📢 Attention Thunder Run, Days of Valor, Mars Frontier, War Star Empire, Battlefront Mars, and Firestrike Commanders:

Welcome to the 12th installment of the Battlehouse Dev Blog, a place where fans of all Battlehouse games can enjoy regular behind the scenes peaks into the minds of Battlehouse Developers. Without further adieu, here’s bh-nirgal to talk about upcoming projects in the current Developer Roadmap (all of these are approved by management, and the order of reporting reflects the order of release):

All Games – Improved Player Preferences Interface

Our user interface works in strange ways. Making them expand and scroll is not trivial, but it is necessary. By updating this interface to have scroll buttons and more options, we can give the player control over more comfort and ease of use options. This is a very high priority change and will affect all of the games. Once complete, the first options to be added will be toggle mouse wheel scrolling direction, toggle chat vertical orientation, toggle screen shake explosion effects. This is the first project and will be finished before there are any further new content projects for any of the games. Bear in mind, some content updates are already in the games and are just on timed releases, so you may see some new features activate even if this project isn’t done.

Firestrike – Sapper Unit

Our second project is the Sapper Unit for Firestrike players. You may have seen the preview of the mine detection code demonstrated on the dev-tracker channel. Firestrike will be the first game to get a detector unit, and it will be the Sapper. The main part of this feature is working, but a few things need to be fine-tuned to avoid breaking things. The Firestrike Sapper detects mines, but is not meant to disable or destroy them. Players will need to use their Sapper to guide other units around deadly minefields.  The Sapper is the best unit for demolishing buildings, so he’s a strong counter to the new HESCO barriers. He does poor damage against mobile units, so it shouldn’t affect the current rock/paper/scissors balance between the three uppermost tier unit types. Unlike the Thunder Run and Days of Valor version, this Sapper doesn’t die automatically after deployment and can carry quite a few satchel charges.

All Games – Power Generation/Damage Mechanics Overhaul

Our third project is a tech upgrade for all games. Currently, all of the games use power generators to determine the rate of fire for turrets. When damaged, a generator stops providing power. Under the current mechanics, a generator with 100% of its hit points provides 100% of its output rating, and a generator with 99.999% of its hit points provides 0% of its output rating. We can do better.

I plan to have two optional mechanics for generators, so they can be added into the game titles as needed. Generators can have the current maximum power output rating, a proportionate power output threshold (power output is equal to the proportion of remaining hit points), a half power output threshold (flat cut of 50% of power), and a zero power output threshold.

Let’s use the L9 Generator from Thunder Run as an example. It provides 4500 power and has 28000 hit points. Let’s give it a theoretical proportionate output threshold of 75%. This means that from 28000 hit points down to 21000 hit points, it would give a power output adjusted by whatever percent of hitpoints the generator still had. So at 26500 hit points, the generator has 94% of its health, so it would output 4230 power instead of 4500 power. Let’s give it a theoretical half power threshold of 50%. This means that down to 14000 hit points, it will output 2250 power instead of 4500 power. If a generator has both a proportionate threshold and a half threshold, it would apply the higher one first. Anything below the half power level would result in 0 power, so an L9 generator with those theoretical stats and 13999 hit points would then give 0 power.

By adding these as distinct stats, a generator could conceivably give proportionate power from 100% HP to 0% HP, or give half power from 100% HP to 0% HP. This means variety in games, and the ability to improve these stats as the building upgrades.

All Games – Crafting Update

Our fourth project is another large technology update. The only visual change players will see is that Ambush Points will become craftable and there will be scroll buttons so the number of Minefields isn’t hard-capped at 28.

Under the hood, this is a bit more complicated. A lot of our crafting systems were crammed together and had toggles to decide what got crafted and what interface was displayed. Around the time that Firestrike was released, a member of the team carved out the functions used for crafting turrets and made it a standalone feature. I expanded that feature to allow the system to deploy weapons to armed TOCs and Central Computers, armed buildings (you haven’t seen these yet), and armed barriers (you haven’t seen these yet either). What we’ll be doing next is making a similar standalone crafting system that handles “grid” items (like the Minefields with their letter/number names). Ambush Points will be a similar “grid” item.

Craftable strike teams will replace the current “buy it and drop it in” model in Thunder Run and Days of Valor. Unlike landmines, crafted strike teams will not self-destruct the item when triggered. The only major difference is you will no longer be able to accidentally buy more strike teams than you have ambush points for, since you’ll just craft one into your available ambush points.

This update will allow the future release of new mines and strike teams.

WSE & BFM – Dragon and Elite Dragon Unit

Our fifth project is fairly small, and will be a new content release. War Star Empire will receive the Dragon air unit, and Battlefront Mars will receive the Elite Dragon air unit. This should be delivered during the development of the crafting update, since it’s a relatively simple process.

MF – Unit levels, Radiation Tower, and EMP Cannon

Our sixth project is fairly small, and will be a new content release. Mars Frontier will receive the Radiation Tower and EMP Cannons for their turret platforms, and will receive new levels for the Detonator, Phantom Detonator, Elevation Droid, Curiosity, and the Opportunity Central Computer defender. This should be delivered during the development of the crafting update, since it’s a relatively simple process.

TR & DV – Vault Update

Our seventh project is a fairly small content adjustment. The Hardware protection of the Vault in Thunder Run and Days of Valor will be significantly increased to the point that there will always be enough for base defender and base building repairs. There might not be much more than that, but even if you log in to a completely destroyed base you’ll be able to jump back into the fight. This should be delivered during the development of the crafting update, since it’s a relatively simple process.

All Games – Consumable Ammo

Our eighth project is a technology update. Players will not see anything right away, since it’s only one step in several towards the finished project.
Right now, there’s only one way to balance how often a player can use an ability is its cooldown stat. Most weapons have cooldowns of less than a second to a couple of seconds.  Some abilities are powerful and shouldn’t be used more than once or twice in a fight. Long cooldowns can be easily “cheesed” by retreating and attacking again.

Instead of relying on cooldowns, we’re going to add the ability to require consumable ammo and items to certain powerful abilities. Examples would be the UH-60’s troop deployment (instead of having them destroy themselves to launch the troop), the future Elite UH-60’s troop deployment, and the future Elite Sniper’s stealth ability. The ammo/item would be stored in an invisible equipment slot on the unit and would just appear as an ammo counter in the unit’s stats.

This would be an internal mechanic until the rest of the needed support structure is done.

All Games – Build/Research Time updates while building/tech is in progress

Our ninth project will be a function that will check for updates to build and research times when you log in. We’ve planned some time requirement nerfs (mostly in certain buildings), but the current system only records when you started and how much time you needed when you started, so it doesn’t update if the time is reduced later.

We’re going to fix that. It will record the total time needed when you start, and check when you log in if this has changed. If it has, it will update the time remaining. This update function will check the times whenever you apply a build time boost item, and will adjust the time accordingly. Be warned, removing the boost will increase the time back to where it was (otherwise you could store multiple build time boosts and apply/remove them multiple times in order to get buildings instantly for free).

All Games – Stats Display

Our tenth project will be the addition of “impact aura” stats to a unit’s display. This will show a new stat row for each “aura”, with its strength value. This will allow you to see exactly how much longer a stun will be, or how much more a slowdown will be. We’ll be adding an additional damage vs icon to finally record the difference between light and heavy vehicles in Thunder Run and Days of Valor. This is a project that will be open to player input, so if you have suggestions let us know!

All Games – On-Shoot Event Triggers

Our final project for the quarter is another technology update. Right now, units and buildings can trigger an event based on when they get damaged, when an enemy comes near, or when they get destroyed. This is used to spawn response and security teams. A mechanic needs to be added to allow events to trigger when a weapon or ability is triggered, so that the UH-60 and Elite UH-60 will be able to deploy their troops without destroying themselves.

Sadly, projects seven and ten won’t make much difference to players in the coming quarter, since we’ll need to add the ammunition crafting and delivery mechanisms before they can be fully implemented. We’ll get there with time.

Stay up to date every day on what’s being developed on the dev-tracker channel here.

Looking for an update on where the Dev Team currently stands regarding various recent community suggestions? Check out our “Voice of the Commander” trackers here:

Like what you see in this Dev Blog, or have suggestions on things you’d like to see addressed in our “Voice of the Commander” trackers? Let us know over on our Thunder Run Discord Server!

Battlehouse Dev Blog, Issue #12: Developer Roadmap