Development Update: November

Welcome back everyone!

It’s been a while since we updated the blog, so we figured we’d give you a quick insight into what we’re currently working on during these snow-stormy, rain ridden, windy and cold last weeks.

Art

Our artists are currently mapping out new areas in the game, as well as creating Concept Art for both characters and environment alike. It has been a busy period for our producer slash character artist, but she’s making steady progress. It’s beginning to look quite magical.

Programming & Design

Our programmers have been updating old code that was left-overs from the beginning of the project, when the game was just a proof of concept. Unnecessary code-snippets and convoluted code has been reworked and made smoother. We’ve also been working on getting the progression system, as well as the spell system in place – and it’s coming along quite well.

ece30c6227224ce83cc3e2dab11cceb4

Work in progress of the Magic Selector and Favor system. Placeholder graphics.

As mentioned in the last development diary, there’s a whole lot of balancing between spells, spell-costs and progression tied points (favor) to be done, and we’re in the final stages of implementing the system itself – so that said balancing can commence.

Other then that, our producer has been busy with Sting, the startup incubator (which we announced earlier this fall)  which will conclude soon.

That’s it for now! Have a great week.

//Tamarrion Development Team

Advertisements

Development Diary #11: Builders and Spenders.

Hello again, and welcome back to the 10th (!) development diary. Today we’re going to have a little chat about how God Powers correspond to the “second to second” game play decisions.

God Powers

Each time the player casts a spell from a school of spells (there’s five of them), a percentage of the god power bar is filled up. Let’s say for example you cast the Holy field spell, the High Lord’s correspondent rune would will up 20%. If and when a God Power bar hits 100%, a literal God Power is unleashed; in the case of the High Lord your melee attacks gives you health each time you hit an enemy based on the damage you performed.

godpowers.png

Each of these bars fills up each time a spell that is not a “Spender” ability is cast.

Now, that’s all good and well, but there has to be some kind of reasoning behind using spells tactically. Which is why we’re going to introduce the concept of Builders and Spenders.

Builders and Spenders

Like in most MMORPGs or RPGs in general, there’s a concept of “Do Ability1 X amount of  times until you can do Ability2” – and in Tamarrion it’s not a whole lot different, we’re just experimenting with a little twist on the concept.

Most spells generate GP (God Power). Some spells and abilities generate more (and often have a longer cooldown), and some less. God Power is also drained if not used over time, meaning that you’ll be losing x% amount of god power when it is not being consumed or used. Also, hitting 100% god power means you unleash the ultimate god power (UGP) and all of your GP percentage is reset to 0 (and you can not generate GP while under a UGP). This creates an incentive for the player to build, spend and hoard GP as efficiently as possible.

Let’s look at an example, as we so often do (note: names are just examples):

Builders:

Holy Field: Generates 20% GP. Cooldown: 5s.

High lords Blade: Generates 5% GP. Cooldown 2s.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Since the GP decays over time, the player has to learn and time their GP spenders accordingly.

Spender:

Heavenly call: For each (rounded up) % of Holy GP, heal the player for 0.025 * (Devotion Power) and damage the surrounding enemies for 0.5 x (Devotion Power + Physical Power). Cooldown: 0s.

Notice how the Spender does not have any cooldown, and is thus only connected (and able to be used) when there’s GP in the corresponding gods favor. The numbers are just made up on the spot, but they’re indicative to how the spell would work. In short, the more GP you’ve built, the stronger the Spender – but the player has to be vary of using up all of your GP, in case you really really need that strong UGP buff.

That’s all for this week, I’ll be back talking about more design decisions in two weeks.

//Oskar “Perkulatorn” Lidh Frykmark, Lead Designer

Development Diary #10: Level Design!

Welcome back to another installation of development diary. Today we’re talking a bit about the level design and the reasoning, how and why around the levels in Tamarrion.

Level Design

Originally, the game was not supposed to feature “segwaying” between boss-locations in the level, neither were there any plans of creating trash monsters that roamed the halls and locations of Tamarrion. This utopian idea of the ultimate “raid instance” where there was no waiting between bosses did not bode well for the overall pacing of the game.

So, we expanded our levels, redesigned and did a complete rethinking of how our levels would look, feel and play. Since Tamarrion is all about mastering mechanics, the space between Boss A and Boss B provides ample room for mechanical improvement, and for us as designers to introduce new mechanics to the player. This gives the player a feel and understanding of upcoming mechanical situations, as well as room for improvement in both play-style and skill; as well as some breathing room between said bosses.

6_z_Hazards.png

Environmental/Mechanic Features between two bosses in Tamarrion (Credits: Måns Löf)

The picture above illustrates a hallway between two bosses in Tamarrion. There are several things to take into account when creating space in video games, especially when the game focuses heavily on a specific features – in our case Boss fights.

  • How do we introduce boss mechanics before the boss?
  • How do we generate proper pacing between two boss fights?
  • What kind of situational challenges can we create?
  • Does said challenges fit the physical room?

“Environmental Hazards”

One of the first things we introduced when we introduced larger space between bosses, was the idea of having, what we call, environmental hazards. That is, non-boss monster mechanical challenges (think platformer games) that fits the pacing of the physical 3D space.

In the example above, there are several different environmental hazards, that couples with others. Let’s have a look:

  • Zombies – A mindless zombie that pops out where you least expects you to. They’re placed in such a way as to obstruct view and distract you from other mechanics that might be lurking around a corner.
  • Fire Trap – Literal Fire spewing out of the wall in patterns.
  • Cave in – A mechanic from the upcoming boss – making the roof cave in and dropping stones all around the player.
  • Desecration – The hands of the dead rises from the ground, slowing the player down. Coupled with Zombies and Cave ins, they can become a serious issue.
  • “Ray of Death” – Another important mechanic from the upcoming boss, which creates a gauntlet event that the player has to overcome, whilst battling all other Environmental Hazards.

This is just one small area of the game; which hopefully will be enjoyable for the player to explore, defeat and overcome.

That’s it for todays Development Diary. Have a great week!

//Perkulatorn – Lead Designer

Development Diary #7: Update 2

devdiary7

Hello, my name is Oskar Lidh Frykmark, also known as Perkulatorn, and I’m the lead designer on Tamarrion. Today we’re going to have another look at where we are in our production cycle and what has been implemented since the last development diary

Progress

Since last time, we’ve worked a lot with the spell system, as well as a complete overhaul of the implemented boss.

We’ve  completed one spell, which I’ll get into later in this post, and implemented in into the game and started working on another (which is basically just lacking graphics and balancing right now).

On top of that, we’ve received a lot of feedback regarding the boss combats per se, so we’ve overhauled and taken a new approach when it comes to how we balance the boss. I’m not going to go too deep into this topic, but basically, this means that the mechanics are more geared towards all types of combat, and does not favor one type of attack (melee vs magic).

We’ve also overhauled the way we calculate ability damage in tandem with equipment, it’s a little bit technical, but I’ll touch on this topic as well.

So, with that said, let’s take a look at the new spell(s)!

Charge and Teleportation

tamarrion_freeshot_skillsystem_03_charge_3

Note that some graphical feedback is still missing

 

“Charge of Revenna” – Spelltype: Physical

Straight-Line Skill Shot

Cast time/Windup: Instant

Damage: 200% Physical Power/ 0% Magical Power

Description: Charges straight forward, damaging any/all enemies in its path. CoR does not collide with enemies, but rather goes through them.

We’ve added a charge. This one’s a bit different from the other Spells. As I’ve mentioned before the spells are being designed around the idea that there’s more than one mechanic tied into the spell. CoR (Charge of Revenna) is being looked at as 1) A way to quickly burst a bunch of enemies, and 2) A way to get away from danger if a dash just won’t suffice.

We liked the Teleportation mechanic from the first build we had. But, it wasn’t up to date with the way we want to design our new spells. So we decided to recreate it completely and this is the result:

“Natures Teleportation” – Spelltype: Magic

Cast on Ground

Cast time/Windup: Instant

Duration: Until used. (See Desc.)

Damage: N/A

Description: The player may create a Natures Teleportation at the feet of the player. If there are two NT up at once, the player may stand in the field for a three consecutive seconds, which will teleport the player to the other field. The player may have a maximum of two NT bases created at a time. If a new NT is cast, it refreshes the oldest NT base. If the teleportation is triggered, both NT bases are removed. If an enemy stands in the NT base for three seconds, it will be teleported to the other NT base, and the NT bases will be removed.

This is a tricky mechanic. Basically, it allows the player to create a maximum of two “fields” that are connected to one and another. If the player steps into the field and stand there for three seconds (subject to change obviously), the player is teleported to the other field. If the player casts a third field, the oldest field is removed.

It also allows the player to teleport enemies away from themselves, with the added danger of having to stall the enemy at one place for X amounts of seconds.

Boss Overhaul

Since most of you don’t know how the boss works, I’ll mostly talk about how we’re designing the boss in general.

Basically, the boss was too easy to kite (attack from a distance without being in danger), and did not reward melee combat, which is the main staple of the game. So, we decided to rethink some of the mechanics, which punishes kiting to a certain extent, and give the player more of a chance to get up and personal with the boss by, for example, adding stuns to the boss after certain attacks.

This, after a lot of internal discussion, also show-cased the need for melee attacks to be stronger in general, which were solved by altering the way we calculate damage from gear to spells and attacks.

Physical/Spell Power and you

Physical power

Physical power is a flat number that defines damage with physical melee attacks and physical skills.

Spell power

Spell power is a flat number that defines damage with magic ranged attacks, spell-like skills and healing skills.

Item power bonuses

Some items have bonuses to physical power and/or spell power.

Example: Magus Blade, +20 physical power, +100 spell power.

Skill damage calculations

Skills deal damage, heal or effects become more powerful using a percentages of total bonuses to physical power and spell power from items. Note: Regular melee attacks has a base bonus of 100% Physical Power.

1st example:

Charge skill

Damage: 200% physical power, 0% spell power.

2nd example:

Sacred ground skill

Damage: 20% physical power, 20% spell power.

Healing: 0% physical power, 15% spell power.

That’s it for this time

Hope this installment of the development diary has been interesting, and I’ll see you all soon again!

 

//Oskar “Perkulatorn” Lidh Frykmark, Lead Designer

Development Diary #6: Update 1

update1.png

Howdy!

My name is Oskar “Perkulatorn” Lidh Frykmark, and I’m the lead designer of Tamarrion.

I figured that today I’d talk a little bit about how far we’ve come, and what will be featured in the upcoming version that we’ll be releasing on the website in the coming week(s).

Skillshots and movement

Tomas, our lead programmer, has been busy rewriting the camera, controller and spell system from scratch.

What we’ve got right now is a rough sketch of how the new skillshot system will work. We’ve talked a bit about this in earlier development diaries, but we’ve actually got two skills that are being worked on that we can talk about (note that everything discussed in development diaries are subject to change at any moment).

“Radius Arcanum” – Spelltype: Magic

Straight-Line Skill Shot/Channeling

Cast time/Windup: 2.0s

Duration: 6.0s

Description: Channels a beam of pure energy straight forward. Damages the enemy every 0.5s for x% weapon damage. Every 1.5s the player manages to damage the same enemy, the damage increases ((x%) * 2). If at any time the spell stops hitting the same enemy continuously, the damage resets back to x% damage.

tamarrion_freeshot_skillsystem_02

Classic Straight Line Free Shot (Beams/Projectiles)

“Sacred Ground” – Spelltype: Holy

Circle Skill Shot / Instant Cast

Cast time: instant

Duration: 10.0s

Description: Casts a Circle of healing that turns an area into sacred ground, damaging enemies for x% weapon damage per second. If at any time the player moves into the area, the area starts healing the player for (x% – difficulty) weapon damage. Whilst healing, the area does not hurt enemies.

tamarrion_freeshot_skillsystem_01

Sacred Ground (Circle Freeshot) Bonus: Strafing!

These two spells will be up for testing in test build soon®. They are merely a proof of concept, and should not be seen as final spells.

We’ve also, as mentioned earlier, converted all movement from a xbox/ps controller, and mapped them for mouse and keyboard. This included strafing, which required us to create new animations. They are now implemented (!) and are being polished as we speak.

New Boss Mechanics

We’ve also included a new boss mechanic for Lord Valac (our first and only functional boss so far), as well as a whole new minion ai system in the game.

The new mechanic enhances the Ray of Death® soft-enrage mechanic, being worked on by our gameplay programmer Sebastian. When Lord Valac casts RoD, minions spawns randomly in the alcoves around the room (amount of minions varies from difficulty to difficulty), and charges towards the player. This system is VERY early days, but it’ll hopefully make the boss more interesting towards the very end of the boss fight. It’s all about that dramatic curve!

de4499d2fe15af33f14075e40fa61248

Minions!

Sorry for keeping y’all waiting for a week, we’ll try to keep you updated on our further development as we enter crunch-time!

Cheers,

Perkulatorn

Development Diary #5: Progression

devdiary5

Welcome back to the fifth installment of the development diary! My name is Oskar, and I’m the lead designer on this project.

We’ve covered most of the new features coming up soon on the test build, but we haven’t actually covered the player progression in the game.

Definition of progression in English:

noun

[MASS NOUN] The process of developing gradually towards a more advanced state:good opportunities for career progression[COUNT NOUN]: a steady progression towards your goals

So let’s dive into what you, as a player, will actually do in the game!

First off, we’ve got to define what kind of progression we’re talking about, and how each type of progression works.

Game ProgressionHow does the game move forward? What’s the purpose of defeating a boss?

Character ProgressionHow do you, as a player, progress in the game?

End Game ProgressionWhat do I do when I’m pretty much finished with the game?

With these definitions in mind, let’s look a bit closer on what each of them entails.

Game Progression

So, if you haven’t followed this project earlier, Tamarrion is all about defeating bosses using the tools that the game gives you as a player.

The game is built around something we call “Wings”, or just zones that contains bosses with its own story arc, lore and mood. These zones contains one or several boss monsters. Each time a wing is cleared on whatever difficulty, a new, or several new zones opens up, each telling their own story in the overarching story-line, moving the story forward.

You mantle the role of a demi-god type of character, with immense powers, but – as all good stories, you’ve got to develop yourself and learn to control these powers. So the earliest areas might include squaring off against corrupted bandit lords, whilst at the other end of the spectra, several hours into the game, you might be squaring off against Giant dragons from the past. We’re working hard on creating a universe for you to explore; a universe that can be expanded upon, allowing us to update and create new content for players for a long time, long time.

Character Progression

There are several ways of progressing your character in-game. Now, it’s worth mentioning that it’s still early days for our gear and spell systems, but we’ve got some grandiose plans.

Each time a boss is killed, items drops from a randomized loot table (I’m not ready to talk about the loot system right now, but let’s just say that it’s going to be quite expansive, Hint: Something that starts with “C” and ends with “rafting”), making the player more powerful for each boss killed. There are several different pieces of gear that the player can equip and use. Whilst a lot of games are purely stat-based, we’re looking at a model that allows us to create items that are actually interesting, rather than just being an item that upgrades your strength by +1.

Amulet of Eir

Amulet of Eir

The character will be able to unlock spells by defeating earlier mentioned boss monsters. At the outset we’re looking at about 50 (!) spells to explore and use in conjunction with our new spell interaction model. Which leads us to:

End Game

“So I’ve killed every boss in the game, what do I do now?”

Tamarrion will come with several different difficulties, clearing a wing in one difficulty will unlock a new one, with its own new mechanics and it’s own new, and improved, loot table. If you’ve ever played Diablo, World of Warcraft or even Warhammer:Vermintide you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

We’re looking to create an environment, with an updatable client, that allows us to generate more content for the players who wants to progress in the world that we’re building. And a community that strives to explore, defeat and gather everything the game has to offer.

That’s it for this week, but I’ll dive deeper into all of these types of progression individually as we get closer to finishing the systems.

Cheers,

Oskar “Perkulatorn”

Development Diary #4: “The Necromancer”

devdiary4

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%.

Minions
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