My identify is Tom Chicken, and I’m the Lead Developer on post-launch Age of Wonders: Planetfall. Planetfall was an incredible recreation to work on — it gave us the chance to discover numerous cool sci-fi concepts and provides our personal twists to them, and construct a brand new universe for individuals to discover. Nonetheless, as nice as we felt the sport was, there’s all the time room for enchancment, and a number of other months in the past we started the method of constructing a serious replace, incorporating the suggestions that we had gotten from gamers.
One of many important requests was extra content material for the center interval of the sport. Early on there have been numerous attention-grabbing constructions for the participant to discover, however as soon as the participant started deploying extra highly effective armies, these websites stopped being a problem. There have been massive landmarks which wanted highly effective armies to overcome, however these are very uncommon, and gamers had been lacking one thing to sit down within the center floor between these and the early recreation constructions.
With the intention to determine step one I sat down with Thomas Schuiten, the designer who leads creation of constructions and tactical fight maps (he additionally wrote plenty of the anomalous website tales from the Awakenings DLC). We determined that one explicit class of world map construction was undervalued within the present construct: Go to Websites.
DNA Vault go to website from the Pre-Tyrannosaurus model of the sport
The DNA vault above grants a brief bonus to armies visiting it (therefore the identify Go to Web site), but because of the mechanics of how armies transfer round, it’s usually ignored because it’s not well worth the time of a military to detour that construction. He proposed that we might use these constructions as a place to begin to develop a brand new class of constructions that might present the correct degree of problem that gamers had been lacking. The next week he delivered a doc proposing a design:
This screenshot is a part of the unique design doc; the previous websites are on the left and the redesigns are on the correct
The design massively boosted the financial worth of some websites, and likewise gave them a stat enhance that could possibly be utilized to items that had been constructed within the Colony that contained the positioning. The “go to” impact could be eliminated, in order that the positioning’s description wouldn’t be cluttered. The fundamental thought was that the websites could be extremely fascinating constructions that we might distribute by way of the world, with highly effective defenders that will require superior armies to clear, plugging the hole within the recreation stream.
It was determined to maintain two of the go to websites round, the Cost Station since extra transfer factors was all the time a helpful factor for gamers, and the Restore Station since therapeutic items was additionally helpful. The most well-liked go to website (the Heavy Weapons Manufacturing unit) gave a strong harm bonus to visiting armies, so we determined to merge that into the Restore Station as effectively, upping its potential worth.
For the reason that design had handed the primary hurdle it was time to carry Sara Obert on board. Sara is the artist accountable for making the atmosphere artwork for Planetfall’s DLC, and he or she and Thomas had already labored collectively to make the fight maps for the Awakening’s DLC. Sara’s job could be to decorate the fight maps for every website, in order that gamers who entered them could be actually bought on the story of every website.
The primary stage is to make use of present in-game belongings to make a block-out of every map. This could then be used to check the structure to verify it really works for gameplay functions.
The DNA vault block-out. The Vault Partitions had been reused from earlier inside maps, the place they represented pc banks coated in blinking lights
The block-out was used to check:
Is there sufficient house to maneuver round — if gaps are too slender then melee items could have problem reaching their targets
Does the AI behave appropriately, not blocking itself and using flanks supposed within the structure
Are there good sight traces and canopy positions for ranged fight, significantly on the ‘assembly level’ (the world the place the struggle would happen in an Computerized Decision)
Can we make a structure that sells the story of the map
As soon as the block-out was accomplished, Sara and Thomas labored collectively to try to make the map extra “visually logical.” For instance, staircases had been moved in order that they had been in positions that stairs could be wanted in an actual construction, fairly than merely the place it was good for fight.
Lastly, Sara might get to work “dressing the map.” This course of is just like constructing a home in The Sims. Sara has an enormous library of belongings that she and others have made which she will use to make the map stunning and inform the story of an historic vault, crammed with the genetic secrets and techniques of the previous Star Union.
The finished vault map. Lighting and particle results are additionally crucial to get the correct ambiance for the map
The ultimate step is deciding on the composition of the defenders — since this can be a website about genetic analysis, the Xenoplague military set was chosen as being one of the best match!
And a view of the brand new DNA vault on the world map
In fact, this is only one Exploration website. This course of was repeated for an additional six websites, bringing a complete of seven new exploration constructions to the replace! This contains an Imperial Warfare Monument which grants items a everlasting morale bonus, and a Terraforming Station that grants resistance to standing results.
Amazon Warriors transfer to take a terraforming station from its Promethean guardians
In addition to these new constructions, the Tyrannosaurus replace comprises numerous different enhancements. The economic system has been streamlined, decreasing micromanagement so gamers can concentrate on the large selections that actually matter. The interfaces have been cleared up, with a serious move on the overview maps to assist gamers plan out their financial progress. We’ve additionally added new recreation modes, such because the a lot requested No Colonizer Mode, and a brand new Relaxed mode for gamers who need a extra chilled out expertise.
Together with an enormous host of steadiness adjustments, bug fixes and small quality-of-life tweaks, the Tyrannosaurus Replace is the most important replace to the sport we’ve made by far. We hope you get pleasure from taking part in it as a lot as we loved making it!