It’s 2016…let’s get started!

Good news is that I’m quite close to posting the first Unity build that is worthwhile. Unfortunately, work is slamming me this month, and I won’t really have time until the weekend after next.

But, I did want to talk briefly about some of the changes for the future.

1. Scouting missions. The espionage options have been a struggle, and the whole scouting system will get an overhaul. There are some major problems with the system that don’t really benefit the game.

  • Despite 4 missions, the scouting choice is usually binary. The real choice is whether to Counterspy or not (offense or defense). If you don’t need scouting defense, choosing any of the other three missions doesn’t seem to affect gameplay. What is the real difference between Sabotage and Assassinate? They play almost the same role. And how helpful is the Information mission really?
  • Even this binary choice doesn’t really have to be changed. Except for those rare instances where the AI forces defense, you can set scouting to the mission of your choice, and forget it for the rest of the game.
  • Scouting feedback clutters the interface. The UI is already packed, leaving little room for mission feedback.
  • Espionage doesn’t feel like the rest of the game. The missions feel tacked-on, non-integral and not engaging.

I don’t want to remove scouts from the game, as the limited vision provides good tension. The missions are going to be overhauled, though, so the missions have an obvious influence on the battlefield.

2. Cavern changes. The cavern is not the disaster scouting missions are. Mostly, it actually feels fairly good. There are genuine scenarios where one player will be strong above ground, while the other will control the cavern. The game becomes a race…can the above ground player overpower the enemy defense fast enough before the cavern player can undermine his own fort?

However, it doesn’t feel like cavern play has quite enough interesting decisions and is maybe a bit weak. Also, with the slow movement speed, ranged units might be too strong (especially the Grandma).

There are some ideas I’m floating:

There is one unused building slot. It could be used for something like a Sappers’ Guild to increase underground damage. This gives the option for the cavern player to force the opponent’s hand: “I can kill your fort underground before you can win above ground. Better face me, bro!”

Also possible is getting rid of the Battlefield Medicine research and replacing it with “Geology” or “Prospecting” upgrades, which will help Miners find gem faster.

None of the scouting or cavern changes will be in the first Unity build, but they will get work shortly afterwards!

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