Post news RSS Dead Monarchy: Devblog 2 - Formation AI + Mercenary Armor

In this devblog, I'll be reporting on the initial progress I've made on formation AI, there is a video that you can watch to get a better idea. I will also be showcasing a few mercenary themed armor sets, chainmail hood variants and a samurai-esque armor set for an Eastern faction!

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Greetings fellow gamers,

Kevin here with this week's update! This week's update is something that I am particularly excited about as it covers formations. As a player, it is something I've always wanted to see get done in turn-based games/RPGs as I wondered why the majority of turn-based games were focusing on small parties of 4-6 units more or less charging each other.

As I mention in the video, I can't give enough praise to Battle Brothers, definitely one of my most favorite games and one of the only games to tackle this issue. However, seeing as I wanted to transition into 3D space, quite a few issues popped up when dealing with formations, mainly rotations and the shape of the formation itself.

One of the reasons why Dead Monarchy is square/tile based is because of formations. On a hex grid in 3D space, formations just cannot be represented properly when considering that individual units will form up together to create a tight rectangle. I quickly found that it just looked too jarring and was something that I really wanted to represent properly. Having said that, formations can take different shapes and are not restricted to a 3x2 rectangle.

Why all the fuss about individuals within formations? Because from the start, I've always wanted to focus on the individual mercenaries/soldiers that you recruit but I also wanted to implement larger scaled combat. When you start to have combat with more than say 6 units on each side, you need to start considering formations as a large mass of units charging at each other just doesn't quite represent large scale combat properly.

I'll leave the finer details of the formation AI progress to the video, but to summarize my progress so far, individual units who have their own individual AI can also form into formations and band together to protect their flanks, each formation can operate independently and flank the player. Formations can break when engaged in melee, surround the player and then also reform into a formation again. Formations can also take defensive stances and stay in one position but can also rotate as the player tries to flank around the sides of the formation.

Another important thing to note is that formation AI only takes place in field combat. Field combat is different to tourney combat in that actions are no longer queued, they are triggered immediately. What this means is that abilities that grant free actions, IE "quickshot" from the bow can be used in field combat as in tourney combat, each unit can literally only act once before it is put into the queue. Tourney combat is its own thing with its own challenges and so is field combat. They are two different combat systems albeit slightly similar. What this means is that you will also have to decide between tailoring your mercenaries for tourney combat or field combat. A mercenary who specializes in leadership abilities may be suited for field combat but won't be as effective in tourney combat. Tourney combat is a side activity that rewards a lot of crowns but they are also spontaneous events, so you'll have to balance between regular field work and cashing in on tourneys.

If I haven't mentioned it before, I am using a rapid iterative development cycle. In other words, it means I often work on a couple of things or "modules" at the same time without completely perfecting each module but getting it to a playable state and then giving it to the players for further feedback. After the feedback process, I then go back to improve upon it with the feedback I received and I often repeat this cycle quite a few times. I find that this development cycle works well for an individual developer that relies on the community but also in keeping me sane. So because of that, I'd like to once more thank those who gave me feedback on the demo, I really do appreciate each piece of feedback!

In between working on formations, I've been doing a bit more work on armor. I haven't decided on the names yet but I wanted to start putting together some mercenary sets that didn't really have a distinct color, IE red. So for mercenary equipment, you'll more or less see a lot of neutral colors and armor that takes on the form of brigidines, maille and splint armor. I find this works well, as it is in stark contrast to noble house armors which is comprised more of full plate and decorated tunics.

That said, eventually you'll gain access to the first tier of plate armor, which is ironically inspired by late Gothic and Maximilian armors, this armor will appear more rusty and worn down but still provide substantial protection. You will eventually be able to acquire noble house plated armor, but at that point you are more or less up against the tanks of the medieval age.

For a bit of fun, I've also included a set of samurai-esque armor for the Eastern factions. Just bear in mind that I haven't done the Asian base model yet and that all these pictures of armor are in-editor. They haven't been optimized yet, but there won't be much visual reduction either. If you played the demo, that is a good example of the armor/mesh detail I am going for in Dead Monarchy.

Until next time!

Khitan Armor

Mercenary Set 1

Mercenary Set 2

Mercenary Set 3

Mercenary Set 4

Mercenary Set 5

Mercenary Set 6

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