Archive for the ‘Episode 2’ Category
Episode 2 of Forumwarz gives us a great opportunity to introduce changes to the gameplay balance. Since it’s a large content update we can piggyback on it with a bunch of adjustments to the balance between classes.
We have been collecting feedback on the balance between classes forever, and we have a bunch of great ideas for where to start tweaking.
The only problem is, tweaking even small stats on our classes means a lot of additional testing is required. When developing Episode 1, the best tool I had for this was my “Clone character” and “Reset character” tools.
In other words, I’d get a character to a point in the game, make a clone them, test something, revert, clone, test, revert clone, test, etc until I was happy with things. Unfortunately, if I got to a point late in the game where I wanted to make a change to something that would affect the earlier gameplay, I’d have to start all over again. Not only was this incredibly time consuming but it was mind numbing too. After a while I wouldn’t be able to objectively test the game, as I’d be so desensitized to the gameplay and storyline.
We are fortunate going into Episode 2 that we have an installed user base who are eager to test all sorts of permutations for us. We will definitely take advantage of that. However, I think it’s very important to get things as stable as possible from a balance standpoint before handing it over to actual users.
After thinking about it for a while, I came up with the idea of writing a bot to play Forumwarz for me. Since I have access to all the back end methods, it wouldn’t have to play through the interface, it would simply have to call methods, examine their results, call others.
Hence, BalanceBot 9000 was born. He turned out to take a lot more code than I initially thought, but earlier this week I got him to the point where he could beat Episode 1 from beginning to end. He’s smart enough to stock up on items, buy equipment, collect junk and sell it, fight threads (with different strategies for each class) and even grind in lower level forums in order to gain experience to beat higher level ones.
The main thing he doesn’t do is have conversations with NPCs, he just skips them and gains the desired ending effect. But those don’t need to be tested for balance anyway.
The idea is we can have BalanceBot run the game over and over, gathering stats as to how many attempts it takes him to beat a particular forum. After running it many times, we can get some cool numbers out of it. For example, we’ll know if a camwhore is slightly stronger than an emo kid at a particular level and weaker at another.
After every adjustment to the game balance, no matter how minor, we can run BalanceBot again and see how it affected the overall gameplay. Of course, this takes some time to run: It takes BalanceBot 9000 2 minutes to beat the game from beginning to end on my Quad-Core Xeon machine, and to get good stats we have to run the game many times.
I have already learned some interesting things about Episode 1’s balance that I didn’t before, and I haven’t even started tweaking things. I’m pretty sure we will see a much smoother gameplay experience as a result, both for Episode 1 and Episode 2!
I don’t think it’s a spoiler anymore that in Episode 2 we’re launching a new class, The Hacker.
In Episode 1, the attacks you can execute are all about posting. For example, as a camwhore you’d post a picture of your cleavage to try and derail a thread.
The hacker class gives us the artistic license to screw around with more than posts. The hacker can pwn the forum itself, and I’m currently having a lot of fun coding up the various attacks.
For example, the hacker has an attack (currently called “scrmbl”, but that is subject to change) that scrambles all of the text on the page. While the text is scrambling it animates and I think it looks pretty awesome. You can just imagine the other members of the forum wondering what the hell is happening!
It looks much cooler when animating, but here is a screenshot of Denture Chat after it has been scrambled. Click for a bigger version!
Note that even the posters’ names and post dates get scrambled too!
As you know, we’re hard at work on Episode 2 right now. There’s still a fair bit to go, but we’ve made a lot of progress and things are really starting to shape up!
In Episode 1, after you choose your character you are given a short cinematic introducing that archetype’s storyline. All three classes have a different storyline which continues in Episode 2.
We’ve brought back the artists who did the Emo and Troll cinematics, but we’ve lost touch with the Camwhore artist. We are looking for someone who thinks they can imitate the style of the MS-painted camwhore art in all new panels.
This is a paid gig, and if you do a good job there will be an opportunity to contribute more art to our site in the future.
If this sounds like something you’d be good at, please tubmail me or send an email to eviltrout at the game’s domain name with samples of your work.
The Forumwarz creative team is hard at work bringing you the Nexxt Episizzode of your favorite web-based parody role-playing game. Today’s agenda is tweaking the Camwhore class and giving her some new visual attacks.
Here’s one we like to call “BFF”:
Hot chicks making out and an upcoming episode of Forumwarz?! Now that’s what I call fapworthy!
Now if you’ll excuse us, we have lots of work to do. And by “work,” of course, we mean, “searching for more royalty-free pictures of softcore porn.”
While we’ve been working on Episode 2 for a long time, the pace of development is about to change. Jalapeno Bootyhole is now able to focus on the writing full time, and now that INCIT is live we have no other major features in the pipeline.
Starting this week, we are going to really start pounding out Episode 2! I promised when I started this blog that I’d give updates as to its status and I plan to fulfill this promise in a spoiler-free way!
(Here’s a pic of Jalapeno and I last week, hard at work on Episode 2.)
First, I should say that nothing is ever final until it’s released. We reserve the right to change our minds at any point, and drop/change features drastically.
A lot of people have asked about alignment and how it affects their character. As it turns out, in Episode 1 it doesn’t. The stat is in there more for future use, although with some consistency amongst your choices you can adjust it slightly towards good or evil.
Episode 2 makes more use of the stat. Choices will appear or dissapear in sTalk depending on whether you have the alignment to say them or not, and there are more distinctive “Good” and “Bad” choices for you to make during missions. Also, depending on how you act, you will get different rewards (yet equally powerful) for finishing a mission in the “Good” or “Evil” mode.
We’re hoping that players will want to think carefully before they make decisions in sTalk depending on how they want their characters to end up. Do you want to be an Evil Camwhore? Or a good Emo kid? It’s up to you :)