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« Reply #180 on: July 10, 2015, 04:20:29 AM »

A new update has just been released introducing named items that are dropped by the most powerful enemies. The full changelog is at the end of the article:

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Dev Blog #45: Named Items


This week’s update adds named items with unique looks and randomized stats as rare loot for the most powerful opponents, fixes a critical bug with last week’s retreat mechanic, adds some new events and includes quite a few balancing changes.

Named Items
As we see it, there are two problems with the item progression currently. Firstly, the player very quickly skips the lower tiers of weapons after just the first few battles because higher tier weapons generally drop as loot and are widely available for reasonable prices. And because mid to high tier equipment is available so soon, there is also little to buy or save for later in the game. This will be addressed with the next big update. Secondly, although the selection of weapons, shields and armor is ever-increasing, there is a distinct lack of reward when prevailing against the strongest of opponents, and little excitement in the looting phase after battle. This update aims to address this.



The strongest opponents now have a small chance to both use and drop as loot named weapons and shields that offer some advantages over their nameless counterparts and come with looks of their own. Their stats are slightly randomized to excel in different areas and some of them are plain better than others. To be clear, named items are not the legendary items we plan on adding eventually - they’re just very well crafted weapons and shields and should make looting in the game a bit more interesting for now, as well as allow you to customize your brothers better with their unique look.

Looking for a Sound Designer!
Going forward we’re looking for a dedicated hobbyist or professional sound designer to join us in making the game come alive. Your responsibilities would include designing the sound effects for various fantasy creatures, general battle sounds, footsteps, ambient noise and user interface sounds. If you’re a fan of Battle Brothers and would love to work on the game yourself, read our full job posting and apply at [email protected]!

What’s next?
Next up is the biggest update to date - the one introducing Goblins and changing quite a few mechanics around. Getting all this done will take us several weeks, so there will not be an update to the game for a while. However, we will keep you posted on our progress and will give you some sneak peeks into the coming green menace along the way.

Unfortunately the Goblin update will break save game compatibility - you will have to start a new campaign.

Changelog
Added named weapons and shields with slightly randomized stats as rare loot for the more powerful opponents.
Added 4 new events.

Changed Rally the Troops skill so that a single character can only be rallied once per round. A single character being rallied multiple times, especially in combination with Perfect Focus, proved to be way too powerful in dealing with almost any threat, which was not how it was intended.
Changed fatigue costs of Perfect Focus skill to 30 (down from 40).
Changed Ghouls to make use of the retreat mechanics as well.
Changed prices of some supplies to be higher.
Changed movement speed on mountainous terrain to be slightly higher.
Changed the waiting action to reduce initiative by 25% for the purpose of determining turn order the following turn. This is to lessen the problem of taking double-turns, i.e. two turns in quick succession.
Changed the Shield Bash perk to have the Knock Back skill cost 10 Fatigue less to use in order to make it more of a viable choice until it gets either reworked or replaced.
Changed Javelins so that they can be thrown twice per turn and cost less fatigue to use, also reduced their damage and effectiveness against armor with each throw.

Fixed retreating enemies crashing the game in some instances.
Fixed orcs potentially charging to tiles they shouldn't be able to reach.

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« Reply #181 on: July 17, 2015, 05:32:09 AM »

Just a quick progress update so you get an idea about what we are working on:

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Dev Blog #46: Progress Update - Worn Armor and Goblin Preview

As we explained previously, the next update to the game will take us a few weeks to get done. In the meantime we invite you to take a look at what we're working on and how progress is going. This week we've added a wide variety of worn armor and helmets for the bandit faction and started work on the Goblins.

So far, everyone was wearing well-crafted armor and helmets in mint condition. This always felt a bit out of place especially with the bandits who looked pretty much like regular soldiers or militia forces with their equipment. After all, they are supposed to be outlaws living in the woods and they can have a hard time getting materials to repair their gear.

To address this, we've made a variety of new armor and helmets with a worn-out look, gear that has been patched up many times, lost some parts or has become rusted. This gives the bandit faction a unique look and makes them stand out from other human factions. What is more, all these items have their own values for armor and fatigue penalties. In general, the worn-out and patched armors are a bit lighter, giving less fatigue penalties but also having less armor points.



Although bandits make the most use out of this new equipment, it isn't exclusive to them. These items are not sold in shops, but they can of course be looted and used by the player, and some backgrounds the player can hire now also wear ragged surcoats, headscarfs and many more of those new items as starting equipment for a more flavorful look.



Goblin Preview

Goblins are of course the major coming new feature for Battle Brothers. We’ll do a proper reveal in time and talk about their place in the world, their culture, their equipment and their individual troop types in detail. Until then, we didn’t want to leave you without a small teaser of what is to come. So here it is, an image of the Goblin Wolfrider!



What’s next?

Most of the assets for the Goblins are done, and now we’re on to implementing them into the game. Since they come with a bunch of unique skills and an extensive armory of their own, that’s quite a bit of work. Once that’s done, we’ll have to extend the AI to allow it to actually make use of all the new weapons, skills and tactical options. Finally, we have to playtest and balance the new faction to make sure they work as intended and that combat against them is both challenging and fun.
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« Reply #182 on: July 24, 2015, 04:08:20 AM »

We try to keep the pace so here is this weeks blog on wardogs, a new armor mechanic and a visual rework of older assets:

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Dev Blog #47: Progress Update - Wardogs, Armor Mechanics, Visual Makeover


Work continues on implementing Goblins. While that’s going on, we’re also doing some things that have been on our todo list for some time - adding wardogs and changing the armor mechanics. In addition, Paul is doing a makeover of many of the older assets in the game, especially the Battle Brothers themselves.

Wardogs

That’s right, wardogs have made their way into the game and you can soon have them in your mercenary company. These dogs are of a large and aggressive breed and they come with their own name and one of several different looks. But what is their purpose?

Goblins will rely heavily on ranged combat and kiting their opponents, so Battle Brothers need a new trick up their sleeves as well. And while the recently introduced feature of retreating enemies does alleviate the issue of having to catch the last remaining enemies, we want to go further. Wardogs are a tool for the player to chase down any enemy and hold them in place until Battle Brothers arrive, as well as to find any enemies hidden in the fog of war. It’s a tool that makes a lot of sense in a medieval fantasy world, and at the same time is something to have fun with and get invested in. Afterall, who doesn’t like dogs?

Wardogs are not individual characters in your party but are treated like an item - at least outside of combat. They can be bought in settlements and then assigned to a character before combat. Ever noticed that empty slot in the top left of your characters’ paper doll? That’s the accessory slot, and that’s where wardogs go, among other things.



In combat the character handling a dog has a unique skill called ‘Unleash Wardog’. The unleashed dog will spawn on an adjacent free tile and will act immediately after the handler has finished his turn. The dog is not controlled by the player but by the AI following a distinct behavior - it will straight up charge for the next free opponent and engage him in melee all while doing a lot of barking. Wardogs don’t actually do that much damage, at least not against armored opponents, but they are very useful in pinning down archers or other elusive targets in the opponent’s backline for your Battle Brothers to follow up. What’s more, they can track down hidden enemies. If you don’t know where the last few enemies are hiding on the map, unleash a dog and he will find them for you.



Wardogs bring a lot of utility to the table, but they also require a bit of careful thinking of when to best be unleashed. They’re not humans and so will run happily into enemy spears only to kill themselves. Just like for your Battle Brothers that spells perma-death for them.

Armor Mechanics

First, the punchline: We’ve changed how weapons and armor interact. While we believe that the armor system as it was worked decently well, there were a couple of issues we want to address with this change.

Because armor effectively acts as additional hitpoints, the game as it were encourages stacking a lot of armor. In fact, it encourages doing so over increasing hitpoints because raising maximum fatigue in order to wear more armor yields more effective hitpoints than raising actual hitpoints on levelup. In addition, getting hit with any kind of weapon and just shrugging off the damage as long as your armor is intact is a simplistic approach. In reality you often suffer at least some small bruise or blunt trauma, even if your armor is not penetrated. Finally, we have no way of correctly modelling weapons that penetrate armor very well without doing much damage to the armor itself. A good example is the crossbow which has a very high armor efficiency causing it to do a lot of damage against armor because we had no other good way of modelling penetrating attacks.

To remedy the above points we’re introducing the concept of ‘Direct Damage’ as an addition to the armor mechanics that are already in place. Direct damage is a new characteristic of every attack skill (e.g. Slash, Thrust, etc) that determines what amount of damage done is not absorbed by armor immediately but may directly affect hitpoints, whether by actually piercing through armor or by blunt force trauma that is felt through armor. Let’s go step by step to see how damage is applied:

Firstly, armor damage is applied to armor (if any) based on the ‘Armor Effectiveness’ of the skill and weapon used. Secondly, and this is new, ‘Direct Damage’ is applied to hitpoints based on the skill used but reduced by 10% of the current armor value. This means that the better the armor, the less direct damage gets through, and the more damaged an armor gets, the more direct damage will get through. Finally, if there is no armor left, the remaining damage is applied directly to hitpoints.

So how does that address the issues above? With direct damage, both armor and hitpoints matter. A character getting attacked by weapons that can inflict a lot of direct damage - such as crossbows or maces - can now get killed even while he has armor points left. On the other hand, a character can never get killed with any hitpoints left. Because hitpoints heal a lot slower than armor is repaired or replaced, Battle Brothers may also take attritional damage now by way of cuts and bruises that add up over several battles, further emphasizing the need for a larger hitpoint pool for longer campaigns. With the introduction of direct damage we can now correctly model weapons like crossbows that were built to penetrate armor, not to destroy it. This also gives us a more freedom for introducing different skills and weapons in the future. Finally, modeling most attacks as inflicting at least some damage to the target in the form of blunt trauma, concussion or bruises is arguably more realistic than assuming that armor would prevent all damage.

While unfortunately this added mechanic does take away a bit from the clear and simple way it worked previously we’re confident that this is well worth the trade-off. We want to strike a good balance between having realism in our combat system and keeping the mechanics easy to pick up, and we feel that the concept of direct damage makes a lot of sense intuitively.

Visual Makeover

As you may know, we started out doing this game in our free time, in the few hours we had each evening after our day jobs. With very limited time we had to make some tough calls and couldn’t give everything the attention we wanted to.

This changed since we moved to working fulltime on the game about a month ago, and this also shows in the game’s visuals. The newer assets - such as for the upcoming Goblins - are a lot more detailed, making the older assets look a bit dated by comparison. To remedy this, Paul will be revamping many of the older assets and giving them a makeover so that they’re on par with the new stuff for a consistently detailed look.



First up are the Battle Brothers themselves - and while we’re at it, we’re also adding a few more faces, hair and beard styles as well!
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« Reply #183 on: July 24, 2015, 05:04:47 AM »

This is one of the few games I've played this year that I keep finding myself coming back. Definitely "Early Access" done correctly. These are some big updates, glad to see you guys are keeping them coming. Looks like going full time is really paying off with this game...
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« Reply #184 on: July 24, 2015, 10:44:39 AM »

I picked up the game on steam and I have been having a lot of fun with the game.  Keep up the great work.

Can't wait to see the game continue to evolve.
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« Reply #185 on: July 26, 2015, 11:56:15 PM »

Thanks a lot for the positive feedback!

Although we are still working on the next big update we want to keep the folks informed on what we are doing. The goblin update will have a lot of new stuff so it will be well worth the wait! (also there will be a savegame-wipe with that update).
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« Reply #186 on: July 27, 2015, 01:59:43 AM »

I've seen this game several times on Steam and almost purchased it.  I'm not sure why I didn't buy it, but now that I have seen your dev blog and how the art is done and the game came together.  I am very impressed with the work involved.  Keep it up, the game is now on my wishlist. 
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« Reply #187 on: July 31, 2015, 04:18:26 AM »

Great to hear that! It's only getting better by the week Wink

Here is this weeks update on throwing weapons, ranged combat and the visual rework we are still doing:

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Dev Blog #48: Progress Update – Throwing Weapons, Visual Makeover Continued
The first Goblins have made their way into the game and are now being playtested. While that’s going on, as always, we’ve implemented a bunch of smaller things from our todo. The most important one this week: Throwing Weapons and a bit of love for ranged combat in general. Also, Paul has been busy as ever continuing his visual rework. Wiedergangers and all armors in the game got a makeover!

Throwing Weapons
Let’s talk about ranged combat in general for a moment. There’s some things that work well already, such as the difference between bows and crossbows, line of fire and friendly fire. But then there is the issue of ranged combat, generally speaking, not having quite enough of an impact on how the game is played. Players seldom invest into the Ranged Defense attribute, as ranged opponents usually don’t pose enough of a threat, and using ranged weapons themselves is usually reserved for a token archer or two.

To address this, we’ve taken several steps. First, view range for all units has been increased by one, and the range of bows and crossbows has been increased by one as well. This way we’re emphasizing the strength of ranged weapons and make for more situations where they can be of use, while at the same time making it easier to find enemies running. Second, we’re rethinking the place of throwing weapons in the game and introducing a bunch more. Here we go.

Whereas bows and crossbows are best for long-distance ranged combat by ranged specialists, throwing weapons are supposed to be secondary weapons that can be used at least somewhat effectively by everyone over short to medium distances. That’s why throwing weapons get an accuracy bonus to start off but have their accuracy drop much more sharply than for bows and crossbows the more distant the target is. New throwing weapons are Throwing Axes, Javelins and – spoiler – two devilish Goblin throwing weapons. Crude Javelins, previously already in the game, are now an orc weapon again, as originally intended.



Those throwing weapons are being handed out to some melee opponents as we speak. Not to everyone, of course, but Goblins are very fond of them as they synergize well with their other tools, and Bandit Raiders may also throw an axe your way every now and then. Even a few Young Orcs may now carry javelins to throw before a charge. If the only alternative is charging into your spearwall, your opponents may now opt to just pelt you from afar and punish your static defense line.

With ranged weapons now more common, Ranged Defense should also become a more important choice on level-up and in choice of shield for keeping your Battle Brothers safe. It’s still not a must-have, but it makes a difference – and very specialized builds, such as the famed Nimble Swordmaster, now come with a clear weakness that can actually be exploited by the AI.

Visual Makeover Continued
Continuing with the visual makeover we announced last week, Paul has given the Wiedergangers some attention. Not only have they received some polishing, they now also sport their very own hair and beard styles fit for half-rotting corpses.



Those of you who follow Paul’s Art Thread, our Facebook or Twitter will already know – most of the visual makeover this week has been armor. We tried to give all the armor are more realistic and detailed appearance, but also a bit more of a used and less fresh look. Pieces of armor were extremely expensive in the middle ages and used for a long time, sometimes over several generations.



At the same time we’re looking to make the progression in armor value something to be more visually recognizable. Heavy armor should look the part, which is why Heraldic Mail no longer has the highest armor value in the game but is now situated more closely by the other mail armors. We’ve also filled quite a few gaps in progression with entirely new armor and will shuffle values around a bit for everything.
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« Reply #188 on: August 07, 2015, 05:22:44 AM »

The Goblin update draws closer but we are not there yet - here is this weeks topics we have also been working on:

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Dev Blog #49: Progress Update - Character Backgrounds, Goblin Teaser, Visual Makeover Continued
All the different Goblins have made it into the game now and are being tested and balanced. All their sounds are done as well - the most extensive work for any creature yet. You can find a short teaser at the very end of this update. In the meantime, we also changed how character backgrounds work and gave all helmet visuals a makeover.

Character Backgrounds
Hiring new mercenaries is a core part of the gameplay of Battle Brothers and we put a lot of effort into making characters feel as unique and memorable as possible. That’s why we keep adding new faces, hairstyles, items and background stories all the time. The background of a character, essentially what they did before joining up with you to become a mercenary, is an especially defining factor of who they are today. It determines their starting stats, their traits and factors into events involving the character.

However, there are two issues with how character backgrounds work currently. The first issue is that because characters have randomized stats within a certain range to reflect different talents and dispositions, it’s sometimes hard to predict their stats based on their background. A hunter is someone you’d want to hire when looking for a ranged specialist - yet with an unlucky roll you can end up with a guy quite bad with ranged weapons, despite the Hunter background adding a flat amount of ranged skill. This is understandably frustrating for players that are explicitly looking for a ranged character and have invested quite a bit of crowns.

The second issue is that because backgrounds change a character's stats by a fixed amount, it makes things too predictable on other occasions. A Hedge Knight is always better than a Farmhand overall. There is no single Farmhand that can match a Hedge Knight in strength, anywhere. This is a problem because it quickly divides backgrounds into those considered must-have, and those considered bad and only to be hired at the start of the game, outside of roleplaying reasons. We want to have some diversity in the player's rosters and not just two or three different backgrounds with the rest essentially skipped.



To address these points, we’ve changed how character stats are determined. Instead of rolling stats in the same range for all characters and then having the background add a flat amount on top, backgrounds now have their very own min and max values when rolling for each stat. What does that mean? Well, you can find characters skilled in ranged combat with all kinds of backgrounds, some even more skilled than the Hunter you’ve just hired - but the Hunter is guaranteed to know how to use a bow and will always come with a good level of ranged skill now. And while with a Hedge Knight you know you’ll be getting a beast of man, there’s always the chance that you’ll find that random exceptional Farmhand that is even stronger and more physically fit - the Hedge Knight is just guaranteed to be at a good level.

Founding Members
When starting a new campaign you enter the world with 3 founding members in your mercenary company. Those founding members previously came with a background chosen at random, with only the very weakest and the strongest backgrounds excluded, which made for some interesting scenarios at times but also contributed to the very uneven difficulty in the early game.

You may have noticed before that the introductory screen explains you starting a mercenary company with three companions who worked as sellswords before and fought alongside you personally in the shieldwall. It never made much sense that you’d then end up with a fisherman and a tailor who didn’t know the first thing about fighting, so we’ve changed that. The three Battle Brothers you start with now come with a unique Companion background that can’t be found anywhere else. They have some respectable fighting experience and some fighting gear that has already seen battle, as well as background stories that tell of your exploits and how you originally met. They’re competent fighters and should make the early game a bit less bumpy, but they’re not necessarily on the level of some of the other characters you can hire later on in the game. Where to take it from here, and whom to hire next, is your decision to make.

Visual Makeover Continued
Continuing with our visual makeover, Paul has had his crosshairs on helmets this week. Those are now in line with the new body armors and also boat a grittier and more detailed look.



Goblin Teaser
Here we are - a new teaser of the upcoming Goblins. This time we're showing the Goblin Skirmisher, their melee infantry, with a couple of different deadly tools available to them.



We're currently busy testing them in the game, balancing their difficulty and adjusting their behavior to make for some unique challenges very different from other opponents already in the game. All their sounds have been done this week as well - with an actual sound budget now we're able to give Goblins voices that really underline their mischievous character.
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« Reply #189 on: August 12, 2015, 04:34:26 AM »

Like a good movie each game needs a great score to reach its full potential:

This time we let you in on the ideas, inspirations and techniques behind the soundtrack to our game (article by our composers Breakdown Epiphanies)

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"Orchestrating the Onslaught" - The Music of Battle Brothers

Music in an integral part of any game and even more for a fantasy game like Battle Brothers. It sets the atmosphere for a relaxed visit to the town or a bloodcurdling fight against undead at night. In addition to our regular progress updates we want to take the opportunity to give you insights into how the Battle Brothers music is coming to life. The following article is written by our music composers Breakdown Epiphanies and has them explain in their own words their thoughts, inspirations and techniques behind the various musical pieces of the game.

Introduction

As we just finished a musical make-over for the bandit faction, we would like to give you a quick update on how the soundtrack to Battle Brothers has evolved in the course of the last few months. First of all, we are happy to announce that the game already features more than 80 minutes of music and we will continue to produce more pieces as Early Access moves on. Today we would like to showcase the new bandit and beast faction themes as well as talk about some of the music that has already been in the game for some time now.

The Bandit Battle Themes

After recording the fabulous music for The Order 1886 (which features exclusively lower register instruments and voices), composer Jason Graves told a journalist that he "always thought that choosing the instruments you don’t use is just as important as choosing the ones that you do". For Battle Brothers, we tried to adopt this mindset and came up with various constraints while writing for each faction. A lose concept for the bandit faction was "instruments you can carry around on your back". We did not fully abide by that rule so the pieces would still fit in the overall sound of the soundtrack but it was a nice guideline to give the bandits their own signature sound. Both tracks are carried by smaller percussion ensembles and lots of steel-string guitar, going for a mix of folk and orchestral music. The melodies are played by single instruments like a solo violin or a trumpet. (There is a pretty dominant cello at some point, too. That one is obviously carried around by an athletic wildman.)

The first piece is the more guitar-heavy of the two, with a fingerstyle middle section and even some prepared guitar towards the end. We went for the good ol' "let a bent paper-clip bounce on the strings" approach. The idea of the prepared guitar refers to the "prepared piano" famously employed by John Cage in his works from the 1940s and 1950s.

Battle Brothers OST - 2nd Bandit Battle Track

The second track is a waltz that ends with some double bass drums and a rather sad and longing string arrangement. Besides the obvious topics like battles and war we feel that Battle Brothers' world rings with these emotions, too, the nostalgia of travelling around and the life of a group of ordinary people that one day decided to live by the sword.

The first Beast Battle Track, Werewolf Woods

The beasts are not supposed to be a homogeneous faction in Battle Brothers. At the moment they only consist of the werewolves but there will be different animals and creatures from folklore added as development goes on. That's why the first piece of music we dedicated to them is more of an ambient piece that is supposed to reflect the atmosphere of a forest hunted by something menacing and wild, moving bushes, reflections of eyes, all that good jazz.

Battle Brothers OST - Beast Battle Track One

That's it for the news for now but if you are still curious about our compositions, we'll use our time in the spotlight to talk a little bit more about our thought process behind some of the tracks that are already in the game and that have already accompanied you on your travels and in countless battles.

The 2nd Orc Battle Track

The second piece for the Orc faction strays a great deal from the more sound-designy approach we went for with the first one. While our earlier track does not move that much and establishes a general tone of heaviness and brutality, we wanted this one to reflect that fighting orcs in Battle Brothers can very much feel like getting hit by a truck. The greenskins furiously charge into your men, break shieldwalls, stun people left and right and occasionally make short work of allies that you did not protect well enough. So the second battle track for this faction feels more up-tempo and agitated than the first one while still maintaining the signature drum and brass sections. As fighting orcs reminded us of moshpits at metal and hardcore shows, we even added a half-tempo breakdown in there for good measure.

Battle Brothers OST - 2nd Orc Battle Track

The 2nd Undead Battle Track

The inspiration for the undead music came from re-watching scenes from 60's mythology movies, most famously Ray Harryhausen's stop motion skeletons in “Jason and the Argonauts”. Those things used to scare the crap out of us when we were kids and later we still admired how unnatural and – for the lack of a better word – “wrong” their movement felt. We based the track on quick snare rhythms quantised in a way that sounds too precise for being played by actual human drummers and then went with a lot of low-register strings (no brass in the themes for the undead faction). Inevitable church bells and various percussion elements that are supposed to emulate the sound of sticks playing on a ribcage round up our take on orchestrating the undead onslaught.

Battle Brothers OST - 2nd Undead Battle Track

The 2nd Town Theme

This is the music that plays during your visits to the larger and more prosperous towns in the game. The piece we presented you in our last devblog post is slower and less uplifting as it is meant for small and (as long as no bandits or orcs decide to go for a raiding field trip) peaceful villages. This one conveys a more lively atmosphere while still featuring a lot of rhythm work on guitars and melody lines on cello.

Battle Brothers OST - Town Theme II

The Stronghold Theme

The strongholds are pretty important locations in the game as it stands because they are the only places where you can buy military grade equipment and they spawn the Landsknechts parties that patrol the roads and help you defend the land's towns and villages. They even spawn very lucrative and dangerous contracts. Paul painted a beautiful screen for the strongholds so we tried to write some music that does justice to the tone that is set by his visuals. Its a waltz featuring a lot of military style percussion and again the foundation is laid by some chords on the acoustic guitar. The guitar will act as a signature element for the human faction in the game, much like the undead and orcs have their own “sonic footprint”.

Battle Brothers OST - Stronghold Theme

We hope you've enjoyed the music in the game so far and we are looking forward to the next updates and the musical opportunities they will bring. Currently we are busy working on the music for the upcoming Goblin faction. If you'd like to be up to date on our work and the soundtrack to Battle Brothers or want to ask us any questions about the music, please get in touch with us on twitter or soundcloud!

Huzzah!

Dennis and Patrick
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« Reply #190 on: August 14, 2015, 04:38:11 AM »

Time for a big announcement: The Goblin Update will hit the game next week - that will be by far the biggest update yet. Also: Orcs, Orcs, Orcs:

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Dev Blog #50: Progress Update - Goblin Update Next Week, Orc Visual Makeover

You’ve already read the headline: The ‘Goblin Update’ will go live next week! Break out your heater shields, dust off your helmets, bid your savegames farewell and get ready for the big update. With the Goblins all new and shiny, and getting all the attention, Orcs have gotten green with envy. We can’t have that, so we’ve taken them to the makeover booth for the most exciting visual rework yet.

Goblin Update Next Week!

If everything goes according to plan, by the end of next week you’ll get your hands on the biggest update we’ve done so far and can try out all the changes and additions since our last update a month ago. Although we keep calling it the ‘Goblin Update’ there is a heap of new features, items, balancing adjustments and more coming with the update in addition to adding a new faction to the game. Battle Brothers will definitely play and feel differently and we are looking forward to your feedback on all the changes and additions we have made.

There’ll be a full faction reveal blog post about the Goblins sometime next week in which we explain the lore of the Goblins as well as their individual units, weapons and fighting abilities in detail so you can get in the right mood.

Just to remind everyone: The coming update will break compatibility with your current save games!

Orc Makeover

We’re pretty satisfied with how Orcs feel in the game overall. They have a clear identity as reckless and ferocious melee combatants who overwhelm the player with pure physical strength and wreak havoc in any battle line. Orcs come off as intimidating and brutal opponents, and fighting them feels quite different from fighting other opponents in the game. Their visual design makes up to no small part their identity in the world of Battle Brothers, so that’s what we’ve been taking a look at this week with our continuous efforts to overhaul all the older assets.



Since those original Orcs visuals were really beginning to show their age, they’ve been completely redone from the ground up. Take a look at the comparison to see how the new Orcs are much more detailed looking. As we’ve previously established about Orcs in the world of Battle Brothers, their skin gets darker the older they become, which is why Young Orcs have the fairest skin. However, in order to give all the Orcs a more coherent look we’ve adjusted their skin colors to be a bit closer together. We’ve also darkened the color palette slightly and tilted it more into an olive hue to better support the menacing look we’re going for, especially with the Young Orcs who previously could turn out quite bright. The faces you see are just some of several different ones available for every type of unit!

The look of weapons and armor is also something we want to take full advantage of in making every faction feel unique and less generic. If you read up on the lore of Orcs you’ll learn that they live in largely nomadic tribes and support themselves by hunting, gathering and taking from others. They possess no knowledge of mining or agriculture, and while they know how to craft metal, they’re not particularly skilled at it, which is why their creations are crude and unwieldy. Orcs already wield those large and heavy weapons that match their physique, but we wanted to really give them a unique armor style as well that is in line with their lore of having limited access to metal and not being able to process it properly.



Young Orcs make up the backbone of Orc society, as Orcs usually don’t have a high life expectancy but are quite reproductive. Their armor now has a more tribal and improvised look than before, and is largely made from resources that Orcs have the means to produce themselves in abundance - a variety of animal hides and bones. To round things up, we've also added two new lower tier weapons - the Tree Limb and the Cudgel - for their use.



Berserkers are Orcs that put themselves into a battle frenzy by taking drugs or 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. Their armor is therefore made up of various bone elements from their victims.



Orc Warriors are seasoned fighters, as evident from their darker skin color and collection of scars. Years of gathering spoils from raids and battle have allowed them to loot all kinds of armor, break it apart and assemble it into one huge abomination for themselves that actually fits their massive and coarse bodies. As you can see, their armor is made up of various pieces of human equipment, like a helmet’s facemask, a piece of chainmail or a split kettle hat. It’s as much protection in battle as it is a collection of trophies from their past victories. For the finishing touch, ears, fingers and sometimes whole heads are also quite popular.



With the new armor style we’re confident that Orcs now have an even stronger identity in the game, one very much distinct from other factions. The many different looks of armor and different faces now available should also add lot of visual variety to the Orc battle lines that was previously missing.
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« Reply #191 on: August 14, 2015, 04:49:26 AM »

Wow. Love the fact you totally revisited all the Orc assets to get them up to speed with everything else. Thats a big undertaking but definitely a testament to what you guys are doing to continually improve the game. Looking forward to the new update...

...At least I know I got another week before I have to worry about getting distracted by this game.
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« Reply #192 on: August 18, 2015, 05:23:54 AM »

Only a few days left before the distraction starts Wink

So here is some background info about weapons, units and lore of the Goblin faction that you will be able to fight later this week:

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Dev Blog #51: Goblin Faction Reveal

We’re excited to finally be able to reveal the newest addition to the world of Battle Brothers: The Goblins. They come with unique characters, skills, weapons and armor, and lore of their own. All of those things we’ll talk about today, so let’s get going!

The actual update to the game will come together with an extensive changelog later this week!

Introduction

Goblins live in the lands beyond the reach of human civilization, in small states of their own, often encompassing only a single but heavily populated city. Although distant relatives to the Orcs, they don't have much in common apart from their color of skin.

Goblins have a complex social structure of different castes, the two most important of which are the lower caste and the political caste. The lower caste is the most populated by far, and members are born into servitude to their state or city, with very little rights other than to work for the benefit of the great Goblin state. They can be drafted into service at any time or otherwise assigned tasks with no say of their own. Although they make up the backbone of any Goblin state, they're considered somewhat expendable, and their individual lives don't matter all that much in the pursuit of power for members of the political caste.

Unlike most humans, Goblins are not ruled by a single individual, but a council drawn from the political caste. The council decides on any action the Goblin state should or should not take and may mandate the drafting of Goblins from the lower caste led by a Goblin Overseer to perform any task, such as to attack rival Goblin states. Members of the council often change as individuals bribe, scheme or even assassinate to get rid of their rivals and attempt to secure more power for themselves. Although the council will proclaim that any action is for the betterment of the state, in reality, many decisions are the result political backstabbing, such as sending a rival council member to oversee an attack knowing full well that he'll get killed along with all the other Goblins sent there. A political victory, sure, but also an example of Goblin states repeatedly weakening themselves.



Goblins do not share a language with Orcs and otherwise have little in common, but they are nevertheless able to communicate with them on some level. To avoid roaming Orc tribes raiding their city states they often pay tribute until they've passed, and sometimes fight them if they seem weak enough in numbers. Orcs have also been used in political machinations and sent against rival Goblin states - which backfired more than once. Goblins consider roaming tribes of Orcs almost a force of nature outside of their other rivalries. They're considered primitive, stupid even. They can be avoided at times, used at other times. But there is no stopping nature in the long run.

From a game design perspective we wanted to introduce a faction that fighting against feels very different from our existing factions. Goblins have a heavy focus on ranged combat and lowering the effectiveness of Battle Brothers by applying various status effects. With their ranged weapons they often prefer a defensive tactic and let the player come to them to press the attack, challenging the very stationary approach that dominates many a player’s tactics. Ultimately we want there to be no one superior tactic that is best against all enemies, but the need to always adjust your tactics based on the enemy you’re facing. This makes for a much more interesting and diverse combat experience in the long run, and Goblins are another step into this direction.

Goblin Physique

In Battle Brothers, Goblins are physically weaker than humans and about the size of a large child. Due to their small size they’re unable to wear heavy armor or wield heavy weaponry, and they can’t take a lot of physical punishment before going down. They don’t have the most stamina and they’re also not the bravest, though the latter may be in part due to being essentially forced into arms.



On the other hand, Goblins are dexterous little creatures. They use their small weapons with astounding accuracy to go for weak spots in their opponent’s armor, and because of their size and general skittishness are harder to hit reliably than many other opponents. Goblins are also quite cunning and intelligent, and to make up for their lack in physical strength rely on their wits, on ambushes and dirty tricks, on poison and superior numbers, to wear their opponents down. Because they’re at an inherent disadvantage in open battle, a lot of their tactics revolve around the use of ranged weapons, holding their opponents in place, and flanking them using their Wolfriders.

Goblin Weapons and Armor

Because Goblins are quite crafty and intelligent creatures, they have a whole arsenal of deadly tools available to them. Neither their armor nor weapons are particularly heavy, given the Goblins' physical limitations, but they're well made and balanced. Their equipment emphasizes their preference of mobility and ranged combat to wear down their opponents from afar. Their armor is made of leather as well as metal, and they wear mail and a variety of scale armor. All of their weapons and tools can be looted and used by the player, although they aren't the most damaging ones. Their armor can't be looted as it would fit only children.



A popular weapon with Goblin infantry is the 'Spiked Bola' - small iron balls with metal spikes bound together with rope, to be hurled at a target from a distance. Another specialized tool is the 'Throwing Net' - thrown at an opponent, it leaves them unable to move and lowers their ability to defend themselves, until they manage to cut it down. The 'Jagged Pike' can keep opponents at bay with its long range and tear terrible bleeding wounds.

Goblin Skirmisher

Goblin Skirmishers are the various types of melee infantry that Goblins employ. They are armed with a melee weapon of Goblin design - pikes, spears, falchions, long knives -, may carry a shield or throwing net, and often have spiked bolas as a secondary weapon to use from range should the opportunity present itself. They’re relatively poor at charging the enemy but quite competent in delaying an enemy charge and holding the line for Goblin Ambushers to pick the enemy off one by one.



Goblin Ambusher

Goblin Ambushers are dedicated ranged troops armed with bows of goblin design and wear light camouflage armor that offers little protection but makes them hard to spot from a distance. Presumably because of their experience in fighting heavily armored Orcs, they’re trained to target weak spots in their opponent’s armor for increased direct damage. Their arrow tips are coated in poison which makes vision get blurry and moving in a coordinated fashion take a monumental effort. The effect of poison slowly diminishes with each turn after getting hit.



Goblin Wolfrider

Goblins breed large wolves for war to use as mounts for their feared Wolfrider regiments. Wolfriders are faster than any infantry on the battlefield and can also move quickly through difficult terrain. This makes them them ideal to circle around a static battle line and attack archers and other lightly armed troops with from the rear, with the wolf supporting its rider by snapping its jaws at the enemy. Thanks to their swift mounts the Wolfriders are hard to pin in close combat and may break off attacks when the odds turn against them or a better target presents itself.



On hitting a Wolfrider unit, either the rider or the wolf may be hit, and they may be killed independently from each other. Killing just the wolf may leave a Goblin Skirmisher to continue fighting on foot, while killing the rider will have you face a frenzied wolf no longer kept in check by its rider.

Goblin Overseer

Goblin Overseers are veterans and members of a higher caste mandated by a Goblin council to lead and oversee a regiment of Goblins in performing a task. They're clearly recognizable as being in charge due to their ornate armor and helmet, and they carry long whips with which they can whip the common Goblin to perform better, and to get fleeing Goblins back into line.



Because Goblins are drafted into service, the Overseer plays an important part in keeping everything together. Should he fall, Goblins are much more likely to fall into disarray, rout and flee the battlefield instead of soldiering on.

Goblin Shaman

Goblin Shamans are members of a small and secretive caste whose members seemingly possess otherworldly powers. Those powers are no less mysterious and inexplicable to the average Goblin than they are to a human witnessing them, and the nature of their power is a jealously guarded secret. In Goblin society, Shamans are often consulted as oracles, healers and experts on poison, and although not part of the political caste, hold tremendous power of influence.



In battle, Goblin Shamans support their troops by commanding nature itself. They have been witnessed to make vile roots grow from the ground in an instant to hold people in place, and to send a swarm of a thousand black flies onto their opponents. Up personal, however, they are but frail old Goblins with no real weapon.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2015, 05:29:07 AM by Jaysen » Logged

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« Reply #193 on: August 21, 2015, 07:22:47 AM »

We just released the big "Goblin Update"!

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‘Goblin Update’ Release Notes and Changelog


We’re thrilled to announce that we just released the ‘Goblin Update’ to Steam! After reading about all the additions we made to the game for the past weeks, you can now finally dive into the game and experience them yourselves.

The changes and additions go way beyond adding Goblins. If you haven’t done so already, you can read up on many of the bigger changes in our dedicated posts linked below. Also check out the extensive changelog at the bottom for an overview of all the new features, balancing changes and fixes.

Bandit Armors and Worn Armors
Wardogs, Direct Damage Mechanic and Visual Makeover
Throwing Weapons and Armor Rework
Character Backgrounds, Companions and Helmet Rework
Orc Visual Rework
All about the Goblin Faction
Please note that due to the many changes with the update, your old saves won't load anymore and you'll have to start a new campaign.

Enjoy!

Changelog:
Added Goblin Faction with 5 different units, 12 usable weapons and shields, their own music track and sounds.
Added 'Line Battle (Goblins)' and 'Wolfriders' scenarios.
Added a second music track for fighting bandits.
Added Wardogs and Armored Wardogs as purchasable items. Wardogs can be equipped in the accessory slot and unleashed during battle to chase and pin down enemy units.
Added Houndmaster background.
Added more named items.
Added lots of background specific clothes and hats. Some more background specific stuff is in the pipeline.
Added Tree Limb and Cudgel as lower tier orc weapons used by Young Orcs.
Added Morning Star as a lower tier variant of the Winged Mace.
Added Throwing Axe and Javelin. The Crude Javelin is now an orc weapon again, as originally intended. These weapons have been added to several types of opponents as sidearms.
Added condition deteriorating with use for ranged weapons as well.
Added a variety of worn armors and helmets for use by bandits and as starting items for some backgrounds.
Added a variety of new armors to be bought at cities and strongholds.
Added cancel button to levelup screen.
Added warning icon as status effect when a character's weapon is in poor condition and about to break with the next few attacks.
Added small animation to using Spearwall skill.
Added repair icon to all damaged items equipped by a character to make it more obvious that these are repaired automatically and need not be unequipped. This is a purely cosmetic change; equipped items have always been auto-repaired.
Added new banners to choose from when creating your mercenary company.
Added three more late game locations with great enemy numbers for a challenge.
Added ability for the AI to make use of throwing weapons.
Added ability for the AI to make use of crossbows and added them to the Bandit and Landsknecht arsenals.
Added lots of other smaller things.

Changed how weapons and armor interact; weapons now inflict varying amounts of direct damage that may pass through armor (whether by blunt force trauma or piercing through it) and potentially kill a target without destroying every bit of armor first.
Changed a lot of armor efficiency stats for different weapons that are better simulated with a high direct damage because they aren't necessarily good at actually destroying armor.
Changed view range to 7 (up from 6) for all characters.
Changed range of Crossbow to 6 (up from 5) and Hunting Bow to 7 (up from 6).
Changed throwing weapons to have a range of 4 tiles and a bonus to accuracy on short ranges which declines rapidly with distance.
Changed 'Battleflow' perk to reduce current fatigue by 30% of the character's base maximum fatigue (before penalties due to armor are applied) on a kill, as opposed to current fatigue, in order to have characters with more maximum fatigue benefit the most from this. This effect now only triggers on the first kill each turn so that it isn't disproportionately effective against low-hitpoint targets (such as Goblins), especially in combination with 'Perfect Focus'.
Changed 'Brawny' perk to also reduce fatigue penalty of helmets by half in order to make it a more impactful pick for tanky characters.
Changed name of 'Crush Armor' skill to 'Destroy Armor' to better reflect the idea behind it.
Changed attribute increase on levelup to use fixed values now per attribute instead of random numbers as before. While we still like the randomized values in principle, they won't work well with planned changes to the perk system, so we dropped them. We'll reveal the planned changes to the perk system in time.
Changed renaming of a character to change their name also in their background description.
Changed higher tier equipment to be more expensive but left prices of lower tier equipment largely untouched. This is to reinforce a progression of equipment where the player starts with low tier stuff and slowly picks up better gear. Looting better equipment should feel more rewarding this way and there is actually better equipment to save crowns for and spend on in the later parts of the game now.
Changed starting funds to be higher on all difficulties, especially on Easier.
Changed reward for contracts to be slightly higher.
Changed value of some loot items (werewolf pelts, vampire dust, etc) to be slightly higher.
Changed quivers to show as empty in inventory if they're, well, empty.
Changed a few events to take into account how the player needs more crowns now.
Changed a lot of equipment for AI opponents around for a better progression and less easily attainable high tier weaponry.
Changed character backgrounds to no longer come with fixed boni and mali to attributes but instead individual min and max values for every attribute.
Changed starting lineup for the player to always consist of three people with the new 'Companion' background which comes with some decent combat skills, weapons and backstories that may include the player.
Changed all humans, as well as Wiedergangers, to have a new and overhauled look.
Changed Orcs to have a completely new look.
Changed Melee and Ranged Skill for player characters in all scenarios to 65 (up from 60).
Changed bandits on the worldmap to no longer raid villages and only ambush caravans and travellers now. With the Goblins, Orcs and Undead raiding villages, the guys can relax a bit.
Changed battle at worldmap locations to always start in line battle formation, regardless of terrain.
Changed enemies killed by allies (militia etc) to no longer drop loot for the player.
Changed AI to make better use of specialized skills such as Knock Back, Repel, Hook and Rotation.
Changed UI to switch faster between characters when ending turns.
Changed lots of other smaller things.

Fixed pause sometimes not working correctly after leaving towns.
Fixed town window potentially opening while an event is shown.
Fixed bug that prevented event cooldown times from working correctly, potentially resulting in individual events firing either too often or not at all.
Fixed bug that prevented the AI from using Split Shield skill against better shields.
Fixed bug that prevented the AI from using the Puncture skill in some instances.
Fixed issue of individual AI characters sometimes defending a position while others choose to engage, especially if they're far apart. The decision to defend or engage is now always done at group level for consistent enemy group behavior.
Fixed compatibility issue with Windows 10. Hopefully that's the only one, but we'll see.
Fixed lots of other small bugs and issues.
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« Reply #194 on: September 21, 2015, 04:06:16 AM »

We just started with a major overhaul of the complete Worldmap. This will change around most of the overarching worldmap gameplay and will take quite a while to put in the game. Here is the first blog entry:

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Dev Blog #52: Worldmap Rework

Time has come for the biggest overhaul yet: an extensive rework of the worldmap both in terms of visuals and gameplay. Read on to learn about our overall plans and get a first glance at what changes you can expect on the look and feel of the map you’re playing on.

The Plan

While tactical combat progressed nicely over the past months, the worldmap hasn’t been touched much and many elements are still what we consider placeholders or proof-of-concept pieces, such as how contracts work. This worldmap rework will change how the game is played quite substantially, and because of the many changes and additions we’re intending to do, it’ll take us several months to complete. Yes, that’s several months until the next major update, unfortunately, but it’ll be worth it. Here is a shortlist of what we want to achieve with the new and improved worldmap part of the game;

A new look and feel of the worldmap as an actual continent, larger than the current map, with more diverse climatic regions and unique landmarks.
Settlements, such as villages and cities, that feel unique across the world and are recognizable for their different looks and services they offer. This includes taverns to rest at and ports for fast travel.
Different human factions that may work against each other, offering a diverse set of contracts depending on their individual strategy.
Different non-human factions such as individual orc tribes that differ from one another and may fight each other.
A new modular system for contracts that allows for more variety and player interaction. Reputation will be introduced as a measurement for progress.
Over the coming months we’ll cover each of these points in detail as we work on it, so you’ll have a pretty good idea about what will change exactly. To kick things off, this week we’ll give you a preview on the new worldmap generation, the thing we’re working on right now.

Worldmap Generation

With the rework one of our main goals is to both create a reasonable and believable world while still keeping up replayability by making it very different each time.

To give the player a sense of the real world we decided to stick to some rules that apply to central Europe and North America. Heading north will lead the player into colder and more harsh climates while moving south will generally result in hotter and more dry regions. Additionally, we wanted the world to have somewhat realistic coastlines with arms reaching inland and smaller islands lying somewhat off the coast.

Take a look at the screenshots below to see a first preview of the new worldmap using placeholder visuals for different regions. The strong colors are just for differentiating the regions better during development.



Regarding the landmass itself and especially mountain ridges we want to create natural barriers for the player to bypass. By splitting up the continent in different regions through the placement of obstructive terrain we effectively increase the perceived map size for the player while keeping the total tile amount reasonable.



As you can judge from the screenshots you will have quite different outcomes each time you generate a new map. Still, each map is based on the same algorithm and will adhere to the same general rules.

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« Reply #195 on: September 25, 2015, 05:27:25 AM »

The village screens so far have been just placeholders for what is to come. Check out the first pictures of the new thing:

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Dev Blog #53: Village Screen Rework

After talking about the general worldmap generation in our last blogpost, this week we’re going to take a look at some of the changes and additions coming to the village screens. The rework of the village screens is twofold: We’re doing both a complete visual rework and adding lots of new features. Let’s go into some details!

How it’ll work

A key design goal for our new worldmap is to have every corner feel unique and make for a less generic world overall. That’s why we’re adding more terrain types and unique landmarks (more about them later!), and that’s also what we’re trying to achieve with all the settlements you can interact with in the world. Whereas previously all villages, cities, watchtowers and strongholds looked exactly the same, did the same, and were pretty much interchangeable, we want all the new settlements to be recognizable across the world for their individual look and very different services they offer.

Settlements now have a clearer purpose and this is reflected both in gameplay and visuals. For example, a fishing village along the coast will offer you predominantly fish as provisions for relatively cheap prices, have more fishermen than other backgrounds to hire, and will have visuals that reflect its purpose. A mining village at the foot of mountains, on the other hand, will have a better selection of both metal-based equipment and potential recruits with the miner background. Another change relevant mostly to those of you that speak German is that settlements now always have a name that actually fits them. No longer will you find 'Dunkelwald' on open plains!



The all-new village screen shows a panorama of the whole settlement and not just a single street corner anymore. It’s made up of 15 different layers with a variety of different images to make each and every settlement appear unique. The background layers are determined by the surrounding terrain, with villages close to a forest or high up north in the snow looking accordingly. Atop a hill sits a townhall or fortification of different size based on the type and size of the settlement, and the hill is flanked with different houses or terrain depending on the settlement’s purpose. The most important part are a set of buildings placed along the incline. Those can be interacted with, and they offer all kinds of different services to the player.



You’ll find a marketplace of some kind to buy general supplies at in almost every settlement. Larger cities may also have specialized traders that offer higher quality weapons or armor for higher prices. Taverns may allow you to give your men a good night’s rest in relative safety, and the docks of coastal villages and cities allow you to book passage on a ship to other settlements as a means of fast travel. This modular system of buildings allows us to easily add new buildings with new services as we progress in development. There’s a lot of things that come to mind - a money lender or a barber to customize the appearance of your Battle Brothers, for example. We’ve yet to see what buildings will make it into the game in the first round, and which buildings may be added later on.

Note that the above images are still work in progress and do not represent the final quality. There are no people in the settlements yet, and we’ll do another pass to make all the buildings easily identifiable. The village screen currently in the game was always considered placeholder by us and the new village screen will feature artwork at a higher quality for what will ultimately be a nice coherent look across the whole game. The image below shows a tavern at full size and should give you a good idea on how detailed everything will end up looking.




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« Reply #196 on: September 25, 2015, 06:32:56 AM »

if I buy the game from ur website do I get a steam key?

Couldn't find this info in your faq or on the buying page
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« Reply #197 on: September 25, 2015, 06:53:21 AM »

Yes, you will get the regular version steam key!
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« Reply #198 on: September 25, 2015, 07:13:42 AM »

Thanks!



: 3333

Finally I'll play your game
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« Reply #199 on: October 02, 2015, 06:29:24 AM »

Spicing things up a little with new worldmap terrain in this weeks devblog:

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Dev Blog #54: Progress Update - Village Screens and Worldmap Terrain

This week we've been hard at work implementing both the new village screen we talked about last week, as well as finding an overall visual style for all the new terrain types of our redone worldmap. Let's take a look!

Village Screens

Last week we've shown you two examples of the new and very different village screen that is made up of a variety of layers, like different terrain in the background and buildings for you to interact with. Now we're adding more and more content to create any kind of settlement - be it a small village, a stone keep or a large trading city.

To give you a better idea of the variety of buildings you can expect, here is a first look at the work-in-progress armorsmith and weaponsmith buildings.



While many smaller villages will have but a marketplace that offers lower grade and often used equipment amidst everyday goods like food and clothing, these two specialized traders found in larger cities will sell new and finely crafted equipment for steep prices.

In medieval times, villages and cities were usually pretty busy places with all kinds of folks going about their business, selling things, loitering, looking for work or having a chat. To liven up the town screens we’ll add a lot of folks to the scenery. Below you'll see a first iteration of how these groups may look. Keep in mind that they’ll be pretty tiny on the actual screen, so the rough shading is on purpose.



Worldmap Terrain


Unlike with the village screen visuals, development of the new worldmap visuals is still at an early stage with things changing around a lot. Our first step is finding a style for each of the different terrain types that works both in itself and as part of a coherent whole that is the larger map. Because we want to have each region in the world to convey an atmosphere of its own, and the world as a whole to look pretty varied, we're currently experimenting with different colors and effects we can use. The image below shows a work-in-progress shot of some of the terrain we've been working on this week.



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