News & Updates

02/06/2016 - Friday Update #166


This week, we’ve been doing more work on our teaming system, focusing on refining the basics that we’ve already been developing, and adding in some additional bits and pieces that we’ve come up with more recently.

One of the things that we naturally want to do is make sure that not only does the team UI fit in with the style of the rest of the UI, but that it also remains intuitive, so that it can still be read and understood with a quick glance in the middle of combat. For example, the amount of screen space that the team UI takes up needs to be big enough to be easily readable, but not so big that it starts to block the rest of the view on smaller computer screens – and the same applies to the size and placement of the status icons for each team member that display things like current buff and debuff effects, and so on.

One of the key parts of the teaming system is to make sure that the whole team is synchronized to see and experience the same open world situation – this is much more important in ‘Heroes and Villains’ than in ‘City of Heroes’, as the open world in HaV will change based on the players’ decisions quite a lot more than it did in CoH, where the world was a lot more static, as meaningful player decisions were few and far between, and mostly just limited to instanced maps.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


01/30/2016 - Friday Update #165


This week, we’ve been doing some more coding work with our basic NPC system to test it out – with the focus on spawning hostile NPCs. We ran into an issue early on where we couldn't get the NPCs to spawn with hit points in our test area – they just appeared with 0 HP.

We’ve managed to fix that issue, and we can now spawn hostile NPCs in the test area with proper HP values – but we’ve run into another issue where they won’t persist in the area once a player exits it and then returns to it, so that’s the next bug that we’ll need to track down and remove before we can expand the basics of the NPC spawning system.

We’ve also been looking at some ways to have the mouse cursor change to a different icon when it’s moved over an object, such as an item or an NPC or another player, which we’ll be using as a form of visual pop-up menu to help give players information on the object that they’ve moused over.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


01/22/2016 - Friday Update #164


This week, we’ve been doing some more coding work on our basic power system, as we’d run into a few technical issues with the previous design that we’d come up with, so now we’re having to do a bit of extra coding to reset a few things and get the basic system to where we want it to be.

Once we’ve got this part fixed, we’ll start work on implementing the first power functions to make sure that they’re compatible with the revised programming – the focus will mostly be on functions rather than individual values, as without the functions working, then the separate values are meaningless. For example, the amount of damage that a punch does compared to a kick is unimportant at this stage if the actual melee to-hit mechanic doesn’t function – and the same applies to the separate values of things like recharge rates, stamina costs, accuracy percentages, and so on.

Once we have all the types of power functions working properly, then we’ll start adjusting each of the individual power values to bring them in line with the various power progress and value tables that we’ve been drawing up for some time now – which is the point at which we’ll actually able to do a much wider practical test of the combat system.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


01/15/2016 - Friday Update #163


This week, we’ve been working on and testing ways to handle texture diversity in the open world and on mission maps – we want to find the right balance between having too many textures, which would cause performance problems, and too few textures, which can lead to somewhat bland environments.

For example, in ‘City of heroes’, the Kings Row zone didn’t have quite enough texture variations, especially with brick textures, to create the kind of gritty rundown urban feel that the zone was meant to have – which meant that it tended to blur into a general dark gray mass of blocky shapes, with a lack of standout environmental features to break it up and give it more character. The lack of texture variation there also didn’t help to disguise the limited number of building models, so that players were more aware of the repetition of models.

Another area where ‘City of Heroes’ lacked texture variations was on the instanced mission maps – and with these having far less players than the zones, and much shorter view distances, the need for few textures for performance reasons wasn’t such a major issue – so it’s much harder to justify every single office in Paragon City having blue carpet and white walls.

But with more than a decade of tech advances since the development of ‘City of Heroes’, we’re going to be able to deliver more diverse environments both indoors and outdoors – we just have to make sure that we don’t overdo it and end up significantly hurting the performance of the game on lower end computers.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


01/08/2016 - Friday Update #162


This week, we’ve been doing some more design work on ways to handle the transition between the open world and instanced mission maps, with a particular focus on non-door transitions, as even though in a heavily urban setting like Titan City, there will still be occasions where the transitions from outdoors to indoors doesn’t actually involve a door.

For example, although the majority of caves in a city would have some form of door at the entrance, not all of them would – some would be open, but with security fencing around the entrance instead. And there are also things like underground parking garages, which are good atmospheric settings for a variety of story situations and encounters, but usually just have a barrier at the entrance rather than a full door.

The actual technical side of setting up these kinds of transitions is not too complicated – the main challenge is in making it look good – players who transition from the open world to an instance, or from an instance back to the open world will simply in or out of view to other players not on their team. ‘City of Heroes’ handle this by using doors for almost every transition, so that the popping in and out was somewhat disguised by the door positioning and animation – but for transitions where there isn’t a door, the area round the entrance needs to be designed in a way that will conceal the popping in and out as much as possible – although some will be inevitable, so we just need to try and make it as infrequent as possible.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team