I used to love that RPGs featured young heroes setting out and going on some epic quest in a world of fantasy and adventure. When I was younger, I wanted nothing more than to be one of those heroes, off learning spells, collecting swords, and fighting weird boss monsters. Oh, how things change.
The Northern Kingdom of Byzantius stretches the width of Thelea, grey stone castles surrounded by thriving towns dot the landscape from one ocean to the next. A vast kingdom needs a powerful ruler (or at least a vast ruler). Old King Rex is just the ruler for such a place.
I wrote this a long while ago, and it’s likely to get a complete overhaul eventually. I’m going to retool the Trial version into the Lite version, and this will be greatly altered in the process. Until then, I figure some basic info on the setting is due. Submitted for your approval, the unedited Table Tactics Trial version:
I like twists and surprises in stories. On occasion, I even like when they’re completely out of left field with little to no lead up or foreshadowing (only if the twist is particularly brilliant (and even then not all the time (fickle, I know))). But lets be honest, in any truly good murder mystery, all of the information is available, just waiting for you to assemble the pieces yourself. It’s the poorly written story looking to provide amusement without understanding how that pulls a conclusion out of nowhere at the absolute last second. I’m talking to you, jRPGs.
Well, it usually is. I mean, let’s be honest here, one of the most praised and loved RPGs ever starts with a bunch of fights that the only thing worth doing is holding down confirm to select attack. I bet you’re not even entirely sure which game I’m talking about. So lets stop for a moment and talk about the biggest opportunity in the entire RPG genre: combat.
When it first became clear that Table Tactics was going to be something beyond a FF Tactics clone, my first thought was “How can I justify tons of conflict without coming up with an insane number of specific issues or potential reasons to fight?” Really, that thought was the first cause that drove the entire setting creation. I’d like to think I’ve come quite a ways from that, but maybe I’m just blowing smoke.
When I first saw NiGHTS into Dreams, it was in a Toys R Us, available to play as a demo. I remember marveling at the Sega Saturn, thinking what an incredible thing it was. Little did I realize, that it was how I was going to meet my wife.
When I was younger, I thought that leveling was the best possible progression mechanic in games. It wasn’t about having time to amass the skill needed to progress further with limited lives/health, it was about grinding senselessly while talking to friends in person/online or watching TV (depends on if it was console or handheld). After ages of smashing my head against the wall that was the majority of games for the Sega Genesis and NES, this was about the best thing ever (full disclosure: depending on the genre I am aggressively mediocre at video games). Unfortunately, a lot of other people seemed to think the same thing, and now there’s no escaping leveling up.
I keep going back and forth on this, but it’s time for me to finally buckle down and work seriously on this game. So, in the opposite of that spirit, I’m going to spend this first post about it talking about how it came about, rather than actually developing ideas.
It’s important to note that I love jrpgs. They are likely my favorite genre in spite of their issues, and going by sheer number of hours, they are my home in the world of video games. That being said, there are issues, and places where jrpgs include game mechanics that are (to me, at least) just plain unfun. So lets talk about one of those mechanics: random encounters.