Optimal game pace & roadmap

One of the problems that was noted by the players who tested our game is that the game is very slow at the beginning and gets too difficult too fast.  The first idea we got to solve this issue was to adjust the values of the game events (when the bad guys attack and spawning frequency),  resource extraction rate and cost to build new structures.

Because we did not knew if the resulting game could be won and because testing manually was taking too much time, we created an AI that played the game and made the time scale 10x faster.  We changed the values manually and let the AI play the game.  This is an example of how it looked.

Even tough that worked faster, we needed to change the values manually and wait for the AI to finish playing.  To make things even faster we made a script in JavaScript that simulated gameplay. The script tried to run the simulation with random values for the variables we wanted to change. It selected the best option and ran again trying to find a still better result.  We wanted to minimize the wait for resource time while getting the total game time around twenty minutes.

optimal game time and pace

We tried the best games selected by the script inside the real game but none of those made the game feel right.

The next idea we are going to try to solve this issue is to put more resources on the map and to try to adjust the resource placement algorithm

We will be working on new ideas to solve this issue.

Bugs, improvements & roadmap

We took some time to get together all the feedback we’ve received from the game and also to check Jesse Schell’s Lenses,  after doing that we decided to work in several aspects of the game:

Tutorial and objectives:  There are some players that do not understand the UI at first,  mostly when playing on a mobile device.  So we will work on a tutorial.  We will also move the objectives to another place where they can be more visible.

Game pace: We still have the issue with the game pace we talked about in the previous section.

Game difficulty:  We think that the game punishes too hard players that make minor mistakes,  so we will try to fix this without letting it become too easy.

Game modes:  We are thinking about making three game modes: normal as it is right now, peaceful  where you will need to reach the life trees and then the game ends,  and hard with a little more difficulty.  This to make the game more appealing to different types of players.

Random tiles:  Some times the random tile generator makes the resources a little bit harder to collect at the start.  We will solve this to ensure that the random tile generator does not affect gameplay.

Notifications:  We think some notifications would be helpful.  We’ve thought about a progress bar to let players know when the next dark barrack is going to spawn.  Also we noted that some players  overlook certain areas of the game and then they get overwhelmed by enemies in those sides,  so we decided to give the player some notification when the bad guys are attacking structures that cannot defend themselves while trying to not annoy the player.

Information in HUD:  We will add a tree count to the HUD, so players will know how many trees of each type they have.

Achievements:  We will add achievements when you finish the game with no trees lost.  Another achievement could be finishing the game within a time limit.  Also we’re thinking about adding extra structures,  altars,  that  you will need to protect. If you finish the game with all those structures alive you will get another achievement.

Bugs:  Some times enemies spawn showing low health.  This is because we did not reset the health bar before reusing the enemy objects.  Another bug is that the numbers that indicate how many dark barracks are in a specific side does not get updated after the dark barracks have been killed.

Art and animations:  We will improve the art of the game and also add animations to make the game world feel more alive.

Ending:  We want the ending to be more rewarding.  We will think on some ideas to make it happen.

Other game play changes:  Trees that get disconnected from the center will start to die slowly.

Other suggestions that we will consider later:  Fix enemy unit positions so they do not get stacked in the same place.  Make upgrades for trees.  Be able to sell trees.  Be able to build over roots. Spawn heavies from war trees.

Other ideas we had:  Golden resources,  resources that give you more per second.  Put more spots to build life trees (holy soil) in the map and make only some of the life trees required.

We will keep you updated with the changes.