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« on: January 27, 2014, 02:30:21 pm »

Battle Brothers released to Early Access! (Update April 2015)


Finally! After all that waiting you can now experience for yourself how it feels to get your men slaughtered and, in some rare cases, even emerge victorious in a game of Battle Brothers. We hope you enjoy playing the game as much as we enjoyed designing it!

Please keep in mind that this game was just released into Early Access and is far from finished. We consider it a solid foundation upon which we can now build a truly great game over the course of the next year.

Where to get it
The best place for buying the game is at our very own website. You’ll receive a Steam key with which you can start playing right away. In addition, you may leave a tip to further support us if you want.

You can also get the game on Steam itself, especially if you want the Deluxe Edition or Supporter Edition.

Feedback and Bugs Reports
Head over to our forums at http://battlebrothersgame.com/forums/forum/game-discussion/ to share your opinion, tell us of your ideas and experiences, and give us feedback.

It’s pretty much inevitable that once all of you play the game a pile of bugs and glitches will turn up that we never experienced before. We’ll do our very best to fix any issues in a timely manner, but we also need your help.

Please report any bugs at our forums at http://battlebrothersgame.com/forums/forum/bugreports/ and try to follow the guide in the sticky post.



Update: Battle Brothers on Steam Greenlight

We just launched our Steam Greenlight campaign so head over there and vote for us - many thanks!



Also, here is our new feature trailer, check it out!



UPDATE: Combat Demo Released!

It’s done. Finally! Get out your party hats as it’s time to celebrate the release of the Pre-Alpha Combat Demo of Battle Brothers. You can download it here!

Just keep a few points in mind when you give it a spin:
  • It’s pre-alpha, meaning it is an early release of a product still in development. Everything in the game right now can be improved and most probably will for the final game.
  • It’s a combat demo. It only reflects part of what the final game will be about and doesn’t cover the strategy part at all. The final game will not consist of a few scenarios but have an open worldmap. Read more about it here in our dev blog article on the worldmap.
  • The demo can be hard. This is intentional. Every scenario can be consistently beat with the right strategy. That said, the game isn’t properly balanced and if you find something clearly out of balance or plain stupid, let us know.
The demo requires an OpenGL 3.0 compatible video card and Windows XP, 7 or 8. If the game refuses to run on your rig and gives you a shader error, update your video drivers!

We’ll take the easter weekend off to recover a bit and lose the crunchtime-related rings around our eyes. Come monday we’ll be back and look forward to your feedback and the inevitable myriad of technical problems. Let us know in our own forums or directly here in the TIGforums how you feel about the game, about any ideas you have and about any bugs you encountered. Thank you guys for your support, and enjoy the game!




Hi there!

Im Jaysen from Overhype Studios and want to show you guys the project I am working and keep you updated on the progress we are making!

The game we are working on is called "Battle Brothers". The gameplay is inspired by such classics as X-com: UFO Defense and Jagged Alliance but we took the setting to medieval(or fantasy) times and expanded on it.

Here is a short summary:
"You take on the role of a leader of a band of mercenaries and adventurers on the hunt for treasure, fame and legendary artifacts. As you journey onwards, an epic scale invasion unfolds that leaves nothing but burning rubble in its wake. You and your Battle Brothers emerge as the people’s last hope to unravel the source of the invasion and strike at its heart. Will you turn out to be an able commander using cunning tactical outfits to emerge victorious, or will you fail miserably sending your men into a futile bloodbath? It is up to you, but be careful – every decision matters."


To give you a better idea what to expect, here is our planned feature list:
  • Procedurally generated. Worldmap, combat maps, characters and even the nature of the invasion itself are procedurally generated. No two games will ever be alike!
  • Open and dynamic world. No boring linear missions, you decide where to go and what to do! But with choice come consequences – the world will change permanently as the invasion sweeps the lands, and you may just find a town burned to the ground if you don’t come to its aid.
  • Permadeath – decisions really matter. If a Battle Brother is killed in combat he is dead forever, his experience and skills will be lost. So you better think twice about that suicide charge with your most experienced Brother.
  • Complex yet intuitive mechanics. Below the surface is a complex system working but we dont want players to study manuals and tutorials all day long. If it makes sense in real life it makes sense in Battle Brothers.
  • Huge tactical combat maps. This is not checkers, this is a grown-up combat simulation. Field up to 12 Battle Brothers at the same time on huge combat maps. Send your rangers through the woods into the back of the enemy while your armored shieldbearers stall the enemy attack.
  • Height levels in combat maps. Use the high grounds for your tactical advantage! Increase the range of your archers or repell overwhelming attacks against unsurmountable enemy numbers.
  • Diverse enemy roster. Enemies don’t just differ in name. All enemies have unique skills and unique AI behavior, and you have to adjust your tactics if you want to stand a chance.
  • Character development. Each Battle Brother gains experience through combat. Level them up and aquire new, powerful skills and abilities to fit your own strategy.
  • No restrictive class-system. Your Battle Brother’s skills and abilities are given by their equipment and level. You want to make an all ranged squad? The only limitations is whether it stands the test on the field of battle!
  • Detailed inventory system. Equip your Battle Brothers with weapons, arms, armor and powerful accessories.
  • What you see is what you get. Every piece of equipment your Battle Brothers are wearing is displayed on the tactical map. This allows for making your troops look like you really want them to!
  • Dynamic damage display. See your Battle Brothers smash shields, get their armor shredded to pieces or get beaten to a pulp! Of course the same goes for the enemies.
  • Full fledged crafting system. Find and research new crafting recipes, gather resources and craft deadly weapons and impenetrable armor.


Status:
The game is still in pre-alpha stage so nothing is final yet and there is a lot more to come! Still, we want to hear what you guys think about it and maybe you have some ideas on how to improve our game (questions are welcome too)! You can use this forum, our developers blog (www.battlebrothersgame.com) or connect with us on our social media channels (see signature for links).

Expect regular updates on our progression. Right now we are working on implementing a fully functional drag&drop inventory system so you can equip your soldiers with different weapons, armor, shields and so on. You can also pick up gear on the battlefield (very handy when your shield just got smashed by some crazy axeman).

Finally, here is a gameplay presentation video you should watch to get an idea of whats to come!


« Last Edit: May 07, 2015, 01:04:46 am by Jaysen » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2014, 03:55:50 pm »

I think you name dropped the wrong games. This looks more like Panzer General...
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2014, 12:52:41 am »

Hey Eobet,

don't get confused by the hex map!
The hex fields are about the only similarity between Battle Brothers and Panzer General (which is actually one of my favorite games). In our game you take control of individual characters that are like characters of an RPG party. Each has his own inventory and set of character statistics (from melee skill to stamina to moral), passive skills, active skills and so on, pretty much like in Jagged Alliance.
The combat maps are procedurally generated and are connected by an overarching worldmap where a lot of management and decision making takes place, the best comparison would be Xcom (the old one, not the new one by fireaxis Wink).

I hope we can show some more progress on the character screen, inventory system and worldmap soon. Then it will be much clearer in which direction we are going with the game!

Cheers!
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2014, 03:35:44 am »

But you are confusing people by using a Panzer general (and its ilk) aesthetic!

You can't show me one thing and then say it's the other. If it's X-com, I want full body representations, isometric graphics, so it not only looks more real, but so that I can make better tactical judgements. Right now, with your abstraction, I feel like I can only make strategic decisions.
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2014, 05:28:05 am »

Hi Eobet,

you are right with aesthetics, they definitely have that unity of command vibe going! The reason behind this is that we are a very small (4 guys) indie team that is working on this game. Out of necessity we had to go for a simplified (or abstracted) graphics style if you will. There were simply not enough resources for complete body models with animations and all. That is actually the main reason for this decision. I hope you can relate to that?

Although, the graphical stlye is somewhat similar to unity of command or panzer general (or any other hexbased wargame for that matter), the whole gameplay, the mechanics, basically everything behind it, does not have much in common with panzer general.  The whole gamedesign is much closer to Xcom or Jagged Alliance and that is why we chose that comparison.

To sum up, it was definitely not our intention to confuse people with the art style. We actually did not think that that could happen. So sorry for the confusion and i hope i was able to explain it a little better!

Cheers
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 01:13:52 am »

Battle Brothers Devblog Update #1 - Character Stats in the game

Hey there,

in this devblog entry we want to talk a little about the character stats of your Battle Brothers in the game.

DESIGNING THE CHARACTER STATS
The character stats are a core part of the whole game design as they determine how combat plays out and how your characters perform on the battlefield. Differences in stats also distinguish to a large part individual characters and help building personalities – for example you start thinking of a Brother with high hitpoints as “the tough guy” or of the one one with the high ranged skill as “the sharpshooter” and so on. Of course, it also helps giving each guy a custom name, which you can do in the game, and outfitting him with custom armor that befits his role. Each game you will start with a new band of Battle Brothers which have randomized stats for maximium replayability. Also, you can hire more throughout the game.

When designing the character stats it was important to us to find a balance between realism and abstraction. To start with, we had to ask ourselves some important questions like: what attributes actually make a good fighter in a medieval combat situation? How do we allow for combat role specializations without a restrictive class system? (we won’t have character classes in Battle Brothers) – and so on. The outcome is a set of stats that are all important for winning a fight, so there are no useless or neglectable stats, or “dump stats” as they are known. All stats work together to simulate a quasi-medieval combat as authentically as possible while keeping it fun, transparent and decently fast paced.

By the way: Your enemies in the game have the exact same stats as your Battle Brothers, and work within the same ruleset, although their actual values can vary greatly. The Undead for example are unaffected by fatigue, or can you imagine a skeleton stopping to catch breath?

So lets go into the middle of things:

STAT OVERVIEW AND DESCRIPTION
Action Points: Action Points are used to perform actions on the battlefield, with movement and different skills having different costs. They are fully refreshed at the start of each turn. You can decide when to move and when to use a skill as long as you have the action points to do so – we don’t force you into rigid movement and action phases.

Melee skill: This is the skill that makes a good melee combatant. It determines the base probability of hitting an enemy with a melee attack. Before the attack is resolved, the enemy’s defense stat is subtracted from the total.

Ranged skill: The equivalent of the melee skill but used for attacks with ranged weapons like bows and crossbows – invaluable for a ranger type character.

Defense: Defense is subtracted from the attacker’s chance to hit before resolving an attack. Equipment like shields will drastically increase this stat, and some characters and enemies have a higher natural skill in evading blows than others.

Stamina and Fatigue: Fatigue is gained by performing any kind of action or being hit in combat. It is reduced at a fixed rate each turn. The maximum fatigue depends on the stamina value and the type of armor worn (heavy armor reduces the fatigue maximum). If characters accumulate too much fatigue they may need to rest (i.e. do nothing) before being able to use more specialized skills again. While fatigue management becomes important in longer battles, and high fatigue will limit your tactical options, worry not – your Battle Brothers will always be able to perform atleast a basic attack and you’ll never have just sit idly by and wait.

Hitpoints: Give the total damage a character can take before dying, after all armor is gone. You should always keep an eye on the hitpoints as there is permadeath in the game. Once a Battle Brother is dead he will be lost for good..

Armor: Armor is worn on body and head. When the according body part is hit, armor points are reduced instead of hitpoints, for as long as there is any armor left. Once the armor points reach 0, the armor is destroyed and useless until the end of the battle. Armor also reduces maximum fatigue.

Morale: Morale is used for morale checks at the start of each turn, as well as when especially terrifying enemies use some special skills. Unpassed checks can lead to a character wavering and ultimately fleeing away from enemies, although they may eventually rally again. Slaying enemies will raise morale, while getting hit or seeing allies fall in battle will lower it. Of course, the same goes for enemies, so you might just aim to break their morale instead of fighting to the death.

Initiative: Initiative is calculated each turn based on action points and current fatigue. The character with the highest initiative performs his actions first, then all others follow in descending order. Managing your fatigue well can give you can edge, as the more exhausted a character is, the later he is able to act next turn.

Passive Skills and Levels: Characters will be able to level up and learn a wide variety of passive skills. We’ll explain this feature in detail in a later blog article!

FINAL THOUGHTS
So there you have a rough overview over the stats we use in Battle Brothers. In a following article we will explain how these stats work together inside the combat mechanics. So stay tuned and let us know what you think!

For good measure here is a screenshot of a Necromancer with his skeleton horde. If you want to find out more about height levels, check out our new

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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2014, 04:22:09 am »

Are the archers use daggers or swords in melee?
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2014, 05:22:55 am »

Are the archers use daggers or swords in melee?

It is possible to change weapons during the fight so you can switch to any melee weapon in your inventory. There is a complete inventory system with slots for left hand, right hand, body armor, head armor and accessories, you just cant see it yet (working on it!). You can equip your own soldiers with whatever weapons you want and then switch them when enemies are coming close. Any combination of weapons is possible.

The same goes for the enemies. Skeleton archers are usually equipped with a dagger for melee and will switch if you are coming too close.

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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2014, 08:15:38 am »

Jaysen, I wouldn't be worried about the comparison to Panzer General or Unity of Command. This game is clearly on a very different scale. It's a tactical skirmish between very small parties, where as Panzer General and Unity of Command are grand strategic engagements between whole armies. I didn't even begin to make the comparison till it was brought up. The difference is most apparent in the map, which very clearly informs us of the scale of this game. The use of  game piece style busts is appropriate here if you don't have the resources to make full animated art.

Oh, also, this looks fun!
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2014, 11:02:18 am »

Thanks for the support! The differences will become even more obivous once we can show some screenshots of our inventory system and the worldmap. Hopefully we can present some progression on those elements next week. Glad you like what we made so far!
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2014, 11:57:02 am »

I really like what you guys have so far! I'll be watching this closely!
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2014, 03:23:11 am »

Thanks for the support!

Here is a small update on what we are working right now: Character and inventory screen!

We are making good progress and hope it will be in the game within the next two weeks. The screen will be used to equip your brothers with arms and armor as well as manage their level-ups and skills. Note that the screen is not skinned yet, this is just WIP Wink

In the screen attached you can see the paperdoll with item slots on the left, the character stats on the right and on the bottom you see all available battle brothers to switch quickly. A click on the bottom bar "stash" will exchange the list of battle brothers with a list of all available equipment! Then you just drag and drop all the equip on the equipment slots and thats it!

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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2014, 04:43:24 am »

This looks really interesting, and it is suprising how well the style of your characters with only showing the upper body, actually works.
Can't wait to see more!
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2014, 06:05:13 pm »

I'm torn on the unit art, it's kinda neat, but also kinda odd Smiley Any plans for MP?
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2014, 12:14:48 am »

Hi, yeah the unit art takes some time to get used to. Main reason for not showing the whole body is limited resources (sad reason, i know). Right now we are reworking the "bases" or pedestals the characters are standing on so that they stand out more from the background. Hopefully that will clear up the visuals a bit!
Benefit of just showing the upper body is that you can really see the faces in more detail, so we got that going for us, which is nice Wink

MP is not planned as of now. Although it certainly would make sense to pit your gang of Battle Brothers against each other - well see what the future holds!
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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2014, 03:28:22 am »

Quick update: Our art guy just started his own art corner where you find insights on the artworks and designs behind the game. If you are into game-art give it a shot! Of course you can ask any sorts of art-related questions there:
http://battlebrothersgame.com/forums/topic/pauls-art-corner/#post-346
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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2014, 12:49:42 am »

Dev Blog Update #3 "Designing the Combat System for Battle Brothers" for your reading pleasure.

When coming up with the game design for Battle Brothers we instantly knew that the tactical combat will need a huge amount of attention. The tactical combat is where you put your tactics, your equipment and of course your battle hardened Brothers to the test. This core part of the game always has to be fun, and not a tedious chore you have to chew threw in order to progress in the game.

With this in mind we set some basic rules, or “mantras”, for the tactical combat design. I think these mantras can apply to many games and should, in some form or another, always be on your mind when designing your combat system.

Repetitivity

Is the combat system repetitive? Are there always similar enemies, similar surroundings and similar tactics? Read more...

To avoid this we took a couple of measures. First of all, the combat maps are completely procedurally generated. No two maps will ever feel the same, look the same or play the same (mind that procedural generation poses some challenges to designers and programmers, maybe we cover that issue in a later article). Secondly, there is a wide variety of terrain types like grassland, dense forest, swamps, roads and so on. Each terrain has different aspects to it like hindering sight, movement or combat abilities, that make fighting on it feel different. In the same vein, we have different height levels, and positioning on these means advantages and disadvantages when engaging an enemy on a different height level. Finally, there is a large variety of enemies each with unique skills, AI and combat behaviour.

These three factors interlock and multiply each other allowing for nearly unlimited combinations of map, terrain and enemies that the player has to adapt to without being able to use a single dominant strategy that fits every situation. This way the designers do not have to haul in crazy amounts of content to keep things spicy. Even with massive resources handcrafting all content is bound to produce repetitivity (compare the repetitive maps of XCOM:EU to the randomized maps of the original X-Com).

Linearity

Is there a dominant strategy or tactic that works best for the player in almost all situations?

If yes, then combat quickly becomes boring, dull and linear. The player just does the same in every battle, and that, for us, is the opposite of fun. This one is tricky. Once players start min-maxing the combat they will do everything to find dominant strategies and spread them to other players. The solution is to two-fold.

First, make sure that there is a variety of viable playstyles. This has to do with thorough balancing and playtesting and is just hard work. We want to make sure that each option, each weapon and piece of armor, brings something valuable and ideally unique to the player’s tactical repertoire, and that there is no piece of equipment that is just plain worse than another one in every situation. A linear equipment progression takes away choice from the player, because the answer is always obvious - but by applying pros and cons to the equipment, we want to enable the player to find for him or herself what works best in a given situation. For example, while heavy armor offers more protection than light armor, the wielder also becomes exhausted more quickly and unable to use more specialized skills in quick succession. Both heavy and light armor are valid choices, but they require different playstyles and are suited to different situations.

Secondly, put enemies in the game that counter dominant strategies so the player has to adapt (we call them “combo-breakers” internally). For example: Putting your armored and shield-bearing Battle Brothers in front and those with ranged weapons in the back, so that they are protected, is a common sense strategy that works well against basic enemies as long as you can avoid being flanked. Now imagine an enemy that exploits this exact strategy and turns it into a disadvantage for the player.
A while ago we put in an enemy called “Withered Vampire” that uses his special ability “Dark Flight” to turn into a swarm of bats to basically teleport behind the front line and pick off isolated and weak targets - usually the player’s archers - one by one in close combat. The vampire, although not a weak enemy by any means, isn’t even that strong in terms of hitpoints or the amount of damage he does - a few good hits will kill him. What makes him so dangerous an opponent is by far and large that he challenges the dominant position of the frontline-backline strategy that works so well against other opponents, and that the player has to adapt tactics here or be punished. Now, imagine further that a vampire appears together with a few skeletons - again, the player has to adapt to find a strategy that counters both types of opponents at the same time as best as possible. Of course, this is just one example of how to use combo-breaker against certain strategies.

Difficulty

This is a pretty obvious but still important one. If combat is too easy it gets boring, if it is too difficult it quickly gets frustrating. A lot of balancing is required, from beginning to the end of the development cycle, until we’ll be satisfied that the challenge and progression feels right for the player. Yet, who exactly is the player? It could be anyone from a genre novice to a hardened veteran, and that’s why we’ll go with various difficulty levels for the final game. What we won’t do is inflate enemy hitpoints or just have them inflict more damage; that, to us, feels like lazy game design that more often than not doesn’t even make the game more difficult, but only more tedious and random. Instead, we think that more interesting ways to make things challenging for the advanced players are savegame restrictions (ironman), resource limitations (less money, less gear, etc), more enemies in encounters or late game enemies appearing earlier in the game, slower healing times for wounded Brothers and so forth. Turning off permadeath in the game will not be an option for us as it is an integral part of our gamedesign.

Realism / Plausibility

This mantra can be summed up in a simple sentence: “what makes sense in real life makes sense in the game”. Now of course, there are no undead trying to eat you alive in reality but we’re talking combat mechanics here. If you have the high ground you have an advantage, and conversely, fighting against someone on high ground gives you a disadvantage. Being on high ground also allows you to see futher (beyond obstacles that would otherwise block your view), and arrows will travel further as well if you’re shooting downhill.



Trying to shoot someone in the second line will be difficult without hitting the guy standing in the first line - this can be both a handicap, if that guy happens to be one of your own, and something you can take advantage of: if you’re firing into a tight formation of enemies, chances are good you’ll hit someone. Attacking anyone from multiple sides will make it difficult for him to defend himself.

All these factors and more are already in the game and we hope that eventually the player will feel intuitively how the combat works without requiring him or her to study a lengthy manual or rely on intrusive UI for every little detail. So before putting any mechanic into the combat system, we always put it to the reality test. If the player does not get it, it produces frustration and forces the player out of his way to study some information instead of playing the game. This is also a very important aspect regarding immersion. An intuitively understandable combat system greatly helps with creating a dense and believable atmosphere.

Predictability

Is the outcome of a combat action perfectly predictable?

You can go either way on this one depending of what kind of game you are designing. The one extreme would be checkers where every action has a completely pre-determined result, without any randomness involved. The other would be a completely random diceroll that determines the outcome where you can never tell what will happen.

High predictability produces more of a puzzle game where you are trying to find the optimal solution for any given situation. This allows for a lot of mathematical minded gaming, of min-maxing and number comparison which can take away from what the game actually tries to portray (pseudo-medieval combat) in favour of exposing how the simulation works internally (numbers!). This is something we aren’t entirely comfortable with. With Battle Brothers we want a bit of both worlds. A certain amount of predictability to make planning ahead viable and to reduce frustration caused by random events completely outside of the player’s control, but mixed with some randomness (dice rolls) and incomplete information (hidden numbers) to create suspense, unexpected situations, to make the player feel very subjectively that an enemy is strong against any particular strategy instead of just going “omg! it has 9000 hitpoints!”, and finally, to keep players on their toes at all times.

Freedom of choice

Is the player forced to make certain decisions? How close does he have to stick to the rules?

As with the last point this is a decision where there is no wrong or right. We decided to go with a more open system allowing the player to experiment with certain playstyles as he or she likes. This is why we have no rigid classes for the Battle Brothers in the game. The active skills any Brother has at his disposal are determined by equipment. This way the player is free to experiment with any combination thereof - for example, going with an all ranged squad with no melee fighters. On the flipside, this also allows for the player to fail miserably. Yet, we want that kind of freedom in our game since it is all about YOU, the player, and how your story unfolds and not about something we made up and you have to “re-enact”. We embrace that failing at this game (and learning from your mistakes) is part of the gameplay, just like succeeding is. In this way, the game runs counter to some of the more recent game design philosophies of not having the player fail and always allowing him or her to progress. We are convinced that this grade of freedom allows for awesome and unique stories and a fresh feeling everytime you start a new game even if it means that the game is less accessible to players new to the genre.

In the next part of the devblog we will lay out the details of the combat system in the game so you can see how the mantras above found their way into the actual combat mechanics.
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« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2014, 01:51:19 am »

This looks pretty cool, but at the moment it looks like the characters have sunk into the ground. Maybe raise them up a bit and put more of a chess piece base under the character art?
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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2014, 06:54:17 am »

Hey, actually we have been working on the bases and been improving them to make them stick out better.
We experimented with various styles and ended up with the ones in the picture below. We have to try them out a little in the game to see if they are working out!

Let me know what you think!
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« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2014, 11:40:04 am »

This is my first time looking at this devlog.

When I saw the pictures in the opening message I thought "It looks so weird that there are squads of torsos fighting each other", and it took me a long while to realize they were actually pawns with a base.

The grey ones you are now showing look like a step in the right direction (they stand out more on the green, but they are going to get lost on the brown mud). You might want to consider "white marble" bases or giving the characters (and their base) a bright outline that stands out from your ground tiles (ie. not black, brown or grey).

Another thing that works better with the new base is that the top right skeleton respects the edges more, so it's easy to see the circular shape of the base. The same cannot be said about the bottom-center guy whose shape perfectly blends with the base.
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