Introducing The Brooch System
Welcome to the latest Wildfire Kickstarter update! We’re going to get stuck straight into a significant new system we’ve added: brooches.
What is the brooch system?
It’s a way to augment your existing elemental abilities by finding and then equipping magical brooches found throughout Wildfire’s levels. You can equip up to three brooches upon the fastening of your cape, and those brooches will each provide a new elemental or spiritual gameplay effect.
What do these brooches do?
Brooches are categorised into the same elemental systems as your main abilities: Fire, Water, Earth, and Spirit. Each brooch has an effect that relates to or augments an ability related to that element. For example, if you equip the “Heretic’s Demise” fire brooch, any time you take lethal damage, instead of dying – you will burst into flames. Equipping the “Surface Tension” water brooch will allow you to sprint along surfaces of water. The “Impact Shock” earth brooch will create a small shockwave upon landing a large fall that pushes and stuns enemies. Or, perhaps you’d like the “Tomb Terror” spirit brooch – which causes enemies to panic and flee if they see you leaping out of a coffin!
Why add this system?
There are two main reasons:
1) In all our playtests, we saw that players just weren’t using their new, unlocked abilities. Like, at all. Players who unlocked smoke bombs, fire jumps, and bubbles, for example, rarely engaged with those systems. These brooches are designed to stack and augment those abilities in fun and outrageous ways, further encouraging players to personalise their modes of elemental mischief.
2) Wildfire’s levels did not give players enough reasons to explore. While we think we’ve done a good job of seeding a varied cluster of gameplay systems throughout levels, we weren’t giving players enough reasons to explore every nook and cranny. More arcade-like titles solve this with collectibles – but we don’t think collecting coins is the most appropriate metaphor for Wildfire. If the brooch system works as intended, you’ll see a brooch in a hard-to-reach area and actually want to try to get to it, because of the potential fun each brooch can provide.
Why not just make these brooches part of the main upgradeable abilities?
Because we wanted to make the gameplay effects of these brooches fun, awesome, ridiculous, and unexpected. If we added each effect as a cumulative upgrade, the player would quickly become far overpowered, and all tension in the game would dissipate. However, by limiting the player to 3 equippable brooches, we’re now giving them the opportunity to think about, and then personalise their playstyle even further. Because the brooches are an opt-in system, and must be manually equipped, the player should see them as a further expression of their intended playstyle. Additionally, ability upgrades are permanent, while brooches can be freely equipped, unequipped, and swapped out. If a player dislikes the effect of a particular brooch, they can opt-out of it – and there would be no way for them to do that were these part of the main abilities.
How many brooches are there?
Currently there are 48 brooches in total - which means there are 48 unique effects. We are experimenting with how many will be found throughout levels. Brooches can be accessed on a new sub-menu on the Abilities screen.
That’s the main new update for now. We encourage all our alpha backers to check out the latest Steam build, collect some brooches, and let us know how you find the new system.
Of course, we’ve been making countless improvements to the rest of the game, but here are a few of the most significant:
And the city environment featuring toward the end of the game has been completely reworked, and had its parallax background implemented:
Additionally, we’ve implemented a first past of the background music that will be heard within the city environment. Like all environment music, these tracks dynamically transition between ambient, caution, and alert states. Our composer, Meghann, has more – and you can listen to a blended sample of the tracks below:
“Hi all. Meghann here, composer on Wildfire. I've been up to two main things recently. One is writing level music for the final areas. The other is restructuring the level pieces, which are dynamic and made as looping stems, for the soundtrack. I want them to sound both like musical tracks and to take you on a journey as you listen through the soundtrack. This is the most ambitious piece in the game. It's the soundtrack version, but you will hear references to ambience, caution and alert. This is the first time in Wildfire that you'll hear a full pipe organ. It depicts an (as yet) unannounced character. You'll hear that it's dissonant, unpredictable and it even mocks/imitates the other instruments. It's certainly been a challenge to mix such a complex piece. It's still a work in progress. In fact, the ending trio happened as a result of me trying to copy and paste some caution parts into the wrong midi tracks and accidentally assigning the organ parts to the horn. It was a weird accident that I then polished into an ending because it suited the chaotic nature of the piece and process. Thanks for listening. Feedback welcome.”
It’s pretty obvious now that we are not going to make the 2017 release date we projected. While I would like to say it’s entirely because we’ve been adding and improving to the game, the reality is I’ve developed some medical issues that prevent me (Dan Hindes, the game’s designer/programmer) from working as much and as quickly as I used to. I have been bouncing between specialists trying to figure out exactly what it is, but essentially it’s a type of early onset arthritis. I can no longer use a computer mouse, and can only do about a quarter of the long programming stretches I used to. I’m writing this because I know a lot of you will be disappointed by the delay and I want to be transparent about factors like this that are out of our control. This is a setback, but one that will only amount to a setback of time, not of quality. We don’t have an updated release date for you, but rest assured we are still working incredibly hard to make Wildfire the best game of stealthy elemental mischief it can be. If you have any questions I’m more than happy to answer in the comments, or you can reach on me Twitter @dhindes.