I found myself being a solo developer on my projects again since collaborations didn’t work out. With the experience I have built up while having put Emberheart in the shelf I can now rework the game to the game I want it to be rather than a dumbed down game to what I can achieve with little experience. So at 1st January I started reworking some major systems in Emberheart like the itemization system, the attributes and statistics system, the skill system and more… All redesigned and implemented already on 2 weeks time.
Development suddenly got real. And on just 2 weeks time I already have my sights on a demo release with which I could do a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding will be necessary, because I’m working double fulltime on this game without any income and something needs to pay the bills to continue and finish this ambitious project. More info on the crowdfunding campaign below. Now, on to the development progress overview.
First of all, as I mentioned, I reworked some major systems, the first one being the Attributes and Stats system. The attributes before the rework were boring and didn’t mean much on items. There were 4 attributes and all of them were valuable for every character class. Also, there were some attributes more powerful than others. Meaning that there was not much of a choice for the player as to which attributes you want to build around and also since every stat was useful for every character and every build, there were no “Woot!” feelings when certain items dropped, since the only thing an item drop meant was “is this item useful or is it not?” rather than: is this item useful for my character? Is it useful for my build? Can I make a new character or new build around this item? Etc… The new reworked attributes and stats system gives you options and makes sure that some loot is actually not that good for your current character or build, and will end up being salvaged so you can craft with the gained materials. Here’s a screenshot of the reworked Attributes:
- Power gives Damage
- Vitality gives health and health regeneration
- Defence gives more armor (and thus physical damage reduction)
- Agility gives extra chance to dodge attacks
- Precision gives Critical Hit Chance and Devastating Hit Chance
- Willpower gives Resistances and mana + mana regeneration
As you can imagine with these new Attributes you have a lot more options as to how you want to build your character. I think it’s a much better way of approaching the stats system and has a very good influence on how interesting the itemization system can be.
The second major system that got reworked is the Itemization system. I really went out of my comfort zone with this one. But I got it working in just a few days! Before the rework, itemization was boring and didn’t mean much. You would look out for items that always had the same attributes and the only good thing about legendary items was even higher stats and just a handful of extra legendary stats that mostly affected only your adventure rating (magic find, gold find, experience gained and fame gained). So the item system was pretty boring and broken.
With the reworked system, Items can be of different tiers. Each tier increases the stats and attributes you get on the item. I also made an entirely new stat affix system with more and better stats that can roll on items. Now stats on an item actually mean something, and there are plenty of stat affixes that are useful only for certain builds. So it will take a while to find and/or craft the ideal items for your character and it feels more like you are progressing with your character rather than instantly finding BiS items for your character at the current level. Here is a screenshot of an item that could be rolled in the new itemization system and a unique legendary item.
On to the next major rework. The scaling of the monster’s level. I have reworked it so that monsters scale with the average item level of your equipped items. This ties closely together with the reworked itemization system as the item tiers dictate what the item level of an item is. What does this mean?
- There’s no level requirements on any items, so you could be fighting a lvl 70 monster with a level 1 character. This mean you’ll be able to transfer items between characters and boost your character to high level faster than your first character.
- Since the monster level is linear with the equipment and what tiers of items you have equipped, it is always balanced to give you a challenge based on the difficulty of the game you selected.
- Items roll based on character level rather than monster level, else you would instantly get high level loot with a level 1 character.
- The item level of a normal white item of a certain tier is almost the same as the item level of a legendary item of the same tier. So the quality of your gear will dictate how hard the monster encounters will be at a certain difficulty
Next up, the expansion of the skill system. The skill system felt dull and it felt like there were too few skills available to play with or to make various builds. So I expanded the skill system so that every skill has a maximum of 3 skill alterations which you can select and that alter the skill in some way. The skill alteration could just be a small number change like increased damage done, or generate mana instead of spending mana but it could also change the damage type to a different element. For the magician for example the Elemental Beam could be changed from lightning that stuns, to frost that slows, to fire that deals increased damage or to poison that does a damage over time. This expanded skill system should bring a lot more variety! I also implemented curse skills and auras which are shared across all character classes. Here’s a screenshot of the Work-in-progress skill panel for the barbarian.
Last but not least; I reworked the Minimap and Overlay map system to be more in line with modern ARPG’s. Finding your way in the world should feel a lot smoother now! Here’s a screenshot of the Minimap + Overlay map:
There’s a lot more changes I did to the game like I added entirely new 3D models for the character classes and added some polishing touches to lots of other systems. The idea is to do an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign starting at 1st march in the hopes the project gets further funded and I can continue fulltime development on this or maybe dream of getting more quality people on the team!
I’m so excited with all the major changes I did in such a short time and with the Demo release coming up at February 3rd! I think it will be amazing finally seeing some players play the game. Thank you all for the amazing support I’ve received in the last 2 weeks and I look forward to seeing you play the demo!
Here’s some final screenshots:
You can follow further development at my Twitter and Discord Server: