News & Updates

03/28/2015 - Friday Update #121


This week, we’ve done some design work on how best to set up player and NPC interactions – specifically, non-combat player-NPC interactions, which although they involve fewer technical considerations than player-NPC combat interactions, they still bring up a number of challenges in order to get it feeling and looking right, as well as being flexible enough for a wide range of potential situations and their interactions.
The first issue is how to present the actual trigger for an interaction – if you can only talk to an NPC, then simply clicking on them could start a conversation – but if the NPC also has a bio or other information attached to them, then some type of menu would be needed for the first click, so that a player could then decide if they wanted to talk to them, or view their information with another click.
Another issue is how active the NPC is – we’re aiming for much more dynamic and realistic NPCs who will move around the game world, rather than just standing around all the time – so that brings up the question of if a moving NPC should be clickable, meaning that a dialog could be started anywhere – or if they should only be clickable when their temporarily stationary, once they’ve completed their current movement/travel routine.
This brings up further considerations of things like phasing to hide or show an NPC depending on where the player is in the storyline, and the AI scripts that the NPCs will use – so even something that appears to be quite straightforward, like interacting with an NPC, still needs a lot of thought put into its design and presentation.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


03/21/2015 - Friday Update #120


This week, we’ve done some coding work on the system to let players share items between characters on the same account, and now have its basic functionality working. This particular system is obviously quite important for a game that’s being designed to be alt-friendly, as it’ll let players transfer items between their characters without needing to rely on another player to help them do it.
A variation on this system will eventually be used to allow items to be shared between accounts, which will be one of the key parts for letting us create the Supergroup system and help make it more than just a cosmetic addition to the game.

We’ve also done some more design work on the UI, specifically how to handle the layout of the power enhancing system, to make it both logical and intuitive, and visually appealing at the same time. This is another area of the game where we’re trying to balance the need for information with the need to avoid overwhelming players with too much information – in this case, overwhelming them with too many details of the power enhancing numbers and stats all at once.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


03/14/2015 - Friday Update #119


This week, we’ve done some more detailed design work for the Phoenix Hill area of Titan City, with a focus on the streets right beside Prometheus Plaza. We’re continuing to model the assets for the plaza area, which is starting to come together now, so we need to start looking a bit further away from just the plaza now in terms of detailing the wider Phoenix Hill area design, to make sure that the plaza and the surrounding area blend together properly, not just from a visual point of view, but also from a navigation point of view.
Realism is also an important aspect of this design work, as we’re aiming for the street layout of Titan City to make sense in terms of real world cities and their street layouts, rather than being more stylized.

We’ve also done a bit of planning work for how to present speech bubbles for both players and NPCs. Like other aspects of the game, these need to be both flexible for players to use with a degree of customization, and true to the general comic book genre source material, while at the same time still being consistently readable. The readability needs to factor in not only font size, but coloring, as these could cause problems for players with colorblindness or other eyesight problems


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


03/06/2015 - Friday Update #118


This week, we’ve been doing some more work on the layout and presentation of the individual powers in the UI. On a basic level, these will be somewhat familiar to the community, with each power having a number of slots that players can use to enhance various aspects of the power, such as damage, accuracy, recharge time, and so on.
However, the mechanics behind this are quite different, even if the end result is quite similar to what the community might be used to – which means that the way the powers and slots are set up within the UI needs to be quite different in order to be intuitive to look at and use, as well as looking visually interesting.

We’ve also been finalizing the set-up of the main animation rig that we’ll be using for both players and the majority of NPCs, as it covers all basic humanoid shapes, which covers most of the NPC types planned for the launch content in Titan City. Non-humanoid creatures will have their own unique animation rigs and animations, which will help make them truly unique and add variety to the enemy types that players will face.
Although this will require more work, we feel that it’s worth it in order to avoid the more unusual and exotic creatures just ending up moving and looking like normal humanoids.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


02/28/2015 - Friday Update #117


This week, we’ve been doing some more coding work on the UI, adding more functionality to the buttons on the main section of the UI, and generally improving its usability. There’s still some way to go before it’s all working correctly, but we’re making good progress with getting it up and running.

We’ve also been refining the layout of the UI window that handles the story content, which is a vital element for any story-driven game. This is an especially important area for us too as one of the frequent complaints about ‘City of Heroes’ was how it was impossible for anyone on a team apart from the team leader to follow all the details of a story. The obvious solution to this problem is to make the story window viewable at any time by everyone who is on the team, so that no one will ever need to miss any part of the stories, even if they crash or are called away from their computer, which not only helps to reinforce the fundamental importance of the story to the game, but also helps to enhance the casual-friendly nature of the game as well.
This is also a good example to illustrate how we’re using various complaints by ‘City of Heroes’ players over the lifetime of the game to create an improved experience, while still maintaining the core concepts that made it such a well-loved game.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team