Equip yourselves well

Phantasy Star RMXP Shotgun

RMXP: the return of the shotgun!

Let’s take some time to focus on the weapons and armor used in Phantasy Star RMXP. Like the original series the game will provide a nice mix of sci-fi and fantasy styled weapons and armor. Claws, swords, daggers, vulcans and cannons will be there as well as some lesser used weapons like needlers and bows.

As with medicine and food it was important to not ignore the PS Online and Universe series.  These series not only broadened the weapon pallet, they also added some cool unique weapons like the Black Bull, Dark Straal and Blitz Gazer. Not all of them will be in, but some of them will return as special weapons. Armor-wise a lot of the classic gear returns; helmets, crowns, chests, shields and emels will all be there.

Phantasy Star RMXP Dark Straal

A very special weapon can be found in the Tower of Roma

Ch-ch-changes
There are however some changes in the equipment set-up. Some has to do with scripting convenience. Dual wielding like in the original series is out of the game for now. Instead a character can use a pair of weapons or guns like in the Phantasy Star Universe series. One of the characters for instance is able to use twin guns.

The equipment slots available are head gear, body armor, a shield or an emel and weapons. There’s also an extra slot available for a special item. These special items can unlock a skill or raise certain status points.

Phantasy Star RMXP Gem of Bliss

The Gem of Bliss raises defense points

New materials
Different star system, different materials. Of course certain things from the classics had to be in there like a Steel Sword or Laser Claws. RMXP will also mark the return of the Sega US/Europe exclusive material Planar. But for most of it the game borrows materials from the Universe series. Expect to run into armor made of the sturdy metal Stelnium or head gear made of Soural, a metal that also enhances mental powers.

What, no Laconia, you might say? Don’t worry it’s in the game, but extremely rare. Only very few items will show up. It’s status is comparable to Laconia in the original Phantasy Star.

Phantasy Star RMXP Barian Gear

Barlian products are all the rage in the city of Bint

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Sprite up your life

Phantasy Star RMX Adlers Bar

Party time at Adler’s Bar

In early versions of Phantasy Star RMXP a sprite style similar to End of the Millennium was used. After seeing what Missy Tannenbaum had done with Phantasy Star II styled sprite designs on her Dorkstitch blog I knew which direction I had to go.

I had always prefered the Phantasy Star II sprites anyhow. What I like about the Dorkstitch sprites is the way she updated the hairstyles and clothing. They look modern, but still have that classic PS feel.

Sprites Phantasy Star RMXP

Need clothes? Visit Dorkstittch

The world of Phantasy Star RMXP is populated by many different groups of people. It was important to give them all a very unique look. The city people are inspired much by Dorkstitch designs and have extravagant hair and clothing. I actually added a few Dorkstitch sprites to the game as a tribute.

Phantasy Star RMXP Nomad Sprites

Nomads have a more traditional look

The nomads are based on PS4 sprites and are more plain, both in design and in color. But unlike the original PS4 sprites they don’t have that typical ‘short neck’. The same counts for the Espers in the game.

Then there are of course the law enforcers. The CFA , the human police force on Issoria, have armor comparable to hunters or agents in PS 2. The Issorian Guard sprites are a nod to the Phantasy Star Online hunters. And a group of rogues called nomad hunters wear armor based on Generation of Doom soldiers.

Phantasy Star RMXP Issorian Guard

Hey haven’t I seen you online?

Apart from human character sprites, some animal sprites are used too. Some are purely for decoration, but some can be used for item synthesis (more on that later) or for trading. For instance some butterflies can be caught and traded for goods.

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The art of the photon

PS RMXP techniques

Do you have enough PP to cast Res?

The Phantasy Star Universe series added quite a lot of interesting things to the Phantasy lore. Photons being one of them. In a nutshell a photon is the most basic form of energy and photon particles are everywhere. It was established in Universe that photons are not only used as an energy source for technology, but also act as catalyst for techniques. People with strong spiritual power like Forcers were able to use the photons to cast techniques. Others needed technology like madoogs or photon drives to utilize their energy.

Phantasy Star RMXP gladly integrates this new established lore into its world. Not only does it nicely connect to the more recent games this way, it also solves some practical scripting issues. Initially PS RMXP used a Skill/Technique system similar to End of the Millennium; Techniques used ‘ TP’, while skills had a certain amount of uses. Switching to Photon Power (PP) made things a lot easier and actually makes more sense.

Techniques

PS RMXP madoog

A madoog can help you cast Foi

Roughly the game has two kinds of skills: techniques and photon arts. Techniques can be used by anybody. The strength of the technique and kind of technique a person can use depends on the spiritual power of a character. People with low spiritual power can only use basic techniques and may need to enhance their power by using a madoog. Madoogs have their limitations though. Even with the most powerful madoog it still isn’t possible to master really complex and powerful techniques like Megid or Grantz. Only the most capable Forcers are able to learn those.

Photon Arts

PS RMXP Photon Arts

A very powerful photon art: Assault Crush

Photon arts are weapon related skills.  Those skilled with fighting with a blade are able to enhance their strikes by using their weapon’s photon drives. Unlike techniques photon arts rely heavily on the user’s attack power and not on mental strenght. The more expensive a weapon, the better photon drive it comes with and the more damage it will do.

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Rise or Fall

Phantasy Star RMXP under attack

Let the combat begin!

Phantasy Star RMXP offers a battle system very close to the one the classic games use. Originally I started programming a game in RPG Maker 2000. However after seeing what Di.H achieved with 20 years past I decided to switch to RPG Maker XP. I tried my best at altering bits of the Atoa Custom Battle Script to get as close to the classic look and feel of the battle system in the original games. It’s not a 100% perfect match, but it gets close (I’d say about 80%). If there are any scripters out there who want to give it try to get it to a 100%, feel free to drop me message.

Phantasy Star RMXP battle menu

Attack, attack!

The menu design is pretty much Phantasy Star II along with most of the status icons. There are some nods to the other games too. The run icon is taken from Generations of Doom and the ‘select arrow’ comes from End of the Millennium. There are even some Phantasy Star Universe inspired arrows which indicate if certain status points are up. The colors for the arrows are a direct lift from that game.

Phantasy Star RMXP Attack

Oh no Kay´l is poisoned!

Fully animated
In early stages of development (when I was still working with RM2K) terrain specific battlebacks were used. But for RMXP with its more sophisticated battle animations and battle sprites this felt unnecessary. Instead the ‘classic grid’ from Generations 2 is used. For some reason it just felt right and the nostalgic grid works really well with the battle sprites and animations. Certain technique animations like PS II’s Gra just don’t look good without it.

The battle sprites are fully animated. Most of them are taken from (again) Phantasy Star II. There are of course some surprises in the game. What is a Phantasy Star game without Rappies for instance? More on the battle sprites in a later entry.

See you then.

Phantasy Star RMXP battle

Banshees don’t like Eija

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Heal the world

Phantasy Star RMXP Buying some food in Bint City

Getting hungry yet?

Phantasy Star RMXP makes some slight alterations to the healing system of the classic games. First of all the effects of traditional medicine (monomate, dimate and trimate) are changed a bit. In the classic games each type of medicine would heal a fixed amount of HP. In PS RMXP medicine heal a percentage of the maximum HP of a character combined with a fixed amount of HP.

As a result of this weaker medicine will remain more useful the entire game. A monomate for instance heals 10 HP + 50% of the character’s total HP, a dimate heals 20 HP + 70 % of the character’s HP and a trimate heals 100 %.

New medicine
In addition to the traditional medicine Phantasy Star RMXP offers some new medicine. A Photon Charge can be used to heal Photon Points (PP), while antimates cure poison. Photon Charges, like the various Atomizers (Star, Moon and Sol), aren’t sold in Tool Stores. They can only be bought at the counter of Domed Farms which produces them.

Phantasy Star RMXP Inside the Domed Farm

The Domed Farms offer unique wares

In the mood for food
The Phantasy Star series introduced various sorts of food thru’ the years. Especially Phantasy Star Universe expanded the food list a lot; from Lunga Pudding to Vol Curry and Steamed Milk to Bluefeeter. Important was to inject some of that into Phantasy Star RMXP.

But food had to make sense. It had to be different than medicine. End of the Millennium added food, but it basically had the same effect as one of the ‘mates’. Food in Phantasy Star RMXP comes in various categories: meals, candy, snacks, desserts and drinks. Each of them heal a certain percentage of HP or PP and might come with additional effects. Certain food raises your agility like Raza Syrup, while Shield Gum increases you defense power, but lowers your PP a little.

Restaurant in Phantasy Star RMXP

How about a Koltova Burger tonight?

Food versus Medicine
One of the main differences with medicine is that not all food can be eaten in battle. When you’re busy fighting a group of enemies you cannot eat a meal (always wondered how Alisa had time to eat a burger when she was surrounded by Ant Lions in Phantasy Star). You can however chew on some candy or have a quick drink. Another difference is you cannot use food on a party member in order to heal them; you cannot force-feed someone.

One major advantage of food is price. Food is not as expensive as medicine and can be bought almost everywhere. Food found in cities is usually not very well for fast healing, though a Perolimate might be an interesting alternative for monomates early in the game. Nomads don’t have access to cloning technology in their camps and rely more heavily on food. Because of that some Nomad food is on par with medicine. Their Lunga Pudding for instance is known for its strong healing power (both HP and PP).

Phantasy Star RMXP Perolimates

Perolimates can be very useful early in the game

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Exciting Town

Phantasy Star RMXP exploring the city

Time to visit the City Board

The cities in Phantasy Star RMXP are larger than the cities in the original games. This allows for more backstory, but also revisit value. Certain buildings or apartments are closed when you arrive at the city for the first time. In later stages of the game they might open.

For instance the first city you’ll visit is Athalia, the capital city. Many buildings can be found there, but to visit an apartment you’ll need a key that can be found in a different district later in the game.

Phantasy Star RMXP no key

You won’t get far without a key card in Athalia

Shopping and Service
A wide range of shops can be found in the city. Usually a city typically has a weapon shop, protective gear shop, tool store, clone labs and teleport service. Additional services or shops can be found depending on the city. Certain cities wil have market stands, restaurants, bars or libraries. The city of Bint is famous for their restaurant Hin Kee which still has Barger Baljis on their menu, while Arden has a junk store and Athalia a Library.

Each town also has a buidling which houses the City Board. The president of the City Board is comparable to a Mayor and is the leader of the district. The City Board is also the place to go to access public files or to request a road pass.

The CFA store in Phantasy Star RMXP

The store menu has a Phantasy Star II flavour

Guardians
Most cities are guarded by Polezi and Informer synths. Certain cities are guarded by human forces. The CFA (City Force Agents) have their HQ in Athalia, while Tarr is home of the Issorian Guard. Thanks to them crime is at an all time low and life between the city walls is safe. Don’t let this keep you from investigating the area outside the walls. Sometimes interesting things or information can be retrieved there.

Phantasy Star RMXP

Some people can be found outside the city

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Something borrowed and something blue

The basic camp menu of Phantasy Star RMXP

The basic camp menu of PS RMXP

The classic Phantasy Star games (apart from Generations of Doom) all had very iconic blue menus and it was important for PS RMXP to recreate that classic feel. In early stages more modern Generations style menus were tried, but it just didn’t look right. Especially not during battles (more on battles in a later post). So the menus stayed more traditional.

They don’t really emulate one specific game. Instead they are a mix between Phantasy Star II and End of the Millennium: PS2 style edges with a more PS4 style lay-out. Slight transparancy gives the menus a subtle new twist. Below some screenshots to give you all a little preview of what to expect menu-wise.

Talk window Phantasy Star RMXP     Technique Window Phantasy Star RMXP

 

Status Menu Phantasy Star RMXP

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