A modern take on the 16-bit era, A Valley Without Wind 2 blends a variety of mechanics across multiple genres, seamlessly bringing together the best qualities of old-school platform-shooters and turn-based strategy games. You choose how and where to explore via the world map, how to upgrade your character via mage classes, feats, and perks that you unlock, and how to battle the forces of evil every step of the way.

Report article RSS Feed Valley 2 Beta .712 "Chipping Away Everything That Doesn't Look Like An Elephant"

Valley 2 Beta .712 brings refined Aiming and Death Penalty mechanics, and the previous update adds Strategy-related changes.

Posted by cupogoodness on Jan 9th, 2013

Valley 2 Beta .712 "Chipping Away Everything That Doesn't Look Like An Elephant" Released!

This one refines several core game mechanics further. Most notably, the aiming and the death penalty mechanics.

Thanks for bearing with us as we go through this refinement process; we're intending to be done with this and fully stabilized by February, but in the meantime some fluctuations are inevitable. As the old joke goes: "How do you carve an elephant out of a block of stone? Chip away everything that doesn't look like an elephant!"

That's basically what we're doing right now: we know what the intended feel of the game is, and we're very close with the design, but there are occasional nits and burs that dampen enjoyment and smoothness in one way or another. Anyway, so that's what's going on.

This is a standard update that you can download through the in-game updater itself, if you already have any version of the game. If you have the beta on Steam, it will automatically update for you. When you launch the game, you'll see the notice of the update having been found if you're connected to the Internet at the time. If you don't have the standalone game, you can download that here. If you already own the first game, just use your existing license key to unlock the sequel for free!

Valley 2 Beta .711 "Trimming The Fat" Released!

This one adds in limited context-based angled shots, as well as making a lot of strategy-related changes. This will be the first round of several as we refine the strategy game during this month. From the release notes, here's my explanation of what we're up to:

While we do feel that we have a solid strategic game here, we do think that it can also be better. More engaging, more challenging (on higher difficulties), more streamlined (in terms of how easy it is to express your will), and more thought-provoking (in terms of how many things you must consider at an advanced or semi-advanced level of play when deciding what actions to take).

Additionally, we're really trying to streamline the game itself a little bit more -- it was already extremely streamlined in the main, especially compared to the first game, but this is trimming off some of the last of the fat. The last thing we want is for any particular game element to overstay its welcome; we'd rather you were hungry for more and play a second game of it. All in all this is leading to a game that is a bit shorter than it previously was, but also one that is going to be substantially more intense given many of the overlord's actions are now not possible to undo (you can't just rebuild what he knocks down).

There are more changes planned -- or rather, we have a variety of ideas that we think might work well to continue to bring this from being a good strategy game to a great one. These will be something we experiment with throughout the course of January before settling on final mechanics by February. The game isn't far off, and it's just a matter of getting all of the existing pieces we have to fit together in the most ideal way possible at this point. Right now we're just taking the first steps with the strategic game, and then reassessing from here (thus to better inform our further changes).

And as for the context-based angled shots, here's what those are about:

  • If you stand on a slope facing into the slope, and fire your spell straight forward, it will angle up instead (firing directly forward would accomplish nothing, after all).
  • If you stand on that same slope facing away from the slope, any shots you fire go forward like normal. However, if you duck, then your shots will go down the slope at an angle instead of doing your normal low-shot.

More to come soon. Enjoy!

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Guest
Guest Jan 9 2013, 5:56pm says:

I played the first Alpha/Beta for a bit, and I have a few questions; outside of choosing one of the three types of magic schools with the couple of different spells, I could not find any other other customization options for typical gameplay leveling mechanics. (Like increasing or improving anything related to the character - abilities, general statistics, weapons, armor, magic -- and/or getting new abilities/magics/items.)

Same with loot -- outside of a few quest items or objects, I don't think I found anything.

But, obviously, I don't expect everything to be a part of the game in alpha, or beta, so I was wondering -- Do you intend to incorporate character improvement mechanics into the game?

Or will this be a fully story-driven adventure?

+2 votes     reply to comment
cupogoodness Author
cupogoodness Jan 10 2013, 8:32am replied:

There are a variety of customization options, all in place already (no more will be coming, it's all done in this regard):
- When you start out, you choose your character and their custom stats (randomly rolled, but you can reroll).
- As you level up, you choose 1 perk out of 4 available for each of 16 levels.
- Every 3 or so levels, you get a new "mage class cache" and get to choose a whole new set of spells that are more powerful.
- Around the world you'll find treasure chests that give you equipment that give you temporary bonuses or penalties -- the equipment breaks if you die or if you take too many hits.
- There are four different feats that you can steal from skelebot research facilities and equip on your character to get new movement abilities.

And that's just the character side of things. Really, the bulk of the focus is on the civilization itself, and the world map is your oyster so to speak. You're engaged in warfare and capturing and exploiting the lands around you with survivors that you recruit to your cause. It's very much a Metroidvania game meets a strategy game. So it doesn't have traditional RPG-style character improvements because this isn't remotely an RPG; but for a Metroidvania title, I don't think there's one with more customization options off the top of my head.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Dj_Sparky
Dj_Sparky Jan 10 2013, 10:01am replied:

The character related things does not *sound* very appealing to me, but perhaps the civilization customization makes it all flow very nicely and enjoyably.

Choosing one perk out of several per level, temporary loot and getting entirely new sets of spells every 3 or so levels sounds like it could make the player-character feel temporary; like it's merely a tool used to progress, a cog, and not something that is worth getting attached to.

While that statement could be applied to pretty much every character in any game, it's the sense of ownership that matters.

Designing challenges around the idea of making the player form an 'emotional' attachment to the character and its progress (Loot, attributes, etc.) is such an important system in the design of even a single game that it can carry an otherwise bad game on its own, and make it seem good/great. If done right, of course.

Regarding the Mage spells - I think players want to feel like they have a lot of choice at all times. They need to know that they can open up a menu and access several new, or old spells if they wanted. A rigid system with few options for customization rarely works well, and tends to defeat the purpose of playing a videogame; enjoying the gameplay.

Letting the player choose, and showing him all the possible content and variables, but limiting his choices to such a degree seems to defeat the enjoyment the system set out to support in the first place.

Obviously, there has to be rules and limits; balancing the customization system inline with the other systems in the game, while maintaining the overarching layer of incentivizers (Making the player want to get better items, or to improve the stats of his character, by gameplay design and rules, and so forth.) that needs to sync up well with all the other systems and variables is probably a very hard task.

I'm not a game designer, though, and these are just my opinions.

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A Valley Without Wind 2
Platforms
Windows, Mac
Developer & Publisher
Arcen Games
Engine
Unity
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Official Page
Arcengames.com
Release Date
Released Feb 17, 2013
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