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Post news RSS Project Espionage: Alpha

This week we focused on improving player guidance and game balance based on feedback we received in playtesting.

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At a Glance

Changes made this week

  • The Ping system was revamped: off-screen pings are now shown on the edge of the screen
  • Hacking computers now takes more time, indicated with a progress bar
  • Defender and attackers now have distinct hats
  • The number of stolen data now appears on the defender's screen
  • The defender can "un-hack" computers that have not been completely hacked yet
  • The defender's movement speed and sphere of vision were reduced
  • The jail now appears on the minimap
  • Attacker dash now has a visible cooldown and button prompt
  • Teleporters now appear on the defender's minimap
  • The defender can no longer jail attackers by running up to them. They now use an attack which slows them down

Motivation

Ping System

Players had a hard time knowing when computers were hacked or doors were opened elsewhere in the map since it required them to constantly look at the minimap. Now, pings appear on the edge of the screen so players can get this information much more quickly.

Hacking Progress Bar

We felt that having the hacking take time to complete would lead to more suspense in gameplay. The attackers now must be cautious while hacking since the defender can find them at any time.

New Hats

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It was common for players to be confused with what their task was. A big part of this was the lack of theming. The attackers are now marked as pirates, while the defender has a cop's hat. We hope this will help players understand their roles.

More UI Elements

We added the attacker's point counter to the defender screen as well so that they would both know this information. This is key to the pace of gameplay, so both parties must know it. The jail is on the minimap so it's more obvious for the attackers to free others and for the defender to guard it. The teleporter locations are on the defender's minimap so they have a better understanding of where they will end up if they use one. Finally, we added a visual cooldown for the attacker's dash attack. Players were very confused when they could use the attack since the cooldown is so long, so something visual was necessary.

"Un-hacking" Computers

The defender often felt bored or uninvolved in gameplay. Now, the defender can interrupt an attacker in the middle of hacking and has more decisions to make. They can choose to spend time "unhacking" the computer to reset its progress.

Game Balance

In playtesting, most people found the defender to be very over powered. We tried to fix this by decreasing their movement speed. They are still slightly faster than the attackers, but we hope that the attacker's dash attack can give them enough time to hide somewhere. We also made their sphere of vision the same size as the attackers'. This way, they don't have a clear advantage in open areas. We also made it so the defender has to use a slow attack to capture attackers. This way it punishes them if they miss the attack and the attacker has an opportunity to get away.

Looking Ahead

For next week, we are looking to further improve guidance. The tutorial will be revamped to more closely match the actual gameplay and more efficiently let players know what their job is. Aside from some more UI and visual improvements, we will be working hard to design a new level. Our level has been the same for a while and has not kept up with our new mechanics. Finally, we will be continuously working to tune the game to obtain a more equal balance between the three attackers and the single defender.

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