Author Topic: Skyward Collapse Teaser 2: Unit Sketches and More Details  (Read 3556 times)

Offline x4000

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Skyward Collapse Teaser 2: Unit Sketches and More Details
« on: April 14, 2013, 12:46:58 PM »
Original: http://christophermpark.blogspot.com/2013/04/skyward-collapse-teaser-2-unit-sketches.html

So, we recently announced Skyward Collapse.  If you missed it, it's something we're really excited about.

However, we only showed a single screenshot with some of the final-quality map tiles, tokens, and skies in them.  Needless to say, the rest of the art is still in various states of completion, ranging from sketches to coloring to getting final polish on it.  We have a great pipeline going with about 11 artists (10 at Heavy Cat, and then our new art director Blue on our side), so that's all proceeding well.

When it comes to the units themselves -- all the Greek and Norse people and gods that move around the map like boardgame pieces each turn -- we haven't shown anything with them until now.  We're still working on the final coloring style for them, so I don't want to show any of the colored ones yet.

That said, we have a lot of wonderful sketches of them that will be directly translated into the final unit graphics shown in-game (in other words, these are more than concept sketches -- they are the actual graphics that will be used in the game, minus color and shading, at a larger scale than you'll see in the final game).

Norse Chapman -- The chapmen are the main civilian workers for each faction.  Their primary responsibility is carrying raw resources from the resource producers to the town centers.  The raw resources themselves are produced by different civilians (unseen in the buildings that they work in, though you have to staff those buildings), and the finished goods are created in a similar way in the town buildings related to each kind of finished good.

Norse Arsonist -- Since there's a limit to how many siege-type weapons the Norse actually historically used (that just wasn't their main fighting style), we had to get a bit creative.  While our game is historically-based in some ways, it's also set in a fantasy world that is merely inspired by those civilizations.  That gives us some creative license.  In this particular case, we didn't have to take that much.  The arsonists are considered a "siege unit," and their primary purpose is setting enemy buildings on fire.  The buildings then take damage over time, while the arsonist moves from building to building in the enemy town or territory.

Norse Berserk -- Give these guys some bacon and weapons, and they're ready to rock.  The Norse don't have any cavalry at all in this game, but they make up for it with several intimidating kinds of infantry.  The Greeks and the Norse have very different units all around!  Even their chapmen have different stats.


Pan (Greek) -- This is one of the Greek gods that you can choose to call to your aid as the game progresses.  The gods all stand taller than the regular units (fit into a 128x128 square instead of a 96x96 square), making them more obviously and imposing.

Zeus (Greek) -- Here's an obvious example of one of the four "greater gods" that you get to choose from at the start of the third round of each game.  The greater gods are a lot more powerful and have a big impact on the game... but each side has one!


About That Whole "Peacekeeping" Thing
We've had a lot of awesome coverage for the game already, for which we're extremely grateful!  That said, there is a bit of a misconception based on my first blog post about this (which is my own fault) about your actual role as The Creator.

Basically, the perception was that you're in a peacekeeping role where you're trying to keep the two factions from fighting.  This actually isn't remotely true: you want those dudes fighting as much as possible if you want a real score.  What you're trying to prevent is genocide, or one side thoroughly dominating the other.

You want both sides to have some heavy warfare, in other words, in order to get the maximum sort of score.  But while you're doing that, you want to prevent the following:

- One side obliterating the other (you lose if this happens).

- One side getting far ahead of the other (your final score is likely to be quite bad if this happens).

- Either side getting their economy so crippled that it's hard for them to carry on with their warfare (again, your final score is likely to suffer quite a bit, and/or the risk of genocide goes up).

Think of this kind of like the hundred years war, not the cold war.  This isn't about creating an uneasy armistice with spots of minor conflict here and there; it's about creating all-out war (on a village-versus-village scale) with possible periods of calm (where the sides are rebuilding as needed).  As a supreme being, you're not exactly that... benevolent.

Why is this distinction important?  Well, the implications are pretty huge, really: your job is that much harder.  If you're trying to maintain an armistice, that only involves so many moving parts.  If you're trying to maintain heavy warfare while not absolutely crippling critical infrastructure or allowing either side to overtake the other too much... well, there are a lot more moving parts there.

Overall I think the press still has a pretty good bead on what this game is in general, but that was one point I thought worth clarifying!
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Offline madcow

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Re: Skyward Collapse Teaser 2: Unit Sketches and More Details
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2013, 04:19:47 PM »
The intent behind what we're supposed to do in this game kind of reminds me of te plot behind American Gods.  Some obvious differences aside.

Offline x4000

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Re: Skyward Collapse Teaser 2: Unit Sketches and More Details
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2013, 05:08:56 PM »
I've never heard of that before, but sounds cool. :)
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Offline madcow

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Re: Skyward Collapse Teaser 2: Unit Sketches and More Details
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2013, 06:40:47 PM »
I've never heard of that before, but sounds cool. :)

You should check out the book American Gods then if you've never heard of it, it's an awesome read  ;) Though it is a bit lengthy, so might detract from your slave labour - erm I mean work

I mean, the story isn't too similar this game, but it was close enough that it was the first thing that popped into my head after reading your post.  Basically it's a war between the gods both old (like all the mythical gods - odin, horus, pretty much all the mythical things you can think of on one side) and the "new gods" (like media, internet, etc) who both disguise themselves as normal people.

There was a little more to it than that which reminded me of the book, but it would be spoilerific to go into.

And sorry for the awful derail on the very first page no less ;)
« Last Edit: April 14, 2013, 06:43:45 PM by madcow »

Offline LaughingThesaurus

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Re: Skyward Collapse Teaser 2: Unit Sketches and More Details
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2013, 06:49:28 PM »
I am intrigued indeed for this game.
I don't remember, is it purely single player or is it going to have any kind of multiplayer? I was kind of imagining an isometric sort of multiplayer, with somebody in command of the deity and two other players commanding the armies.

Offline x4000

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Re: Skyward Collapse Teaser 2: Unit Sketches and More Details
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2013, 07:37:29 PM »
Cool stuff on American Gods!  I'll have to check that out sometime, I do like Neil Gaiman. :)

Regarding the multiplayer, that was discussed at length elsewhere, but it was buried in a longer thread.  So I've split that out here: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,12849.0.html

Short answer: yes there is co-op, but no it's not stripping out the "god game" aspect of it, which is essentially what you're suggesting with direct control of the armies, heh.  Also we'd have to build incredible amounts of new interfaces for the army commanding, and it would be incredibly slow and tedious compared to the actual game, to move guys around one at a time.  It's just not the genre of game this one is, although obviously I have nothing against direct army control in a generalized sense (AI War, etc).
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Offline LaughingThesaurus

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Re: Skyward Collapse Teaser 2: Unit Sketches and More Details
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2013, 01:13:52 AM »
Hmmm
The way I had imagined it, it'd end up being something like 'you deal with what you're given and try to poke holes in what the gods do to hinder you as much as possible'. Maybe units could be controlled in more of a vague sense rather than Fire-Emblem style where you manage each thing each one does. Totally understand that it's not what the game was after, but it was an intriguing dynamic in my mind.
So, I do have another question you may have addressed elsewhere as well. Is it possible to, say, give each side the exact same trump cards, tricks, and resources as much as possible so that they're evenly matched with each other by being basically the same? That might be a bit too easy. For instance, you give both sides the same demigod. Since they're both the same demigod, no side has really gained any power as a result of it.

Offline Wingflier

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Re: Skyward Collapse Teaser 2: Unit Sketches and More Details
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2013, 07:28:37 AM »
Chris said before that you can do Greek vs. Greek or Norse vs. Norse if you choose. In that sense, they have all the same units.

I think he said awhile back that they would probably be making a Final Fantasy Tactics/Fire Emblem type game at some point in the future. I think there are a lot of people right now who grew up on those kinds of games that are disappointed with the current available options of that genre. It's absolutely heartbreaking.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Skyward Collapse Teaser 2: Unit Sketches and More Details
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2013, 07:57:02 AM »
At some point we do want to do a tactics game, but this is almost the opposite of that sort of game. Rather than having minute control over your units, you literally have zero control. Your guys have minds of their own and won't always do what you want. Though they are predictable enough that you can work around what they do in order to affect outcomes. Dwarf fortress dwarf behavior strikes me as a good cross example of independent agents that are predictable enough to be managed.

Anyhow, having any sort of control over the units sort of makes this no longer a god game. We're only building one game here, not multiple (though this does sit on the intersection of several genres), so I'm afraid changing around the fundamental game mechanics for certain modes is out of the question. It would be like having a mode in ai war where you could directly fly a single ship in shmup fashion: wow what a different game, and a whole new interface needed and so forth. Not at all to say we don't like the othe genre, just that each game needs to be one thing, even if it is a thing that sits in an unusual between-genres space.
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