News & Updates

02/25/2017 - Friday Update #221

This week, we’ve been continuing to work on the framework for our missions system, this time setting up NPCs to be able to hand out multiple missions and /or story arcs, which is obviously important for any recurring NPC contacts that players might meet during their journey through the game.

Related to this, we’ve also been working out the design for some basic dialogue trees, to help broaden the kinds of interactions that players can have with NPCs.
There are generally 3 types of branching dialogue that can be used in an RPG – the first one is “fluff”, where a player could choose to get on with accepting a mission right away, for example, or choose to get some brief background info on the mission or enemy/enemies they’ll be facing, and then start the mission.

The second type is a kind of “personality” dialogue tree – players could choose from various ways to respond to NPCs, such as humorously, or aggressively, for example, which can then be commented on later by NPCs, allowing a player to shape their character’s personality and have the game world recognize it.

The third kind of dialogue tree is the “action” type – this is where a player can choose to respond to an NPC in a way that changes the current flow of the story that they’re in, such as being given a choice between two separate locations to go to to continue the storyline in two different ways.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team

02/18/2017 - Friday Update #220

This week, we’ve been doing some more work on the basic framework for our story/mission system, this time putting in place a simple reward structure for completing missions, so that our first pair of test missions now give out a fixed number of experience points once they’re done.

While we have a few rough ideas for XP values, we’re not going to be making any definite decisions about it for some time, as it’s going to need a huge amount of testing and fine tuning first – plus, just about every MMO has made XP adjustments post-launch, so even lengthy and detailed tests pre-launch are unlikely to mean that we’ll never need to tweak the XP post-launch.

Another major thing that also needs to be worked out with XP is how to share it out among a team of players – especially in terms of making it harder for players to earn XP if they have contributed nothing – or almost nothing – towards the mission, as in what were known as “door sitters” in ‘City of Heroes’, players who would go AFK just inside a mission entrance, and still get the same amount of XP as the players who were actually completing the mission, which is really not the kind of behavior that makes for good teaming.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team

02/11/2017 - Friday Update #219

This week, we’ve been doing some more coding work on our mission/story system, to get the basics up and running, because although things like badges and costumes are a vital part of the spiritual successor to ‘City of Heroes’, missions/stories are still going to take up the vast majority of the game’s content.

Although the HeroEngine does contain a few basic templates and references as guides for basic MMO systems, the design of our mission system and its complexity compared to traditional MMO questing systems means that we need to create it entirely from scratch in order to meet all of our requirements for it.

Right now, we have the basic mechanics working for making NPC mission givers, one simple test mission briefing window with an “accept” or “decline” mission option, and a mission summary window that shows the active missions, and the ability for the mission giver to update their available mission list as old ones are completed and new ones become available.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team

02/04/2017 - Friday Update #218

This week, we’ve been doing some more design work on the way that players travel between zones, this time focusing on the concept of fast travel and how its presentation is affected by the structure of the zones and the types of travel powers available to players.

The major problem that ‘City of Heroes” had with its fast travel options and travel powers was the clash between the expectations created by its comic book setting and the reality of the game mechanics and zone design – players were given access to classic comic book travel powers such as flight and super speed, but then confronted with the reality that the portals to the other zones, whether disguised as trains, helicopters or ferries, were actually faster than what were supposed to be superpowered travel methods.
This was especially noticeable in zones with two train stations, such as Steel Canyon or Skyway City, where what was basically a local commuter train service was clearly shown to be faster than speedsters or flyers, with players completing their journey between the north and south stations before superpowered players had even gotten halfway covering the same distance using their travel powers.

This situation was even worse in the 3 Praetorian city zones, as the lack of war walls meant that players could see further, which only helped to emphasize just how much faster the fast travel system was when compared to the travel powers – which is the challenge that we’re currently facing with the open world nature of Titan City’s design, and how to make superpowered travel feel super when compared to a fast travel system.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team

01/27/2017 - Friday Update #217

This week, we’ve been doing some more coding work on the in-game map, setting it up to show enemies as well as the player’s allies and/or team members.
One of the things that comes up with any in-game map is just how much information it should give to players – not just from an information overload angle, where it might give out way too much non-essential information, but also from a wider design angle of how much any game should help a player, rather than letting them find out things for themselves, especially in regards to the level of realism a game is aiming for.-

For example, an in-game map could not only display the location of enemies, but also have them color-coded by their rank – such as bosses being marked as purple dots, lieutenants as red dots and minions as yellow dots – however, not only does that risk making a map too detailed from a visual point of view, it also makes the map too detailed from a realism point of view, especially if it’s marking enemies who are not in a players line of sight, as it raises the question of how a character could not only locate unseen enemies, but also identify their toughness.

Obviously, for a game taking place in the traditional science-fantasy setting of a comic book universe there are a variety of explains that could be made for a character having this kind of ability, but it’s not something hat could be applied to every single character concept, especially non-powered ones.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!