Steam Summer Sale begins

June 21, 2018  |  Blood & Gold, Eador, Snowbird, Эадор  |  No Comments

Hi everyone,

And so it begins. Steam Summer Sale is about to start, and of course we’re taking part in it as well.

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All projects from Snowbird Games will be at 80% discount throughout the whole sale. Here are the games we have for you:

Eador. Genesis
Eador. Masters of the Broken World
Eador. Masters of the Broken World – Allied Forces DLC
Eador. Imperium
All Eador games in a bundle
Blood & Gold: Caribbean!

By the way, be sure to check out our new developer page on Steam — you can follow us there for all the upcoming news. Have a nice sale!

Feral Blue — Devblog #6 — Propulsion system

June 20, 2018  |  Feral Blue  |  2 Comments

Hi everyone,

Today we’d like to tell you about propulsion systems of our ships. In Feral Blue there will be a combination of several types of ships: steam-based, rowing and sailing. Some of the ships will even combine different propulsors at once. We know many such examples from history, like steam frigates or galleasses. This is a pretty complicated topic, and we did our best to find similar games to see how smart developers went about this. But it seems that avoiding systems like this is part of being a smart person, as we found nothing. If you can remember a game where you’ve seen something similar, please let us know — we’d be really interested to check it out.

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So here’s what we’ve come up with:

– Sails will become the most reliable and safe ‘engine’, but they cannot be switched into the boost mode. In addition, sails depend heavily on wind — we didn’t dare to make a full-fledged simulator, so that we won’t punish players for missing the wind directions. Still, a bad wind won’t do you any good. In most cases, sails are the default propulsor.

– If the ship has a rowing deck, it will be possible to increase the movement speed — the speed of rowers will be added to the speed of sails. Rowers can also be forced to work faster — in that case they will go into the boost mode. The human spirit is stronger than weak body, and the speed can grow greatly, but as a result someone will dislocate their shoulder joint or get rupture of their aorta, and you’ll have to let them rest for a while. Rowers can get ‘overheated’ and will go out of order. In that case it’s a good thing to have a spare ‘engine’, or else you will be done.

– Steam engine is like rowers, but better — and it can’t get a heart attack. But it can explode, so there’s that. The ‘boost’ works pretty much the same, it’s not really the ‘nitro’ from racing games, but works similarly — you get an increase in speed for a short time, risking breaking your engine.

– Rowers and steam engine will let you reverse the ship, no such thing with good old sails.

– Rowers need to eat and drink, steam engine requires fuel (also stokers who will throw this fuel into the furnace). Sails are environment-friendly, low cost engine, that only requires wind and fabric for repair.

At the moment we’re passionately discussing how all of these tactical opportunities can be fit into one interface. We hope the initial version of it will be good enough to show in public in a week!

Feral Blue — Question Time

June 15, 2018  |  Feral Blue  |  3 Comments

Hi everyone,

It’s a week of non-stop E3 news and coverage (also World Cup starting here in Russia), so all we can really do at the moment is try to ride that wave and make some use of it.

While we’re knee-deep in designing our own naval battle system, why don’t we take a look at the recent Skull & Bones trailer from Ubisoft? We’re just wondering — do you like what you see? What exactly did you like more that anything else shown in the video? Does the combat look interesting?

Just a bit of a ‘marketing research’ :)

Let us know!

Feral Blue — Devblog #5 — Decisions

June 7, 2018  |  Feral Blue  |  No Comments

Hi everyone,

At the moment there are really no ‘pure’ genres of videogames, each game combines a number of them — platformer with management elements, shooter with RTS elements, visual novellas with skill trees. However, as a rule, there is always one genre that acts as a foundation for other additions. In our case, that foundation is roleplaying.

In the name of the genre itself, it seems, is missing the term ‘leveling up’, though it’s always expected. In Feral Blue you can level up all kinds of things, but the focus here is to decision making and playing your role.

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We won’t be giving your character a lot of rich background, like Geralt of Rivia has, for example. You’re just a Captain, the character is yourself, so the story is entirely up to you as well. And when your character dies — you’ll be writing the story of his successor (which can be assigned beforehand, if your deceased character was prudent).

What kind of decisions does a captain make? Well, the usual: let’s say you’ve captured a ship, and in its cargo hold there’s wood and slaves. The ship is overloaded, but you can place the prisoners on the deck and into the service cabins. Then, of course, there is a risk of getting epidemic on board — but you can always sail to the nearest port and sell those slaves profitably. Or you can take aboard only a part of prisoners, sink the rest with the enemy ship, and the rescued slaves can then be handed over to the cannibals. Or you can use them as food for yourself, if you expect a long voyage ahead with little supply. If it turns out there are more qualified specialists among those slaves than ones from your own crew — you can invite your soon to be former mates to the captured ship, sink it, and welcome your newer crew. If you want to play it kinda boring — you can save all the slaves, let them join your crew and die of cholera later.

We want to get away from too refined, too literary ‘moral dilemmas’, when players are forced to choose between two characters to kill (and what Clementine will remember). Such things are not really fair to the player, and often look silly. If players are presented with an unpleasant choice, we need to give the opportunity to avoid that unpleasant choice. If players do everything right, they should be able to free the slaves, improve their reputation and avoid the epidemic — only if their ship is ready for a situation like this. Or if they are lucky. If not — they can always try their best and die of cholera.

So this is what we wanted to say about the nature of the captain’s decisions. The missed ‘leveling up’ aspect in the post is present in Feral Blue, and we’ll talk about it soon!

Philosophical question

June 5, 2018  |  Eador, Эадор  |  11 Comments

Hi everyone,

Today we have a philosophical question for you. Before we start discussing it, let’s briefly talk about our current plans for Imperium. In the coming month we want to finish the work on the new medal system, and also add the functional for the new hiring in provinces.

Now to the question itself — for how long, in your opinion, should developers support their projects?

There could be a number of answers to this. The most obvious one — until the game is completely finished and completely free of bugs. A good answer, that one, but not very realistic: there will always be some bugs, because almost any game is a very complex system. And when developers and players want something new and improved in an already released game — more bugs inevitably appear. Sometimes those bugs can be experienced by 8% of the playerbase, who use a very specific combination of video drivers and keyboards.

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Let’s also consider this: sometimes developers aren’t even able to support the project, because they lack proper skill or knowledge. Or there is no access to the engine. What should be done in that case — will it be ethical to explain the situation and be honest about it with the players?

This can cause an immediate negative reaction, as in ‘if you can’t do something properly — get out of the profession’. But let’s see how this position could be unfair and irrational. There are such respected professions as doctor, lawyer, schoolteacher. If those people lack skills and knowledge to diagnose correctly, save from prison and teach somebody to be ready for Oxford — do they need to be exiled and become cashiers? Yes, not everything depends on them in the end, but it’s the same with game developers. How many mistakes can a doctor make in his career? These days for developers it’s enough to make one, as the story with Cliffy B shows.

We understand this may sound like an excuse, but for all the problems our games have, they also received (and keep getting) updates for the longest time after release, including some free content — we’re genuinely curious about this topic.

So what is your criteria what good or bad supporting of a game? Do you wait for new content or bugfixing first? What’s your opinion on ethic of game developers and what they should do in this case?

Feral Blue — Devblog #4 — Ship upgrades

May 31, 2018  |  Feral Blue  |  1 Comment

Hi everyone,

Thanks to everyone who participated in the discussion on our in-game currency! We just wanted to clarify once more, that we’re indeed planning to use barter in the game! So it’s not just all about clean water :)

Now, on to today’s topic.

What wasn’t too great about Blood & Gold is naval warfare. It’s very tricky to do good in general, so often times it has to be hidden behind wild pace and beautiful visuals. Obvious example here are ‘pirate’ Assassin’s Creeds: both Rogue and Black Flag provide their ships with noticeably unrealistic speeds. In addition, the visual detail of the ships makes it difficult to properly upgrade them. You can, of course, repaint sails and stuff like that, but you can’t change the mast system or build one more cannon deck. You also can’t just buy a new and better ship — which was no problem for Sea Dogs, by the way.

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At the moment, we’re finished with the basic system of the world, how your ship’s crew is set up and controlled, and now the ship upgrades are in our focus. As Feral Blue’s world is not too rich in resources, any material — whether it be wood for the hull or fabric for sails — is very valuable.

All upgrades will be divided into those that affect the life of your crew — like desalination station, infirmary or steam engine. And those that determine the battle power of your ship — catapults, ballistas or cannon systems. Damage to the battle upgrades makes the ship weaker in combat, but still able to ram your enemy with subsequent boarding. But losing propulsion — sailing, oars or a steam engine — can lead to the death of your entire crew.

The main danger of this kind of gameplay is making it overly difficult, which can lead either to monstrous development times or to the player’s loss of game control. That’s why we’re doing our best to make something called ‘vertical slice’, and give it to players in the form of closed alpha version. Perhaps, people will want more simple naval battles and a full-fledged captain simulator. Could be vice versa — strong accent on battles and quite simple upgrade system like ‘take a bigger cannon, shoot further’.

Eador. Imperium — Update notes (May 29)

May 29, 2018  |  Eador, Эадор  |  3 Comments

Hi everyone,

Today we’re releasing a new update for Imperium, mainly concerning balance issues in the game. Thanks to everyone who shared their feedback on this!

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Update notes 2.74.1:

New:

- Tweaked the balance of some units as suggested by the players:

Bowman:
HP 10 > 12
Exp modifier 140 > 100
Price 60 > 40
Upkeep 12 > 8

Pikeman:
Stamina 10 > 11

Crossbowman:
HP 10 > 13
Ranged Defense 2 > 3
Exp 23 > 16
Exp modifier 150 > 90
Price 60 > 50
Upkeep 12 > 10

Dwarf Engineer:
Resistance 4 > 3
Ranged Attack 6 > 5
Morale 14 > 13
Exp 30 > 35
Exp modifier 150 > 170
Price 85 > 100
Upkeep 18 > 22
Resource: iron > mithril

Hunter:
Ranged Defense 4 > 3
Morale 9 > 8
Exp modifier 120 > 140
Price 50 > 70
Upkeep 7 > 14
Removed 12th level upgrade “Armor-piercing shot”

Flagellant:
Exp modifier 80 > 110
Price 20 > 30
Upkeep 4 > 6

Sentinel:
“Control protocols” skill – removed “Tireless” ability from the 3rd level

Fixed:

– Fixed an error resulting in the hero’s army gaining boost to morale whenever they visit the “Temple of Light” site.
– Fixed an error in the “Golem Works” site which resulted in only the basic Golem being available for recruitment.
– Fixed an error causing a sequence of two battles when recapturing a province of rebellious Centaurs.

Feral Blue — Devblog #3 — Currency

May 24, 2018  |  Feral Blue  |  1 Comment

Hi everyone,

In today’s devblog we wanted to talk about such how would money work after the apocalypse. Our previous post sparkled some interesting discussion on this on Russian gaming site Riotpixels.com — so we decided to bring this topic to open discussion.

Firstly, we could always go the funny way. Like Fallout’s bottle caps or something like that. In that case, money is kind of useless by itself, weighs nothing, doesn’t take up space and it can be exchanged for all other goods.

Obviously, coming to an Amazonian village with a suitcase full of euros, you probably won’t be able to buy, say, onions. But exchanging onions for an almost fresh sandwich should be possible to do. Money is important in urban culture, where everyone believes that money is valuable.

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In this regard, the world of Feral Blue is closer to an Amazonian village than New Vegas, so the idea of traditional money would not be appropriate. So how exactly should we express value of anything?

Our current choice is water. Everyone needs water. It’s easily divided: fill the whole tanker with it, if you want, or measure it with little sips. Water can also be, how they say now, ‘mined’ — through desalination point or by finding rare springs. However, it’s not very convenient to save and hard to carry around. Your purse would look like a bundle of thermos.

Some players suggested gunpowder as the currency. We’re not sure about this, to be honest. On the one hand, it seems convenient, valuable, rare enough, and it’s easy to divide. On the other — it might be a bit too valuable and easy to fake (set fire to a pinch for testing?). Or, if you’re Incas living in the Andes, who use catapults (more reliable that way) — why would you need gunpowder anyway?

So what do you think? If the world survived the apocalypse, what would become the currency? Fresh water, soil, gunpowder, wood, vodka?

Feral Blue — Devblog #2

May 17, 2018  |  Blood & Gold, Feral Blue  |  5 Comments

Hi everyone,

Today we’re continuing with the general gameplay overview of Feral Blue.

Boarding

We are quite content with what we managed to achieve with boarding in ‘Blood & Gold: Caribbean!‘. So we’ll try to so something similar in Feral Blue: fencing is not too simple, not too complex (a few types of strikes and parries), you can shoot and can get shot yourself (for more adrenaline). Most likely, the boarding tactics will differ from ship to ship (and different crews), so fights could turn into massacre or someone might lock themselves in cargo hold and ambush you with spears (we remind, powder is in short supply).

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Economic system

The main productive forces of this world are concentrated on the islands — every suitable piece of land is either plowed or planted with trees. Wood is the new oil, so without it there will be no ships and civilization will perish.

Not everybody could get themselves an island, however it can be bought — for example, from resident of the Andes. So some tribes are focused forests, pigs, slaves, wheat and other useful resources on these floating bases.

Finally, there are also sailing towns that have become the main trading centers in this world.

You trade with water. If wood is oil, then water is gold here.

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Politics

Each major faction pursues its own goals. Players can create their own ‘faction’, if all goes well — or build a career by enrolling in one of the other larger ones. This is where we use our experience from Blood & Gold and, partly, Mount & Blade.

So this is our general vision for the project. As you know, game development is very unpredictable and something can go wrong at any moment. But after a good number of missteps in Blood & Gold, we hope our second try in making a game with the naval theme will go smoother.

Eador. Imperium — Balance feedback

May 15, 2018  |  Eador, Эадор  |  8 Comments

Hi everyone,

We’re very grateful to everyone who shared their ideas on unit balancing with us. Admittedly, the current balance is by no means perfect and it needs some work — on the other hand, looking for some imba-combination could be a separate game on its own. There’s also a third side to this — what’s too powerful in one hands can be near useless in others. The debate over which hero is too easy (Sentinel or Warrior) is a good example of that.

By the way, before this whole discussion we saw some topics where people were unhappy with Legate (too many high-ranked units = too easy), with Scout (ranged attacks are too powerful) and even with Sorceress (too many spells). It seems that the heroes are in a pretty good place balance-wise (or you’re too good with them).

prepareyourbalance

So what are we planning to do after reading your comments:

– We’ll change the Sentinel a bit — most likely take his ‘Tireless’ ability away.
– Do something about the archers — not sure what exactly yet, but we do agree: at the moment they are one of the least useful units.
– Buff crossbowmen — they are a bit too expensive and a bit too useless.
– Rework the Mercenary guild — so that the Fire Giant wouldn’t be so easily accessible.

A few more comments on your comments:

– Lizardman Turtleback is supposed to be powerful — it can only be obtained by upgrading your unit, can’t be simply hired, doesn’t bring any bonuses for alliance with the lizardmen. So we think his strength is fair.

– Flagellant doesn’t compare to Barbarian in brute force. But as a neutral and as a means of fighting magic — it’s all fine.

– Important thoughts from user NQ — we have to consider the difference between initial and upgraded units. It’s a very thin ice: the whole system can be easily broken. Which is not perfect, but it works. Would it be interesting to upgrade units, if the new benefits are too weak?

In general, we think it’s worth trying to change some things in the way you can get non-castle units. Perhaps, this will bring major differences. Also, please don’t write off ‘usual’ players — there are non-vocal people who honestly think the game is too brutally difficult. So, for example, nerfing Engineer would turn their story campaign into nightmare.

Thanks again to everyone who shared their thoughts — we’ll see what we can do.