In the past week we’ve started getting more questions about how Last Regiment is going and what plans we have for the game, so for today’s stream we first did a little Q&A session. We even answered questions not specific to this game such as “Why do game developers do stupid things?”
Then we showed some of the new art we made for the maps, such as bigger and more interesting tiles for the blocker features (non-walkable tiles), instead of adding several small tiles.
That way the hex shapes are not too obvious when you look at the map on a whole.
It may not look like huge progress, but it’s really a process we need to spend much time on. We want to make sure we create some pretty looking maps, because screenshots are the first things that people are going to see at the download page. We want to make sure that we make a beautiful game from the very beginning.
We actually also made some progress for multiplayer mode. We tried it yesterday, and had wanted to stream it today, but it’s still not ready. We’ll continue working on that and hopefully we can show that next week. We’ll also keep answering questions, so just keep on asking by leaving a comment here or on Discord. Better yet, drop by the stream when we’re live.
How do we make a game from nothing to something? We use a bunch of editors we build ourselves, and other tools that are generally available.
Our Hex-Editing Tools
Believe it or not, one of the biggest tools we use is Microsoft Excel. It’s a great management tool to put a bunch of data in one place and do automatic computations. We also use SVN, a repository system that allows us to control file revisions and easily revert to previous versions if needed. We use it is to keep the most up-to-date files without worrying about getting overwritten.
In this week’s stream, we shared how we made the individual hex tiles used in creating the maps in the game. The artists make different base terrain tiles and decals using Photoshop, then they have to be tagged properly on Excel. Each tile has to look different to make sure there is no ugly tiling. It takes a lot of work to make different kinds of tiles and decals, but this also makes it easier for the player to make their own maps, and also faster for us to rebalance levels and release more content. (Watch in dev blog video #3.1.)
As mentioned in the video, we also follow strict naming conventions to make it easier to localize into different languages later on.
In-Game User Interface
This week, we also made a mock-up of the in-game screen, which we’ll start to implement soon. (Discussed in dev blog video #3.2)
On the top left: regimental colors, player info, chat menu, scoreboard, hex grid toggle, settings menu
On the top right: number of units without assigned moves, resources, turn counter, end turn button (which turns green after all moves are assigned)
On the bottom left: active unit, HP and ATT stats, number of moves, powers and costs, buffs and debuffs
On the bottom right: the regiment bar – select 10 units that you can summon on the map at the start of the game from up to 3 factions, which you can save as a regiment and assign its regimental colors
How to Win
There are different game objectives depending on the mode and game settings. (Starts at 4:08 in dev blog video #3.2)
Campaign mode: Has specific victory conditions depending on story or lore such as to take over a particular building, survive in X number of turns, defeat a certain unit, build X units, collect X amount of gold, etc.
Multiplayer mode: Let players set up victory conditions at the start of the game ad create different gameplay modes. By default, you have to defeat all your enemies and take all their structures so that they can’t summon any more units.
So far we have built prototypes for different kinds of structures and the powers that they have, then one of our next tasks is to put it in the game and test to see if it’s fun or not. (Starts at 5:38 in dev blog video #3.2)
Units can take over structures and take on the structure’s properties. We also use these structures to give the maps a sense of place and have them tied to the lore and the culture of the different races in the game. Similar to the weaponry, fashion, and technology we’re using in this game, we have slightly modern structures based on the 1700s.
Lore: The Infection
The Orcs are responsible for the Infection, which is a deep part of the lore. (Starts at 11:34 in dev blog video #3.2) They were losing in the great war many years ago, and they prayed to the God of Death to help them destroy their enemies – and so they were given the power to infect the dead with fungus and spores, which eventually took over the lands, driving away the other races.
A different faction of Orcs went to the Sun God and banded with other races to form a community that is simple and peaceful. This is an example of how not all creatures from the same race are the same – so we made factions that aren’t racially based.
We’ve divided factions from races, to make sure that players have different options instead of strictly playing a certain race. (Starts at 15:20 in dev blog video #3.2) Each faction, such as Redkeep, has its own lore and may have a mix of elves, humans, constructs, and other summonable units. Meanwhile, Ivoria is a huge jungle area with wizards of different races who have powers over animals and beasts. Tirezia also has its own beast units, but in a farmland area. Adding these different faction choices gives the feeling of being involved into the lore and history of the game, and also allows players to mix and max different units.
How are we going to monetize this game? (Starts at 17:56 in dev blog video #3.2) It will NOT be free-to-play – everyone should have reasonable chance to play this game without putting in a lot of money to buy packs for a chance to get better units. We haven’t set a price point yet, but we are discussing whether to price it differently on the various platforms.
What we can tell you is there will be an initial purchase where you get the full game, and unlock the factions through the campaign. We received various feedback from people who want everything immediately available, but we felt that it cheapens the experience. We want players to have a sense of success and completion in unlocking new units, so when they player multiplayer, you know which people have played the game. And again, they also become more involved in the lore and story.
So – now that we’re dev-blogging, I thought I’d do short updates every now and then to let people know what we’re doing on a day to day basis, and what the actual process of development looks like.
Today, which happens to be my birthday, was spent working with 2 coders, and a bunch of artists on improving our editor. Specifically the editor that allows us to build the hexes that go into the game.
Because we’re hoping to ship with an editor, we have sort of broken building maps into 2 steps:
Build the building blocks the game is made of – such as the Hexes in the map, the Structures you put on it, and the Units that move around. This is done with a combination of “ugly but functional” internal editors, and some big ass excel spreadsheets that churn out .lua files that define a lot of the game.
Put all of these together in a more user friendly, consumer-facing editor, that allows you to build maps w/o having to ever switch programs and makes sure you are working with building blocks that dont (easily) break the game.
Today’s journey (and last night’s) was to pound the “Hex-Editor” – the one that allows us to build hexes – into something that we can use properly, since it has been a bit neglected, and there was a lot of ‘build as you go”-ness to it that needed to be standardized.
It’s unsexy work, but it has to be done.
Of course, making the tool is just the first part. The *really* hard part? Making all of the data once the tool is done. But that work gets compounded terribly if the tool is not optimized – and even a step that takes 1 minute can quickly become HOURS or DAYS after you use the tol long enough – and since game development is all about iterative building, you have to expect you are building allof your maps/levels multiple times. Having a tool that does not let you do that quickly… well, the time is well spent to get it right.