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Topics - alfadorredux

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Eheheh . . .  I got one of those "day job" things and it kind of ate me alive.  Don't know if anyone even remembers me anymore at this point, but I should be wandering in and out of here again periodically now, mostly on weekends.

Chrono Compendium Discussion / Oekaki having a spam invasion
« on: December 11, 2011, 08:31:32 pm »
Looks like it's been going on for about a week. Could someone with the power to do so please step in and clean up?

Fan Fiction / Dreams of a Faraway Dawn
« on: July 26, 2011, 10:03:39 pm »
I'm posting this because the actual author of this story, a good friend of mine, is too damned modest to promote her fanfics nearly as much as they deserve. She's written a (very long) tale centering around Magus, and it's pretty good, arguments about how many people can actually fit in the Epoch and in what configuration notwithstanding.

Start here for author's notes:
or here to plunge directly into Part 1:

I just noticed something rather peculiar.

Nikki's age is given as 19, which is fairly reasonable, although it doesn't give him much time to have established himself as a singer.

Marcy's age is given as 9, which I suppose isn't completely implausible (although she's really precocious)...except for one thing. If Marcy is 9, that means that Fargo and Zelbess were still together when Nikki was about the same age (even if we don't trust the Ultimania guide, which indicates Nikki last saw Fargo in 1011). However, when the party first boards the Invincible, Nikki does not recognize Fargo until he's told the name of the ship and has a chance to work backwards, although he should remember his father quite well (Nikki (Home) even remembers the furniture, for crying out loud...).

I can only think of three explanations for this, and I don't really like any of them:
1. Marcy's age is incorrect, and she should be at least 13-14, making Nikki around 5 the last time he saw his father. (This means that the Ultimania guide is also out to lunch.)
2. Fargo has really changed a lot since Nikki last saw him. This is the most plausible explanation on the face of it, but how different could a grown man really become in <10 years, barring severe and disfiguring injury?
3. Fargo and Nikki actually parted ways several years before Marcy was even conceived--but why?

Does anyone have any better ideas?

Dream Splash III - Chrono Break [2010] / Story fragment
« on: June 25, 2010, 04:45:12 pm »
Explanations, such as they are, are at the end.

[Termina at sunset. Guile, looking somewhat older, with streaks of grey at his temples,
emerges from the Dragon's Tail bar just as the entire area suddenly becomes shadowed.
Guile looks up, and the camera pans upward to follow his gaze. Silhouetted against the
sunset is the main island of Zeal. It remains there for a second or two, then shimmers
and dissolves.]

[We pan back down to Guile, who rubs his eyes for a moment, then begins to float toward
the city gates at the best speed of which he is capable. The scene fades out just as he
reaches them.]

[The scene fades back in to show a night sky, with the Zeal-island silhouetted against
the full moon. The camera pans down quickly to show the lights of the Ocean Palace under
the water below the island, then zooms in on it. The picture goes black for a moment,
and then we are inside the palace, in a room containing some huge apparatus and several banks
of control consoles being operated by Nu. Also present are Queen Zeal, Gaspar (in a cage),
and a young woman with blue hair (NOT Schala, although there is a resemblance).]

Queen Zeal:
   It appears that the first test was a success. So much for your doubts, old man.

   Majesty, I beg you not to do this.

   Yes, Grandmother, what have the people of that other world ever done to us?

Queen Zeal:
   Silence, both of you!

   Caela, you are young yet. You cannot expect to fathom the mind of an immortal who has
   lived as long as I. Or perhaps you intend to turn traitor like your mother?

   Of course not, grandmother.

   ...May I leave?

Queen Zeal:
   Very well, go.

[Caela (the blue-haired girl) leaves the room. We follow her along a corridor and into the
hall of the Mammon Machine.]

   I hate this. I am beginning to think that Mother was right, and Grandmother is quite mad.
   Seeking out new worlds to conquer because she has all but destroyed our own... There must
   be some way to stop it, but...


   Oh, no, no, what am I thinking? If I am caught, I...

   But those people from that other world don't deserve this either...

[She raises her hand and presses it against an area near her collarbone, right where a
pendant might rest.]

   Help me, Mother! I don't know what to do.

[The whole scene blurs and darkens, and when it clears we are in quite a different room:
one in a grass hut in Arni village. A young woman who looks exactly like Caela except for
her clothing and hair colour--she is blonde--tosses and turns restlessly on a narrow bed.
The window curtains are open to show the full moon outside. After a few seconds of this,
the scene fades and we are taken to a black screen displaying the Chrono Break logo,
accompanied by the words "Two Worlds, One Destiny." A couple of seconds of that, and we
are back in that room in Arni again. The blonde girl is waking up.]

   (Ugh. That dream again.)

[She shakes her head violently, as though to disperse the memories, and sits up, sliding her
legs over the edge of the bed.]

   (Never mind that. I need to eat, and then go join Una before he gets tired of waiting
   and takes the boat out without me.)

[She gets up, and the player momentarily has control of her until he guides her through the
doorway and into the next room, where Serge and Kid are sitting at a table. Both are much
older than they were in Cross (Serge is starting to look a lot like Wazuki).]

   Caela, yer runnin' late again.

   Mom, I told you, call me "Kay".

   Kay, then. Whatever. Just sit down and eat.

   There's no time. I have to get to Uncle Una's boat--

   Una came by earlier. Said he was sorry, but his sister asked him to take young Len
   instead of you, and he couldn't very well say no. They've already left.

[Kay kicks the nearest table leg. Hard.]

   You mean he took that brat to help him fish instead of me?

   I know it's a bummer, but Len needs to learn the family business. And Una figures
   ya ain't gonna want to go out with him anymore once ya find yerself a man.

   That isn't happening.

   Heheheh. I thought so once too.

[Kid turns her head and gives Serge, who is still placidly drinking his tea, a good long

   But never mind that. Since ya ain't goin' out on the water today, I thought ya might
   want to take yerself up to Cape Howl. There've been some nasty monsters up that way
   lately, and a couple of kids almost got mauled yesterday. Here, I packed ya a lunch.

[A package wrapped in a square of cloth, with a knot at the top, appears on the table.
Kay picks it up.]

   The critters'll give ya somethin' to take yer frustrations out on, anyway.

   ...Thanks, Mom. For understanding.

   Eh, no biggie.

[Kay goes over to the wall, where two bladed oars rest on hooks. One looks like the
Mastermune. Kay takes the other, then heads for the door. When she's left the room,
the camera pans back to the table.]

   Wish I knew if I was doin' the right thing.

[Serge shrugs.]

   Yeah, I know, it might all be a false alarm, but the feelin' won't go away. Somethin's
   comin', and I'm pretty sure it's comin' for our little girl. Anyway, she has it now, and
   I ain't gonna try to take it back--don't want to have to explain why I slipped it into
   her lunch in the first place.

[Serge nods, and puts down his tea mug. He reaches across the table and takes Kid's hands
in his.]

   I really hope you're right, mate.

[The player now has control of Kay and can wander the village of Arni, shop, gather Useful
Gameplay Tips For People Who Don't Read Manuals, etc. About the only thing of interest that's
mentioned is that Opassa and Lizard Rock are both gone, submerged after an earth tremour plus
tidal wave several years ago that also destroyed the village's original dock. The new dock
is much more expansive, pitchfork-shaped, with three prongs reaching out into the sea. When
the player finally decides to leave the town, we see that the lower-left bit of the El Nido
Main Island is indeed gone. Eventually, the player enters Cape Howl, to discover a monster
trying to take a bite out of Guile, who promptly zaps it.]

   What the...? Hey, you! Who are you, and what are you doing here?

   You must be Kay.

[Kay pulls out her weapon]

   How do you know my name?!

   I am sorry; I did not mean to startle you. My name is Guile. We have met before, although
   I do not expect you would remember--you were only a baby at the time. You look a great
   deal like your mother did at your age, although she was shorter.

[Kay lowers her weapon.]

   So you know my folks? Were you headed for Arni?

   It would be more accurate to say that I am following my nose.


   I saw something rather odd in Termina a few days ago: a giant shadow on the southwestern
   horizon, like an island floating in the sky. I am currently searching to clues as to
   what it might have been...and this is the southwesternmost part of the main island.

   A floating island? (Like the one in my dream...?)

   Are you sure you weren't just seeing things?

   I was not the only one who saw it. In any case, now that I am here, I believe I will
   ascend the cape. If that is where you were headed, perhaps we could go together.

   We've been having problems with some monsters around here lately...but I guess you
   probably know how to take care of yourself. You're a mean hand with an Element,

   It is kind of you to say so, but I fear I am a bit out of practice. I would be glad
   of your escort.

   Heh. I should probably charge you for my services.

   If you wish.

   Hey, I wasn't serious. You watch my back, and we'll call it even, okay? Some problem
   monsters have settled around here lately, so I may need the help, 'specially if they
   turn out to have shells or something. Elements aren't my strong suit.

   It is a bargain, then. Shall we go?

[The player regains control, and they fight their way up to the top of the cape, and
defeat the boss monster waiting for them up there. When it's over, Guile walks up to the
tip of the cape and looks out to sea. Kay makes to follow him, but as she approaches the
cairn, ominous red light shoots up from under her feet. Kay looks around, trying to find
its source.]

Guile: [turning to stare]
   Angelus Errare? Here?


[Everything wavers, and Kay falls to her knees]


[Guile lunges toward Kay as a video of something like Serge's first dimensional crossing
in Cross begins. When it ends, they aren't on Cape Howl anymore, but in a cave.]

The next scene would involve Caela carrying out her sabotage against the device Queen Zeal
is using to move between dimensions, and, during her escape, botching a teleport or something
and landing practically on top of Kay and Guile, but since I'm not sure exactly how it would
go, I'm not going to try to write it.

A bit of background, then: Someone once observed in some thread around here somewhere that
"Chrono Trigger" and "Chrono Cross" are both nouns. If "Chrono Break" were also a noun,
it would then have to take the form of some sort of rupture in Time...which is exactly
what Queen Zeal is trying, here, to create.

The world of Caela and Queen Zeal is one where the experiments with the Mammon Machine
were successful, and Zeal became a kingdom of immortals. That was thirteen thousand years
ago, and the surviving immortals are mostly either crazy or really, really bored...but
no Enlightened One who's been exposed to the immortality spell projected by the Mammon
Machine can die, even if he wants to. Most of them can't have children, either, and
how Schala managed to produce Caela is a minor mystery. (Caela's father was an Earthbound--
that world's version of Serge. Queen Zeal probably killed him after she found out that
he was shagging her daughter.)

Schala was imprisoned after an attempt to halt her mother's dimensional transfer research
some fifteen years earlier, and hasn't been seen since. Janus (who never, in this
universe, became Magus) is running what even he admits is a pretty pathetic excuse
for a rebellion. Dalton's probably around somewhere, acting like a jackass as usual.
I haven't a clue about Melchior and Belthasar.

Kay's world (which is, of course, some variation on the post-Cross Ideal Timeline, with
Kid and Guile being the ones who went to the DBT with Serge) may not be the only one that
end up under attack from Zeal--I'm envisioning probably a technologically advanced dimension
(a world conquered by Starkys, perhaps?) and a Reptite/Dragonian one landing in the mix
as well, just for the heck of it.

The thing Kid slipped into Kay's lunch was the Astral Amulet. The Angelus Errare on Cape
Howl was a result of the experiments in Zeal weakening the distinction between the two
worlds. Having Serge still be mute was a bit of a joke.

Oh, and Guile is not Magus here...he's the son of a Magus who never recovered his memory.

This actually first appeared in my head in the form of a fragment of quite a different scene,
involving Janus sacrificing himself to save Caela from a very angry Queen Zeal. Of course,
that could still happen, much later in the game.

Quick notes on character appearances: Caela and Kay are dimensional alternates of the same
person, but they've led very different lives. Caela is pale, slender, wears robes and
slippers, and keeps her hair long, wearing it either loose or in some kind of elaborate
piled-up style involving lots of jeweled pins or combs. Kay is tanned, has more muscle,
has a practical approach to hair (although I'm not sure whether she keeps it short or
ties/braids it back), and dresses like an apprentice pirate (fantasy variation), in tight
knee-length shorts, a cropped top, a brightly-coloured sash, and sandals.

Guile hasn't changed much: he still has the mask and the braid and wears white, but there's
grey in his hair and he's taken to wearing shirts that actually cover his chest. ;P

And I think that's everything that's available in my head to dump about this at this point.

Chrono / Gameplay Casual Discussion / Finding an image...
« on: August 09, 2009, 10:13:33 am »
Does anyone know where I can find a picture of the throne room in Zeal Palace? A friend of mine is looking for one to use as reference for her fanfic, and there doesn't seem to be anything on the relevant Encyclopedia page...

Fan Fiction / Chrono Helix (script)
« on: July 04, 2009, 10:21:55 pm »
Don't know how worthwhile posting this is, especially after my last action
in this part of the forum was pulling apart someone else's fanfic in
excruciating detail, but my ineptitude might at least provide meager amusement
for someone. Anyway...

This started out as the potential script for a Chrono Cross mod that will
likely never now be attempted. It was intended to include:
-an actual speaking part for Serge, although he still (thinks) more than he talks
-Magus and Dario as playable characters (Guile is considered as a separate
 character and is not replaced by Magus)
-up to six PCs present in each cutscene (although the combat party would be limited to
 the normal three)
-elimination of some PCs who were not useful storywise (Funguy, frex) and demotion
 of some others to NPCs
-additional backstory for the characters who survive the cull

Blocks of text in italics are the same as they were in the original CC script.
How much there is of that sort of stuff varies from chapter to chapter. In some places,
I cut what was mostly game-tutorial material wholesale rather than bother to recopy it.
Markup in later chapters with decision trees is...hopefully self-explanatory. I'm going
to try my best to smoothe the messy bits out as I post.

I got as far as midway through the Termina/Guide to Viper Manor chapter before shelving
this (although some later material dealing with the Guile/Magus story branch also
exists). How much of it I post depends on how loudly people scream at me to stop. ;P

Chrono Cross as it should have been, or the nightmare of an insane purple cat? I leave
that for you to decide.

1. An Ancient Fort - Chasing phantoms in one's dreams...
Fort Dragonia (Dream)

[FMV:In the middle of a large mountain range lies
a huge fortress.  Surrounding the fortress are six dragon statues.]

[An elevator comes up to a hallway with two exits.  Three people step out
of the elevator.]

   What is it,
   You look troubled.
   this is it.
   There's no turning
   back, now!
   C'mon Serge,

[Kid turns and faces Serge.]

   Just you wait, Lynx!
   Today's gonna be the
   day of reckonin'!!!
   Say yer prayers!
   ...Not that it'll
   do ya any good!!!


   (Huh? What? How did I get here?
   Who are these people? And why
   does it feel like I should know
   know them? Well, I guess I
   should just go along with things
   for now. At least they seem to
   have some idea of what's going

[Serge comes out of the elevator and joins them.
They make their way through the first bit of the fort
and arrive on the balcony in the room with the
switch / crystal]

   What's that
   crystal like thing?

   Some kinda switch?
   So close and yet so far...

   I guess that means we have
   to get over to that other
   door...unless one of you has
   some rope.

   Rope! Bugger! I KNEW I'd
   forgotten something! Some
   thief I am.

   (She's a thief?! But she's
   ...kinda cute.)

[Eventually, they find their way to the ground
level in the same room and adjust the crystal /
switch, then take the teleporter up to the entrance
to the top level, which leaves them on a balcony,
facing a set of big double doors.]

   What the bloody hell
   just happened?

   What are we
   doin' out here?

   Wooooow! Bugger...!!!
   We're so high up!
   Is this thing floatin'!?

   Did it feel like your
   body passed through
   the floor just now?

   This sure is
   some fort...
   Eh, Serge?

   It's...kinda freaky...
   (What the heck am I doing

   You alright, mate?
   You've been actin'
   all weird.
   Who knows what's up
   ahead, so just stay
   on yer toes, eh!?

   Um...yeah. (Actually,
   I feel kinda weird. No,
   scratch that--really weird.
   All this sweat pouring off
   me. It's like that big door
   is the scariest thing in the
   world, but it's just a DOOR...)

[FMV:Kid's stabbing]
[Serge wakes up in Arni]

Chrono / Gameplay Casual Discussion / An Audacious Proposal
« on: June 08, 2009, 12:59:30 pm »
So a top Squeenix exec has come right out and said that there will be no further Chrono games in the foreseeable future because sales of the DS version of CT haven't been (in their opinion) high enough. They're effectively saying that the IP associated with the Chrono series is of no value to them.

They don't want it.

We do.

So why not offer to buy it from them?

Yes, I'm serious, I'm not a crazed student with no notion of how things work in the real world, and I've thought this through, or tried to. I know I am not talking about something small, easy, or cheap. There are a whole bunch of obvious catches, but also a whole bunch of obvious benefits.

CON:  -This can't be done through Square Enix USA--it would have to be taken to Square Enix Japan, with everything that implies...but at least we've got the name of a person that it would be appropriate to contact (if Hashimoto-san dislikes the Chrono series that much, he ought to embrace the idea of selling it off, ne?). Still, everything is going to have to be done through a translator. Making contact is the vital first step. If we don't do that, nothing else matters.
-Once they find out that someone wants these rights, Squeenix is not going to let them go cheaply, and they are likely to start with an asking price that no amount of fundraising could produce. They will have to be bargained down.
-If we can get them down to a reasonable price, we then have to begin the fundraising effort to end all fundraising efforts, and it can't be done here at the Compendium under its present set of rules. We'd need a website, major publicity work, and an honest person (or, ideally, several honest people) to hold the funds. It might take years--that's what happened when the Open Source community decided to buy out Blender's original rights-holders. That example, however, while it's in an unrelated field, is part of the reason why I don't think this is impossible.

PRO:  -This isn't like dealing with a single-creator universe, where the creator has an emotional investment in his work. IP really is just property to these people, and they will let it go if we make it worth their while.
-If we can buy out the IP rights, there will be no more C&D letters. We can fling the entire Chronoverse open to fanworks of all types, without any risk to anyone.
-Crimson Echoes. No, I'm serious about that, too. Even if all beta testers have destroyed their copies, if the impediment of the C&D were removed, I'm sure the original team could reconstruct it from available assets in no more than a few months.
-If we get lucky, Squeenix might even throw in development docs/source code/other previously unavailable information.
-It sets a bloody big and very likely important precendent regarding companies who are holding IP rights they have no further use for. This is the real reason why it's worth doing.
-Perhaps most important, it would give this community something positive to do and bring it out of mourning.

I can't make a serious run at this alone. If this project is ever to get off the ground, it's going to need many people, all working together. But perhaps, if a lot of us pitch in, we can make Squeenix at least sit up and take a second look at what it's doing.


Kajar Laboratories / Minor project: Magus sprite recoloring
« on: May 02, 2009, 02:30:51 pm »
(A lot of this post is going to be me rambling about palette analysis and sprite colour reduction. If Sprite Recolouring for the Terminally Bewildered doesn't interest you, skip to the end, where the sample altered sprites are.)

I was skimming through a completely unrelated thread over in Polling when V_Translanka mentioned that he thought Magus spritesheets matching the alternative colour schemes shown in some of the official artwork--that is, Magus with a red cape and the infamous Magus-Goldpants--might be nice things to have. I've been wanting to contribute something actually useful here for a while now, but I'm also a lazy bugger and I thought this would be an easy task, so I took it on.

I should have known that things that look easy generally aren't.  :lol:

The problem, as one might expect, lies in the colour limitations imposed on the spritesheets and the way the official spriters reduced the number of colours used in each sprite down to 12 + transparency (+ 2 for the weapon). An analysis of Magus' sprites (I like analyzing things--guess I'm a bit warped ) shows that the "real" number of colours used is a great deal larger than twelve. That number has been reduced by creating incestuous and sometimes rather odd relationships between what should be separate colours.

Magus' sprites use:
-4 colours for the hair
-5(!) fleshtone colours (including 2 shadow colours where only 1 is needed)
-4 colours for the armour and other leather bits
-4 colours for the cape (of which 2 are rarely seen)
-2 for the pants
-3(!) general shadow colours

That's twenty-two actual colours, folks.  Now, some of the extras are easy to get rid of (the highlights on the leather, hair, and fleshtone are all the same shade of near-white in the actual sprites, and that's fine), but some of the other relationships are really weird. For instance, one of the colours used in the pants doubles as a cape highlight and as shadow in the hair, and the other is used as a shadow in the hair, leather and fleshtone. And the shadow colour in the cape doubles as a general shadow colour elsewhere, making it a...real change.

That selection of sprites contains almost all of the twenty-two "initial" colours--I think the only one missing is the bright cape highlight, which only appears in a couple of the combat frames anyway.

Breaking the oddest of the internal colour relationships give us this (with much purpler pants, since the pants colours are no longer used elsewhere):

That version of the sprites has sixteen colours in it: 2 hair, 3 fleshtone, 3 leather, 3 cape, 2 pants, 1 general highlight as described above, and 2 (still) general shadow. And it's actually workable for straightforward colour swaps. Now to analyze the colours from the official art. shows that the red cape is quite a bright red--#bc2337, to be exact. Swapping this into the sprites with an appropriate shadow colour (somewhere in between the two shadow colours used in the original image) gives:

Getting a good colour reading on Magus-Goldpants is a little more difficult, because I'm not sure just how good the existing images on the Compendium are in terms of colour--the ones I found both look a bit iffy to me. I used , since the flesh tones in that one at least look right, indicating it's probably a bit closer to the artist's original intent. However, sampling it gives a pale green(!) and a gold very similar to the sprite's primary leatherwork colour for the pants, and a very unsaturated (that is, greyish) purple for Magus' hair. None of those colours looked right when swapped into the sprite, so I had to fall back on guesswork, which produced:

That's maybe a little more yellow than gold, but with the armour dulled down it doesn't look too bad.

Just one problem: these are still 16-colour + transparency sprites. Combining the two general shadow colours for both images gets them down to 15--three more to go. For the red-caped sprites, I merged the leather shadow with the darker fleshtone shadow, the hair-shadow with the pants-shadow, and the cape highlight with the main colour of the leather (not ideal, but the cape highlight colours are rarely used, so some liberties can safely be taken). For Magus-Goldpants, I merged both fleshtone shadows into the leather colours, and the cape highlight back into the hair shadow, making these the final sprites:

Looks like the reason they went with a blue cape for the sprites was that red didn't look ominous enough.

Three down and only 215 to go. Oh, well, it'll give me something to do for the next little while...

Submissions / A little fanart
« on: April 29, 2009, 10:17:40 pm »
First time in a long time that I've committed any.  I figured I might as well post it, if only to prove that I'm not just here to talk about computer arcana and defend Magus' reputation.

Unfortunately, my scanner blew out the highlights on the image a bit, although that's hardly surprising when you realize it's so old that the CD that came with it includes drivers for Windows 3.1.  I'm going to have to get the other one working one of these days.

You wish to fight me?

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