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D2P Games is an independent video games development studio based in Montreal. You can follow our progress from this blog ! About us

Weekly News #11

By Dri on May 7th, 2010

It’s been a month since our last “weekly” news : we spent all our time with the private beta test.

Looking at other people play your game is the most informative experience possible, seeing how they act and react, what they enjoy, what they don’t understand, etc. The way those new people play is very different than the way we play, and this fresh and objective look helped us addressing a lot of problems.

What we learned so far :

  • Not every players are accustomed to RTS mechanisms, even the simplest ones like left-click and right-click.
  • The players that are experienced with RTS have some habits they want to carry on in this game.
  • Some players don’t rely on the AI and click all the time, something the game wasn’t able to handle very well.
  • Differentiating the units is hard for the new players.
  • A lot of players skip the explanations and the story to jump strait into action and then discovers themselves lost and unprepared.
  • Players have different tastes and experiences that lead to contradictory feedbacks, as developers the final choice is our.
  • If there is a weakness in the balance, you can be sure the players will discover it and exploit it !
  • Seeing a player enjoy your game is the best motivation-fueler possible ! :)

The main problem being accessibility, we spent a lot of time adding feedbacks to the game.

Feedbacks are informations that the game gives to the player to inform him about what happens. It can be audio feedbacks (like a “Okay !” sound when a unit receives an order) or visual feedbacks (a sword-shaped icon when you move the cursor over an enemy for example).

Those are very little things, almost details, but they can make all the difference for a new player.

On a more technical note, I’ve managed to move a big part of the AI from Lua to C++ to address performance issues, notably pathfinding and line of sight update. I made sure the pathfinding is running in separate threads to take full advantage of modern dual core processors. The game is now a lot more fluid, even if we still experience framerate-drop with a lot of units. Don’t panic, there are solutions.

To finish, here is a bunch of brand-new screenshots :

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