News & Updates

07/22/2016 - Friday Update #190


This week, we’ve been doing some more design work for the overall zone and map structure to try and come up with the best way of handling phasing – the removal or addition of things into the game world as a result of story actions. These can be small things like changing the status of a single NPCs if they were killed/rescued during a mission, so that they would no longer appear in a zone if they died, or start to appear if they were rescued – or it can go right up to larger things like buildings or whole city blocks that could be destroyed/rebuilt, depending on what choices players made.

The biggest issue with this kind of phasing is that it also requires some players to be phased to – for example, if an NPC contact dies, or is otherwise removed from the game, then players who have completed the story where that happens shouldn’t really have to see players who haven’t completed it talking to what would appear to be thin air. This problem becomes even more important in the case of enemy mobs that are removed from the world as a result of a players action, such as cleaning up a neighborhood or taking down a gang leader – to player who have completed that section of the story, players who hadn't completed it would appear to be fighting invisible enemies.

These kinds of situations obviously bring up challenges for the social interaction aspect of the game, so we need to make sure that there’s a good balance between player interaction with each other and the requirements of the various storylines in the game.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


07/15/2016 - Friday Update #189


This week, we’ve been continuing to work on the foundations for having more environmental interaction in the game – this time focusing on ways to show players what objects are available to be interacted with.

The simplest way to do this would be to have a tooltip/pop-up appear when a player moved their mouse cursor over an interactive object – but this brings up potential issues of accessibility for players who might not have some form of visual impairment, especially for smaller objects that might not stand out that well from the rest of the environment – for example, a book on a full bookshelf, for a cell phone on a desk with other clutter.

To minimize this problem, we’re using a concept that other games also use, which is to let the player have the option of highlighting interactive objects in a special easy to see color – which si currently set at a mid-purple shade.
However, Because of the potential for various environmental textures and lighting effects to clash with it, as well as making sure that it’s suitable for color blind players, we will also be adding an option to change the highlight tint if and when it’s needed.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


07/08/2016 - Friday Update #188


This week, we’ve been doing some more work on ways to make the game environment more interactive than the one found in ‘City of Heroes’, which generally only had mission-specific objects that players could interact with, such as crates or computer terminals, with the history plaques being one of the exceptions, as they were there just for lore purposes.

In additional to more types of interactivity, we’re also changing the way that the interactions are presented – instead of CoH’s use of a activity bar counting down while the player’s avatar just stood beside the object, we will be using suitable animations for this instead - so when a player uses, for example, a computer, they will trigger an animation of them using the keyboard, to add an extra layer of realism to the game world.

We’ll also be adding more “fluff” types of interaction, such as being able to sit on chairs and seats, which while not likely to be needed for any mission goals, will still help to make the game world seem more like an actual world.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


07/01/2016 - Friday Update #187


This week, we’ve been doing some coding work on the basic templates for NPCs, both friendly and hostile to test what kinds of things we can do with NPCs to help add more variety to the gameplay, as well as to make sure that we can set up NPCs as contacts that give out missions in a way that will let us add more content to them at a later date
This way, a mission-giver won’t always need to be a one-time only contact, and can evolve as the game evolves, being given new missions and conversations on top of the original ones that they will start with.

We’ve also been testing out the relationship between NPCs and their AI behavior files, and how they interact with each other, which will let us pinpoint exactly what basic functions are needed for the default NPC AI file that we can then use as the foundation for all the NPC AI in the game, including enemies, allies and civilians – although it’’ going to take us quite a bit of trial and error to get the AI to where we need – and want – it to be.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


06/24/2016 - Friday Update #186


This week, we’ve been doing some more design work on our items and crafting system, with a focus on ideas for crafting components and what form they could take, as well as how players might gather them in the context of story-driven gameplay.

The type of crafting system used in a game also has an affect on the process of zone design – a standard MMO crafting system generally uses crafting materials that can be harvested from the landscape of a zone, and from mobs placed in a zone. But for a traditional comic book setting, that kind of material harvesting doesn’t really fit – which is why ‘City of Heroes’ had so few of them, with the only major example of generic landscape-based harvesting being in the Shadow Shard, where players could gather Kora Fruit plants that could be converted into Inspirations.

An example of more specific mob-based material harvesting – although it didn’t have a crafting element attached to it - was used in the Hamidon raid, where players could gather the special Essence of the Earth Inspirations to make the raid easier, but which didn’t really have any use outside of the Hive zone,


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team