News & Updates

09/19/2014 - Friday Update #94


This week, we’ve made some adjustments to the main button template for the GUI – this had been done to improve the visual quality of any buttons used by the GUI by making it scale better and keep the proportions of the artwork consistent with each other, rather than having a standard increase or decrease in all the GUI parts, which could sometimes lead to some parts being shrunk further than they needed to be.

We’ve also added in a a basic name tag that will display above each player’s head – right now, it’s only the name, but we’ve built in the functionality to also us to also attach others text tags to it, like special titles for events, achievement titles, player-chosen titles from a preset list, and so on.

Additionally, we’ve been continuing to compile the basic stats for our ranged power sets, and we now have a reasonably detailed list of various typical comic book style ranged powers, such as fire, ice, radiation, energy, rifles, pistols, bows, and so on, along with their individual statistics and effects, which will be developed further once we start testing out power sets in the engine.
Not all of the powers on the list will be available at launch, but as part of our pre-launch development, we’re also planning out some of the post-launch content, so that we’ll be able to start adding things to the game without too much of a delay after the launch.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


09/13/2014 - Friday Update #93


This week, we’ve been designing the parts of the UI that will display the powers, both in the character creation stage, and in-game when players gain new powers. We’re using quite a familiar slotting system that will allow players to add augmentations to their powers in order to enhance various aspects of them, such as damage, accuracy, range, recharge speed, and so on, and these will be color-coded to make it easy to see at a glance what type of enhancement they give to the power.

We’ve also made some adjustments to the template for our tutorial in, light of the recent refinements to our powers system and skills system, as more info on them will now be needed in the character creator rather than in the tutorial, which means that the tutorial will need fewer steps to explain the basic game mechanics.

Additionally, we’ve been working on how best to handle and present chat bubbles, and to what degree they can be customized, along with how to create them as part of the general GUI. Chat bubbles will definitely allow for customization of the font color and the background bubble color – but we’ve also got a few more ideas planned for how we can enhance them further to deepen the players’ immersion in a comic book world.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


09/05/2014 - Friday Update #92


This week, we’ve made some adjustments to the main UI – this has mostly been under the hood work, replacing our older icon system with a newer and more efficient version, starting with the hotbars where players store their powers.
We’ve also added text titles to the hotbars – numbered 1 through 4 - so that even if players move them around and jumble them up, they’ll still be able to see which is which, allowing them to customize that area of the UI without affecting its functionality.
The ability to toggle the hotbars hasn’t been added back in yet, so in the meantime, they can be toggled on or off via the option menu.

We’ve also been doing some design work on more challenging team content, to find a way for us to create something in a similar style to the Task Forces in ‘City of Heroes’.
This isn’t as straightforward as it might seem, as one of our goals for ‘Heroes and Villains’ is to make sure that solo play is properly supported, and that players who prefer to play alone shouldn’t feel the need to team up with others if they don’t want to.
This is further complicated by the more flexible and expansive nature of our Archetype and power set system, where it’s possible that players could create builds that might make some story content extremely difficult to complete, even though it’s designed to be soloable for all standard builds – so we have to try and balance the goal of soloability with the goal of character concept freedom, to minimize the chances of a player excluding themselves from the ability to solo some content by their power choices.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


08/29/2014 - Friday Update #91


This week, we’ve started to compile a basic list of the power sets for the launch game, including some rough numbers for things like damage, casting time, recharge speed, and so on. As ‘Heroes and Villains’ is drawing on the same genre and comic book source material as ‘City of Heroes’, players will see similar themed sets of comic book powers, such as fire, ice, energy, electricity, a selection of ranged and melee weapons, and so on.
At this stage of development, the numbers attached to these sets are intended more to help us establish the overall strengths and weaknesses of a set, and the relationship between the powers in it, and we’re expecting that just about every power will be adjusted in one way or another during the alpha and b eta testing phases.

We’ve also been doing some planning to find the best way to implement the NPC citizens of Titan City. A modern urban setting presents challenges that aren’t often found in more traditional fantasy settings, where large chunks of zones will be quite open countryside, populated only be enemy spawns, while in a huge modern city, enemy spawns will be close to the NPC civilians in many places, creating a bigger demand on the players’ computers to be able to handle them.
Player models, animations and power VFX, enemy models, animations, and power VFX, and civilian NPC models, animations will all be sharing the same space in many of the open world encounters, so even though the game will eventually add other zones where there are far fewer civilians – or even none – we still need to develop our models and systems to handle superpowered combat in a densely populated and built-up urban area.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


08/22/2014 - Friday Update #90


This week, we’ve done some further refinements of the skills system, to better integrate it into our powers system, so that the two of them feel more cohesive and logical when working together.
While making these changes, we’re naturally still following our main guiding principle of creating a powers system that will allow players to make character builds in ‘Heroes and Villains’ that are quite close to what they were able to create in ‘City of Heroes’, while at the same time allowing for a lot of extra concepts and playstyles that were either never added to ‘City of Heroes’, or were impossible to be implemented because of technological barriers.

We’ve also been taking a look at the problem of stat and number inflation that causes so many problems in traditional MMOs, where bigger and bigger numbers are given to player powers and abilities in an attempt to give a sense of character progression, which eventually becomes unsustainable.
As stats and numbers increase, more and more of the game content becomes trivial, an expectation is created among players that the numbers will keep on getting pumped higher, and more and more development time is focused on the outdated concept of a standard MMO “endgame”, leading to neglect in other areas of the game.
Our design goal is for all areas of the game to receive equal amounts of developer attention -which is considerably easier to do when the game is driven by stories rather than stats.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team