Infinity Wars 2 Foundations - Lightmare Design Blog Entry #5
Today’s entry is aimed at our previous Infinity Wars players, talking about our plans for Infinity Heroes, the state of the original game and how Infinity Heroes is the first step on the path to something greater. So, join us as we take a trip down memory lane, and reflect on what we’ve learned from the past, and what that means for the future.
One Small Step
All human achievements are built from a series of tiny increments, each building on the other to make progress possible on the next. Game development is no different, every game system has to be designed, implemented, then used to support new systems.
When prototyping for Infinity Heroes for example we couldn’t implement any keyword abilities such as flying until the core combat and turn systems were finished.
While building Infinity Heroes, we have taken a huge number of lessons from the past development of Infinity Wars, making sure that from both a design and implementation perspective, we are planning for long term success rather than quick fixes. This is because we want the work we are doing on Infinity Heroes to not only be a great standalone mobile/PC title, but also provide a flexible card engine that can be used to help future endeavors such as a direct sequel to Infinity Wars.
One of the biggest examples of this is that about a month ago we stopped all development on our functional prototype build. This prototype was great to iterate upon Infinity Heroes’ gameplay and showcase on the kickstarter and at conventions. However because it was always meant to be a prototype and changed so often as we discovered what gameplay was fun, it wasn’t at all sustainable to continue in the long term. So we actually restarted the codebase from scratch, and with the help of our amazing lead programmer Nick London, we are building and documenting everything in a way to allow us to maintain and expand the game for years to come.
Mistakes and Regrets
The reason we learnt that building upon a prototype would continue to give us so many issues down the road is that we have done it before. Infinity Wars was initially built upon a prototype hastily put together in just a few months. The demands of the kickstarter campaign along with the studio’s inexperience meant system after system were piled upon a foundation not designed for it. Infinity Wars eventually released to become a minor cult hit, but many players likely experienced a huge variety of bugs, desync issues and other assorted weirdness that never got patches. While the team at the time would work hard to fix issues while keeping up with the rapid release of expansions, the odds were always stacked against them with such an unstable foundation.
Looking today at the Infinity Wars’ codebase, attempting to “Fix” the old game to be in the state our players deserve would essentially require building the game again from scratch, effort and resources that would be better spent on a proper sequel that learnt and improved upon the first game.
This true sequel to Infinity Wars is a project we would love to undertake in the years to come, but getting there won’t happen all at once.
Infinity Heroes is in our mind one solid step towards the giant leap that is the 5-10x bigger scope of Infinity Wars 2. Building it will provide us with many of the gameplay systems we will need, such as our internal card creator pipeline, a highly desync resistant combat system logic and the online integration with services such as Steam, Google and Facebook. These aforementioned new systems are already almost complete thanks to our recent codebase refactoring, and we are planning over the coming months many more future proof systems that will easily port straight over to Infinity Wars 2. All of this hard work is not only making what we hope to be a great cross-platform digital card game, but is also giving us a toolbox of reusable systems that will make creating Infinity Wars 2 feasible.
We know that the trust damaged over the last few years will take time to be repaired, but our hope is that you’ll be as excited as us not only about Infinity Heroes, but also the future to come. For our existing players of Infinity Wars, feel free to check your emails for a potential surprise in the next few days.