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« Reply #80 on: August 12, 2014, 02:01:33 AM »

Here wo go again with the next developers blog, this time we are answering a bunch of questions, some of them won't be new to you, but it can never hurt to have them all at the same place: Battle Brothers FAQ

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Dev Blog #22: Battle Brothers FAQ

Over the past weeks a lot of the same questions emerged regarding Battle Brothers and all of its aspects. We thought it would be helpful for many to compile them here with our answers so that you don’t have to traverse all the internet to find them yourselves.

In this article we feature just a small selection of these questions. You can find the full FAQ on our new subpage here: FAQ

If you have any questions not covered here, feel free to head to our forums or to leave a comment!


General Questions

Q: How is the development of Battle Brothers funded and what are your future plans?

Right now we are funding the development out of our own pockets and most of us work on the game in our spare time. Here’s a quick overview of our future plans in chronological order:

1. Steam Greenlight campaign – we will start this step as soon as our trailer is finished, probably in September 2014.

2. Kickstarter campaign by October or November 2014. If Kickstarter decides to come to Germany, that would make the process a lot easier.

3. Early Access to fund further development by the end of 2014 or early 2015.

4. Full game release sometime at the middle of 2015 via digital distribution plattforms.

Q: Is the game a sandbox or does it have a linear progression with a beginning and end?

Battle Brothers will have a completely open world which doesn’t restrict the player to go anywhere based on story progress, but only on being able to survive. Concerning progression, the game will have a beginning and an end given by the general setting, loosely framed within a narrative related to one of several “greater evils”. There’ll also be several milestones along the way, though they don’t necessarily have to be completed in linear sequence or at all. We won’t have forced and repetitive story missions that conflict with our open world gameplay or get in the way of replayability. However, the ultimate goal of every campaign will be to destroy the source behind the “greater evil” and stop the invasion. At some point the player will have to face the enemy or see the land get swept away.

Q: Will there be magic for the Battle Brothers like spells or enchanted items?

The player won’t be able to command a magic-user in the sense of a wizard or similar. However, there will be some items with magical properties to be found in the world. They’ll be rare and hard to get, but some will come with unique active skills that allow for otherworldly feats. In addition, some enemies also drop crafting materials (e.g. vampire dust) which can be crafted into a variety of accessory items, sometimes with magical properties.

Generally, we want to keep things down to low power fantasy and promote a certain asymmetry between the player and the opponents in the game; Battle Brothers will always be common humans in a pseudo-medieval setting that sometimes have to go up against non-human and supernatural foes. It is for this reason also that we try to avoid skills for the player that feel clearly unrealistic and superpowery (e.g. shooting 3 arrows at once) to keep things grounded a bit.



Strategic Worldmap Questions

Q: How many Battle Brothers will be in the party at maximum?

The roster will hold around two dozen or so Battle Brothers of which 12 can participate in a single tactical battle at a time. Brothers will get wounded in battle and take time to heal, so there should always be enough replacements available. Also, they tend to die very easily. The player has to consider that all Brothers will consume money and food constantly, though, so the bigger the roster of backup troops, the higher the maintenance.

Q: What other factions beside the undead will be in the game?

Besides the undead, we currently plan on including the following enemy factions in the base game. In the future, we might add more.

Bandits - Basically human opponents of all sorts that use hideouts as base of operations and will try to attack and raid caravans and villages.

Orcs and Goblins -  We’ll have our own interpretation of the classic greenskins with some special twists.

Beasts - Werewolves and other mythological creatures roaming the world. Inspiration for these is often drawn from folklore and myths so you will definitely see a lot of unknown and interesting creatures here.

Q: Are there any non-combat skills like crafting?

Yes, on the strategic worldmap there will be crafting all sorts of items, from common equipment to accessories with magical properties out of ingredients obtained from slain enemies. Crafting and other non-combat activities will be done by so-called followers, not your Battle Brothers. Followers are sort of an entourage dedicated to the auxiliary and logistical tasks of a pseudo-medieval mercenary company. They are separate from the fighting force and can not engage in battles themselves. There will be a variety of them, like a hunter providing food while traveling or a monk helping the wounded Brothers to heal faster. Your party can only support a limited amount of these followers, so you’ll have to decide which ones to hire for your mercenary trek based on what best fits your overall strategy.

Q: Will there be an ironman mode and what is done against “save scumming” to make it viable?

We plan on including an ironman mode. While the game punishes mistakes with individual Battle Brothers quite heavily, losing even most of your men does not mean you’ll have to lose the campaign. The player will often be able to recover from losses and defeat, especially in the beginning of the game. Since there are up to a dozen Battle Brothers in battle, and more than that in reserve, losing some of them won’t be as impactful as in e.g. the new X-Com game where there are just 6 men and where losing just one of them can be really crippling and send the player into a downwards spiral to lose the campaign later on.

We generally also try to avoid game mechanics that boil down to pure luck and which can be beat simply be reloading. Everything should be beatable with the right strategy from the start. For example, we don’t have critical hits that do massive unavoidable extra damage on completely unpredictable random occasions. Instead, in Battle Brothers, there is a 25% base chance to hit the head instead of the body for 50% extra damage. Essentially, we flattened the curve to make this less of a random game; combatants will do critical hits way more often, but also do less extra damage than in other systems. Enough to still be relevant, but in a way that is more predictable. Importantly, the player can also actively counter critical hits by equipping Battle Brothers with headgear.

If the player accepts that he or she can’t win every battle all the time and that sometimes fleeing from battle is the right option, we think the game should be very much completable in ironman mode. That certainly is our goal.



Tactical Combat Questions

Q: Is there a flanking or backstabbing mechanic?

Battle Brothers does not have a flanking mechanic per se. We toyed around with the idea, but two points irked us: A combatant in real life can turn around in a split second, so determining that any combatant would be attacked from the back only for the fact that he couldn’t turn around because it isn’t his turn currently seemed very artificial. Second, it would require a very clear indicator of what direction any character is currently looking at – in other words, we would have needed character busts for every one of six possible directions. Sadly, our resources are very limited, and we’d rather spend them on more important things.

What we came up with instead is the “overwhelm” mechanic. The more individual characters attack any defending character in close combat within a single round, the easier it gets for them to score a hit. Or in other words: We grant a to-hit bonus for each character that attacked a target previously in the current round. This way we simulate the difficulty of defending against multiple opponents that attack from multiple sides without the need for any fixed character headings.

Q: Will there be different kinds of tactical combat "missions" or "set-ups"?

Yes, we will have different flavors to how tactical battles start out, depending on how two opposing forces engage each other on the worldmap. For example, if one party ambushes the other, the ambushed party will start at a disadvantageous position (i.e. not in battle formation). If two parties engage each other head-on, they’ll generally start just opposite of each other in organized battle lines, similar to the “Line Battle” scenario of the combat demo. Attacking an enemy encampment before being detected, or coming to the aid of a village that is currently being raided, will have one party scattered all over the map and take a while to realize your presence. All of these starting conditions should feel slightly different to play, some going straight to a short and decisive battle and some supporting more of a careful approach of slow advance and exploration. We’ll try to find a good balance for the final game to keep tactical combat as varied as possible.

Q: Will the player be able to set up ambushes with archers and other ranged troops using some kind of overwatch system during tactical combat?

The player will definitely be able to set up ambushes – both on the worldmap and on the tactical map. The AI plays by the same rules of limited vision, line of sight and fog of war as the player (except for perhaps a few special enemies that have an in-lore justification not to). However, we won’t have an overwatch system like in X-Com; it wouldn’t work well with the initiative-based turn system we use.
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« Reply #81 on: August 20, 2014, 01:49:55 AM »

Now its getting personal: In this dev blog we explain what our inspiration and motivation behind Battle Brothers is and what made us want to make our own game. Have you hade similar thoughts when starting your own projects?

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Dev Blog #23: About our motivation and inspiration

This week we go into our personal inspiration and motivation so you may get a better understanding of why we are making this game and what keeps us going. Two of our team members talk about what inspired them to start Battle Brothers and why they think a game like this is due. A little disclaimer: These are highly personal and subjective  opinions by our team members and not the studio itself.

Paul

When talking about my sources of inspiration and the reason why I decided to make this game happen, I have to go way back into the 90s. Although I have been influenced by a ton of great games over the course of all these years it all boils down to two key impacts.

The first one was Hero Quest (the boardgame). That game really opened my eyes about what is possible. I still think this is a masterwork of game design. Apart from the solid and deep basic boardgame mechanics it had a great atmosphere and was extremely “sandboxy” for a board game. You were actually encouraged to use the provided content to make up and play your own adventures, that’s basically the definition of a sandbox.

The second big impact followed some years later when X-Com – UFO Defense came out. I don’t know where to start when praising this game. It had it all: Awesome graphics, brutal and intense atmosphere and an incredible freedom of choice. The game perfectly succeeded in making you believe you’re actually fighting off a real invasion instead of just playing one scenario after the other. The level of immersion created in this game was (and for the most part still is) unmatched.

Shortly after finishing the add-on “Terror from the Deep” I started wondering why no one simply transfers the X-com mechanics to a fantasy/medieval setting. I had to wait for...well I am still waiting for a game like that. When I am looking at the current trends in game development I’m gonna wait for another 20 years before a game like that is made.

That’s why I decided to take matters in my own hands and begun working on Battle Brothers.


Jaysen

Looking at the gaming world today shows two big streams of gaming projects. The multi-million AAA games and the small independant games. I, as a life-long gamer, have my quarrels with both of them and the state they are in gave me a big push when deciding to go and start my own gaming project.

Regarding the big gaming titles, there is are a lot of issues why I think most of them are not very good games but this essentially boils down to two major things: Simplicity and linearity.

Simplicity and linearity:

The trend to simplifying and streamlining gaming mechanics started around ten or fifteen years ago with games becoming more of a mainstream entertainment. As great as it is that more and more people are playing computergames, this lead to many games being extremely simple and short. I personally love to sink some time and effort into a game to learn the mechanics and also being able to find some new mechanic even after having played for a few hours. Once a player is able to completely look through all the game mechanics a game becomes perfectly predictable and has nothing surprising to offer anymore thus making it boring in most cases.

The second big thing making the simplicity problem even worse is linearity. Many AAA-games do not seem to know whether they want to be a game or a movie. Endless cutscenes, strictly linear mission, linear story design and a lack of choices make a game an incredibly boring experience. Each and every player that ever played that particular game is experiencing the exact same thing that some story-writer thought would be entertaining. I think that all people are different and everyone has his own understanding of what is a good story or an entertaining game. Unfortunately, there are very few games in the AAA sector that both have complex mechanics and also allow the player to experience his own story depending on the way he plays the game.

Indiegames:

This leads us to the second branch of gaming: Indiegames. There is a lot of creative energy and new ideas here which is great but as some people are starting to make a lot of money with really simple games a lot of copycats hit the scene. As fun and novel they may once have been, please do not make another “2D-sidescrolling-action-plattformer” with fancy/artsy graphics -  we have more than enough of those.

Although it seems to be paradox, many indiegames suffer from the problem of simplicity as well as AAA-games but for another reason. I suppose the simplicity is due to resource constraints that indiegames usually suffer from thus prohibiting complexity and a lot of content. Many of them evolve around just one rather simple mechanic that, once understood, offers nothing new or entertaining. I want them to be more complex and deep and offer more than an half-our of entertainment until putting them away thinking “nice idea, fancy graphics but where is the gameplay?”. There is so much more to a game than pixel-graphics!

All of the above made me want a game that offers freedom of choice, complex mechanics and a world to dive in and experience your own story in the way you personally think is fun. All this while offering enough content, variations and new stuff to keep you occupied for a long time. As I do not expect a game like this coming from the AAA- or the Indiegame-sector, I decided to try making a game myself that fulfills all these points and thats where “Battle Brothers” was started.
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« Reply #82 on: August 20, 2014, 05:57:42 AM »

I'm loving all of your latest posts/updates. It looks like the game is really starting to come together.

I'm also glad you're trying to keep a low-fantasy setting instead of the typical wizards/dragons etc. My first impressions led me to believe that the game would be sort of dark/gothic in its tone and feature enemies more at home in a horror story. I'm not sure how your orcs will fit into this, but you mentioned you had a unique take on them.

I like the current design of the character busts. I think it shows enough of the character and their statistics to be suitable for gameplay. While full figures or more detailed designs might be nice, a strategy game like this doesn't require them and actually might be distracting.

I'll be waiting for the Greenlight and Kickstarter.
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« Reply #83 on: August 20, 2014, 07:25:48 AM »

Thanks for the support!

We will defenitely go into a rather dark and serious direction with the enemies and the brutality of combat to create a sort of contradiction to the "cute" and "comicy" style of the characters. In this fashion we will have some really dark and grim looking orcs. I am looking forward to presenting them once they are done! As we consider them "content" right now they are unfortunately pretty far down on our priority list.
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« Reply #84 on: August 20, 2014, 07:30:19 AM »

this is so weird/good looking. I hope you realize how bizarre and nearly ineffective your art style is -- but i love it.
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« Reply #85 on: August 20, 2014, 11:51:46 PM »

hehe yeah, the artstyle is really one of a kind.

We actually had full body characters when we started making the game some years ago but we had to scrap them for various reasons. If you want to know more about the style here is a long dev blog article on the visual style and character design of the game: Dev Blog #5: Explaining Battle Brother's Art Style

Great you like the style anyways ; )
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« Reply #86 on: August 24, 2014, 12:56:01 AM »

New progress update and commented gameplay video

We just uploaded a new progress update video showcasing all the latest features like the new character inventory, the new perk system and the reworked bravery and moral mechanic.

Then we head out to some grim canyons on the search for a lost patrol - I do not take away too much when I tell you that all we will find is murder ; )


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« Reply #87 on: August 26, 2014, 09:04:49 AM »

The game looks really nice, perhaps getting rid of the lost souls early on and from a distance sealed the result of the scenario but still it was interesting watching the ghouls rush in to get to those corpses.

The archer proved decisive (the warrior with the 2-handed weapon was pretty awesome as well) but -as stated in the video- they were quite strong with their level 3 perks.

It's pretty clear that building a squad of rookies with basic equipment (and no perks)will be a challenge, keeping them alive long enough to become this strong and get all that cool equipment.

I'm really looking forward to Battle Brothers, needless to say.

P.S. With regard to crowdfunding options, I was told that indiegogo is more "EU" friendly, compared to KS (as it stands right now, there's talk of expanding their platform to cater better to the needs of European projects).
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« Reply #88 on: August 28, 2014, 12:06:06 AM »

Thanks for the feedback!
My archer, Alfred, really did a good job. Most of these shots were under 30% to hit chance and he almost hit all of them so that was crazy luck right there. Also, the ghouls will be more "early game" enemies when your brothers are not trained and equipped that well.

There were some rumors about KS coming to germany this fall but they did not communicate a launchdate or anything. We are actually thinking about Indiegogo as you suggested. It may be feasible because we are not looking for some crazy 6-digit budget for our game. We will put some more thought into that!
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« Reply #89 on: August 28, 2014, 03:21:05 AM »

Really digging the art style. I'm actually working on a board game for commission work with a similar set up (visually wise). Damn, have to keep this on my tabs.
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« Reply #90 on: August 28, 2014, 04:38:14 AM »

Sounds interesting, do you have any more info on that board game?

We actually build a paper prototype of Battle Brothers do some playtesting at the beginning of development ; )
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« Reply #91 on: August 28, 2014, 04:40:19 AM »

Been really enjoying these updates guys, glad to see things coming along as much as they have been!
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« Reply #92 on: August 28, 2014, 05:35:04 AM »

Man this looks awesome! Who did the music for you? from what i could hear in the background of the most resent video , it sounded really nice.
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« Reply #93 on: August 28, 2014, 05:45:42 AM »

The music is done by two really talented guys from our hometown, Hamburg. Their name is "Breakdwon Epiphanies" - we uploaded the main title theme to our youtube channel if you want to have a look: http://youtu.be/A2_cgIwEVq4?list=UUgxB2lJ8QjBRhdanLctdirA
Here is their soundcloud page: https://soundcloud.com/breakdownepiphanies

The music in the dead canyons scenario is a new track they made so no chance to hear it yet outside the video Wink We are looking into putting the other tracks on youtube as well, but that will take some more time.
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« Reply #94 on: September 04, 2014, 01:57:50 AM »

Get some more insights into the game with this new dev blog article:

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Dev Blog #25: Battle Brothers FAQ continued

As we were not able to cover all questions in our last FAQ posting we decided to do another one. You will definitely learn something new about the game when reading through them. If you have any questions not covered, have a look at the full FAQ here or just ask here in the forums!

Also, you might want to try our tactical combat demo to see how the game plays! Get it from here: Download.

General

Q: What is the general setting of the world?

The setting is an unnamed middle european medieval low fantasy world wherein magic exists, but is rare. The classic fantasy races of Elves, Dwarfs and Halflings don’t exist in this world, but a few other intelligent humanoid races do. We’ll flesh out the setting more once we’re further along with development of the strategic worldmap. Variations of the setting, such as a middle eastern themed expansion, might also be added at a later date.

Q: How does the game deal with the passing of time? Do characters age and get physically weaker over time and age?

The whole game takes places over a period of several months, not years. Aging isn’t a part of the game and most of the Battle Brothers will die before having the chance to grow old anyway.

Q: Will the game have flavor content or extra content like background stories for characters, areas, special weapons, statistics and so on?

Yes! We’re big fans of all those little details that come together to give a game that extra bit of atmosphere, sense of wonder and exploration. It’s one of the reasons we liked both the original X-Com and Jagged Alliance 2 that much. There will be short, proceduraly generated backstories for all Battle Brothers that also influence a Brother’s combat stats and traits.

We will also have unique named weapons that come with a paragraph or so of backstory (similar to how it is in Icewind Dale and Baldur’s Gate), and we’ll keep a healthy amount of statistics (like the number of kills, battles, injuries, special foes killed, and such) for every Battle Brother in the history tab. Every Battle Brother also has some character traits with a gameplay effect (like being craven or ambitious) of his own and may earn additional ones based on what he experiences.



Strategic Worldmap

Q: Are there multiple groups of Battle Brothers on the worldmap?

There will only be one group of Battle Brothers.

Q: Will a campaign feature parts of all the factions?

Yes, all factions will be featured on the worldmap in every campaign. Even if the invading force isn’t orcs, there will be an orc encampment here and there and orc raiding parties travelling the lands. The invading faction, though, will act more centralized, will be much more prevalent as time goes on and may have a few powerful units that don’t normally show up.

Q: Will there be multiple nations in the game each with their own diplomatic ties to each other?

Different towns, cities and strongholds have their own pool of resources. They also have their own banner, which is carried by all their units so that they’re clearly identifiable as being from a stretch of land all the way across the map. They’ll be somewhat selfish on occasion, offering the player coin to protect them over other lands, but they won’t fight each other. There won’t be multiple nations that conduct in diplomacy and intrigue for now, and the player won’t be able to resort to banditry and the like. It’s something we’d like to explore, but something that, if done, should also be really fleshed out. We just had to draw the line here as the game already is quite ambitious as is. For now, we try to keep a tight focus on the player leading a band of mercenaries and have clear fronts on who is on the players side and who isn’t.

Q: Will there be “events” on the worldmap that the player can run into?

Indeed we plan on having events. Events are a great tool to bring some variety for gameplay and support the atmosphere. On the other hand, we have to make sure that they’re no hindrance to our open world gameplay and replayability; randomizing them to some extent seems a good option. At this point we’re still pretty much at the “it would be cool to have events” stage and just bouncing ideas, so we can’t tell how our events will work exactly yet. They probably won’t be very dialogue-heavy heavy, though.

Q: Will the player be able to take prisoners?

Good question. Unfortunately we don’t have a good answer yet. We’re still in the process of designing the strategy/worldmap part of the game as we implement it, and we’ll see where it takes us. We like the idea of being able to rescue captured Battle Brothers, though, assuming the enemy you’re fighting is taking any prisoners at all. It’s something we may want to consider once we’re further along with the strategy part and see if it would fit well with everything else.



Tactical Combat

Q: Are there other enemies than zombies and skeletons in the game?


Definately! Those opponents were a good starting point because zombies didn’t require a sophisticated AI to feel convincing. We’ve since added other undead opponents to the game, such as vampires, ghosts and ghouls, and we’ll soon expand to other factions. You’ll be able to fight a variety of human and humanoid opponents in the final game, from different types of bandits to orcs and goblins that all come with unique skills, equipment and AI behavior. In addition, there will be some unique beasts and monsters that haven’t been in other games.

Q: Regarding morale, will there be an active ability to rally Battle Brothers or is morale all about passive skills and traits? Will the player be able to specialize one Brother as a leader or captain?

We’ll have a few accessory items that offer morale-related skills. For example, a battle horn that, when blast, triggers a positive morale check for all allies in the vicinity. It’s not guaranteed that blasting the horn will rally fleeing men, but there’s a chance it does, as well as a chance to lift the morale of all the others.

Also, we currently have a few perks that support the idea of tailoring leader characters. One, called “Captain”, adds a percentage of the character’s bravery to all allies in the vicinity. Another, “Inspiring Presence”, improves the efficiency of nearby allied troops directly. Since both scale with bravery, having a specialized leader or support character that sacrifices combat skills for high bravery to some extent could be a valid option. Unlike with character traits, we want perks to give a clear benefit and no trade-off (other than not being able to pick another perk), so we won’t add an inbuilt downside to choosing these perks. However, both perks require some investment into the utility perk tree first and therefore a veteran character. A character like this isn’t easily replaced, and losing him could have serious consequences if the players tactics depend too much on having a leader character (e.g. because other Battle Brothers have little bravery themselves but depend entirely on being pushed by a leader).
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« Reply #95 on: September 05, 2014, 11:41:19 AM »

More exciting stuff; the strategic map looks really interesting. I'm really looking forward to this game, it sounds like you have some very solid ideas to start with plus room to expand BB in the future.

Hope to see you guys soon on Greenlight, Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
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« Reply #96 on: September 07, 2014, 10:43:55 AM »

Battle Brothers is now on Steam Greenlight!

If we can gather enough votes the game will be available on Steam once it is finished, which would be a huge step forward. So please help us spread the word and head over to Greenlight to cast your vote!



In other news, Battle Brothers finally has a real trailer to showcase its features. Have a look!

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« Reply #97 on: September 10, 2014, 05:41:48 AM »

Quick news from our greenlight campaign:

We already made it 40% into the top 100 on our way to getting greenlit so its about time to say "thank you" for the votes so far!

But there is still a way ahead of us so If you haven't done it yet, head over to our Greenlight page and throw a vote in our general direction: Battle Brothers Greenlight Page

Thanks for the support!
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« Reply #98 on: September 11, 2014, 06:23:20 AM »

Good luck on the Greenlight. There seem to be a lot of positive comments there already. It's great someone was reminded of the old Darklands game, truly a classic. I've placed my vote.

The trailer looks nice too and I think the old gameplay/commentary video will go a long way in explaining the mechanics better. I'm looking forward to seeing one for the worldmap portion of the game.
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« Reply #99 on: September 11, 2014, 07:17:56 AM »

Nice to hear that you voted for us!

In fact the people seem to be even more convinced of the project after having played the demo, so maybe you want to check that out too.

The worldmap part is our main focus in the development right now. We are currently working on a dynamic system to generate "contracts" for your group of Battle Brothers that are somewhat similar to "quests" that other games use. To us it is really important that they both make sense within the world and that they are not repetitive. There is nothing more annoying than grinding for quest-rewards! Maybe we will have a dev blog article on these contracts soonish!
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