Super Update #4: A New Hope
This post is decently long, and at the bottom of it you’ll find us talking about the music in the game. In order to kill two birds with one stone, we recommend that you listen to the music we refer to in this post while reading!
We’ve been rebuilding a ton of things for the last few weeks. The turn system has been completely remade, it now supports playback which is pretty much needed for asynchronous network games. We’ve made some major changes as to how the game plays, so that strategic choices become more important and there’ll be less cheesy plays compared to before. We’ll go over all of these changes down below in more detail.
As I wrote earlier, many changes have been made to the gameplay. To keep this a simple read, here’s a list:
Units can’t move after attacking.
This was something that we wanted to avoid if possible, as we wanted to make the game as free as possible. Turns out though that it also made hit and run tactics so viable that having multiple batteries became ridiculously OP. Also, because of this, positioning becomes much more important, which makes the game more tactical overall.
Units now retaliate (If they have the same module that they were attacked with).
Just as the other item on this list, this feature makes positioning much more important. It also makes a big difference in how you choose what modules to use. Having two melee modules might give you a higher DPS, but it’ll give you less possibility to retaliate than a unit with one melee mod and one ranged mod. It also makes countering units easier for similar reasons.
Viruses are now in the game.
…Not in a literal sense, of course. Viruses are used in combination with attacks to give debuffs to enemy units. Among these are; Restrictor, which does 1 damage for each step the unit takes, Disabler, which disables a random module (the affected mod changes each round) and Battery Drainer, which removes AP from the affected unit.
Servbots are also in the game.
And they’re not the LEGO rip-offs seen in Megaman. These servbots will basically work the same way the avatars do (it can claim terminals, but can’t attack). You will get a servbot when you claim a terminal, and if an opponent steals that terminal from you the servbot will die (and a new one will be spawned for the other player at that terminal). Servbot also serves as healers, at the end of each round they heal adjacent units. Fun fact: If an enemy is adjacent to a servbot when the round ends, they’ll also get healed. So once again, positioning is key.
The levels are much bigger and more open.
This made the game waaaaay less cramped and made sneaking and flanking more of an option. Because there are less walls in the way, map control is much easier.
Speed of animations and movement has been increased.
The game feels much faster and less sluggish now, which actually had a much greater effect on how fun the game was than we at first expected.
And that’s basically the jist of the changes in design. There’s also a ton of minor changes that has been done, but they’re not vital enough to be worth mentioning here.
Just like design, a lot of changes has been done in the graphics department. Animations have been tweaked in order to make them feel more powerful and responsive, and an entirely new unit has been created. Reading about graphics is not very interesting though, so I’ll just show you what’s new and what’s changed:
The old melee animation. While fluid, it looks more like the sword is just falling over rather than hitting something.
The old ranged animation. There's really no recoil other than in the barrel, and there's no force in the shot.
The new ranged animation. The recoil is much harder, and the animation in general is tighter. I also added an outline to the box in the middle, so that it's more visible on the dark backgrounds that are in the game.
The idle animation for the new unit "Servbot".
The walking animation for the Servbot.
The design and graphics parts of this post go through much of what has been done programming-wise, but not everything, so here goes!
A lot of the programming that has been done during the last weeks has been refactoring the structure of the game in order to allow us to easily implement online multiplayer for the game. The support for the online multiplayer isn’t far from done on the client side, the server isn’t ready though. The online multiplayer is something we are going to focus on shortly.
We have plans to improve the lighting system in the near future as well, in order to provide more exact lighting and line of sight. This improvement will make it possible to hide around corners in order to flank unsuspecting units, further increasing the importance of well-planned tactics.
Playback has been added to the game. The playback system replays everything the opponent did during his/her turn. It only shows the actions performed by the opponent on things that are within your own units line of sight.
Our aim for the last week has been adding more visual feedback to the game that makes the game easier to understand. One of the things we’ve added to improve this is animations above units and terminals. There are now indicators above the terminals that indicate which player that is the owner of that terminal. We also have some awesome shaders that we’ve been experimenting with for the game. They aren’t implemented yet, but they’re written and just waiting for me to have enough time away from implementing new features in order to chuck them in there.
The music has been reworked from scratch. The first prototype of the music (which was posted in the very first post we made here on IndieDB) was over all very poorly produced and didn’t really fit the game at all. The new music is quite different, and quite a bit longer. Because this is a slow game where people will look at the same screen for long periods, we need music that both fits the tempo of the game, and that is varied enough not to bore people. So far, the in-game music song is a bit over 17 minutes long. It will however get longer than that, and we plan on it to end it at around 1 hour.
The music this time around has focused on a Vangelis-like sound, while also taking inspiration from 90’s DOS games, such as Turrican and Crusader: No Remorse. The music is in general far more old-school than it previously was, which fits better with the art style we’re going for.
In case you didn’t start listening to the song when you began reading this post, just scroll to the top and you’ll find it there.
And that's pretty much all for today. Be sure to follow us if you want to keep updated with the game, and we'll see you next time!