Another Star Dev Log #23: Issuing Orders

Wow, it’s been a long time! I guess I should clear out some of these cobwebs before I continue on. In any case, rest assured that I haven’t given up work on this project, although my current day job and a freelance project are taking up most of my free time. It’s hard to make progress when you feel drained all the time.

Now, in a previous entry I mentioned that I was seriously considering ditching the “omni-battle” system from the original Another Star and replacing it with a more traditional battle system where you can issue individual orders for each character. As those of you who follow me on Twitter should already know, I ended up implementing this change. Part of me is sad to see the omni-battle system go, but I don’t think this is the game for it. Maybe I’ll get to reuse and perfect it one day in another, smaller game.

In any case, you now tell each party member individually what they should do for a given round. You can only target one enemy normally, more like most players will expect. You’ll also notice a percentage displayed along with the targeted enemy. This is the hit chance, and it changes depending on the difference between the agility gap between the attacker and defender.

Note that if a combatant’s target is eliminated before they get the chance to attack it themselves, they don’t automatically select a new target. However, they don’t lose their turn altogether. Instead you’ll get a notice that they are deciding on a new target, and their turn will get pushed back to the end of the queue for the round. This should encourage you to be more tactical with your targeting decisions, while not punishing you too harshly for not micromanaging every single turn.

Another neat addition to the battle interface is that numbers now bounce into view more naturally, although it means that there are going to be far more sprites on screen than there should be. As it was I was already bending the rules, but the little damage boxes I was using before were kind of distracting and didn’t read very well. Yet another sacrifice for the sake of improved gameplay.

You’ll also notice something else really cool, and that’s the little flames that surround the characters as their turn comes up. These are called spirit points and they work mostly like magic points in other RPGs. Gone is the hit point based magic casting of the first game. You spend spirit points to cast spells now. Spent spirit points appear as dimmed flames. Spirit points are difficult to recover, so you’ll want to manage them wisely, especially in the early portions of the game.

That covers most of the changes that have been implemented over the past year or so. Not very much progress, sadly, but hopefully it won’t be nearly as long until the next dev log.

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