Newsroom

In this monthly update we will recap the progress made in the previous sprints and many other things we have been driving forward. Exciting times as we keep getting closer to our MVP release!

Game Development Updates

User Interface - HUD & Main Menu (Final Touches)

We thoroughly researched different game UIs and compiled references in order to build an ideal one for Frontier.

The goal is to have everything needed for the player to interact with the game during gameplay, while making it simple and easy to use.

The current version of the HUD will include the following elements:

Mini-map

This UI element will represent the map in a minimized version, where the player can see how many platforms they have claimed, what is the position of their units and the visible units from the enemy player.

Unit Details

This UI element will show information about selected units:

  • When a single unit is selected, the player will have complete information about that unit’s rank, stats, health and skills.
  • When more than one unit is selected, the player will see here a list of the selected units, and will only see their health and rank.
  • Each individual unit selected can potentially show a skill button, this needs to be taken into account for space distribution.

Unit Production

This element will show the player the type of units they are able to produce. These buttons will be available or unavailable depending if the player has enough energy to trigger them or not.

Energy Bar

This element will show how many energy containers the player has and how many of them are filled. It will also show the containers that are currently locked, based on the maximum amount of containers that the player can have.

We are still testing a few alternative energy bars to fit the UI:

Accelerated Ending - ISSA Threat Level Meter (In progress)

I.S.S.A. is the International Space Security Administration, a neutral AI faction that will try to destroy both players. When players start a match, through their actions and the passing of time, they will provoke increasingly strong reactions from ISSA in the form of different effects on the terrain that aim to harm and ultimately destroy both players.

To track the progression of the effects that ISSA will unleash on the players, the players will have a meter visible on their UI. This meter will show which effects are active and which haven’t been triggered yet and the current position on the bar. The position advances gradually with time and by certain player actions during a match.

The purpose of the threat level meter is to push the match towards a conclusion and cause havoc ;)

Flash Blocks (In Progress)Flash Blocks are the equivalent to “spells” in this setting, i.e. they are effects that the player can trigger that will affect units, game properties and the terrain. Each flash block has an energy cost to trigger it.

Equipping Flash Blocks

Before starting a match, the player can choose which flash blocks they want to a equip from their list of unlocked Flash Blocks. Players can only equip a limited number of flash blocks and a glitch block for each match.

Using Flash Blocks

To use flash blocks the player needs to activate them from the UI:

  • Players will have their chosen flash blocks shown on the UI and will appear as available or unavailable depending on their cost and the energy the player currently has.
  • To activate a flash block the player will click on it and then click on the terrain where they want the effect to occur. (Hotkeys will be added as well)
  • All flash blocks can only be triggered inside the player’s visible area, i.e. any area where there is no fog of war for that player.
  • Some flash blocks will have additional specific restrictions to where they can be used.This element will show the player's chosen flash blocks. The player can trigger flash blocks by clicking on any of the buttons, provided they are available, and then clicking anywhere applicable (depending on each flash block) in the map.

Flash Block Categories

All flash blocks will fall into one of the following categories:

  • Spawn: Used to spawn new units into the battlefield.
  • Offensive: These are used to attack the other player directly causing damage.
  • Defensive: These are used to protect the player’s units or buildings from enemy damage.
  • Utility: Used to create an effect that can be used in different ways, without a clear offensive or defensive purpose.

Glitch Blocks

Glitch Blocks are special abilities that only unlock once the map boss is destroyed by either player. Once this happens, whoever dealt the final blow will gain the ability to activate their Glitch Block once.

Both players will have the opportunity to unlock their Glitch Blocks again once the map boss respawns. This element will show the glitch block status, whether it is available to trigger or not. Once available for use, the player can click on the button to trigger the ultimate ability.

Gameplay Automation (Testing)

We are fine tuning the following automations allowing players to make multiple decisions simultaneously during a game and optimize time management during a match:

  • Production automation: different ways to leave units in a production queue, waiting for the energy required to produce them.
  • Movement automation: Units can have waypoints to use complex move patterns and movement presets to avoid certain areas.
  • Combat automation: combat presets determine the unit’s behavior related to enemy units when they are not directed by the player. Target presets give priority to certain units when more than one unit is inside the attack range.
  • Squad creation: Squads are groups of units that are associated to a key and can be selected this way.

Meta - Player Progression (In Progress)

Player progression will happen gradually by earning XP from playing matches. Player progression documentation is now completed with details about maximum levels and rewards unlocked per level:

  • Gained XP for wins/loss for ranked and unranked modes are defined.
  • Defined maximum levels for player profile and adjusting the difficulty curve for number of wins required as players level up.
  • Structure for increasing rewards as per player progression is defined.

Meta - Unit Type Upgrade (In Progress)

Unit type upgrade has been documented with its requirements for upgrades and how these affect units stats:

  • Player can upgrade unit types from Novice to Master and 5 more upgrades.
  • Each of these upgrades give a boost to units’ base stats.
  • Currently we have defined a total of 7 upgrades and relative changes into base stats of the unit types in general.
  • We are currently reviewing what stats could be connected to meta and what could be levelled up in-game.

Art/Visual Updates

There have been multiple visual iterations of our main game assets such as the core, turrets and units as we aim to find the ideal look and feel of Frontier. Here’s a series of short clips of our latest assets in action.

Tech Update

Frontier game configuration screen has been improved with additional features:

  • Choosing your region
  • Windowed/Full screen
  • Performance settings

Main screen navigation flow documentation completed and currently being implemented. Few of the main interactions listed:

  • Play Screen: Multiplayer ranked mode & other additional modes can be part of play screen
  • Player Profile: Under this all player stats and showcases will be displayed. Under this we can also showcase player inventory section & level up rewards.
  • Loadout Screen & Matchmaking Screen: Loadout section for player to choose flash blocks before match and matchmaking screen with opponent details
  • In-game shop screen: All offers along with featured section. Each new category could have a tab section under in-game shop.‍

Significant improvements have been made on crucial game mechanics:

  • Added new unit spawning methods in-game
  • Ambush mechanic has been tweaked, so ambushing units are not able to see enemy player’s ambushing units
  • Terrain elevation system has now been built. The MVP version of Frontier will include two levels of elevation in the map. However, we now have the capabilities to introduce additional elevations in future versions
  • Unit cover system has been significantly improved, so that multiple selected units can move into cover positions with one click instead of moving units one by one
  • Unit path following AI tweaked, so units do not stray from the original path anymore
  • Fog of war to hide units improved
  • Map shrinking for accelerated ending being built
  • Energy system for using abilities and producing units being tweaked

If you’ve scrolled down this far - well done champ! We’ve reached the end of another update and we’re happy with the progress we have made so far, hope you’re enjoying what you’ve read and seen so far as well!

Until next time… [transmission=off]

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