Awful Emblem - Five Years and Counting + Demo!


#1

We had a thread for this project before but so much has changed since then that we may as well just start an entirely new one.

If you’ve followed Awful Emblem over the past 3 years, you probably assumed the project was dead, or that it had been low-key abandoned. Frankly, you were right. What started as a semi-serious “we can totally make a better hack” project turned into an actually serious attempt at making a good GBA Fire Emblem romhack. But after making steady progress for a couple years, we ran into insurmountable tech issues. Combined with burnout and simply having other things to do, the project eventually slowed down to the point where the only progress was us asking each other “Hey, we are still doing this, right?” every few months. The answer was always “Yeah, totally,” immediately followed by four more months of radio silence.

Finally, new methods, tools and a few new team members (and FP finally getting off his ass and trying again) brought the project back to life. For the first time in three years, we’re doing active development, and the end result is a product that we’re way more excited to be working on. We’ve changed from FE7 to FE8 to take advantage of new systems and tools exclusive to it, thrown out the old script, and reworked everything from the ground up. You’re still guiding Richter and Judith to victory over Nicaea, but certain characters’ names and roles might have changed, and the plot has evolved dramatically from our original vision. Consider this a fresh start for everyone involved (plus a few callbacks to the old version).

The hack’s difficulty is intended to be about as hard as or a little harder than Fire Emblem 7 and therefore accessible even to people new to FE romhacks. Please only play on Normal or Hard difficulty, as Easy is untested and may accidentally call broken tutorial prompts.

Please read the included README for more information, credits, known bugs, growth rates, and most importantly a link to our Demo Feedback Form. We’d really appreciate it if people would take the time after playing to give us feedback through that form, as well as stray thoughts and comments in this thread.

Download Link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1NlD4Z9-YFR5aRTpm-sTgMrrpnbXT9VV0

We hope you all enjoy this new version of Awful Emblem as much as we’ve enjoyed (re)making it, and we look forward to hearing your feedback on it!

We’ll keep using this thread for occasional updates too so check back every once in a while.


[WIP][Please add your own hacks!] The Fire Emblem Hack Directory
#2

Wow, I remember playing this hack back when it only had like 3 chapters made.
Hearing that it will continue being made,using the fe8 engine, is really amazing! Can’t wait to play it once again!


#3

There is a patch you guys could use to outright disable the easy mode is you don’t plan on using it


#4

So I played this hack up to chapter 4 (left it on the prep screen of ch 4) and it’s good enough. I’m not sure how many chapters this has exactly. Here are some observations I made:

  • Some generic enemies are pretty weak, I assume you didn’t change the class base stats yet. This is most notable on Mages, Archers and Cavaliers.

  • Prologue’s player phase music fits, but the next chapters use either Distant Roads or Determination, which are too overused, at least for me, and it’s just annoying to hear them after a while. You could’ve imported some early game music from FE 6 and 7. For example, “FE 6: For the Commanders” fits Ch 3 much better.

  • Chapter 2’s boss moves when you’re in his range, so why doesn’t the same apply for Chapter 1’s boss? It’s not like he’s standing in a gate or something.

  • For being a survive chapter, chapter 3 is pretty easy. It’s small, clunky and fails to keep the pressure up. I spent the last two turns doing nothing because there were no more enemies. You should make the boss move when you enter his range. Also, a chest with a Steel Sword feels pretty underwhelming. You could’ve made the Steel Sword a droppable and put something better in the chest.

  • The Light Rune doesn’t have a description when selecting it in the “Item” menu.

  • Some text oversights:

  • Lastly; SKILL SYSTEM AND GROWTHS DISPLAY WEN.

I wish you good luck with the hack!


#5

Congrats on the demo release! It’s good to see this up and running again.


#6

I remembered Judith’s shoryuken-swing


#7

I finished the demo (on Hard) and filled out the form; here’s a few miscellaneous comments:

The map design is solid, if a little lacking in time pressure; chapter 5 was the closest I came to missing something with the Thief reinforcement. The Prologue and Chapter 1 are gimmes, if short ones, where XP distribution is the main concern. But these are early game Normal maps after all. Some of the later maps were definitely challenging: I had to restart Chapter 3 before figuring out how to manage the first three turns, even if the pressure lets up after that, and 5x was pretty tricky and a lot of fun with its low deployment limit and those Fighter reinforcements going after the NPCs.

Speaking of which, I finished the map with the NPCs alive…but without talking to them, so no reward was had, which probably isn’t intentional. Also, my gold displayed as 0 during 5x, but that went back to normal afterwards.

Some thoughts on characters I used regularly:

[details=Summary]Units
Judith: Solid lord, and a big help against Cavaliers and Knights which she could usually ORKO with Sagaris, which combined with her defense makes up for her middling STR and SPD.

Lily: One of the few units who could double and reliably deal damage from range. Didn’t get too much use out of the Longbow, but IIRC that mostly comes into play in the later chapters. She ended up with 13 speed on my run, just behind Clover’s 14.

Niccolo: His healing made him a must-have on every map; even on Hard he was sometimes too fast to just chip enemies, though his speed did come in handy on the tougher maps. His lowish defense made him a good lure.

Rowan: Decent filler. None of his stats were especially good; his combat was equal or only slightly better than the Cavaliers, but Martin’s first two levels were really bad so I though I’d give Rown a try this time.

Clover: Pretty strong against axemen, but otherwise I was disappointed. She usually doubles, and the Saber is a great help (unless you hand it off to somebody else), but I wasn’t really deploying her because of any inherent usefulness. I feel like she might be somewhat outclassed by Kate, who joins with comparable stats and weapon ranks in addition to Lockpicks and more Con / Move.

Rose: Good 1-2 range chip, but slow and frail. Maybe I had bad luck with her levels; I remember lots of Skill and not much else. Honestly I could have managed without her or Fia who I also deployed sometimes, but magic damage was handy on occasion.

June: A solid unit with a balanced statline, which when you have two weapon types and 7 Move is all the stats you need. She doubled sometimes but not always, could toss Javelins later on, and take a couple of hits, which is all that I expect from a Cavalier. Was shaping up to be one of my better units by the end of the demo. [/details]


#8

Thanks for playing! Chapter 3 has always been difficult to balance because it’s an early defense map. It’s very easy to turtle at the top of the map and survive with no problem, but the challenge comes from getting to the boss and his item without getting a unit overwhelmed by too many enemies at once.

I’m not sure why the prisoners on 5x didn’t give you the item for saving them all but not talking to them. I even coded a conditional for that instance and made sure to test it. Were any of them rescued when the chapter ended? I’m not sure how the game handles rescued units when it calls CHECK_OTHERS. I should probably make all three of them un-rescueable because I got some feedback from another player that rescuing them and then trying to talk to them leads to a big mess and glitchiness as the game tries to move someone it can’t even if they’re alive.

Unit comments::
Judith’s got a 55% growth in strength, but I’ve definitely had her miss it a lot before and end the demo with only 8 str. Her offensive stats are kind of a coin flip honestly, but she’s statted pretty similar to Hector, since his baseline was the original inspiration for her. I keep being surprised that we only gave her 20 base HP. We actually lowered the Mt on Sagaris after switching to FE8 because being able to output 35 damage against a level 1 cavalier was a little ridiculous. But we gave it +10 hit instead so even though it’s the same Mt as an Iron Axe, now you can use it to offset her kind of low Skill. We might honestly give her a couple extra points of skill because I’m surprised at how low hit rates she’s pulling even after getting some levels in.

Lily got a speed base buff after getting added to the Prologue to make her able to reliably double Soldiers, who actually had a speed base nerf recently. Those changes helped her be able to shine so much more since being able to hit for 8x2 instead of just 8 means she can chip to low damage for others early on or two round things she gets into a fight with. She’s got really nice coin-flip offensive stats which is good for someone stuck with Bows only.

Nick’s stats are garbage because they have to be since being able to output 13 or 13x2 magic damage against mostly 0 or 1 Res enemies would be a bit strong. But it does mean he’s consistent in output at least and can be good for occasional chipping. He did get a full 20% boost to his Magic growth bringing it to 65% since the move to FE8, and combined with the higher staff xp gains if you choose to keep him around even after getting Beatrice you’ll be rewarded with a unit that can deal a fair bit of damage and use special staves at high ranges. He’ll never be as amazing as other units could be, but that’s what happens with crutch prepromotes.

I’m glad Rowan turned out ok for you since we keep getting really bad ones in testing. We’re thinking his problem is that even though he’s supposed to be speedy, having a 60% growth in it, there are no real slow sword users in GBA FE. We even dropped Merc speed a little bit to make them more distinct from myrmidons but it hasn’t really helped him out. Maybe he needs a bigger speed base or we need to drop merc speed even more. We’ll have to see.

Having a bad Martin is unfortunate though since he keeps turning out incredibly for me and others. He’s basically a knight on a horse sometimes, or Sain with defense, or Lowen with strength.

Clover’s in that weird myrmidon place where she needs to get Strength to excel because her Saber isn’t going to help her forever. The Killing Edge in chapter 5 helps, but she doesn’t start at rank C, so you have to use her to get to that point first.

Kate might turn out better than her in the end, but she has a lower speed growth and will probably be focused as a utility unit for a while. The next thief isn’t slated until probably…Chapter 15 or so. That said, she’s meant to be the more fighting-capable thief, so if you choose to use her outside her thieving capabilities, she probably won’t disappoint. I’d love to increase the amount of xp gained for stealing, and maybe even find a way to give small xp for using Lockpicks since when she’s on utility duty she’s not really gaining any xp otherwise.

Rose is meant to be the slightly bulkier of the pair between her and Fia, with high damage output too. But yes, she’s slower by design since we’ve seen what she can do if she starts too fast and it’s basically doubling the whole map for unmitigated dark damage. Beautiful to watch, but definitely not good for balance.

Fia will be more interesting to keep an eye on. She was moved all the way back from chapter 7 to chapter 2 with the story rewrites and had to get adjusted multiple times to fit her new join time. Having her around for chapter 3 is greatly beneficial. She’s definitely meant to get a speedy mage though, almost myrmidon-esque in her stats and growths. I’m a little worried about her prospects as we go onlwards but once we get our expanded magic system added to the game she might fare a little better since she’ll have access to a Saber-like tome of her own, and much later in the game access to tools like Thoron (killer anima) and Blizzard (FE5 sleeping included, though not siege, will require much testing and balance once added).

Lastly, June seems to turn out good no matter what. We didn’t adjust her bases or growths any since the last demo, just her join time. She’s a much speedier cav than Martin is, but at the cost of lower growths compared to him in most other places. That doesn’t mean worse, just more balanced, such as having 30%s in both Def and Res compared to Martin’s 40% def and 10% res.

Didn’t mean for this to go on so long but I felt like responding in full. Glad you had fun with the demo!


#9

Thanks for giving the hack a shot. Hopefully you were able to go back and finish the demo (it goes to chapter 5x) at some point. I just wanted to respond to your observations.

I’ll agree that a number of classes could maybe use a point or two here and there in their stats but overall I’m not looking to make too many adjustments since the game’s overall difficulty is meant to be pretty average. I’ll definitely consider mages and archers for getting buffs in places, but I’m hesitant to boost cavaliers because they have high movement and other than their base Skill they’re really not that bad off for bases.

I’d love to add music from other FE games but we’re using Buildfiles and so I can’t just use FEBuilder’s easy import feature to pull tracks from one game and put them in another. And no one has made soundtrack rips of FE6 and FE7 for use with buildfiles that I can find yet. I tried to do it myself but I appear to be far too dumb to understand what I’m doing there. But yeah I would like to add new music to the game, it’s just a low priority right now.

I really want to make it so units/bosses that don’t move show a – for their Move stat to avoid confusion like in Chapter 1 and 3. Chapter 1’s boss doesn’t move because it’s just Chapter 1 and keeping him static allows the player to choose which unit to use to whittle xp from him and get the final hit without pressure. Again, mostly in the interest of keeping the difficulty relatively low.

As I mentioned to Venno, CHapter 3 is hard to balance because I’ve seen it when it’s much harder and that level of difficulty doesn’t fit our overall difficulty curve. It’s not meant to be a particularly difficult survive chapter since it is just chapter 3 of probably 25+. That said, I can definitely look to add a DefeatAll condition to end the chapter early if you beat everything before the turn counter is over. As for the Steel Sword, it used to be a Rescue Staff but due to something planned for an upcoming chapter we couldn’t include it this time. But I’ve been thinking about how to handle that chapter and I might decide to make some changes that could allow it to return.

I didn’t realize that about the Light Rune so I’ll get it fixed up. Same with those text errors. I’ll get them mended.

And last, we don’t have plans at this time to fully implement the skill system. If we do use it, it will be very sparingly, more along the lines of how FE8 did class skills, except with actually useful skills beyond Slayer this time. And I think the growths display is attached to that system right now so similar answer there for the moment.

Thanks for playing and thanks for the feedback!