After demoing Pocket Heroes at E3 we received a lot of great feedback and interest, which helped us to realize that we were on the right track. While we’ve been brainstorming the concept of Pocket Heroes for the last year we are really still building the underlying technology framework that makes the game possible. All the network communication, gameplay rules, and user interface that will allow you to go on quests with your friends whenever you want and wherever you find yourself. Over the last few weeks we’ve made a lot of great progress on that technology and so we thought it was a good time to show everyone what we’ve got.
So, check out the video and then I’ll describe a few of the things you’ll see and talk about what’s coming next.
As you probably saw in the video there is quite a bit that is new! We’re building our AI system which allows enemies to perform abilities, run away from danger, or relentlessly attack the player. We’ve also added in an ability system that allows us to quickly code up new special attacks and try them out in the game world. Our most recent addition is status effects, which allow us to have things in the game like poison that damages a character over multiple turns, or an effect that would mute a wizard so they couldn’t cast a spell. Effects can be time based or indefinite, so there is a lot of flexibility in the system and it allows us to do a lot of cool things.
We’ve also been working on a lot of things you don’t see in the demo. Josh has been hard at work on our character concepts, Lucas is constantly coming up with new Lore and encounters, and Cody and I are designing the systems that will allow you to create your characters, find your friends, and manage the huge piles of treasure you’re sure to discover during your quests.
On the technical side we’re going to focus on finding the best UI system to present a player’s abilities so they are easy to use and understand. We’re also hoping to get our playback system implemented soon, this system will allow a player to watch all the moves that happened since their last turn. So every player always knows what has happened in the game and what is going on when they perform their turn. This is a really huge part of making the game ‘work’ and we can’t wait to see it in action.
A very important part of the Pocket Heroes concept is the idea that anyone can play it. We want a game that hardcore RPG players are going to love, but that you could also convince someone that hasn’t played D&D their whole life to give it a try. That’s a tall order, as there is a ton of gameplay complexity that must be managed and variables that must be balanced to really create a great gameplay system. At this point we have an initial idea of what our gameplay rules are but they are pretty rudimentary, so over the next few weeks we’re going to take a hard look at the existing RPG systems and figure out how best to achieve our vision for the game. That could mean we use one system completely, or mix and match from a few, or even take the concepts and craft our own. At this point we just don’t know, but it’s going to be great fun figuring it out!
Story, Scope, and What’s Important
We have grand ambitions for Pocket Heroes, in a lot of ways they are too grand for our own good. There have been multiple iterations of story, scope, and complexity over the last few months as we try to boil the game down to its core. The “problem” is that there is so much opportunity to do awesome things within this concept that we start rolling down a path and before we know it there is no end in sight to the work that will need to be done.
At the end of the day the most important part of this game is questing with your friends. While we would love to incorporate a huge story arc, across multiple campaigns we feel that it is better to focus on making a really fun turn-based RPG that you can share with your friends. And the best way to accomplish that is to get it in your hands so that you can help us shape it. So that is our focus, at every turn we’re working toward that goal and trying to build the best game we can, so that we can all start playing it, together.
Let us know what you think in the comments or over on the TouchArcade forums. We love to read your feedback and suggestions so keep them coming.