We got a bunch of feedback from the first few rounds of new-unit testing and have been heavily making some major adjustments. We’re adding some powers, moving some others around, and refactoring a BUNCH of the numbers. However, this includes a subjective decision on what we think a unit and its powers are worth.
Recent game changes also include some cool new stuff! We’ve added two new factions, Tinkersteel and Khazan. We’re also discussing some of the faction names, such as changing the Woodspawn to Faeborn, and the Highborne into Elves, which are more direct to the point.
Aside from the new units, we’re also improving the user interface. Last week we added the livestreamer section in the main menu, and we’ll continue to look at more Twitch API integrations. The regiment builder is also now easier to select and sort.
Changing Our Marketing Approach
One of the questions we received from Discord was: how are we going to market this game differently from Legends of Callasia? Again, we look at the reasons of why it failed, and determine where we got our money’s worth from our past marketing efforts.
For Last Regiment, we’ll be concentrate on improving our Steam page, including our trailer. Paid advertising is also an option for us, and the marketing blitz before launch is also important. But the most essential part is making changes in the game itself, to making sure it is easy to understand and has features that can help improve our marketing.
Two weeks ago, we went to two conferences in Manila! First was Gamefest, a game development summit with speakers from both the local and international gaming industry, and E-Sports and Gaming Summit (ESGS), one of the biggest consumer conventions in the Philippines.
We usually don’t bring our games in the state Last Regiment is currently in: it’s an early build without a tutorial and lot of placeholder stuff. But since we’re blogging and streaming it, people have already seen it anyway. At the same time, whenever we want to do something big, we want to always do it first in the Philippines, the studio’s spiritual home.
On a practical note, not showing the game before we attend PAX South next year would have been bad idea. ESGS provided an opportunity for us to watch people play and see what we need to do to bring our A game to PAX.
One of the problems we had during Legends of Callasia was that nobody knew we existed. Although people in the industry knew Boomzap, the vast majority of gamers in the Philippines play AAA games and e-sports titles. As an indie strategy game in a world of huge production value games, how do we survive?
We were surrounded by huge companies at ESGS, and some people just took a quick look at out booth and walked on by. But it’s fine, they probably weren’t our audience. However, there must be a niche strategy gaming audience somewhere. Where do we find them? How do we get them to know we exist? We do all sorts of marketing efforts such as streaming, but how do we get people to know about the stream? How do we do marketing for the marketing?
At the convention, most of the major exhibitors had “booth babes”, but it’s something we’ve sworn not to do (aside from the fact that we can’t afford them). Last year, we had Callasia fans volunteer to man our booth at PAX – people who are able to share their love for the game. During ESGS, it’s the actual development team who was there to explain how the game works. We know this is more effective in attracting people who are actually into the game, rather than those only interested in getting pictures with pretty girls at a booth.
We also had a second booth at the ESGS Indie Arena, where all the other indies are. When people went to this area, they are actually there to play and talk to the developers about their games. This is our goal for the next conventions we’re attending. By next week we’re submitting to Indie Prize USA and Indie Megabooth at PAX East – hopefully we get chosen! The important thing we need to do now is get the game ready.
What We Changed In the Game
1. We revamped our UI art assets! During ESGS, the game trailer showed endlessly on the big screen, and we realized that the UI is old and dated. Thus we looked at the time setting of the game and asked ourselves what the visual design was of that time. The answer: rococo and filigree!
2. We’re adding two kinds of structures: Destructible and Permanent. While we were working on the map editor, we started to talk about what single player would look like and got to thinking about buildings. Does it make sense that you can build a village and have a large building tree within the lore of the game and still present a tactical feel? What if we separated it out: things that can be built and things that can only be placed via the editor. Thus, these permanent structures would become an object in the story.
3. In-game notifications have some improvements. Now you get more info as to what is actually happening on the game in the next few turns, including player resource upkeep. During ESGS, the most common question we had was which happens first? The game needed a clear language to explain the order of actions, and for now we added indicators on top of the screen during the resolution phases.
4. We’ve updated the movement arrows and the way they behave. We observed that players often made errors when dragging and moving heroes, and end up selecting additional hexes, so this hopefully fixes that issue.
5. As requested by the people on stream, we’ve added player emblems from Legends of Callasia!
6. We’ve added a new goblin faction called Darktalon led by Captain Hollythorn. They are masters of the environment who are against magic.
7. We noticed that there are too many heroes in the game. They are so powerful, and you basically end up with a screen full of heroes, which made them a bit unspecial. We decided that we wanted to have fewer heroes available to players available during the game. We want to make faction choice more critical, and now we’re experimenting limiting them to up to two factions per regiment.
8. Other things we’re working on are updates and reorganization to the minion powers framework, addition of cool new powers, and VFX improvements. We’re also still working on optimizing the game since as people noticed the low framerate it plays on.
So now people are asking: all these people at the convention got to try out Last Regiment, when do we get to play it? We’re planning to launch as an Early Access title on Steam in 2018, but before that, we’ll do a closed beta with some special people.
Instead of the usual signups, we’re choosing our betatesters from our most active Twitch viewers and Discord chatters.
Watch our dev streams on Twitch and earn 2000 boombux. (Click here for the leaderboard.)
Be an active member of our Discord and reach Level 15 by chatting. (Click here for the leaderboard.)
We’ll also invite press, content creators, and our betatesters from Legends of Callasia into the closed beta.
For now there is no estimated date on when beta would be available. We’re currently focused on making a solid demo build for PAX South in January. So in the meantime, stay tuned to earn those points for beta and watch out for our updates.
We had to shift our schedule because of ESGS, so for today’s dev update we have three weeks worth of progress to show.
1. We listened to the feedback we received from Discord and changed the portrait art for Olivia, who now looks like a more privateer, pirate-y character. The backstory is that she was in the military force but got kicked out. While on exile in the Ruman islands between Kothia and Portella, where she is originally from, she developed a badass crew of swashbucklers and pirates. Note that this isn’t the final art yet, and we’re still considering making more changes.
2. We added some functionality to the main menu so that now when we switch from mode to mode, the options, information, and art would change.
3. We are making the map editor more up-to-date. Right now it’s not yet as user-friendly and still very much a dev tool, but it remains to be a planned feature for release.
4. We’ve updated the Choose Your Regiment screen and added the option of creating emblems per regiment, which are like alternate decks that you can use depending on the map. It’s largely based from the emblem system from Legends of Callasia, and there are different themes separated into tabs with up to four different colors that you can use for the background. We’re no longer adding flags as a background option since that piece of reality pulls you out of the whole fantasy feel (although you can make it thematically similar).
5. The map edges are now a lot wider than they’re supposed to be, because previously some of the UI would get in the way. Now when you select a unit or hex, the UI would not intrude much of the game. We also revamped the power and summon system wherein you can view their descriptions using mouse-hold, then play them on the map via drag-and-drop, similar to how cards are played in Legends of Callasia.
6. The selected object panel was also revamped, with a clear separation of what the unit can do (top) and what the current territory allows him to do (bottom). There are also different shapes to indicate if they are passive or active abilities.
7. The fog of war no longer has the cross-hatch lines and now looking better, but we still need to make the edges look more organic.
8. We’ve been playing around with the water: now we have deep and shallow water tiles. We spent some times making the coastlines look clearer and more interesting, but we’re also considering to have make it a game effect such as units that can or cannot go there.
9. Another slight modification we made is on the movement arrows. They look cleaner, don’t sit on top of the meeple anymore, and no longer have placeholder programming numbers. Now as you drag the unit, you can see how many moves it’s burning.
10. We’ve added 8-players maps and they’re a lot of fun. It’s a little bit slower because resolution takes a bit longer but still pretty snappy.
11. We’ve added a game logs feature which would appear in two places: at the bottom of the screen as it happens, and a history which you can collapse from the upper left panel. We’re still playing around on how we want it to look.
12. We’ve added cone effect damage that would allow you to target something that’s not in a round range, which would give us more interesting options in our spells. We haven’t made any units yet with that type of damage, so maybe in the next livestream we’ll have some to show.
It’s going to be busy in the next few days because of ESGS, and hopefully we’ll still be able to get a lot of stuff done for the next update (most likely because of various feedback we will be getting).