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Topics - FaustWolf

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Chrono / Gameplay Casual Discussion / Manabu Daishima: 1971 - 2016
« on: May 07, 2018, 10:16:36 pm »
Sorry to make my first thread after coming back such a downer, but I didn't see it mentioned anywhere else here --

While I was unplugged, Compendium signup manucas shared this link from Anime New Network. It's about the passing of Manabu Daishima, who did graphics work for Chrono Trigger among a number of classic Squaresoft/Square Enix games. I wonder which field graphics he might have contributed?

The only other thing I was able to dig up about him is his line from the Developer's Ending:

Manabu Daishima: Hey out there in TV land! How're we doing today? It's me,
Manabu Daishima! Let's all buy games, okay? None of this renting and borrowing

Let's all raise a glass of hard cider in his honor!

All right folks, it's time to throw on your "walk through walls" code and party like it's 1999! Check out this awesome episode of "Boundary Break," a YouTube series that delves into obscure secrets of game design as revealed by the camera's roving eye. In this episode Shesez and team explore some ingenious things the Chrono Trigger programmers did, from object pre-loading, to hidden event triggers, to hiding lots of down-and-dirty graphics work with layering. Whether you're a rank-and-file Chrono fan or a veteran member of the Chrono modding community, give this a gander -- you're sure to appreciate it, and you may even learn a thing or two!

View Boundary Break Episode 51

Special props go to Compendium member utunnels, whose Chrono Cross model viewer gets a shout-out toward the end of the episode. Thanks to Shesez and company for helping to keep interest in this franchise alive!

General Discussion / Mitsuda Appreciation Thread
« on: July 09, 2016, 03:33:40 pm »
So we're all very familiar with Mitsuda's work on the Chrono series, but have you heard the awesome stuff he's composed for other games? I was on a Mitsuda music research kick a little while back and amassed a whole treasure trove. I'm going to try my best to update every weekend with a new track that's verified Mitsuda work -- I'm learning the "verified" part is important because a lot of videogame soundtracks are collaborations and sometimes it's difficult to pin down exactly who composed what without proper documentation.

Everyone's free to chime in with the awesome Mitsuda tracks they've discovered! All I ask is that you share with us why the track resonates with you, where you think it'd fit in a new Chrono game, or other random thoughts about the track.

First up is "Urban Fantasy," from the 10,000 Bullets (PS2) OST:

Verification that this one is by Mitsuda, and not collaborator Miki Higashino (also an awesome composer in her own right, see the Suikoden series):,000_Bullets

If there were a new Chrono game, and the story was structured in such a way that it followed the evolution of a particular civilization over a long time span, I see this as the "big city" music for the era when that society reaches its modern/industrial stage. In earlier eras the music for that city might have underscored a cheery feeling of togetherness and industriousness for its own sake, when people spontaneously came together in communal projects like erecting houses on the city outskirts... This track, in contrast, speaks to the social isolation felt in the modern city now that the sense of community pride has been replaced with a dog-eat-dog commercialism that benefits a slate of oligarchs.

The social isolation is paradoxical considering the number of people stuffed into each square mile of the modern city. And yet, there's still something noble underlying it all, manifested in the efforts of families scraping by to feed their kids and entertaining dreams that these children can achieve a more meaningful future if only they work hard enough. But does a villain lurk the streets, gathering the despair of those who are smart enough to lose hope?

Chrono Cross Modification / Chrono Cross Toolsets
« on: July 02, 2016, 02:21:04 pm »
    Figured we might as well make a centralized list of toolsets that can extract, process, and/or re-import Chrono Cross files. The two biggest tools that were available
way back in the day were the "R/Y Dumper" made by Yazoo and recompiled by Ramsus, and the Terminus Traductions suite. I have long since forgotten how these work exactly, and there are probably more advanced tools nowadays. But without further ado...

Everyone, please feel free to list your own tools or tools you know of here. I'll pop back in from time to time to add those to the first post.[/list]

Just saw this on YouTube and thought I'd leave it here in case it makes someone else's day besides mine. It's "Scars of Time," extended to play for 30 minutes(!) seamlessly:

I never imagined it could be done due to the track's structure (it never looped in-game), but this is masterful. I'm kicking myself for finding it three years after the upload date.

General Discussion / Scientist claims to have detected a parallel universe
« on: November 19, 2015, 10:18:38 pm »
I just saw this article and thought it would be of interest -- reminds me a lot of Chrono Cross' "Angelus Errare," or the area on Opassa Beach where Serge can cross the dimensions. It's always cool to see a fantastical sci-fi concept come under the scientific lens.

General Discussion / Multicultural Music Video Appreciation Thread
« on: October 13, 2012, 10:05:48 pm »
Aww, heck, I've been completely infected by a music video while trying to focus on grad school work, and I realized we haven't had a proper thread for music video sharing, appreciation and analysis yet. The idea here is to share a cool music video you've found (or remembered) recently, and tell us why it resonates with you. I hope this will help us expose one another to cultural discoveries. And, um...stuff. As these are modern cultural artifacts, we should totally be free to speak our minds on why material presented here puts us off as well.

I think the Chrono Compendium could totally replace MTV thanks to this thread. Anyway, if anyone has trouble embedding YouTube videos in the forum, here's the instrux:

youtube /youtube with just the video ID in between, and with [] brackets on the "youtube" tags.

While I've got a few German bands up my sleeve, I'm going to submit David Guetta's and Sia's new release, "She-Wolf." Why would I choose this? Call it...wolf's prerogative.

*Fair warnings for non-graphic nudity and fairly graphic blood*


The song and the music video strike me as kind of disconnected, but the video speaks to me on two levels. First, it appeals to the pro-naturalism I've grown up with (thank '90s grade school indoctrination and Sonic the Hedgehog for that!). Moreover, it's just hard not to identify with that wounded wolf, being hounded by constant challenges. If only our difficulties would collapse before us so easily! That wolf totally exploded those dudes.

I get the impression that medieval Scandinavia must have been a really fun place.

General Discussion / Artists, who and what are your influences?
« on: June 23, 2012, 08:53:20 pm »
I'm still at the point in my life where I'm crazy with work 24/7, but I took out some time today to jot down the people who influenced my approach to art. I found it a useful exercise because it reminded me where I come from on an artistic level, and where I'm going. And more importantly that I have an art, even if I've been going bonkers over other things for the past couple years. I thought I'd share, and I'd love to see the results of others who can entertain this subject.

As far as guidance on the thread, I'm really just looking for everyone's stream of consciousness. I would only ask that the speaker link to a piece of media the influencing artist has created, or at least name an example so the rest of us can read, see or hear, or yank it out of the ether if it seems inaccessible at the moment.

So I'm going to rank my influences in terms of the depth of effect they've had on me. It's incredibly tacky to list Masato Kato first but it has to be done -- not for Chrono, but for the opening scene of Ninja Gaiden II, which came several years earlier. I feel I was truly born the moment I first experienced it; life was just a kind of listless existence before this appeared on my family's TV screen. Something in this piece of media struck a chord in me, and from that point on I began daydreaming stories at a young age. It's embarrassing to say, but I probably lived most of my elementary school and early high school years swimming in my own mind! Tolkien visited me a few years before Kato, but it was Kato's work that truly stirred me once and for all, because in Ninja Gaiden II I saw the storytelling power of multimedia. That's why I'll never claim to be "writing" so much as building multimedia projects. It's just my way.

The really interesting thing is that, to pursue my dream, I'll have to call upon the powers of multiple disciplines. There's something truly special about an artist who's willing to lend his or her power to help tell another's story. Kato was particularly fortunate in this regard early on, because he could do the art and the scenario at the same time! Waaaah!

So then I have to list Norihiko Yonesaka and Kazuhiro Matsuda, plus their translators, for their work on Front Mission 3. I haven't spoken much about this game here simply because it's poorly documented, but it actually had an impact on my real-world career interests (gasp!). I didn't give a hoot about politics or government before 1999 -- I always considered myself on the Computer Science track. Suspension of disbelief aside, Front Mission 3 ground into my head the effects politics have on real people, so I seriously entertained a government career from then on. September 11, 2001 came quickly after my exposure to this, and that pretty much sealed the deal. My career and artistic aspirations have undergone quite a bit of strange flux and intermingling since then, but my fascination with politics will always carry through on account of this videogame. Weird, huh?

Now I arrive at Canadian/American filmmaker James Cameron, particularly for Aliens, and also particularly for the Avatar scriptment. The first piece of media pretty much sealed the deal on my artistic attitudes toward gender, which were once again primed by Tolkien (the Eowyn episode just does that to you). The Avatar scriptment opened my mind to means alternative to prose for storytelling, which set me on the path to developing a system that's efficient for my needs. I'm still on that evolutionary path, but this (ostensibly leaked) exposure to an artist's private document was really crucial for my development.

Next up is Yasumi Matsuno, plus his translators past and present, for his work on the Ogre series. If the folks behind Front Mission 3 kindled my interest in politics, then Matsuno taught me the importance of world building. Dude is a freaking genius when it comes to that. He's kind of in the same position as Kato is, because his work in that particular game world is dependent on the corporation's decisions and we may very well never see him at this height again. It is just amazing to stand back and reflect on the fact that this world building is actually the man's job and not his pastime -- who knows what he's really got going on in his head on the side! At the same time, I fear to ever walk in his shoes. I definitely want to be an artist pursuing his craft independent of the financials. Uh, somehow.

Still, in many ways, Matsuno's work lies at the absolute center of my heart. If my artistic endeavors ever reach fruition, you'll know it only by the opening chimes since I'd publish under a name very different from "FaustWolf." It'll make sense if you pay attention to the opening seconds of Tactics Ogre.

And then there's Yoshitaka Murayama for his work on Suikoden and Suikoden II. Like Matsuno, Murayama was a master of world building. But it was Murayama who really taught me the force of emotional resonance -- of setting up situations that really tug at the viewer's or consumer's heartstrings.

And finally, I have to cut it short at Tetsuya Takahashi, Soraya Saga, et al., for their work on Xenogears and other Square Enix franchises. It was Xenogears, ironically, that taught me the importance of time -- of how conflict flows from one generation or decade to the next if left unresolved. That was a big artistic discovery for me, and a theme I definitely intend to tap into.

So that's kind of my story in a nutshell -- and I say that in the belief that a person's influences can tell you so much about them. In that spirit, I'm curious to learn more about you all!

Explanation here

Okay everyone, things just got real. All hands on deck. Red alert. If you're waking up to your daily Compendium check-in, you're gonna want to sit down for this. If you've just taken a sip of water or coffee, please swallow before reading on, because we're not going to be liable for any injuries that result from this. And if you came here after seeing all the game media sites abuzz, you're in luck -- we've got the full scoop thanks to TimeNinja, an heroic bilingual Chrono fan who lives at ground zero. You need to thank TimeNinja for foregoing sleep to bring us scans, pics and music. Also...thank cats.

So here are the basics. Square Enix just announced "Kairos: The Fate Unwound" for the PS Vita, including a playable demo and a six-track soundtrack sampler for good measure. Here are TimeNinja's scans of a character whose appearance should excite you and apparently the game's hero straight from the soundtrack sampler sleeve. TimeNinja's also got the six tracks ripped; check them out here and get your excitement on! This all went down at Square Enix's booth at the Fancy Feline Festival in Osaka, which started Friday, March 30 and wraps up today. Yes, we know this is weird. No, games are not normally announced at such a venue. We can only imagine that when the Chrono "tick" started, the audience reaction must have been immediate. But as luck would have it, none other than writer and director Masato Kato was on hand and agreed to an interview with TimeNinja to explain this and much, much more! Let's get right to this rush-translated transcript while you're listening to the music and checking out these awesome official screencaps.

TIMENINJA: Mr. Kato, thank you so much for this opportunity. To start off since our time is short, could you explain why Square Enix chose the Fancy Feline Festival for this announcement, instead of a more traditional place like the Tokyo Game Show?

MASATO KATO: Blame the marketers! (laughs) But seriously, it's a well known fact that fully 90 percent of the Internet community is made up of cat lovers. If Square Enix wanted an announcement to go viral, this is the most logical place. I have a feeling the interviews will be all over the web within the day!

More importantly, you've seen the tie-in right here at the press conference: the cat herding minigame is a big part of Kairos. If you think about it, cats have always been central to the Chrono series!

TN: Yes, I saw that in the demo. It seemed very difficult to get the cats to go where the player wanted.

KATO: (laughs) Yeah, this is an aspect of cat behavior the programming team is trying very hard to portray accurately!

TN: So, a number of questions are going to shoot to the very top of fans' minds. I guess I'll ask first, who's the art director this time around? The style doesn't seem anything like Mr. Toriyama's or Mr. Yuuki's?

KATO: That's right. I guess each Chrono game, from Trigger to Dreamers to Cross, has had a different art director, hasn't it? This time it's Yusuke Naora, who was a great pleasure to work with -- even more than Mr. Mitsuda! (laughs) Fans might not realize that Mr. Naora worked with us on Chrono Trigger as an environment designer, so in a sense he's right at home on the team.

TN: And why isn't "Chrono" part of the title? Is this going to be more a side story like Radical Dreamers, rather than a mainline Chrono game?

KATO: Oh, let me explain the title's meaning before I answer that specifically. The Greeks had two words for time: "chronos" and "kairos." The first refers to sequential time, while the latter refers to a time in between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens. It's like a passing instant when an opening appears, and you must drive through it with force if success is to be achieved. You can probably imagine how that fits into the world of Chrono.

But as to your question, it has a nice cadence, doesn't it -- Chrono, Dreamers, Chrono, Kairos? I was deeply saddened with some fans' reactions to Chrono Cross, you know. I think because we attached the Chrono label directly, people expected more of the same that they experienced in Trigger. And doing more of the same just isn't this ole' man's style. (laughs) The concept of "kairos" gave us a way of straying from the Chrono label, allowing us to do something very different while maintaining the driving themes of the series. In that sense, the comparison to Dreamers is very appropriate.

TN: But it is the same world, right?

KATO: Oh, yes! Guardia, the southern islands, Porre in the modern epoch -- this has always been the launching point for any Chrono game. Established worlds that players have already invested in are the greatest asset any game company can have I think, and Square Enix realises this. I'm very pleased with their decision to return to it, and I think fans will be too!

TN: So tell us about this character from the soundtrack sampler art, known only as "The Guru." Of course there are three Gurus series fans know about so far: Gasch, Bosch and Hasch. I assume he's one of these three and I could make a guess from the hat, but let's hear it straight from the scenario writer.

KATO: Oh, I can't give that away yet! I spent all this time writing up a big mystery, could you expect me to make the big reveal before the game even releases? (laughs) But I can say that this person has quite a lot invested in the timeline that exists at the beginning of Kairos. Players will make a lot of guesses, but the truth will be surprising, and probably a little sad.

TN: Judging from the soundtrack song titles released so far, it almost sounds like "The Guru" will antagonist?

KATO: I want to get away from the idea of "bad guys" and "good guys" with Kairos. We're not just going to push gameplay boundaries with this title -- we're going to push storytelling too. It's gotten too stagnant and formulaic in RPGs. (laughs) But yeah, he'll seem to be an antagonist at first. The great thing is that his own journey parallels the heroine's, and that of the player as well.

TN: Yeah, let's talk about the new hero. I saw in the demo that she seems to start out as a cat herder, but how does she get wrapped up with "The Guru" and everything else that's happening?

KATO: Well, it's a long story. I think 30 hours, last I counted! (laughs) But you can see in the demo that her rival is a big-name cat wrangler from the mainland, a masked man who is sure to excite fans. When she competes with him in the climax of the Big Cat Rodeo, she awakens something inside him, memories from his past. It's not just her, it's also the high-ranking official presiding over the tourney -- everything's coming together and striking him in a certain way that he's never experienced before. Things certainly get interesting from there! You might say it's a loose thread "The Guru" left without knowing it, and that is the real beginning of the story.

But as far as the character's motivation, it's going to be very clear and something the player can identify with I hope. Imagine if you learned you owed your birth directly to some atrocity -- one running thirteen thousand years in this young woman's case. Entire kingdoms falling down just to put a few pieces in place, so your mom and dad could meet. What would you do if you suddenly had the chance to change all that?

TN: That sounds pretty dark!

KATO: But not so unrealistic, perhaps. I read an article in 2009 that explained how we might all be here today because our ancestors wiped out the Neanderthals. It gave me a real chill, and so I began drafting what would become Kairos.

As for the mood, I know some fans were disappointed with how sad things were in Cross. I think they'll enjoy Kairos more once they pick it up. Like Trigger, it's actually very lighthearted until the premise kicks in. It's important for the story, because we need to know what enjoyment of life is before we have a motive to combat things that would stifle that.

TN: And what's her weapon? It looks a little like Serge's swallow from Chrono Cross?

KATO: You're very observant! It's not quite a swallow, though -- this one's called an "alethe." The company allowed us to bring back Mr. Oguchi, our character animator on Cross, which I was very happy about. He really enjoyed all the intricate movements associated with the swallow and suggested we do something similar. But you know my motto --

TN: Never do the same thing twice --

KATO: (laughs) And we called a team meeting to discuss this most important decision. It could make or break things from a gameplay perspective, right? I think it was one of our battle programmers who said his aunt was an expert with the Naginata and was transfixed as a young child, watching her practice with it. So I asked our modeler to come up with a mix of that and the swallow! (laughs)

The "alethe" is a very peculiar weapon originating in the southern islands. There's a very heavy, decorative front blade but it's used mostly for defense -- it's the thin axe-like blade on the back you attack with. It feels very strange to hold, let alone use effectively. But if you're good with it, you have an advantage in battle because so few warriors know how it even works. Cat herding is a dangerous thing to begin with considering the rivalries, so it's understandable why her father might have taught her how to use such a new weapon. So much the better if her father happened to be an expert with the swallow to begin with! (laughs)

TN: This sounds like a good time to talk about the game's combat system!

KATO: Oh, I am sooooo glad you asked! (laughs) I'm very excited about this, because the Chrono series has always been about pushing boundaries when it comes to gameplay.

The PlayStation Vita is the perfect platform because it allows the traditional button controls, but also touch controls on the screen. So in normal RPGs, you're done once you've pushed a button or whatever. In Kairos, things are just beginning once you've chosen to attack or use a special technique. If you tap or slice your finger across the screen during the character's preparation time, you'll create a variation on the command you've selected. So you can find new special attacks with some experimentation! We've also brought a "balance" system in play to measure character stamina. If you save up you can do combination attacks with more than one character, but if you attack too liberally the characters can become off-balance and unable to react to enemy attacks.

The peculiarities of the "alethe" also play into this. Let's just say there are some surprises in store when you choose "Defend" in the combat menu. I've heard that RPG players usually scorn this option, so we're doing something to spice it up this time around. (laughs)

TN: I can tell from the number of people standing in line that I'd better get moving, but Mr. Kato, what message would you give to the fanbase eagerly awaiting Kairos?

KATO: Things are very tough all over the world right now. I would say, "Don't forget to dream like a radical dreamer." It might seem like things much bigger than you have already woven your fate, but no matter what's working against you, it can't be perfect. It must have left a thread loose somewhere. Search for that thread, and when you find it, tug with all your might. That will be your "kairos," your supreme moment.

Okay guys, I'd say that leaves me pretty stoked for what's to come. TimeNinja didn't bring a camera to record the demo, but here's Square Enix's first gameplay preview! Are you feeling the excitement yet!?

Time, Space, and Dimensions / Strategery and Time Travel
« on: January 20, 2012, 11:34:58 pm »
So, if you were a giant porcupine with time displacement capability, it makes enough sense that you'd get rid of threats by tossing them around in the timestream. But is it smarter to send your enemies into the future, or into the past? Lavos did both during the course of CT I think, pending any influence by the Entity when Magus and Crono & co. were gated out of Magus' castle.

Within the confines of the most widely accepted time travel theories, what was Lavos' biggest strategic error? And how much more confusing does this question get if we consider other time travel models?

So, like, yeah.

Mwahaha, it's a geek's dream come true.

Kudos to the author -- I'm so pissed I didn't think of this first! I should check whether the DVD's audio tracks are Dolby Digital. Then it might be possible to decompose the audio into separate tracks and keep the voices while Mitsuda's music plays. And re-score the entire movie with Mitsuda music.

At least, that's what I'd do if I were 90 and retired.

Chrono News / Epoch to Warp onto iOS, Android
« on: September 16, 2011, 05:06:45 pm »
Big thanks to Compendium members tuxedojacob and Tishiablo for bringing this to our attention! This just in from TGS, via IGN:

At TGS today Square Enix reaffirmed its presence on iOS and also announced significant support for Android by announcing a bevy of new titles and ports for both platforms.


On the games front, Square Enix revealed that Chrono Trigger will be hitting both iOS and Android, a move sure to send shivers of pleasure up the spine of any retro jRPG lover. Final Fantasy Legends, Itadaki Street and Dragon Quest Monsters will also be receiving updated mobile releases for both iOS and Android.

[hidden]I'm holding out hope for HD sprites for the iOS Retina display, but does anyone know if Android devices have an equivalent HD display? I'm assuming they do? Some new goodies aren't entirely out of the question -- the iPad version of Final Fantasy Tactics got newly drawn character portraits.[/hidden]

Haa haaa~! Why didn't I think of this before!?

When ye olde Kajar Labs was developing Magus Unmasked back in 2008, I took a few days out to test our [knowledge and abilities which henceforth have been stricken], and naturally used it for some pseudo-Radical Dreamers wish fulfillment, with Chrono Cross playing host.





“It’s your dream, isn’t it?”

The brother blinked moistened eyes at him. “Huh?”

Beck lowered his voice conspiratorially. “Becoming Seneschal. It’s your – dream.” He dared to reach out to the animal again and this time Alfador accepted his gloved hand running along its ears. “The capstone of your life. The thought of it gives you the power to carry on and burst through every obstacle, no matter how bleak things seem at present.”

The brother cleared his throat. “Yea. You’re right, I guess it is. I’m gonna be a really great Seneschal someday. Nothing will stop me.”


I want to say up front that I have a number of people to thank for the inspiration for this one, and I think some of ZeaLitY's own language crept in in bits and pieces here and there. You'll also notice a famous quote from Stalin, and if you're a uber Dead Can Dance fan there's even an Easter Egg in there for you too.

Chiefly, this was directly inspired by ZeaLitY's "Alphard and Demeria", which you can find in the 2007 Dream Splash! "Fata Morgana" was meant to accompany a huge fan project called Angelus Errare: Heroes Unsung, another fangame that was to have built further on the Crimson Echoes legendarium. Naturally it's still twisting and turning in fits of development hell -- thanks to the 2009 C&D, but also to my own intellectual journey, which has effectively halted it while I'm on hiatus and developing my artistic skillset.

My man Boo the Gentleman Caller, my man Thought, my man Satoh, and my man Tushantin had a lot to do with the mood and environmental details. I think it was either Thought or Satoh who came up with the Ahqz, a short acronym for "All Hail Queen Zeal." I think I've got the grammar right now when referring to the people of Shikar, who ZeaLitY introduced in Alphard and Demeria and for whom I went to Tushantin for some linguistic and cultural inspiration as we dipped that candlestick back into the creative wax. I have Tushantin to thank entirely for the name "Seith Dragus," whose character pretty much follows directly from the name.

I won't let the cat out of the bag on this much more to protect the project members' creative freedom should it eventually reach fruition, other than to give a big shout-out to some of the artists involved. The viewpoint character in this piece was to have his own sprite, worked on alternately by BROJ, Zephira, and probably Alcyone (all of whom are really kickass at this art):

The viewpoint character, one Honoré Beck, is a bit of a creepy sort at this stage in his character arc. I wanted to write someone my idealistic side would absolutely detest, but whose flaws many men, myself included, can identify with. That's fun every now and then. The way he objectifies his love interest is repugnant to me, but he finds redemption through empathy -- an empathy made possible by his ability to dream, and in turn make dreams come true.

What Seith asks Beck to do, and what Beck is about to do when the story ends, will remain a mystery for the time being. Those questions were to play a big role in the larger project.

While this has nothing to do with Radical Dreamers per se, it does have to do with radical dreams, so hopefully it'll fit as a really, really ridiculously far-removed gaiden entry. Without further ado...

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