Saturday, November 7, 2015

Armies of the Fae Court

Born from the will of living land, the Fae Court defends wilds with both ferocity and grace. The Fae armies rely on speed to focus the point of the attack at their choosing. Their ability to quickly redeploy allows them to outwit their opponents in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Though small in stature, their magical nature keeps them hidden, making them difficult targets. Their ability to quickly deploy and flight allows the Fae to quickly control a wide expanse of the battlefield.

These blademasters dominate their enemies with whirling twin blades equally adept at turning aside the weapons of their opponents, and delivering lightning fast strikes.

Masters of the land, they take full advantage of the terrain, sniping targets with their bows from afar. Their keen senses and knowledge of the land allow them to rapidly change their position.

Glade Rider
Astride swift steeds, the Glade Rider is always a step ahead of their prey. Letting lose poisoned arrows, and then swiftly retreating.

The great druids are ever vigilant, as the caretakers of the wilds, Druids use their command of the natural elements to cast powerful enchantments which regenerate the wounds of friends and bind their enemies.

The great magestic Unicorn bolsterd the Fae ranks. Their magical horns turn aside enemy curses, and pierce magical defenses.

In times of war, even the trees themselves awaken to do battle. Hurling great stones which smash enemy armor, and planting themselves when stationary to protect against attacks.

Wild terrors which instill terror in all. A frenzy of tearing claws and slicing beak, they rip through enemy ranks as unstoppable forces of nature.

Agile craft which elude enemy attacks and excel in wolfpack tactics.

Giant vessels made up of a living tree, the Fae Arks provide a formidable platform for over water transport.

All details are subject to change in the name of balance and flavor

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Fae

When the world was young, the land itself was alive. Not in the sense of that we see around us now, but rather conscious and possessed of both desires and wonder. Innocent as a child, it set about exploring its own existence. Life blossomed at its touch, with both beasts and flora, from the smallest insect to towering trees which brushed the top of the world. All her children lived in the harmony of a great natural order, watched over by druids, the wisest of the beasts.

When man came into the world, emerging from the divine planes, he found a world of great peace and bounty. Though many found their place in that which was, all too many sought dominion over the land. A long and terrible war for control was fought, the living planet fought desperately for her own survival as the invading waves of humanity wielded terrible otherworldly powers which tore the life force from the land, bending it to their will.

Now, her original light only lives in the darkest and most forbidding of places, great hidden forests, where all still honor the great cycle. These last secret places are protected by the great beasts and the humans who joined them, transformed by her grace. They are the fae touched, which have taken up the mantle of the Fae Court, sworn to preserve the original spirit of the earth.

The humans are refugees of a spiritual war which wages eternal in the planes beyond. While they think us defeated, the conflict they have fled has found them again. We must only bide our time until they have consumed themselves utterly. On this day, we will reclaim that which was lost. - Archdruid Elandron, 2nd Age

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Armies of the Dark Cabal

With terrible spells of binding and control, the most powerful of sorcerers bend unnatural forces to their will. Foul creatures from the other side fill the ranks of the Black Cabal. It is a determined wave that slowly moves across the land and smothers all life before them, becoming stronger with each death.

Slow and mindless, zombies absorb wounds that would fell any other. This makes them the perfect wall to protect more valuable and vulnerable units.

Armed with bows, these walking dead make up for their lack of toughness by attacking at range, while their bone thin forms make them difficult to target with return fire.

Eternally hungry, the scent of blood drives these creatures to madness. They are equally terrible in death, their diseased bodies poisoning all nearby enemies as they fall.

Their ghostly forms floating effortlessly across any obstacle, the cry of the banshee instills fear in their victims, causing them flee away in terror.

Serving as commanders, the deathknight empowers nearby forces with increased aggression and unholy attacks that strengthens the resolve of their forces. Even when defeated, the deathknight continues the fight as a zombie.

Lesser sorcerers in the dark arts, but still formidable. Necromancers fire shadow fire from afar, which will cause any enemy thus slain to rise under their power as a zombie. They also can cause a frenzy in their undead brethren, allowing an ally one last surge of action before causing them to explode spectacularly.

Capable of flying great distances, these princes of the undead thrive on operating behind enemy lines and picking off isolated units.

Existing partially in both the realms of life and death, their ghostly attacks slice indiscriminately through any armor, and each nearby death, friend or foe, permanently increases their strength.

Small skeletal ships that excel at tying up the enemy by crashing into them and entangling their rigging.

Ghost ship
Spectral ships drift across the oceans silently, offering a secure method to transport units.

All details are subject to change in the name of balance and flavor

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Shattered Throne

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Undead

With the formation of the Divine Empire of Elancia, the practice of magic was forbidden. Those who would practice its dark arts were endlessly pursued and brought to justice by her ever vigilant Witch Hunters. But the agents of the church could not be everywhere, and the secrets of black magic lived on in careful whispers and hidden cults.

In this environment, the foolish were culled, and the careful silently grew powerful. A coven of such masters banded together to form the Dark Cabal, and thus united, their seductive charm slowly began to fray at the threads that held the Empire together. Protected by minions born of foul sorcery and infused with energy to sustain their form, they play a patient game, slowly spreading their influence, rotting away the power structures of the Empire from within.

There is no virtue, only a quest for personal power. One should not be deluded of the real purpose behind their pursuits, but rather embrace this pure truth, and strive only to triumph by any means. Warlock Cassius Molgrave, 3rd Age

Monday, September 7, 2015

Armies of the Divine Empire

The Armies of the Divine Empire of Elancia are well trained and supported. Standing stalwart against all enemies, secure in the knowledge that their divine patron stands at their side. The Imperial army is durable force, with a focus on multi-target attacks which seek to maximize the effect of the battle combo system.

Strongest on the defense, and able to strike first against their attackers, these massed ranks of spearmen offer the Empire's first line of defense.

Steel clad Crusaders form the backbone of any Imperial assault, armed with greatswords which can strike all targets before them.

Priestess of the church are capable of healing wounded troops, as well as securing greater war funds at home.

Witch Hunter
Witch hunters provide basic ranged support for the Imperial war host. Their expert marksmanship can quickly redirect the focus of an attack, much to the despair of their target.

Riding swift steeds, the Squires of the Empire provide a quick reactionary force ideal for outflanking opponents and striking at their most vulnerable units.

The Grand Knights of the Empire are rightly feared for their ability to both shrug off attacks, as well as their powerful charges which smash through multiple ranks.

War Engine
Marvels of engineering, these great siege engines throw huge stones great distances, striking a large area that ignores any fortified position.

In times of great need, heaven herself defends the empire, and the Seraph are her warriors. Their fiery judgement strips the opponent of their greatest strength.

Swift wooden frigates transport forces across waterways, as well as offering a stable platform to conduct boarding actions.

War Galley
Majestic sailed vessels secure the shipping routes with the ability to project great force across a vast area both at sea and along the coast.

All details are subject to change in the name of balance and flavor

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Shattered Throne

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Empire

The Divine Empire of Elancia, a vast realm with an abundance of natural resources. Her Knights protect her borders along the formidable natural barriers of the Stoneshield Mountains to the east and the broken wastes of the Bone Marches to the south. Elancia also boasts a strong naval presence upon the Endless Ocean, growing rich from markets far and near.

Ruled by a hereditary line of wise monarchs, and watched over by their divine patron, the Empire has been truly blessed since its formation 2 centuries prior. Though none doubt the bravery of her guardians, many whisper that her prosperity has blinded many to a growing corruption within.

The machinations of greed and ambition ever toil and pick at the soft belly of complacency. -High Priestess Algdool, 3rd Age

Shattered Throne

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Combo points in Shattered Throne

One of the core game play concepts to master in Shattered Throne is that of combo points. When designing the game, I wanted unit formations to be a central theme. This initially took the form of units providing static bonuses when positioned adjacent to friendly units. This worked, but the effects were hidden in the underlying math of the system, rather than being visually apparent.

Another concept I wanted to capture is that a unit would become disrupted when subjected to attacks, degrading its abilities temporarily while engaged in combat. This was a feature in a lot of the war games I favor, but did not make for a very approachable game, as such games tended to appeal only to hard core war games.

It was around this time that Peggle came out (Shattered Throne has been bouncing around in my brain pan for quite some time), and the visual effects and feedback in that game really grabbed me. I wondered if the stale concepts of formations and disruption could be presented in a more visually pleasing format, instead of buried in popups.

The simple idea of combo points took hold, and their addition transformed the game from the hard core, to approachable, without a loss in tactical depth.

Combo points in Shattered Throne are quite simple. Whenever a unit is attacked, it gains a combo point. These stack to a max value of 3 combo points. Combo points are lost, whenever you take a move which does not include the unit with combo points as a target.

For every combo point on a unit, the damage of attacks against it are increased by 1. In addition, each combo point on a unit also reduces its counterattack damage by 1. With this, numbers can easily overwhelm even the toughest of units.

This models disruption quite clearly, but it may not be as obvious how it also addresses formations. Formations become important because they cut off one or more attack positions against a target, reducing the the number of combo points which can be built, and likely keeping it alive long enough to be withdrawn or healed back up.

Because of this, ranged attacks are worth a premium, as they allow the ability to increase combo points on a unit without the need to be adjacent, bypassing the protection of a formation. This is then the primary use of ranged units in Shattered Throne, which typically deal very little damage on their own and cost more to hire.

Ranged units are typically also vulnerable to attack, and must be protected, as they can be easily defeated if left open to attack.

This reflects also the primary use of ranged units historically, as a means to disrupt enemy formations, rather than a means to defeat them entirely on their own (history of course is filled with exceptions).

You could say that I then doubled down on the concept of combo points at this time. Any combo points on a unit when it is defeated are converted into mana points, which can then be used to cast battlefield changing powers.

As such, a player who masters the concept of combo points will be able to lead their troops to victory consistently.

In designing the computer player AI, it was found to make very strong tactical decisions which maximize the mathematical trade-offs, but does not have full mastery of the combo point system. I found that I liked it having this weakness. As a player it will be imperative to exploit the combo point system in order to defeat the AI player, especially in higher difficulty scenarios.

Combo points also opened the door to some very interesting ideas.
Units which strike more than one target:

Combo point transference:

As well as special puzzle maps designed to test your mastery.

Can you defeat all units in one turn?

Thanks for reading, please vote for Shattered Throne on Steam Greenlight and IndieDB!

Shattered Throne