Hello everyone. Just wanted to give a report on the progress made since last update. I am currently deep in reworking the tactical battle interface. If you have tested the alpha build, you will know the battle engine is launched as a separate application, written in Unity3D. For the next build, apart from much improved interface and graphics, the battle engine will be able to run separately, specifying the order of battle in a text file. This will make testing the tactical battle engine much quicker. I will also add a “record” option, where the order of battle can be saved for balance testing or bug reproduction purposes.
Apart from that I have added a number of new units, spells and world generation “specials” (ancient tunnel networks, crystal deposits, etc). But the main focus is on making the tactical combat interesting, as it is a quite integral part of the game.
The intent is not to make the game entirely focused on conquest through endless battles. Personally I find a lot of fantasy strategy games become a bit dull in the mid and late game, as the game devolves into either building up a “doomstack” of units and sending it on a world tour, or endless battles just bog the pace of the game down.
The option to auto-resolve fixes this to some degree, but usually a human player can achieve better results than the auto-resolve, making it a poor choice unless the odds are overwhelming. I will try to make sure the auto-resolve is fair and that the player has influence on the outcome in a risk-vs-reward sense.
But preferably the battles of the early game game focused on early conquest and defense, exploration, expansion, etc. should flow into a mid-game where battles happen as part of periodic wars and invasions, and the player has sufficient resources to tailor the armies for a specific purpose. In the late game the player should have control of advanced magics, great monsters, veteran armies and legendary heroes, so that battles become larger and more epic.
It is a difficult balancing act to be sure, but the current work on the tactical battle engine is the foundation of having interesting gameplay around these, so that there is a tactical aspect to different weapons, abilities, spells, monsters, etc. Desperately defending a town from a massive undead horde should be a different experience than meeting an orcish infantry horde with a force of mounted knights and peasant levy in a pitched battle. And so forth.
Hopefully I will have a screenshot of the new tactical interface soon.