This update is focused on character mechanics, with a bit of squalor thrown in for good measure. These improvements will make character-based events a lot more fun and interesting and contribute to the narrative framework of the game world. The patch notes below give the full details.
In more general news, I have been working on porting the main game module, the strategic part, to Unity. This is a pretty big task, so don’t expect it to be done in the next couple of builds. It will provide the foundation for a much better UI and more responsive map graphics with proper animation, zooming, etc. The annoyingly long load times for battle resolution and related stability issues will also go away, as the game will no longer be split into two executables. Another awesome effect is that this will make the game compatible with other operating systems than Windows. I will post some work in progress screenshots during the coming week. This means I will not focus on making the current UI more functional and responsive. I will of course, still bug fix it and make sure new features are usable.
Manual battle resolution is also in for a major overhaul, so I will not be doing any more updates to the tactical battle engine until the new design is finalized. It doesn’t make sense to share any details at this stage, but the goal with the overhaul is much more interesting and dramatic battles. Really looking forward to lifting the curtain on these changes, but I will try to avoid the temptation to do so until they are actually in-game. The point with mentioning it anyway, in all its vague glory, is to explain why there are no updates to the battle engine.
Once the game is fully ported to Unity, the new battle resolution is in-game, and game systems have progressed to a more playable and interactive state, there is a good chance I will try to get the game greenlit on Steam for Early Access. This will have a lot of advantages in regards to distribution. Those of you who have been helping out in these early days with encouragement, bug reports, design feedback, ideas, etc. will of course receive Steam keys for your efforts. But for now the Alpha still lives in ZIP files and the walls of text of this venerable blog.
For anyone curious, I did consider a crowd sourcing venue, e.g. Kickstarter, for the game, but I don’t think it is a good fit for this combination of game genre and (my) style of development. If something could be given as a backer reward, I’d rather add it as modding feature for everyone.
So for the near future, Wizards and Warlords will progress as it has done the last couple of months. Following the road map, delivering quasi-weekly updates of the Alpha, adding content and improving game systems. It’s a real joy working on the game and I am quite pleased with the flexibility and power of the core game systems, and how every update lets me breathe more life into the game world. As soon as the graphics and feature set allows it, I will record a video, and rant at length while you have something to look at.
Now to round off this lengthy, lofty and ambitious rant on a more somber note: This is still Alpha days. The game does not in its current state present an enjoyable gaming experience to most people. Playing the game at this stage is an opportunity to get a peek at a stage most developers do not share with the public. Don’t get me wrong: I am extremely grateful for any bug reports, design suggestions, ideas or even a bit of random forum spam (from someone who is not a bot), but please remember that this is Alpha, not Beta or Early Access. There is a lot of fun to be had with the current progress, but a different kind of fun than the one a finished game presents.
* Characters can now have relations to each other. This can be a family relation (eg. parent, sibling, distant relative), it can be a rivalry, based on history and emotion (e.g. distrust, hatred, respect, fear, love), and it can be a social relation (marriage, master, servant, mentor, student, etc.). Relationships affect events and tasks.
* The “Trusted Retainers” wizard trait makes the starting bunch of followers start out as allies.
* Rivalries can appear among your followers, or between a follower and a character not in your service. Ambitious and paranoid characters are especially susceptible.
* Cities now have notable characters (can be inspected from the City UI). These can be involved in various events and plots.
* Events can be caused by high city squalor or at random: disease, riots, wealth lost due to repairs/sanitation, and even a fire sweeping the streets and buildings.
* Characters now have classes based on their culture. A demon-worshipping savage tribe will generate different character types than a merchant republic famous for its alchemists or an isolationistic dwarven kingdom. This means fewer arsonists, ninjas and samurai, sadly. Probably have to do something about that.
* Characters age is generated and tracked based on racial characteristics.
Zip with build: https://wizardsandwarlords.net/files/WizardsAndWarlords0936.zip