Shadowhand Dev Diary #22: Story, item drops and loose ends

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It’s been a busy week. Helen and I have been finalising more design decisions and editing more text, and I’ve been coding a bunch of small loose ends in between our meetings. I’ve also been balancing the chapter goals and game economy but more on that in another blog post.

Training Level Dialogs

The image above is from a pre-duel dialog from Chapter 5 in which you get to do a spot of fencing with an expert. Some enemies also have a post-duel dialog if they need to say something important when you defeat them. We spent a while writing the text for dialogs and making them all trigger at the correct point in the game.


(Click image to enlarge)

Story Editing

We also went over the story for Chapters 1-6 to make sure that the conversations flowed naturally and the plot was clear. This was a surprising amount of work but the end result is much better.


(Click image to enlarge)

Item Drops

I also added in item drops for chapters 6,7,8. There are several types of item drops:
- Story item drops that occur as a result of talking to another main character. The image above is a story item drop from a robbery!
- Enemy item drops that occur after you beat an enemy.
- Shop item drops that occur after you complete a chapter. These are items you can purchase if you have enough gold.
- You can also pick up items from bomb/potion crates on some levels.

Loose Ends

I’ve been ploughing through lots of loose end tasks and have reached the end for now which means I can get back to main features in the coming weeks. These aren’t polish items, just small things that I made a note of before to finish later, or things that cropped up as a result of testing and design meetings.

- Some code refactoring (always fun! I’m not being sarcastic, honest.)
- Finalised some design decisions about the game economy and earning gold.
- More design questions answered.
- Showed 2 star goal on level end screen if you don’t reach it, and showed 3 star goal if you manage to get 2 stars.
- Players can no longer keep earned gold if the fail to meet a chapter’s goals in Normal mode.
- Fixed simultaneuous defeat issue with killing training dummy on final turn.
- Level end screen: Enemy loot now shows as 0 if you don’t win the fight.
- Made sure gold shown on loot cards is same as enemy’s gold.
- Gold card image is now dynamically set based on enemy’s gold value.
- Fixed automated AI test run gold output ready for balancing the game economy.
- Made Chapter 6 card with coachman image.
- Made sure enemies with no throw anim don’t try to use bombs.
- The “new item” icon won’t be shown for each additional consumable if the player has already seen it before. I had to save this information in in the player profile to make sure it persists between game sessions.
- Fixed possible exploit with undoing a card that has instantly charged/poisoned a weapon.
- If you have two counter attacking weapons now either can counter attack instead of just the first one found by the code.
- Added a restart hand button to the in-game menu after doing a Twitter poll and discussing it with devs. 75% wanted a restart button!

I’ll make another blog post soon about the balancing I’ve been doing and the metrics system I use for beta testing.

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