Posts Tagged abstract strategy
There’s been a fair amount of buzz surrounding Breach & Clear even before it was released on the App Store last week. And with good reason: it’s pretty awesome. However, there’s a bit more to the story of this mish-mash of genres and themes, including some rather unexpected sources of inspiration. Josh Fairhurst (president of Mighty Rabbit) and Wes Keltner (Creative Director for Gun) took a few moments out of their busy schedules to share some of the juicier tidbits with us.
148Apps: Breach & Clear uses a great combination of strategy mechanics. What were some of the least likely places you pulled inspiration from?
Josh Fairhurst (JF): The least likely place was NFL 2K1. The planning phase in Breach & Clear was beginning to feel a lot like creating a plan in a game of football, so we turned to the best football game of all time. Most of our gameplay was designed using powerpoint presentations supplied by our consultants. In each one of these images, vision cones were the dominant markings – so we built gameplay around that. A lot of people will probably think Frozen Synapse was an influence, but we didn’t set out to be directly influenced by it. B&C was originally fully turn-based, but we found that with proper tactics, enemies never got a chance to respond. We switched to using simultaneous turns as a response to that.
Wes Keltner (WK): I agree with Josh, strategy and planning in Breach & Clear is somewhat similar to calling routes in football games. At one point we even discussed creating an ‘audible’ type button. During pre-production/design doc phase, my inspirations were a little more obvious. Classic strategy shooters on PC like Rainbow Six, SWAT, and Jagged Alliance, as well as titles like Final Fantasy Tactics were all staples for me.
148Apps: The weapon attachments all have some sort of statistical trade-off. Was this intentional as a means to prevent players from relying too much on relying on their equipment rather than stats and tactics?
WK: We basically wanted all these cool attachments to really push the realism of each weapon. Allow the user to really customize and tinker. We put the heavy lifting part into good hands.
JF: We felt that for every bonus, there should be some kind of drawback. At the same time, we definitely wanted to push tactics and proper planning above all else. In the end, the weapons and attachments don’t feel like they make a huge difference unless you lean a gun all the way towards one of the stats. We’re hoping to fix that in the future by adding some guns that will change the way you’re approaching combat entirely.
148Apps: Were there any classes or skills that had to be cut due to time/space/balance? And if so, were there any you regret not being able to include?
JF: The Intel specialization originally had a tactic called “Direct Link” which allowed you to reveal the enemies in a chosen room. This was a great tactic, but in the end it felt like it would cause players to just leave their Intel guy positioned outside the level, slowly revealing all the rooms. I can’t think of too many things that we cut that I regret cutting, I think we made pretty good choices.
WK: Yes, I don’t regret any of the cuts we had to make. As team working together, we all picked apart classes, features, content, each time they were considered. We would shoot holes in it, looking for weak spots. So the things that hit the cutting room floor were all for the good of the game. It’s often difficult to find a good balance between realism and fun.
148Apps: What are some of your preferred class combinations and loadouts?
WK: My preferred team is a Fireteam Leader, Medic, and two Direct Action guys. I love the sprint perk. Being able to move a guy so quickly around the level allows me to get the drop on unsuspecting foes, as well as help another unit out. Having a couple Direct Action guys allows me to quickly subdue a situation that might have gotten out of hand if it had taken me two turns to get there. I run 100% suppressed on all weapons. Suppressed weapons, mixed with the lock pick kit, allows me to play B&C with stealth and precision. Mix that with two speedy Direct Action guys…You’re a fast, efficient ghost.
JF: I tend to roll with a Fireteam Leader, Weapons Sergeant, Intelligence Officer, and Direct Action Specialist. I get into a lot of scenarios where an enemy is behind cover and there is no safe approach – I can quickly solve this by putting my Fireteam Leader into cover while using his “Draw Fire” tactics. After that I can use my Direct Action Specialist’s “Sprint” tactic to run behind the distracted enemy. I tend to prioritize anything with a high rate of fire and I modify the gun to get that RoF even higher.
148Apps: What’s next for Breach & Clear?
JF: Right now we’re going through everything people are saying about the game – critics, customers, fans – everyone. We’re going to be working hard over the next few months to respond to these suggestions, and hopefully, get them into the game. Our first targets are knocking out all those “Coming Soon” banners!
WK: Ditto on what Josh said…Oh and Android, Android, ANDROID! We can’t wait to allow Android players to start breaching to their hearts content. There are also some features and content Gun and Mighty Rabbit have been tossing back and forth but Josh hit it right on the head…we want to listen to the fans.
Our thanks go out to Wes and Josh for discussing design and tactics amidst all the post-launch hullabaloo. If you haven’t given Breach & Clear a spin yet, you should probably go ahead and nab it off the App Store for $1.99.
Lots of people have grown up on Worms, and plenty have come to love the little invertebrates thanks to their multiple re-releases on virtually every existing platform, but something’s been missing from Worms 2: Armageddon this whole time. It’s meant to be a multiplayer game through and through, but while the wealth of options has been nice (Bluetooth, Local Hotseat, WiFi) there was still one element needed to make it perfect for mobile – iOS or otherwise – gaming. Good thing Team17 is awesome.
Worms 2: Armageddon now features asynchronous multiplayer. Allow me to reiterate: Worms 2: Armageddon now features asynchronous multiplayer. This means that anyone anywhere can start, continue, or finish a game whenever they have a spare moment. No need to sit around waiting for the other person to make their move. No more forfeiting a game because someone has to walk the dog. Players can simply take their turn, then move on to something else. Perhaps another game of Worms.
The update is live now, so anyone who already owns it can jump on the App Store and start the download. Then enjoy up to 16 simultaneous games to be played at their leisure. Everyone else can download it for $0.99 and start priming those Holy Hand Grenades.
It feels like it wasn’t all that long ago when Samurai Bloodshow (the rest of the title is too confusing so I’m leaving it off) managed to take me completely by surprise. The combination of strategy, card collecting, and over-the-top arterial spray brought a huge smile to my face. And now Sega is poised to do the same thing to me all over again. Albeit without the surprise since I know what’s coming this time around.
Alexandria Bloodshow is the official sequel to that other fantastic genre mash-up. This time players can take control of two separate armies – the Egyptians and the Greeks – as they attempt to collect, cut-up, and conquer. With the requisite art styles (Greek pottery, Egyptian hieroglyphics) to match of course. All the engrossing card gathering and deck building is still on offer, now with a whole new set of units to strategize with. Over 120 in all, actually. And with the two selectable armies, five difficulties, and seventeen stages it makes for a total of 170 campaign levels to conquer. And that’s not even taking the two player versus mode (via WiFi or Bluetooth) into account.
Alexandria Bloodshow is available on the App Store now, and it’s only $0.99. Okay, it’s actually free to download but it’s $0.99 to unlock the full game. Not a bad deal.
It’s been a long time coming. At least, it probably seems like a long time to all those disgruntled iOS users. Anyway, at long last, Plants vs. Zombies has gotten a major update that includes a number of features that many have been missing (i.e. taking issue with their absence). Read on for the nitty-gritty.
More mini-games are being added to the already robust list, including the Zombiquarium, Portal Combat and Beghouled Twist. Anyone unfamiliar with these mini-titles should know that they’re all interesting and fun in their own ways. Especially Beghouled Twist, with its hybrid of classic zombie-on-plant carnage and match-three puzzles. Of course, Portal Combat is interesting, too. The addition of reality-bending gateways that let plants fire across multiple rows (careful that the zombies don’t use them to get closer!) make for some cool overkill moments.
A new puzzle game has also been included in addition to I, Zombie (which itself has received an Endless Mode). Vase Breaker is now a particular favorite of mine as it takes the random “card” distribution used in many other extra modes and hides it underneath a grid of unmarked vases. Some may contain plants, some may contain zombies. Players have to play conservatively and smart if they’re going to have any chance of making it to the end. And yes dear iPad users, at long last the Zen Garden has also been included. Raising oddball plants like our PC counterparts is finally, blessedly, an option.
It’s not all mini-games, however. Popcap has also included support for several languages (Spanish, French, etc), as well as some new items in Crazy Dave’s shop and the expected Game Center achievements. Take note: some of the extra stuff such as bonus I, Zombie levels and the like are gated behind purchases via in-game coins. These coins are earned fairly regularly through simply playing the various modes so it’s not a big problem, but players should know that they won’t be able to jump right in to all the new stuff immediately. Worst case scenario; they get to sample the first level of a given mode or game type, then spend a few rounds of doing whatever to earn enough cash to unlock more stages.
Once this update goes live tomorrow (4/19), the iOS version of Plants vs. Zombies will finally be comparable to its PC counterpart. Both for the iPhone and the iPad. Rejoice, fellow iOS users! Rejoice and stop all the bellyaching!
Released: 2010-02-15 :: Category: Games