Playtesting New Features/Characters: Chronos + Isao and Speed-Scaling
Things are moving along pretty steadily and I'e been able to add in a few features that people have been asking for. Here's what my Trello
board looks like right now:
' to use your special ability was really the way to go. Now there's no slowdown like there was before when you had to choose the type of virus you wanted to send.
So I have two of the new characters' Special Abilities implemented: Chronos' Brute Force (automatically completes a script), and Isao's REPLY_ALL (sends a half-speed virus on all available floors). Friday night my good buddy and design/genius Drew and I tested out the new features and new Special Abilities. Here's what's up!:Brute Force
(Quality is a little bad because I had to reduce the game window size. Game looks much crisper IRL.)
Chronos' special is all about observing and speed. One interesting mechanic that I didn't intend but has become pretty important for high-level players is forcing the other player to wait for the loading screen
. Basically, if you can get a virus enough down the line, then you beat the player on that floor while your virus is down there, you send a virus first. But that's not the important part. The important part is that you force the other player to watch the loading screen, which gives your farther virus a precious ~3 seconds to continue moving closer. If you've planned right, it will be too close for them to defend in time and you'll win the floor!
Chronos' Brute Force ability can leverage this mechanic into closing out floors. If you've got a virus far enough across, the other player is going to be like "Oh crap I need to block that thing ASAP'. So they go to that floor, start entering in the script, but Chronos' comes along and beats you automatically, forcing you to watch the loading screen, and BAM! you lost the floor!
Brute Force is something many people have suggested as a Special so I think it's going to be really well received REPLY_ALL
So REPLY_ALL turned out to be SUPER awesome! At first we were a little scared that Isao would be too powerful and just destroy everyone. But what we realized is that, ya REPLY_ALL is super good in the early game, but once a floor or two are down (even if you've won them as Isao), REPLY_ALL becomes much less useful. I like that balance. It caters to really offensive playstyles. It also gives weaker players a strong early defense so they don't get overwhelmed too quickly.
A really cool thing happened when I played as Kevin (blocks opponent's screen with pop-ups) and Drew played as Isao. Because of Isao's ability to send viruses on floors he isn't on, its a bit of a work-around on floors where Kevin has placed his pop-ups. In fact, it worked so well that Drew was able to beat me fair and square with Isao! (I'm really good at this game haha) AND I'VE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY TO HAVE LOST!! This is what I'm trying to create, a balance between player skill and player strategy. Drew beat me by leveraging Isao's Special in such a way that FORCED me to lose. That was a really important moment Scaling Virus Speed With Floors Available
Also I've implemented one of the most important improvements: scaled virus speed
. What I mean by that is that eventually everything will come down to only having one floor open and the two players will have to script head-to-head. This is always really tense and awesome! It's always hilarious to see people freaking out during this part
The problem is that when you have two players who are really evenly matched in their scripting abilities, they could usually duke it out on that floor long enough for another floor to reboot. Now that might not seem too much of a problem because the player that is going to lose if they lose that floor has time to defend themselves and get back in the game. However, an unintended consequence of that 'balance' is that matches go on FOREVER for closely matched players.
Steve Taylor, who created a A Kingdom For Keflings
, played the game recently at the UT Indie Night and suggested that the virus-speed across to the other player should be scaled: the more floors that are down, the faster they travel. So Drew and I tested this out and came to the conclusion that the best balance was for virus speed to remain the same until only one floor remains
. Then it gets scaled up by about 120%. AND IT WORKS! It's just slow enough for really strong players to defend themselves, but it really gives the advantage to the player who was able to outsmart the other with their skills and strategy. Here's the speed comparison:
One really cool thing that happened because of the speed-scaling is that Jack becomes way more viable as a character. His ability is passive and makes his viruses 50% faster. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for this little guy. I just really like his design and his character. But 50% speed increase just wasn't very appealing. Until now. Because of the speed scaling, Jack's viruses are BOOKING IT when there's only one floor left. In fact, in playtesting him, I started losing floors on purpose! While Drew was all stoked that he was killing one floor, I'd win another and we'd be on the last floor but all I had to win was one script and I'd win that floor. Now I have two floors one, and still have my speed increase for the final floor and BOOM. Game Over bruh.
If you've read this far you deserve an award! I'll have a new alpha build that you can check out soon!