Dev Blog #39 on New Icons, Caravans and final LP Episode

Feb
22

Dev Blog #39: Progress Update – Background and Trait Icons, Escorting Caravans, Final Let’s Play Episode

Over the last week we’ve been focusing on filling up missing content, playtesting and balancing the game. Most changes and additions are rather small by themselves but the game as a whole is making big progress as a whole. Furthermore we have the fourth and final Let’s Play episode of our little series for you!

Background and Trait Icons

Backgrounds and traits have been in the game for quite a while using placeholder icons. We just now started replacing all those placeholders with actual icons.

Background Icons Battle Brothers Turn based strategy

On the image above you can see the first batch of icons for the character backgrounds. Among them you can find ‘the farmhand’, ‘the fisherman’, ‘the lumberjack’, ‘the disowned noble’ and many more. As a quick reminder, character backgrounds are sort of ‘professions’ of the characters that you can hire and tell you what they have been doing in their life before becoming a mercenary. These backgrounds can have positive and negative effects on the character stats and are therefore important when deciding who to hire. Adding these is not really essential for gameplay but it does add a lot of atmosphere and also makes deciding which recruit to hire a bit easier.

Trait Icons Battle Brothers Turn Based Strategy

Here are some trait icons to give you an idea on how they’ll look like. You can find the icons for ‘eagle-eyed’, ‘bright’, ‘bleeder’ and many more. Traits are randomly assigned to characters depending on their backgrounds and give small changes to character stats, and add a lot of flavor and personality to the characters you are hiring. They make them just that more individual and special.

Bridges and Fords

No more crossing rivers on magical roads! From now on we have decent wooden bridges to cross rivers on dry feet as long as you stick to a road. Out in the wild you will find a ford across a river from time to time where you can cross it.

Ford Bridge Worldmap Battle Brothers

Just like the icons these are not essential for gameplay but they do add a bit to the look and feel of the game and are another step towards our Early Access launch. As the layout of roads and rivers is procedurally generated, there are countless assets required for them. Completing all the possible directions and combinations for these elements was a straining task.

Caravans in Tactical Combat

Trading caravans now show up on tactical combat maps. Thus if a caravan gets ambushed, you can now actually rush to its aid (and save that poor donkey from getting slain!). These assets also allow us to implement a new ‘escort caravan’ contract where you have to ensure the save arrival of a caravan, which adds a new tactical dimension to battles as you’re defending an objective.

Caravan Tactical Combat Donkey Battle Brothers

Caravans aren’t entirely helpless on their own. In combat, they are protected by Caravan Hands and, if they’re large enough, Caravan Guards, that will take defensive position around the carts and do their best to defend them. They’re not that great at fighting, and their morale can be broken, but they can hold their own against easier opponents and may buy you some time. Also, their survival isn’t essential – making sure the carts arrive is the important thing. In order to not make you go mad, we’ve also improved the defensive AI, so that Caravan Guards can position themselves in a way that intercepts arrows and bolts from hitting the donkey. They’ll also use their shields to knock attackers away from them. Other opponents can make use of that improvement as well, of course – Necromancers, too, are now a bit better protected by their undead minions.

Let’s Play Episode 4

Here is the final episode of our short Let’s Play series. Although there is still a lot left to discover and more adventures to seek out, we have to make this the last episode for now. There have been a lot of changes on the game since we started the series, and many can not be shown in the videos as they would require the start of a new campaign. Also, it’s getting difficult to keep the savegame compatible with our current build. However, there is a good chance we’ll start a new series not long from now which will show you more and different things about the game!

Don’t forget to comment on the video and subscribe to our Youtube channel.

12 comments

  • fishmonster
    fishmonster
    Feb 22, 2015 @ 20:18 pm

    great lets play series, funny commentary and showcased the game well.

    Q; was the bandit archers icon around the 14:30 mark a goblin one?

    Reply
    • Rap
      Rap
      Feb 22, 2015 @ 20:25 pm

      It was the Young Orc icon. We used it as a placeholder, since we don’t have icons for the bandits yet.

      Reply
  • Asterix_von_TWC
    Feb 23, 2015 @ 0:19 am

    Excellently done video… a pleasure to see, especially the “aliveness” of the good code behind the world (spawns… reactions…. the activeness of cities and camps etc.)

    A question that I have no figured out throughout these videos:

    Does bandit “salary” or “upkeep” cost increase with time/experience?

    Reply
    • Rap
      Rap
      Feb 23, 2015 @ 0:28 am

      What do you mean by bandit salary or upkeep?

      Reply
      • fishmonster
        fishmonster
        Feb 23, 2015 @ 1:53 am

        I can’t speak for Asterix, but I’ll assume he was meaning; would the battle brothers daily upkeep increase as they level? or is it at a fixed rate.

        Reply
        • Rap
          Rap
          Feb 23, 2015 @ 2:15 am

          It’s currently fixed based on their background and certain traits (e.g. greedy), and doesn’t increase per level. The idea is to handle potential pay raises via the event system once that is in; characters could seek you out and ask for or demand more money, and you’ll have different options on how to handle this. It’s just a concept for now, though, and may or may not end up in the game like this. Among the conditions to trigger those events could be experience and time, as Asterix suggested.

          Reply
  • Asterix_von_TWC
    Feb 23, 2015 @ 12:36 pm

    Thanks Rap! I have to say two things… Jaysen could have become rich as a “Lets Play Video Maker” and founded the equivalent of a kickstarter because he’s really good at it :D

    And second, this game looks more polished than so much early access that hit steam already, and that’s good!

    Thanks for the response!

    Its so easy for us in the pre-community :D to generate a constant stream of ideas because this game stimulates our creativity so much, like a good German “Euro-game” should!

    So here I will spew ideas:

    1) Refugees from destroyed settlements (would make a fun “protection” battle even harder than that cute donkey)
    2) The ability for the brothers to go to the dark side and attack friendly caravans and militias, this cutting themselves off from civilization and contracts
    3) Fire (as a weapon and battlefield element) – would require a lot of coding so probably not, but would be fun to sweep away brush and try to use it against superior forces
    4) A bit of comical grunts in German (1 liners) to complain and demonstrate mood… this would be easy to do I believe (simple morale level + event_trigger = sound_category – randomized) … an English speaking audience would love things like “nein mein kopf!” or “ich will nich sterben” or “heute nicht herr orc” :D

    Of these 1 + 4 are my favourites.

    Reply
    • Malthus
      Malthus
      Feb 24, 2015 @ 0:26 am

      Please stay true to the language the game uses. And if the do comment on events or enemies approaching, hitting their brothers or themself then please let them say things that do sound reasonable and not as cheesy as this. This would completely destroy the flair. This is a harsh world where good men die by the dozens only for there brothers to see another day´s battle and their inevitable death. It is not a comedy show.

      Reply
  • screeg
    screeg
    Feb 23, 2015 @ 18:17 pm

    Loving these Let’s Play vids! One thing I would say is, Why would bandits attack a donkey? An animal like that is a cash asset, and a donkey is too slow to escape with the goods during a battle. Even if they plan on eating it, I assume they would rather lead it away than butcher it on the spot.

    @Asterix_von_TWC
    1) love it, would make a nice follow up to a settlement you were too late to save, or build tension/wear down your band on the way to a destroyed settlement
    2) this would probably work better if there were multiple friendly/neutral factions (like fiefdoms), maybe for an expansion?
    3) I would like fire too. Sprite-based, rather than particle based fire, might even work
    4) I am an English speaker and I concur! (remember Wolfenstein 3D? Mein leben!) Although you should probably also allow the user to toggle it off. :)

    Reply
  • Rap
    Rap
    Feb 23, 2015 @ 18:23 pm

    I agree, Jaysen is doing a nice job at this :)

    The reason for the bandits to attack the donkey is somewhat gamey, I’m afraid. We want the “escort caravan” contract to feel different by giving the player an objective to defend as opposed to just killing all the attackers (although that does help, too). Only, what should the player defend exactly, and what should the attackers attempt to take down? Destroying the cart and the very goods they’re trying to get their hands on makes little sense (although games usually go with this). Killing the donkey, so the cart can’t flee, makes marginally more sense (but not really, I admit). So yeah, we went with the donkey. Also, it can bleed and makes noises, as opposed to the cart.

    1) Indeed, we want to have refugees from destroyed villages. Villages can’t actually be destroyed yet, though, so refugees aren’t in yet either.

    2) We want to focus on the mercenary experience and do this thing right – allowing the player to resort to banditry would mean that we’d need a whole bunch of additional mechanics to support this gameplay path. Like screeg said, this could work better if there were multiple human factions that work against each other, but alas, this isn’t the case for now. Indeed something to consider for a possible expansion.

    3) It’s on our list.

    4) I’m not convinced, personally.

    Reply
  • Mashed Zombie
    Mashed Zombie
    Feb 25, 2015 @ 0:58 am

    I thought you would have put a merchant character in caravan escort contracts who you must protect.

    Reply
    • Rap
      Rap
      Feb 25, 2015 @ 1:04 am

      There is a separate contract for bodyguarding a person.

      Reply

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