The road to Version 2


The first major announcement is that we have posted a Let's Play video, showing off how we play a first few turns, going from lowly baron to king of a dark empire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tLD1XV9LeU

Recording videos turns out to be a whole load of work and stress, and the video, basic as it is, stands at more than an hour in length. However, despite various minor setbacks (ambulances going by, minor bugs, unexpected events, accidentally deleting the half-edited video...), we now have a youtube link for you all to enjoy (or at least learn from).

Version 2

Version 2 is our new objective. We've a set of minor and major additions we wish for this one, a set of milestones which will set Version 2 apart from Version 1.

The first is a save/load system. This has taken far longer than anticipated, and we've tried multiple libraries without success. The library used in the previous game seems to not fully work, and crashes without providing any error message (the crash isn't even deterministic, implying some horrific race condition in Unity's underlying system).

The second is a full balance pass. Change up abilities a bit, see what gets used in a normal gameplay session and what gets ignored. Maybe slow down your enthralled's speed of taking over a society, while perhaps reducing the speed at which they are discovered, to compensate.

The third is expansion of existing systems. Deep Ones need to be expanded a bit, as we would like their limitation (only really act on coastal cities) to be matched with a broad range of highly useful powers, not just a military force (for example assassinations, bringing down defences, or forcibly enshadowing a noble over time).

The fourth is addition of at least one new "type of evil". This would probably be the climate change power. The world currently tracks the temperature and humidity of every hex, and cities will fall and grow based on these. For now, however, the player has no way to interact with this system. We'd like to have the player be able to set up a form of magical obelisk in the far north or far south and slowly wipe out the entire world map by turning it into a world-wide blizzard or desert. This will introduce a new victory condition (which we really should have implemented earlier (sorry Supercat345)), that is to say the extinction of all human life. In the future, we may wish to introduce the concept of some evil army from the north, descending and bringing the winter with them (White Walker Simulator 2020).

Once these are in, we should be able to call it a Version 2.

Of course game development won't end with V2, we've already got a range of ideas for Version 3, but you'll have to wait to read about our plans for those.

For now, thanks for the ongoing support.

Files

ShadowsBehindTheThrone_V1D.zip 34 MB
7 days ago
Shadows2_V1D.zip 72 MB
7 days ago

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Comments

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(1 edit)

Thanks for responding to my comment! I really liked the first game and am excited about this one. If you wouldn't mind, I have a few questions about the future of the game:

Will you eventually add in other types of evils to play as; like in the first game you could play as the chaotic evil with the cards or the evil that mainly used undead that could only go for human extinction?

Are you going to be adding any features that have to do with the worms, and do they have an intended purpose in the game beyond being something for humans to fight before we start messing everything up?

Do you plan to add in any other government types like republics, theocracies, tribal chiefdoms, absolute monarchies, or maybe even the communist revolutionaries from the first game?

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I would love to know about the playable evils as well, or put more broadly: how much do you think will SBTT2 be the game That Which Sleeps promised? It doesn't look like we are getting the latter any time soon, sadly. 

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Sadly it does seem that That Which Sleeps isn't arriving.

The game should share a range of properties with it, but also differ in a number of ways. I tried to introduce agents in a previous version, but they didn't work with existing mechanics. I think the voting system is too interesting (in my opinion) to give up, as it allows the player to directly interact with the major mechanics of the game. As such, agents are somewhat abstracted away as just "actions" you can take. 

Ideally we'll salvage what seems like a good idea, try stuff out, and produce the best game we can.

Remember there's no actual guarantee that the mechanics of That Which Sleeps would produce an interesting or balanced game, as we never got to play it, so we don't know if it worked together.

Thanks for the reply. You sound like you guys have a good handle on things and are proceeding in the right direction. Can't wait to see what future versions look like!

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We would like to re-introduce the different types of evil, but there's a few different ways of going about it, and we'd like to pick the one which is best. I personally like the idea of being able to mix and match different ability "sets", such as "Deep Ones" or "Undead", as well as sets such as "Advanced Politics" or "Madnesses".

The two core issues are balance and complexity. Don't want to allow overpowered ability combinations (or at least not have them as a default option, perhaps the player could enter into a sandbox mode to use them). We also don't want to have the game simply throw all the abilities into a giant pile which are impossible for new players to navigate.

As such, a basic start could well be having different Gods/Evils/Factions..., each of which has a special set of abilities, and shares a few basic ones (politics, external influence, enthrallment shadows...). If the ability set is powerful by itself (such as the undead) we could then introduce the limitations (the undead couldn't enthrall because it was just too easy if you could use both). We'll have to see.

Different government types would be interesting to play with, and would also come under the issue of being too complex for new players. We were thinking of toggle-able complexity options. For example the base game would have all governments be feudal monarchies, but you could click an option to allow them to become republics, theocracies, dictatorships...

We've no current plans for the worms. We may think of something at some point, but for now there's nothing on the board.

Thanks for answering my questions! I'm really excited to see how this game eventually turns out, and will definitely be interested in future versions of SBTT2 or any other game you start working on.

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While I understand that sort of design philosophy, I really liked the fact that you could mix the powers in some versions of the first game. Like, depending on the situation I could approach it in a dynamic manner by switching agents and buildings and so on. 


For instance, one of my favourite games was when I set up a Conqueror in the north in a small nation, and a regular enshadowed in the south in a huge empire. The conqueror picked out smaller nations and broke the rulers while the southern politics inclined enshadowed set about a civil war in the huge empire, which the conqueror then took over little by little as the infighting grew. It was really satisfying putting those two strategies in tandem. 


Likewise, in other versions of the game I did all kinds of cool stuff with the buildings, and so on. 


Were I limited in my approach based on a pre-game choice I couldn't make interesting decisions based on the political climate, but would be forced to maneuver it from a preordained viewpoint. 

If you do end up making the different playstyles separate, I'd really like an "advanced" or sandbox style where you either have all powers, or can choose a bunch of powers and mix them around. 

Unfortunately, one of the things I liked the least in the games were the Deep Ones. I could never really think up a proper use for them. Most of their abilities were either useless or simply worse compared to the other possibilities. 

In the current iteration of the 2nd game, the Deep Ones are super useless compared to the incredibly powerful Flesh(which I really like as a concept, gameplay wise it's a bit too powerful IMO). 

Also, the politics with the voting on economical things and so on is a bit hard for me to understand, while I really liked the shifting of the Isolationist-Militarist etc things in the first games earlier versions. It was easy to understand and efficient, while voting on whether you produce Wine or something always gets me confused, as I have zero idea what it does and why should I care. It's hard to move up in the societies and form "alliances", while in the first game it was simple to see how I could maneuver up in an empire and set it up so that I could, by making friends and then assasinating someone or waiting for a republic vote to come up.  That I could use an agent to kill a Duke when I wanted was great, since it supplemented the other strategies.

I also liked how the armies worked in the first version. While they were frustrating at times(one game I had essentially won the game, but there was a tiny one city nation across the sea far away where my armies didn't bother heading to and so I ran out of time and lost, really vexing at the time, I think it was the undead horde iteration), they were a lot more exciting than the abstract way the second game currently handles wars.

I also really liked the evidence/suspicion/messenger systems of the 1st game, where they sent out letters to inform each other of things. Getting rid of the messages at a precise moment to cause suspicion to fall on an innocent noble, who would then be executed was one of my favourite things to do. It truly made me feel like an evil force for being able to manipulate things like that, so I'm sad to see it's currently not included in anywhere near the same form. The "procedural" evidence dispersal was a stroke of genius, IMO. 

Anyway, since this is just an early version, I'm very interested to see how it'll evolve, especially since the first game changed so often and so radically, so any complaints I might have now might very well disappear in the next few versions. :)