Sunday, April 14, 2013

Skyward Collapse Teaser 2: Unit Sketches and More Details

So, we recently announced Skyward Collapse.  If you missed it, it's something we're really excited about.

However, we only showed a single screenshot with some of the final-quality map tiles, tokens, and skies in them.  Needless to say, the rest of the art is still in various states of completion, ranging from sketches to coloring to getting final polish on it.  We have a great pipeline going with about 11 artists (10 at Heavy Cat, and then our new art director Blue on our side), so that's all proceeding well.

When it comes to the units themselves -- all the Greek and Norse people and gods that move around the map like boardgame pieces each turn -- we haven't shown anything with them until now.  We're still working on the final coloring style for them, so I don't want to show any of the colored ones yet. 

That said, we have a lot of wonderful sketches of them that will be directly translated into the final unit graphics shown in-game (in other words, these are more than concept sketches -- they are the actual graphics that will be used in the game, minus color and shading, at a larger scale than you'll see in the final game).

Norse Chapman -- The chapmen are the main civilian workers for each faction.  Their primary responsibility is carrying raw resources from the resource producers to the town centers.  The raw resources themselves are produced by different civilians (unseen in the buildings that they work in, though you have to staff those buildings), and the finished goods are created in a similar way in the town buildings related to each kind of finished good.

Norse Arsonist -- Since there's a limit to how many siege-type weapons the Norse actually historically used (that just wasn't their main fighting style), we had to get a bit creative.  While our game is historically-based in some ways, it's also set in a fantasy world that is merely inspired by those civilizations.  That gives us some creative license.  In this particular case, we didn't have to take that much.  The arsonists are considered a "siege unit," and their primary purpose is setting enemy buildings on fire.  The buildings then take damage over time, while the arsonist moves from building to building in the enemy town or territory.

Norse Berserk -- Give these guys some bacon and weapons, and they're ready to rock.  The Norse don't have any cavalry at all in this game, but they make up for it with several intimidating kinds of infantry.  The Greeks and the Norse have very different units all around!  Even their chapmen have different stats.

Pan (Greek) -- This is one of the Greek gods that you can choose to call to your aid as the game progresses.  The gods all stand taller than the regular units (fit into a 128x128 square instead of a 96x96 square), making them more obviously and imposing.

Zeus (Greek) -- Here's an obvious example of one of the four "greater gods" that you get to choose from at the start of the third round of each game.  The greater gods are a lot more powerful and have a big impact on the game... but each side has one!

About That Whole "Peacekeeping" Thing
We've had a lot of awesome coverage for the game already, for which we're extremely grateful!  That said, there is a bit of a misconception based on my first blog post about this (which is my own fault) about your actual role as The Creator.

Basically, the perception was that you're in a peacekeeping role where you're trying to keep the two factions from fighting.  This actually isn't remotely true: you want those dudes fighting as much as possible if you want a real score.  What you're trying to prevent is genocide, or one side thoroughly dominating the other. 

You want both sides to have some heavy warfare, in other words, in order to get the maximum sort of score.  But while you're doing that, you want to prevent the following:

- One side obliterating the other (you lose if this happens).

- One side getting far ahead of the other (your final score is likely to be quite bad if this happens).

- Either side getting their economy so crippled that it's hard for them to carry on with their warfare (again, your final score is likely to suffer quite a bit, and/or the risk of genocide goes up).

Think of this kind of like the hundred years war, not the cold war.  This isn't about creating an uneasy armistice with spots of minor conflict here and there; it's about creating all-out war (on a village-versus-village scale) with possible periods of calm (where the sides are rebuilding as needed).  As a supreme being, you're not exactly that... benevolent.

Why is this distinction important?  Well, the implications are pretty huge, really: your job is that much harder.  If you're trying to maintain an armistice, that only involves so many moving parts.  If you're trying to maintain heavy warfare while not absolutely crippling critical infrastructure or allowing either side to overtake the other too much... well, there are a lot more moving parts there.

Overall I think the press still has a pretty good bead on what this game is in general, but that was one point I thought worth clarifying!

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