Monday, September 30, 2013

Heroes of Steel - Sometimes Turn-based Turns

We've been working on cleaning up the turn cycle of the last few days and I wanted to share the results! I think you could say that the result is "sometimes turn-based." There are two basic types of turn structures during game play in Heroes -- when you group is safe and when you are in combat.

As your group is sneaking around, exploring, or wandering through the dungeon, there are time when they are not currently threatened.  During this time is most convenient and easy for the player to move without worrying about spending Action Points or who's turn is next.  So, this is considered your safe move time (you can tell we are still working on the exact game term!).  During this time, you can give orders to characters and they will execute as if the game was running on a turn.  No one is counting Action Points.  Characters can run around uncontested.

For example, right after I have survived a nasty fight with some Ratkin (above), my turns return to safe mode immediately.  This gives me time to heal, regroup, use items, consider retreat (yah right!) and plan my next move.  In the current build I am playing, that means my Thief character is headed out front to scout out the next challenges.

However ... then comes the moment upon which you open a door, turn a corner too fast, or just run face-first into an ambush.  As soon as enemies start appearing on the map, you've triggered the combat turn structure.  At this point, the game the turn switches over to an Action Point driven round, in which each of your characters get a number of points to spend (currently, testing at 7).  Then, when you're spent, the enemies get their turn and burn their own individual pool of actions points slashing, firing arrows, closing in on you and very soon, slinging spells!

So, here you can see the Action Point counter appearing as soon trouble arrives.  This time, trouble arrive in the form of a giant rat who ambushed my group from behind while I was trying to take care of some other enemies!  Seen here biting my Thief!

This focused development on the turn has allowed us to achieve (1) smooth and easy group control when you are not in the nitty gritty of a combat, (2) the sudden and exciting shift of pace when a threat arrives, (3) fine grained turn control when you are fighting enemies.  

Hope you like it! 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Heroes of Steel - Emotive Dialogs

Heroes of Steel is bringing forward the next generation story system from Trese Brothers.  We've learned from our other games -- Age of Pirates, Cyber Knights, and Templar Assault -- which all include stories or campaigns, and packed those lessons into Heroes of Steel.

On top of adding dialog trees, a choice system that will be much more prevalent throughout the game, and the ability to chain story events together one after another, we've also enabled emotive dialog.  This exciting change allows a character to change their expression -- sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly -- to hints to how they are feeling or reacting to the lines of dialog.

Both your four characters and the other people within the game world will be able to employ emotive dialog, so this is something I am really excited in trying out.

For example, in this case, the Outlander does not mind talking about laying the hurt down on the ratkin menace that is threatening the town.

But he does start to get a little shifty when you ask him about his past.  It's a subtle change, but its an important principle to have from the start when building a story!  It's already exciting to see even these subtle changes in character's expression in the system!

I will work on covering some of the other story system changes in a future blog post!

Making Quick Work of Navigation (Star Traders RPG v5.1.23)

One of the central challenges of the Star Traders Captain is plotting the Ship's course. The Crew looks to you for direction. As Star Traders has developed over the past three years we have made many improvements and adjustments to the tools you use to help your Captain chart a course through the Stars.

Early version of Star Traders RPG
The game's overall visual appeal has been improved as well, but the focus of the design will always be about making it easy for you to execute your goals. Depending on what your Captain is doing you can set courses from at least these screens:

  • Contract Lists
  • Rumor Lists
  • Resource Reports
  • Politics Lists
  • Conflict Lists

Another very effective way to plot a course is the zoom map. However, some of our Captains have different play styles and one piece of feedback that kept coming up was the desire for more zone based navigation options to augment the sector based ones. This release brings the new "Navigation" menu to meet that need:

Navigation menu on Nexus 7

Navigation Menu on Moto Droid

This release also continues to work to deal with the fallout from several Google bugs in Android:

v5.1.23 - 9/28/2013

  • Fixed Reported Crashes and Freezes
  • Useful New 'Navigator' Menu Item
  • New Ship: Tutrux Jammer
  • New Ship: Tutrux Cutter
  • New AI Variations for Xeno/Narvidians
  • New Spice Hall and Palace Rumors/Hints
  • New Nexus 7 Updates for Google Bugs in 4.3

Google Play "Star Traders RPG" Free

Amazon "Star Traders RPG" Free

Google Play "Star Traders RPG Elite" ($2.99USD)

Amazon "Star Traders RPG Elite" ($2.99USD)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Age of Pirates -- Continuous Improvements (and 0.6.7 Released)

Our game of adventure on the high seas has been available on the Android Market for about two months now and it has been an exciting process working with you, our players and fans, to build it and shape the direction it will go.

While the mechanics, systems and priorities of Age of Pirates RPG are being shaped there is also a process of continuous improvement to the game's interface. The early beta team had a pretty rough looking sea:

Early Beta AoP
Many steps along the way, each one incorporating lessons we learned from playing the game and listening to you. We are a long way from done, however, we're making rapid progress.

v0.6.7 on a HDPI Android

Age of Pirates has received an above average focus on the visual appeal of the game. The mechanics and stories are coming together as well and we hope you are enjoying the combination. In the spirit of continued improvements, here is another update for the weekend!

v0.6.7 - 9/27/2013
Stylish New Game Icon
New Reputation Bonus: Supply Powder During War
New Reputation Bonus: Ending Food Shortages
Fixed Bugs in Map at 5,5 and Coastline
Reputation Issues with Corsairs Resolved
New Rewards for Defeating a Kraken
New Rewards for Defeating an Ice Demon
Improved Performance / New Map Details

Google Play Age of Pirates RPG

Google Play Age of Pirates RPG Elite

Amazon App Store Age of Pirates RPG

Amazon App Store Age of Pirates RPG Elite

Cyber Knights Elite is on sale for $0.99!

Cyber Knights Elite just went on sale for $0.99!  Get it Knights!  It's not going to last!

On Google Play

On Amazon

Heroes of Steel - Rocks the iPad and Android Tablets

From the very beginning of the Heroes of Steel project, the Epic Platform Pack stretch goal -- that we would build the game for iOS, Android, and OUYA devices -- was a bit scary.  We made the huge decision in the last week of the KickStarter to move the stretch goal down from $50,000 to $20,000, which was a big gamble on our part.  But -- we listened to the community and the number of people who wanted to get excited about Heroes, but needed it on their iOS device, was very conclusive.

After moving the goal down, the community pulled together in a major way and pushed us over the $20,000 mark.  Epic Platform Pack achieved!  It added probably 3 or 4 months to the timeline to produce the game, but it is paying off in such major ways that Cory and I can no longer imagine Heroes of Steel without this critical stretch goal.  

Here are some beautiful screenshots from our testing iPad and you can see how Heroes of Steel is such a natural for the Android tablet or iPad screen size.  It just fits!

With all the work we've put into the engine, it fits just as well onto a small phone, but you've got naturally less space.  Things scale down and you'll get a great experience there too.

But playing around on our test tablets and iPad made it really clear -- the game, the map, and the art all shine when you've got them on a bigger screen!  

Thanks again to all of our backers who made this possible.  Everything you've seen that is awesome in Heroes of Steel (animation, equipment changing your character model, exploding fireballs, smooth scrolling on the screen, flying arrows) is actually all made possible by this single stretch goal.

How very nice.  Our hats are off to you, KickStarter backers!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Heroes of Steel - Doors and Locks

Over the last two days we have filled in a few of the major game systems that will drive map interaction for Heroes of Steel -- traps, doors, chests, loot, and locks.  These additions have been really exciting to see coming to life, as they will define a number of the most interesting Talents for different characters in the game.

I will follow up with a blog post in the next few days on loot and traps, but today I wanted to show off some door mojo!

First, we've been hard at work on the Dungeon Lighting system we mentioned last week.  We've got it working correctly with doors now and you can see that they stop your vision and don't let the light under the door frame anymore!

That's just a regular door.  It can be opened with the spend of a single action point and a touch and your sight spills through it like beams of light.

Then, there are locked doors.  Lock doors cannot be opened until they are first unlocked.  Your Thief or Rogue character will be best equipped to pick the locks on doors (or chests) with her Precision Pick talent.  This will make a skill roll against the difficulty of the lock on the door, augmented by the level of her talent.

Trying to pick a door lock will eat up a lot of Action Points and a moderate amount of Spirit Points, so it isn't something you'll want to fail often.  And, if you are trying to pick the lock under pressure (the enemy is closing in!) you'll need to get it very quickly.

Finally, and possibly most exciting is that doors can also be locked by other means -- they need you to bring a specific key item to them, or you need to access a switch, level, or some other trigger in another part of the map to open the door.  This means we have real "story door" capabilities and these will be powerful tools for us as the Heroes of Steel story is continued to be built out!

A few other notes -- your Wizard or Sorcerer character can both invest in one their talents, Warding Words, that would allow them to unlock locks as well, if you want to focus your Thief or Rogue on other capabilities.   Also, we will be very careful with our use of locked doors with high difficulty ratings so that we aren't locking a group of characters out of a story arc because the player decided not to invest enough Talent points in Precision Pick!  But, lots of optional content, side quests, and other goodies might behind some very difficulty doors, so it will be a valuable talent to train on at least one of your characters!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Heroes of Steel - Equipment and Animations

Today,  I am really excited to share a video about equipment and attack animations within Heroes of Steel. Using our new game engine and new animation tool chain, we've been able to achieve the most in depth and beautiful combat animation and character modeling in any Trese Brothers game to date!

Really, a video says it all!  Take a look!

Note: not mentioned in the video is that all weapons also have a Parry and Accuracy bonus, so carrying two swords or a shield could be more defensive (depending on the weapon's selected) vs. an offensive build where you are slugging it out with a single two handed weapon.  On the other hand, some two-handed swords have strong Parry bonuses as well!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cyber Knights RPG v1.4.7 Released

Andrew and I may be very busy building our newest game, Heroes of Steel but we still have time for our cyberpunk classic, Cyber Knights.

v1.4.7 - 9/24/2013

  • New art for signs / grafiti across the NBZ
  • Negtoation and Economic Difficulty affect paydata prices
  • Increased stats of first Runner (Clive Zep)
  • Use Item no longer forces Reloads weapons
  • Fixed bugs in Black Row cyberware

Google Play Cyber Knights RPG Free

Google Play Cyber Knights RPG Elite

Amazon Cyber Knights RPG Free

Amazon Cyber Knights RPG Elite

Heroes of Steel - Arrows and Firebolts!

Today in the underdeep, the visuals of the Heroes of Steel indie RPG got a lot more exciting as arrows, and firebolts started flying across the screen.  In addition, we've got the basic system feedback showing up on the map as well -- you can see the beginning of it with the red numbers floating in as the two combatants deal.

Watch this squad of three kick down these doors and lay waste to the two ratkin guards!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Heroes of Steel - Rest and Recovery

In the Heres of Steel underdeep, your heroes will spend a large percentage of their time exploring, fighting, and bleeding through caverns, enemy checkpoints, and muddy cisterns.  It's tiring work -- so when the time is right and you get the opportunity, it will be very important to rest and recover.

There will be three tiers of rest and recovery in Heroes of Steel -- Resting, Camping, and Staying at an Inn.

Why three tiers and what are the differences?  Well, let's talk about it, but let's start with the easiest and safest option.

Staying at an Inn is something you do in any of the town scattered around the underdeep.  You might find a town or two that doesn't have a rest for travelers, but every town with some level of hospitality with offer such a place.  In the town, you are safe so you have no worries about being attacked while you rest.  At a town, you also have free access to time and the town's resources, and so this is the only recovery option in which you are able to train your Heroes.  You will gain levels while purging the underdeep, but the advancement points you garner can't be spent until you get back to a town, an inn, and some serious safe down time.
Staying at an Inn
Resting is the least safe option, but the quickest to use.  You Rest anytime you are in the underdeep and your group is not actively engaged with enemies.  So, even in dangerous territory, you can take a few to catch your breath and recover some Spirit and Health points to prepare your group for the next obstacle.

The danger with Resting is that there is always a chance that enemies will discover you and attack.  You're taking a calculated risk to recover some SP / HP, but while you will get the recovery, you may end up in a fight you hadn't planned on having.

The third option is Camping.  Throughout the sprawling underdeep, there are old and forgotten places, and many of them are protected by ancient powers or lost from the known paths of the enemy.  In these places you will find Camping Circles, safe locations where your group can rest and recover your Health and Spirit fully, and without the risk of being attacked during the rest.

Camping Circles will often be closed when they are first discovered, and you will have the challenge of bringing an offering or completing a quest before they can be used.  I am really excited about this combination of exploration, discovery and the secondary challenge of opening some circles that are in critical positions.  This will make the map design even more interesting, and as a Camping Circle might be what makes it possible to launch a successful assault against a boss' layer, at times they will be very important to open before you can move forward!

Star Traders RPG Updated (v5.1.21)

Command your officers and crew from the bridge of your star ship to travel, trade, and battle across the immense Star Traders Quadrant.  Employ a wide variety of strategies as an Assassin, Bounty Hunter, Trader, Pirate or Smuggler.

Can you manage your resources, crew and officers well enough to turn a profit in the complex economy that’s sprawling across the on-going interstellar conflict?

v5.1.21 - 9/22/2013

  • New Nexus 7 Updates for Google Bugs in 4.3
  • Improved Performance for all Android Versions
  • New Ship: Pirate Manta
  • New Ship: Pirate Skyblight
  • Fixed Reported Issues with Unlocks
  • Improved Screen Rotation Performance

Play this free RPG named "Star Traders RPG" before you purchase Elite and enjoy hours of turn-based strategy in the Quadrant for free!  The Trese Brothers never run ads in our games -- enjoy an ad free, permission free experience!

Google Play "Star Traders RPG" Free

Amazon "Star Traders RPG" Free

Then experience the Elite Upgrade and copy all your captains!  Elite includes more than 200 new planets, more than 2,000 new sectors in the massive galaxy, over 200 new ships, twice as many rumors and officers, and more unique art!  And you can copy any captain from Star Traders (free) to Elite!

Google Play "Star Traders RPG Elite" ($2.99USD)

Amazon "Star Traders RPG Elite" ($2.99USD)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Heroes of Steel - Challenge Bridge

Today, we have been working on the enemy AI in Heroes of Steel.  It was passable before, doing a decent job fighting but we've got a lot of devious plans and need it to be functioning at a high level to make sure the challenge level in Heroes of Steel is right to force the characters to bet at the top of their strategy.

It's been a good day for progress, including exciting milestones like enemies shooting ranged weapons!  Here you can see a couple of screenshots of my group approaching a place in one of our test maps that we have dubbed Challenge Bridge.  It's a nasty place with a couple of vantage points with enemy archers holding the far side, and with the new improvements to the AI, it's suddenly become a scary place.

Here we are prepping for the charge, warming up with a few empowerment buffs.

A turn or two later, the Outlander was leading charge across the bridge but had to start falling back as the arrows were raining down.  It's a little too dark to see everything that is happening (read yesterday's post about Dungeon Lighting) , but from those rocky promenades on either side of the bridge, the Ratkin are hammering my team with arrows.  Yes -- that's my blood all over the bridge!  

After the final charge, we cleaned up and laid waste to the filthy rodents!  You can see in the HUD just how badly it cost the group, and in fact -- the Outlander and Cleric both died once fighting our way across.  With the current Simple Death rules that we have in place, they just respawned nearby ... so, you might say I didn't even beat Challenge Bridge!  Yesterday, I would have waltzed across and slaughtered ... so it's been an exciting day of progress and lots more to come!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Cyber Knights - the New Clive Zep

In the next release of Cyber Knights cyberpunk RPG, the Runner who joins you at the start of a new sandbox game -- Clive Zep -- is getting an attribute and skill overhaul.

He has the great advantage of already joining as a type of runner who is a good foil to your Knight.  If you are a new Cybersword, he comes in as a Gunslinger.  If you are a Gunslinger, he comes in as a club wielding Cybersword.

Now, with the new Encounter system thrashing the streets of the NBZ, having the right set of skills and attributes makes a good team of Runners even more important.  So, Clive Zep has received a boost to both to help insure that he is immediately a useful member of the team.  He has gained a few attribute points (2 Strength for his Cybersword self, and 2 Dexterity for his Gunslinger self) as well as 2 Perception across the board, and he also now starts with 2 Intimidation.

Try out a new Knight and see if you find that Clive Zep is

  1. Easier to keep alive
  2. More important in Encounters out of the gate
  3. Exciting to plan into your XP strategy from the first moment!
Please share you thoughts about this new stat boost!  It will be out over the weekend!

Heroes of Steel - Dungeon Lighting

In the last few days of Heroes of Steel development, we've layered in a dungeon lighting system.  In the underdeep of Steel, there is an unexplained ambient gray light that hangs morosely in the endless sprawling dungeons and caverns.

Well, now the prototype game has that gloom hanging around your characters at every step.  It's pretty cloying, but its also pretty smart and helps to really focus everything visually around you.  It's not done, but we've got a very good working prototype.

Here's your Outlander standing at a junction with a doorway.  He's light around him, but the walls and the door soak up his sight very effectively.

A little farther south, the Outlander has passed through the door and come to another junction.  His sight range is ray based and so allows him to only see so far.  around corners and down bent hallways.

Just around the next bend, the Outlander is in the open hallway again and has his full sight range displayed.  

Overall, we're still saying "By the Faithful, its dark down here!" and toying with the range of sight, but the dungeon lighting system is having the effect we want.  The darkness is closed in tight around you and your heroes, and at any moment a threat could come barreling out against you!  You can feel the tension!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cyber Knights RPG v1.4.3 Released

Please Leave a 5 Star Rating if you enjoy this game =)

This is a big one chummer -- take a look!

v1.4.3 - 9/17/2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cyber Knights v1.4.1 brings Encounters to a New Level

As the new Cyber Knights release reaches the NBZ, you will find that you have never wanted a diverse team of Runners this badly.

Please Leave a 5 Star Rating if you enjoy this game

v1.4.1 - 9/4/2013
- New Shop & Services filter in navi-map
- Best Team member takes lead in Encounter for attribute / skill rolls, success / failure is shown in result
- Best Team member can assist in Encounter for skill roll, show in result
- New Electronics / Hacking Encounters, New Job-aware Encounters
- Fixing run-away capture / assassinate targets
- Resolving Difficulty & pricing bugs, all Knight's PDAs record difficulty

Google Play Cyber Knights RPG Free

Google Play Cyber Knights RPG Elite

Amazon Cyber Knights RPG Free

Amazon Cyber Knights RPG Elite

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Star Traders v5.1.17 Released!

The newest Star Traders release carries with it a huge set of new ships and enhancements to the biggest dangers in the Quadrant - aliens, Narvidians, Hives and the like.  Beware Captains!

Please support Star Traders RPG By Leaving a Review

v5.1.17 - 9/6/2013
- 3 New Aliens Ships (Elite + Free)
- 2 New Narvidian Ships (Elite Only)
- 3 New Space Hive Ships (Elite + Free)
- 3 New Player Ships (Elite + Free)
- Help File Updates for Unlocks / Awards
- New Nexus 7 Fixes for Google Bugs in 4.3
- New Smarter Alien/Hive/Narv AI (Hard+)

Questions about the IAP?


Google Play "Star Traders RPG" Free

Google Play "Star Traders RPG Elite" ($2.99USD)

Templar Assault v1.8.5 Released!

The newest release of Templar Assault helps bring the Prestige system into more parts of this growing combat strategy game.  As you face off against aliens, your ability to increase your squad size and recruit new replacements is now limited by your Prestige.

In the desperate situation the Templar fleet finds itself in, only the best and most successful squads can requisition reinforcements!

Please Leave a 5 Star Rating if you enjoy this game.

v1.8.5 - 9/6/2013
- Prestige bonus for Elite squads
- Prestige requirements for all recruits
- Updated art for scouts
- Hydra soldiers now track their kills
- Fixed bug with Berserker sight range
- Fixed Airlock Access level victory conditions
- Added secondary objectives to Pick Your Poison level

Google Play Templar Assault Free

Google Play Templar Assault Elite

Amazon Templar Assault Free

Amazon Templar Assault Elite

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Officers! Age of Pirates v0.6.1 Released

Please support Age of Pirates RPG By Leaving a Review

v0.6.1 - 9/1/2013

  • Additional 3 Recruitable Story Officers
  • New in Free: Nathan Sveet & Dunedin Paz
  • New in Elite: Galda Fenn-Tenath
  • Look for Clues in the Tavern and Castle
  • New Castle Graphics and Background
  • Added New +1/-1 Buttons for Trade
  • Updated Buried Treasure for 'Silvers'
  • New Ship Artwork and Ship Designs
  • Fixed Reported Issues with Map

Google Play Age of Pirates RPG