Arch and the Elibean Nights interview!
Let’s Play of the final chapter in The Road To Ruin, featuring the man himself oWo
Interview with Lamia!
Interview with Lamia!
Thanks for offering to be a part of the first Monthly Hackers Digest, Lamia! Sorry the wait took so long (school), I hope you’re ready to answer some questions!
I’m looking forward to sharing info about my project, and I do hope that not only people enjoy what I have to offer, but that it might help garner interest in using the FE4 engine.
So let’s just get the ball rolling by trying to unearth the mystery of FE4Online… But first, how about we get a background of yourself! You seem pretty low-key, in case someone doesn’t quite know, tell us about your hacking life on these here forums!
How long have you been here? What made you start hacking?
I joined Serenes two years ago, mainly for the sole reason of sharing this one project. I don’t really visit this place that much, but I do look forward to how things are going in the world of Fire Emblem modding, as I really enjoy the series and custom projects have a lot of potential to use the systems to their fullest. Saying that, I do feel that though the original games were certainly great in their own rights, they could use that personal touch that modders love to make. I wanted to create my own Fire Emblem world so that I could express my ideas in doing so and to hopefully entertain anyone who may be interested.
A lot of folks (myself included) may seem lost on what FE4Online is all about… Mind telling us what the plot of FE4Online is?
At its current state, the plot in the game itself is being given makeshift, on-the-spot and not well-thought out writing as I go along with my progress with each chapter. I do apologize, but I will be working on a more proper representation of it within the game on a future date. For now, what’s more important is the gameplay. I can provide my intention, at least:
To put it simply, the setting of Fire Emblem Online is a virtual reality game within my furry world, taking place in such a way akin to other media such as Sword Art Online and 1/2 Prince. The characters are all anthropomorphic animals (furries) just trying to enjoy their medieval fantasy MMORPG in their own ways as best they can, grinding and doing activities and jobs. There’s trouble brewing afoot as the days go by, though. I haven’t really worked that part out to satisfaction, but I’m doing my best to at least provide some storyline to the game, despite my main intent being a unique gameplay experience compared to most projects.
I thought Bloodlines was a cool spin on Fire Emblem, but you have ponies! What motivated you to take such a unique approach to Fire Emblem stories?
I’m simply a furry liking furry things! My characters are all as such for the usual reasons of animals being easily represented and liked within fantasy settings. The copyrighted pony cameos themselves are fairly self-serving, though; they might not make it to the final release.
FE4 seems like an obscure engine to use, what drew you to FE4, rather than FE7 or FE8’s engine?
FE4’s always been one of my old favorites, and still liked it even after the GBA series came out. I decided to dive into it for its unique system of skills and battle scenes along with a good base of graphics to work from. There’s also the rather interesting item system which provides a challenge to game design in that I have to find a decent way to balance it. FE4 almost never being given any projects did contribute to my wanting to make a full-fledged one, though.
You have some knowledge of the GBAFE engine, what are some of the biggest similarities and differences between that and FE4’s engine?
The biggest similarity that comes to mind right away is writing events. The format is slightly different, but everything pretty much is done the same. Despite the event system and scenes being a kind of successful experiment to the series, it wasn’t used to its fullest in FE4; they did not realize its true potential until the long scenes in FE7, and certainly contributed to its story and immersion. A lot can be pulled off with some patience though, and my experience is limited in that respect, so I still have much to learn about it.
A huge difference of course is the item system, but most are familiar with at least the inventory part of it. However, FE4 has some additional headaches when dealing with it. Each player item has its own identification number, and that number is given another number which tells you if it’s an Iron Sword or Iron Axe or whatever it might be. Bugs can result if you’re not careful in distributing the proper items to the characters, villages, enemies, and so forth, but I’ve found out some tricks, too. Additionally, there’s deeper issues within the items themselves. I won’t bore you, but for starters, there is an absurd amount of hard-coding for each item, and it’s given me many headaches in trying to make new ones.
Let’s talk about features. what sort of work are you doing to push FE4 to the likes that players have never seen before, is there a bunch of cool ASM and whatnot?
I’m afraid I have no experience or knowledge with that sort of thing! The most I’m able to do now in the way of ASM is rip off data and features that have been done before by the Japanese community. However, I do believe I have done at least something unique in having a lot of customized weapons and magic animations. I’ve teased a few here and there, and I’m doing my best with (not wasting all of my time by) making some visually-interesting magic effects, those of which aren’t entirely falling into the FE spectrum. Having third-tier classes in the game is also not uncommon, but it adds another level to FE4 gameplay that helps considerably in the way of clearing chapters.
What were some of your biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome, is it hard to figure out technical issues since there’s a lot less research being done on FE4?
The biggest is trying to decipher a lot of the public data provided by the Japanese community. Google Translate is my only option, and I’ve spent hours upon hours poring through all of the research. I’ve discovered so much, however, and it’s been worth it from start to finish. They’ve datamined so much to where I believe they know FE4 as well as we know FE7, and it’s unfortunate that we did not do the same. As far as technical issues, I believe I’m familiar enough with the game to figure out errors that come up, and there have been times where I’ve been confronted with terrible glitches, even ones that were made a long time ago and ‘didn’t find until just now’. I make very frequent backups, however, so I always have somewhere to start from.
What has kept you motivated to continue on making FE4Online?
Lack of FE4 projects and also a way to express my furry characters in a visual format that’s a lot easier than drawing, to me. Plus, I get to make a cool game at the same time. It’s very easy for me to get wrapped up in working on the game, but interest comes and goes in phases.
FE4Online really looks like it has a lot of uniqueness… From its story and graphics, what’s your own favorite part about FE4Online that makes it what it is?
My favorite part is figuring out new and interesting ways to make the game more standout than others. I try not to submit to feature creep, but I can’t help it sometimes, and I enjoy trying to make as unique an experience as possible, especially for a game not many have even played, nor of a project as thoroughly-changed as mine for said game.
Last, but not least… When can we expect the newest patch of FE4Online to come out?
I seriously hope I can get Part I done, or at least its gameplay done, by the end of summer. Things aren’t looking too bright lately to be timely for a patch for my project, but I’ll try to keep everyone posted.
Any closing statements, thoughts? Any shoutouts you want to give?
I hope everyone gives my project a fair shot, particularly if they haven’t played much in the way of FE4 projects. I’d love to believe that mine can help pave the way for more of them customized to a degree that mine is! Shout out to that pioneer Pukachi who introduced me to FEHacking and giving many, like me, an easy start into modding these games.