In the Nick of Time - Lightmare Design Blog #7
This week I’ll introducing our lead programmer, Nick London as well as talk about our display at PAX Aus.
From the 26th-28th of October we where showcasing Infinity Heroes at the Pax Rising section of PAX Aus. Players got to have a exclusive first hand try of both singleplayer and multiplayer aspects of the game. The whole team had a blast guiding people through the game either against others or a training AI. The booth consisted of two laptops with our “Proof of Concept” demo build, as while we were eager to showcase the mobile version of the game, if wasn’t feasible in a convention setting.
However we had hundreds of people drop by and overall had a very positive reaction, finding choosing a Hero lineup made it easy start playing while the simultaneous play created some great moments in multiplayer matches especially.
If you didn’t get a chance to see us and play the game we do have more events and videos planned, so stay turned.
In this article series I started by introducing two team members here at Lightmare Studios, myself and Jason. Well today I want to present Nick London, our lead programmer at Lightmare Studios. Nick is responsible for may of our efforts in making the core systems for Infinity Heroes as solid and extensible as possible. But let’s get a little bit of his background first.
He started his game development career as an artist in 2004 while dabbling also in programming. He eventually transitioned into a programming role a few years later and has now worked on over a dozen released titles over as many years. These include companies such as Krome and EA working on titles you may know such as Starwars, Force Unleashed and Spyro: The Eternal Night.
Nick started on Infinity Heroes a bit over 2 months ago as the project initially expanded, at that stage consisted of a “proof of concept” build designed to test gameplay and UI quickly, making sure the game was fun and feasible before committing additional resources. This prototype version has been the game we have been showcasing both online and recently at PAX Aus. It consists of a small number of heroes, multiplayer, AI practice matches, a short work in progress tutorial and a bare bones version of the hero creator.
Unfortunately as the proof of concept version of the game was designed extremely rapidly, changing as we explored new ideas. Thus, when Nick joined the team, he quickly deemed the project would be better served by a ground up rewrite, taking everything we have learned and structuring it for the long term.
The “Proof of Concept” build had done a great job of allowing us to be sure the core gameplay loops of Infinity Heroes where a ton of fun, but a lot of it was patched together quickly in a way that would bog down the team as we continued to add more cards, features and players.
By restructuring now, Nick and the rest of the team have built us up for Infinity Heroes to now only be successful long term, but also create systems we hope we can reuse on future titles.
Thanks to Nick’s work, the whole team currently is working on bringing the new Infinity Heroes’ exciting features to life, including:
Overseeing a total rebuild of the multiplayer networking, making the multiplayer far more reliable, where information is mirrored so that desynchronization issues so familiar to Infinity Wars players should be a thing of the past.
Total rework of the the targeting and resolution stages of the game to make it not only easy to understand what happened after both player’s lock in their turn, but also allow for far more user friendly use of abilities and undoing moves.
Creating a new effects system and tools so that it will be far quicker for designers to implement new cards and hero decks, as we want to be able to rapidly release new content.
A full suite of debug, testing and logging tools. For example we recently had two AI playing against each other overnight to flood test for card interaction and network sync errors.
Strict team about coding standards and bug reporting to reduce the amount of errors players run into and allow us to more quickly identify and fix them.
With all these improvements we are positive about Infinity Heroes’ future success.