Archive for March, 2014

More artwork and gameplay changes

Monday, March 31st, 2014

I have made more progress with the artwork since my last blog update. The image below was taken from the map editor in game. It shows an early version of the grass terrain, details, oak trees, and rock formations. There are actually 2 styles of the oak tree, which will be changed to the pixel art style for the final version. There are also no shadows yet and that will change soon. Basically, this is just an early version of the assets to give an idea of the art style. I hope you can see the potential like I do :)

Early version of the grass terrain, details, oak trees, and rock formations

I made progress with the gameplay too. I tweaked the combat effects in several ways. First, I combined the three leader abilities for crowd control into one state so only one can be active at a time. These leader abilities can be used to help control enemies when they break fear/stun/mez and have built-up rage. Enemies will have a visual effect associated with both incapacitation and leader crowd control abilities.

Furthermore, each leader class will have a unit that debuffs, which will all stack and be displayed as small icons under the rage tier bar. These debuffs will have powerful results when combined with player and heroic unit damage abilities. The icons will help players identify good targets for those abilities during battles. Finally, the remaining combat effects will include various buffs that have visual effects to indicate when they are cast.

In addition, I added many of the unit abilities and continued to define the roles. Each leader class has a unit for every role, but the combat abilities are unique. I think that this approach will ensure the leader classes are balanced while making the gameplay different. I have concepts related to each class type too. The units of each leader class will borrow from their arch types of knight, stalker, and mage. Those concepts will be explained in detail later.

Fortresses are setup to upgrade structures automatically. The speed of upgrading depends on the banner zealot connections. Therefore, players indirectly control the upgrades through those connections. There are other upgrades that players can choose and those will also be affected by the banner zealots. I want a high-level upgrade process to reduce micromanagement and hopefully give a fun alternative for upgrading. Higher tier structures are stronger and do more damage. Likewise, troops with higher rage tiers do more damage too.

I have a lot more to say about the gameplay. I will start updating the web site soon so it reflects the current design. I also plan to give a thorough explanation from the start of the game to the end when I have some free time. Right now I am focusing on my main gameplay tasks as well as changes required for the new artwork. This will be a busy month! Thanks for reading :)

Combat mechanics

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

I finished most of the unit design for troops and structures. I also implemented a lot of the core design for the combat mechanics of those units. That meant replacing my old combat effects with a new combat state concept. The new design contains the current rage level, immobilization state, and up to 12 active combat effects (e.g. buffs and debuffs). I use this structure to efficiently update network clients for state changes. Part of the design works for local games too.

The immobilization state reflects whether a troop is feared, stunned, mezzed, or not immobilized.  Each leader class has an elite troop type with one of those effects for its special ability. Only one can be active at a time. Immobilization prevents moving or attacking. There is an additional effect when the immobilized unit is hit by an enemy. For instance, a feared troop might generate a lifetap for the attacker, replenishing some health.

While immobilized, a troop will gain rage instead of decreasing over time. When a troop reaches the max tier 3 rage level, it will break the immobilization. All troops are immune to immobilization effects at tier 3. Leaders and the troops that cast the immobilization effects are permanently immune from it.

The effect is essentially used for crowd control, where a group of enemies can be incapacitated to turn the tide of a battle. The downside is that higher rage levels mean more damage by those troops. Therefore, it is important to kill immobilized troops quickly. That also goes for battles where damage done to enemy troops increases their rage.

I played a few games with some of the initial combat mechanics and it was really encouraging. The gameplay is coming along great. I was able to repel a large attack by carefully using my zealots to reduce time to rebuild my fortifications. I upgraded the portals to generate more power when I had a breather. I made use of my rally points and sent reinforcements while I counter-attacked my enemies. Also, the new assets are looking good, especially with all of the combat action taking place.

I will continue adding the gameplay elements I have on my task list. I’m hoping to have a lot of the gameplay done within the next few weeks. Hopefully I will have the next batch of artwork soon too. I can’t wait to see how everything looks a few months from now! Until next time… :)