Whew, it’s crazy how time flies. From January to March, I was making pretty consistent progress. The mod already had a decent amount of content in that short time. It’s now almost July, and I’m only just starting to get back into the habit of working on it.
What happened? Well, let’s just say between Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Pikmin 4 releasing, I had a lot of long-anticipated gaming to do. Not to mention lots of hanging out with family and friends.
Regardless, there’s still enough progress to comprise a blogpost! Thank you everyone for your patience. Everyone anticipating this deserves an update, so let’s start there.
Current Overall State of the Mod
Here are some rough estimates to give you an idea of where different areas need the most focus. I’ll also give a brief rationale for each estimate.
Custom Models – 25% Done
Many of Vinny’s custom player models are at least designed, and of those, most have been implemented. On the other hand many haven’t even been started, but those will be easier since they will still use most of the original model they replace.
They all need some miscellaneous improvements, which will have to be retroactively applied to the previous models. This will probably take some time, but not as much as designing and converting the models initially.
Scoot has a new Morgana-like player model that CheesyDraws helped design, and his old ACNH model has been relegated to an alt costume. No other alt costumes have been created for him yet.
So, if you have any unique ideas for these, please feel free to share them! Otherwise I might just make them as close as I can to Morgana’s DLC outfits.
Also, I need to finish implementing Vinesene, Vinny’s starter Persona– also designed by CheesyDraws. (Yes, it’s green Arsene with a mushroom on his head, which is surprisingly effective). No other custom Personas have been designed, but I wouldn’t be opposed to ideas for those either!
Custom Textures – 25-50% Done*
CheesyDraws has officially completed work on all of the 2D assets for Vinny, which makes it sound like we’re halfway done here. These range from the pause menu, to dialog portraits, to the HUD. She also intends to do the same for Scoot at her convenience. The bulk of that work will be cutins and bustups, which might put this estimate closer to 25% since Morgana has a lot more stuff like that than Joker.
BGM – 90% Done
While all of the BGM tracks have been replaced by carefully-picked Red Vox equivalents, I still need to actually implement the DLC song packs that vary by costume. I haven’t done so yet since which slot each costume occupies still isn’t finalized and might move around a bit.
I’m looking forward to putting together a video at some point showcasing each BGM replacement!
Voices – 75% Done
Vinny’s battle, field, and system voices are done and just need some volume tweaking here and there. Same with Scoot, however Morgana still has unique dialog for dungeon crawling that needs to be replaced. I only have so many Scoot noises, so many of them get repeated. I haven’t decided if I want to ease the repetition by making them less common, or chopping them up to create new ones.
Oh right, and I also need to replace the voices for the card game the characters play in the Thieves Den.
Text Edits – 1% Done
Honestly, I’ve barely started on this at all aside from a few tests. Thankfully, most of what I need to change can be done in batch using the handy tool PISS (that’s Persona Intelligent String Substituter). So things like Joker => Vine, Morgana => Scoot, references to Morgana being a cat instead of a duck, Vinny not wearing glasses… I’ll probably do this as I go along in playtesting before release.
Custom Features – 35% Done
I already shared a lot about the things I’m doing to make this experience totally unique for returning players. I want to stay hush about a few things until release so it’s a surprise, and also in case I can’t deliver on them for any reason.
However, I might as well talk about stuff I already announced in more depth. Aside from wrapping up the above stuff, these next topics will be a big focus in the next phase of the project…
The webpage where you will eventually download the mod has been roughly designed, and is online for you to gaze at. I really like how it turned out. When I get closer to release, I’ll populate it with screenshots and videos.
Twenty Minute Mode
Since this is a Vinesauce themed mod, it makes sense to include easter eggs from the stream. In particular, this one references the Twitch chat constantly reminding Vin that “P5 is only twenty minutes long, you should play it!”
This one happened to turn into a full blown mode of gameplay, which you can choose from the title screen when you start a new game.
The introductory sequences of the game will be completely skipped, so no casino, no interrogation, no wandering around Shibuya and ending up in a castle. You start the game on 4/20 with no fanfare– you’re ready to begin tackling the dungeons.
When work on this mode is complete, you should be able to visit dungeons in any order. There is no need to complete them. There also won’t be any story events interrupting your gameplay, which makes this mode totally streamer-friendly for someone who just wants a quick overview of the game and its changes.
After the 20 minutes are up, you end up in a special map that unlocks access to all weapons, armor, and Personas. There, you can choose to add another 20 minutes and continue, or you can just enjoy the vibes until you exit the game.
The motivation for such an extensive feature comes from a couple places. First, I’ve personally always wanted a way to dive into playing P5 again without a commitment to the story elements. There’s only so many times you can experience a 100-hour RPG without cutscenes getting tiresome, even with the option to skip.
Second, although I fully expected that Vinny himself would never play this mod, it seems that it’s actually a contender for a Sunday stream, so I want to do my best to make the experience of playing the mod actually palatable for his personal tastes, even if the full game never will be.
In my opinion, creating a toggle for this is the perfect compromise, since other users of the mod may still want to experience the game in full. I intend on releasing a standalone version of the tutorial/event skip (without the countdown timer) as its own mod eventually for fans of vanilla P5R who also want improved replay-ability.
In a previous blogpost, I mentioned creating a batch audio converter for handling BGM and voices. Since then, I’ve made two more tools to assist me in development. Their usage is quite specific so I can’t imagine many other people will need them. Regardless, they are available as open source repositories on my GitHub profile.
As mentioned in the previous post, EPL files contain particles and other models and are used to craft a variety of special visual effects seen in the game. I managed to make a “glitch” or “corruption” effect by chaining them together in a specific way to spawn random animated sprites around the player.
The thing is, finetuning things like the sprite textures, density, and scale of the effect is complicated by the need for hex editing. I found it necessary to create a simple GUI for editing the most relevant values for each sprite, and an easy way to add new textures.
It’s still a little unreliable and can only be used to create this glitch effect for now, but I should be able to add more effects down the line.
P5 Flag Comparer
P5 uses a range of individual bits called “flags” to keep track of story progression. This is a good chunk of the data that gets stored in your save file. I use a build of the Mod Menu that prints enabled flag IDs every time you open it.
When I copy and paste the log into this program, it automatically gets the latest flag dump and compares it to the previous to show me what changed. I can flip back and forth between comparisons and identify the flags by assigning them names.
This will make things easier for me when removing tutorials and story elements from Twenty Minute Mode. I can imagine having a list of identified flags (or at least an idea of when they’re activated) will be useful to other modders, so I added an option to export the list as JSON. This also allows me to reload the list and continue working on it at any time.
Until Next Time
As always, thank you to the Persona modding community as well as the Vinesauce community for enabling me to make this mod a reality. I may sometimes struggle to habitually continue working on the same thing, but I know it will be incredibly satisfying to wrap up this project and share the result with you all — hopefully by the end of the year or thereabouts. Keep on being great.