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Hostile Viking Studio Development

Reduce the Scale or Create a Demo?

Posted by , in Portas Aurora: Battleline 29 July 2014 - - - - - - · 985 views
CCG, Battleline
Scale of a project is often the weakest point in a game's development. The game I have in mind to create is no different. Battleline is a Collectable Card Game (CCG) with nearly 500 cards alone scale is a large factor in the amount of time it will take to rocket the game from a design document to a product lighting up screens. Therefore, to allow the public to get a taste of the game companies create demos and vertical slices. I have decided to create a demo in hopes that the limited scope would grant me the opportunity to complete a minor project and a peak into the possibilities of the full game.

After talking to a few people a rough draft of boundaries on a demo emerged. There are 7 planned playable Flagship Captains along with 4 battlefields, and approximately 500 cards. All of this leads to a laundry list of 800 art assets that need to be created and displayed. However, a demo would not need to include everything found in the final game. The goal of the demo would be to display the gameplay mechanics and generate interest into more content. With this in mind I have decided to create a demo of Battleline that showcases two of the Flagship Captains, two enemy AIs, one battlefield and around 90 cards.

Portas Aurora: Battleline Demo:
  • 2 Flagship Captains
  • 2 Enemy AI Settings
  • 1 Battlefield
  • 90 Cards
There has been some debate on whether the opponent for the player need to be their own individual captains or is it okay to just use the non selected Flagship captain as the enemy.

If there are any suggestions or insight into the creation of a demo I am all ears.


Getting Lost Keeping the Lights on

Posted by , in Business / Marketing 09 July 2014 - - - - - - · 750 views

There comes a time, for some more than once, when a single developer or small team looks at their financing and the decision to continue working or increase the available funds must be answered. The last 7 months have been such a time for me. My last post for this journal was early December, after which the assault of the holidays limited productions and funds.

I elected to go back to the creating software solutions for clients and stop development on all projects. The game stoppage was to enjoy I made maximum time for client projects and hopefully increase the overall amount of funding generation. Now coming back to game projects I see the mountain of work left to complete.

Currently Battleline has 300+ cards all of which require artwork. Finding either the time to create all of the images or an artist that is not looking for crazy amounts for the work have not come to light. This reminded me of the hundreds of lost images from previous projects that were lost in the move.

However, with a comfortable cushion of funding I have the time to return and focus on completing a game even if it is not Battleline. I say this because I am fairly good at gauging man hours to complete projects and I do not see Battleline being completed in the next two months without seriously just focusing on card artwork and barebones-ing the interface and controls.

Therefore, the age old debate of releasing something or releasing the game you truly envisioned has begun.


Portas Aurora: Battleline - Card Count After First Balance

Posted by , in Portas Aurora: Battleline 10 December 2013 - - - - - - · 621 views
Portas Aurora, Battleline
This will be a short update, I wanted to make it on Friday, but some of the fixes from the previous post had not been completed. Additionally, this weekend I have began to writing the Android app version of the game. I think the work I have done with build the Android app version is perfect for a post to see if other developers can share some insight on how to do it better.

Posted Image
This is the current Card Report. However, I am thinking about not including the 11 Battlefield Mod cards in the final 390 card collection, which would mean that there is 105 left to be created.
My two primary areas of focus for new cards will be Tactics and Equipment. While not every race will need Tactics I would like more than 20 total options to allow for more play and counter play. Second, with only 3 cards in the Equipment card type it will need to be flushed out.

If you are curious about the original posts related to the balance changes:
Portas Aurora: Battleline - First Play Test
Portas Aurora: Battleline First Balancing


Portas Aurora: Battleline - First Balancing

Posted by , in Portas Aurora: Battleline 03 December 2013 - - - - - - · 770 views
Portas Aurora, Battleline
Second time writing this post so I hope to cover all of the original powers, (power outage).
The first play test brought a fair number of questions up in the hour after it concluded. Interestingly a day later even more questions have popped up and after a meeting of the minds, a small group of friends I like to bounce ideas around, a few sweeping changes to the game came up as ideas to balance current issues. Some of them I supported and have continued to develop on.

CARD TYPES - (Have changed)
Maneuvers: A Maneuver card has as an effect and then it is placed into your Wreckage Pile, which is your discard pile.
Tactics: Are cards that are only revealed if they are triggered. Therefore, they operate like a delayed Maneuver. Tactics are designed to alter the way your Commander plays, the way your hand plays, or even the abilities your units enter the battlefield with. A Tactic card is placed to the left of the player's Flagship and remain in place until destroyed or their durability is reduced to 0.
Units: Units fight for you. They are deployed on to a Battleline and can be used to attack or block. Each unit has Attack, Shield and Durability.
Equipment: Are similar to Maneuver cards, but only affect the unit they are deployed on. Some Equipment have Durability, while most are effects focused on altering single ships.
Crews: Are similar to Maneuver cards, but only affect the unit they are deployed on. If you are familiar with Magic: The Gathering there are comparable to Auras.
BattleField Mods: BattleField Mods bring their own rule to the game. Battlefield Mods are selected by Player 2 at the beginning of the game. They affect the Battleline they are deployed in or the whole battlefield. They have Durability, therefore they can be destroyed by units or Maneuvers.

Balance Changes -
To help players that go second I am looking at having the option to select a Battlefield Mod. This Mod will affect both players equally. Under the this balance map players going second would have the option to select from 2 randomly chosen Battlefield Mods and a third option of no Mods and a resource credit. Additionally a few units will be created to suspend the Battlefield Mod effects to allow countering options to exist. To achieve this new balance map I have made a fair number of changes to the game.
  • All 22 of the Tactic cards have been divided into Maneuvers, Equipment, and Battlefield Mods. The move to divide the original Tactic cards was due the play testing showing that Tactics while powerful for their resource cost, were simply not working in a practical sense. To have an average chance of getting a Tactic card at a time that would affect the out come of the game required 2 copies of a Tactic card in the deck, but having 2 copies of a Tactic card or even multiple different Tactic cards would not be a smart play. Only a few Tactic cards had Durability, and with only 1 Maneuver card capable of destroying a Tactic card they were a more of a liability. If a player draws both copies of a Tactic card the second copy would be useless. Useless cards in a player's hand is a bad design.
  • After designing almost 300 cards only 15 Battlefield Mods were listed. On top of the limited number of Battlefield Mods during the play testing they did not have the desired affect on the out come of the game. At first I thought this was an issue of tweaking resource cost or their effect. However, after reviewing the combat logs it became apparent that players that used them lost their games and even adjusting the cards could not have shifted the out come. I went so far as to setup the results from using them in each game to see if using the perfect result would even help and the answer was, no. While I like the idea of the mechanic the original model it was not producing the result I had hoped for, leading to the about half of the Battlefield Mods being moved to a Unit type card.
  • With every card type being reviewed to see if they are working as intended or if they are having an impact on the game, the next type of card for review were Maneuvers. Maneuvers had a small sub-group that were not visible until triggered (Secret) with Tactic cards empty it seemed the perfect fit to shift the Maneuver cards that were Secret to the Tactic type. With this division I noticed that the Secret, or new Tactic type needs to have the ranks filled out.
With all of these changes the progress of hitting the 390 card count is going to be delayed a few days. The hope is that by Friday I will have the current collection back to 75% and majority of the shifted card balanced before play testing again.


Portas Aurora: Battleline - First Play Test

Posted by , in Portas Aurora: Battleline 29 November 2013 - - - - - - · 555 views

Originally I had planned to write a post walking through the rule set of Portas Aurora: Battleline. However, after the first real play-thru I came to the conclusion that the rules need some re-balancing before they can be posted. While a few play tests should not be the ending word on some points in the game to not review them would only mean less fun for future players. Still this week's main goal was to post 1 journal entry each weekday and today makes me 5 for 5. I am happy for the discovery of these potential problems this early to prevent problems in the future that would be much harder to fix.

Today's Progress Chart:
Posted Image
Today was a very happy day! I completed the goal of having all of the individual race card groups at or above 55% (21 cards). Additionally, the collection of cards completeness is now at 75%, after a 5% boost today. There are still 34 cards that need to be sorted into race groups, which I think will be a goal for this weekend. Being 99 cards from my target size is a good feeling.

Development:
Today was mostly focused on flushing out the individual race card groups, but I had the conclusion that while I thought I had set some rigid standards that cards were created around a few that did not conform have made me switch to ensuring that the terms and mechanics behind each card is functioning as intended. I am sure this weekend will see the removal of a few mechanics and the addition of a few as a play test has shed some light on cards that feature similar text, but there is not a mechanic for the text.

The Mechanic Search Tool has been placed on hold as I am standardizing terms for the second time. Another tool, or an expansion to a tool I have already been using is the individual Race Resource Curve display. Having this will sharpen my attention to areas that need attention, which will be increasingly required as the number of cards to reach 390 shrinks.

If you have missed any of the series installments check the links between:
Announcing Portas Aurora: Battleline
Portas Aurora: Battleline - Card Types Explained
Portas Aurora: Battleline - Mechanic Terms Explained

Portas Aurora: Battleline - Races Explained


Portas Aurora: Battleline - Races Explained

Posted by , in Portas Aurora: Battleline 28 November 2013 - - - - - - · 555 views

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all!
The Races in Portas Aurora: Battleline do not have names of this post. This is mostly due to a personal need to ensure that the races I select from the written lore line up with the game well. I have set the deadline of Dec. 6th to have the rough list complete and if there is additional required back story for a race I will by then.
Name: Color Battle Style: Unit Trends:
  • Blue - Relays on shielding its assets from damage while maintaining a vast array of options. Race 1 units will favor shields over durability and damage.
  • Purple - Maintaining numerical advanced is key even if they are fields few units. A large percentage of Race 2 units are in the mid-range of size and cost.
  • Green - Establish a solid defense to protect the Flagship and out last the opponent. Race 3 units are split into small forward deployers and massive ships of war.
  • Teal - Bait, Rep, and destroy is the most common battle story seen. Units are designed with the idea that their fleet will contain repairs.
  • Black - "Kill the mother and the children will run," summons them up nicely. Race 5 units feature collection of abilities to help destroy the opponent's flagship quickly.
  • Red - Race 6 commanders tend to lead from front and center of the fight. Race 6 units reflect the idea of close quarter combat and they excel at it.
  • Orange - With a strong focus on Resource control they often over whelm opponents with shear numbers. What they lack in individual offense power they make up for in the number of waves.
Today's Progress Chart:
Posted Image
Not a bad day at 5%, especially seeing that today is Thanksgiving. However, tomorrow's progress will be mostly focused on pushing the individual race tailored cards to at least a count of 21, which is about 55% of the current required level. At the moment there are 100 (81%) race neutral cards and if each race is not flushed out soon there will be a lack of flavor because of it.

Development:
I completed a new tool that allows me to see the number of units I have with different Attack, Shield, and Durability. I was happy to learn that there were a few holes in the current lineup. I was able to use the new knowledge to beef up some weak areas and provide some alternatives. There are still some thin areas, but this only makes me more eager to create another tool to see the number of units using the current list of mechanic that I explained in yesterday's post.
Posted Image
Sorry of the data not being the most artistic display, but the tool was designed to help me craft cards for areas that needed improvement.
Additionally, the link to the Card Creator is here. I am still updating it, but if you want to submit an idea feel free. Posted Image

If you have missed any of the series installments check the links between:
Announcing Portas Aurora: Battleline
Portas Aurora: Battleline - Card Types Explained
Portas Aurora: Battleline - Mechanic Terms Explained


Portas Aurora: Battleline - Mechanic Terms Explained

Posted by , in Portas Aurora: Battleline 27 November 2013 - - - - - - · 797 views
Portas Aurora, Battleline, CCG and 1 more...
As with any system there are keywords that allow more complex ideas or actions to be expressed. The following is a list of the terms for mechanics used in Portas Aurora: Battleline so far:

Active Defense: At the end of your turn repair 1 durability of this unit.
Auxiliary Power: Adds extra damage to Maneuvers that deal damage.
Charge: Can Attack on First Turn Deployed (Looking for a different Name).
Disable: Prevents Ship from Attacking or Defending for 1 turn.
First Strike: When this unit attacks its damage is appealed first. If the target is destroyed this unit does not receive targets damage.
Hardened: Ignores 1 damage.
Immobile: Unit can not move.
Indirect Fire: Unit ignores Battleline order when attacking.
Intercept: Forces Enemy Units to attack this unit.
Jamming: Removes all effects on Target unit.
Jump(x): Can move to location within range.
Maintenance(X): X is the amount of resource this is reserved for this unit and can't be spent on anything else.
Nimble: Ship has 1 movement action.
Rapid Fire: Attack Twice
Ranged(x): Can Attack without being adjacent.
Pierce: Damage above target defense is applied to units behind it.
Pursuit: Follows the movement of the enemy unit forward of it.
Scout: Can be deployed in either your battleline or Neutral Zone.
Stealth: Untargetable until attacks.

Deployment: Action that occurs upon the unit entering battlefield.
Final Order: Action that occurs upon the death of the unit.

Today's Progress Chart:
Posted Image
While not a standout day at 4%, 17 cards. I have begun to develop a few more reports to help me find holes in the current cards selection. I have also started to think about lowering the race specific cards from 38 to 34 or 36 and shifted the 14 to 28 card to race neutral to allow for more deck flexibility and diverse game play.
Additionally, I have moved a few cards around between races to better fit the current play style layouts. Tomorrow I will be covering the 7 races in the game.

Development:
I have created a few tools which I will be expanding in the coming days, that will help me zero into possible missing cards.
In Collectable Card Games the Resource curve of both decks and the overall collection is an important component in balance. Therefore, I have added a report to deck construction to help players see this.
The current Resource Curve for the card collection is as follows:
Posted Image
While I think the overall curve looks about where it should be I am debating on a focused increase to the number of 7+ cards and pushing the 3 & 4 cost cards to be at the top of the curve.
My next tool will be designed to look at Attack vs. Durability of units to see where the current cards are lacking in options.

If you have missed any of the series installments check the links between:
Announcing Portas Aurora: Battleline
Portas Aurora: Battleline - Card Types Explained
Portas Aurora: Battleine - Races Explained


Portas Aurora: Battleline - Card Types Explained

Posted by , in Portas Aurora: Battleline 26 November 2013 - - - - - - · 544 views
Portas Aurora, Battleline and 3 more...
This week I will be delivering a series of posts detailing the development of Portas Aurora: Battleline up to this point. Some data may change and I will do my best to update all entries with new information. So without further delay, here are the current Card types.

As with most Collectable Card Games there are a variety of card types to be learned, and then exploited. Posted Image
Here is a brief overview of each card type in the game.

Maneuvers: A Maneuver card has as an effect and then it is placed into your Wreckage Pile, which is your discard pile.
Tactics: Are cards that are only revealed if they are triggered. Therefore, they operate like a delayed Manuever. Tactics are designed to alter the way your Commander plays, the way your hand plays, or even the abilities your units enter the battlefield with. A Tactic card is placed to the left of the player's Flagship and remain in place until destroyed or their durability is reduced to 0.
Units: Units fight for you. They are deployed on to a Battleline and can be used to attack or block. Each unit has Attack, Shield and Durability.
Equipment: Are similar to Maneuver cards, but only affect the unit they are deployed on. Some Equipment have Durability, while most are effects focused on altering single ships.
Crews: Are similar to Maneuver cards, but only affect the unit they are deployed on. If you are familiar with Magic: The Gathering there are comparable to Auras.
BattleField Mods: BattleField Mods bring their own rule to the game. Battlefield Mods are selected by Player 2 at the beginning of the game. They affect the Battleline they are deployed in or the whole battlefield. They have Durability, therefore they can be destroyed by units or Maneuvers.

Each of these posts will also include a card lineup progress chart (This will not be updated each post to track the pattern of development).
Posted Image
A bit sad that there was only 3% bump in the completeness, but that is 10 cards and I was mostly working on the first turn mechanics for balance issues.
If you would like to see the current collection of cards you can view them all at the Library page. You may see a fair amount of Eve Online references, hope you enjoy them.

If you have missed any of the series installments check the links between:
Announcing Portas Aurora: Battleline
Portas Aurora: Battleline - Mechanic Terms Explained
Portas Aurora: Battleine - Races Explained
If you would like to have a card type explained in more detail please leave a comment or message me.


Announcing Portas Aurora: Battleline

Posted by , in Portas Aurora: Battleline 25 November 2013 - - - - - - · 627 views
Portas Aurora, Battleline, Space and 4 more...
Portas Aurora: Battleline - A Collectable Card Game centered on space combat.

Battles in PA: Battleline will currently be between 2 Players, each fielding their selected Commander along with 30 card decks containing no more than 2 of any card. The main objective is to destroy the opponent's Flagship. At present there are 7 races each with 1 commander providing their own unique style of play and Commander Abilities.

The design of Portas Aurora: Battleline's gameplay is to allow flexible and creative strategies in destroying their enemy's flagship.
I am hoping to achieve this by delivering a wide array of cards that make full use of the rules and a break that break them.
It is planned to launch with 390 cards total, granting each race approximately 38 cards tailored to their battle style with and additional 124 race neutral cards to help flush out and amplify combos players find.

Progress to Date:
It is often said the last 10% of a game's development encompasses 90% of its lifespan reaching the 90% complete status can be a long journey by itself. Therefore, I am using a fair amount of numbers to track progress, because the proof is in the numbers, or at least they let me sleep more soundly.
Posted Image* Unsorted Cards are cards that have not been assigned to a race.
Over the last week I have been averaging about 6% per day with some nice spikes of 9%. However, this is only measuring the completeness of the content and not the functionality of the game as a whole. I am planning to launch the game on Android I have a Dev suite that is web-based and may lead to a web-based release as well.

While I made a brief overview of it in my returning post, I want to give Portas Aurora: Battleline its own announcement post.


Death by 1000 Toothpicks

Posted by , in Business / Marketing, Portas Aurora: Battleline 23 November 2013 - - - - - - · 641 views

Hello GameDev.net,

After a 3 month break from this site and mostly all game development I have forced myself to return. I commented in my last Journal post, the one before I left, I had been "slammed by the normal things that derail developers," when I made that statement I thought the worst of the misdirection waves were behind me. However, the fact that there zero followup posts should indicate that I was wrong and they were more like pre-quake tremors. Still I am very happy to be back and hope that I can carry on thru the holidays with little to no issues arising.

Recap:
  • EvE Online Website - I did work on a website Corporate Dissension that worked very closely with the EvE API. It handled Corp Research and Production schedules. Additionally, second business turned up during its development and that quickly overtook the site. The site became a service to scout and buy intel about corporations in the game, mostly focusing on their "in space assets". The site generated over a 1.2 Billion ISK worth of service payments, logged over 850 Billion assets and is credited with the destruction/looting of greater than 39 Billion ISK.
  • Portas Aurora - The game or micro-sims proved to be fun, but slowed to a crawl due to the lack of massive updates to the shipyard systems. I found that I was busy patching and correcting the economic sim more than anything else. I have suspended the project for now because I want to flush it out more in the areas people were telling me bottle-necked the gameplay.
  • Portas Aurora: Battleline - Yes, another Portas Aurora title game. I really like the lore that another writer and I have put together and want people to have the chance to experience it as well. After suspended Portas Aurora micro-sim the demands of real world work heated up and as a most developers can understand the need to eat and stay housed are fairly important to game development. Therefore, I starting tinkering with the idea of a game that I could design and develop under the new demands of my work and the idea of a TCG/CCG, Trading Card Game and Collectable Card Game, came up and seemed like the clear winner with the other ideas that were on the table. So off I sat to create Portas Aurora: Battleline. The game is moving along at an "okay" pace I have just under halve of the cards I want to have at launch ready.
I am seriously looking at starting the Vblog for my development as a way to gain addition motivation for completion, but I was wondering if anyone had first hand experience of Mac Screen capture apps that they would share.

Thank you.






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