News & Updates

11/18/2017 - Friday Update #259


This week, we’ve been doing some more design work on our hero NPCs, with a focus on correcting some of the issues that came up in ‘City of Heroes’ in regards to how they handled their signature heroes.

One of these signature hero issues in CoH was their wildly inconsistent power levels – they were generally presented as being at a level of power beyond anything that a player could reach, and usually with no in-game explanation as to why that was. As an example, Synapse was shown to be way more powerful than a single player during the Lord Recluse Strike Force, but then he was also able to be defeated by a solo player when he was just a boss level enemy in several normal villain story arcs.

What made this even worse was the fact that the LRSF came at the end of the player’s story progression – so they went from being able to defeat Synapse in single combat earlier on in their story progression to requiring a team to take him down, which made zero sense from a story angle and was just an example of game mechanics setting up a situation “just because”. Unlike Statesman, who had the Well of the Furies element in his backstory, which could be used to explain his power level, Synapse’s backstory contained nothing that could really be used to justify his apparent superiority over a player, and was lacking the fusion of story and mechanics that we’re creating in our game.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


11/10/2017 - Friday Update #258


This week, we’ve been doing some more design work on the set-up for zones to make them as easy as possible to adapt to changes in the various storylines as players progress through them.

As a story-driven game and a genuine comic book game, it’s vital that we have the right infrastructure in place to allow us to give players the potential to make meaningful large-scale and permanent changes to the game world based on their actions – players would expect their superpowered characters, especially those with a degree of cosmic power, to be able to affect the game world in more ways that just a bit of phasing to make a few NPCs become visible or invisible to them, which does have its place, but is nowhere near enough to bring a comic book fantasy to life.

These types of zone changes can be quite challenging because of the seamless nature of the transitions between zones and the end to make sure that everything is correctly synchronized with each member of a team, so that every players is seeing the correct version of the world that they should be seeing.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


11/04/2017 - Friday Update #257


This week, we’ve been doing some design work on the best way to set-up cinematics/cutscenes to make sure that they are integrated as smoothly as possible into the flow of the gameplay while still making sense form a narrative perspective.

Deciding how to handle the transition from the gameplay to a cutscene has to be done on a case by case basis, as it depends on the time and location at that particular point in the narrative – for example, if the cutscene takes place at a different location or point in time from the location/time where it was triggered, then a brief fade out and fade in is a good way of marking the switch – although in some cases, especially when there’s a high level of action, the pacing can require an instant switch.

However, when the time/location of the cutscene is the same as the time/location of the trigger for the cutscene – such as walking through a doorway, for example – then an instant transition is required to maintain the correct sense of time and place and the flow of the gameplay and narrative, as a fade out and fade in type of transition would disrupt that in a very clumsy way.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


10/27/2017 - Friday Update #256


This week, we’ve been doing some more design work on our combat system, specifically various ways that we can enhance the movement that takes place during it, in order to really create the sense of motion that comic book fights have.

For example, one of the first changes we that made from the combat system in ‘City of Heroes’ right back at the start of our project was to scrap the rooting mechanic – locking a character in place while they use a power – which CoH used quite often, even though it tended to work against the dynamic visuals of a comic book fight.
For example, even though in real life standing still to shoot a firearm vastly improves your accuracy, it doesn’t really fit the athletic style of gunplay you’d expect from comic book characters.

Another smaller change to give more of a sense of motion in battle is to add some foot movement to some of the power activation animations and combat stances – in CoH, two characters could be swinging punches at each other, and while their upper bodies would bob and weave, their feet would almost always remain in the same place.
But by adding in a few foot shuffles to the lower body we can enhance the sense of motion in combat, as well as helping with the flow of the transitions between the individual attack animations.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


10/21/2017 - Friday Update #255


This week, we’ve been continuing with design work on potential powers that are iconic in comic books, but also uncommon, as we try to evaluate their possible popularity against the amount of development time and effort they’d require.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the fact that the Claws power set in ‘City of Heroes’ was just a cosmetic variation of the melee mechanics meant that the development outlay was small enough to justify making the set, even if it wasn’t that common in comic books, and a majority of players might never use it.

However, with something like body stretching, which is similarly iconic but uncommon in comics, the development outlay would be far bigger, as it would require an entirely new animation rig to be able to do it properly, which would in turn require every single animation in the game to be recreated for the new rig – which is where we have to start considering the development outlay versus how popular body stretching might be with the player base.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team