Those Dang Druids

March 14th, 2015

I’ve lately started watching a lot of TotalBiscuit’s videos. Mostly his Hearthstone series, but also some of his well known WTF game reviews. And one of these recently caught my eye. A turn-based tactics game in fact, which may or may not come as a surprise. A tactics game featuring druids of all things. And going by the name of ‘A Druid’s Duel’. As luck would have it, my tactics game also had a rather druidic theme for the longest time. Although mine was not about shapeshifting, but rather about summoning golems. And for a long time I called this game concept ‘Iron, Root and Stone,’ or IRAS for short, handily combining the IRA and the IRS into a single super-acronym. Naturally, there were three types of shapers, as I called them, each specialized in summoning golems and obstacles based on their particular domain.

I’ve actually thought about keeping the title, despite my shift to a gladiator theme. There are ways to make it work, though they seem a little ham-fisted. And there are some other issues with this name too. It is a bit wordy, obscure sounding, and commas are not so good for SEO. They also makes the name awkward to mention in a list of game titles. I have another name in mind right now, but I’d rather not draw attention to it until I’ve made up my mind. Branding is absolutely vital in this business, and is absolutely something I have to solidify over the next few months. For starters I’m going to need a name, a logo and preferably some sort of poster boy character, like the big daddies in Bioshock or the raider dude from Borderlands. Ideally, I would start outputting a lot of concept art and screenshots after that, all with consistent presentation and a logo in the corner. That is plenty of work though, so I’m not entirely sure how well I’ll be able to follow best practices. Although concept art is obviously something I have to do anyway. I need some method of figuring out what these gladiators will look like, and drawing is pretty much the only possible starting point. However, my concepts do tend to be fairly quick things. Lighting and color are something I don’t really need to figure out until I go 3D, and the plain grayscale drawings are not necessarily that much to look at. But I think I’ll get around to making a few more rendered concepts even if they’re not obviously useful. Photoshop coloring is a skill I definitely want to improve on in any case.

Anyway, back on to this druid game I was talking about. It’s fairly interesting really, but mechanically pretty distinct from what I have in mind. Very chess-like, where my game is a lot closer to a tabletop war game. Druid’s Duel is also a smaller game, especially with regard to unit types, which is something I always seem to focus my efforts on. I think Arkeia has over fifty unit types, and Scrap Metal Heroes has about 200 different parts. Of course this sort of scope has always come with its own cost, mainly in polish and balance testing.

And by the way, the game looks a little something like this:

— Peace and druidic victories


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