Dev Blog #26: Contracts and Greenlight Update
It’s been one week now since we launched on Steam Greenlight, and what a ride it’s been! According to Steam, we’re now 63% on the way to the top 100. Not too shabby for one week, but still a long way to go before being greenlit. Thank you all for your support so far!
Only with your help can we get the game on Steam, which would allow us to work on it full-time and make progress much faster. If you know others who might be interested in Battle Brothers, please do share the link!
So, that’s that. For now, let us take a look at contracts, which in Battle Brothers work much like quests do in other RPGs, and how they shape the game.
Contracts fulfill an important role in Battle Brothers. You'll lead a band of mercenaries, after all, and contracts are what you do for work most of the time. Since the game has an open world, contracts are also important to give the player a sense of direction. You'll be able to freely travel and explore the world at your pace, and you won't have to take up any contracts as long as you can afford to pay and feed your men with the spoils you find. However, you should also never feel lost, not knowing what to do next; in a world torn up by war, there should be plenty of work available for a mercenary company.
Just as the worldmap and all the tactical battle maps are procedurally generated and will never look the same, so are contracts procedurally generated and don't follow a scripted linear order. Importantly, though, contracts aren't just random missions thrown at you. They are the result of what really is going on in the world; if a caravan travels on a long journey through dangerous lands, it will offer an escort contract. If a village is constantly being raided by bandits, it will offer a contract for protection. The bandits won't be spawned just for the duration of the contract and to entertain the player - they'll really be raiding the village beforehand, and the contract being offered is a reaction to them. Defeating their raiding parties will really lower bandit activity for a while, and burning down their camp may end it completely. It's important for us that all contracts are embedded into our dynamic open world and allow the player to really make a change, to have a real impact on the world, and not just grind random missions one after the other. At least for now, you’ll also only be able to accept one contract at a time - we want to avoid that feeling of having an endless list of quests which you just work through, not even remembering where you got it and why you’re doing it. If you haven't seen it already, this blog post explains in more detail our open world mechanics.
It can be hard for procedurally generated contracts to compete with a linear campaign in terms of pacing and atmosphere. Contracts need to offer enough variety and change to last a whole campaign, and not grow boring and repetitive after a while. Our contracts are generated from a variety of variables which hopefully will offer virtually endless combinations together with the different locations they take place at. Contracts can vary from short time assignments, like escorting a person or caravan, hunting down a group of beasts, scouting an area or destroying an encampment, to long time assignments, like protecting a whole region for two weeks. Even changing a little thing like the payment modality could change how individual missions play out; if you're promised 10 silver crowns for every orc head, you might want to take more risks to hunt down every last one as opposed to when you're promised a flat sum for destroying the orc raiding party, no matter if a few orcs can get away. Furthermore, we will present each contract offer with a paragraph of story to set the mood. Contracts will never just be a few bare bulletpoints, a price and an accept button. Instead it will be villagers telling you of their ails, or a lord with a proposition.
If you have any questions or ideas for contracts we should include, let us know in the comments!