[hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08 2016 5:23am
by greyskies
Shining Force 2 has been one of the defining games of my childhood, and from the moment when I first stumbled upon the Caravan and the SF2 Editor I was obsessed with creating a hack that would bring the game closer to my vision of how it should have always been. I started working on this thing sometime in 2011, and would continue to tinker with it every other year, after having one of my regular cravings for tactical RPGs.

I finally think that this hack has reached a state which I would consider more or less finished, and so I figured I'd make it available for download for anyone who feels it has been far too long since their last Return to Grans. ;)



IN A NUTSHELL

Return to Grans is a more challenging version of the original game, which also features a better narrative as well as improved visuals.

- Dialogues in the game have been vastly reworked - about 40% of all text passages have been altered, replacing the oftentimes bland writing of the original.
- Many of the less appealing graphics in vanilla SF2 have been improved/replaced, such as the battle sprites of the Vicars or the Archers.
- Difficulty and balance have been reworked by tweaking enemies' stats, skills and numbers on the battlefield. Battles will usually appear familiar due to mostly the same enemies and setups, but will often play out quite differently thanks to new abilities, magic spells and some surprises.

Gameplay-wise, the hack will require you to play more tactical; careful positioning and a well-thought-out composition of your party are far more important than in the original game.


This hack comes in two flavors:

SF2 - Return to Grans is the complete version, as described above.

SF2 - Retold features only the improved dialogues and visuals, while the gameplay remains untouched, i.e. you will be playing original Shining Force 2 with all its flaws, but it will look prettier.

I am also in the process of uploading my most recent playthrough on Youtube.



QUICK OVERVIEW

If you are interested in a more detailed overview of the changes, I have compiled an extensive pdf-guide on the hack, which can be found among the links below.

WARNING: SPOILER!



SCREENSHOTS

WARNING: SPOILER!




DOWNLOAD LINKS

Download SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS
the complete hack (.ips file)
latest version: 1.030

Download SF2 - RETOLD
Improved story & art, original gameplay (.ips file)
latest version: 1.025

View the GUIDE
it's fancy with colors and stuff (.pdf file)
latest version: 1.3


Version changes:

WARNING: SPOILER!



INSTALLATION GUIDE

WARNING: SPOILER!




If you have any problems with downloading, or encounter any bugs while playing, please send me a PM.
I hope you enjoy playing!

~greyskies

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08 2016 3:38pm
by Shining Hopeful
Hello, why is the game file so small ? The story one is 1.3MB but the hack is 1.4K.

I don't see how that can be right ?

Other than that question this sounds very exciting, sorry to start with a quibble.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08 2016 4:22pm
by greyskies
Hey there,
no problem at all.

The file is so small because it's not a full ROM, but rather a patch.

Offering the complete ROM for download would violate the forum rules, so what you'll have to do is get the ROM elsewhere (which is, to the best of my knowledge, not illegal as long as you own the original game) and download the hack/patch here.
Afterwards you'll have to use an IPS patcher to merge them both together, so to speak.

I'll have to admit that I am a bit uncertain on whether any version of the ROM available will work with the patch I am offering for download, so if there's any questions in this regard, just contact me.


And just so there's no confusion, the "story hack" (SF2 - Retold) and the "full hack" (SF2 - Return to Grans) are both standalone patches, so to say.
SF2 - Return to Grans is the full version;
SF2 - Retold is only the dialogue changes, for those who want the revamped story, but no tougher battles and fancier graphics.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08 2016 11:30pm
by DiegoMM
Very interesting!
I like some or recolors and new sprites.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09 2016 4:53pm
by Shining Hopeful
No,no, I get it's a patch. I know all the rules on ROMs, and agree with them.

But I don't get how a patch that is 1.4 kb has that many changes, yet the story mode is 1.3MB.

A patch of 1.4 Kb would change almost nothing, are you sure you've got it right ?

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09 2016 6:28pm
by Wiz
Clearly, there's an incredible amount of passion in this work. :shock:

Thank you so much for this ! :damnit:

I won't have enough free time to play it all through the end at the moment, but I'll definitely give it a try. :)µ


EDIT :
The Retold patch seems to work like a charm.
But I'm afraid the Return to Grans patch is incomplete : the patched ROM is only 2MB with no script changes and no graphical changes, at the least.
From what I can see into the patch, it only changes :
- Parts of the Item Definitions (1 modification from 0x171FE to 0x17203)
- Spell Definitions (3 modifications from 0x17897 to 0x178A7)
- Pointers to Character stats pointer table and starting data (0x1EE008, 0x1EE00C)
- Character stats pointers (from 0x1EE28B to 0x1EE2E7)
- And actual stats (0x1EE45B to 0x1EE94B)
Hope this helps !

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10 2016 8:13am
by greyskies
Oh, I'm sorry, I completely misunderstood the problem (and truth be told, I have no idea how it occurred). I have uploaded an updated version, so I hope all is good now. Thanks a lot for notifying me of this error, Shining Hopeful and Wiz!

Wiz wrote:I won't have enough free time to play it all through the end at the moment, but I'll definitely give it a try. :)µ

When you do, I'd be happy if you could provide feedback, in particular on the difficulty in the second half of the game. I feel it's always a fine line between challenge and frustration, and I hope I managed to get it right :)

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10 2016 3:47pm
by Shining Hopeful
Glad to help. And on the question of balancing difficulty, I really do get it. I did a hack of Shining Force (Enemies of Greater Intent, plug, plug) and the longest thing by far was play-testing it for difficulty. And my hack did not involve a new story at all; can't imagine what you suffered!

How that the new patch is up I will download it and have a go at some point.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10 2016 9:39pm
by Wiz
Just some quick feedback :

It works on real hardware, woohoo ! :)

There's something wrong with the 2nd and 4th intro cutscenes, with the king : the castle map is all black and the guard walks up invisible stairs :excited:
But the storm light effect works, so the map is properly loaded. Could it be a palette problem ?
Oddly enough, the Retold hack also has this tiny bug.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11 2016 3:50am
by Stordarth
Wiz wrote:Just some quick feedback :

It works on real hardware, woohoo ! :)

There's something wrong with the 2nd and 4th intro cutscenes, with the king : the castle map is all black and the guard walks up invisible stairs :excited:
But the storm light effect works, so the map is properly loaded. Could it be a palette problem ?
Oddly enough, the Retold hack also has this tiny bug.


Definitely sounds like it. Ran into that issue before. Should simply be a case of editing the default palette back in.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11 2016 10:52am
by greyskies
Shining Hopeful wrote:Glad to help. And on the question of balancing difficulty, I really do get it. I did a hack of Shining Force (Enemies of Greater Intent, plug, plug) and the longest thing by far was play-testing it for difficulty. And my hack did not involve a new story at all; can't imagine what you suffered!

How that the new patch is up I will download it and have a go at some point.


Oh, now I feel really stupid for giving the newbie explanation after I misunderstood your first comment :)
Tell you what, I'm on vacation in Japan in a few weeks, and I'll be in for a 12 hours flight. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to marathon a SF hack ;)

Yeah, at times it was cumbersome with all the text changes, in particular because if you expand them beyond their intended length, there's a chance that cutscenes dialogue gets messed up... and there's still a few very minor issues with the formatting, but at some point I just decided that I'd rather live with it than risk messing up the hack...


Wiz wrote:There's something wrong with the 2nd and 4th intro cutscenes, with the king : the castle map is all black and the guard walks up invisible stairs :excited:


... which seems happened at some point anyway - thanks for notifying me of the bug with the intro, Wiz! Changing it was literally one of the last things I did, and frankly, I wondered whether anyone would actually watch it :)

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12 2016 8:13pm
by ch4zzyklon
Hey man, I'm probably a little bit late, but I have a question. Did you change the ending? I want to know how this unfolds before downloading the patch. Does Sarah end up with Bowie or something?

Thanks beforehand!

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22 2016 3:44am
by igable
I will have to try this. I was reading the PDF you made. I have two questions, does Bowie still learn Bolt 4? Also I read you changed some stats. One being Bowie, how much lower did you make his DEF? I mean can he be 2HKO now by the late creatures? Or just don't leave him alone to take on like 3 guys?

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23 2016 9:57pm
by Sniper Lyle
For me the story/writing in SF2 is really dull and probably the biggest obstacle to playing new hacks of the game, so I'm interested in seeing what you've done with it here.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Oct 06 2016 1:13pm
by greyskies
Hey guys, sorry for the late answer. It's been a while since I've checked the forum :)

ch4zzyklon wrote:Hey man, I'm probably a little bit late, but I have a question. Did you change the ending? I want to know how this unfolds before downloading the patch. Does Sarah end up with Bowie or something?


It depends on your definition of "change". The ending is one of the more heavily edited things in this hack, but by this I mean that a lot of the dialogue has changed. So, no, (spoiler alert) it's still BowiexElis. What you can expect when playing this hack is that this romance does no longer feel forced (at least not to the extent of vanilla SF2).


igable wrote:I will have to try this. I was reading the PDF you made. I have two questions, does Bowie still learn Bolt 4? Also I read you changed some stats. One being Bowie, how much lower did you make his DEF? I mean can he be 2HKO now by the late creatures? Or just don't leave him alone to take on like 3 guys?


It's been a while since I finished this project, so I'll have to admit that I can't answer you with 100% confidence, but I believe this to be true:
Bowie will still learn Bolt 4, albeit close to his maximum level (which he will reach more easily). I can't really say how high his Defense will be, but it's probably about en par with PLDNs. I don't think that 2HKOs are likely, but probably possible, if it's two particularly powerful enemies. Then again, you mustn't forget that this hack also makes the game more difficult. Long story short: compared to the rest of the force, Bowie is still relatively sturdy, but he's no longer a tank.


Sniper Lyle wrote:For me the story/writing in SF2 is really dull and probably the biggest obstacle to playing new hacks of the game, so I'm interested in seeing what you've done with it here.


Let me know if you've enjoyed it :)

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12 2016 7:54pm
by DiegoMM
Today I started a playtrhough of your hack and its amazing. :excited: :excited: :excited:

Very fun!

You put a lot of efforts in it and I apreciate discovering all the littles details you changed.

I like the new color of Astral portrait, the little jokes as in the soapy water part or the references from lord of the rings and game of thrones.

All the texts are really well written, you did magic to create a more immersive experience with so little space to work on.

Im playing in super and loving the difficult. I was surprised to see slade being useful in his first battle.

Congratulations for the wonderful work.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14 2016 9:15am
by greyskies
Hi DiegoMM, thanks a lot for your kind words! I'm very happy to hear that you're enjoying my hack.

I hope your journey remains challenging and interesting, and I'd appreciate your feedback on the balancing :)

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03 2016 2:20pm
by Flaming Manakin
I don't post here much at all any more, but just wanted to write to say thanks for this. The tweaks you've made to the original game are many of the same ones I also feel I would have made. Not started playing yet but really looking forwards to it!

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sun Dec 04 2016 1:34am
by DiegoMM
Im in moun battle now.

Playing in super was a mistake, every enemy is overoverpowered, but I know that is not mean to be in this dificult. When lesser demons started to show up, they could kill anyone with 1 attack, the same for the cerberus now. So, for not overgrind I decided to cheat, so I boosted the protect ring and gave one for every member lol

Im still enjoying all the changes, I see the game is very balanced (if was not my dificult choice) and the dialogue is superb ( I laugh with the luke joke in pacalon). The graphics change is very good too, it encourages me to use vicars, clerics, pegasus knight and berserker.

I dont know if it was fault of the super dificult but I think all the paladins are too weak, they barely can do damage to enemies that others force members can kill in the same level.

I noticed a little mistake in karna cleric walking sprite when she is in left/right position.

If I found something new Ill post

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sun Dec 04 2016 12:44pm
by greyskies
Playing in super was a mistake, every enemy is overoverpowered, but I know that is not mean to be in this dificult. When lesser demons started to show up, they could kill anyone with 1 attack, the same for the cerberus now. So, for not overgrind I decided to cheat, so I boosted the protect ring and gave one for every member lol

Yeah... the 25% attack boost makes super really uncomfortably difficult. If I knew how to do it, I would have reduced the boost to 10% or something. As it stands, I could only issue a warning :)


Im still enjoying all the changes, I see the game is very balanced (if was not my dificult choice) and the dialogue is superb ( I laugh with the luke joke in pacalon). The graphics change is very good too, it encourages me to use vicars, clerics, pegasus knight and berserker.

Thanks a lot! I put a lot of effort into the dialogue in particular.


DiegoMM wrote:I dont know if it was fault of the super dificult but I think all the paladins are too weak, they barely can do damage to enemies that others force members can kill in the same level.

Are you using Rick or Eric? Because I believe that I didn't really nerf the Paladins in general, but I normalized their attack around Chester's level (and if I recall correctly, he is noticeably inferior to the other centaurs in vanilla). They should however be slightly tougher and have a larger HP than in the original game, as I intended them to be used as light tanks (not as tough as Barons and Berserkers, but more agile).


DiegoMM wrote:I noticed a little mistake in karna cleric walking sprite when she is in left/right position.

I'll look into that! Thanks!


Flaming Manakin wrote:I don't post here much at all any more, but just wanted to write to say thanks for this. The tweaks you've made to the original game are many of the same ones I also feel I would have made. Not started playing yet but really looking forwards to it!

Thanks, I hope you'll enjoy it!

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11 2016 12:23am
by DiegoMM
just defeated the red baron.

The dialogue in dwarf town is very good, I noticed you add a shop there right? I dont remember a item shop in middle of town.

I have some questions/suggestions
1 - Why you didnt change the dark sol, dark dragon/lucifer dialogue? You prefer the english version of this story?
2 - Why you didnt correct the jar enemy with the proper name of Jaro?
3 - I see you are using the poison percent patch in this hack, that is great, but you could use the 3-digit hack and search in battle fix too, I miss those.
4- Did you change some music?

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12 2016 1:44am
by greyskies
DiegoMM wrote:I noticed you add a shop there right? I dont remember a item shop in middle of town.


I don't think I added the shop... there were only two places where I wanted to add an item shop, which are in the Desktop Kingdom and on the ship after reaching Parmecia, but neither worked out.
As far as I remember, there always was an items dealer in the Dwarven Town, wasn't there?


DiegoMM wrote:Why you didnt change the dark sol, dark dragon/lucifer dialogue? You prefer the english version of this story?


Actually, I wasn't aware that there was an alternate version of the lore. I just checked on it. If I ever make an update of Return to Grans, I'll probably change it!


DiegoMM wrote:Why you didnt correct the jar enemy with the proper name of Jaro?


I believe that it messed up some other stuff for some reason, without me knowing why or what to do about it. So I just left it as it was.


DiegoMM wrote:I see you are using the poison percent patch in this hack, that is great, but you could use the 3-digit hack and search in battle fix too, I miss those.


Personally, I prefer the regular "???"-way of displaying 3-digit stats, because I think it looks more special, and in Return to Grans its a rare thing to have stats exceed 99 anyway.
[EDIT: except for enemies, I guess. I only thought about party members. It's useful alright. But I still like the "???"-style better :D ]
When it comes to the search in battle option, I made sure that the Life Ring can be found by normal means, and for all other intents and purposes I feel that its just a gimmick.
So... no additional hacks, I'm afraid. Sorry.

I'd encourage you to simply patch your version of Return to Grans if the battlesearch and the 3-digit-hack are your thing, but I guess the fact that you're asking me to add those hacks is that you probably tried that and it messed up stuff.
Well, thing is that I pretty much know jack about 'really' hacking the ROM, all I had is the editors and a lot of determination. So I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to do anything anyway :/


DiegoMM wrote:Did you change some music?


I believe I changed the music for one or two areas for which I thought that another track would be more fitting (although I can't recall which ones... I think one was at Creed's? I don't remember). But there are no custom tracks.


DiegoMM wrote:just defeated the red baron.


Seems like you're closing in on the finish. Good luck :)

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06 2017 10:25pm
by Di.H
Oh, hi there.
I really like the idea and realization! If you do not mind, could you add another upgrade?
Always thought that a one promotion is not enough and this idea will fit perfectly into your concepts. Of course, if this is interesting you and it is possible to do, I can try to make battle sprites and faces.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21 2017 7:34pm
by Oppolo
I haven't played SF2 for many years, but will give this a go now for a replay because it sounds like a fun experience! Thank you for creating it.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23 2017 12:33pm
by greyskies
Di.H wrote:Oh, hi there.
I really like the idea and realization! If you do not mind, could you add another upgrade?
Always thought that a one promotion is not enough and this idea will fit perfectly into your concepts. Of course, if this is interesting you and it is possible to do, I can try to make battle sprites and faces.

I agree that it would be cool to have multiple promotions per character, but there's only so much you can do with the basic structure of SF2. I think that it's not really possible to add new classes which aren't just a variation of something that already exists within the game - for example, if we could give Bowie an alternative to his HERO promotion, we could make him a mage or an archer, but there's already other characters for this role.

If it was possible to for example add new magic spells to the game, I would want to take a look at adding new promotions, but as it stands I feel it wouldn't improve the experience of the game. Also, I'm not sure if it would even be possible to add new promotion paths without taking away those of an already existing class.

Oppolo wrote:I haven't played SF2 for many years, but will give this a go now for a replay because it sounds like a fun experience! Thank you for creating it.

Thanks! I hope you'll enjoy it :)

DiegoMM wrote:
Why you didnt change the dark sol, dark dragon/lucifer dialogue? You prefer the english version of this story?

greyskies wrote:
Actually, I wasn't aware that there was an alternate version of the lore. I just checked on it. If I ever make an update of Return to Grans, I'll probably change it!

I've finally looked into this, and it turns out it's not possible to make this change. The caravan editor doesn't accept certain words (I have no idea why), so I can't spell out "Lucifer". Random fact: One of the books in Astral's basement (I think it was there) was supposed to read "Quantum Mechanics for Dummies", but the best I could get was "quantum Metaphysics" as the editor accepts neither the capital Q nor mechanics nor dummies. Bummer.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23 2017 8:19pm
by DiegoMM
I forgot to write here after finishing the game. I really enjoyed all the text changes and the ending feel more apropriate.
WARNING: SPOILER!


I finish the bonus battle too.
Congratulations again.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24 2017 9:54am
by greyskies
Thanks again for your feedback, DiegoMM! Do you mind putting your comment on the balance of certain endgame enemies in a spoiler tag?

WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25 2017 11:33pm
by SirHedge
greyskies wrote:The caravan editor doesn't accept certain words (I have no idea why), so I can't spell out "Lucifer". Random fact: One of the books in Astral's basement (I think it was there) was supposed to read "Quantum Mechanics for Dummies", but the best I could get was "quantum Metaphysics" as the editor accepts neither the capital Q nor mechanics nor dummies. Bummer.

Shining Force 2 compresses text by converting everything into two character combinations. Thus for the game to correctly display the text, the two character combination must exist in SF2's list of acceptable combinations. This means that rarer combinations don't exist and can't be printed. BNC said he could have made a text editor that would have told you what combinations were acceptable without you needing to play the game, but there didn't seem to be much interest for it at the time. I'm fairly certain you can't extend the number of possible combinations, but you could replace unused ones, if you had unused ones. I'm sad to hear that "Lucifer" is not valid.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26 2017 10:17am
by greyskies
SirHedge wrote:Shining Force 2 compresses text by converting everything into two character combinations. Thus for the game to correctly display the text, the two character combination must exist in SF2's list of acceptable combinations.

Ah, interesting. I assumed it had to be something like that, as many words with "rare" letters such as Z or Q wouldn't work (but some did).

SirHedge wrote:BNC said he could have made a text editor that would have told you what combinations were acceptable without you needing to play the game, but there didn't seem to be much interest for it at the time.

Well, the editor promptly informs you if a text string isn't working, so it's not that bad... the real problem is that there's already so many other restrictions, in particular the (low) number of letters per dialogue. It's quite annoying if you finally come up with something short and pregnant, only to find out that one of the words doesn't work.

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26 2017 1:08pm
by Oppolo
I have been playing a bit and have just finished Mitula's shrine and recruited Taya/Skreech.

I'm really enjoying the dialogue changes so far, they make talking to the townsfolk much better (especially for a replay!) - the new bookshelves are interesting to read too. I've noticed some of the Headquarters quotes seem to have changed - has this been the case for lots of people? I'm considering rotating everybody into / out of my party, so I can read what everybody says.

For general feedback, I've found the new battles very enjoyable. I have found that the battles have become easier as I've progress through the game, though maybe I've just got a nice thing going (usually Kiwi or Jaha on the front lines, then lots of ranged attack to dispatch enemies quickly).
Though I'm anticipating the battles to come will be very difficult.

The Kraken battle was fine (I went to get the sword for Rhode first, so had that EXP in my pocket), but the chess battle was a nightmare. First time I did it, I used most of my healing items and then Bowie got smashed in. So then, I had no healing items for it! My tactic was to carefully go up the right edge of the board, where the enemies were more sparse, but I still ended up getting defeated about 2 more times before I won by just targeting the king when he got close. The chess battle has been my only failure so far, and it was a failure multiple times!!

Zalbard was a walkover; his support didn't stand by him so I could pick them off before he attacked. He did decide to walk over and Bolt me just before his last minion died, but it was too late by then - all it meant was that he walked within range of my dogpile.

I'm putting my thoughts about the force members I'm using behind spoilers;

WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26 2017 2:14pm
by greyskies
Thanks a lot for the feedback, I really appreciate it!

Oppolo wrote:I've noticed some of the Headquarters quotes seem to have changed - has this been the case for lots of people? I'm considering rotating everybody into / out of my party, so I can read what everybody says.

Yes! There should be new banter for (if I recall correctly) about 3/4 of all force members, both active and out-of-party.


Oppolo wrote:For general feedback, I've found the new battles very enjoyable. I have found that the battles have become easier as I've progress through the game, though maybe I've just got a nice thing going (usually Kiwi or Jaha on the front lines, then lots of ranged attack to dispatch enemies quickly).
Though I'm anticipating the battles to come will be very difficult.

That's great to hear, I hope the game will remain (or rather become more) challenging for you! If there's any battle which seemed to be particularly easy (or tough) in your opinion, I'd be happy to hear it, so I might perhaps modify it.

In my opinion, it was always true for SF2 that difficulty decreased the further you progressed in the game. Of course, one could make it even easier with the leeway when to promote, but for the most part I think it comes down to the fact that in the early game you're operating with a smaller party.

If you look at the first battle in Galam, the one where Slade joins afterwards, you are faced with 3 enemies right at the start, while you yourself only command 5 guys. Where the difficulty comes from just has to work out different when you're suddenly running around with 12 people, and it's not so easy to reconcile this. I tried my best, but I think it's always a fine line between tough, powerful enemies and an unfair challenge. I hope it worked out in some way :)


Oppolo wrote:The Kraken battle was fine (I went to get the sword for Rhode first, so had that EXP in my pocket), but the chess battle was a nightmare.

Aw dang, I tried my best to keep the difficulty of the chess battle in an acceptable region. I would SO have wanted to just place an item dealer somewhere in desktop kingdom to make sure the player can't get stuck too heavily, but if I recall correctly the whole region is just a no-go for editing and will crash everything if modified.
On the other hand, I also didn't want to make the chessboard fight easy as it's just such an iconic battle. As I said, fine lines...! :D


WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: (hack) SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon May 15 2017 5:27pm
by MXC
Bumping in the hopes of an update ;)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18 2017 10:08am
by greyskies
It is finally done!
As of today, Shining Force 2 - Return to Grans has been updated to version 1.024, and the Guide has been updated as well.


At this point, I'd like to thank everyone who has provided feedback and suggestions how to improve my work!
Notable changes from the previous version include:

WARNING: SPOILER!



As always, if you play Return to Grans please let me know about your experience so I can further improve this hack!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18 2017 6:53pm
by Wiz
Just tried it on real hardware and I can confirm it works like a charm !
Enjoyed a bit of the game until a huge rat got Chester by surprise in battle 2.
I like your tweaks ! Text is nice and I liked the granseal map updates I noticed ! :)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Aug 01 2017 5:45pm
by Bela B.
What does the Aether Essence do?

Love that hack so far, by the way!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Aug 01 2017 6:17pm
by greyskies
Glad to hear that :)
The Aether Essence recovers 7 MP in battle, but it can only be used on the character holding it (range of 0).

EDIT:
I just noticed that the chess battle has a bug, namely that the healing spells of the Bishop are too weak, they are only casting level 1; apparently the AI can't handle Heal 2? A fixed version will be uploaded sometime soon.

EDIT #2:
Fixed version has just been uploaded. Bishops now have Aura 1, which should be at least a bit more useful; I think I don't want to give them back their Heal 3, as with the better HP/DEF stats it was very tough to bring them (or a target healed by them) down. I would very much appreciate feedback on the Chess Battle in particular, and whether or not players find it sufficiently challenging without being unfair.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Nov 24 2017 11:56am
by radiantwanderer
Hey, I just wanted to say that I love your hack so far! I just finished the battle against the galam knight. You really nailed the difficulty. I also love all of the little things you changed! Granseal and Yeel are so pretty now. I wish you would have changed Galam as well. I never talked to any of the villagers before but now I really like the dialogue and talk to everybody all the time. :thumbsup:
One question, I read that there is now less Mithrils. Are they in different locations than before? I don’t want to leave Grans island before I have collected all of them. :shifty:

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Dec 11 2017 9:58pm
by greyskies
Hi radiantwanderer, sorry for the late response, I must've missed your message. I'm happy to hear that you enjoy Return to Grans, and I welcome any feedback :) I hope the hack is still challenging and entertaining for you.
With regards to your Mithril question, the answer is that all the Mithrils that are still present are in their original position, so you don't have to worry about missing them.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Dec 15 2017 11:51am
by radiantwanderer
Oh hell yeah it is! I just reached the Harpy Lake. I love what you did with the Taros Shrine, even though it caused me to wipe :shifty: Got the big guy on second try tough.

I think that the game became more difficult from the point I reached Grans. The first Dark Dwarf, oh my god :shock: He felt like a mini boss. I probably became overconfident when Peter joined the party, but he isn’t as good now and I like it. I only wish you had made it so he wouldn’t be controlled by the AI, this would have made things a lot easier.

Oh yeah, and I loved New Granseal. It is awesome that it is now bigger on the world map, too. When I finish the game I don’t want everyone to move back to the old island :) :)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sat Dec 16 2017 11:29pm
by greyskies
radiantwanderer wrote:Oh hell yeah it is! I just reached the Harpy Lake. I love what you did with the Taros Shrine, even though it caused me to wipe :shifty: Got the big guy on second try tough.

WARNING: SPOILER!


radiantwanderer wrote:I probably became overconfident when Peter joined the party, but he isn’t as good now and I like it. I only wish you had made it so he wouldn’t be controlled by the AI, this would have made things a lot easier.

I'm also always annoyed to no end by the idioticity of the Peter AI. In my youtube playthrough (which isn't finished, and at this point I'm afraid it will never be) I have attempted a zero deaths playthrough, and the Peter AI almost cost me the run.

Nevertheless, I think not being able to control Peter makes sense story-wise, so I left it in. Same with Jaro (spoiler). :)

radiantwanderer wrote:Granseal and Yeel are so pretty now. I wish you would have changed Galam as well.

I forgot to comment this last time - I would have loved to change Galam as well, but the game crashes when Galam is edited.
... at least when I did it with the editor I used back then. But local genius Wiz has recently released a new tool for map editing which apparently allows changes in all maps, so if I someday get the time to learn how to work with this disassembly thing I might give Galam another shot :)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Dec 20 2017 9:54am
by radiantwanderer
greyskies wrote:
WARNING: SPOILER!

No, they were fine. But I couldn't see them when they appeared at first, which was confusing.

... at least when I did it with the editor I used back then. But local genius Wiz has recently released a new tool for map editing which apparently allows changes in all maps, so if I someday get the time to learn how to work with this disassembly thing I might give Galam another shot :)

That would be amazing, let me know if you do that!!

The Harpy Lake was a cool fight. It was great that the Harpies all attacked early, it put a lot of pressure on me and made the fight interesting.

Now I am at the chess battle. I got wrecked at my first and second attempt :thumbsup:
I tried to charge the king, but that certainly didn't work out. He has far too much HP to rush him down. Next time I'll try and clean out the right side of the board and attack him from there. To battle!! ;)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Dec 27 2017 8:18am
by greyskies
radiantwanderer wrote:Now I am at the chess battle. I got wrecked at my first and second attempt :thumbsup:
I tried to charge the king, but that certainly didn't work out. He has far too much HP to rush him down. Next time I'll try and clean out the right side of the board and attack him from there. To battle!! ;)


That's a good strategy, many pieces won't attack you unless you attack them (or unless the AI tells them it's their turn to approach the party), so you can for example block and kill the rook with only two party members. Just be careful of the Queen - in RtG she's the most dangerous piece.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09 2018 9:39am
by radiantwanderer
I needed five trys, but then I finally did it :thumbsup: On my final successfull attempt only Gerhalt, Bowie, Peter and May were left alive. I pulled the Queen too early, and she wrecked half of my army together with a bishop. The king was almost easy compared to her, if I hadn’t already lost so many guys. What a battle! The healing seeds dropped by the pawns really saved me also.
I watched your youtube video of your own fight, by the way. I can’t believe you lost nobody :shock: :shock:

I’m in Pacalon now. I took Janet with me. Her damage is not as high as I would want, but long-range fighters seem really useful right now because I need to pile on enemies :blush: I would take another archer if I could. I kind of regret promoting Elric to brass gun. He doesn’t die as much now, but he also doesn’t always reach the enemies.

Also, I once more have to say that I really really enjoy this hack :thumbsup: It’s completely the challenge I have looked for. Every character is balanced and useful. I’m having a tough time choosing who to keep in the party, and I’m already thinking about a second playthrough to try out new combinations with the guys I didn’t level :shifty:

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sat Jan 13 2018 3:37pm
by greyskies
radiantwanderer wrote:I’m in Pacalon now. I took Janet with me. Her damage is not as high as I would want, but long-range fighters seem really useful right now because I need to pile on enemies :blush: I would take another archer if I could. I kind of regret promoting Elric to brass gun. He doesn’t die as much now, but he also doesn’t always reach the enemies.

I also like the archers a lot. I usually run May and Elric in my party, but having 2 or 3 archers tops is fine for my needs. Do you have Rhode in your team as well? Tbh the BRGNs are probably my least favorite class, I prefer mobility over defense.

radiantwanderer wrote:Also, I once more have to say that I really really enjoy this hack :thumbsup: It’s completely the challenge I have looked for. Every character is balanced and useful. I’m having a tough time choosing who to keep in the party, and I’m already thinking about a second playthrough to try out new combinations with the guys I didn’t level :shifty:

Thanks a lot, it really makes me happy to hear that my work brought a few other SF2 fans out there enjoyment. The balance issue is one of the things which always annoyed me about the original game - many characters are simply glaringly inferior to certain others (I'm looking at you, Peter).

Since you're already contemplating a second round, whom did you leave on the bench and now have regrets about it? :)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Jan 16 2018 10:42am
by radiantwanderer
After an intense battle (or rather: three :thumbsup: ), I just got rid of Zalbard. The second time I used egress when I lost Rick and Luke before reaching Zalbard. In most battles its ok if one or two guys die before the last big enemy group, but for Zalbard I needed everyone to throw them at him.
I powered everyone up before the battle. Power Ring on Peter, Fairy Tears for Sarah and Karna… its sad that boost only gets one person, but I understand that you made it weaker. It was too strong originally. And the dangerous thing about Zalbard is Bolt, so it didn’t matter that much :thumbsup:

Oh and the Worm Bridge Battle was sooo cool! :excited: At first I thought I was finally doing well, and then suddenly I was surrounded. Bowie and Rick were the only party members to survive this fight in an epic last stand.

My Party so far is Bowie, Sarah, Karna, Rick, Elric, Janet, Peter, Chester, May, Kazin, Jaha, Slade. I didn’t pick Rhode because I think two brassguns are too much. I kind of regret sending Gerhalt to the caravan. He’s just so cool as a werewolf. But he fell behind in level and it was never his turn when I needed him. I also would like to have Eric in my party and give him the Pegasus wing. But I am really glad to have Karna also. I will write a more detailed character review if I have the time. :thumbsup:

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Jan 19 2018 5:04pm
by greyskies
radiantwanderer wrote:My Party so far is Bowie, Sarah, Karna, Rick, Elric, Janet, Peter, Chester, May, Kazin, Jaha, Slade.

Ah, so did you throw out Luke after your first two attempts?

radiantwanderer wrote:I kind of regret sending Gerhalt to the caravan. He’s just so cool as a werewolf. But he fell behind in level and it was never his turn when I needed him.

I remember I sometimes had a tough time keeping Gerhalt on par with the others, he usually has low AGI and his MOV is nothing to write home about either. I often give him the Quick Ring or the Ostrich Pendant so he can keep up with the rest of the party.
Fyi, Gerhalt got a minor battle sprite update in both promoted and unpromoted form. Just in case you really want to give this hack another go after you're finished ;)

radiantwanderer wrote:I will write a more detailed character review if I have the time.

I'm looking forward to it :)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sun Jan 21 2018 12:16pm
by Johnny Rico
Hi, newly registered on this forum, but reading topics for a long time, I wanted to quickly review this hack :

-HIGH difficulty, I was maybe wrong choosing SUPER difficulty setting for my first walk and I am now near the end, just finished field battle against LEMON and this was nightmare ;P

-Great NPC text modifications, a lot of hints between Shining Force playable characters

-Intriguing new objects, like the Steam Engine...didn't find what it is for yet...

-Questionable characters evolution, I was really disappointed seeing Slade not able to learn offensive magic when ninja...

-Did I say REALLY HIGH DIFFICULTY (in SUPER mode, ok...). First healing consumables like herb seed and are not generous AT ALL, you have to keep money to buy as much as healing water ASAP !

Anyway, nice and fun iteration of a great game, but I look forward any modifications about some characters evolution !

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Jan 31 2018 5:04pm
by radiantwanderer
No, I only had Luke in the party because of the water around Zalbard, which made it hard to reach injured party members. I had already replaced him for Janet. In the Zalbard battle all he did was running around and giving people healing drops :damnit:

I am now at the first battle back in Grans. Cameela was a beast :excited: And the additional enemies that came out of the Nazca ship surprised me. Also, the Pacalon fight was really cool as well. I love all the ambushes you created. Although I am getting severe paranoia whenever I think I am doing well in a battle :shock:


Anyway here is the character review I promised!!


Bowie: He’s great! Not as tough as I remembered him, but can deal a lot of damage. I am trying to exploit him as a bait quite often. Maybe you could also give him some more cool magic spells like Kazin?

Sarah: What would I do without her? I promoted her to cleric and have never regretted it. Her sprite is just so pretty I think I am in love. :blush:

Chester: I love centaurs, but keeping Chester was a tough decision because he does not do a lot of damage. At least he always reaches the enemy since I have promoted him to Pegasus. I think its great you placed the Pegasus wing earlier than Pacalon. I always hated waiting for the promotion of him.

Jaha: I promoted him to BRN. He does solid damage, but most of the time he's just around without being special.

Kazin: Blaze was really useful many times. In my previous playthroughs of the game I often tried to line up enemies to get more than one, but here in your hack it seems to happen on itself. In the harpy fight I got four at once. It was amazing. I still promoted him to sorc, and since then my consumption of mp recovery items has skyrocketed :excited: But I think next time I will try to make him a wiz.

Slade: Probably died more often than anyone else, but he’s the guy who often finishes off enemies or deals the damage we need. I really miss Katon and Rajin, but after reading your handbook I understand why you took it away. Muddle is cool, its just sad that Dispel is so useless. Couldn’t you perhaps make it so that bosses can be dispelled?

Kiwi: He saved me in the chess battle :thumbsup: Before dying horribly to a Freeze. The stun ability is really useful, and he is a great tank also. I would have continued to use him but I wanted a second healer. I like that he now has a normal movement radius but it would be cool if he could still climb mountains.

Peter: I always liked Peter. He dies in almost every battle because I send him recklessly into the fray, but that’s ok since he revives again anyway :shifty: I think his P.Wing ability is quite useful to finish off enemies, but it should be a bit more powerful, like a regular attack.

May: Oh god I love May. She is the best archer and can survive a bit longer than Janet. She’s great and I will never replace her.

Gerhalt: This dude is seriously cool, but I needed space for Karna so I let him go. I hadn’t used the ostrich pendant because lower def seemed really dangerous with all the damage the enemies deal, but now I gave it to Jaha and it isn’t so bad. I shouldn’t have kicked him, but who else should I have picked? Ahhhhhh!!! :excited:

Luke: He was actually pretty decent. I usually replace him shortly after the Kraken, but he proved useful in the desert battles and also in the forests thanks to his flying. I would have probably kept him, but having a new archer was just too tempting.

Rick: Another centaur? Yes please! I promoted Rick to a paladin and he has been tanking ever since. He often takes heavy beatings, but since I got Karna I can finally get through most fights without Healing drops. His damage is ok.

Elric: Archers are just sooo good because they can attack all the time. Sadly Elric died a lot, so I made him a brass gun, and now I regret it a bit because he is often too far behind to reach the enemies. He fell behind in XP as well, so I recently replaced him with Gyan. Oh and I like his new archer outfit. It is so much better than the original one.

Karna: I really needed a second healer so I picked Karna. I always promoted Sarah to MMNK, so it was cool to have Karna as monk for a change. At first I hated the new boost, but by now I like planning ahead whom to give it and for which situation I conserve the MP. Healing vs boosting is also a tough call sometimes, and I enjoy it.

Janet: My third archer and my first sniper. Janet kicks butt, especially since I now have enough healing power to keep her from dying (also I think around the time I got her I finally learned how to efficiently pull and tank enemies). She’s a great asset. The only thing I can complain about is her dumb pink color scheme, I think you should replace that.

Gyan: I regretted promoting Jaha to BRN because I couldn’t test the new class and I really really regret it now. I feel Gyan is the tank I have been waiting for. He is like Kiwi was, but without being scared of spellcasters :)

Hope I can play some more this weekend. I am really scared of Red Baron :excited:

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Feb 05 2018 3:01am
by greyskies
radiantwanderer wrote:I love all the ambushes you created. Although I am getting severe paranoia whenever I think I am doing well in a battle

:D
radiantwanderer wrote:Anyway here is the character review I promised!!

Thanks, it was interesting to read! A few short comments:

-Bowie: Since he is already a great allrounder with his melee prowess and his Bolt spell, I think giving him anything else would not only make him too strong but also make other characters less interesting to use - in case of your suggestion, spellcasters. I know it's tempting to just add cool stuff, but at least in this case I think it is better to keep the status quo :)

-Slade/more powerful Dispel: Changing bosses' immunity to Dispel would also cancel their immunity to Desoul and Slow, if I am not mistaken... so, not an option, I am afraid.

-Peter/Phoenix Wing: I think somebody else made a similar comment before. I might have to boost this ability some more.

-Karna: I love that you're saying you enjoy having to choose between Boost and Heal. This is exactly what I intended to do - not only make the game more difficult, but also to make the strategic decisions more interesting :)

radiantwanderer wrote:Hope I can play some more this weekend. I am really scared of Red Baron :excited:

In case you haven't beaten him already, here's a small hint: Gyan and Peter are resistant to his Desoul ability, so you might want to use those two to engage him.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09 2018 3:11pm
by radiantwanderer
Thanks, that was a really helpful hint. I wish I could use the dark sword as often as Lemon without breaking, I think he fired off about four Desouls during the battle (and he got Karna with one) :excited: I had trouble actually reaching him in the forest, and his priest healed him from 50% HP to full once. Finally beat the battle on my third try :thumbsup: I have started to regularly use Egress a while ago, I never used that spell before when playing SF2. But now I just egressed after I lost Slade to one of the clouds early in the battle, and the second time when the fight against Lemon went poorly because his first two Desouls were successful :blush:

I am now at the dwarf forge and boy I am having a hard time deciding what weapon to get. I really want the Gisarme but it seems so much weaker now. And since I am using the Archers a lot, I should probably get Mithril arrows as well… but which one?!?!

Once again, great hack. But I want to say that the guide you wrote is incredible as well. I have now used it for the first time to look up the mithril weapons and then I read the complete thing which I think took me an hour or so :excited: I wish I had known all this before I started playing. I feel now I definitely have to replay the game :thumbsup:

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23 2018 6:49pm
by greyskies
sorry, I end up responding really late due to real life stuff...

Personally, I like the Grand Cannon even if it's not the strongest weapon. But I prefer utility over a few more points of damage. What other mithril weapons did you get?

once again, thanks for your kind words! Are you already on your second playthrough? :)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09 2018 1:32pm
by radiantwanderer
It’s ok, don’t worry :thumbsup:

Yes, I have finished the game a while ago. It was amazing. The outside of the tower after Odd-Eye is now one of my favorite battles. When the first pursuers came I turned around to meet them, but then I realized that there would be more and more and so it became a battle against the clock where I had to reach the Executioner before Sarah and Karna ran out of MP :)

Galam and Odd Eye gave me a lot of trouble. In both fights my guys were already drained from all the fights and traps before, and in both cases I just barely made it through. :excited: Same goes for the Zeon fight. The badass new enemies made this fight quite a ride. When I had finally realized how to deal with the Pit Beasts I got destroyed by Zeon’s personal bodyguards right before the boss fight. Then I finally faced him, and I had managed to conserve a lot of my items and MP and unleashed everything on him. The cool thing is that since I had so many ranged attackers I managed to rush him down without having to sacrifice one melee guy after the other. Bowie was just standing there watching with his heart beating fast, just like mine :shock: Defeating Zeon was sooo satisfying after all those tough fights. Oh and the new story was just so good :thumbsup: Even tough I have beaten SF2 a hundred times I was really excited for the ending, and it all came together so perfectly. I laughed at the final conversations with the party in Granseal castle and I nearly cried when Oddler died. The new ending was great as well, it was almost like a sad goodbye. I know I said that I will replay your hack after finishing, but now I feel I have to wait for some time to forget some things and be able to enjoy it like it was my first playthrough. But I will return to Grans for sure ;)

You have turned a already great game into a really amazing experience. Thank you a lot for this.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14 2018 9:11pm
by greyskies
I kind of don't know what to say. Thank you. It makes me really happy you enjoyed my work so much. I know it is certainly not the most innovative hack out there, but I put a lot of effort into Return to Grans, and it means a lot to me to hear it is appreciated by other fans of the game.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14 2018 11:18pm
by DiegoMM
greyskies wrote:I kind of don't know what to say. Thank you. It makes me really happy you enjoyed my work so much. I know it is certainly not the most innovative hack out there, but I put a lot of effort into Return to Grans, and it means a lot to me to hear it is appreciated by other fans of the game.


The big acomplishment of your hack is the text changes, thats make it diferent form all others. Its the heart of a story that is loved by all of us and you make it better.

The second big thing is consistency, your hack dont exagerate things and change stats and monsters in a consistent way.

I think you should keep updating it with new ideas, maybe alternative versions. Improving more overworld and battle sprites is a good idea.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18 2018 6:10pm
by greyskies
Thank you! Every time I play Return to Grans, I usually find a few sprites to improve on, so next time I crave SF2 there'll probably be an update of those.

I'm also keeping an eye on Wiz' improvements of his awesome disassembly tools. There's so much stuff I would love to add, but it's just not possible with the carvan/SF2edit...

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19 2018 12:11am
by DiegoMM
greyskies wrote:Thank you! Every time I play Return to Grans, I usually find a few sprites to improve on, so next time I crave SF2 there'll probably be an update of those.

I'm also keeping an eye on Wiz' improvements of his awesome disassembly tools. There's so much stuff I would love to add, but it's just not possible with the carvan/SF2edit...


I think map editing is already possible right? edit the other maps you planned to edit but cant in caravan. It would improve a lot the game.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05 2018 6:58pm
by pdub1985
Hey Folks! I've been trying for two days to get a patched .smd to work. I have an unmodified file from a well known site. I've tried patching with Lunar and IPS and have been unable to get the game to load in GENSPLUSDROID app. I also tried several different emulators with no luck. :(

GENS+ will register that I'm trying to load "ShiningForce2.smd", but it just sits there at a black/blank screen.

Can anyone offer some advice? Or if you have a patched file, can you share it with me? I'm desperate to try this masterpiece!

Thanks in advance,

Paul

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15 2018 5:29am
by Meji
I made an account so I could thank you for such an amazing hack.

I just finished the game on OUCH with no deaths and wanted to say the challenge was great and fair! A lot of changes to the battles kept the original feel of the game but gave that extra challenge and a bit of flavour that was missing from the original!

I loved the fact that the Shining Force was well balanced and found everyone quite viable in their own way which made choosing my final force extremely hard.

As for the story and dialogue, I absolutely loved it. My favourites were definitely the injection of dialogue of what the Shining Force was doing for each town and the main story felt natural and not forced like the original. The ending made me smile and feel sad at the same time as I was saying goodbye once again to Grans.

I recommend everyone to play the full experience instead of just the graphics update!

Thank you so much for this incredible experience of how I remembered Shining Force 2 from my youth. I definitely will be Returning to Grans.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16 2018 8:43am
by greyskies
Thanks a lot for your kind words, Meji! I'm happy to hear you had a good experience, in particular with regards to the story. Also I'm impressed that you managed to finish an OUCH playthrough with zero deaths! I know there's many harder hacks out there, but it is still no small feat.

@ Paul: I sent you a PM, this should hopefully solve your problem - otherwise just contact me again.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17 2018 3:53pm
by MXC
Started a new game, finally.

WARNING: SPOILER!


I'll continue in a bit, but felt that posting the first section of the game would be a good place to stop.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17 2018 10:41pm
by greyskies
Thanks for this first retelling, MXC :) The difficulty should ramp up a bit more after the first few battles on Parmecia, I'll be interested to hear if its still a cakewalk for you then. Maybe you guys are cut out from a tougher cloth than I am...

MXC wrote:The dock area changed while fleeing Granseal. Was this intentional?

No, but the "Escape" map is one of those which break when edited in the Caravan, sadly.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18 2018 4:37pm
by MXC
I've played this game a lot, and done many challenges/ played hard mods before, so I've got the experience ;) Don't get me wrong, it has been tough in places, but nothing I can't handle...yet. I am very curious to see these promotions though! I was going to post after I got to that point but my workload just skyrocketed, so I'll have to take a bit of a break. My update is below.

WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Jul 19 2018 7:00am
by greyskies
MXC wrote:Don't get me wrong, it has been tough in places, but nothing I can't handle...yet.

Mh, I'm curious to see how you'll fare in the final battles after the return to Grans (cue theme music). Although I'm not sure it'll get tougher than the Kraken, higher ATT scaling of enemies without weapons and all.

MXC wrote:lol at Playbird

I hid most of the stupid humor in books. There should be some more coming :)

MXC wrote:I'm getting really tired of poison taking my kill exp though! This battle was tough, and not for the usual zombie reason (I think I only let one get an attack off.) Slade's poison killed two enemies, which resulted in Kazin not getting a level and getting taken to 1 HP. Easily could have lost him.

Uh, you're not doing a zero deaths run as well, are you?
Yeah, that aspect of the poison is a bit annoying - but then again, if a monster died from poisoning, it means that it was about to take another turn, which can end badly ;) I also believe you're about to reach the point where kill XP stops mattering all that much since you never gain the full 49 anyway.

MXC wrote:Ready to get my first Running Pimento aaaaaaaand it's an accessory that hurts my defense. Not cool!

Couldn't make it even easier for you, could I? ;P

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Jul 19 2018 9:47pm
by MXC
Yeah, I'm trying to avoid having any deaths. When a monster dies from poison, it means it just went, which should mean that I have a while until it goes again and can get EXP to someone that needs it. Oh well, all part of the strategy!

WARNING: SPOILER!


Stopping before Creed's for now :)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Jul 19 2018 11:02pm
by greyskies
I like your detailed reports. It's really cool to read whatever caught your interest in each battle.


WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20 2018 5:28pm
by MXC
WARNING: SPOILER!


I'll stop here for now :)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21 2018 12:06pm
by greyskies
MXC wrote:I was also able to bait a Queen into hitting just Jaha while the King and remaining Bishop were far off. Then I managed to lure the Bishop alone??? Did you change how the AI performs in this battle? The King wasn't being an aggressive asshole.

No, I believe the AI should be the same as always, although the king might appear less aggressive due to his lower range (I think 4 instead of 5?). Maybe you just got lucky? I'll have to check in the Caravan, I might have changed this and forgotten about it.


MXC wrote:Aw, the Running Ring isn't as good :(

My quest against the MOV stat continues :D


MXC wrote:Looks like I'll be ditching Chester this time, though I plan on adding Rohde in for May (Janet is already in the caravan lol).

I don't think Rohde will do a lot for you... he's the better option if you have trouble keeping your archers alive or need somebody wo can soak up hits, both which certainly doesn't seem to apply to you.


MXC wrote:I'm having fun putting people to sleep with Kazin's attack though.

It's a class thing - most spellcasters can do that now, including enemies as well as the WZRD class.


MXC wrote:Cave battles are stupid. Kraken Arms! Nice!

Credit goes to Sir Hedge, I stole this idea from his hack :)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21 2018 5:07pm
by MXC
I can usually get the Chess battle done the same way, but end up having the last 5ish enemies come in at the same time, so maybe I just used a slightly different tactic or that range really did play a big role.

The issue with May is that, while I haven't let her get hit often, that will change in some of the upcoming battles for various reasons. Essentially, I'm getting ahead of the curve with her. Not to mention, I actually like gunners :) My only gripe is that SF2 shoves most of them in relatively closely (Elric joins before B21, Janet before B24, and Rohde before B25. It's kind of dumb and I think swapping Janet with Skreech would have worked well. Of course, they both suck so whatever :lol: I anticipate having this group through Moun since vanilla SF2 has such poor selection in North Parmecia (4 bad, 1 decent, 1 good character). I'll still check the stats of course :)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21 2018 10:00pm
by greyskies
I agree, it's a lot of archer types stacked onto each other at this point in the game.

MXC wrote:I anticipate having this group through Moun since vanilla SF2 has such poor selection in North Parmecia (4 bad, 1 decent, 1 good character). I'll still check the stats of course :)

Don't depend on stats alone, unless you also consider crit probability. Both the BDBTs and the SNPRs have a high crit rating and can be quite deadly.
I'd like to say that all classes have been rebalanced and therefore you shouldn't write off the rest of the North Parmecians, but since Chester & Rick didn't win you over Higins and Jaro probably won't either.

Out of curiosity, who do you consider to be the two decent/good characters in vanilla SF2?

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sat Jul 21 2018 10:53pm
by MXC
Rick is fine, but Chester certainly wasn't doing enough for me. I'm feeding him apples (lol) to see how he'll compare at level 10 though. Only Frayja and Gyan are worth using in vanilla. And Frayja is a huge stretch. He doesn't gain spells fast enough at all for me. I really shouldn't have included him. And Gyan is outclassed by the other warrior characters, but not always.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23 2018 12:12am
by greyskies
MXC wrote:And Frayja is a huge stretch. He doesn't gain spells fast enough at all for me.

Agreed, his spell progression is really weird. Personally, I feel that his healing capabilities would be sufficient to have him in the party, and the attack spell is certainly an argument for that, but I still never use him.

I have sometimes used Taya, though. Her stats may be inferior to other SORCs, but less def or HP only matter so much when all you need is to DAO stuff into oblivion.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24 2018 2:15am
by MXC
My beef with her is her crappy spell progression too. But hey, if you happened to miss the Secret Book, she's great to have.

WARNING: SPOILER!


And I'll stop there for now so I can recover!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24 2018 10:22pm
by greyskies
MXC wrote:But hey, when the hell is Sarah going to get Heal 3? She probably would have as a Cleric, and I'm beginning to wonder if that would have been a better idea. I'm still not struggling but it has made an impact on my kill strategies a few times!

Actually, she should have already, unless she is still below level 4 which seems unlikely given where you currently are in the game. I think this might be a bug. Do you remember at which level you promoted her?

EDIT: A patched version of the .ips has been uploaded (link on the frontpage remains the same) which should fix the problem (not for you, MXC, unfortunately - I'd like to encourage you to use SF2edit to edit Sarah's spells so she'll learn Heal 3 whenever she gets her next level up). In one of the last updates of the hack I have apparently added Heal 4 to the spell list of MMNKs on a whim, not realizing that it will mess up the spell progression.

MXC wrote:Also, spawning worms? From what, the wood?! These aren't termites!

They crawled up from below the bridge, Cameela summoned them, they rolled a natural 20 on a stealth check, take your pick ;P

MXC wrote:The ONLY reason I survived that battle is because I muddled and put a bunch of stuff to sleep. Glad those spells have some use finally! By far the hardest battle so far.

Bwa ha ha, finally! I spent a lot of time testing what would be the perfect point to spawn worms for a pincer movement. Given that they all have unarmed attacks, it's not surprising that this was a difficult trap on Super. I hope you at least had some casualties! :D

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27 2018 7:26pm
by MXC
Actually, no deaths on Pangoat. When I say "survive" I mean that I almost lost someone :lol:

I was going to point out the MMNK spell progression to you since I dug into it, but I took so long posting this update that you already got to it :)

WARNING: SPOILER!


Not much of an update but I'm swamped again. Still, I have a new looking party for the first time in long time!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sat Jul 28 2018 9:23am
by greyskies
MXC wrote:Battle 30 - Pretty normal battle, but these Orc Lords take forever to kill. Nobody died, though Luke should have on 2 occasions. Do you bump up his dodge rate?

Nope, I wouldn't know how one could do that. Seems you got lucky :)

MXC wrote:Actually, no deaths on Pangoat. When I say "survive" I mean that I almost lost someone :lol:

I'll have to put my faith in the Greater Devils, although since you've apparently already disposed of Zalbard without much trouble... I had expected that he'll be more of a challenge, given his Bolt magic and the fact that he does unarmed attacks.

MXC wrote:Taya joins and I'm pretty sure I'm going to put her in my party, without even looking at her stats. Kazin has been a lifesaver when it comes to taking out pesky high-DEF units.

Do you feel that the SORCs are too powerful? And do you use Aether Essences / Fairy Tears, btw?

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sat Jul 28 2018 1:08pm
by MXC
I don’t typically have issues with Zalbard. He cast Bolt one just Jaha and Gerhalt, so they ran away to get healed. He did try to kill Luke, but he dodged. Other than that, he just got picked apart.

Sorcerers seem fine since their spells are so expensive. I’ve used a few restoring items but I mostly just conserve MP

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30 2018 6:30pm
by greyskies
When I played this hack on a regular difficulty I found Zalbard challenging (when trying to keep everyone alive) because of his double turns alone, and I assume that on SUPER everyone but the tanks might be in danger of getting one-shotted... Cameela shouldn't pose much of a problem for you, then. I guess the next candidate for trouble might be Geshp, but let's see how you'll fare until that point.

MXC wrote:Sorcerers seem fine since their spells are so expensive. I’ve used a few restoring items but I mostly just conserve MP

Good to know. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the classes once you've finished the playthrough.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Jul 30 2018 9:53pm
by DiegoMM
Your hack is not easy, its MXC that is a super pro. lol

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31 2018 1:51am
by Jonesy_Pants
has anyone tried this with gensplusdroid on mobile phones? all of my sf2 time is on my phone whilst travelling or waiting for things. I only jump on a PC when doing the team effort so i can save etc.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31 2018 5:38pm
by greyskies
DiegoMM wrote:Your hack is not easy, its MXC that is a super pro. lol

Yeah, but still, I mean playing on SUPER and he hasn't lost anybody yet? Black magic's gotta be involved there, I'm telling you :D

Jonesy Pants wrote:has anyone tried this with gensplusdroid on mobile phones? all of my sf2 time is on my phone whilst travelling or waiting for things. I only jump on a PC when doing the team effort so i can save etc.

I can confirm that this hack works on mobile emulators, I've been playing it on MD.emu as well as RetroArch and whatever the mobile version of GENS was called. No experience with GENPlusDroid, though.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31 2018 9:22pm
by MXC
Yeah, it is a tougher hack, I'm just seasoned ;)

WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02 2018 10:28pm
by greyskies
MXC wrote:Yeah, it is a tougher hack, I'm just seasoned ;)

Image

(I'm hoping you get the reference, otherwise I definitely have a game for you to recommend :D)

WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03 2018 8:19pm
by MXC
I really do need to play Darkest Dungeon...

WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03 2018 9:27pm
by greyskies
MXC wrote:I really do need to play Darkest Dungeon...


Ah, I see you are a man of culture as well.
I really enjoyed that game, despite its flaws. I only wish that the expansions were better, I found the Crimson Court disappointing. Haven't tried the new one yet, though.


MXC wrote:SOMEBODY took out all the good move items. [...] I was going to give the Running Ring to Claude and just let Gerhalt go nekkid but nooooo! I'll just have to use the Ostrich Pendant and take the DEF hit (which is laughable really.)


I agree, the DEF penalty should stack with level or something!!


MXC wrote:But I really can't wait to get mithril weapons!


Any plans yet what you're going to do about those? Let fate decide or are you going to pick & choose?

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07 2018 7:16pm
by MXC
If I want to have any chance of winning without deaths, I need the best. If I make it through Red Baron unscathed, I’ll go that route. If I get kicked around, maybe I’ll just late fate decide. Fortunately, 4 members don’t need weapons!

Edit- On to battle.

WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07 2018 10:27pm
by greyskies
WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08 2018 3:55pm
by MXC
WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14 2018 9:22pm
by greyskies
How are you doing, MXC? Bested Zeon yet?

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15 2018 6:20pm
by MXC
WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15 2018 9:35pm
by greyskies
WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16 2018 7:49pm
by MXC
WARNING: SPOILER!


Fun hack :) A few characters could be looked at again for balancing purposes but overall, it was a pretty well-done hack that only suffered from one major glitch (above). I enjoyed the rewrites and the battle changes overall. It was cool that I could justify using characters that aren't usually worth a damn. I think I only lost 2 or 3 characters but without a little luck, it would have been closer to 6+. Still, it was challenging and a nice change of pace from vanilla SF2.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17 2018 12:23am
by greyskies
Thanks! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, despite the unexpected bugs! I'll definitely look into this. I'm also seriously impressed you managed to finish RtG pretty much with ease.

WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17 2018 1:52am
by MXC
WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17 2018 3:57pm
by greyskies
WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17 2018 5:21pm
by MXC
WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17 2018 8:00pm
by greyskies
MXC wrote:It seems like there was some favoritism to late joiners (the majority of the promoted people). It's a nice change from vanilla, but some of the choices were very obvious for me (Skreech and Lemon in particular.)


No, there absolutely wasn't.

Thing is, I don't really know how the SF2 editor does its level 30 prognosis - what I can tell you is that in the first iterations of this hack I playtested, I found that *every* party member which joins already promoted sucked and was roughly at least 10 points behind in every category at level 25.

So I tweaked the editor numbers and checked what the result in the actual game would be until I was satisfied with the results, and I did this probably about 15 times to have an at least somewhat solid estimation of the endgame stats.
For example, Luke's -7 HP, -15 ATT, -12 DEF and -5 AGI should bring him slightly above Skreech in terms of HP and AGI and slightly below him with regards to ATT and DEF (with an expected promotion level of ~22).


But since you told me that in your game both Lemon, Skreech as well as Gyan were significantly better than their counterparts in your playthrough, I will go back to the drawing board and run a few more simulations. It doesn't seem like this can be explained just by RNG.


Also, thanks for the class reviews. A few notes and questions on that:

- How did Claude do in terms of attack power in your game? Kiwi should have less HP but slightly better DEF than him, by the way (once again, disregarding editor numbers).
- I agree that the SNPRs could perhaps usa a minor damage boost, but I was always hesitant because ranged damage seems disproportionally useful in RtG. They also dish out more damage than their stats suggest anyway thanks to a 1/4 crit chance.
- Zynk should probably get a MOV upgrade, yeah. I don't even remember why I nerfed it in the first place.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20 2018 11:28pm
by Gizmo
Just used this mod, checked it was really applied and it seems like it, saw a reference to the giant spaghetti monster in the school's library, i'm quite sure it's not there in the vanilla game.

About Zynx, i'm always for odd choices in SF2, because this game is more about the characters you choose to cherish, when i use him, i give him 2 running pimentos (1+MOV), or it goes to claude or i just choose to go with the turtle, which i really love.

Still, i feel like Zynx could use a range attack, like a ranged laser to replace his standard attack but it's probably a pain to mod, maybe even impossible ?
What about giving him a unique weapon having this effect ? Like 1-3 range and no damage boost or just 1 if necessary.

And Claude could be invincible, staying stunned for 2 turns when Ko'ed then coming back with 10-20 hp ?

This kind of gameplay change for some of the worst or less used char would be nice, then again, it's probably hard or impossible.

Will give a real feedback after a couple of battles, thanks for the mod anyway, it felt really bad, at fiorst, after the first hype of discovering those SF mods (i had no idea) and then realizing most of them gave you the full force right away and or switching the story/exploration part.

Not that the story is amazing, but it's probably nostalgia and searching for secrets is part of the game, like in suikoden.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22 2018 4:43pm
by MXC
Promoted members typically aren't great in vanilla because their stats either suck or because their spells aren't that great. I always run around with Claude and only sometimes with Gyan or Lemon (or Zynk very rarely). Outside of that, they only really exist to fill in a gap if you didn't level up someone properly earlier or missed them due to being hidden (if Chester fell behind early, you might be excited to see Higins, for example.)

I just checked Luke and Skreech at level 25 with my game. Luke was -4 HP, -9 ATT, -5 DEF, -4 AGI. I leveled them to 30 and Luke was -5 HP, -11 ATT, -12 DEF, -4 AGI. Comparing their stats to their editor projections, Skreech has +0 HP, +1 ATT, +1 DEF, and +1 AGI, so he's almost spot on. Luke actually was better in my game than the editor being +2/+5/+0/+1.

For your reference, everyone was promoted right at 20, except those that join later.

Claude's attack wasn't great, but good enough for being my shield. His DEF was better than Kiwi's for sure.

The crit chance is good but still, Snipers need some love.

Zynk has always had 4 move and really has always been a bit lost in the fold with the others (same issues here.) Maybe you could use his crit laser as a concept to give him some MP and Lumina :) That would certainly give him something extra (even with his 4 MOV) but staying thematic.

Edit - After combing through the the expected stats (I'm still doing so since my actual stats closely reflected the stats in the editor), I've outlined below a sort of tier system.

Top Tier:

Kazin (SORC) - Great spell selection and progression.
Peter - Not his usual self but still does Peter things.
Karna (CLRC) - Great spell selection and progression.
Higins - Highest stats across all Paladins.
Taya (SORC) - Great spell selection and progression. And for some reason, a lot more attack than some meleers. Is she supposed to have 53 attack instead of 63? lol. She has great stats overall anyway.
Skreech - Still a tad fragile but also a flying assassin.
Jaro - Highest stats across all Pegasus.
Frayja (CLRC) - Great spell selection and progression. Good defense for his class.
Gyan - Tankiest Berserker without sacrificing attack.
Sheela (MMNK) - Way better stats than the other MMNKs with good spells and the MP to back it up.
Lemon - Probably the best character in the whole hack. In fact, he belongs a tier higher.
Chaz (WIZ) - Great spell selection and progression.

Mid Tier:

Sarah (CLRC) - Better spell selection elsewhere.
Karna (MMNK) - Better spells as a Cleric.
Tyrin (WIZ) - Misses out on Bolt 4 but still gets Freeze 4.
Paladin's (Except Higins) - Eric looks better than Chester and Rick, but they're mostly balanced between the three. Higins is just better.
Eric (PGNT) - Eric loses defense to become a Pegasus but Chester and Rick lose more. Jaro is better though.
Jaha (BRSK) - Better than Randolf, way worse than Gyan.
Jaha (BRN) - See above, except with Lemon and not Gyan.
All Gunners - They don't hit too hard but have range and defense. They're all balanced.
Bowie - Just middle of the road.
Gerhalt - There just ended up being better melee characters by the end of the game. He's great in the middle part of the game though, and up through Red Baron.
Zynk - Same as Gerhalt without the mid-game usefulness.
Claude - Same as Zynk, but man can he take a hit. He's more useful than others in this tier but he's not good enough to move up.

Low Tier:

Sarah (MMNK) - Just doesn't have great spells. Karna would be here too if she didn't have Boost.
Kazin (WIZ) - He's much more usable than in vanilla but you could make him a great Sorcerer.
Tyrin (SORC) - No Neptune 2 hurts a lot.
Chester (PGNT) - Poor stats. He might belong a tier up but he's not great regardless.
Rick (PGNT) - Poor stats. Takes a huge HP hit to become a Pegasus compared to the others. Keep him a Paladin.
Randolf (both) - Worst stats in each promotion, compared to the others.
Snipers & May - As mentioned previously, they can't hit hard or take a hit. Their mobility is overrated.
Luke - :drunk:
Slade - Spells can be useful periodically but he'd be better off with his old spells.
Kiwi - At least he isn't Luke.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Fri Aug 24 2018 1:20am
by NoobX
Hello, Greyskies. I'm playing through this hack and I've noticed that the Centaurs are at a somewhat of a disadvantage if not promoted at level 20. Looking in the SF2 Edit, I've noticed that the level they learn Heal at is 21, but since I've promoted them upon reaching level 25 as Knights, none of my Paladins, with the obvious exception of Higins who came prepromoted, have the spell. This probably wasn't intentional, but if it is could you tell me the reasoning behind it? And, also, if it wasn't intentional, how do you plan to work around it?

Other than that, I'm enjoying the hack so far. The battles are tougher, as you intended, but also a lot more interesting, and my tactics had to be altered to adapt. Right now I'm just past the Cameela battle, but with the upcoming exams I fear I won't be able to give you a proper review any time soon.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26 2018 6:32pm
by greyskies
NoobX wrote:Hello, Greyskies. I'm playing through this hack and I've noticed that the Centaurs are at a somewhat of a disadvantage if not promoted at level 20. Looking in the SF2 Edit, I've noticed that the level they learn Heal at is 21, but since I've promoted them upon reaching level 25 as Knights, none of my Paladins, with the obvious exception of Higins who came prepromoted, have the spell. This probably wasn't intentional, but if it is could you tell me the reasoning behind it? And, also, if it wasn't intentional, how do you plan to work around it?

Other than that, I'm enjoying the hack so far. The battles are tougher, as you intended, but also a lot more interesting, and my tactics had to be altered to adapt. Right now I'm just past the Cameela battle, but with the upcoming exams I fear I won't be able to give you a proper review any time soon.


Hi NoobX, thanks for letting me know about this bug, it's definitely not working as intended. This is another one of the tweaks I made long after finishing the hack, when I did no longer remember the precise workings of the SF2 editor. I've now set the level the Paladins learn Heal to 26, so it should work out for future players.

To get the Paladins to learn heal in your game, you'll have to change the heal spell level to 25 + whatever the current level of your Paladin is + 1 in the SF2 editor, so they get the spell after the next level up. Sorry for the hassle :/

I'm glad to hear you're still having fun, and if you ever have the time to write a more extensive review, I'd be happy to read it. In particular so I can find out whether or not Luke sucks in your playthrough as well, heh.

@MXC: Thanks for the detailed character review. I don't want to make major changes 'blindly', i.e. before having the time to playtest them, but for now I've given three characters from your poop list a small stat boost. Hopefully I'll have the time for a playthrough sometime soon, in particular so I can test a solution for the Pit Beast issue.

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26 2018 8:37pm
by NoobX
greyskies wrote:I'm glad to hear you're still having fun, and if you ever have the time to write a more extensive review, I'd be happy to read it. In particular so I can find out whether or not Luke sucks in your playthrough as well, heh.


I've redownloaded your hack and I'll start playing it from scratch so that I can provide you with the most relevant info regarding the changes. Sadly, that means that my review won't be coming anytime soon.

So far, I can give you a quick run-down regarding some character's performances which I could evaluate in my playthrough (basically those that I used at some point):

WARNING: SPOILER!

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26 2018 11:51pm
by MXC
greyskies wrote:@MXC: Thanks for the detailed character review. I don't want to make major changes 'blindly', i.e. before having the time to playtest them, but for now I've given three characters from your poop list a small stat boost. Hopefully I'll have the time for a playthrough sometime soon, in particular so I can test a solution for the Pit Beast issue.

Sure, that's fair. You can even ignore my notes entirely if you want, it's your hack! :)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28 2018 5:54pm
by greyskies
Thanks for the review so far, NoobX! It seems you're using a really tanky party all around, which is pretty much the opposite of what I usually end up with. Interesting.


NoobX wrote: I've redownloaded your hack and I'll start playing it from scratch so that I can provide you with the most relevant info regarding the changes. Sadly, that means that my review won't be coming anytime soon.


That's great, I feel like I must have done something right with this hack if you don't mind starting over :) now I really hope there's no other bugs I have missed which might mess up your playthrough...


NoobX wrote: One more thing - even though you nerfed the movement accessory, simply equipping it, moving to the desired tile and then unequipping it before finishing the turn or performing any other action negates the negative aspect of using it. You could make it a cursed item, but I think that would be taking it too far.


Yeah I know, and I agree with you, making the Ostrich Pendant cursed would be going overboard. Also, it's not like I'm in the business of preventing people from "cheating". A player could also make a savestate before any attack to ensure they always get critical hits or dodges. If they feel that this is how they enjoy the game more, I won't judge them.


MXC wrote: Sure, that's fair. You can even ignore my notes entirely if you want, it's your hack! :)


Well, ultimately I created this thing for my own entertainment, but it makes me happy if it also brings other people enjoyment. So I strive to make it as polished as possible, and I certainly have to rely on feedback from others to do so :)

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28 2018 10:22pm
by NoobX
greyskies wrote:Thanks for the review so far, NoobX! It seems you're using a really tanky party all around, which is pretty much the opposite of what I usually end up with. Interesting.


I don't know how else to do this. Seems that the whole "leash" tactics isn't working for me, so I can't count on having only a handful of tanky characters doing the job; everyone gets to ride on the pain train :damnit:

greyskies wrote:That's great, I feel like I must have done something right with this hack if you don't mind starting over :) now I really hope there's no other bugs I have missed which might mess up your playthrough...


The hack is great, there's that. I was aiming for a no-death run this time, but my dreams have been crushed by a Witch and a frozen tortoise she'd given me. I'm slugging my way through Parmecia atm. And I'm disregarding my exams, shame on you :lol:

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Sep 03 2018 1:18am
by greyskies
Well, back then I disregarded my own exams to create this hack, so we're kind of even :D
By the way, the exams comment made me curious, and I checked out your profile. How come somebody who's only 20 is apparently rather enthusiastic about an ancient game which was released a whole 5 years before he was even born?

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Sep 03 2018 9:55am
by NoobX
I can't remember if I ever said anything about it here, so excuse me, members who do remember, if I repeat myself.

Serbia, being a prime example of a Balkan country, is a whacky mother, but a mother that you kind of grow to like just because of that. Growing up in the 2000's, there weren't many games to be bought, and even if there were, they were expensive. With the number of households that did have a PC growing, so too did the demand for games. Faced with this problem, some of the lucky few with an internet connection saw a way to get some cash.
Enter bootleg CD's.
People pirating games, and then selling the CD's on the flea market was a common sight up until maybe five years or so. There was this one particular CD labeled "352 games" which spawned many copies, and maybe out of curiosity, or maybe out of pure excitement, people sought those copies. 352 games is a lot, after all, right? Well, those were actually the old Sega Genesis games which explains how "352 games" managed to fit on a CD. By chance, one such copy of a CD ended up in my household, and among all the random games was Shining Force 2. Back then, I couldn't even speak English, yet I was able to progress with the game. Fun times...

Re: [hack] SF2 - RETURN TO GRANS

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17 2018 12:37am
by greyskies
Ha, I have a somewhat relatable experience... I once got a "150 games in one" Gameboy Cartridge, which was mostly a compilation of old games from the I think Commodore era... and also it was actually like 20 games. In the menu 150 games were selectable, only that it was the same 20 over and over again, with different names. Such as game 1 being Tank Batallion, and then there was game 21 called "Heavy Artillery", game 41 called "Super Tanks", game 61 called "Warfare Commander" and so on, only that it was always Tank Batallion.

Anyway, there also was a Dragonball Z game on the cartridge - a story-heavy game with tactical battles. Only that it was completely in Japanese and I had never watched Dragonball Z. I remember calling the Kamehameha "The Spotlight" due to the still image :) Nevertheless managed to finish it, and played it quite a few times. Fun times indeed.