News & Updates

04/24/2015 - Friday Update #125


This week, there’s been an update to the HeroEngine, so we’ve spent a bit of time going through the changes and checking to see what effect – if any – they’ve had on the existing work that we’ve done. The update’s been designed by the engine developers to be as backwards compatible as possible for all projects using then engine, but for something as complicated as an online game engine, there will always be some older elements that will need to be changed or completely removed to bring everything up to date.

We’ve also been doing some planning work for ways to avoid a major problem that’s found in many MMOs – kill-stealing in the open world. The obvious solution at first appears to be simply making all the open-world mobs unattached to any mission, so that fighting and defeating them is entirely optional. The problem with this approach is that it creates a split between the story content that takes place inside building instances, and the mobs outside – but if any open-world mobs are made important to the various stories, this can lead to competition among players for getting them, which does nothing to promote the friendly and social atmosphere that we’re aiming for in the game.
A more complicated solution would involve selected phasing in the open-world, so that players would be phased into a separate open-world instance whenever they needed to deal with a certain mob or character linked to the story, becoming invisible to other players, unless they were on the same team.
The major problem with this approach is that it could be difficult to set it up in a way that wouldn’t result in players appearing to pop in and out of visibility, which would hurt immersion – and that it could make the co-operative and social feeling of an open-world somewhat weaker that what we’re aiming for.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


04/18/2015 - Friday Update #124


This week, we’ve been doing some more planning work on our powers system, adding in more details for the functionality of the various types of powers and their effects and how they will be affected by the various ways that players can enhance them.
We’re starting off with some of the most common powers, including a punch attack, and a kick attack, both of which will be inherent for every player, as it fits in with our objective of making the game as logical and intuitive as possible, and there’s no immersion or story justification for players not to be able to use these two types of attacks as their default ones when these are the basic types of attacks that people can use in real life.

All the numbers that we’re using are just stand-ins at this stage – the main thing for us right now is to establish the basic strengths of the power effects, and how they relate to each other, and to other powers, as well as how they scale in comparison to each other.
Because of this, we’re expecting that very few – if any – of the current numbers will survive all the way through the testing process, as every single one will be refined and adjusted multiple times.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


04/11/2015 - Friday Update #123


This week, we’ve been planning out the basic outlines for the power sets that will be included at launch – this involves putting together ideas for the different power types in each set, and working out how they will function together as a set, as well as the various ways that they could work with other power sets when the player is in a team situation.
The way that the power sets interact with each other is very important for the overall design of the game, as we want to encourage the same kind of varied and casual teaming experience that ‘City of Heroes’ provided – but at the same time, we also need to make sure that all of the various sets are open to the possibility of soloing to some degree, so that players are completely free to choose how they play through the content, without feeling that they need to join or form a team to progress their character.
Additionally, although PvP isn’t the focus of the game, it still needs to be kept in mind when designing the power sets – and while the more varied the power sets and power set combinations there are in a game, the harder it becomes to achieve fully balanced PvP, we’re still aiming for a PvP system that will be relatively balanced.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


04/04/2015 - Friday Update #122


This week, we’ve done a bit of programming work to set up the ability for objects to highlight as a different color when clicked on by a player, as well as highlighting when the player moves their mouse cursor over an object.
This has a number of potentially useful applications for us as part of our goal of creating a more interactive environment than the community might be used to, which will not only help with immersion in the game world, but will also open up a number of interesting storytelling options to add more variety to missions, as well as the use of some non-combat abilities.

We’ve also continued to revise and refine the character creation system, with the focus on the various origins that the players can choose for their characters. ‘City of Heroes’ had a basic origin system that worked well for covering most traditional comic book style character types – but apart from some missions and vendors, it didn’t really feature that much during a character’s progress to level 50 – it was almost low-key enough to be a cosmetic choice,.
While we don’t want a character’s origin to dominate their progress, we’re also aiming to make the choice of origin have a more significant impact on a character’s career than in ‘City of Heroes’, so that players will have a noticeably different experience in Titan City based on the origin that they choose for their character, ranging from different or extra dialog options when talking with NPCs, through to additional story choices and content based on their origin.


Have a heroic/villainous weekend!

The Heroes and Villains team


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