Thyria Devlog 03: Get to Know Thyrian Defenders Part 2 / by Raymond Schlitter

 This Space Kraken seems to be overexcited about the new year. 

This Space Kraken seems to be overexcited about the new year. 

Happy New Year!

2016 has been a long year of relentless development. Through pain, joy, hope, and fear, the grind has never ceased. The struggle of game development is real folks, but the passion devs have for games can pierce through all hardship. Thanks to this passion the world has been graced with so many incredible works of interactive art. To also share my creative vision through this great medium has been a long dream of mine. I'm quite certain that 2017 will see the release of our first game. Cheers to a great year! 

The struggle of game development is real folks, but the passion devs have for games can pierce through all hardship.

Down to business

 The Titan 20XX. Although it's a light attack craft, a well coordinated squadron is said to have the power of a giant.  

The Titan 20XX. Although it's a light attack craft, a well coordinated squadron is said to have the power of a giant.  

Last post I filled you in on the objective based gameplay in Thyrian Defenders, and the awesome addition of music composer, Alan Monteiro. If you missed it get caught up here. This time around I will detail the upgrade system and your ship's arsenal. Of course I will also inform you on the latest development updates.

A main focus of Thyrian Defender's gameplay is upgrading your ship. Along with opening new levels and progressing the story, we want that satisfying feeling of incrementally becoming stronger to continuously motivate the player. Those first baby steps you take out of the gate are especially important. When you first start the game you basically have a pea shooter and that's it. You'll feel weak, but still capable to pick off some invaders and save up enough Gold Parts to put towards a new weapon or ship modification. As long as you keep at it you will always be getting stronger and overcoming greater challenges. A great deal of work will be put into tuning the balance of this progress, as to create an addictive gameplay loop that sprinkles rewards with even consistency. 

... we want that satisfying feeling of incrementally becoming stronger to continuously motivate the player... A great deal of work will be put into tuning the balance of this progress

Now let's look at the actual weapons and ship mods.

 Upgrades galore! Each of the 8 mods top out at level 5 with 10 increments to each level. This represents the actual upgrade Ui, but all values are arbitrary in this example. 

Upgrades galore! Each of the 8 mods top out at level 5 with 10 increments to each level. This represents the actual upgrade Ui, but all values are arbitrary in this example. 

Primary mods

Primary mods add functions that are always in effect once purchased and require no additional cost to use in game. 

Canon: The Titan's primary weapon. Pretty standard repeating pellet weapon. Upgrade to improve attack power, fire rate, and spread of the weapon.
Armor: The Titan's armored plating. Upgrade to withstand more enemy attacks.
Magnet: Pulls Gold Parts towards the Titan. Upgrade to improve its power and range.
Drones: Defensive and offensive drones. Defensive drones constantly circle the Titan offering extra protection and can also damage nearby enemies. Offensive drones are essentially homing rockets. Upgrade to unlock more drones, improve their attack power and production rate.
Laser: The Titan's secondary weapon. It has a much slower fire rate than the Canon, but the beams are piercing and damage everything they touch. Upgrade to increase attack power, fire rate, and size. 

SPECIAL MODS

Specials are unique abilities that can be activated in game at the player's choosing. However, they cost additional GP to use and have a limit of uses. Upgrading makes them more efficient and increases the number of possible uses per level. Specials are activated by lifting your finger and pressing one of the three icons. Depending on the situation and the objective you're after, each special offers a specific and strategic use. 

Shield: Makes the Titan invulnerable for a limited period of time. Upgrade to increase duration and number of uses.
Focus: Allows the Titan to go into light speed, making everything else appear slow for a short time. Upgrade to increase duration and number of uses. 
Cyclone: 
Inflicts heavy damage on nearby enemies. Upgrade to increase attack power, range, and number of uses.

That covers all of the Titan's main equipment. Each of the 8 mods top out at level 5 with 10 increments to each level. Let's see, that's a total of 320 upgrades before the Titan reaches full power. But wait, there are also very rare special item drops that give further permanent upgrades. Look forward to more specifics on these later on. Bottom line, this little shooter ain't so little. We're predicting 40+ hours of gameplay for the hardcore completionist, and about a quarter of that time to beat the game. Most important is that it remains fun throughout and never becomes too grindy. Therefore, if the experience needs to be tightened up, we would not hesitate to shave off hours of gameplay to preserve the freshness of the content. 

Recent Updates

As I mentioned in the last devlog, we are fully invested in the development of Thyrian Defenders pretty much until we release the game, so don't expect any tangible progress on Thyria: Hunt For Kroohx until then. Although, I will say it's very much on our minds and seems to make its way into all our brainstorm sessions. Our enthusiasm and passion for that game only seems to grow the longer we postpone its development. Also, since the two games are intimately connected the world building continues to progress and inspire our vision for THFK

Over the past month I've mostly been working on background graphics. The greater part of that work being tedious revisions to the Asteroids and Crypto backgrounds. It's a grind but the results prove the worth. There is now greater detail, which improves depth, consistency of lighting and perspective. Basically, the worlds feel richer and more alive than before. Here are a few comparisons. 

In addition to revising background tiles I've also made some new tiles that introduce more memorable landmarks. On top of that I've made concepts for a couple new levels. Check out the images below.

We've also made several small updates. These include a few functional improvements to the UI. A new animation added to the Focus effect. Item drops that grant the free use of specials and a custom feedback animation for all three of them. Now nearly every pickup in the game has a custom feedback animation.  

 Nearly every pickup in the game has a custom feedback animation.  

Nearly every pickup in the game has a custom feedback animation.  

Balancing the challenge and gameplay is a constant effort that will become more intensive the closer we get to launch.

On the technical side Markus has made some clever performance improvements to ensure a steady 60fps, even on older devices. Playing one handed on my good ol' iphone5s is where it's at for me.

As usual, there has been further balancing and tuning done to level design, including an extra layer of polish for the Mega Driller boss. Balancing the challenge and gameplay is a constant effort that will become more intensive the closer we get to launch.  

Progress has also been good on the soundtrack for Thyrian Defenders. Let me end this post on a high note and share another fantastic track. This song will play on the title screen at the game's opening. It sure gets me pumped up to play the game! 

Next post it may be time to delve into story and characters. Don't worry, no spoilers! 
 

- Words by Raymond Schlitter