News & Updates

01/23/2015 - Friday Update #112


This week, we’ve continued to work on streamlining the UI to help reduce screen clutter, and have come up with what we think is a neat solution for displaying the player character’s health and stamina bars in a space-saving way. As a further part of this UI streamlining, we’re adjusting the sorting of the various UI sub-menus to help enhance the logical and intuitive layout that we’re aiming for.

We’ve also been looking at various ways that we can make the open world enemy spawns be more dynamic, immersive and meaningful – some of the open world mob spawns in ‘City of Heroes’ would take part in muggings, break-ins and general vandalism, but the majority of them were simply conveniently spawned at regular intervals, standing around waiting for players to come by and fight them.
We want to keep street sweeping as a valid gameplay option, but at the same time, we also want to make it a bit more integrated into the game world and setting – and having mobs simply standing around waiting for the players to attack them makes the city seem rather static, as well as making the mobs appear to be not very intelligent or proactive – plus, if your character is a heroic crime-fighter, it’s not that heroic to attack mobs who aren’t actually committing any crimes.
So the main focus for improving these types of open world mobs is to find ways to make them be more criminally active, so that players can continue to street sweep, but also get more of a feeling that they’re stopping something bad from happening rather than just picking a fight with the nearest group of enemies.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


01/17/2015 - Re: Friday Update #111


This week, we’ve done some design work on how best to implement a scaling difficulty system to allow players to set the challenge level of the content. ‘City of Heroes’ had an excellent system that matched their range of available character built types very well, so that it was pretty much possible to solo most the content no matter what power sets choices you were using.
However, as ‘Heroes and Villains’ is belong designed to have an even wider variety of build types and possible character concepts, a difficulty system directly inspired by the one in ‘City of Heroes’ wouldn’t be adequate for this level of greater build diversity, so we have to look at alternative ways that we could build on the basic ‘City of Heroes’ idea of scalable difficulty.
Naturally, this means that as much as possible, we need a system that will allow the content to be soloable with as many power set combinations as possible, so that players with more unusual choices don’t find themselves running into an impossible to win situation, and avoid making them think that the game is telling them that they’ve picked the “wrong” build, or that they’re “bad” at playing it.
Letting players be able to set their own difficulty level is a key part of making a game casual friendly, while still allowing players to test themselves if they want to by cranking up the challenge level.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


01/09/2015 - Friday Update #110


This week, we’ve done a bit more work on the UI, adding some refinements to the player status part of it, which displays the player’s heath and stamina, as well as other information relevant to their status. The object is to try and make the UI as compact as possible, which is especially important with an MMO when there are so many UI elements in use, which can make smaller monitors seem somewhat cluttered - so the more compact that we can make our UI, the more free screen space players will have.

We’ve also been continuing design work on how best to avoid information overload for players, this time focusing on on-screen pop ups and other messages and performance indicators – if there are too many of them, they can lose their impact and distract from the on-screen action.
When ‘City of Heroes’ began, there were only damage and healing numbers on screen, preset power colors and a smaller selection of power sets - but over the years, the activity on screen began to get more complex and busy. Badges were added, along with messages when you found one, then inventions were added, along with messages for finding salvage and recipes, and then messages for special gameplay mechanics during some stories, especially the Incarnate Trials were added – plus, more and more power sets were being added, along with power customization, capes, auras and so on, meaning that not only was the stream of messages more frequent, but in game action was also more spectacular and diverse than ever.
So for ‘Heroes and Villains’ we’re looking at everything about those types of messages, from size to color to frequency, in order to make sure that players are kept informed, but not bombarded with a constant stream of information that might detract from the actual gameplay rather than enhance it.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


01/02/2015 - Friday Update #109


This week, we’ve been doing some design work for the combat and actions log system, with a focus on how to balance the amount of information provided by it - on the one hand, we don’t want to overload players with too much unnecessary information, but on the other hand, we also don’t want to leave them with too little information to be useful.
A good example of this would be player movement – does this need to be reported in the combat and actions log? If it does, then how often should it be reported in the log, and should it only apply to travel powers and not normal movement – or should it cover both? And should it only give information on your own character or those on your team too?
If a player is using speed buffs or debuffs, then having info on their effect could be useful – just like being told that you are under the effects of speed buffs or debuffs could also be helpful to see in the log – but this might also be unnecessary as the visual cue on screen of seeing you or other players or enemies moving faster or slower than normal could be enough of an indication.

Another important aspect of this is to try and minimize the chances for griefing of false elitism, where a player can be made to feel bad, or even kicked from a team, for having a “bad” build, just because it’s not the optimal one available – so if too much information is made available about the performance of team members, then this could increase the chances of this kind of unwelcome behavior happening.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


12/27/2014 - Friday Update #108


This week, things have been a bit quieter because of the holidays – but we’ve still done some more work on finalizing the list of available power sets that we’re aiming to include at launch.
We obviously won’t be able to have the same amount and variety of power sets at launch as ‘City of Heroes’ had at its shutdown, so we have to make sure that the ones we choose for launch are the kind that will be very common in a lot of character concepts and quite flexible for customization.
They’ll also need to be usable by the a number of the enemy groups that will be in the game at launch, to make the development of the power sets as versatile as possible, and give us the most return on the time and effort spent on making them, which means that some of the more exotic power sets will have to wait to be fully implemented after launch.

We’ve also solved the bug we talked about last week that was causing problems with how the parts of the City hall model were displaying in the engine, so we’ll now be able to continue testing and refining the mesh before we create the final textures for it.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team