Arcane Legends was the final game I worked on while at Spacetime Studios. The title was a spiritual successor to Pocket Legends, but offered a higher quality overall experience. Unlike previous Legends titles, in this game the campaigns were not isolated areas that lived on their own. Zones connected to one another and trading posts as well as towns were found throughout the world. Additionally, players could acquire pets that would fight alongside them with their own unique abilities.
- Developer: Spacetime Studios
- Release Date(s): 2012
- Platforms: IOS, Android, Chrome
Please note that this portfolio entry is still in progress and media has not yet been added. For reference, I’ve included a gameplay video further below to illustrate some of the features called out.
Arcane Legends launched with one player town that your adventure continued from. I was responsible for the overall direction and design of how the town would work.
Upon completion of the new player tutorial, players would arrive in a town that housed entryways to new zones, a tavern, guild hall, pvp battles, and more. I established an overall layout and flow based on expected player movement. Additionally, I worked with the artists to decide on overall themes needed for the outward appearance of buildings so that their function was relayed visually. Through iteration, we would determine appropriate foot prints, spacing, and overall object density once props were added. Once complete, work moved to the interior of buildings and how transitions would be most clearly communicated. In the end, the town came out great and achieved it’s goal of being easy to navigate while providing several functions to the player from the start.
In addition to the town, I was responsible for several systems on the game. I assisted with multi state object setup, player creation framing and setup, some basic UI and more. However, the combat system and the enemy AI comprised the bulk of my work. These both proved to be equally challenging and rewarding as I attempted some concepts that required extensive planning upfront. The end result was fast paced action combat that allowed a lot of customization by the player in the form of different class builds.
Arcane Legends had three archetypes that you could play from: the warrior, the sorcerer, and the rogue. In establishing the overall pacing and feel, I referenced more action oriented RPGs like Diablo and Torchlight. While the game needed the provide a challenge, I wanted it to feel fast paced and so my focus relied more on mob density that you fought through than one on one encounters.
Additionally, I wanted the combat to really look “fun”. Our visual style already helped a great deal with this as it had a semi cell shaded look to it. But I wanted others to look over and feel like they wanted to try the game. This came about in the usage of VFX, sounds, and overall exaggeration of animations.
Progression let you purchase abilities to use and rank up, but I also introduced a modifier system that let you allocate points into individual aspects of an ability on an individual ability system. This would result in some abilities changing from cone to area attacks, removing snares, adding buffs and more. Scripting abilities with this in mind meant each component in an ability’s execution required enough modularity to change on the fly depending on the upgrade path of the player.
In the end, my work on the classes encompassed almost all of my time – core movement, animation hierarchy and setup, ability design, ability balancing, weapon and ability animation/sound/vfx hookup, modifications to vfx/sound as needed, Iconography coordination and final polish.
The Warrior was the brute force combatant in the game, with a focus on weaponry and physical based attacks.
The Sorcerer conjured energy in various forms both innate and elemental.
The Rogue served as the master of traps, able to serve more defensively utilizing her traps while firing from afar with her bow.
I wanted buff and debuffs to be clearly conveyed on the player, without requiring too much thought on what they meant. To achieve this, I decided on a basic system that used red to signify a negative effect with blue implying a positive one. Rather than create an icon for every effect permutation, they were distilled down to categorical concepts – armor, movement, damage, etc. With this established, we were able to combine them into a language that easily provided the player with enough information to grasp what effects were occurring in combat, while not requiring them to memorize specific details.
UNIQUE ENEMY DEATHS
Previous Legends titles had the enemies using a canned death animation. With Arcane Legends, I felt it was important to make the deaths more contextual to really sell the impact of your weapons and abilities. To achieve this, I worked with the art team to get a suite of basic death animations and visual effects of varying elements. Using these assets as well as engine capabilities to apply force on targets, we were able to get much more creative on how creatures died.
Heavy physical attacks could launch a target further back than it’s normal counterpart. Heavy fire attacks could cause them to blow up into smoldering ash. Similarly, creatures had purpose after their death as well. Certain deaths caused area damage or provided additional obstacles depending on which ability and it’s modifier were used. The overall dynamic made creatures feel like the way you attacked them mattered.