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Posts posted by EllestarRus

  1. Zoe's notes give out +2 SS to a skill of choice along with +2 study level, so you can have her teach you Research as well. She completely replaces the Venalicium, if you get her early enough, although working around the fact that she doesn't teach two skill steps separately will take some planning if you don't want to waste any step.

    And that's a problem with her ability - study levels can be maxed, and +2 SS to one skill is rarely useful (only on skills like Concentration IIRC) once you have 6 in all stats.

  2. I'm pretty sure that there's an entire genre of games like Academagia, but it's the kind that never was exported out of Japan so there's not even an English word for it. Also, checking Steam for the most popular tags Visual Novel is #65, two places below "Walking Simulator". "Casual" is also on #7, contrast "Difficult" on #32.


    Basically I don't think Academagia is going to have a fun time...


    Legend of Wulin Heroes is probably the most similiar, and it looks interesting, but it has one problem - it was never translated from Chinese. Well, at least it's interesting to read that LP...


    Other than that, there are Long Live the Queen, Magical Diary, Princess Maker, Cute Knight, Spirited Heart - but they're too girlish for my tastes... Besides, they're not "open world"ly enough, they're kinda limited in what you can do. Especially Long Live the Queen with a fixed or maybe almost fixed events...


    I heard about Wonder Project J, but it's on a different platform.


    Of a somewhat different theme, there is also King of Dragon Pass.

    Things like Kudos 2 or Jones in the Fast Lane are also close, i guess.


    In any case, all of them are much simpler than Academagia.



    P.S. By the way, there is also a sports game with a similiar idea - MLB Power Pros 2008 in "Success Mode".

  3. Ellestar;


    For Y1, we sadly weren't able to import any filtering. That will come in Y2, however.


    Well, i still didn't finish a single game of Academagia. And i actually enjoyed reading game wiki (and trying to min-max there :)) more than actually playing Academagia because of that interface (i don't have enough patience to micromanage through that hell). Well, text descriptions were interesting read too (but not interesting enough to navigate through 100+ length lists in endgame). So i think you need to do some playtesting or something - get some roleplayers and min/maxers, and improve your interface according to their needs. Just go through each screen one at a time, think what a player is likely to want to do on that screen, and give the player options to do what he wants in an easy way.



    The UI is partially revamped, actually- it's done and ready for the release. Essentially, the UI now scales, you can click and drag all the windows wherever you like them, and resize them, too. That's what was 'easily' portable to Y1.






    That's nice but UI also requires some fast filters/favorites (different for each spell/action/whatever), suggestions (usually a list of relevant things, like locations that actually give some bonus for a current action, is VERY small, so game may as well color code it and sort it on top), tooltips for everything (so not to wander through interface so to check what some random thing does) and more information in general (for example, all lists should have some relevant data, not just names only) to make micromanaging... Let's say, not really painful.


    You have waaaay too much content in the game to make it manageable without some interface help. And that content isn't self-describing, so to say. When you see "Barracks" or "Factory" in Civilization, you have a general idea what it should do. When you see things like "Hang Out With Oan", "Courtyard" or whatever, you can't really guess what it is, you need to actually remember thousands of things to play the game... Or check some other interface screen that actually has information you need every single time until you remember all these things.


    I would say RPG system itself is not really optimal, but whatever.





    Firebrid is the database they use to my knowledge and the Database is actual the most important thing for a game like Academagia.


    Yeah, it's Firebird. You can actually connect to it too if you want.


    But database is not the most important thing. Say, Civilization 4 C++ and Python game logic is open for modding (so you can see for yourself how it's done), it stores similiar game data in XML files and works fine. Academagia uses some weird format to store data, why do they need that weird persist_entity table, anyway? For some weird way to make the game backwards compatible?


    Civ 4 XML files can be edited directly. Academagia data are impossible to edit without a tool. I would say that Civ 4 storage design is superior to Academagia one - it's easier to use and it takes much less time for updates to get to the game (that Academagia tool is ridiculously slow, how do they test changes with it?)

  6. Wait the Steam version is censored? Won't that remove something the producers thought was important for the story?

    Yeah, Japanese games on Steam are always censored. So never buy them there. Apparently, gay marriage is fine for USA, but indecent cartoon pictures aren't. Well, i guess every civilization goes crazy in their own way...

  7. Personally I'm mostly thinking about CoS boosters and/or CoD reductions that you can get from high-level Favor. It'd be really nice to be able to see those import into Y2, because there's no way to check whether they went through otherwise and whether they properly stacked with extra copies of the same bonuses and/or modded bonuses gotten from wherever. It doesn't help that some of those come in the form of straight screwing with the numbers, whereas others come in the form of Abilities that may or may not still exist in Y2.

    Actually, it's easy to make a mod with Emotions like "CoD 1%", "CoD" 2%, "Glory 1", "Glory 2" etc. that will inform you about the current values of these stats. But yeah, it's more convenient if it will be more accessible.

  8. Sadly the same problem for me, even with the old Impulse store still kind of exist they wont publish any updates for this game.

    They were bought by Gamestop. Try Gamestop client. I had all my Impulse games there.


    P.S. Btw now i have a problem with Gamestop too - their gamestop.com just doesn't open from russian IP adressess after they opened russian store, but they didn't transfer my account to gamestop.ru either...

  9. Ellestar;


    For Steam, we're currently investigating what it would take to revamp the UI closer to Y2 standards, so that it will be much easier for new people to play. I think all fans are united in saying that this may be important. :)


    Yeah, UI is a big problem. But i thought you'll just migrate Y1 content into new Y2 engine. You use FirebirdSQL anyway, so it should be easy to switch engine between Y1 and Y2 database, as long as rule differences (like max skill lvl) are also stored in a database. And you plan to have 5 years of Academagia, what's the point to support 5 different engines? Y1 engine will be so outdated by the time Y5 comes...


    IDK, i think most of your development cost is content, not the engine, so it makes sense to have one a little bit more complicated engine for all years, that will make content management and conversion between years easier too.

  10. <geek>Ah, Hanako Games has a pre-order at last for Magical Diary: Horse Hall! *Purchase*</geek>


    Nice suggestion, it's with a 40% discount for next 24 hours on Steam right now so i was lucky to stumble on this post today :)

    So far it looks more interesting than their "Long Live The Queen". Kinda bad that they don't have a male main character option, but it guess it would have increased content by 50%. But it's kinda simplistic game, not like Academagia at all.


    By the way, why Academagia still isn't on Steam?

  11. I'll try to write some mechanics guides, but they aren't that useful without an example. Maybe someone will write optimization AARs? They shouldn't be absolute best in optimization or something, it's just to show how different people actually use optimization tricks available in the game. Without it, raw guides are kinda inefficient, at least for me.

  12. There are also some corner case ones which are better than train for specific skills or skill areas.


    For example "Use the athlec fields" gives a random athletics boost and removes 2 points of stress. Music practice room #4 (when it's not bugged) has a 50% chance of boosting several skills at once. Cleaning after the Smiths grants both a forge and enchant sub-skill step.


    Actually there are loads of those corner case ones. Anyone have a full list?

    I think i covered all location abilities currently in wiki, and some non-location abilities here: http://academagia.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Expand

  13. Ellestar;


    Interestingly, we are looking at breaking the UI, but I'm not sure we'll make any changes here- it would require a clean version break for patches.


    That said, there is some UI customization you can do in the Mod Tools (for the Colleges).

    I don't really understand what do you mean by "breaking the UI". I was talking about publishing C++ (or whatever you use) source code for Academagia.UI.dll and GameLogic.dll only, so it will be available to modders.

  14. By the way, i see files Academagia.UI.dll and GameLogic.dll in the game folder. That suggests me that you have UI and game logic in separate files. Why don't let us mod it? Civilization 4 developers allowed to mod both game logic (famous CvGameCoreDLL.dll) and UI, and it gave us many good mods. Game logic of many FPS games may be modded too. It's not like we'll steal something, because i'm sure you spent the most of the time adding content, not creating the game logic, and without copyrighthed content game logic is useless anyway. And your UI, to tell the truth, is not worth stealing no matter how you look at it :) (besides the fact that standalone it's even more useless than game logic). So, if you'll open Academagia.UI.dll and GameLogic.dll for modding, mods will still require your game to run.

  15. Hello. You made a nice game, and an interesting lore, and i like game mechanics too so far. However, UI really needs some work. It's one of the most frequent problems in just about any complex game. Thankfully, an interesting content makes that particular game fun anyway, but i think UI is the single weakest point of that game (2nd one is probably documentation, but i guess it's intentional). And my eyes hurt because of that small font.


    Anyway, what can be improved:


    1) Information about all Rolls: In all descriptions, inform the player about the current value of their skills/attributes. Say, "Intelligence/Glamour roll v. 4" should be "Intelligence(4)/Glamour(10) roll v. 4".




    2) Action location in "Confirmation orders" - locations that give a bonus to your current action should be sorted to the top of the page. A risky places where you are not supposed to be should be marked as well (say, red font or an asterisk). It will be even more useful if a bonus will be listed near the name of the location.




    3) Cast Spell action - "Add Phemes" is a nightmare to use, and only half of the last Pheme in the list is shown on screen. Well, i guess we're supposed to remember all phemes, what they do and what are their opposites, but i think it's too hard to use. At least show more spells/phemes on screen at a time and color-code the most important things in the description of the pheme/spell (effects, duration, difficulty etc.).


    It's impossible to scroll a pheme description there (pheme can't be selected so it shows skill details instead of pheme details when i'm moving a mouse cursor to a details window so to scroll a description).


    Some way to filter the Spells/Phemes that affect the thing i want to boost will be REALLY convenient.




    4) Consult Artifact Registry action should show only unidentified items.




    5) Parent Skill, Parent Skill Training Level and Sub-skill Training Level in Sub-skill description: When you train a sub-skill, in daily results you get a link to a sub-skill description with text "Needed for next level: X of Y", but you don't see anything else, and that's very inconvenient (and it's important because training is one of the most frequently used actions).


    So, not only you need to do extra actions so to know the current level of the newly trained skill, but you need to find it somehow in the list of spells and abilities, and for that you need to remember a parent skill for that sub-skill, or check all parent skills one at a time. It's especially frustrating for a new randomy accquired sub-skills, because you have no way to know what's the parent skill is at all, and the only thing you can do is to check all parent skills.


    It will be better if a Sub-skill decription will say:

    - Danger sense

    - Parent Skill: Ambush (5)

    - Level 6, Needed for next level: 1 of 2


    instead of just


    - Danger sense

    - Needed for next level: 1 of 2




    6) Tooltips for skills and attributes: When you mouseover a skill, sub-skill or an attribute, it will be very useful if it will list:

    - base level of the skill/sub-skill/attribute

    - current level of the skill/sub-skill/attribute

    - all currently working modifiers (spells, abilites, moods, locations, clique bonuses etc.) (with magnitude and duration left)

    - all possible modifiers available to character (spells, phemes, abilities, locations etc.) that can be used to boost that skill/ability

    - for skills: sub-skill levels and their modifiers

    - for sub-skills: parent skill


    First 3 options are at least as old as Master of Orion 2 TBS, and i saw 4th one in some mods for Civlilization 4 - a very useful option as well.




    Some of that may be inconvenient for roleplayers i guess (especially color-coding in descriptions), so maybe it should be just an option. But really, when you have like 100 Phemes, you don't really want to read a full text of all their descriptions once again to find the one you really want. I tried to cast my first spell after like 4 months of ingame time, and a single look at the list of Phemes made me regret it.


    Anyway, i just started playing so maybe i'll have more ideas later. I didn't explore many options of the game yet.

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