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Jaysen
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« Reply #100 on: September 15, 2014, 01:30:55 PM »

This week we want to share an update on our Greenlight campaign and some info on our "contracts" system that will replace the classical "quests" as you know them from other games. If you have any ideas on the contract sytem let us know!

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Dev Blog #26: Contracts and Greenlight Update

It’s been one week now since we launched on Steam Greenlight, and what a ride it’s been! According to Steam, we’re now 63% on the way to the top 100. Not too shabby for one week, but still a long way to go before being greenlit. Thank you all for your support so far!

If you haven’t voted for us already, please do so here



Only with your help can we get the game on Steam, which would allow us to work on it full-time and make progress much faster. If you know others who might be interested in Battle Brothers, please do share the link!

So, that’s that. For now, let us take a look at contracts, which in Battle Brothers work much like quests do in other RPGs, and how they shape the game.

Mercenary Contracts
Contracts fulfill an important role in Battle Brothers. You'll lead a band of mercenaries, after all, and contracts are what you do for work most of the time. Since the game has an open world, contracts are also important to give the player a sense of direction. You'll be able to freely travel and explore the world at your pace, and you won't have to take up any contracts as long as you can afford to pay and feed your men with the spoils you find. However, you should also never feel lost, not knowing what to do next; in a world torn up by war, there should be plenty of work available for a mercenary company.

Just as the worldmap and all the tactical battle maps are procedurally generated and will never look the same, so are contracts procedurally generated and don't follow a scripted linear order. Importantly, though, contracts aren't just random missions thrown at you. They are the result of what really is going on in the world; if a caravan travels on a long journey through dangerous lands, it will offer an escort contract. If a village is constantly being raided by bandits, it will offer a contract for protection. The bandits won't be spawned just for the duration of the contract and to entertain the player - they'll really be raiding the village beforehand, and the contract being offered is a reaction to them. Defeating their raiding parties will really lower bandit activity for a while, and burning down their camp may end it completely. It's important for us that all contracts are embedded into our dynamic open world and allow the player to really make a change, to have a real impact on the world, and not just grind random missions one after the other. At least for now, you’ll also only be able to accept one contract at a time - we want to avoid that feeling of having an endless list of quests which you just work through, not even remembering where you got it and why you’re doing it. If you haven't seen it already, this blog post explains in more detail our open world mechanics.



It can be hard for procedurally generated contracts to compete with a linear campaign in terms of pacing and atmosphere. Contracts need to offer enough variety and change to last a whole campaign, and not grow boring and repetitive after a while. Our contracts are generated from a variety of variables which hopefully will offer virtually endless combinations together with the different locations they take place at. Contracts can vary from short time assignments, like escorting a person or caravan, hunting down a group of beasts, scouting an area or destroying an encampment, to long time assignments, like protecting a whole region for two weeks. Even changing a little thing like the payment modality could change how individual missions play out; if you're promised 10 silver crowns for every orc head, you might want to take more risks to hunt down every last one as opposed to when you're promised a flat sum for destroying the orc raiding party, no matter if a few orcs can get away. Furthermore, we will present each contract offer with a paragraph of story to set the mood. Contracts will never just be a few bare bulletpoints, a price and an accept button. Instead it will be villagers telling you of their ails, or a lord with a proposition.

If you have any questions or ideas for contracts we should include, let us know here in the forums!
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« Reply #101 on: September 15, 2014, 02:29:04 PM »

Man I love how ambitious you guys are being with the campaign map Smiley It's really got my hooked already, day one buy/pre purchase!!! which is rare for me these days

Great Job... whens the next demo/alpha stuff?
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« Reply #102 on: September 15, 2014, 04:35:50 PM »

The contract ideas seem like a great start. I'm glad you're using the world's events to generate the quests. It will help a lot with the immersion into your game world.

Since you asked for ideas:

Try to make some contracts have results that can spawn a sequence of further contracts. For instance, if you fail a contract protecting a caravan during a bandit raid, some of the caravan's members are abducted or some valuables stolen that need to be regained. This could create a contract to redeem your band by finding the bandit hideout and returning the stolen goods. While raiding the hideout you discover additional captives. Some of which request you return them to their homes for reward. I'm sure you guys could come up with more interesting/imaginative contract chains that could branch out in many directions. The contracts still might not measure up story-wise to a well written linear tale, but would be more engrossing than one-off missions.

I'm working on a small project myself and am implementing a quest system. One thing I'm going to use is a Reknown/Relations system in regards to quests from specific factions. Quest availability and reward value from a faction is increased if the player is more Reknown (a world-wide statistic, increased as the player gains levels, completes quests, and obtains achievements) and is on good Relations (has successfully completed quests for the specific faction as opposed to against it) with the faction. I'm not sure how well this would work in your game due to it encouraging a sort of allegiance to particular groups, but maybe you can modify the concept to work for you.
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« Reply #103 on: September 16, 2014, 03:30:21 AM »

Hi Knifey, thanks for the support! Next step will be Early Access (if we get greenlit) by the end of the year. Sometimes we are thinking about updating the combat demo but that would be a bunch of work not going into developing the game so chances are slim we going to do it!

Hi Yngram, great input there!
I personally really like the idea of modular "chains" of contracts and events. That would indeed allow for great variety while still creating bigger events and give an impression of consquences. Also, as you never know in which direction (or if at all) the chain will branch off it stays interesting.

We have been pondering about a renown/fame system for a while but casted it aside as we didnt manage to implement it in a meaningful way. However, the idea is still hovering around and we might eventually come back to it!
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« Reply #104 on: September 24, 2014, 05:13:55 AM »

By popular request, we give an introduction to our AI this week.

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Dev Blog #27: AI in Battle Brothers, Part 1

This week things get more technical as we shine a light on the Artifical Intelligence, or AI, that controls opponents in the game.

If you’ve played the later scenarios of the combat demo, you may have found the AI serviceable already. Once we have all the core mechanics of the game in place and things won’t change around all the time anymore, we’ll invest more work into the AI in order to have it actually stand out. Let’s find out how it works exactly.

Our goals
As we stated before, our goal is to have different enemies feel distinct to fight against. We don’t want enemies to differ merely in a few stats, such as having more or less hitpoints. There are two ways to achieve this, as we see it; the first one is having unique skills that give enemies tools to challenge the player in different ways, and that require the player to formulate different tactics to overcome. The second one is having enemies behave differently, as determined by their AI.

With the AI we take a simulationist approach, meaning that we try to tailor the behavior of enemies to simulate a behavior befitting what they are in the context of the game world.


Zombies, for example, have an intentionally gimped AI. They don’t care if they’re stuck in swamp, have a height disadvantage or are outnumbered. They’ll just charge into the nearest opponent and won’t even make use of the more specialized skills of their weapons. In other words, they’re stupid. By being this stupid, however, they also feel more unique an opponent and more like you would expect the typical zombie to behave. If you play your cards right, you can outsmart a group of zombies much larger than your group.


On the other hand there are skeletons, their undead relatives. We decided that skeletons should have more of a cold and efficient intelligence, governed by faded memories of long gone battles and military exercise. Skeletons do care about the terrain they are on and about height advantages. They also make full use of their equipment; they form a shieldwall if pelted with arrows from afar or if outnumbered, they use axes to split shields if they can not hit their opponents otherwise, they use their shields to knock down opponents from elevated positions to claim them for themselves, and they might even decide to hold a defensible position instead of charging into the fray.

What skeletons don’t do is lying in ambush or do long-winded flanking maneuvers. Such tactics, for us, don’t really fit the undead. Instead, it will be the living opponents who’ll employ them. Goblins, for example, will put great emphasis on setting up ambushes and doing hit-and-run tactics.


How it works
Battle Brothers has a utility-based AI with relative utility. I’ll explain what the hell that means below, but if you’re really interested in the technical details, I can recommend this great presentation from Kevin Dill and Dave Mark explaining the concept in detail.

Every type of enemy has a bunch of potential behaviors to choose from whenever it is his turn to act. As an example, let us consider this hypothetical scenario: We are a skeleton, armed with an axe and a shield, and face a Battle Brother who has his shield up.


For simplicity’s sake, we can choose between the following three behaviors:

  • Doing a Chop attack to injure or kill our opponent
  • Using Split Shield to get rid of our opponent’s shield
  • Using Shieldwall for protection

So what behavior do we choose? We’ll look at each possible behavior to determine how much sense it makes to use it in this very situation, how useful it is to us, or in other words, how high its utility is. All these considerations need to be quantified so that we can compare between numbers. For the sake of this example, let us rate any behavior in our situation on a scale of 1 to 10. This number is our relative utility.

Do we do the chop attack?
The higher the chance to hit and the more damage we can do, the more we want to just attack. On the other hand, if our chances to score a hit are low, then we aren’t that enthusiastic about doing an attack. We have a low chance to hit our opponent here because his shield is up, so the utility score of an attack would be relatively low, let’s say 3.

Do we split our opponent’s shield in two?
The harder our opponent is to hit, the more we want to get rid of his shield. If his shield is poor or battered already, that’s even more reason to get it out of the way. On the other hand, if we have but a small hatchet and our opponent has a knightly shield, attempting to split his shield may be a waste of time. Because here our opponent has his shield up and makes it difficult to hit his body, the utility of destroying his shield and thereby increasing our chance to hit with following attacks is high, let’s say a 9.

Do we use shieldwall?
If we are at any kind of disadvantage, whether because of terrain or because we are outnumbered, we want to give ourselves more protection. Using shieldwall is helpful in our little duel, but we could just as well do another attack instead – we’ll give it an average score of 5.

In reality, there are a lot more considerations going on, of course, but this is the basic idea. As you probably already figured out, there isn’t just one single behavior that viably applies to our situation. In fact, often there isn’t even one behavior that can be said to be the best for a given situation.

After all possible behaviors have been considered and given a utility score like above, they’re entered into a pool. Everything with a utility score of 2 or lower is thrown out so that we don’t pick a behavior that really makes little to no sense in our situation. Then, we pick one by weighted random. Every behavior in the pool could be picked, but the higher the utility, the more likely it is to be picked. Think of throwing a dart on the pie chart below; it’s most likely to hit the Split Shield part, but you could hit any of the other two as well.


This way, we always have an element of unpredictability in how the AI behaves. The AI won’t always do the same in every situation, and it can on occasion surprise you. But it will attempt to do what are the most sensible things to do in the very specific situation it is in.


There is more?
Yes, quite a lot in fact. This part covered the basics and should give an idea on how the AI works on a basic level and why it doesn’t do the same thing all the time. In a possible later article we may look in more detail at specific parts of the AI and how they contribute to enemies that feel unique to fight against.
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« Reply #105 on: October 02, 2014, 06:53:42 PM »

Let's talk music!

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Dev Blog #28: Music in Battle Brothers

With our Steam Greenlight campaign still running and us busy working on the strategic worldmap, this week we’ll get some insight into how music is created for Battle Brothers and how it helps to shape the experience of playing the game.

We’ll give the floor to Dennis and Patrick, our talented musicians from Breakdown Epiphanies, who will give you a tour of the music in Battle Brothers in their own words and even reveal several brand new tracks for you to listen to. If you want to be always up to date regarding new tracks for Battle Brothers, you can also follow them on Soundcloud or Twitter. But for now, let’s listen in..


Introduction

Hi there! Today we, Dennis and Patrick from Breakdown Epiphanies, get the opportunity to talk about our musical background and give you a little insight on the music we’ve been writing for Battle Brothers. On top of that we’re happy to share some new tracks that offer a first impression of the games’ upcoming features like the strategic world map, the Orc faction and villages.

We have been making music together for more than ten years now, mostly in rock/hardcore bands but we always experimented with more electronic sounds and production on the side. The other thing we did a lot of since our childhood was playing video games. We share dear memories of some themes from games like Terranigma, Secret of Mana, Unreal or Shining Force.

Early this year we decided that it was time for a leap of faith, to put us out there and talk to game developers all around the web. Luckily, we ended up meeting the awesome guys from Overhype Studios who not only work on an incredibly promising game but also live (for the most part) in our hometown, Hamburg. Battle Brothers immediately struck a nerve with us due to its charming art style and its reminiscence of the old X-Com and Jagged Alliance games. So we stacked up on new digital instruments, orchestra- and scoring libraries, started learning about orchestration and began composing.

As Battle Brothers’ gameplay revolves mostly around desperate battles to the (perma-)death, the soundtrack has to convey a sense of danger and tension. So the general mood we aimed for was reasonably dark while still evoking a notion of adventure and exploration. The first thing we came up with ended up to be

which already points in this general direction.


Worldmap

At the moment, the guys from Overhype are working overtime on the game’s strategic world map layer so we are happy to present our first track for this slice of gameplay. We really wanted to emphasize the feeling of exploration and discovery on this one. The player should immediately recognize this as a part of the game that has its own pacing and set of choices. For the sake of continuity the harp used in the menu theme plays a role in this one, too, starting out with a short, memorable cue that can be identified with changing screens to the world map.



We plan on having several tracks playing in this section of the game, so certain themes can be put out of or added to the rotation depending on the players progress, i.e. the music will become more dramatic and sombre as the threat of the “Greater Evil” conquering the lands becomes more imminent.


Tactical Combat

The music accompanying tactical combat has to be a totally different beast. Players will have to focus and concentrate on small decisions over a long period of time and the soundtrack isn’t supposed to dominate the experience and to distract from the core-gameplay. Nevertheless battles are supposed to feel tense and hazardous and each faction will have it’s identity reflected in the choice of instrumentation and style.



Regarding the Orc faction we had a lot of established tropes to play around with: Orcs are perceived as chaotic, fierce, almost savage-like opponents, yet they usually maintain a sort of military hierarchy. Our track ended up being a mix of soundscape and score, dominated by menacing drums but interrupted by swift tribal percussion. Generally we went with a lot of low end on this one, from the staccato celli and upright basses to deep drone-sounds and a (hopefully memorable) brass cue.


Villages

Last, but not least, you can have a listen to the first village theme. It will play in the background as our fellow Battle Brothers stack up on equipment and hire new recruits. We grabbed our guitar for this one and came up with a classical medieval sounding finger picking piece. The time that players spend in villages and towns will hopefully be a welcome opportunity to relax between all those deadly battles.




Also..

We hope you enjoy the tunes! If you want to be kept in the loop regarding new tracks for Battle Brothers, follow us on Soundcloud or Twitter. We’ll be regularly sharing our new compositions up to the game’s release.
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« Reply #106 on: October 09, 2014, 10:25:01 AM »

Things are moving along.

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Dev Blog #29: Greenlight, Greenskins and Persistent Campaigns

It’s been one month now since we’ve launched on Steam Greenlight. Time to give you an update: we’re at 91% of the way to the top 100. So close and yet so far. Unfortunately, daily votes for us have slowed down considerably by now, so if you haven’t casted your vote yet, please do so here and share the link with your friends. Thanks!



On the bright side, we’ve made great progress on the game itself these past two weeks. We now have actual persistent campaigns and no longer just separate combat scenarios. Also, Greenskins!

Persistent Campaigns

Battle Brothers consists of two major parts, the tactical combat and the strategic worldmap. So far, both of those have been existing more or less on their own. The tactical combat was prototyped first and tested by many of you in our combat demo to get the fighting right. The strategic worldmap simulation has also had a life of its own over the past few months – villages trade, bandits raid and militia struggle to keep order, all without much player involvement. Now, finally, we’ve connected both of these parts.



We’re now able to play an actual campaign and take the same band of Battle Brothers from battle to battle as we roam the world. Whether we’re engaging our opponents in a forest, in a swamp or on a road leading over plains on the worldmap, the procedurally generated tactical combat maps reflect this. They also change their ambient lighting to match the time of day on the worldmap. Weather isn’t in yet, but it will soon follow!

Of course, we can also keep the equipment we loot between battles and the experience our Battle Brothers gather from battle now has actual meaning. The campaign can now also be saved and loaded at any time on the worldmap. So, milestone reached. The next step to a complete game.

Greenskins!

While all of that was going on, we also finished the design on Orcs and Goblins. We’re very happy with how they turned out – they have a lot of unique mechanics, their own equipment and behavior. Orcs and Goblins fight very different from each other, and very different from the Undead. Also, just like Battle Brothers, they are subject to fatigue and morale. We’ll give a proper introduction to Orcs and Goblins in separate blog posts, including some of their lore, units, skills and equipment. For now, have a teaser of a goblin with and without heavy armor.



Also, if you’ve played the combat demo in and out, feel safe in the knowledge that our upcoming Early Access version will allow you to fight a dozen different Greenskin variants and no longer just the Undead!
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« Reply #107 on: October 13, 2014, 04:20:24 AM »



After just a little more than a month on Steam Greenlight we made it - Battle Brothers has just been given the green light!

We are extremely happy and excited about how fast things went down in the end and we want to take the time to give you guys a big THANK YOU for all the support, comments, votes, encouraging messages and of course for spreading the word!

Without the engagement, effort and enthusiasm of you guys this would not have been possible!

Now we can again point all our resources towards game development itself.

Next stop: Early Access in January

With the latest Greenlight success we can now look ahead to the upcoming Battle Brothers Early Access version. If all goes to plan you can expect it in January 2015 on Steam. The EA will contain a fully playable campaign with all core mechanics in place. Of course, it will still miss content from the full game and some secondary features. As we get nearer to release, we’ll let you know in a dedicated article what exactly is going to be in the Early Access version and what will be added later, so you can get all hyped up about it Wink


Indie RPG Developer Reddit AMA on Sunday, October 19th

Want to learn more about the guys behind Battle Brothers? Want to know how Indie RPGs are developed in general? Have a question for us about anything? Want to get to know other great games?

Then don't miss the Ask Me Anything, or AMA, we're doing on reddit together with the bros from Graal Seeker, That Which Sleeps and Dungeon Kingdom.

The AMA will be on Sunday, October 19th at 4pm GMT (17:00 CET, 11am EST). We'll let you know about the link on our Dev Blog, on our Twitter Channel and on Facebook in a few days.


Thank you all again and keep reading the dev blogs - we have a lot more stuff up our sleeves!
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« Reply #108 on: October 13, 2014, 05:44:05 AM »

Congratulations on being greenlit. You guys deserve it.

It's great to see the different pieces of gameplay are starting to coming together as well.
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« Reply #109 on: October 13, 2014, 06:42:27 AM »

Grats on the greenlight! Looking forward to the early access. Game looks great.
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« Reply #110 on: October 13, 2014, 07:34:43 AM »

Yay , exciting times, looking forward to it. Probably one of the few games I will EA :D
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« Reply #111 on: October 16, 2014, 02:18:19 AM »

Thanks guys!

We are really happy to get back to game development. There is just so much more to come before we can start the Early Access.

We just implemented battle statistics that will be shown after each tactical combat. There you will be able to see which brother dealt the most damage, killed how many enemies, leveled up or got wounded. Another big step towards the campaign integration. Well keep you updated!
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« Reply #112 on: October 26, 2014, 03:03:52 AM »

Im pretty sure everyone is tired of the undead by now so im really happy to present a completely new faction: The Orcs.

Ill just post our according dev log with all the background info, skill descriptions and so on. Hope you like what we came up with and maybe let me know what you think or if you have any ideas about the faction.

Also, there are more Orcs that we already have in the game but are not in the dev blog, well show you later!

Quote
Dev Blog #30: Orc Faction Reveal


We’ve gotten many a question regarding the enemy diversity in Battle Brothers. Until now we always had to put off these questions - but not any longer. We present to you the first major faction after the Undead: The Orcs!

The Orc faction has unique characters, skills, weapons and most of all tactics compared to the Undead and will force the player to challenge everything learned before. Lets get into some details.

Introduction
As long as humans remember there have been tensions with the wild Orc tribes that roam the surrounding lands. Orcs live as nomads, constantly on the move to support themselves by hunting, gathering and raiding anyone weaker than their tribe. They do not possess knowledge of agriculture or mining, relying instead on taking what they need from others. Indeed, Orcs are quick to take up weapons, and in Orc culture, he who spends time gathering, crafting or building when it is easier and faster to just take these things away from others is considered simple-minded. Life for an Orc, then, is to a large part establishing dominance over others and taking things for him or herself.

Although there are many distinct Orc tribes out there, they have a lot in common. They usually are ruled by the most powerful Orc in the tribe, a Warlord, that ascends to leadership by brute force and has to defend his claim also by leading the tribe to greater spoils. Therefore, different Orc tribes are constantly feuding each other and any alliances are usually short-lived.



As human settlements began to spread out, confrontations with the Orcs started to escalate quickly from smaller skirmishes into a full-out Orc invasion and subsequent war. The war ended with a costly human victory which had the Orcs withdraw from the settled lands and back into the wild. There, it didn't take long for the Orc tribes to begin feuding each other again and lose sight of the human lands. This is where they stayed until now, except for occasional raids on outlying farms and villages. Yet, many a man and woman live in fear of the day that the Orc tribes unite again and start an invasion, leaving nothing but burning rubble in its wake.

To make matters worse, Orcs are technically just one half of a larger faction, the Greenskins, with the other half being the Goblins. However, both Orcs and Goblins are highly autonomous and you'll only see them work together on rare occasions. One such occasion is an invasion, with the Greenskins being the Greater Evil in your game of Battle Brothers.

In battle Orcs tend to rush at the enemy and overwhelm them with the sheer power of their assault. Those who still stand after the initial onslaught find themselves disoriented and in a complete chaos. After the battle line has been dissolved, Orcs that put themselves in a battle frenzy by meditation and drugs rush in and finish what is left of the disorganized and shocked defenders.



Orc Physique
In Battle Brothers, Orcs are physically stronger than humans. An adult orc towers a human and has the strength to use weaponry and wear armor with great effect that would quickly tire out any human. With their strength, they also gain a percentage damage bonus to every attack - less for young Orcs , and more so for adult ones. While Orcs are subject to fatigue and morale, just like your Battle Brothers are, they have plenty of both, and it takes a while for an orc to run out of steam or realize that a battle has turned against him.

For many Orcs , their physicality is also expressed in their Charge skill. With this skill, Orcs can charge a Battle Brother over a short distance and hurl themselves against their target, stunning it for one turn. A Spearwall can repell charging Orcs and a Shieldwall can offer some protection against being stunned from the impact - but shields don't have a high life expectancy against Orcs, as their damage bonus also applies against shields.

Orcs focus entirely on the offense, where they excel. They use their skills to crush the player's battle line with raw force and have it quickly dissolve into a chaotic frenzy where they generally have the upper hand. For this reason, meeting an Orc warband head-on in open battle is usually a bad idea and will leave you at a disadvantage. On the other hand, Orcs neglect defense; while some of them will carry shields, they seldom make active use of them, prefering instead to attack. Due to their reckless fighting style and just physically being big targets, they're also easier to hit than other opponents. In prolongued engagements, or in up-hill battles, where defense matters more than offense, Orcs may suddenly see themselves at a disadvantage.

Orc Weapons and Armor
Orcs have their own distinct weapons and armor they wear, which matches their physique. They do know how to craft metal but are not particularly good at honing and refining their works. This is why Orc weapons are usually very heavy and lack balance - although the player can loot and use these weapons, they’re clearly not made for use by humans and are hard to use effectively but for the strongest of Battle Brothers. Orcish armor, however, can not be used by the player. The physiology of Orcs is just too different from humans, so no helmet or piece of armor would actually fit.



The rough and big Orc hands do not allow them to use ranged weapons like bows to great effect, and neither does it fit their mentality. They resort therefore to throwing weapons like javelins that have limited range but can inflict high damage also to armored targets and may even damage shields if they hit those.

Young Orc
Young Orcs make up the back bone of Orc society, as Orcs usually don't have a high life expectancy but are quite reproductive. They have relatively bright green skin because Orc skin tends to start out bright and gets increasingly darker over the years. Young Orcs are ferocious fighters that make up for their lack of experience and skill with pure strength and recklessness. You'll find them armed usually with one-handed weapons and sometimes light shields. Since they've yet to prove themselves and lay claim to spoils of battle, their equipment will consist of different types of leather armor that Orcs have the resources to produce themselves, and sometimes no armor at all. They're armed with lighter Orc weaponry and human weapons and shields they've scavenged from the fields of battle.



Orc Warrior
If a Young Orc survives long enough to grow to adult age, he may eventually become an Orc Warrior. As evident from their darker skin color and collection of scars, these seasoned fighters have a lot of combat experience and skill in addition to their great strength. Years of gathering spoils from raids and battle have allowed them to collect enough metal to have it melted and made into heavy metal armor, large Orc weaponry and often very heavy and durable metal shields.



Orc Warriors, perhaps also due to the massive armor they wear, do not charge opponents. Instead, they simply march into enemy ranks with their shields in front, pushing enemies out of their way and walking through an enemy battle line unimpressed in order to break it. It takes a formation two ranks deep to push against an Orc Warrior doing this, as one or even two humans alone can not compete in pure strength with an adult Orc Warrior.

Orc Berserker
Berserkers are Orcs that put themselves into a battle frenzy by taking drugs, potions or by hypnosis - and some of them are just straight up crazy. They can occasionally be found wandering alone on what could be described as pilgrimages to slay particularly dangerous beasts. If they succeed, they may wear parts of the slain beast as decoration, possibly also in the belief that it confers powers to them. However, other than these trophies, they don't wear any armor. Instead, some of them cover their body with war paintings that are supposed to channel the energy of spirits to protect them. Due to this, many berserkers have their bodies littered with scars telling of their exploits.



The unique ability of the Orc Berserker is that each time he hurts or kills an opponent, he gains "battle rage". With increasing battle rage, he gains damage to his attacks, increased bravery and initiative, and damage resistance. Each turn he loses some rage again. A berserker that can repeatedly hit or kill opponents and become enraged can spiral out of control and be very hard to take down.

Berserkers use a variety of Orc weapons, but no shields. Their most fearsome is a long and heavy chain with a big weight or striking head at the end that they swing recklessly around, mowing down foe and friend alike. Other Orcs respectfully prefer to stay clear of them if they can, especially if they swing around one of those chains. This often leaves Berserkers to fend for themselves at the flanks of a battle, just as they appear to hold a special position in Orc society outside of battle.




To be continued..

Those have been just three types of Orcs, but we have several more in store. Also, we’ll present the Orc faction in action in a commented gameplay video soon!

Until then let us know what you think about them so far and if you have any ideas for any additional Orc weapons, skills or classes!
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« Reply #113 on: November 02, 2014, 02:25:34 AM »

Good progress is beeing made over here! Have a look at the latest dev blog:

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Dev Blog #31: Progress Update - Orcs, UI, New Weapons


In this week’s update we have a lot of big and small additions to the game. The largest part was implementing all the skills, graphics, weapons and characters of the orcs into the game and to teach the AI how to make good use of all that. On top of that, we added a bunch of new weapons that have been outstanding for a while, and we implemented new UI features and elements. Lets go into some details...

Orc implementation

After last week’s faction reveal we’ve been busy putting all the orc assets into the game. Most of the work was not adding our greenskinned friends to the game themselves, but improving the AI to make the best use of all the nice and shiny new weapons and skills. The AI had to learn how to effectively manage and account for fatigue and morale which the undead did not have to do, as well as a lot of other tactical considerations to allow for the orcs to behave just like we want them to. As a nice side effect, the AI of the undead also benefitted from this and now has some new tricks up its sleeves.

We now have a line battle scenario in the game where a band of Battle Brothers faces off against a bloodthirsty band of orcs lead by a fearsome Orc Warlord. Hopefully we can show the ensuing battle, or massacre, in a commented gameplay video next week. As mentioned before, the orcs will require a drastic re-thinking of the tactics that were effective against the undead. Of course, in the full game campaign where you meet both orcs and undead, you’ll have to adapt quickly to any new enemy or you’re going to have a hard time.



UI - Drag & Drop and Combat Statistics

Another big chunk of work has been done on improving the UI and adding new features to it. A thing we’ve been working on for a while is the drag & drop mechanic for managing all your armor, weapons and equipment. This is actually more work than one might expect, but we’ll spare you the tricky details and just let you know that its in the game now Wink

A completely new feature that we can now check off our list is the combat result screen that shows after tactical combat. The screen shows two tabs: Statistics and Loot.



The statistics show all Battle Brothers that participated in this particular encounter. For each Brother you’ll see the damage dealt, the damage received, the number of enemies killed, the experience gained, the number of days a Brother will be wounded if he received any injuries and whether he gained a new level. All these stats are not only great for the player to see but they also help us evaluate the combat performance of various equipment set-ups.



The second screen shows the loot you found during that battle. Here you can directly drag & drop all the equipment into your stash from the battlefield. In the loot screen all equipment that has been dropped by enemies during combat will show up - so don’t worry about picking all the stuff up during battle. Also, you don’t have to run around the map after combat looking for any drops you might have missed.

New Weapons

As you all know there can never be enough weapons to cut down your enemies with, so we added a bunch more. Besides the orc weapons we added the Greataxe to the Battle Brothers armory. Even more exciting, we now have the first throwing weapon in the game: The Javelin. We have a whole bunch of throwing weapons on our backlog that will be added in time, but we’re happy to finally have the first of its kind working in the game.



The Greataxe is a two-handed battle axe that can be used both to devastate a single target as well as be swung around in a circle around a Battle brother, potentially hitting every adjacent tile. Another thing it excels at is destroying enemy shields. Most smaller shields wil be destroyed with a single strike of this heavy axe. Because the Round Swing attack hits friends and foes alike, the Greataxe is best used by separated Battle Brothers at the flank of a battle line so that they have enough room to use their axe to full effect. The attack also isn’t particularly accurate, so the Greataxe is best placed in the hands of an experienced man and not a freshly recruited farmhand who never held a weapon before.



Javelins are small throwing spears that can be carried in one hand and are usually thrown directly before close combat to weaken the enemies’ battle line. They come in small stacks of four but can be easily used and carried along a shield and one-handed weapon. This makes the javelins a great and flexible addition to most Battle Brothers’ equipment. Their range is rather short compared to arrows and bolts, and they are exhausting to throw. However, their damage is high even against armored targets. What is more, they can also damage enemy shields if they hit those, weakening them or even rendering light shields outright unusable. This makes them great tools to be thrown at the enemy battle line before engaging. Of course, the AI will now use Javelins as well, especially if you set up a nasty defensive Spearwall it has little interest in engaging head on.
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« Reply #114 on: November 10, 2014, 07:53:46 AM »

Want to see the Orcs in action? Have a look at this commented gameplay and watch me struggle against the green terror Wink

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Dev Blog #32: Orc Line Battle Video

We’ve talked a lot about the Orc faction so far. Now it’s time to see the greenskins in action!

Our new gameplay video covers a line battle against the orcs with full commentary from one of our devs. Expect a lot of carnage and get properly scared of the green menace! Also, we have a lot of new stuff in the video: Two-handed axes, javelins, battle statistics, and more. Go ahead and check it out:

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« Reply #115 on: November 13, 2014, 02:58:25 PM »

I like that you take under consideration every weapon's weakness and streghts, cool stuff Smiley

im curious tho - what are the advantages and disadvantages of helmets
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 03:06:10 PM by ANtY » Logged

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« Reply #116 on: November 14, 2014, 12:35:34 AM »

Yeah, i try and take the time to explain a lot but i have to be careful to not get carried away with it and play the damn game Wink

In medieval combat helmets are the most crucial part of combat equipment as the head is both very exposed and also extremely vulnerable. So going to combat without a helmet is pretty much suicide.

In Battle Brothers all characters have to hitzones: Head and Body. A Bodyarmor protects the body and, of course, a helmet the head. This works by adding "armor points" to the hitzone. These get reduced first before hitpoints are reduced. The chance to hit the head is a bit lower and is calculated for each attack that hits. At the same time, hits to the head to 50% increased damage - thats our equivalent of "critical hits".

So a helmet both protects your second hitzone as well as giving protection against critical hits. In the game you see three bars for each character: Two grey ones (head and Body armor) and a red one (health) so you can keep track of the remaining points easily.
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« Reply #117 on: November 14, 2014, 02:21:03 AM »

Great Video - some querys/suggestions if you don't mind Smiley

Percentage to hit - Do you think showing percentage to hit is a good thing? I know when I play games like Fallout.. a specific "tohit" % Just causes me to question the game mechanics whenever I miss multiple high chances in a row.. when i was watching one of your videos you had several 90% chances in a row and yet it was somthing like - miss... miss... miss... hit... I could understand if you hit all 4 times but caused little damage because of armour or "glancing blows" etc but to actually miss seems a bit

It also seems a little too gamey and immersion breaking knowing a specific percentage.. rather than a Very Low - low - med - high - Very High chance sort of scale... which keeps you guessing on specific mechanics but guides you towards making choices.

Also connected to this - When choosing your target does it give you a percentage for "criticial" or for "breaking items?" etc?

-

Human army composition.. Ive noticed this before but Are there going to be any cavalry or fast/stand alone scouts etc for the battle brothers.. At the minute I worry every battle will require you to keep a battle line with most of your army as sending someone out alone will levea them too vunerable.. having some scouts or cav who can do proper flanking or hunting of wizards/necromancers etc and be able to hold their own in battle or escape when surrounded might give you options, and you could restrict the use of them by having a very limited number of horses as a resource for example so you wouldnt end up with mass cavalry armys etc..
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« Reply #118 on: November 14, 2014, 03:39:20 AM »

@ANtY: Shame on me, forgot about the disadvantages of helmets!

The heavier a helmet the more armor it gives but it also reduces your maximum fatigue level. Especially the late game helmets with a closed facemask hamper your breathing thus reducing the fatigue you can take before being out of breath, effectively stopping that Battle Brother from using skills. Also, some helmets reduce your seeing and hearing, we model this by reducing that characters sight range.

@knifeySpoonie
Its always a very difficult decision how much information to give to the player. This boils down to individual playstyle and preferences. We know from the first rounds of feedback that many people out there want to know the exact numbers although we would prefer not to show them.

Let me give you an example: Hitpoints,
In the first iteration we didnt have any enemy hitpoint details like we have now. You could only know how much health an enemy had left when looking at him: beaten up armor + cuts and bruises in the face? -> definitely close to dying. We thought that would be enough and that it adds to the atmosphere of the game. However, a lot of feedback said that the missing healthbars are in the way of effectively planning your moves as you had to guess how much hitpoints an enemy had left.
We ended up with healthbars but no hitpoint numbers. So you can see the status of the enemies armor and health but nut the exact number. We feel that people like that system as it shows enough information to plan ahead but not too much.

Same considerations go into the "to-hit" chance discussion. We thought about the solution you suggested with low-moderate-high chances but for now decided to not implement it. Knowing the exact numbers greatly helps us during development so we will keep it at least until the early access. However, this is a discussion we have to bring up internally as i, personally, really like the more abstract system that you suggested, especially the "frustration-reduction" Wink

The chance to hit the head is modified by a lot of factors like your weapon, the skill you use and yours and the enemies traits and perks. Right now its not shown in the tooltip when attacking but we might add it. Although the information value might be debatable as it will always be rather low.

Regarding breaking shields: The Split shield skill always hits an enemy shield and does "shield damage" as given in the weapon description. The shields have their own hitpoints, or "sturdiness", determining how many hits they can take. So there is actually no chance involved in destroying shields. Giving information about this in the tooltip may make it a bit crowded in that little window.

Army composition:
The two main gameplay videos we posted so far are both "line battle" scenarios where both armies are set up in a line before combat so they play out a bit similar. In the real game there will be different setups and also environments like hills and forests that will make a battle line impossible to maintain.
What is more, is the enemy army composition. Against Orcs and Undead a battle line may proof effective (although the orcs have a lot of disruption and displacement) but against Goblins (not really revealed yet) a battle line will not be effective. Goblins fight from a distance shooting arrows, skirmishing back and forth and attacking from hidden positions. Against them the player will have to go on the offense and split up in order to catch the little buggers.

Horses:
Adding horses to the Battle Brothers faction does not fit very well with our scope of small unit tactical combat. It would push the scope of combat more into a larger scale/military setting which we do not really want. But as always never say never, maybe we change our mind about that at some point. Btw.: There is already a mounted unit in the game but we didnt reveal it yet so you can look forward to that Wink
With Perks and Equipment you will be able to greatly increase the movement abilities of certain Battle Brothers tailoring your own highly mobile "scouts" and increase their field of view. So maybe that will make up a little for the missing horses.

P.S. Sorry for wall of text but i had to elaborate a little Wink
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« Reply #119 on: November 14, 2014, 04:08:23 AM »

Yeah, i try and take the time to explain a lot but i have to be careful to not get carried away with it and play the damn game Wink

In medieval combat helmets are the most crucial part of combat equipment as the head is both very exposed and also extremely vulnerable. So going to combat without a helmet is pretty much suicide.

In Battle Brothers all characters have to hitzones: Head and Body. A Bodyarmor protects the body and, of course, a helmet the head. This works by adding "armor points" to the hitzone. These get reduced first before hitpoints are reduced. The chance to hit the head is a bit lower and is calculated for each attack that hits. At the same time, hits to the head to 50% increased damage - thats our equivalent of "critical hits".

So a helmet both protects your second hitzone as well as giving protection against critical hits. In the game you see three bars for each character: Two grey ones (head and Body armor) and a red one (health) so you can keep track of the remaining points easily.
yeah, that sounds fair and I think I grasped that in the videos (tho I wasn't sure if you can choose to aim at the head) but what are the disadvantages of helmets, I mean - is there a reason I'd choose to not wear a helmet or wear a weaker helmet? I can imagine that it blocks vision and it's harder to block/hit your enemy, and probably shoot with a bow/crossbow too

edit: oh, ok, I responded before reading your second comments, thanks for the answer Smiley

(I'm working on a tactics game too so I enjoy seeing how others approach this topic)

btw: count me as +1 to the guys that want to know the exact numbers :p
« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 04:13:29 AM by ANtY » Logged

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