Post news RSS Dev Diary #19 - Scythe Mechanics, AI & Expanding the Team

In this update we talk about Scythe Mechanics, Scythe Customisation, AI improvements and taking on new team members.

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Can you believe it's been two years since Lord Of Decay has been in development? So much has happened and we're still going strong.

January was about analytics, 3D models and strategising for the future. Not a lot to show, but plenty to talk about.

Scythe Analytics

After observing the analytics collected from the Christmas build we found that most users will switch between the axe and the staff. The sword is getting significantly less use.

This reinforces what we talked about on the forums about balancing issues we have had with 2 x Melee weapons and 1 x projectile weapon for the player.

We had hoped to cater to different play styles and add some risk/reward mechanics with the scythe forms (short, medium, long), but in reality the sword does not offer that much value in combat.

Because of this we have decided to remove the Void Sword form. The Void Sword was very cool and we'll miss it, but this is the right choice and it's actually a good thing.

Having only 2 x scythe forms means:

  • Switching between weapons is faster.
  • Weapon upgrades are simpler and require less UI.
  • Weapon transitions are smoother.
  • Save/Load data is smaller and simpler to handle.
  • Reduced cost of motion capture for combat attacks and stances.
  • Lower complexity in 3D model which improves render time.

Scythe Modeling

Scott has been busy converting the 2D concept art to a 3D model to be used in the game.

There have been a few minor changes as sometimes 2D art fails to capture the complexity of 3 dimensions and a little artistic license.

Here are some images of a work in progress. Textures are not final and this is not representative of the final product.

Lord of Decay Scythe

Lord of Decay Scythe Closeup

Scythe Mechanics

What you are about to read about the scythe is all thanks to the amazing people who contribute to the forum. We love you guys and it's you who are making this game truly awesome.

Scythe Leveling

After talking it over with fans on the forum we have decided to go with a passive leveling system.

That means that killing an enemy by landing a melee hit or magic projectile hit will increase the scythe's level without you having to spend skill points or select nodes in skill tree.
In this way the game responds to your actions directly and rewards your play style.

The scythe will have a level per Scythe Form:

  • Scythe Form (Level 1-100) - Increase damage, attack speed and add combos of melee damage.
  • Staff Form (Level 1 - 100) - Increase damage, attack speed and add combos of magic projectile damage.

Scythe Evolution

Players want to see their scythe change and evolve over time and we've designed something to go along with passive leveling system.

As each scythe form is leveled up it will begin to change shape to reflect it's progress. A higher level in melee will add thorns, spikes and spines to the scythe.

A higher level in magic projectiles will add glowing runes and glowing eyes to the scythe.

This is mostly coded, but Scott is still putting the finishing touches on the 3D model.
Watch this space.

Scythe Relics

Relics are special inventory items that can be equipped on the player's scythe to enhance combat performance.

These items are procedurally generated to keep things interesting and come in two flavours that can be equipped in a slot for the Scythe form as well as a slot for the Staff form.

This allows you to tailor your scythe's melee and magic projectile attributes as you see fit.

Combat Relics

It's possible to add combat effects to your minions' weapons by equipping body parts e.g. fire, frost, death, etc. We wanted to allow you to make the same modifications to your own weapon so we added a Relic slot.

Equipping a Relic of Burning to the scythe will add Fire damage and chance to Immolate your enemies. Equipping a Relic of Cold to your staff will add Frost damage to your projectiles with a chance to Freeze your enemies.

Blood Relics

Blood Relics become active when the Blood Meter is full and can buff damage, steal health from enemies, buff attack speed, buff mana regeneration, etc.

We have provided a Blood Relic slot for the Scythe form and a slot for the Staff form so it's possible to have a life leech buff when landing melee hits and mana regeneration when firing magic projectiles.

This makes combat more diverse now as you have to decide whether to keep your Blood Meter full in order to keep the buff active or use a spell that will reduce the Blood Meter and deactivate the Blood Relic buff.

Artificial Intelligence

I've been putting a lot of time into researching how best to implement Behaviour Trees and I've made two minor tweaks that change gameplay considerably:

  • AI characters can now hear and react to nearby enemies. You can no longer sneak up on them.
  • Living humanoid AI characters can now use Health/Mana/Cure potions in combat e.g. use health potion when health is below 30%.

There is still more to come in combat like combat zones, side stepping and circling, but I'll focus on minion commands.

We'll talk more about this in a future update.

Expanding the Team

We have accomplished a lot over the last two years, but the scope of the project has also grown a lot.

I've had to come to the painful realisation that I cannot do everything myself and also release the game in a reasonable timeframe.

Lord Of Decay has changed so much and now that we are close to Alpha it's time to start talking to other people to expand the team.

I've been speaking with music composers, sound engineers, animators and web developers in hopes that we can get Lord Of Decay on Steam Greenlight and a KickStarter campaign live sometime this year.

That's it for another update.

You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook for all the latest news, pictures and updates.
You can get involved in the discussion on the Forum or track our progress on Trello.

Watch the latest dev videos and technology demos on YouTube

Thanks for the support
Sandbox D7 Team

Sandbox D7
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That scythe weapon is cool, gl

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
damianturnbull Author

Thanks! It's gone through some changes since this post and we should have something exciting to show you soon.

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