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Andrew - January '03- 12:00 Central Standard Time

Welcome to a new year, which means a new Q&A host!

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The Mag Roader thinks his mom is the coolest!

I got Project Fun, though it was cheaper for me because I have a subscription to Nintendo Power. What really made me enjoy working with the system is that basically everything you do in it is in C++. I'm a big fan of C++ (since it and Java are the only languages I know) so it was a breath of fresh air to be able to read, understand, and make my own code all throughout the process. This is as opposed to regular RPG creators, which primarily use scripting languages they make up themselves. I'd rather program in something I understand at a glance, thank you very much.

I haven't spent all that much time on Fun (busy with school and life, you know how it is), but it does have drawbacks like any other: for instance, it still takes forever and a day plus a lot of planning to make a game. On the plus side, the Fun website includes nice tutorials to learn how to begin making a game, unlike the other RPG makers I've tried that basically threw me to the sharks. I don't know how easy it would be to make an RPG with Fun, but I suppose anything is possible. Although it does seem more geared toward scrolling screen shooting and platform games.

As for people not being "Ga-Ga over Everquest," I can tell you that there are still a great many Ga-Ga people out there. My mom is one of them. At my house we have three EQ accounts, each with every expansion. Over the years we've spent wads of cash on extra computers and a cable modem and router, as well as paying for the account themselves. Not that I'm complaining about the modem, but my mom and a friend who comes over every weekend play the damn game nonstop. They have guilds with others just like them and a website, message boards they take seriously and a printed copy of every map in the game sorted into thick plastic binders, as well as a half dozen more binders with stats on classes, spell descriptions, and ways of crafting items, each with hundreds of pages. They have their own cliques of people around the country who are also obsessed with the stupid game. They get all stressed out when there're conflicts of interests in the guilds, pay more attention to the game than to real life, and generally waste all their time on a group of people who would forget about them entirely if next week they just stopped playing.

Speaking of wasting lives on video games, a great many people play Diablo 2 nonstop. 3 of my suitemates at college do nothing but play [my copy of] Diablo 2, trying to get all the uniques and get every character up to 99. What is the point of this? Once you can beat the game on the hardest difficulty, why go for stuff that lets you kill the same old enemies even faster? It's not like it's getting you anywhere.

I think people are just insane.

- Colin C.
Mag Roader

Andrew:
Interesting. So Project FUN is basically a compiler for code. As for your smart ass comment about knowing C++ and how other languages are too difficult for you to understand, I think weíll let the readers decide for themselves what they should be using to create games, especially since you havenít created any.

So your Mother is an Everquest addict. Well sorry, normally I donít factor in 40+ house wives into my ďeverybodyĒ equations. But yes, Iíll agree that if I had bought the game from the beginning, Iíd probably be snapping up expansion packs and the like. Itíd be an investment of sorts. And hey, all her coffers of information donít sound any worse then a typical D&Derís stash. As for the forgetting thing, youíre totally off the mark with that comment. I used to Role Play years ago, and still get emails from the friends I made on those exciting nights of adventure. Granted, theyíre all a bunch of pasty nerds with power fixations, but hey, Iím cool with that.

Diablo 2 is the candy bar of RPGs. Itís easy to get into, fun to play, and best of all, it doesnít require you to devote hours to it at a time. Iíve occasionally fired up Diablo 2 for a quick hack-and-slash session with friends online, and thatís probably what your Suitemates are doing. As for the collecting everything and leveling up to 99, well, I know youíre full of crap, since itís impossible to hold every unique item in the game. Youíd have to sell your stuff eventually, considering the size of the stash. And since theyíre all using your copy, it seems like youíre the one who introduced them to the game. So your personal, misunderstood hell is your own fault. Laugh with me, readers.

 
Octopus, frog-thing, tiger-creature, owl, and the French.

OK...you want the most annoying RPG characters? Here ya go...

1. Ultros...probably the most annoying purple octopus ever. His insistance on fighting your party is very annoying, and is amplified by the fact that he sucks at fighting.

2. Quina and Kimahri. Quina...had a few alright moves, but had the worst social skills of any character. Kimahri had no good attacks no matter where you sent him on the sphere grid. Hell, you can toss in Edward from FFIV in this group of useless characters.

3. The Owl from the Zelda games...I hate that guy.

4. And finally, the entire cast of Chrono Cross. If I see one more character have an 'accent' within a text box, I'm going to go insane. That was just too much.

By the way, any word on Chrono Break?
Josh

Andrew:
1. I found Ultros was rather charming, actually. As least compared to that nasty old Chupon!

2. Iíll agree with the first two, but you better back the hell off of the most pathetic prince in the universe. Who didnít break out laughing when they first used his special ability? Or how about when that monster came out of the water and Edward hacked it pieces with a HARP? I mean, damn. If Iím going to learn any instrument, I want one that can be used as a weapon and can take out evil elves halfway across the world.

3. I think everyone agrees with you on this one, Josh. I hate that freaking owl.

4. Chrono Break will take place in France, and everyone in the game has snooty French accents. Except the main love interest, who talks like Jar-Jar Binks. Hope you enjoy it as much as you enjoyed Chrono Cross.

 
Three heroes, all losers.

Though I am often withdrawn from getting attached to certain characters or ignoring others in RPG's there are a few characters that have rubbed me the wrong way over the years.

Edward, the "Spoony Bard" of FFIV. First off this loser lets Anna (alleged love of his life) get killed while shielding him when he lives in a Castle. I can only imagine prince Edwards orders. "My people! We are about to be bombarded by the Red Wings of Baron! EVERYONE TO THE ROOF!" And dont even try to tell me it was such a surprise attack that not one of his sentries saw it comming. This guy is such a wimp that Rydia calls him a crybaby (After losing her mom, and her entire extended family for that matter). After Edward regains his composure you are forced into allying with him (Probably only because the silver spoon has a hover craft) in order to retrieve the Sand Ruby ? to cure Rosa's fever. Edward is no Bruce Lee, Bruce Leeroy (The Last Dragon) or even a Segata Sanshiro (http://www.sega-saturn.com/news/091802.htm: Hilarity awaits) for that matter, when it comes to fighting. In fact hes so weak I try to pretend he isnt there during battles less I give him the position of potion boy. Even after the moving scene when Anna comes back from the dead to Empower Edward he is still quite the whelp. Later the poor baby catches a cold (you'll be very glad to have him out of your party) and is put out of commission for the duration of game (with the exclusion of playing the harp, and riding in a tank) yay.

Selphie "Useless Limit" Tilmitt from FFVIII. I disliked Selphie from the moment she runs into Squall in the garden. Maybe its just me but characters enthusiastic about nothing get on my nerves (Rikku, Tifa, Tidus, Edgar) but none so extremely as Selphie. After this first encounter you once again run into Selphie's clumsy ass on the SeeD exam as she trips over a small hill trying to deliver an order to evacuate (and she's a candidate for SeeD?). After the mission is over Selphie is one of your team members on your very first mission as a SeeD, and she comes prepared decked out in a yellow dress that resembles somekind of crazy suspenders a Moon Banana would wear if there were such a thing as a Moon Banana (A Banana from the Moon). Her hair curls upward looking like she doesnt know how to use her curling iron. Her weapon is by far the stupidest in the game, Giant Nunchuckas? She literally is using one big Nunchuck! Her usefullness as a character is very limited (This is bad when the game only has 6 permanent characters) as her battle power is very low, and due to the fact that using magic often decreases your characters attributes, and forces you to go back into the long process of refining or drawing spells, attack is a very often used command. The only real thing that sets characters appart in FFVIII is the limit breaks they use, Squall's powerhouse renzokuken, and Quistis' awesome blue magic are among my faves but Selphie has the most worthless limit in the game called slot. Slot is basicly a randomly selected spell set to be cast a randomly (up to 3) selected number of times. You can change the spell you cast but it remains random, though you can retry an infinite number of times it is borthersome and sometimes fatal waiting and continually hitting retry (as monsters are kicking your ass) to get a spell worth casting. 95% of the spells she casts are just regualer spells you can aquire in the game. She does have a handfull of spells that you cant acquire, Wall, Rapture, Full Cure and maybe a couple others, Full Cure being the only real usefull spell in her arsenal. As she levels up the higher powered spells appear more frequently when slot is used but she still remains a useless weakling compelete with annoying chatter throughout the course of the game.

Gremio, Suikoden. Gremio is some kind of loyal servant/cook/body guard to the McDohl family in Suikoden. He/She/It (im really not sure though id guess a he) follows young master (your main character who has no default name) around taking up a valuable position in your party of up to six. Gremio's attack's are weak and the words that escape the mouth of Gremio are often annoying, but my loss of Gremio was a bittersweet occassion. Though I was thrilled that Gremio was out of my party and eaten by flesh eating spores there was one serious problem that I had yet to realize before saving. GREMIO HAD MY MIRROR, each character has to hold their own equipment and special items one of which and is a mirror that allows you to instantly transport back to your castle from anypoint on the map, since there is no master armory or item pot when Gremio was lost while having the mirror on hand, instead of it reappearing in my castle vault, or someone elses pockets the mirror went with Gremio. Without this invaluable tool acquiring extra characters became a labor of hate for me, and I did not retrieve my mirror until collecting every other character right before the end of the game where Gremio can be braught back to life. Of course at this point the mirror is not quite as usefull but it still saves a lot of time. Needless the say I didnt make the same mistake my second time through the game. But I guess if the main reason I hate Gremio is because of a mistake I made thats not a real good reason to hate Gremio is it? OR IS IT?

Andrew:
Edward- Honestly, am I the only person who saw him as the comedic relief? The undying hatred for the poor guy seems a tad undeserved. After all, you only have him on your team for a few hours.

Selphie- You could replace Cat Sith for Selphie for all of the complaints about slots. I wonder why Square for naive enough to think an attack like Slots would work for anyone but Setzer? As for her eccentric appearance, at least she didnít look like Zell. *shudderĒ

Gremio- Thatís hilarious. I didnít find Gremio much of anything. He worried annoyingly, yes, but the way McDohl always blew off his concerns was amusing. And a butler with a battle axe is okay in my book.

 
Everybody hates chu, nobody loves chu, letís all go eat worms!

Chu-Chu.

Seriously. Do chu even have to ask what made her so terrible? She made me want chu put my Xenogears disc in a wood-chipper out of torment. And when she grew chu giant Gear size chu fight off the bad guys, I nearly quit playing Xenogears then and there.

Plus, it inspired my friends chu continue chu come up with those most painful puns imaginable. Not chu mention having chu remind me constantly of Chu-Chu's maidenly pure heart.

Ugh.
Chris

Andrew:
I just knew someone was going to mention that horrible, giant pink rodent. Letís all face it, Xenogearís development team ran out of time and money, threw the end of the game together, and Chu-Chu is the ultimate, horrible face of their handy work. Cry with me readers.

 
He hates cute things. Anyone else think this guy is a hideous space mutant from beyond the moon?

On the topic of annoying video game characters...

A lot of RPGs find it necessary to include 'cute' characters. Companies not only make these things cute, but also completely useless in battle. There's a huge list too, Square being one of the biggest offenders. Chuchu from Xenogears , Cait Sith from FF7, Nall from Lunar (Okay, so he was useful. He was still cute and annoying), Peco from BOF3, Selfie from FF8 (one of the few human ones), Chrono Cross had about 20 of 'em, FF6 had a few (not Mog, Mog was useful), every Pokemon that exists fits in this category, and Suikoden 1 and 2 had a bunch. Basically I don't like playing as animals or cute plants.

But all of those characters combined do not add up to the offense that Quina from FF9 presented. First off, the thing was a transvestite or something like that. Its speech was annoying. The frog mini-games were even more annoying. Trying to eat all those monsters was even more annoying. In short, it (what gender was it anyway?) had the single worst character design I have ever seen. Ever. It was nothing short of an annoyance, and its presence made me quit playing the game after a few minutes (after I went through the torture of frog hunt, of course).

Hopefully Square will get out of the cute (ugly) character habit soon. I expected Rikku from FF10 to be one of these characters, but steal was actually useful in that game, and (in my game) she has the 2nd strongest attack power. yay!

Andrew:
Well, I have nothing against cute characters, since most, if not all, RPGs give you a large enough party to avoid using them. However, I found Precis of Star Ocean 2 absolutely adorable, and wouldnít have traded her for Bowman for anything.

On the other hand, I think everyone who has ever played Final Fantasy 9 is in agreement that Quine was the most hideous thing ever to fight against the forces of evil. It wasnít funny, useful, and it made a mockery of blue mages every where. I donít know what Square was thinking when they added Quina, but Iím sure who ever was responsible is probably hiding in a dark cave right now.

 
Great moments in squirrel history.

Hi Andrew.

I was part of a really great RPG moment. In fact, it's the best I've ever seen.

The game is Suikoden II. My friend's cousin Matt is playing. He's at the end of the game (last level) but, he hasn't been able to complete it yet because he's determined to win it with the Hero and the 5 flying squirrels. This day, however, we say that we are going to do it. First, I start telling him places around the map where he might have missed really good runes. He finds a few of the better elemental and equips on the appropriate squirrels (red cape = fire only).

The next part is the best. He heads to the last level. He already has the first two bosses beaten, so he just heads thru the level. The encounters are somewhat tough and take a while because he wants to save all his magic. He reaches the "duo" who are right before the final boss. They are easy to beat, but he used a lot of magic. So, I inform him he canít possibly win without all his spells (and even then....), so he heads out, sleeps and makes his way back in.

**Factoid: Each squirrel has a different color cape and can use a different elemental magic. All of them have a spell failure chance. Randomly, instead of the spell you wanted the squirrel explodes doing damage to the whole party. It sucks.**

Fighting the last boss is tricky. First of all, it can kill the whole party in one round depending on the attacks it does. Magic protection is important here. Anyway, we figured out that it has shield which reduces damage done to it. When the shield went down, thatís when we unleashed all of the best spells, praying that nothing would explode. This was about the 8th try, and thankfully, it worked. But, while part of the boss was dead, two heads remained. Several members of the party died shortly after to successive magical attacks. By the time that one of the two heads died, two Squirrels remained and the hero, with no healing magic left. Matt began attacking, with fingers crossed. He hits for a few hundred, a squirrel goes down. He hits for a few more, and then the Hero goes down. We thought we were doomed. He looked at his options again in desperation, but, with the squirrel at about 100 HP, there really was nothing left to do, other than attack.

And what an attack it was! Mokumoku gets a critical for about 200 damage, killing the last boss. It was amazing. We couldnít believe it. We laughed, we cheered, we cried......well, not really. We cheered, though.

Sorry about being so late with, Andrew. Oh yeah, one more thing.

Question: What do you think of The Two Towers?

- Mike White

Andrew:
I was baffled by the appearance of those squirrels in Suikoden 2. I mean, they were huge, slightly creepy looking, and reeked of weirdness. So of course I got all of them. Granted, I never used them, figuring theyíd be more useful at the castle as a tourist attraction, but I was still glad that all the squirrels of lore were happily flying about my war base. Great heroic story, though. Your friend is either insane, or very brave, to end a war using nothing but creatures whoís only saving grace is the ability to blow themselves up randomly.

I found Two Towers to be a well written war movie with clever scenes, genuinely funny moments, and a brisk plot that kept me awake for the all of the long film.

Sadly, my experience was greatly marred, because I was sitting next to an obnoxious family. No, the kids of said family were well behaved. However, the parents must have seen the Two Towers thirty times before, because right before something interesting happened, the father would proudly proclaim what would happen, how it differed from the book, and why it was better or worse.

Finally we exchanged words, in which I found he was an arrogant snob and his children learned new words from me that will doubtlessly impress their schoolmates.

So, in short, I only really ďwatchedĒ the last hour or so. >_<

 
Defending fun for everyone!

like Project FUN. Though all of the Step-By-Step projects are arcade games (Pong, Frogger, etc.), probably so that users don't get frustrated with a long project, I see no reason why someone with sufficient skill could not make an RPG. This is the same software that Digipen students use and they've made some awesome stuff (including at least one RPG). You are not required to stick to the step-by-step projects so you could do a game of your own.

-Buttercup

Andrew:
So there you go. If you want to create an RPG, Project FUN isnít the best idea. If however, you want to create crappy knock offs of all your favorite games from the 80s, this would be your ideal engine. As long as you can shell out $30 bucks, as opposed to all the free engines out there.

 
Anime ripoffs.

Alright, I had some free time so I'd figured I'd drop a line-

To be completely off topic- What are your views on Anime suddenly becoming 'THE THING' entertainment wise? Cartoon Network is slowly digesting some of the Grandest licences of all(Gundam, Inu Yasha, Dragon Ball, Trigun, Yu Yu Hakusho..just to name a few) and before you start in about DBZ sucks and whatnot, I'm talking about known and famous series, both in Japan and out.

Tech TV has a lineup consisting of Crest of the Stars, Lain, and Silent Mobius(Among others)

And hell, ADV is already test marketing an All Anime channel!
< br> I've been an Anime Fan for years(You can blame Voltron and Robotech for that) and am a little scared at the sudden publicity that the 'Scene'(so to speak) is getting. Not that there's anything wrong with it, just wanted your opinions on it.

Now, for something On-Topic-

What's your view on the 'Japan Only' Extras that Square seems to be releasing Now-A-Days? FFX International, Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix...It almost feels like the US is being treated as some sort of Beta Tester so that other people can get the 'Full' Game. Personally, I'd rather wait an Extra Six months to get all this Extra content then get the game early and stew as everyone else gets stuff I won't.

Andrew:
I see the influx of anime as a change for the better. America is glutted with shows thatís only aim is to last a long as possible before theyíre forced off the air. A good deal of the anime I watch is set at a certain number of episodes, usually 26, and thatís it. This makes for a very fulfilling story, with the exception of Hellsing, which left me with 0_o? S

So far, the majority of the anime to come here has been kidís shows with no ending, but I canít wait to start seeing more high quality anime that only last a season or two coming to our shores.

Frankly, I could care less about Japanese only extras, if only because I canít do anything about it, and the changes are usually less then world-shaking. Not to mention the Japanese buy the same version we all do, and then the diehards have the chance to grab the extras version a few months later.



Quickies

I didn't like Terra. Square did very little to endear her to me. Boohooboohoo, I don't understand what love is. Try looking around, buttwipe, it's all over. I mean, geez. Stop whining already.

-Bean

Iím sure a female reader named Bean has NO TROUBLE finding love all around her. Boohoo.

How do I get my horse to jump over crevasses?

Spurs. Big, pointy, JAGGED, spurs.

how can i get ff9 kuga theme music

Thereís no one in Final Fantasy 9 named Kuga, you retarded pile of monkey feces. If you mean Kuja, and I donít know how you could mix that up, just find a part where he appears in the game, and pause. Instant Kuja theme music.

Hey I beat Baldur's Gate: DArk Alliance a while ago and I was wondering if there was going to be a sequel for it. The end just leaves you hangin.

-Ryan Hicks

Probably. Probably NOT. Why would any company want to cash in on the success of the Baldurís Gate series?

The Final Grumble:

Itís 5 in the morning. Do you know where your Q&A host is?

Andrew "Tasty" Duff

My hair can turn into bullets. Aren't I special.

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