Game pacing


Before I go on with game design rumbling: I've made myself a Twitter account - go follow me at @bryquthedev.

Now, for a minor update report:

I am busy adding yet another gameplay mechanic that will improve the pacing of the game.

First XCOM game (the remastered one, that is) had an issue with pacing. It encouraged very slow squad movement, which was killing the fun of the game. They succesfully managed to improve this part in the 2nd game by adding mission timers - that encouraged the players to push the squad forward through the battlefield, making the gameplay experience more challenging (well, some of the players were actually complaining about that part - but I personally liked it).

Anyway, I am trying out slightly different approach. Instead of having explicit mission timers, I will make sure that the player gets surrounded by more and more enemies as the turns pass.

Basically there will be enemy generators set up on a map. If the player is close to a generator, it will get active - and will spawn a pod of enemies after a given number of turns.

I've altered the AI so that it is more reluctant to chase down the Survivors, especially if they are outside of their attack range. So after a group of enemies is spawned, they will start chasing the player characters down.

As a result, the player won't be able to spend too much time on a mission due to too many enemies swarming them - and they will have to evacuate. 

However, there was a problem with displaying too many enemies at once. It wasn't about the performance, but about the time that the player had to spend staring at enemy movement animations. That was because of my half-baked way of implementing the fog of war feature. Initially I assumed that after a map tile becomes explored by Survivor, it always is visible, and all the enemies standing/going through it will be visible as well.

I had to change this approach to avoid displaying the movement of enemies that have been generated, but haven't been seen by the Survivors. 

Long story short: now an enemy can finally pop out from the shadows at your squad. How cool is that, eh?

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