News & Updates

05/27/2016 - Friday Update #182


This week, we’ve been doing some more work on our recently reformatted basic power templates, using some of the earlier powers that we’ve been testing before and transferring them over to the new system - the current power type that we’re are debuffs.

We’ve also been continuing to flesh out the game’s backstory, including the wider universe, which we’re developing alongside the more local backstory centers around earth and especially Titan City.
Although we obviously can’t create something with a volunteer team in less than 4 years that will have the same amount of complexity and depth as the traditional comic book universes that have had thousands of writers and artists working on them for decades, there are a few ways that we’ve been looking at that can give an impression depth and complexity to the backstory without needing to fall back on massive amounts of exposition or info dumps, which is not only poor storytelling, it’s also very bad for creating good gameplay.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


05/20/2016 - Friday Update #181


This week, we’ve been working on improving the performance of the current basic templates for our powers system, so that the amount of data being used is streamlined and handled more efficiently to prevent potential slow-downs when multiple players are logging in together.

We’ve also been working on some more basic animations, focusing on the very important comic book concept of flight – with the two major subdivisions of standard flight animations being flight with a cape, and flight with wings, both of which we’ve been busy creating recently. Both sets of animations include the key movements for rising, falling, moving forwards, moving backwards, strafing to the left and to the right, and hovering, which can be combined together to give a smooth transition between them as the player changes direction during flight.

This, combined with our earlier work on super speed animations and super jump animations now means that we just have teleportation left to complete of the major travel powers used in ‘City of Heroes’ before we have a basic set of animations for all of them.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


05/13/2016 - Friday Update #180


This week, we’ve been doing some more design work on the powers system for the game, with the focus on how best to balance the various elements that go into making suitably spectacular comic book abilities. The actual mechanics of a power are pretty much worthless if they’re not also accompanied by an animation and set of visual and audio effects that presents the power in a fitting way that also matches the general expectations of the player using it, based on its name and description.
For example, if you give the players a power that can one-shot a boss, and the description of the power tells them how powerful it is, but the animation is just a generic punch, with the VFX just being a small puff of dust on impact, and the sound effects are a underwhelming slapping sound, then that completely undermines the sight of a boss being one-shotted, and totally goes against the players expectations for the power based on its stats and description.

But at the same time, if animations, visuals and sounds are always given priority when designing a power, then that can lead to problems where the mechanics, such as activation time, recharge rate and so on, then have to be tuned to fit the cosmetic elements, which would lead to all kinds of balance issues, so you can’t just make a set of animations, then try and build a balanced power set around them.

Naturally, we’re using the powers system in ‘City of Heroes’ as our starting point, as it had such a good balance between mechanics, animations and visual and audio effects – but it also leaves us room to expand on some of its ideas to help create an even stronger comic book experience.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


05/06/2016 - Friday Update #179


This week, we’ve been working on the design of open world mobs to try and come up with ways to make them feel more dynamic and realistic, and less static and obviously just standing around waiting for players to come by and beat them up. ‘City of Heroes’ did this quite well with some of its street mobs by having them taking part in muggings, scouting out buildings to burgle or actively breaking into places – but other mobs were simply standing around in large groups with no obvious reason as to why they would be doing so, or why the police weren’t doing anything about it - this was more noticeable in the higher level areas, where the types of enemy groups found there had much less reason to be out on the streets than the gangs found in the lower level zones.

Another problem with street mobs that came up in CoH was after the Atlas park revamp, where some of the new missions required a certain number of street mobs to be defeated, but to make sure that there were enough to go around for multiple players, the respawn rate was way too high, leading to the new mobs popping up almost right behind the players, making the game mechanics way too obvious at the expense of the narrative and immersion in the world – they became more like resources to be harvested rather than giving an impression of being living and intelligent enemies.

This is why balancing the need to have street mobs that act reasonably realistically and have a narrative reason to be out on the streets with the need for the gameplay to flow properly and intuitively is such an important part of not only designing the street mobs, but also of designing the mobs in general.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


04/30/2016 - Friday Update #178


This week, we’ve been doing some more work on coding our powers system, with the focus still on getting the basic framework in place and functioning before we start adding more to it. One of the key goals for this system – as well as others in the game – is to set them up in a way that allows non-coders on the development team to still be able to input some data into them, to maximize the efficiency of the game’s development, although this approach does mean that the initial work takes longer in the short term, but will pay off a lot in the longer term.

We’ve also been expanding more of the story and setting ideas that have been in place in the backstory for a while now, but have been given less attention while we’ve been focused on developing Titan City, as that’s going to be the first part of the game that players will see, and will always be the central hub, both story-wise and socially, of the entire game setting, no matter how many other settings we might eventually add to it.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team