Development Diary #4: “The Necromancer”


Hello, and welcome back to another Development diary!

I promised to talk a bit about the new boss that we were working on last week, so I figured I’ll run through the new boss mechanics. I’ll take this time to discuss a bit about our general design philosophies that we apply when we’re working on new bosses.

So let’s start off by quickly running through the new boss, known as Nihteana; “The Necromancer”.

The Necromancer

The first boss we designed, was designed to be an end boss, around the middle of the game in terms of progression. He’s what I like to refer to as “The Vanilla Boss” meaning he’s the boss that sets the terms of any other bosses that come after him.

Which meant that the area the boss is in, needs more than one boss. So we started creating lore around him (check out the Lore section here on the blog).

I decided upon having the following set-up of bosses, which works on the same principal of “vanilla”:

Boss #1: Spell Caster / Introductory and event based

Boss #2: Heavy / Environment Based

Boss #3:  Melee / Heavy / Fast / Spells (The potpourri of bosses)

Working from this basis, we started designing a spell caster.

So, what does our bosses generally do?

First off, we’re using Indicators/Telegraphers to show where the boss’ ability lands, how long it takes until they land, and how large of an area it will affect.

These indicators are perfect when it comes to alerting the player to an imminent danger. But it sometimes limits the way we’re able to spell effects contra the way we show where the spell hits. With this in mind, we took it upon ourselves to design new boss interactions that still show the telegrapher but isn’t just the run of the mill “Spell hits here, move out of here”. Rather, it shows the area of impact, and it just makes sense to see where the spell hits, even if you can’t move out of the way.

What does the necromancer do then?

Turnaround of our new character!

Turnaround of our new character!

Before talking about exactly what the necromancer does, we have to talk a bit about how we structure our fights.

There’s a couple of design elements that has to be fulfilled for it to be a Tamarrion boss-fight:

  1. It has to have a soft or a hard enrage timer. This means that the boss fight will become almost unmanageable after a certain time. Designed to make sure that the boss’ tempo is set by the designer, but the mechanic that creates the soft/hard enrage can be managed to a certain extent by the player. It becomes a mechanic.
  2. The Boss has to have more than three phases, meaning that the boss fight changes over time.
  3. The mechanics that makes up the actual fight is sectioned into Passives/Main Mechanics/Small Mechanics and Phase Specific Mechanics.

Now then! Let’s look at what Nihteana the Necromancer actually does!

Health and Soul

The necromancer have two life pools, one is the standard red health and the other is green soul. During different parts of the encounter either health or soul is the current life pool and the other can’t be damaged in any way. The necromancer only dies when both health and soul reaches 0. When the necromancer is aggroed her health is at 0% while her soul is at 100%.

During the encounter the necromancer will rise minions from the ground that will attack the player. There will be several different minions with different attacks and health. During phase 1 three types of minions will spawn; big melee, small melee and small ranged. During later phases of the encounter small minions that explode in contact with the player.

That’s how the design document starts out. And in essence, that’s what the boss fight is all about; managing the Health and Soul mechanics in combination with her Minions.

The main mechanics of the boss will challenge the player to put focus on different areas of the fight, meaning that specific player builds, or specific player focuses will excel at different areas of the fight, making other phases harder. It becomes a choice, which alters the way the boss fight is fought by different people.

That’s about it for this week. I hope this development diary has brought you some insight into how we think about and design our boss fights.

Early mock-up of the necromancers boss area

Early mock-up of the necromancers boss area

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