Tag Archives: indiedev

Dev Blog #14 – What we learned from ESGS (and how to join our beta)

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.

LINK: More ESGS  photos up on Facebook

What We Learned From  ESGS

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.

LINK: Last Regiment Dev Stream #14 (FULL) on Youtube

“Earlier Access”

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.


Dev Blog #13 – New Olivia and More!

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).


Dev Blog #12 – Road to ESGS 2017

Starting this week’s dev blog with some fun news: we’re bringing Last Regiment to the game conventions!

Upcoming Conventions

  • E-Sports and Gaming Summit (ESGS) – The first showing of Last Regiment will be on October 27 to 29 in Manila, which is the spiritual home of Boomzap (with most of our staff composed of Filipinos). This is the biggest gaming event in the Philippines, and would serve as a great testing ground in knowing what players like and don’t like
  • PAX South – Happening on January 2018 at San Antonio, Texas, this would be our great reveal of the game to the worldwide press after all the improvements based on the feedback we would be receiving during ESGS.

Convention Preparations

Most people don’t see how much work goes on behind conventions. Here’s what we’re planning for our booth in ESGS.

We had one of our artists come up with the design for the panel walls and fascia boards, and we had to keep in mind where we wanted to place our tables and equipment.

Usually we bring our own banners and have to worry about where to place them in the booth that’s not blocking anyone, but luckily the organizers at ESGS allowed us to have our design on the wall itself. It’s also more convenient for us that we don’t have to make the materials ourselves and haul it over from wherever we had it made. It can also be very costly.

The other thing you have to think about is: what do you want to achieve at the show? Since we’re not selling the game yet, what do we want the players to do? For now, it’s all about the mailing list. The goal is to have them sign up, so we can let them know when the game is ready. Since most people are not willing to give out their personal info, we have to find creative ways to make them interested.

There are also some dangers in showing your game at a convention, especially when you still have a very rough build. The media is not that great in knowing how deep a game is in development, and may not be as forgiving on what they see so far. There is a minimum bar of quality that you have to hit, but you have to balance it out against showing it too late that you don’t have enough chances to make changes. If you wait until it’s finished before letting people know about it, then you miss out on the ramping up time where you can get them involved in the development. You have to ask yourself: is this game good enough to be shown but still early enough to allow me make meaningful reactions based on feedback from show?

However, if you want to be at a convention like PAX, you have to reserve a booth around three months in advance. We don’t know what shape the game is going to be by then, so it’s almost like a bet if we’re ready to go by then or not. Developers would like to think that they know, but they don’t know. So there’s a chance you’ll be at a show with something that’s not yet ready for public consumption. That’s the struggle not just for us, but for many developers. You also have to hope that you are surrounded by other great games in the area where you are in, since this increases the chances of press and convention-goers going to that area and seeing your booth.

Game Changes

So in preparation for ESGS, here’s what we’ve been doing in the past two weeks:

1. The Choose a Regiment screen has a revised UI, but still uses some placeholder art. The faction icons are now located in one row on the right, and you’re now able to rearrange the units you’ve selected. The first one on the list would be the first one to be automatically summoned at the beginning of the game.

2. New borders have been added, so maps now have a solid edge.  This means some of the hexes are cut in half, making them not reachable. You can only go to spots next to them.

3. On the regiment bar, units which you can’t afford yet are now crossed out.

4. We’ve added in the concept of heavy vegetation killing the line of sight. We still need to test out if this is fun or not.

5. Before building a structure on ruins, you can choose to explore it first for a chance to earn resources… or experience other bad things.

6. Area-of-effect powers can now be placed on a hex, instead of restricting them to enemy units, which means you can anticipate where your opponents will move next and attack them on that spot.

7. Several character portraits are being revised. This includes our main character, Olivia. Here’s what she looks like now on our main menu. By next week she’ll be wearing something new!

We’ll share her new portrait on the next dev blog, and keep you posted on the progress we’ll be making.