The Last Blog #16 – New Features – part 3

Published: Category:Dev BlogWritten by: pingu

The Last One

Hello mighty warriors!

You know the drill, last part of our blog series about the new features coming into The Last Spell. Next monday will be the last before entering Early Access O_O

Quality of Life

Quality of Life is important, even in a post apocalyptic world! We won’t list here ALL of the little tweaks we made since the Prologue, but here are the most noticeable of them:

  • We’ve added some big warning confirmation pop ups at several places in the game. They will warn you if you forgot to spend some gold, level up some of your heroes or forgot about a bonus you could have acquired during the production phase. During the night, you will also be warned if you didn’t spend all of your heroes action points or didn’t move at all. That certainly means that you are doing something wrong… but don’t fret, this feature is entirely dismissable in the options menu, if you don’t like the constant reminder and you know what you are doing.

  • Ok now this one is SUPER useful: we added some checks on skill targeting, if your attack doesn’t have ANY target in its Area Of Effect, it will certainly mean that you missclicked and didn’t want that to happen (and it happens… regurlary…), so we check it for you and cancel the action. Believe me, it’s a REAL life saver, even more so in a game where you want to optimize every action…
  • More on this: we extended this system to give some simple feedback to the player about why you can’t proceed with an action: for example, if you don’t have line of sight, if the target is out of reach, if you don’t have enough Action Points… you’ll get notified about it, so that you know what to do.
  • On another subject, we reworked the cameras of the game, now they are much more dynamic, focusing on the actions of the enemies during their turn, so that you get a much more interesting feedback about what is really happening. We had to find some clever ways to display the sequence, having hundreds of enemies acting at the same time. For now, we divided the scene into quadrants and into group of actions, so that all enemies in a specific quadrant do their actions in one go, and then another. We will surely iterate on this during EA to fine tune the system, but for now it’s doing the job quite well.
  • Big change: now you can click on an enemy and select it to get access to more advanced infos than before. You’ll get a small description of the enemy, but more importantly you’ll get the skills associated to the enemy! We also reworked the info panel of enemies, so that you get an idea of the average damage they can deal, and what are their defenses. (the infos get updated with the hero’s stats too, so if you have some dodge negating effects on your attack, it will directly show in the info panel!)
  • Small change: we added some icons above the Mana/AP/Move costs in the skill bar, so that colorblind players get a chance to understand what these costs are. Even for non colorblind players it’s clearer like that.

Meta Meta Meta

Okay, so this is the big part of the blog post… but the one where we don’t want to reveal TOO much, since we want to keep some surprises…

We implemented a first version of the Meta part of the game. It’s already quite polished and with a large amount of content, but of course since that’s the last big core feature we implemented we will have some room to improve things, we are still fiddling with the balancing of it all up to today, so yeah don’t hesitate to tell us what you think about it all when you’ll get the chance to play in next week!

At some point in the game, you will have access to 2 different Meta spaces:

  • a Shop, where you can trade the Essences collected from slained enemies for permanent boosts and upgrades. Not everything is available from the start, you have to reach certain hidden conditions before unlocking new things to buy.
  • an Achievements screen where you will be rewarded with boosts and upgrades for achieving things in the game. Some of them will be available right from the start, and some of them you will have to unlock by reaching some other conditions.

The goal behing these two Meta systems was to:

  • unlock gameplay features step by step, to ease the onboarding into the game. We noticed a lot of players could get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things to do right from the start, so now you don’t have access to half of if before a few hours into the game.
  • give objectives for the players and a sense of progression: each time you play, even if you lose, you should get the feeling that your time wasn’t “wasted”, you unlocked a few upgrades that you will be able to use in your next run, so you should be even more eager to start a new run.

We also wanted to mix 2 types of rewards: one part that you will get just by playing the game, even if you struggle. They should in time give you some tools to be better at the game and get closer to finishing it. And the other part, rewards that you’ll have to “chase”, a bit more dedicated to experienced players, and which will enable them to progress even further.

We mixed direct boosts for the player which instantly gives you a mathematical advantage from this point (for example, boosts to your heroes stats at generation) and rewards that just “unlock” new toys to play with: new weapons, buildings, variations of weapons, etc… these ones are trickier, because when you’re unlocking a new weapon, you will be able to experiment with it, and doing so you will certainly make worse runs until you master the new weapon’s gameplay and synergies… It’s more of a replayability feature than a difficulty one.

As a side note: some of these upgrades can directly be used during your current run, so that you don’t have to wait until you lose to see the benefit of it (for example: new buildings unlock).

A final word about the narration of the game. We wanted The Last Spell to be quite low on textual narration, but we had fun adding some narration elements with the Meta aspect of the game. I don’t want to spoil too much, but you will get some informations about the world building of the game, and even some mysteries to uncover… It shouldn’t be a big part of the game, but it should keep you entertained if you want to get to the bottom of things.

This is the end

The more we write, the more excited we get. We’ve tried to get you an idea of what the game will look like, especially for those who played the Prologue and might be wondering how different the Early Access version could be… but we don’t want to steal all of the fun! There are tons of things that you will need to uncover yourself, and plenty that remain to be brought into the game. We will keep on listening, designing and programming until The Last Spell is cast from our side of the mirror… 😉

Only 10 days left… and you better be ready for what’s coming!

-The Last Team

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