Battlehouse Dev Blog, Issue #13: Mid-Season Roadmap Updates

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

Welcome to the 13th 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. It’s been a little over a month and a half since we released the Developer Roadmap. Let’s take a look at what’s been done, and what remains to be done:

All Games – Improved Player Preferences Interface – Done!

We promised mousewheel scrolling, toggle-able scrolling direction, chat vertical orientation toggles, and screen shake toggles. We delivered all of this, including the addition of mousewheel scrolling features to 18 different UI components that weren’t in the original scope.

FS – Sapper Unit – Done!

This new unit added many new features to the engine.  It changed “invisibility” from a constant property to one that can be toggled, it added “detector” as an ability, and added failure chance mechanics to detection.

All Games – Power generation/damage mechanics overhaul – Feature Complete

The engine support is done and the feature is being tested in War Star Empire. Deployment to other games is awaiting our results.

MF – Unit levels, Radiation Tower, and EMP Cannon – Mostly Done

The EMP cannon isn’t done, nor are the levels for the Curiosity, and the Opportunity Central Computer defender, but the Detonator, Phantom Detonator and Elevation Droid have up to L13, and the Radiation Tower is in game.

BFM – Elite Dragon – Done

The unit is in game and ready for the next event to bring it to life.

WSE – Dragon – Not Started

This is a small project and won’t take long once started.

TR & DV – Vault update – Done!

Both games got a massive boost to Hardware protection. Now there will always be enough for base defender repairs and a bit extra to allow a cheap new project or “seed funds” for an expensive one. No matter what, when you log back in you’ll have enough left to get back in the fight.

All Games – Stats display – Pending code review/testing

The impact effects code is done and undergoing testing. It displays the name of the effect, its strength, and its duration. A lot of unit special abilities will no longer be a mystery as a result.

All Games – Security Node Crafting update – In Progress

The code for refunding all of the old Security Nodes is in place. The crafting system for Security Nodes is about 70% complete. The armed TOC means the UI has to be reworked to allow for two craftable slots on the same building. The range indicator for the Security Nodes has not been started.

All Games – Mine and Ambush Crafting update – Not Started

When complete, Ambush Points will become craftable instead of purchased in the store and there will be scroll buttons so the number of Minefields isn’t hard-capped at 28. You’ll be able to trade in your old Strike Teams for an ONP refund, but the blueprints will still be used.

All Games – Consumable Ammo – Not Started

When complete, this will change the way certain weapons work. 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 commit suicide 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 – Not Started

When complete, this 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 – On-Shoot Event Triggers – Not Started

When started, this will add under the hood features. Right now, units and buildings can trigger an event based 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 committing suicide.

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

📢 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 #11: Improvements to All Games!

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

Welcome to the 11th 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 some updates coming down the road for all Battlehouse games:

Improvements to All Games!

Your dev team took a little break for the American Thanksgiving holiday, but came back refreshed and delivered a whirlwind of content. 🦃🌪

As discussed in the last developer blog, content patches were completed for all of the games:

Firestrike Updates

  • Starting on December 12, players will be able to build HESCO Barriers. All tiers have access to this new defensive building.
  • Tier 16 goes live on December 26, bringing new levels for all buildings, new levels for all turrets, new levels for all landmines, and new levels for the top-tier units.
  • A new minesweeper unit, the Sapper (not quite the same as the suicide unit in Thunder Run, as it doesn’t kill itself), is mostly complete. We need to fine-tune its ability to reveal landmine positions before releasing it into the wild, so stay tuned for that update, probably next month.

Mars Frontier Updates

  • You asked, we delivered. The Central Computer level 7 build time is now 14 days (down from 30).
  • Starting on December 26, players will be able to upgrade the Central Computer to level 8. All production, storage, and research buildings get new levels.
  • The Mining Droid, Heavy Miner, Blaster Droid, and Excavator Droid level cap has been raised to level 13. It requires new Robotics Lab levels to research level 11 and up. More units will get an increased level cap later.
  • The turret conversion system is now in place. Currently only the Light Rail Gun, Defensive Cannon, and LRAT Cannon are enabled, but we’ll enable the Radiation Tower and EMP Cannon at a later date.

Battlefront Mars Updates

  • Starting on December 26, players will be able to upgrade the Central Computer to level 9. All production, storage, and research buildings get new levels.
  • The Marine’s level cap has been raised by two.
  • The Elite Rainmaker has been introduced into the game. This spiffed up version of the Rainmaker does more damage and does splash damage.
    • Astute players may have noticed the presence of Elite Rainmakers on some single player maps. These have all been replaced with Mercenary Rainmakers with their original stats to avoid changing the balance of gameplay. The new Elite Rainmaker is more powerful than the one the AI was using.
  • The turret conversion system is now in place. Currently only the Auto-Cannon, Thunder Cannon, and Devastator are enabled, but we’ll enable the Radiation Tower, EMP Cannon, and LRAT at a later date.

War Star Empire Updates

  • Starting on December 26, players will be able to upgrade the Central Computer to level 9. All production, storage, and research buildings get new levels.
  • The Shock Trooper, Tracker, Avenger, and Gun Runner have had their level cap raised by three. This change goes live on December 12.  More increased level caps are in the pipeline.

Thunder Run/Days of Valor Updates

  • The Elite AH-1Z has some (we hope) fun new mechanics. It will be on sale tomorrow, so if you don’t already have it, now’s the time to grab it and check it out.
  • We’ll be returning to Quality of Life improvements now. The Player Preferences interface has been next on the list, so expect to see some updates for that soon. Other than small contents patches, like new levels for existing units and buildings, expect mostly UI improvements for the next several months. We’ll be fixing quite a bit of under-the-hood tech before the next round of brand new content.

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 #10: Chat Improvements, and more

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

Welcome to the 10th 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 some in-game chat improvements, and development updates for all games:

Chat Improvements

This past week has mostly been dealing with quality of life improvements and patching UI errors.

The biggest change was enabling mouse wheel scrolling in chat. All games benefited from this change.

We’re going to pause on UI improvements for a short period to get a few content patches out for Firestrike, Mars Frontier, Battlefront Mars, and War Star Empire. These are smaller games that represent a smaller portion of the income that keeps the whole ship afloat, but they deserve new content too! We’ll return to UI improvements for all games shortly afterwards.

When we return to the UI, the next step is to expand the player options menu to allow scrolling. There’s no room left right now to add options, and a lot of upcoming UI improvements need to be something the user can toggle. Sadly, this is not something we can just flip a switch on, but once scrolling is added to a UI element it can be expanded easily in the future. While we’re at it, we’ll make sure mouse wheel scrolling works in this UI element.

Once player options can scroll and we have more room to give you options to choose from, here’s the new options we’ll be adding:

  • Turn off screen shake when explosion effects happen.
  • Reverse chat window vertical orientation. New messages and the input window on the top, or new messages and the input window on the bottom. Your choice.
  • Reverse mouse wheel scroll direction. Scroll down to go down, or scroll up to go down, your choice.

Game Development Status Updates

Firestrike players: You’ve been asking for it, and it’s in the works. Tier 16. You’re getting new levels to all units, new levels to all tech, new levels to all buildings, the addition of barriers, and one new unit. This is a big patch, so it might get broken into stages.

Mars Frontier: You’re getting a new Central Computer level, reduced build times for existing building levels, and a new level for all units. Most of the work on this was already done, so expect it very quickly.

Battlefront Mars: You’re getting a new level for all units, and one elite unit. A lot of the work on this is already done, but it needs some polish. It shouldn’t take too long.

War Star Empire: You’re getting a new level for all units and some additional turret levels. About half of the work on this was done between other patches, so it won’t take too long.

There’s not much else to discuss this week. To our American friends, enjoy gorging yourselves tomorrow. To the rest of you, have a great week.

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 #9: Thunder Run and Days of Valor Updates

📢 Attention Thunder Run and Days of Valor Commanders:

Welcome to the 9th 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 with some more development updates for TR and DV:

Thunder Run and Days of Valor Developments

Let’s take a moment to recap a recent change. As part of the release of the TOC12 infantry buildings and the new L16 for non-elite infantry, we reworked one of the least-used elite infantry units (Elite Stinger Gunner) and put it on sale.

One of the things we do behind the scenes is examining the stats of deployments of unit types, adjusted for their unit space costs, and trying to encourage a reasonable distribution of deployments. Obviously some units are better for base defense, others are preferable for AI events, and others are probably better suited to attacking bases. We expect player favorites to emerge.

When one unit is the most common by a disproportionate amount, or when a unit barely makes a blip in the stats, we try to adjust things to give players incentive to adopt and deploy more variety. Sometimes, we discover that the popularity was due to a bug. For example, the Elite AH-64 was stunning aircraft a while ago, but was only intended to stun turrets. Other times, it is far more powerful than any other unit of its type, as it was when the Elite TOS-1A outclassed all other long-range ground attacks. We sometimes have to adjust the popular unit, but we normally don’t want to completely remove something the players are enjoying. Because of this preference, we usually buff other units rather than directly nerf a unit.

The Elite Stinger Gunner was chosen for a major refit because it was both very rare in deployments and was also originally designed as a direct counter to helicopters. The Elite AH-64 happened to be a disproportionately popular unit, with well over half of all unit deployments being Elite AH-64s. We balanced the new Elite Stinger Gunner stats to make it so that it could not kill an Elite AH-64 of equal upgrade level in one shot, but could be killed by the Elite AH-64 quite easily. This meant that massed Elite Stingers would win against lone Elite Apaches, but some clever maneuvering with Elite Apaches would keep winning.

New Elite Stinger Gunner Stats

There were two problems with this. First, the Elite Stinger Gunner’s unlock requirements were balanced for a pre-Hardware era. It is much faster to unlock an Elite Stinger Gunner to maximum level than an Elite Apache, so the average encounter was usually between higher level Elite Stingers and lower level Elite Apaches. The second is that there were far more Elite Stinger Gunners on AI single player bases and AI multiplayer map bases than we realized.

We debated making an AI-only “classic” Elite Stinger while giving the players the new Elite Stinger, or swapping all Elite Stingers on AI bases for basic Stingers, which are closer in stats to the old Elite Stinger. We chose the latter option so we could get it to players faster, but the idea of “Mercenary” units with legacy stats going into AI bases is something we’re strongly considering for future adjustments.

Moving forward, we’re going to try to keep players in the loop on planned changes to existing units, especially when they affect event bases.

During the week that the TOC12 patch enables new Maintenance Bay and Motor Pool levels (coming soon!), we’ll be updating the Elite BDRM-3. Our analysis shows that it is the least used elite vehicle, and multiple players have requested an update. We’re hoping to make it more in line with the Elite Stryker, except that it will deal less damage per shot and focus more on spreading damage around with its AoE attack. I’d like to make the fire damage it causes weaken a target against long-ranged attack, so it would make sense to send a BDRM-3 “shock team” in ahead of an artillery barrage. Since there are a total of 453 Elite BRDM-3s spread across all of the event bases, this is probably a good candidate to test the “Mercenary” concept so that AI base difficulty doesn’t change. Ideally, you’d see the AIs with the current version of the Elite BDRM-3, only renamed “Mercenary BDRM-3”, while players would get the updated stats version.

Short version: Expect the unit to be much harder to kill and to debuff enemy defenses, but not be a very long-ranged unit. Full details will be in the eventual patch notes.

During the week that the TOC12 patch enables new Maintenance Hangar and Airfield levels (coming after the Maintenance Bay and Motor Pool updates), we’ll be updating the Elite AH-1. Our analysis shows that it is the least used helicopter. It has been difficult to find a niche for this unit, so I’m thinking that it will play “overwatch” against incoming anti-aircraft fire. Think of the anti-missile stat on some buildings, except it only affects ground to air missiles instead of air to ground missiles. Since only the Stinger, Elite Stinger, and Elite Nimr use ground to air missiles (all other Anti-Air is bullet-based), the Elite AH-1 will also have a defense boost similar to the Elite MQ8B’s offense boost.  Deploying an Elite AH-1 with your group should be an interesting option with these changes. It won’t be the most powerful unit around, but it will increase the survivability of others.

Short version: Expect the unit to become harder to kill and to buff friendly air units against anti-air attacks.

Discord Dev Tracker Recap

It was a busy week in Discord. Here’s the recap of the dev-tracker channel:

  • Nirgal kept us updated on work done on two highly-requested UI features, the ability to view building stats while upgrading, and the ability to have buildings that require zero build time to bypass the building queue. Both patches were completed and sent to the rest of the dev team for review.

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 #8: Thunder Run and Days of Valor Updates

📢 Attention Thunder Run and Days of Valor Commanders:

Welcome to the 8th 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:

Thunder Run and Days of Valor Developments

There was a lot of active discussion on Discord over the weekend about our plans to “squash” some of the development time for things in the game. I first mentioned this in the inaugural blog post back in September. Instead of a link, here’s the original text:

  • “The third project, slated for an uncertain future date, is a rebalancing of the TOC tiers. This is one of the less-defined plans, and player feedback is highly encouraged. Ideally, I’d like to see the average player base level increase so that the top-tier players have worthwhile opponents to fight and the average player can hold their own. This would involve reducing research and building times for lower building levels and lower tech levels, and would involve reducing prices for older blueprints (or removing them altogether for some lower turret levels).”

Some veteran players expressed concern about the impact on the game, especially if it means that alt accounts can get powered up too quickly.

These are some fair concerns. It probably would be disruptive to significantly lower the time needed to research offensive technologies by too much.

We’re still a ways out from the rebalancing of lower content tiers, but it is probably best to focus on infrastructure, such as building upgrade times and costs, rather than on force projection, such as unit research and build times.

The one category that this probably shouldn’t apply is what we internally call “core units”. These are the units that you do not need a blueprint to unlock: the Rifleman, Mortarman, Javelin Gunner, Sniper, HMMWV, M1064, Stryker, M109 Paladin, M2 Bradley, M1 Abrams, OH-58 Kiowa, AH-1 Cobra, and AH-64 Apache.

These are weaker units, but in some cases they take a significant amount of time and resources to unlock, to the point that only extreme completionists are bothering to do so for achievements. Given the wealth of premium content, we’ll probably need to spend some time making a few these less-used “core units” more accessible to players.

Discord Dev Tracker Recap

It was a busy week in Discord. Here’s the recap of the dev-tracker channel:

  • Nirgal kept us updated on work done on the L5 Leaders for TR and DV, and also mentioned that h’d started the next FS content tier.
  • Nirgal completed several bugfixes, which included some issues with the new TOC12 weapons, the C-RAM turret, and several AI maps
  • We got a sneak peek at some of the in-progress work on the L5 leaders.
  • Nirgal reported that the L5 leaders patch was done and being reviewed by the rest of the dev team prior to deployment, and announced the order of work on the next several projects.

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 #7: Thunder Run and Days of Valor Updates

📢 Attention Thunder Run and Days of Valor Commanders:

Welcome to the 7th 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. Last week, bh-nirgal provided some updates on current projects he’s working on for MF, WSE, TR, and DV and this week he’s diving deeper into some of the juicy details surrounding his TR and DV developments. So without further adieu, here’s bh-nirgal:

Thunder Run and Days of Valor Developments

The ability to move buildings while they are “busy” has been added to the engine. Both Thunder Run and Days of Valor players can move upgrading, crafting, or repairing buildings now. The next engine quality of life change will be to enable accessing building stats while the building is “busy”. This will take slightly longer, since it will affect more portions of the engine.

Many players have requested that Unit Equipment be broken up by unit type. A working prototype of this was developed over the weekend, and is being fine-tuned before release to Days of Valor and then Thunder Run.

Unit Equipment section in the ONP Store

Days of Valor and Thunder Run players may notice that Unit Blueprints and Elite Unit Blueprints are now split into Infantry, Vehicles, and Aircraft sub-sections. This will make it a little easier to get to some of the blueprints.

The Level 5 leaders, along with the alternative leader update system, is well underway. This will mostly affect how players buy leaders and how players upgrade leaders. The new L5 leaders will be stronger versions of the existing L4 leaders and will not introduce any new mechanics other than how you upgrade to get them.

Buying leaders: Right now, the store entries for each leader checks if you have any level of the leader, and whether you can still upgrade the leader. If so, it lets you buy another leader. Since we’re changing the crafting system, the main listing for leaders will let you buy a leader if you don’t have any level of the leader.
Old system: 1x L3 leader, 1x L2 leader = can buy another L1 leader
New system: 1x L3 leader = cannot buy another leader

Upgrading leaders: The upgrade menu in the Leader Barracks now has three “recipes” for upgrading each leader to each level from 2 through 4.

  • There’s a legacy recipe that you’ll never see. This will keep any upgrades in process when we deploy the patch from disappearing.
  • There’s a “merge” recipe, which normally doesn’t show. This works the same way as you’re used to. If you have two leaders of the same level, this recipe will show up so you can upgrade them. If you only have one leader, it won’t show up.
  • There’s a “promote” recipe, which displays if the “merge” recipe doesn’t display. The engine seamlessly switches between the two. A “promotion” recipe requires a leader and “Promotion Orders”, an item you can acquire in the store. There are four levels of Promotion Order. A promotion order is more expensive than a leader, but the Hardware cost and time required to Promote is significantly less than combining multiple leaders.

The upgrade times and costs have been changed. To determine the new costs and times, I added the upgrade time and upgrade cost for each level, divided it by the number of recipes, and rounded it down. This means that individual leaders might take longer and cost more, but taken as a whole L2, L3, and L4 all take less time and cost less.

To try to bring some balance the greater number of upgrades required under the old system, it takes twice as long to do a promotion upgrade as a merge upgrade. Bear in mind, you have to craft L1 to L2 four times and L2 to L3 twice to get to L4, so there is a time savings in the L1 to L2 stage.

Buying Promotion Orders: The Promotion Order items will appear before the Alpha Team in the leaders section of the store. If you don’t like the new system, you’re in luck! The old store listings will be in a sub-section of the Promotion Order.  You can still buy all 8 level 1 leaders required to upgrade a leader to L4, or you can buy the 1 leader and 4 Promotion Orders required to upgrade. It’s your choice.

L5 Leaders only support the new Promotion Order method of upgrading. You will not be combining two L4 Leaders.

Looking for an update on where the Dev Team currently stands regarding various recent community suggestions? Check out our new “Voice of the Commander” tracker here: Thunder Run Voice of the Commander: Declassified.

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 #6: War Star Empire, Mars Frontier, Thunder Run, and Days of Valor Updates

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

Welcome to the 6th 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. Last week, bh-nirgal took a deep dive into some of the current projects he’s working on for Battlefront Mars, and this week he’s providing us all some updates on his War Star Empire, Mars Frontier, Thunder Run, and Days of Valor projects. So without further adieu, here’s bh-nirgal:

War Star Empire and Mars Frontier Developments

War Star Empire has received a lot of dev cycles over the past year, thanks mostly to the presence of Promethium in the game. The three currencies allowed a 1 to 1 conversion and reskin of the turret system in Thunder Run, Days of Valor and Firestrike. I have a few minor changes in the pipeline, but I want to give players time to finish off the Central Computer L8 tier of content.  I do have some questions for players:

  • Would you prefer more levels of existing units, elite versions of existing units, both, or neither?
  • Would you like more defenses like mines, or no?
  • Would you like to be able to swap out the security teams on your buildings with ones made up of different units?

Mars Frontier is our quietest group of fans. Other than making an Opportunity Rover building security team add-on in memorial to our little rover friend, I haven’t spent much time working on Mars Frontier, and I’ve never received any requests or feedback from the player base. Is there anything you all would like to see, or are you pretty happy right now?

Thunder Run and Days of Valor Developments

Days of Valor has had the economy portion of the TOC12 patch for two weeks, and will get the Infantry patch tomorrow. Thunder Run is getting the economy portion of the TOC12 patch tomorrow. Portions of this patch will automatically unlock through January.

Now that this project has shipped, I’ll be tackling a major redesign of the introduction tutorial and rebalance of lower levels of content. There are two versions of the new player tutorial being tested in Days of Valor. We try to test and fine-tune things like these to see if we can figure out what will acquire and retain more new players. Based on the numbers in Days of Valor, we’ll either incorporate the new tutorial into Thunder Run as-is, or make tweaks to both the Days of Valor and Thunder Run versions. Once this is ready, we’ll be launching some new ad campaigns. I hope this will answer some of the good player questions we had on what we’re doing to grow the game.

While this is going on, I am working on some small UI changes and improvements. I’m testing the ability to move buildings that are being constructed, repaired, or are crafting in Days of Valor. Its release to the other games is pending.

I added in the ability to toggle the advisor and opponent AI portraits. It was deployed to Days of Valor for testing on October 26, and will be added to Thunder Run on October 31.

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

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 #5: Battlefront Mars Developments

📢 Attention Battlefront Mars Commanders:

Welcome to the 5th 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. Last week, bh-nirgal took a deep dive into some of the current projects he’s working on for Firestrike, and this week he’s giving Battlefront Mars some love. So without further adieu, here’s bh-nirgal:

Battlefront Mars Developments

Battlefront Mars has been a “problem child” behind the scenes here at Battlehouse, but those problems led to improvements in all of the games.

We had a dedicated hacker who kept making alt accounts in order to destroy rivals of his clan using a weapons range hack. Our hacking detection system detected each of these, but required an admin to pull the trigger on a ban. On the plus side, this helped us refine and improve our alt detection systems and the hacker eventually exposed his main accounts and received a ban on those accounts as well. Eventually, we implemented criteria the hacking detection system is allowed to use to ban an account without admin intervention. Admins still review any automatic bans, but this allowed our systems to stop the damage caused by an unleashed hacker destroying other players when an admin wasn’t available to monitor the servers live.

The next round of troubles came from speed hackers. The CS team and I were both under the impression that our hacking systems could detect and defeat speed hacks. Upon further review, we found that previous members of the dev team had deployed our speed hack countermeasures only to Thunder Run. After a round of tests in Battlefront Mars, this got deployed to all of our games.

That covers the recent history for Battlefront Mars. What’s next for this game?

Currently, whenever I have a spare dev cycle, I work on porting the turret mounting system currently in all of the modern military games and in War Star Empire. This is taking longer in Battlefront Mars because unlike the other games, it only has two resources instead of three. With no Prometheum in the game, I can’t simply port over the turrets from War Star Empire.

When a turret converts, it also has to change a lot of the player’s game file under the hood. In the modern military games and in War Star Empire this only needs to account for ten levels of three turrets, but in Battlefront Mars there are twenty-eight levels. This means a lot more values to manually account for.

It isn’t an unsurmountable project, it just needs more time. I’m hoping to deliver a converted turret system by the end of the first quarter of 2020, at which point I’ll start enabling new levels for content already in the game.

Like what you see in this Dev Blog, or have suggestions on things you’d like to see Nirgal talk about in the future? Let us know over on our Thunder Run Discord Server (for Thunder Run players), or on Clan HQ (for all other games). See you all next week!


Battlehouse Dev Blog, Issue #4: Firestrike Developments

📢 Attention Firestrike Commanders:

Welcome to the 4th 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. Last week, bh-nirgal took a deep dive into some of the current projects he’s working on for Thunder Run and Days of Valor, and this week he’s giving Firestrike some love. So without further adieu, here’s bh-nirgal:

Firestrike Developments

Firestrike is the first Battlehouse game I played, and the last one to be moved into my area of responsibility. Weird, huh?

Firestrike is one of the more difficult titles to develop. The other games are all set by hand. A Rifleman in TR and DV has 15 levels manually set by the developer. Hit points, damage, movement speed, and so on are chosen by whichever developer worked on the unit. Individual levels can be adjusted. This can lead to poorly balanced units. Firestrike was developed on an automatically balancing algorithm. The downside to this algorithm is that concepts that weren’t in the original design are hard to add in without breaking everything else. Firestrike’s revenue is also a lot lower than other games. Firestrike makes about as much in a month as Thunder Run makes on a Saturday.

To justify the development resources to upper management, I proposed that Firestrike get to test new concepts before they go to other games. This meant that I had to get some new tech working in Firestrike. Landmines had to go in first so that I could (later on) add new types of landmines. The armed TOC was the first example of a new gameplay mechanism that Firestrike got first.

The next steps for Firestrike will be to add a new tier and to aid lower level players in levelling up.

The Vault, a building present in Thunder Run and Days of Valor, will be added in to help new players avoid a total disaster when attacked by higher level players. Ideally, a player should be able to retain enough resources to fully repair their base and army and to complete at least one new building level or new technology research, regardless of how many times they were attacked while logged off. Player input is welcome and requested for several topics:

  • Which would you prefer, many upgrade levels per tier, or one upgrade per tier? Assume the resources and costs would be the same regardless.

Tier 16 will add more levels to all of the defensive technologies, more building levels, and four new units. What are those units, though? Player input is key here! As veteran players know, each tier gets an Infantry unit, an Armor unit, and an Aircraft unit. These are balanced by the algorithm, so the only real choice at play is the art assets to use. Anything that is currently in TR and DV is available. What would you, the players, like to see as the Tier 16 units?

Tiers can also receive a “special” unit of any type. Tier 16 is going to receive the UH-60 Blackhawk as a “special” unit. It will most likely not be deployed in the initial Tier 16 patch, because it will require an engine change. More details will be disclosed in a future blog post, but I will disclose Firestrike will get to try out a new mechanic with their implementation of the UH-60 before any of the other games.

Like what you see in this Dev Blog, or have suggestions on things you’d like to see Nirgal talk about in the future? Let us know over on our Thunder Run Discord Server (for Thunder Run players), or on Clan HQ (for all other games). See you all next week!