Development Diary #1 – A New Leaf

Hey folks,

This is going to be the first of our new series of dev diaries. The main goal of these diaries is to keep communication with the community open and to discuss the design as it moves forward. It’s not necessarily going to be for announcing flashy features each time, but we will be keeping you as informed as possible.

Before I go on to talk about some design areas, I’d like to announce that we’ve moved the project to Unity and have recruited several engineers to work on this new iteration of the game. Although we really do like Unreal and did make some decent progress, there were unfortunately too many barriers to doing what we wanted to do as it is far more suited to action and shooter style games. We are hoping the switch to Unity will allow us to make faster progress with more freedom to create the game that we all want to see.

Now, onto design!

The first point I’d like to talk about in this post is ‘Defender advantage’, which is the advantage that a player has when combat takes place in their territory. In Dungeon Keeper 1 & 2, this came from three main things:

  1. The ability to drop units anywhere on your own territory at no cost
  2. The ability to cast spells (in DK2, this was on your territory only for offensive spells)
  3. The ability to build defences on your own territory

This essentially meant that unless your army was substantially more powerful, it was highly unlikely that any attempt to attack the enemy would end well for you. This led to the only real viable strategy being to turtle and steamroll, or to simply build a dungeon up to your enemies doorstep.

Additionally, there was very little emphasis on real map control – the only things you had to explore for were gold and portals. Gold was not risky to gather because you had the ability to instantly pick up a unit if it happened to be attacked, and high level Imps could simply teleport away.

So, we have several ideas to control the above 3 points but we would also like some input from the community on how you think these points should be handled. We will reveal our ideas at a later point as we don’t want to influence your ideas just yet.

The second design point is a new feature we are calling Shrines (which are partly influenced by this suggestion from MeinCookie). Here’s a pretty picture:

Shrines are neutral structures found throughout the game world that provide persistent benefits once they have been claimed by your worker units. The main aim of shrines is to encourage outward play and map control by rewarding the player for maintaining a presence across the map. Some possible shrines include:

  • The Ancient Tome allows a single unit to interact with it to provide research for you at a highly increased rate
  • The Idol of Power increases the speed at which all your worker units perform tasks by 50%
  • The All-Seeing Eye provides a large area of vision around the shrine

These are of course just some examples and are highly likely to be altered before release (and the names, well, they are even more likely to change – if you have any suggestions to rename these, please post them!). The variety of different shrines, along with other yet-to-be revealed features, will ensure that each MP map provides a fresh and unique gameplay experience and will require players to adapt their strategies.

That’s it for this time. If you have any feedback on this post and how we are presenting information to you, please feel free to either post here or message me directly, thanks!