March 2, 2015

Telepath Tactics February 2015 Update

You guys! This is probably going to be the last of the monthly updates for Telepath Tactics, as development is drawing to a close. You probably saw that Telepath Tactics has an official release date now: April 16, 2015.

As promised, this past month was spent fixing bugs and adding small little bits of polish to the game, as well as taking care of some long-overdue business things. I’m delighted to announce that Sinister Design is now an LLC, complete with its very own business checking account!

I’ve finished signing up to distribute Telepath Tactics through GOG.com, which is pretty exciting. I wish I could say that things were proceeding as smoothly with Steam, but I’m currently stuck in a sort of bureaucratic limbo with Steam’s automated onboarding process, as their website won’t accept Sinister Design’s government-issued EIN for reasons I can neither understand nor explain. Hopefully I can get that sorted out soon and get started with Steam integration!

Also on the business front, I’m also pleased to announce that Telepath Tactics has been accepted into the Indie MEGABOOTH for the third time. If you happen to be at PAX East, please stop by and say hello.

In the meantime, I’ve been making final touches to the game, fixing bugs, and writing materials to help people get started with modding the game right out of the gate. Here’s a list of all the non-business things we’ve been up to!

–David Hammond wrapped up the last of the character portraits:

Annel Doran and Samir
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–added Doran Chamberlain the psy healer to the game as a recruitable character. That brings the final number of playable characters in the game to 27! Another new character, Annel Stormhunter, can become playable for the single battle in which he appears (though he’s not recruitable and I don’t count him as one of the 27.)

–David Hammond completed the last of the promoted unit attack variant animations, bringing the character animations to a close!

–Tyvon Thomas completed the remaining spriggat breath attack animations; these were the last attack effect animations that we were waiting for. With their arrival, the game’s animations are complete!

–I created a couple of sound effects that still needed to be made–the Light Breath sound effect, and the sound effect for when characters use Grapple Pull.

Self Repair
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–I’ve made some final adjustments to Lord Dakarai to make him more useful throughout the game: Lord Dakarai now starts with 12 strength instead of 11; he now learns Spin Saw 2 at level 6 instead of level 7; he learns Engine Boost at level 9 instead of level 10; and coolest of all, he now learns the new ability “Self Repair” at level 12! (Self-repair lets him expend energy to restore health without ending his turn, turning him into a more self-sufficient tank.)

–I increased Thrust’s damage to 80% of strength (from 50%) to make it more useful.

–I added an exchange between Harynx and Meridian during the Coria Tavern cut scene.

–I eliminated that super-annoying little pause that used to happen at the conclusion of every character movement.

Telepath Tactics - Multi-page Reserve Supplies Screen
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–the reserve supplies screen now supports multiple pages worth of items. Given that a single page can hold 168 items or more, it’s somewhat unlikely that you’ll exceed a single page’s worth of unused items in the course of the single-player campaign, but the game now handles it appropriately if you do.

–the game now saves your changes when you dole out items and equipment during deployment before a battle. If you lose or quit the battle before winning, the items will be right where you left them from deployment the first time around.

–I finalized the strength values for all of the game’s weapons and added those to each weapon’s item description.

Telepath Tactics - Settings Menu
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–I made the space info box toggle-able instead of requiring the player to keep Alt held down to use it; it is also now accessible from the Settings menu.

–Samir Hashmal and Naila Hashmal now appear in the Hashmals’ portion of the game’s ending.

–added tutorial text to the battle to rescue Meridian explaining that you can speed up enemy turns by changing the Character Move Speed setting in the Settings menu.

–I made a bunch of balance tweaks to various battles. In the battle to rescue Meridian, it is now dramatically more difficult to complete the battle by killing all enemies; but on the other hand, the enemies start swarming you one turn later to give the player a bit more breathing room. In the Defend the Camp battle, I added a few more bushes and boulders to provide more choke points; I changed Sabrina’s dialog to tip the player off that enemies will be coming from all directions; and I made the last wave spawn one turn later so newer players won’t be quite so overwhelmed. The ground-level Coria Dogs battle now has some tougher enemies to contend with, though Coria Dogs Thugs now don’t get Mega Stab until a higher level. In the Coria Dogs basement fight, Umber Gnawbone no longer remains in passive mode after you wander into his attack range; Umber Gnawbone no longer has focus pills; and Umber Gnawbone now warns the player that assassins are going to start spawning on the stairs via dialog explicitly calling for them to appear. In the battle with Leon Hart, I added a thief that shows up and loots one of the chests; but I also rearranged some things so that a solo assassin could conceivably slip in and get to that chest first.

–Archos now has a death monologue.

Cloak Fur
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–created a new item: Fur-Lined Cloak. It gives the wearer +15% Cold resistance.

–tweaked how the AI deals with the IgnoreArmy tag so that armies set to ignore the player will also ignore bridges and barricades created by the player, as well as the player’s supply tent.

–plugged up a bunch of memory leaks that had been causing the game to gradually slow down over the course of larger battles.

Telepath Tactics - The Vengeance of Emma Strider Map
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–spiffied up the “world map” a bit.

–increased the compression quality on the game’s soundtrack, increasing the game’s size by about 15 MB but making its music sound much nicer.

–added support for AOE patterns larger than 5 x 5 in AOEPatterns.xml.

–new script action: Tweet. Opens the browser to Twitter.com. (More details on how it works here!) I am using this in concert with the new -SCORE- character to let the player tweet his or her total score at the end of the game.

–fixed a whole raft of bugs (including an especially irritating bunch that were afflicting the inventory system).

–I’ve started writing a tutorial series on how to create your own campaign in Telepath Tactics. There are 6 parts up already covering most of the basics; check ’em out!

I’m going to continue writing these tutorials until release, and perhaps after as well. The full release on April 16th will include the map editor, so those who didn’t purchase early access to the map editor will be able to follow along at that time.

–I created a presskit page for Telepath Tactics with all of the information a reporter needs to cover the game.

 

And…well, that’s about it! Finishing the Steam sign-up process is top priority for this coming month, followed closely by Steam integration and marketing. (I’ll probably fix a few more bugs along the way, too.)

Thanks for following along on this great journey! Though the monthly update format is no longer super relevant for Telepath Tactics, I’ll definitely continue to post about the game–and eventually, once Telepath Tactics is out, about my next grand project. Until next time!