Spotlight: Life, Death, and Game Over

posted in: Dev Blogs, Gameplay, Harvested | 0

It’s been nearly two weeks since we released our announcement trailer and first playable demo.  And we’re ready to talk about some of the changes we’ve made since then.

The biggest gameplay complaint we received was one we heavily anticipated – the lack of a meaningful death.  In our demo, death just resulted in a respawn and you could exploit the game by not moving and stabbing enemies from that spawn point.  We have now implemented a meaningful death system we are very excited about.

In the build menu you will now find the addition of a “Teleporter” structure.  This building serves as a re-spawn point, of sorts, where you will be teleported to if you are low on health – assuming you have enough charges to get you there.

If your teleportation device is out of charges you will die.  And the game ends.

Alpha Screenshots
The teleporter will save you

Charges are gained by killing enemies – this is the new functionality of our XP system which previously did not do anything.  Ranking up earns you a charge, dying costs you one.

If you run out of hitpoints before building a Teleporter, or your Teleporter is destroyed, you will die. This makes defending your base much more important.

Designing a death system we were happy with was one of the greatest game design challenges we’ve had thus far.  We looked to our inspirations (RTS and Survival/RPG) and found neither to offer something that was relevant to our game.

…if you have the charges

In an RTS, you usually lose when all structures are destroyed or a hero character is defeated.  However, our gameplay relies just as heavily on front-line combat as it does on construction and defense, so this did not make for a good solution.

RPGs usually handle death by forcing you to go back to the last save.  In Harvested, however, that solution would interrupt the flow of the game and discourage the player character from making heroic maneuvers.

Survival uses either permadeath or the loss of items as punishment, but we wanted the player to be willing to take risks and Harvested doesn’t have an inventory system.

We wanted a solution where death is death – not a “timeout” before you respawn from a given structure (as is common in a lot of RTS games) and we feel like we handled it in the most appropriate way.

Stay tuned for more news – we have a lot to announce before our next big release, including a new enemy faction, story missions, and heroic allies.

Alpha Screenshots
New enemy faction on the offensive
Alpha Screenshots
New enemy faction in their base

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