Dev update #2

Hello folks,

We did a tremendous amount of work in the past months.

We overhauled the graphics of characters and battlefield terrain, added new combat mechanics and streamlined the gameplay.

The game consists of two parts:

- Battlefield

- World map

As of the battlefield map and rules, we have quite good understanding and thoughts how we build it.

For world map, we still are experimenting with various ideas and iterating. As you could see from previous posts, we first had a hand-made world with static map graphics, fixed quests, paths and pacing. 

Then we tried the procedurally generated open world with AI entities traveling and fighting with their own AI (behavioral tree), settlements, generated generic quests, factions and world stories, and in real time.

But after 3 months of implementing and experimenting, although it was technically working perfectly, it was a huge scope to take on :(. So we decided to simplify and streamline the campaign and invested our time into a more "FTL like" map, with nodes and routes. It is still generated, but the the world rules are much simpler.

We want to introduce the "Domination" core mechanic into the game. This is a special ability in battle, where after some conditions are met, you can try to "dominate" any enemy character. When used, and after it has been downed (after successful battle) he will join your party permanently. 

Furthermore, with any party member, you can "butcher" him to extract "live stone", a specific resource which can be used to upgrade member normal abilities, focus abilities and class perks. 

Or you can butcher him and extract "mutator", another special item, which can be equipped by any member. Mutator will grant some powerful trait, like +HP or extra counterstrike on hit.

With all of this, we want to make sure, that the party members progression will be vital to gameplay and most engaging for player.


But today, I want to discuss the combat. 

We added new features into battlefield, mainly:


Elevated terrain

 characters are able to travel only hexes with elevation difference of one, so you might come with some interesting tactics to leverage the various heights. Also, if a character is pushed/thrown to much lower hex, it suffers damage or even can be killed.


Timeline gauge

 before this feature, the turn order was - first player, then enemy. Now we introduce the timeline where characters act depending on their "speed". In some games this is called the "Initiative progress".

In this game, the speed can be adjusted by various abilities or effects and player can control the turn queue.

Also we added the "Defend" ability for every character. This means "skip current turn"  but with a speed bonus and the ability to parry (block and counterstrike) next incoming normal attack(s). Note, that even if you can parry those attacks, each parry(counterstrike) costs speed and some slow characters will exhaust when parrying too many attacks. Exhausted character is unable to take any action.


After effects

some effects can trigger additional behavior or other effects.
If a character is pushed/bashed into an enemy, that enemy will automatically retaliate, thus triggering a free attack.
If a character is 'Engaged' and moves away from 'Engaging enemy', that enemy will automatically trigger a free attack(attack of opportunity).
Attacking a character with the 'Slowed' or 'Exhausted' status effect will trigger double-strike.
Attacking a character with:
engaged or taunted -> attack gets armour-pierce bonus
bleeding -> attack gets lifesteal bonus
exhausted -> attack gets critical chance bonus

Additionaly, if a character gets a critical hit, then if he is:
poisoned -> he gets the 'weaken' status effect applied
weaken -> he gets exhausted (pushed back in timeline to very beginning)
bleeding -> he gets another stack of bleeding  


Focus abilities
Besides the normal class abilities, there is also a special set of abilities called 'Focus abilities'. These
become available only if a character has its 'Focus bar' filled to 100%. Focus abilities are very powerful
and can dramatically change the outcome of a battle. Each class has its specific Focus ability.
The 'Focus bar' fills by doing or taking damage. When at 100%, the ability is added to the global Focus abilities pool. One or more can be used globally anytime if one of your characters is on turn.
A maximum of 5 focus abilities can be hold in the pool. If already at full capacity, the oldest one is replaced by new one.


That's it for now, stay tuned for next dev blog!