Posts tagged Chopping Block
Chopping Block - Double Click Playing
 
Chopping Block Bread
 

Hello Everyone,

It is time once again for the Chopping Block. This is a series of blog posts dedicated to discussing a game function or feature that ended up being scrapped. This week, we’ll be talking about the ability to play cards by simply double clicking them. Though this may feel like a small change, it actually changed a lot within the gameplay experience.

Idea

After a decent prototype was built, we began exploring some different quality of life changes. It was here that the idea of playing a card by simply double clicking it came up. This would prevent the need for a player to drag and drop a card every time a move is being performed.  Though we had mixed opinions on the function, we decided it was worth trying out and coded it into our build.

Implementation

When looking at the list of moves, most cards in a player’s hand would only have one viable place it could go.  Attacks and traps represent the majority of the moves and they can only be played in one way. This lends itself perfectly for the double click function.  For moves with multiple targets, however, the system could consistently select the default target of each card. For example, Skrill’s Bone Cage move can choose one of the opponents in the back row and lock them in place.  By default, double clicking the Bone Cage card could always lock the opponent in the bottom space.

Consquences

When brought up, the idea simply started as an efficiency consideration.  It seemed useful and time saving to double click a card. Though it may seem silly to save the time it takes to click and drag a card, playing the game shows that there could be clear benefits. By allowing players to react quickly, they could effectively counter moves and attack chains. For example, if Player A is watching their opponent’s hand emptying out, she/he will have a chance to counter it. Because each card has its own animation, all of Player B’s cards go into a queue. In between each animation, Player A has a window to play their own card. If that card happens to switch out the attacker, all of the queued cards get wiped out.

This would actually be quite helpful in raising the skill floor for our game, allowing for players to break up big attacks more easily. Despite this, adding the function came with its own set of problems.

Removal

As of now, we have chosen not to implement this function for a few reasons.  First off, we were worried about players accidentally playing cards they didn’t intend on playing.  This consideration is extra problematic if our game end up being ported onto a touchscreen platform and I imagine this is a reason why other digital card games use the drag and drop method.  Our game also boasts the Forge mechanic, where players put different cards together which adds to the problem as cards may get played instead of forged or vice versa.

From a pacing perspective, we also felt that dragging individual cards slowed down the game and felt better to play.  Being a real-time game, this pacing is very important to how the game feels. If cards start flying out of a player’s hand, they will in turn be stuck waiting for more cards to be drawn. To combat this feeling of waiting around, the game would then have to draw cards faster. The end result would be a much more frantic feeling game, which would cut down on the strategic nature of Sigils. Not only this, but the ‘feel’ of dropping a trap or laying a powerful move onto the enemy characters add to the overall experience.

Unlike some of the other topics we have and will approach on the ‘Chopping Block’, I feel that this decision has a potential to change as we move forward.  Both implementing or omitting the double click feature will come with its own set of positives and negatives, so testing for the final product will show which works better.

That is it for this post on the Chopping Block. As you can see, I haven’t been posting the audio version of the blog as it turned out to be pretty time consuming. If there is a greater demand for it in the future, it’s something I may take a look at again, but until that happens I’ll be retiring my microphone for a bit. Please check in regularly and follow us on our various social medias!

~ 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