Dev Diary: Getting attached

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by SurgeonFish, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. SurgeonFish

    SurgeonFish Automaton Moderator Staff Member

    The system is better than I hoped. Having tons of status ailments, unique in their own right and possible frustration ahoy. This is definitely my favorite part of any game is learning all the ailments and possibly throwing/stacking some out myself. What are your thoughts or concerns about this week's diary?

    Russell Hill likes this.
  2. Althezel

    Althezel Mushroom Warrior

    Beautiful. Truly Beautiful.
  3. Zoorland

    Zoorland Goblin Champion

    Well, I'm concerned that he used a Tripping Sweep on a wizard. :|

    But as far as the meat of the Dev Diary goes, I suppose one question I have is if the "status effect" cards also appear in that character's "playmat" area? The icons attached to the character piece are a cute idea, I suppose, but I'd like to be able to just look down at the area where I "place" a card when I use it and see the attachments right there.

    ...and now, suddenly, I wish I had a visual aid because I don't think I even began to describe that properly. :|
  4. Althezel

    Althezel Mushroom Warrior

    I see where you're going with that, and I agree to an extent. I don't think it would be necessary for your own characters, but maybe the ones on enemies would be easier to see? I don't know about you guys, but I don't wanna struggle to look for which of the 12 goblins in front of me I may have set on fire.

    An interesting idea would be added visual art based on the effect, but that would simply required a lot of work from our friendly neighborhood artist which may or may not be a good thing to put on the list of importance.

    Another idea would be like a side-bar type deal. Like, (I feel the visual aid need coming on now, too) On the side of the screen, IF there were any status changes on ANY character on the board, their name would show up there, and if you held your mouse over it it would show you the card as well as highlight their position on the board. This way there would be no confusion as to who has what and no straining to see if there's really a card down there or they're just happy to see you.
  5. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    Yes, I am delighted by this. It is, of course, just as straightforward a system as Magic's "enchantments"; but the computer-based benefit of allowing any custom ailment the developers want is just great. The most essential line, I feel, is this by Jon in the comments: "Some of the attachments we have are pretty wacky."

    Yes. Wacky. This is the way to be.

    As to the visibility issue, I'm pondering it myself. Unfortunately, my best idea would be a ton of work for the artist as well. See, having those tiny cards is not a problem if the art is set up in a helpful manner. This means that the art for every attachable card should be:

    1) understandable in miniature, and/or
    2) visually distinct from every other attachable card.

    To accomplish this, an artist would have to:

    1) make big, bold lines in those pieces of art, maybe completely redrawing them for the miniature version, and/or
    2) organize color schemes and color balance across all attachable cards, which could mean REorganizing if the art were already finalized.

    Looking at the two cards on the wizard, I'm wondering whether I would recognize the "all-red with a green spot/white slash in the middle" versus the "white/red with a grey/green spot in the middle." How many more attachable cards are red? Hopefully, there's a lot of variation.
  6. Jon

    Jon Blue Manchu Staff Member

    Wow, it's like having a bunch of game designers in the room ;)

    So, there are a number of issues in play here. When I set out to design this game, I wanted to make sure we had the freedom to create a very large number of different status effects. Typically in a computer game you'll create a bunch of graphical effects to depict these, like stars floating around for "stun", question marks coming up for "confusion" and so on. That's what we did, for example, in Freedom Force a long time ago.

    That works pretty well so long as the number of effects you have are relatively small and the effects themselves are pretty straightforward. However, I didn't feel that that sort of system would be applicable for a game where I wanted to be able to attach an arbitrary card to a character and have it do an arbitrary thing. Hence the card attachment system.

    OK, so why are the cards attached to the figures rather than placed on the group displays/decks in the UI part of the display? Well, the reason is that monsters come in groups. I'm pretty sure I've talked about that in one of the diaries, but to jog your memory, you can have a group of, say, four Kobolds in one group. That group shares the same deck, hand and UI component. So, if one of those Kobolds was stunned, you wouldn't know which one it was just by looking at the group. That's why we attach the cards to the figures on the board. Also, it makes the mapping problem easier - there's no translation problem between the UI and the figure on the board.

    Now there are some perfectly reasonable concerns about this system, mainly - can I quickly recognise what status effect is on a figure by looking at the card? The answer, is - maybe. Of course, the more cards we can potentially attach, the more likely it is that they're going to look similar when shrunk to a tiny size. What tends to save this though is that there usually aren't that many different attachments in play in any given battle. So, for example, if you are fighting sentient trees who play "Tangling Roots" on you, you are likely to recognise that card even if it looks similar to "Tripping Sweep", which happens not to be in this battle.

    So, it's a bit of a compromise system. It seems to work pretty well - we haven't noticed any real issues with it in play. You do have to occasionally mouse around to see what's going on and sometimes you forget exactly what is attached to your figures until it comes up.

    One thing I didn't mention in the diary is that you can only have three attachments on any one figure. If a fourth one is attached, the oldest one drops off... Now, that's a bit arbitrary and gamey, but it's a reasonable trade off to stop the board getting too cluttered, I think. It doesn't come into play that often.
  7. Jon

    Jon Blue Manchu Staff Member

    Here's a quick example of the a card that you probably wouldn't do if you had a fixed number of status effects:

  8. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    Everybody, say it with me:


  9. MacLeod

    MacLeod Mushroom Warrior

    Adding buffs may be more useful than some kind of debuff removing card in certain situations. Interesting.
  10. Kaerius

    Kaerius Orc Soldier

    Now that's interesting, a beneficial "black card".
  11. mightymushroom

    mightymushroom Goblin Champion

    A quick question about game logic: is it the case that the card itself is considered to be out on the board, that is, Stunning Bash does not go to the discard pile until the Stun ends?

    I ask because I've been sitting on the idea of a series of "Memory" cards that would bring discarded cards back to the hand, waiting to see what the devs already came up with. (I know I'm not the first person to have that idea.) It becomes important, then, to know what's in the discard or not.
  12. Jon

    Jon Blue Manchu Staff Member

    Yes, the card itself gets attached and won't get put into your discard pile until it is removed.

    We also played around with a bunch of cards that let you retrieve from the discard pile. None of those are in the game at the moment simple due to time constraints. However, they're certainly great candidates for expansions.
  13. Althezel

    Althezel Mushroom Warrior

    That was a good question. I was starting to wonder if those mechanics were in the game myself.

    Also, by "time constraints" do you mean "we want to get to beta really soon"? ;)
  14. Jon

    Jon Blue Manchu Staff Member

    Yes! ;)
  15. Althezel

    Althezel Mushroom Warrior

    Can you enlighten us on what sort of "time" we're looking at? :cool:
  16. MacLeod

    MacLeod Mushroom Warrior

    "In due time" I suspect will be the answer. :p
    I haven't been waiting nearly as long as some of you... and it is still excruciating. Of course, it will all be worth it.
  17. Jon

    Jon Blue Manchu Staff Member

    Not really I'm afraid, for a number of reasons.

    One: I don't really know. Because we're a small indie team with a floating staff, it's very hard to make accurate predictions about our future schedule. We've already been wrong more times than I can count.

    Two: I don't really want to just make a guess, because then people might (understandably) get upset if I'm wrong.

    I realise that's not the answer you want, but it's all I can do at the moment. Sorry.
  18. skip_intro

    skip_intro Ogre

    In Due Time:

    a) When it's ready [ ]
    b) At some time in the future [ ]
    c) When you least expect it [ ]
    d) All of the above [x]
  19. Zoorland

    Zoorland Goblin Champion

    You're on a boat!? :eek:

    No no, wait...
    Floating Staff:
    Level 8, Wizard Item
    Drowning Pool x1
    Water Jet x2
    Resounding Thwack! x3
  20. Althezel

    Althezel Mushroom Warrior

    No, don't be sorry. It was more hopeful thinking than anything. And I'll take any bit of information I can get at this point. ;)

    Also, I would never get upset if you didn't meet a deadlines. That would have happened before X-mas should it ever be the case. :p

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