A small Q&A released in this week’s dev frame, alongside some detailed information on features worked on at the moment by the team!
Now that we’re moving from smaller features towards bigger implementations with Raid Mode, new lobby system, and so on, our live updates schedule might not work as good as it’s been for the past few months. Even though features are being developed relatively quickly, it’s often not enough time to fully test them on our nightly servers, which then turns into a second wave of changes in later updates.
In order to reduce a number of features that are released without proper community testing, it was decided that live updates will start to be released every three weeks from now. Don’t assume that there will be fewer updates though! There will simply be more nightly updates in between live ones, which also means that patches will become a bit bulkier.
On Wednesday, we started gathering some questions for a small-scale Q&A. Even though we would like to have a big one with most of the team members involved in the future, and with questions being largely about the game and the development itself, consider this one to be more of a test Q&A about the team and how it functions.
Keep in mind that all the answers except the first two, which are answered by the producer of the game, are subjective opinions of mine, since the rest of the team hasn’t been involved in this small event. If a question is directed towards the team collectively, I will answer it only about myself, since other developers are not participating in answering them.
- Q: What’s the current problems with working remotely?
- A: The main downside is you cannot personally interact and just walk by someone’s office to discuss general things about the game. However, we counteract this issue by actively communicating via Skype meetings and our own dev communication channel. Furthermore not everyone is cut out for working remotely as it requires a certain amount of self discipline. I can confidently say we now have a group of people who do have this self-discipline. The advantages are that we save on office costs which we can spend on the development of the game and it gives everyone on the team more flexibility. (Hydro|Jevanko)
- Q: What’s the process you go through when thinking up a new feature?
- A: Currently we do not really have to think up new features, we have a lot of features in the pipeline that we feel are detrimental to the game and would improve it a lot, we just haven’t had the time to get to them yet. To get these high level ideas and work them out in more detail we have a game designer who makes a proposal which is then discussed with the team and after multiple cycles of feedback we come to a final design document. As to how we prioritize what features to develop first, this is probably the hardest part, we want to balance short term and longer term benefits while, if possible, sticking to regular updates. This means larger features are broken down into smaller deliveries, like you can currently see with our work on clans and the upcoming battle scheduler, they are features that can be immediately implemented but are building blocks towards a larger feature. (Hydro|Jevanko)
- Q: Does everyone work on 1 part of the game at a time or does everyone work on their own thing to add to the game?
- A: It varies from feature to feature. Some tasks may not require any cooperation from other team members. Such tasks would be polishing some assets, improving AI, and some basic additions that don’t require anything but code. Most of the things we’re working on though do need attention of multiple people at the same time. For example, map changes can’t be done without artists providing new assets, and new features can’t be finished without UI and, sometimes, animations, objects, etc. (pogosan)
- Q: Is there a collective name for the new team or not?
- A: Usually just “The OKAM team”, but it’s rarely being used internally. Mostly within the community. (pogosan)
- Q: Does working on the game sometimes tire or bore some of the team members?
- A: Generally not. There are occasional tedious tasks like compiling lists of equipment, but It’s pretty fun on daily basis, especially when it comes to brainstorming mechanics for different features or muting trolls on Discord. (pogosan)
- A: How much do the devs actually work on the game?
- Q: I normally work Monday to Friday a more or less standard schedule. Obviously, since I work in the environment that collides with what I do in my free time, I’m often available till late nights. For the same reason I’m also relatively active on weekends, unless I’m physically away from my PC. (pogosan)
We’ve been thinking about starting uploading new videos more regularly, since there’s been quite a gap between them, and the first video has already been released! It’s a video showing some of the key features of the latest update – clans, heraldry, and so on. The video was prepared together with The Kings Men clan, and shows their members walking to a battlefield together and fighting in formations. Thanks to everyone who participated in the battle scene and to Siegbert for helping out with the hair and beards sequence!
“yes I’m sure that’s fine, will just have a different name for the props”
Work on the Raid Mode, which was discussed in the previous dev frame, has been started! If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the link – http://ofkingsandmen.net/index.php/2017/07/09/dev-frame-its-new/. While the feature is considered a big one with many requirements like code, level design, and UI, we’ll be applying a tested release strategy of updating the game with pieces of the feature at a time. For the next update for example, we plan to add a Battle Scheduler, and continue with the full Raid Mode resulting in release a little later.
So what is the Battle Scheduler? The Battle Scheduler is a tool that allows you to create battles while choosing a game mode, server, and time for it to happen. On the right you can see the most recent User Interface for scheduling such battle, but since the feature is still in development, it might end up being changed in some way upon release.
Generally speaking, we’re currently creating a player-driven event scheduling tool, which later will be changed into a proper game mode with mechanics like loot, resurrection points, and other additions.
Another thing we’re planning to add to the feature is an option to create exclusive clan battles that can’t be easily signed up for, unless you’re a member of one of the rival clans that arrange a battle of honour and might among themselves. We would like it to be coming later in the future, but it should provide an easy way for clans to determine who has the best warriors in their ranks.
The list of the Battle Scheduler is presented below, but same as the previous picture, it’s still in development and has a chance to be changed. As you can see, it’s possible to filter battles by their type and region where they’re hosted. Information on the list includes a name of the one who scheduled a battle, its type, how many players signed up for a battle, and when a battle starts.
The first version of the Scheduler is currently on our nightly server, so if you have suggestions or would like to report a bug, feel free to share it on our Discord or forums!
Must Block It
“I tried to make it feel impactful while making it not really punishing”
In addition to all other work that’s been done throughout the week, we’ve also included a new combat mechanic, which was suggested by Guillotin and Crixus. While it wasn’t a very big change code-wise, we feel that there must be a detailed explanation on how this addition functions.
The idea is to make blocking a little bit harder in the game. Since multiple stances can block the same attack, experienced players could exchange hits for excessive amounts of time without ever hitting each other. With this in mind, a concept of good and bad blocks has been defined.
Basically, in order to perform a good block, you must use a single corresponding stance. For example, if your opponent attacks with a lower left swing, you must use a lower right stance for your block to be considered good. Bad blocks can be done by using adjacent stances to a corresponding one. If your opponent attacks with a lower left swing, blocking with right stance or a stab would cause a bad block.
It’s clear from blocks’ names that trying to do as many good blocks as possible will result in a bigger advantage over using a bad block. Good blocks don’t stun your character, allowing you to counterattack immediately after blocking, but bad blocks do the complete opposite! If you get unlucky and don’t block correctly, your character will get stunned, and it will be almost impossible to recover quickly enough to attack back, forcing you to keep a defensive position for a new incoming blow.
Another idea for the mechanic is to slow down a character after every bad block, until he’s slow enough for an opponent to successfully hit without any resistance. If you manage to perform a good block or hit yourself though, the slowing down effect will be reset to default values. We’ll be tweaking the new mechanic that further and balancing it, but first we would like gather as much feedback as possible from its current version on our nightly server about how it performs in combat and what changes would result in a better system.
Get a Perk
“the animation being slightly quick so the ability isn’t too long i mean”
While the new progression system works as good as we wanted it to, and we’re still updating it slightly, we do plan to release a completely new system based on perks later in the future. In theory, it should become even more balanced in terms of stats, since instead of directly changing them, there will be predefined perks to affects your damage, health, attack speed, and movement speed.
In addition to perks altering your stats, we also want to include special perks for various in-game classes such as shielders, archers, and so on. Most of those perks will alter your gameplay experience in one way or another, or even add new mechanics to it. For now, our animator is working on crucial assets to be used when those perks are activated!
As an example, there is a Work In Progress animation of a Rapid Fire perk, which will allow to put an arrow in the ground and be able to shoot a couple of arrows in the row faster while standing in the same position on the battlefield. It is obviously not as safe and efficient as being mobile as a ranged character, so there is a quite big trade-off when it comes to using such perks.
If you’d like to know why that archer has an arrow on his hip, it’s a valid question! We’re planning to add quivers for archers, so that you can roughly estimate how many arrows each archer has left to be shot. The assets are finished, but there has to be some coding done before it’s available in the game, although we do have a small sneak peek of four different states for quivers for you! Sorry for not HD quality screenshot!
“and then you click a button and eat it”
The progression update has been available since last week, and we hope you enjoy the change so far, which made all characters start with balanced builds from level one. While the progression is now undoubtedly better than it was, we also noticed that some players spend all their respec points rather quickly, and have to wait for a very long time to change their builds, especially those with high titles.
In order to allow for some more customization, we decided to include a secondary mechanic for obtaining respec points. While the main source of points will still remain to be a straightforward leveling up, you will also be able to obtain them from treasure chests!
It won’t be points themselves that will drop as loot though. You will receive a special item that will even out the most extreme values in your build, and will grant up to 5 points per single use. For example, if you had a 15/10/20/15 build and used that item, you would end up with a 15/15/15/15 build, and so on.