Archive for the ‘Game Development’ Category

Shadowhand Dev Diary #10: brawling with a Sea Tar

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

In her adventures as a highwaywoman, Shadowhand has to fight for justice on a regular basis. As well as coming across land-based enemies, she may also fall foul of sea-going foes. Smugglers were incredibly common, and plied their trade along the moonlit shores of the English Channel in the late 18th century. Britain was also busy building its empire and had created a strong navy.

Sea Tar Ahoy!

Our Sea Tar character is based on a stereotypical sailor type, sometimes known as Jack Tar. Here is an illustration of a few from 1770.

When we first see him he’s armed with a Woodcutter’s axe:

But as the game progresses we see him gradually upgrade his melee weapon to include a Boarding Axe. This was a weapon used by sailors boarding ships in a combat situation, and it is a lot like a tomahawk.

Axe upgrade

Naval firearms

The Sea Tar also uses guns. He starts out with a Sea Service Pistol, which later gets upgraded to a Firebomb Blunderbuss.

This second firearm is based on a real weapon from around 1770, made by Henry Nock of London. According to International Military Antiques:

What makes this pistol so interesting is the large size of the bore, an inch and a half at the muzzle, sounds small but it isn’t! For the size of the pistol the bore is enormous! From what research has been done we suspect this was a British Naval Specialized weapon intended as a pyrotechnic devise that could fire a flaming projectile onto the sails of an enemy ship. The recoil would not have been as substantial hence the diminutive nature of the grip.

That being the case, this pistol is extremely rare and may have seen service at some of the great Sea Battles of the era including The Battle of the Saints 1782, Howe’s Victory Glorious of 1795, Nelson’s Battle of the Nile in 1798, the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, and of course Nelson’s Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Fully Upgraded

This is clearly a superior weapon – a blunderbuss that shoots firebombs! In his most upgraded version using the Firebomb Blunderbuss, he also swaps out the Boarding Axe for a Sharp Cutlass, for maximum swashbuckling:

Finally, our Sea Tar has the ability to throw a variety of bombs, which he does like this:

Shadowhand also has the ability to wield all of these weapons – if she can beat him and get her hands on them!

Worldbuilding with words

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Helen was fortunate enough to be invited to take part in Wordplay London in November at the British Library: a festival of interactive fiction and writerly games organised by the Hand Eye Society.

For those of you who missed it and would like to get some insight from a host of experts about writing in games, the Hand Eye Society has put together a video of some of the panels from the day.

Helen was part of the panel called “Worldbuilding with words,” along with a lovely panel with varied backgrounds ranging from dystopian Twitter fiction (Nate Crowley) to choose-your-own-adventure style game books (Jon Green) with a bit of dating Twine fiction (Hannah Powell-Smith) along the way. Helen spoke about facilitating different levels of depth that work for a range of play styles in both Regency Solitaire and Shadowhand. She also talks about connecting with as many of the player’s senses as possible to build a game world; and how a limited plot scope and richly researched lore can help with effective writing. You can catch this panel at 5:00:00 (5 hours) into the video.

Shadowhand Developer Vlog #7 – Outfits

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Shadowhand is an unique RPG card game for PC/Mac coming to Steam soon.

In our latest developer vlog Jake talks about the huge variety of outfits you can wear in the game, what effect they have on gameplay and how they work in the various animated combat stances.