Posts tagged Character
Trap Cards
 
Trap Cards.jpg
 

Hello Everyone!

Time for yet another discussion about design choices for Sigils of Kairos.  Today’s post I will be talking about trap cards.  I’ll start by discussing the reasons for including them, how they’ve changed from that original idea, and then touch on the different traps available.  Let’s go!

First off, one would assume that trap cards came about from playing Yugioh or Hearthstone.  This is probably subconsciously true, but it is important to note that I played neither of these when they were included into Sigils.  Traps were actually a natural and obvious solution for one of my initial worries, Hand Dumping.  Even before my initial mock-up for the game, I knew that there had to be something in place to make players think twice about throwing down a card.  In fact, I liked this idea so much, that I left three spaces for traps for each player!  Thankfully, when Jacob agreed to take on the project, he quickly noted that this is overkill and would serve only to frustrate.

Touching on a design philosophy so wonderfully explained in an Extra Credits video, traps were a perfect way to add a lot of depth with very little complexity.  By this I mean that the traps added a lot of strategy and thinking through plays without having players learn any difficult-to-grasp rules.  Any player can understand how a move could get blocked by a trap, but good players know to bait out a trap by throwing out a weak attack before unloading their special moves.  As our game evolved to include the forge mechanic, this became even more important.  Forging powerful cards meant that a player was putting more eggs in one basket.  If that move gets blocked by a trap, that player didn’t just lose one card, but 2 or 3.  That being said, let’s take a look at the traps that we’ve included in Sigils.

Otto’s Ward

This is probably the most important of the traps as it cuts right to the main purpose of traps.  When triggered, the tank shield doesn’t just prevent one attack, but three!  Throw in the ability to upgrade this to a 5 shield trap, and it’s easy to see why this card defines Otto’s role as a tank.

Skrill’s Ward

The most standard of the different trap cards, Skrill’s bone ward blocks a single attack and throws a bit of damage their way via poison damage over time.  This move (as well as Bone Cage) helps classify Skrill into the support role and pushes back against the idea that support roles are simply just healers.

Stalagg’s Ward

Another seemingly standard trap card, Stalagg’s frost ward (Pictured above) blocks a single attack while slowing the attacker’s draw speed.  Though this may not seem very useful this move serves to slow down the entire game, which was a major goal when designing Stalagg. This allows the player to breathe and plan out their moves against an aggressive enemy team.

Amyth’s Ward

One would have thought this would be the most boring of the traps, but Amyth’s flame ward comes with its own unique mechanic.  Unlike the other traps, the flame ward actually runs on a timer.  This means that over-zealous players can hit this trap twice.  We don’t extend this prolonged trap time for very long because Amyth doesn’t fall into the tank or support roles, but it opens doors for future trap designs.

Lynx’s Ward

Last but not least is the trap for Lynx.  I had planned for this to be another run-of-the-mill trap, but Jacob took this in a completely different direction.  When he had first brought up the idea, I wasn’t sure how it would play out.  After seeing the animation, however, I was instantly convinced it should be in the game.  Mechanically, Lynx’s portal ward ended being a very powerful tool.  Perfectly suited as a strong support move, the stakes for falling into this trap are very high.  By losing a key character like a tank or healer for a short time, the player is now left very vulnerable.

That about does it for this post. Though I don’t post on a weekly basis, I do hope that you find these insights worth reading when I can get them loaded and ready to go. Though I would love to engage more with you all, please remember that for now we are a small two man team working between our regular jobs. Our saving grace is that our build is very far along and playable, despite needing a bit of fleshing out and balancing. We would like to express our ceaseless gratitude for showing interest in our small project in our grassroots days and we look forward to bringing you all the very best gaming experience we can. Until next time.

~ Cedrick

Roles
 
© Hot Sauce Bread Studios

© Hot Sauce Bread Studios

 

In one of our first posts, we touched on the decision for a team of three instead of 1 vs 1 matches.  Though I didn’t mention it, another reason for our decision included on adding different roles into the game. This fit for a variety of reasons and was pretty much a no brainer when we began fleshing things out.  The basics of these roles are pretty straightforward, but I feel like there is still some merit in discussing how they work in our game.

It will be no surprise that we focused on the three pillars that define a RPG party: Tank, DPS, and Support.  The beauty of these roles is that gamers have been trained on the basics of these roles over the years, cutting down on things we have to explain.  Though I could’ve drawn this framework from pretty much any RPG, I naturally looked at World of Warcraft as a polished example.

Playing WoW for as long as I did showed me how different classes can approach the balance between versatility and min/maxing. Classes in WoW such as the Druid, show how you can have a jack-of-all-trades character that can still be useful in their versatility even in the end-game. By doing this,  WoW also displayed how different classes interact and can fill a role while still distinguishing themselves in play style. These takeaway lessons can be seen in how we approached different characters within the same role.  More ‘Pure’ class characters in our game include Otto, Diam and Amyth that are meant to focus on the basics in their role. Otto tanks, Diam heals, and Amyth burns faces. Alternatively, looking at the mixed class characters such as Khurn, Skrill, and Garric show how versatility can switch up gameplay while still fulfilling a role.  Skrill, for example, can’t heal the rest of the team, but has a move set made to handicap the other team and prevent damage intake.

© Hot Sauce Bread Studios. Pure role classes. From top to bottom: Amyth (DPS), Diam (Support), Otto (Tank)

© Hot Sauce Bread Studios. Pure role classes. From top to bottom: Amyth (DPS), Diam (Support), Otto (Tank)

 
© Hot Sauce Bread Studios. Mixed role classes. From top to bottom: Skrill (Support), Garric (DPS), Khurn (Tank)

© Hot Sauce Bread Studios. Mixed role classes. From top to bottom: Skrill (Support), Garric (DPS), Khurn (Tank)

For some of you this was all obvious enough, but how does it play out in our game?

Whatever game you see these three party roles, there is always a trade-off for keeping a tank character in the forefront. Naturally, there is a trade off in health and damage output, but it needed to go further.  In our case, the speed in which cards are drawn was a natural fit giving a ‘durability vs card draw’ dynamic. Durable characters would draw cards slower but be able to take a hit while flimsy characters would draw cards faster.  The result of this is twofold. First, the overall speed of the game changes depending on the characters put out front creating a satisfying ebb and flow. Secondly, players now had a risk/reward tension when deciding on who to keep out in front and when to pull a character back. Though we anticipated this would be important, it wasn’t until after the first few play tests that we realized how defining this tension would be to our game.

Again, I hope that gave some insight on how we made some of our decisions for Sigils. Please follow us @hotsaucebread on twitter to get more updates on our game!

~ Cedrick

Chopping Block - 'Standard' Character
 
Chopping Block.jpg
 

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts that we will be calling the ‘Chopping Block’. As you can see, we even have a nifty image reserved for this feature. Chopping Block will be a discussion over an element of our game that didn’t end up working out for one reason or another. As with most game development, a lot of stuff hits the cutting room floor for all sorts of reasons and we wanted to shed some light on some of our thought processes regarding these cuts. Some of these chopped ideas were definitely removed from our game entirely, while others may have been recycled into something that better fit our game.

In today’s post, I will be talking about the very early days of development when I was pulling together ideas for characters in Sigils of Kairos.

Idea

When conceiving the basic framework for this game, there was always one character idea that was sure to be a lock.  Some may be thinking of Otto the tank or Diam the healer, as they are iconic tropes that fill ‘pure’ roles, but they would be wrong.  One of the original characters envisioned for Sigils had their moveset completely planned before being cut. Which character? The ‘Standard’ character.

The idea of the ‘standard’ character is one that’s used across the board.  For any Street Fighter, it’s Ryu. For Overwatch, it’s Solider 76.  For any Mario game, it’s-a him, Mario. Although each of these characters are unique, they also have the most straight-forward tools for their respective games.   For our game, the ‘Standard’ character was supposed to be the baseline for all the other characters to bounce off of. ‘Standard’ was set to be the jumping off point for new players, introducing the basics by using a generic play style.

Reasoning

Standard would have been the face of our game from the beginning. This tutorial-ready character that would’ve been a normal-looking human for skittish players to ease into the world we’ve built.  In contrast, other characters like the Khurn (the blacksmith) or Lynx (the cat) involve a bit more knowledge of the game as their moves use lesser known mechanics such as defense buffs or provisional damage. For new players, these characters can come off as overwhelming or even underpowered if not used correctly.

In terms of moves, ‘Standard’ would have had a mix of a little healing, a little damage, and a basic trap/disarm to touch on main mechanics.  Originally envisioned as a typical RPG reluctant hero, Standard would wield a sword and fall back on some of the RPG tropes for her/his move list:

Standard Moveset:

  1. Damage Card (A special move that attacks the front opponent)

  2. Potion Heal (Standard uses a potion to heal target ally)

  3. Splash Damage (A special move dealing damage to the front opponent and minor damage to the back opponents)

  4. Disarm (Remove a trap, Laying a trap was also considered here)

  5. Ultimate: Discard up to 3 cards, Deal 3 attacks and a crit to the front opponent

Card Draw – Medium / Base Damage – Medium / HP – Medium

Removal

As you can see, the character would have lived up to the name ‘Standard’.  By all accounts, the character would have been fine in the game, but there was one vital flaw.  Standard… was boring. With no discernible hook, the character’s mediocrity far outweighed the appeal of being relatable to the player base.

Another big reason why we ditched this character, is that the Paladin (Garric) seemed to lean in the same direction as ‘Standard’. It was Jacob that recognized this and basically cannibalized ‘Standard’ into our ‘Paladin’ moveset.  By converging the two characters, we made a single character that was a lot more interesting both mechanically and narratively. Looking back, this change was bound to happen eventually.  With a limited roster, each character needed to shine. Constructing a character for the sake of filling a slot will always be less interesting than an organic creation.

That’s it for this week. Hopefully you enjoy the new Chopping Block feature as we’ll have plenty more coming your way in the future. My hope is that ‘Chopping Block’ will give a better understanding of our design thought process.

~ Cedrick