May
29

Dev Blog #138: More Smaller Things

Even though the Corona situation has been and still is negatively affecting our schedule, we’re making steady progress every week. There are signs of normalcy on the horizon regarding the reopening of schools and daycare, so here’s hoping our productivity will also soon normalize again. In the meantime, we’ll take another look at several smaller additions coming with the next update. Read on!

A New Banner

As a thank you for your continued patience, and because having a guiding light in dark times seems fitting, we’ll include a new player banner in the free 1.4 update. Hurray.

More Champions

The ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC will introduce a variety of new human opponents. Several of these you can also face as more dangerous champions, like famed gladiators, nomad princes and southern officers of great renown. The screenshot below showcases some of the new named gear that these guys may carry.

We’ve also made more existing opponents into champions. For example, if you ever wanted to fight a particularly powerful necromancer with an illustrious name like ‘The Puppeteer’ or ‘The King of Worms’ who is carrying unique loot, you’ll soon be able to. And if you hire the Bounty Hunter as part of your retinue of non-combat followers, you can earn additional bounties for hunting down champions such as these, and find them more easily and more frequently.

New Treasure Items

In order to make fighting beasts, and particularly those of the powerful and dangerous variety, more rewarding, we’re introducing additional new treasure items. These are not for crafting, but only for selling. For example, a Hexe may now leave you a valuable jade brooch as you hasten her departure from this world, while an Unhold may have crushed and mashed any valuables that they found into a handy twisted ball, which you can loot and sell.

New Settlement Situations

The southern city states come with a selection of their own settlement situations. For example, a city may hold slave auctions, which significantly increases the availability of slaves. Sand storms may temporarily limit the availability of goods transported by caravans, and bread and games will mean lots of activity in the local arena and increased availability of gladiators for hire. Other situations, like slave revolts, are directly linked to contracts, and completing them will resolve the situation for the city and, in this case, make slaves available again for purchase.

Northern settlements also get a few new situations, mostly to do with trade. A ceremonial season in a northern town with a temple means increased prices for incense and thus lucrative trading opportunities. Finally, tavern rumors now also include hints of settlement situations of nearby villages and towns, and less flavor responses, so that you get a better idea of trading, recruiting and work opportunities nearby. For example, if you’re set on hunting Unholds to wear their furs as cloaks, tavern rumors can now point you to villages where the giant creatures have been sighted.

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May
22

Dev Blog #137: The Hyena

While Direwolves, Webknechts und Schrats dwell deep in dark forests of the north, the upcoming southern deserts have entirely different beastly inhabitants. We’ve already learned about the Ifrit, intended mostly as an opponent for well-established companies. This week is about a new beastly opponent for you to face in the early and mid game: The Hyena. Let’s take a look!

The Hyena

Prowling the southern deserts and steppe is the Hyena, a carnivorous mammal that resembles a poorly groomed cross between feline and canine. Prey can be few and far between in the endless sea of sand, and so the Hyena is both scavenger and nocturnal hunter. Many a traveler lost in the desert ended up a feast for a pack of Hyenas – but whether they tore him apart as he was still alive, or he died of thirst long before the pack came upon him, is another matter.

In the barren wastes of the south, no scrap of flesh can go to waste, and the Hyena has a jaw strong enough to crush bone so that it can get to every last shred. As it turns out, a jaw that can crush bone can crush armor quite well, too, making the Hyena a threat also to men in armor that would protect them against lesser wildlife. Although a Hyena is smaller than a northern Direwolf, and not always able to kill an unarmored man in a single turn, the way it rips flesh from its victims can leave terrible bleeding wounds and inflict the ‘Bleeding’ status effect. A battle against starved Hyenas is not lost as quickly as against a pack of Direwolves, but it may well be over before you even realize it when your men live on borrowed time as they slowly bleed out while the hyenas circle you in anticipation of a feast.

Hyenas roam and attack in packs that swarm and often surround their prey, attacking from multiple angles. They’re faster in combat than most other opponents, faster even than a Direwolf. A single Hyena can attack three times a turn, often overwhelming their victims and leaving them fatigued as they try to dodge every attack. However, their morale isn’t particularly good, and like most beasts they’re especially afraid of firearms spewing smoke and fire with a loud bang, unreliable as they otherwise may be. Naturally, Hyenas drop unique loot which can either be sold or used to craft new items, including a new armor attachment, if you own the ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC.

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May
15

Dev Blog #136: Smaller Things

The next update to Battle Brothers will introduce not just major new gameplay features, many of which we’ve already talked about, but will also include countless smaller additions and improvements. This week we’re taking a look at some of those. Let’s start!

New Banners

Naturally, the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC will come with several new banners to pick for your mercenary company. They all sport a southern look and are a good fit for a southern-themed playthrough.

We’ll also have a Supporter Edition again for those who want to support us in developing Battle Brothers above and beyond. As a thank you, you’ll get a unique southern-style banner with some extra bling this time.

Ambitions

The next update will include some rebalancing on currently available ambitions, but the upcoming DLC will add a whole bunch of new ones. Many of these new ambitions are tailored to specific playstyles – for example, perhaps you’re more into trading? There’s a new ambition for becoming a master trader. Or perhaps you’re into banditry and robbing caravans? We’ve got you covered. Because unlocking additional slots for your retinue of non-combat followers requires renown (the system was slightly revised since we last talked about it), these new ambitions also help out with more specialized playstyles that previously had a harder time at accumulating renown.

When picking ambitions, it’s obviously helpful to know beforehand what exactly is asked of you and what your your reward is going to be in order to make an informed choice of your company’s next steps. That’s why the ambition selection now includes a detailed tooltip showing exactly that.

More Reactivity

In an effort to bring more reactivity to the world of Battle Brothers, we’ve added a few more ways to interact with parties on the worldmap. For example, if you happen upon a caravan that is being attacked, and you rescue them, they’ll now properly thank you and often provide you with some kind of reward. As they then tell the story of how you saved them to others, your relations to settlements will also improve this way.

Farmers travelling between settlements to sell their produce on local markets may now also offer it to you. That’s convenient for the farmers, as they don’t have to travel all the way to the next settlement, but can return early to their loved ones, and it may be convenient for you, as it’s a way to get cheaper supplies on the road. Of course, you can also decide to just take it from the farmers by force – after all, what are they going to do about it against a company of armed men?

Trade

The ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC will introduce several new trade goods produced only under the blistering heat of the southern sun, such as silk, incense and spices. But while previously the prices of trade goods were affected only by the size of a settlement and whether it produced a trade good itself, it’s now also a matter of how far away a trade good is produced. 

Southern trade goods, such as spices, will earn you a higher profit up north, where such goods are not commonly available. Conversely, northern trade goods, like thick furs, will earn you higher profit down in the south, where even a bear pelt is a valuable curiosity. All this makes trading across the continent and across larger distances more profitable.

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May
08

Dev Blog #135: Location Environments

We’ve previously announced that we’re going to portray any location that you’re fighting at, such as a graveyard or a brigand camp, also on the tactical combat map. If you haven’t done so already, it’s highly recommended that you read up on our explanation of why we’re doing this and how we’re addressing potential issues here. Since this feature is now more or less ready, it’s time to take a closer look at how it plays out!

Location Environments

First off, location environments will be included for free with the upcoming 1.4 update – this includes graveyards, ruins, and various camps for humans, orcs and goblins. If you choose to get the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC, you’ll also have desert raider encampments and southern ruins in battle, and if you own the ‘Warriors of the North DLC’, you’ll get to see barbarian camps and villages. But you don’t need to own either to see most of the new environments.

As we’ve said previously, we want fighting brigands in the open field to feel different from engaging them at their camp. Indeed, where their camp is located and what kind of camp those brigands have should also become more important. Smaller camps may be a loose collection of bedrolls around a campfire, providing a largely cosmetic backdrop for your battle, while larger camps may even have fortifications, like wooden palisades, that provide cover for the defenders. If a location does have fortifications, you’ll see it both in the location’s tooltip on the world map and in the engage screen before you start your assault.

A location with fortifications is harder to assault, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll have to bring siege equipment. Take a look at the barbarian camp below. It’s quite a defensible position, being the extreme example of a fortified camp built on a hill, but we’ve deliberately kept holes in the palisades. Those palisades are enough to limit your angles of attack, change up things and make you think twice on how to go about your assault, but never enough to bring the entire battle to a halt at a single chokepoint. Although the location environment doesn’t look like it makes the battle any easier, it does make it a lot more predictable where you and the enemy start, and more a question of good tactics and less of having luck with spawn positions. 

Unlike with field battles, which most of your battles are still going to be, your men don’t start in a battle line right in front of your opponents when assaulting locations. You’ll still start in formation, but further to the left, whereas the enemy starts in their camp to the right. There’s also going to be a couple of instances where the roles are reversed and you have to defend a location against attackers. 

If you don’t want to fight the enemy at their camp, you can attempt to lure out their garrison on the world map to fight them in the open and then return to easily sack the location afterwards. On the other hand, engaging the enemy at their camp may sometimes be advantageous over luring out their garrison onto difficult terrain. That’s because your enemies naturally cut down trees at their camps, making for open spaces, and build their camps only on dry spots within swamps. So instead of having to fight goblins in murky marshlands where your heavily armored men get stuck, you can descend upon their camp and fight them on solid ground. Ultimately, location environments are about bringing more variety and atmosphere to combat in Battle Brothers, and about adding another strategic consideration to the world map.

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May
01

Dev Blog #134: Soundtrack of the South

We’re back with an audible bang this week as we take a listen to the upcoming additions to the Battle Brothers soundtrack by Breakdown Epiphanies. Let’s hear in their own words what they’ve been up to!

Soundtrack of the South

The ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC is going to make the world of Battle Brothers feel more diverse and rich in culture, and this of course also goes for the game’s soundtrack. Today we are going to share a sneak peek into the musical direction in the form of short snippets of four of the new pieces that await you once your company starts to explore the new content. These tracks are all still work in progress, but they should give a good impression of the atmosphere you are presented with battling the new enemies and visiting the opulent city states.

Our montage starts out with a new town theme and opens up with one of the Middle-Eastern instruments that we incorporated for our latest addition to the Battle Brothers OST, the Oud, a type of Arabic, fretless lute that has been used in the Middle-East and North Africa for millennia. Musically, this piece ties together with the rest of the soundtrack by means of a motif you are probably familiar with: the Battle Brothers main theme that plays in the main menu, on the world map and in northern towns. This time, though, we gave it a new spin by moving it into a key typical for oriental music.

The most prominent instrument of the second snippet you hear is a Bağlama, which is a type of Saz, a long-necked lute used in traditional music from the Balkan over Turkey all the way to today’s Iran and Afghanistan. It introduces us to one of the two battle tracks that are going to play when fighting the troops of the southern city states and the bandits in the surrounding deserts. Aside from the main motif on the Bağlama, this track features deep and heavy low string riffs that are reminiscent of the undead battle tracks (the city states are built upon the remnants of the old empire after all) as well as a more majestic brass section similar to the ones we came up with for the northern noble house battle music. The Bağlama also fills the role that the guitar did in those northern realms tracks.

The next transition brings us to a title that is going to play when fighting the new kinds of beasts introduced in the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC. As usual for our beast themes, the music is very heavy on percussion and the use of melodic elements is very sparse although we decided to let a flute play a bit of a more dominant role to convey that oriental atmosphere.

Finally, we have a piece that is not part of the southern deserts lore but expands the musical selection when travelling north since the new late game crisis might entail such ventures as well. This new world map track is like a more lush and open variant of the music we made for Warriors of the North, featuring the Nyckelharpa as well as deep and powerful northern choir.

This concludes today’s presentation and we hope we managed to stir your appetite for the contracts and stories that await your company in the southern realms.

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Apr
10

Situation Update

There should be a dev blog explaining the changes and additions coming with the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC right here. Instead, we have some unfortunate news to share this week about the Corona situation.

Overhype Studios is based in Hamburg, Germany. As with many other places around the world, Hamburg has closed all schools, kindergarten and daycare centers, and is asking everyone to self-quarantine as much as possible. As some of us have very young children at home, this has required us to do a balancing act between working and taking care of our children for several weeks now – and likely will continue to do so for some time into the future. As more and more people get sick, we now also have relatives and friends that require our support.

Unfortunately, all of this is impacting on our schedule. We often find ourselves unable to put in the hours of work on the game required, and consequently, we’re now behind schedule. This doesn’t mean that the future of Battle Brothers or the upcoming DLC are in any kind of jeopardy, but there are still some unfortunate implications of this very unique situation in our lives;

  • The ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC will likely take longer to be finished and may come out later than initially planned for.
  • We can’t keep posting weekly dev blogs, because we can’t keep up pace with new features or changes to report on. As a consequence, we’ll now pause with our weekly dev blogs for a few weeks to gain more ground. We’ll resume our weekly dev blogs on the 1st of May.

It’s disappointing, but it’s just the situation that all of us currently live in. We look forward to when everything goes back to normal. In the meantime, we’ll soldier on as best as we can given the circumstances and look forward to show you more of the exciting things yet to come for a game that we all love. See you soon!

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