News & Updates

04/21/2017 - Friday Update #229


This week, we’ve been doing some more work on creating the framework for allowing seamless zone and map transitions, to help us with our goal of eliminating loading screens wherever possible.

We’re focusing on this a lot because it’s one of the key parts that we need to be in place for our vision of the game to be realized, as loading screens are very much a design relic from a less advanced stage in the evolution of games and game engines, and there are very few places where their use can still be justified.

A loading screen between non-adjoining world areas, such as between two cities, for example, could be regarded as somewhat acceptable as it comes at a point in the narrative flow of the game where there would be an unseen journey by the player’s character between the two areas.
But a loading screen between two adjoining world areas has no narrative justification, as the character’s journey between them should be no different than them traveling within a single area on its own.
Even worse are loading screens between the open world and mission maps, where simply opening a door and going through it is broken up and delayed, while loading screens that divide a mission map up into separate sections are totally unacceptable, and like the others have no place in any modern game that’s serious about storytelling and immersion.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


04/15/2017 - Friday Update #228


This week, we’ve been doing some more design work on how to best implement our system for phasing things in the game world in and out of view for players, ranging from small objects all the way up to much larger models.

This was something that ‘City of Heroes’ had taken its first steps with in the “free to play” relaunch, especially in the revamped starting areas.
A very good example of how this added to the storytelling abilities available to the developers was in Atlas Park, where a group of Hellion arsonists were vandalizing an area not far from the plaza. Once the player had defeated them and returned to the contact, the next time they went to that area the Hellions were now shown being arrested by the police.

Unfortunately, that little scene then remained visible to players for the rest of their time in the city, rather than disappearing after a while, but the possibilities that that kind of mechanism opens up for a heavily story-driven game like ‘Heroes and Villains’ is huge – being able to phase content in and out like that lets us give the players a sense of achievement and progress as they go through the story, and helps us keep the city zones feeling more alive rather than resembling static content museums.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


04/08/2017 - Friday Update #227


This week, we’ve been doing some more design work on the music for the game, with a focus on the best way to create the music for the different areas of the city.
Unlike ‘City of Heroes’, which only had short one off bursts of music for each neighborhood our zone music is intended to be a constant presence, which means that not only do the tracks have to be much longer to avoid hearing the same parts too frequently, they also have to be done in a way that makes them easy to loop seamlessly.

It’s also important to make sure that the music isn’t too prominent – it’s meant to enhance the mood of an area, not completely dominate it, so it can’t have any lengthy loud sections that would draw attention to it too frequently, and it also can’t be too rhythmically aggressive either for the same reason.

As the game is very city focused, the area music will obviously need a bit of a pulse to match the hustle and bustle of a city, but not to the extent where it starts to sound like it’s an action cue, or that it’s going to break out into one at any moment.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


04/01/2017 - Friday Update #226


This week, we’ve been doing some more design work on some of our unique NPCs, some of which are existing ones, and some of which are totally new.
The reason for tweaks to existing NPCs is usually because the way stories or concepts are being developed means that sometimes the original idea behind the NPCs is no longer completely in sync with the newer version of the story or concept that they were attached to, so they need to have their background and sometimes even their look adjusted to bring them back into sync.

In a few rare cases, the story/concept has developed so far from its staring spot that NPCs that were created to be a part of it have had to be either scrapped completely or repurposed elsewhere, and new unique NPCs are created from scratch to take their place.

New NPCs are still sometimes required even if the original NPCs that are attached to a story or concept still work well with it, as these stories/concepts can develop in unexpected directions, requiring additional unique NPCs to tie in with the latest changes and expansions to them.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


03/25/2017 - Friday Update #225


This week, we’ve been doing some work on some aspects of the music for the game, putting together a few ideas for themes that can be used in various situations, both combat and non-combat to enhance the world and the atmosphere that we’re trying to create for it.

Unlike ‘City of Heroes’, which made quite minimal use of music in its zones, and almost no music in any of its missions until the last period of its life, ‘Heroes and Villains’ will be using much more cinematic approach to our musical score, as it’s a very strong storytelling tool used correctly, so it makes sense to include a large and diverse score in a story driven game like HaV.

There will of course be options for players to limit the times and places where the music is heard, as well as turn all of it off completely, as there are some gamers who like to play without music, or to listen to their own playlists instead.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team