Recent changes and decisions
June 27, 2013, written by Ingmar Aril, Design, Gameplay

Aril is still very much in development and we make almost daily decisions on how certain things should behave or work. I thought it might be interesting to share some of these decisions and explain why we made them.

One of the most recent changes was that sentinels are now also able to exit ghost mode on neutral territory. Earlier on, the only option was to leave inside your own territory. The reason we made this change was that by allowing this, players now need to close ‘holes’ inside their base. This makes it more rewarding to take over all territory inside your base instead of just the necessary parts. Another major reason for this is that it gives players who made a mistake earlier on in the match the option to ‘start over’ from another side of the map. By essentially creating a second base to work from, it becomes a lot harder for the enemy to take control over all of your territory.

Another big change we made which changes the game quite a bit is the inclusion of ‘sources’. Sources are places on the map that, when connected to an assembler, boost the assembler’s power. We scrapped the rule that having more territory connected to an assembler upgrades its tier. The sources are what gives an assembler its power now. This added rule also brings along tier 0. When an assembler was under a player’s control, it always had tier 1 or higher. Now, when an assembler has no connected sources, the assembler is tier 0 and does not produce drones over time. It is still useful to capture assemblers before connecting them to a source because when you take over an assembler, it immediately gives you a drone regardless of its tier.

We also made another gameplay decision that works well with the above mentioned changes. Assemblers now form an impenetrable wall if they are tier 1 or higher. That means that once you have a source connected to an assembler, the connection first has to be broken before an enemy is able to take over your assembler. It is a lot easier to protect your assemblers, but gives you more places to defend (the parts where the connection is easily broken). However, this is a positive change because before it was very hard to keep an assembler, no matter how well you protected it. Now the enemy has to play more strategically than before in order to take over an assembler.

These are almost all gameplay related changes, as you might have noticed. The reason for this is that we found that the game was too unforgiving. If you made one mistake, it often meant you might as well leave. We really don’t want this, as it is unfair (people should be allowed to make mistakes), demotes learning and experimenting and it is simply a lot more fun to have a more intense match.

Once we are completely satisfied with how the game works, we’ll make a gameplay trailer and show a complete match. Until then, follow this blog to hear more about how the development of Aril is going.