December 1st, 2014
Hi everyone! It’s been a while, sorry to keep you all waiting. Here’s the recap:
The first playable slice of Liege is finally ready to share!
I’ve uploaded our first alpha build to Steam and submitted the request to Valve for backer keys. Alpha backers, keep an eye on your inbox over the next few days. Those of you who prefer delivery outside of Steam, shoot me a PM and I’ll see to getting you a direct link. As mentioned before, to keep things manageable on my end I’ll be focusing on PC, Mac and Linux for alpha testing.
What to expect: The build contains the tutorial sequence shown two updates ago in its new, extended form. The demo is short and a lot of things are still rough, but I’m making it available in its current state with the following goals:
1) Identify any major system compatibility issues
2) Get a sense of how things are performing on a wider range of hardware
3) Start getting feedback on the tutorial sequence, mechanics, and combat UI
Following this first release, I’ll be putting out more regular updates which will incrementally extend the content. Once the keys go out I’ll be following up with details on where to send bugs, suggestions, questions, etc.
With all that out of the way, I wanted to give you all a quick recap of what’s been going on since the last update. First, Kalen and Aakaash are pretty much waiting up for me to catch up with things on the dev side. I was hoping to be 100% focused on content at this stage, but I needed to go back to solidify things some more before moving ahead with production full steam.
There’s a ton of content that needs to be created, and pretty much all of the battles and narrative sequences are still scripted by hand. This is very time consuming.
That being the case I’m still investing a lot of effort in getting our tools into the best possible shape. Everything in v0.1.0 was rebuilt using the latest workflow, and things move much quicker now.
With our technology stack more or less set in stone at this point, I’ve been spending a lot of time profiling the game to identify performance bottlenecks. There’s still more work to be done here, but the game’s now running smoother than ever.
I’ve been spending a lot of time taking apart rushed code from earlier and putting it back together in a way that’s more maintainable, extensible, and performant. While it’s frustrating to put so much work into something that yields so little outward progress, it was a necessary chore. On the plus side, our codebase no longer feels like a leaning tower, ticking time bomb, plate of spaghetti, which is good. In all seriousness though, the game’s on much more solid footing code wise now, which will pay off going forward.
4) A Million Loose Ends
The game’s been in a playable state for a while now, but it continues to find new and creative ways to break on me. My debugger and I have been spending a lot of time together addressing this issue.
Apart from bug fixes, I’ve also been continuing to work down a long list of changes to improve the game’s existing features. Of these, the biggest change was redoing the entire combat interface to be consistent with the character management interface I showed in the last update. Sadly this 1) took forever and 2) introduced a ton of new bugs, but it’s done, and it’s better now!
To sum up: things are still moving slower than I’d like, but I think the extra time we’re taking is worth it. Thanks as always for your patience, and have a great week everyone!
September 14th, 2014
Character Management & Customization
The game’s character management system has been evolving into something very different and much deeper than originally planned. Though this means it’s taking longer than expected to implement, this is a good thing! Here’s a preview of how it’s looking:
When you load the in-game menu, you’ll start with a summary of your party’s status. There are eight primary characters, and significantly more (final number still TBD) secondary characters you’ll control in the game. From here, you can select any of your units to quickly drill down into the:
The Character Overview provides a high level view of everything you need to know about a unit. On the left you can see an expanded view of the coat-of-arms inspired summary widget seen on the Party Overview screen, which displays character type, faction, and equipped weapon. On the right you can see a breakdown of the unit’s unlocked classes and corresponding abilities and stat boosts. This is important, since as you’ll see below, unlocked classes form the basis for everything relating to character progression.
The profile view allows you to view a character’s basic information, including whether they’re primary (must survive every battle) or secondary (game goes on if killed) characters. On the right, you can see how the character’s unlocked classes sum up to his total base stats before taking faction and equipment into account. Each character’s profile is different, meaning the boosts they get from each class will vary.
TLDR: Unlocked Classes x Character Profile = Base Stats
Every character is aligned to a faction, which grant different boosts per class. Certain factions will produce strong swordsmen, while others produce good archers, and so on. You’ll be controlling characters from different (sometimes competing) factions at different points in the game, and you’ll need to adjust how you develop your units accordingly.
TLDR: Unlocked Classes x Faction = Alignment Bonus
Units can carry up to three weapons which can be changed mid-combat. As shown on the left, weapons have their own stats as in any other RPG. More importantly though, a unit’s effectiveness with a type of weapon depends on which classes he’s unlocked. This is shown above as his proficiency bonus. For example, a unit who has only developed Archer skills won’t be very effective if equipped with a sword. As mentioned earlier, equipped weapons also determines a unit’s available abilities.
TLDR: Unlocked Classes x Weapon = Proficiency Bonus & Available Abilities
As your units develop, new advancements will become available. Any unit can advance into any part of the class tree, but you’ll want to keep some of the ideas from above in mind to maximize your units’ effectiveness. In most cases, you’ll want to specialize your characters to align with their respective strengths to build an effective party.
Nuts & Bolts
Apart from finalizing the RPG UI and progression elements, I’ve also been focusing on getting the technical architecture as stable as possible before we move into testing. This means testing the game at different resolutions, aspect ratios, and platforms, building out the system UI for customizing display, controls, etc. Here’s a peek at how the system menus are shaping up:
Take a look below to see all of this in action:
Apologies to those of you who were looking forward to the alpha release with this update- I decided it’d be better to take some more time to polish things up a bit rather than disappointing with a rushed build. Things are taking longer than planned, but we’re getting a lot done and hopefully you like what you see so far!
To close out, here’s a lighter piece from our docks area. Enjoy the rest of your weekends!