Years and years of talking about Fire Emblem design, and I have yet to make an actual document on it. The closest I've ever gotten was a thread on Serenes Forest, but it's not organized enough for my tastes.

So what do I look for in FE hack level design? I think the most important thing is pacing.

You want to keep the player consistently interested in what's going on. Give them goals and a sense of urgency to achieve them. For a simple, easy to understand example, let's look at the "Bandit Going After The Village" scenario.

Villages are nice. They give gifts in the form of items, weapons, and characters. The player doesn't want these things taken away. By introducing a threat of losing that at the hands of a racing bandit, we are encouraging the player to hustle and take risks rather than use a safe and boring strategy such as turtling. Of course, it's not interesting if it's just a matter of sending our high-movement units to the village...

Our goal from this point is to make things happen along the way. Predict how the player will move and act, then tailor the enemy positioning, AI, and reinforcements so that each turn sees the player having something to do... And uh... yeah, I think that's basically pacing in a nutshell. Giving the player things to do each turn.


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July 2014

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