A much overdue developer video, most of the big changes are shown and mentioned in the video, but let’s get into some details.
I’m now at the development stage where there is a lot of balancing to be done. Basically how I approach a new game is like this:
- create the core gameplay mechanics
- add various levels and a sense of progress
- “dump” a lot content into the game. From enemies to items, upgrades, etc.
- start tweaking and balancing
- wrap it up and release!
So right now I’m at the 4th stage. Which is mostly a slow process visually since you can’t really show anything interesting about it. It’s making sure the balance of your strength and enemy strength works out through out the game (not just in the early levels but also in later levels). So things like level-up, health, weapon upgrades, pickups, everything just needs to find that balance where you get enough but not too much or too little of certain things.
Especially in a procedurally-generated game it can be a pain to get right. I think a lot of games can actually die on this part of the development.
Just last week I was extremely unhappy with the gameplay. Monsters would be to strong, some items would appear way to often, others would appear extremely rare. The balance was nowhere to be found. Only good thing is that the core-gameplay was fun and worked.
This week, having done a huge amount of tweaks and changes, the balance seems to be slowly getting good, not perfect, but good. It’s very much like untangling knots, it takes time, but it’s worth it.
This week I also started working on the interface, mainly the handling of the Bestiary screen but also the magic-spell screen. The data-cards in Space Grunts proved an interesting addition to the game, so I figured why not add something like that to Heroes of Loot 2. It does work different in monsters unlocking as soon as you killed a hundred of that type. So for the small creatures you encounter at the start it’s simply done in a single sitting, but the tougher enemies will take a bit longer (also with some of them being rare).
As for magic spells, they will unlock when you find a magic-book (still need to add this to the game) and once you found the spell it will become part of your game and spawn randomly in the treasure chests or shops. So it’s a perma-unlock item.
I also worked on the status bar, splitting up the diamonds and coins, as game characters now can ask for specific currency. The shop mostly asks for coins, but random avatars can ask for coins in exchange for things like healing you, or warping you to secret zones.
The status-bar will now also show you the items that the current avatar is holding, and in case of items like healing-potions or magic-spells these icons will slowly decrease in size until the item’s life-power is used up.
The other updates added these last few weeks are:
- valkyrie now has stamina bar for her attacks; I mentioned this a few updates ago, the valkyrie was simply too strong with her spinning around like crazy. So right now she can only spin as long as her stamina bar is full. The higher her XP level, the longer that can take so it’s worth upgrading her experience
- elf’s arrows are filled to max with “arrrows” item pick-up; The elf ran out of arrows too quickly, this is still not perfectly balanced, but now picking up a bag of arrows will completely refill to 99 arrows. Already works a lot better. Also arrows you shot can sometimes be picked up again, and random wooden scenery sometimes spawns arrows.
- avatars added; The first two avatars are added to the game. One is a healing-wizard who will fully heal you when you give him enough purple diamonds. The other is a princess who can sneak you out the castle into the magic forest for a couple of gems.
- added ghoul monster; still a bunch of monsters to add for the later levels, the first is the ghoul who replaces the black-wizard creatures of the original game (many thought those creatures shot through walls, but it was supposed to look like they shot over the walls.. #fail)
It’s been a productive few weeks! Hope you enjoy the video, and don’t be shy to leave a comment or drop by on the forums or even my twitter!