Hello backers, hope you're all doing well! Late last month we got some pretty amazing news as we were selected to showcase our game at DreamHack Austin(June 1-3). The last few weeks have been pretty hectic getting everything ready with the demo build and promotional materials, but we're super excited to show off the game at such a big venue! Both Chris and myself will be in attendance so if any of you were planning on going we'd be happy to have you stop by our booth and give the game a test-run :)
To go along with the demo build we have some new additions to the roster of enemies; we figured the poor skeletons have been beaten on enough ;)
Like the undead, they'll be a fairly common enemy that you'll encounter in the game, specifically during overworld travel where bandits tend to prey on weary travelers.
Here are some other things we've worked on this past month:
Full implementation of the Line of Sight mechanic
Combat UI improvements for targeting and letting the user know why and when abilities cannot be used
Added a new resource pool called "Focus" which is used for casting spells. We've tweaked the function of our Spirit resource and we'll talk further about it in a future update
New ability icons
Fancy new environment introduction(totally not inspired by Dark Souls!)
Hope we'll see a few of you at DreamHack and we'll be back next month with more news and a recap of how the expo went :)
Lastly we have 2 games we'd like to give a quick shout-out too. First up is Fort Triumph, a great tactical RPG funded here on Kickstarter that has recently entered early access. Check out their game on Steam here.
Next is Stoneshard, a roguelike RPG that recently launched on Kickstarter. They have some gorgeous pixel art and a demo of their prologue available. They're nearly funded with plenty of time to go, so they'll be aiming for some stretch goals next. Check it out here.
Hey everyone, we were running a little late with the last update for March so we decided to instead combine it with April’s. We’ve gotten a lot done during this period and it’s probably been the busiest we’ve been thus far, so we hope you’ll excuse the tardiness of the update :) As previously mentioned, we’ve been working to make a stable build of the game that is polished enough to show off at major trade shows(almost there now!) and with that goal in mind we wanted to share some recent additions to assets and gameplay mechanics.
We’ve added a couple new combat mechanics and tweaked some of the existing ones in order to achieve the tactical depth that we want out of the game. None of this is set in stone and will still require further tuning but we’re happy with the premise of each.
First up, we’ve added a new ‘Swap’ mechanic for every character. You can now use your turn to swap positions with any adjacent allied character. This allows you to move someone out of harm's way quickly, and avoid them suffering an Attack of Opportunity. There are a few situations where using Swap is not possible, such as when the target is Stunned, Feared or Taunted. Enemies can also take advantage of this function so it’s important to plan accordingly.
We’ve removed our Backstab mechanic and reworked it into a Flanking mechanic, one that is easier to understand and execute within the context of the game. Previously, you were able to control the direction that your characters were facing at the end of their movement, and any attacks at their rear would be considered a Backstab. However we decided that the mechanic was a little unclear, annoying and clunky to deal with. A character is now considered “Flanked” whenever there are 2 enemies on opposite sides of his or her location. The Flanked debuff reduces Defense and Evasion for all attacks against that character, whether they are from the flankers, or elsewhere on the field.
The final combat addition is a Line of Sight mechanic, which places an increased importance on your positioning for both attacking and defending. For certain classes and abilities, the game will now check to see if the target is valid(due to LOS) and whether or not any accuracy penalty will be applied. If a character or object lies on a direct path(horizontally or diagonally connected hexes) between the attacker and the intended target, the target will be deemed untargetable due to the attacker having No Line of Sight. Full Line of Sight(no characters or objects blocking the path) would obviously incur no penalties and the attacker could freely attack the target within the limits of their abilities. Anything in between is classified as Obscured Line of Sight, and the attacker will incur a moderate accuracy penalty against their intended target.
Of the three, this mechanic has the potential to change the most as it hasn’t been fully implemented yet and will need a proper round of playtesting to ensure that it’s beneficial to the game’s tactics.
Animations and Abilities
We’ve completed and updated all of the current class animations to bring them up to a consistent level of quality across the game. This meant a lot of reworked keyframes, and inbetween frames, which in turn lead to adjustments or full overhauls of the existing Spell FX. As a result, the frame count of each character class has jumped up quite a bit, most around 4 or 5 times as many(200~ frames per class), but we feel it’s well worth the time spent and now we can focus on new classes and new enemies.
We also had a few unfinished abilities, and some others that we decided to overhaul and make more interesting. For example the Pyrolancer’s ability “Wildfire” was previously a ranged attack that applied a Burn condition to the target. We wanted to keep him at melee range however, so we reworked the ability to engulf an adjacent cell, which spreads in a line from his position over the next 3 turns. Any character standing on an engulfed cell(this includes walking or being pushed through) will incur a Burning condition. Enemies will do their best to avoid the flames, making it a valuable tool for controlling the battlefield by blocking off enemy routes and creating favorable choke points.
His Return to Cinder ability is a fire rune that is triggered when an enemy walks over it. We’ve added a knockback effect to it which cancels the enemies movement. With the changes to Wildfire, these two should have a fairly good synergy for manipulating enemies into vulnerable positions.
The rework of Wildfire was actually a merging between 2 previous abilities, so to fill the gap we added a new area of effect ability called Crossfire.
The Valkyrie’s Skewer animation was completely redone and its mechanics slightly tweaked. It remains an ability that can pierce 2 enemies horizontally, but alternatively it now functions as both a push and pull depending on the situation. Against single targets(one of the 2 cells is empty), Skewer will now push those away who are next to the Valkyrie, or pull them towards if they are separated.
The Valkyrie’s Take Flight ability was completed and implemented, giving her extra movement options to engage or escape, while at the same time dealing damage to anyone in her path.
Guardian Angel is a new high-cost ability that the Valkyrie can use to relocate allies into a safe position behind her. Not only useful for saving those near death, but you could also send a character into a high danger area, inflict heavy damage and rescue them before the enemy can retaliate.
There’s many more animations/abilities to share and we’ll be spreading them out on social media over the next little while!
Other than abilities, we’ve added some new action icons(move, pass turn, use item, flee, swap) to the skill bar, shuffled its elements around and repositioned it into the bottom right corner(it was in the bottom middle). The “Basic Attack” ability(the icon is placeholder obviously! lol) is also now beside the other 6 abilities to better reflect its importance.
We’ve now fully integrated FMOD into The Iron Oath which has streamlined the process for hooking up sound effects to events in our game. We haven’t yet hired a Sound Designer, but having FMOD will make the collerberation process much easier for when we do.
Alex Roe has also been hard at work on new tracks for The Iron Oath and they’re sounding fantastic. We look forward to sharing more of the soundtrack with you a little further down the road.
Outside of combat we’ve also made a lot of updates and additions. For dynamic encounters, we added the ability to highlight certain words or phrases, allowing players to get additional information about the world whenever they want. This is just the first phase of this feature. Eventually we’ll expand on it so you can learn more on each topic(like codexes in other games).
Here’s a round-up of some other features we’ve been working on :
Added a system for showing dynamic world event notifications when on the world map
Quest Tracker on the world map
Level editor additions like placing Boss Encounters, chests, locked doors, etc
Support for showing graphics and playing animations during cinematics
Implemented the ability to use items in and out of combat (like potions or bandages)
Skinned several UI menu screens
Bug fixes! Yay!
Thanks for reading, and we’ll be back in May to share more with you all :)
Hey everyone, we're back with another monthly update and today we're going to talk about how our dungeon layouts are created. We originally had been using a system that created layouts dynamically when entering a dungeon, but we've recently decided to go with a more hand-crafted approach so we have a little more control over everything. Here's an example of what creating a layout looks like from our end.(note this isn't an actual layout that will be used, it was more of a "stress-test" to make sure everything functioned properly despite some awkward placement!)
Since the mapping part is fairly quick and easy, our plan is to make hundreds of layouts for every environment, making it be extremely unlikely to ever get a repeat.
Each box on the grid corresponds to a specific tile for that environment. All the tiles transition seamlessly into one another(with the exception of isolated rooms) and we can place them in any fashion we want. The sewer tileset below is comprised of 21 pieces at the moment. We'll add a few more down the road but it's functional enough for now!
Each tile also has a number of prefabs within Unity that are decorated in various ways with props. Based on the mission and enemies you will be facing, the game will choose a prefab that matches the theme.
Finally, things such as obstacles or traps(also influenced by the enemies you will face - traps in particular) that occupy hexes will be randomly placed upon entering the dungeon. We're hoping all of this will result in a good amount of replayability for every environment!
We're continuing to work towards our next demo phase and are getting fairly close. We also have a couple new additions to combat that we will touch on in the next update. Hope you all have a great weekend and we thank you for your continued support! :)
Before going, we have two great looking tactical RPG's here on Kickstarter that we'd like to turn your attention to.
The first is Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics. It’s a clever mashup of WW2 and the Cthulhu Mythos. The original Achtung! Cthulhu pen-and-paper role-playing game smashed its goals on Kickstarter five years ago. It’s now back, bigger and more exciting than ever, and it’s going digital!
Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics is a turn-based strategy RPG where the player fights a desperate battle in the shadows of World War II against the Nazis and their inhuman ailles. The developers are looking for some extra support to add the Pathfinder Demon Hunter warriors into the game - and your support buys war bonds, guns, ammo, and spiritual warfare to fight the good fight!
The next is Bevontule, a turn-based, role-playing game that seamlessly integrates classic RPG genres and elements into a cohesive and novel gameplay experience. Featuring an engaging storyline, unique tactical combat, a progression system reminiscent of old-school JRPGs – and numerous Western influences as well – Bevontule offers massive environments and open-world exploration in a modern, 3D art style.
They're currently almost 40% funded, and with 12 days left to reach their goal they could use your help!
Happy New Year to everyone! As mentioned in our last update, Chris took the game to Otronicon a few weekends ago. His report and some pictures of the event are below. We're currently working towards a larger build aimed for March, and we'll share some video of it once complete. I mentioned last month that we were going to show how our dungeon layouts are generated from our various environment tiles. I do have a couple more tiles I would like to tackle before then so I'm going to save that for the February update. All in all, things are starting to come together and it's pretty exciting for us :)
Hey everyone, Chris here. Earlier this month I took a short demo to the local Otronicon convention to showcase some of the game's combat to attendees. The audience there skewed a little younger than our core demographic but we met some awesome people and got some great feedback. My favorite from the weekend was a kid, who was probably around 10, telling me how much he liked it because it reminded him of Mario + Rabbids. I guess that game is a pretty good jumping off point for kids to start down the path of tactics games haha.
On another note, I've been hard at work continuing off from last month where I built out our quest system and now I've incorporated all our dialogue into using Yarn as well. Yarn is a great tool that will help us create tons of quests and dialogue very quickly. I'm looking forward to showing off more around that down the line. Aside from that I've been working on the world map and how quests/events are handled in towns and while traveling on the road. Also fixed several bugs that I'd seen during the course of people playing the game at Otronicon.
As we gear up to our next major milestone you'll probably see us start posting more on social media and in discord with updates, gifs, and screenshots which should continue through the release of the Beta towards the end of this year.
Hey everyone, another month has flown by and we’re back with our second monthly update to let you know what we’ve been up to. I’ve continued to work on animations for the past few weeks, and here’s a look at the animations for a character getting hit, getting knocked down, and dying during combat. The death featured here is the standard death animation(minus blood, which is added in game), the violent ones will be completed later :)
After Christmas I’ll be doing some tileset work in advance of our demo at Otronicon in Orlando, and in the next update we’ll show you how our dungeons are actually created.
In case you missed our tweet about it, we published our Kickstarter postmortem over at Gamasutra last month, check it out here if you’re interested.
Hey Chris here with my December update. This month has been very productive from the point of laying the groundwork for producing all the story content for the game, from dynamic world events to branching quest chains.
I spent some time looking into a few possibilities on how to tackle the tools we'd need to develop all this content. Originally I had planned to adapt our dialogue engine I had been modifying to suit our needs and had it mostly up and running and working. It was fairly easy to use but I quickly realized down the road it would need to adapt quickly to the needs of individual quest lines and events. As in we might realize we need to expose more variables to tweak in game or add support for some feature or whatever the case might be. Retrofitting the current tool could work but it would be time consuming to modify not to mention the time to get back up to speed with its inner workings could provide challenges and delays. Long story short I looked around online and found a tool called Twine used for creating sort of simple text based games which then led me to a tool that was based off Twine called Yarn. Yarn is extremely easy to modify and work with to our needs and it took me no time at all to get it up and running in our game. Using the built in scripting abilities of Yarn we're able to do just about anything in The Iron Oath we can dream up with quick modifications. So now we're basically ready to start creating quests and dynamic events as we see fit which is very exciting to start to see everything coming together.
Aside from that I also implemented some of the new animations Nik has been working on and started a pass on some combat balancing but it's still early for that. Fixed a lot of bugs surrounding generating dungeon layouts, AI issues, and other assorted UI problems. I also took some time to clean up a lot of placeholder code. Previously to change which tileset a dungeon loaded into required a bunch of small hacks to get it to work right but since I wanted the newly created quests to be able to set which tileset could be associated with it I did the work to properly implement it. So now determining which tileset to load is just a matter of changing 1 variable in the Yarn editor for a node associated with a quest.
Next month I'll be looking at implementing more of the newest animations as well as getting the sewer tileset closer to finalized in its implementation. Also if you live in Orlando, I would like to invite you to come to Otronicon. I'll be there January 12th-14th showing off a build of The Iron Oath. Otronicon is a little more geared towards just being a science convention but some local Orlando indie developers will be there so I wanted to represent as well.
We wish you all a merry Christmas and happy holidays, and we’ll be back with more in the new year :)