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Battle Brothers Pre-Release Thread

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by rapsdjff, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. rapsdjff Overhype Studios Developer

    rapsdjff
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    UPDATE - Released: http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/battle-brothers-release-thread.114394/

    - Edited the original presentation with a current one below.

    [​IMG]
    Battle Brothers is a turn based strategy RPG mix which has you leading a mercenary company in a gritty, low-power, medieval fantasy world. You decide where to go, whom to hire or to fight, what contracts to take and how to train and equip your men in a procedurally generated open world campaign. Do you have what it takes to lead them through bloody battles and to victory?

    The game consists of a strategic worldmap and a tactical combat layer. On the worldmap you can freely travel in order to take contracts that earn you good coin, find places worth looting, enemies worth pursuing or towns to resupply and hire men at. This is also where you manage, level up and equip your Battle Brothers. Once you engage a hostile party the game will switch to a tactical map where the actual fighting takes place as detailed turn based combat.



    Current Features
    • Procedurally generated worldmap, tactical combat maps and mercenaries.
    • Open and dynamic world simulation that is not scripted – your actions can actually alter the balance of the world.
    • All characters come with their own background stories and traits. Want a stuttering ratcatcher, a greedy witchhunter or a drunkard disowned noble?
    • Permadeath. All characters that die in combat will stay dead – unless they return as the undead.
    • Field up to 12 Battle Brothers on large and varied tactical combat maps with different terrain and multiple height levels.
    • Character development without a restrictive class-system. Each Battle Brother gains experience through combat, can level up and acquire powerful perks.
    • Equipment that matters. Different weapons grant unique skills – split shields with axes, stun enemies with maces, form a spearwall with spears or crush armor with a warhammer.
    • Diverse enemy roster. All enemies have unique equipment, skills and AI behavior.
    • A dynamic event system with atmospheric encounters and tough decisions outside of combat.
    • One full hour of orchestral soundtrack with more on the way.
    [​IMG]
    Coming Features
    • A memorial wall for the fallen.
    • A more dynamic world with faction warfare and invasions, and more ways to influence how the world develops.
    • More content: More enemies, items, contracts, character backgrounds and events.
    Screenshots

    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    You can find more information on our website.

    You can find a two year old combat demo there that gives a good impression of how the combart part of the game plays - although it has obviously been improved a lot since then.

    The game can be acquired directly from our website or on Steam.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2017
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  2. A newfag that put his vaporware in the right subforum?

    2014 is truly a year of incline.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2014
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  3. Zed Codex Staff Patron

    Zed
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    Looks good man. I like the pitch. You've got an interesting "board game pieces" look to the characters.

    I'm an interface nerd so the first thing that strikes me is that the UI doesn't look nearly as nice as the rest of the game.

    Dunno what else to say but good luck!
     
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  4. rapsdjff Overhype Studios Developer

    rapsdjff
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    Thanks for the support.

    The UI is currently all about usability as we're still shuffling things around and adding new features based on player feedback. Once the functionality is finalized we'll skin it to give it a real non-placeholder look. We'll probably go for a skeuomorphic design there, some material that fits into the setting, in order to have it contribute to the atmosphere of the game instead of detract from it, as is now the case.
     
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  5. Zed Codex Staff Patron

    Zed
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    Sounds good. What are you planning to release this on? And will you have some sort of demo or something?
     
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  6. rapsdjff Overhype Studios Developer

    rapsdjff
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    We'll release a public demo of the tactical combat part of the game soon (probably in a matter of weeks) to get some feedback on how the game plays and to make sure that we're on the right track.

    As for what we'll eventually release the game on: PC, Mac and Linux. We'll try our luck with Steam Greenlight (or its successor) once we have more of a complete game to show, and there are always the smaller platforms like Desura of which I'm quite optimistic.
     
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  7. Ulminati Kamelåså! Patron

    Self-Ejected
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    Read thread title.
    Am greatly disappointed by the lack of SPEHSS MEHREENZ. :(
     
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  8. JMab Savant

    JMab
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    It looks great, I like the art style.

    How did you create the character portraits? Photoshop? GIMP? With a tablet, or mouse? I'm interested in how game artists create 2D art, as I'm not very good at it.

    You'll get my vote if you go on Greenlight.
     
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  9. Crabcakes Overhype Studios Developer

    Crabcakes
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    Hi there, I´m Paul, the Battle Brothers Arts guy.
    I work with Photoshop only. Lately I got used to working with a Cintiq http://www.wacom.com/de-de/de/creative/cintiq-22-hd
    but a normal wacom tablet is fine as well. With the mouse its almost impossible (depending on you style), because you´re missing the pen´s pressure sensitivity.
    All the assets are painted in a way higher resolution than the final graphics. It´s easier to paint big and then scale down, you´ll get more details in that way.
    The character portraits consist of 3 separate layers. Body (armor), Head and helmet which can all be freely combined.
    If you´ve got any more specific questions feel free to ask.

    Cheers!
     
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  10. JMab Savant

    JMab
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    Thanks Paul, very interesting. The Cintiq looks very productive. I have a Wacom Intuos tablet, I don't think I could justify upgrading to a Cintiq unless I actually developed some real art skills!

    Paint big and scale down, and use layers, got it. I can manage that, in GIMP.

    One thing I'm not getting at the moment about game texture creation is how to do good looking shading. For example, in your screenshots above, the helmets have realistic shading on them, with a "high specular" strip in the middle and darker shading towards the edges. The "high specular" strips are all oriented as if they were being lit by a light source from the same direction, which adds to the overall quality of the scenes.

    How do you do that type of shading, i.e. what Photoshop tool do you use? When I've attempted it myself, I've generally just got very uniform, unrealistic gradients in the shading, so I'm wondering how the pros do it. Do you use a blend tool, blur/sharpen, dodge/burn, or some other technique entirely? Or is it as simple as just picking progressively darker colors as you move away from the most lit portion, to the darker portions, and using simple paint brushes to paint them? If that's the technique, how do the brush strokes blend together so seamlessly?

    Thanks!
     
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  11. Crabcakes Overhype Studios Developer

    Crabcakes
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    Hey again!
    first of all thanks for calling me pro :) Maybe I have some tips for you. Although I dont have any personal experience in GIMP, I assume it´s pretty similar to photoshop.

    To start just fill the object with a flat color. Then paint in dark areas at the borders and a flat light color in the center (taking my helmets as an example).
    Now the magic happens :)
    The most important tool for smooth shading is the color picker (ALT in photoshop) in combination with a slightly textured, not 100% opacity brush (but honestly, any brush should work). Just spam the color picker and make a brush stroke, then pick again, and paint again. This way your blending gets smoother and smoother. When you use a textured brush, the object will get a bit of texture and irregularities, which always looks good.
    Basically like this: http://gimp-tutorials.net/node/128

    The more you practice the more control you get over the final texture for creating a metal or rusted or used or cloth look or whatever :)

    I personally never got any education in painting or art, so I learned a lot from internet tutorials.

    Hope that helps!

    Cheers
     
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  12. Tzaero DEPARTED Patron

    Tzaero
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    Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
  13. Cosmo Arcane

    Cosmo
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    Loving the esthetic choices, the graphical presentation is gorgeous, bold and promisingly smart.
    Having said that i'd greatly increase movement and action speed : if the characters are like pieces and not animated models, you should take advantage of that and create a lean and efficient tactical flow.
    After all, you created them to be gorgeous and inobtrusive to the gameplay, and the relevant informations the player needs are obvious enough to make the game play faster without any drawback. That way it would seem tense and aggressive without having to change the rules, and IMO that's what you want for a combat game...
     
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  14. fastjack Augur

    fastjack
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    This game does look interesting, and is certainly on my radar now. As a big fan of PnP games (and games inspired by them) and as someone who hates standard MMO game systems (and games inspired by them) I'd love to hear some of the inspiration for the game's combat and character systems.
     
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  15. :thumbsup:

    Good luck!

    This game could possibly turn out to be an AoD killer, IMO.
     
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  16. J1M Arcane

    J1M
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    You should also consider a Surface Pro 2 if you are looking at buying a Cintiq. It contains a good wacom pen, but it is also a decent laptop replacement instead of just being a monitor that you draw on.
     
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  17. J1M Arcane

    J1M
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    The equipment => skill selection idea is one that I've used when coming up with rpg designs before. Looking forward to seeing how it works out in this game.
     
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  18. rapsdjff Overhype Studios Developer

    rapsdjff
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    That's a very good point. We've already increased the movement speed since the gameplay video was recorded, but it's still something we need to tinker with. It's important to us that, while the game is turn based, it still feels decently fast paced and has a certain thrill and urgency to it that one would expect from a deadly close combat situation, instead of just being a slow and stale representation of it. That's also why we tried (and will continue to try) things like subtle camera shakes and figures being knocked back as they're hit; it may just be boardgame pieces, but hitting with an attack should nevertheless feel like having an impact instead of just some hitpoint number going down. I believe this kind of feedback can feel very satisfying even in the context of traditionally slower turn based battles and can greatly contribute to the battle feeling tense and aggressive, as you put it. On the other hand, with no real animations currently we at least have the advantage of players not having to watch the same tedious animations over and over, and I agree with you that we should capitalize on that even more.
     
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  19. JMab Savant

    JMab
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  20. JMab Savant

    JMab
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    OK, thanks J1M.

    I'll stop hijacking this thread into an art tutorial now, and get back to commenting more on the game!

    rapsdjff, you mentioned permadeath as a feature. Are you implementing save anywhere, or a checkpoint save system? Just wondering if players would be able to save before every battle and avoid the negative effects of permadeath, if they choose to, or whether you've minimized this possibility by only allowing automated checkpoint saves?
     
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  21. rapsdjff Overhype Studios Developer

    rapsdjff
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    The game started as a very basic "medieval X-Com" idea, and so our character stats and combat mechanics started there as well. At some early point we even had an equivalent to the hidden psionic skill of X-Com, called magic aptitude, which we eventually scrapped in favor of a more down-to-earth feel for the player characters, but also for more asymmetry by making the enemies that do use magic appear more alien and special. A strong influence of X-Com can still be felt in the stats for example by the way morale works - characters (players and enemies alike, although there are exceptions for undead) can panick and flee depending on how the battle unfolds, both for their faction and for them personally, and there are some special skills which attack morale akin to psionic attacks. Also drawn from the original X-Com is the concept of Action Points (called Time Units there) and how the player can freely spend them instead of being forced into movement and action phases, as seems to become increasingly popular now.

    Since the player will be able to control up to 12 guys in battle at once, we decided that we won't need an overly complex system of character stats like it would be appropriate if we had just a single character or a party of 4 or so. The stats we do have, however, are all important.

    I'm not particularly fond of MMO mechanics either, and especially not of the skill-rotation-by-cooldown routine. That's why we consciously decided not to have any cooldowns in the game. Instead, moving and using skills accumulates fatigue, with more powerful skills and more difficult terrain (e.g. swamp) being more expensive. When a character is sufficiently exhausted, he'll be unable to use more expensive skills until his fatigue has lowered again (by not using expensive skills for a while). This way, we can balance the use of those more powerful skills while still giving the player a choice of when to employ them beyond some hard limitation of every 2 turns or so. Since wearing heavier armor lowers the maximum fatigue a character can accumulate, the player can also balance his or her characters between being more offense-oriented and lightly armored but able to use more specialized skills in quick succession, and more defense-oriented and highly armored but becoming exhausted quicker. It is important to us to have every piece of equipment be useful in some way and not just be obsolete once the player finds a better version; by offering pros and cons like this, I feel we've gone a long way towards reaching that goal. I don't think we had any specific inspiration for this mechanic, it just seemed to be a good solution to us based on all the games we've played in the past, MMOs or otherwise.

    Unlike X-com and Jagged Alliance we have no separate turns for the player and the enemies. Instead, all characters are sorted by their initiative and act in descending order. Initiative is calculated by Action Points and current fatigue so that exhausted characters, and characters wearing heavy armor, generally act later in a round than those who are not. This was inspired by all those PnP systems which operate on initiative systems, only that we extended it with fatigue since it tied neatly into our other systems, gave more incentive to manage fatigue well and makes sense intuitively. Our reason for going with this was that an initiative-based system seemed more fitting, more authentic, to a melee frenzy than neatly separated turns, which we felt was more suited for ranged combat. There are drawbacks to both systems, of course.

    We removed from X-Com the mechanics that didn't seem to make much sense in a close combat scenario (like going prone) and added instead what would appear to offer interesting tactical options (like zone of control), again, based on our general gaming experience without any specific inspiration. Two of us, although not me personally, also have some experience with LARPing which they draw on occasionally.

    If you haven't done so already, you can find an article explaining our character stats and how they tie into each other on our Developer's Blog (www.battlebrothersgame.com). We'll also post an article there explaining our combat mechanics in detail soon.
     
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  22. rapsdjff Overhype Studios Developer

    rapsdjff
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    It is very likely we'll allow saving anywhere on the worldmap, although we haven't yet gotten to the point where we need to make that decision. There'll always be players that circumvent permadeath by reloading whenever something doesn't go well. Personally, I feel that they're missing part of the fun (like the thrill of hoping to not have their favorite character die for good), and it's something that's hard to balance for. When players stop losing their characters, the game will become progressively easier for them, less challenging and ultimately less fun. Still, I feel hesistant to decline other players the convenience to save at any time without having to backtrack to the nearest city or so to save. Whether we'll allow saving in tactical battles is something that I'm less sure about - I'm personally tending towards "no", but that's something that depends heavily on how long the average tactical battle will end up taking in the end.

    Losing a few characters will have less of a dramatic impact than in, for the example, the new X-Com game by Firaxis, however. If only for the fact that you have up to 12 guys instead of just 4 to 6, and where losing just one or two characters could really send you into a downwards spiral. That fact alone, we hope, should make people less inclined to reload whenever they lose someone.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
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  23. zeitgeist Magister

    zeitgeist
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    [​IMG]
    Might I suggest a more raised pedestal for the character busts? As it is, it quite literally looks as if they're buried in the ground/jutting out of a manhole.

    [​IMG]

    Similar complaint goes for what I think are raised terrain tiles (like the one in the vertical middle of the right side on the first screenshot), they just look really flat and the grass on top of them blends in with the grass around them.
     
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  24. rapsdjff Overhype Studios Developer

    rapsdjff
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    Yeah, the sockets definately need a rework since you aren't the first one to remark that the characters look like they're half-buried into the ground. I'll forward your suggestion of raised pedestals. At the very least we'll update the sockets to be more clearly identifiable as such, irrespective of the terrain they stand on. Maybe make them a bit thicker and change the material. We're also considering distinctive sockets per faction (player, undead, etc.).

    The terrain elevation being hard to distinguish is more of a unique complaint so far. Would making the black border / shadow at the top side of raised tiles more opaque help? That way, maybe they wouldn't blend quite as much into terrain around them and stand out more.
     
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  25. fastjack Augur

    fastjack
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    This sounds badass, I wish you guys a ton of luck and look forward to hearing and seeing more. Thank you for the (very thorough) reply.
     
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