MarkyJoe1990

What do you think makes good gameplay design in Fire Emblem hacks?

52 posts in this topic

After a short series of

, I've been considering creating a few videos expressing my philosophies on various gameplay aspects in Fire Emblem. Particularly, level design and character balancing.

With this in mind, I don't want to go into this without at least getting opinions from people. Some people may have good ideas on design that I never thought about, or maybe people can point out flaws in my own ideas and help me improve.

So... I'll get started.

To me, a Fire Emblem chapter needs the following to be good:

Incentive - Naturally, all chapters have some form of goal to them, whether it be to defeat the boss, defend, etc. But most of the time, these can be handled with the simplistic but slow tactics of turtling (staying in a single spot and waiting for the enemies to come to you), or bait and switch. The thing is, you probably don't want the player to use these tactics on your chapter and win. Even in defense missions, you'll want the player to try something besides defending, so you have to find a way to make the player not see turtling as a desirable option.

There's a lot of ways you can accomplish this. The most common being the "Race to the prize" design. This is when you place a village, chest, or some other prize that is only obtainable within a short amount of time, and if the player takes too long, the prize is lost forever, whether it be by a bandit destroying the village, a thief stealing the chest and escaping, a recruitable character being killed, etc. This is in my opinion one of the best ways to make the player WANT to play the chapter in a more fast-paced and risky way, creating a more exciting experience, and it shows. As far as I'm concerned, a large portion of Fire Emblem players are perfectionists, and I think this kind of mind set is reinforced by the "race to the prize" design. They WANT that delicious Knight's Crest within that chest, and when they do, not only do they get to promote their danky cavalier into a heroic paladin, but they also get a feeling of accomplishment because of the challenge they conquered in order to obtain it.

Let's look at Chapter 14 of Fire Emblem 7. I love this chapter. It has two villages, and a recruitable character (Erk) who is almost immediately in danger of being killed. If there weren't those two villages and that recruitable character, the player would probably just sit in the beginning and turtle the chapter away or just bait 'n switch the enemies unless they're an LTC player. However, both strategies are boring and easy to execute, so there's very little sense of accomplishment as a result.

Of course, there are ways you can force the player to not turtle, such as making an NPC unit placed on the other side of the map that is mandatory to keep alive, or by throwing in a large legion of enemy units chasing the player from behind, like FE5 did with one of it's late-game chapters. Whatever the case is, so long as you give the player a solid reason to pick up the pace, you're off to a good start.

There are some exceptions to this rule. For one, if your chapter is VERY early in the game, you probably don't want to immediately burden the player with the stress of getting some valuable item so early in the game. The point of the early game is to get the player acquainted with the game, which means you should put them in a controlled environment where they can experiment and learn the ropes. Additionally, if it's really late in the game, there's probably no reason for the player to really want whatever you're offering unless it's either a major boon, or NEEDED in order to complete the game, such as Xavier in FE5 and Falchion in FE11 respectively (The former is debatable, but it's the best example I can think of currently).

Pacing - An ideal chapter is one that keeps you interested and focused throughout it's entirety. Every turn should be meaningful. This means doing things such as throwing enemies at the player often, and making them dangerous enough to make the player concerned. Timing is key here. Think about what the player would normally do if they played your chapter, and tailor the chapter's unit positioning, AI, and reinforcements around that so that it will always have something for them to do. Want the player to fight some fighters one turn 7? Make them spawn at the end of turn 6 in a spot that the player would typically be at that point.

Variety - Fire Emblem has classes designed for specific purposes. This means you should apply specific designs that favor certain classes. Let's say you made a chapter with two paths, but want the player to use different units for each one. One of my personal favorite ways to do this is by taking advantage of the weapon triangle. Toss a lot of fighters in one path and mercenaries in another and. Then tada! You're now encouraging the player to use their cavaliers and knights for one path and myrmidons for another. You'll want the player to use a variety of units. Don't make a chapter so centralizing to a specific class, nor making it so general that any class is viable. Both extremes display a lack of focus. Also, you have plenty of chapters to work with, so even if you favor a certain set of classes for one chapter, you can always compensate by making another chapter that favors a different set, encouraging the player to use more of their units in the long term.

Exploits - One of the worst things that can happen to your carefully constructed chapter is the existence of an exploit that trivializes the chapter's challenge, which is why you should factor various player strategies, and design the chapter so that the player uses the approach you intended them to. Want to prevent the player from using their pegasus rider to fly over your mountain and saving a village, bypassing the careful placement of myrmidons you placed in their way? Put an archer and a ballista with sufficient attack power to kill the pegasus rider. Turtling is especially something you must account for, since it's the easiest and most boring strategy, but so long as you dangle a worthwhile prize in front of the player, as explained in the incentive section, they'll usually take the bait. However, if you don't have a prize and want to prevent the player from turtling, there's a few ways to do it. Maps that lack walls or rivers are hard to turtle in, but if that doesn't float your boat, there's nothing quite like bitch slapping the player with dangerous reinforcements appearing in their favorite turtling spot, timed just at the right time a flock of enemies close in.

Other things - A great way to see what to improve in your chapter is to watch people play it. By observing typical player actions, you can learn about exploits, pacing issues, and anything else you might want to fix to make the chapter fun.

I'll tackle character balancing at some other point. For now, I'm a little tired of writing. I wanna hear what y'all think.

Edited by MarkyJoe1990

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Haha, one of these topics.

Well I could go on and on but pretty much... here's some thoughts. Before I start though, just gonna throw out these words and hope people can understand why I'm throwing them out without me explaining them: tendencies, exceptions, opinions, creator preference, player preference, personal experience, purpose/goal.

Characters should, IMO, have a niche. There should be some incentive as to why you might want to use them over another character. There's a lot of possible ways to implement this, though--not just stats. To name some:

- Bases

- Growths

- Joining time

- Support options (in that they give various bonuses)

- Class

- Character-specific skills

Some people are also motivated by

- Personality

- Background

- Looks

- Plot relevance

- Relationships with other characters

Though these have less to do with design and more with an overall hack, I think (e.g. let's say you had a army of "generic" units--no individual faces, individual names, story, dialog, etc.).

Design wise, I like to see new mechanics/features. this is something I don't see often, but pretty much, I like the player to have to do something more than just use units with different stats/growths on different maps. I don't just mean making unique goals though--yes, the "Defeat All", "Defeat Boss", and "Seize" goals (especially the Seize goal) are a bit overused, but generally speaking, does the game more or less play the same? If so, it's probably going to get boring relatively quickly. If I can play the game like any other FE, eventually, I'll get bored, and maybe it's just me, but like, I really don't want a "new" FE7 that has the exact same mechanics as before. A bit ironic from the guy who made TLP, which is guilty of having a lot of bland elements in it that are very similar to the other GBA FE games, huh? (Though that's simply because I wanted to finish what I started instead of restarting from scratch)

Hm... I agree with incentive. Turtling is a common strategy, especially for people who don't care about rankings. Chests are okay, yeah, but even they don't do a lot. I notice that sometimes one can literally just wait out all the reinforcements, and it's kind of irksome. Some "fixes" to this involve making area based events or putting the player in a tight situation if they progress too slowly, but it's hard to find a balance. It takes a lot of tweaking, IMO. I'll often play around with turn #'s several times before I get them to something I find acceptable.

Map making is an important skill, obviously. Some stuff I think are important are varied terrain. Not only is it nice visually but it's a gameplay element that IMO needs to be made use of. In fact, when you think about it, terrain is one of the more important features in GBA FE's--you don't get to choose too much besides what characters you use, where they go, and what weapons they use, unless you RNG abuse and "choose" your level-ups >_>'. Sure, there's a lot of other aspects to the game (story, managing funds/shopping, rankings, supports, recruiting characters, music, etc.), but in terms of simple level design, there's not a TON of choice-making involved. I think choice is important for this reason. Thus there's two things to improve on the basic gameplay experience here:

1) Expand on what choices the player already has to make by forcing them to think more about those choices and thus make them more carefully. This is typically done by adding new elements to the level to generally make it more challenging or at least thought-inducing. Reinforcements, chests, recruitable characters that move away, split paths, maybe a map like chapter 26x in FE7 ENM where the tiles disappear, fog of war, chokepoints, ballista, fire/gas "traps", villages being destroyed, whatever it may be... though what I like to see here more than anything else is NEW ways to force the player to think. I can't really name too many off the top of my head, and it's NICE to see all of the above stuff, but it'd be even nicer to see something original that old games didn't do.

2) Add completely new choices to the game that impact the game in some way. Some examples include: character skills, branched promotions, story choices that affect gameplay, tiles that change, the staircase feature in EN, again, I can't name'm all and I wouldn't want to as the fun part of playing hacks is seeing what players can come up with, even if it's "gimmicky".

You pretty much covered the fundamentals, Marky. I more or less agree with most of what's said there. Overall though, the chapter should be fresh and enjoyable, and a LOT of things contribute to this, not just level-design. I think making sure to better each part to some extent is more important than focusing on any one part... not sure how much sense that makes, but like a hack with amazing levels but with a lackluster or non-existent story and reused or just bad graphics would likely bore me over time (granted a lot of people would probably like this or retro games would have never become popular XD). Likewise, a game that looks and sounds pretty would bore me if I didn't feel like I was really experiencing anything new--at least for me, over time, cool graphics get increasingly more boring because I grow more accustomed to them.

Oh, and I think occasionally adding new features for the player to use/deal with is also a good thing over the stretch of a hack. From my own experiences, characters in games gain new skills, weapons, abilities, etc., and not just RPG's! As the game gets more difficult, they should have more things to like... rely on, to help them get past the trial. I like situational skills, items, etc. for that reason. Like I think the Light Rune has potential to be an amazing item (uh invincible choke point?), if only a chapter would be designed well enough that it could be used to its full potential. (I, at the very least, never found myself in a situation where I really felt like it could really help me to use it, though again, I'm just speaking from personal experience.)

That's about all I can say for now~

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There's one thing that I guess I should point out that I don't really see ever mentionned (and it applies to Fire Emblem games just as any RPG, actually), and it's the notion of Spotlight.

What I mean by spotlight is that when we get a new character on a map, there should be an incentive to use it effectively on the map it appears on, and keep it useable on the next chapter. So that it gets its moment to shine. Dropping a new Myrmidon in a map filled with cavs is a bad idea. And so is adding a new pegasus in a fog of war map with nomads everywhere...

When you play a hack, you generally don't have much of an idea of what's next, or, most of the time, how your character is going to fare eventually. So I believe it's a nice thing to invite the player to give a spin to this new recruit and see how it turns out. Good examples of these would be Farina in FE7, who comes low-leveled, but in a map where a gate is spawing monks like crazy. Or how you get Gatrie back in FE9 in a map that is basically a chokepoint-fest.

It's a good thing to have even if the character is just plain bad, or if it somehow ends up unloved by the players (it always happens). Because even then, your character will have been used for a little while, and it won't feel like a waste to have created it.

Even from a player's perspective, it's pretty annoying to recruit a character at the very end of a map, and then notice that bringing it to the next chapter would be a big waste of time. Your character will then be totally inconsequential to my playthrough and will have no effect on me whatsoever other than the satisfaction of recruiting it, about as important as a treasure chest with a dialogue box.

Edited by Miacis

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I'm thinking about chapter 26x in FE7.

In a way, it's a total turtling fest, but Nino came just before.

Nino needs this turtling to obtain a decent level and come close to the others characters.

So, we have to great flaws that actually forms something good.

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I think good hacks need playtesting, and most of all, effort. If you are just going to make some random hack about Hector fighting dudes and not even bother to do simple things like change the R button text, it makes the whole thing feel incomplete.

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Good writing. I don't mean stories (though they are important, too), but the actual words on the screen. Unless it's a one-off hack, or at the most, a few chapters, players probably won't sit through a poorly written story unless the gameplay/level design is fantastic.

Of course, if the story and writing are wtfomgamazing and the gameplay sucks, that's a big problem, too. But I feel like you covered gameplay aspects nicely, so it doesn't bear repeating.

Edited by bottlegnomes

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What makes good design? There's a lot of incredibly specific points that people have already hit on, but I like to think there's more...spirit to it than things you can just bullet-point.

Above all, I'd say it comes down to good judgment and standards: the ability to set a bar for yourself as a developer, and to decide what does and does not meet that standard. Everything comes down to this judgment, and whether or not the developer is going to accept poor design at all is a reflection of his standards and decision-making. These two tie for 1st and 2nd most important. In a close 3rd I'd say is drive, the desire to make something enjoyable and thoroughly designed. Without drive, all of the technical knowledge in the world is essentially wasted. Then all of the technical mumbo comes in as a distant 4th, 5th, 6th, etc.

Edited by Arch

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Want to prevent the player from using their pegasus rider to fly over your mountain and saving a village, bypassing the careful placement of myrmidons you placed in their way? Put an archer and a ballista with sufficient attack power to kill the pegasus rider.

i can tell you from experience that this doesn't work

if anything i would make some other reason to make the backdoor less enticing (you miss out on other stuff, or you get a message from the developers, etc) because part of the problem is that obsessive people (i won't deny that i do this) will go out of their way to find a way around any obstacle you put

Edited by CT075

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^it's also part of the fun of the game

@Arch I think your points are very generic and too vague and to really add anything to... anything

they're more like basic ideas behind projects in general as opposed to specific points in a design of Fire Emblem games

my opinion of your opinion, more or less XD

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It's ridiculous to talk about secret ways to skip past certain areas as if it's a bad thing. Were the Warp Whistles a bad thing? Was sequence breaking in Metroid "bad"? I think there needs to be less focus on trying to "control" the player and making him or her follow whatever imaginary script the developer has in mind for him or her. The developer exists to meet the needs of the player. If the player wants to do something, the developer is there to make it happen. Like an obedient manservant. And yeah, sometimes that means you should let the player come up with sneaky tricks. I remember when I played EN for the first time and I figured out how to skip 95% of the enemies in Lyn's Tale. It felt pretty damn awesome to subvert the whole chapter like that.

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i can tell you from experience that this doesn't work

if anything i would make some other reason to make the backdoor less enticing (you miss out on other stuff, or you get a message from the developers, etc) because part of the problem is that obsessive people (i won't deny that i do this) will go out of their way to find a way around any obstacle you put

Me: "Oh no, an archer."

*rescues any melee uniut, drops them in front of the archer, retreats with the pegasi, mauls the archer, grabs early loot.*

Me: "Oh no, that archer was such a challenge."

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[9:00:05 PM] Cam: archers is a bad way to discourage rescuedropping imo

[9:00:13 PM] Thor Odinson: what's a good way

[9:00:16 PM] Cam: honestly i'd just make the enemies powerful enough that the drop won't work

[9:00:18 PM] Thor Odinson: stick walls everywhere?

[9:00:24 PM] Cam: (ie you actually need your team there to beat them)

Edited by CT075

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proper text formatting

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Me: "Oh no, an archer."

*rescues any melee uniut, drops them in front of the archer, retreats with the pegasi, mauls the archer, grabs early loot.*

Me: "Oh no, that archer was such a challenge."

I don't mind people disagreeing with me, but if your post is entirely made to mock me without any contribution to discussion, then that's when I get upset. Please do not do it.

That said, I wanted to discuss something else that I forgot to mention in my first post regarding level design

Fairness - This is something the conventional Fire Emblem games have not done consistently well. When designing a level, you want the player's failures to entirely be their fault. Granted, Fire Emblem is a game where luck is oftentimes a factor due to inconsistent hit rates and criticals, among other RNG-based elements, but because the game gives the player reasonable control of these odds (Most of the time... I'm looking at you FE5), it doesn't induce frustration unless the player's control of the odds lacks significant impact.

Fire Emblem's worst chapters are often the result of excessive luck. Remember Battle Before Dawn on Hector Mode? Unless you have a warp staff, Zephiel's survival is in the hands of the RNG until you arrive. Not to mention Jaffar will likely get killed by the numerous fighters equipped with swordslayers.

Then we have the infamous ambush spawns, where enemies spawn between the end of player phase and at the start of enemy phase, allowing them to immediately attack once they appear. Now, while a lot of players hate this kind of thing, I do believe there are ways to make this mechanic fair, and what I'm about to say applies to a lot of different mechanics as well.

When you introduce a mechanic such as ambush spawning, you should introduce it through the use of intuitive level design. Introduce the mechanic in a controlled environment with minimal consequences. This will allow the player to observe the mechanic and acknowledge it's existence and how it works. From then on, they'll take note of the "signs" that indicate that ambush spawns may appear (such as stairways or forts), and approach the situation accordingly. So long as there is a reasonable way for the player to anticipate it, it's fair.

Ambush spawning is actually a good way to induce paranoia in the player. While FE6 approached the idea with mixed results, there were moments of genius, such as in Law of Sacae, where there was an entire circle of houses that could potentially ambush spawn you with high-movement reinforcements. The paranoia the houses induced made the chapter that much more scary to play, and when I beat it, I felt very relieved.

The early-game is a perfect time to introduce most core mechanics to the player, since it's the point of the game where the consequences are fairly low.

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proper text formatting

and tanks

Good writing(technically and overarching), half the incentive for me is "unlocking" fancy new text/story.

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Actually I wasn't mocking you at all, just adding my opinion to Cam's post. I'm working with RenPy now, making a visual novel. I still get the urge to make a ragefest every now and then, though really I just want to perfect Generic War and re-release it in my actual perfect form that I couldn't do for ragefest last year. Time constraints made everything get too rushed and untested, sadly enough.

Maybe I will.

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Good writing. I don't mean stories (though they are important, too), but the actual words on the screen. Unless it's a one-off hack, or at the most, a few chapters, players probably won't sit through a poorly written story unless the gameplay/level design is fantastic.

Of course, if the story and writing are wtfomgamazing and the gameplay sucks, that's a big problem, too. But I feel like you covered gameplay aspects nicely, so it doesn't bear repeating.

This is backwards, gameplay is always the most important. It wasn't even until the SNES era of videogames that they had particularly detailed stories, and there's a reason the games were playable and not audiobooks or visual novels or something. If you can't design the gameplay well, the writing doesn't matter. The story can be skipped at the press of a button, but if the game isn't enjoyable to play that's when someone is likely to drop it - you can't skip the gameplay. There is never a situation in which poor writing obsoletes the gameplay, but if the gameplay is bad nobody wants to do what is necessary to read the story; give me a script or something! lol

I don't play many hacks, but I often don't even bother to read text when I do, unless I am playtesting for someone and they ask me to. I want to play the game; the author's focus should be on gameplay a majority of the time, and the story or writing should come in a distant second place.

-----------

As for the subject of turtling or "exploits", I am entirely with Anouleth on this one. Restrict the player's ability to experiment or play your chapter differently as little as possible. The only time permitting the player to turtle is an issue is if all of your chapters can be completed that way, or if it's the best strategy for the player to use too frequently; that doesn't encourage the less experienced players to try new things.

I also don't agree with calling it "boring". It is a strategy primarily employed by less experienced to average players who are finding a chapter too frustrating to take the risk associated with spreading themselves thinner. If they feel they are forced to employ a turtle strategy, there is an issue with your chapter design to begin with. On the other hand, some people may like playing slow and defensively, and you shouldn't tell them they're not allowed to because it's "boring and easy". The player isn't one person, or a group of friends you might talk to, it's a lot of people who find playing FE fun for different reasons. The more you restrict how the player is capable of playing your game, the more you alienate them. Never build a chapter around the idea of preventing the player from employing certain strategies. Often a fast-paced chapter by itself will remove the effectiveness of a turtle strategy, and a variety of powerful enemies will hurt a hyper-offensive strategy, but it should be that way because that is the idea or plan you had for the chapter, not because you didn't want a player to play a certain way.

I made a poll here a while back

http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=27137

It is nearly split down the middle, it is a misconception that the FE community enjoys something "hardcore". The game should always be made to appeal to as many people as possible while still remaining within the confines of the author's vision for it.

Edited by Tangerine

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Alright. Interesting points. I may need to rethink my approach to level design.

Though, there's one thing I know I don't agree with, and it's this.

The game should always be made to appeal to as many people as possible while still remaining within the confines of the author's vision for it.

I can't really think of an endearing counterargument, but I feel that games should try to fulfill a specific niche audience and focus entirely on doing that niche as well as possible.

Edited by MarkyJoe1990

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I don't think it really has to be either. If the creator wants to make it appealing to a broader audience, then they should try to do that without sacrificing the integrity of their work. If the creator wants to appeal it to a more niche audience, whether it be something easy for the new players or something challenging and requiring more creative input for the more experienced players, that's fine too. Hell, if the creator wants to make it appealing to themselves, whatever. If they managed to appeal to the audiences they intended to appeal to no matter how broad or how narrow, in that aspect they're successful.

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What I said doesn't exclude any of those things.

The game should always be made to appeal to as many people as possible while still remaining within the confines of the author's vision for it.

This is what I said; you can want to fill a niche and still try to make it as appealing to a wide audience as possible.

Commercial games already do this. You can look at any genre of videogame and find games that appeal to different audiences even if they are fairly strict in their loyalty to the genre. The comparison between FFT and Tactics Ogre is a good one; FFT was based on TO and they have extremely similar battle systems, but FFT is much more casual friendly and appeals to a wider audience.

Edited by Tangerine

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This is backwards, gameplay is always the most important. It wasn't even until the SNES era of videogames that they had particularly detailed stories, and there's a reason the games were playable and not audiobooks or visual novels or something. If you can't design the gameplay well, the writing doesn't matter. The story can be skipped at the press of a button, but if the game isn't enjoyable to play that's when someone is likely to drop it - you can't skip the gameplay. There is never a situation in which poor writing obsoletes the gameplay, but if the gameplay is bad nobody wants to do what is necessary to read the story; give me a script or something! lol

I don't know about that. I think that a truly bad story can make a game bad. For me, the proof of that is Metroid Other M. But I don't think that merely the absence of story can make the game bad.

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I would says it's more about the atmosphere than the scenario, and how it works with the gameplay.

FE5 story isn't that remarkable, but it is about a hero that must survive against ennemies far stonger, well equipped and organized.

And it has Fatigue and Capture as Game Mrchanics to show this point. There's also other details, like the Near Defeat music, who add to the tensions.

The thing is this game is really hard, but it works well because it has a great and unique atmosphere and a gameplay that accompany it.

Difficulty shouldn't be here just for the sake of it. If a game is hard, that means we would have to pass more time on it to figure a strategy, or to beat it. So, we are naturally waiting far more for it. If you increase difficulty, you should also increase all the others factors equally.

That's also one of the reasons I don't like those who just give über stats to everyone. That's a cheap way to achieve difficulty. Difficulty must be in the design.

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This is backwards, gameplay is always the most important. It wasn't even until the SNES era of videogames that they had particularly detailed stories, and there's a reason the games were playable and not audiobooks or visual novels or something. If you can't design the gameplay well, the writing doesn't matter. The story can be skipped at the press of a button, but if the game isn't enjoyable to play that's when someone is likely to drop it - you can't skip the gameplay. There is never a situation in which poor writing obsoletes the gameplay, but if the gameplay is bad nobody wants to do what is necessary to read the story; give me a script or something!

Your point about story may be true for console games, but many early projects for the PC were text or graphic adventures where the writing was central. What would the first two Secret of Monkey Island games have been had you stripped them down to the essentials of their game design? Or to take something a bit more recent, what about Planescape: Torment? Technological progress has actually worked against them on this point, as it had to get to certain level before you could make moving down a corridor with a gun and shooting whatever moved even the slightest bit engaging. Games have a huge amount of untapped potential as a story telling medium, and that includes the Fire Emblem games, which in their commercial releases have limited themselves to a highly narrow range of outlines, character archetypes and techniques. Just from my own experiments for my current project, I've found there's much more you can do even with the very basic method of presentation the GBA games use than IS ever seemed to be aware of.

Edited by GreatEclipse

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Your point about story may be true for console games, but many early projects for the PC were text or graphic adventures where the writing was central. What would the first two Secret of Monkey Island games have been had you stripped them down to the essentials of their game design? Or to take something a bit more recent, what about Planescape: Torment? Technological progress has actually worked against them on this point, as it had to get to certain level before you could make moving down a corridor with a gun and shooting whatever moved even the slightest bit engaging. Games have a huge amount of untapped potential as a story telling medium, and that includes the Fire Emblem games, which in their commercial releases have limited themselves to a highly narrow range of outlines, character archetypes and techniques. Just from my own experiments for my current project, I've found there's much more you can do even with the very basic method of presentation the GBA games use than IS ever seemed to be aware of.

"Graphic adventure" falls into one of the genres I mentioned, and that is what you are using as an example.

Other than that, I don't see how anything you said relates to my post. My point wasn't that a game can't focus on the story and be enjoyable. Books are enjoyable. All of the games you listed have extremely simple "gameplay mechanics", if you even want to call them that, that exist purely to move the story along. This is not the case with Fire Emblem; the gameplay makes up a majority of the time spent with the games. With that said, my point specifically was that your story matters little if you can't create good gameplay to compliment it, no matter what your focus is; this is NOT so the other way around. People will play and enjoy a hack with intelligent gameplay even if it doesn't have much for a story, because it can be skipped. You can't press the start button and skip the gameplay, it is the only essential part. Dondon has provided a hack like this, and it is more popular than most. Obviously a good story can make the gameplay more enjoyable; they go hand in hand. But one clearly needs the other more in the context of an FE hack. Which, you know, is what is being discussed.

Edited by Tangerine

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"Graphic adventure" falls into one of the genres I mentioned, and that is what you are using as an example.

Other than that, I don't see how anything you said relates to my post. My point wasn't that a game can't focus on the story and be enjoyable. Books are enjoyable. All of the games you listed have extremely simple "gameplay mechanics", if you even want to call them that, that exist purely to move the story along. This is not the case with Fire Emblem; the gameplay makes up a majority of the time spent with the games. With that said, my point specifically was that your story matters little if you can't create good gameplay to compliment it, no matter what your focus is; this is NOT so the other way around. People will play and enjoy a hack with intelligent gameplay even if it doesn't have much for a story, because it can be skipped. You can't press the start button and skip the gameplay, it is the only essential part. Dondon has provided a hack like this, and it is more popular than most. Obviously a good story can make the gameplay more enjoyable; they go hand in hand. But one clearly needs the other more in the context of an FE hack. Which, you know, is what is being discussed.

You said that gameplay was always more important than story not only for Fire Emblem, but for games in general until the SNES era, and I was arguing that it was simply not true, though in your defense it is something often repeated. Even looking only at Fire Emblem, though, I see no reason why the story could not be the central focus of a hack. One thing I have started to notice about the games is that the need to contrive a crises every single chapter has really held it back on the story telling front, as there are only so many ways of making something like that even the slightest bit plausible. Making a game that was more a text adventure with battles inserted only when the story calls for it would allow for vastly greater flexibility.

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