i.e. how the story is actually consumed, is way more important, and far more often ignored by budget titles.
     
  9. ShadowK

    ShadowK

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Posts:
    4,495
    In that case, I could probably just continue on with the original project and rip out all the voice acting etc.. Cool, thanks.!
     
  10. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2014
    Posts:
    6,606
    I haven't played this game - but the core seems to be a modern take on the jrpg formula to me.
    http://store.steampowered.com/app/451020/Battle_Chasers_Nightwar/

    Does the animation quality/fidelity need to be that high? I know striving for top quality (I'll not say AAA) is a lofty and attainable goal, but personally I still find facial mocap and voice acting - meh! Even in the much lauded Hellblade - the facial mocap, hyper-stylized-realism modeling of the main character wasn't appealing to me at all. Just didn't like the look. I haven't played so I can't say - the game must be good because others have given it praise, but Idk - kind ugly main character to me. And the mocap is marginally ok. They are too close to the uncanny valley imo.
    Seems you are interested in developing a certain type of game that in modern times improves on the older creations with new/better animations, effects and added details including voice acting and mocap.
    IMO the modernization of rpgs have been in the areas of better animations and over the top fx and less menu rangling/hunting. So how would you go about modernizing a rpg classic similar to FF7 without the extravagant elements (more animations and fx) that have become part of the modern rpg?
    Have you considered a different type of game that relies less on top of the line character animation, mocap, voice acting, facial mocap (not really worth the price imo) and other higher cost elements?
    Or possibly reducing graphic fidelity 'scope' in your design? I don't see a need for mocap, facial mocap, or voice acting in a rpg as long as the story is compelling and the less detailed animations and FX are of good quality.

    Because of the over the top animations!! :D which you have stated is a major problem.
     
    ShadowK likes this.
  11. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2014
    Posts:
    2,109
    Get yourself a hatchet man, though. When you aren't paying by the word, text tends to balloon since there's nothing limiting what you can shove in.
     
    ShadowK likes this.
  12. ShadowK

    ShadowK

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Posts:
    4,495
    No not really, it doesn't have to be amazing.. It's just a rather large story to tell, it's not so much about "over the top" animations it's more about shear quantity.. I need to compact it all down and if I can do that via removing the likes of voice acting than it would save me a mass amount of time..

    Even setting them up with FaceFX takes a very long time and Unity isn't exactly great at these types of games..

    Y'see if I knew the answer I wouldn't be asking, I don't want to sacrifice quality if I can avoid it so the plan isn't just to half arse it in places.. I'd rather just avoid the system all together if I can.

    It seems to me a lot of people don't like the ATB style system but I can't say a standard RPG combat system is exactly enjoyable anyway.. It mainly amounts to a lot of clicking and running away, you might press the odd special skill button..

    At the moment it's a scaled down semi-openworld RPG game with a more standardised non turnbased battle system not too unlike Skyrim.. Although it's done to death, even I'm bored of playing them and for the amount of work they take I mean c'mon there's got to be something better right?
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  13. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Posts:
    1,376
    First-person, third-person, or top down? And "nonturnbased battle system" - do you just mean a standard action system, or real time with pause like DA or Pillars or Mass Effect? The two have a very different feel. And of course they are closely related to the perspective. As well as your choice of point-and-click (PnC) or binding actual actions.

    Top down with full-on action combat seems to put one in Diablo/Torchlight territory, whether or not it's PnC or actual actions. Lots of button-mashing, not much tactics to go around. Real time with pause completely changes that to give you significant tactical control (at least that's my perception), at least for point and click. Can't think of a time where actual actions with RTwP was done (sure it has, just can't remember).

    Third person action, with bound controls - just the generic action RPG. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing special. Real time with pause gets you into an interesting place with stuff like Mass Effect. Can't think of a melee version of that, though. Going PnC gets you to KotOR and DA and MMOs. I personally tend to be fond of this style, but that's just me. Can't think of a third person with action (not RTwP) combat with PnC controls--the original Witcher, maybe? Combat was unique but pretty terrible.

    Then there's first person. Action with bound controls gets you Skyrim. Bog standard. Fallout lies in a weird place between "Action" and real time with pause, but doesn't feel all that different. Don't recall any PnC applications in the first person realm--perhaps, in a sort of sense, when you get to dungeon crawlers.

    Anyway:

    Top-down
    Third person
    First person

    with:

    Action (no turns or pausing)
    Real time with pause
    Turn-based (actual turns, with a timing element)
    Turn-by-turn

    with:

    Bound controls (terrible name, but games where you control the character directly)
    Point and click

    Those are the main ones I see.

    And semi-open world--do you mean something like DA, where you have the large zones? That seems like the smartest move to me - allows you some freedom in where you place your zones, rather than artificially shrinking your landmass to fit your game and include diverse areas. Though if you focus on a smaller region it may be less necessary. That ties in to the game story, too--the scale of VII's story was pretty big (you're basically saving the entire planet), so that kind of necessitated the player travelling all over the world (wouldn't make sense for this huge world-spanning threat to stay contained to one city where the player stays).

    If your story has a big scope (saving the world and all that) with a powerful villain (this is probably of the higher importance than I'm implying), you probably need to go more places. If you make it smaller (like DA ][ for example), you can get away with less but more realized locations.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
    theANMATOR2b and ShadowK like this.
  14. TonyLi

    TonyLi

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Posts:
    7,026
    True, setting them up in FaceFX does take time, but it's nothing compared to the time and cost to line up voice actors, direct and record them, edit the audio, inevitably re-record a lot of audio, re-record some lines weeks or months later, etc. The technical task of processing the audio and bringing it into Unity ends up being a relatively small part.

    Wasteland 2 and Pillars of Eternity prove that full voice acting isn't a necessity for modern games, especially indie games.
     
    theANMATOR2b and ShadowK like this.
  15. ShadowK

    ShadowK

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Posts:
    4,495
    The game at the moment is far more like Dragon Age origins in terms of combat / camera view / scene setup etc. There's an open city split into 4 quarters which is bigger than any DA game (bar the latest) per scene but not large enough to be classed as openworld, probably about 4X4 KM for one quater of the city..

    Then we have quite a few sub levels, underground, different parts..

    It's essentially a terraforming outpost w/ a kinda "noah's ark" feel to it with different races shoved in different positions.. I've already downsized it considerably as originally it was 1X 44KM2 map (not including caves etc.)..

    Just had an epiphany, I could combine a relatively simple real time with an ATB style / turn based dependant on the pause situation.. Sure I know DA does it where you can invoke magic when paused but I could have it where you re-position items as well for different combo's etc.

    DA did have a lot of voice acting, ultimatley it's all about expectation... Would a DA game work with one of the core premises ripped out?

    As I have to make subtitles anyway I could compromise, like @TonyLi suggested and split it up half... I currently use FaceFX.

    Seems like we're moving in the right direction here, keep it coming and thanks.. I do appreciate it.
     
    EternalAmbiguity likes this.
  16. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Posts:
    1,376
    I wouldn't call voice acting one of the core premises--consider that the PC was silent in Origins--but definitely dialog, lots and lots of dialog. Though it certainly changes the feel of the game to not have it voice acted, no doubt about that.

    As for the half and half you and TonyLi have mentioned, it's not a bit idea at all. A number of JRPGs still do something like this - have main quest (and possibly important secondary quests) voiced and keep side quests unvoiced.

    I'm not completely sure what you're describing for the combat system. Are you saying it would go into a slow-mo mode rather than stopping? Something like Witcher 2 did?
     
  17. Martin_H

    Martin_H

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2015
    Posts:
    2,987
    Did you burn out on the project you opened the blog for or the one before that? I didn't read the whole thread yet, but if you burn out quickly on projects I have to ask "does it have to be an RPG?". Wouldn't a procedurally generated roguelite make more sense since proportionally you'll spend less time on handcrafting content and you don't like the lightbaking workflow in Unity anyway?
    I never played FF or any JRPG, so I can't comment on the core question.
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  18. ShadowK

    ShadowK

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Posts:
    4,495
    I actually don't often tend to burn out on projects as I'm very stubborn, although I do have a habbit of biting off more than I can chew.. I can develop a decent sized game in a week but trying to do the work of a hundred dev's never pans out well..

    It's difficult to know where to "draw the line though", if you take something out of a game that is consistent in many others people notice as it doesn't "feel" right but on the flip side we all have our limitations no matter how good (or bad) we are.

    It's trying to find a compromise that's beneficial to me and the players.. Like I really liked POE and it's plausable, but the whole top down thing has been done to death. The next step up is more like a leap..
     
  19. JessieK

    JessieK

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    Posts:
    142
    Of course these sorts of games work now, does no one remember "Bravely default" that game did amazingly well for a hand held new IP, and it basically used the same turn based system that FF7 did, sure a few of the rules were different but the concept was still the same, you might have a hard time convincing people this is worth a full price (like 40 - 60 dollars) but if you sell low you'll find a hardcore market who love these sort of games.
     
    theANMATOR2b and ShadowK like this.
  20. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2014
    Posts:
    6,606
    Maybe consider making the people talk a different language - making them do just a quick, short quip/sound and then use a text based dialogue bubble for the entire dialogue porition, even if there is only a very small amount of 'sound/spoken' dialogue.
    IDK if I'm explaining this understandably, like most nintendo titles - that have the character make a silly little sound - and then show what they are actually saying in dialogue text bubble.

    Nintendo does this for a number of reasons - one of which is probably to keep the characters from becoming too 'human' and keep the fantasy element in place. But it does in fact cut down on production time - really - to make several speech sound fx instead of tons of spoken dialogue is probably savings in dev time in the realm of 100s of man hours.
     
    ShadowK and Martin_H like this.
  21. frosted

    frosted

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Posts:
    2,625
    I think you need to switch engines one or two more times before you switch genre again :p

    Dude, any game of any genre can work as long as it's well made.
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  22. ShadowK

    ShadowK

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Posts:
    4,495
    I've not switched engines in about a year and a half :p...
     
    theANMATOR2b, frosted and Martin_H like this.
  23. frosted

    frosted

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Posts:
    2,625
    I can't talk trash, I still haven't released :p

    If you need a hand with any kind of TB system, let me know.
     
    ShadowK, theANMATOR2b and Martin_H like this.