It’s been a while since we last talked! (Actually… we kinda talked last week.)
Last weekend we had the great honor of showing off Okhlos’ at the EGX Rezzed event in London! Well, actually, we weren’t there personally, but the game was! It was an amazing opportunity for Okhlos and we want to give a big thanks to Dan Da Rocha, Cissy, and Dom for taking care of our little game during its trip to England and for helping us make this happen! It almost felt like we were there ourselves!
We also wanted to thank our Swedish friends at Glitchnap (who were at EGX Rezzed showing off their own game, Sentree) for offering to babysit Okhlos and keep an eye on it. Even though we didn’t up needing their help thanks to Dan, Cissy, and Dom, the gesture itself and the willingness to help meant a lot to us! You guys are amazing!
And one last round of thanks to the EGX Rezzed Leftfield Collection staff for selecting Okhlos and inviting us to show our game at their event! We were very proud to present there and to be surrounded by so many other great games! If you happened to see the game there, please let us know! We’d love to hear your impressions.
Well, our British adventure and all those thanks aside, at the end of the day this is still a Devblog  and we have to spend at least a little time talking about the nitty-gritty – the hard and dirty business of game developing. This week we talk about verbs. In particular, all the great new ones we’ve introduce into our game!
(To tell the truth, these verbs have been in the game for quite a while now, but Sebastián made me realize that we’d never actually talked about them here!)
The idea of adding more verbs actually came from Daniel Benmergui. He was trying out our game and playtesting it yet again (poor, poor fella) and he told us that while it was good that we were tweaking and balancing the elements we already had, there still weren’t enough things for the player to do. There weren’t enough verbs!
Daniel began asking us hard questions. What actions should the player be able to perform? Should there be more of them? If so, what should they be? Finding the answers actually took a lot of time and work, but we think we’ve got it right with these new verbs.
Please note that we are not talking about the current verbs in Okhlos, only the new ones!
This may seem pretty obvious, but there’s actually a catch to this one. We already had an attack action before, but it was linked to moving. When you moved the mob, the mob would automatically attack whatever it ran up against. With this new approach, now the mob can move without attacking and can attack without moving. This creates interesting new scenarios and options that we couldn’t have had before! (Yay for us!)
The complementary opposite of the previous verb – this verb makes your units block attacks! Defending yourself from an attack makes everyone in the mob all stop at once, which might make them easier targets for a little while, but at least the enemies’ attack will hurt a whole heck of a lot less!
I have to admit, the animations for this one are real cute. :3 You know what wasn’t cute though? Going back through all 100+ units in the game and designing a brand new blocking sprite for each of them! It was torture! D:
Disperse! Finally! All the new verbs are cool in their own way, but this one is my favorite. This action makes all the units scatter and spread out. You can use it to escape, to attack several enemies at once (so cool!), and for a couple of other things we’ll explain below:
In previous updates we talked about plagues and poisons. In order to stop them from spreading through your mob and infecting everyone you’ll have to disperse your units until the compromised members heal themselves or die off.
Up until we thought of the disperse action, philosophers were the only units that could recruit more units. Now, however, everyone can! This is actually how the earliest prototypes of Okhlos worked – every unit could recruit more units – but back then it felt a bit too chaotic to us and it seemed that players would have a hard time knowing who they were recruiting. However, we’ve reconsidered our opinion since then and we’ve come to two conclusions:
1. Being able to disperse but still having to grab each unit one-by-one felt pointless and overly complicated.
2. Chaotic is good enough for us!
We adapted the negative units to this change in the recruiting mechanic. We’ve nerfed their negative effects now that they’re harder to avoid.
The sense of chaos feels good, it feels right for the game, but we’ll probably have to work a little more on letting the players know what units they’re adding to the mob in the middle of all that mess.
And those are our new verbs! What do you guys think? Please let us know, we’re always happy to hear your feedback!
Thanks again to everyone who helped us with Okhlos’ little trip to London, it was a great formative experience for our growing game!
See you all next time!
This post was written – poorly – by @rokentronz and soundly beaten into proper shape by @pfque_