Your more questionable design decisions


#1

Topic title. We’ve all been there. Your experience with FE led you to believe that certain features are a good idea. You introduce them to the public, and suddenly… OUTCRY.

Mine would have to be fixed weapon levels. When I first started working on Eternal Bond, I felt that would of the cooler features of FE4 was the fact that weapon levels could be influenced by gameplay decisions and on top of that, a unit’s usability could be drastically changed by just one extra weapon level. I sought to recreate this feature by making it such that some units would have an edge over others. For example, a unit with (subjectively) bad stats would come with an A in their weapon levels versus another with good stats and a C in that weapon. Or making some pleasant surprises such as giving a mercenary a D in swords but finding on promotion that they have a B in axes.

The list goes on. Eventually I found this increasingly difficult to work with especially due to the lack of Arms Scrolls in-game and it was just a headache to balance in general. So I canned it. :’( I think it was for the better, in retrospect.

Your move, FEU.


#2

Would you try that again now that we actually have arms scroll functionality?

My more questionable design ideas are always all over the goddamn place. Such as designing a map for a ragefest that had zero reinforcement enemies… yeah, good one. It became a bait-and-switch fest. Ask in the FEXNA chat and you’ll hear stories of my insane ideas that don’t always pan out. Ironically, I can’t think of specific instances right now but they’ll eventually come back to me.

Incidentally, I was thinking of a fixed WLVL game with about 2 Arms scrolls every two chapters, somewhere in there. However, they wouldn’t always give full WLVLS, sometimes they’d only give a set WEXP amount.


#3

I made an arms scroll if that helps you at all


#4

i think one of the more questionable choices i made was a conceptualization of a level that was literally just a giant corridor were enemy’s would all just charge you right away, and the goal was to get to the end of the corridor.
though i suppose my more questionable ideas would all be inspirations i got from shadow dragon (love that game)


#5

My most questionable design choice? Well, there’s a few so let’s break 'em down in honor of EN’s impending completion. :stuck_out_tongue:

One of the most oft-cited was the giant ambush spawn in Lyn’s Tale. Basically, the entire enemy force got to move first, which drew some negative criticism from people more focused on design. Letting the enemies move first outright is, in my opinion, an interesting mechanic (moreso in a 30-chapter game with maps varying which faction moves first), but with ambush spawns already a point of contention, this might’ve taken things a bit too far. I’ve since made the spawn an ambush only on hard mode.

Karel’s Tale is also kind of iffy from a sheer design perspective. It was originally inspired by playing the boss gauntlet in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, interestingly enough. One of those cases where something feels better conceptually than it does in practice. I added the first map in Bern as a response to criticism that the chapter felt like an extended cutscene, since “boss battles” are difficult to represent in Fire Emblem. There’s only so much you can do to make a one-vs-one fight tough without either being too easy or too difficult; it veers from one to the other quite easily. Deranger suggested diversifying Karel’s inventory, which adds a new layer of strategy to the gameplay, and I’ve since added onto that with additional item drops.

That same tale also features another mechanic that I enjoyed implementing in EN: the forced loss. This first appeared with Karel vs. Kaherdin, but that “forced” loss became the subject of an achievement later on. Similarly in Raven’s Tale, I’ve since added a prompt to surrender due to criticism about the obscure nature of the chapter’s ending condition. After surviving for the set number of turns, the map just got rid of the turn count. There’s also an achievement incentive to survive ten more turns without surrendering, but the map left players with the most attractive option being: just let everyone die. It’s a good narrative device, but a poor gameplay design in retrospect.

Karel’s and Raven’s tales are examples of the creativity enabled by EN’s structural setup, but also show that just because you have a unique format that enables you to innovate with chapter design, that doesn’t mean it’ll always turn out well. There’s always room to refine, and, in retrospect, I should’ve considered the implications of those designs more extensively from the outset (rather than designing around the narrative aspects and then addressing gameplay issues further down the road).


#6

I once had an idea for a hack which was pretty much a retelling of FE6 (using FE6 as the base, obviously) but with Roy gone for Smash Bros. Melee, unable to lead the Lycian League in the liberation war against Bern. An original character would take his place and said protagonist would be joined by new and old characters. Roy would later join this protagonist as a pre-promoted Gotoh with the Binding Blade in hand and the Eckesachs would drop from Zephiel for the protagonist to use. A number of other plot changes would be made, such as Galle being recruitable, new plot weapons with Sol Katti-esque relevance, and an earlier promotion time for the new protagonist (and that’s only a few from the massive list of changes).

The project was later scrapped from my growing lack of interest in working on it.


#7

All of modular battle which is slightly hacky and rather unsafe. But as such is assembly…
The pros is that it leaves me with a lot of simplified versions of in-game routines to make further modding easier.


#8

Using vanilla characters in a non-canon story (and making no attempt to keep to canon).
People always seem to get their knickers a blaze at this for some reason (even though I had a disclaimer).
I don’t understand it.

Oh well. I GOT MY OWN PEEPS AND MY OWN WORLD NOW OOOOH.


#9

sometimes the best stories are those written in an established universe. it’s one of the reasons i believe so many people actually use the regular world for there settings, because creating an established universe with its own rules and laws and all that can be fucking exhausting and difficult to pull of well, especially if its done independently and all by yourself.

so using an established universe with vanilla characters is toats okay in my book as long as you can do it well.

as far as questionable design choices i have made in the past, i’d say there’s a few character design choices i have made that are rather questionable in retrospect.


#10

making a game with monks using dark magic, sorcerers using light magic, no units having res, everyone having “normal” hair colors, no weapon weights, and a lot of swearing


#11

The entirety of Trinity of Heaven (if nobody here remembers what that is I can die happy)


#13

Giving magic users the same stat totals as comparable physical users, and thinking increasing overall Res scores would make up the difference
“what, no, perma 1-2 range isn’t 100% inherently overpowered what are you talking about- look they don’t even have a lot of choice in weapon effects even though that will never matter in the first 10 chapters- no, physical users not being able to use WTA against them to improve their defense on enemy phase like they would against thrown weapons won’t be an issue that’s crazy”


Scrapping Luck & implementing new Strength/Intellect Split
#14

?

Arch made me do it


#15

#gooddesigndecisions


#16

“WE OUTNUMBER HIM A MILLION TO ONE! EVERYONE RETREEEEAT!”


#17

if we had another million men we might have stood a chance.


#18

Woo, base magic being so overtuned!

At least you can marginalize it via skill system?


#19

Probably not, although I am an advocate for slower weapon level progression like in FE9. That being said, something like Dream of Five is far too slow as units who don’t get used much are very quickly left behind due to not being able to keep up.

How about numbers of units available? When I released the first playable demo of EB, some of the complaints I got were that there were “too many characters” - something like 18 playable by Chapter 7, though not all at once.

Thing is, I don’t find this odd at all–I think that the more choice you can give a player, the better. Locking in the player to using a small number of units seems to be a norm for hacks, though I suppose it can be done right (looking at you, @Primefusion) and also not so right (lots of other hacks). Do you think that smaller numbers of playable characters is a conscious design decision, or due to limited resources by hack creators?


#20

The FEditor ROM footer. Obviously. I guess Hex and I share the blame for that. I feel bad about not realizing just how terrible it would turn out.


#21

wait what
I do this stuff by the seat of my pants. Anything done “right” is a happy coincidence.