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WFTO Development Diary #1 - A New Leaf

Simburgur

Managing Director
Brightrock Games
Nov 10, 2011
2,864
1,979
725
26
Brighton, UK
www.twitter.com
#1
Hey folks,

This is going to be the first of our new series of dev diaries. The main goal of these diaries is to keep communication with the community open and to discuss the design as it moves forward. It’s not necessarily going to be for announcing flashy features each time, but we will be keeping you as informed as possible.

Before I go on to talk about some design areas, I’d like to announce that we've moved the project to Unity and have recruited several engineers to work on this new iteration of the game. Although we really do like Unreal and did make some decent progress, there were unfortunately too many barriers to doing what we wanted to do as it is far more suited to action and shooter style games. We are hoping the switch to Unity will allow us to make faster progress with more freedom to create the game that we all want to see.

unitylogo.png

Now, onto design!

The first point I'd like to talk about in this post is ‘Defender advantage’, which is the advantage that a player has when combat takes place in their territory. In Dungeon Keeper 1 & 2, this came from three main things:
  1. The ability to drop units anywhere on your own territory at no cost
  2. The ability to cast spells (in DK2, this was on your territory only for offensive spells)
  3. The ability to build defences on your own territory
This essentially meant that unless your army was substantially more powerful, it was highly unlikely that any attempt to attack the enemy would end well for you. This led to the only real viable strategy being to turtle and steamroll, or to simply build a dungeon up to your enemies doorstep.

Additionally, there was very little emphasis on real map control - the only things you had to explore for were gold and portals. Gold was not risky to gather because you had the ability to instantly pick up a unit if it happened to be attacked, and high level Imps could simply teleport away.

So, we have several ideas to control the above 3 points but we would also like some input from the community on how you think these points should be handled. We will reveal our ideas at a later point as we don’t want to influence your ideas just yet.

The second design point is a new feature we are calling Shrines (which are partly influenced by this suggestion from MeinCookie). Here’s a pretty picture:

wftonewspost_shrines.png

Shrines are neutral structures found throughout the game world that provide persistent benefits once they have been claimed by your worker units. The main aim of shrines is to encourage outward play and map control by rewarding the player for maintaining a presence across the map. Some possible shrines include:
  • The Ancient Tome allows a single unit to interact with it to provide research for you at a highly increased rate
  • The Idol of Power increases the speed at which all your worker units perform tasks by 50%
  • The All-Seeing Eye provides a large area of vision around the shrine
These are of course just some examples and are highly likely to be altered before release (and the names, well, they are even more likely to change - if you have any suggestions to rename these, please post them!). The variety of different shrines, along with other yet-to-be revealed features, will ensure that each MP map provides a fresh and unique gameplay experience and will require players to adapt their strategies.

That's it for this time. If you have any feedback on this post and how we are presenting information to you, please feel free to either post here or message me directly, thanks!
 
Jan 22, 2012
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#2
Yay :D

For the turtling problem, wouldn't something like Solution from Blk&Wht be nice ? I mean you can interact with spells only in radius from your units/dungeon. Like if your creatures attack you can use spells in radius produced by them in enemy territory. Also teleport solution from Wc3 would be somewhat nice. Units can be rescued by player but it takes a few seconds during which they can be killed.

For defences problem. What if you can ony have limited amount of trap points (assuming all traps provide same usefullness) so players are forced either to distribute traps or reinforce only 1 direction of attack. Also trap could be only placed in specific radius of heart.

About map control, yes that would be a problem when player have free ability to pick/drop creatures. I remember you guys had a plan to change unit movement somewhat but I don't recall much about it :/. You guys could add few things to make map control more rewarding. Things like mines, Hidden traps (that can change their position ? ) or just more map specific routes. Gold mines coud be guarded, limited passages , more challenging lava respawning neutral creeps, better creature guard system could all make territory play more challenging

The problem with DK1&2 was also that even if enemy made hyper good defences in 1 spot you could always make separate path into enemy base and that was bad :/ What if players can find/buy special items that could make specific fragments of the map locked/unlocked (gates 4 ex). Players could contest those territories to control the map.

Shrines feel like a good step into directions but personally from those 3 i feel like only the Eye is somewhat nice. Faster research/work i feel is not something worth getting but things like vision, resource generator, "power" amplifier, could be better things to fight for. Also do you guys want to have any means to for example destroy/disable unwanted shrine so in order to prevent all playres from using them ??
 
Jun 19, 2012
6
1
125
33
Boise, ID
www.brandadams.com
#3
You guys won't be disappointed with unity. I've developed multiple games and applications using it and have found it to be wonderful.

DK had the whole guarded prisons things. Stumbling upon an uncaptured prison containing a few mid-level creatures. Fight off the guards, capture the prison, and get new creatures. Good way to promote checking out the map.

DK also had those sweet secret boxes that imps would drag back to you base. The ones that would increase all levels of creatures, gold boost, mana... happiness.

Glad to see you're back in action.
 
Likes: benny -
Jun 19, 2012
15
2
70
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Reading, England
#4
I truely wish you guys the best (i've been lurking but following you for years). Looking forward to what you come up with.
If you don't mind a suggestion a way of accessing creature spells and getting them to throw them without the need to possess would add an extra tactical level to combat and interactivity.
I like the idea of a control radius where you can cast into an area surrounding that which you can control, the size of this could be based on the size of your dungeon, strength of your dungeon heart etc. Could be increased by adding temples, guardrooms/shrines to areas. Also could add a "shrine" (from your idea above) that give you the ability to cast around it, (or adding it to the evil eye would seem to make sense).
Also if you need some voice acting i would be happy to voulenteer.
 
Jan 19, 2012
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#5
Great with a update! one question though. Wont the change to Unity highly effect the graphic quality of the game. Correct if i'm wrong(more than likely i am) Unity is more used for indie games where there is no real graphics like you know.... sonic and iphone games.. and the unreal engine supports more detailed graphics with better physics and so on?
 
Jun 19, 2012
1
0
5
32
Vancouver, British Columbia
#7
Woohoo! Glad to see you guys back on the update track! Glad to hear your putting a lot of thought into the multiplayer actually being a competitive aspect instead of the clean sweep tournament it was. Looking forward to all future updates!
 
Jun 6, 2012
53
9
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#9
It's nice to hear such positive news so soon after the recent bad news. Very nice, in fact.

As far as the Shrines go, I think they're a wonderful idea. Anything that encourages more tactical play and a more urgent need to control your surrounding environment can only be a good thing. They also have pretty cool (and apt) names - I don't think any of the proposed suggestions are in need of renaming (unless you're confident you've thought of something even better). I'm particularly seeing this element of the game coming into it's own in multiplayer battles, with constant battling over these buffs. It's a solid idea and fits the game well.

In so far as the Defender Advantage, I sadly don't have any ideas. I did like the fact that, in DK2, you could only use the majority of your spells on your own, claimed territory. Being able to manually smite enemies down on their own land never felt fitting, so I'd personally like to see that unchanged. I suppose the real way to address the issue would be movement-based. As much as I loved it thematically, the Hand of Evil is what made the Defender Advantage so powerful. You could drop an entire army in front of your foes in a heartbeat, and rescue any low-health creature with impunity. Honestly, the Hand of Evil WAS the Defender's Advantage. So if you're wishing to decrease the effect of that advantage (which is a very good idea), the only real way of doing so, imho, is to either re-work or completely replace the Hand mechanism. It's something which has been discussed before, and I know a lot of people are very fond of the Hand, but it really did create an imbalance whereby, unless you were absolutely overwhelmed by rival forces, you could be nigh-on untouchable thanks to the unimpeded ability to pick up and drop units from/into combat at will. You had total control of the battlefield. What you'd replace it with is for anybody to speculate, but I really do think that's the biggest factor here.

I'll be fascinated to see what ideas you've already come up with - will we have to wait long?
 

Cold_Ankles

Gargoyle
WFTO Backer
Dec 10, 2011
372
115
315
26
South Australia
#10
Shrines eh? I suppose there'll be more than three but the current ones sound nice. Names could be better, Fleeting Grimoire for the Tome, Orb of Omnipotence for the eye. I can come up with plenty of names if you like.
 

Simburgur

Managing Director
Brightrock Games
Nov 10, 2011
2,864
1,979
725
26
Brighton, UK
www.twitter.com
#11
For the turtling problem, wouldn't something like Solution from Blk&Wht be nice ? I mean you can interact with spells only in radius from your units/dungeon. Like if your creatures attack you can use spells in radius produced by them in enemy territory. Also teleport solution from Wc3 would be somewhat nice. Units can be rescued by player but it takes a few seconds during which they can be killed.
Without revealing too much... there are some ideas like these floating around, but nothing is definite yet.

Shrines feel like a good step into directions but personally from those 3 i feel like only the Eye is somewhat nice. Faster research/work i feel is not something worth getting but things like vision, resource generator, "power" amplifier, could be better things to fight for. Also do you guys want to have any means to for example destroy/disable unwanted shrine so in order to prevent all playres from using them ??

We have a long list of potential shrines, which contain the ones you have suggested. Shrines are placed by the map designer, and cannot be destroyed by players. We may have a mutator to disables shrines, but this could break some maps (as there is potential for some maps to really need shrines to function).

As far as the Shrines go, I think they're a wonderful idea. Anything that encourages more tactical play and a more urgent need to control your surrounding environment can only be a good thing. They also have pretty cool (and apt) names - I don't think any of the proposed suggestions are in need of renaming (unless you're confident you've thought of something even better). I'm particularly seeing this element of the game coming into it's own in multiplayer battles, with constant battling over these buffs. It's a solid idea and fits the game well.
I am confident that someone will think of something better at some point. Those names were put in as I wrote the post, the list of shrines we have internally does not include names right now, just functions. I am glad you like them though! :p

In so far as the Defender Advantage, I sadly don't have any ideas. I did like the fact that, in DK2, you could only use the majority of your spells on your own, claimed territory. Being able to manually smite enemies down on their own land never felt fitting, so I'd personally like to see that unchanged. I suppose the real way to address the issue would be movement-based. As much as I loved it thematically, the Hand of Evil is what made the Defender Advantage so powerful. You could drop an entire army in front of your foes in a heartbeat, and rescue any low-health creature with impunity. Honestly, the Hand of Evil WAS the Defender's Advantage. So if you're wishing to decrease the effect of that advantage (which is a very good idea), the only real way of doing so, imho, is to either re-work or completely replace the Hand mechanism. It's something which has been discussed before, and I know a lot of people are very fond of the Hand, but it really did create an imbalance whereby, unless you were absolutely overwhelmed by rival forces, you could be nigh-on untouchable thanks to the unimpeded ability to pick up and drop units from/into combat at will. You had total control of the battlefield. What you'd replace it with is for anybody to speculate, but I really do think that's the biggest factor here.

I'll be fascinated to see what ideas you've already come up with - will we have to wait long?
Don't worry, we have solutions that keep the hand. And I can't say for sure when we will be posting our ideas up - I want to try and gather as many thoughts from the community as possible before doing so.

Also if you need some voice acting i would be happy to voulenteer.
Later down the line we will be looking for some voice actors, so keep an eye out. We aren't recruiting any right now simply because there isn't going to be anything for you to do for quite a while.
 
Likes: The Watchman

sukhonali

Bafu
WFTO Founder
Dec 19, 2011
154
29
250
32
#12
I like the quality of this engine its as good as Bethesda's Creation kit,

check out these videos :)

Amazing Rock Shaders & Textures!


Amazing Forest Scene

 
Feb 5, 2012
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#14
You could have a system were you Debuff your opponents spells somehow when you attack, and they have to spend researchers to restore them. Say a long cast spell that lasts a few minutes. This ties up some support type creatures if the keeper decideds to defend in that way. Could also do a debuff spell for picking up creatures so responding is more risky etc.
Also the use of rouges for trap destruction? so you could prep the way before you try attack. The ability to do some kind of hit and run would be nice, since usualy if you get into a fight thats it. ide imagine scout units would auto harrass enemy imps and then flee when presented with opponents of any quality.
 

amcoops

Priestess
WFTO Founder
Dec 9, 2011
121
39
215
30
North Devon, England
#15
I'm happy but also kind of disappointed with the engine switch over. I'm disappointed because I've seen the progress you guys made with the old engine and really liked it; I hope all that work wasn't for nothing, but I'm also pleased that you guys are happy with this new engine and we'll see a better game from it.

Reading the opening post I've noticed that you label the "turtling" strategy and defender advantage as a problem that needs to be rectified, which slightly worries me. You see, every strategy game I play I use the same strategy, to turtle for a long time and then run the enemy down in one massive counter attack. For this reason I rarely play games online, because this strategy is a lot more difficult to pull off against smarter opponents and most people, it seems, would rather play a shorter game.

Now I may have misunderstood what you are trying to do, I'm sure you just want the other strategies to be as effective as the turtle and don't want to eradicate the defenders bonus completely. I would just like you to know there are people like me out there who really enjoys getting involved in a lengthy game as a turtle and absolutely despises the rushing strategy and everybody who uses it.
 
Likes: Cold_Ankles

Simburgur

Managing Director
Brightrock Games
Nov 10, 2011
2,864
1,979
725
26
Brighton, UK
www.twitter.com
#16
(Emphasis mine)
You could have a system were you Debuff your opponents spells somehow when you attack, and they have to spend researchers to restore them. Say a long cast spell that lasts a few minutes. This ties up some support type creatures if the keeper decideds to defend in that way. Could also do a debuff spell for picking up creatures so responding is more risky etc.
Also the use of rouges for trap destruction? so you could prep the way before you try attack. The ability to do some kind of hit and run would be nice, since usualy if you get into a fight thats it. ide imagine scout units would auto harrass enemy imps and then flee when presented with opponents of any quality.
Spy sappin' my sentry..

Anyway.

Ways of disabling traps are an option, but the traps are in reality the least problematic part of the puzzle. They are the most predictable element and therefore the easiest to balance.

(Numbers mine)
(1) I'm happy but also kind of disappointed with the engine switch over. I'm disappointed because I've seen the progress you guys made with the old engine and really liked it; I hope all that work wasn't for nothing, but I'm also pleased that you guys are happy with this new engine and we'll see a better game from it.

(2) Reading the opening post I've noticed that you label the "turtling" strategy and defender advantage as a problem that needs to be rectified, which slightly worries me. You see, every strategy game I play I use the same strategy, to turtle for a long time and then run the enemy down in one massive counter attack. For this reason I rarely play games online, because this strategy is a lot more difficult to pull off against smarter opponents and most people, it seems, would rather play a shorter game.

Now I may have misunderstood what you are trying to do, I'm sure you just want the other strategies to be as effective as the turtle and don't want to eradicate the defenders bonus completely. I would just like you to know there are people like me out there who really enjoys getting involved in a lengthy game as a turtle and absolutely despises the rushing strategy and everybody who uses it.
1 - It was a necessary move really. It may put is behind in the short term but will result in more efficient development overall.

2 - You have kinda answered your own point here. The aim isn't to render turtle/steamroll impossible, just to ensure that is isn't the only viable strategy and people are able to counter it if they play correctly.
 

amcoops

Priestess
WFTO Founder
Dec 9, 2011
121
39
215
30
North Devon, England
#17
1 - It was a necessary move really. It may put is behind in the short term but will result in more efficient development overall.

2 - You have kinda answered your own point here. The aim isn't to render turtle/steamroll impossible, just to ensure that is isn't the only viable strategy and people are able to counter it if they play correctly.
2 - I was hoping that was the case as I was typing it, just thought I would give a shout out for us turtles. :D...in fear that you may nerf our tactic a bit too much.

Good to hear read on both accounts then, I'll look forward to following your progress with this engine. :)
 

amcoops

Priestess
WFTO Founder
Dec 9, 2011
121
39
215
30
North Devon, England
#20
That game is pretty bad, the concept is cool, but I just got bored. I bought it on Steam when it was really cheap, played up to about the fourth level, saved, quit, haven't played it since.

That's not to say the engine is bad, just disliked the game and thought I would share my thoughts seeing as you mentioned it.
 
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