2016, the year of Tahira!
We hope 2016 has treated you well so far, it’s going to be a crazy big year for us and we’re excited to share it with you all.
2016 started with us having to change the focus of our development work. As we wrapped up 2015, we were revising combat and creating the remaining levels for the game, but with Max finishing up his work on the game at the end of January we had to switch over to finish the outstanding cut-scenes and triggering the story scenes that required specific musical cues.
That work went very well and we’re happy (and a little sad) to say that Max has wrapped up his work on Tahira. He’s done an amazing job, we’re very excited for you to hear his beautiful score in the game. He’s really brought the world and the emotions of the game to life.
Final Combat Revision
Once we freed ourselves up from the music work, we set to continuing our final major combat revision. We’ve broken it down into three main areas:
If you’ve played any of the demos, you’ll know that each unit type in Tahira takes their turns at the same time. The knights move and attack together, the Astral Footsoldiers do the same and Tahira gets her turn by herself. This does make for some interesting tactical planning, but we found that too often it meant you had turns where you couldn’t do anything with your characters.
To help with this issue, we’ve revised the way the turn queue works. Units of the same type still take their turns at the same time, but, you no longer end each unit’s turn individually. Instead, there is an ‘advance turn’ button, that moves the active turn to the next unit group in the turn queue. If you haven’t taken an action (attack, guard boost, etc…) with your characters because they didn’t have anything useful to do, instead having their turn ended, they are placed in counter-attack stance.
Units in counter-attack stance, will respond to an enemy attack by attacking them back. But the really cool thing about them, is that they can be activated at any time during one of your other unit types’ turns.
Let’s say you had Tahira earlier in the turn and she had nothing to do, so you advanced the turn. It’s now the Hammer’s turn and a lot of enemies have advanced into Tahira’s range. You can activate her and take her turn like normal. This gives you lots more flexibility to use different unit types together, while still giving units that are faster such as Tahira, The Claw and the Astral Archers an advantage, because they can take their moves first.
This has been a fun one to work on. Each unit class has received a second special attack that helps them fill out their role on the battlefield and the leaders of each class (Baruti for the knights, Astral Captains for the footsoldiers, etc…) have received an ‘ultimate’ special ability that costs four willpower.
We’ve also added a disengage for each character, which allows them to move out of another character’s area of denial. This is an important change, allowing you to retreat when the battle is turning against you. Each character’s disengage is different and suits their style of combat. For instance, when the Hammer hits someone with her attack, she stuns them allowing her to ignore their AOD.
These new abilities are designed to give you more options and flexibility when you fight battles in Tahira.
As we’ve moved onto designing bigger and bigger maps, it’s become very clear that we needed to improve the intelligence of the enemy’s AI. Tom is wrapping up the main part of the AI work and it’s given us much better tools to finish the last two levels.
A basic breakdown of the new AI, is that we now have a strategic manager that splits the enemies into squads, which are each given unique objectives to fulfill during missions. Those objectives can be as simple as kill all enemy units or they can be a lot more specific, giving us a lot of control over what the enemy is doing. Objectives and squads can be switched mid-mission, which should lead to more dynamic and more difficult battles, with the enemies sometimes surprising you with their behavior.
With that bottleneck sorted, we’re now free to jump back into layout design for our levels and expect to move through the remaining two reasonably quickly.
We’ve successfully applied for grant funding from our local government to hire a PR agency that will orchestrate our marketing when we’re ready to launch the game. While not related to the content of the game, we thought you might be interested in some insight into this process. The PR agency will help us maximize our press coverage and help us create a unified and professional marketing pitch for Steam, our website and other store fronts. It also means that we don’t have to worry about doing it ourselves now, freeing us up more to focus on the game itself. So it’s a big win, letting us focus on the things we care about while hopefully also meaning that you’ll be joined by lots more people who are interested in Tahira.
Your physical rewards should have arrived by now. We're sending off a few today to people who only filled out their survey this month, but everyone else should have their physical goodies! As always, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any issues.
That's all from us this month, we'll be back next month with another update!
<3 Peter C, Peter S and Tom