Spreading Effects

Status Effects play a huge role in many games, and when it comes to it, Path of Exile is my go-to inspiration. They are absolutely essential in how your character attacks or defends and they can mix to create interesting synergies and provide worlds of variation in combat style. One thing I’ve found always fun was the use of the « elemental proliferation » support gem to make the status effects spread to targets unaffected by the initial hit, so entire screens may burn or freeze. It was just awesome.

So what we ended up doing for SUPERPUNK Tactics, which is wayyyyy more slow paced, is a system where the board has a turn between each players where it will try to spread status that are spreadable.

There are a huge variety of different types of effects that effect the player characters or enemies. These effects can be a huge factor in any fight, and can work for or against you. Knowing what these effects can do and how they interact with one another is extremely important.

Environment Interactions

Success in SUPERPUNK Tactics demands smart use of everything on the board. Push enemies into each other or into the environment to damage them. Move them into positions where their line of fire won’t cause damage. Hide your units behind obstacles to keep them hidden from the opponent sigh. Push and pull enemy units into water, fire, oil and other tiles with status effect and exploit their new weakness.

Or maybe do it the other way around ?

Warm up an oily crate to make it burn and then push it near your opponent and burn his team ? Or maybe pull wet enemies near and electrified obstacle to stun them all ? The possibilities are huge

BattleMap Editor

This may be just me, but I have been seeing more and more games with crafting systems added to them. Many think they add another layer of depth to the game, but I am just not sure about that. Crafting is awesome when it’s central to the gameplay of the game, as in UO, Minecraft, or Eve Online. For loot-drop based games like WoW it just feels unnecessarily bolted on.

For many months we thought about it, we wanted to give you some tool to create something unique, and we like the idea of strategy being a part of your inventory, but we would prefer other ways to incorporate this than crafting.

That is why we added a BattleMap Editor.

It’s a neat way of giving the player choice and control over something crucial, tactical possibilities. In SUPERPUNK Tactics you can attack, destroy, push and interact in many ways the terrain and his layout. Giving you a battlefield where you can build things and plan your tactics is extremely satisfying. Every battle would be different from the last one, something truly exciting for the opponent, and because the terrain is symmetrical totally fair.

Combined with spreading status effects (Burning, Infected…) and you can just imagine where we are going.


Status Effects

Status effects are great. They can add variety on top of existing base mechanics and lend the mathematics of combat in some games a great deal of depth and emergent complexity without making the game harder to learn or play. 

Poisons, stuns, confusions, fears, sleep and death. An RPG is never complete without Status Effects. From the simplest damage-over-time effect to the impactful 5 turns until instant death to something wacky like turning your folks into sheep, Status Effects can be tackled in many ways by the developer and it sure does impact the gameplay for their respective players.

Status effects are a tricky beast. Some games make them so trivial they can be ignored, others make them so debilitating that getting one means you may as well quit and reload your last save. There is a sweet spot in the middle, but getting there takes work. If we can integrate the status effect such that they feel like they join up seamlessly with base mechanics, I think that will help reduce the feeling that you need to track yet another thing.

Take poison for example, some games make poison so weak that it ends up being the equivalent of 1-2 hits from weak enemies over several turns. Conversely, some games make poison ridiculously strong. Not quite to the point of 25% HP per turn, but occasionally not far off it. It’s often either too much or too little, and rarely does anyone hit that sweet spot in the middle…so let’s fix this by having ramped-up damage, like the Agony skill in World of Warcraft. Poison starts out small, but each turn gets a little bit stronger. That means you can afford to ignore it for, a couple of turns, but after that it starts getting deadly to the point where you need to deal with it. Having this mechanic means the player will soon learn they have a bit of grace where they can get things done without worry, but the longer they leave it there, the greater a risk they’re taking.

We cant talk Status Effects without talking about Immune System. That one’s easy: make the target immune to the last status they cured from for few turns. That way you can spend few turns without having to worry about more poison.

And as of right now, there are 22 Status Effects in SUPERPUNK Tactics.

  • Rested – Character Recuperation gain +10
  • Distracted – Character can’t use REACTIVE SKILLS (Parade, Counter-Attack, Evade…)
  • Disarmed – Character can’t use ACTIVE SKILL (Attack, Charge, Lightning…)
  • Shattered – « Weapon Triangle » set to disadvantaging (+20 Damage received) even if same color
  • Stunned – Character can’t play this turn. This status can’t be broken by damage.
  • Blinded – Character can’t see.
  • Rooted – Character can’t move (movement based skills break the root). This status is broken by any damage.
  • Crippled – Character can’t move and cant use movement skill (charge, dodge…)
  • Frightened – Character run away in fear. This status is broken by any damage.
  • Decaying – Character is hurt by Recuperation.
  • Sleeping – Character cannot move or use skills. This status is broken by any damage.
  • Mad – Maddened characters will attack those nearest them, regardless of alignment.
  • Ruptured – Double cost of movement.
  • Wet – 20% more vulnerable to Electric and Ice attacks. If Shocked while Wet, become Stunned. If Chilled while Wet, become Frozen.
  • Shocked – 20% more vulnerable to Electric attacks. Getting Wet or Shocked again while already Shocked will make the character Stunned.
  • Frozen – Character is Frozen and Immun to everything but cant play.
  • Chilled – 20% more vulnerable to Cold attacks. Character can be Frozen as a result of being Chilled while already Chilled.
  • Infected – Contagious, spread to nearby players/enemies – Character deals -30% damage
  • Hot – 20% more vulnerable to Heat attacks. Getting Hot again while already Hot will make the character Burning.
  • Oily – Character can be Burning as a result of being Hot while already Oily.
  • Burning – Damage Over Turns, but Character is immun to Frozen, Wet and Chill.
  • Immun – Character is immun to every status effects

Each one of them was carefully selected, because as with everything in game design, we think it’s important to tie all the little bits and pieces together in the battle system. A thing should be added only if it adds something to the gameplay. If a status effect doesn’t add a new way to play or a change in player behavior, then it’s just fluff and should be left out. Don’t add things for the sake of adding things. And I think we got it.

Faction vs Faction

Games with two Factions feels bland. I grew up playing T4C which has only one, but played a lot of Dark Age of Camelot (DAOC) during its prime, a superb mmorpg with three. And in DAOC, there often was a dominant faction wich changed from time to time, however, it wasn’t rare at all for the two underdogs to end up striking the biggest faction. And it wasn’t usually coordinated beyond taking advantage of the situation the other realm created to get your stuff back.

We want that.

SUPERPUNK Tactics allows players to engage in a fully integrated PvP experience build around, you guessed it, three factions.

But that’s not all, in there are a couple of mechanics that are expected to help maintain some kind of realm balance, both “natural” and “implemented”. If your particular Faction is outmatched, it is expected that your leader will increase your rewards in response— materially or through XP —allowing your Faction to gain power quickly and stand up to the overpopulated Realm. That’s why we have Clans and an Alliance between them, combined with a Hierarchy System (using a leaderboard) where the top clans take the lead of the Alliance and plan the next moves. Players can literally create quests and control the campaign of the game.

To be clear SUPERPUNK Tactics allows players to engage in a fully integrated PvP experience with:

  • 3 Factions
  • Clans for players and Alliances (with a public chat) between all clans of each faction.
  • A hierarchy system (using a leaderboard) where the top clans take the lead of the Alliance and plan the next moves on the Alliance Chat.
  • A fragmented world map to conquer and gain ressource from.
  • Objectives (quests, skirmishes, relics) represented by icons.
  • PvP battles where each player controls 4 units
  • Every victory allows you to develop the capacities of your teams.

In addition to these PvP conquest mechanics, each of the three factions has fortified territories housing unique items called Relics. Factions compete for possession of these Relics, as they each hold properties that grant battle rewards and buffs to the faction that owns them.

I’ll talk more about it later.