CTT Hub // End of Summer Update
End of Summer Update
It’s been awhile since our last update. These months has been all about Unity: learning the ropes, developing porting strategies, and mostly rebuilding the GUI.
I’ve taken it upon myself to port the GUI over, using Darren’s art from earlier this summer. Yesterday, I was almost done the entire layout for both the menus and the units, and so it’s on to the functionality. I’ve decided against posting rough screenshots for the time being as they’re not terribly impressive to look at just yet. The gist of it is that I, a Unity newbie, was able to recreate in a week what took Sam, a seasoned programmer, many months in Crafty. If that’s not a case for Unity, I don’t know what is.
Sam has been all kinds of busy working away on learning Unity. There have been some fairly heavy snags with the old Crafty version that have kept him a little more busy with that than with Unity. However, it is going well, and he is enjoying himself with our new tool. Enjoying your tools is so very critical to a productive team, a lesson we have finally learned.
Ryan and Matt are deep in play testing the Harmonics Engine now, using the old Crafty build. It’s great that the build was so far along that we don’t lose any testing time while porting to Unity, but it does mean that every time a bug comes up, Sam’s energy must be diverted back to a tool that we’re going to throw out anyway.
The play-testing itself is going great, though it was a bit rough going in the beginning. As we are all a bit green with a project of this magnitude, we kept hitting problems that would befuddle us for several days. During our hunt for answers, we stumbled upon a brilliant resource for balancing games, an online course entitled Game Balance Concepts, by Ian Schreiber. It’s free and still on his blog if you’re interested. With it, we quickly understood that most of our problems were due to a runaway leader. Whenever one player killed another player’s unit, they tended to have such a strong mass advantage (the cost for a unit) that the other player would never catch up, barring a tactical blunder on the leader’s part. The solution was to close the gap using a common mechanic, counter attack. It’s something that we’d wanted to implement on a card-by-card basis, but it turned out that there was such a fundamental need that we had to use it generally. It seems to have helped, but more intensive testing will tell if it’s been successful.
If your a game design geek, it may interest you to know that we’re also considering adding an additional positive loop to accelerate the end-game, and a negative loop to tighten the mass differential further. It’s proving to be difficult since the primary resource, the Operator HP, that we would want to put these hooks into is so deeply ingrained into the board tactics. Messing around with it will have really dramatic consequences. If anyone is interested in finding out more details on our design itself, do drop us a line.
Lastly, crowd-funding rewards. For the shirts, we’d still like to roll them out by the year’s end; that shouldn’t be a problem. Everything else, we are thinking that we should hold off until closer to the release of the alpha, which is slated for sometime in the first half of next year. People will have a lot more fun making units and designs for a game that they can actually play.
I’ll definitely stick to at least a monthly update from here on in. The massive shifts in priorities and schedule were a lot to wrangle. If there are smaller, bite-sized updates that are worth mentioning on the team, I’ll let post those too. Thanks for reading,