Tag Archives: The World Ends With You

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – Season 4 Review Part 2 (Episodes 6-9)

Episode 6: Power Ponies

Grade: B

Like in Castle Mane-ia, the Mane 6 travel to a darker and grimmer location than they’re used to—this time a Gotham City-styled comic book world instead of a haunted castle. And also like in Castle Mane-ia, somehow this winds up becoming a secret Rarity episode! No complaints here! Continue reading

Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of March 3, 2014

Last week’s achievements

* Restructured some hidden stats in a more logical manner
* Set up various aspects of the equipment system
* Preliminarily finalized stats for 201 (yes, 201) fashion-based “status effects”
* Implemented ~40 of those status effects

Current focus

The equipment system followed by battles.

Weekly goals

* Finish off implementation of the remaining fashion effects and test all of them
* Write flavor text for at least 60% of the fashion effects
* Begin testing battles: damage formulas, battle text, etc.
* Order new computer


Even though—no, because it’s fully optional for the player, my fashion system ranks high as one of my favorite ideas. At best guess I’d say I thought of it in late 2012 or early 2013, but in any case, it’s certainly my newest large-scale idea.

One uncommon element of Dreamblazers that I’ve had in mind since at least 2010 is that equipment never becomes irrelevant; even starting equipment can be used until the end of the game. Like so many of my ideas, this was inspired by Pokémon (with a huge hat tip to The World Ends With You). The average player simply blasts through the game with their favorites, but a competitive player like me will reset twenty times until that Bulbasaur from Professor Sycamore has the right nature.

I aimed to appeal to both. A casual player never needs to look at a character’s outfit—and yes, I’m calling my equipment screen the “Outfit” screen to stress this point. The serious player, though, might look at Astrid, see that all of her stats are great but none are exceptional, and give away her Trailblazer Tunic, Agility Anklet, and Enchanted Earrings to, respectively, Power-centered, Speed-centered, and Magic Power-centered characters.

Could I do more, though? Could I create a middle ground between ignoring outfits and having the most intense optimization experience since Monster Hunter? Could an equipment screen be… fun? Maybe so! Each piece of clothing has at least one theme, like Cool or Playful, and piling on similar clothing gives the character a theme and boosts her Style stat. If you give her two or more themes, some have natural synergy, such as Sporty + Swimmer or Girly Girl + Princess, while others oppose each other, like Innocent + Military or Everyday + Formal, increasing or decreasing her Style.

In the end I sifted through 433 theme combos and wound up with 201 ways for players to change their Style. My hope is that seeing status effect names like “Disco Knight” or “Ribbons, Lace, Angry Face” or “Sparkles and Swag” pop up as you change clothes will be as fun as opening the menu in Dragon Quest IX and seeing what myriad of new titles Stella would shower on you.

RPGs: More Like Movies… or Novels?

Gamers occasionally cry foul on non-interactive cutscenes, saying that developers are emulating movies instead of synthesizing stories with the unique qualities of games. Whether a player likes non-interactivity is a matter of taste. I’m here to question a matter of fact: whether movies are the closest comparison point. I could weigh this out for most game genres—even first-person shooters borrow ideas from cinematography—but I’ll stick to RPGs because they use the same easy-to-reference measure of length that screenplays and novels do: word count.

Movies usually have to fit into two and a half hours, so they need to make the best of every minute. Dialogue stays brief; action moves quickly; camera shots linger long enough but not a moment longer. This is part of the reason that directors typically cut novel content when translating written words onto the big screen. Novels have a certain leeway for wordiness because people have varying reading speeds, but quality movies, like poems, waste no motion. With that in mind, I pasted ten RPG scripts into Microsoft Word for length comparisons and here’s what I found:

    The World Ends With You (2008): ~69,000 words (not counting Another Day but counting other optional party dialogue)

Some fairly recent RPGs double or triple the amount of spoken dialogue over the RPGs of yesteryear. The limited amount of space on Super Nintendo cartridges served the same role as run time does for movies, forcing the story to stay snappy, but discs buried that issue so that RPG stories could let it all hang out. This isn’t a guaranteed positive and can allow for the bad kind of fluff and filler to settle in, but it also allows for worlds where not every character is a quick-witted, cut-to-the-chase speaker who delivers lightning-paced lines in high tempo. Less isn’t always more.

Recent RPG stories have longer build, allowing themselves time for more scenes in which “nothing happens” in the sense that characters have subtle emotional shifts but don’t take physical actions to advance the story. Old-school RPGs use swifter action-oriented structures that don’t tolerate delays between plot points. Neither is inherently better nor worse, but the approaches remain different—and as counterintuitive as it may sound, old-school RPGs might have more in common with movies than modern RPGs do.

Just something to think about.

Ten Breeds of Memorable and Immortal 2D Sprites (part 1)

1. Sprites that Reward Amazing Accomplishments

Metroid is a go-to example, but Chrono Trigger also really ran with this idea.

The Moonlight Parade dancer only performs spinners for winners! According to Lucca, Frog as a human is a 'dish.' I can't speak for the culture of Guardia Kingdom, but in most culinary schools here on Earth, Frog as a frog is more of a dish. The famed Akira Toriyama as a Chrono Trigger sprite. The famed Yuji Horii as a Chrono Trigger sprite. If you just said 'Who-ji Horii?', you're probably not a Dragon Quest fan.

The challenge involved in seeing these sprites makes them rare—and their rarity makes them memorable. The Moonlight Parade dancer only shows her face (and her footloose skills!) after beating the game. Frog in his human form is “only” one battle tougher to get on screen, but some people will never see him outside of online sprite rips because their principles won’t let them meet the requirements. On the right are game versions of Akira Toriyama and Yuji Horii, who can’t be found unless players beat Lavos with only Crono and Marle or beat the souped-up, higher-stats, not-supposed-to-be-defeated Lavos at the Undersea Palace.

For a more modern and less 2D example, check out the ending of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The character involved would have been striking even if the game had as little story as the original Legend of Zelda, but the tease of this appearance from the beginning helps further. Delayed gratification works.

Four more breeds, all discussed at greater length than the first one!