What’s up Gamers? 2020 is finally over, and 2021 came out the gate swinging. On our end, we’re trying not to dwell on all that, so it’s time for some updates.
We are happy to announce that you’ll be able to play Sons of Ra in the Steam Festival: February 2021! For us, the most exciting news of all is that this demo will feature our brand new Online Multiplayer!
We had another test this past weekend, and we think that things are just about ready for you to try. We have a few larger problems to tackle before then, but one more test oughta do it! …Hopefully.
Once again, thank you to all of our Testers! Every one of you has really helped us with your time, your bug reports, and for humoring us by trying out weird situations so we can take notes. Thank you so much for helping us bring Sons of Ra to a larger audience.
Sekhmet has full functionality, and we are getting all the artwork done for her blessings right now. Her Ultimate, the Huntress, looks suuuuper cool. Check it out below:
Animations for The Huntress
New Blessing art for Sekhmet’s Battle Hardened and Isis’ Immunity
New Sun Tower finalized
New dust particles for collapsing keep, destroyed towers
Massive performance upgrades
Numerous fixes with blessings and units
Betrayal was a paaaiiiinnn. But it’s good now.
Improved matchmaking and support for “quick join”
Final Mixes on all level and menu tracks
Updated Ra track
Final Victory track updates
Our main online tasks to work on are client/host desyncs and what we’re calling “ghost lobbies.” There’s still smaller bugs that will need our time eventually, but those are the main focus right now.
As for gameplay, Sekhmet is on the home stretch, and we’re excited to show you her full power soon!
The Steam Festival starts up on February 3rd. We cannot wait for you to play our game and tell us what you think!
Hey again! Last weekend, we held our first ever online test over on our Discord Server. We had a ton of fun and found an enormous amount of bugs, which poor Jeff cried about and then fixed, like the champion he is.
Thank you to all of our Testers who participated! You guys are awesome and gave us some great moments.
As for art, Mark has been hard at work on getting things up to snuff. Our Sun Tower has been looking a little drab recently, so we decided to upgrade.
Designed from the ground up and inspired by the Pyramids of Giza, the new Sun Tower is actually the first time a pyramid has been present in Sons of Ra! What took us so long? I have no idea, but check out the sketches below, and our most recent animation tests!
Sekhmet is coming along nicely, and her God Head is nearly complete. Just needs some colors!
Sekhmet has a head now! Her keep is gonna look super cool.
The Sun Tower is no longer 2 vague rectangles
Enter the pyramid! Taste the sun!
Packet clustering for improved performance
Numerous bugfixes, including proper currency syncing between players
That means no more infinite priests, you silly sausages
Game Timer fixed between players
New lobby & Server Browser!
No more default Unity skybox!
Main Menu updates: Now with fewer clicks™
Neutral nodes functioning properly
Player turn order fixed
Final Victory theme
Conquest Special Event theme
New map theme?? (TBA)
We’re going to be taking a short break for the holidays, but you’ll hear from us again in the new year!
2021 brings with it the release of Sons of Ra, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring you the project that we started so many years ago. Thanks for sticking with us through 2020, and I’ll talk to you all again in January.
We’re back again! By the way, you guys can expect these every two weeks or so, each one (hopefully) full of new content!
It may not look like much, but you can invite people through Steam and play the game with them, completely over the internet!
We still have a lot to test, and that’s where you come in! Head on over to OUR DISCORD and click on #announcements. Follow the instructions and react to the most recent post and we’ll send you a private key!
This is a little bit less organized than how we normally do things, and that’s because things are gonna be a lot more broken than usual. THE TEST WILL ONLY LAST FOR 4 HOURS: 1:00pm – 4:00pm PDT on Saturday, December 12th. Check out our Discordfor more info (Yes. That one is also a link).
Okay, so now that that’s out of the way, regular updates.
Conquest is coming along nicely. To everyone who joked about a Sons of Ra Battle Royale, we actually brought that up during our design meeting, and have started using some ideas from the genre in the most recent update. It’s definitely different, but it’ll make conquest much more interesting to play.
Sekhmet’s abilities are being worked on. We had a design discussion as a group and we think we have a grasp on what will work best for her. She definitely has the most unique passive for any God we’ve created so far, but it’s been super interesting to theory-craft. Functionally, the blessings exist now, but we want to actually give them some visuals before we talk too much about them.
We can share Sekhmet’s Ultimate though: The Huntress (name still WIP). You get to summon a super unit with super strength who runs around and just destroys EVERYONE. Check out her design so far:
And look! Isn’t she rigged just perfectly? (Please don’t take away my Maya license)
The Huntress can crush you like a bug
I also heard she can do backflips
New health bars and updated map select
Conquest Elimination Mechanics
You can lose now, but extra hard
It applies to all players
Still a secret. You’ll find out soon™
2 New Songs
Sekhmet’s theme SLAPS
Literally I cannot wait to show you guys
We also have one made for something unannounced
Next update is in the middle of December. We’re revamping a bunch more old assets and artwork, getting online ready for the test, and should be able to share the results of that test with you! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you then.
An events coordinator from Dreamhack reached out to us in August asking if we were interested in attending Dreamhack Atlanta. You probably know Dreamhack from their large presence in eSports and competitive gaming, but the event has recently expanded into other areas. This includes their Indie Playground, where students and indie developers can showcase their work. There is an application process, but the selected games would be given complimentary booth space and internet for the duration of the event.
This was big for us, since we were still recovering from the amount of money we had to spend on PAX West. There were also some unique opportunities that we hadn’t had at other events. We ended up applying to a livestream where we got to play our game with the hosts, and to the game pitch championship, which allowed us to put our pitch through its paces and get feedback from judges.
Dreamhack ran pretty similarly to other conventions we’ve been to. Our team flew down two days before the event so that we could spend all of Thursday to setup and prepare, but we only ended up needing one morning to get everything ready. Our setup is pretty simple: we use a rollup banner with our game name, logo, and website, some business cards, and a display. We also have a laptop and a couple controllers, but we take those with us at the end of the exhibition hours.
After a few shows, you figure out what you need, and figure out that duct tape and power strips are more valuable than gold. For small games like ours, we’d highly recommend keeping things light and owning one or two key pieces of signage that really show off your game. Also, have something to give out. We like buttons, but business cards can be surprisingly effective and cheap. I don’t personally advocate for postcards or larger prints, as they get folded, thrown away, lost, or destroyed. If you can get all of your important info to fit on a business card, you have a much higher chance that it will survive the trip home with an attendee.
The killer for keeping a light setup, though, is figuring out how to get a TV to another state. We’ve tried various things, but haven’t found a one size fits all solution. For this show, we actually decided to rent from the venue after our other options fell through. We lucked out here, and prices were pretty reasonable for the size and quality of the display we ended up with. After our setup was finished, we took the rest of the day off to just explore the city (we recommend Ted’s Montana Grill and Arepa Mia).
From the time of opening Friday morning, Dreamhack itself ran nonstop until closing on Sunday evening. However, the expo area, including the Indie Playground, was only open for 8 hours each day: 12-8 on Friday and Saturday, and 11-7 on Sunday. This was a major relief compared to other events. Usually, you have to wake up early and rush through some sad excuse for breakfast to make it on time, often after you were up late the night before. Here, we got a chance to sleep in, have a nice meal, and walk (we had a great AirBnB) to the event. We always made a point to arrive early, but especially so when the event opened on Friday. This was a smart decision, as we learned that the power to our booth was not working correctly. This was probably the largest problem we faced at Dreamhack, as the event workers had to get help from the staff of the Georgia World Congress Center, which took a couple hours. We covered this time by using a laptop to run our game, so that we had something to show attendees.
Following that issue, our experience was a breeze, for the most part. We did encounter a couple of bugs, one of which was a music problem we were having major difficulties diagnosing. Our music manager was playing incorrect tracks, tracks were playing on top of each other, and one track would continue even when the game was closed. We couldn’t figure it out…until we realized that the system had Civilization running in the background (Jeff why?).
Pitching and Streaming
Dreamhack didn’t just offer the Playground however, and the other offerings have so far been unique in our convention experience. The Game Pitch Championship was made up of two rounds. The first was an individual pitch to the panel of judges, after which the judges would spend time providing feedback and offering improvements. The second was a final round, for which 5 participants would be selected as finalists. The judges would score the second pitch and decide a winner, who would get a monetary prize. We were unfortunately only able to participate in the first round due to our tight travel arrangements. That said, the feedback offered to us was very helpful, and if other indie developers get a chance to attend Dreamhack in the future, we highly recommend trying this out. It’s a great resource to practice and improve your ability to pitch your game in a relatively low-pressure situation, and make your overall presentation better.
We also got to show off our game on the Dreamhack Indie Mixer channel with a pair of hosts. Viewership ended up being lower than we were hoping for, but it was a good opportunity to see how our game looked on livestream. A recording of the stream was provided by Dreamhack, and we plan to use this data to improve visual clarity and spectator interest.
All in all, Dreamhack Atlanta was a very positive experience. The Atlanta chapter of IGDA, as well as Atlanta-based indie developers, were extremely welcoming, acting as hosts for those of us not from the area. Every one of them that we spoke to was incredibly helpful, and they even held a get-together at the end of the day on Saturday for all the indies showing at Dreamhack. The attendees who came by were also very friendly, and were almost entirely people who played games regularly. This made it a lot easier for us in particular, as most of them were literate in the basic concepts of games, and would pick up on some of the more complicated elements of our strategy game easily. This is a fun event with an easy-going pace that we’d recommend to almost any dev who can make the trip.
We are incredibly excited to formally announce Set as the fourth god in the roster of Sons of Ra. He has been in the works for a few months at this point, as after the popularity of Anubis, we wanted to make sure that he would be similarly interesting to play and thematically accurate. We spent time doing research on different gods in the Egyptian pantheon, and found a few that we thought could bring interesting mechanics into Sons of Ra. Of these, Set was the one we believed to be most well known, and who had the most distinct identity – two characteristics that made Anubis successful. With this in mind, we delved into the mythos of Set and began the design process.
Who is set?
In Egyptian myth, Set is associated with a number of concepts, but most prominently Chaos, the Deserts, and Storms. He is also well known for his rivalry with the god Horus. After all, Set’s most famous story is that of his rivalry with Horus, and the events that caused it, culminating in Set’s stealing of Horus’ eye. Specifically, he is known as the one to murder his own brother, Osiris, to take his place as king.
There was one major challenge when it came to how we were going to visually depict Set. Like many Egyptian gods, he is pictured with the head of an animal. However, unlike the others, it is uncertain exactly what the “Set animal” is. Everything from donkey to aardvark, anteater to fennec fox has been suggested to have contributed to the depiction of Set. We decided to take influence from a few of these animals, namely the donkey and aardvark, and put our own spin on them to arrive at Set’s appearance in Sons of Ra.
For his weapons and clothing, we reached more into the myth of Set and what he represented in the ancient Egyptian religion. Being seen as a trickster, usurper, and assassin, we thought Set should appear vicious and sly, so we gave him a dagger to represent this underhanded nature he is portrayed with. As god of the Deserts, his clothing is reminiscent of clothing worn by North African and Egyptian desert travelers, with a hood partially covering his eyes to again reinforce his dishonesty and trickery.
Lastly, we chose to depict him with two items that hearken back to his myths. The eye of Horus which he stole hangs on a chain around his neck, and on his forearms are golden snake ornaments that reference his association with snakes, as well as his duty protecting Ra from the snake Apophis to ensure that the sun would always rise.
Set looks like he had once held the dignity and majesty of a god, but has since become ragged during his exile in the desert. Now, he comes to offer the warring kings of Egypt power, in the hopes that their devotion will bring him back to equal or even surpass his fellow gods and enable him to claim his rightful place once more.
When we create gods, we try to distill their style down to a simple phrase or concept to guide us in development. As the God of Chaos, Set’s blessings would naturally be somewhat aggressive, and designed to cause disorder on the battlefield, so the general theme that we chose to focus on with Set was “Disruption”. His abilities would therefor revolve around thwarting the plans that the opposition has enacted, and obstructing them from establishing a foothold when used properly. Set’s four blessings are as follows:
What better way to create chaos than by turning allies against each other? When you cast Betrayal, units from within the targeted area are randomly selected to temporarily change sides and fight for the opposing team. That said, it also has the potential to affect the user’s units, so placement is important. There is also no limit to the number of affected units, so using it in a large battle has the potential to cause mass confusion. When units switch sides, they will stop to fight units of the opposing team. In other words, their former allies! This will obviously deal damage to the affected units as they fight each other, but it comes with the added bonus of stopping the fighting units in lane. This allows towers extra time to work on them, or gives you the opportunity to mount your own attack in return.
Sandstorm is the first of what we are referring to as Lane-Select Blessings. As the name suggests, upon use, Lane-Select Blessings place an effect on an entire lane, either all at once or for a period of time. Sandstorm is of the latter variety. For as long as it lasts, Sandstorm gives the user’s units in the chosen lane a boost of speed, as its winds are at their backs, while dealing damage over time to any opposing units in that lane. Fitting with Set’s theme of disruption, Sandstorm is a form of lane denial, which you can use to twist your opponent’s plans to your whim by hampering an incoming assault or forcing their hand to a desperate and immediate defense against your own attack.
Basic Blessing: Ignite
Cost: 25 Favor Cooldown: 10 seconds
Set’s first basic blessing is the familiar Ignite. Select any tower controlled by the opponent and wipe it off the face of the earth with a fiery blast. Use it to help break through to the opponent’s keep or force a further gold advantage by removing defenses as they struggle to set them up.
Cyclone has returned! Originally named Sandstorm, Cyclone was removed when Montu was reworked into Ra, but it is now back as a blessing granted by Set. Call down a vortex of sand and wind to batter enemy units in a targeted area on the battlefield.
So concludes our detailed breakdown of Set, God of Chaos, the newest patron deity to come to Sons of Ra. We had a lot of fun designing him, and spent a lot of time creating his unique look and playstyle. We feel like he has set a new bar for us in terms of quality, one that has inspired us to revisit our old work to bring it up to a similar level – especially the effects of our blessings, one of the most dynamic and intense aspects of our game.
We are excited to announce that Set will be playable in ONE WEEK at DreamHack Atlanta, from November 15-17. Please, come by, check us out, and try Set for yourselves! We look forward to seeing you there.
Man, we only just realized it’s been more than two months since we did one of these. At the time of last writing, things were moving pretty slowly, so we figured continuing to try to get devlogs out weekly would over-saturate our market, so to speak. As a result, we decided to hold off for a little while. Then March and April hit, and the exact opposite happened. The past month or so have been nonstop action, both in and out of the game. We’ve put in new major features, updated others, and driven up and down the Eastern Seaboard to various events. But now, we are finally (temporarily) free of hard deadlines and actually have some time to tell those of you who haven’t seen our game firsthand some of what’s changed. So, here we go. Let’s start with the big one. The elephant, or dog, if you will, in the room.
Anubis – God of the Dead
Montu and Isis had been in Sons of Ra alone and unchanged for more than 6 months. We for a long time wished to add more deities from which players could choose to bring with them into battle. Well, we finally had the time to devote to bringing in a third, and we decided to go big.
Anubis is prominent in Ancient Egyptian myth, and we wanted to make the abilities he grants the player fun, engaging, and respectful to his depiction in history. As such, we start with his ultimate blessing, Embalming. This was the big new thing we wanted to try with Anubis. Up to this point, we have had 3 kinds of blessings in Sons of Ra – active blessings, ones that the player casts at a location for some effect (i.e. Solar Flare and Tower Lock), buff blessings, which give all the player’s units some temporary effect (like Immunity or Recovery), and global blessings, those that apply an effect to every unit across the map (Earthquake).
Embalming is the first Unit Blessing. It lets the player pay favor for a special unit with a unique effect. In this case, it lets you spawn an Embalming Priest, a ranged unit that applies a debuff called Embalm to units whose attacks it hits, and units who hit it with melee attacks, for a couple of seconds. If Embalm is active on a unit when the unit dies, it spawns a mummy to fight on the team of the other player. This blessing has the ability to, when played correctly, turn the tide of battle as you turn a player’s own forces against them. Since we introduced Anubis just before East Coast Games Conference, players there and at RPI Gamefest really seemed to enjoy this ability.
Fun dev fact regarding this ability – Anubis was initially heavy in development back in January, but the behind-the-scenes complexity of spawning mummies at arbitrary spots in lane was taking far too long to solve, and Jeff had to drop Anubis in lieu of other major outstanding tasks. As you can see though, he finally figured it out. And didn’t let the rest of the team hear the end of it.
Anubis’ second unique blessing is Decay. It is an active blessing that allows a player to place a long-lasting damaging aura on the battlefield, that does damage over time to all units inside of it. It’s pretty simple in effect, but requires smart placement as it is at its strongest when you are able to keep your opponents inside of the effect for an extended time.
Lastly, Anubis’ two basic blessings are Haste and Recovery, which you have already seen on Montu and Isis. Together, these abilities create a very unit-centric gameplay style for Anubis, which is a much more specific strategy than those employed by Isis and Montu, who are a bit more all-purpose in terms of gameplay. We hope you’re really excited to try him out!
Back to the Drawing… Wall….
Remember wayyyyy back when when we upgraded patron deity select to be styled like wall carvings or paintings of the chosen gods? Well, we went through a major second iteration on that menu in the interest of information communication and better showing off Mark’s art of the deities… which has also been redone since our initial design of the wall to be more iconic:
But onto the wall itself. Like we mentioned, we wanted to feature the art of the deities more than the art of the wall, so we greatly simplified the wall itself and re-positioned a lot of information on the UI. Here it is to see.
As you can see, the deity art is much more prominent now, and blessing icons are displayed more centrally in the screen. We also added a little bit of game feel as far as looking at blessing detail goes.
Overall, we’re really happy with how the new wall feels, and think that it adds a lot to the game.
But Wait, There’s More!
These were some of our biggest updates since last speaking, but we’ve still got a couple more things. First is a more in-theme pause menu.
As a fun added bonus, those images of the gods on the left and right will correspond to who the players have selected for the game! Our loading screens also got a small thematic overhaul in terms of text and color.
We also made some small gameplay changes, like a refinement of the tower placement system so that area of influence can no longer be shared between the two players if their areas overlap. It’s first come first serve now (until you take out the other player’s towers).
We also have new particle effects for Immunity to make it feel a bit more “ultimate”…
… and a shiny new splash screen!
Whew, that was a lot to type out. There’s still more coming behind the scenes that we’re excited to share, but the stuff we’re working on these days take a bit longer to perfect, so we won’t be trying to get devlogs out on a determined schedule. Instead, we’ll do like we did with this one, where we’ll wait until we have something really cool and complete to show (though maybe a little more frequently, so we don’t have gigantic info dumps like this). Hope you enjoyed it, and see you next time.
After a long day of travel and a long night of frantically trying to add some much-needed features to our build, we loaded our car, ate some fried chicken, and drove to the Raleigh Convention Center. It was the first day of the East Coast Game Conference.
Pharaoh Hound Games has presented Sons of Ra at a few smaller locations previously, but this was by far our largest showcase to date. All of us on the team had been attendees at game conventions, but never exhibitors. We were excited, but also very nervous.
Our setup turned out really strong, partially due to our luck of placement and partially due to our preparations. We were placed on the edge of the balcony, pushing us away from the foot traffic to the main expo area. However, our booth was directly in sight from the stairs everyone needed to use to access the main expo hall. The first thing everyone saw was our brand-new standing banner and our two large TVs demoing the game.
The two TVs were also a huge bonus. It meant anyone who just walked up to watch almost always had the opportunity to try the game on the second machine. People often crowded around the machines waiting for their chance to play (especially since the wait wasn’t long). Some were satisfied just watching and seeing the outcome to a really close game.
It wasn’t all perfect. The first day was rather busy, but things were interrupted when the power was cut for much of the indie alley. Our friends at Matrioshka Games had their TV blow a fuse when they tried to plug it in. After informing the volunteers, one of the power boxes needed to be replaced and many booths were down or forced to run on battery powered laptops for nearly an hour. We quickly set up a laptop, but the screen was so small and dim, barely anyone used it. Once the power was back up, everyone was able to get back on track (and Matrioshka Games was able to fix their TV, so their booth was up and running too!)
Meeting Cool People
When members of the team weren’t helping at the booth, they were exploring the rest of the expo and talking to other developers presenting. After us visiting their booths and them visiting ours, we had awesome talks with developers like Upside Down Bird, showing Mariachi Undead, and Light Arc Studios, showing off It Stares Back. Both teams and every other developer we met were incredibly nice, super supportive, and just awesome people.
But the awesome people weren’t just limited to the developers. Nearly everyone that stopped by our booth to play and talk were incredibly nice and even the criticism we received was constructive and always directed at making our game better. In fact, many on the team were surprised with how positive the response was. People were often incredibly excited about our game and had a lot of fun playing it. Many even returned multiple times over the convention to replay it and try new strategies. The team was super humbled to see this and hear all this fantastic feedback.
What Went Well?
We heard a lot of great things at ECGC. We heard from a lot of people what they like about our game and where they hope it will go in the future. We heard a lot of great suggestions about what could make our game better. And we heard a lot of people ask if they could go ahead and buy the game. We’re going to really take the feedback to heart and push forward on future development
One of the last changes we added to the build was a demo video when the main menu was left idle. While we love our current main menu, the whole team agreed it wasn’t very interesting to someone unaware of what our game was. The night before the convention, we re-edited the trailer to a much shorter scissor reel that better showcased what the game was and presented much stronger to the casual observer. This addition really paid off. People checked out our booth much faster and players understood our game much more easily. Oftentimes, while talking to members of the team, people’s eyes would be glued to the video after they had already played.
We met a great number of cool developers, artists, composers, and even journalists. We hope to keep up with these connections as we all keep working to release better and better games.
We had some good exposure over the event. On Twitter, despite the month not being over, our analytics are almost double their normal amount. We hope this sort of growth will only continue over the months as we get closer and closer to release.
What Went Bad?
Last-Minute Builds Lead to Last-Minute Bugs
Every day had a new build… and their own unique bugs. The most significant one was the last-minute demo video. While it did really help our presentation, it also appeared to break controller input in certain menus. We were able to fix it during the first day, but we continued to have controller connection issues and other minor input issues throughout the conference. Nothing truly hurt our game, however; it just required some troubleshooting.
No Power Means No Games
Pretty self-explanatory. While we didn’t have power, almost no one saw our game and the team was stuck not wanting to leave the booth in case the power came back but we were otherwise just sitting on their hands waiting.
Where Are We Going Next?
The next thing for Sons of Ra is RPI’s Gamefest on April 27. It’s a free, short, one-day expo in Albany, NY from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. If you can make it, you should stop by.
Beyond that, Pharaoh Hound has applied to the Indie Game Showcase at TooManyGames in Oaks, PA from Jun 21-23. We currently don’t know if we are selected, but we will know by the end of April.
There is another convention we could attend through a competition. But until we know the results, we think it’s best not to get people’s hopes up.
We hope this was informative to anybody who may be considering exhibiting or attending ECGC next year, or other conferences in the coming months. Who knows, maybe we’ll see you there!
Following the polish seen last week in the sound, particles, and UI, we returned to developing new major features, namely a new playable map. Since the beginning, we always wanted to give each map unique environments and we finally started. We knew we wanted a desert environment to sell the ancient Egyptian theme but couldn’t think of a good context for playing this type of strategy game in the sand. One person suggested simply putting the map on a sandstone slab; however, our advisor pointed out that one of the first recorded board games is from ancient Egypt: Senat. The team loved the idea and Mark quickly went into creating designs and mockup for a senat-inspired version of our board. After that, the board was finalized with the new path design and more detailed textures. The environment followed quickly, using the stone slab suggested as a base and creating sandy hills and rocks as background pieces.
The map design itself deviates from the other maps in some key ways. It is another two lane map, limiting the tactical options of each player but making defense much simpler. The switchbacks give the defensive advantage to one player in one lane and the other player in the second lane, forcing players to balance both lanes carefully. Finally, the map is significantly smaller than previous maps. So far, maps have been 36 x 24 grid squares in size. This map is only 30 x 18 squares. This decreased size will allow games to be faster and make good tower placement crucial for a strong defense. It will also allow the camera to be closer to the map, showing the units and towers in more detail.
WE GOT A TRAILER
We now have an official gameplay trailer on our YouTube channel (https://youtu.be/sMRLvYJgSj4)! We’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks, initially for internal use but later polished for a marketing release. We plan to release more marketing and work-in-progress videos on our channel over the course of development. So make sure you subscribe!
There are plenty of features currently in development that we’d love to talk about now, but they need some additional work before being shown off. Our current goal is tackling the larger features needing to be tackled between now and release. Hopefully in the next few weeks we should be talking about new gameplay modes and/or features while continuing to polish and improve the quality of what’s currently here. See you all next week.
For the past couple of weeks especially, we here at Pharaoh Hound Games have been hard at work pushing forward a lot of new features and polish, from our shiny new radial UI to the flashier, more impactful game opening. This week though, we thought it was important to take some time to reexamine some aspects of the game that had been somewhat forgotten on the wayside as we ventured forth.
First and foremost, did you guys know that Sons of Ra had sound? Well it in fact does, and until just a few days ago, that sound had been the same since last summer. Most of it was actually implemented back in May. For those who have had a chance to play our game at any expos, events, or playtests, even you probably didn’t know this. After being neglected in favor of other features for months, we finally took our first steps towards making our game sound as interesting as it looks, courtesy of Joe. The game has new music now, as well as a greater variety of effects for unit combat, tower attacks, and other events such as building towers and units entering and damaging the keeps. We aren’t done on this front, as we are still going to be revisiting blessings and other more minor events to make sure everything is unique and stands out.
Next on the list was another UI improvement. Though we had upgraded to a radial menu, the icons representing the different units and towers remained unchanged, and the transparency on them created an unappealing effect when used with the radial menu. So, we gave all the icons the same treatment as the unit icons used in the queue, which can be seen here:
Though still just a first pass, this change gives us a more unified style for our iconography in-game and helps to make things stand out more distinctly for the players.
The last significant item we wanted to mention this week was a small effect added to units. When a unit is defeated, it grants Favor to the players to be spent on blessings. That said, we felt that this was not communicated well enough in-game, so Mark put together a nice looking effect that is meant to help get across the idea that something additional happens when a unit is killed in battle:
While small, the team felt that this added nicely to our gameplay.
There was not a whole lot of flashy progress to be shown to you guys this week, but that certainly doesn’t mean that progress isn’t being made. We’ve been having some important conversations behind the scenes about what’s coming, and are continuing to work on things that we think you will find really cool. You might even see some of that in the next few days, so stay tuned. See you all next week.