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Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #16: Ticks and Tiles
Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 25 July 2017, 23:52:31Tags: Copper Dreams; Whalenought Studios
Joe and Hannah of Whalenought Studios broke the summer daze this morning with a new Copper Dreams Kickstarter update. It's all about the the game's combat system, which has continued to evolve and is now quite unrecognizable from its original concept. The elaborate turn schedule of previous iterations has been replaced with quick micro-turns that Whalenought are calling "ticks". The result is a combat system that resembles nothing so much as an isometric, tile-based version of the experimental shooter Superhot. The update includes numerous animated GIFs of the tick mechanic in action, although only one of them shows a combat situation:
As we mentioned in the last update, the gameplay wasn't feeling as impactful towards the goal of being able to react to enemy turns on the fly. There also wasn't a way to clearly visualize these elements. It was competent on paper and execution — turns for players/NPCs just take a variable amount of time on the combat bar to execute, however, wait times, lack of clarity of predicting enemy turns and not wanting to get stuck in a long turn during combat was hampering player actions, encouraging you to play too carefully. There was the promise of reactivity in turns, but gameplay and use of time just wasn't allowing it. Ticks, tiles and shorter phases allow the player to have the intel to make more calculated and reactive decisions.
The ruleset we had described in our original Kickstarter pitch has been a difficult one to find just the right gameplay for. The original idea had the essential premise of the turn-based model with just staggering turn order. Players and NPCs took turns when they were able to, and these took various amounts of time to perform and recover from, and could be temporarily interrupted. These actions were all displayed on a single timeline.
What we've implemented instead is a solution that replaces the general idea of ‘time’ with chunks of time for actions we call ticks. We also brought back tiles to quantify distance, in the pursuit of clarity.
Ticks are represented by a quarter second of gameplay, but are abstract in that longer animations can play-out during these, or multiple hits shown off individually. So behind the scene, these play out like regular turns where gameplay they appear as more linear time.
Importantly, on a bar with other combatants these are super easy to compare. If an enemy is targeting you with a pistol and takes 3 ticks to aim, and 4 to recover from, you have the insight to know to start running and to attack after their bullet is airborne, as it obviously won't follow you. So with ticks, you can quantify how long your action will take compared to your enemy’s actions, allowing you to plan your moves and have the payoff of dodging and taking cover.
In Turn Mode, which can be toggled whenever you want and is automatically turned on in combat, after any action you take recovers, the world pauses for you to take another turn. We’ve somewhat reformatted the UI to make this snappier, and there’s no longer a confirm button for using an action. Once selected, your actions cannot be interrupted or changed, so gameplay is quite a bit quicker.
The new layout also makes it simple to assess when and where bullets and thrown objects are headed. When it’s your turn you can see what direction they’ll be flying at and start to get the feel for how fast they travel.
With these changes the gameplay really has hit its stride, and we’re very happy with it. We hope you enjoy the flow of combat and all intense roll-under action during the alpha.
Also included in the update is an overview of some of Copper Dreams' new features (which include swimming!) and a very thorough description of its damage and healing mechanics. Classic Whalenought stuff. They're promising a proper gameplay video in the next couple of weeks.