Fate of Io
Current mechanics
2002/12/10 10:01:08 PST by Clockwork Dragon [0/3]

Lol, yay, I'm back! I've suffered from a lack of computer/lack of obedient computer, so please excuse my absence.

From what it looks like, it's been decided upon that the graphics are going to be FFT-esque, which is what I had hoped from the start. I really liked the graphics there, they told the story well enough (although the story and gameplay was rather disappointing), but I'm seeing some odd loopholes in battle (which O haven't read yet). So, IMHO, we oughta quit worrying about which FF was the best, etc. because that it something that can be moved to the General Discussion boards. Here, we need to decide upon the way the game is going to be played. So... uh... how, then? We need to, for sure, use the 3D world to increase the 3D level of gaming; that is, make it to where if the game lost its 3D world, it would actually detriment from gameplay.

2002/12/10 16:30:06 PST by mystik3eb [0/43]
[mystik3eb's avatar]

Actually, we haven't decided ANYTHING yet...we've seriously debated, but not decided.

2002/12/10 20:50:59 PST by jcore [0/6]
Awards: 2 from Dev

I know that FoI is a pretty relaxed project, but I feel obligated to point this out...

Conventional project management says that having these things decided is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for a complete project/implementation plan. It also says that the plan is created before any work on the implementation of the plan (the actual work work part of the project) is started.

Obviously no project is perfect and FoI is not a conventional project anyways. Nevertheless, I think that the creation of the game will continue to suffer due to backtracking and impromptu planning (due to lack of an agreed upon plan).

I was really drawn to FoI because of it having a charter (and hence a little organization). Rather ironically the charter (as of version 2.01) seems to (explicitly and implicity) state that plans and schedules are not important ("The Fate of Io Project is always changing", "I don't hold people to deadlines or quotas of any kind").

I think it's great that the project exists for fun only. I wouldn't want to be involved with any project that berated volunteer members for missing deadlines (especially if the members were not involved in the creation of those deadlines). However, rather counterintuitively, a project cannot be much fun unless it is reasonably under control and making some sort of progress.

I mean in no way to belittle the efforts put into FoI so far. I can tell that much time has been put into creating the material that is housed on the fateofio.org server. FoI's story is the most complete of any large-scale independent RPG currently in development (as far as I can tell). I only suggest investigating the possibility of more in-depth project planning and scheduling in order to save rework and frustration down the road (i.e. 3D models become useless if the game is implemented in 2D and (more or less) vice-versa).

2002/12/10 22:00:57 PST by Aetrus [0/15]

I will agree with Jcore 100% here. Let me say that I have had a blast here, and I have learned, and taught much. But yes, we do need to be a bit more "assertive" in our management and finalization. I say assertive rather than agressive because this project is not agressive in the sense that it demands volunteers to meet deadlines or to give more time than they can. Assertive simply means here that the project does have set plans, and set concepts before work is done. I know that we want everyone's ideas and input, but at some point we must close the topic and stamp final on it. We're so open ended that we do end up backtracking in this case a year or more. Leadership? (myself included) Let's step up a final plan of attack in this area (the current topic/forum) atleast and build from there. How we do this is not up to me since my area is music, but we really do need to get this started. We cannot build a tower without first building the foundation as the old saying goes.

Onward to victory! Now who's carrying the flag?

2002/12/10 23:16:06 PST by Siemova [0/24]
Awards: 1 from Dev
[Siemova's avatar]

Yeah, I actually wrote an e-mail about this to Dev a few days ago. Ironically, later that day he started restructuring the FoI tree, updating character bios, etc. I don't know if I sparked or helped spark that, but I was pleased and excited to see it. :)

The basic upshot of what I wrote was similar to what some of you are saying: While it's great that we're doing this for fun, we still need to get some fundamentals pretty much set in stone, and then add a little more structure to the development process, if we really plan to take this project past the formative stages to completion.

As it stands now, we get little things done here and there, sporadically. On occasion, we toy with something bigger and more fundamental, like the graphics format, but we rarely arrive at any conclusion. We've had over a year to get these foundational decisions out of the way, yet they still present roadblocks to any substantial progress. I'm proud to be a (small) part of this project, and I enjoy being involved, but it seems that we generally lack focus.

I can't claim to know the ultimate solution, though I have some suggestions which might help...

  • An organized chat could be quite productive, as long as we address specific topics.

  • We could make a lot more use of Tasks, in order to let everyone know exactly what's been done, what we're working on, and what still needs to be done.

  • Certain sections - particularly music and illustration - could make great use of "theme/character of the week/month".

Any other or better ideas?

(Sorry for going further off-topic. :-p)

2002/12/10 23:34:09 PST by Dev [manager]
Edited at 2002/12/10 23:38:14 PST
[Dev's avatar]

And so here we are!

When FoI got going, I designed its foundation to be contributor-centered; the Project would go where its members wanted it to. So, to make a correction to your analogy, Aetrus, the foundation is already there, and we're actually talking about the first floor. But my point is, my authority in having the final say and all is nothing without the initiative and hard work from all of you; that's the difference between this being my project and your project. So I would also need to know where you guys want to take it; that's exactly what's just happened here. Who's ready to really get this show on the road?

I waited a while before making this post here because I wanted to get a sense for the popular opinion. Here's what I've come up with:

Most people are either fine with a 3D- or 2D-based game, or prefer 2D-based over 3D for reasons that have already been discussed here. That tips the scale toward 2D. I'm not saying what precise type we'll go with; whether it be birds-eye (ex. Final Fantasy 1-6, Warcraft II), isometric (SimCity 2000), even sidescrolling (Contra, certain Zelda sequences), or something else. If we can establish this much, it'll be the first of a handful of big steps we need to take to start the production stages of the project.

My finger's hovering over the button, but it's not to late to hear arguments and decide something else. This is my proposal, and it will be up to all of you to decide. So, jcore: no need to be so humble, and Aetrus: we each get a flag. ;D

EDIT: Siemova, we posted together. :P You gave me an idea; do we want to schedule a chat where we can decide this and then start taking those next steps toward cementing our plans? Maybe we should make a rule that no one can leave the chat until it's decided. ;D If so, what times would work for people?

2002/12/11 00:39:30 PST by Aetrus [0/15]

I'm available any day and most times except saturdays and sundays and tuesday thursday night. That's my work schedule. OR after 9:30 my time (EST) any night. I do need advance warning of like a week or so?

2002/12/11 09:24:23 PST by jcore [0/6]

Let me add that I also would like to see the game done in 2D. I say this for a number of more superficial reasons:

I myself have wanted a good old-fashioned 2D bird's-eye-view RPG for a while (yes, 2D could also be a side-scroller or isometric).

It seems that many other people would also like to relive the Final Fantasy glory days. Check out these (alright, somewhat biased since they are from rpgamers.net) polls:
If someone has some other polls, I'd love to see them.

My operating system doesn't have hardware 3D acceleration support yet. Yep, no DRI for NetBSD ;).

I am hesitant to say that 2D development is easier than 3D, since I can imagine that that's not always the case. However, I think that presenting a plot this big correctly would be easier to do in 2D.

2002/12/11 09:50:32 PST by Clockwork Dragon [0/3]
Edited at 2002/12/11 09:57:58 PST
Awards: 1 from Dev

I don't agree with JCore in that the game should be made in 2D... we want a 3D game that is actually playable in 3D. If we attempt a 2D game in 3D we'll end up doing something very awful, i.e. the Legend of Aidyn (whatever it was called)... that game was a horrible experience, and I don't want to see a great story like this blown off in a stupid gameplay steup. I still maintain that the characters should be drawn as sprites interacting in a 3D, grid-based world (but in hexes). The grid should not only work on 1 level (ground), but it should include height. This will allow for more puzzles, and will allow Delloran to make full use of his flight ability. I've not seen a game, fully-playable with that sort of graphics system (FFT used it but it lacked height and you only saw it in battles and cutscenes). A vast, hex-based world in 3D would look pretty cool, at least in my opinion. If we are to make a 2D game, then let's not go so far as to put in 3D graphics; imagine what would have happened if FF7-9 had attempted a 3D world with 3D characters instead of having drawn backgrounds. We're working with even less resourcesthan they had. Those games were not played in 3D, they were 2D game with poor 3D graphics, and the world was drawn. Aside from that, drawing sprites would make things much more simple, and yet the world would be in 3D, the sprites moving through it. This is also not a battle-based game; it is very puzzle-based. Adding a third dimension would increase the depth of these puzzles, perhaps to the point where the characters would face a puzzle the size of a building and the shape of a cube; thus, they would have to think on three different levels, and make full use of their characters' skills and abilities. And there's my next two cents.

(Note: lol, I'm having to edit and re-edit because each time I go through it, I see my point may be missed.)

2002/12/11 11:32:20 PST by Temporal [manager]
[Temporal's avatar]

jcore: Oh, come on. You're telling me no NetBSD hacker has been able to get the FreeBSD NVidia module running yet? Give it a month or two. ;) (The FreeBSD people almost had the Linux module running before NVidia released the FreeBSD drivers!)

Clockwork: I'm not sure I understand you, but here are some points I'd like to make:

  • No one was suggesting that we make the game use 3D graphics for 2D gameplay. That would be dumb and we all know it. jcore (and Dev, for that matter) is suggesting that we use 2D only.

  • Combining sprites with 3D graphics is ugly, and would probably take more work than using fully 3D models. If you are suggesting that

  • FF7-9 used the techniques they did because the Playstation had extremely limited hardware. We have no such limitations. The techniques they used were actually more difficult than just doing everything 3D (after all, they modelled everything in 3D anyway, but they just pre-rendered it).

2002/12/11 14:32:28 PST by jcore [0/6]

Heh, I'm not involved in NetBSD development so I don't know if anything is happening yet on this or not. I guess I could search through the mailing lists sometime, but...I don't think that it's really a big priority for NetBSD developers or users right now.

I sort of just threw that in for kicks. I have other systems that I could do testing on, and many 3D engines do a decent job in software mode on my machine. It would be pretty dumb for me to campaign against 3D just because my machine doesn't support 3D hardware acceleration (hey, it's a $15 ATI Xpert 2000 anyway).

2002/12/11 15:40:14 PST by mystik3eb [0/43]
[mystik3eb's avatar]

Yes Dev, we should plan to have a specific meeting probably twice a week. I was thinking maybe every Friday and Saturday night. Of course, time's will be different for different people, our members covering the globe. But we can probably figure that out in the AIM thread =).

Hehe, it just occured to me, but I've seen these kind of threads TONS in the past two years. You know, the ones that are all revolutionary and inspiring and bonding? Heh. But THIS time, I WON'T give my input because I've done it several times before and it's always ignored...SO!

Yes...2D. But we can't just say "2D". There are SO many options of 2D (Dev named merely a few), so I think we should take the opportunity to create ANOTHER thread ('cuz this one's getting way to freakin' huge) and discuss what type of 2D we should adapt. Personally I think we should mesh different kinds and maybe adopt some different kinds of "camera angles". You know...at some points it can be a groud level view, at some point a diagonal view, and at some points an ariel view...you know? We can do that, can't we?

But anyway, maybe we can move this to another thread? =)

2002/12/11 15:52:41 PST by Siemova [0/24]
[Siemova's avatar]

Personally, I like 2-D sprites in a 3-D world (FFT, Xenogears, Grandia) better than 3-D characters, so if we do 3-D at all, that'd be my vote. In which case, a hex-based grid would be fine with me too, except that I think such a system is probably more suited to turn-based combat...

2002/12/11 20:57:04 PST by Black Squall [0/5]
Awards: 1 from Dev

I myself always kind of pictured FoI looking a little like Diablo or similar game.

I also think that we should do 3D for reason's already listed, mainly because most 2D designes don't support everything that we have already planned on doing.

And the fact of the matter is that when people do think of a 2D RPG, many of them think of the old FF games. When I try to go back and play anything pre-FF7, (except for 6) even just for fun, it's difficult for me to get involved in those games now, because I have been spoiled by games that look so much better. No matter how good the story or the gameplay is, the game has to be something that I know I will just adore and cherish for eternity like FF6 and Chrono Cross.

I'm not saying that FoI won't do that for me, after all I'm part of the project. I'm just saying that there are a slew of people out there that could stumble across this game judge it off of it's graphics and push it aside. Maybe those are the kind of people that we wouldn't care if they were exposed to FoI anyways, but as time goes on that population will grow larger and larger. With a release date some time in the future, hopefully not too far into the future, maybe we'd want to shoot for something War Craft 3'ish for our looks.

Just a cent or two of mine for now.

2002/12/11 22:55:11 PST by 3Der [0/7]
Awards: 1 from Dev

I think its more of a matter of how long do we want to wait to see this game complete. I think some people still don't realise how long it will take if this game were in 3D. If we don't really care about this game being complete or not and are just using it to enhance our skills or consider it a hobby then I say go for 3D. But if we are really serious about getting this game out then we should go 2D. Like i mentioned before we should make the game 2D with fmv's, that way people can choose the working in 3D or 2D. This is also alot more reasonable then creating the entire game in 3D

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