Author Topic: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay  (Read 8697 times)

Lenophis

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Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« on: February 14, 2009, 02:09:35 AM »

We're back, and we have news! Pandora's Box is now in its third year of development. During the past two years, there have been many features implemented. The list includes restoration of the game's button configuration screen, a music box, Strago learning magic the way he should have, and then some.

We've also dabbled into many engine tweaks, the first and most prominent of them being a complete overhaul of the physical damage formula. This change is part of the massive balance overhaul we are still doing. Other engine tweaks include some additions to the battle and engine cores, as well. To get an idea of those changes, you can view the playlist set up at Youtube.

With a balance overhaul also comes many bug fixes, and in fact many bug fixes. To keep some sanity, a complete list of bug fixes was put together at Mnrogar's Den. These bugs are being fixed to level the playing field on both sides. This will no doubt cause some gripes, but the only thing I can say to that is “if you want to play the broken system, play the broken game.”

But, enough about the past. We're here to stay positive, and talk about the future. And that future is now. So, what's new? To mark the occasion, we are proud to show another new feature recently implemented, a Doom Gaze radar (this is 60 megs!). This radar works like how you would expect a radar to work. If you get close to Doom Gaze, he will show up on the minimap. It will make finding him to be much easier than it ever was. Note, a Youtube version of this movie was made, but the quality of it turned out to be bad enough that the minimap was far too grainy to show off what this did. It has since been removed. Various and numerous attempts were also made to get the filesize of this movie down to a respectable level, but all attempts also made the minimap too grainy to show off this new feature.

“Use a screenshot, fool!”

That won't show you how or when it works, despite anybody's best efforts to do so. Either bite the bullet and download or simply ignore it. And yes, as a dialup user, this is a very hard thing for me to say, but I'm at wit's end about this.

Anyway, another new feature, though not nearly as flashy or even as fancy, is one that will make dialogue nice. For whatever reason, Final Fantasy 6 never had a center tag, it instead used a tab tag. Well, we decided that the tab tag needed to go. In its place, a center tag. Ok, crappy job of building that one up.

Those that have been in RHDN's IRC channel may have noticed me continuously bugging everybody for possible ideas that we could implement into the hack. Gemini did step forward with one, an item that will increase encounter rates. Specifically, this will double the encounter rate. A perfect gift for all of the masochistic grinders out there.

Finally, there's something we've been wanting to show off for a while now. Earlier in development we toyed with changing some of the character spritesheets. One such example was a revision to Mog. We have since expanded on that, giving some alterations to Celes and Edgar.

On a sad note, I am reluctant to announce that I do not believe we'll be able to get anymore new music into the hack. Those that have assisted in the past seemed to have moved on to bigger and better things. To counter this, some have suggested that we learn the inner workings of the SPC700 to get more songs in. However, we feel that delaying the project for another many months to learn the chip just to get a few more songs in is not worth it.

To wrap this up, I'll say that we hope that 2009 will be the final year of development. I won't put a date on when we'll be done, because adding pressure will not ensure quality. We thank those that have been patient with us during this project's development.

119 bugs fixed and counting.

Panzer88

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Re: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2009, 02:41:25 AM »
great news. As always, kudos to all involved, and good luck with the SPC700 stuff if that ever works out. Always a pleasure to see you guys push this game to the max.

JCE3000GT

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Re: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2009, 09:24:13 PM »
Keep up the good work.  I can't wait to play the final version!  And of course can't wait to see me in the credits.   :laugh:

Vehek

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Re: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2009, 10:10:35 PM »
Why would you need to learn more about the SPC700 to insert more new songs?

Lenophis

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Re: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2009, 11:29:20 PM »
Because FF4, FF5, Secret of Mana, Mario RPG, etc, etc, all use different cores than FF6 does. Yes, I remember that tool you linked to a while ago, but none of us were able to get that to work.

So, there's nothing else we can do.

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Vehek

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Re: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2009, 01:09:31 AM »
See if utunnels's explanation (of his own MML importer) is any better.
http://www.chronocompendium.com/Forums/index.php/topic,6839.0.html

I should mention that his MML2spc tool can write SPC data into a ROM; you don't need the CT ROM-specific tool.

Lenophis

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Re: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2009, 01:53:50 AM »
I tried tinkering with that a couple of weeks ago, and I had no better luck. It was then I personally decided to give up on any hope of new music.

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magitek

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Re: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2009, 08:06:20 AM »
Awesome. :) I've been looking forward to this for a good long while, I recently replayed the demo and it's nice to see you are making good progress. Keep up the excellent work!
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assassin

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Re: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2009, 07:12:15 PM »
Quote
If you get close to Doom Gaze, he will show up on the minimap. It will make finding him to be much easier than it ever was.

now let's say Doom Gaze's two locations are close to each other..  if you get the airship close to both of them (e.g. in between them), will they both show up on the radar at once?

Lenophis

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Re: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2009, 09:05:45 PM »
We anticipated his two locations to be a problem. Now he'll only show up at one location.

If you were to speak on a technical level, there's only one sprite in use, so I guess it would be on a first come, first serve basis. I'm not sure if there's another free sprite here or not.

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assassin

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Re: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2009, 06:26:01 AM »
ah, ok.  now to determine his distance from the airship, did you indeed use a radius?  were there squares and square roots involved?!  tell me.  also, were you able to ascertain close distance if Doom Gaze was on the very left edge of the map, and the party was on the very right edge?  after all, they're practically right next to each other.

Lenophis

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Re: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2009, 02:36:53 PM »
All of the above I'm pretty sure, except for the square root part:

Code: [Select]
...
LDA $xxxx    ; load current X tile
SEC
SBC $xxxx    ; subtract Doom Gaze's current X tile
BPL ok1      ; branch if N was clear, the result didn't wrap
EOR #$FF     ; subtract 255...
INC A        ; then add 1
ok1:
JSR multi1   ; upper A * lower A
STA $xxxx
SEP #$20
LDA $xxxx    ; load current Y tile
SEC
SBC $xxxx    ; subtract Doom Gaze's current Y tile
BPL ok2      ; branch if N was clear, the result didn't wrap
EOR #$FF     ; subtract 255...
INC A        ; then add 1
ok2:
...

multi1:
PHA     ; the quest to get lower A to upper A!
XBA
PLA
REP #$20
STA $004202
NOP     ; the quest to eat 8 cycles!
NOP
NOP
NOP
LDA $004216
RTS

Yes, I did use real addresses. :happy: After all of this, I check for a square product to see if we're within range of Doom Gaze.

And to think, I had a hell of a time getting (X2 - X1)^2 + (Y2 - Y1)^2 to work initially.

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assassin

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Re: Pandora's Box 3rd Anniversay
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2009, 05:49:13 AM »
very nice..  elegant use of the BPL instructions (e.g. to ascertain left==>right distances of 128+).  and good point on the square product; when you can put your own constants into the code, there's no reason to square root here.