Someone on Discord asked us: How come we never see your other games and we only hear about Last Regiment and Legends of Callasia? The quick answer is: our other projects are with publishers, who own the rights to our games. This brings us to a discussion about how the game development industry works, including the developer-publisher relationship.
There are two (or three) ways to make games. One is first party publishing, wherein a publisher makes the game and figures out the whole process of getting the game out to the consumer. The other is third party publishing, wherein someone else develops the game, and the publisher runs it through their established processes, platforms, and pipelines. Either the developer (who may not have the resources) approaches a publisher to distribute their game, or a publisher goes to the developers and asks them to make a game.
There are three important parts of this deal: prepaid payments, backend royalties, and IP ownership. This final one pretty much explain why we haven’t continued making our successful hidden object franchises, and why we don’t promote our newer games as heavily as we do for Last Regiment.
Last week we talked a lot about writing the story, which led us to thinking about writing conventions for specific genres. When we apply it to game development, it’s mostly the same. In the case of Last Regiment, we ask: What do players expect in a turn-based strategy game? Genre differences are important in the entertainment industry, so we have to be in that framework of how we make Last Regiment better.
Right now we can say that the game is in a good state, but still very much in development. Last Regiment is the type of game that’s a bit experimental because it has not been made before. We need to prove that the core gameplay is interesting, and now we can say that at this point that we’re able to verify that it is fun.
The second stage is to ask ourselves: How do we make it more fun? Why is it not amazing yet? It’s an iterative process to get a game from “good” to “great”. These are the things that we’ve found that we still have to address:
Concept of fortification is not working well right now
Stealth mechanic still needs some work
Unpredictability of unit movement at the end-turn resolution
Polish and visual effects
Meanwhile, here are some of the improvements we’ve made so far.
We’re also going to start the the Alliance System next week – we realized that we need it for a lot of the campaign missions, so we decided it was time to start looking into it. For those of you who remember the alliance system in Legends of Callasia: What did you hate or love? What did you want added? Let us know!
Anyway, we might have fewer streams this month. Chris will be away on a working vacation and meeting some of the team, but we might do one final stream next week before we leave. We’ll be announcing it on Discord, where we also post some real-time updates on what we’re currently doing. Join us if you still haven’t, and let us know if you’d like Chris to record some podcasts in the meantime.
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n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
As we write Olivia’s story, we realize that the characters that she meets also have their own stories. Since the game is designed to be played using one hero at a time, how do we tell the stories of these other characters? We can’t have an entire campaign mode where you can only use Olivia, so we’re looking at having a bigger story told from multiple viewpoints and switching heroes per campaign level. This storytelling framework is something we have not worked with before, and it’s taking some time to put together.
Meanwhile after some testing and feedback during last week’s stream, we have shortened the tutorial map by making the playable area smaller, reducing the number of side quests, and having less minions to fight. Completing the tutorial now takes roughly 30 minutes.
We’re looking at the map-building editor and asking some serious questions: Is this all we need to make levels the way we want to make them? Is this what we’re gonna use to go build all the campaign levels?” Because the next step is building a bunch of levels. And we’d prefer not to redo them all.
Other changes we’ve made is prototypes for AI behavior. We can now set them as aggressive, defensive, or “turtle”, but it’s still buggy at this point. We’ll see by next week how things turn out.
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