[FE8] Fire Emblem: Lengths of Time [22-Oct-21, v.01 - 7 chapters]

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f0e397dbc68> #<Tag:0x00007f0e397dbba0>

LoT 22may21.emulator-3

Excited to share a new project I started working on recently, titled Fire Emblem: Lengths of Time. This is a sequel to Vision Quest.

PATCH DOWNLOAD: v01 (7 chapters)

The current release is intended to be played through Ch6 (7 total chapters).

However, you can play through Ch12 (15 total chapters), albeit everything post Ch6 is not well-tested and you are more likely to encounter bugs since I haven’t played some of the maps yet. I plan to work on this more down the road.

The game is balanced around Hard Mode, but you can play any mode without issue. Normal and Easy mode only changes the number of autolevels, reducing enemy stats accordingly.

Note that the images below show the game as it exists today, and every element of the game is subject to change as the team and I get around to it, as well as from feedback.

My view is that even if I never get around to making another update, I want to keep a public record of what the team and I have put together so far.

Screenshots:

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About

I started this project right around the time of Vision Quest’s v1 release in 2020 as an experiment and way to pass the time by fiddling with different systems and items to see if I could make something I thought was fun. I worked on this on and off since May 2020, at a much slower development pace. It’s been a fun diversion and it’s been nice to get back into some parts of hacking I haven’t been able to enjoy as much since most of VQ dev wrapped up in 2019.

I wasn’t sure upfront if I wanted to focus on another full length effort, nor a sequel, as my main objective was to create experimental gameplay based around capture, fatigue (which is not yet implemented), and some of the other amazing tech that’s been made through VQ’s dev that I couldn’t easily take advantage of at the time.

Additionally, there are many more projects to draw inspiration from than there were when I was conceptualizing VQ, and the community has evolved pretty drastically since then. It’s cool to see what newer hacks are doing and learn from them, while also continuing to draw from the classics.

There were a lot of loose ends at the end of Vision Quest, and I felt it would be easiest to use the same world as a backdrop so that I could spend more time focusing on gameplay and less time worrying about creating new lore given how much effort went into redoing almost every weapon and class in the game, in addition to all the new ones.

It’s safe for me to say this is a gameplay focused hack first and foremost, and the writing is there mostly to serve that. I’d say you don’t need to play Vision Quest to enjoy this project, but I have no doubt your experience will be enhanced if you are familiar with the world and its characters.

I’ll preface and say that this hack may be less accessible to some players than Vision Quest because of these changes, but if you’re open to something more experimental, it may be up your alley. My hope is that if nothing else, you can appreciate a different view of Fire Emblem and a synthesis of mechanics, aesthetic, and tone that I’ve enjoyed playing around with.

I don’t know when and if I will finish this or even put out another release, but I have a great and supportive team and most of the game planned out at a high level, so we’ll see where it goes.

Plot

The idea for this project stems from one of the draft ideas I had for my first project, modified to fit narratively ~20 years after the closing events of Vision Quest.

This story follows Kalea, the rogue Princess of Mahala, who leaves her life of royalty and luxury behind to pursue her dream of a simpler life at sea as a merchant. She leaves only with her retainer and friend, Uilani, traversing between ports in the neighboring kingdoms of Mostyn and Freyung, hiring a seasoned mercenary and a sea pilot, while making use of a few stowaways to help run the ship.

While on her most recent journey back to Freyung, she stumbles into a brewing civil conflict, and in her naivety and hubris, inserts herself to curry favor with the King for her own gain. She soon meets Wulandari, the daughter of the Great Chief Waluyo of Kuching, and the duo slowly peel away at the layers of what is a more nuanced problem that not only plagues Freyung, but the entire continent of Yaska.

Throughout their journey together, the two protagonists will have their beliefs and world views challenged and come to terms with the power and responsibilities that come with their station, all while grappling with the inevitable changes that come with the passing of time.

Gameplay

Gameplay-wise, I wanted to balance the game around the use of capture. All foot units get shove and all mounted units get canto+. Thieves get steal+ (can steal any item if BLD > item WT, including equipped items) and both thieves & rogues do not require lockpicks. There are no other skills outside of the occasional weapon skill.

My goal was to develop a capture meta inspired by FE5 while achieving more player phased oriented gameplay and higher damage outputs and hit rates seen in games like FE11 and FE12. I also wanted to avoid additional math from skills to create a more traditional FE feel while still maintaining high hit rates and damage output to encourage strong use of player phase to achieve objectives.

When it comes to cast, I wanted to create a large, diverse cast of units to enable iron man as a viable mode of play from the outset. I was inspired by FE1’s huge, front-loaded cast, and wanted to present the player with many choices at the outset to build their armies, while also allowing for more creative strategies and combinations.

I also cut EXP gains a bit to make benching units less punishing, while creating a slower level curve to allow for me to create more chapters and make missing out on a few chapters less punishing with fatigue.

I am a huge fan of the early and mid-game parts of Fire Emblem, and I wanted to create a gameplay environment that gave me as much of that to work with as possible. In addition to reduced EXP gains, I also beefed up the doubling threshold to 5 AS to help reduce doubling. The more I play FE, the more I realize that what makes the earlier game enjoyable for me is the lack of doubling, and emphasis on combining attacks for kills. By making doubling harder and tweaking speed, doubling is generally rarer (so far), but not impossible. All in all, these elements help create the feel I’m going for.

I intend to add fatigue down the road and am currently designing around its addition. However, I also aim to include a mode select screen so that players can choose not to use this on any difficulty if they so choose.

Inspirations

Thought this would be good to include so you can get a sense of what Fire Emblem games, hacks, and other video games helped inspire the gameplay. While I’d link to think I was creative, I do owe credit to other works for helping me formulate my own ideas. Here are some of the primary inspirations and what I most explicitly reference in LoT.

Fire Emblem:

  • FE5 - Emphasis on capture and utility-oriented gameplay, map gimmicks
  • FE9/10 - Map gimmicks, heavy weapons, mechanic design, plot notes
  • FE1/11 - Unit and cast design
  • FE2 - Stat booster design, unit design, mechanic design
  • Tear Ring Saga - story and mechanic design

FE Hacks:

  • Dream of Five - Touchstone for me for aesthetics and character writing. (Especially Garath/Renair dialogue, which heavily inspired Kalea/Duck)
  • Road to Ruin - Map aesthetics
  • Sword of Heaven & Earth - Map gimmicks, unit & cast design
  • Bloodlines - Map gimmicks
  • The Last Promise - Sound design and MIDI selection.
  • Souls of the Forest - Notes on transparency and fairness, general inspiration.
  • FE7x - I probably cribbed ideas and design notes from here subconsciously since I’ve played it a bunch over the years.

Other Games: (some of these will prob become more apparent later)

  • Shenmue - Touchstone for narrative ideas, side quest ideas & map gimmicks, and tone.
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Themes
  • Super Mario Sunshine - Map gimmicks
  • Luigi’s Mansion - Map gimmicks
  • Animal Crossing - Map gimmicks
  • Dynasty Warriors 4/5 - Map gimmicks, plot notes
  • Sonic Adventure 2 Battle - Map gimmicks, epic music
  • Tales of Symphonia - :sunglasses:
Current Release Details
  • 7 chapters (6 + 1 gaiden) - not totally sure on a planned #. Going to work on it until I don’t feel like it anymore. Initial estimates place it around 40 again because I am insane.
  • Custom art, maps, and stories (many placeholder mugs for now)
  • Capture, shove, steal+, canto+ skills on appropriate units. Thieves can steal any item if their BLD > item WT, including “equipped” items. Because of these features, no enemies will ever drop items - all enemies must be captured or stolen from.
  • 1 RN - what is displayed is what you get.
  • Adjusted avoid formula (speed + luck)
  • Beefed up weapon triangle, +2/-2 damage and +20/-20 hit.
  • Reworked and rebalanced weapons, including a wider variety of magic weapons and strength-based tomes. Weapons all have increased MT and hit rates for the most part.
  • “Blade” or heavy equivalents of each weapon type, such as poleaxes, greatbows, and greatlances.
  • All weapons changed stats to better balance them for the game. Keep an eye out for changes, such as big WT on some throwing items.
  • Inversed branching promo structure (The return of “sword merc” and “axe merc”, etc.)
  • Many QoL improvements that are commonplace in hackroms in this day and age.
  • Characters named after food and dialogue also discussing food. There is also jazz.
  • New music including custom-made MIDIs and other songs from other video games.
  • Custom map objectives and side-objectives, such as Thracia style escape, destroying tents, rescuing horses, pumpkin procurement, and more.
Staff Credit - Pandan & Friends

Project Director: Pandan
Writing: Pandan
Eventing: Pandan
Art: Laurent_Lacroix, Levin, Vlak, L95, Autonima, RandomWizard, hypergammaspaces, MournfulRelic, knabepicer, MrGreen3339, Dainn
Palettes: Pandan, Spear Doggo, knabepicer, kyrads
Playtesting: Pandan, Levin, LegendOfLoog, WarPath, Kyrads, Knight_Moris, Scraiza, knabepicer, Pushwall, TDAWS, MournfulRelic, Dainn
Tech Support: Stan, Tequila, Pikmin121, Snakey1, hypergammaspaces, Vennobennu, 7743

Additional credits

Weapon icons by Pikmin1211, LordGlenn, Card, GabrielKnight, EldritchAbomination, Peerless, Snakey1.

Animations & Map Sprites by TBA, SALVAGED, L95, Leo_Link, Wan, Eldtrich Abomination, AstraLunaSol, Scraiza

Battle frame by Pikmin1211 and Eliwan

F2U mugs by Capybara, GenericPretsel, AmBrosiac, and NickT

How can I help?
  • Playtest and share your feedback. Would love to get thoughts on map and unit design, and the overall feel of the hack. I found the gameplay to feel both old school and experimental, so I’m keen to get feedback.

  • There is a strong possibility that I port this over to buildfiles to more easily support some of the features and mechanics I’d like to include. Any help here will be appreciated. Additionally, I want to create a Tear Ring Saga style party split mechanic, which does not currently exist. Stan graciously developed a menu for this, but the back-end functionality does not exist yet.

Download: here

Lastly, I want to give a big thank you to everyone on the team who supported this release. I’m really fortunate to have many fantastic people in the community support the project and encourage me to hack, and the project would not be as pretty or thoughtful without your contributions. It really means a lot to me and I don’t think I can ever properly express how grateful I am.

52 Likes

Reserving this space for later if needed.

7 Likes

If VQ is so good why isn’t there VQ2?
VQ2:
In all seriousness, FE5 mechanics without FE5 maps is awesome.

12 Likes

Is that an older Duck I see?!

Extremely excited to demo this.

6 Likes

It’s finally here ^.^ excited to finally see what you’ve been cooking up. Congrats on the release!

8 Likes

Aw man, the first public build gets released right as I have to head out for a while, I’ll be sure to play when I return though!

4 Likes

Congrats on the release!!! I’ll make time to play this later, best of luck.

3 Likes

Does Vision Quest deserves a sequel? The answer is right here. I was looking forward for this hack to come and I saw it on one of Mageknight404’s streams on for FEE3 and a sneak peek screenshot in one of SnakeMomMelissa’s streams. As for the Dream of Five inspired part, I have a feeling that slow experience gains and enemies with low levels would be an experience for me in the near future, don’t know if my opinion for it would change, but would be great to play it one day.

Since this is a sequel to Vision Quest, when will the time we meet our former allies from Vision Quest to be either our enemy or ally. Only time will tell.

3 Likes

absolutely poggers sequel!
If you ever need icons, hit me up!

3 Likes

Need I say it?

fire emblem the last vision quest 2

8 Likes

It’s finally revealed. No more hushed whispers about…

Spoilers

…Chiasa… :Kitozawa:

7 Likes

Yessss the reveal at last! The hype! Cannot recommend this enough, I think its a major step up from VQ and I hope people enjoy it!

5 Likes

So excited about this! :partying_face: :partying_face: :partying_face:

2 Likes

I love the idea of Duck being like “Never doing that shit ever again” and then halfway through this game being like “Oh fu-”

3 Likes

I’m so going to use Duck and make sure he won’t fall off mwhahahaha.

I’m very looking forward to this project and am excited what you’ll do with the Thracia mechanics. And who else we’re going to see again.

4 Likes

Thanks everyone. Will keep this thread posted w/ updates as I make them.

Here is the FEE3 video that showcases chapter 1:

I originally wanted to do another chapter later in the project that was more in-depth, but felt that given how the mechanics were different, that it would be best to start from the beginning for me to see how easy it would be to pick up.

10 Likes

i’m done with ch1 on HM and so far i have to say

player stats are super samey again. i’d prefer if you remedy this somehow, because it does result in a pretty sluggish pace. niklas and miles are just two copies or arckady. now, i don’t know what your opinion on arckady is, but the general consensus is that he’s just not fun to use no matter if he gets good levels or not. you should strive to avoid this in the future.

tidal ono is not very useful. like at all. it usually deals less damage to soldiers than an iron axe.

enemies with stats like these giving twenty-ish exp because of their relatively lower level is kind of annoying.
vq three-8

i understand that you wish to make doubling rare, but should it really be non-existent? chiasa needs +2 speed to double anything. as a myrmidon.

and with the usual vq hp inflation, enemies starting with an even weaker than usual weapon type is pretty ridiculous.

i did enjoy this so far, contrary to what the rest of my message might convey. i hope you take this to heart and wish you a good rest of your day.

2 Likes

Thanks for sharing - yeah, thinking of what to do w/ Chiasa. Will prob buff her BLD / give her a new weapon since I overestimated how much people would care about a good WRank and some nifty swords early.

The game is a slow grind and I suspect differentiation will emerge the deeper into the game you get.

LMK how the rest goes when you get around to it.

3 Likes

I posted a quick hotfix patch. Fixes a few small errors that were reported to me so far. Thanks again for sharing. This will be the last update I make to this patch.

I decided that I am going to attempt to port to buildfiles.

The biggest practical reasons are for ease of collaboration, tech, and flexibility. I’ve been messing around with buildfiles on the side (big thank you to Loog, Pikmin1211, and Stan for showing me the ropes), and feel a bit more confident switching over.

Additionally, I’ve realized that 1) the hacking community has changed and the bar for quality continues to increase. I’m pretty blown away by FEE3 and playing some of the newer projects and seeing what they are able to achieve.

When I started VQ, there were few [complete] hacks and creating a finished product was a big motivator for me. Having done this, I’ve realized I’m now more interested in experimentation and trying to create a different kind of game, even if I never fully finish it.

Secondly, I want to learn something new. Learning is dope and I want to get better at the art of hacking.

We’ll see how far I get. Thanks everyone for the support and warm reception to the demo.

14 Likes

Sun God’s Wrath is a good example of using Buildfiles and I think that Blademaster might help you out with learning the ropes and might help you make Lengths of Time flexible than before. Wish you luck on the project.