Shadowhand Dev Diary #15: combining stealth items

June 15th, 2017

In today’s blog I thought I’d show you a few of the items in that you can use together in Shadowhand for special added benefits. There are literally millions of combinations of weapon, outfit and power up choices in Shadowhand and so it pays to choose a setup that maximises your effectiveness and works in harmony with your chosen strategy.

Stealth is a stat relating to whether you get to start first in a duel. There are numerous clothing items you can collect or buy throughout the game that add together until eventually your chances of “calling the shots” at the opening of a bout are extremely high.

The stealth stat is displayed in a black mask at the top left of the inventory screen, and is also shown on your character’s card in duels.

For comparison, here is a screenshot of Shadowhand wearing most of the available stealth gear, compared with one without. Her stealth stat has jumped from 16 to 111. (Note the executioner’s mask is highlighted too – this is interchangeable with the black domino mask that Shadowhand is wearing).

In general, stealth items are black (but not all black items confer stealth…)

Here is a close-up of some of those cards (click image to enlarge)

There are plenty of other combinations of outfits and other items (such as weapons) that can be combined for a deadlier effect, look our for future blog posts on this!

Shadowhand Dev Diary #14 – using suits part 2

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

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’Éon 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.