Archive for May, 2017

Shadowhand Dev Diary #14 – using suits part 2

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

In my last blog post about Shadowhand, I talked about how some card suits have the added bonus of charging certain weapons faster – a great way to get the advantage over your enemy in a fight through strategic card play.

For this developer diary I’m gong to show another way that we have used suits in the game, as part of another game mechanic.

Introducing suit locks

Here’s a reminder once again of the customised suits that we have developed for Shadowhand. Each suit has ten cards, numbered 0-9.

In our previous card game, Regency Solitaire, we introduced a mechanic called a Regal Lock, where removing a royal card (J, Q or K) was necessary to unlock certain cards on the play field. We thought this was a fun mechanic, and it allowed us to create some quite interesting and challenging levels.

This time around we have lost J, Q and K but we have more suits to play around with. This time some cards on the play field have a Suit Lock, which is only removed when a target number of cards of that suit have been matched. We can choose any number we like to vary the challenge. This lock shown in play takes nine oak cards to unlock! Don’t fear, we will run our automated game test on every level to check that they are actually possible to complete. But in some cases, it will a significant achievement to get that last card.

Mechanics such as training that unlocks weapon charging matched by suit, and the suit locks shown in this post add many layers of strategy. The core gameplay is based on a solitaire variant, which is already a strategy game.

We aim to give players something new by coupling RPG battles to card play rather than dice rolls. Gradually adding layers of mechanics and a huge array of character choices and mini deck-building opportunities will mean that there are as many types of strategy to beat Shadowhand as there are players.

Shadowhand Dev Diary #13 – using suits part 1

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

The deck of cards that we developed for Shadowhand is not a standard 52 card deck. We have changed it up a bit losing the royal cards (JQK) and numbering the cards from 0-9. We did this to increase the chances of making a long run (a smaller number of possibilities means a greater chance of a match).

Custom suits

In addition to changing the numbering system, we decided to go with historically-themed card suits. This turned out to be a good move, as there are numerous ways some of these can be used as you upgrade your skills to become a better highwaywoman.

Above you can see the suit designs for chalice, mask, oak, pistol, gem and swords. One of the first ways that players get to use these suits is when they complete a training level.

Training with the Chevalier D’Eon

The Chevalier D’√Čon was a famous French spy, who was lived under cover in the Russian court disguised as a woman. After a period living as a man in France, they fell from grace and lived exiled in London, ordered by the French king to live as a woman once again. This period coincides with 1770, when Shadowhand is set, so we imagined a fictional visit from the Chevalier, who often gave impromptu displays of fencing skill, at a society ball attended by our heroine, Lady Cornelia.

Training with the Chevalier improves your sword skills. The result is that if you have a sword armed it will receive extra charge every time you pick up a sword suit card.

Later on in the game there are chances to train with other characters who give you faster charging tools (oak suit) and faster charging guns (pistol suit). To indicate what suit adds extra charge to what weapon, weapon cards are watermarked with the relevant suit symbol:

As you receive these specific trainings at various stages of the game, you can then decide when to strategically aim to collect more of a certain suit to give you a weapon advantage. Beware though – some enemies also have this ability!

There will be more on how to use suits in the next blog post, which looks at suit locks.

Gamedev unchained – interview

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Jake was recently featured in an interview on the Gamedev Unchained podcast, talking about surviving for 11 years as an indie and offering some of his business experience. Have a listen!