#633 - No Game No Life

#633 - No Game No Life

Alternate Title: All According to Keikaku

Man, this fight’s taking a while! Anyone else getting a little tired of it? I feel like the pacing of this section’s been a little off, but hey! You read Ian’s early stuff and Hero’s still saying things like “Forsooth m’lady!” so I get some leeway here. ;)

Also is it just me or has it felt like way longer than a week since the last update?Time has slowed to a crawwlllll. And yet we’re already in March. But! I’m going part-time soon so maybe I’ll have some breathing room soon.

Finally, did you guys check out the FF7 Remake demo yet?? I didn’t. I waited 20 years for the remake, I can wait another month. I’m playing the whole thing straight. I cannot tell you guys how surreal it is to finally be about to play something I’ve literally fantasized about for TWENTY YEARS.

It’s gonna be great.

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3.4.2020, 3:19 AM
Lots of things to comment on.

Pacing: 'Comic book time' is expected. It's an issue that any storytelling webcomic has to deal with. (I think Marvel is currently using a '4 year irl = 1 year in comic. And freefall has covered only a month or so, through its roughly 3400 comics to date)
In my mind, pacing, as a reader, is best measured by how it feels reading through the comic once released, rather than the feel of the release schedule pace.
Pacing, as a writer, can measure it in other ways, though. Eg. 'At this rate, how long will it take to get to the cool things I want to show.' And/or 'What do I need to make sure is covered before moving on' And/or 'Is there risk of me running out of material before I run to the length I'm aiming for'
-- For me, the fight hasn't dragged on overlong, yet.

FF7 Remake demo: Heard it was there, decided to download it. (An hours long process with the net in my area.) I should be able to try it out tomorrow evening. It should do a good job of raising hype, and therefore the opening weeks sales, just like the corresponding demo disk was years ago.
That said, I reserve judgment on the remake until I get about 3/4 through. The story will need adjustments to make it work as part 1 of a series; and how those are handled, and how they handle modernizing in general, will greatly impact how I feel about it.
That said, I'm cautiously optimistic about it, given the care I've seen in what has been shown off already.

Comic content: Medic! That's too close a call for comfort. With the odds, I was looking for 5-7% hp remaining, with the death percent coming from the enemy's crit chance. This looks like under 2% remaining. Better hope that one of them has a healing limit break, or that the LB burst is enough to take out all remaining enemies, and that they don't have a final counterattack. I don't think they can take even a minion rat scratch at this point.

Also: was it a multi hit attack? Or does this game use rolling HP bars like Earthbound? (Quick, finish the enemy before we roll to 0!)
3.4.2020, 7:54 AM
3.4.2020, 8:19 AM
To be fair, Freefall may have been going for a long time, but it is a three-panel, gag-based comic that tossed itself into a long and serious storyline, like a lot of webcomics do.

And they did go through another two-and-a-half weeks fairly recently! It was a timeskip while they prepared their ship for a space flight. They are currently in space en route to their destination.
3.4.2020, 8:51 AM
Oh jeez. I have a hard enough time with 6 panels (the agreed upon amount for Atari-- any more is him being nice). I can't imagine 3.
3.4.2020, 9:06 AM
It does depend a lot on what kind of story you are telling. :)

The action sequences, establishing shots, and the type of conversation used in this comic would be difficult to fit into 3 panels.
3.4.2020, 10:14 AM
Ian the Great
I love the last panel so much. Reka doesn't get enough love as a goddamn genius, and I'm loving her in the role of team leader. It's a wonderful comparison to Hero fighting a door.

As to pacing, I agree completely with Retnuh above. It's all about how it feels when you read it all together, rather than the amount of time that passes IRL. Order of the stick is a great example of that. That comic comes out at a snail's pace, and you're like, "They're still fighting dwarven vampires?" but when you read it all together it is way more cohesive. Honestly, the webcomic format of reading a story one page at a time is truly bizarre. Imagine reading Harry Potter at one page a week. You're doing great. This is your first OC setting since taking over the story and I love it so far. All according to keikaku.
3.4.2020, 11:35 AM
😭 You guys are wonderful

I'm glad people are enjoying some time for Reka to shine.

Some people have told me it was way too early for Reka to come back.

(Including myself.)

But you know what? It's been 15 goddamn years and it's my fan revival and I'll do what I want. 😂
3.4.2020, 12:01 PM
*sees last panel*
*Sees strip title*
*Sees alternate title*

Screw it; I'm still dubbing Reka "The Villainess in Glasses" because Season 3 was announced back in January. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, select your streaming service of choice because you've got homework. That homework's name is "Log Horizon".

Oh, and as for the FFVII remake, hope you all have fun, but I'm that oddball who:

1) Doesn't have a PS4
2) Was never too fond of FFVII in the first place.

Yes, I'm reading a fan continuation of a webcomic parodying FFVII even though I never could get into FFVII. XD
3.4.2020, 12:24 PM
I tried to like Log Horizon but I couldn't get into it 😟

I bought a PS4 just for the FF7 Remake :|
3.4.2020, 1:46 PM
Sounds like me and FFVII. XD I confess, I'm curious how far you made it into Log Horizon and if it was something specific that prevented you from enjoying it.

Fair's fair though; with Final Fantasy VII I know I didn't get far enough to give it a proper evaluation way back in the day. By now, though, things have been spoiled and I have learned enough about the gameplay that - for the original - it still doesn't hold a lot of appeal. At least, not enough for me to actually buy it. XD

If I already has a PS4, even I'd be trying the demo for the remake. ;) I'm also still happy for those who have been waiting so long. :D Oh, and I wonder if the reverse was true for you: I have never played an MMORPG but FFVII released after I'd played at least half a dozen JRPGs... completing or at least beating some of them. I wonder how much FFVI colored my opinion of FFVII, and if I'd have found Log Horizon less enjoyable if I didn't need all the explanations for game mechanics. XP
3.5.2020, 9:20 AM
Ian the Great
I don't want to yuck anyone's yum on the new FF7 remake, but I'm waiting for the reviews before I jump in on it. Knowing that it's a full price game just for the Midgard section of the original makes me wary. FF6 was the best, too. It's one of the only stories I can think of that threatens apocalypse, then there is an apocalypse, then the story keeps going. Super cool.
3.5.2020, 10:09 AM
Presumably each installment of each FF7R is the length of Final Fantasy 13. Which is solid.

But everything looks perfect so I'm going to love it no matter what
3.5.2020, 3:23 AM
Blue_Elite (Guest)
Good ol' comeback mechanics. Incidentally, as a bit of trivia, the idea of a limit break (take damage to get access to a special move) in video games appeared years before FF7 with Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals but the mechanic was popularized (and the name coined) by FF7.

I haven't felt like the boss battle has been a crawl yet. It's not like Hyper Mecha Rat King is getting a new form every time the wind gets knocked out of him (*cough**Frieza**cough*). It's just one of those boss fights where you have to be methodical about taking them down a bit at a time. You can tell progress is being made!

I'm one of those people that acknowledge having a backlog of games to play and doesn't play new ones until those are done. I'll probably just watch a professional LP about 2 years from release when most/all the secrets and mechanics have been explored and I can get some good commentary about the game.
3.5.2020, 7:29 AM
Oh hey, I remember Lufia II. I played that way back in the day. I don't remember much about it but I do remember really enjoying it.
3.5.2020, 11:56 PM
That comment about your backlog is admirable.

I tend to latch onto a single game for a while, and then have a season with either a burst of different (often shorter) games before landing on a new (/old) game. Mix in other hobbies (musical composition) and watching speedgaming videos, as well as the occasional long, deep conversations with peers. -- My burst periods has resulted in a decent library of games that are barely started... but I've also got the discretionary income to be willing to buy a game just because I like what the publisher is doing in general. (I also definitely like revisiting some classics from time to time, so most of those will eventually see some play time)
3.5.2020, 12:10 PM
Bin (Guest)
Gendo totally would use Shinji like this
3.6.2020, 1:27 AM
Feedback from the FFVII demo, after playing through it twice. (Once with the 'normal' mode, once with the 'classic' mode)

Graphics seem solid, and play feels decent. The redesigned area layouts for the the descent into the reactor gives it a nice 'size' feeling to it. Definitely feels bigger than the original, without being overlong. (a problem I had with some of the KH3 worlds) I expect other areas to receive a similar treatment, and am looking forward to those.

The use of the music is... interesting. There's no more battle scene transitions, and the music doesn't switch in and out of music for combat, which means that they've reused/remixed some of the battle tracks for the background of the areas. This seems to work for the higher pace/intensity of the opening sequence, but I'm not sure how that will play out in some other areas of the game... We'll see. - I do think that the reactor theme loses some of its punch with this rendition though.

The banter, both in battle, and while moving through the world, gives a nice bit of characterization, without detracting from the action. - I think this will be used to very good effect. On the other hand, Barret's physical/vocal portrayal in non-combat sequences feels, to me, like he's overselling it. Cloud is Cloud through this... and I don't know that Barret's counter reaction would really go that way for someone starting with that intensity and over-the-top-ness. I suspect that this is only this way in this opening sequences, to establish his character, and that it will become more natural as the game progresses. (Based on his character arc in the original game)

The menus shown off in the demo didn't include the equipment/materia screens, but I'm fairly confident those will be making a return. - The materia system (both the use of blue materia, and how using different materia in different ways affected your stats) was one of my favorite parts in the original game... so aspect is a wait and see.

Fight length/difficulty seems to be tuned about right. The blend of live action combos, and ATB for skill/magic/item use, seems to be an interesting take on the system. A straight berserker approach will see you taking a lot more damage, leading to you needing to use more of your ATB Cycles for necessary healing, rather than attack actions/magic, but at the same time, the ATB doesn't really charge without using your regular attacks, so you can't really play for full defense either. You will want to learn the enemy to take advantage of their attack patterns, and when to defend/dodge/leave their range, which is a good thing.

For Normal mode: Most combats against infantry are about as quick as you'd expect for a guy with as big a sword as Cloud is carrying. For these fights, having 4 actions as bound key combinations is nice. No need for slowing the pace to use the weapon skills. - However, with this mode, the fights against the heavier defensive mechs felt a little on the long side. (probably because I'm not tuned to the defensive/aggressive flow of the battles yet) I found the ability to pull up the ATB menu as a helpful way to manage some of the chaos... though I also got annoyed by using it accidentally, or when the ATB wasn't charged yet... Those should improve with familiarity with the controls.

For Classic mode: I liked this quite a bit. - The big mech/boss fights flowed very well, and I was definitely able to make more effective and tactical use of my ATBs, given the autopilot handling the distancing/attack/block dance. I was also better able to actually listen to and enjoy the fight banter much more on this mode. (Even if I heard less of it overall, due to the fight finishing significantly quicker, due to actually being able to get the stagger at a much better pace, due to better ATB usage.)

On the other hand... the classic mode is a bit overlong to start the autopilot of the fights. You can expect to take a round of hits from the enemy before that kicks in. Thankfully, the game is kind enough to count the damage for those under the 'blocking' state, despite the character model not actually blocking yet. - It puts a bit of pressure against the immersive experience, but probably was the correct design decision if they are going to have it take that long to take over. (I severely hope this will be configurable, or at least shortened, with the official release) This does, however, bring us to another interesting design decision they made. You can take over for the AI in classic mode at any point, and play it as if using the normal mode, which means that if that pickup time is getting annoying for the small/quick fights, you can simply take over driving, and have those battles done 2-3 seconds faster, purely due to actually attacking when the enemy appears.

One final note, regarding a small change to the story: (spoiler warning) They added 2 small scenes at Shinra HQ. I think those cutscenes weakens the effectiveness of Avalanche a bit, but probably also increases the 'rightness' of their cause. It isn't really a change I was looking for. (I'd consider the scenes have some unfortunate implications, though I do think they are in character for the organization, as revealed throughout the rest of the original game, and suspect that having those there probably lends more credence to them as the villain of this arc, while showing the heroes in a better light.) -- This is a 'Wait and see' for how they develop it through the rest of the game.
3.6.2020, 5:33 PM
Ian the Great
Interesting take. Thanks for the update. One month til launch!
3.6.2020, 8:50 PM
This looks comprehensive but please forgive me if I don't read to go in blind!
3.7.2020, 12:33 PM
3.7.2020, 3:20 PM
Shelley (Guest)
Just found this today after randomly wondering to myself "Hey, whatever happened to RPGWorld?" and binged through all the available comics to date. When you read it that way, pacing isn't an issue at all!

So happy that someone else has taken on the challenge of continuing the comic, it was definitely my favorite from the early 2000s.
3.7.2020, 9:03 PM
Oh yay!! I'm glad you enjoyed! I love it when old readers stumble across us!

Glad to have you on board, and consider joining our Discord! Somewhere between "a lot of nonsense" and "nothing at all" happens in there.
3.10.2020, 4:36 PM
Casanova (Guest)
Looks like Reka found her inner Gendo.
3.17.2020, 12:57 PM
Rich Burlew, creator of Order of the Stick had a public Q&A on his patreon recently. I think his response to question 30 is something that could be a useful perspective for anyone creating stories.
3.17.2020, 2:51 PM
Now I gotta set a reminder to go look
3.17.2020, 3:05 PM
That text is a link to it... but the styles on the page here currently shows links as Normal text.
3.17.2020, 10:24 PM
Note to self: make website actually functional
3.17.2020, 10:27 PM
Interesting read, thank you!
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