Use human immune cells infused with nanobots and human personalities to defeat the evil P.A.I.N and save the world. A single player game inspired by science, Saturday morning cartoons and comics. This is not a typical tactical adventure game. Your focus is on action, not economy. Different units have different powers and counter different enemies. You'll have to keep evaluating the battlefield and change your force as required. Just like our bodies, you'll have to recycle old cells and build new ones. Enemies will constantly be changing. They can even mutate to gain powers, although sometimes this will cause them to fight each other. Use this and other battlefield features to your advantage. The world and the H.O.P.E team of cells is counting on you. The battle for the planet will not take place in the skies, or in cities, or on the ocean. It'll take place in the human body. How do the smallest heroes start to save the world? Hope

Post feature Report RSS Unit update 3: Mast

A closer look at one of the core units in the game, Mast

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In The Game

Time to introduce another player unit - Mast. She's a classic support unit with 2 passive abilities. She might not do anything too flashy but it’s a great chance to talk about a couple of the game mechanics in HOPE and how the Mast cell integrates with them.

A mast cell in the game

Mast’s first ability is support - any neutrophil units (introduced in an earlier post) that are within range when this power is active will have their attack speed increased, making them more potent in attack and even able to take down units that are usually quite resistant to them (like gram positive bacteria). You can see the effects below (though this is subject to change based on playtesting).

A supported neutrophil

From a game design perspective, what we’re trying to do is offer players choices around what combinations of units they want to use, and offering them benefits for trying different things.

It also means that even though the Mast cell can’t attack itself, it can have an offensive impact.

Mast’s second ability is ‘Heal’. This will give health back to the player. Players have a health bar that will go down over time as long as there are enemy units around. The purpose of this health bar is to make it clear to players that they should always be on the offensive, because even though this is an RTS, it’s not one where you take your time and build a strong base before making your move. So Mast cells are useful if you’re taking a beating on your health and need to get some back.

The Science

Mast's appearance in the game was inspired by the fact that in real life mast cells have a 'granular' appearance, as you can see from the image below (ignore the purple colour, that's due to the dye used to stain the cells).

A real Mast cell

These granules are actually compounds which help mediate the inflammation process - you'll know this process well from when you cut yourself and see the wound go swollen and red - that's inflammation. Inflammation (among other things) allows recruitment of other immune cells to the site and is one of the first steps in defending the body against invasion from foreign particles.

So given Mast cells' early part in the defence process they fit the role of 'watcher and monitor' well, which is why we decided to make the granules in the cell faces watching everywhere. It's also why the cell has such a large visibility radius in the fog of war.

Mast cells also play a core role in allergies as they release their inflammation mediators in response to allergens. We haven't factored this into the game yet but it just goes to show how fascinating and complicated the human immune system is!


Thanks for reading, we'll be back soon with another dev log post.

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NanoCell Squad
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Science: Gamed
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