Nathan Karr wrote:
You hit the monster with the Sleep spell and maybe it shows a number, but unlike your player characters getting icons next to their HP indicators, icons don't appear on the enemies. And unless you want to program transmogrifications as counterattacks for every individual when hit with every single status move you have, their sprites or palettes won't change either.
One thing I've seen OHRRPGCE game creators do is to use the "show attack name" bit for attacks to implement their own indicators for status effects and stat buffs, like the ubiquitous "(^) Str" message in Sword of Jade (please don't take this as a slam on that game; I love Sword of Jade, and in a way, I find it kind of intimidating that someone managed to create something with the depth and the scope Sword of Jade has with a version of the OHRRPGCE from over a decade ago. I've been messing around with some gimmicks to use in battles in an OHRRPGCE game, like having spells that summon elemental familiars that enhance the power of spells of a specific element (the summoning spell sets a bit, all elemental spells check whether the bit for their elemental has been set, and if it has, instead-chain to a more powerful version of the spell, and there's an after-battle script that clears all the "summoned elemental" bits, so the enhancement doesn't carry over to the next battle,) and the exact same "Mute as a barrier status that protects you from certain attacks instead of stopping you using certain attacks" idea that Nathan mentioned. When I first thought of these ideas, I thought they were pretty special, but since finding and playing Sword of Jade, I've felt like if I'm going to try making an OHRRPGCE game, I really need to go back to the drawing board and come up with some sort of unique high concept that will inform the design throughout every aspect of the game.)
However, as much as the "show attack name" bit can come in handy, there's a pretty harsh limit to what you can do with it. All you can get is a number followed by up to 10 letters, and players can easily lose track of those messages among all the small white bits of text that pop up for a moment, especially when spread attacks are being thrown around.
In Live a Live (a game that might hold the title of the strangest name for any classic SNES-era RPG,) there's a system where anytime a status condition, stat buff, or debuff is inflicted on a character, an icon pops up over them to indicate it. There are some attacks that debuff several stats at once, so sometimes several of these indicators can pop up for the same attack, like this.
I think it might be good if the OHRRPGCE had something similar: for each status condition, you could select an attack animation that would appear over a character when that status condition is inflicted on them (regardless of which attack inflicted it,) and then select another attack image to appear over them when it wears off or is cured.
Here's another idea: in Final Fantasy 7, some status effects were indicated by altering the colors of the characters' models; they would flash green if they were poisoned, or flash black if they were blinded. Since some transparency effects were recently implemented in OHRRPGCE, we could do something similar: take the silhouette of a hero or enemy's sprite, color it in with a green color with a low alpha, and overlay it onto their sprite, so it looks like they've turned green. Then, in the "General Game Settings/Battle System" menu, next to the option to select a font character to represent each status effect, there could also be an option to select a color for each one.
Unfortunately, this could only work for one status effect at a time, so we'd need to either have it only work for the most recent status effect to be inflicted on a character, or have some sort of priority list to decide which color to display if someone's afflicted by more than one status effect. (If there's a priority list, I think it should be customizable, not least of all because people will find ways to make status conditions do very different things from what they were originally intended to do. In this very thread, we've got people talking about making Mute into a beneficial condition, which means it probably wouldn't be a high priority to warn the player about Mute being inflicted on their characters....)
Here's an idea that just came to mind -- how about having the option for any active status effect icons to show up in place of the default big flashing down arrow that appears when targeting an enemy?
Heck, that arrow is pretty big so you'd probably even have room for two rows of status icons. Default to poison/stun top row, mute/regen bottom row? And then when (if) new statuses become possible, you could customize which row they appear on. Being single-font-character sized means you'd have a lot of room that way -- if each row can be as long as the enemy name's text string, you could have up to 32 icons hovering over an enemy at a time before you run out of space this way.
This is a great idea as well!
"It was right through those trees; I'm not insane
That's where the fin tried to drag me in
Don't look at me, look at where I'm pointing
Close your eyes, see what I see, Canajoharie..."
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