News & Updates

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


02/21/2015 - Friday Update #116


This week, we’ve done some more coding work on the revised UI, but we’ve run into a small issue with loading data for some of the windows – certain windows that contain significant amounts of data cause a slight stutter when they’re opened. It’s not a major problem, but it’s something that we do want to try and fix – one of the solutions that we’ve been considering is to load the problematic data at an alternative point, such as when a player first logs into the game, so that the data will then be pre-loaded when the player comes to the point of opening the windows.

We’ve also arrived at a layout for the in-game map that we’re very happy with – it uses the updated style of the UI, but still blends it with the older style to create the look that we’re after.
It’s also been set up to be functional and intuitive, so that players won’t need to spend time trying to figure out what they’re looking at, or how to use it to travel in the direction that they want to go in. As the map is only for Titan City right now, it’s likely that we’ll need to make a few adjustments to it once the game expands to other parts of Earth, and the Multiverse beyond – but the basic style and layout as it is now is the final one.

Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


02/14/2015 - Friday Update #115


This week, we’ve done some more programming of the main UI, and have implemented a new basic version of the power trays, which are now more in line with the revised style that we’re using for the updated UI and its features. We’ll also be adding couple of small additions to the power trays to allow players to more easily lock them in place and move them around the screen.

We’ve also done some more design work on the alignment system for the game – with the focus on deepening and expanding it to create a greater amount of alignment diversity, so that there’s more to the system than just a simple division into good, neutral and evil. This is not only because comic books have a wide variety of moralities for various characters - even if it’s quite frequently broken down into a simple good vs evil battle – but also because a greater variety of moral positions will allow us to give the players more moral choices within the various stories, as well as more varied types of stories to reflect those choices.
These changes will also mean that we’ll need to make some adjustments to the character creator, as well as the layout of the tutorials, to make sure that the alignment changes are properly integrated into the game, and that players fully understand how they work.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


02/07/2015 - Friday Update #114


This week, we’ve been doing some work on the overall concept of how we want to present the various themed story paths to the players in a way that reflects the tone and style of the traditional comic book concepts that they’re inspired by - such as street level heroes, dark and gritty vigilantes, villainous masterminds who present a global threat, and so on.
Each of these various themes and character types needs to be fully supported throughout the game world, so that a player can progress their characters through content that matches their character concept, without being forced to play content that might not fit what they have in mind for how their characters live their lives.
At the same time, the stories also need to be flexible enough to branch in a variety of ways based on the choices that players make during them, including various moral extremes – and in addition, there needs to be enough overlap between the themes to allow players to shift between themes if they decide that’s how they want their character’s path to unfold.

We’ve also been looking at ways to make the power icons as clear as possible in regards to the function and types of each power, so that players can see at glance what types of power they have, which will make choosing new powers easier. The main option that we’re considering right now for this is to add more significant color coding to the powers, in addition to the actual power icons – although it will need to be done in a way that doesn’t overcrowd the icons with too much information, as that would defeat the whole point of it.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


01/31/2015 - Friday Update #113


This week, we’ve done some animation testing work for one of the enemy groups they’re non-human creatures, so their animations and skeletons aren’t the same ones that we’ll be using for the majority of the NPCs, as well as the player characters – but as they’re enemies that players will have a chance of meeting early on in Titan City, we’d like to get them working as part of our early implementation of the various groups that players will encounter.

We’ve also been looking at ways to handle the player character’s “voice” – with “voice” in this case not referring to audio, but to the way that the text options given to the players for their dialog responses when talking to NPCs are written. The major issue is trying to find the right “voice” for these responses that doesn’t impose a character or personality type onto the player’s own character concept – and while the risk of this happening increases with every word added to a response, going in the opposite direction, and making the player character only say the minimum amount of words needed to express the player’s choice of response would lead to the character being very reserved and extremely bland.
Plus, the use of the minimum amount of words severely limits the kind of conversations that would be possible, with almost all of the talking being done on the NPC’s side, while the player character just makes short responses and asks brief questions.
We’re going through a number of possible solutions to this problem to try and find one that’s both flexible and practical, to give players some space to work with without having the game dictating their character’s personality, but without it becoming an excessively complex system that would slow down other areas of the development in order to implement it.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team